Let’s get heart healthy!

Monica and Daria say:

World Heart Day will be celebrated on Tuesday!

Since you may know that heart disease and stroke are the leading cause of death worldwide, it’s important to reduce our risk for these cardiovascular diseases by making some lifestyle changes.

Why not start with the food you consume?

When you think of a traditional American cookout, what foods do you see?

Hamburgers, hotdogs, sausage patties,….well, while we love all of those foods, too, we feel the need to elevate our nutrition a bit while grilling!

So, at our cookout today, we decided to select a lean protein and surround it with some heart friendly veggies!

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Our choice was organic, free-range, hormone and antibiotic free chicken!

The vitamin B6, found in chicken, is particularly helpful to your heart. Research has shown that B6 fights cardiovascular disease by lowering levels of homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood that is affected by diet. Homocysteine is understood to cause damage to the inner linings of arteries and in turn, promotes blood clots.

We are so lucky that we have a local farmer nearby who provides us with this wonderful protein that contains essential nutrients and vitamins.

We chose to cut the chicken into tenders to make it easy to thread onto our skewers. And of course, the grill time is reduced as well.

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It’s nearing the end of grilling season, but we can still get our hands on some delicious corn on the cob. A great source of soluble fiber, corn provides heart healthy benefits. It binds with cholesterol and carries it out of your system, which helps lower levels in your blood and reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease.

We brushed our cobs with organic coconut oil and grilled on low to medium heat, cooking 1 to 2 minutes on each side until slightly brown. Take it easy on the salt shaker….remember, you are trying to be heart healthy!!

Last, we have our dark leafy greens.

Statistics claim that only about one quarter of all adults consumes the recommended 3-4 servings of veggies per day!

The health benefits of eating your greens are well established. They are crucial to our heart health for countless reasons including their role in strengthening the immune system, improved blood circulation and purification, and lowering cholesterol.

We buy organic and like to include organic beets whenever we can. The cleaned whole beets are simply roasted in aluminum foil until tender, cooled, and then sliced to be placed onto the salad….so yummy!

This night our salad was sprinkled with a wee bit of feta cheese, which contains calcium that helps keep your bones strong, but remember that feta should be an occasional indulgence…not an everyday occurrence, since it is high in sodium!

Let’s pump up the greens and improve your health!

 

Here is the simple chicken recipe to get you grilling, too!

Moroccan-spiced chicken skewers

Ingredients:

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp smoked paprika

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp pepper

2 T olive oil

1 ½ pound of chicken tenders

Directions:

Put all spices into a Ziploc bag and shake until blended. Add olive oil and knead to blend.

Add chicken and knead to coat until blended again.

Place bamboo skewers into water to prepare for grilling.

Marinate for a few hours in refrigerator.

When ready to grill, thread each tender on a bamboo skewer.

Grill 4 minutes per side….yummy!

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Doesn’t this look so good?

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It really was a great meal to eat and to share, knowing that you were kind to your body, as well as those of your guests!

All organic and all gluten-free, of course!

Enjoy!

© 2015, Monica & Daria of glutenfreedoubletalk

 

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Happy 239th birthday, America!

Monica and Daria say:

It’s Independence Day!

Yay for America!

We attended a family get-together yesterday and were so happy with the results of our red, white, and blue fruit salad!

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Several guests at the party asked “Who made the quinoa salad? It’s so delicious!” And many thanked us for bringing such a nutritious addition to the picnic!

We certainly can’t take all of the credit, though. We found the recipe through Pinterest!

Make the quinoa (takes a mere 15 minutes); cut up your strawberries, prepare raspberries, blackberries, blueberries; chop some fresh mint and basil; and prepare the citrus dressing!

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The only thing that we did differently was to use fresh slivered almonds that we toasted with some cinnamon, rather than the Blue Diamond Honey Roasted Cinnamon Almonds, used by two peas.

The dressing is what really pulls the whole salad together! It’s just bursting with citrus flavor! What a delight!

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And regarding the dressing, we used Raw Unfiltered Honey. And of course, we doubled the recipe just knowing that it would be a hit!

