Category Archives: potluck

Making vegan pizza

At our Wednesday night potluck this week, it was my turn to bring the main dish and I finally made something I’d been wanting to make since I went vegan…pizza!

I started off with a store bought organic whole wheat crust from Whole Foods.

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I brushed each crust with a little extra virgin olive oil and spread it with tomato sauce sprinkled with garlic and oregano.

Then I started adding the toppings, including this meatless pepperoni:

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And Daiya cheese, which is all the rage in the vegan realm right now!

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Veggie toppings (all organic) included: mushrooms, green peppers, onion, olives…I think that was it. 😉

Before going into the oven!

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I baked each pizza (at 400 degrees) for about 17 minutes to melt the cheese and when the edges of the crust were crispy.

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Before I went home to start making the pizza, I stopped at the store to get some supplies in order to transport them to my friend’s house.

One fit into this cake carrier perfectly, best idea ever!

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And the other one stayed on the baking sheet and got wrapped with this, another very cool invention.

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Finally, served for dinner, alongside some romaine salad.

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It tasted great! The veggies were firm, the faux pepperoni was crisp, and the cheese tasted very cheesy! My only disappointment was that the crust did not get as firm as I would’ve liked. The edges were crunchy but the rest of it was still rather soft.

But everyone really seemed to like it. Between the 5 of us girls, both pizzas disappeared!

I highly recommend the Daiya cheese. It’s not quite the same, but it does have a very cheesy taste and it melts really well, unlike some other non-dairy cheeses on the market.

I can’t wait to use it in lasagna and some other recipes soon!

Vegan burgers and tofu pudding

On Wednesday night, us girls got together for our weekly potluck meal.

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We enjoyed the Morningstar Farms vegan veggie burgers, which I did not even know existed!

I have to say, the taste of this burger was WAY BETTER than Boca. I was surprised really, because before I was vegan, I would usually prefer Boca over Morningstar products.

The tater tots and veggies were delicious too. A really fun and tasty cookout-type meal, in the dead of winter 😉

For dessert, I made my famous Tofu Chocolate Pudding, which we topped with strawberries. Yum!

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I love this pudding because it’s simple to make and even if it is a little high in calories, I feel okay having it every once in a while because of its few ingredients and great taste 🙂

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The strawberries were also surprisingly good, considering it’s not yet strawberry season!

I can’t wait for Farmer’s Markets to open up again, how about you?

First potluck of 2010

For those of you fairly new to my blog, you might not know that every Wednesday, my girlfriends and I have a Girl’s Night Potluck, where we take turns bringing different dishes (main course, side or dessert) and spend time together usually watching movies but sometimes doing other things like playing Wii and whatnot.

This week was the first potluck of 2010…when I wrote out the title I nearly put 2009! Guess I’m still not used to the new year yet 😉

For our main course this week, Beth made Garlic Linguine with tomatoes. She made a few adjustments to the original recipe (added sea salt and more EVOO) and it was delicious! It was also nice to just have a little pasta on my plate with other things and not a big heaping bowl of it. My stomach thanked me too 🙂

On the side, we had some mixed steamed veggies (pretty much my favorite) and some Italian bread (I ate another unpictured piece). I also made a side salad with balsamic vinaigrette (Market Pantry brand from Target — appears to be vegan, far as I can tell).

In lieu of dessert (non-vegan Key Lime pie), I had a nice glass of white wine, which went great with the Italian theme to me (I’m not a professional wine pairer, ha ha).

This was the Beringer Pinot Grigio and it was quite good. I checked the handy Barnivore site and Beringer is listed as not vegan friendly. But that is something I am still working on and trying to figure out if I’m going to follow. I think for now, I won’t worry if it’s something someone else bought (in this case) but perhaps at home, I’ll make more of an effort to get vegan friendly wines.

I also kept up with my 9:00 “stopping” time to give my stomach adequate time to settle before I go to bed. This has also helped tremendously with nighttime/mindless snacking. Three days strong!

We ended up watching the People’s Choice Awards and had lots of laughs. We are really blessed that we can get together every week. Girl’s nights are the best!

