Life Tastes So Good

Exploring life one taste at a time.

Free Christmas Compound Worksheets

I Started my new position with my school in the Special Education Program this past week and I love it. I had to make up some worksheets for the kids to work on incorporating seasonal items. Here is a free copy of what we made up this morning. Enjoy!

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Where have you been?

This post is hard to write because it’s hard to be honest, but here we go.

You know what’s really important in order to have a food blog? I mean the most critical part of the whole thing?

Food.

Shocking I know! Issue there though and reason that I’ve been gone so long is the problem buying food. See a few months back I lost my job and with that we have been on an extremely tight budget. A noodle, sandwich, hot-dog budget. Frankly no one cares about how awesome of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich I make or did I microwave the hot dogs tonight or cook them via stove top.

Recently, I’ve started working which means I will soon have more budget for blogging. I want to apologize for not posting for so long and soon I will have some new and exciting things for y’all to taste!

Sincerely,

Diana

 

 

 

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Peanut Butter Cup Cookies.

Think  what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk  about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a  nap. – Barbara  Jordan

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I had the honor of being part of the third annual “Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap”. I had never been so excited to make cookies in my life! No really. I talked about it for weeks. Nerd status all the way. Basically I got the info for three other food bloggers and I mailed out a dozen cookies to each blogger. I was also really excited because this was all for a great cause. This whole event was raise money for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. Together all the foodies out there raised roughly $10,000.00 for the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer group.  It was awesome! My daughter, Emily, helped me make the cookies. Emily was so excited and I even posted a video of her helping me on my Instagram. I hope you enjoy making these and visit the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer page and be inspired by the amazing children.

Peanut butter cup cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour, sifted

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

14 tablespoons (one stick of butter plus 6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup light brown sugar (packed)

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup of milk chocolate chips

1/2 cup of peanut butter chips (can be found where the chocolate chips are)

2 bad of Mini-Reese’s, frozen

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside for later. In a mixing bowl stir all the dry ingredients together. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until well combined. Add in your large egg and vanilla extract. Continue to mix. Gradually add in dry ingredient mixture 1/2 cup at a time until all of the dry ingredients are added, continue to mix until ingredients are completely combined. Slowly stir in both the chocolate and peanut butter chips.

Using a cookie scoop or a soup spoon make dough balls and place them 2 inches apart on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10-13 minutes or until cookies feel just slightly firm. Cookies will look slightly uncooked but they will finish cooking on the cookie sheet, at this time place a mini Reese’s cup in the center of each cookie and allow the cookies to sit on cookie sheet for an additional 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to complete the cooling process.

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Italian Style Roll Ups.

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You know when you have one of those weeks where nothing goes right? Well, I’ve had that over an month now.

Okay now that I’m done with the pity party….let’s talk food. As a busy mommy sometimes I have to take short cuts and not make things from scratch. I know how dare I! Anyways,….sometimes the pre-made items aren’t all that bad. Here is a step by step and recipe on how to make the roll-ups.

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What you will need:

8 Ounces of Cream Cheese Room Temperature

1 Container of Italian “tomato sauce”, I used Classico

1 Pound of Ground Beef

Italian Seasonings

Garlic Powder

Shredded Mozzarella Cheese  (One bag)

Olive Oil

** Make it vegetarian by eliminating the ground beef or using imitation crumble beef**

Sauce

Kroger had Classico sauces on sale last week so I picked up a few containers of sauce and was surprised by how much I enjoyed them. The flavor I used in this recipe (and enjoyed the most) was the Florentine spinach and cheese. To make these roll ups first get some regular lasagna noodles and cook them al dente. Once pasta is cooked drain and cool. Lay pasta out length wise and cut all the pasta in half, just as pictured above.

Next, in a bowl mix a 8 ounce block of cream cheese with 3 teaspoons of pre-mixed Italian seasons (can be purchased at any grocery store where all the regular seasonings are) and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.  Set mixture aside.

