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Scattered Sundays and Meal Plan

I need you to tell me if I’m crazy.

And you’re like “where is the “yes” box on this form, cause I’m going to check it immediately”. Fine, whatever.

Do any of you play games with yourself and the thermostat? Like, you can’t turn it on until a certain time of year, or you won’t let the temp get any higher than x degrees no matter how cold you are?

I woke up earlier this week and the house was 65 degrees. Summer was like peace. The boys were cold and my nephew kept his coat on when he came into the house that morning.

But I would be damned if I was going to turn on the heat. I mean, it’s only September; the heat doesn’t get turned on until October 1st. Everyone knows that. #science.

I threw some blankets at them and told them to sack up because once 8/8:30 am came around it would be warm and toasty in there from solar gain. And wouldn’t you know it, it was 71 by the time we left for school.

We’re in the middle of toddler insanity right now. He had three timeouts at preschool on Monday, but even his teacher said it was so unlike him. He’s so hitty and shitty right now. And omg, the questions.

“What does the fire hydrant say? What does it do? Where does it go? What’s its name”? And how exactly do you answer the question “What does blue say?” Anyone? Anyone?

Toddlers are basically a dumpster fire of emotions.

Yep, it’s that time again. F$@k!

I keep having a dream where I win the lotto and get a whole new kitchen. And then I wake up and I’m so sad. My kitchen is super dumb, poorly laid out, and has so much wasted space. I long for the day where I can take a sledgehammer to those crappy faux oak cabinets.

I posted a cooking photo on Instagram stories and a reader responded “I love that you’re a “fancy” blogger with a basic kitchen like mine”. She was too polite to say kitchen that looks like the “ugly backdrop to a 70’s porn”.

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that my oldest Jack and I are constantly butting heads about his attitude, competitive nature, and sportsmanship. Basically, he inherited all the qualities I have worked so hard to adjust in myself that caused me to lose a shit ton of friends growing up.

But, I’m pleased to say that soccer season has started and thus far it has been by far the most peaceful few weeks of any sport he has ever played. He is playing with lots of sportsmanship and his skills have really come along in the last year.

He’s always been really good at soccer (fact. Not a mom’s humble brag), but this year is next level. I think it is because his giant attitude isn’t tripping him up anymore.

It’s so nice to be able to watch him and not cringe at the trash talk he is throwing around. I can just enjoy the game and not have to tell him “I don’t care if you’re the best or worst out there, but I do care if you’re a jerk”. So refreshing.

I have no idea how long the sale will last, but Amazon is currently discounting the model of Instant Pot I have and love so dearly. Check out my Instant Pot recipe archives for ideas and pressure cooking porn inspiration.

Comment/Review of the Week

This week’s comment of the week comes from a long-time reader ’round these parts – Izzy. She left a five-star review of the Fried Halloumi With Bruschetta Zoodles.

I made this for dinner last night, without truffle oil cause thats out of my budget, but holy crap it was sooo delicious. Where has halloumi cheese been all my life?? It’s like a grilled cheese without bread.
I’m afraid my husband & I ended up eating the whole package of cheese as the kiddo wasn’t a fan (we are still not sure what planet she is from) Can you trust people who don’t eat cheese?
Anyway, thanks again for another awesome recipe!

No, thank YOU Izzy!

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Old-Fashioned Slow Cooker Apple Butter – Use your crockpot for making incredible Old-Fashioned Slow Cooker Apple Butter. This recipe is so addicting and easy for canning or freezing. Click Here to pin this recipe for later

jars of slow cooker apple butter with apples and cinnamon sticks

Homemade Simple Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns – Full of flavor, these Homemade Simple Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns are hearty and delicious. They are so easy to make, you’ll never buy store-bought again! Click Here to pin this recipe for later

whole wheat hamburger buns on a baking rack against a black background

Grandma Dorothy’s Soft Pumpkin Cookies – Nothing welcomes Fall like baking up a batch of Grandma Dorothy’s Soft Pumpkin Cookies for dessert! These amazing cookies are so easy to make and are topped with an incredible orange cream cheese frosting. Click Here to pin this recipe for later

whole wheat soft pumpkin cookies with frosting on a cooling rack with pumpkins in the background

