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{homemade gummy bears}

9 Oct

i have been making my own homemade gummy bears for a while now, and i have been meaning to write a post about it…

i have always loved fruit snacks, gummy bears, et al. however, the ingredient list always detoured me – even the natural ones are full of mostly sugar.

so, i did some research and realized that i could be making my own gummy fruit snacks! and not only that, but i could make them GOOD for me!

my curiosity was piqued when i started looking for a clean source of gelatin to help with collagen production and joint support.

…which i don’t have pictured here because i typically transfer everything i buy into a glass jar… {no shame in my game}…

anyway, i wanted to incorporate gelatin into my diet and that’s when i got super stoked about the idea of making my own gummies! so i found these silicon molds on amazon {along with the gelatin} and looked up a few recipes to get me started.

as usual, i like to keep things as simple as possible. some recipes call for honey or a sweetener, but i like to avoid added sugar where i can {so i can guiltlessly enjoy a candy bar from time-to-time}.

so – here is my very simple {2-ingredient!} homemade gummy fruit snack recipe – which yields about 200 gummies and the ratio can be adjusted accordingly :

  • 1 cup fruit juice {i usually opt for concord grape}
  • 3 tablespoons gelatin powder

you could add in some honey or agave for sweetness, but i find the concord grape juice to be sweet enough on its own.

sometimes i’ll add in some elderberry syrup for additional health benefits during the cold-season months. Continue reading

{meatless monday : a flavourful riced cauliflower dish}

9 Jul

i made this delicious riced cauliflower one-pot make-ahead meal for lunch last week and it was so yummy, i just had to share the recipe! i love experimenting with random things in the fridge!

i’ve been really into using riced cauliflower as a replacement for grains and it does a wonderful job as an understudy. 😉

riced cauliflower has a great texture and maintains it well during the cooking process. i’ve purchased it both fresh and frozen and they both seem to hold up just fine.

i made this dish as i was trying to use up some leftover ingredients such as frozen asparagus from another recipe. i also had some frozen jalapeños that i grew last year and wanted to use.


so this is what i came up with {amounts are “ish”} :

  • 16 oz. fresh riced cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn
  • 1/2 cup diced asparagus {mine was frozen}
  • 1 medium size jalapeño, diced {ribs and seeds removed}
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • salt & pepper to taste

heat some butter or oil of choice on medium heat and toss in riced cauiflower. cook slowly until al dente. add in asparagus and jalapeño, cook until slightly tender then throw in black beans and corn and cook for another minute or so. sprinkle in hot sauce and spices and toss together. keeps well in the fridge for a few days. can be frozen for future consumption.

organic chicken or grass-fed ground beef makes a nice addition to this recipe. i made this one vegan because i like to eat vegan at least once a week… not for any particular reason other than keeping things in balance 😉


and i just-so-happen to love cumin! it’s one of my favourite spices… do you like cumin?

 

 

{what’s in my refrigerator}

28 Jan

on sundays i like to do my meal-prepping for the week. i have lots of containers and jars for storing my dry goods as well as my make-ahead meals.

here’s what i created to eat last week :

  • raw spinach salad
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • sautéed veggies for an asian-inspired dish
  • blanched broccoli
  • citrus baked salmon
  • roasted garlic israeli cous-cous
  • my famous mashed potatoes
  • raw celery sticks
  • curried lentils with ham and veggies
  • sauerkraut (not homemade)
  • garlic dill pickles (homegrown and homemade)
  • roasted tomato soup
  • homemade beef bone broth 
  • potstickers (to go with asian dish)
  • turmeric tea w/ coconut milk

do you like to make your meals ahead of time? batch-cooking has been something i’ve adopted into my lifestyle over the last few years and it’s really helped me save money and keep my diet in check.

