daily meal

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fresh Blueberry Pie!

The warm weather is finally coming! After weeks of rain and clouds, the clouds are starting to clear... a little.  I've been so sick of sitting around and waiting for beautiful weather that I decided to bring the joys of warm weather to my own kitchen! Although I am currently on the Dukan Diet, there is just nothing better than the smell of a fresh pie cooking in the oven!

Every year I like to try and go blueberry picking so that I can have a batch of fresh blueberries to make a pie.  This is definitely one my favorites, and is quite popular with the boyfriend as well.  This time around, since I cannot enjoy the pie for the time being, I am going to sit back and watch my boyfriend devour it! I figured I could also spread my love blueberry pie baking with the rest of you!

Blueberry Pie

-5 to 6 cups fresh blueberries (frozen works as well)
-1/2 cup water
-3/4 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
-2 tablespoons cornstarch (if you want a less juicy/runny pie, then use a little more cornstarch, especially if using frozen blueberries)
-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
-Zest and juice from 1 lemon
-1 to 2 tablespoons butter cut into pieces
-1 egg plus a tablespoon of water for egg was

Use either a prepared crust, a crust of your choice, or, click here for my recipe. 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 

In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon.  Stir rapidly over medium-high heat until thickened.  Remove from heat and let cool.  

Meanwhile, roll out your dough into two separate pieces.  In a deep dish pie plate, place one of the layers of dough on the bottom of the plate, and let the extra dough hang over the edge.  Set the other piece of dough aside until later. 

Now that the cornstarch mixture is cooled, pour the mixture into a bowl and add the blueberries, lemon zest, and lemon juice.  Mix all the ingredients until they are well combined.  When ready, pour the mixture over the layer of dough in the pie pan.  Take the pieces of cut up butter, and scatter them over the top of the filling.  Then, taking the other layer of dough, cover your pie, trim off the excess dough, and crimp the edges together.  If you want, you can do a lattice design like I did, just cut your top layer of dough into strips and weave them.  

Finally, beat the egg and mix with the water for your egg wash.  Brush the egg wash over the top of the pie and then sprinkle a little extra sugar on top.  Wrap the outside edges of the pie with tin foil so that the edges do not burn.  Place the pie on a baking sheet and then into the oven.  Bake for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, remove the tin foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the blueberries and juices are bubbling. 

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or just by itself! Enjoy!

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Dukan Diet Play by Play Continued...

As most of you know, I started the Dukan Diet this past week.  I wrote a post with all of the information on the diet and what the first few days were like: Dukan Diet Phase 1

So now, I am onto Phase 2 - the "Cruise Phase."  That means that I can now eat vegetables again! Technically though, during this phase I am supposed to rotate between pure protein days and pure protein plus veggie days.  Now, for the cruise phase, it is technically supposed to last 3 days for every pound that you want to lose.  However, if you reach your target weight before those days are up, you can move onto the next phase... so we'll see what happens...

Cruise Phase

Day 1:
For breakfast I had the usual, an egg white omelet with ham and black coffee.  Today, lunch consisted of the dukan galette (see Dukan Phase 1 for recipe), yogurt, and a salad! It was so nice to have a green again! For dinner, salmon teriyaki with a side salad and green beans! This diet is definitely getting easier as I go along, BUT, my sweet tooth has definitely been tempted several times! There are so many mouth watering recipes being posted all over FoodBuzz that it is hard to resist, but I decided to keep a list of all the recipes I love and save them for the day I finish this diet! That day will be a very fattening day for me! :)

Oh, and I am 4.5 pounds lighter after only 5 days!

Day 2:
Today was a pure protein day (since I am rotating each day during the cruise phase) so my breakfast consisted of an omelet and for lunch I ate some chicken and oatmeal.  For dinner I made mussels in a white wine sauce with a mini filet mignon.  And for dessert, I had cheesecake! Yes, cheesecake! I discovered that Dukan has a cheesecake cupcake recipe that is healthy for me to eat! I will post the recipe asap, I just need to get some photos!

