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Be Thankful

Monday, November 16, 2009

Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don't know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you're tired and weary,
because it means you've made a difference.

It's easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they can become your blessings.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TESSAMARIE3 11/18/2009 11:19AM

    Willow you are an inspiration to me . emoticon

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MARGETODAY 11/17/2009 9:30AM

    emoticon So true. Thank you for posting!

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JESSICA_0029 11/17/2009 12:32AM

    What a wonderful blog! Just what I needed to lift my spirits today. Thanks
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R-U-JELLEN 11/16/2009 10:14PM

    Thank you for the wonderful message. The line about mistakes reminded me of something my daughter told me when we were making cards one day. She said, "There's no such thing as mistakes---only opportunities for creativity!"

Another common thread--many, many moons ago my grandfather played the fiddle and my grandmother the piano for old-time dances back in Minnesota. My son-in-law, AKAYCAT's hubby, successfully defended his dissertation this week and has his doctorate in music. Ang called today and has decided to try for her master's in piano.

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TRAVELNISTA 11/16/2009 1:55PM

    I loved this blog and its important message to all of us. emoticon

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LADYNETTIE 11/16/2009 12:43PM

    Loved this. Thanks for sharing emoticon

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L*I*T*A* 11/16/2009 8:47AM

    wonderful.......wonderful great words we should all live by........thanks so much for sharing...............blessings and hugs...................lita

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MOMMA_BEAR_69 11/16/2009 8:16AM

    Willow, Thank you for this wonderful blog.

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JFULMER1 11/16/2009 6:55AM

    Thanks for sparking my gratitude!

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TRUELOU 11/16/2009 1:25AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DEBBIEANNE1124 11/16/2009 1:19AM

    this is such a wonderful blog, Willow!

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More recipes from the "Guru" :)

Monday, November 09, 2009

I've had more requests for recipes so am posting them here instead of individually. If you try them, please let me know your opinion!

Bavarian Beef

(Recipe Source: everydayhealth.com)

Nutritional Info (Per serving):
Calories: 244, Saturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 323mg, Total Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 56mg

1 1/4 pounds beef, stew meat, lean, trimmed of fat, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon oil, vegetable
1 large onion(s), thinly sliced (I add more onion)
1 1/2 cup(s) water
3/4 teaspoon caraway seeds (I omit as I don't like caraway seeds)
1/2 teaspoon salt (I omit)
1/8 teaspoon pepper, black
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup(s) vinegar, white
1 tablespoon sugar (I substitute Splenda)
1/2 head(s) cabbage, red, cut into 4 wedges
1/4 cup(s) cookies, gingersnap (I omit to save calories)

1. Brown meat in oil in a heavy skillet. Remove meat and sauté onion in remaining oil until golden. Return meat to skillet. Add water, caraway seeds, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 75 minutes.

2. Add vinegar and sugar; stir. Place cabbage on top of meat. Cover and simmer 45 minutes more.

3. Arrange meat and cabbage on a platter and keep warm. Strain drippings and skim off fat. Add enough water to drippings to yield 1 cup of liquid. Return to skillet with gingersnap crumbs. Cook and stir until thickened and mixture boils. Serve with meat and vegetables.

Pennsylvania Red Cabbage

Source: cooks.com

2 tbsp. cooking oil
4 c. shredded red cabbage
2 c. unpared cubed apples
1/4 c. brown sugar (I use 1/8 c. brown sugar, 1/8 c. Splenda)
1/4 c. vinegar
1/4 c. water
1/2 tsp. caraway seed (again, I omit)
Salt and pepper (I omit the salt)

In skillet, heat oil. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally. Cook 25-30 minutes. Garnish with apple wedges, if desired.

Sweet Saurerkraut

(This is a recipe from my husband's aunt. Ingredients weren't very specific, but I've tweaked it to my liking.)

2 bags of saucerkraut (rinsed)
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 T. Smart Balance (or any margarine)
1/2 lb. cooked bacon, chopped (I use turkey bacon)
brown sugar to taste (I use 1/2 brown sugar, 1/2 Splenda)
1 T. caroway seed (optional)

Saute chopped onion in Smart Balance until tender.
Add sauerkraut and brown sugar.
Simmer for 30-35 minutes.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JESSICA_0029 11/13/2009 10:09PM

    YUMMY THANKS!!!! emoticon

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BETTYAHE 11/13/2009 4:29PM

    Thank you for posting your recipes dear Willow! I will let you know as soon as I cook them. They sound wonderful. Hubby and I are going to the local restaurant for German night Thursday. They were out of sauerbraten the last time we went so we have an early dinner reservation this coming Thursday. Last time, the cook made some awesome potato pancakes and red cabbage!

