Whole30 Week 2

Whole30 Week 2

This post is a little tardy but here is a quick summary of what we ate during Whole30 Week 2. This time things have been much easier and we are definitely branching out more and having fun with new sauces like the Whole30 mayonnaise, salad dressings and stock. I think we know the basics and what we need to do to “survive” so we are having more fun trying to fit yummy food in the Whole30 box. And boy, have we been eating well!

Let’s get started…

Day 9:

Breakfast – Scrambled backyard-fresh eggs with parsley and onions, half a mango and bacon

Whole30 Week 2

Snack – Hand full of almonds

Lunch – Warmed homemade turkey broth to drink with leftover steak and a boiled backyard-fresh egg

Whole30 Week 2

Dinner – We went to a friend’s house that is also doing Whole30 this month. We brought a couple of sides and they made meat and a side. It was a great dinner. But I forgot to rake a picture, whoops!

Ribs marinated in a dried cherry glaze that was then turned into a Whole30 compliant BBQ sauce. Brussels sprouts with bacon, asparagus salad and sweet potato fries with a garlic aioli

 

Day 10:

Breakfast: Blackberries – It was not the most filling breakfast but I was in a hurry this morning to get to church.

Lunch – Burger with lettuce bun and leftover asparagus salad

Snack – Ramekin of mixed nuts

Dinner – Salmon over spinach with sweet potato fries and garlic aioli

Whole30 Week 2

 

Day 11:

Breakfast – Leftover onions, red peppers, arugula and steak with a fried backyard-fresh-egg

Whole30 Week 2

Snack – Lemon Lara Bar – Before doing Whole30, neither Chris nor I was a fan of these bars, not sure if it was the sugary treats we were used to or what but we are both huge fans now and we have boxes sent on a monthly basis from Amazon. Thank goodness for Amazon Prime, especially because Charlie has also become quite the fan and can take down more than one at a time if you let him! But seriously, these are a great on the go snack and I have learned to keep a couple in my bag and the car for emergency moments when I need something immediately.

Whole30 Week 2

Lunch – Leftover Salmon, spinach, sweet potato fries and aioli

Snack – two handfuls of almonds

Dinner – Pan-seared duck breast, marinated grilled Portobello mushrooms, artichokes and roasted beets – This was Chris’s birthday dinner that he made himself.

Whole30 Mayonnaise

Day 12:

Breakfast – Hard-boiled backyard fresh egg and fruit cup with strawberries, banana, pineapple and blackberries

Whole30 Week 2

Snack – Mixed nuts

Lunch – Leftover pan-seared duck with marinated grilled Portobello mushrooms, and roasted beets

Snack – Lara lemon bar

Whole30 Week 2

Dinner – Burger with lettuce, tomato, onions and mushrooms, with half an avocado and homemade Whole30 mayo on the side

Whole30 Week 2

Day 13:

Breakfast – Backyard fresh hard-boiled egg and handful of cashews

Lunch – Grilled chicken breast with half an avocado and small side salad

Dinner – Eggs with red peppers and onions

Snack – Figs and nuts

Day 14:

Breakfast – Fruit cup with blackberries, strawberries and banana with a hard-boiled backyard fresh egg

Snacks – Nuts and Lara Apple Pie bar

Lunch – Grilled chicken breast with half an avocado and small side salad

Snack – Apple

Dinner – Burger with homemade Whole30 mayo, onions and mushrooms and homemade sweet potato fries with a side of garlic aioli

Whole30 Week 2

*I was starving all day and was ready to throw in the towel. It was not that I wanted something sweet as we actually had a birthday party at work and there was cake but it was not a temptation at all. I wanted to go out to eat and have a burger on a bun or something like that to satisfy me or that was how I was feeling. But I made it through and had a fantastic burger at home and was not sorry at all!

Day 15:

Breakfast – Hard boiled egg and fruit

Lunch – ½ a burger with a half an avocado and sweet potato fries with grilled onions on the side

Whole30 Week 2

Snack – Nuts

Dinner – Chicken fajita salad with lettuce, red peppers, onions and homemade dressing

Whole30 Week 2

Two weeks down and only two more to go. So far so good. I feel great and I am really enjoying Whole30 this time around. I had a moment during the week where I wanted to quit but I think that is normal. We have quite a few new recipes to add and make sure you come back next week for Whole30 Week 3.