Day 3:
Today was a protein/veggie day, so for breakfast I still had an omelet and oatmeal, but for lunch I had a salad with chicken.  Dinner consisted of steak tips with green beans.  For dessert, a coffee shake! Again, I will post the recipe asap.  I am getting so excited now that I have found recipes off of the Dukan site and facebook site  to help make this diet easier.  I did not realize how many desserts there were... and not only are they pretty darn good, they are fat freakin free!!! This diet is much better for me now! :)

I have not weighed myself in a few days and do not plan on weighing myself until the end of the week.  During the cruise phase you usually only lose 1-2 lbs a week on average, so I don't want to obsess over the scale and get worried.

Day 4:
Since it was a pure protein day, I had an omelet for breakfast, yogurt, oat bran pancake, and chicken slices for lunch, and chicken and shrimp for dinner.  Oh, and of course I had a coffee shake for dessert!

Day 5:
Today was a protein/veggie day, so I had my oat bran oatmeal for breakfast, a salad with chicken for lunch, and steak and broccoli for dinner.  I was actually extremely full so no dessert tonight!

Oh, and I'm down 9 pounds!!!!! :)

Day 6:
For breakfast I had eggs with ham and coffee.  Lunch was chicken and yogurt, and dinner consisted of baked salmon.  And of course I had to have dessert, which was a coffee shake.

Day 7:
Oat meal for breakfast, chicken and broccli for lunch, and hamburger and salad for dinner.  This diet is definitely getting more easier as time goes on, and I honestly feel really good.  I know that was not heavy before, but eating better in general just feels great! And of course those pounds I've shed feel good too! :)

Day 8:
Omelet and oat bran pancake for breakfast, chicken and yogurt for lunch, and lobster and filet for dinner!

Day 9:
Oatmeal for breakfast, chicken marsala with veggies for lunch, and steak, veggies, and salad for dinner.

Day 10:
Okay, so today I may have cheated a bit... I knew this day would come! My friend who I had not seen in about a year was in town and wanted to go out for drinks! So, I only had two drinks, but I still felt so guilty! Today was technically a pure protein day and tomorrow is supposed to be a protein/veggie day, but since I cheated today, tomorrow I will do another pure protein day.  The Dukan book talks about how it is okay to screw up, as long as it is not constant and as long as you go back to where you were.

Since I cheated I am going to wait a few more days until I weigh myself again.  As of a few days ago I was 9 pounds down, and I do think I have lost a couple more pounds, but we'll see....

Day 11:
Since I cheated yesterday, I decided to do a pure protein day! Omelet, oatmeal, and chicken and shrimp for dinner!

Day 12:
I did a protein/veggie day today.  For breakfast I had an omelet with ham, for lunch I had the oat bran oatmeal and a salad with chicken, and for dinner I had steak tips with green beans.  This time for dessert I tried a chocolate custard cream, which wasn't so bad! Again, I'll be posting this recipe along with the others soon.

I also weighed myself, and I am about 11 pounds down.  That's not too bad considering I cheated a little this weekend! I'm getting very close to my target weight... I really cannot wait to start incorporating fruit and bread again (in limited amounts of course)!

Day 13:
Today was a pure protein day, so for breakfast I had an egg white omelet with ham and for lunch I had oat bran oatmeal.  For dinner I made vietnamese beef with tofu marinated in soy sauce.

Day 14:
For breakfast I had oatmeal and for lunch I had a protein shake with a salad.  For dinner I made salmon with broccoli.

Hopefully I will only have a few more weeks on this diet! I am going to try hard not to check my weight until Monday so I can see where my progress is at!

Day 15:
Another pure protein day... Omelet for breakfast, chicken and oatmeal for lunch, and steak and shrimp for dinner!

Day 16:
Omelet and oatmeal for breakfast, microwave "smart ones" meal for lunch, and swordfish and veggies for dinner.  I also made a "Dukan Floating Island" for dessert. Basically, it is a vanilla cream with meringue - not bad!

Day 17:
Pure protein days are getting pretty tough.  I'm starting to get sick of my meals :(.  Thankfully I am almost there though...

For breakfast I had the usual, and omelet.  For lunch I had oatmeal and chicken.  Dinner consisted of swordfish again (it was on sale and I love swordfish so why not two nights in a row!!??) with a mini filet.