Thanks again,

Hugs, Betty emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MOMMA_BEAR_69 11/10/2009 10:19PM

    Sounds yummy...will be fixing them for DH!!! Thank you for sharing!

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R-U-JELLEN 11/10/2009 9:44PM

    Hubby is a cabbage lover so the first one I'm gonna try is the BAvarian Beef (like you omitting caraway-yuck!) My mother always made braised spare ribs and sauerkraut which I absolutely loved. Hubby's family always sweetened theirs so I bet he will like the Sweet Sauerkraut recipe. Thanks for sharing.
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MARGETODAY 11/10/2009 12:26PM

    I will try this weekend. My DH is a meat lover. I will let you know. I am excited to have something new to make.

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EMMABE1 11/9/2009 4:26PM

    They sound really interesting - I particularly love the sound of the Red cabbage!!
Thank you for sharing

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L*I*T*A* 11/9/2009 4:16PM

    i'll give the recipes a try later this week.....thanks so much for sharing.........blessings and hugs.............lita

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DEBBIEANNE1124 11/9/2009 3:12PM

    Sounds terrific!


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10 Most Important Things...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I came across this during my internet travels. Just had to share!

10 Most Important Things...

The Special Feeling That Makes You Feel
All Warm And Wonderful.

Treating Others As Well As You Would Like To Be Treated.

To Be Grateful For All The Good Things Life Has To Offer.

The Full Enjoyment Of Each Moment. A Smiling Face.

The Ability To Let Things Be Without Anger.

The Joy Of Giving Without Thought Of Receiving.

The Quality Of Always Telling The Truth.

The Purity Of Doing What's Right, No Matter What.

The Essence Of Feeling Another's Pain, While Easing Their Hurt.

The Reward For Living The 10 Most Important Things.

--- Author Unknown

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRUELOU 11/7/2009 10:01PM

    A great top 10 list:)

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SHASTA11 11/7/2009 8:22PM

    Thank you for the reminder. It's easy to forget in these days and times.

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KELLYC_14FAN 11/5/2009 11:24AM

    I really like those! Thank you for sharing them with us.

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SACTOKAREN 11/5/2009 11:19AM

    Thanks for sharing these - Wonderful reminder!

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MARGETODAY 11/5/2009 11:09AM

    Wonderful, Thank you! This reminds me of the important values in life.

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TRAVELNISTA 11/5/2009 7:32AM

    Thanks for sharing! Sometimes we just get too caught up in our daily lives and forget what is important.

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L*I*T*A* 11/4/2009 8:50PM

    wonderful words we should all live by...............thanks for sharing........blessings and hugs............lita

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DEBBIEANNE1124 11/4/2009 8:15PM

    Ohhhhhhh How I loved this.

Thank you for sharing it.


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JESSICA_0029 11/4/2009 7:59PM

    Thank you for the reminder on what is truly important in life.
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LADYNETTIE 11/4/2009 7:49PM

    Wish everyone had this appreciation for life, things would be different. Thanks for posting this.

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SLCB1023 11/4/2009 7:47PM

    Thanks for sharing this list. It is an excellent reminder of what we should consider important in our lives. emoticon

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I can do it!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The first goal I set when joining Sparks was to lose 50 lbs. I didn't set a time limit, just the weight. Losing weight is so difficult for me. I have 3 chronic diseases, hypothyroidism, and severe arthritis. There are many food restrictions to my diet for various reasons. Exercise is limited due to my size, arthritis, and aortic stenosis. I'm not making excuses, just stating the facts.

I lowered my calorie intake from what Sparks originally set up for me (1500-1800) to 1100 maximum. Today when I got weighed, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I am only 3 lbs. from that goal. I now know that I can pretty easily reach that goal! Thank you Spark Friends for all of your support, motivation, and encouragement. I couldn't have done it without your help!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THEMINT2 11/3/2009 11:28PM

    Whoo hoo!! I am so impressed! You give me hope! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TRUELOU 11/3/2009 11:26PM

    Congratulations Willow, It couldn't happen to a nicer friend!
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R-U-JELLEN 11/3/2009 9:19PM

    emoticon emoticon
Wow--I can't believe you are so close to goal!! I am so-o-o happy for you. Maybe I'll be joining you someday- - -

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JESSICA_0029 11/3/2009 6:41PM

    I'm so proud of you. It's amazing you are almost at your first goal that must feel great! I know you will reach all your goals!!
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D2SHELTON 11/3/2009 3:19PM

    emoticon emoticon You can do it!

