Neon Green

March 26, 2012

Everything in Southern Virginia is GREEN!

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My drive home today was just gorgeous. I hate that I can’t take photos while I drive, so I pulled over on a mountain for the ‘scenic view’ shot! [Look past the brown bushes up front!]

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We wrapped up the conference with two awesome presentations. I took the Food Track (as opposed to the Clinical Track) since it applies to my career a lot more. These were two of the most interesting conference presentations I have sat through!

The first presentation was by a VT economics professor and was titled “What Is The Full Cost of a Meal At Home? Implications for Nutrition Quality and Policy.” The talk was really interesting – he took into account both the COST of food (dried beans) but also the TIME it would take to make said food from scratch. So when dietitians say “but beans are so cheap!” you have to account for the prep time, and most Americans are short on that. Culinary education also plays a role. He reported that in a collection of data on low-income single households, the average amount of time spent on food preparation – from grocery shopping to dish washing – was 4.41 hours. Do the math – that’s not much in 7 days. It made me wonder what the minimum amount of time.

The second talk was by an assistant professor of food science at VT and her title was “Food Safety Considerations for the 21st Century.” Professor Boyer shared that greens are actually a huge percentage of foodborne illnesses (about the same as beef + dairy combined) and that the majority of outbreaks come from foodservice – not home use. I asked if we should be using any of those special fruit + veggie sprays, and this happened to be her thesis topic! She said water is just as good as any, but that it won’t get rid of pathogens, which hide in the pores of produce. Scary! She also said there is no need to re-wash triple washed greens – that you might introduce more contaminants from your kitchen while washing, so just use them from the bag!

Lastly, I listened to some research (briefly!) presented by some dietetics student friends! Robin and Austin say hello, as does Anna! Lauren, I’m sorry I never found you!

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Back at the casa, Matt and I made a simple spring dinner: frittata!! We used to make them ALL THE TIME but somehow always forget. But one of our bakery patrons brought us a dozen eggs from her farm, so we put them to good use.

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We cooked 2 big handfuls of spinach in some olive oil until it was wilted. Then we added 6 eggs, beaten, with a tsp of butter and chunks of smoked gouda on top, plus salt and pepper. Then we switched to low heat for about 5 minutes to let the bottom cook and then it went in a 350* oven to bake for 8-10 minutes, until the center was set!

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The smoked gouda is from a big hunk leftover from the bakery’s Stout and Gouda bread, which ran its course in March and is off the menu for April, so we have cheese to use up!

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On the side – green beans cooked in a dash of Worcestershire sauce plus Dijon mustard and a little butter. The frittata (and gouda!) was so good that I couldn’t go back and forth between these. I had to eat all the beans and then focus my whole palate on the delicious frittata!

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Have a great evening!

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{ 70 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats March 26, 2012 at 8:06 pm

I’m glad you enjoyed your drive back! and that frittata looks delicious! I’ve only made one once, I should do that again!

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2 Stephanie @ Legally Blinde March 26, 2012 at 8:08 pm

That’s really good to know about not needing to wash triple-washed greens yourself – I hate washing greens, but I always felt like I was “cheating” by using them right out of the bag. Aren’t farm fresh eggs the best?? What a treat! Your frittata looks delicious, and the color is so vibrant!

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3 kathleen @ the daily crumb March 26, 2012 at 8:08 pm

i always forget about frittatas! yours looks delicious — love the addition of gouda!

glad you made it home safely :)

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4 Amanda March 26, 2012 at 8:09 pm

glad you had a good time in good old blacksburg! :)

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5 Allie@LiveLaughEat March 26, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Well, you shouldn’t take photos while driving…but who says you can’t? :)

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6 katie @KatieDid March 26, 2012 at 8:15 pm

mmm nothing at all beats farm fresh eggs. That dinner is so something I would whip up for myself right down to the dijon mustard on the green beans. Lovely!

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7 Colleen @ Culinary Colleen March 26, 2012 at 8:15 pm

That plate of food looks beautiful, especially on that new table!!

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8 faith March 26, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Wait! Don’t I still have Thursday to try the stout bread?! Please say yes. :)

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9 KathEats March 26, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Wait, maybe so…. we might just have enough cheese for tons of months!

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10 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More March 26, 2012 at 8:21 pm

YUM! I’ve never made a frittata before but you sure made it look easy enough…

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11 Caroline @ After Dinner Dance March 26, 2012 at 8:24 pm

I’m loving that new table!

