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Green Dragons

27 Oct

Every year my dragon boat team has a season end party, it is always a potluck and I always take a dessert because, well, that is what I know how to make lol Last year I took a cupcake cake shaped like a dragon and felt like I should take something this year also dragon themed. But what to take? I did some internet snooping to look for inspiration and came up with this…

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Green Dragons!

Ok yes, admittedly he is a bit ghetto looking, but he was the first one made and there was a bit of a learning curve for how to move them around once they were frosted lol In the end I resorted to using an offset spatula to scoop them up and move them to their carrying container, and even then some of them lost frosting on their torsos. *rolls eyes* Looking back I realize I should have frosted and decorated them a couple hours prior to when I had to package them up, give the frosting time to set a bit, instead of packing them as soon as they were decorated. My impatience was showing. πŸ˜‰

They are super easy to make, and would probably be a fun adult and kid project. Especially since you don’t have to decorate them to make them look like a dragon.

The base is Rice Krispie squares, only cut in to rectangles to give more of a “body” impression vs just a head. Cause ya know, totally normal to eat the entire body of an animal, but it’d be weird if it was just a decorated head…

Start with a tray of Rice Krispie treats, made exactly as the box says. Let them cool completely before cutting.

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While the treats are cooling you can whip up some buttercream frosting, dye it any colour you want, and prep your decorations.

I bought the eyes ready made because it is halloween and candy eyes are everywhere, so why not take advantage? All the other decorations are candies that I manipulated. I cut a Fruit By The Foot in to triangles for the ears. I pulled apart a pull apart Twizzler and then cut the strips short to make spiky hair. I found this white malleable candy at the dollar store to make the fangs. Lastly, I used Smarties for the nostrils.

Originally I wanted to make them all uniform, so if the frosting was going to be green than I wanted green spiky hair and ears. However, candy companies are not thinking of my baking decoration needs so I couldn’t find things that would work all in green, or all of any colour so I changed my mind and decided to go rainbow themed. After all, just because a dragon has a green body, who says he can’t show his individuality by dying his spiky hair? And who says genetics would make his ears green? Maybe dragons thrive on showing their personality by having multi-coloured hair. Or maybe they are a mix of colours to better blend in with the unicorns and rainbows.

The point is, there are no rules when it comes to stuff like this, so I purposefully went colourful. Having said that, I opened the bag of Smarties and they were all muted colours. When did Smarties stop being vibrant and instead become pastel and blah looking? That was kind of a let down, sigh.

Here is the candy prepped and ready for use. I had no idea how much I would need so I guessed…and definitely over estimated on the amount of hair I would need lol

Once your candy is prepped, your frosting is made, and your Rice Krispies are cooled all you do is cut the Rice Krispies, eat one for quality control, frost and decorate to your hearts content.

I would frost and decorate then move on to the next one instead of frost them all and then move on to the decorating part. You need the frosting to be soft enough it will accept you sticking candy in to it so if you wait to decorate until all of them are frosted it might be harder.

There was also going to be a line drawn in black gel frosting between the fangs to create a mouth but I thought that was too risky. Frosting Rice Krispie treats is not easy, well, not easy in the sense they are bumpy and will never look good, and that mouth was just going to end up wobbly and unattractive, so I left their mouth area as just having fangs. I think that part looked ok though so no biggy.

Voila! Green Dragons!

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Definitely not my best work, and I’m sorry I didn’t test them out the week prior to discover I wasn’t going to like how they turned out so I could make something else, but oh well. They are cute in a kid type of way, which is why I think its a great idea as an adult and kid project. Just maybe not quite right for an adult’s dragon boat season end party.

I’m already plotting for next year though, just you wait, it is gonna be great!…hopefully lol πŸ˜‰

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0.317

16 Aug

Last weekend my dragon boat team and I competed at the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival. So many things happen at these away races and I always struggle on how to write about them. Do I focus on the races? The food? The general merriment? The travel? Sometimes there is one huge thing that stands out, so it becomes obvious what story I want to tell, other times the entire weekend is fun and I wish I could find a way to talk about everything.

I thought I’d try breaking things down in to categories…maybe that will help?

So, the food!

