Tag Archives: food

Reese’s Spread

16 Jan

I was sent a container of Reese’s spread to review from Influenster and Reese’s.

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My first intentions were to try out-of-the-box ideas that I normally would use a sweet spread on.  Like a dip for crackers or pretzels.  However, when I decided to start my review, both my pretzel box and my cracker box were put away empty.  Such is the life of a mother of chronic snackers.

So I rummaged around to see what I could use.  Peanut butter cookie dough…..okay.

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Bacon.  Perfect.

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First I baked the cookies and let them cool.  (I may or may not have tried an amazeballs combination of raw cookie dough and Reese’s spread, there is no proof)

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Then I added a drop of Reese’s on top of each cookie.

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I tried a little spread on a piece of bacon, which was actually pretty good.  Even the 4 year old liked it.

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Then, genius struck, and I put the bacon on TOP of the Reese’s spread on TOP of the peanut butter cookie.

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My first experience pairing bacon with sweet was a maple bacon doughnut that I liked more than I should have, and this reminded me a lot of that.  It was good.  Both boys liked it too, which says something, because the 9 year old is very picky.

I give Reese’s spread a big two thumbs up.  How would you use it creatively?

I received the Reese’s spread free from Influenster and Reese’svoxbox-blogimage-popup2

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Do you GMO?

8 May

I confess: I was not entirely sure what GMO’s were.  Thanks to the internet, that is no longer the case.  GMO=Genetically Modified Organism.  Uhhhhh. Sounds pretty gross.  Let’s read on.  

 

Facts:

  1. 64 Countries, not including the United States, require GMO foods to be labeled as such.  But the USA maintains there’s no distinction between GMO and non-GMO
  2.   GMO crops can result in genetic contamination of native plant species through hybridization.
  3. Commercial sale of genetically modified crops began in 1994
  4. cash crops in high demand by farmers such as soybean, corn, canola, and cotton seed oil have been engineered for resistance to pathogens and herbicides and better nutrient profiles
  5. GM livestock have also been experimentally developed, although as of November 2013 none are currently on the market
  6. Plants are now engineered for insect resistance, fungal resistance, viral resistance, herbicide resistance, changed nutritional content, improved taste, and improved storage.
  7. As of 2013 there are several GM crops that are food sources and there are no genetically modified animals used for food production
  8. Papaya has been genetically modified to resist the ringspot virus (no idea what that is, but Wikipedia says this: The New York Times stated that “in the early 1990s, Hawaii’s papaya industry was facing disaster because of the deadly papaya ringspot virus. Its single-handed savior was a breed engineered to be resistant to the virus. Without it, the state’s papaya industry would have collapsed. Today, 80% of Hawaiian papaya is genetically engineered, and there is still no conventional or organic method to control ringspot virus)
  9. The New Leaf potato, brought to market by Monsanto in the late 1990s, was developed for the fast food market, but was withdrawn from the market in 2001 after fast food retailers did not pick it up and food processors ran into export problems. (sounds strange)
  10. There are currently no transgenic potatoes marketed for human consumption
  11. As of 2005, about 13% of the zucchini grown in the US was genetically modified to resist three viruses
  12. As of 2012, an apple that has been genetically modified to resist browning, known as the Nonbrowning Arctic apple produced by Okanagan Specialty Fruits, was awaiting regulatory approval in the US and Canada
  13. Corn used for food has been genetically modified to be resistant to various herbicides and to express a protein from Bacillus thuringiensis that kills certain insects.[30] About 90% of the corn grown in the US has been genetically modified. (What disturbs me about this, is that if this corn is GM’d to kill one type of living being, what stops it from killing another?)
  14. Human-grade corn can be processed into grits, meal, and flour.

    Grits are the coarsest product from the corn dry milling process. Grits vary in texture and are generally used in corn flakes, breakfast cereals, and snack foods. Brewers’ grits are used in the beer manufacturing process.

