Recipes at times can be a cause for confusion. A misunderstanding of a term can cause much trouble, leaving you wondering if you have purchased the right thing. Take a recipe that calls for the new potato for example. I have seen many recipes that call for new potatoes. What is a new potato? The grocery store definition is different from the farmers market definition.

What Do I Get When my Recipe Calls for New Potatoes?
The true definition of a new potato is what it sounds like – a potato that is newly harvested. When potatoes are first harvested the skin is more fragile. The potatoes need time to cure in order for the skin to dry out and be more durable. The skin of a freshly dug potato is more tender, has a better texture, great for recipes where you keep the skin on. This type of potato is not good for the grocery store. They don’t ship very well. Instead new potatoes in the grocery store are generally seen as being small potatoes. My experience is that smaller sized potatoes have more tender skin than the larger types. For your recipe calling for new potatoes buy the smallest potatoes you can find in the store. Bags of small potatoes of multiple colors are common nowadays. Fingerling potatoes are a good choice as well. If at all possible, go to the farmer’s market and look for freshly dug potatoes – these will be the ideal.

What is a Creamer Potato?
Another option you can choose for your recipe is a creamer potato. These can be one off two things. Some see them at potatoes that are picked before they are mature to keep them small and tender. They are still allowed to age or cure so the skin isn’t going to be thin and flaky like farmer’s market new potatoes. Other people define a creamer potato has a potato that is bred to be in the small size. They don’t get very big and are fully mature at a small size.

Little Potato Company

The Little Potato Company
There is a company that specializes in small potato, called the Little Potato Company out of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. They sell creamer potatoes in all different varieties and colors. Watch this YouTube video below to learn more about their potatoes. They have some unique varieties you can’t get elsewhere.

Little Potato Company

Check their website to find what stores carry The Little Potato company potatoes. A few of the stores include –
Albertsons
Walmart
Meijer
Sprouts
Safeway
Sam’s Club
Gelson’s
Stater Bros
WinCo
Woodman’s Market

Wong Fingerlings WFM

Where to Find Other Small Potatoes
Most stores now carry some type of small potato that should work for your recipe. Whole Foods Market carries fingerling potatoes, particulary in the late fall and winter. I have also seen bags of small potatoes in a mix of yellow, red, and purple colors. Trader Joe’s offers you several options – Dutch Yellow Baby Potatoes, Baby Red Potatoes, and Teeny Tiny Potatoes. These all come in bags ranging from 16 to 24 ounces each.

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Healthiest Bacon

Bacon. It’s crispy, smoky, flavorful, down right yummy. Healthy? Well not quite. Bacon is never going to win any awards as a health food. Sorry it’s never going to be considered a “superfood” as much as you would like it. But we can make bacon choices that will be “healthier” for our bodies and “tastier” for our tongues. This post is a guide to buying the “Healthiest Bacon”.

I have 4 rules to “healthier bacon”.

1. Buy uncured bacon
2. Keep turkey bacon open as an option
3. Buy high quality bacon with a higher price
4. Buy center cut bacon

Healthiest Bacon

1. Buy uncured bacon

The first thing I want to look for when trying to eat healthier bacon is to buy uncured bacon. This is bacon that has not had any added sodium nitrate to it. This is what most bacon makers as to their bacon to preserve and color the bacon – gives it that nice bright pink color. A lot of places are going the route now of using more natural options such as celery juice which has naturally occurring nitrates. Some people believe that nitrates are cancer causing, I am not medical doctor, but my advice is that if a producer adds something to a product that only benefits their bottom line and not the flavor of the product, then I really don’t want to eat that ingredient.

Healthiest Bacon

TJ Uncured Turkey Bacon

2. Keep turkey bacon open as an option

We like bacon because of the fat. Plenty of fat makes it taste good. But can we cut out some of the fat and still have something tasty? That is certainly up to debate. Turkey bacon will never have the same crispiness as bacon made with pork – it just won’t. I am someone who doesn’t mind bacon not being super crisp, in fact I like it just before it really crisp. While it will never be the same thing it still isn’t bad along side a stack of pancakes. Look for the Uncured Turkey Bacon from Trader Joe’s.

