Posts Tagged ‘food’

Christmas 2012 Weigh-In

Oh goodness. What a rocky few weeks it has been.

One piece of advice – if you are trying to lose weight, never try to juggle a newborn, moving into a new house, completing finals (both the ones you are giving AND the ones you are taking), during the holiday season.

I gained.

I didn’t gain as bad as I had feared.

But I gained.

Are those all excuses? Yep. I certainly could have tried harder and accomplished some weight loss goals.

I did not. I’m not dwelling, because it doesn’t impact my worth as a person.

I expected to be in the 380s. Instead, I just got close to the 380s.

December 22, 2012
Weight: 378.0
Change from Highest: -24.8 pounds

I am not a super happy camper about this, but it is what it is, and I cannot change it now. I can only change it moving forward, and that is what I fully intend to do.

I’m (allegedly) going to take a weekly photo after my weigh-in on Saturdays. I’ll admit – I just now decided to do this, so this photo is actually from Christmas night, but I think it might be nice to have a visual record of my changes.

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(I’m also not as grumpy as I look in that photo, I promise. Still, it’ll be interesting to see if my smile changes as I lose weight, too.)

I also had a little food breakthrough today.

We have a new little one in the house for Christmas, so we’re both establishing new traditions and upholding old ones. Not surprisingly, a lot of the traditions (especially the old ones) revolve around food.

We started some new ones this year that aren’t food related. We’re going to get Moon Pie a lego set, at least one book every Christmas, and one geeky science gift (this year, Periodic table wooden blocks).

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I also am going to abolish one old food tradition.

Do you know what little smokies are? They are basically little sausages that are cooked in a mixture of honey, brown sugar, and mustard. If you had asked me three days ago, I would have said they are sinfully delicious.

I made them today.

They were fatty and disgusting. I’m not being all “I only eat healthy food so fatty food is gross.” No, fattening food can be awesome. The sausage gravy I made for breakfast this morning was incredible.

But these… I ate maybe five, and we’re throwing away the rest.

lilsmokies

Even the picture looks gross to me now. Ugh.

I’ve had little smokies at every Christmas for the past twenty years. This tradition is being retired.

Oh, and in blog news, I’ve recently installed Disqus. I’m hoping it’ll make it easier for me to reply to comments and be a better blogger. Please let me know if there are any issues!

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Stellar Recipe: Sauteed Scallops

On our recent trip to San Diego, we went to a restaurant called The Fish Market. They would change their menu daily, depending upon what was caught fresh. Both times I went, I got scallops, and both times, I left very, very happy.

When I used to think of scallops, I pictured that tough, rubbery piece of white meat that came in perfect circles and was breaded and fried on the Chinese buffet. Hey, even tough and rubbery, I thought it had a decent taste. Now granted, I would probably think a pencil eraser was good if it was breaded and fried, too.

The first time I ate them at The Fish Market, I actually got them fried. They were one of the most amazing things I had ever eaten. The only taste I can compare it to was a more buttery corn on the cob, if anything. They were tender and melt-in-your-mouth good. The next time we went, I got them grilled, and they were just as amazing.

I came home to Kentucky and figured I wouldn’t have scallops that good again until my next trip to the ocean.

On my most recent trip to our local butcher, the Fatted Calf, I happened to notice that Sea Scallops were listed under his seafood section. I asked about them, and he said that they were flown in fresh from Massachusetts. They were also $18.99 a pound, but I had to try them.

I bought eight scallops, and they were gigantic! (And ended up costing me about $22. Yikes!)

I knew I couldn’t fry them (for one thing, while I love the taste of food that other people have fried, if I fry it, it always tastes unpleasant and gross to me, and two, I’m doing great on Weight Watchers and I didn’t want to count the points for the frying), so I decided to sauté them in a little butter and garlic.

How were they?

Well, they did NOT taste as good as they did in San Diego.

But they were still pretty freaking awesome. Tina and I had them with some sirloin (grass-fed, locally raised, and locally butchered), so we had our own little Surf and Turf. Next time, we’re going to get significantly fewer scallops, but they will definitely be making an appearance on our menu again. Oh, and on the plus side? They’re extremely low in calories, high in protein, and high in B12. Triple win!