Day 18:
I was going to weigh myself today because I was feeling pretty good and I am definitely noticing quite the difference! My abs are coming back! I'm so pumped about this! Anyway, I ended up getting called into work early so I had to rish out the door and forgot to check my progress...oh well. 

Since today is a protein/veggie day, I had oatmeal for breakfast, a salad with chicken for lunch, and steak tips with green beans for dinner.

Day 19:
Omelet and protein shake for dinner, oat bran and yogurt for lunch, and chicken and shrimp for dinner.

Day 20:
oat bran oatmeal for breakfast, protein shake for a snack, salad with chicken for lunch, and salmon and asparagus for dinner.  I also made some more coffee cream for dessert!

Day 21:
Omelet with ham and coffee for breakfast, honey chicken for lunch, yogurt for a snack, and steak and swordfish for dinner.

Day 22:
Today I knew I would be cheating.  I have known for awhile that this day would come.  My friends and I have been planning a Harry Potter movie marathon and I was in charge of baking treats from the films... so of course I had to sample! I at steak and kidney pie, pork pie, butterbeer cupcakes, treacle fudge, pumpkin pasties, and I even drank butterbeer!! Mmmm.... it was worth cheating!

Even though I cheated, I am still down 15 pounds!!! I'll wait another week at least before weighing myself again since I'm sure my weight loss may slow a bit after all of those sweets! What can I say? The British know what they are doing! :)

Day 23:
I've been feeling a little off today and was not really that hungry.  I still had an egg white omelet for breakfast and oatbran for lunch, but I only picked at some meat for dinner.

Day 24:
I'm feeling a little better today, so I was able to eat a bit more.  I had oatbran oatmeal for breakfast, chicken marsala (from smart ones) for lunch, and a plain hamburger with salad for dinner.  I haven't been able to work out these past two days since I have been feeling ill, but I plan on starting back up again tomorrow with my yoga and running.

Day 25:
I had a protein shake for breakfast, chicken and oat bran for lunch, and chicken and shrimp for dinner.  I was able to do some yoga again this morning too thankfully.  Where I have been feeling off this week I definitely feel like I have hit a plateau and am afraid to check my weight for awhile.

Day 26:
Protein shake for breakfast, salad for lunch, oatmeal for a snack, and steak and green beans for dinner.  I also had some coffee cream for dessert.

Day 27:
Egg white omelet with ham for breakfast, oat bran pancake for lunch with greek yogurt, and steak, scallops, and clams for dinner.

Day 28:
Protein shake for breakfast, smart ones chicken marsala meal for lunch, and salmon with asparagus for dinner.  I also had another coffee cream for dessert!

Day 29:
Today I had a cake order to finish, so I cheated slightly... I had to take a sample of the frosting and cake for myself to make sure everything was just right! :) For breakfast though, I had oatmeal, and for lunch I had chicken.  Aside from the dessert sampling, I had a lobster for dinner. I'm so glad summer is here with wonderful seafood!

Day 30:
Coffee with omelet for breakfast and a smart ones chicken marsala meal for lunch.  For dinner, my boyfriend and I went out to eat, and rather than cheating, I did very very well! They had a swordfish special on their menu with crab meat and lobster meat on top served with vegetables.  I just had to tell them to not bother providing me with a starch.  It was delicious!!!

Day 31:
Today we had a cookout.  I was nervous that I would cheat again, but I didn't.  I just made sure to eat the meats and burger without cheese.  Pat on the back for me!

Day 32:
Since today was a protein/veggie day, I had oatmeal for breakfast, salad with chicken for lunch, and steak tips and green beans for dinner. I cannot believe I am 32 days into this (actually, I am 36 days into this counting the 4 days of the Attack Phase).  Depending on how my weight is at the end of the week, I may move onto to the next phase where I can start to incorporate more carbs again.  If not, I will wait until next week.  I am definitely noticing a difference though and I am so pumped to be getting my abs back!

Day 33:
For breakfast I had a protein shake, lunch I had an oat bran pancake and chicken, and for dinner I had lemon pepper chicken with shrimp.

Day 34:
For breakfast I had an egg white omelet, for lunch I had oatmeal, and for dinner I had steak tips with green beans.

Day 35:
For breakfast I had an omelet, and for lunch I had an oat bran pancake.  I had orientation for school today so I didn't have much time to eat, but surprisingly was not starving since I've been so used to eating less on this diet.  For dinner, I made burgers and sausages.

Day 36:
Initially today was going to be my last day on the cruise phase, but I have decided to go one more week! I am down to 121/122 pounds.  I am so pumped but I want to make sure I maintain that.  I know the next phase deals with maintaining weight, but one more week on the cruise phase won't be bad since on average, you only lose 1 to 2 lbs a week during the cruise phase.  So next week, I will hopefully be a solid 120 and will be moving into the next phase and can introduce carbs again!

For today though, I had an omelet and oatbran oatmeal for breakfast, chicken marsala for lunch, and swordfish with asparagus for dinner! Pin It

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Dukan Diet: My Daily Play by Play!

The Dukan Diet was created by a French medical doctor, Pierre Dukan.  The diet is unlike any other diet, in that it is supposed to help you permanently keep off weight for the rest of your life, as long as you actually follow the diet through to the end.  When the diet was introduced in France in 2000, it quickly gained attention and praise.  Since it's release, it has been the number one diet in France and has gained popularity throughout Europe and the UK.  It was also just recently released in the US and is said to be the cure for obesity.

Now, I have never truly dieted before - never! I love chocolate way too much and I also like to have my cocktails!  With that being said, this past year I have put on some pounds.  I have never been a large person at all, in fact, I am actually fairly thin.  I have always been active and have danced my entire life.  However, although I am still thin, I have not been dancing as much anymore, and boy did I notice the impact that had on my body... I cannot believe I am going to admit this (since no woman ever likes to share her weight), but I went from weighing 120 to 140 in under a year.  Again, if you look at me and see photos of me, I am still thin, and I am very thankful for that, as I know many people do truly struggle with weight.  However, I have just been so upset with myself that I really want to shed a few pounds - just a few though.  I run about 2 miles every other day and work out in between, and no matter how much I have worked out, I just cannot lose those pounds.  People are not lying when they say the last 5-10 pounds are the most difficult to lose!

Enter the Dukan Diet.  Like I said before, I have never dieted, so I was very apprehensive about trying this, but after reading up about it on the Dukan Diet Website and reading other people's experiences with the diet (this guys blog gives a pretty good play by play and illustrates his own experiences with the diet - Dukan Diet Blog), I decided to just go for it!

In sum, the Dukan Diet consists of 4 phases: The Attack Phase, the Cruise Phase, the Consolidation Phase, and the Stabilization Phase.  I know the chart below is in kg, but it illustrates how the phases flow together.

The Attack Phase (aka the pure protein attack) can last anywhere from 2-7 days (differs for everyone), and you can only eat protein! I repeat, only protein.  This means no veggies on the side or any fruit.  On top of the protein you have to have 1 1/2 tablespoons of oat bran a day and 1 1/2 quarts of water.  My attack phase is only supposed to be 3 days since I am not trying to lose too much.  You can find out what your "true weight" should be and how long each phase should last for you by clicking HERE.

The Cruise Phase allows you to add vegetables to your diet again and ups the amount of oat bran intake from 1 1/2 tablespoons to 2 tablespoons per day.  Although you can still only eat the pure protein from the attack phase, you can at least jazz things up a little more by adding vegetable to the mix again.  The length of this phase is 3 days for every pound that you want to lose.  Therefore, if you want to lose 20 pounds, then you should be in the cruise phase for 60 days.

The Consolidation Phase allows all of the foods from the attack and cruise phase, but you can add 1 serving of fresh fruit per day, except for bananas, cherries, and grapes.  You can also add 2 slices of whole grain bread per day, 1 1/2 ounces of cheese per day, 2 servings of starchy foods per week, and lamb, roast pork, and ham once or twice a week.  The amount of oat bran remains the same from the cruise phase (2 tablespoons).  Furthermore, you are allowed 1 to 2 "celebration meals" per week! That means you can eat anything you want, including chocolate! Just DO NOT binge and have several helpings.  You should also still have one day a week dedicated to a pure protein attack day.

