The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 159

June 10, 2012 at 8:42 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Happy Sunday!  Hope you’ve all had a great weekend, full of fun and family and good food!!  Welcome back!  🙂

Sunday’s around here are usually pretty quiet, and today was no exception.  Thought about going to a movie, slept in until 10:30 instead.  Finished up laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, did a little cooking, read the comics and clipped coupons.  Mike played video games with William for a little while.  William wanted to go visit a friend, but the family is out of town.  Nothing spectacular, nothing exciting, but a nice day around the house.

So here are a couple of recipes for you:

Home Made Granola

5 cups oats (I prefer old fashioned, but you can use quick if you want)

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp allspice

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

3/4 cup sugar free maple syrup sweetened with Splenda

3/4 cup honey

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla

Mix all dry ingredients in a BIG bowl.  Set aside.  Mix all wet ingredients in a medium bowl, mixing until it looks sort of creamy instead of like syrup.  I used a whisk for just a minute or two.  Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, mix VERY well.  It gets really hard after a minute or so, take a break, then mix some more.  It’s worth it!

Pour into a baking pan with sides, like a broiler pan or a cake pan, making sure the granola is not more than 1/2″ deep, break up large pieces as much as you can, spread it out.  Dark pans cook faster, try not to use them unless you have to.  I used to keep foil pans around just for this, but storing them got out of hand.  Split the batch over a couple of pans if you have to just to make sure it’s not too deep or squished to tightly in the pans, it won’t cook right.  It needs to be loose and not too deep in the pans.

Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour total, stirring every 15 minutes, breaking up bigger pieces, and making sure the batch isn’t getting too dark too quickly.  If you do have to use dark pans, cook about 10 minutes less.

Remove from oven and cool.  At this point, you can add raisins or chocolate chips before packing it up, or you can leave it plain.  You can serve in a cup, in a bag, or in a bowl with milk for breakfast.  You can use this granola to top off yogurt or ice cream.  It makes enough so you can do whatever you want with it!

Store in sealed containers up to two weeks.  Does not need to be refrigerated.

Oriental Seasoned Rice

Rice cooker (imperative!)

Rice

Water

Chicken flavor Flavor Boost, 1 packet

2 Tbsp Soy sauce

1 Tsp ground ginger

Fill bowl of rice cooker to the “4” mark.  Add in the chicken flavoring, the soy sauce and the ginger, mix well.  Using the scoop that came with your cooker, measure in 4 scoops of rice.  Turn on the cooker, when it’s done, serve!

We had this tonight with grilled pork chops, steamed broccoli with butter and steamed peas with butter.

So that’s it for tonight!  Gonna go relax with the family for a while…

Until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!

 

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 155

June 6, 2012 at 7:02 pm (Food) (, , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Happy Hump-Day!  Hope it’s been a good one…

Things are relatively quiet around here again tonight.  Dinner was uneventful, William watched movies at school, Mike had a doctor’s appointment so he was home early, and James is at the girlfriend’s for the day.  We woke to a note that he was over there, thank goodness he dropped off the car so I could get to work!

Today’s post is going to be relatively short, just one really easy recipe, made a decent meal, but I probably won’t do it again.  A little on the bland side for my taste…

Cube Steak and Potatoes

6-7 cube steaks, partially thawed

2 cans cheddar bacon baked potato soup

1 soup can water

Salt and pepper to taste

Put everything in the crock pot, cook on LOW 8-9 hours, serve!  You get meat and potatoes all together, plus a nice bacony flavor, but it was kind of flat.  I think using the beef broth the last time really made the dish, wish I had some when I put this together this morning!

Oh well, it wasn’t bad, just wasn’t really good either…

Anyway, until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 154

June 5, 2012 at 7:20 pm (Food) (, , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope your having a Terrific Tuesday!

Kind of a quiet day today…  James is off to work.  William is winding down his elementary career with a whole week full of fun activities.  Mike is getting a therapy group together, so he’s really in his element now, and he just found out he’s getting his one year anniversary raise in his next paycheck, so that is just beyond cool!  Now if I can just get hired into my job full time instead of as a temp, we’ll be in really good shape for a change!

Work was good, still rounding up May stuff, closing out things, making sure accounting stuff is all done.  But I’m definitely getting the hang of things, fitting in well, building a routine, which was the one thing I could never do in my old career, there was no such thing as routine!  So this is a really nice change of pace for me.