To prepare, melt some butter in a pot. I added a little olive oil to make them a bit more heart healthy.

Throw in some minced garlic.

When the garlic has browned slightly, put your scallops in the pan. Cook on each side for about four minutes. Turn. They are done when slightly browned.

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Stellar Recipe: Easy Taco Seasoning

Taco seasoning is something that you don’t ever have to buy again, IF you have a well-stocked spice shelf. Best yet, by making it at home, you can be 100% certain of everything that goes in. (Some taco seasoning pre-mixes have MSG in them, along with other preservative chemicals. The homemade version is 100% clean, assuming your spices are clean.)

The best part about making taco seasoning? It’s almost impossible to mess up. Add spices you like. Eliminate the ones you don’t. Tina and I like our taco mix to have a little heat, so we include red pepper, but if you don’t want it spicy, then omit it!

This recipe includes:

1 tablespoon chili powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

You use this just like you would regular taco seasoning. Once you have browned the meat of your choice (we’re using ground beef), mix the seasoning into the meat, add ¾ cup of water, and let simmer.

Eating suggestions include tacos, salad toppings (taco meat with spinach, tomatoes, black beans, salsa, and sour cream is unbelievably good!), or baked white or sweet potato toppings.

For me to eat healthy, I have to enjoy what I am eating. If I get bored, I will not stay on my diet. That’s why I could never eat low-carb. I got tired of just meat and cheese. But there are a plethora of food choices for us to eat that are healthy and nutritious. I plan to keep bringing one to you every Tuesday!

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Window Seat: Antigua Honeymoon, Day Two, 10.10.10

I have decided to consolidate all of my blogs, mostly because I can’t keep up with them. On one of my rarely updated Travel Blogs “The Window Seat,” I had some really nice posts about our honeymoon over a year and a half ago. I don’t want to lose those, so I am slowly migrating those posts here. This is the post for Day Two. You can read about Day One as well.

This is copied and pasted exactly as it was written in Antigua, back in October of 2010.

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Again note – This was written while in Antigua on my iPad, hence the reason for any weird verb tenses. I’ve decided not to really edit, because I want to capture what I wrote while I was there.

***

We got up nice and early at seven o’clock. Okay, that’s really not that early, but things don’t open here until about 7:30, and Tina and I don’t want to miss anything. We can sleep when we get home in Kentucky and aren’t paying so much for a room.

The fountain outside our room…

The little lizards that are EVERYWHERE!

We went to Bayside Restaurant for their breakfast buffet, and it was beautiful. We were given mimosas as soon as we walked in, and we were allowed to seat ourselves, as it was a buffet. There were only a handful of couples in the restaurant, and they were all seated in tables closest to the open wall facing the sea. We chose likewise. Slightly warm (but really, I sweat in the dead of winter, so of course I’m going to sweat in the tropics), but there was a nice breeze off of the ocean. It was so much fun just sitting by the beach, listening to the waves, while we were eating breakfast.

They had a huge fruit spread, a tray table of typical breakfast foods (i.e. – french toast, eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, etc.), and a table for cereal and oatmeal. The oatmeal was a make-it-yourself arrangement, and it was pretty interesting. One part that I found really neat was that the bar also had vases filled with guppies! There was also an omelet bar, but we were entirely too full by the time we were done to visit it.

Vases of guppies…

Lots of fruit…

Pastries!

My first trip was pretty standard breakfast food that I had to try because I had been craving them for weeks. First plate was scrambled eggs with mushrooms, hash brown, bacon, sausage links, french toast with the most amazing warmed syrup I believe I’ve ever had, and a fried plantain. I wasn’t particularly thrilled with the plantain, but the rest was quite tasty.

My plate…

Tina’s plate…

For my second plate, I decided to do mostly fruits. I could tell I was already getting full, but I had to try some fresh fruit. Watermelon, kiwi (served, not in slices, but in halves!), sugar cane (I had never eaten raw, but quite interesting to bite and suck out the juice), pineapple, star fruit, and passion fruit. I had no idea what passion fruit looked like, and it was pretty ugly (looked quite nasty, actually) but it is now one of my favorite fruits! When I came to the table with it, I announced ugly fruit, which Tina interpreted as they actually had Ugli Fruit, which is one of our favorite fruits. Alas, they did not, but the passion fruit more than made up for it.