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This isn’t all the food I ate over the course of the trip, there was dinner on the ferry ride home, and a random banana or slices of toast here and there, but the best food deserved to be photographed and shared.

Pictures of Victoria!

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I took some random, kinda touristy, pictures of Victoria while there. I can’t really tell you all that much about them lol I just took them because I liked how they looked.

General hi-jinks!

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So yeah, I realized I didn’t ask anybody if I could put their pictures on my blog and it is late at night right now so I’m not going to wake them up with texts asking, which means you’re stuck with pictures of me. Sorry!

Last, but definitely not least, is the actual racing!

Each team raced twice on Saturday and twice on Sunday. We had the option to race in something called Guts & Glory but it happens later in the day on Sunday and we wanted to be on as early of a ferry as possible so we opted out. It was nice to qualify though. πŸ™‚

We won Bronze in Division A, or as this festival calls it, Diamond Division!

You may be wondering about the title of this post, 0.317.

0.317 is how far behind we were from the team that won Silver. So we were thiiiiiiis close to winning silver. Which for some people might make the bronze seem less special, or might make winning the Bronze sad, because instead of thinking we Won bronze the thought becomes we Lost silver. I get it, I do! So many races are won and lost by hundredths of a second and when you are on the losing side of that number it can hurt. To know that you were so close and didn’t make it sucks. It doesn’t help that when you tell people you won Bronze they dismiss it, or joke about you not winning silver or gold, or make any number of comments that I guess they think are funny. Weirdos.

It happens when you win silver, people comment about you getting gold next time, things like that. *rolls eyes*

Instead of celebrating the medal we earned, the time we got, it becomes about being apologetic we didn’t do better. To that, I am calling bullshit. That’s right, you heard me.

We have been training for months, since February in case you were curious. We train in cold, in rain, in wind, in polluted waters, in poor air quality, in blistering heat, in hail. We train when we are tired, sick, injured, sad. We have been working our butts off for the better part of a year, and we’ll keep training because it is what we do. We train on the water, we compete in other sports, we go to the gym, hike trails, do all sorts of things to stay strong and keep fit, in part so we can bring a strong and useful version of ourselves to the boat.

All of that counts for something, at least to me it does, and I’m proud of our Bronze medal. We worked hard for that, we earned it! My team accomplished something in Victoria, we came together and showed that we could work as a team and earn some hardware. I am proud of all of them. πŸ™‚

Ok so I didn’t actually get permission from any of them yet to show the team picture so I’m just gonna cross my fingers none of them mind! lol

That in a nutshell is my Victoria weekend. We went. We ate a lot of food. We raced. We won bronze. I bought a hat that is over priced but looks so good on me. None of us got sunburned (that’s mostly a concern for me, the pale one in the group lol). We had a fun time. πŸ˜€

 

A Little Recap

26 Apr

Now you may be thinking because I haven’t posted in a little bit I have fallen off the wagon in regards to the fitness challenge I am in, you my friends would be wrong!

It’s so nice to be able to write that cause let’s be honest, it is so easy to say yes to a challenge and after a week kinda slack off. I think in part I am sticking with it because (1) I made up the challenge, and (2) there is an end goal of looking good in that bridesmaid’s dress…vanity can be a great motivator! πŸ˜‰

Since I last wrote my team (I compete in dragon boating) won bronze in Division A at a regatta. πŸ™‚Β  It was this particular regattas first year and it went really well. I don’t mean it went well because we won a medal *rolls eyes* but that the regatta was run well. It went smoothly, no real glitches to be had…that I know of anyways lol They were rushing the races to get as many of them done before the afternoon as possible because afternoon water conditions were less than ideal due to lower tide levels than normal for this time of year. Our last race of the day was in choppier water but I kinda liked it, made it more fun! And yes, I know I’m a bit of an odd ball lol

apr 22 2018 race day 8

The Twisted Hips, 2018 Roster

The medals are definitely original. Normally they are made of metal but this regatta, in honour of the races being held on Earth Day, hand crafted the medals out of three types of wood. So one person made all the medals, by hand, in his basement…we know this because he was reminding everyone all day lol

Then it was back to normal life for a couple days before a little overnight trip to Whistler. Yay for it being late enough in the season it is no longer law to need snow tires to drive up there! πŸ™‚

I went with a bunch of friends, we all went up at different times based on our schedules. So I got there about a half hour before two people had to leave, which kinda sucked, but the majority of the group was still there so it all worked out in the end.