Anyway, on to the recipe of the day.  This morning, I put a bunch of things that sounded good together in the crock pot, and crossed my fingers.  And it turned out really well!  Here’s what we had:

Cheesy Chicken

4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, frozen

1 quart water

1 chicken Flavor Boost packet

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can broccoli cheese soup

Put a liner in your crock pot.  Put the chicken in the pot.  Mix the water, flavor boost and soups in a pitcher until fairly well blended, pour over chicken.  Cook on LOW 8-10 hours.  Remove chicken from pot to serving dish.  You can shred it if you want, or serve whole.

I took some of the juices from the pot and put it over some leftover rice, then microwaved for about 4 minutes, made nice soft rice with a little extra flavor.  Went well with the chicken, too.

We also had some broccoli and peas with butter to round out the meal.  And, I had some leftovers which made nice neat little dishes by layering rice, chicken, peas and a little shredded cheese, so Mike and I have lunch for tomorrow, too!

So now I’m off to play on Facebook for a while, then if I have time, I’m going to play with some beads!

Until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 152

June 3, 2012 at 8:14 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend!!

It’s been quiet around here today…

James spent the weekend with the girlfriend, and working, so we haven’t seen him since Friday night, and then only for a few minutes while he loaded up the car.

William has been playing Legos all day, except for the few times he’s come out to show me the “movies” he’s creating by doing stop motion photography with his phone and some Lego creations…  well, his version of stop motion anyway. Don’t think he completely gets that you have to make a TINY adjustment between each photo!  But he’s trying, and it’s adorable!

Mike has been reading comics and helping with laundry and dishes, and of course watching movies.  It is Sunday after all, and SyFy is running all the Alien movies as a teaser to Prometheus as it is coming out next weekend, can’t wait!!!

And I’ve been doing odds and ends…  went grocery shopping, relatively small trip, but we needed a few things.  Had to take my time,  compare prices on things, and dodge all the non-English speaking folks with their food stamps who were out in DROVES today.  Something about that really bothers me…  couldn’t be that when we needed help we couldn’t get any!  We had to depend on friends and family and hope it all worked out.

OK, enough of the soap box rant…  sorry!

Finished up the laundry, did dishes, cleaned up the kitchen, made a nice dinner, and now dessert is in the oven.  I took a couple of familiar recipes and changed them up a little, they turned out really well!  Here are the recipes:

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

2 boxes Great Value chicken flavor stuffing

3 cups water

1 stick butter, cut into pieces

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 large can Great Value cream of mushroom soup

8 slices Great Value Swiss cheese

8-10 slices lunchmeat ham (or one pkg diced ham)

2 Tbsp milk

Heat water 5 minutes in the microwave while you slice up the butter into pats.  Put the pats in a large casserole dish, pour over the hot water, and stir until the butter is completely melted.  Mix in the two boxes of stuffing, mixing well to make sure all the pieces get moist, and all the liquid gets absorbed.  Set aside.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Trim any excess fat or leftover skin from the chicken breasts, including removing that tendon that runs through the breast, and cut the meat into bite sized pieces.  Set aside.

Lay the lunch meat ham (or spread the diced ham) over the stuffing.

Top with the chicken pieces, spreading them out over the whole dish.

Top with the Swiss cheese, overlapping as needed.

Make sure the cheese doesn’t touch the pan, it WILL stick!  Mix the 2 tbsp milk into the cream of mushroom soup, spread over the entire dish, making sure to get this all the way to the edges.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until chicken is cooked through and cheese is melted.  I always cook exactly one hour and it’s perfect.  Serve!

Vanilla Pudding Cake with Chocolate Pudding Sauce

Cake:

3/4 c butter

3 eggs

2 1/2 c all purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 3/4 c sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 c milk

1 pkg vanilla instant pudding mix

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Allow butter and eggs to sit 30 minutes at room temp.  Grease and lightly flour cake pans or muffin pans.  Suitable for:

9″ rounds (2)

8″ rounds (2)

8″ squares (2)

Cup cakes (18-24)

Mini Cakes (12)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together flour, salt and baking powder, set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, slowly add in sugar until completely blended.  Add eggs one at a time, blending well between each addition.  Beat in vanilla.

Alternately add in flour mixture and milk, blending well, until everything has been added and well blended.  Add in pudding mix and oil, blend well again.  Pour into prepared pans.