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So many thanks to two peas & their pod for posting the recipe for this salad! Your pictures are amazing, too!

We were so busy tasting this salad that we only took a few pics!

For more Fourth of July recipes see our previous Happy Birthday, America! post  and Our salads were a hit! from 2014!

So enjoy our country’s birthday celebration!

Long may our proud American flag fly!

© 2015, Monica & Daria of glutenfreedoubletalk

Red, white, and blue…everywhere!

Monica says:

We are slowly approaching America’s birthday….and that means red, white, and blue!

One of my favorite breakfasts is oatmeal with cinnamon sprinkled on it….so to be patriotic and add some wonderful antioxidants to my diet, I added a bunch of blueberries and strawberries!

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Delicious and nutritious!

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This post is a little different because in early June, in honor of Flag Day (June 14th), I made a red, white, and blue wreath for my front door.

It was inspired by Meredith while reading her blog Wait ’til Your Father Gets Home. When I came upon her post and saw the wreath, I knew I had to replicate it! So thanks to Meredith!

So I decided to add in a few pics of the way I constructed it…that way, you may be inspired, too!

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Gather your materials….you will need a wire wreath as shown; 3 colors of tulle (red, white, and blue); 4 spools of ribbon (red, white and blue designed) and 2 large spools of wired ribbon (red, white and blue designed); scissors or rotary cutter, and a ruler.

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If you are using a rotary cutter, you will need a mat or cutting board (I used an old plaque).

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You will need to cut 96 total pieces of blue tulle to place on wreath….

12 pieces on each wire using 2 of the 9 sections that make up the wreath.

Then cut 112 pieces of white and 112 pieces of red.

Place 8 total pieces on each wire alternating white and red. Put 2 red, then 2 white, etc.

Place these all around the remaining 7 sections of the wreath.

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As I cut my tulle, I gathered the pieces into groups of 10 and clipped them with a clothespin.

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While I was making it, I enjoyed a bowl of blueberries in a red colander draining in a white bowl….planned?

No, it just happened to be my mid-morning snack!

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Now cut your ribbons….small ribbons with red white, and blue designs are cut to approximately 10 inches.., you can cut as many as you want. We also added in very fine white ribbon to our wreaths!

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Make sure that wider ribbon that you buy is WIRED because it will make the final look amazing, as you can manipulate it!

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The wider ribbon is cut to about 13 inches and our wreaths had 8 pieces added. Three of one design and five of the other design!

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It’s looking great and the blueberries are disappearing!!

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LOVE it!

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Now to attach it to the door, we need to add some fishing line!

Do you see the pricetag on this line?? Holy cow, that’s how long I’ve had it!

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Voila! Our patriotic welcome!

Anyway, once visitors to our home saw it, they, too, had to make one!

So my sister Maria started her wreath with the help of her sweet granddaughter, Emily.

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Emily, in turn, wanted to make one for her house, so now we are up to three!

Emily’s is super special because we used sparkle white and sparkle red for her wreath!

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Didn’t Emily do a great job? She is super proud of her work, as she should be!20150621_184107

Emily and I say, “Ta-Da!!”

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And Gracie (my sister Maria’s other granddaughter) gets in on the act! Too cute for words!

So what are you planning to do for the biggest birthday celebration in the world?

Whatever you do, enjoy with pride and patriotism!

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

The “Junebabies” celebrate in NYC!

Monica says:

I swear we didn’t plan it!

Both of our daughters are born in June and so am I…it just kinda happened! But I’m so glad it did!

Having wee little ones born in the summer where we live, is much easier on new parents than winter babies! No worries about snowsuits, bad weather, etc.

Since my girls are 10 days shy of 3 years apart, it was always so hard for Claudia (my older one) to understand that her younger sister, Daria, actually had her birthday celebrated earlier in the month than she did! We went through this for years…until one day, it clicked!

girls in 1987

By then, she didn’t care much….my birthday starts off the month of June, then Daria, and by the time Claudia’s special day arrives, we are in the swing!

