New Normals

pasta hands DSCN1372

Today was a day for discovering a new normal.  After moving back (for what seems like the hundredth time) to Chicagoland, Michael and I spent the day immersed in food.

If you are from Chicagoland, you know that homegrown, quality food is somewhat hard to find.  This is perplexing because more often than not you are surrounded by farmer fields.  Our local Meijer, Jewel-Osco, and Caputo’s are surrounded by these vast expanses of fertile, food growing soil, yet you’re hard pressed to find much more than two “Illinois Grown” items at the market.  This is an issue I discovered only after living in Michigan and finding “Grown in Michigan” stickers on just about everything.  Weird because, well, I’ve never been stopped by a combine on the highway or seen a runaway cow in Michigan, as I often do in Illinois.  If anyone can tell me why this is true you’d be helping a Midwestern girl out.

Michael spent the morning making homemade pasta, cream puffs, and sauce.

eclair DSCN1379

In addition to the cooking fest that took place in my parent’s kitchen this morning, we journeyed to two of the greatest local showcases of food in the area, Heritage Prairie Farm and Ream’s Elburn Meat Market.  The former is one of the Northwest suburb’s best kept secrets, providing fresh, grown-on-site produce, honey, and packaged goods right on Heritage Prairie Farm.  In addition to the farm store, they offer farm dinners once a month with special themes and a weekly farmer’s market.  Today, we picked up a pound of lamb meat for burgers and fresh picked cherry tomatoes that almost didn’t even make it to the house they were so good.  Ream’s, a local meat market, specializes in beef, chicken, and pork, supplied from local farmers and butchering in house.  Even for a vegetarian like myself, it’s a hometown gem.  Plus, if you ever want to learn the best ways to butcher, cook, or eat your meat, stop by and the friendly folks can help you out!

How do you spend these beautiful fall days?

-Ashlyn

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