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Scattered Sundays

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I’m keeping this short because it’s a big day in the Cook house! If you want to follow along with any kitchen demo shenanigans, head over to Instagram, and click on our stories.

a bright red tree

Tuesday of this week will be a day packed with a lot of emotion. Bennett starts preschool three days a week and it is election day in the US.

For US voters, please make your plan to vote. The couch is not on the ballot, so don’t sit this one out.

Every state is different, so figure out what works best for you. If you’re in-person, wear your mask, comfy shoes, and pack hand sanitizer. Dress for the weather, pack snacks, and please be safe! Be kind to the election workers because that’s a long day, tensions are HIGH, and they’re not getting paid.

For those voting by mail, it’s too close to the wire to drop your ballot in a mailbox. At this point, find a county dropbox or find out if you can take it directly to your local election office (and wear a mask). And be kind. 🙂

And because I will never stop talking about the fabulous show that is Ted Lasso, I encourage everyone to plan to start this series on Wednesday night. No matter what happens on Tuesday or what your politics are, I think we can agree that by Wednesday night, we’ll need something heartwarming and entertaining.

Ted Lasso is on Apple Tv (we watch it through our firestick) and you can get a free two-week trial and totally get thru this incredible series in a few nights. It is hands-down one of the best things to happen in 2020 and I find myself with a big dumb smile on my face the whole time. I can’t wait for season two!

I spent some time this week prepping freezer packs of soup veggies. We’re incredibly blessed to have access to my dad’s kitchen (he lives downstairs), so we aren’t completely without the ability to cook until the kitchen is done. But, that doesn’t mean I want to be monopolizing his space all.the.time.

chopped veggies in reusable stasher bags

So, I cut up enough carrots, onions, and celery to fill three of these new Stasher bags. The stand-up bag is a game-changer for meal prep. If freezing these items on their own, I would blanch the carrots for long-term storage. But I plan to use one bag per week and they’ll be used quickly.

If you have any interest in prepping your own separately, I have tutorials for all that goodness. Related: Freezing Carrots, Freezing Onions, Freezing Celery, and How to Freeze Garlic.

These soup starters will work for all these soups (remember, all the Instant Pot recipes have slow cooker or stovetop directions!): Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings, Instant Pot Matzo Ball Soup, Creamy White Bean Soup, Chicken Gnocchi Soup (Instant Pot version, stovetop version), Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup, Lentil Soup (we had this on Tuesday and it’s soooo good), Tortilla Soup and Rice, and Vegetable Noodle Soup. 

With how much we eat soup, I’m tempted to always do three weeks of freezer prep bags going forward. The idea of having all that lovely veggie goodness ready to go is just too exciting to me. My life is not very interesting. 

a boy with a red sign taped to his nose

We had two lovely church events this week – a parking lot service on Sunday, and trunk-or-treat. Sunday was Reformation Sundays. I like to joke with my Catholic friends that Lutherans are basically failed lazy Catholics.

Reformation Sunday is when we celebrate leaving the Catholic church because “basically we looked around and thought, wow there is a lot of rules to remember and this seems hard. Peace out”. 🙂 And you’re supposed to wear red. For some reason.

2 boys in halloween costumes

Wednesday we had trunk-or-treat and the church staff who organized it did SUCH a great job. It was socially distanced with cars spaced out 10 feet, and candy being passed down “candy tubes” by people in masks and wearing gloves.

a kid in a sloth costume with a candy bucket

No idea why he put on Crocs. I didn’t see that until we were already in the car.

All attendees were in masks, and everyone I saw did a great job with social distancing. It is a free event we open to the community every year, and I think that the parents were desperate to give their kids something that seemed normal. And thus, everyone followed the rules and good times were had by all.

a boy in front of a woodstove

Remember my bonkers personal rule of never lighting a fire before November 1st? Well, if 2020 has taught us anything, it is that sometimes we just need something warm and cozy in our lives. Nighttime temps in the 30s had me breaking my own rules on October 26th. I regret nothing.

In the Garden This Week

Garden report: pretty much nothin’. I’ve picked salad greens three times and that is about it. We planned to lay bark in my dad’s garden but ended up using Troy’s truck to deliver our old china hutch to a friend instead.

We needed it out of the kitchen space and it will be used at its next home for a great cause. He’s starting a small business and it will allow them to store items in their office. Way more rewarding than slinging bark.

The chickens are starting to slow down their laying. It always happens during fall when the daylight hours dip below 10 hours total. We still get some during the fall/winter, and these freeloaders will start cranking out eggs again in March.