Poor Lewie (my hubby and the girls’ daddy) loses most of his paycheck in June!

As the girls have grown, we really look forward to spending some quality time to celebrate our birthdays. It’s not too often, unfortunately, that that three of us get to see one another at the same time. Claudia is super busy teaching and working on her PhD, while Daria spends almost every waking hour at the restaurant baking and designing new recipes.

In a word, the girls are….BUSY!

So it is up to this (less busy) “Junebaby” to coordinate a birthday event for the three of us!

This year, we decided several months ago, that we would attend a performance by the New York City Ballet. We love the dancing, we love the music….we love it all!

A Midsummer Night’s Dream was on the June schedule at the David Koch Theater at Lincoln Center….PERFECT!

Daria and I headed up to NYC to meet Claudia (since it’s been her hometown for several years).

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We checked into our hotel and when we spotted her coming along the sidewalk, we just broke out into huge smiles! She had just gotten her hair chopped and she looked adorable!

Being together in the hotel was very special and nostalgic for me. When the girls were in their mid-teens, they decided to move back into one bedroom to be closer to one another and seeing them together talking and laughing like old times was great!

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Even though Daria over packed for ONE NIGHT!! What a girl!

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They enjoyed opening up their “birthday boxes” (old cigar boxes) filled with dark chocolate, their favorite candy bars, and some good old cash that I folded into butterflies and fish (origami style)!

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What hams they are!

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I’m so happy that they have each other!

Anyway, once we got ready for the evening, we set out to find some gluten-free food!

Claudia knows quite a few places that we can safely eat.

It didn’t matter to me where we chose to dine, and after considering several restaurants, the girls decided on Bareburger. This eatery, which has several locations in the city, boasts of a “build your own burger” from organic ingredients and features your choice of patty from classic beef, bison, chicken, elk, wild boar, duck, turkey, black bean, sweet potato with wild rice, to farmer’s quinoa.

What I immediately liked about this little organic place was that as soon as we were seated, the waitress came over and explained all of the menu choices. And since the menu is extensive (includes many other choices of salads and shakes, too), she made sure that we were aware of the gluten-free items…very nice!

I decided to go for the organic classic beef patty with grilled onions!

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And did I mention a hemp milk bun? This was by far, the BEST gluten-free bun that we tasted in a restaurant!

When you pressed on it, it actually sprung back….something that doesn’t usually happen in the gluten-free world!

And of course, I needed a side salad!

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Daria decided on the lemon chicken with alfalfa sprouts! And she had a side of wasabi carrot slaw!

So yummy!

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We just sat and ate and ate and had a great time….loved the atmosphere, too!

Great shot of this upcycled light above our booth!

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After a visit to Washington Square Park (a favorite place to “people watch”) and eat ice cream (only Claudia enjoyed a sprinkled cone)…

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…we walked to the Strand Bookstore to satisfy our literary needs!

A NYC favorite for book lovers, this place is amazing!

Soon after we hit the subway and made our way to Lincoln Center to enjoy the ballet….such a great evening!

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The next morning, Daria and I headed for home.

Since we didn’t have breakfast in the city, we stopped at Tick Tock Diner in Clifton, NJ, for brunch….how about an omelette?

I had the veggie omelette while Daria had the steak and cheese (only took a pic of mine)!

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I made sure to ask if the home fries were done on the griddle and not in a fryer!

We have gotten sick more than once!

We had a great mid-week “Junebaby” birthday celebration!

Life is so busy….you have to partake in as much fun as you possibly can!

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Happy birthday my dear girls….hope to spend it with you again next year!

xoxoxo

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The perfect pound cake!

Monica says:

Mother’s Day is coming up this weekend and when I think of my Mom, I recall her either baking or sewing…..and did I mention that she was great at both?

Well, she was!

Me and Mommy

 That’s me and my Mom circa 1961

This brilliant seamstress could sew anything….from curtains to fully-lined coats; she did it all. Having four daughters to keep clothed, she was forever in her “sewing room” cutting, pinning, and stitching. She was so talented that she could make a dress without a pattern…all you had to do was describe it to her and off she went.