    Corn meal is an ingredient in several products including cornbread, muffins, fritters, cereals, bakery mixes, pancake mixes, and snacks. The finest grade corn meal is often used to coat English muffins and pizzas. Cornmeal is also sold as a packaged good. Corn flour is one of the finest textured corn products generated in the dry milling process. Some of the products containing corn flour include mixes for pancakes, muffins, doughnuts, breadings, and batters, as well as baby foods, meat products, cereals, and some fermented products. Masa flour is another finely textured corn product. It is produced using the alkaline-cooked process. A related product, masa dough, can be made using corn flour and water. Masa flour and masa dough are used in the production of taco shells, corn chips, and tortillas (So if you don’t do GMO, you’re sorta screwed, because it’s in everything)

  15. About 90% of the planted area of soybeans in the US are genetically modified varieties (Say What!?)

  16. Most vegetable oil used in the US is produced from several crops, including the GM crops canola,[50] corn,[43][51] cotton,[52] and soybeans.[53] Vegetable oil is sold directly to consumers as cooking oil, shortening, and margarine,  6s afabnand is used in prepared foods.
  17. The United States imports 10% of its sugar from other countries, while the remaining 90% is extracted from domestically grown sugar beet and sugarcane. Of the domestically grown sugar crops, half of the extracted sugar is derived from sugar beet, and the other half is from sugarcane.  (What the heck is Sugarbeet?)

    After deregulation in 2005, glyphosate-resistant sugar beet was adopted in the United States. 95% of sugar beet acres in the US were planted with genetically modified seed in 2011. (okay, WHAT is glyphosate?) (Glyphosate is Roundup….the weed-killer.)(ironically, also developed by Monsanto, btw.)

  18. The food products of sugar beets are refined sugar and molasses. Pulp remaining from the refining process is used as animal feed. The sugar produced from GM sugarbeets is highly refined and contains no DNA or protein—it is just sucrose, the same as sugar produced from non-GM sugarbeets

  19. Livestock and poultry are raised on animal feed, much of which is composed of the leftovers from processing crops, including GM crops. For example, approximately 43% of a canola seed is oil. What remains is a canola meal that is used as an ingredient in animal feed and contains protein from the canola.
  20. In 2011, 49% of the total maize(corn) harvest was used for livestock feed (including the percentage of waste from distillers grains).
  21. Statement from the “GMO Compass” Staff: Despite methods that are becoming more and more sensitive, tests have not yet been able to establish a difference in the meat, milk, or eggs of animals depending on the type of feed they are fed. It is impossible to tell if an animal was fed GM soy just by looking at the resulting meat, dairy, or egg products. The only way to verify the presence of GMOs in animal feed is to analyze the origin of the feed itself (True or not, who knows.  I have no way to test my hamburger, but do find that grass-fed cows have meat that tastes better)
  22. The Food and Drug Administration, World Health Organization, American Medical Association, American Dietetic Association, and the National Institute of Health have independently stated that dairy products and meat from BST treated cows are safe for human consumption.
  23. On 30 September 2010, the United States Court of Appeals found that there is a “compositional difference” between milk from rBGH-treated cows and milk from untreated cows. The court stated that milk from rBGH-treated cows has: increased levels of the hormone Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1); higher fat content and lower protein content when produced at certain points in the cow’s lactation cycle; and more somatic cell counts, which may “make the milk turn sour more quickly.”
  24. Animals usually used for food production (e.g. milk,) have already been genetically modified and approved by the FDA and EMA to produce non-food products, like medicine.
  25. Opponents of genetically modified food such as the advocacy groups Organic Consumers Association, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Greenpeace claim risks have not been adequately identified and managed, and they have questioned the objectivity of regulatory authorities
  26. a crop not intended for food use is generally not reviewed by authorities responsible for food safety
  27. Particular concerns are claims that genetically modified food causes cancer and allergies.  Leaders in driving public perception of the harms of such food in the media include Jeffrey M. Smith, Dr. Oz, Oprah, and Bill Maher; organizations include Organic Consumers Association,Greenpeace (especially with regard to Golden rice) and Union of Concerned Scientists. (So a doctor and an entire team of scientists believe that GMOs are dangerous?)