Do you do anything special with your girlfriends on a regular basis?

I saw John McCain

Wednesday was a whirlwind!

I started off with some tasty banana oats…my favorite, it’s been too long.

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Then I headed to work, even on my day off, because John McCain was making an appearance. I try to avoid political stuff on my blog, but let me just say this…I didn’t vote for him but I always try to see political or historical figures when they come to town. Something to tell the grandkids.

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He gave a really nice speech about Veterans Day and then answered some questions from the crowd.

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I ate a Larabar during the speech. They saw me post on Twitter and offered to send me a shirt, which I gladly acccepted!

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I also got this snack in the mail which I had forgotten all about, since most of these things take weeks to get to you.

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They do contain honey for my vegan friends, but they were crunchy and salty too. I enjoyed them as part of my lunch that day.

After the McCain thing, I went to the gym and did an awesome workout of 2 miles on the treadmill and some weights. I really pushed myself to find some appropriate training weights and not just using the same ones each time. I’m ready to get stronger!

Let’s just say, my triceps are still sore today, ha ha 😉

We had a spectacular Girls Night Potluck that evening. For my side item, I brought spicy potatoes! What do you call potatoes that aren’t really fries or wedges either?

Start with some potatoes (I used all but 2 of these):

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Slice them and place the pieces on a baking sheet. Brush lightly with oil and sprinkle on hot seasoning (ours is called Slap Ya Mama).

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Bake at 450 for 30 minutes or so. Flip them halfway through.

Voila!

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The rest of dinner was vegan chili, made deliciously by Beth, who also modeled her Halloween costume for us.

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She was a package! Her boyfriend is a FedEx delivery dude, in real life and on Halloween, ha ha.

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We also had some veggies, bread and my fries/chips/whatever on the side. They were SPICY!

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All together, a great meal 🙂

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Instead of dessert, we had wine!

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This was Yellowtail Pinot Grigio and it was delicious. I’ve been sticking to mostly reds lately so this was a welcome change.

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I swear I only had one glass (all of us split a bottle). I just liked taking pictures of it apparently.

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Just another Wednesday. Love my girls!

Hope your Friday the 13th was lucky 🙂

Mind over matter

Tuesday night, I mentioned that I wanted to go for a run in the morning, since I knew it was unlikely that I’d be able to “fit it in” later in the day with my schedule the way it was.

The night before, I laid out my clothes and packed my lunch so I would save time in the morning.

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Like my Cartman tooth fairy in the background? Ha ha.

When I went to sleep that night, I thought there was no way I was going to be able to get up and do it. Or if I did get up, it would be raining. You know, excuses.

Well, I DID IT! I got out the door, warmed up, ran the course I had planned out in my head, and then cooled down for a total of 25 minutes (and around 2 miles total). All before breakfast!

Speaking of which, a green monster has never tasted so good…cheers!

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It felt so good to start the day off that way. Might have to keep this up?

Mid-morning I snacked on some soy yogurt and Ezekiel cereal. Starting to become old news 😉

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Lunch was leftover falafel and red potatoes. Finally zee red potatoes are finished 🙂

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Mid-afternoon, I snacked on some carrots and hummus. I had some tea too but no chocolate today. See, not everything has to be everyday 🙂

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Wednesday is usually the highlight of my week because it is when us girls get together for a girl’s night potluck dinner. This week, Courtney had the main dish and she made an amazing looking baked ziti!

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And Aleta brought some amazing looking warm bread 🙂

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And I brought broccoli, hehe. Figures.

Since I’m not really eating dairy these days (I haven’t really told anyone yet unless they happen to read this since I’m still experimenting), I peeled back the cheese a bit and scooped out some pasta.

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It was delicious, as was the bread that I went back and got another piece of!

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Lots of carbs stuffed me and made me a little bloated. I remember now why I don’t usually eat much pasta. But everything tasted great!

Dessert didn’t thrill me too much. First, this was a sour cream Angel food cake which tells me it is not vegan (which I knew already). And I think it would’ve been better with something on it?

