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Scattered Sundays

Who has two thumbs and is ready for holiday food to be OVER? This girl! 

Woof, my skin is broken out, I feel like junk, but um, there is still homemade fudge in my house and I can’t just waste it. What are you going to do? I’m not a robot! Fudge is basically chocolate heroin.

As I mentioned in my Whole30 Meal Plan post, strict eating resets might not be for everyone. BUT, it’s never a bad thing to eat more veggies and whole foods (the actual food and not the incredibly expensive grocery store).

When I am feeling run down and I know my eating is to blame, I make it a goal that half of my plate or bowl with every meal be covered with veggies. It’s not removing certain foods from your diet, but it does help me be more mindful about filling up with vegetables first instead of other less-healthy fare.

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My friends! I was this many years old when I discovered on Christmas Eve that I could proof dough in my Instant Pot. Ok, ok, I mean I know a few of you have mentioned it before, but I’ve never actually tried it.

In the course of 24 hours, I proofed two batches of Overnight Cinnamon Roll dough and two batches of dinner rolls (basically this Simple Homemade Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns recipe, but I don’t squish them down to make them like flat buns) and it was AMAZING!

We keep our house cool and sometimes proofing dough can take awhile. Cooler temps also generally mean that the dough is harder to work with. But less than 45 minutes in the Instant Pot, my cinnamon roll dough had basically tripled in size. And the best part is it was the easiest dough I have ever rolled out in my life. A real joy to work with!

I updated the cinnamon roll recipe with the Instant Pot options. It’s basically using the yogurt setting but you need the glass Instant Pot lid (it turns your pressure cooker into a slow cooker). But if you don’t have an Instant Pot you can still totally make the dough the old school way.

The dinner rolls were made on Christmas morning and doubled in size in about 23 minutes. They were so fluffy and airy, and start to finish it was a 90-minute process. I usually make rolls for holidays the day before because of the long rise time. No more my friends, no more.

Went to bed at 11:30 pm and woke up at 2:30 on Christmas

Was your holiday nice? I think this was officially the year I became old because my Christmas list (Troy’s family insists on one, even for the adults) was basically: Darn Tough socks (<—they’re guaranteed for life) a few more pairs of workout pants (with actual functioning pockets), a safety vest for walking, and new bands for my watch. I was so blessed with so many pairs of Darn Tough socks that I renamed it “Sockmas”.

Santa sure made a mess leaving a bootprint

The boys were thrilled with all their new books (Jack legit yelped when he opened up the new Nathan Hale Hazardous Tales book) we got them for Christmas. We also got them these book lights for the car because they insist on trying to read at night and I’m sick of the “you’re going to strain your eyes” battle.

When Bennett was born, I started giving Jack a Shutterfly photobook every year for Christmas from “Bennett”. This was the first year I also gave one to Bennett. They love these books and will look at them all year long. Bennett even stopped opening presents to look through This child only has one speed and it is slow.

Santa brought a few fun things and finally got stocking presents right this year. Santa has struggled with stockings in years past (famously completely forgetting them the year that Jack was in and out of the hospital), but as Jack said “Santa really stepped up his game this year”.

He gave them things we never buy for them – Pringles (my mom loved them and Jack would sit with her and snack on them), gum, and the most popular item they received – hot chocolate mix.

cookie decorating at a friend’s house

I was out walking the day after Christmas and came home to a house in turmoil. Troy and Jack were trying to put together a new toy and Bennett decided it was a good idea to hit Jack with his new foam Viking ax. Bennett was banished to the upstairs, and while I was getting ready for a shower, I kept hearing the microwave turning on and off.

Looking down the hall, I see Bennett standing in front of the microwave and his stool in front of the cupboards. Left to his own devices, he had pushed his step stool over to get himself a plate, snagged some food from the freezer, and then was microwaving it.

Troy and I are in agreement that we need to ignore him more often because it makes him more self-sufficient. We never ignored Jack and thus were left entertaining his hyper ass for years.

Bennett got lots of art supplies and little crafty things from Santa (more magnet blocks, sketch pads, and a Lite Brite. Remember THOSE?!), and he made a self-portrait of a picture I took of him and Jack.

Guess what’s back? Free salmon from Butcher Box! Butcher Box is a meat subscription company that distributes high-quality meat you can trust; 100% grass-fed and pasture-raised beef, free-range organic chicken, heritage breed pork, and wild-caught Alaskan salmon directly to your door.

Butcher Box salmon is wild-caught and sustainably harvested from Bristol Bay, Alaska. It would be insanely good grilled and then use any leftovers for these Paleo Salmon Cakes.

All new Butcher Box customers will get two pounds of wild-caught salmon in their first box!

a platter of paleo salmon cakes with cilantro and chimichurri

Last week, western Washington experienced something called an “Atmospheric River”. Basically they now have a scale for rainstorms, and just like hurricanes and tornadoes, they’re on a scale of 1-5. We had over 48 hours at a level 3-4. So.Much.Rain!