Any tips you want to share with me? Any good recipes I need to try this week?

Whole30 Mayonnaise

Whole30 Mayonnaise

If you’re a condiment-aholic like me, Whole30 eating can often make you feel like something is conspicuously missing from your eating life. Once you start reading the labels of the condiments you so often reach for, sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and other corn and soy products seem almost impossible to avoid – let alone a host of other synthesized ingredients.

Last August, during our first round of Whole30, we came across many of these unfortunate discoveries; some expected, some less so. We knew our favorite brand of ketchup would not be allowed, due to it unfortunately containing high-fructose corn syrup. But we were rather surprised to find that the number one ingredient in that big tub of taco seasoning sitting in our pantry was corn meal! Why on earth would you put corn meal in taco seasoning? You are probably assembling your tacos into a corn taco shell and perhaps topping them with a corn salsa. Isn’t that more than enough corn?

More recently, I was at the grocery store shopping for a jar of plain mixed nuts. Nothing weird, just roasted and salted mixed nuts. I figured this would be easy. I reached for a package that had one of those earthy-crunchy, this-MUST-be-good-for-me-names like “simply good,” or something like that, figuring it would be just those basic ingredients for which I was looking. Nope. They felt it was necessary to season plain nuts with sugar.

I shared this shopping experience with a family member, in a conversation about Whole30, and they pointed out what should have been obvious: corn, sugar, soy… these are all subsidized crops. If broccoli was a subsidized crop, scientists would have been paid to find ways to work broccoli syrup into my ketchup or broccoli meal into my taco seasoning. A pretty messed up way to decide what ingredients make it into your product, for sure.

But I digress…

So, you’ve taken to snaking on raw veggies instead of chips and M&M’s (congratulations!), but you can’t help feeling like you are eating rabbit food. All of this would be so bad if you could just dip them in some bleu cheese dressing or ranch dip, right? Nope, that will have to wait until next month. But all is not lost!

Enter: mayonnaise.

Ick! You may be thinking. That is probably because you have never made your own from scratch with quality ingredients. Believe me, it’s a different beast entirely. I was actually not prepared for just how delicious homemade mayo would be the first time that I made it. I wondered why I had waited so long to try it. Perhaps I was just a bit intimidated. You know, shouldn’t such emulsified emulsions  be left to the experts like Hellman’s, Duke’s and that quaint little French bistro you love so much? Na! It’s actually quite easy as long as you know what to do.

LET’S GET STARTED

When making emulsions, things can tend to move a bit quickly and really require your full attention. For this reason it is important to have all of your ingredients measured out an in one place along with all of the equipment you might need no farther away that an arm’s reach. This is best practice for any type of cooking and professional chefs call it mise en place, which means “put in place;” to have all of your equipment and ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start with the actual cooking action.

Whole30 Mayonnaise

Small ramekins like these are extremely handy in making sure you have all of your ingredients measured out and ready to go as you need them. Here I have one whole backyard-fresh egg plus one egg yolk, freshly-squeezed lemon juice, Dijon mustard, extra light olive* oil and my handy immersion blender.** (The one we use is no longer made, but click the link for something similar. This is one kitchen tool that is always being used and worth adding to your kitchen!) I managed to forget to include it this photo, but I also use apple cider vinegar in this recipe. I find that using both lemon juice and vinegar gives a pleasing balance between their two acidic styles.

*When choosing your olive oil, go with something that has the lightest color possible. The darker the color, the more flavor it has. For this purpose, you want something with a very light and unobtrusive flavor (this is why most commercial mayo’s use canola or soybean oil).

** You will see a number of techniques for making your own mayo on the internet. Some recommend a blender, some us an immersion blender, and some swear that whisking by hand is the only way. I employ a hybrid of these techniques. I start the emulsion with an immersion blender and then I transition it to a bowl and whisk it my hand. This seems to work well for me but it might not be right for you. Try different techniques and find out which one gives you the best results. My only word of caution about immersion and traditional blenders (especially high-powered ones) is to use their lower settings so as to minimize the heat that they generate. Too much heat and your mayo will break (more on this later).