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I probably should’ve just passed on it but I gave it a try anyway for some reason. Oh well, hopefully dessert night next week will be better.

It was a really good night with the girls too. We watched the “Dancing with the Stars” results show and thank goodness, Chuck Liddell is going to be around another week!

We also watched that new show “Glee” which was pretty cute. But I’m trying not to pick up any new shows. I think I could actually live without television most of the time 😉

I have another long post coming up of today’s activities, so don’t go too far!

Another recipe fail?

Another Wednesday girl’s night potluck has come and gone. This week I had the main dish and while it wasn’t terrible, I was a bit disappointed. But let’s back up!

Yesterday’s breakfast was 5 grain cereal with almond butter and some dried fruit (cherries, blueberries, and cranberries) that I received in a packet a while back at a cancer info booth.

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Mid-morning, I took a walk and then snacked on some mixed nuts (2 tbsp).

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For lunch, I had a veggie burger in a pita pocket with avocado, tomato and spicy mustard, plus some carrots and hummus on the side.

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I had a hard time stuffing everything into the pita pocket! I think I overdid it a bit 😉

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After lunch, I had class and then a meeting, so when I got back I was more than ready for some tea and chocolate (it’s becoming a ritual I think).

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I had brought some soy yogurt and cereal as my afternoon snack but I sat there and kept asking myself if I was hungry. Nope. Usually I would eat it anyway, but I decided to save it for the next day instead.

I love it when that happens! No, not skipping a snack. Just being intuitive and feeling good about my choices.

After work, I met Farrah for a run. We did a bit more than 3 miles, most of it running but there were a few walks in there. I’m trying to build back up to running 5Ks, the first of which will be next month!

When I got home, I was finally hungry so I snacked on some more mixed nuts (another 2 tbsp).

For the main dish at girls night, I prepared a Lentil Rice and Veggie Bake using this recipe from allrecipes.com as my guide with a few substitutions.

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Cooking up all the veggies in the skillet…it looks good!

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I had to make these lentils because I couldn’t find “red” ones? Does anyone know the difference?

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I also used barley instead of rice because I already had some in the pantry.

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Here’s what it looked like coming out of the oven 🙂

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I don’t know what it was but something I just didn’t care for. I think maybe it was too bland because it was better with some salt on it.

We had the casserole (x2) with some veggies and bread dipped in olive oil. Yum!

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But I think dessert was my favorite! Court found these Diana’s Bananas banana babies, which the box described as “real bananas covered with non-dairy dark chocolate…perfect!

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I may have to find some of these for myself. How awesome they were!

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Even though I wasn’t thrilled with my dish, you live and learn. I hope one of these days I can make a really great tasting vegan dish. I’m hoping it was just the substitutions I made or something. Oh well!

Hope you all had a good Wednesday night too. Thank you for your comments on my decision not to watch The Biggest Loser…I deleted it from my DVR and I canceled the series recording. That felt great! Ha ha.

Have an awesome Thursday!

Why I love whole grains

Happy Tuesday!

Before I wrote that, I almost thought it might be Monday again, huh. Wonder what I was thinking?!

Anyway, I started today off a bit differently with something other than hot cereal. Josh had some of this bread left over so I thought I’d help him use some of it up before it went bad.

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I bought this for him because it was majorly on sale, usually I’m very strict about having 100% whole wheat or whole grain bread in our house.

I made some toast and topped it with almond butter and a small banana that I sliced up.

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First off, the taste of the bread sort of clashed with the almond butter. But I finished it and felt pretty satisfied…until 9:00 when my hunger came striking out of nowhere.

This is why I prefer (and love) whole grains. Fiber keeps you fuller longer! But it was worth a shot…I will not make a repeat. Thankfully that bread is gone now. I wonder if it affects Josh the same way?

For the snack I so desperately needed, I had some cucumbers and Sabra original hummus, so good!