Me eating Passion Fruit…

Random pastries Tina got on her second trip…

Oh, and Tina made a new friend that she christened Boots. He just kind of roamed around the outdoor portion of the restaurant.

Funny lid on a box of sugar in the restaurant…

Random pictures from around the resort that morning…

We spent some time in the pool as well, slathering on sun screen repeatedly, even though we felt like we were already burning. The sun is bright here. It was nice just laying by the pool and reading, though.

We went to go sign up for an excursion, as we had gotten some money for the wedding with the directions “Enjoy on your honeymoon.” We signed up for one tour on Wednesday, later found out it was already full, but then changed that to a similar tour called Bird Island which sounds even better. We’re doing that on Thursday.

We had a spa appointment that we had later in the day, so we decided to track down the spa so we weren’t looking for it right before we were due. Near it, they had hot and cold plunge pools. Holy crap. One was hotter than a hot tub and the other was seriously probably fifty degrees or colder. Either way, it definitely made your skin tingle.

Following that, we decided to take another swim as the swim-up bar was open. Big mistake. I had gotten too much sun and apparently not drank enough water, because two drinks (which normally will not wipe me out) made me feel AWFUL. I don’t know how alcoholics do it, because when I get to feeling that weird, I just turn into a big ole baby. I seriously contemplated making myself throw up, but Tina suggested that eating lunch would help. (For the record, the two drinks were a Chocolate Monkey and a Mai Tai. We’ve done an all-inclusive before, and the drinks there were very watered down and were basically just smoothies. I’m okay with that. Here, they use lots of alcohol.)

We went back to Barefoot for lunch, this time with Tina getting the Jamaican Jerk Chicken and potato wedges, while I got a chicken baguette sandwich and fries. Both were delicious, and the bread definitely helped soak up the alcohol and made me feel tons better. For dessert, she got a Banana Coconut Pastry and I got roasted apple with vanilla ice cream. Both were good, but Tina once again picked the better dessert.

At 12:30, there was an activity called Bracelet Making, and I had the idea that making bracelets could be transformed into cool Christmas decorations later. Only a handful of people were at the activity, but it was still fun. My bracelet is pretty random and… well, odd, while Tina’s made hers have a nice pattern. Regardless, it was still fun.

The pavilion where we did bracelet making…

The bracelet I made for Tina…

The anklet Tina made for herself…

We got some pizzas to have in the room in case we get the munchies (one all cheese, the other Mexican), and we took a short power nap before we went to the spa for our Champagne Celebration.

*sigh* I SO miss their pizzas…

***

A picture of the outside of Red Lane Spa later, at evening…

The Champagne Celebration was pretty amazing. Tina and I were escorted to different changing rooms when we got there to put on robes and sandals, as well as fill out a little questionnaire on any problems we were experiencing we wanted addressed and how much pressure we wanted, ranging from light to deep tissue. I chose medium; I’ve heard deep tissue is pretty rough if you aren’t used to it. My robe was pretty tight – they did a decent job of estimating my size, but while it fit, it didn’t fit well enough that I would be comfortable parading around nude in it in a public-ish place. As a result, after I put my robe on, I also put my swim trunks BACK on.

Our masseuses were Kadie-Ann (for me) and Jeana (for Tina). They were warm, friendly, professional, and still joking, which was a good thing. The first thing I told Kadie-Ann was that I had never really had a massage. She promptly got a faux shocked look on her face and said, “You’re a spa virgin?” She assured me it would all be good, and I asked if I should keep my trunks on. I was informed that massages should always be trunk-less, if you want it to be a good massage.

We were given a moment to get under the sheet, and then they came in and gave us a full body massage. I wasn’t sure what type of a massage it was going to be, but they basically covered us head to toe, front to back. Very professional, and while I’m sure Kadie-Ann saw every square inch of what God gave me (poor girl), they also did a good job of keeping the sheet strategically-ish located so we didn’t feel completely exposed. Even the “turn over” portion of the massage was very well handled and not at all awkward, as I had feared it would be.