Start by adding the eggs, half of the mustard (1.5 tsp), half of the lemon juice (1.5 tsp), and half of the vinegar (1.5 tsp) to a tall, narrow and cylindrical container (I find this old blue plastic cup to be just about right) and blend until thoroughly mixed.

Whole30 Mayonnaise

Begin adding the oil by creating a steady and very slow stream of it going right down the shaft of the immersion blender. This is very important. The slower and more carefully you add the oil, the better your emulsion will be.

Whole30 Mayonnaise

Don’t try to add all of the oil (2 cups) in one go. Slowly add some oil then blend for a bit, add some more, then blend again.Whole30 Mayonnaise

Once you have added half of the oil and you have a good, stable emulsion, add the remaining 1.5 tsp each of Dijon, lemon juice, and vinegar. Continue to blending, adding another ¼ cup of oil. Once you have about ¾ cup of oil to go, using a rubber spatula, transition the emulsion to a large mixing bowl. Check for seasoning and add kosher salt and freshly-cracked white pepper to taste.

Whole30 Mayonnaise

Continue to add oil, a little at a time and beat vigorously with a hand-held whisk until all 2 cups of oil have fully incorporated into the emulsion. Check for seasoning again and adjust as necessary. You’re done!

Whole30 Mayonnaise

 

Whole30 Mayonnaise
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Condiment
Serves: 3 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of extra light olive oil
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, divided in half
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, divided in half
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, Divided in half
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • freshly-cracked white pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Start by adding the eggs, half of the mustard (1.5 tsp), half of the lemon juice (1.5 tsp), and half of the vinegar (1.5 tsp) to a tall, narrow and cylindrical container and blend until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Begin adding the oil by creating a steady and very slow stream of it going right down the shaft of the immersion blender. (The slower and more carefully you add the oil, the better your emulsion will be.) Don’t try to add all of the oil (2 cups) in one go. Slowly add some oil then blend for a bit, add some more, then blend again.
  3. Once you have added half of the oil and you have a good, stable emulsion, add the remaining 1.5 tsp each of Dijon, lemon juice, and vinegar. Continue to blending, adding another ¼ cup of oil.
  4. Once you have about ¾ cup of oil to go, using a rubber spatula, transition the emulsion to a large mixing bowl. Check for seasoning and add kosher salt and freshly-cracked white pepper to taste.
  5. Continue to add oil, a little at a time and beat vigorously with a hand-held whisk until all 2 cups of oil have fully incorporated into the emulsion. Check for seasoning again and adjust as necessary.

We have made this mayo two times in the past week and used it in many of the meals that we ate and mentioned in our Whole30 Week 1 Recap. This Whole30 Mayonnaise is a great starting point for many condiments and sauces that you will want to make. Trust me when I say it is worth making and last night during dinner were discussing if we will ever go back to the store bought stuff. Have you taken the plunge and made your own mayo? Any secrets you want to share? We will be sharing the aioli that we made later this week with this mayo.

And before I go, I can’t help but say a quick HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my hubby!

Whole30 MayonnaiseToday is his day and this crazy picture pretty much sums up how crazy his day was. And while most people would take the day off from cooking and being in the kitchen, he wanted to make his own birthday dinner and even kept it Whole30 compliant! He cooked pan-seared duck breast with marinated grilled portobello mushrooms, steamed artichokes and roasted beets.

Whole30 MayonnaiseI realized as we sat down to eat that he really just was looking for another way to eat some of this yummy Whole30 Mayonnaise, but really, can you blame him! Happy Birthday, Chris! You keep life tasty and fun in the kitchen and out! May this year be full of good food, warm times with family and friends and the courage to take leaps as you go after your dreams!

Whole30 Week 1

Whole30 Week 1Like was mentioned in one of the previous posts, Chris and I decided to get 2015 off to a healthy start with our second round of Whole30. Unfortunately, we never formally blogged about our overall experience when we completed Whole30 for the first time back in August, like we had planned to. So this time we will do a weekly recap and at the very end we will each write about our experience this time versus last. I can, however, say that so far, this time has been much easier. Maybe that’s due to being past the initial learning curve we experienced last time, but after a month of sweet holiday treats, we were both just dying to get back on board with meat and veggies and having an actual meal plan. So far, so good! Whole30 Week 1, done!

