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Archive for February, 2013

Welcome to the February Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Day!

Fun Fact about  the Foodie Pen Pal Program: OVER 1000 bloggers and reader participate in the exchange…

blogbadgeAPPLE Foodie Penpals

This month I received my box from: Meg at Meg Vs Chub. I also received my January box from Meghan. I don’t think that this happens very often, because there are so many participants in the Foodie Pen Pal Exchange, and since people are randomly paired together. I thought it was really cool and since I loved my January Foodie Pen Pal Box I looked at it as another opportunity to get to know Meghan that much more….If you read January’s post then you know that I love her tag line: Screw You Chub, Get Outta My Way. It’s just such a strong and bold tagline. She also makes the BEST card to send with the Foodie Box.

So this months card looks like this. This is the back of the card.

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The front of the card.  So cute and is truly how I feel about food.

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So on to the Revel. Check out my box of Awesomeness.  It has such a wonderful variety, and with new things I have never tried before, I really love that.

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She also sent my babies a treat. Boy did they love that. These are homemade treats and my “kids” went nutz for them. Stuart was licking the bag! Ginger was patiently waiting her turn.

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Meghan, my little “kids” LOVE you for thinking of them, and thank-you for the yummy treats. They felt really special getting a treat in the Foodie Box!

Now back to what I received.

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I am really excited to try the PB&J bar from Trader Joe’s. Plus this fun Greek Yogurt Granola Bar.

I just cannot get over how excited I am about breaking into all my goodies.

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Snapea Crisps, Yes Please….

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Thanks Meghan! I really enjoyed spending the last two months with you as my Foodie Pen Pal. You’re a real sweetheart and I love your choices in food and snacks. I also wanted to Congratulate Meg on her weight loss success. On her blog she posted a Progress Picture and her weight loss to date. Amazing Progress Meg. You really accomplished so much and I find it so inspiring how you changed your health and your life.

I sent February’s Foodie Box to Tracie who is a reader of  Foodie Blogs. I had a good time getting to know her via email. She has 2 little kids ages 11 and 6. She also has 6 dogs and 3 cats. She loves fitness and good food. Sounds like she is getting ready to start her own blog sometime this year, and I for one cannot wait until she does! I’m also hoping she will Guest Post for me and share her love of travel, food and her family.

Interested in the Foodie Pen Pal Program? Well here is the ALL the information about the Foodie Pen Pal Program.

FPP post Foodie Penpals

Here’s a detailed explanation of the program:

-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treatsThe spending limit is $15The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.

Check Ya Later.

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I love hummus, eat it nearly every day. Well sometimes I get upset at the price if it’s not on sale or I do not have a coupon, so I broke down and made my own. One thing that helped me come to this breakdown was Chef Ramsey.

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Over the holidays I was at Kmart’s and saw Chef on the box and thought I needed that stat, but I did not buy it. I was shopping for toys for my doggies and on a mission to stay in my Christmas budget. So I walked away from it/him.

Well, last week I realized that my doggies needed some new chew bones so off to Kmart’s I went and there he was staring at me again! Chef, please people will talk. Well something was different this time, he had a little red flag on the price tag! It was On Sale for $14.99. The original price was $22.99 so I thought that was a good enough deal to seal said deal. So needless to say I walked out with Chef Ramsey and some chew bones for the doggies!

My current chopper is super small and I never tried to make hummus because it seemed impossible with a tiny little prep chopper, but now I had no good excuse. I had Chef Ramsey by my side.

So My “To Do List” Went Like This.

# 1 Find a Recipe:

Note: I mixed and matched recipes to make this one, but it was Inspired by Ina’s Recipe.

Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1  can of chickpeas, drained, 2 tablespoons of liquid reserved
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • Paprika to Garnish

Directions

  1. In a blender, pour garbanzo beans, reserved garbanzo bean liquid, lemon juice, tahini sauce, olive oil, and salt, and . Blend until creamy and well mixed.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a medium serving bowl. Sprinkle with paprika  and drizzle with olive oil over the top.

# 2 Pulled out the Chopper:

# 3 Gather the Ingredients:

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#4 Make the Hummus:

and here’s the end result.

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Hummus and Pita = Happiness.

#5 Eat the Hummus:

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#6 Rate the Hummus:

Well I love Sabra Hummus, and in no way can I say this was like Sabra Hummus. There is just something about the smooth creamy texture of Sabra that I do not think I have ever found in any other brand or homemade hummus I have eaten. BUT. This was good and hearty. I liked that it was thick and still had little bits of chickpeas that were not 100% ground up. HOWEVER. When Sabra goes on sale or I have a coupon, I will stock up. I will continue to make my own and perfect it a bit, but Sabra stole my heart and until I can mimic it, I will continue to buy it.