My FitBit was very happy on Wednesday, with all the walking to the Village and around the Village (twice!) and my quick gym session, I got a hella lot of steps. And we all know FitBit owners live to make their FitBit’s happy lol Proof that even when in Whistler you can keep to a fitness challenge!

It was a pretty chill trip, one of our group is moving away (lame!) so we did this trip to give us all a chance to hang out before she leaves. It was mostly spent playing board games, lounging by the pool (that part didn’t include me since I’d burn in a stupid short amount of time, sigh), going to the Village to shop and eat dinner, and I dunno, just being in each other’s company.

Both the bear and the scenic picture were taken on the walk to the Village. The sign the bear is holding basically says please don’t feed me, or my cubs, and keep your dog on a leash..just ya know, in a cuter way lol It was so sunny and summery and lovely, I took a picture of the river? Creek? The water, I’ll just call it water, but my picture doesn’t do it justice. There are chairs set up on both sides so you can just sit and enjoy being there…which I actually didn’t do because well, we were on our way to the Village so we were going somewhere and also, I don’t voluntarily sit out in the sun, that would be the equivalent of me putting a target on my back and daring the UV rays to come get me. πŸ˜›

whistler apr 25 2018 3

The sheep are too cute!

This is purely a picture of cuteness…especially the sheep on the right side. They are bombs, which I don’t actually know what that is, some sort of chocolate something or other, I just wanted to share the cute. πŸ™‚

And lastly, a picture of me touching snow, who’d of thought you’d see the day! πŸ˜‰

whistler apr 25 2018 4

In case you’re thinking it mush be sort of chilly because I am wearing a long sleeve top, no-no, I am wearing long sleeves as sun protection…hence the hat! It is easier to wear long sleeves than reapply sunscreen every hour and a half, and less messy, so I spend a lot of the sunny months in long sleeves. But forget the clothes, look at the snow! It was so odd, the snow ends right at the cement, it is on the hills for the snowboarders and skiers but nowhere else. Kind of a random thing to see…I’m used to seeing snow covering everything – when I do see it that is.

Besides my fun random days I’ve been going to dragon boat practice, hitting up the gym, taking walks, all sorts of things to keep up with the 44 Day Fitness Challenge. There are only 30 days left!…not that I’m panicking about that or anything… πŸ˜‰

FitBit Love

7 Feb

I have had a FitBit on my wrist for about 4 years now and I love it just as much now as I did when I first strapped one on. Maybe even more now, since I have a newer, snazzier, version than the one I started out with.

My first FitBit was a Flex, the one that is semi-water proof and the display shows 5 dots. The dots light up when you tap the FitBit to show you how many steps you have taken that day. I had my step goal set at 10,000 steps per day so each dot represented 2,000 steps. While it was good, all tech has it’s flaws. It could go in to sleep mode if you were pushing a grocery cart across a parking lot (from the bumps I guess), it often thought my chopping vegetables was me stepping (it was amazing how many more “steps” I got on days I did veggie prep! lol), and well, it only gave me limited information. For detailed info about how I was doing that day I had to sign in to my app, which yes ok, not like that is a big deal or even hard to do, but c’mon, I’m lazy, which ironically enough, is why I invested in a FitBit in the first place lol

That first FitBit, I had epic plans for it. I bought it a short time before I was going on vacation, what was going to be a very active vacation, and I couldn’t wait to see how many steps I could rack up while in Northern Wales. Well yeah, that didn’t work, because it broke after I had it for a month or so? I was so upset! I contacted FitBit to let them know it broke, actually I think I contacted them to ask what I could do to fix it, and by default let them know it broke. They gave me some things to try, that didn’t work, and then they did something awesome…they sent me a brand new FitBit Flex for free!