We started the week of with some basic meal prep. I am very lucky to have quite the kitchen warrior and Chris spent much of Sunday in the kitchen making clarified butter (ghee), homemade mayo, curry chicken salad and boiled eggs for us in preparation for our first week. (We will be sharing many of these recipes over the next couple of weeks so make sure you stop back by!) And boy was it worth it! From experience, the biggest key to being successful with this plan is having some basic essentials available throughout the week so in a moment of weakness or desperation you can reach into the fridge and grab a boiled egg or make a chicken salad lettuce wrap and survive until the next meal. For me, leftovers are also key for both breakfast and lunch. One of my favorite breakfast meals now is leftover veggies from dinner the night before with a fried egg on top. And – it is quite funny – I have become the girl who cannot live without leftovers. If you would have met me three or four years ago, I would have told you I hated leftovers, but now I cannot live without them. So, onto what we ate this week.

Our first day of Whole30 was talked about here, so this posts starts with day 2 and covers day 2-8. Here is our recap of Whole30 Week 1.

 Day 2:

Breakfast – Bacon, two backyard-fresh-eggs scrambled with onions and parsley and blackberries

Whole30 Week 1

Snack – Banana and fig

Lunch – Missed it! Whoops! *see below

Dinner – Stuffed acorn squash – Acorn squash roasted with olive oil and salt and pepper. It was then stuffed with a shaved Brussels sprouts hash consisting of grass feed ground beef, chicken sausage, red peppers, onions, calamata olives, salt, fresh cracked pepper, thyme and oregano.

Whole30 Week 1

 

*I had a horrible headache around and after dinner. I drank water all day but I do not think I had enough to eat. This was the only day during the week this happened so I think it might have been because I accidentally skipped lunch.

 

Day 3:

Breakfast – Chicken sausage, scrambled eggs with onions and peppers and blackberries

Whole30 Week 1

Lunch – Three Romaine lettuce pork tacos with bacon, apple, pickles and thinly sliced onions

Whole30 Week 1

Snack – Lemon Lara bar

Whole30 Week 1

Dinner – New York Strip Steak seasoned with salt and pepper, ½ sweet potato and asparagus

Whole30 Week 1

Day 4:

Breakfast – Fried backyard-fresh-egg over leftover broccoli and cubed sweet potato with blackberries

Whole30 Week 1

Snack – Apple

Lunch – Leftover acorn squash

Whole30 Week 1

Snack – Apple Pie Lara bar and apple

Whole30 Week 1

Dinner – Seared pork chops with cauliflower rice, mushrooms and collard greens

Whole30 Week 1

Day 5:

Breakfast – Leftover veggies (mushrooms and cauliflower rice) and fried backyard-fresh-egg with blackberries

Whole30 Week 1

Snack – Almonds and dried figs

Lunch – Leftover seared pork chops with cauliflower rice, mushrooms and blackberries

Dinner – Ground beef breakfast casserole with eggs, red peppers, onions, spinach and green onions with half an avocado on the side

Whole30 Week 1

Day 6:

Breakfast – Ground beef breakfast casserole with eggs, red peppers, onions, spinach and green onions with half an avocado on the side and strawberries

Whole30 Week 1

Snack – Hard boiled backyard-fresh-egg

Lunch – Two romaine lettuce wrap boats with curry chicken salad and pickles

Snack – Apple

Dinner – Marinated pork tenderloin, sweet potatoes and collard greens

Whole30 Week 1

 

Day 7:

Breakfast – Today I tried something new. For years my husband has made stock from a variety of leftover bones after we cook. Last weekend he made turkey stock and I had a cup of warm turkey stock that many people call bone broth. It was so good and warmed me up from the inside on a VERY cold morning and I was quite surprised how filing it was. Definitely interested in doing this more.

