Pasta with Prosciutto, Cherry Tomatoes, and Asiago

Pasta Noodles

Thoughts Before Cooking:

I was on my break and flipping through the magazine Cooking Light when I found this recipe. I found a lot more that sound incredibly tasty, so those will be coming in the future.

This recipe is supposed to be healthy and isn’t too expensive, the only thing being the prosciutto. But the way to get around that is to just go to the deli and have the amount needed cut for you instead of buying an expensive package.

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Ingredients:

  • 8-oz of Uncooked Whole-Grain Penne or Rotini
  • 3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil, divided
  • 1 Ounce of thinly prepared Prosciutto, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Cup of chopped Red Onion
  • 8 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/8 Teaspoon of Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1 Medium Zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • 3 Cups of Multicolored Cherry Tomatoes, Halved (If you can find them.)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Kosher Salt (I used regular)
  • 2 Teaspoons of Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/3 Cup of Chopped Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley
  • 2-oz (1/2 Cup) of Asiago Cheese, Grated and divided

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add prosciutto; cook for three minutes or until crisp.
  4. Remove prosciutto from pan.
  5. Add onion, garlic, and pepper; sauté 4 mins.
  6. Add zucchini, cook 1 min.
  7. Add tomatoes and salt, cook 3 mins.
  8. Stir in pasta and vinegar; cook for 30 seconds.
  9. Remove pan from heat; stir in parsley and one ounce of the cheese.
  10. Divide the pasta mixture among four bowls; top with prosciutto and remaining ounce of cheese.

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Thoughts After Cooking:

I can never find multicolored cherry tomatoes anywhere when a recipe calls for them. Can you believe that?

seriously

So this was absolutely delicious. I definitely recommend making it.

loveitSupernatural

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For more pasta salad, go to Simple Pasta Salad

For more low calorie dishes, go to Ratatouille

For more recipe reviews, go to 1-2-3-4 Peanut Butter Cookies

The Winter People

winterpeople

The Winter People: A Novel by Jennifer McMahon

Thoughts before Reading:

I received this book in a contest, my only payment being an honest review.

Read it today!

Let me just start off and say that I found this to be a phenomenal book. Absolutely amazing. I started reading, intending to only start the novel, but found myself buzzing through it I just had to find out the end.

Cantstopreadingupallnight

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Plot Synopsis:

So the story is split between two different times. First we have Sara Harrison Shea from the turn of the century, living in West Hall, VA. Young Sara is raised by her father and Auntie, a healer, who teaches her things others, including the minister, would not approve of.

Not-Good

Everything changes one day when her husband goes hunting.

scream

Since then West Hall has been a strange, spooky place.

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Disappearances are common in the town, along with myths and legends.

phonecall

The most mysterious being the tragic death of Sara Harrison Shea, who was found disturbingly dead just a few months after the death of her daughter.

Horrible!!!!

Horrible!!!!

In present day; Ruthie and little Fawn live with their widowed mother Alice on a country farm. Much to Ruthie’s disgust and dislike, Alice has always forced them to live their lives off the grid, no internet, no connections, etc.

2013-11-27-bradpitt friends ugh slap face stupid

One morning Ruthie wakens to find her mother gone.

What'sHappening?BigBangTheory

Just disappeared out of the blue, something her controlling and protective nature would never do.

doesn'tmakesense

As she searches for clues to where she might have gone to, Ruthie discovers Sara Harrison Shea’s secret diary.

Obsessed

Katherine has recently lost her husband when he died in a car accident.

Aw...

Aw…

Already saddened over the death of her child, she is even more distraught to discover her husband had a secret.

What?

He’d been coming to West Hall, VA for a while, but why? No one he knows is out here and why would he lie about it?

Idon'tthinkso Idontseeit

As she moves to West Hall to investigate, she discovers a connection between her husband, Alice, and Sara.

Uh-oh-dexter-9352138-275-155

There are others who are after the diary Ruthie holds, and its great secret.

Blog-Child-Support-Oh-No

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It was a great book.

Read it today!

Read it today!

Incredibly well written, superb storytelling, fantastic characters and incredible suspense. I just loved it.

fantastic

I won’t say anymore because I don’t want to ruin it, but aw! So great!