Healthiest Bacon

Healthiest Bacon

Healthiest Bacon

3. Buy high quality bacon with a higher price

This is the same thing I use when it comes to chocolate. If a buy a higher quality thus more expensive bar of chocolate, it’s much easier to be satisfied than buying a cheaper Hershey bar where you devour the thing in a flash. When you go for the good stuff, the best tasting, high quality bacon, that comes with a higher price tag, you more likely to think twice when going back for another helping. When you pay $9.99 a pound for a package of bacon, you’re going to think about it more before you eat it all up. $2.99 a pound…no problem eating it all. Portion control a lot easier when you have a “larger investment” in your bacon. Two of my favorite brands to look out for are Nueske’s and Niman Ranch.

Healthiest Bacon

4. Buy center cut bacon

Have you ever seen a package of bacon labeled “center cut”? Not always easy to find, if you do give it a try. I usually get my center cut bacon from Meijer. Why bother? This bacon is cut from the center of the pork belly. The center is leaner and meatier. Less fat but still plenty of flavor and it still will crisp up nice enough for you.

TJ Ends Pieces Uncured Bacon

Bonus Tip

I already mentioned Trader Joe’s for their turkey bacon, but what I really like to buy there is their Applewood Smoked Ends and Pieces Uncured Bacon. This is what it sounds like the ends and pieces of bacon that were cut off for their regular apple wood smoked bacon. You get a good deal and the bacon is flavorful. Sometimes you get some nearly whole strips. Sometimes you get some really thick fatty pieces that I don’t like to eat – yet they render a lot of fat that I save for other purposes (like cooking brussels sprouts in it!)

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Top Sirloin Filet Steaks

In my quest to master the world of steaks and all the different cuts, I am always keep my eyes peeled for cuts that I have not talked about on this blog before. A last night journey into my local Meijer store, I spotted the Top Sirloin Filet steak. The package came with two steaks on sale for $4.99/pound. I snatched those puppies up and toss them in the freezer until I was ready to use them. In our house I like to save the steaks dinner for later in the evening when the kids are in bed and my wife and I can just enjoy without interruption. Trying to perfectly cook a steak with screaming kids all around you is one of life’s greatest challenges!

What is a Top Sirloin Filet Steak?

Most people are familiar with the Top Sirloin – a long, tasty steak, that can be found at most steakhouses. It’s one of my favorite steaks to toss under the broiler. It comes from the Short Loin of the cow, which is located toward the middle of the cow’s back. It’s the part of the cow where we get tenderloins, ribeyes, porterhouses, and t-bones. The Top Sirloin Filet steak is a cut of the leanest, most tender part of the top sirloin. It is bonelness and similar in appearance to a filet mignon without the hefty price tag. It has the flavor you would expect from a top sirloin.

How to Choose a Top Sirloin Filet Steak

The key thing to picking a good steak is look for good streaks of fat in the middle. This is a leaner cut but that doesn’t mean it’s devoid of all fat. Choose steaks with nice steaks in the middle. If they come in a package of two, try to pick ones that are the same size for even cooking. Watch out for sales on top sirloin as you might be able to find the top sirloin filet on sale at the same time too as I did.

Searing Top Sirloin Filet Steaks

How to Cook Top Sirloin Filet Steaks

The best way to cook this steak is to take a two cooking method approach. You want to get a great sear on the steak but you don’t want to burn it before the inside is cooked. Top Sirloin filet steaks are on the thick side. What I recommend doing is performing a quick sear in a cast iron pan or any heavy bottom pan that is oven safe, then finishing it in the oven. I first saw this method performed by Robert Irvine on Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible. By finishing it in a hot oven you can finish the inside without burning the outside.


5.0 from 1 reviews
Seared Top Sirloin Filet Steaks
 
A two cooking method way to perfectly cook top sirloin filet steak.
Ingredients
  • 2 Top Sirloin Filet steaks
  • high heat cooking oil (I like sunflower or grape seed)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Place your steaks on a plate and liberally season with kosher salt. Allow them to come up to room temperature before cooking, about 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.
  3. Coat a cast iron skillet or oven safe pan with a coat of oil. Place over high heat. When hot, place the steaks on leaving room between them.
  4. Sear for 2 minutes, then flip and sear for another minute.
  5. Immediately place into the oven. Allow 3 to 5 minutes for the steak to finish or until they an internal temperature of 5 degrees below your final temperature (120 for rare, 130 for medium rare, 140 for medium, 150 for medium well and 160 for well done).
  6. Allow the steak to rest on a plate for 5 minutes before cutting.