P.S. Thanks Chef Ramsey. Your Cool.

Check Ya Later.

Question: Whats a recipe or food item that you just cannot seem to recreate?

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I must share something, I have a New Food Love.  It’s with Wheat Berries.

But First Check out my New Tea Mug. It’s a wide mouth mason jar with a Cuppow Lid. I love it. I received the Cuppow lid in one of my Vegan Conscious Boxes. On a cold day the mason jar also doubles as a hand warmer.

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My new tea mug sure does complement my Oats in a Jar, Jar! I love jars, containers, bins, baskets and anything else that stores and organizes items. I love glass jars for food storage and serving food.

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So on to the Wheat Berries. I found these in the bulk bin section at Whole Foods and needed to try them out. I love grains and this is one I have not tried.

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After soaking them overnight, I drained and rinsed. Then add 2-1/2 cups of water and boiled for 35 minutes. NOTE: Just make sure that you do not let all the water boil out. Stir occasionally. I kept my eye on them the entire cook time, I made the mistake once and walked away while boiling rice, and all the water boiled out and I had a terrible mess in my saucepan. NEVER AGAIN.

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They are very chewy with a nutty flavor, they are now on my favorite list. Not sure why I waited so long to try them. Oh yeah, I know why…The closest Whole Foods is 40 some miles away from me and I have not found them anywhere else. Well now that I know, I can stock up and keep on hand. Win, Win.

I have been adding a 1/4 of a cup of cooked wheat berries to my Oats in a Jar Oatmeal.

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Here’s some helpful information I found on Wheat Berries over at The Food Network.

Wheat berries are a true whole grain! You may not recognize the name, but without these kernels, there would be no flour. Wheat berries are loaded with nutrients and are as easy as rice to prepare — perfect for a meal any time of year.

What are wheat berries?
Wheat berries are whole wheat kernels. They look like thick, short grains — similar to brown rice. Industrious folks grind them into whole wheat flour for baking; you may not have the time to regularly grind your own flour, but it’s a fun thing to try at least once.

When boiled, cooked wheat berries have a chewy bite and subtle nutty, earthy flavor. They’re sturdy enough to handle bold salad dressings and still delicate enough to taste delicious with some milk, honey and cinnamon.

If you like sprouts on salads and sandwiches, add a little water to wheat berries and you can grow your own wheat sprouts.

Why are wheat berries “Healthy Eats”?
Since the wheat kernel is left intact, virtually none of the nutrients are stripped away. A cup of cooked wheat berries has about 300 calories and is packed with fiber, protein and iron. Tasty sprouts are loaded with vitamin E, a cell-protecting antioxidant, and magnesium, which is good for healthy bones and muscles.

What do you do with wheat berries?
Look for wheat berries at a health food store or in the natural foods section of your local supermarket.

Prepare wheat berries in boiling water — just like other grains. Add cooked wheat berries to soups or even chili. Serve hot as a side dish with hearty mushrooms or cold for a satisfying salad full of flavor and whole grain goodness. Wheat berries have nutty flavor so they’re great with fresh vegetables and dried fruit such as cherries or cranberries.

Read more at: blog.foodnetwork.com

Now here some of my snacks from the week.

Kale Chips, always a favorite.

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Hail Merry Macaroons I received in my Vegan Conscious Box. Chocolate Craving CRUSHED by these little Macs.

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I made my husband this Decadent Apple Caramel Cake. He saw it while grocery shopping and added it to the cart. (?)

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It was good, but really sweet. He loved it, and that’s all that matters, sometimes you have to indulge on not so homemade, not so healthy items. At least I used my Egglands Best Eggs…

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* Since finding the Wheat Berries and cooking with them I have now located them at a Health Food Store NEAR my home! Dale’s Natural Foods Store in Flint Michigan. I shop here often and turns out they have carried them all along, I guess I just never looked carefully enough in the Bulk Grain Bin Section. Apparently my Observation skills are at an all time LOW.

Check Ya Later.

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So I wanted to do a recap on some of the meals I enjoyed while getting creative using Chobani Greek Yogurt in recipes.  The promotion is called #justaddgood. Here’s the idea behind it:

Chobani Conversion Chart.

Chobani Ingredient Conversion Chart

So I’ll take you back to the original post on my Chobani Delivery.  Now let’s look at some dishes!

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Most recently I made this little frozen dessert. This recipe was adapted from Lindsay’s over at The Lean Green Bean. Lindsay has amazing recipes and she is really creative with health ingredients.