Talk about amazing customer service! πŸ˜€

I didn’t get the replacement FitBit in time for my vacation, but hey, whatcha gonna do? *shrug*

Once I returned from my trip my new FitBit Flex and I became inseparable. Literally. The only times I took it off were when I showered and when it had to charge. I even covered it in saran wrap and wore it when taking part in a muddy obstacle course and more importantly, when dragon boating. Well, to be fair, I only covered it in saran wrap when dragon boating if it was pouring rain, on non-rainy days I just made sure to wear it on the arm that didn’t get submerged into the water with every stroke of my paddle. Splashing I knew it could handle!

Two Christmases ago I took the Flex out of it’s wrist band and tucked it in my clothes, in what I thought was a secure spot, because I was going to my work Christmas party and the band was not what one would call fancy looking. I absolutely couldn’t wear it with my dress, so into my cleavage it went. Don’t judge, I’ve done it before and it worked great! That particular time it didn’t work out all that well and somewhere during the night I lost it. Sadness. 😦 I tried calling the party venue, left them multiple messages, describing what it looked like, but nobody ever called me back so I’m assuming they either (1) didn’t listen to their messages, (2) didn’t care, (3) didn’t find it and didn’t care if they told me that or not. Which fair enough, why should they care that I was stupid and lost my FitBit and was now frantically hoping beyond all hope it would magically re-appear in to my life.

I was so upset I posted to social media about having lost it and someone I have never met, who lives on the other side of the country, said they had just upgraded their FitBit and no longer needed their Flex and get this, they sent me their Flex for free! With the band and charger and dongle!

People can be amazing sometimes. Absolutely amazing. πŸ˜€

When it arrived in the mail I was so incredibly grateful that I immediately sent them a Thank You card with a gift card inside. I mean wow, who does things like that not just in general but for someone they never met? Blows your mind a little doesn’t it?

Then another amazing thing happened, for Christmas that year I received a FitBit Alta as a gift from my parents. I had been wanting to upgrade but couldn’t justify or afford the cost and they knew this, so being the awesome parents that they are, that is what they bought me.

So now I had my replacement Flex and a new Alta. For a while I thought I would wear the Alta most of the time but swap out to the Flex when dragon boating but that didn’t really pan out. Instead the Alta and I became best friends and inseparable and now it only comes off my wrist when I am showering or charging it.

Then a crisis!

This happened…

fitbit flex

The strap broke! NoooOOOooo!

I wasn’t even doing anything interesting when it broke, the silicone part just came off of the clip part that attaches to the actual tech part of the FitBit Alta.

Travesty! The horrors! What was I to do??

Well I’ll tell ya what I did, I went searching for my crazy glue hoping I could fix it only to find my crazy glue had become a solid mass, I mean what, did it glue itself to itself? So then I started tucking the tech part in to my sock / boot / waist band / pocket (depending on what I was wearing) because I couldn’t be without it but I didn’t know how best to carry it around. I was constantly worrying it would fall out and I wouldn’t notice and then I’d not only not have a wrist band for it but I wouldn’t have the Alta at all! *cue the dramatic music*

Being the broke person that I am I chose to order a knock-off band from eBay instead of forking over $40 for a real replacement from FitBit and boy did I regret that. It didn’t fit as well, it was different material and not as comfortable, it was starting to give me a rash, just not good things.

So I did what I did last time I had a problem, I emailed FitBit and told them what happened. I didn’t ask them for a new band, I was past warranty and didn’t think that was right. But I did tell them the circumstances under which the band broke, and how it wasn’t fixable, and now I was wearing it tucked in my boot, and maybe they should look in to the problem because if this is a product flaw they may want to address it.

I got a very polite response asking me for some more information, which I provided, and then I got an even better email from them saying I was past warranty but sometimes rules are meant to be broken and they were going to send me a replacement band anyways!

This! This is why I love this company and will keep buying their products! Well, this and the fact that I love their products lol

Not only did they send me a replacement band they sent me the newer version of the band, so instead of a clip type closure it is a, umm, I don’t know what the type of closure is called, it is like a belt or a watch closure…here lemme put a picture in to show you what I mean…

fitbit band

See what I mean? My closure is like that, only my band is black, like I’d ever buy it in baby pink. πŸ˜›Β  lol

Now, my Alta and I are back to being inseparable…on my wrist, not in my boot! πŸ™‚

Here is a link to the FitBit Alta that I have on Amazon…in case you are interested in getting one yourself!

http://amzn.to/2E6jwaY

 

Dragon Boat Swag

5 Feb

In honour of my dragon boat team’s training season officially starting (we had our first practice of the season this past Saturday at 9am) I thought I’d share an etsy store that sells dragon boat related swag that I love.