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For more supernatural mysteries, go to Grave Peril

For more on disapperances, go to Cookie Dough or Die

For more widows looking for answers, go to The Italian Wife

For more historical fiction mysteries, go to Ticker

For more not-in-a-series mysteries, go to Sleeping Beauty

1-2-3-4 Peanut Butter Cookies

peanutButter

Thoughts Before Baking:

I LOVE Peanut Butter!

peanutbutter-fills-heart

So I am open to any peanut butter recipe. This really intrigued me as it said IT ONLY NEEDED FOUR INGREDIENTS!!!!!

 don'tthinkphysicallypossible

So I just had to try it out for myself. This recipe comes from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion: The Essential Cookie Companion

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Creamy or Chunky Peanut Butter
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment (for easiest cleanup, but sheets can be left unlined and ungreased if you prefer.)
  3. In a medium-sized bowl beat together the peanut butter, egg, sugar, and baking soda until smooth.
  4. Drop the dough by the teaspoonful onto the prepared baking sheets.
  5. Bake cookies for ten minutes, or until they appear set.
  6. Remove them from the oven and cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack and cooling completely.

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They were fantastic!

cookies

They were little, but so addicting. I ate one, then another, then another, then another, etc.

stopeating

You should definitely make this!

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For more King Arthur recipes, go to King Arthur Carrot Cake or Cupcakes

For more peanut butter cookie recipes, go to No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

For more cookie recipes, go to Mini Lemon Pancake Cookies

For more desserts, go to Schooner’s Summertime-Only Strawberry-Raspberry Pie

Cookie Dough or Die

cookiedoughordie

Cookie Dough or Die (Cookie Cutter Shop Mystery #1) by Virginia Lowell

After Olivia Greyson’s divorce to a renowned surgeon, she moved home to Chatterley Heights, Maryland. While she was trying to figure out what to do next with her life Olivia was befriended by Clarisse Chamberlain, entrepreneur and businesswoman, who encourages her to buy the historic Gingerbread House and follow her dream to open a cookie shop.

cookies

Since then she and her best friend Maddie have been running the shop together. Olivia runs the numbers and planning; while Maddie is the creative one who is in charge of the baking and making fantastical creations.

cookiessabrinatheteenagewiitch

Olivia is catching up on her beauty rest when she hears something downstairs. It’s not a robber, but Maddie coming over to create something fun and wonderful for Spring. After her, the hunky Sheriff Del comes with a a sad message for Olivia; Clarisse was found dead, and it looks like suicide.

luke-noooo-o

Olivia knows that Clarisse would never kill herself and sets off to discover who murdered her.

KeepCalmSleuthOn

The suspect list is long and complicated. There are her two dueling sons; Hugh and Edward; that have always wanted to inherit the full power of the business. Could they have killed her for the inheritance? Before one was written out of the will?

HMMM

Tammy, Olivia’s old best friend from elementary school, also has a strong motive. She has been in love with Hugh for as long as she can remember. They dated at one time, but Hugh was distracted by another, Jasmine, and Clarisse was set against Tammy from that day on. Even when Jasmine left the picture, Clarisse hated any girl that wanted Hugh. Could Tammy have killed Clarisse in order to marry Hugh?

Very fishy

Hmmmmmm?

And what of Jasmine who just mysteriously disappeared? Is she somehow involved with this?

I wonder...

I wonder…

When a local postman hints that he knew Clarisse received some information from a private detective; he ends up on the hit list.

coincidenceithinknot

It turns out he was poisoned by one of Olivia and Maddie’s cookies.

You know what that means...something is about to happen

Now it is clear that they are the next target. Can Olivia solve the murder before she is killed too?

Uh-oh-dexter-9352138-275-155

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Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t really care for this book. I was a bit disappointed too, as I waited three months for the book to come in from a sister library to read but it wasn’t as good.

IDon'tlikeit

The mystery itself was good, but the way it was carried out was seriously lacking.

Not-Good

The story was okay except there is a lot of information about the characters that we aren’t given which make it a bit confusing. For a first book, it is best to not confuse the reader.

What'sHappening?BigBangTheory

I didn’t like the mom character as  felt she was far too cliché and boring.

A character like this again?!

A character like this again?!