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

  1. Chicken Gyro Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes
  2. Canning Peaches – How to Can Peaches
  3. Whole30 Bruschetta Chicken
  4. Instant Pot Sous Vide Egg Bites
  5. Crack Bread – Cheesy Garlic Bread

Meal Plan

I did a massive freezer clean out this weekend (I live the wildest life) and am pushing hard for meals based on shit we need to eat. I’m mortified to admit how many supplies I have for making homemade chicken stock right now in the freezer.

I’ll often roast a whole chicken and once we’re done with it, I’ll put the bones in a freezer bag and shove it in the freezer with the idea of canning it “next week”. For shame. I’m going on a stock making and canning bonanza this coming week.


Monday:: Ravioli and salad

Tuesday:: Hidden Veggies Chili and cornbread. Click here to pin the chili recipe.

Wednesday:: Shredded BBQ pork sandwiches (found some pork in the freezer leftover from this recipe) served on leftover Hamburger Buns, coleslaw, and some roasted veggies.

Click here to pin the Street Tacos recipe. Click here to pin the hamburger buns recipe. Click here to pin the coleslaw recipe.

Thursday:: Chef’s salads and Homemade Red Lobster biscuits. Jack has soccer and this is something both boys will always happily eat and it’s fast!

Click here to pin the Red Lobster biscuits recipe.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: Sausage and Veggies sheet pan dinner (that needs a better name. Suggestions?), and I’m going to throw in a few gnocchi like from this recipe.

Click here to pin the Sausage and Veggies recipe. Click here to pin the Oven-Fried Gnocchi recipe.

Sunday:: Family dinner

What We Bought This Week

Smith Brother’s Farms: $12.99

Fred Meyer: $46.27. It doesn’t look like much, but there is a lot more under the chips and celery.

Costco: I don’t know because Troy did the Costco shopping. He remembered to take the photo but didn’t save the receipt. Whaaaa.

What are you having this week?


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40 comments on “Scattered Sundays and Meal Plan”

  1. It is the hardest thing when you see your own negative qualities in your kids!  Such a mix of wanting them to learn faster and easier than you did, irritating the hell out of you, and feeling kind of bad because well, they came by it honestly.

    My husband bought a pellet grill a little over a week ago and it has been a dinner game changer around here!  He has made a brisket, ribs, burgers, baked potatoes, and a whole chicken.  You can also use it as an oven and he has made some nachos on it that I would usually bake.  We learned today that frozen pizza is CRAZY GOOD cooked in the pellet grill—crispy crust with a hint of smoky flavor.  Also, it’s still hot here in Texas so cooking outside is the way to go!

    Monday:  A whole chicken and potatoes on the grill, plus green beans.

    Tuesday:  One-pot pasta 

    Wednesday:  Chicken/spinach/red pepper sausages (yup, grilled) with salad and air fryer potatoes (or maybe we’ll just grill them again too)

    Thursday:  Husband will be out of town so the kids and I will have what we refer to as “picnic dinner”, similar to your popcorn dinner.

    Friday:  Frozen pizzas on the grill!  

    Saturday:  Beef ribs and sides I haven’t thought of yet!  I need to look up your potato salad recipe!

    Sunday:  Ginger chicken with broccoli

    • You’re so right Lisa, so very right. He came by it honestly and I’ve not done a good job of articulating to him my own consequences. I do give a mean lecture though and that clearly isn’t an effective teaching tool.

      I think one of the fire stations in Troy’s old department had a pellet grill!

  2. Stalking the Pinterest links earlier this week and found the steamed apples, made it yesterday using 3 Granny Smith and 3 Fuji. Devoured in less than time than it took to make. Delicious!!! Thank you for the great recipe. 

  3. We try to make it to the middle of Oct before turning on the heat. Because why not!
    Was there a before picture of your freezer! Cause that’s my jam – organizing porn 😉

    You could request readers send you pics of before and afters of organizing anything! That would a hit post!

