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This is the phrase I’ve heard from my hubby about at least a couple of items that I’ve cooked in the past week. See, 2 weeks ago I started making and freezing about 2 main dish meals each week to reheat and enjoy after this baby is born. So each week when I sit down and do my weekly menu planning for our family, I always include at least 2 things for dinner that I think would be excellent nourishment post partum. Plus, with fall like temps hitting us early this year, it seems that most of these things are very “homey” as well.

It’s just interesting that I am in the full swing of nesting right now, and loving it I must add, and I feel like there is just extra “love” in everything that my hands touch right now. Including my cooking. And, I have to say that in my opinion, I have one of the opinionated, critiques of a husband who would tell me the truth about how something tastes whether I want to hear it or not. Last week, it was my spinach lasagna that he was in awe of, and that, we now have 2 pans of in the freezer, and tonight it was my scalloped potatoes and ham that he said was the best he’s ever had..(not even that I’ve just made), and that we have one large pan of for the freezer. I just think that there is some kind of magic in the air right now, and I can’t quite describe what I mean..Gabe thinks I’m just hormonally supercharged and as high as high can be. Whatever it is, I hope it sticks with me for the rest of this pregnancy, and I hope the “crash” won’t kill me.

Ok, I think I’m an addict.  Right now I am addicted to the wonderful danish at Florene’s Bakery.  I wake up and can’t stop thinking that I wish I had one.  I usually only give in about once a week and actually go there and buy some, but lately it has been a bit more often.  This morning as wet and dreary as it was, I took Ethan down to the Historical Mueseum.  It is free and he loves to run around and play in the toddler area as well as climb the stairs and look at all the very realistic animal exhibits.

As I was driving back home though, I couldn’t get the danish out of my mind so I broke down and stopped by and bought a package of 2 day old danish..(which are still excellent).  I think I had one of them gone by the time I got home and just ate the other one..Oh my god, I can’t believe I am publicly sharing that I am such a pig!!!!   I am going to blame it on the pregnancy cravings…I never know from day to day what sounds good and what makes me want to vomit just thinking about it..so strange.  Ok, maybe I should go and feed my son something Healthy for lunch??

You know, it really isn’t that bad. The South side that is, or even Des Moines in general. I was reminded today of just how lucky we are here in our little, quiet neighborhood. I feel so fortunate that I can go less than five minutes by car, or 15 minutes by foot, and find myself at my favorite Butcher Shop, Italian market, and Bakery.

It is true, I have developed a love affair with Findley’s Butcher Shop, Graziano’s Italian Market, and Florene’s Bakery and Coffee Shop. Since Findley’s opened about a year ago, I slowly have learned from the husband and wife owners, that they get all their meat locally. Not organic, but here in Iowa. I should mention that it is really good meat too,I can definatly live with that. Plus, since I am a sucker for great prices, I always like the fact that I leave feeling like I just got a really great deal. The best shaved pit ham from here in Iowa for only $3.99/lb!! Lunch meat for the week. Also the pork baby back ribs, Delish! Gabe can vouch for the fact that they were hands down the best he’s ever had. (Recipes to follow).

Ok, so you probably think I’ve gone mad, right? Have I become a traditional meat eating Iowan? I like to think not. But if I’m going to eat it, I am going to support my very local butcher in the process. And now for why I love Graziano’s. If you are not familiar with the south side of Des Moines, not that you really should be, but this is the Italian neighborhood. And Graziano’s is the food mecca for all your cooking and baking needs. You walk in and instantly get the most amazing whiff of spices, pungent cheeses and freshly ground Italian sausage. I can find practically anything I might be looking for including farro, which is a grain that I used to cook a lot when I lived in Portland, but since have never been able to find it. Local Italians sell their specialties there including sauces, fresh pasta, delectible little cookies, even fresh yeast cake!

Florene’s has been here for a couple of years and we happily tripped over it the weekend we were moving into our house. I must add that I believe what really happened was that I was just complaining to Gabe that I would have to drive at least 15 minutes for a pastry and a good cup of coffee, not to mention the conversation, and it was like-Whoa…what is this little gem we have stumbled upon? Could there really be something like this so close to our house? I remember feeling giddy. I still am. I have formed a great relationship with Tom the baker, and Kelly who runs the front of the house. She watched Gabe and I as we were buying a house together, then the belly bump appeared, and each week she watched as it grew larger. Florene’s was my very first outing with Ethan after he was born one cold January day last year, and since Kelly has become a great friend. I should say that besides conversing with Tom and Kelly, I also am a huge fan of the cinnamon raisin swirl bread and the delicate, flaky danish. Ahh, life is good.

I like to support my local community. It makes me feel good to know that I am not supporting another greedy corporate chain, and I am helping a small business succeed. I am also proud to be an Iowan. Yes, vacations are nice, but coming home to our little corner on the South Side is the best feeling of all.