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Before lunch, I headed to the gym to work out with Farrah. We ran for 1 mile outside and then did a circuit of upper body, back and abs exercises. Because we’ve been keeping the workouts shorter, I’ve been using heavier weights and I’m really noticing a difference. 🙂

For lunch, I devoured my leftover burrito from Santa Fe yesterday and a small romaine salad with creamy Italian (and vegan) dressing.

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This kept me full for most of the afternoon until I was waiting for my ride after work. I didn’t bring a snack with me but knew I needed one, so I picked this up on the way.

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The ingredients list was decent, it contains 11 grams of sugar but that is still less than most bars other than Kashi. Plus, I read about it on this list of snack foods that are vegan.

It was really good! And it was a really good thing I ate it because I got home late and didn’t have time for dinner before I had to leave to meet my friend Candy for our walk.

We did about 3 miles which included lots of hills, which was awesome. I still wasn’t starving when I got home (that bar rocked) but I went ahead and ate some dinner, keeping it light.

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I made a Boca vegan burger topped with avocado and tomato, plus organic ketchup for dipping, and some Asian style veggies on the side.

I sat down, relaxed and watched some TV before I decided I was still a bit hungry (it caught up with me). So I made this totally awesome snack of a pita pocket topped with almond butter and a few semisweet (and vegan) chocolate chips.

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When I was done, I got to work on my main dish recipe that I’m serving at girl’s night tomorrow! I will tell you all about it then 🙂

On a different note, I am SO NOT watching The Biggest Loser this season. It’s been tempting since I was home while it was on and my DVR is still set up to record it. But after the last two seasons I don’t think it is good for my health for me to continue. I get so wrapped up in the contestants, which I think have been particularly evil the past two seasons, and I get mad at them!

I also get tired of all the fakeness and trying to pretend like they aren’t basically doing a commercial in the middle of the show even though we see plenty of them over the course of two hours. I also really like Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper but feel that they have become “characters” rather than the real (and awesome) people they are.

I don’t know. Part of me wants to know what’s going on. Perhaps if I could find a disconnect…be able to watch the show without caring? Hmm…

Do you (or did you) watch a show that just downright pisses you off? How do you deal with it?

Another fake Sunday

Sunday didn’t really feel a Sunday again because we had Monday off for Martin Luther King day. We also traveled to a nearby town to attend a live WWE Smackdown event, which was our Christmas present (belated) to my in-laws 🙂 So we were pretty busy!

For breakfast, I tried some Van’s waffles that I picked up at the store over the weekend: Blueberry! I have to say, I already like them better than the Maple Fusion, but I am anxious to try the “regular” flavors too. Officially, I think Kashi Heart to Heart waffles are my favorite, but Van’s is still a good brand and worth it to switch things up every now and then.

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Waffles, PB, banana, syrup, turkey sausage

Waffles, PB, banana, syrup, turkey sausage

At church, I had three tiny (styrofoam) cups of coffee with sweet ‘n low and creamer. After church, we had a fellowship (aka food) gathering with our Sunday School class at our teacher’s house. The spread was amazing!

Ham, salad, green beans, fruit, deviled egg, mac 'n cheese

Ham, salad, green beans, fruit, deviled egg, mac 'n cheese

Not pictured is the chocolate chip-cream cheese ball that we spread on chocolate graham crackers. It was like a dessert appetizer! Thank goodness we had to hurry up and leave to go out of town, or else I may have gone back for more! I also had one other deviled egg not pictured — I was hungry while we were waiting for everyone else to arrive 😉

When we got to our wrestling destination, we had a while before the show started, so we walked around the convention center a bit. There were so many people there though that eventually we just stayed standing in one spot. When the show started, I sipped on some water and later on snacked on my favorite Larabar, peanut butter cookie! It was too dark in there so I did not get a picture.

After the show, we drove over to Ted’s Montana Grill where I chowed down on a naked Bison burger and some roasted asparagus (it came with fries, but I substituted).

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It was pretty good and the service was incredible (of course, it was 9:00 on a Sunday), but at this point I was just tired and wanted to get home; we were experiencing some snow showers and saw a bunch of cars in ditches on the way home, yikes! Thankfully we made it back safely.