{homemade relish with my homegrown cucumbers!}

11 Jul

so, as i mentioned in my last blog – i have harvested well over 200 cucumbers this year from my garden! i wish i would’ve been weighing my harvests, to get more of an idea of yields. however, looking back through the fotos i snapped every time i harvest – it’s safe to say that number is pretty accurate. crazy, right?

anyway, on top of sharing my harvests with neighbors, and consuming a cucumber a day, i also enjoy making pickles and relish with my cucumbers! that’s why i specifically grow the pickling cucumbers. that, and i just think they taste better.

i will share my pickle recipe soon, but for now i want to share this super yummy relish recipe that a good friend of mine passed along to me last year. i love it because it’s very simple and does not have added sugar. the only sweetener is honey and i think it is so well-balanced in flavour. i love add my relish to egg salad or tuna salad. it’s also just good right out of the jar!

homemade pickle relish recipe : 

  • 1.5 pounds {pickling} cucumbers, finely diced {mine was homegrown}
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1.5 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 6 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill {mine was homegrown! 🙂}
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp kosher salt {i used himalayan pink salt}
  • 1 tsp celery ceeds
  • 1.5 cornstarch

directions : 

  • in large saucepan, combine all ingredients except cornstarch. simmer over medium-high head until vegetables are tender – about 8-10 minutes.
  • in small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 2-3 tbsp of the cooking liquid until smooth. add to pan and let cook another 3-5 minutes. cool.
  • use canning method to preserve, or store in airtight container, chilled, up to 1 month. also freezes well.

i made a lot more than what is pictured – this jar i gave to my neighbours. 🙂

i also tasted mine before adding the cornstarch. if i needed to increase any of the ingredients, i did. i think i added a little extra honey and vinegar to mine because i had a little more than 1.5 pounds of cucumbers. the key is to start with small amounts… you can always add more. i love the colour it turns out – that’s largely due to the turmeric.

i hope you enjoy this recipe and please do let me know if you ever try it out!

thanks for reading! 🙂

 

{farmers market turmeric root}

6 Jan

 

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have you ever seen turmeric root like this before?

i was fascinated when i spotted this at my local farmer’s market. when i go to visit, there is one stand in particular that i like to frequent. the lady who owns it is so sweet and always has a ton of good information on her products and she is always willing to answer my and all of my questions. it seems that the prices for produce at farmers’ markets are sometimes half the price of grocery stores or health food markets, which is just another reason why i love to support the farmers!!!

a few other reasons i choose to put my money into farmers markets are as follows : accessibility, freshness, availability, integrity, seasonality, friendliness, knowledge, willingness, and as i mentioned, affordability.

i had never seen turmeric root in this form, and i couldn’t wait to pick some up to take fotos of. sometimes i’ve seen parts of it broken off into larger and smaller pieces, but not in a huge chunk like this. i have been wanting to incorporate turmeric into my diet more frequently, particularly because i have been experiencing some pain in my elbow lately. and as you may know, turmeric is known for having anti-inflammatory properties. i am hoping that by consuming turmeric regularly, the pain in my elbow will substantially subside.

i thought it would be fun to share these fotos of turmeric, since it is so intriguing to look at! check out all the ‘knobs’ and ‘nodules’ and the funny/fascinating shapes it takes on and how it forms that way. i love all root vegetables, and when i find something in its natural state, i get even more excited about it. did you catch that cool post about ginger-root? i just love going to the farmer’s market and i one day hope to have a nice big garden in my backyard, as to grow lots of wonderful food. i basically want to be a farmer.

one of the things i’ve been doing with turmeric lately is making tea, which i am just loving! have you ever tried turmeric tea? i have been wanting to try it for so long now, but as with anything “new,” i tend to get intimidated until i actually just go for it! and i’m so glad i finally did! i made some tea with this beautiful chunk of turmeric, and i loved it so much that i wanted to share the recipe.

you can usually find fresh turmeric at health food stores. or if you have access to one, check at your local farmers market, as well. some of my research has discovered that you can also use the ground spice to make turmeric tea, however i prefer the fresh stuff. it’s definitely more time-consuming, but for me, it’s so worth it. plus, i just love the creative process. having said that, to be even more economical, you could make it with a mix of fresh and dried root.


super simple health-boosting turmeric tea :

turmerictea Continue reading

{solstice “prosperi-tea”}

22 Jun

hey gang, happy summer!

i hope you are enjoying the season, wherever you may be reading this.

