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Scattered Sundays

It was a sunny and gorgeous week here in Seattle. We have broken multiple records this year – rainiest January on record, and 80 straight days without it being fully sunny. Seattle gets a gloomy rap that is usually undeserved, but this winter it has very much set out to prove the stereotypes correct.

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We have a new member of the family! I finally broke down and bought a larger air fryer. We had this 3-quart model for years and ended up getting this 5.3-quart Cosori. I gave the smaller one to my in-laws for some new air fryer excitement.

The new one can cook an entire 5-pound whole chicken (say whaaaaaaa?), and I like that the basket is more rectangular because I think food fits better. Plus the large basket means I am cooking more in one batch.

We’ve already used it daily since it arrived, and (gasp), I took our beloved toaster oven off our counter. As you know, we have limited counter space and my old air fryer could fit in a cupboard. The new one is the size of a small toddler and needed an easily accessible permanent place. I’ll bring the toaster oven back when the kitchen (hopefully) gets remodeled this fall.

Nothing screams “a firefighter lives here” more than TWO fire extinguishers in the kitchen. HA!

Jack was home sick this week and it was a day I had A TON of work planned. A few years ago that would have meant entertaining him and putting my work aside. This time, I told him he had to stay in his room reading or playing and to stay out of my way.

No electronics were allowed because I didn’t want the appeal of staying home to be motivating to perhaps embellish illnesses in the future. And you know what? He was fine! I even left him home alone for 45 minutes to go take a walk. It was his first real solo time at home and it worked out great for BOTH of us.

Funny story though. I came back through my dad’s front door and I heard Jack running out of his room upstairs. I went upstairs and asked him why he was running. He said he thought I was a burglar and was headed to get a weapon in the kitchen. That opened up a dialog of what he should actually do if someone was breaking into the house. 🙂

And then Bennett decided to get sick on Thursday night and messed up another of my workdays. These kids and their germs just don’t respect the fact that their mom is self-employed.

Bennett used to get crazy-high fevers every six weeks (we called it his “period”) for no reason, and that seems to have subsided. Jack missed more school in the first two weeks of kindergarten than I missed K-12. We have been very lucky so far this school year with illnesses. But if this could be the last of it, I’d be a happy camper.

Both boys are now fairly self-sufficient, and capable. Bennett can disappear into his room for long periods to time to play or draw and I no longer have to worry that he’s shoving Legos into his mouth.

I’m not going to do the whole “I wish I could go back three years ago and tell myself it all goes so fast”. That’s not my thing. But I will say I’m thankful for this stage in our life, and that it is easier. Much easier. Glad the baby stage is behind us.

With the weather this week, my brain is turning to spring and the garden. Are you doing any planting this year? What are you going to be growing? Tell me all about it and let me live through you!

Our garlic that I planted last fall is coming up and basically, it will just sit there until July(ish). It is the ultimate thing to grow because you can pretty much ignore it. Tomorrow, Bennett and I will be starting seeds for peas. It’s about two weeks late for our zone, but whatever. “But whatever” is my gardening motto.

Over the next few months, the peas will grow up our garden trellises that Troy built years ago. We set them up in the raised beds, and then plant lettuce, carrots, and beets underneath to capture the extra space.

Once the weather warms up, we pull the peas and use the same trellis for green beans. We’re limited for space, so thinking ahead and utilizing every inch of soil we can is the only way we can maximize what we do have.

Tomorrow also will find Bennett and myself defrosting the basement freezer. Don’t be jealous of my amazingly Instagrammable life. HA! A bunch of readers and myself did a freezer and pantry clean-out challenge last May. Would anyone be interested in doing that again?

Last year we did it for a week and everyone created their own rules around what the challenge looks like for them. One of the consistent pieces of feedback  I received last year from multiple participants was the fact that they wanted it to last two weeks.

If I structured it like last year’s, I send tips via email ahead of the challenge starting on how to get ready, prep, and think about the cleanout. And then every day during the challenge I send one email with a recipe that can be made from pantry/fridge/freezer scavenged ingredients.

So…should we try it again? Thoughts? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?


Have you made one of my recipes and loved it? Have you had a chance to leave a review and star rating on it? Those comments with ratings are so valuable to food bloggers as it helps Google recognize it as a quality recipe that it should show to more people. And it’s a totally free way to support food bloggers who literally bleed and pour (boob) sweat to produce free content.