Disclaimer! My friend created this shop, and designed everything in it, and arranged for all items to be locally made, so I maaaay be a tad biased…but! I can guarantee you that if I didn’t know her, and I stumbled on to it by fluke I would still love it! (And for the cynics out there, no I am not getting paid to tell you about her shop *rolls eyes*)

Here is a link to her shop:

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/DoodledeeCreative/items

Or if you are on etsy and want to search for her shop it is DoodledeeCreative.

So far I have bought this key chain…

dragon boat keychain

Which I absolutely love! LOVE! It is hand made, adorable, and well, functional I guess, but something doesn’t have to be functional to be loved by me lol

I want oh so many of the t-shirts she has listed but I am one of those weirdos that lives on a budget and I don’t have a lot of extra money floating around to buy things solely because I want them. Le sigh.Β  Doesn’t mean I’m not planning on buying some of them as the season progresses though, so be warned, you’ll be reading posts throughout the year filled with me sharing my excitement over a new piece of dragon boat swag.

See, at every race regatta and festival there are always booths set up selling tanks, and tees, and various pieces of swag, all related to dragon boating. Don’t get me wrong, they are great, but there isn’t a lot of variety and it doesn’t take very long to have one of every quote that you like on a shirt, and just because a new season has rolled around doesn’t mean the companies bringing those items to the festivals have come up with any new great quotes. I mean sure, sometimes they do, but mostly you’re seeing the same things year after year. Kinda gets old, ya know?

But D’s shop is original, it is designs she has come up with, new quotes and images on the tees and tanks and stickers, it is the opportunity to buy something not everyone has. Plus, the little bamboo key chain can go with me everywhere, so I can show off my dragon boater pride whenever I want lol

So yeah, if you are a dragon boater, or know a dragon boater, or are curious about dragon boating, I highly encourage you to go check out her shop. You can spoil yourself, spoil that special dragon boater that is in your life, enjoy buying something you know is an original design and is made in Canada, all good things people! Good things!

Paddles Up! πŸ™‚

 

Dragon Cupcake Cake

24 Oct

The title says it all! lol

My dragon boat team had our season end party and I made a dragon cupcake cake for one of the desserts.

I would like to stress I didn’t come up with this idea on my own. I saw a video 6 months ago about making a pull apart cupcake cake in the shape of a unicorn and I thought it might be fun to make but instead of a unicorn make a dragon. About a month ago I googled “dragon cupcake cake” and found plenty of images of amazing looking dragon cupcake cakes. I took the two I liked best, and used their images as inspiration to make my own version.

He came out like this…

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You want to start out by making a double batch of chocolate cupcakes. I used 24 for the dragon, I had 3 that were throwaways because they were the first three I frosted, I don’t have experience frosting with a bag and tip and let’s just say there was a learning curve lol

I attempted to make red frosting as one of my team colours is red but even though I used a “true red” no flavour gel dye from Wilton the best I could get was pink. sigh. The frosting tip was borrowed from work and I have no idea what size or number it was, it was star shaped though…in case that is something that interests you. πŸ˜›

I baked the cupcakes on the Wednesday and waited until the Thursday for frosting and decorating, partly because of time constraints and partly because you want the cupcakes to be completely cooled before moving them around and frosting them.

To make the dragon it is just a matter of having an idea of the shape you want and placing the cupcakes down in that shape, moving and tweaking as necessary until you get a shape that looks right. Then frost the cupcakes, which I quickly learned is harder and yet easier than I thought it would be. Once I got the hang of things it was fairly easy, but it took a bit to feel like I knew what I was doing.

The frosting is a simple buttercream frosting, made to be a bit on the firm side, so it would hold its shape for a while – I was worried about what would happen during transport.

