Sustainable Cooks
First Time Visiting? Start Here!

Scattered Sundays

Guess who has two thumbs and is the proud owner of new kitchen countertops?


Last Sunday, Troy and my incredible brother-in-law spent a whopping nine hours at a friend’s house removing her quartz countertops and giant farmhouse sink. Why? Because she is giving them to us FOR FREE. Um, yeah.

They’re a darker grey in person and there are 2 more sections.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Our friend lives in a gorgeous historic home that is stunning but lacking some functionality (like closets). They’re moving out for two months while some of the house is being remodeled. The kitchen is being gutted and the countertops were headed for salvage. 

They’re absolutely gorgeous but won’t fit with the new layout of their kitchen. Turns out they also weighed approximately 34.2 billion pounds. It took Troy, my BIL, my father-in-law, our neighbor and myself to unload them from the truck. And now they sit waiting in our garage for something to happen.

They won’t fit the layout of MY current kitchen either, but if all goes according to plan, we may be updating our kitchen next fall! Perhaps a farewell to the setting of 1970’s low budget snuff film?

There are a lot of moving pieces for it to happen (mostly money, so um, yeah), but I’m hopeful! I don’t have fancy taste, but there is some serious infrastructure reworking that needs to happen. A wall needs to be removed to prevent the super stupid traffic jam that happens in the kitchen if anyone needs to open the fridge.

A new window needs to be added, and in my dreams, the drop ceiling would be remedied. What moron drops a kitchen ceiling 1 foot?? We also have gas to the house but not the kitchen. Thankfully, the gas access point to the house is in the garage right under the kitchen so it shouldn’t be too expensive (famous last words?).

Hallelujah, praise the Lord, the kids are going back to school this week! I mean, winter break has been GREAT. The kids have been angels. 

Assuming, of course, angels never shut up for over two weeks and constantly fought with their brother. You know, those kinds of angels.

We finally took down our Christmas tree on Friday. It was much later than I wanted, but such is life. 

Pine needles are nature’s easter grass

A few months ago I asked you all for winter boot recommendations and you came through in a big way! I ended up buying (and returning) sooooo many pairs of boots. I eventually just gave up and decided the old duck boots (not made from ducks…) were sufficient for the limited amount of snow we get.

I tried these Bogs – loved the look and I love my Bogs as my garden boots, but these had NO padding or support. I also tried these North Face Boots and they were incredibly warm and comfortable. Like marshmallows. But they were fairly bulky and hit me at an uncomfortable position on my shin. If I were shorter or taller, I think they would be perfection.

Then my high brown boots finally gave up the ghost after a solid eight years, and I decided what I needed were comfy, waterproof brown boots that would look great with jeans or dresses. And wouldn’t you know it, I found them on the feet of a woman at Barnes and Noble.

I really loved her boots and found out they were eight-year-old Merrell Kassie boots. Hers had this incredible detail on the back that they no longer offer. Sadly I couldn’t find it in my size and ended up getting the Westbrook Tall. They’re available on Amazon (for full price), but I got them on for $40 off (+ 3.5% cashback with ebates).

And yes, it was laundry day in the background. 🙂

Of all the boots I tried, once I put them on I knew I never wanted to take them off. I’ve only worn them three times and have already gotten a ton of compliments on them. They’re not insulated like actual winter boots, but they’re definitely warmer than a traditional daily boot. They kept my feet warm and toasty at soccer for two hours.

Homemade 7-year-old Jedi robe tutorial along with photos of 4-year-old Jack can be found here.

Did you make any new year resolutions? How are they going? I’m not in the habit of making them anymore, but I do like to set business goals. 

Last year the growth this little blog experienced was pretty incredible. I’m proud of it because I worked my butt off for that to happen. I’ve set a goal for 90% growth for 2020. That level gets us to meeting some family goals (see my excited verbal vomiting about kitchen remodeling above). More growth than that would be gravy. Even though I don’t like gravy. 🙂

Interested in helping us grow? There are lots of free ways to support our little site (and any of your other favorite bloggers)! You can share posts, pin them (and join our Pinterest community), follow along on Instagram or Facebook. That helps get our recipes in front of your friends and family and it is totally free-ninety nine.

And if you happen to work for a company that makes sustainable floor tile or cabinets, hit me up. 🙂

What kind of pizza are you making Bennett? “Cheeeeeeeeeeeese”

A personal goal I set for myself for 2020 is to reduce our meat consumption. I still like and enjoy meat, but for a multitude of reasons, I’m thinking less is more in this case. From an environmental and financial standpoint, I want to make what we do consume stretch further.

We’re still keeping our Butcher Box subscription but have amended our account to every other month. Between that and the extras we pick up from our local butcher, being mindful is the goal for 2020 (and onward).

Soccer has us on the move a lot, even during the holiday break. On the days Bennett has speech therapy, we leave the house at 2:30 and don’t get back until almost 9 pm.

I see all the parents hauling in the same Little Caesar’s pizza boxes for the kids to scarf before practice. And I’m not judging; gotta feed those kids! But with Jack not eating very much dairy due to stomach issues, pizza right before soccer is a no go. Enter, the zero waste boring soccer dinner that makes my kids long for the pizza boxes.