In a medium sized pan cook ground beef, drain excess oil.

In the pan mix tomato sauce and meat. Warm sauce and meat on low.

Pre-heat over at 350*

Next create roll-ups! Just like pictured below.

USE roll

You can use whatever pan you have, square, rectangle, circle they all work. Fill it with roll-ups. Once it is full of roll-ups spoon the meat and sauce over the roll-ups.  Make sure to cover all the roll-ups. Sprinkle cheese on top of entire pan, on this part you can put as much or as little as you wish.

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Bake in the oven until all the cheese is melted, mine took roughly about 30 minutes.

Cool, serve and enjoy!

PS – My family ate these before I could get a final picture, mommy wasn’t a happy camper but they enjoyed the meal.

** Classico did not sponsor nor pay me to use their products all my opinions on the products are my own and in no way were influenced by the company**
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Agua de Horchata.

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?”
―     Ernest Hemingway

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I have been so tired the last two weeks. Seriously falling asleep at work tired. My car was out of commission and therefore to get to work I had to get up at four-thirty AM to head out with the kiddos and husband with one car. I know I am going to sound spoiled when I say this but I hate having one car. We live in an area where there is no public transportation and getting around basically requires a car. It stinks when moments like this happen. Anyways off my soap box, I’ve been extra lazy luckily this cool summer drink does not involve much of any work other than waiting. My husband loves this drink and so do my step kiddos, they call it cinnamon milk. It’s a traditional Mexican drink that I enjoy from time to time and it’s a bonus that my kiddo and husband like it so it never lasts.

Horchata

Agua de Horchata

1 3-inch cinnamon stick
4 cups hot water (Bring to a boil on the stove and remove from heat)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 can (12 fl. oz.) Sweetened Condense Milk
Ice cubes
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon (Optional)

What To Do:

 In a large bowl mix up rice, cinnamon stick and water;

Cool it down, and Cover; Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Strain the mixture over a pitcher, reserve the liquid. Remove Cinnamon sticks. Place rice in blender. Add a ground cinnamon (optional, for a stronger cinnamon taste.)

 Cover; blend on High for 3 to 4 minutes until mixture is as smooth as possible. Add the reserved soaking water and Sweetened condensed milk; blend for an additional 2 minutes. Pour entire mixture into pitcher.

Serve over ice or blend with ice in the blender for a “shake” texture.

Enjoy!

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I can do that…I think. Royal Icing Sugar Cookies

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Quote of the Day:

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

– George Eliot

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I have this strange thing called “I’m gonna do it -itus”. Yea, haven’t you heard of it? It’s where a person does something over and over and people just think they may have lot the last two screws in their head ’cause they just keep doing a certain something. My certain something is mastering the art of decorating sugar cookies with royal icing. I am on a mission. Seriously. Either way I plan on sharing my failures and triumphs with y’all.

I first saw the beauty of these sugar cookies on Annie’s Eats, she’s very talented and makes it sound so easy. It’s not that easy. Sadly I’ve learned the hard way, BUT it can be done with practice. My first batch looked like I let my toddlers decorate them. No really it did, I forgot to take pictures but next time I definitely will. This was my fourth attempt of making these sugar cookies. I hope you push forward and try to make these type of sugar cookies a few times. Practice makes perfect, and mine are no where near perfect.

Sugar Cookie for Blog

To make the Cookies:

1 cup of softened butter

2/3 cup of white sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Royal Icing

3 oz. of egg whites (about 1/3 of a cup)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups of confectioner’s sugar

For Cookies:

In a large bowl or stand mixer cream the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg slowly and add vanilla.

In a separate bowl combine all dry ingredients, once combined slowly add to the bowl containing the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla. Adding roughly 1/2 cup at a time.

Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours before handling.

