Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Crusted potato cakes with fried peppers and sausage with bravo and mustard sauce. Quite an explosion in your mouth!
It was a simple rustic European meal. It was a savory mix of flavors. Also I added some of our garden tomatoes and cukes marinated in a tangy vinaigrette sauce.
I will share what I did with the left over mashed potatoes. Now remember I cooked the potatoes with chopped garlic and then mashed with sour cream and butter. So I took the cold mashed potatoes and put them in a bowl then I added a beaten egg and some flour and freshly grated asiago cheese. And then using my hands making a ball I then flattened them into my palm and put into the panko crumbs just pushing gently to absorb the crumbs on the bottom side. I then used a spatula and turned over the cake to crust the top side. Then gently set on a plate and repeated with the rest of the potato mixture.
When my canola oil was hot I eased the cakes into the sizzling oil being careful as not to break them. I turned them just once after the bottoms had crisped. Drained on parchment paper and served. A mouthful of crunchy crust and soft interior is what you are looking for.

It seems most of the food I prepare and serve is simple yet is unique in someway. I like that. Hubby never quite knows what combination's of items will be on his dinner plate unless he is participating in the cooking.

We have low hanging clouds again today and it is now nearly three pm and the sun is just starting to catch that gray blanket on fire.
I just talked to my brother in Washington state and he said the day there is perfect. He is once again at his beloved Silver Lake. I wish we were with him. Oh to be retired huh?

I must get on with some paper work this afternoon in the office so I will close for today.
I hope the sun is shinning where you are and that you enjoying something outdoors.
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010


My Mom's apple pie and my doll, two things I adored when I was a little girl.
Yesterday was an amazing day. It was really warm and totally muggy but I did not care. I wanted to feel warm and sticky. It just felt right somehow a fall day like this. We did not turn on the air instead we just kept the doors open and the fans going. I heated the oven to 400 for the pie and that really made the kitchen toasty. No mind I tied on my chefs apron and started on the crust. Tucked the two disc's of dough into the fridge to chill and began peeling and slicing the apples. These apples were so fresh and crisp yet with that sweet sour tang that a gravenstein apple has. A half hour later the pie was baking in the oven. I went into the living room and sat in front of the portable fan. I grabbed my book and read while the house filled with the fragrance of sweet baking apples. I felt so happy in my heart and content. Strange how certain smells and noises have that effect on a person. The pie did not disappoint last night. It had a flaky tender crust and perfectly cooked juicy apples inside. We each had a small piece with one scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. A perfect end to an amazing fall day.

Hubby just ran to the meat market in our near by country area. They make their own sausages and there sausage is wonderful. Lean and meaty and not to many seasonings. It reminds my husband of the sausage his Hungarian father used to make. We will boil the sausage tonight so it is cooked and then put on a hot grill to sear it. I am making crusted potato cakes out of the left over garlic mashed potatoes we had last night. We will also have fried peppers. I bought a combination of cubano, sweet wax peppers, a hot Hungarian pepper and Anaheim. I will heat a iron skillet very hot, drizzle in some olive oil and add the peppers after I have seeded and cut them length wise. Just sprinkle with salt and peppers and sear in the hot skillet. Yummy. When you bite into the peppers you will get a bit of heat but still a fresh burst of fresh peppers. Sounds like we are having an old country meal, hubby will love that.

Well I must to do a few chores this afternoon and the day is slipping by. It is another beautiful day here again in Eugene. Oh how we love it!!!
Have a great day wherever you live.
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Saturday, September 25, 2010


Actually I took this photo last year but it would look the same if I took it today. Yes the tomatoes are still coming on strong. We have been picking two to four everyday.

Today I made four loaves of zucchini bread with the last of the zucchini's. I have the loaves nicely tucked into the freezer. The house now has this amazing aroma from the baking, makes my heart happy. I have the doors open, I love having screen doors this time of year especially. It is so warm out but it is fall no doubt. The leaves on the trees along our street are starting their march toward winter. Spots of gold and red are spattered through the foliage now.
I have overheard many geese flying away to their winter destinations. The garden spiders are catching as many little summer bugs in their webs as possible. I will knock webs down on the way to my garden as not to get spiders in my hair but if I look a half hour later the webs are there again. How industrious the spiders are. All is coming to an end for the garden and flowers soon, it is sad but it is life and spring will come and all starts again.