I should also mention the room; it was gorgeous, covered in candles and flowers. There was even flowers under the “face hole” in the table for me to look at, although to be honest, I was so blissed out during the massage, I kept my eyes shut.

Following our massage, they directed us to our bubble bath, filled with bath salts. They even escorted us into the tub while still “sort of” maintaining privacy with sheets. Again, I’m sure they saw everything, but I choose to, I can pretend the towel they held up provided privacy. And then we were given about twenty minutes to just relax in the hot tub and drink champagne and eat fresh fruit. They even provided grapes still on the stem, and it was a lot of fun to feed them to each other. Fruit tray also came with watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe, mango, and blueberries.

After the bath, one came back in and helped us get out without flashing her. It actually worked pretty well, and we were then left alone to dry off and change back into our robes. We were also given a pretty low-pressure sales pitch on some of the oils they used today, and one smelled so good and is for the release of stress, aches, and pains, so we bought it. Twenty bucks, and it was a pretty big bottle, so I consider it money well spent.

We left feeling EXTREMELY relaxed and mellow. I’ll be honest; I was very skeptical about the massage, as I’m supremely ticklish, but except for when she was massaging my upper arms, chest, and armpit area, it was fine. She used firm enough pressure that no tickle sensation was created. It was definitely worth doing.

A rainbow before we went to the spa…

The sunset view from our room after the spa…

***

Couples photo before dinner…

A cool dragonfly we saw on the way to dinner…

After the experience at the spa, we went to Bayside for the Steak House Buffet Dinner.

Tina enjoying her glass of water…

The only part of the buffet was soup, salad, and dessert, but the salad bar was pretty amazing. It was by no means a standard salad bar; there was even some type of seafood salad that had some type of calamari in it. Very delicious. The main salad bar also didn’t have any dressings that I recognized, so I got something that was yellowish and quite good. Tina got the caesar dressing, which I did not because I really dislike caesar. However, this caesar dressing was amazing. I wish I had gotten it.

Our salads…

Me sweating at the table, even after the sun has set (and really ecstatically happy, for some reason)…

The one downside we’ve found to this place is that service is SLOW. Perhaps that is because tips aren’t allowed? At Aventura Spa Palace in Cancun, you were allowed to tip, which we did, and service was pretty speedy. Here, it’s often quite slow, and I’ve yet to be able to actually drink my fill of any beverage (except for at the swim-up bar, and I don’t see myself doing that again).

The food, though, is absolutely incredible! Tina ordered the rack of lamb, which came with couscous and steamed vegetables. Oh God. Delicious. I ordered the surf and turf, which was honestly one of the most amazing steaks I have ever had. It even beat the one from last night, which was also pretty freaking amazing. It was served with mashed potatoes and the same steamed vegetables that came with Tina’s. The serving, though, was pretty small, which actually works out quite well because we’re going to Eleanor’s at 9.

Tina’s dinner…

My dinner…

We also shared four different desserts – a creme brulee, chocolate cherry cake, some type of chocolate mousse, and a little pecan pie-type treat. So good! (Not sure why the pictures came out so blurry…)

Eleanor’s is one of the restaurants on the resort that requires reservations. You can’t always get reservations, so we decided to take the 9 o’clock slot in case there aren’t any later in the week. Frankly, we’re so active here, I’m finding myself starving all the time, and I promised myself from the beginning that I was going to eat what I wanted and just make up for it with exercise. (I did weigh myself at the spa. Weight is about the same, so maybe I’m doing something right. I definitely need to work on drinking more water, though. I’m sure I’m dehydrated here.)

Quick break from the evening to watch The Simpsons, decompress a little, and then we’re heading out to eat again.

***

When we came back to the room from dinner, we found that they had left some towel swans and flowers petals on our bed. Nice touch. (I also just realized that I forgot to take photos of it, apparently.)