If you have a moment and want to add a review to a recipe of mine that you’ve enjoyed, I’d greatly appreciate it! You can find all the recipes organized in my archives. To leave a rating, go to the recipe you’d like to review. Scroll down to UNDER the recipe card and you’ll see where you’re able to leave a comment and a rating. See photos below.

What I’m Listening To This Week

I fall asleep to the podcast “Stuff You Should Know” nightly. Something about the host’s voices totally soothes me and I like to think I learn something before passing out.

I had to save this episode on “911 is Not a Joke” for my walk because I found it too interesting to fall asleep to. My husband is a firefighter and hearing the bonkers unnecessary calls he has to go on (at the cost of tax payer’s money…) made me really appreciate this episode.

Oh, and pull to the right (in the US) when you see flashing lights behind you. Let’s keep yourself, the emergency personal, and the people they are attempting to help all safe. 🙂

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Hank left this awesome review for our Instant Pot Garlic Parmesan Rice {Pin this recipe}:

Thanks Sarah! I made the recipe this weekend with the original amount of rice (I’ll post again if I try it doubled) and it turned out GREAT! Pro Tips: I added a dozen cherry tomatoes on top of the rice and cooked them into it (they cook down completely and just add a little extra color & veg), and I also doubled the amount of parmesan and added several cups of torn up & wilted kale to bump the veggie content further. Everything turned out delicious and I’ve already sent the recipe to my sister. Great recipe!

a side view of rice in a blue bowl topped with parsley

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Fried Gnocchi and Veggies – (this reader favorite finally got a makeover!) Crispy Fried Gnocchi and Veggies is the best weeknight dinner around! This one-pan meal has it all. Using storebought gnocchi, convenient frozen veggies, and a 30-second homemade marinade, this will be your new go-to dinner. {Pin this recipe}

A white bowl full of fried gnocchi, chicken sausage, and roasted veggies

How to Freeze Garlic the Easy Way Learn all the tips and tricks on How to Freeze Garlic to save yourself time and money. A stash of frozen garlic in your freezer can easily be added to main dishes, soups, and sauces for quick meals that the whole family will love. {Pin this recipe}

A blue dish with garlic and chopped garlic in muffin liners on a white board

Easy Apple Pie Egg RollsThese easy Apple Pie Egg Rolls are a naturally sweetened air fryer dessert (or even breakfast)! Baked, not fried, this dessert recipe is simple to make and cooks in only 8 minutes. No air fryer? You’ll find oven-baking and skillet instructions in the recipe card. {Pin this recipe}

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

Our old faithful Virgin Mojito is in #1 again. Let’s see what else is rounding out the top six. Just a reminder, all my air fryer and Instant Pot recipes have alternative cooking instructions included in the recipe cards.

  1. Air Fryer Egg Rolls  {Pin this recipe}
  2. Whole30 Pot Roast  {Pin this recipe}
  3. Air Fryer Pickles  {Pin this recipe}
  4. Whole30 Trader Joe’s Shopping List  {Pin this shopping list}
  5. Instant Pot Beef Tips  {Pin this recipe}

Meal Plan

Monday:: A new recipe I am photographing. The KIDS ARE GOING TO FREAK. It’s so fun and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Tuesday:: Panini’s and salad – I’m photographing three recipes during the day and I don’t want to actually have to cook annnnnything else.

Wednesday:: Soup! Our church does Lenten soup suppers, and as a member of the council, I’m bringing two soups (Butternut Squash Chili and  Creamy Chicken Gnocchi) and helping serve dinner before the Ash Wednesday service.

Thursday:: Salmon (I’m trying this air fryer recipe from Stay Snatched), roasted veggies, and Cheesy Garlic Bread.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night

Saturday:: Smoked mozzarella ravioli (omg, YEP) and salad.

Sunday:: Family dinner

What We Bought This Week

Butcher Box:: $129. Want to try out Butcher Box for yourself? Starting tomorrow, their wildly popular “ground beef for life” promotion goes into effect. Sign up through my affiliate link to receive two pounds of ground beef for the life of your subscription. 

Trader Joe’s:: $64.15


What are you having this week?