I prefer using glass bento boxes (like these), but when it comes to an indoor cement facility and clumsy boys, I’m not the dbag who brings breakable containers to soccer.


Trying to save money on groceries in the new year? SAME. That’s why our family loves Thrive Market!

Thrive Market is an online marketplace on a mission to make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone. You can shop for thousands of the best-selling organic foods and natural products at 25-50% below traditional retail prices, all shipped right to your door.

And when you live in a small town like I do, finding quality products can be really hard. Thrive is so convenient and affordable and their prices routinely beat Amazon.

Want to try it for yourself? This link will give you a FREE 30-day free trial to Thrive Market, PLUS 25% off your first order (and free shipping for orders over $49). Sign up to get 25% off your first order + 1-month free trial

What I’m Listening To This Week

Nothing new to report here because so many podcasts were on a holiday hiatus. Ahem.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Thank you all SO much for leaving so many great recipe reviews over the last week! I really appreciate it and it totally does help our recipes get shown to other searchers. I chose this comment to highlight because the idea of making food that is JUST for you, really appeals to me. 🙂

Kimberley left this five-star review on our Quick-Pickled Cauliflower {pin this recipe}:

This is the shiizzzznit. So easy to make, and the taste is just perfect. Just enough heat, sweet and delicious pickle-y goodness. Your recipes are always so good, Sarah! Also, the best part? No one in my family likes pickled cauliflower but me ???? MINE MINE MINE.

a bowl of pickled cauliflower with red peppers and dill on a white board

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Confessions – everyone’s favorite post of the month!

Easy One-Pot BBQ Chicken Mac and CheeseThis is the creamiest BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese you’ll ever make! Even better, it can be made in one pot – no muss, no fuss. Instant Pot mac and cheese is so easy (no roux!), and is ready in under 20 minutes. {Pin this recipe}

a bowl of bbq chicken mac and cheese

Top 10 Recipes of 2019 – Did your foodie favorite make the cut?

Sugar-Free Pizza SauceThis Sugar-Free Pizza Sauce is a super speedy, simple sauce that is the perfect topping for homemade pizza. Also delicious as a dip, this no-cook pizza sauce is perfect for anyone who follows a low carb or paleo lifestyle. {Pin this recipe}

a jar of sugar-free pizza sauce on a white board with tomatoes and herbs

Air Fryer TofuCrispy and easy Air Fryer Tofu is a speedy weeknight dinner. Packed with flavor this crispy fried tofu is the most delicious vegan or vegetarian recipe you can make in under 30 minutes. {Pin this recipe}

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

The always #1 Virgin Mojito was on fire this week with NYE. All the non-drinkers were getting LIT. 🙂

  1. Air Fryer Egg Rolls  {Pin this recipe}
  2. Printable Whole30 Meal Plan  {Pin this meal plan}
  3. The Essential Whole30 Costco Shopping List  {Pin this shopping list}
  4. Trader Joe’s Whole30 Shopping List  {Pin this shopping list}
  5. Overnight Cinnamon Rolls  {Pin this recipe}

Meal Plan

Monday:: Homemade Ramen Noodle Bowls with Air Fryer Tofu.

Tuesday:: Cheese and spinach ravioli and salad.

Wednesday:: Homemade pizza, salad, and cut up veggies

Thursday:: Grilled chicken and a new recipe I’m working on.

Friday:: TBD, soccer…so probably sandwiches.

Saturday:: Movie night – we have a bye week for soccer. Yahooooooo!

Sunday:: Family dinner

What We Bought This Week

Trader Joe’s: $39.93 (I also added a thing of tofu to the cart after taking the photo). I bought that dip to try as an evening snack with veggie sticks and I like it! I’ll definitely make my own going forward but I wanted to see if it would be good with carrots and celery.

I’m trying to make better nighttime snacking choices, and I really need some sort of fat to keep me from being stabby. It might be almond butter with an apple (though I really want to cover the almond butter with chocolate chips) or a creamy dip with veggie sticks. I’m honestly not sure how anyone does a low-fat diet. I’d be hungry all the time!

Freeze-dried strawberries are for these Strawberry Fudge Date Balls (see comment above about healthier evening snacks!) and Paleo Muesli.

Costco: $66.72. Fig bars are on rebate and they make a really good emergency snack for the car. Fairly low in sugar as well. Costco has the best prices on Tillamook extra-sharp cheddar (it’s my preferred cheese for this BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese) and it’s about $5 cheaper than the grocery store.


What are you having this week?


As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This post contains affiliate links and we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you if you click through and make a purchase.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

13 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. I love love love my Merrell boots too!!! They are about a thousand years old, but from the very first time I put them on my feet, I could walk in them all day if I had to, with never a single problem. Once they got all scuffy and old, they were relegated to my bee yard area, and every time I go to inspect my bees, I just love putting them on and zipping them up – my absolute favourites!