Bake as follows:

8″ rounds, 9″ rounds, 8″ squares      25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean

Cup cakes 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean

Mini cakes 18-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean

Chocolate pudding sauce:

1 large pkg chocolate instant pudding mix

1 1/2 cups milk (or half whatever the package calls for in the directions!)

Mix together, blend very well, pour over cooled cake and serve!  (Sorry, don’t have a photo of this last part for you…)

So that’s it for tonight!  Hope you enjoy one or both of these recipes.  We sure did!

Until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 148

May 29, 2012 at 7:53 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope your week is starting off well.  At least it’s a short week, right?!

Well, I logged in to find a nice little surprise…  I’ve been nominated for a blogger award!  It’s a badge (which I can’t figure out how to add to my blog here!), and a really nice way to acknowledge the blogs you love, so I figure what the heck!  So I’m supposed to nominate my five favorite blogs, and let them know, which I did.  Then I’m supposed to share them with my followers, so here goes:

http://thecraftynetwork.wordpress.com/

http://protogere.wordpress.com/

http://photobotos.com/

http://theforkleftbehind.wordpress.com/

http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/

And I need to share a random thing about myself….  hmmm….  people always ask me where they can get my hair color, and I tell them you have to have my parents!  LOL

So here’s my badge:

I absolutely cannot figure out how to add this to my blog anywhere, I’m sure it’s ME, not this blog host, I can be a little technically challenged.

So I think I hit all the points…  I certainly hope so!  It’s kind of cool to be recognized for something I’m actually enjoying!

Now that’s over with, on to tonight’s actual post!  Tonight I experimented a little, and then threw in some traditional stuff, and ended up with something versatile that everyone could enjoy how they saw fit.  Here’s the recipe:

Asian Style Shredded Chicken

5 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 Tsp ground ginger

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 packet chicken Flavor Boost

1 quart water

Yep, you guessed it, headed for the crock pot again!  Place chicken breasts (frozen or thawed doesn’t really matter, but I usually start with frozen) in crock pot.  Mix remaining ingredients in a pitcher until well blended, pour over chicken.  Cook on LOW 8-10 hours.  Remove chicken from pot and sort of squish it with a fork, it should literally fall apart, not a whole lot of shredding actually needed.  Pour a few spoonfuls of the juices from the pot over the shredded chicken just to give it some extra flavor and a little moisture, and serve!

Mike and William put some on a tortilla with a little rice and cheese, and called it an Asian burrito.

I put mine in a bowl with some rice and some leftover green beans and peas, sprinkled on a little more soy sauce and a little freshly ground pepper over the top, and had a nice easy meal.

And because I cooked so much, there is plenty left for lunches and such tomorrow!

I have to tell you, it smelled wonderful when I first walked into the house this evening, like a Chinese restaurant without the grease!  This would make really good fried rice, or mixed with some fresh cabbage and some wonton or eggroll wrappers would make nice bite sized appetizers or egg rolls.  Hmmm…  might have to stop by the grocery on the way home tomorrow!  That actually sounds really good!

So, good day all around!  William had a good day at school.  James is off to work.  Mike is feeling more chipper than usual tonight.  And I had a pretty good day on the job, plus came home to a nice meal and an empty dishwasher.  Who could ask for more!

Until tomorrow friends, eat well, love well, live well!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 139

May 20, 2012 at 7:16 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope your weekend was fun, and you’re getting to relax a little before the week starts all over again.

Busy, busy, busy around here today, but then every Sunday is!  Did the rest of the laundry, everything is now washed, dried, folded, hung-up or put away where it belongs, except James’ stuff since he hasn’t been here all weekend.  Actually cleaned the kitchen when I was done cooking tonight, so there is no new mess to deal with tomorrow, which is really good because tomorrow promises to be a very busy Monday.

So here’s what I cooked today:

Crispy Bacon (just because I could!  Plus, I crumbled a little to top off the potato soup I made yesterday, the rest is in a container for whoever wants some in the morning)

Half Whole Wheat Bread (in the bread machine)

6 ounces 80-90 degree water

2 Tsp honey

1 cup white flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp packed brown sugar

1 Tbsp dry milk

1 Tbsp butter, quartered

1 pkg active dry yeast

Add liquid ingredients to bread machine pan.  Add dry ingredients except yeast to pan, tap to settle, make sure to get some into the pan corners.  Place butter in corners.  Make a small well in the center of the dry ingredients, add the yeast.  Program for WHOLE WHEAT, pick crust color you like, and hit start.  About 3 and a half hours later, you will have fresh home made bread.