here in colorado, it has been very hot… like in the high 90s and even 100 degrees! yesterday, to officially kick off summer, i walked to my local pool for a dip. it was the perfect way to welcome in the new season!

another fun thing i did to celebrate summer and the solstice, was make this beautiful solstice summer tea… or as i named it, “prosperi-tea” … cuz i’m cute and nerdy like that. plus, it sounded super magical.

the idea came from an online source that suggested putting various herbs and flowers in a pitcher and sitting it out in the sun during the day of solstice. here’s what i put in mine :

fresh lettuce leaves, pea shoots, roses, lilies, strawberries, succulent, snapdragon, various flower petals, mint, and tons of sage.

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all of the ingredients came from my local community garden… the pea shoots and lettuce came from my plot! 😀

here is the finished product :

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someone said to me, “it looks like perfume!” which made me giggle. in a way, it IS like perfume in that it is made from beautiful summer flowers! 🙂

this lovely “prosperi-tea” was so easy to make and it was delicious, too! it was light and soft and refreshing. i also love the colour it developed! i put a lot of love into this tea as well, which i believe makes a big difference! 😉 ❤

—–

what did you do to ring in summer?

 

{what can i say – i’m food and foto obsessed!}

2 Mar

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bbq pulled pork sammy w/ mac n’ cheese & a rich brown ale… flank steak salad w/ chimichuri…

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breakfast! w/ salmon, avocado, & a purple sweet potato… a variety of cheeses & caviar!…

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hearty tomato soup w/chicken salad over a bed of arugula… a beautiful spread of tapas…

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mixed green salad w/carrot ribbons & cilantro dressing… potato waffles w/creme fraiche & smoked salmon…

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potato parmesan soup w/garlic foccacia breadbowl… pastrami sammy w/ceaser salad…

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colourful roasted fingerling potatoes… israeli cous-cous w/ fresh herbs over a bed of spinach…

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eggs benedict two-ways… prosciutto & manchego pop-tart w/ balsamic glaze drizzle…

{meatless monday : whole grain couscous with fresno and mini bell peppers}

8 Feb

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i haven’t written a meatless monday recipe in a while. i came up with this one by accident.

i love love LOVE fresno peppers. they are so full of flavour and yet mild enough in heat to not overpower most dishes. i also love couscous; it’s simple and easy to make and reheats well, so i will often batch-cook it.

i shared this dish some with a friend this weekend over brunch and she commented on how much she liked it, so i thought i would share the recipe. as i said, i sort of came up with this on accident… but i’m glad i did, as i’ll be sure to make it again in the future!

simple ingredients :

  • 1 cup couscous, 1 cup water
  • 3 fresno peppers, chopped
  • 5-6 mini bell peppers, chopped
  • olive oil
  • S&P

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this is a very easy recipe to make. simply saute peppers in olive oil until tender then pour in water. bring to a boil and add in couscous. remove from heat, cover and let sit for at least 5 minutes. fluff couscous with a fork and sprinkle in salt and pepper.

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i also added in some cumin because i’ve been experimenting with spices… and i really liked it in this dish!

{radical red kuri squash}

15 Dec

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i’m kind of obsessed with this stuff. and it makes an AMAZING risotto!

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{mmm… mushrooms!}

8 Dec

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for risotto… nom nom!

{mmm… mirepoix}

8 Dec

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with a twist… leeks!

{soon-to-be sauce…}

5 Dec

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{a halloween thirsty thursday : “creepy” but delicious — finger lime soda water}

29 Oct

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finger-lime soda water…

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a friend of mine gave me a sample of these delicious and interesting FINGER LIMES! yes, that is their name. and one can see why, eh?! they look like little nubby fingers…

perfect for halloween, i say!

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after cutting one open, i remembered that i had tried them before! here’s part of the description i read :

“The globular juice vesicles inside these citrus fruits have been likened to a “lime caviar”, which can be used as a garnish or added to various recipes. The fresh vesicles have the effect of a burst of effervescent tangy flavour as they are chewed. The fruit juice is acidic and similar to that of a lime.”

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those little vesicles are so fun to eat! they “pop” in your mouth and they flavour is intense!

