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Scattered Sundays

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2 boys fishing on a dock

Where are my bakers at? Anyone else still having trouble finding yeast in the grocery stores? Flour seems to be back in stock, but yeast is still a challenge. I’m a die-hard Bob’s Red Mill fan for yeast (the kind they keep in the fridge section), but my grocery stores cannot even get shipments of it.

I had stocked up before the world shut down in March, and I was very thankful for that. We’re finally out of it because we have made/eaten an excessive amount of air fryer pretzel dogs, whole wheat pizza dough, and pretzel bites during the lockdown.

I finally broke down and bought some shelf-stable yeast to have on hand. My sister bought this brand on Amazon and has been happy with it. I’ll be busting it out this week to test it out on a batch of pretzel bites. 

Who knows what will happen in the next few days/weeks/months, but we’re officially fully stocked with what I think we’ll need. I have a few bags of organic all-purpose flour from Costco, but most of our flour comes from our kitchen grain mill.

I buy wheat berries to grind into flour from Azure Standard and keep them in 5-gallon food-grade buckets fitted with Gamma lids. In fact, I didn’t have to buy any new wheat berries during this whole thing because I purchased a 50-pound bag in 2019. I’ve been buying in bulk before it was cool. It is still cool, right? 🙂

Speaking of stocking up, have you read my pantry essentials post? How about the freezer essentials? Not only do they give you a great starting point for what to have on hand, but they talk about how to save on bulk items.

a row of mult-colored hydrangeas

I was cutting some veggies this week and leaned forward a bit too far and slammed my head into our upper cabinets (which sit very low thanks to our extra-rad dropped ceilings). Knowing that it was one of the last times I would hit my head on these stupid cabinets made the pain much easier to bear.

We did end up going to IKEA this week for kitchen hunting ideas. Basically everything was pretty much as I had planned in my mind, but I did change one section of the plan when we found something that would work better/be easier for installation.

Troy and my father-in-law are doing most of the work, so easier wins me a few brownie points. Or at least they’ll be cursing my name fewer times. One hopes.

This week we’ll be using IKEA’s free online kitchen planner and then will hopefully make another trip in a few weeks to sit down with one of their experts to make sure we aren’t planning things that don’t make any sense.

One thing we’re doing is having almost zero upper cabinets. In fact, I have only one set that I am planning on near the stove to stove my bottles of oils and spices. But if I could get away with eliminating that cabinet, I would be a happy girl.

If you don’t have upper cabinets, how do you store the bottles that you like to keep near the stove? I already keep olive oil on a lazy Susan with my cooking utensils near my stove. But what about soy sauce? Sesame oil? The 17 types of vinegar I use??? Do I move the utensils off the lazy Susan and just put all the oils/vinegars on there? Help!

We’re going to be using IKEAs cabinets and had been planning to use their fronts as well. Then my cousin told me about semihomemade fronts and I’ve been stalking their Instagram account for drool-worthy inspiration. Have you used them before? I’d LOVE to hear your experience…including if the price point is comparable to IKEA.

a boy in a sloth costume climbing on his brother

If you ordered a Covered Goods mask recently, they have been pre-order only for a few weeks now. They’re getting caught up and all should be shipped by this Wednesday. They’re taking new orders online and got some cute new colors. Remember to use coupon code “sustainablecooks” to get 15% off. Dollar dollar bills y’all.

On Friday, Troy and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary! It was 104 degrees the day of our outdoor wedding. Everyone who was there talks about two things: 1) how beautiful the setting was (we were at a friend’s farm) and 2) how freaking HOT it was.

A few years ago Troy started making me cards for birthdays, mother’s day, and our anniversary. He’s a talented artist. I am not. But trips to stores are limited these days and the one I tried had crappy cards. This card from Etsy ended up being the perfect solution. I freaking love Etsy.

2 cards - 1 with a tiger and 1 with a raccoon

Left: My card to Troy Right: Troy’s card to me.