As we were driving home at night, on the freeway, in the pouring rain from seeing Santa, Troy’s wipers just stopped working. Oh, and his headlights dimmed and were basically just gone.

We pulled over and thankfully they started working again after we turned the truck on and off but um, that didn’t seem secure. Thankfully, my in-laws live on the way home and we were able to stop by and pick up an extra vehicle. Troy’s truck got dropped at the mechanic and a whopping seven days and $2,200 later, the wipes work again. Whaaaaaaa.

It was more than just the wipers (some piece that was $800) because they also found broken belts and an oil leak. The truck is paid for, Troy really likes it, and it has 175,000 miles on it and has never given us any problems before. But oy, Merry Christmas to us!


Did you happen to make one of my recipes (or from another blogger) during your Christmas or Hanukkah meal prep? I would be so thankful if you took three minutes to rate and review the post.

Those five-star reviews on a post signal to Google (our evil overlord) that a recipe is quality and in turn it might choose to share it with more people (assuming we provide the appropriate weekly sacrifice). It’s a 100% free way to support my blog and others.

And I’ve seen the back end data. A metric crap top of you were making overnight cinnamon rolls this week. 🙂 And who knows, YOUR review might be the featured one next week!

What I’m Listening To This Week

Dateline! I think I have mentioned this before, but Dateline has podcasts. Hello earbuds, goodbye world.

And speaking of the perfect zone out entertainment, I recently discovered that Amazon Prime has all the seasons of Monk. I used to love that show and watched it often with my mom. It’s so fun to go back and watch them all over again. Some of the outfits and the makeup is pretty dated. Why were eyebrows so thin 18 years ago?!

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Amanda left this five-star review on our Chocolate Pretzel Bark recipe {Pin this recipe}:

This stuff is awesome!! I needed an easy last-minute dessert to throw together for a family reunion last weekend. I had seen this recipe on Instagram earlier in the day and thought it would be perfect. I was not wrong! I used a mix of dark chocolate and semisweet chocolate (because I didn’t buy a big enough bag of dark) and it came out great! It’s so good and so easy, I’m planning to make another batch for my family’s Christmas party this coming Saturday. ????

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Easy Carrot MashA cozy bowl of this Carrot Mash is an easy and fast weeknight side dish. They’re a delicious potato-free option that goes well with so many main dishes. Mashed carrots are a simple vegetarian side that can easily be made vegan with one ingredient swap. {Pin this recipe}

a rectangular baking dish with carrot mash, butter, and parsley on a grey plate

Printable Whole30 Meal PlanMake your life easier with this printable Whole30 Meal Plan that includes printable compliant shopping lists and delicious and easy recipes. You’ll find compliant breakfasts, lunches, dinners, mini-meals, and a few emergency snacks for those inevitable busy days. {Pin this meal plan}

Trader Joe’s Whole30 Shopping ListThe most comprehensive Trader Joe’s Whole30 Shopping List ever! A printable Whole30 shopping list and Whole30 recipes to help you rock Week 1 and the rest of your round. {Pin this shopping list}

The Essential Whole30 Costco Shopping ListThe only Whole30 Costco Shopping List you’ll ever need! A printable Whole30 shopping list and Whole30 recipes to help you rock your homemade meals, meal prep, and have a successful round. {Pin this shopping list}

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

Let’s look at the top five under our consistent #1 – Virgin Mojito

  1. Overnight Cinnamon Rolls – so many families woke up to homemade cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning.  {Pin this recipe}
  2. Make-Ahead Scrambled Eggs – we also had scrambled eggs and cinnamon rolls on Christmas!  {Pin this recipe}
  3. Instant Pot Beef Tips and Gravy – this post had a lot of people drooling in various Facebook groups this week!  {Pin this recipe}
  4. Nordy Bars – it legit makes me so happy to know that my mom’s special recipe was being shared with so many families this holiday season.  {Pin this recipe
  5. Honey Simple Syrup – goes perfectly with our Virgin Mojito!  {Pin this recipe}

Meal Plan

Monday:: Jack’s bestie who moved away is back in town for the holidays and is spending the night. We’re probably going to make pizza and have cut up veggies.

Tuesday:: New Year’s Eve at my sis’. Everyone has kids so we celebrate “east coast new years”, but honestly we don’t usually stay until 9.

Wednesday:: Movie night with appetizers and popcorn. I need to photograph a recipe and then we have soccer for the next few nights.

Thursday:: TBD, soccer

Friday:: TBD, soccer

Saturday:: my family’s belated “Merry Appsmas” (we only serve appetizers for dinner) will be happening after 50% of the group was sick on Christmas.

Sunday:: Leftovers

What We Bought This Week

Fred Meyer:


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11 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. I made your cinnamon rolls this Christmas. They were a hit and lasted for 2 breakfasts (or breakfastes). I was worried that they would be difficult to make as I don’t have much experience with yeast but your instructions especially the “looks like” explanation were simple to follow. Too bad I didn’t read to the bottom of the recipe because if I had known I could have frozen them, I would have made them earlier on the less busy week before Christmas week.. Oh well, next year…
    Thank you.5 stars

    • That’s awesome Judy! I’m so glad you enjoyed them, and next year you’ll be a cinnamon roll freezing machine! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review.