    • Oh, I love a challenge Jan. Good for you guys!

      Sadly, no before photo. Because apparently after blogging for eight years I still don’t recognize the potential of images. Doh!

  4. Roasted Greens and Weens?

    My oldest son’s been the one with the attitude problem. Grades have been in the toilet too. My husband’s been out of town working and when he’s in town, it’s been crazy long hours. Kiddo also threw himself on the ground crying when I said the hubby and I would be going out of town over Mardi Gras for a birthday trip for my husband. I’ll be relying on my crock pot and instant pot to get more time in the evenings to give him more attention.

    I made some stock recently to make room in the freezer and had it in the sink after straining it. My son washed his hands into it. Luckily it’s all scrap. I try to use our freezer through the summer so that we don’t lose it during hurricane season. (Next named storm will be Leslie if it forms.)

    Football’s been a bust. My hubby coaches and my son has a lot of natural talent but our team can’t compete against already formed teams and the parents aren’t bringing our guys to practice. It’s hard to want our kid to win but to have to carry his team.

    We have a programmable thermostat and our AC stays on until the house goes below 72 during the day. That may not be until December (if then). We only turn the heater on at night because we have kids.

    • Bwahaaa, I love the name!

      Is he acting up at school too or just saving it for you at home? I find my kids are generally extra tool-ish at home and unload all on me.

      Ohhhhhh no about the stock! I mean, it’s all free stuff (Troy calls it “garbage water”), but still. ARGH!

      Is this his first year of football? I find it is so hard the first year especially when the team isn’t doing well. It can be brutal.

      • There have started to be some issues at school. The grace period is ending (we’ve been in school a month and a half.
        I explained to his teachers about my hubby being gone but there’s really nothing we can do about that.
        We’re in a league started by the quater back for the Saints so there’s no set teams. Unfortunately, coaches have been bringing in completed teams rather than being assigned to random kids. So they already know how to play together where we can’t even get everyone to go to practice.

      • And The Hurricane Formerly Known as Leslie is twirling about in the Atlantic not doing anything to anybody.

      • Glad to hear your namesake is being kind and peaceful!

  5. Name suggestion for your sausage one-pan recipe:

    “Sausage Rustica.” Simple, with a bit of Provence or Tuscany thrown in for color and attitude 🙂

  6. My thought about the furnace is:  if  I am not comfortable in my home, I make myself comfortable.  If that means putting the furnace on in early September, so be it.  I’m not going to shiver just because the calendar suggests it isn’t cold yet.  (Having said that, it only got really chilly for two days so far, and I didn’t turn the furnace on because I knew that there was a heat wave approaching and it seemed pointless)  But our thermostat is currently sitting at one degree colder than I keep it in the winter, once I feel cold that baby is being fired up!

    I’m jealous that you have an upright freezer.  I have wanted one for years, but our current chest freezer is still in pretty good working condition.  I do need to defrost it and inventory the contents though.

    My kitchen is way uglier than yours.  I have wanted it re-done since moving in almost 16 years ago.  Just new floors, counters and backsplash!  I am happy enough with the layout….  It *may* happen this fall.  Small steps have been taken.

    • Troy is the same way – he doesn’t want to be inconvenienced in any way to be comfortable. He used to have “pants off o’clock” every night around 8 where he’d just walk around in his underwear and a shirt. He hated the idea of having a blanket on if it was cold, but I’m like “dude, put some pants on and you’ll be comfortable”.

      We had a chest freezer for years and it was fine but so hard to organize. Do you have a good method for keeping track of everything in yours?

      • I have NO freezer inventory method.  🙁  
        I used to track it on a list with a half an X beside it that became a full X when it was used up.  But I am terrible for updating , so that doesn’t work too well after a bit.

        IE:  Chicken Breast \ \ \ \ \ \    (so, there are six packages of  breasts because I package them in meal sized portions),  Then after, say, two have been removed, it would look more like this:
        Chicken Breast \ \ \ \ X X

        It was a great system WHEN I kept it up to date.  I may try again when I defrost and inventory.  I may also push to replace our 12-year-old freezer soon…….
        I’m sure there is stuff at the bottom that I have completely forgotten existed.  And I am NOT doing anything about it today.  (haha)  
        It will probably be a Saturday project.