Facts about Monsanto

  1. Monsanto was founded in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1901, by John Francis Queeny, a 30‑year veteran of the pharmaceutical industry. He funded the start-up with his own money and capital from a soft drink distributor and gave the company his wife’s maiden name. His father-in-law was Emmanuel Mendes de Monsanto, a wealthy financier of a sugar company active in Vieques, Puerto Rico, and based in St. Thomas in the Danish West Indies. The company’s first product was the artificial sweetener saccharin.
  2. Monsanto expanded to Europe in 1919 And produced vanillin, aspirin and its raw ingredient salicylic acid, and later rubber processing chemicals. This site was later sold and closed in 2010.
  3. In the 1920s Monsanto expanded into basic industrial chemicals like sulfuric acid and PCBs, and Queeny’s son Edgar Monsanto Queeny took over the company in 1928.
  4. In 1926 the company founded and incorporated a town called Monsanto in Illinois
  5. In 1936 Monsanto acquired Thomas & Hochwalt Laboratories in Dayton, Ohio, in order to acquire the expertise of Charles Allen Thomas and Dr. Carroll A. (“Ted”) Hochwalt and made it into Monsanto’s Central Research Department
  6. Charles Allen Thomas was a noted American chemist and businessman, and an important figure in the Manhattan Project. He held over 100 patents.

  7. In 1946, it developed “All” laundry detergent and began to market it; they sold the product line to Lever Brothers in 1957
  8. In 1954 Monsanto partnered with German chemical giant Bayer to form Mobay and market polyurethanes in the United States.
  9. Monsanto began manufacturing DDT in 1944.  This insecticide was much welcomed in the fight against malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. Due to DDT’s toxicity, its use in the United States was banned in 1972
  10. In the 1960s and 1970s, Monsanto was also one of the most important producers of Agent Orange for United States Armed Forces operations in Vietnam.
  11. In 1968, it became the first company to start mass production of LEDs
  12. Between 1968 and 1974, the company assumed title sponsorship of the PGA Tour event in Pensacola, Fla
  13. Monsanto scientists were among the first to genetically modify a plant cell, publishing their results in 1983.
  14. In 1985, Monsanto acquired G. D. Searle & Company, a life sciences company focusing on pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and animal health.
  15. In 1993, Monsanto’s Searle division filed a patent application for Celebrex
  16. In 1994, Monsanto introduced a recombinant (recombinant DNA is DNA artificially created by combining the DNA of two different species) version of bovine somatotropin (a cow growth hormone), brand-named Posilac (Monsanto was the first to get approved by FDA for use of rBGH)
  17. Although, the FDA,World Health Organization,the American Dietetic Association,and National Institutes of Health  have independently stated that dairy products and meat from BST-treated cows are safe for human consumption. In the United States, public opinion led some manufacturers and retailers to market only milk that is rBST-free

    A European Union report on the animal welfare effects of BST states that its usage often results in “severe and unnecessary pain, suffering and distress” for cows, “associated with serious mastitis, foot disorders and some reproductive problems