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the fruit itself is so interesting-looking! some of them are pink inside!

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i made a little bubbly water with my sodastream and squeezed in some of the finger limes and their juices, along with these halloween-themed ice cubes.

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it was super yummy!

of course, the adults could add in a little vodka or libation of choice… 😉

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when i was a kid and i would be lucky enough to have a glass of soda as a treat, i used to sit there with my mom and be like, “check it out ma, the bubbles are taking the elevator to the top!” and she would giggle… and to this day i remember that and thought of it when these little vesicles floated to the top of this glass. 😉

ohhhh, that childhood imagination.

wishing you all a safe and happy halloween!

are you dressing up? and if so, as what?!

 

{colourful pasta salad w/italian sausage}

28 Oct

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happy wednesday, gang!

it seems like italian food, festivals, wine, and celebrations are everywhere i look this time of year… did i miss a memo!? anyway, i’m all for it. i love me some good pasta, and i used to be so intimated by cooking it… but not anymore!

i just wanted to share this pretty pasta dish i made recently… as the temps cool down, i will transition into more hearty foods like squash, soups, potatoes, root veggies, and the like… but for now, i am still holding on to lighter fare with dishes like this – a simple pasta salad with italian sausage.

  • red peppers
  • scallions
  • red onion
  • fresh tomatoes
  • black olives
  • parmigiano reggiano {the real stuff!}

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cook and drain pasta of choice… these little orechiette {which means “little ear”} are so fun, so i chose them!

then simply chop up all your ingredients, and drizzle in your favourite vinaigrette like italian or french dressing… something with a little punch. toss all the ingredients together, sprinkle with tons of freshly-grated parmigiano reggiano… and admire the rainbow of food you’re about to eat!

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this keeps well in the fridge and is a great option for batch-cooking for lunches, etc.

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nom nom!

 

{what goes great with oktoberfest beer?? — homemade sauerkraut!!}

23 Oct

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ownin’ my german roots! 😉

i love love looooove making my own food. i especially love making things that are expensive to buy, but cheap to make. case and point : sauerkraut.

sauerkraut is one of my favourite things ever. it’s so good for you, and it’s been around for centuries… it’s one of those ancestral foods like homemade bone broth that has proven to be a staple for health in many ancient cultures for ages.

sauerkraut is FULL of healthy probiotics, which are essential for maintaining a healthy gut.

and it’s so super easy to make.

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start by chopping up your cabbage, as thin as you want/can get it… i find it helps to quarter the cabbage first, then cut into strips. you want about 1.5 pounds per 1 tablespoon of salt. once that is complete, add it to a large bowl and begin “squishing” the cabbage and salt together using your hands.

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this is another reason i love making sauerkraut – you get to play with your food! 😉 Continue reading

{healthy homefries}

18 Aug

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my grandpa used to say, “a potato will cure what ails ya…” and i’ve held on to his words over the years. i can hear him in the back of my head when i’m making mashed potatoes, or any variation of potatoes. i just happen to love them. probably in part due to my irish and german roots and also due to my grandma always teaching me how to stretch a dollar. the potato is an inexpensive food that is loaded with vitamins and minerals. when i was a kid, i used to chop them up into small bits, sprinkle them with salt, and eat them raw!

today, i eat them any way i can get them. lately, i’ve been making a potato hash, or potato homefries. it keeps well in the fridge, and you can make a huge batch and heat them up for breakfast or a side dish with dinner. top with a fresh egg, or dip in a little ranch dressing or ketchup… and nom nom!

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i’ve been keeping it pretty simple with mine :

  • russet potatoes {they are simply heartier and healthier}
  • bell peppers {i choose red for the colour and vitamin c}
  • garlic {does wonders for immunity and the body!}
  • onion {red, again, because – eat the rainbow!}
  • S&P {i mean, can’t have potatoes without it}

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simply heat up some oil or butter on medium to high heat and add in garlic, onions, bell peppers, and potatoes… then cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occaisonally. you want the potatoes to crisp up a little bit… but keep in mind, if you are batch-cooking them, you can reheat them later and crisp them up at that time.