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MARGETODAY 11/3/2009 2:58PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TRAVELNISTA 11/3/2009 12:49PM

    emoticon emoticon You can do this! emoticon emoticon

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BETTYAHE 11/3/2009 10:38AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

Thanks for sharing your wonderful news! I am so happy for you. I have advanced degenerative arthritis, disc problems in neck and back, hypothyroidism,and fibromyalgia. I know how difficult the journey is with medical problems. I am still at the beginning of my weight loss journey for the last time. I am proud of you for your accomplishments to date!

Hugs, Betty
emoticon emoticon

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L*I*T*A* 11/3/2009 10:22AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JFULMER1 11/3/2009 6:09AM

    Way to go...three pounds from 50! congrats. Keep up the daily healthy choices and 50 will be here in no time but don't forget to take in the joy of each day as the day of 50 marches closer.

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BIG50GIRL 11/3/2009 5:50AM

    Good for you Willow! You really prove that you can overcome difficulties and still be able to get to a healthy weight. Congratulations.

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DEBBIEANNE1124 11/3/2009 1:41AM

    Congratulations on almost reaching your goal. I bet you feel so elated and excited. You have the same chronic diseases i ahve. (Arthritis and hypothyroid) minus the last one. I never ahve heard of it. the thyroid issue alone is very hard for me to deal with. I wish you the best of luck.

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PRINGLE12 11/3/2009 1:36AM

    Way to go! Keep it up and very soon you will be maintenace for life. We're all proud of you.

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LINDAGRAVEL 11/3/2009 1:27AM

    Fantastic!All you have to do is Believe.

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Favorite Crockpot Recipes

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I've had some requests for some of my favorite crockpot recipes. If you're looking for anything else, just ask. I have hundreds of recipes that I've been collecting for sooo many years!

Crockpot Chicken Stew

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

1 large onion, finely chopped
1 8-ounce pack sliced mushrooms
8 ounces baby carrots
2 medium red potatoes cut into chunks
1 large stalk of celery, sliced
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1 small sprig rosemary

Coat bottom and sides of a 4-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Place vegetables in the pot. Trim chicken thighs of excess fat and cut into pieces. Add chicken to the pot, followed by herbs, crushed tomatoes and chicken broth. Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours.

Crockpot Country Chicken

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours


1 pound small white potatoes, halved
8 ounces baby carrots (half a 16-ounce bag)
1 medium onion, sliced
2 large ribs celery, sliced
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

Coat the inside of a 4-5 quart crockpot with nonstick cooking spray. Place vegetables in base of crockpot. Sprinkle with dried herbs. Add chicken pieces, then finish with canned tomatoes and broth. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, until vegetables are tender and chicken is cooked.
If you want to thicken the juices, make a cornstarch slurry of 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to 1/4 cup of broth or water and stir in half an hour before the end.

Serves 6.

Per Serving: Calories 224, Calories form Fat 18, Total Fat 2g (sat 0.3g), Cholesterol 55mg, Sodium 194mg, Carbohydrate 25.5g, Fiber 5.2g, Protein 26g

Slow Cooker Pork Roast with Vegetables

3 lb. boneless pork sirloin roast
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 acorn squash
2 sweet potatoes, peeled
1/2 cup apple butter
3 Tbsp. prepared horseradish
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

Heat oil in a heavy skillet and cook pork roast until browned on all sides, turning occasionally. This should take about 10 minutes. While that's cooking, cut the acorn squash into 8 wedges and remove seeds. Do not peel. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into chunks. Place squash and sweet potatoes in 6-7 quart slow cooker. Top with browned pork roast.
In a small bowl, mix together apple butter, horseradish, cornstarch, allspice, pepper, chicken broth, and thyme. Pour into slow cooker.