  18. In 1996, Monsanto purchased Agracetus, the biotechnology company that had generated the first transgenic varieties of cotton, soybeans, peanuts, and other crops, and from which Monsanto had already been licencing technology since 1991.
  19. Monsanto first entered the maize seed business when it purchased 40% of DEKALB in 1996; it purchased the remainder of the corporation in 1998.
  20. In 1998 Monsanto purchased Cargill‘s seed business, which gave it access to sales and distribution facilities in 51 countries.
  21. In 2005, it finalized the purchase of Seminis Inc, a leading global vegetable and fruit seed company, for $1.4 billion. This made it the world’s largest conventional seed company at the time.
  22. Through a series of transactions, the Monsanto that existed from 1901 to 2000 and the current Monsanto are legally two distinct corporations. Although they share the same name and corporate headquarters, many of the same executives and other employees, and responsibility for liabilities arising out of activities in the industrial chemical business.
  23. 1997: Monsanto spun off its industrial chemical and fiber divisions into Solutia Inc.This transferred the financial liability related to the production and contamination with PCBs at the Illinois and Alabama plants
  24. 2000 (October): Pharmacia spun off its Monsanto subsidiary into a new company, the “new Monsanto”.  As part of the deal, Monsanto agreed to indemnify Pharmacia against any liabilities that might be incurred from judgments against Solutia
  25. 2005: Monsanto acquired Emergent Genetics and its Stoneville and NexGen cotton brands, and the vegetable seed producer Seminis was purchased for $1.4 billion
  26. 2007: In June, Monsanto completed its purchase of Delta & Pine Land Company, a major cotton seed breeder, for $1.5 billion
  27. Monsanto also exited the pig breeding business by selling Monsanto Choice Genetics to Newsham Genetics LC in November, divesting itself of “any and all swine-related patents, patent applications, and all other intellectual property
  28. 2013: Monsanto purchased San Francisco-based Climate Corp for $930 million (The Climate Corporation is a San Francisco-based company that examines weather data to provide insurance to farmers who can lock in profits even in the case of drought, excessive rains or other adverse weather conditions)
  29. As of December 2013. the members of the board of directors of Monsanto were:[67]

 

So that’s what I got.  I’m not sure how exactly I feel about the GMO’s.  I suppose you could say I “do GMO” but that is because I have to coordinate breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for a family of 5, and I’m sorry to say that I do not have the time to research which specific products contain or do not contain GMOs or the type of GMO, as some seem to be scarier than others.  I do buy organic products when I can, but it’s just not always possible.  I wish there was a farmer’s market daily where I could purchase my fruits and vegetables, but there isn’t one locally, and I’m not always prepared for my next week’s meals on Saturday mornings when the market is open. 

Some of the facts freak me out.  The fact that Monsanto developed the GMO’s, and also controls distribution of the products they are used in.  The fact that Monsanto is heavily involved in big pharma, which has it’s own feelers out into World Health Organization, who releases statements of support for GMO-laden products. The fact that a lot of the things they’ve developed, although at first supported and loved, have turned out to be quite harmful in the long run.  (Agent Orange, anyone? Or on a lesser note, saccharin) And the fact that they have representatives from Sara Lee, McDonald’s, and Microsoft on their board of directors.  I feel like there’s something huge going on here, but no idea what. 

 

And I think Monsanto is pretty aweful considering they’re apparent planned-takedown of local farmers.  I’ll list below the lawsuits they have filed against farmer’s for planting and harvesting seeds that Monsanto had apparently patented.  (All the below information is from Wikipedia)

 

Monsanto sued the Pilot Grove Cooperative Elevator in Pilot Grove, Missouri, on the grounds that by cleaning harvested seeds covered by Monsanto’s patents so that farmers could replant them, the elevator was inducing them to infringe Monsanto’s patents. The Pilot Grove Cooperative Elevator had been cleaning conventional seeds for decades before the development of genetic engineering and developments in patent law led to the existence of issued patents that cover seeds.[147] In a related and more publicized case, a seed cleaner from Indiana, Maurice Parr, was sued by Monsanto for inducing farmers to save seeds in violation of Monsanto’s patent rights. Parr told his customers that cleaning patented seeds for replanting was not infringing activity. The case was settled and in exchange for paying no monetary damages, Parr agreed to an injunction requiring Parr to obtain certification from his clients that their seeds were not Monsanto patented seeds and to advise clients that seed-saving of patented seeds is illegal.[148][149] Mr. Parr was featured in a documentary, Food, Inc.