One of my biggest regrets in life is not making the time to learn to sew when she wanted to teach me. Being the youngest of the crew, I was not interested in learning anything so domesticated…and because I went to Catholic school for 12 years, we did not have Home Economics class, so I slipped through the cracks!

When I did try my hand at sewing many years later, I basically taught myself and with some help from my oldest sister, I was able to make some simple curtains, pillows, and what I call “nonsense” items….but never took on a clothing project!

If only we could have do-overs!!

Baking on the other hand, was something that I was interested in, and I did get bake with my Mom. She spent countless hours in the kitchen making braided bread, cookies, nut rolls, and more! Our home always smelled incredible and was always so clean and tidy.

She had a talent for making food into beautiful presentations and just enjoyed making people happy, as do I. She loved to “fuss around” and make life a little grander and I know that I definitely inherited this from her!

As you can imagine, my Mom’s baking was legendary in our church parish and school. The nuns who taught at our parish school LOVED her cookies and bread, and looked forward to them on holidays and special occasions. One time I remember the nuns were concerned because my Mom hadn’t sent them any baked goods, so they asked my sisters and me if our Mom was sick. Yes, she actually was! So they sent special prayers up to heaven to get her well quickly so they could enjoy her goodies again….it’s funny how you remember the simple things!

We lost my Mom in 1997 and consequently, she wasn’t alive when Daria and I were diagnosed with celiac disease, but I know she would have tried to adapt many of her recipes to be gluten-free…she was just like that!

In the recipe that follows, we combined our favorite spice, cinnamon, with organic coconut palm sugar (the secret ingredient), to make the streusel, that flavors and creates a beautiful look to this classic pound cake…and of course, we added baby pecans to give us a bit of protein. You can use walnuts or almonds if you prefer.

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Anyway, this post is for my Mom and Daria’s “Grammy”….

a perfect gluten-free pound cake inspired by a wonderful woman!

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Cinnamon Swirl Gluten-free Vanilla Pound Cake

Dry ingredients for Cake:

2 cups King Arthur Gluten Free Flour or flour blend of your choice

¾ tsp xanthan gum

2 tsp baking powder

¾ tsp baking soda

1 tsp Egg Replacer

1 cup sugar

Wet Ingredients for Cake:

½ cup or 1 stick softened butter

1 cup sour cream

1 tsp vanilla

3 eggs

Streusel Topping:

3 T Organic Coconut Palm Sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup chopped pecans

1 T softened butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350˚ and grease a loaf pan (9” x 5”) and dust with gluten-free flour.

Whisk flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and Egg Replacer. Set aside.

Beat sugar and butter until fluffy and light.

Now add dry ingredients to the sugar mixture and beat until just blended. Beat in sour cream and vanilla until smooth.

Add eggs, one at a time, and beat the mixture one more time!

Spoon half of the batter into a prepared pan. Mix together the streusel ingredients and spread half over the batter.

Now spoon on the remaining batter and top with the rest of the streusel.

Use a knife to swirl the streusel through the unbaked cake.

Bake for about 55 minutes OR until a tester comes out clean. (We always use a tester!)

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Cool for 10 minutes before turning out of the pan to cool completely on a wire rack.

One large loaf yields 10-12 servings.

© 2015, Monica & Daria of glutenfreedoubletalk    whisks

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The cake can be served as is or with ice cream or whipping cream…any way… it is delicious!

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So, if you are able to spend a little time with your mom on this special Sunday, enjoy every minute.

A very Happy Mother’s Day to all of you that are moms and moms-to-be!

Special blessings to my niece Amanda and hubby Gary, who just had a little one on April 28th….welcome to the crazy family, beautiful baby Audrey!

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Big sister Gracie is more than excited to share with you!

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These are my two blessings, Claudia and Daria….love them with all my heart!

Girls and me W'burg VA 2006

This picture was taken in Williamsburg, VA, when Daria was on her pastry externship

from the Culinary Institute of America.

And last, but certainly not least, a Happy Mother’s Day in heaven, Mom! xos

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

Happy birthday, dear blog!