Cover crockpot and cook on low for 7-9 hours until pork and vegetables are tender. 8 servings

Calories: 410
Fat: 12 grams
Sodium: 200 mg

Orange Roast Pork

1 (3-1/2 lb.) pork shoulder roast
1 onion, chopped
6-oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. cold water

Trim roast of visible fat. Place onions in bottom of 3-4 quart crockpot. Sprinkle salt and pepper over roast and place in crockpot on top of onions. In small bowl, mix together thawed orange juice concentrate and brown sugar, and salt and pepper, and pour over roast. Cover crockpot and cook on high for 3 hours, then reduce heat to low and cook for another 3 hours.
Remove roast and onions from crockpot, cover, and set in low oven to keep warm. Skim fat from juices in crockpot. Then pour into large heavy pan. Blend flour and cold water in small bowl and add to juices in pan. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring frequently with wire whisk, until thickened. Serve gravy with roast and onions.

2-1/2 lbs. boneless beef top round steak
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
14 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 oz. envelope fajita seasoning mix, or 2 Tbsp. Homemade Fajita Mix
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1" pieces
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1" pieces
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup water

Trim excess fat from beef and cut into 2" pieces. Combine with onion in a 3-4 quart slow cooker. Mix together fajita seasoning mix (either purchased or your own homemade) and undrained tomatoes and pour over beef. Place peppers on top. Cover crockpot and cook on low for 7-9 hours until beef is tender.
Combine flour with water in a small bowl and stir well to mix. Add gradually to crockpot and stir well. Cover slow cooker and cook on high for 15-20 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally. Serve stew with hot cooked rice or hot couscous. 8 servings

Chicken and Corn Chili

1 large onion, chopped
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped
1-3/4 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with jalapenos, drained
1-1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
2 cans (15 ounces each) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons stone-ground cornmeal
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese

In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine onion, chicken, low-sodium broth, green pepper, jalapeno, 1-1/2 teaspoons of the cumin, 1/4 teaspoon of the cayenne and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 6 hours.

Remove the chicken to a cutting board and allow to cool slightly. Shred the chicken and return it to the slow cooker with remaining 1/4 teaspoon each of the cumin and cayenne, and the tomatoes, corn and beans. Gently mash some of the beans against the side of the bowl to thicken the chili. Stir in the cornmeal and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let sit a few minutes to soften the cornmeal. Serve sprinkled with a little of the Monterey Jack cheese.

Calories 287
Total Fat (g) 3
Saturated Fat (g) 1
Cholesterol (mg) 45
Sodium (mg) 736
Carbohydrate (g) 38
Fiber (g) 9
Protein (g) 27

(Nutritional info based on 6 servings)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AMALISSY 11/18/2009 5:14AM

    Hi there,
The chicken & corn chilli sounds delicious. Can I just check, how many servings is the nutritional info based on? Thanks again, and congrats on your progress!

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R-U-JELLEN 10/30/2009 4:17PM

    Thanks for all the yummy sounding recipes. I am going to try one the of the pork roast recipes this Tuesday (my newly designated crockpot day). They all sound great!!

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JESSICA_0029 10/29/2009 8:44PM

    Thanks for the recipes I love using the crockpot. emoticon

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KELLYC_14FAN 10/29/2009 6:14PM

    Thanks for the recipes! I love my crockpot!!!

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TN_HAMMOCK 10/29/2009 5:03PM

    Oh I LOVE LOVE LOVE my slow cooker! Thanks so much!

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D2SHELTON 10/29/2009 2:38PM

    Great recipes. I too love using the crockpot. Best invention to go with the crockpot are reynold's crockpot liners. Clean up is so easy.

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SLCB1023 10/29/2009 12:15PM

    Thanks so much for the crockpot recipes. I am always looking for someone's tried and true foods. I love the salsa chicken recipe I found here on SP too. Lots of good stuff for those sharp fall days and cold winter ones too. THANKS!!!

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VEDDIE78 10/29/2009 11:26AM

    Thanks for the recipes! I love using the crockpot. One of my favorite things to make is lasagna. Same as you would in the oven but using the crockpot instead. This way, it's waiting for me when I get home, instead of me waiting on it after I get home from work.

Yummy recipes!

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L*I*T*A* 10/29/2009 10:09AM

    thanks for sharing............i love new recipes especially for the crockpot..........have a wonderful day..........blessings and hugs..................lita

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PMFISH 10/28/2009 10:59PM

    Great recipes! Thanks for sharing.


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DEBBIEANNE1124 10/28/2009 10:51PM

    Oh boy these sound tastey!
Thanks for sharing!

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BETTYAHE 10/28/2009 10:44PM

    Thanks for the recipes! MMMMMMMM! emoticon

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URNIGHTNURSE 10/28/2009 10:33PM

    thanks for the recipes; they sound yummy

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