In 2003, one farmer received a four-month prison sentence and ordered to pay $165,649 in restitution after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud mail during litigation with Monsanto.[150][151] The same farmer was ordered to pay nearly $3 million in a civil action brought by Monsanto after a jury found him liable for $803,402 damages, which the judge trebled due to willful infringement, added attorneys fees and sanctions for misconduct, all of which were affirmed by the Federal Circuit.[151][152] Notably, in one case where a farmer was found to be willfully infringing Monsanto’s patent, the damages awarded to Monsanto were found to be non-dischargeable in the farmer’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy, as they “fell within the Bankruptcy Act’s exception for willful and malicious injuries.”[153][154]

In one case in 2002, Monsanto mistakenly sued Gary Rinehart of Eagleville, Missouri for patent violation. Rinehart was not a farmer or seed dealer, but sharecropped land with his brother and nephew, who were violating the patent. Monsanto dropped the lawsuit against him when it discovered the mistake. Monsanto had been investigating farmers in Rinehart’s small farm community 100 miles north of Kansas City. After Monsanto realized they had the wrong person and dropped the suit, it did not apologize for the mistake or offer to pay Rinehart’s attorney fees.[147]

In 1997, Percy Schmeiser discovered that canola growing on his farm was Roundup resistant. He had initially discovered that some canola growing by a roadside along one of his fields was Roundup resistant when he was killing weeds along the road; this led him to spray a three- to four‑acre section of his adjacent field and 60% of the canola survived. Schmeiser harvested the seed from the surviving, Roundup resistant plants, and planted the seed in 1998. Monsanto sued Schmeiser for patent infringement for the 1998 planting. Schmeiser claimed that because the 1997 plants grew from seed that was blown into his field from neighboring fields, that he owned the harvest and was entitled to do with it whatever he wished, including saving the seeds from the 1997 harvest and planting them in 1998. The initial Canadian Federal Court rejected Schmeiser’s defense and held for Monsanto, finding that in 1998 Schmeiser had intentionally planted the seeds he had harvested from the wind-seeded crops in 1997, and so patent infringement had indeed occurred.[155] Schmeiser appealed and lost again.[156] Schmeiser appealed to the Supreme Court which took the case and held for Monsanto by a 5‑4 vote in late May 2004.[157] With this ruling, the Canadian courts followed the U.S. Supreme Court in its decision on patent issues involving plants and genes. Schmeiser won a partial victory, as the Supreme Court reversed on damages, finding that because Schmeiser did not gain any profit from the infringement, he did not owe Monsanto any damages nor did he have to pay Monsanto’s substantial legal bills. The case caused Monsanto’s enforcement tactics to be highlighted in the media over the years it took to play out.[158] The case is widely cited or referenced by the anti-GM community in the context of a fear of a company claiming ownership of a farmer’s crop based on the inadvertent presence of GM pollen grain or seed.[159][160] “The court record shows, however, that it was not just a few seeds from a passing truck, but that Mr Schmeiser was growing a crop of 95–98% pure Roundup Ready plants, a commercial level of purity far higher than one would expect from inadvertent or accidental presence. The judge could not account for how a few wayward seeds or pollen grains could come to dominate hundreds of acres without Mr Schmeiser’s active participation, saying ‘…none of the suggested sources could reasonably explain the concentration or extent of Roundup Ready canola of a commercial quality evident from the results of tests on Schmeiser’s crop’” – in other words, the original presence of Monsanto seed on his land in 1997 was indeed inadvertent, but the crop in 1998 was entirely purposeful.[161]

In 2007, Monsanto sued Indiana farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman who in 1999 bought seed for his second planting from a grain elevator – the same elevator that he and others sold their transgenic crops. The case was later known as Bowman v. Monsanto Co..[162] The elevator sold the soybeans as commodities, not as seeds for planting.[162][163] He tested the new seeds, and found that as he had expected, some were resistant to glyphosate. He replanted his harvest in subsequent years for his second seasonal planting, supplementing them with more soybeans he bought at the elevator.[162] He informed Monsanto of his activities.[162] Monsanto stated that he was infringing their patents because the soybeans he bought from the elevator were new products that he purchased for use as seeds without a license from Monsanto; Bowman stated that he had not infringed due to patent exhaustion on the first sale of seed to whatever farmers had produced the crops that he bought from the elevator, on the grounds that for seed, all future generations are embodied in the first generation that was originally sold.[163] In 2009 the district court ruled in favor of Monsanto; on appeal, the Federal Circuit upheld the verdict.[162] Bowman appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which granted review,[164] then unanimously affirmed the Federal Circuit on May 13, 2013.[165][166]