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super easy and simple. and you could even freeze these if you wanted to! but i doubt you will want to or have any left over, because they are just so yummy! 🙂

{burger lettuce wraps}

7 Aug

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i love finger food. therefore, i love lettuce wraps.

i’m all about lettuce wraps these days. i feel like it’s my favourite new way to eat things – especially in the summertime!  i find that during the warmer months, i tend to want to eat “lighter” foods, and lettuce wraps fit the bill perfectly!

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also, sometimes i just don’t care for the heaviness of bread or sandwiches. i mean, don’t get me wrong… i’m an east-coast girl at heart and i love my sub sandwiches from the local deli! however, as i said – when it’s hot like it’s been here {in the upper 90’s}, i feel like my body simply wants lighter fare… and so i willingly oblige.

PLUS – the waistline seems to appreciate it when i skip the bread 😉

i made these “burger wraps” the other day when i was craving a burger but didn’t have time, energy, or the grill to make a burger with. so, i improvised. what i love about lettuce wraps is they can be utilized for just about anything. the lettuce leaves themselves are the perfect vehicle to transport yumminess from plate to mouth to tummy.

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in this recipe, i started with red lettuce leaves. i chose red because {especially} when it comes to food, in my book – the more colour, the better.

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my method is simple : chop up some fresh tomatoes, red onion, dill pickles, and any other toppings you may want on a burger. then, simply brown some grass-fed ground beef on medium-to-high heat and add in a little S&P. finally, pile your toppings one-by-one onto your yummy lettuce wrap and then finish with some mustard and/or ketchup. i personally love both on my burgers. Continue reading

{before & after}

24 Jul

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simple pasta w/ chix & veg

fusilli, roasted chicken, caramelized onions, green peppers, olives, and fresh tomatoes…

{“drink the rainbow” : berry-cream vitamix smoothie!}

16 Jul

it’s been a while since i’ve done a post about a vitamix smoothie!  however, it’s that time of year when i find myself wanting to eat a little less and drink a little more. the heat of the summer causes us to sweat out toxins and i find that my body craves the freshness of a cold fruit smoothie to help replenish vital minerals.

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berry-cream vitamix smoothie : frozen blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and peaches, with fresh dates and coconut milk

do you sometimes do what i do?

…catch myself feeling guilty for not drinking more smoothies, so i’ll run out and buy a bunch of stuff to make them with, but then i don’t make nearly as many smoothies as i said i would, and those yummy ingredients go bad in the fridge. and nothing upsets me more than wasting food! {and money, for that matter!}

well, may i suggest something i do in order to avoid wasting precious resources?!  just keep canned or boxed coconut milk in the house and/or fridge! you can purchase coconut milk in aseptic {shelf-stable} containers. why coconut milk? well, i personally prefer coconut milk for the healthy fat content as well as the the fact that the coconut is pretty much one of the most amazing things on the planet! not only is coconut milk loaded with vitamins and minerals, it’s also great for your heart, your hair, your skin, your nails… shall i go on?! furthermore, i’ve created the habit of freezing any overripe fruits that i buy, and that way i always have the two main ingredients i need to make a smoothie!

of course, you can also add in spinach or kale to get a little extra vitamins and nutrients. for this concoction, i kept it pure and simple. just frozen blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and peaches blended with fresh dates and coconut milk. it’s light and fresh and only gently sweet. dates are nature’s candy! they are loaded with potassium and create a little sweetness without adding in unnecessary calories or sugar. and this smoothie is perfectly refreshing on a hot summer afternoon!

drink the rainbow!

{meatless mondays : red quinoa with grape tomatoes, fresh corn, and black beans}

6 Jul

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this {vegan} dish is totally protein-packed and nutrient-rich. i just love quinoa, don’t you?!

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and did you know that quinoa is considered a complete protein… which means it contains all 9 essential amino acids. this makes it a wonderful protein-source for vegans. the black beans in this recipe add in healthy fiber, which is a great combination with the quinoa!

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i can eat these grape tomatoes like candy!

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and believe it or not, colorado boasts growing some of the best sweet corn in the US!

summer is for corn!!!! Continue reading

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