Today I also made some salsa bravo and I must tell the truth I made a silly mistake. I had my crushed tomatoes(from a can) two serrano peppers, olive oil, seasonings etc in the food processor. The last ingredient to add was smokey paprika. Well I must have not looked close enough at the recipe as I thought it said one tablespoon smokey paprika. I tasted the final product and thought wow this is really smokey. I looked at the recipe once more and it said one teaspoon. So I added just a little more crushed tomatoes to the mix. It is still really smokey. I may be in luck though as my hubby loves smokey. Maybe I should not tell him and see what he thinks before I fess up.
We like bravo on our eggs in the morning and really on a lot of things, it is a nice little hot dip. This is first time I have made my own however, may be the last ha. If it is not our liking for a dip I can always use as a paste for meats on the grill.

We are looking forward to the games today. My husband is working a spilt day today. So he should be home shortly for the second time today. Then he will plop on the sofa and be in college football world the rest of the day. He does love his college football. My mouth is getting ready for our sloppy Joe's and salad.

I am going to go now and sit in the sun on our deck and enjoy this perfect fall day. The birds out there are just all a chatter today enjoying the warmth.
Have a great day!
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Friday, September 24, 2010


This time of year we get a yearning to head to the coast. One of our fave places is Bandon. This photo is of their famous Face Rock. I have taken many photo's of this rock. Our next trip will be a jaunt to the beach of that I am sure.

Last nights dinner was so wonderful. I made marinara sauce from scratch. I used our garden tomatoes and zucchini and garlic, onions, celery,carrots, fresh herbs from my herb barrel and fresh basil from my plant that lives in indoors on my kitchen window sill. I cooked all the veggies down after blanching and removing the skins from the tomatoes and then put in the blender to puree. And then back to the pot and I added some salt and pepper and a healthy splash of red wine and simmered all for about four hours until reduced and thick. What a wonderful layering of flavors, Hubby said, the best sauce he has ever had. Quite a compliment as he tasted many of my sauces throughout the years. I believe
that the deep red juicy tomatoes freshly picked had everything to with it's goodness. I mixed whole grain and regular spaghetti pasta together then topped with the sauce and freshly grated asiago cheese. I baked artisan bread to a hard crispy crust. With it's chewy interior it was the perfect accompaniment. A simple delicious and filling meal on a cozy fall night.
We had a nice bottle of merlot to go with, it was jammy and a rich mouthful for a merlot.
I slept like a baby is there anything better than comfort food I wonder?

Tomorrow we have OREGON football. It is a later game but we will watch another game before it starts so a day of college football. For eats during the games I am making Sloppy Joe's it is a recipe I have made several times. I make it up ahead and then keep warm in the slow cooker. I like to buy small dinner buns rather than having just one large sandwich that way you can eat them throughout the day. I am making a southwest corn and black bean salad to go with.
Here is the recipe for the Sloppy Joe's.
3 pounds lean ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic minced
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 Anaheim pepper chopped
1 1/2 cups ketchup
5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons vinegar
3 tablespoons prepared mustard
2 teaspoons chili powder
Buns of choice

This recipe makes a lot so for the two of us I cut it in half.
This Sloppy Joe is sweet/ sour tangy with a kick of heat. We love them. Now of course if you wanted to use roast beef or roast pork just roast your meat ahead of time and shred into the sauce and heat.