Remember my excitement last week over “photo-palozoo”, the two marathon days of photographing in a friend’s empty house? Yeah. Didn’t happen. “Yeah, didn’t happen” is the motto of 2020. Life came up and we just couldn’t make it work.

But as these things go, life happened after I picked up a mega grocery order for all the components those recipes. We ate well this week, but almost all of it was reheated food since I had to scramble to make and photograph it earlier in the day when the light was good. Oh well. Some great photos and recipes came out of it and I’m excited to share them all with you over the next few weeks.

I treated myself to some new shoe inserts this week. I know, my life should be a reality show. Don’t be jealous. I wear a lot of slip-on shoes (these Dr. Scholls are my favorite) and also have incredibly sweaty feet. Stop being so turned on!

These thin terry inserts work great for almost all my slip ons, and they’re machine washable. My last set was purchased three years ago, so they’re a fabulous investment.


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As long-time customers ourselves, we never once experienced a break in delivery, even during the spring when many retailers experienced low supply. Our freezers remained stocked with high-quality and delicious meat; all without entering a single grocery store. Sign up here for your first box today!

In the Garden This Week

We had our first few ripe tomatoes this week! If I was as Type-A with garden records as I am with everything else, I would be able to tell you when the first one ripened last year. But I can’t, so I won’t. Instead, I’ll just enjoy these tomatoes with reverence and joy.

tomato plants

This is my favorite tomato of all time. It’s called flamme and it’s ripe when it’s bright orange.

Our garlic looks like it is almost dead, which means it is time to pull it this week. You plant it in early fall and ignore it until it looks like it is dead. It is my favorite crop to grow simply because it is so low maintenance. 

I have officially given up on planting green beans this year. Oh well, it happens. Which is fine because the raised bed I would put it in needs to be replaced anyway. In fact, the bed with the garlic in it also needs to be replaced. So Troy has some fun work ahead of him… 🙂

It’s supposed to be really hot through mid-week here (Seattle hot = 89 degrees F), so I’ll be nice and let him wait until the end of the week before making him work outside. He’s actually pretty clever and built the last replacement bed in our garage and then we just kind of fitted it over the soil where the old bed had been.

Fall seeds and starts need to go in once the new beds are set up. Our neighbor’s giant tree blocks my planting area during the winter, so I have to establish anything pretty early that I want to overwinter.

2 containers of berries in a sink

What I’m Listening To This Week

I recently discovered the podcast Missing in Alaska and the story has been fascinating! Alaska, 1972. Two congressmen vanish on a small plane. They’re never found. In 1995, a mobster tells the F.B.I. the plane was bombed. What happened?

I will say that the host’s voice is very monotone but if you can get past that, the story is great.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Long-time reader Mary left this five-star review on our Instant Pot Garlic Parmesan Rice {Pin this recipe}:

I made this the other day for lunch and everyone loved it. I did it in my regular rice cooker and used extra virgin olive oil instead of butter. To be sure it turned out good, I used the measurements recommended by the rice cooker. That little dash of cream–Yum! This weekend is a family birthday and this will be my contribution. ????

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

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Green Beans in Tomato SauceThese healthy Green Beans in Tomato Sauce are outrageously tasty and made in just 10 minutes! This one-pot wonder is a speedy vegan/vegetarian, paleo, Whole30 compliant, or gluten-free dinner. {Pin this recipe}

a grey bowl with green beans on a white board with parlsey and salt and pepper shakers

Blackberry SyrupMade with fresh summer berries, you’re going to love this delicious Blackberry Syrup. This is a delightful homemade treat for pancakes, waffles, baked goods, drinks, and more. You can freeze or can this easy blackberry syrup recipe. {Pin this tutorial}

a small jar of blackberry pancake with a lemon and mint on a white board

How to Freeze Corn on the CobFreezing corn on the cob is the easiest way to preserve the delicious taste of summer. Learn how to freeze corn on the cob for fast healthy side dishes that you can enjoy all year long. {Pin this tutorial}

4 frozen ears of corn on a baking sheet

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

Yeppers, the Mojito Mocktail was on top again, so let’s take a little look-see at the other top posts of the week.