Quick funny story that happened while we were watching The Simpsons. Tina has some OLD nail polish on her toes that is pretty cracked. She wasn’t able to get a pedicure the day of her wedding, so the nail polish was quite literally a few days old. She brought nail polish with her, but no nail polish remover. So what does my new wife do? She uses gin from the room’s concierge bar to take it off! And it actually worked really well. In her own words, she’s MacGuyverWife!

Eleanor’s was a very elegant dining experience. Unfortunately, I must disclaim one quick thing. I sweat. A lot. Even at night, when it isn’t really that hot, it’s just so humid, I find myself literally pouring with sweat. So all of my photos are probably of me with a nice sheen of sweat on me. I’m definitely “glowing” here. That’s one thing that I am definitely hoping changes with more weight loss.

We had to walk to the other side of the resort to get to the restaurant (not really that far, but it’s still a bit of a walk), and of course, my face was drenched by the time we got there. Oh well. Small price to pay for getting to live in paradise for a week.

Table decoration…

The ceiling…

Tina…

And me…

We shared a very small appetizer of coconut shrimp. It was literally three shrimp with a nice tropical fruit chutney. Unfortunately, we forgot to take a photo. Guess we were hungry. It was the best fried shrimp I have EVER had. I could have easily made an entire meal out of them.

Our second course was, for me, a Chilled Conch Salad. Fairly skimpy on the portion size (as I’m finding many things here are), but okay. It wasn’t something I would get again, but I’ve never had conch before (even though I dig the shells) and I wanted to try it.

Tina had coconut shrimp soup, served in a coconut halve and garnished with grilled shrimp. Hers was fantastic.

We each got grilled, Antiguan lobster for our main course. Apparently, these are caught locally, split, grilled, and served with butter, potatoes and peas, and some steamed veggies. I’ve only had lobster tail; this was a new experience, and it was excellent. I am definitely a fan of lobster, even if it is a bit tough to eat.

Our fourth course was dessert, which was bread pudding (just okay) and pineapple beignets served in a martini glass with vanilla ice cream (amazing!).

A lady singing in a band near the Caribbean bar…

A kitty friend that Tina made on our way back to the room…

Upon returning to the room, I made us a champagne-and-guava-pineapple-fruit drink. It may have a name; I don’t know, but we both liked it.

I think I’m finally full. We did lots of walking, some swimming, definitely some relaxing, and some sun. Neither of us burned, even though we got close. Tomorrow promises to be a great day of relaxing, lounging, reading, swimming, walking, and, of course, eating. I love Antigua!

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Window Seat: Antigua Honeymoon, Day One, 10.9.10

I have come to the slow realization that, for me as a blogger, I do not do well to have several blogs scattered throughout the interwebs. I have had several blogs here at Stellar Path, one at Stellar Eats, and frankly, the one I update, by far, most frequently is here. I’m slowly phasing those out. However, I enjoy some of the content I have on those other blogs, and I am going to bring that content HERE to Stellar Path before I delete the other blogs. Even though this was over a year and a half ago, I’m going to begin posting the recap of our honeymoon that I had posted on my hardly-ever-updated-because-I-hardly-ever-travel travel blog The Window Seat. I hope you enjoy! (I will warn – this is VERY picture-heavy.)

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Please note – this was all written while in Antigua on my iPad on October 9, 2010. Also note – I took HUNDREDS of photos, more than I will probably post here. We were in Antigua from October 9th to October 16th. Some of the photos were just of the various sights around the resort and aren’t specific to any particular day, but I will still post those on that day’s post.

The first day of our honeymoon has already been incredible. Granted, we are dead tired and are going to crash hard very shortly, but we still got to do some awesome things today.

We had to leave our house at 2:45 in the morning to make it to the airport in time to catch our flight. Thankfully, our flight was on time, and we left Nashville at 6 a.m. and made it to Miami at a little after 9 Eastern time.

Me Cheesing in Nashville Airport pre-dawn…

Tina enjoying Burger King before our first flight of the day…

Our first plane of the day…

Miraculously, our next flight was on time, too. I’ve never had two flights in the same day that were both on time. I’m not sure I’ve ever had ANY flight that was exactly on time, but these were. It was two hours and forty-three minutes from Miami to Antigua (I remember that because I thought it was a touch peculiar that such an exact time was given).