I made a trip out to the farms earlier. I love going there especially this time of year. The old red barns and sheds that surround the farm stand have been claiming their space there for years. The air there has a fragrance this time of year of apples and farm animals. At the farm stand there was a huge variety of apples all grown on that very property. I bought some gravenstien apples to make my yearly pie of these flavorful apples. Where I grew up on the farm we had one of these apple trees. My mother put up many quart jars of applesauce and made as many pies as possible during apple season. At the end of the season when the apples dropped to ground with their rotting skins and soft centers the cows would have a feast. They would crowd under the tree mooing to one another with their huge eyes glazed over in ecstasy chomping apples while huge wads of spittle and foam hung from their mouths to their their necks. Not a pretty sight believe me but their cows you know?
Well I suppose I got somewhat sidetracked there. It is always fun for me to think back to my younger years living on the farm. Those memories are etched deeply into my heart and soul and always there for me to summon up when I feel the need.
When that pie of mine goes into the oven and starts to bake and the house fills with the smell of sweet apples I am truly transported back into my Mom's kitchen. So it is a yearly ritual that gravenstien apple pie of mine.

I must now get on with a few more chores so I can have the pleasure of sitting in the sun a little while this afternoon.
Enjoy this amazing fall day wherever you are at. Maybe you could munch on an apple under the deep blue sky while watching the leaves turn gold.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Wonderful tomato pie is the name of the recipe it should have been the Soggy Bottom Tomato pie. I copied this recipe in it's entirety from our local newspaper. At the time I was making it I thought to myself this crust needs to be pre-baked before adding the ingredients, but the recipe actually assured me that the baking of the crust ahead of time was not required.
I must say that the pie itself is quite delicious. Two cheese varieties and fresh basil make for a bite full of pure pleasure.
I always make my pie crust the same way and it never fails to please. I am going to share recipe and if you want to put in a unbaked shell make sure you totally drain those tomatoes also it may help to use a less juicy variety other than Heirloom. I am taking the leftover pie tonight and popping back into the oven to see if that bottom crust will crisp up a bit.
one pie crust homemade or purchased
3 cups of tomatoes sliced horizontally and well drained to remove excess liquid, Heirlooms tomatoes are an excellent choice if available.
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
one ball of fresh mozzarella cheese thinly sliced or two cups shredded
Herbs de Provence or Italian seasonings of your choice
paprika for sprinkling on pie top
one cup shredded Parmesan cheese
one cup may

Layer ingredients into your crust (9"pie plate)
Lay a layer of sliced mozzarella to cover the bottom of the pie crust
next lay a layer of the tomatoes then top with the basil and herbs and or seasonings
repeating each layer until you are close to the rim of the dish
Mix the Parmesan with the mayo till blended and spread this mixture evenly over the filling making sure to seal the edges, sprinkle with paprika. Bake 350 degrees for approximately 35-45 minutes until brown and bubbly.
I served this pie with shredded romaine lettuce topped with our crisp fresh cukes and sweet onion slices drizzled with Italian dressing.
I would give this pie a try as the flavors are so rich with the Heirloom tomatoes and cheese actually it reminded me of a Margaretta pizza.
When I make pie crust I always make a little extra for my little tarts as my family calls them. Actually they are little rolls ups. I roll a thin rectangle of dough, butter it and sprinkle Cinnamon and sugar over and roll jelly roll style and then cut into pieces about an inch wide. Set on parchment paper on a small baking pan, dab with melted butter and bake at about 375 degrees for about a half hour until the dough has slightly browned. They are so good with coffee in the morning. Just pop these little guys into your mouth , chew and down with coffee. When my children were small they loved these little treats. I would let them help and sometimes they put homemade jam in them. I can recall their chubby little fingers glistening with the jam and crumbs loading their chins. GOOD STUFF MOM!

It is quite a pleasant day here today in Eugene. Hubby mowed the yards and did some weeding. I ran for the weekly groceries and took care of household chores.

I am about through with my exciting book, it is hard to put down once I pick it up. But I do not give myself the pleasure of sitting in my chair and reading until my daily to-do's are done.
Actually my to-do's are completed for the day so I am off to my chair and book. I am outta here.
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Monday, September 20, 2010


It is a good thing I have sunshine in a jar as there was not a trace of it here today.
This afternoon I blanched tomatoes and made basic tomato sauce. I actually had the opportunity to use about twelve or so tomatoes to make the two quarts. I used a combination of Heirloom and Liberty tomatoes. The jars are now tucked into the freezer for future use. It was a fun and productive time.

