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The Milk Bottles

I love to get our milk in glass bottles from Burbach’s Dairy. The milk is Colder and Fresher and Betterer.

BurbachBut we have to RETURN those bottles!
I’m not very good at it. Burbach’s recently called me out, too. They want their bottles back! So, I had to clean out the back of the MomVan to find them all!


All EIGHTEEN bottles fit in one grocery cart (I was surprised).


Checker at the Peony Park Hy-Vee didn’t bat an eye. She counted them up and gave us $36 in cash.IMG_6485_edited-1

Which we promptly spent on Lottery Tickets 🙂IMG_6484_edited-1

Orr Durrrvs for Dinner

How knows how to spell Hors D’oeuvres? I just know I like to EAT them!

I picked up a Pork Roast from Hy-Vee‘s Mega Meat Monday event….where you can earn Fuel Saver Points by purchasing $20 of meat. I don’t like their new Fuel Saver program, but THIS is a way I can earn points the old way. By VOLUME purchasing instead of buying 1 particular item.

I used this new recipe for pork by the girls at Six Sisters Blog. I do not have any sisters, but if I did, I wonder if I’d cook with them?!
This recipe uses parmesan cheese and honey and soy sauce and spices. I then cooked the meat all afternoon in my Old Hot CrockPot. Our house smelled so good! This is a recipe I will use again.  I followed the directions exactly and when the it was done, I put the meat in a different pan to cool and poured the liquid into a saucepan and boiled it down so it was a little thicker. Yum!

We ate outside tonight…..and I pretended I was at a swank fun bar in Omaha.

Hors D'oeuvres
Hors D’oeuvres on our back patio
hand model
My cooperative hand model

Chicken Stock in a Vingage Pot

Let’s Face it, you need a BigArse Pot for making Chicken Stock!

Last night, I found some Bare Chicken on sale at Hy-Vee for $4. FOUR DOLLARS A CHICKEN!!! That is unheard of. The tricky part was those wonderful Organic, sort of Local Chickens “expired” tomorrow, so I had to either freeze them or cook them. I figured as long as I was cooking one of them, I’d cook both.

Veggies for Chicken StockChickens Before RoastingOXO ThermometerI’ve learned (the hard way) to always use a thermometer and/or a timer when cooking. I love my OXO digital thermometer. Vintage Pot with Copper LidI am using this extra large pot I got from Dan’s Grandmother’s kitchen after she passed away a few months ago. It is quite large and has a copper top. I didn’t have a pot large enough for 2 chickens until now!

What's In the potBubbling Chicken Stock

Beef Stock

Beef Stock is another staple I like to have in my freezer pantry. I adapted a Cooks Illustrated recipe by adding more vegetables (they just use an onion) and using whatever meat I wanted. The important thing is to use meat that has BONES. Some recipes suggest roasting the vegetables and bones in the oven. I want to try that method. Today, I browned everything in my enameled cast iron stock pot and it worked very well. Here’s what I did!



I used a few different types of beef from Hy-Vee. I like their Amana brand. For this recipe, I used a large shank, beef short ribs, and some cut up beef roast. I browned it in batches in some vegetable oil until BROWNED but not done. Then I removed the beef to a plate. Next up was browning the cut-up vegetables.


Next we deglaze the pan with a liquid. I USUALLY use Apple Cider and I love that touch of sweet in my stocks and broths. This time, I followed the recipe and used 1/2 cup of Red Wine. I changed the rest of the liquid a bit because I ALWAYS add some Better Than Bouillon in place of some of the water. In this case, I added 2 cups of Beef Bouillon. Add the meat back into the pan and cover with water and simmer all afternoon.Image

I also added a 1/2 bag of greens. It was an experiment and it worked. I used frozen greens but I might try spinach next time.



Just let it bubble and spurtle and gurgle on your cooktop. Add more water if you want. When the meat falls apart, you are getting near done. Taste it. Does it need more salt? It might. Ina Garten says the difference between dishwater and good stock is salt. She’s right.When done, remove the meat and bones and veggies and throw out. I think they’ve done their job and don’t have anything more to give in terms of taste or nutrition. You may think different. Strain the stock a few times. I let my stocks cool OUTSIDE at least overnight during the cold season and the fat separates from the stock quickly and easily. The next day, must take the fat off and throw away.Image

See how thick and jelled it is? THAT, my friend, is a GOOD stock. Heat it up and taste it. Or freeze it already jelled. I like to freeze it is small portions (like a cup or two) but also in my large Weck Jars that are almost 3 cups.


I love making and using stock. You can even see the difference in color with these different jars. The Beef Stock is dark and thick. The Chicken Stock is golden. The Vegetable is almost an olive color. You KNOW these jars of goodness are nutritious!

Local In My Kitchen

I have developed a philosophy of “Local” over “Organic” when buying items for my kitchen, home, and sometimes gifts.
I’ve put together a list of “local” products I use and love.
Do you have any to add?

I am frequently frustrated that these local manufacturers don’t promote their products more on Facebook and Twitter, on their websites and use Advertising and Marketing.
(*I have an ancient degree in Advertising!)
But if I were to talk to them (which I wish I could) they’d probably tell me they are too busy MAKING their product to promote it!
It is up to us consumers to search out these local gems, use them, and promote them.

All of these products are made here in the Midwest and I have personally used, eaten and bought each one.

Cooper’s Best Pancake Mix
We use this Pancake Mix and it is available at a few of the Hy-Vee’s in Omaha.

Local Coffee and Nuts!
Pears Gourmet
Available at Hy-Vee, Pears on-site store and also online
Their nuts are large, fresh, and packaged beautifully.

The Village Piemaker makes wonderful fresh and local PIE!
Available at Hy-Vee

Ice Cream!
Create your own flavor at eCreamery!
You can order and have it delivered.

Baker’s Chocolate Meltaways

Palmer Candy Twin Bing
Nostalgic, delicious, and one of the few local chocolate companies left in the US.

Comforters and Pillows made from the Milkweed plant.
The ultimate in softness…and so unique.
I have met the owner, Herb Knudsen, and he is first-rate!

Grey Plume
This can be purchased at the Bread Oven in Dundee.

Batch At A Time Granola

Gluten Free Mixes
Kristen’s Kitchen
Kristy and her husband Mike are friends of ours. This product has been featured as a winner in Cooking Light magazine.

Iowa Tomatoes. ‘Nuff said.

Burbach’s Countryside Dairy
Milk in a glass bottle bottled right on the farm.

Morrison Farms Popcorn
Also Nebraska Beans

Let me know if you have more to add!