Whole30 Week 1

Lunch – Curry Chicken salad with an apple

Whole30 Week 1

Snack – Almonds and a hard boiled backyard-fresh-egg

Whole30 Week 1

Dinner – Leftover steak and pork tenderloin topped on a wonderful salad full of a variety of veggies and cashews. Chris made a homemade dressing from our homemade mayo, avocado and mustard. It was an amazing salad and I would eat it on a daily basis. Unfortunately, I was so focused on the salad and how good it was I forgot to get a picture.

Day 8:

Breakfast – In a hurry this morning so I grabbed a Lara bar and a boiled egg. I am finding that if I have a little protein even for a snack, I am good for a couple hours and not hungry again until the next meal.

Lunch – Curry chicken salad with a boiled egg and a pickle.

Whole30 Week 1

Snack – Apple

Dinner – Skirt steak with dressed arugula side salad with cooked onions and red peppers. This was a really great dinner.

Whole30 Week 1

So that is the recap of Whole30 Week 1. All of the pictures above were taken on my iPhone and in real time so you can see how we have made Whole30 work for our family both at home and work. This was a quick run-down of what we ate last week but Chris is writing up the recipes that we will share over the next few weeks. Have you started Whole30 recently? Is it your first time or are you doing it again? Do you have any secrets to share? One thing I have really enjoyed about this experience in addition to feeling good is the Whole30 community and all the recipes and inspiration that is shared. Feel free to ask us questions or let us know what is working for you. I love to get feedback and hear about other people’s experience.

 

Happy and Whole30

Happy and Whole30

Hope you had a wonderful end of 2014. We had a great night celebrating at our home with goods friends and enjoying quiet a feast of wonderful treats and homemade eggnog. And the kids had a blast with sparklers.

Chris and I had planned to wake up the next morning and start our next round of Whole30 but at the last minute we changed plans and enjoyed one last day indulging ourselves, primarily so we  could take part in the traditional southern New Years Day good luck feast that our friends invited us to and boy, it was worth it! This picture was taken on my phone so it doesn’t do it justice. The flavors on this plate were out of this world and hopefully will lead to lots of luck and goodness throughout the coming year.

Happy and Whole30

So today then marks our official first day of our next Whole30 journey. I had big plans to do a lot of food prep but that was side stepped with getting down all the Christmas decor so I will work on it tomorrow. I am hoping to document and provide a weekly Whole30 update every Friday or Saturday. Pictures will be included similar to below with some recipes and ideas that you can follow and hopefully help you on your own journey. Chris and I completed our first Whole30 in August of 2014. We continued to eat the same way most of the fall but have felt through the holidays we were really missing the structure and had thrown some of the principals out the window so it is a great time to start. I knew when I said more than a couple of times “I really miss eating vegetables!” that I was definitely game for the challenge again. This time I am sure we will expand what we were doing on a daily basis and hopefully try some new things as well. I am looking forward to sharing our plan with you and hope we can help you too!

Day 1 – complete!

Happy and Whole30

Are you taking the Whole30 challenge? Did you make other resolutions? Chris and I have some big goals for this year that we will share more of in the future, but other than healthy eating, I think as a family we are working on quieting and organizing our house and our life. We want to be intentional about the choices and commitments we make and not just say “Yes” to things all the time. Have you sat down and made plans for 2015? Any ideas you want to share? I am always encouraged and challenged when I hear people talking about the areas they want to change. Good luck to you all and I hope when we look back at the end of this year that we all made more progress than we could have ever imagined!

Simply merry and bright

2014 ChristmasOur December has been busy. And I am sure you would say the same thing about yours. Lists have been made. Lists have been lost and then remade.  And I now wonder, did I ever finish even one of my list? Does it really matter? Here I sit two days before Christmas feeling tired and like I have not done enough but as I scroll back through the pictures from this month, I know I have. It was the simple things. Not the productions. Christmas to a child is simply merry and bright. This was our first Christmas having a child at the age where they are starting to get it. The twinkle of a strand of lights. Driving past a neighbors home with a blow up Ho-Ho (Santa). One candy cane. Seeing a live camel in “Bethlehem”. An unexpected wrapped gift from a neighbor.  Decorating the tree. Sitting in big church for the first time and hearing the children’s choir. A candle. Adding to her felt advent calendar everyday in anticipation for adding baby Jesus. Learning the words to Away in a Manger and getting excited every time we hear it. Jingle bells. And a small taste of the childhood magic of Santa. I can go on but you know what I mean.