 

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Sweetie Apples

I am all about following what’s the latest and greatest in the apple world. There are new varieties coming out all the time. Everyone wants to have the next Honeycrisp. Broetje Orchards in Washington are growing a new apple called the Sweetie. It is distributed by First Fruits Marketing. They also released the Opal apple a few years back. The apple itself originated in New Zealand.

Are Sweetie Apples GMO
No. They were made by crossing a Gala and a Braeburn the old fashion way. As of now they are no commercially available genetically modified apples (read my post on GMOs & Apples).

My Experience with this Apple (Rating Scale 1-10)

Aspect Score
Crispiness 9
Tartness 1
Apple Flavor 1
Sweetness 10
Juiciness 9
Where I Got Them Meijer (Ypsilanti MI)

Overall Feeling: This apple sure lives up to it’s name. It is super sweet, crisp, and juicy. One of the sweetest apples I ever had. But really no tartness to balance that and in the end no real flavor. It was like eating water. I couldn’t wait to be done with it. I have no desire to try one of these apples again. It does look pretty and has the sweet, crisp, and juicy elements that people seem to ask for. Have our standards gotten so low that those are all we care about and flavor doesn’t come into the equation?

Are Sweetie Apples Good for Cooking or Baking?
In my opinion the only useful thing this apple may have is added to a batch of applesauce containing tart apples, to add some sweetness. They are way too sweet and flavorless to bake with.

Of course this is all just my experience. What’s yours? I am sure they are people out there that still do enjoy this apple and I am not going to complain about someone eating fruit. If you wish to try Sweetie Apples, they should be available at the end of September and beginning of October in these locations:

Pacific Northwest
Haggen
Safeway
Winco

California
Safeway

Texas
Central Market
HEB

Midwest
Byerly’s
Lunds
Hy-Vee
Meijer

Florida
Sweetbay

Here are some apple related kitchen tools I recommend:
Amco Dial-A-Slice Adjustable Apple Corer and Slicer : Allows you to slice apples into either 8 or 16 pieces
Zyliss Soft Skin Peeler : The best peeler I have ever owned. Does a great job peeling an apple.
Mirro Foley 2-Quart Stainless Steel Food Mill : A great tool for making your own applesauce. You can make the sauce without having to do any peeling.

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Meat Buying Guide Prices Beef at Meijer

After the recent success on my guide to buying beef at Costco, I decided to expand to other stores. I want people to be informed when it comes to purchasing steaks and roasts. With so many options out there it can be hard to discover what’s a deal and where you are overpaying. So I provide this guide to one of the biggest chains in my area – Meijer.