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12 Angel7 March 26, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Interesting presentations!

Need to make frittatas–easy :)

http://faithfulsolutions.blogspot.com/

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13 Meg March 26, 2012 at 8:33 pm

“He reported that in a collection of data on low-income single households, the average amount of time spent on food preparation – from grocery shopping to dish washing – was 4.41 hours”

A night? A week? Over how long a period of time?

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14 KathEats March 26, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Sorry, a week!

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15 Averie @ Averie Cooks March 26, 2012 at 8:33 pm

A couple weeks ago I made a spinach, egg, and potato frittta in a skillet that looks so much like this..but yours is BRIGHTER! :)

Love the countryside pics, too. Wide open spaces are so pretty.

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16 Alison March 26, 2012 at 8:45 pm

I love eating eggs for a quick meal – so easy and delicious.

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17 Laura Jane @ Recovering Chocoholic March 26, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Frittata looks delicious. Interesting data in the first presentation. I think it is so true that it’s valid to take the time cost of food into consideration as well. Time is at least as valuable as money. The 4.41 hour statistic – I can believe it. I find it difficult to find time to make dinner after being away from home for about 13 hours (commuting, working out, and working). There are precious few hours left in the day, and even though I LOVE cooking, I don’t want to spend most of them in the kitchen cooking (and really it’s more the cleaning afterward). I spend a decent amount of time most weekends prepping food for the week so I can have home cooked meals. However, if I have a really busy weekend and don’t take the time on the weekend, I seriously spend less than 4 hours that week in the kitchen.

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18 KathEats March 26, 2012 at 9:03 pm

I have the time (working from home) and I wonder how much time I actually take? Maybe an interesting experiment to count it up..

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19 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife March 26, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Eggs and gouda = delicious!! YUMMy. Sleep well!

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20 Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) March 26, 2012 at 8:57 pm

That fritatta is so beautifully yellow! Guessing it was all those fresh eggs :) And those green beans sound great–definitely going to try those flavor additions next time I make some to make things a bit more interesting.

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21 Jen March 26, 2012 at 9:02 pm

What kind of a skillet pan is that you use for your stove-top and oven to bake/broil?

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22 KathEats March 26, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Calphalon

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23 Margaret March 26, 2012 at 9:20 pm

I love Prof. Boyer! I took a class with him this fall with 3,000 people. We got to have Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez come to our class and we got to skype with Aung Sang Suu Kyi. The man is amazing!

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24 Margaret March 26, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Wait, I think I have the wrong Boyer. Oops!

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25 KathEats March 27, 2012 at 8:27 am

Haha, yeah, she’s a she!

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26 jojo March 26, 2012 at 9:26 pm

those are both interesting topics!
Some households probably just do the “quick drive through” or frozen meals.. I’ve been spending less time in the kitchen since the baby, but I still make something quick from scratch/semimade. I think it’s worth the effort! :)

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27 J3nn(Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) March 26, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Wait… Where’s the side of bread with the frittata? Incomplete! ;)

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28 KathEats March 27, 2012 at 8:27 am

Indeed!! Probably why I got hungry later! Missing carbs!

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29 Tiffany March 26, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Hey Kath,

I’ve never tried Worcestershire sauce…what is it and what does it taste like?

Thanks! :) Have a great evening.

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30 KathEats March 27, 2012 at 8:28 am

Oh geez….how to describe…. it’s kind of smoky. Do you eat hamburgers? It’s like the essence of a hamburger (since many of them have some WS inside). It adds a great savory taste to anything!

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31 natasha e March 27, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Shrimp sauteed in WS is heavenly too!

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32 Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon March 26, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Mmm love fritatta! I’ve never had one with gouda though!! I can only imagine how yummy it would be…

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33 Michelle @ Esculent Dreams March 26, 2012 at 11:00 pm

oh my goodness frittatas are def my go-to dinner after a long day~ and breakfast for 2x a day is ALWAYS a win for me!

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34 colleen March 26, 2012 at 11:06 pm
35 KathEats March 27, 2012 at 8:31 am

FABULOUS!! Just linked to it on my overnight oats page

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36 elizabeth March 26, 2012 at 11:07 pm

I made a frittata for dinner last night, and ate the leftovers for lunch today. Divine.

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37 Candice March 26, 2012 at 11:22 pm

Question about the produce washing: “she said water is just as good as any, but that it won’t get rid of pathogens, which hide in the pores of produce”
So does this mean that even the veggie spray doesn’t get rid of the pathogens? Or were you just referring to the water? Thanks.