In 2009, Monsanto sued DuPont Pioneer for patent infringement of Roundup Ready patents.[167] DuPont had licensed the patents from Monsanto already, but had added additional glyphosphate-resistance genes to its seed, which Monsanto claimed was not allowed in the license. DuPont counter-sued, claiming that Monsanto’s patent was invalid. The jury handed down a verdict on August 1, 2012, finding that DuPont not only infringed, but willfully infringed, and awarded a verdict of $1 billion, the fourth-largest patent verdict in the history of the United States.[168] DuPont indicated it would appeal the decision.

In another victory against an individual farmer, in 2003, Monsanto suspected that Loren David had saved soybean from his previous year’s harvest in violation of their Technology Agreement. In 2004, Monsanto obtained samples from the soybean that David had harvested and sold. On the basis of the test results, Monsanto sued for patent infringement, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and conversion. The court found that David’s testimony was not reliable and in 2006, the court held that David had willfully infringed the patent and breached the Technology Agreement he signed with Monsanto by planting seed from a prior year’s crop.[169] Ultimately the court held David liable to pay $786,989.43 to Monsanto. On appeal, David unpersuasively argued that there was no reliable evidence of patent infringement. David also challenged the damage award for attorney fees and cost awards, as well as the reasonable royalty on the soy. The court found that Monsanto’s attorney fees in their contract were not limited by statute, but that the royalty calculated on a planting density for David’s soy was erroneous. The court affirmed the judgment but vacated the seed density amount and remand for the district court to determine the rate

Crawfish Cookies

7 May

So I found a really cute idea for cookies here: http://www.livinglocurto.com/2013/04/crawfish-cakes/#sthash.0YkUMMLg.35gKtYP2.dpbs

And decided to blog my recreation.  My son’s mascot is the mudbug, which, if you didn’t already know, is a crawfish, and basically a staple of living in Louisiana.  So for teacher appreciation, I whipped up some of these puppies to leave in the teacher’s lounge.

 

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My store does not carry lady fingers, so this is the closest I could find:

 

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I found the other ingredients, though:

Twizzlers

Candy eyes (found at Wal-Mart)

Canned Icing

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Open the finger cookie.

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Dot red icing as shown

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Cut a Twizzler into 4 even pieces

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Cut the end of the Twizzler into claws, and stick onto the dotted icing

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Squiggle some of the icing onto the cookie

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And replace the top of the cookie

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Squiggle Icing onto the top of the cookie, add candy eyes, and Voila!!!  Crawdaddy cakes!

IMG_0060Things I noticed:

The red Icing stains your fingers, but I think that’s unavoidable

Try to earnestly find lady fingers, because I don’t think that the “Vienna fingers” worked as well as the lady fingers would have

 

 

 

Oktoberfest at Rivertown

19 Oct

What a fun event!  There really isn’t much there for kids, but it didn’t stop mine from having fun!  We happened on it by accident, actually, on the way home from the kids getting their costumes from Spirit.  (ps They’re being ninjas)

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As soon as we got there we walked in on a show from the 610 Stompers.  They are a men’s dance group that’s pretty big here in NOLA.  Tons of men actually audition to get into this group!!

DSCN1359I….of course…heading straight for the German Beer!  (Becuase, hello, that’s the oint of oktoberfest)  They had beer EVRRYWHERE, and it was all delicious.

DSCN1365DSCN1361So was the “different” kind of pizza they offered.  Surprisingly

DSCN1373Don’t forget German chocolate cake!

And cookies with German sayings on them

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Even my nephew had fun.  I think

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