Beef Type Price
Flat Cut Brisket $6.19/lb
This cut requires long cooking time. It's great for smoking or BBQ. It is the top choice for making corn beef. To learn more about brisket check out this post.
Ribeye Steaks $12.99/lb
One of the most flavorful steaks does cost you a pretty penny. You can save 20 cents a pound if you buy the family pack.
Tenderloin Steaks $19.99/lb
This is what many people call Filet Mignon. I would recommend buying a whole tenderloin and cut the steaks yourself as you can find whole tenderloins at other stores (Costco or Hiller's for example) for much cheaper per pound
Top Sirloin $7.99/lb
A great steak for the grill that doesn't cost as much as a Ribeye or T-Bone. I recommend you try cooking them in your oven's broiler.
Flank Steak $7.69/lb
I love to broil these things. They take a marinade better than any other cut of beef I know.
Top Round Roast or Steak $5.69/lb (for either)
This cut comes from the upper back part of the cow. It's tougher than the sirloin. It is also lean. Dry cooking methods tend to dry this cut out. I would stick to wet cooking methods with this cut.
Bottom Round Roast $4.49/lb
Another tough piece of round but one that can be flavorful if you follow my cooking instructions.
Short Ribs $5.29/lb
Good for stews and BBQ. I haven't worked a lot with them as fatty cuts of beef tend to give me heartburn. This is one of the few cuts I found at Meijer that was cheaper than at Costco.
Eye of Round Roast $4.69/lb
Makes for a cheap yet still flavorful roast when prepared properly. Take a moment to visit my post on how to cook this cut.
Chuckeye Roast $4.99/lb
This is my go to cut for pot roast. It has the enough fat and it tasty when you slow cook it. One of my favorite pot roast recipes is my Moroccan Pot Roast.
Chuckeye Steak $5.19/lb
Basically a chuckeye roast cut into steaks. When treated right these steaks can be grilled to perfection. I have a salt trick for cooking these steaks that works out well.
Chuckeye Center Eye Steak $5.69/lb
This is the center portion of the chuck eye steak. This is the best of it. The problem with a chuckeye steak is you still end up with some grizzly parts that I usually discard. With the center eye you can eat the whole thing without throwing any out. In the end despite the higher price it might be still a better deal if you are just going to grill it.
Oxtails $5.89/lb
Not a lot of meat but a lot of beefy flavor. I like to use them to enhances beef broths like the one I used when I made Ina Garten's Rich Beef Barley Soup.
Skirt Steak $6.19/lb
This is the cut to use when making Mexican dishes like Fajitas.
Ball Tip Steak $5.69/lb
A cheap steak cut coming from the loin. A popular cut in Michigan. It can be grilled or braised. I would recommend marinating before grilling though.
Beef Shank $4.29/lb
Just as the oxtails – shanks also works well for broth making. It is a lean cut often used to make lean ground beef. If you are going to eat it braising is your only option as it is too tough for any other cooking method.
Top Loin Steak $12.99/lb
A boneless cut that comes from the top of the short loin primal. Most places call it a New York Strip steak. Meijer calls it a Top Loin which is more descriptive to what it is. Other people call it a Kansas City Steak or a Strip Loin Steak.
T-Bone Steak $12.99/lb
A bone-in steak with a bone that looks like a "T". It has a little piece of tenderloin on one side.
Porterhouse Steak $12.99/lb
If I am going to pay the same price for a T-Bone and a Porterhouse I would go Porterhouse every time. The real difference in the cut is how much tenderloin is there. Porterhouse have a greater deal of the tenderloin on the right side of the bone.

I really don’t buy a lot of meat at Meijer. Their meat isn’t the best quality. Their prices are above those of Costco on every single cut they both had, minus one. They do have sales that will save you money, so if it’s a good sale I would buy something there. Otherwise I look elsewhere for my beef.

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It’s that time once again to talk about prices on huge chunks of meat. I present to you my 2013 guide to sales & deals on Easter Hams in Michigan. Here are a couple of things to note from this year. The cheapest price on ham I found in the state was at Plumb’s – 99 cents a pound for a Sugardale Shank Portion Ham. The cheapest I found at state wide chain stores was the Smithfield Shank Portion Hams at Kroger for $1.17/lb althought Meijer was only 2 cents a pound behidn with their Cook’s Shank or Butt Portion Hams for $1.19/lb. D&W Fresh Market has the cheapest spiral sliced ham – Smithfield Honey Glazed Spiral Half Ham $1.27/lb.

As for deals, Tom’s Food Market offers $15 off any Quincy Street Boneless Ham, Spartan Ham, or Smithfield Spiral Sliced Half Ham with an additional $20 purchase. And if you are lucky to be in possession for 2,000 yes points at Glen’s you can get a free ham.

Any item marked with an (*) asterisk is the same price as it was last year

Related ham posts : Reasons NOT to Buy a Boneless Ham | Alton Brown’s City Ham recipe | Difference in Types of Ham | Spiced Root Beer Glazed Ham recipe | Can You Freeze Leftover Ham?