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Here’s how I put this all together.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Crispy Brown Rice Cereal
  • 1 Large container of Vanilla Chobani Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup ground oatmeal
  • 4 tablespoons of powdered peanut butter or 2-3  tablespoons of regular nut butter
  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds

Instructions for Crust

  1. Mix 1/2 cup ground oats and 4 tablespoons of PB2, along with 2 tablespoons of chia seeds and 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds together.
  2. Next, slowly add 1/4 cup of water to the dry mix until it is smooth and incorporated
  3. Press the crust into a 8×8 glass pan and proceed to make the filling

Instructions for Filling

  1. Mix yogurt and crispy brown rice cereal together in a bowl.

Now put it all together

  1. Spread yogurt mixture into the oatmeal crust.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer until frozen.
  3. Remove from freezer, cut into bars.
  4. Store in an airtight container in the freezer.

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It’s like a frozen rice crispy treat. They freeze well and I love them.

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So with having so much on hand and not wanting to waste a single drop I grabbed a container and made some FroCHO™ Ice Cubes to have on hand for smoothies. I have made Chobani Frozen Treats before, but I wanted more information. So I headed on over to the Chobani FAQ Webpage and here’s what I found on freezing!

Can I freeze Chobani?

Yes, frozen Chobani (or FroCHO™ as we like to call it) can be stored for up to three months. While frozen, the live and active cultures present in Chobani become dormant. But once thawed, either in the refrigerator or by your body heat when eaten, they become live and active again.

FroCHO™ will have a slightly different texture, whether eaten frozen or thawed, but makes for a refreshing treat.

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Once they were frozen, I bagged and dated them. Well I also had to try some in a smoothie, I am only human after all.

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So I grabbed 3 Chobani cubes, a frozen banana and a snack size bag of frozen raspberries and a scoop of protein powder. I keep lots of frozen fruits on hand. I have a small section of my freezer dedicated to items to make smoothies! Check out my stash here. I topped of my blender bottle with soy milk and blended. The Chobani cubes really kept it cold and super smooth.

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I love spicy, hot flavors. So when I saw Tiffany’s Post on Spicy Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas, I knew I had to make them. I meet Tiffany at the 2012 Blend Retreat. She blogs over at Snack Snark Bark. I did alter her original recipe, I did not have any celery on hand and I also omitted the jalapeno peppers. I do love spicy hot flavors, but jalapeno is just too much for this gal. I also stuffed them, I mean jam-packed them full so I only ended up with 5 enchiladas, where the original recipe called for 12 tortillas. Oops.

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Before:

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After:

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I am in love with these bad boys, they are so zippy and spicy, I had to dab my upper lip a few times! If you like Franks Red Hot, then these are for YOU.

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Super Spicy Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas

  • 5 tortillas
  • 1 ½ lbs of chicken, cooked
  • 1 cup Chobani 2% plain yogurt (in place of cream cheese)
  • 4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled (same some for topping)
  • 4 oz. Frank’s Red Hot Wing Sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp chile powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • Ranch dressing for drizzling

Mix together well, stuff tortillas and fold, place seam side down in pan, sprinkle with blue cheese and drizzle ranch dressing and hot sauce and bake on 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes and enjoy.

So on to a milder recipe….Cho-Egg Salad Sandwich.

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I just diced up 2 hard-boiled eggs a generous amount of mustard along with a few tablespoons of Chobani yogurt and mixed together, tasted then added more mustard and Chobani to my taste. Toasted some wheat bread. Piled the Cho-Egg mix on the bread, then topped with Organic Pea Sprouts, and dug in, it sure did make a perfect lunch.

Made my all time favorite breakfast bowl or Cho-Cereal Bowl. Kashi Heart to Heart cereal, PB2 (not pictured), hemp seeds, cinnamon and mixed with Chobani yogurt. Love, Love, Love.

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Cho-Enchiladas. Check out my recipe/post link.

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More Cho-Cereal Bowls.

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Shrimp Taco Wrap with Chobani instead of sour cream…Very Tangy.

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I think the one thing I am currently obsessed with is the Chobani Fruit Dip. Inspired by the Fruit Kebobs on the Chobani site.

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Chobani Fruit Dip

Serves 1

2 Tablespoons Chobani Greek Yogurt

1 Tablespoon Biscoff Spread or any Nut butter

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

3 Shakes of Cinnamon

Blend together with a spoon and dip, dip away.

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I also wanted to mention that I froze 3 cups of this dip in a glass Pyrex container for a Super Bowl party. Before the party I let it thaw and whipped it up with a spoon, and the texture and flavor were as good as when it was first made fresh. CHO-Bonus.

Question of the Day: What’s your favorite way to use Greek Yogurt in your recipes?

Check Ya Later.