A pink cart and the interesting airport floor in Miami…

Extreme close up of us in Miami on our fairly brief layover…

Our second (and last) plane of the day…

Somewhere en route to Antigua…

Me Cheesing on the Plane, en route to Antigua…

It was a sunny, warm, humid, tropical day when we landed on this tiny little island out in the middle of the ocean. The surprising thing was that we didn’t drive up to the airport; a truck with stairs on it drove up to the plane, and that was how we disembarked. Pretty neat and definitely something I had never done before.

As we entered the airport in Antigua, there was a lady with complementary drinks out front. I’m not sure exactly what it was, but it was pink and tasted guava mango-y. Not sure, but it was nice and definitely refreshing.

Customs went pretty quickly. We were on a Sandals van with three other couples on our way to Sandals within an hour.

I learned two things about Antigua during the trip. One, they drive on the “wrong” side of the road. Not a big deal, and it was a new experience. But two, all vans here are equipped with a magic horn, that I am convinced keeps them from having horrible wrecks. Even though it was only a fifteen minute drive from the airport (thank God – I don’t know if I could have endured longer), there were at least three distinct occasions when I was sure we were about to have some type of fender bender (at best) or head-on collision (at worst). However, the driver kept honking his horn and just kept going, so the only logical conclusion I can draw is that the horn is a magical apparatus that keeps vans from wrecking.

When we got to the resort, we were absolutely pampered. We were given a chilled wet cloth to freshen up with, and then we were provided our own Sandals rep to give us the run-down of what we could expect. We were given a glass of champagne and a small plate of hors d’oeuvres while she discussed our options. We had a $250 spa credit, and we decided to use a little bit of our wedding money to get a bit extra and get a 1.5 hour couples massage, complete with some kind of fancy bath and champagne. Not sure exactly what it entails, but we thought it sounded like fun, and we signed up for it on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.

Tina and I were both still running on fumes, as we had been up for over thirty hours at this point (barring what tiny cat naps we were able to get on the plane), but we were starved, so we went to one of the restaurants called Barefoot by the Sea. It was an open-wall, open-air restaurant on the beach. Tina got burger and fries; I got chicken quesadillas, and we both had lemonade. Sorry, no photos of this. It didn’t even occur to me at the time, but I will do my best for the rest of the trip to get photos of our food. After the meal, we were still hungry, so Tina got a pina colada tart with ice cream, and I got flan with fresh cantaloupe. Both were delicious, but hers was better.

No photos of the food, but here is Tina and you can see her lemonade…

The birds that are EVERYWHERE (this is IN the beach-side restaurant)…

The ceiling of Barefoot…

The view from Barefoot…

A nearby Steel Drum band playing during our meal…

Just a few shots of paradise from our first day…

At this time, we were still hungry, so we stopped at a pizzeria and got a single-serving pepperoni pizza to share.

Some hours later, we decided to go out for dinner. We went to Cricketers Pub, a British pub. Tina ordered fish and chips; I ordered a steak, served with garlic mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, and blue cheese butter. We also got fried calamari for an appetizer. Sorry, no picture of that. It was so good, we had eaten it before I remembered I planned to photo-document all of our food. Tina was starting to crash, so we got our food to go. This time, I did take a photo of my food at least, albeit after I unwrapped my meal in my room. Still, is that not the most delicious looking steak?

I’ll be honest – there is going to be a LOT of food eaten here. I’m not even going to lie and claim otherwise. My plan is just to exercise so much that it doesn’t even matter that my calories will be a bit higher here than they are back home.

The weather has been beautiful. The resort is gorgeous and truly as nice as the photos.

Oh, and our room is amazing. Shower stall, king-size bed, and a jacuzzi tub in the bathroom.

The king size bed…

Coolest ceiling fan ever…

In-room Bar…

Shower Stall…

Jacuzzi Tub…

Bathroom Twin Sinks…

We’re already in love with this place.

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Note from 2012 – More recaps to come! Hope you enjoyed this one!

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