The end wasn’t all that good either. The mystery was intriguing, but the resolution was too quickly wrapped up. It was very murky mysterious, and then all of a sudden crystal clear. I felt they need more leeway time, steps leading it up to the resolution.

seriously

It was also weird to have a mystery book that features dogs instead of cats. I’m not against dogs or anything, I like them too. But cats and mysteries just seem to go hand in hand. Having a mystery book without one and a dog instead is just so unusual. After all, cats are just so amazing.

loveofacat

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For more mysteries involving a cookie shop, go to Cream Puff Murder

For more Southern mysteries, go to Bloom and Doom

For more suicides as a cover for murder, go to Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters

For more death by poison food, go to A Pinch of Poison 

For more Charles Dickens quotes, go to Gorgonzola Cream Cheese Log

For more mystery reviews, go to Sleeping Beauty

Simple Pasta Salad

elbow-macaroni

Thoughts Before Cooking:

Just a simple pasta salad I like to whip out when I need to.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Stalks of Celery
  • ~10 Black Olives
  • Mayonnaise to Taste
  • Mustard to taste
  • Pasta Noodles of your choice
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions:

  1. Prepare the pasta according to the pasta directions.
  2. While that is occurring slice the celery in half. Afterwards, chop the stalks into small pieces.
  3. Slice the olives.
  4. When the pasta is done cooking, strain, and rinse in cold water.
  5. Add the olives and celery to the pasta.
  6. Add mayonnaise and mustard to taste.
  7. Place in the fridge to cool or eat right away.

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PastaSalad

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Thoughts After Cooking:

Fast and tasty. A great side dish when you are in a hurry or just have a hanker.

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For more pasta salads, go to Garden Pasta Salad with Bocconcini

For more salad recipes, go to Ratatouille

For more recipes, go to Schooner’s Summertime-Only Strawberry-Raspberry Pie

Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries

So today marks the 126th birthday of Agatha Christie:

Agatha Christie, surrounded by some of her 80-plus crime novels.

Yay!

Yay!

You may not know this because I haven’t had an opportunity to review one of her books just yet, but Agatha Christie is one of my favorite authors. She revolutionized the way mysteries are written, and created a wonderful collection of characters.

HerculePoirot HerculePoirot

Not only are her plots amazing, but I like how she presents all the information to you that she gives her detective characters, putting the two of you on equal footing, although, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot tend to always be smarter.

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Christie also does not shy away from doing extremely radical ideas, such as having a child be the killer

cyborg

Or having a part of the narration be through the killer’s eyes (although at the time you don’t realize that person is the killer.)

phonecall

Her work is so great that every time I am in a bookstore I hunt down her books as I hope to one day own them all.

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I strongly recommend reading any of her novels. When you start one, you just can’t stop.

ReadTimeandPlaceforBooksMyhandnow

So to celebrate, instead of a mystery, I thought I would review a biography.

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agathachristie

Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries by Gillian Gill

Plot Synopsis:

Unlike how most  authors are today, Agatha Christie was a very private person. In fact at one point in her life she disappeared for ten days. She has never released a statement about what really happened and it remains an unsolved mystery to this day.

This book is supposed to be an in depth look into her professional and private life. It’s plan is to look at the works as a way of determining her “inner self”.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I only gave this book two stars.

IDon'tlikeit

I loved the factual material, but it was written too dry that it was hard to read.

It's been done TOO many times

It’s been done TOO many times

In fact her biographical fiction book Unfinished Portrait, written under her pseudonym Mary Westmacott, was a much more interesting and in depth look into who Christie was.

Very fishy

Also I hated how Gill would reveal the endings or important pieces of the mysteries.

cyborg

I know most people who will read this are fans of Christie but some might not have had the chance to read all just yet. I think it is incredibly unfair that she would do that, Christie’s books should not be ruined, but enjoyed. Everybody should have a chance to try their hand at figuring it out.

seriously

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For more Non-fiction, go to Cape May Court House: A Death in the Night

For more on Agatha Christie, go to This Business of the Clocks was Curious

For mystery reviews, go to Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty

sleepingbeauty

I’m not talking about that Sleeping Beauty. I’m talking about this one:

sleepingbeauty

Sleeping Beauty by Phillip Margolin

Lawyer Miles Van Meter is on a book tour to promote his bestseller, Sleeping Beauty, a true crime account of the attack on his twin sister Casey that left her in a coma.

Aw...