Makes a 1 pound loaf.

Shredded BBQ Chicken

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 quart water

1/4 cup BBQ spice mix (I used KC Masterpiece seasoning mix this time)

1/2 cup ketchup

1 Tbsp molasses

1/2 cup brown sugar

Put chicken in crock pot.  Mix the rest of the ingredients in a pitcher until well blended, pour over chicken.  Cook on LOW 8-10 hours, or HIGH 4-5 hours.  Remove chicken from pot, shred.  Mix about 1/4 cup corn starch into juices in pot, cook another 30 minutes or until thickened.  Add back in shredded chicken and serve!

I served this over noodles tonight, mostly because I ran out of corn starch, so I couldn’t get my sauce to thicken enough!!  It still tasted good though…

We also had some veggies with this, and I thought about making cupcakes, but I don’t have powdered sugar for frosting, and I think I’m running out of steam…

So now it’s time to sit back, relax, oh wait, I still have to make sandwiches for William’s lunches!  Oh well, I’ll get to relax eventually…

Until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 137

May 18, 2012 at 8:15 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you all had a great week, maybe even a Funky Friday, and are looking forward to a fabulous weekend!

This past week was awesome at work, got my own area, learning more from doing than sitting in any class.  I really feel like I’m fitting in, getting into the swing of things.

William had a pretty good week at school, no major issues, not a ton of homework, rode his bike home two days without incidents, spent the other three with a friend.  Thank goodness his mom only works part time and can handle William!  Gotta remember to pay her next week, I’m a little behind.

James had a good week at work, got cleared to go back to regular duty, feeling all better.  Getting a lot of hours, so he’s getting a decent paycheck.  He’s taking my car for the weekend after he gets home tonight, guess I’ll just have to borrow Mike’s if I need to go anywhere!

Mike is feeling much better today.  Think the worst of that stomach bug is over with.  Feel kind of bad that he had to do the liquid diet thing one day, then the “white” diet the next day, but he’s feeling better, so it was worth it.

So tonight, I started the first cooking for the weekend.  Made a big meal that had plenty of leftovers, which is what I plan on doing all weekend so we can get through until payday on Wednesday!  Here’s the first big recipe:

Chicken Spaghetti

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 cans tomato paste

1 packet chicken Flavor Boost

1 quart water

1 Tsp garlic powder

1 Bay leaf

Mix everything except the chicken in the crock pot until you have something that looks more like tomato juice.  Add the chicken, and cook on LOW 8-10 hours.

When you get home in the evening, put on a pot of spaghetti, and while it’s cooking, remove the chicken from the crock pot, shred it, then put it in a sauce pan with a large jar of spaghetti sauce.  Heat just until heated through, since the chicken is already cooked.  Drain the spaghetti, mix the spaghetti and chicken sauce all in the larger pot, and serve by the bowl!  Top with shredded cheese or Parmesan cheese, it’s up to you!!

Three of us ate very well, and I had almost half of it leftover, two meals in one!

Tomorrow, I start on the homemade breads…

Until then, eat well, love well, live well!!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 135

May 16, 2012 at 7:33 pm (Food) (, , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you are having a Wonderful Wednesday!

I officially have my own territory and my own set of properties to manage, so today was cool!  Instead of trying to find things to do to help other people, I actually had my own stuff to do, and I was able to work out a schedule of sorts.  I still have a lot to learn, but I’m surrounded by a great group of people, and with one obvious exception, they are all ready and willing to help me.  All in all, it was a really good day!

William did the bike home bit today, called me when he got home like the good kid he can be.  No homework tonight, so he’s been goofing off all afternoon. Mike came home sick again, went  to the doctor, who has him on a liquid diet for today, then light stuff tomorrow.  Thinks he has some kind of intestinal virus.  I know he’s got to be tired of getting sick, seems like it happens an aweful lot!

James is off tonight, but he had to go to the clinic for his follow-up on his back.  Then he went over to the girlfriend’s place for a while, so he missed dinner.  Oh well, his loss.

Speaking of dinner, here’s tonight’s recipe:

Chicken Soft Tacos

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 quarts water

1 packet chicken Flavor Boost

4 Tbsp taco seasoning mix

Put all these into a crock pot, cook on LOW 8-10 hours.  Take out the chicken and shred it.  Put the shredded chicken into a large skillet, and add:

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup taco seasoning mix

Cook on medium until the sauce thickens a little.  It will all soak into the chicken, so you really only cook it about 5 minutes or so.