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38 Elizabeth March 27, 2012 at 5:51 am

From my experience with food scientists and food safety experts, if you bring home fresh produce contaminated with pathogens, you aren’t going to be able to do anything to wash off the pathogens if you eat them raw. Cooking is your only option. The food safety expert who visited my nutrition policy class last semester at UNC said he never bothers to wash produce, other than if there’s visible dirt.

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39 Melissa @ HerGreenLife March 27, 2012 at 9:54 am

Although it wouldn’t remove pathogens, I would still wash even in the absence of visible dirt (unless prewashed like the lettuce) to try to remove any chemical contaminants. Many of these cannot be removed either, at least not completely, as they sink into the skin and flesh of the produce, but I feel like I need to do something. I do prefer our garden-fresh produce or that from local growers that are truly chemical (even organic chemical) free.

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40 KathEats March 27, 2012 at 8:31 am

Correct. Neither will get rid of them. Only cooking, as Elizabeth noted

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41 Candice March 27, 2012 at 10:40 am

Thanks for all your suggestions. I always have a debate in my head to wash stuff or not (because I HATE doing it for some reason). I will keep all these thoughts in mind :)

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42 Lea @ Healthy Coconut March 26, 2012 at 11:33 pm

I use Trader Joe’s vegetable wash solution. I don’t really know for sure if it works but I feel good washing my fruits and vegetables in the solution, some apples are so waxy looking that I can feel the wax in my hand :(

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43 Robyn @ Blueberries and Oats March 26, 2012 at 11:41 pm

Thanks for sharing the info from your conference! Fascinating!

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44 Khushboo March 27, 2012 at 12:02 am

Thanks for sharing- I guess we have to look at time as we would money…the same way we would bulk shop at Cotsco, we can try doing the same with cooking: i.e. batch cook grains at the start of the week.

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45 Ida March 27, 2012 at 12:05 am

My boyfriend washes bagged lettuce and it drives me nuts! I know all he is doing is making it wet.

i think a lot foodborne outbreaks in restaurants come from cross contamination, or ill foodworkers. Also local foods are usually safer than nationally distributed products, so you guys are in good shape.

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46 Erin March 27, 2012 at 1:48 am

I read in Rachael Ray’s magazine a few months ago that you are more likely to contaminate pre-washed salad greens. Soooo good to know as I HATE washing greens!

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47 Eva @thehealthyparty March 27, 2012 at 2:24 am

I forgot about frittatas!
Yeah prep time is a big factor in eating healthy food, but you can make batches of stuff ahead of time, and it’s definitely worth it.
Interesting about the washing produce and greens! Yeah I’ve never used those vegetable washes and I had always wondered.

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48 Hillary March 27, 2012 at 6:15 am

My boyfriend and I have had some very heated discussions about the cost of/time to prepare food, especially in low-income households. He’s getting his PhD in sociology, and this is something he feels VERY strongly about—I’ll have to share these statistics with him!

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49 Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin March 27, 2012 at 6:36 am

Those presentations both sound so interesting! We’ve been talking a lot in my community nutrition class about how time/money are such big barriers to cooking. I think there’s no way to get around the fact that it does take time, but we need to make it seem worth it to be people and show them how the benefits outweigh the costs of time!

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50 Susan H. @ The Food Allergy Chronicles March 27, 2012 at 6:41 am

A very springlike meal indeed! Love the bright colours of yellow and green…a very appealing meal! I just love Fritatta’s…asparagus and cherry tomatoes with fontina cheese is one of my favourites!

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51 Molly @ RDexposed March 27, 2012 at 6:55 am

I would have been torn at which track to choose!
Interesting tid bit about washing triple washed greens.

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52 Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count March 27, 2012 at 7:17 am

Your landscape photos are great and dinner looks delicious! Just right for me. I need to get a pan I can use in the oven!

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53 Quisha March 27, 2012 at 7:19 am

What a beautiful setting! You don’t just have people bringing you eggs here in Boston, I’ll tell you that! Ha. Super cool.

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54 Jodi @ Jodi, Fat or Not March 27, 2012 at 7:20 am

I had my first frittata-making experience this weekend…but made mini ones in cupcake tins! They turned out so yummy and delicious, and it wasn’t too much prep work, and I know I have breakfast all week. Definitely a frittata convert.