I wanted to distinguish the back from the legs and head so I put a bit of black frosting on those pieces. The claws are made from soft licorice that I cut in to triangles. The eyes are a marshmallow that I broke in half and then flattened, the pupils are brown mini m&m’s that are stuck in to the gooey side of the flattened marshmallow. The nostrils are also brown mini m&m’s, the mouth is made of white chocolate chips, and the whiskers are Twizzler Pull ‘n Peels that I pulled apart so I could get the red strips.

It was a lot of fun to make the face, as it came together it made me smile. Its kind of hard to resist a smiling dragon lol

For transport I dismantled the dragon, the cupcakes just barely fit in to my rectangular cake holder. Once at the party it was quick work to put the cupcakes back in order so the dragon was once again a dragon. I had placed marks on the tray he was going to be displayed on so I knew where some of the body pieces went, making it even easier to get him back together quickly.

The team seemed to like him, pictures were taken, comments were made about how cute he was, he was a hit! πŸ™‚

I’ve got to say, of the desserts I have made for the season end party over the past three years this one is my favourite, and I think the easiest to make…I would have thought he’d be harder, or more work, because it seems a more finicky thing to deal with – all those cupcakes and the decorating and the placement of them, but nope, super easy, and fun! Makes me wonder what other shapes I might try making…

Canned Bird

7 Sep

At some point I bought a can of turkey meat. Yes, you read that right, the way you buy canned tuna to make tuna salad, I bought that, but the turkey version.

PC Blue Menu Seasoned Chunk Turkey Breast

I think I had some brilliant idea of getting my protein in, at a not horrible cost, and with no worries about (1) having to cook the meat and therefore risk food poisoning and (2) being able to keep it in the cupboard and have it on hand whenever I need it. The boon of not needing defrosting time was also taken in to consideration I’m sure.

I’ll be moving soon and am loath to pack and move a bunch of food. I go through this every time I move. The result is I end up eating a lot of strange foods, or strange combinations anyways.

Tonight after dragon boat practice I was in that mood where I didn’t want to eat because I wasn’t hungry but I knew I probably should eat because I’d been exercising, and I hadn’t had dinner, and if I didn’t eat then (it was roughly 10pm) with my luck I’d feel peckish around midnight and really be in a pickle about if I should eat, and if so, what I should eat. sigh.

So into the cupboard I went to see if inspiration would strike and I found the can of turkey meat.

I reeeeally didn’t want to open it, buuuuut, it is protein (technically), and theoretically wouldn’t be gross (people eat tuna and that stuff is just nasty, this couldn’t be worse, right?), it didn’t require me to cook anything, and I could easily make a simple turkey salad wrap with it…there were a lot of positives on my mental checklist about this food.

I opened it, thank goodness I haven’t packed my can opener yet!, and oh my dear god the smell. The smell is not pleasant at all! At least not to my nose…the cat liked the scent so much he came out of the bedroom and started meowing at me, demanding his share. It smelled like tuna. How is that even possible??

Now, I’m not proud of this, but I used the cat as a test subject and gave him some of the meat. I figured if he ate it then it must be ok. Umm, he wouldn’t eat it. Sniffed it and walked away without a backward glance!

This didn’t bode well…but I felt like I had come to far to back out now so I drained it, then rinsed it because it was freaking me out, mixed it with some dill, black pepper, mustard, and calorie wise miracle whip, then I spread it on a mini tortilla wrap and topped with some shredded coleslaw (no dressing), and a small amount of shredded cheddar.

Simple? Yes.

Likely to food poison me? Probably not.

A meal that contains food groups? Surprisingly, yes.

Go me go. πŸ˜‰

It wasn’t as horrible as I was expecting…I mean, it wasn’t so gross I didn’t eat the wrap. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it, but it could have been worse…right? Right! It can always be worse! Aren’t I such an optimist? πŸ˜‰

So there we have it, my experiment with Seasoned Chunk Turkey Breast in a can. For all that it smells atrocious, doesn’t have a pleasant texture, and tastes unique, I can see why people might buy it. I don’t remember the cost but it can’t have been too high, and it was an easy to use food item, and the meal came together quickly – all things to take in to account when grocery shopping.

I however will not be putting this particular item back on my list. I’m putting it in the same category as brussel sprouts, fine for people who like them but something for me to avoid if only to not have to smell it.

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