  2. We are still waiting for the baby to arrive. (how was that?)
    I don’t really do stockings anymore.  My youngest (21) still gets one because she lives at home. But I stopped one for my oldest (26) when she moved out.  
    When Santa filled them, it was mostly treats, and ALWAYS included a tube of Pringles(they take up a decent amount of space in a big stocking).  As the girls got older and Santa stopped bringing them presents, Mom and Dad filled stockings because the girls loved them so much.  There was always treats, but they transitioned to mostly things like shampoo, nail polish remover and make up pads.  Things we made them buy themselves (shampoo because they were told, if you don’t want to use what I buy, you can buy your own.  And they DID).  The 21-year-old gets things like that in her stocking so she doesn’t have to buy her own, but there is always a tube of Pringles in there!  And the oldest still gets the Pringles.  Her husband gets a tube too, so she doesn’t have to share.  I also get a tube for me and my husband because we always felt a little jealous that the kids were eating Pringles and we didn’t have any!  My 26-year-old looks very forward to her “Christmas Pringles”.

    I actually love that Bennett stops and appreciates a gift before moving on instead of opening everything really fast and not remembering what anything is.

    We do our big dinner on New Year’s Day.  So I have to go make brownies for our dessert trifle. (step one of a three-step process)  We will be having dinner rolls too, but I make those the day before.  My instant pot does not have a yogurt function, but I wouldn’t want to dirty it up just for that anyway. 

    Have fun tomorrow the the ‘bonus kid’ (as I always called spare kids who stayed over).  It is wonderful that they kept in touch!

    • HAha, much better, thank you!

      Who knew that Pringles were such a Christmas thing? I thought we were starting a trend but clearly we’re just part of one. 🙂

      Wow, a 3-part trifle. YUM!!!!

      Yep, the bonus kid should be so fun. He and Jack were together from k-3 until they moved. He is basically Jack but a solid 7 inches shorter. I thought was in preschool the first time I met him during a kinder birthday party. Super fun kid though.

      • (Still no baby.)
        I don’t know if Pringles are a “thing”.  I just know that in our house, they took up a good amount of room in a rather big, and stretchy stocking!   😉   The older one told me that she is just fine with no stocking as long as she still gets her “Christmas Pringles”.  

        Don’t be too impressed by the trifle. I seem to like making things take longer than they need to.  I found a cookies&cream trifle recipe online.  And I am making it for the first time.  
        It is only a 3-step process because I am making brownies, rather than buying them (which I never did yesterday and MUST do today) and I am making the pudding rather than buying it (starting from a box, but not *just* using milk, AND adding crushed cookies), THEN I can assemble it.  The plan WAS to make brownies yesterday, pudding today, trifle tomorrow (three steps!)  Now it is still three, but brownies AND pudding will have to be done today.  At least I’ll be able to give my new mixer a good test-workout!

        You will have to let me know if ‘bonus kid’ is still 7″ shorter, or if he is starting to sprout now!  My friends son was a tiny fella until he was partway through high school.  Now he is taller than I am! (I’m 5’8″)

  3. My family loves Orange Chicken from a nationally-known restaurant (OK it’s “The Cheesecake Factory). Unfortunately the nearest one is a 3 1/2 hour drive. Imagine our surprise when your recipe got our 5-star rating as better than said restaurant! Not only is it delicious, but easy to prepare. Thanks alot.5 stars

  4. I just want to know where you got that box like grocery tote? I saw one a person at my local store had and loved it

    • Our grocery store sells them! It is a Fred Meyer grocery store which I believe means the parent company is Kroger. So in theory, any Kroger owned store near you should have them.

      I almost didn’t get it because it doesn’t fit in my bag organizer in the car and it was $5. But holy crap I really love it and use it all the time. We use it a lot to bring snacks and equipment to soccer.

  5. Yay for socks! My husband surprised me with some fleecy indoor-outdoor mocassins (we have laminate floors through the whole house and I was slipping wearing just socks). He got himself and the kids some, too, because we’re always heading out to the garage to get something out of the garage fridge, and that floor is COLD. Yesterday I went for a run and all I wanted when I got back was to take a shower and get back in my dang slippers. Am officially old.

    I have to do a big reset of my diet to reduce sodium for health reasons. I hate this, because I’m already gluten free (migraines) and I love salt. I will choose Chex Mix over chocolate, is what I’m saying. But I sleep better when I eat low-sodium, and drink lots of water. My struggle is to avoid compensating for my feeling of deprivation by overeating “low sodium” treats like Hershey’s Kisses and things like that. UGH.

    • Those sound super cozy! Wanting to be warm and comfortable makes you smart – not old! 🙂

      Good luck with the sodium. I know that means a lot more home cooking since everything at the dang store is packed with sodium. And I LOVE Chex Mix. But also chocolate. lol