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Last weekend I took advantage of the fact that I had nothing to do and nowhere to go. So I spent the day doing what I wanted to do. I watched movies and ate! It was just what I needed. I had a Me Day, My Way.

For Breakfast I enjoyed a few Crumpets with Sun-butter and hemp seeds.

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For lunch I made a fun and really tasty sandwich. For some reason I have been craving an egg salad sandwich so I made one. Like I said I was having a Me Day. Check out my secret ingredient. Chobani Greek Yogurt. #justaddgood.

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I found Organic Pea Shoots at Trader Joe’s, and when I saw them, I knew I had to try them and I am happy to say I loved them! They can be added to stir frys, salads, soups and sandwiches, or steamed as a side dish. I have been wanting to use my Chobani so I thought instead of mayo on my egg salad sandwich I would use my yummy Chobani Greek Yogurt. 

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It was one fine tasting sandwich. Worthy of repeating on any given day. Cho-Egg Salad Sandwich with Pea Shoots. Other fun Chobani creations can be found here, and here. Oh yeah, and here. Chobani is a great way to add some clean protein to your diet and replace fatty ingredients, like mayo, oil or butter. In the summer I made a few fun dessert dishes using Chobani Greek yogurt. Chobani Cheese Cake, Chobani Frozen Treats.

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For a fun snack I ate one of my Homemade Brown Rice Krispy Treats smothered in Sun-butter  Yeah, it was a great snack! It was a little salty and a little sweet.

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For dinner I ate some baked Black soybean that I marinated in Soy sauce and sesame oil. I however forgot to take a picture of the finished tofu. Oops.. I eat tofu all the time, but this was my first time trying the Black Soybean Tofu. It really soaked up the marinate, and had a great flavor and texture. I wish I had a picture of the finished product, because it was baked to a golden brown and looked really good. I loved the black speckled look of the tofu. I will get a picture….Next time. 

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My tuna sushi was so good, I was so excited when my Kroger’s store had it, they normally only stock California type sushi. Bonus for my Me Day.

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Guess who else had a Me Day? These two. They work so hard all week, they deserve it. 😉

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Question: When was the last time YOU had a ME DAY? 

Check Ya Later.

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So my friend Nicole over at Apples and Arteries came up with this super fun idea. A New Year New Gear Program.

Here’s How it Works! 

Shop around and put together a fun package keeping to a limit of $15.  Maybe it’s a new workout top, running socks, hairbands, a pair of shorts.  You’d be amazed at the goods you can find at the outlets (UA, Nike), TJ Maxx and Marshalls, and department stores. Be sure to include a gift receipt (when available).

Ship the package by prearranged date and Please be so kind as to include a Note of Motivation.

If you’re a blogger, please write a blog post about the program/gear to post on prearranged date, and link-up post on designated date.  If you’re matched with a reader, please ask them to include text that you can put on your blog.

Here’s My New Year New Gear Match Up.

I received my package from Kim at Barking Mad About Running. Kim just recently ran the Disney Marathon. I really think that has to be the Funnest Marathon on Earth. Everyone dresses up and just has a blast. I love reading Disney Marathon posts, they always make me smile.

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I am loving my new Nike workout t-shirt. The color is fabulous and I love the neckline. I have a huge mound of hair and I cannot tell you how many times I struggle with pulling a t-shirt over my head. Well this Bad Boy is wide enough that my entire head + all my hair fit right through (bonus). Kinda of a weird problem I know, but its the little things like this that make me and my hair happy. Plus look at this bright vibrant color….Makes me want to sweat. Oh yeah and that brings me too this, its dry-fit fabric so it wicks the sweat from your skin and keeps you comfortable and dry.

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Kim also sent me this super cute reusable bag. It is the perfect size for a lunch bag, and the one I am currently using is getting really beat up so I am so glad I have this to replace it with.

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Kim also sent me a baggie full of fun goodies. Coconut oil, lip gloss, runner decals, emergen-c package, energy wafer, and a body chafing tester.

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I have to really thank Kim, she did such a great job putting together my New Year New Gear Package. Kim, you’re the best! Thank-you so much.

I sent a package to Alex at Healthy Life Happy Wife.

Want to see what I sent Alex, well head on over to her blog and check it out! Alex is a runner and has so many great blog posts. Her blog tag line is: RUNNING IN PINK, EATING MY GREENS, LIVING IN COLOR

Fellow Bloggers and Tweeters – please spread the word with a link to this post or a Tweet?  #newyearnewgear

Fun right! Well are you interested? Here’s how you can join in.

Email Nicole @ (applesandarteries@gmail.com)
Include your name, email.  Twitter and Blog, if applicable.

This is open to everyone State-side…let’s start with the US.

Check Ya Later.

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