Christmas 2014

In these photos I see the simple moments we have had with our children. No, we did not get to all the events on “my list” but we made memories. We created new traditions and continued old traditions. We laughed. We sang. We ate. And the best moments were when we experienced life like a child. Many days I am so busy with my list of “shoulds”, rushing us through the day and then I hear from the back seat, “Look mama, lights!”. Or I see Mary Stewart and Charlie carrying around Mary and Joseph blocks and fighting over who gets to hold baby Jesus. And I have to ask myself, why do they get it and I don’t. They see so simply what is important and I miss it. HE is the reason for the season! I’m worried about how well my house is decorated and if I have the right gifts and not the gift that was born in a lowly manger so long ago. So this week I have been making more of an effort to focus on the real moments. It has not been perfect but it is a start.

2014 Christmas 2014 Christmas-2-3

Here are photos from our month. Not all are food. Not all are perfect. But this has been our Christmas month. Be prepared there are a lot. It is hard for me to pick just a few…

Some of the food we made…

2014 Christmas

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A few of our projects…

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Decorating our tree…

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 Decorations around our house…

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Our family memories…

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And at the end of the day all we really want is joy, love and laughter.

Luke 2:14

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014

If you are still with me at this point, wow! Thanks for sticking around and seeing our simply merry and bright moments in December! May we remember to make memories and moments like this throughout the whole year!

Peppermint Patty Pretzel Sticks

Peppermint Patty Pretzel SticksIn life you win some and you loose some. These Peppermint Patty Pretzel Sticks are a tale of both! I do not have pictures for the whole process since this was one of those ideas that became a post due to all of the things that went wrong and then how the situation went right!

Peppermint Patty Pretzel Sticks

Let’s rewind to last week…

It is the end of the week before the Christmas hustle and we are burned out. There have been parties at work, parties with neighbors, food treats for neighbors, gifts and food treats for teachers, Christmas cards, mailing gifts for family all around the country, and on and on (I am sure you get the picture as you were probably doing a similar dance). I am wiped out. Then I remember that I had committed to bringing a treat for my daughters class party the next day. At this point, I am all about simple. So without spending any time researching online or going to the store, Chris and I raid the pantry to see what we can come up with. Score! I find a bar of white baking chocolate, pretzel sticks and sprinkles! In my mind, I picture these cute little pretzel rods half covered in white chocolate with pretty Christmas sprinkles covering them. Simple and festive, what could go wrong? I am sure some of you reading this already know what went wrong, but for others, hopefully I can help you to not make the same mistake I did!

Let’s get started with the part that went WRONG!…

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Smile: Charlie is One

Charlie is one

I can not believe it has already been a year and Charlie is now one year old! There are many things to reflect on when I think back on the past year of my life learning to raise a little boy, but I have just one quick thought before this day is done.  This year has had its up’s, down’s, and many sleepless nights (as every year with a newborn has) but there has been one thing that has been constant, no matter how tired or weary I have been. It has been the one thing that has blessed me and was given to me, especially me, as a way to see life in a new way — Charlie’s smile. My boy can smile. It is a contagious and light-up-a-room smile. It is real and it infects you when you see it. When Charlie grins, you can’t help but grin back.  It is a gift and I pray that this smile leads him through his life. Charlie has brought our family so much joy this past year and I pray that as he grows and matures, we are able to love and guide him, as parents, to be a strong and loving man of God behind that amazing smile.

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From the beginning…

Isn’t that where you start something like this?!?

From the beginning?

But where exactly would that be. How do I tell you my story? Our story? I mean seriously, have you met us, we have a story. And if I do say so myself, it is a pretty good one, but that would be jumping ahead and sharing all the dirt before you have paid your dues and gotten to know us and we become friends. Because we will become friends!  So I guess we start right where we are now and hopefully in time, as you follow along, you will get to know us. So this is the beginning.

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