Meijer
Various locations throughout the state. Prices may be slightly different in each store, check your store to be sure.
Cook’s or Hormel Cure 81 Spiral Sliced Half Ham (in natural juices) $1.47/lb*
Dearborn Spiral Sliced Ham $3.99/lb
Cook’s Shank or Butt Portion HaM $1.19/lb (Limit 2)*
Hormel Cure 81 Half Boneless Ham $3.69/lb

Hiller’s
Stores in Ann Arbor, Berkley, Commerce Township, Northville, Plymouth, Union Lake, and West Bloomfield.
Hiller’s Own Honey Glazed Spiral Sliced Ham $2.49/lb*
Butt or Shank Portion Fresh Half Ham $1.59/lb
Kentucky Legend Quarter Sliced Hams (Original, Brown Sugar, Black Forest) $3.79/lb
Winter’s Fire Glazed Spiral Sliced Ham $2.99/lb (lower price)
Dearborn Flame Glazed Spiral Sliced Ham $3.99/lb*
Dearborn Classic Trim Semi-Boneless Half Ham $2.69/lb*

Busch’s
Stores in Ann Arbor, Saline, Clinton, Tecumseh, Dexter, Pinckney, South Lyon, Plymouth/Northville, Carleton, Livonia, Novi, Farmington Hills, West Bloomfield, and Rochester Hills.
Dearborn Fire Roasted Spiral Half Ham $3.89/lb*
Kentucky Legend Spiral Sliced Quarter Ham $3.99/lb*
Smithfield Shank Portion Ham $1.49/lb*
Smithfield Butt Portion Ham $1.59/lb*
Busch’s Spiral Sliced Ham $2.49/lb*

Spiced Root Beer Glazed Ham

Kroger
Various locations throughout the state. Prices may be slightly different in each store, check your store to be sure.
Kroger Spiral Sliced Ham $1.37/lb (limit 2)*
Smithfield Shank Portion $1.17/lb (lower price!)
Cumberland Gap Semi Boneless Ham $1.67/lb
Private Selection Spiral Sliced Bone-In Ham $2.99/lb
Hickory Hills Boneless Ham $2.49/lb*

Western Market
Located in Ferndale
Dearborn Spiral Sliced Hams for $3.99 lb

Nino Salvaggio
Locations in St. Clair Shores, Troy, and Clinton Township.
Dearborn Spiral Sliced Ham $3.99/lb*
Winter’s Spiral Sliced Ham $2.99/lb*

Holiday Market of Canton
Located in Canton
Dearborn Spiral Sliced Ham $3.99/lb*

Neiman’s Family Market
Locations in Alpena, Tawas, and St. Clair.
Spartan Whole Boneless Ham $1.48/lb (lower price!)
Spartan Honey Glazed Spiral Sliced Ham $2.49S/lb
Smoked Shank Ham $1.29/lb

Ric’s Food Center
Locations in Mt. Pleasant, Ithaca, Hemlock, Interlochen, Rockford, and Cannon Township.
Frick’s Bone-In Ham Portions $1.38/lb (lower price!)
Cumberland Gap Whole Boneless Ham $1.99/lb

D&W Fresh Market
Locations in Caledonia, Grand Haven, Grand Rapids, Grandville, Holland, Kalamazoo, Portage, Rockford, and Williamston.
Paula Deen Smithfield Honey Glazed Spiral Half Ham $2.77/lb
Smithfield Honey Glazed Spiral Half Ham $1.27/lb
Spartan Honey Glazed Spiral Sliced Half Ham $1.99/lb

Plumb’s
Locations in Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Norton Shores, Muskegon Heights, Newaygo, N. Muskegon, and Whitehall.
Sugardale Whole Boneless Ham $1.69/lb
Sugardale Shank Portion Ham $.99/lb
Sugardale Butt Portion Ham $1.19/lb
Sugardale Spiral Sliced Ham $1.79/lb
Smithfield Picnic Ham $1.49/lb

Tom’s Food Market
Locations in Traverse City, Williamsburg, Northport, and Interlochen.
$15 off any Quincy Street Boneless Ham, Spartan Ham, or Smithfield Spiral Sliced Half Ham (with additional $20 purchase, limit 1)

Glen’s Market
Locations in Alma, Bellaire, Boyne City, Cadillac, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Clare, East Jordan, Frankfort, Gaylord, Grayling, Harrison, Houghton Lake, Kalkaska, Lewiston, Mancelona, Manistee, Marion, Mio, Munising, Oscoda, Petoskey, Rogers City, Roscommon, Rose City, Sault Ste. Marie, St. Ignace, Standish, Traverse City, and West Branch.
Smithfield Smoked Shank Portion Ham $1.19/lb (limit 2)
Spartan Whole Boneless Ham ($1.99/lb sale) or Honey Glazed Spiral Ham ($2.19/lb sale) are Free with 2,000 Yes points
Smithfield Honey Glazed Spiral Ham $1.79/lb