We’re getting three new chickens next month! One of Troy’s coworkers will be selling full-sized chickens over the next few weeks and we snagged a Buff Orpington (my favorite chicken we’ve ever owned was a Buff) and two others that I don’t remember. Green Queen?


Butcher Box is giving all new members receive a 10- 14 lb, free-range, all-natural (no basting or artificial ingredients, minimally processed) turkey for FREE in your first ButcherBox order.

Thanksgiving is all about family traditions, even if it will look a little weird this year.

When I heard that one of their trusted turkey suppliers began as a small family operation back in the 1930s, I knew it was the perfect match for my Thanksgiving table. I already have mine in my freezer! Get your free turkey here.

What I’m Listening To This Week

I was introduced to a new podcast this week called Affirmative Murder. Two (male – very rare in the true crime genre) childhood friends discuss true crime, focusing mostly on minority perpetrators and victims.

From their site “Affirmative Murder is the podcast that brings equity to true crime in its own weird way”. It’s a great podcast and I love the friendship between these two. Do heed the explicit warning if listening around little ears.

What I’m Reading This Week

I finished up The Alice Network (loved it and have reserved The Huntress by the same author from our library) and am almost done with The Glass Hotel.

The Glass Hotel is from the author of Station Eleven, which I loved. Despite being almost done with this book, I have a hard time saying what it is actually about. The writing is lovely but the story hasn’t captured my attention as much as Station Eleven did.

If you liked The Alice Network and The Huntress, I highly recommend Beneath A Scarlet Sky. It was SO good and based on a true story. In the “before times” it was going to become a movie starring Tom Holland. We’ll see what happens.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Hannah left this lovely five-star review on our Air Fryer Pretzel Dogs {Pin this recipe}:

I made these for the 1st time last night, they were super easy to make and really tasty. We got an air fryer recently and I’m always on the lookout for new things to try in it. These will be a firm favourite in my house from now on 10 out of 10 ????

A hand dipping an air fryer pretzel dog into a bowl of mustard

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Encurtido – Encurtido is an amazing and delicious spicy Honduran side dish that is so addicting and easy to make. Once you try these spicy pickled vegetables, you can’t stop eating it! {Pin this recipe}

3 jars of pickled encurtido and vegetables on a white board

How to Freeze Cauliflower – Learn all the tips and tricks for freezing cauliflower to stock your freezer with this delicious vegetable. Learning how to freeze cauliflower is a great way to preserve without needing to know any special kitchen skills. {Pin this recipe}

a baking sheet with frozen cauliflower

Confessions – everyone’s favorite post of the month. How is already the end of another month?!

A woman with a finger up to her mouth saying "shhhhh"

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

  1. Crockpot Apple Butter – I have 12 half-pints of this in our garage and winter is going to be delicious.  {Pin this recipe}
  2. Crispy Air Fryer Potatoes – a fantastic meal prep dish that you can cook in the air fryer or traditional oven.  {Pin this recipe}.
  3. Instant Pot Garlic Parmesan Rice – One of our favorites. And clearly yours!  {Pin this recipe}
  4. How to Can Applesauce – I had to cut Jack off from eating a quart of this per day. That ish needs to last through winter bro. {Pin this tutorial}
  5. How to Can Pears – This will show you step by step how to can this delicious fruit. {Pin this tutorial}

Meal Plan

Monday:: Demo day #2. Takeout to support a local small business + my sanity.

Tuesday:: Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings using one bag of the veggies I prepped. I think we can all agree that no matter what happens with the election on Tuesday, delicious comfort food will be needed by all.

Wednesday:: Flautas (they’re from the deli section at Costco and they’re SO FREAKING GOOD. Really affordable and I’ll only need to heat them in the air fryer), black beans from the freezer, and salad.

Thursday:: Instant Pot Korean BBQ (I use the instructions from Instant Pot Teriyaki Beef but with a jar of this Korean BBQ sauce) and Instant Pot Jasmine Rice (I have some in the freezer) with salad.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Sunday:: My saintly sister is feeding our nearly-kitchenless family.


What are you having this week?


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7 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. I LOVE TED LASSO!!!!  I don’t know if it’s the the genre of humor or the 2 lead guys playing off each other.  I breezed through all the episodes in 3 days!!!

    • I laughed so hard at episode one (“he looks like one of those kitty cats who got scared by a cucumber”) that I woke up the boys. I love the humor, the kindness, the good messaging, etc.

      Did you know that the guy who plays Roy is one of the writers?

  2. Good luck with the kitchen…and the election…and having Bennett back in pre school. It’s going to be quite the week for you guys!!