On a floured surface roll out dough and cut out into desired shapes. Try to roll the dough in equal thickness for even cooking. Place cookie cutouts one inch apart on a ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350* for 8-10 minutes or until when pressed the cookies retain shape. Remove to a cooking rack to cool completely.

For Icing:

Using a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk together the egg whites and vanilla on low until mixture looks shiny. Slowly add 1/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar at a time. Once all the sugar is added increase the speed on the mixer to medium-high until frosting peaks and does not loose shape.

For How to decorate with royal icing visit Annie’s Eats on her Tutorial.

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Rodeo Houston and Fried Oreos

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My friend Robert and our fried goodies, Oreos, Twinkies and a fried Snickers.

Tip of the Day: I hate doing laundry. I mean honestly it just takes forever. To make the process a little less annoying and a little easier on the light bill throw in two (or more) tennis balls in the dryer with your clothes. It really does make your clothes dry faster any my towels were more soft even!

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Trying my first fried Oreo.

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I live in Texas and yes we have a rodeo. The Houston Live Stock and Rodeo Show to be exact.  Every year it’s a tradition that my best friend Robert and I go to see someone in the concerts. This year we had the amazing pleasure of getting to go see The Band Perry. They put on an awesome show! I don’t know how they dance around the stage the whole time singing and dancing, especially that one guy in leather pants.

Anyways, we go every year and I had never, truthfully, never had a fried Oreo. I’ve had the turkey legs, sausage on a stick, and BBQ but not a fried Oreo. This year I was on a mission to try one. It was great. Soft and chocolate and all things sinful. I wanted to recreate these bad boys at home so my family could enjoy them with me. A little time later I bought some Oreos and got to frying. So easy to make and even easier to eat!

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Diana’s Original Recipe

Bisquick Mix (or your favorite pancake mix)

Oreos (I used Double Stuffed)

Shorting (or pure vegetable oil)

Powder Sugar

Chocolate Syrup

Make pancake mix, I used Bisquick as directed.

Add 1/4 cup of sugar to batter.

Heat enough Shorting to be at least two inches deep in the pan you are using.

Coat each Oreo with a thick coating of pancake batter, One at a time, immediately fry one at a time, for roughly 45 seconds per side.

Let cool for about two minutes and drizzle chocolate, then sprinkle with powdered sugar. Don’t worry the more the better.

PS- just imagine the possibilities, with all these great flavors of Oreos. I’m thinking next time to use the peanut butter flavor, or since it’s seasonal the Birthday cake Oreos. Oh choices

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Nothing diet about it.

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Getting Dolled up

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Tip of The Day: Planning a party? Check out local parks, state parks or county parks. Typically these are free of cost and can be used year around. Mine was free and I just had to follow a easy list of rules. Best and cheapest way to entertain a bunch of kiddos from all ages!

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So you know you have days where a diet cookie or candy just isn’t going to cut it? Today was that day for me. I got up worked out, showered, and dressed for work off we go. Kids in tow….. Then I remember today is a blood drive at work. I’ve never given blood and was so excited to do so. Well little ol’ Diana almost passed out. Oh yes, but I did give a whole pint of blood so it was worth it. Tonight it’s pizza, frozen because mama is beat and cookies also store bought because tonight I’m going to catch up on Bones and do nothing! Yay!

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YGG Boom Boxes

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Candy “Bar” was a hit!

Last weekend we had my daughter Emily’s second birthday party. I was so flippin’ excited. I planned everything out for her Yo Gabba Gabba themed party at the park, BUT if any of you know Houston and its wonderful weather you would know that the in morning it will be freezing by noon you need the AC on and by 5 pm it could very well be raining cats and dogs. So when I saw the weather was supposed to be thunderstorms my heart broke. Of course how well can we really trust these so called weather experts. I mean really. I turned out to be a beautiful 70 degrees and sunny. I don’t really have any food posting to go with this post today but I do have all the items I made myself on my pintrest boards for you guys to try out, like the adorable YGG animal cracker Boombox, which turned out great!