        I am almost always cold.  There would NEVER be a ‘pants off o’clock’ for me. I do, however, have what I call “comfy pants” that I change into when I am home for the night.  I often have a hoodie on in the house and I am definitely under a blanket if we are watching a movie or something!

      • Makes total sense! Hoping Saturday will find you with a freshly-cleaned freezer.

  7. I do the same thing with the heating, I refuse to have it on until October and if I can go to November, so much the better!
    My brother tried to ban my mum from watching him play football (I know you call it soccer but I’m English and I can’t do it!) when he was about 10 because she was so fed up with his attitude, he ended up getting sent off for arguing with the referee. Ma was shouting that the ref SHOULD send him off for it and Ben thought he was embarrassing her, to which he was told that he was the embarrassment and send to his room! At least you haven’t gone there yet!
    I get the toddler thing, how can they be so lovely and so terrible sometimes in the same minute? I know they’re frustrated but really do they have to transfer the frustration to me?
    Food this week is Chana Masala, dahl and lots of soup, an easy week to get back into the swing of work and cope with the fact that it’s nearly October…

    • Ha, I told the ref last year to kick Jack out of the game for his attitude! It did not go over well on the drive home.

      Your littlest nephew is three now, right? That hands down was the hardest age for us. Eesh, they are crazy!

      Love the soup for dinners. I know you’re not an autumn person, but man I love soup without having to also deal with boob sweat.

      • If you can’t cope with being embarrassed by your parent, you need to moderate your behaviour so they don’t need to embarrass you! Our mum was good about apologising if she was in the wrong, but ‘actions have consequences’ is a family motto! 
        Little nephew is three and mad as a badger. I haven’t seen a full on paddy yet but we’ve had a couple of incidents, throwing a hat out of the window, so he’d be allowed to go outside and get it (never going to work but nice try!) and throwing a pot of jam in the floor to express how unhappy he was at having to leave my house (nothing to do with my except in my role as the provider of the garlic bread!). Not to bad but he’s ramping up!
        I like the soup and the cool weather parts of autumn, and I have you chicken gnocchi soup on the list to try next week, it’s the dark. If I could have the weather and the light mornings and no pumpkin spice everything, I’d probably be fine!

  8. Your food photos are magazine worthy. Nice work!

  9. Yay for maturing! It’s tough when we see our worst traits in our kids, especially when it’s something we’ve managed to overcome.

    After rearranging our apartment yet again (we’ve been here almost 3 months and I think I’m on our 5th rearrange), I’m wishing we had gotten a stand-up deep freezer. Oh well.

    I have bone broth in the fridge! I need to get it into jars or bags and into the freezer.

    I try to always open the windows first thing in the morning to drive them temp down (and get some fresh air in here). Sometimes the other two complain, but that’s what long pants and sweatshirts are for. I don’t have a set day when the heat goes on, but we usually keep it around 67, so it’s not very warm anyway.

    Oh, and yes, you are crazy, but crazy keeps things interesting!

    • Gah, you’re so right Tina. It’s a daily challenge for the lad and myself.

      I love fresh air in the morning and think it is such an invigorating way to start the day! We keep the heat at 68 in winter, but obviously, it goes off once the fireplace is turned on.

  10. I laughed about the thermostat. We don’t have ac and the oil furnace is set to 55 year round. We have a wood stove but if it’s not cold enough got can cook yourself or if the house pretty easily. It was 60 when we got up this morning and our 8 year old was in shorts and a t-shirt. No heat upstairs so in the winter is normal to wake up to the bed rooms being in the low 50’s. People at work think I’m crazy.

    • Oil furnaces are so expensive! Thank goodness for the wood stove. We too play the game of cracking windows and trying to regulate the heat when our stove is going. It is so cozy though and I can’t wait for the first fire of the year.