It continued to be gloomy throughout most of the day. Those gray looming skies did break up somewhat but then gathered again into their weary, tiresome cover.
I talked to my brother in Washington state. He said it was raining hard and there seemed no end in sight. How sad is that? It is only September.

Tonight we are having tostada's with the left over pork Verde. We are looking forward to those crunchy shells and our favorite toppings.
Tomorrow I am making more zucchini bread as I still have a few in the veggie bin. I love a tiny slice of zucchini bread slathered with whipped cream cheese. I know, I know, but it is comfort food for the soul.

Well there is no news, I suppose I am somewhat bored. I am going pick up my book and plop into my chair now. I am in the midst of a psychological thriller. It is certainly a page turner. Hubby is watching a scary movie. Looks like we both need some diversions on this dreary day.
Maybe there will be sun tomorrow, maybe not.
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Tomato sauce day

Today I am making frozen tomato sauce. I make a plain tomato sauce and will freeze in quart containers. To thaw you just drop the block of frozen tomato sauce in your pot and it will slowly melt. Then you add whatever ingredients you like depending on what you are making. Making the sauce does not take long as it is an easy process.
You just wash and stem your tomatoes. Then add about four to six tomatoes depending on size to a pot of boiling water. When the skins start to split and pull away from the tomato use a slotted spoon and remove from the pot and let cool. When cooled remove the skins. Cut each tomato in half and put in food processor or blender to process. Pour the pureed tomatoes into a large pot and bring to a boil. Let cool. Then put in containers and freeze. How simple is that? Just imagine how fresh that sauce will taste in the middle of winter.

I wish I could have taken a photo of our Pork Verde rice and bean bowls last night. They were beautiful and a big mouthful of spicy layered flavor. I topped them off with chopped onion and cilantro.
My camera was charging so it was unavailable to me.
I previously posted a pork Verde recipe on my blog but of course each time I make it is perhaps a little different as I use what I have on hand. To assemble the bowls put cooked rice of your choice in the bottom, then a layer of canned rinsed red beans, then ladle over some sauce from the slow cooker, then a scoop of the tender meat, more broth and the toppings. I used a big spoon I did not want to waste one bite of that yummy sauce.

The sun is suppose to be shinning for us today here in Eugene. If you looked outdoors right now though you would doubt that. A dreary gray blanket has us covered but I am hoping for the best. Our deck needs a really good cleaning as it is littered with leaves and debris off the trees. My flowers are flooded in the cedar barrels from the torrents of rain we have had in the past few days. To top that off nasty little snails have made their appearance once more. Oh yeah. I
wonder where they go when it is a hundred degree's outdoors? They do not die from the heat as they are right back once it cools down and gets damp. Deplorable things! Well not to be negative so I will not dwell I am sure you have heard me rant enough about the snails.

I must get on with household chores now, it is Monday and I hardly lifted a finger over the weekend.
Till tomorrow.
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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Silver Lake WA.

We had a wonderful five day getaway with my dear brother.
The weather the first two days were grand. Deep blue skies and warm sun.
We spent a lot of time on the lake in the boat. It is a large lake with many canals meandering throughout campgrounds and residential area's. This is really quite a unique place and so loved by my brother. He has been going there since he was a young boy. I will post another photo or so in a day or two. That is Mt. Rainier that you see on the horizon line of the first photo.

I made one of our favorite meals while there it is easy and tasty.
I will share that recipe now.
2 pounds of pork shoulder boned and cut into small cubes.
two tablespoons flour
one can of diced tomatoes
one half onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 teaspoon of thyme
2 tablespoons paprika
salt and pepper to taste
one cup of sour cream
three quarters package egg noodles

Add the cubed meat to the slow cooker
mix in the flour and stir well
add the other ingredients except for the sour cream and noodles and mix again
Cover and cook on high for five hours or until the meat is fork tender.

A half hour before serving add the cup of sour cream and stir gently to incorporate
Serve over the noodles in a bowl
Serve a good crusty bread along side for mopping up the extra sauce.