What I Use When I Bake A Ham

Here are some tools that I use whenever I am baking a ham.
1. Roasting Pan – You need something big to bake your ham in and a roasting pan is the perfect vessel. I don’t recommend not stick in this case as I always find that I still end up with burnt sugar in the bottom from my glaze. It’s harder to clean a non-stick pan without scratching it and ruining the non stick. So just go with an stainless steel that you can scrub easier.
2. Electric Knife – Makes carving the ham a whole lot easier. You don’t need something expense here. A cheap one works just fine.
3. Probe thermometer – Even thought hams come cooked most of the time, you still need to heat it up. Don’t trust the instructions that came with your hand, trust a probe thermometer to get your ham reheated to the properly temperature. I have had ham that has been overcooked, a dry ham is not something you ever want to experience.

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Alton Brown's City Ham

In many homes Easter dinner = ham! The good news for the consumer is that it also equals deals on hams. In doing my own research to where I purchase my ham I have a list of the prices of ham on sale for the week of April 1st, at stores across my home state of Michigan.

Related ham posts : Reasons NOT to Buy a Boneless Ham | Alton Brown’s City Ham recipe | Difference in Types of Ham | Spiced Root Beer Glazed Ham recipe | Can You Freeze Leftover Ham?

Meijer
Various locations throughout the state. Prices may be slightly different in each store, check your store to be sure.
Cook’s or Hormel Cure 81 Spiral Sliced Half Ham (in natural juices) $1.47/lb
Cook’s Shank or Butt Portion Han $1.19/lb (Limit 2)

* If you like pineapple with your ham, Meijer is selling fresh pineapples for $1.97 each

Hiller’s
Stores in Ann Arbor, Berkley, Commerce Township, Northville, Plymouth, Union Lake, and West Bloomfield.
Hiller’s Own Honey Glazed Spiral Sliced Ham $2.49/lb
Winter’s Fire Glazed Spiral Sliced Ham $3.29/lb
Dearborn Flame Glazed Spiral Sliced Ham $3.99/lb
Amish Valley Spiral Sliced Hickory Smoked Ham $1.99/lb
Dearborn Classic Trim Semi-Boneless Half Ham $2.69/lb
Gusto Hickory Smoked Bone-In Ham (Butt or Shank) $1.19/lb

Busch’s
Stores in Ann Arbor, Saline, Clinton, Tecumseh, Dexter, Pinckney, South Lyon, Plymouth/Northville, Carleton, Livonia, Novi, Farmington Hills, West Bloomfield, and Rochester Hills.
Dearborn Fire Roasted Spiral Half Ham $3.89/lb
Alexander & Hornung Boneless Petite Ham Steak 5 oz 10 for $10
Busch’s Spiral Sliced Ham $2.49/lb
Kentucky Legend Spiral Sliced Quarter Ham $3.99/lb
Smithfield Shank Portion Ham $1.49/lb
Smithfield Butt Portion Ham $1.59/lb
Spartan Whole Boneless Ham $2.29/lb

Vince & Joe’s Gourmet Market
Stores in Shelby Township and Clinton Township
Dearborn Spiral Sliced Ham $3.99/lb
Dearborn Old Fashioned Smoked SSD Ham $1.99/lb

Spiced Root Beer Glazed Ham

Kroger
Various locations throughout the state. Prices may be slightly different in each store, check your store to be sure.
Kroger Spiral Sliced Ham $1.37/lb (limit 2)
Cumberland Gap Semi Boneless Ham $1.57/lb
Smithfield Shank Portion $1.37/lb
Private Selection Spiral Sliced Ham $2.49/lb
Hickory Hills Boneless Ham $2.49/lb

Nino Salvaggio
Locations in St. Clair Shores, Troy, and Clinton Township.
Dearborn Spiral Sliced Ham $3.99/lb
Winter’s Spiral Sliced Ham $2.99/lb