  1. Canning Peaches – Yep, it is summer! Like clockwork, this post always drops out of the top 5 in the first week of October. {Pin this tutorial}
  2. Air Fryer Zucchini Chips! As always, you’ll find non-air fryer baking instructions in the post.  {Pin this recipe}
  3. Instant Pot Garlic Parmesan Rice –  quick and affordable comfort food. And, as always, non-Instant Pot instructions are included in the post. {Pin this recipe}
  4. Dill Pickle Relish – the cucumbers must be ripening right now, cause this post popped UP this week! {Pin this tutorial}
  5. Peach Ice Cream – hellllllllo summer goodness. {Pin this recipe}

Meal Plan

Monday:: Photographing and testing a new recipe

Tuesday:: Takeout to support a local small business

Wednesday:: Jack requested “those crispy beef tacos you make with lentils”. Basically, you cook a pound of ground beef (I use ours from Butcher Box), add some smooshed lentils, some homemade taco seasoning, and then serve it on crispy tortilla shells (I prefer soft corn tortillas). We’ll serve it with Instant Pot rice and salad.

Thursday:: New air fryer recipe I’m photographing. The boys LOVE this one!

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night

Saturday:: New recipe I am testing out

Sunday:: Takeout to support a local small business

What We Bought This Week

I’m no longer taking photos at the grocery store, but this Thrive Market order came to our house so I did take a pic:

Order total was $154.28 (savings of $51.12). If you want to try Thrive for free, my readers can get a $20 shopping credit with their first order to try it out. You can try it by signing up here.

grocery items in a box

Stasher bags were on sale so I stocked up because I freeze ALL THE THINGS

What are you having this week?



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29 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. I use Saf instant yeast and have for years. I buy it by the pound and keep a half pint jar in the fridge and the rest in the freezer. It looks like it’s available on Amazon. I am an instant yeast evangelist. 

    I keep a butter bell, olive oil, and sunflower oil, plus salt and pepper, within grabbing distance of the the stove. Everything else gets stored in the pantry and pulled out as needed. Utensils and those fats get used every day, most of the other vinegars, fats, and seasonings don’t each get used daily so they don’t get priority placement.

    • I love love love freezing yeast.

      I’m so glad to know of another “old timey” person who keeps a butter bell on the counter. I love my butter bell. 🙂 My only complaint is I wish I had more color options when I bought it.

  2. Yes! What’s up with yeast being out of stock? The only yeast I could find was the “fast rise” and I’m not a huge fan (my loaves tend to sag in the middle when I use that stuff). There was the store brand of fast rise, and some other brand that was SIX DOLLARS for three little envelopes. The Fleischmann’s, my go-to, was all gone. But flour is in stock. What are people doing with the yeast?

    My only advice on kitchen remodels–my dream kitchen would have no upper cabinets over the work countertops, if that makes sense. Like, one wall would have the upper cabinets for dishes, glasses, and such. And no dishwasher. I have hated every dishwasher I have ever used–they collect water and bits of food that attract bugs. In our last rental the dishwasher died and we just stopped using it–and lo and behold, once it really dried out well, the gross black ants stopped coming in the kitchen. Our current rental has a working dishwasher, which I hate. We don’t use it, but it’s set up so the sink kind of lets water drip into it so it stinks and I have to run a sanitizing cycle once a week anyway. Ugh.

    • I like the fast rise for pretzel bites but I never use it for bread. So interesting that you have noticed a difference in your loaves!

      Yes, no upper cabinets is my dream. We’re going to have to have a few but they’ll be at the ends of the counters where we won’t really be anyway. But you totally lost me on the no dishwasher thing. 🙂

      • Oh, I know people think we’re nuts for washing by hand. I just look at a dishwasher as wasted storage space! But if I were a dedicated recipe tester, I definitely would want a dishwasher. 😀

  3. We keep our oils and sauces in one of the deep drawers right across from the stove (away enough to avoid heat, close enough for convenience. We have a ton of soy sauces and various oils and vinegars because we cook American/Korean/Chinese food in our kitchen. Can’t even tell you about how many different dried noodles and rices we keep…

    • Awww, I knew I could count on you to have an answer to that! Do you find it is challenging to figure out which is which just from the tops? Do you have a towel or something down in case they get tipped over?