Aw…

As Miles begins discussing the case, talking about everything that happened, little does he know that afterwards; something extremely important to the case will be revealed.

unsolvedmystery

We travel to six years earlier and to an event that would change the course of someone’s life forever.

suspense

Ashley is seventeen years old, soccer star, and just your average girl next door. After winning the state championship, her best friend decides to stay the night. But what should have been a fun time with friends turns out to be night filled with horror.

Sabrina the teenage witch salem dum di dum dum dum

But somebody else decides to crash the party.

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A serial killer kills Ashley’s father, along with raping and murdering Tanya. After taking care of Tanya the serial killer does something completely unusual, takes a break and eats some cake left out downstairs.

chocolatecake

How weird is that? Does killing activate his sweet tooth? Is he so confident in his success he can just break to celebrate?

HMMM

While he is occupied, Ashley is able to escape.

run-away_monty-python

After the ordeal, Ashley is ready to give up on everything. That is, until she and her mother receive an invitation and scholarship for the prestigious private school, Oregon Academy. They decide the best thing for everyone is a new start, and accept. There they meet Casey Van Meter who shows them the school and introduces the pair to their onsite writer, Joshua Maxfield. Ashley’s mother, Terri, decides to stay on for the summer to attend Joshua’s writing class while Ashley helps out in the summer soccer camp.

Lordoftherings LifeisGood

Terri attends the writing class and becomes horrified when she hears Maxfield read a story that is full of details of her daughter’s case, including the part about eating sweets which was never publicized.

thenannygasp

Terri notifies the police and starts researching into Maxfield. When Terri discusses it with Casey, Casey rebuffs her; only to call Terri later and stranglely, ask to meet up at the boathouse to reveal some information.

Very fishy

Very fishy

Later that same night, Ashley is walking around when she has the misfortune to hear screams and discover her mother’s and Casey’s stabbed bodies.

luke-noooo-o

She also sees Maxfield with a knife.

AAAAHHHHH

While a huge manhunt after Maxfield commences, once again Ashley flees for her life.

runaway

Within this story are a lot of twists and turns, secret adoptions, revealed identities, psychotic killers, and more.

urkelgif interesting hmm

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Thoughts After Reading:

I HATED this book.

Hate him.

The plot wasn’t bad but the way it was told was horrible.

IDon'tlikeit

It keeps going back and forth in time which is so confusing and makes it so hard to focus on what was happening and when it happened.

What'sHappening?BigBangTheory

At times I thought it was boring and a bit too unbelievable. Really stretching it there.

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I thought that the end twist was good, but the path wasn’t done well. It was just too confusing and made the book horrible to me.

thumbsdown

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For more stand alone mysteries, go to Ticker

For more serial killers, go to The Alchemy of Murder

For more mysteries, go to A Murder in Mohair

Schooner’s Summertime-Only Strawberry-Raspberry Pie

Murderinmohair

Thoughts Before Baking:

I love pie!

castiel-i-need-pie

So when I find a recipe that isn’t chocolate, I just have to try it out.

So I know that this pie is a “summer” pie because of the fruit, but I live in CA. We have summer fruit all year long.

Lordoftherings LifeisGood

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Ingredients:

  • 16 oz-(3 Cups) of Fresh, Ripe, Strawberries; washed, hulled, and sliced in half
  • 6-8 oz (1-1 1/3 Cups) of Raspberries; rinsed and set out in a single layer on a towled area
  • 1/3 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of Cornstarch ot white flour
  • 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
  • For dough use the one from the Apple Pie Recipe or buy a premade one.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Make the dough or roll out the premade one in your pie pan.
  3. Combine the berries, sugar, and vanilla.
  4. Add cornstarch or flour and mix gently until blended. Do not break the raspberries.
  5. Fill dough in pie pan.
  6. Cut remaining dough to into ten 3/4 inch strips and create a lattice.
  7. Brush top with egg.
  8. Cook 45-50 mins

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Thoughts After Baking:

My niece wanted to make the pie with me, so instead of doing the crust from my Apple Pie recipe, I decided to buy the a premade one.

bigmistake

I bought the pillsbury dough which did not turn out well. The dough was hard and dry. When I tried to follow the cooking directions,  it almost burned at 40 degrees. And then it tasted disgusting, like plastic.

horrible

The pie filling was good, not super sweet but that is okay. However, you need to eat this pie fast. It does not hold up well for the next day.