Finally, the Stabilization Phase.  In this phase, you can go back to eating whatever it is that you want for 6 out of 7 days of the week.  Just make sure that you up your oat bran intake to 3 tablespoons a day for the rest of your life, as well as reserve one day a week for a pure protein attack day.  Dukan recommends every Thursday as your attack day.  Additionally, walk as much as possible and try and act as if escalators and elevators do not exist so you will take the stairs more frequently.  Working out while dieting will produce the best results.  However, DO NOT exercise too much or play an intensive sport while dieting (especially during the first half), as you will tire easily and it will be dangerous since you will not have carbs in your system.
Now, with my summary complete, I am going to give all of you a daily play by play to let you know how I am doing and how I feel about this diet! So let's start...

Attack Phase:

Day 1: 
This sucks!!!!!!! I'm freaking hungry! Proteins are supposed to fill you up but I am craving carbs so bad! A box of chips ahoy cookies are currently staring me down.... I want to cave in, but I refuse! In the Dukan Diet book, Dukan states that you will feel tired and hungry the first 2-3 days, but that it will go away... I hope he is right because I want chocolate! Unfortunately I still have 74 more days until I can have chocolate again.

My menu for day one of the attack phase consisted of a hard boiled egg for breakfast, plain non-fat Greek yogurt with my oat bran for a snack, leftover flank steak for lunch, a couple slices of low-fat ham for an afternoon snack, and scallops, salmon, and a little piece of steak for dinner.  I was still so hungry though.  Part of the problem was that I did not pack enough for lunch.  Now that I have learned my lesson I will try to do better tomorrow.  I also hated the plain Greek yogurt.  I'm going to just use that for cooking instead from now on and eat my oat bran in the form of oatmeal (I just mixed it with a little nonfat milk, heated it up, and actually enjoyed it)!

Day 2: 
Today was a little bit better then yesterday.  I wasn't as hungry until later on in the day.  I had eggs and coffee for breakfast, went to the gym (but could not work out as much because I was worn out).  For lunch I ate my oat bran via oatmeal, snacked on chicken between lunch and dinner, and had lemon pepper chicken and shrimp for dinner.  For dessert I made a coffee cream that was listed in the Dukan Diet book.  Overall, aside from having to pee a lot due to all of the water consumption, today was much better.  I really just need to go shopping for more variety so that way I will have more to eat, especially around lunch time (my danger hour). 

Day 3:
Today was much much better! I wasn't starving like the first day and a lot of my cravings have gone down.  Don't get me wrong, I would still devour a piece of chocolate if I could, but I am staying strong! I'm also getting better at figuring out what to eat and when to eat it so that I don't starve at different points throughout the day.  Plus, the beauty of the Dukan diet is that you can eat as much as you want, as long as it's on the protein list for the first phase.

So for breakfast, I had an egg white omelet with ham and coffee.  I had a Greek yogurt mid morning to hold me over, and for lunch, I had the Dukan pancake, or "galette."  Dinner conisted of a mini steak with mussels, clams, shrimps, and scallops in a white wine sauce! The Dukan pancake though was key because it actually held me over very well! The recipe is as follows:

Dukan Pancake:
-2 tablespoons of oat bran
-2 tablespoons of plain, non-fat, Greek yogurt
-1 egg white, slightly beaten until foamy
-1 teaspoon of splenda or sweetening of choice

In a bowl, slightly beat the egg white until just frothy.  In another bowl, mix together the oat bran, yogurt, and splenda (if using).  Once combined, add the egg white and stir together.  Pour the batter into a lightly greased pan and cook like you would a normal pancake (a few minutes on each side over medium heat).

Oh, and guess what?? I've already lost 4 pounds! Most of it is probably water weight with the amount of water that I have to drink on this diet... but hey, 4 pounds is 4 pounds! :)

To continue reading more about the Dukan Diet and to see my progress in the Cruise Phase, CLICK HERE. Pin It

Monday, May 16, 2011

Filet Mignon with a Balsamic Glaze

Like most children, I was quite a picky eater growing up.  I like chicken, chocolate, and orange soda.  Healthy huh? Somehow though, my parents were able to convince me to try out Filet Mignon (French for "cute" or "dainty") when I was still pretty young, and guess what!? I loved it! Now of course, I am willing to try anything and the thought of living off of chicken, chocolate, and orange soda makes me a little sick... yuck! In honor of my long-term relationship with Filet, I am going to show all of you a very simple, quick, and easy way to prepare this delicious cut of beef!