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55 Hope @ With A Side Of Hope March 27, 2012 at 7:26 am

Oh yum! That frittata looks delicious! I’ve been wanting to make one forever but we don’t have an oven safe pan! We registered for one so I’m hoping for frittatas in our near future! :)

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56 Katie March 27, 2012 at 7:33 am

I’m jealous, I wish I had a huge hunk of smoked gouda just waiting to be used up! The small “gourmet” grocery store was out of smoked gouda yesterday so I’ll have to pick some up today. Love farm fresh eggs, can’t wait to get some more from my parents. We love eggs in all forms here, I just packed up hard boiled ones in my son, daughter and husband’s lunches. Do you generally buy organic or farm eggs?

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57 KathEats March 27, 2012 at 8:32 am

If you lived nearby, I’d give you some!!

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58 Katie March 27, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Thanks for the offer Kath. I could have traded you something like some canned deer meat, wild boar sausage or ribs, fish, banana bread, granola, peanut butter, guacamole. I was able to get some smoked gouda at the bigger grocery store that I went to today and had a gift card so I guess I really got it for free. The “gourmet” grocery store has Old Amsterday extra mature gouda cheese wedge on sale this week so I’ll have to pick some up. I came across an article today called “Those crazy egg labels, explained” that described the differences between Omega-3 enriched, vegetarian, free-range, cage-free and USDA organic and then on The Chew they were doing a breakfast show and Clinton made an frittata.

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59 KathEats March 27, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Haha – canned deer meat!?

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60 Katie March 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Yeah, my husband went deer hunting this winter and ended up processing and canning some deer meat, just the meat with dry soup mix and it is suprisingly very good with mashed potatoes, noodles or rice and pretty lean. Our 5 and 6 year old love it! He also went on a wild boar hunt and made ground pork/sausage and ribs. We also have some fish from his fishing trip to Canada. Would you like to trade some GH bread? Actually I was just thinking that I should send you some of my maternity clothes after I pick them up my friend who had her baby two weeks ago. Also, what is you experience/opinion on canned goods expiration dates? I have a can of tomato sauce that was hiding in the downstairs food storage that is dated a year ago that I’m thinking I probably shouldn’t use. Thanks for your comments, still reading your blog first in the morning. You are part of my morning motivation.

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61 KathEats March 27, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Now that’s local food! A trade would be fun, but I’m not sure either product would survive a trip through the mail :( Does the tomato sauce say it expired a year ago or was sold a year ago? I’d probably still eat it :)

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62 Cait's Plate March 27, 2012 at 9:03 am

I need to work frittatas into the rotation more often. Yours looks so good!

And I know – I can’t believe how GREEN everything is the further down the east coast you get! We’re still completely barren up in the north!

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63 ~Christy @ wonderofallthings March 27, 2012 at 9:08 am

Great reminder, that frittata :) Looks delicious. And still loving the table!!!

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64 Life's a Bowl March 27, 2012 at 10:11 am

Yum! I wish I worked in a bakery and could take home some of that gouda goodness!

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65 andrea March 27, 2012 at 10:59 am

interesting on the food/washing/pathogens. I always go back and forth on what is needed. We lived in China and I was so paranoid, sure we would get some dreadful illness – but never did. We did normally use a veggie wash, but many people there used salt water? Here I am a bit less paranoid, and normally just use water to wash if needed. We are getting ready to move to Taipei now, so of course my paranoia may rise again and I will be schlepping fruit/veggie wash over the pacific until I find it over there !

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66 Amelia March 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm

I already said this on your other post but what beautiful scenery! Road trips are my favorite because you get to gaze out the window at such lovely terrain – it’s such a treat and something we rarely make time to do in our busy lives!

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67 Melissa March 27, 2012 at 12:21 pm

As a stay at home mom, I spend about 5 hours in food related activities daily! I make as much as I can from scratch, but some days it is lovely to just thaw an uncrustable sandwich and call it a day!

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68 Brandie March 27, 2012 at 7:57 pm

I started following your blog a few weeks ago and I’m very inspired by all the delicious things you eat..and jealous a lot of times! :P I just had to comment on this post because I recognized Austin in your picture!!! She went to my high school here in Georgia. I just couldn’t believe it when I saw her, it’s a small world!! :)

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69 KathEats March 27, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Welcome to KERF!

And I love it when that happens :)

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70 Nescett @ bananaoats March 28, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Interesting topics. I know when I was younger food prep was just not something I was willing to spend time on. It’s been only as I got older that I actually enjoy the process of planning and creating a meal. That being said, I still work full time and have a child so I still like to keep it easy while still being real, fresh food.

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