This dish is so easy to make up when you go somewhere, just take your slow cooker along. I put it together in the morning and boated the rest of the day while dinner cooked. If you prefer to use beef sirloin steak is the best. Just cube and make the same way as the pork.

Today is OREGON football for us. We are going to watch the game at our families house. My hubby made a huge bowl of salsa made with our fresh tomatoes and peppers from our garden to take along. He made it quite hot as his family loves it that way. He was sweet and made a milder version for me. What a guy!

Well I am off for my walk probably in the rain by the looks of it. Well it is not cold and the umbrella will go along and I will come home smelling like fresh laundry.

Sunday or Monday I am making a tomato pie the recipe looks good but I have not made it before.
I will make my own pie crust. It has mozzarella and Parmesan cheese too. It should be yummy.....well see. I will post a report and a picture, sometimes you never know.

Have a lovely weekend.

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mt. Hood

Glorious Mt. Hood OR. The photo is compliments of my son. My son lives not far from this National Forest paradise. He took this picture this summer.

We had family for a grill this past weekend. The weather was cooler on Sunday we did eat at the patio table and we started a fire in the fire bowl as the temp dropped after dinner. It truly felt like fall.
This morning was cloudy but now the showers have come in. It is not cold quite mild actually. We have back door open listening to the patter.
This will last through tomorrow then warmer and sunnier weather is on the horizon or so they say. I hope so as we have our last little getaway of the summer planned in WA. state, a few days in a park model cabin at a quiet lake. We will be with my brother he is taking his motor coach and boat. We hope to spend time on the lake just cruising around and do a little fishing. We do not mind if it is cloudy and cool but wet would not be good and if that is going to be the case we will cancel and be sorely dissapointed. Two years ago we went to the same place the same time of year and it was in the eighties. Seems there will be no long days of summer this year. We will have to chalk it up as a very sweet short summer.

Tonight for dinner we forgaged from the freezer. I am making tiny meat balls simmered in swiss sauce, I just need to thaw the sauce. However I am going to add some of our fresh tomatoes to the sauce to brighten it. We are going to serve over rice and of course we are having zucchini in our fave way. Just sauteed in butter and olive oil and topped with grated parmesan cheese.

We just had lunch and it was satisfying and good. We had taco's last night with left over roast beef. So for lunch today we still had the remains of the taco toppers in the fridge. We made soft corn shells and tucked in my refried beans, jack cheese, chopped lettuce and sweet onion, cilantro, and topped with my hubby's fresh tomato salsa he made yesterday. Wow they were so good and fresh tasting. A perfect veggie lunch. This is the best salsa he has made bar none. It is a little milder which I prefer but the ingredients were from our garden freshly picked. Such a difference that makes. He adds lime juice and cilantro to tomatoes, peppers and onions. Good job!

Well I really have no chatter today, this is boring even to me.
I want to walk so I am waiting for a break in the weather. If it continues throughout the day I will have to jump on the exercise bike which is not a fave, but it is better than nothing. I can never stay on a seat of a exercise bike I always keep slipping forward. What a pain, truthfully ha.

Hope you have nice weather were you at and that you are enjoying the last days of summer.
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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Lemony Tuna Sald

This is a recipe I took from a cooking mag. It looked good and it is, also very satisfying with the beans and tuna.
Lemony Tuna Salad.
1/3 cup mayo
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste
one 6-ounce can of quality solid white albacore tuna drained. If you can find it Pacific Seafood brand is amazing, Trader Joe's is not a bad second choice.
1 cup canned small white beans, rinsed and drained.
1/2 seedless cuke cut into 1/2 inch pieces. (we used our garden ones)
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion or sweet onion
one head of romaine lettuce, shredded
1 cup of cherry tomatoes halved. We used a combo of cherry and roma both from our garden.
In a large bowl whisk together the mayo, lemon juice, zest and season with salt and pepper.
Add the tuna breaking it apart slightly with a fork, then add the beans, cukes and onion.
Arrange the romaine on four large plates and top with the tuna mixture and tomatoes.
We just added Traders Filone bread to the side. This a great light summer meal.
Try it I know you will enjoy it and it takes no time to make.