Filet Mignon
-Two 8-ounce filets
-Salt and pepper
-Olive oil
-3 tablespoons butter, unsalted

Balsamic Glaze:
-1 cup balsamic vinaigrette
-2 to 3 tablespoons brown sugar
-2 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a medium skillet, drizzle a little olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter and place on medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, pat dry your steaks with paper towels.  Liberally season all sides of the steak with salt and pepper.  Place the steaks on the skillet, and cook each side of the steaks for 2 minutes until all of the sides of the steaks have been browned.  Turn off the heat, and place 1 tablespoon of butter on top of each of the steaks.

Place the pan with the steaks into the oven and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until medium rare.  For some people this may take less time, but each time I have cooked these in my oven it has been a little longer.

While the steaks are in the oven, prepare the balsamic glaze.  In a skillet over medium heat, simmer the cup of balsamic vinaigrette.  Add the brown sugar and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir the 2 tablespoons of butter.  Let sit for a few minutes.

Once the steaks are done, they should technically rest for about 5 minutes, but I am usually too impatient! Pour the balsamic glaze over the steaks and serve with a baked potato and some asparagus.  Enjoy!

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Easy Lemon Drop Cookies

As most of you already know, I absolutely love using lemons when I cook and I love to eat anything that has a lemon flavor!  I also try to cook every night and make everything homemade! However, like many people, I am often in a rush and need to whip something up quickly.  Therefore, these semi-homemade lemon drop cookies are perfect for when you are in a rush and just want a quick and simple dessert!

Made using a lemon cake mix, these cookies always come out perfectly moist and fluffy.  I especially love making these cookies in the spring and summer months because of their lightness and fresh flavor!

Lemon Drop Cookies
-1 box Duncan Heinz lemon cake mix
-1/2 cup flour
-3/4 cup vegetable oil
-2 eggs
-Confectioner's sugar for sprinkling 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a baking sheet with butter and flour or parchment paper.  If you have airbake pans then you do not need to do anything.  

Mix the cake mix, flour, oil, and eggs all together in a bowl.  Once the ingredients are combined, use a cookie scoop or a spoon to form a ball of dough into about the size of a teaspoon.  Place the ball onto your prepared baking sheet and continue with the rest of the dough. 

Once all of the balls of dough are placed onto the cookie sheet, place the sheet into the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes (or until the edges just start to brown). 

Remove from the oven when done and place on a cooling rack.  Using a sifter, sift a little confectioner's sugar over the tops of the cookies and serve.  Enjoy! 

Now, on another note, I know it has been awhile since I have posted anything.  It has been quite hectic lately, but I just found out that I was accepted into a Master's program and will be getting my tuition paid for in full!!! I am so excited!!! I will be getting more busy so my posts may be limited, but I will try to post as often as possible.  

I also want to send out a huge thank you to Elise at Elise's Kkitchen for awarding me with several awards! I know it has taken me some time to get back to her, but I am honored that she thought of me when passing along these awards.  Elise has an amazing blog with beautiful photos and recipes, so be sure to check it out!

Now, not only will I be passing these awards along, but I also have to share 7 fun facts about myself.  I know I have shared some before in the past, so it is going to be a little more difficult this time around, but here it goes...

1.) I skipped out on work to watch the Royal Wedding! 
2.) I am going to be attempting the Dukan Diet within the next few weeks and am stressing about what I will be eating... 
3.) I got scissors stuck in my braces when I was 13.  Quite embarrassing. 
4.) I would love to own or work for a winery... mainly so I can sample :)
5.) I think I'm becoming a "yogi"
6.) I cry whenever I see the fancy feast commercial with the cute, fluffy, white cat in it and the guy proposes... if you haven't seen it, it's adorable! 
7.) I've recently become addicted to HGTV

The people that I am going to pass these awards onto are a mix of blogs that I have been following and blogs that I have recently discovered and enjoy!

Thanks again Elise!

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