      Mmmmmm, noodles!

  4. So wonderful Sarah who has recipes organized so wonderfully for us readers … thank you cause I wanted to make the chopped kale salad and it was so easy to find per the way you have set up your page, etc.  I’m making it finally and it is a hit.. kale(out of my garden)  with the bacon (how can you go wrong) cabbage(red and green) ..carrots out of my garden and pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds with a poppy seed dressing …yummers .. you rock.. aloha 

  5. We had our latest butcher box sent to us in MI and I am so happy to have meat in the freezer!
    I plan to cook up a pork roast to shred and freeze in individual portions so we can make meals as we go. That’s about as far as I’ve gotten.

    • I love doing that with the pot and pork roasts they send. Nothing better than having shredded protein ready to go for quick meals. Especially when it is hot!

    • I may try rolls at some point. I think a big problem was that my starter just wasn’t healthy enough at the time. I have recently discovered some vitamin deficiencies which were leaving me too exhausted to do much of anything.
      I have tried sourdough English muffins and while I did prefer them to store-bought, I’ve determined I’m just not a big fan of English muffins. I’ve noticed that if it’s not sandwich bread then it’s not a valid sandwich to my fiance *eye roll*

  6. I just picked up a 2lb brick of that redstar yeast from our local Costco for about $6 I think. I’ve used Fleischman’s for years but could not find any. We don’t use yeast a lot especially now that I have a sourdough starter and have mastered the sourdough pizza crust but the fiance loves sandwiches so I want to learn to make bread this fall (ie when my house is no longer an inferno). I’ve attempted sourdough bread a couple of times but never got enough rise so I’m going to try yeast bread 1st and master that before moving on.

    • I wonder if sourdough rolls might be a good starting point before tackling bread? I have a blogging friend who makes sourdough English muffins. I can send you the recipe if you’re interested.

  7. Your comment about your sweaty feet made me chuckle…I also have sweaty feet – to the extent that I had to buy sandal cleaner because obviously you don’t wear socks with sandals (unless you’re a dad, amiright??) so the footbeds of my sandals get…disturbing, shall we say. To be fair, the cleaner I got works miracles. But I never imagined as a teenaager that my cool adult life would include standing over the kitchen sink scrubbing the inside of my sandals with a toothbrush.

    I didn’t plant a thing this year…not that I normally do a lot, but typically I plant a yellow tomato plant (Lemon Boy, I love them so much), some cucumbers, lettuce, green beans…I stopped planting corn because for whatever reason, even though they would look totally ripe, the corn would taste TERRIBLE. Either I picked it too soon, something wrong with my soil, or who knows what. But one thing after another with 2020, of course…one of my Facebook memories came up from this time of me having my first ripe yellow tomato, and I’m so sad to think I’m not getting any of them this year. Next year, I suppose…feels like we just keep saying that about a lot of things.

    Your blog and Facebook posts help keep me positive these days…keep doing what you do, it is appreciated

    • Tell me more about this sandal cleaner because I’m guessing I definitely need some!!

      I remember the first two weeks of Bennett’s life I had to sit on the couch with no socks on (he was born in January) with my feet on absorbent burp rags. Any time he would latch on to nurse, my body would POUR sweat out of my feet. WTF??

      Corn is so tricky! I leave that one to the professionals at the farmer’s market. 🙂

      • It’s called Nikwax and I LOVE it. It has no scent (I mean, it’s not SCENTED, I guess there is some smell but it’s just sort of….smell. No strong cleaner scent, I mean) but somehow fixed the stench that had become one of my favorite pair of Naturalizers. If you go for it, my advice is not to bother with the little sponge cap that it has – getting the liquid to come out through there is almost impossible, and I have yet to find an angle that allows me to scrub the entire bottom of the sandal with it. I pop that cap off and pour a little into the sandal (carefully – it pours fast!) and scrub with an old toothbrush. I sort of rinse (wet toothbrush and scrub excess cleaner out) then pat dry and leave over the AC vent to dry fully. Success! I won’t say it “looks like new” but it is at least not “black and chunky with foot gunk”

        I don’t have any kiddos so haven’t experienced the latching feet sweats…but can I leave wet footprints walking around barefoot? Maaaaybe. At least this way my sandals won’t give away my disturbing secret 😉

      • Thank you and thanks for the helpful tips!!