Not-Good

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For more Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries, go to Chicken, Asparagus, and Tomato Pesto Pasta

For more pie recipes, go to Sour Cream Lemon Pie

For more desserts, go to Orange Chocolate Cake

For more recipes, go to Pigs in a Blanket

A Murder in Mohair

Murderinmohair

A Murder in Mohair (Black Sheep Knitting Mystery #8)

So Plum Harbor has left the Hollywood glitz behind and returned to life as normal.

You know what that means...something is about to happen

You know what that means…something is about to happen

It is summer time in Plum Harbor and the sleepy town is rudely awakened with the murder of the local movie theater owner, Jimmy Hubbard.

gunshooting

It appears to be a robbery gone bad, but why of all places would one hit a struggling cinema when there were plenty of other buisnesses in the downtown area that would have more money?

Sounds fishy...

Sounds fishy…

Besides murder, the other thing to hit the town is a psychic, Cassandra Waters.

psychpsychicvision

Cassandra has been helping one their friend Edie’s niece Nora talk to her deceased son. All the women are doubtful of such powers, with their friend Edie coming to them asking if they could observe and let her know how Cassandra gets her information.

The girls decided to hold a psychic/knitting night and see if they can trap Cassandra into revealing her phony self.

gotthis

In other news Lucy is approaching an important birthday and thinking about her future with Matt. Is she wasting her time in believing that the two will marry have a child together? Should she move on? Or is she getting anxious for nothing?

idon'tknowwhatI'mdoing

The knitting/psychic night comes upon the girls and they find it not quite what they expected. Everything said is vague; but at the same time it feels as if Cassandra is privy to privileged information. How does she do it?

urkelgif interesting hmm

One day as Lucy is walking along mulling over her future, when she comes across Cassandra’s home, and sees Richard, Nora’s husband. He’s leaving Cassandra’s house and she is dressed in very little.

Very fishy

Very fishy

Soon after Cassandra is found dead and it is up to the Knitters (minus Maggie as her cop boyfriend does not like her getting involved) to figure out who the killer is. Did someone murder Cassandra because her crystal ball revealed a secret someone would rather keep hidden? And who killed Hubble? Are there two murderers roaming around Plum Harbor or are these crimes connected?

plotthickens

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Thoughts After Reading:

I knew it was only a matter of time before they brought in psychics or the occult. Every mystery series does and the psychic always seems to “reveal” something “crucial” to the mystery. I’m kind of done with it to be honest.

It's been done TOO many times

It’s been done TOO many times

This book wasn’t downright horrible but also not downright amazing. I found it to be only okay.

Meh

Meh

I did like that they brought in a minor character that was mentioned in previous books instead of an old friend we had never heard about. It s always weird when they introduce these new characters that are “old friends” that we are only hearing about now and never hear of again in the future.

IDon'tlikeit

The mystery I thought was easily solvable and lackluster.

eh

She still hasn’t topped Til Death Do Us Purl I think that remains the best book in the series. You should definitely check it out.

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For more Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries, go to The Postman Always Purls Twice

For more on encountering the spirit world, go to Grave Peril

For more book reviews, go to Fangs But No Fangs

Pigs in a Blanket

is hot dog

Thoughts Before Cooking:

I remember being a huge fan of pigs in a blanket as a kid, although I haven’t had one in years. My niece has never had one and came across a recipe in a kid’s cookbook. She wanted to make them, so here we go with a blast from the past.

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Ingredients:

  • 12 Hot Dogs
  • Buttermilk Baking Mix
  • Flour

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Prepare the dough for rolled biscuits as directed on package of Buttermilk Baking Mix.
  3. With lightly floured cloth-covered rolling pin, roll out dough into a square, 12 x 12 inches.
  4. Cut the dough into 12 oblong shapes, each 4 inches long and 3 inches wide.
  5. Wrap each oblong dough piece around the hot dog.
  6. The ends of the hot dog should peek out of the biscuit “blanket”.
  7. Place on an ungreased baking sheet.
  8. Bake 10-12 mins.
  9. Serve hot.
  10. Makes 12.

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b887927d-b73c-4062-9df0-76946179cb77

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Thoughts After Reading:

I thought they were okay. It definitely is a recipe of my youth, but not one I think I can continue in adulthood as my taste buds have changed.

Its-Not-Going-to-Happen-Mean-Girls

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For more hot dog recipes, go to Polka Dot Macaroni and Cheese

For more recipes, go to Orange Chocolate Cake