When we got home, I “needed” something sweet, so I had a Jello pudding cup with cool whip, an old standby…

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Be back with more soon!

Potluck night

Lunch yesterday was roast beef with lettuce and Smart Balance mayo stuffed into pita pockets…

Black beans with fat free sour cream…

And a juicy tangerine 🙂


About an hour after lunch, I really started dragging (probably all the carbs), so I made myself a cup of coffee with 1 packet of Equal. Notice the horrible flourescent light in the mug, not nearly as cool as Kath’s chandelier coffee!


And a couple pieces of hard candy (cinnamon and key lime flavor)…


Later in the afternoon, I had my yogurt with 1/2 cup Kashi Go Lean, such an amazing snack. I could eat it for breakfast too, hmm…


When I got home from work, I knew I still had a couple of hours until dinner and my stomach was already grumbling (stupid hormones), so I had some mixed nuts…


Potluck dinner this week was baked spaghetti and some mixed veggies. There was pasta salad too but I didn’t want to overdo it. Honestly, as good as this tasted, pasta just doesn’t agree with me. It sits on my stomach too heavy, makes me bloated and that’s just not worth it to me.


Dessert was some Starbucks peppermint hot cocoa with fat free reddi-whip…check out this cute mug, I love it! I slurped this stuff, it’s so tasty 🙂


And then I had 2 of these…oatmeal chocolate chip cookies!


It was a great night with the girls! I ate more than I usually do and some things I hadn’t had in a while but I don’t feel guilty at all. In fact, the only thing I remarked on in the above picture was how nice my leg looks, hahaha.

But that being said, I’m ready to get back on track today 🙂 Hope everyone had an amazing Wednesday, be back soon!

Ah, nuts!

Mid-morning yesterday, I had 3 tbsp of unsalted soynuts for a snack and inhaled them before even thinking about taking a picture. Whoops!

Before heading to the gym though, I had a piece of cinnamon hard candy. I don’t know why but I love these. I need to look for some sugar free ones, anybody know of any?

I went to the gym and did 15 minutes on the stationary bike and 15 minutes walking on the treadmill at an incline. Then I went to my weigh-in (see previous post). I left the gym feeling confident and looking forward to eating my lunch 🙂

Lunch was a can of chunk light tuna with 1 tbsp Smart Balance mayo and 2 stalks of celery chopped, with a side of celery and light ranch dressing, a pita pocket, and a banana.

I stuffed some of the tuna in the pita pocket, as much as I could fit in there 😉


This lunch was sooo filling, it was nearly time to leave work before I felt the hunger to eat my yogurt. I forgot to mention…I had a cup of coffee with 1% milk and Equal both in the morning when I got to work and a couple hours after lunch. Starting now, I’m cutting back to one.

I went BACK to the gym and did 20 minutes of ab and leg exercises and 7.5 minutes on the treadmill again (since I had a few extra minutes). Sometimes I really enjoy splitting up my workout over the course of the day! Makes me feel like I can get more done.

I had to stop at the store to get some salad to take to my friend’s house for our potluck and I went back to the same Kroger that had the Spooky S’mores Zbars! I was starving (seriously, not just because I had a Z bar) so I ate one to hold me over until we ate dinner. I bought two this time so there’s one waiting at home for another day 😉


Dinner was an autumn-inspired salad from Dole (romaine, cranberries, almonds, apple cider vinaigrette), a mushroom-veggie stuffing, and vegetarian chili with some 2% cheddar cheese sprinkled on top. I went back for small seconds on the salad and stuffing! The soup was perfect though, lots of beans and quite comforting on a cold rainy day like yesterday 🙂


Dessert was some cinnamon-sugar almonds, but I passed because I had enough nuts yesterday. That didn’t stop me from digging into the nut butter when I got home though. Before bed, after taking Suzie for a walk, I had a “few” spoonfuls of Mighty Maple PB and she had a tartar control biscuit, hehe.
I am going to have to get this peanut butter habit back under control, haha. Of all the things to be addicted to though, it’s not so bad, right? 😉