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Birthday Girl

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My daddy and Emily.

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Our Crew. Ryan, Emily, Hannah, and Alexander. They were excited about the picture can you tell?

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Party Time! (Missing one kiddo though)

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Emily helping me cut her birthday cake, like a big girl!

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My mom, Sister, Emily and me!

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Daddy and my sister and me!

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My mom, Devin my nephew, Alex (my son), my daddy, and Emily.

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Alex enjoying a cookie!

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Emily and Titi Janie (my sister) Swinging.

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Happy Birthday to you time!

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Bring on the cake and cookies says Hannah, my step daughter.

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Blow out the candles!

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Nomnomnom!

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She was all pooped out by the end of the party.

PS – I really love being a mommy. Even if I get stressed out and yell sometimes 😉

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Freedom Friday & Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes!

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Tip of the Day: Screen protectors on phones. Let the pros do it. Sadly I messed mine up last night. It is what it is.

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So when I got up this morning with my coffee pot going I thought to myself how I was going to write today’s post and had a road map in my mind. Then I sat down and said “Nawww“. We are winging it today!

Here are my random thoughts for Friday.

1. Why don’t we have a dryer that fold the clothes as it drys? I mean as a child I was promised this would happen, with all the cartoons of the “House of Tomorrow” and so forth. I mean really, way to get my hopes up and then never come through on your promise! (But I still love these cartoons.)

2. I really don’t care for Valentine’s Day. With that being said OH MY OH MY, Matt (husband) sure did come through this year! I got a new phone! Yay. I can actually play Apps now. Which I am now addicted to downloading. Any good App suggestions?

3. Soap Box Moment: Why are people so rude over the phone? I mean I am on the phone all day at work and people honestly I think they act like there isn’t a Real Human on the other end. Please be nice to your Customer Service person. We are just as annoyed we can’t find the answer as you are. Believe me. Okay (jumps off box) I’m done.

5. Walmart. Oh wonderful Walmart. I saw a lady last night pee in the parking lot. Thus lesson learned NEVER ever go barefoot anywhere. Gross.

6. I need a new computer. I want a Mac but I would possibly have to rob a bank to afford one.  So any other suggestions I am open to.

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7. Is there such a thing as being a Pen snob? If so I am that person. My job has free pens, basic regular pens but I hate them.  I will leave early for work, swing into Target (the only time I don’t leave with a cart full of things since I have 20 minutes to get to work.) and buy a few packs of pens I like. Yup. And, may I add, I am not responsible for my actions if you steal one of my pens.

8. I still stink at taking food photos. I’ll keep at it. That and my cupcake frosting still needs work. Guess I’ll just have to make some more cupcakes, awww-shucks.

9. One of my dear friends from high school has a blog as well where she talks about like and food (www.thenovicechefblog.com). I miss her and this does help to feel closer to her even though we are a few states apart. I saw the other day her post about Cherry Coke Float cupcakes and A) made me think of high school when all we drank was Sonic Route 44 drinks, not caring about all the calories and B) that sounds like fun to make. Thus follows my attempt to make these yummy cupcakes. I took a few to work and most over all everyone enjoyed them. One person didn’t like the frosting but they don’t like whipped cream so that doesn’t count! I hope you enjoy just as much as we did.

Carlton Banks Dance GIF - Alfonso Ribeiro, Fresh Prince of Bel Air (1)

10. It’s Friday and that deserves a little happy dance!

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Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes

Yield: 12 Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cake:
3 cups all purpose flour
6 T cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups Coke (don’t use diet)
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 can cherry pie filling

Glaze:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3-4 T Coke

Icing:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 T powdered sugar
Maraschino Cherries for garnish

Directions:

Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pans with liners or spray with baking spray. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa in a bowl and set aside.