  8. Those hydrangea are gorgeous! So you happen to know the name of that variety?

  9. You may already know this, but if you keep that yeast in the freezer, it will keep pretty much indefinitely.  I have that same brand that I bought SIX years ago (I wrote the date I opened it on the package so I could keep track!) and it is still perfect.  Our Costcos have yeast in stock, so hopefully yours will soon as well.  Although, you shouldn’t need any for a while if you bought the same pack as your sister.
    I have a Cricut cutting machine for my crafty endeavours and I have had to use it to make what I’ve been calling “Covid Cards”.  I am getting a little better, but I still do not enjoy card making.  I have zero desire to linger in any store longer than I have to, so purchasing a card in-store is not happening.
    I love Bennett’s sloth onesie.  My 22-year-old has one as well, but she rarely wears it because she gets too hot in it.  She loves it though.
    Good luck with your kitchen reno!  We re-did ours a year an a half ago (keeping all existing cupboards.  The contractor called it a “refresh”) and I STILL walk into my kitchen and love it.  I hope you feel the same way once yours is done.  🙂 
    Because we kept our cupboards, I have no advice for you.  Except to say: shouldn’t soy sauce be in the fridge?  I had one ‘explode’ in the cupboard years ago, then when I looked at the label, it said to keep it in the fridge.  I have not had any exploding soy sauce since.
    I can’t imagine NOT having upper cupboards.  I like my stuff concealed in cupboards and as little as possible on my countertops.
    Congratulations on 16 years.  Sadly (in my opinion), not enough people can say they have been married that long.  We will be celebrating 28 in just over a month.

    Thank you for continuing to be a bright spot for me.  I look forward to your posts.  Even more so now, when I am a bit bummed about this virus and my lack of a fun summer.

    • Yep, the freezer is where it’s at! I bought some Bob’s Red Mill on Amazon years ago and it was a 6 pack (I had no idea). It kept so nicely in the freezer for years.

      Covid cards sound like a great creative outlet and definitely serve a function when you don’t want to go into a store.

      I’ve never kept soy in the fridge. Ever! I should probably look at the bottle now. 🙂 I worked at a Korean restaurant in high school and we never kept the soy in the fridge.

      Happy almost 28 to you!

      • After sending that, I remembered that I have a different kind of soy sauce in a glass bottle that does not say anything about the fridge (and it is not in there!)  Maybe just the super-cheap, plastic-bottled store brand I buy needs to be refrigerated? A restaurant would also go through it much faster than I do.  Thanks to the high sodium content, it doesn’t get used too often.  🙁 
        I have many other creative/crafty projects that I actually ENJOY.  Card making is not one of them.  Having said that, Hubby’s birthday is shortly before our anniversary.  If start now, I might be able to make a GOOD card! (LOL)
        I figured you knew the freezer was the place to lee yeast, but thought I should mention it just in case. 

  10. We have renovated one kitchen and built one from scratch using flat pack cabinets (like Ikea) so I am officially an expert (not). A couple of things I really appreciate are deep drawers instead of lower cabinets and pull out shelves in pantries/cabinets. In the kitchen we built from scratch, i have upper cabinets around the stove and the corner (think l-shaped kitchen) with only some open shelves on the long side of the “l”. I like it and use the shelves for a couple of decorative (but useful items (Pyrex percolator, coffee mugs). Just some food for thought!

    • I think you qualify as an expert at this point! 🙂

      Deep drawers are the #1 thing on my list. Our cabinets are so janky and everything gets lost and messed up in there.