Western Market
Located in Ferndale
Dearborn Fire Glazed Spiral Sliced Ham $3.99/lb

Holiday Market of Canton
Located in Canton
Dearborn Spiral Sliced Ham $3.99/lb

Neiman’s Family Market
Locations in Alpena, Tawas, and St. Clair.
Spartan Whole Boneless Ham $1.99/lb
Spartan Honey Glazed Spiral Sliced Ham $1.47/lb

Ric’s Food Center
Locations in Mt. Pleasant, Ithaca, Hemlock, Interlochen, Rockford, and Cannon Township.
Shurfresh Whole Boneless Ham $1.88/lb
Frick’s Bone-In Ham Portions $1.69/lb
Amish Valley Spiral Sliced Half Ham $1.99/lb
Winter’s Fire Glazed Spiral Sliced Half Ham $3.49/lb

D&W Fresh Market
Locations in Caledonia, Grand Haven, Grand Rapids, Grandville, Holland, Kalamazoo, Portage, Rockford, and Williamston.
Hormel Cure 81 Spiral Sliced Half Ham $1.25/lb (limit 1)
D&W Fresh Market Black Box-Foil Wrapped Fire Glazed Spiral Sliced Ham $3.99/lb

Plumb’s
Locations in Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Norton Shores, Muskegon Heights, Newaygo, N. Muskegon, and Whitehall.
Dutch Farms Shank Portion Ham $1.18/lb
Sugardale Spiral Sliced Half Ham $1.78/lb
Qunicy Street Whole Boneless Ham $1.99/lb (Half Ham are $2.29/lb)
Spartan Semi Boneless Half Ham $1.99/lb
Spartan Whole Boneless Ham $2.29/lb
Spartan Spiral Sliced Honey Half Ham $2.49/lb

Tom’s Food Market
Locations in Traverse City, Williamsburg, Northport, and Interlochen.
$15 off any Quincy Street Boneless Ham, Spartan Ham, or Smithfield Spiral Sliced Half Ham (with additional $25 purchase, limit 1)

Glen’s Market
Locations in Alma, Bellaire, Boyne City, Cadillac, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Clare, East Jordan, Frankfort, Gaylord, Grayling, Harrison, Houghton Lake, Kalkaska, Lewiston, Mancelona, Manistee, Marion, Mio, Munising, Oscoda, Petoskey, Rogers City, Roscommon, Rose City, Sault Ste. Marie, St. Ignace, Standish, Traverse City, and West Branch.
Smithfield Smoked Shank Portion Ham $1.18/lb (limit 2)
Spartan Honey Glazed Spiral Half Ham $1.68/lb

What I Use When I Bake A Ham
Here are some tools that I use whenever I am baking a ham.
1. Roasting Pan – You need something big to bake your ham in and a roasting pan is the perfect vessel. I don’t recommend not stick in this case as I always find that I still end up with burnt sugar in the bottom from my glaze. It’s harder to clean a non-stick pan without scratching it and ruining the non stick. So just go with an stainless steel that you can scrub easier.
2. Electric Knife – Makes carving the ham a whole lot easier. You don’t need something expense here. A cheap one works just fine.
3. Probe thermometer – Even thought hams come cooked most of the time, you still need to heat it up. Don’t trust the instructions that came with your hand, trust a probe thermometer to get your ham reheated to the properly temperature. I have had ham that has been overcooked, a dry ham is not something you ever want to experience.

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On the first day I meet my wife, we ate at an Old Country Buffet. I remember going to get her a orange soda pop out of the fountain machine. Fast forward 10 years later, I am looking for an orange pop to give to her as a treat for our 10 year celebration. My local Mejier just started carrying Northwoods Sodas. I already had their root beer, so I thought this occassion would make the perfect time to try out their orange cream soda.

Whenever I open a bottle of orange cream soda, I am expecting a few things. I am expecting to be drinking something reminiscent to an orange cream ice cream bar. It needs to have a good orange flavor, along with a creaminess mouthfeel with a pleasant vanilla flavor in their somewhere. I have found my soda companies (Frostop for example) to have done this well. So how did Northwoods do with their Wild Bill’s Orange Cream?

I loved this drink as an orange soda pop. But as an orange cream, I don’t think it packed the creaminess I wanted. I really didn’t get that sense of drinking a liquid orange cream bar. This is not an overly sweet concoction, which some of the other orange creams I experienced I have been. But like I said as an orange soda, this was has a good depth to it, with some vanilla undertones. Boylan is the best orange soda I have had. Frostop is the best orange cream soda I have had. This one fall somewhere in the middle between those. So I will go ahead with a four star rating, which means it will find a way into my shopping cart again!

Where to Buy
You can find it in the new Made in Michigan section at your local Meijer store. You can also purchase it directly from the company, through their website.

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I recently wrote a post celebrating the pop (or soda) that is made in Michigan. While doing research for that post, I read about a soda called Northwoods Soda. It is made up in the Grand Traverse area of Michigan. I have never seen it in stores before. That was until yesterday. Meijer stores across Michigan have begun an initiuative to support Michigan made products. There is a new section in select Mejier stores featuring just Michigan made products. One of those products selected to be a part of this program was Northwoods Soda.

Whenever I trying out a new brand of soda pop, I tend to select root beer first. I figure if your root beer isn’t good, then it’s likely the rest of your flavors aren’t going to be good either. Northwoods Soda calls their root beer “Wild Bill’s Root Beer”. “Wild Bill” is company founder, Bill Fosdick. The recipe for this brew has been perfected over a twenty year time period. The bottle boasts the claim “A Rare, Smooth Beverage”. So I keep that in mind as I took my first sip

No false promises on this bottle, it is definitely a smooth root beer. Not over carbonated. It has a nice, bold, but not too bold root beer flavor. It’s not overpowered by vanilla or any other flavoring. It’s pure root beer. It’s as close to getting it right out of the tap as you probably can get. So I will be giving their other flavors a try.

Where to Buy
You can find it in the new Made in Michigan section at your local Meijer store. You can also purchase it directly from the company, through their website.

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If you needed another reason to buy American, here is one for you. Coca Cola who owns the Minute Maid brand is reporting that trace amounts of a fungicide is showing up in their orange juice supply. The orange juice is coming from Brazil. Minute Maid uses a combination of Florida and Brazil grown oranges, and so does a lot of companies. The fungicide is used in Brazil to treat trees that have black spot, a type of mold. This fungicide has not been approved for us in the United States. Yet it still has ended up in our orange juice. As a result of this situation, the U.S. has put a temporary halt to importing orange juice from any country, until more testing can be done.

Here is another reason why I highly recommend buying only U.S. grown fruit and juice made from U.S. grown fruit. I talk about the same thing when Dr. Oz made the big fuss over arsenic in apple juice. You need to be reading everything that is written on a carton of juice. If it’s not made from just U.S. oranges than you might want to think twice before you buy it. It may turn out that the fungicides that ended up in the juice are nothing serious and that seems to be what the FDA is saying so far. But I am pretty sure they are doing you any good either, so why not error on the side of caution and buy American (good for our economy too).

What Orange Juice Brands Use Oranges from Brazil?
The two big name orange juice brands both use oranges from Brazil. That would be Minute Maid and Tropicana. However, Tropicana is in the process of switching to only using Florida grown oranges in their juice. But stores shelves will probably still have Brazilian OJ in them. The Simply Orange is also owned by Coke, so there juice could too contain Brazilian orange juice. If you are at all concerned, I would avoid these brands for the time being, and just buy ones that say they contain 100% Florida (or U.S.) orange juice.

Here is a list of the orange juices that may contain juices from other countries. I also have another list that contains juices that use only 100% Florida oranges.

1) Minute Maid
2) Tropicana
3) Simply Orange
4) Old Orchard (100% Frozen Orange Juice says contains juice from USA, Brazil, Mexico, Belize, and Costa Rica)
5) Prairie Farms
6) Full Circle Organic
7) Nantucket Nectars
8) Meijer Brand

If you carefully read the carton or container you should be able to find the source of their oranges either near the bar code or nutrition facts. Also a lot of companies print the countries the juice came from on the neck of their container.

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WELCOME TO MY BLOG

I'm Eric. I live in Ann Arbor, MI with my wife, 3 kids, and a flock of ducks. I love grocery shopping, trying new fruits, farmer's market, and traveling.
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