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15 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. I am interested in the freezer challenge.  I am honestly not sure just what is in there besides a shit ton of very ripe bananas.  I HAVE to marathon-bake a bunch of banana bread (then THAT will be taking up a bunch of freezer space…..)  I wish I could easily see what is in there.  One day I will have an upright….
    Isn’t it nice when the kids can occupy themselves for a good period of time?  Mine always liked school, so we were okay with having game boys or the tv going on a sick day (they were in elementary school before spending every waking moment on the internet was a thing)  They are both big readers as well and were quite content to read a book all day.    (side note:  We had a huge ice storm here about 5 years ago, over Christmas -which TOTALLY sucked- that took our power out for five long days.  My youngest read something like six big novels in those five days!)

  2. Just wanted to add this to your “pull to the right”, because it appears people don’t know this: if you cannot pull to the right or can only pull to the right a little (you’re in the left lane, there’s no berm, etc), just STOP in place. Take yourself out of the equation so the driver of the fire truck/ambulance/police car can do what they need to do to get around you.

  3. I love the idea of the pantry/freezer challenge!  And I think it would be great if there could be some kind of enhanced comment/discussion opportunities for that too, because it’s really helpful to hear from other commenters where they are struggling in the challenge, get recipe suggestions and organization tips, etc. etc.  So maybe trying to engage the commenters a bit more during the challenge with specific discussion questions at the end of each post would help, or something like that?

    • I am thinking I would probably end up doing a “pop up” Facebook group just for the challenge for exactly the reasons you mention. It wouldn’t work to do blog posts just dedicated to it, and people can’t really group chat via emails.

  4. Oh yes Bueller!!!!! A TWO week pantry/freezer challenge would be great!!!
    Bring it on!!!!!!

  5. So I am totally that person who has no clue how to leave a rating on the food recipes. Help?!?!  I only get to you on Pinterest or FB. 

    • Thanks for asking; I should have left instructions! Go to the recipe you want to review and in the comment section there is an option to “leave a reply” and right above the comment box are 5 light orange stars. You just hover over the stars to assign 1-5, leave your comment and then hit submit.

      If that doesn’t make sense, I can email you screenshots. I can’t include them in a comment. LAME!

  6. I love hearing about your week. I’m on the east coast and sometimes it’s nice to get out of my …?space? We’re having a crazy “warm” winter. Weird weather. I’ll take it! It’s been at least 10° warmer than normal all winter long.
    Have a great week!

  7. I recently did a freezer clean out. My husband was out of the country and I went for as long weekend to visit my sister. When I got home I wanted some soup that I freeze in pint jars. Low and behold! For some reason, while I was gone, the breaker for the freezer tripped and EVERYTHING was thawed. Thank goodness it was winter and not 100 degree August! So I’m starting fresh with a sparkling clean freezer. Not the best way to clean it out.

    • Oh nooooooo Mary, that sounds horrible! I’m sorry that happened, but I bet it is very very clean and sparkling.

      We had a similar incident with our old fridge/freezer in our kitchen. It was day 3 of Jack’s post-tonsil surgery and I realized too late that all the ice cream and popsicles we had purchased were melted. Whaaaaa

  8. I’m working on really clearing my freezer during Lent so happy to do a grocery challenge, I need to make room for all the produce I’m going to grow this summer, I’m also giving up chocolate and candy for it, because it’s a nice way to reset my sugar intake, it’s going to be an interesting 6 weeks!

    Always happy to witter on about the garden, we’ve had terrible weather for the last couple of weeks, fortunately I live in a part of the country that hasn’t been flooded but it feels like we’ve had all the rain! So I really want to finish my new garden beds and start sowing and planting things but it’s not quite happening yet! We have some broad beans (fava beans in the US I think!) and leeks that overwintered and I’ll sow peas, carrots, beetroot and some hardy salad leaves in a couple of weeks time and I have potatoes ‘chitting’ in my living room right now. We’re going to try sweet potatoes this year, so I have a sweet potato sitting in a jar of water, it has 4 tiny roots so far, so we’ve got a long way to go before it gives us some slips we can plant! I’m also about to plant a ginger root because we use a lot of ginger!

    • Dumb question – is it chocolate and candy or all sugar? Like I know friends who have given up candy but still eat baked goods, etc. Good for you for giving up chocolate; that is HARD.

      You all were having a big storm, right? David? Martin? Something like that?

      I’ve never grown sweet potatoes before. I’ll be stalking your IG page to see how it goes.

      • I’m not giving up all sugar, but I am trying to cut out any processed stuff (or things that I don’t process myself!). We had two storms over two weekends, Ciara and Dennis. Hard to take a storm called Dennis seriously, until it floods a town or two! 
        The sweet potatoes should be interesting, I’ll keep you posted!