Monica and Daria say:

Hear us singing in the most melodious voices!!

♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪…Happy Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪… Happy Birthday Dear Blog ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪… Happy Birthday to you! …♪♫•* ✌ and many more ♥♥

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We can’t believe that one year has passed since this adventure began! And we are so happy that we are able to continue sharing our gluten-free lifestyle with all of you!

So raise a glass of cheer with us and yell “Opa!”

Thank you for your continued support and readership….we truly appreciate each and every one of you!

p.s. gluten-free strawberry cheesecake was part of our celebration!!

Too cute to eat….but you must!

Monica says:

This post is in honor of my two precious girls….Claudia and Daria!

When they were little we had yet another Easter tradition of baking Easter bunny cookies….a great sugar cookie that melted in your mouth.

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The original recipe came from a cookbook that my Mom had given Lewie and me for our bridal shower. A wonderful cookbook, Better Home and Gardens All Time Favorite Recipes, copyrighted in 1979, (we were married in 1981), that we’ve used countless times over the years. It is so worn and somewhat falling apart, but very loved and still relevant!

I distinctly remember making these cookies from that cookbook for the first time.

Filling in at our local library for the children’s librarian that was out on pregnancy leave, I was celebrating Easter storytime with the littlest library patrons and wanted to make cookies for our session. So my Mom and I decided to try this recipe, and it became a classic.

Did I mention that while filling in for that librarian, I became pregnant, too?

Yes, it was with Daria!

Years later, when Daria and I changed our diet, we needed to find a recipe to replace our delicious bunny cookies. After many recipes and taste-testings, we are happy with this one!

This recipe is adapted from Easy Gluten-Free Baking by Elizabeth Barbone, which we highly recommend for your cookbook library. In her book it’s called “Jam Sandwich Cookies” and I have made these in rounds and hearts with strawberry jam and sprinkled with powdered sugar, but these bunny heads are just the cookies…no fuss, no muss!

I also use brown rice flour for mine, not the combination of flours that she suggests.

So, see what you think!

Easter Bunny Sugar Cookies

Yield: about 3 dozen

Dry ingredients:

3 ¼ cups brown rice flour

2/3 cup granulated sugar

Wet ingredients:

2 sticks cold butter, cut into bite-sized chunks

1 large egg

3 T milk

2 tsp vanilla

Easter colored M & Ms

Directions:

Place dry ingredients into a food processor and pulse a few times until ingredients are mixed.

Next add butter into the mixture and pulse until butter is cut into small pieces and you see pea-like texture. Then add milk, egg and vanilla.

Process until a dough forms (it will be somewhat crumbly).

Once you see the dough coming together, remove from processor and divide it in half. Place each part in wax paper and wrap. Place the two wrapped pieces in a plastic zip-lock bag and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat your oven to 350˚ and place parchment on two baking sheets.

Unwrap your dough and let it sit on your counter for at least 5 minutes before attempting to roll out.

Lightly flour your counter with rice flour and cut a small piece of dough from the half. It may be very crumbly at first, but the warmth of your hands will help keep it together. Work the dough until it is able to be rolled out. Roll dough to about an 1/8 of an inch thick and cut out bunny heads with cutter. Place 3 M & Ms on each face for eyes and nose.

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Place on baking sheets and bake for approximately 10 minutes. I always turn my baking sheet after 5 minutes to ensure even baking.

Remove from oven and let cool at least 5 minutes before placing on wire racks to cool completely!

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I will caution you, however….these cookies are EXTREMELY fragile and I must confess that nearly one third of my 39 cookies lost “their ears” this year! Yes, they broke off during my transferring them from the baking pan to the wire rack to cool….NOT happy!

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But the taste is delightful, so whatever!

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When the girls were little, we meticulously wrapped one ear per bunny with narrow ribbon to make them look oh so cute!

I miss those days….too bad children have to grow up!

This year I only wrapped one for this picture….the old arthritis took enough beating in the rolling today!

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Wishing all of you a very happy Easter and a delicious one, too!

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Enjoy!

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk