When I think about turkey stock, I think about Thanksgiving — my favorite holiday. Every year as a kid, I looked forward to the post-meal turkey stock ritual as much as the big day itself. After dinner, my mom and I would nestle the veggies and the turkey carcass into the biggest pot we owned. It would simmer all night, perfuming the house with its comforting aroma. Then, it was turkey noodle soup and tortellini en brodo for the rest of the holiday weekend.
When Tim and I got our Instant Pot earlier this year, I was hesitant to try making stock, sure that it wouldn’t live up to the gelatinous flavor bomb that comes from going low and slow. I finally gave it a try, though, and after a few tweaks to the recipe, I landed on a version that I love almost as much as the method I grew up with.
This Instant Pot recipe makes a smaller batch than a giant stock pot would (about 2.5 quarts in a 6-quart Instant Pot), but it’s a quicker and less messy process, and low-maintenance enough to make weekly.
This Christmas, I made my family’s pierogi recipe for the first time. My Aunt Carol found the recipe a few years ago, written down in a forgotten notebook. She had last made the recipe with her mother (my grandmother) when she was 17, and wrote it down at that time. I’m so thankful that she found it and passed it on!
The story behind the recipe is adorable. While my “Grandpa Z” was serving in World War II, my grandma — they were just dating at the time! — took cooking lessons from a Polish woman in Grandpa’s neighborhood. From her, Grandma learned how to make pierogi and other Polish dishes so that she could impress Grandpa when he got home from the war. It worked, and the rest is history.
When we first became a chicken family in August of 2016, we had no idea the joy our girls would bring to our lives. We were excited for the prospect of fresh eggs, and knew from Tim’s sister, Mary, that chickens could be addicting — but we didn’t have any idea how amazing these birds are until we came home with our own little flock.
We started off with a tiny coop, which was perfect for getting started. Our first four girls, two Rhode Island Reds and two Cuckoo Marans, helped us learn the ropes of chicken keeping and taught us an understanding of chicken love — and loss, as we heartbreakingly lost our two Marans early on. Our Reds, Dolly and Loretta, continue to rule the roost and teach our newbies the way things are done around Brehmer Homestead.
By spring 2017, our starter coop had started to fall apart, and once our flock had grown to six, it was time for an upgrade. We searched the depths of Craigslist for weeks until we found just what we were looking for: the most beautiful coop, custom-made for us with Texas cedar.
Texas Cedar Shop offers a range of gorgeous, custom built chicken coops, playhouses, sheds, blinds, and more. They are a family-run company, were quick to respond to my emails, and delivered our coop to us and built it on site — not to mention they are Texans, so we were supporting our local economy. We loved working with them, and look forward to using them again (chicken coop expansion, anyone?!).
We traveled to Mexico City for the first time over Labor Day weekend. It’s a quick 2.5 hour flight from Austin, and we found everything to be incredibly affordable once we arrived, making it the perfect long weekend getaway. I’ve outlined our itinerary below. A star denotes my favorites, and we already have a long list of things we want to do on our next visit!
I stumbled upon this pin years ago, and it remained one of my favorites. After we moved into our home in August 2016 and started decorating, we knew we had the perfect place for a buffalo of our own – on a huge wall in our living room.