In a mixing bowl or stand mixer, combine sugar and butter and beat on medium-high until light and creamy. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating about 1 minute after each. In a large mixing cup or small bowl, combine buttermilk, Coke and vanilla extract. (Make sure you wait for the foam to go down when measuring the Coke and don’t worry if your mixture looks curdled when you add the buttermilk.)

Beginning with the dry ingredient mix, add in 4 parts to the butter mixture, alternating with the Coke mixture. Beat each addition just until incorporated.

Use a cookie scoop or piping bag to transfer the batter to the muffin tins, filling each tin about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the tops spring back when touched lightly and a toothpick inserted in the center cupcake comes out clean. Cool about 5 minutes in the pan and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cooled, use a paring knife to cut out a cone shape in the middle of each cupcake. Add a spoonful of cherry mixture (2-3 cherries) to the well.


Glaze:

Mix together with a whisk in a small bowl. The mixture should run slowly off a spoon so you can drizzle the cupcakes but it won’t run all over the place.

Icing:
Beat cream in a chilled bowl with whisk attachment or hand mixer on low speed. Begin adding sugar, 1 spoonful at a time, increasing speed as the cream comes together. Whip the cream until it holds stiff peaks, if you dip a spoon in it, the whipped cream should stay on the spoon when you turn it upside down. Pipe the whipped cream onto cupcakes as desired and top with maraschino cherries for garnish.

Adapted from: The Novice Chef & The Brown Eyed Baker

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So It’s been a long time….

 

 

Tip of The Day: Is your salt always clumped? Put a few grains of rice in the container to absorb excess moisture.

Sorry for such a delay between posts, my laptop crashed and burned. She is now in Laptop heaven.

Anyways,….These days I’m pretty darn busy. I got an amazing job that I love, even though I sit in a cubicle and talk on the phone all day, I love it! I am planning my little Emily’s second birthday (which makes me sad). I have so much Yo Gabba Gabba on the brain I have been singing the “Dancey Dance” song in the shower (which, may I add, have many versions). Don’t Judge Me!….If your not a parent odds are you have no idea what I’m talking about, and upon watching Yo Gabba Gabba for the first time will be certain that someone high on illegal substances made, BUT with that being said it works charms on a two year old when nothing else seems to work. Check out the Show here.

Other than that, I had a birthday. Yea. I turned 25, and forever more will be 25!
As one of our gifts this year we got a chance to go visit the New Orleans French Quarter. I fell in love with the city. Even looked up some local real estate, and when I become a billionaire I will move in!

Honestly I can say I had an amazing time! No, it wasn’t Mardi Gras, but still just as wild. Our trip consisted of a night drinking on the town followed by a day/night eating all the creole food we could get. We ate at Locally famous Cafe Du Monde, and just thinking about it makes me want one of their amazing breakfasts. I also was pressured into trying my first raw oyster at the also famous Acme Oyster House. Let me tell ya, that was a once, and never again moment, but I did get a cool shirt to show off to all my family that I had my first raw oyster at acme! One of our other stops had me in awe. I was so flippin’ excited to go to Lafitte’s Blacksmith Bar!!!! It’s the oldest bar in America. Actually it predates America, established in 1772. It was SO amazing being somewhere so old, and all the pictures of celebs that have been there were cool there, though I did not see Brad or JLo, may celebs do swing by. Our bartender told us she met Hilary Swank, apparently not the nicest of people. If you ever do visit this culture powerhouse make a stop at some of these great places. If you have any questions about where to get great drinks, or food feel free to contact me.

Here are a few photos, sorry for the quality. Took them on our phones.

ImagePat O’Briens Piano Bar (Have a Hurricane!)

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Community Coffee House! No Starbucks in sight! And my hubby, he didn’t really want to take a picture, can you tell?

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The Mighty Mississippi

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Cafe Du Monde Breakfast, and my hubby’s hand.

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The view from our Hotel. (Inn On St. Peter)

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