Well as I mentioned we are staying home this weekend. We watched college ball yesterday afternoon. Our OREGON team won with a ridiculous score of 72 to zip. That was not a interesting game nor was it a gauge as we played a team that was not ranked very high. Regardless we celebrated as the win made us happy. OREGON STATE did not fare as well nor did WASHINGTON. We like to see all the teams in the northwest do well.
Our food yesterday was amazing. Just what a ball game day requires. Cheering and arm waving with wing sauce and blue cheese dripping from our fingers. Too fun!

Today we are having my hubby's family over for our grilled burgers on sourdough. Hopefully we can eat outdoors it is much cooler today though it is sunny out.........surely feels like fall.

I hope we find some blackberries tomorrow to pick. I just read in the paper that the season was very short and the berries few and far between. Maybe they are done already, sad. We did get a bowl full from our own berry bush. We have dealt with this blackberry bush for years as an annoyance. Finally this spring my hubby trimmed it back so it would not strangle our little boat that is parked nearby. So it did thank us and produce a nice bowl of berries. They were tiny but very sweet and we slurped them down quickly.

Well must get on with house chores, oh yeah. Then out to clean and tidy the deck a everyday chore at the end of summer(can barely stand to think that) as leaves are dropping from the overhanging trees.
Have a great day with family and friends and enjoy the holiday weekend.

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Friday, September 3, 2010


Is there anything better than a summer meal? This yummy plate consists of corn on the cob with honey butter, fresh green beans with bacon, chicken tenders baked in Parmesan crust served with zucchini relish and our garden cucumbers and roma tomatoes dressed with honey mustard dressing. All home made just old fashioned simple fare. Oh and the glass of pinot gris from a local winery is a lovely treat.

A great sunny day today. We were going to go blackberry picking but it will be to warm this afternoon by the time hubby gets home. So it is on the agenda for Monday morning. We will pick enough for two pies. I will post photo's of the pies. I make my own crust from the same recipe I have used for years. We adore fruit pies, especially berry pies with a dollop of vanilla bean ice cream, good stuff!

Yesterday my husband spent a good deal of time cleaning our big grill. That is a chore so I am happy he was the one doing it. I worked outdoors also cleaning the deck and doing some weeding and tidying. I was a very pleasant afternoon after we finished our chores we sat in the garden area sipping wine and watching our tomatoes and peppers grow.
We will grill this evening I need to check the freezer to see what we will have. We have a lot of tomatoes coming on now, so of course we will slice some of those red beauties to go with. Yesterday for lunch I made us a tomato sammie. Just nothing but fresh garden tomatoes with mayo, salt and pepper on whole wheat. I ate so many of those sandwiches when I was a young girl growing up on the farm. The pink juice drips onto your chin and then your plate when you take your first bite. We were quite in awe of our simple juicy tomato sandwiches.

Well a big weekend coming up for a lot of folks. We try to avoid going anywhere on holiday weekends. So we are staying home and watching the first of the college football games. My husband is a avid fan of college football. He does not care for the pro's and that sits well with me. Our first Oregon game with New Mexico is tomorrow, the Oregon State game follows.
We have planned our menu the most important thing is the food you know.
We will start with a brunch of huevo ranchero's with Cesar drinks. For those of you that do not know what a Cesar is it is like a bloody mary but made with clamato juice instead of tomato juice. We find it lighter and more flavorful. We have introduced our take on this drink to family and friends and they start serving it up also. The huevo's are a fave for brunch and go so well with the drinks. Then in the afternoon we are doing chicken wings, I guess that is not to original but maybe the way we do them is. My husband likes the full wing with just the tips clipped. We dip them in Franks hot wing sauce, then bread them in krustez bake and fry with panko crumbs mixed in and deep fry in the wok. They come out so crispy and there is heat in the chicken. I serve with my Mom's cafe blue cheese dressing, celery sticks and extra Franks and lots of napkins. So it will be a fun day tomorrow with games and food.

Well I must get out the door on my walk before the heat is up.
Have a great weekend, stay safe if you are traveling.
Till later.
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