Serve with shredded cheese and soft tortillas, or you could use crunchy taco shells if you wanted. Top with whatever you like on your tacos, like lettuce, tomato, onions, ranch dressing, sour cream…  it’s up to YOU!

Leftover chicken is great in an enchilada bake the next night!!

So until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 129

May 10, 2012 at 9:09 pm (Food) (, , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!  Hope you’re all have a Thrilling Thursday!

It’s been a GREAT day around here!  Got to sleep in, Mike took William to school, and I woke up to find flowers and a cute singing card waiting for me!  Then I went to the bead store for about an hour, got all the supplies I needed for a custom order, plus a couple little things for myself.  Came home, then Mike and I went to Walmart, had some lunch at McD’s (yeah I know, not real romantic or anything, but we just couldn’t decide what we wanted, but we were hungry!), got a new coffee pot, a couple of movies, and a couple of beads for my bracelet.  Picked up William from school, made sure James was doing OK, then off we went to see The Avengers!  WOW!  It was AWESOME!!  Definitely one we need to get on DVD when it’s out.  Then home for a nice dinner, and Publix chocolate cake.  Absolutely a great day!!

So here’s what was on the table tonight:

Chicken and Sausage

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

5 sweet Italian sausage links

1 1/2 quarts water

2 cans tomato paste

1 package Italian dressing mix

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tsp black pepper

1 Tbsp kosher salt

3 Tbsp dried onion flakes

1 1/2 cups white rice

Place chicken and sausage in the crock pot. (yes, my favorite cooking tool)

Mix water, tomato paste, onion flakes and all seasonings together in a pitcher, and pour over meats.  Cook on LOW 8-9 hours.

Remove meats from pot, put about 3-4 cups liquid in a large sauce pan.  Add in rice, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes or until rice is done.

While the rice is cooking, shred the chicken and slice the sausage.  When the rice is done, mix in the chicken and sausage, and serve!

I know I’ve done something similar before, but this blend of sausage type and seasonings worked MUCH better, it really was a lot better.  I’m actually looking forward to the leftovers tomorrow.

So until then, eat well, love well, live well!!

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The Great 2012 Cooking Extravaganza! Day 114

April 24, 2012 at 7:44 pm (Food) (, , , , , , , , , )

Hello again friends, and welcome back!!  Today was a really good day, hope it was a Terrific Tuesday for you as well!

I think this new job is going to work out just fine.  I’m starting to learn stuff, sat in on my first actual training today, have another training scheduled tomorrow.  I’m starting to understand some of the things I’m seeing my trainer do on his computer, it’s starting to make sense.  I see how we fit in to the whole process.  And I’m working with a very cool group of people who are more than willing to answer questions and share information, so that’s good news after my last experience.

William had a good day at school, FCAT testing seems to be going well, and he’s settling in to spending after school time at a friend’s house.  I was a little worried about that, but they seem to be doing really well!

James is off to work, in MY car!  OMG!!!  We got the insurance straight, and he’s got to work until 1:30 in the morning, so I’M not going out to get him!  But that means that he’s grown up, and I’m not sure I’m ready…

Anyway, I think I’m getting the hang of getting everything ready in the morning, actually got dinner in the crock pot before I left, so we had a nice dinner waiting when we got home tonight.  Now I just need to finish cleaning up the kitchen so I have the crock pot for tomorrow!!  Here’s what we had:

Asian Chicken

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, frozen

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 Tsp ground ginger

1 quart water

4 Tbsp corn starch

Put everything except the corn starch in the crock pot, cook on LOW for 8-9 hours.  Remove chicken and shred.  Take 3 cups of the liquid, put it in a sauce pan, add in the corn starch and cook over medium high heat until thickened.  Add in the shredded chicken, and serve!

We had this with Quinoa cooked in the rice cooker, per package directions.  Two parts water to one part Quinoa, really simple.  It’s an interesting grain, kind of crackly in your mouth, but with a little salt and pepper, and the chicken in sauce over the top, it was pretty good.

We also had some leftover green beans with bacon, peas with butter, and grammy’s baked beans.  I know, not the ideal mix, but it was all good in it’s own way!  AND, I have a little bit leftover for lunch tomorrow.

And now I need to go clean out the crock pot, and maybe make some blueberry muffins (from a box mix, don’t get too excited there), so I’m off!  Until tomorrow, eat well, love well, live well!

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