  2. I don’t really do formal resolutions, but I have a couple of projects I’m working on. First, I’m almost a week into an elimination diet to resolve GERD or just regular acid reflux or whatever. So far, I’m eating The Blandest diet (which is saying something for a vegan, lol j/k), and my acid is reduced but not gone. Once I go without heartburn for a sustained period, I can add back things to see if they’re safe or not. Caffeine. Just tell me I can have caffeine again!

    Second, I really need to declutter, HARD. I cannot park in my detached garage, and I actually need to go through and sort everything rather than send it directly to Goodwill, because 16-year-old me dumped really valuable things in boxes with literal garbage and I need to fish out things like jewelry and MONEY. I found MONEY the last time I was going through there. My goal for this is to finish before I start a grad program in August, and I want to make sure my life is as simple and easy and functional as possible before then so I don’t go bananas.

    I know you’re a big anti-clutter advocate, so I would love to hear any of your tips and tricks to tackle a project of this magnitude.

    Looking forward to more meatless recipes 🙂

    • Kelly, that sounds brutal!! How much longer do you have to do this? I know the elimination diets I have been on were for 30 days.

      Are they also having you cut out nightshades (including cashews)? I have a friend who has bonkers food issues and reacts to all nightshades as well as ginger.

      I think I am able to declutter well because I’m not really attached to items. Of course, there are things I love and want to keep because of their memories, but overall, I prefer openness to items.

      I can’t believe you have found money during your purging! That makes it exciting; like you’re Indiana Jones of the garage. Good luck! 🙂

      • I’m sort of winging it with my timeline, but I was thinking after I go two weeks without heartburn (I can’t even imagine going a whole day without it yet), then I would try reintroducing things. The advice I looked up didn’t mention nightshades specifically, so I’ve had some things with cashews, and last night made a delicious sandwich that had oven-baked crispy eggplant in it, but other nightshades are definitely out, like tomatoes and any peppers. The list is obvious culprits, like citrus, alcohol, soda, coffee, but then other things, which I never expected to betray me: peppermit, and chocolate. Chocolate. I have a doc appointment this afternoon and will discuss how I’ve now gone nearly a week eating like this and I’m still experiencing reflux to see what next steps will be. I may just be dependent on medications forever!

      • Good luck and I’m so sorry this is happening!

  3. I am way too happy for you to get those countertops! SCORE. And so happy you were able to divert them from the landfill.

  4. My husband and children all love meat, but I would really like to reduce the amount we eat.  Generally we have red meat once a week, and chicken all the other days.  I’d like to make sure we’re eating fish once a week (last week I made a curry with cod in it, which my children liked because, “You can’t even taste the fish.”)  I think I’d have a revolt on my hands if I tried to do many meatless meals so my plan is to up the amount of veggies in meals like pasta and curries so I might use one chicken breast in them instead of two.  We’ll see how that goes!  I need to search your recipes for side dishes so on the days when we do a meat like pork chops, we could have less meat, more delicious sides.

    Today:  We already have pulled pork going on the smoker, which we will have with mashed potatoes and salad.

    Monday:  Tacos—my kids and I already eat these meatless, filled with rice, beans, guacamole, and cheese.  I make one chicken breast cooked in my homemade salsa fresca for my husband since he is gluten free and doesn’t eat the tortillas.

    Tuesday:  Gnocchi with fresh veggie sauce—will add a can of white beans to reduce the amount of chicken.

    Wednesday:  Fish meal.  I found a recipe for cod baked with salsa and lime juice, so I could use the rest of my salsa from tacos.

    Thursday:  Poblano chicken pasta, again with more beans, less chicken.

    Friday:  Probably frozen pizza on the smoker for the kids and scrambled eggs with air fryer potatoes for my husband and me.

    Saturday:  Having company so we’ll probably do smoked pork chops, potatoes, veg, and bread.

    • Stretching what you do use is an awesome way of reducing consumption. And most of the time, most of the family doesn’t even know! I added 1 cup of blended lentils to our taco meat today and the boys didn’t notice. I finally told them and they both asked for seconds.

      You smoke a lot of things! My dad does that and I looooooove it. My uncle built him a tiny box for the smoker and he smoked some sea salt for me. So good!

  5. I am selfishly excited that you are planning to eat less meat this year as it might mean more veggie recipes to try! I do love that you often have veggie options for your non-veggie meals!

    Sunday – Your lentil soup with grilled cheese that has Wickles Spicy Red Sandwich Spread added because I am obsessed with the spicy vinegary goodness
    Monday – Leftover White bean broccoli soup
    Tuesday – I hope I get lucky and somebody hands me dinner as my day is impossibly long without any breaks if not oatmeal or eggs
    Wednesday – Five cheese ravioli with tomato sauce that has white beans blended in topped with steamed broccoli
    Thursday – Dahl rice and sautéed greens
    Friday – Homemade pizza topped with a bunch of veggies served with white bean salad on the side

    • I’m all about Variety Emily! 🙂

      I had to laugh at your Tuesday hope for dinner. I’ve so been there before – just hoping someone will magically make me something to eat. I hope the dinner unicorn blesses your house.