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August 21, 2012

Roller skating was about the only entertainment in town as I was growing up. Well, at least in my little world.

The grade school gym was huge in my little eyes and every recess during the winter months was filled with roller skating. Saturday night entertainment often was family skating time. Yes, skating was really the only game in town!

My parents were older when I came along so Mom would join a few other ladies in the kitchen to make Shamburgers while we skated. That was way before you could purchase pre-made vegetarian burgers in the freezer section at the store.

I no longer skate except at my Granddaughter’s school parties and I no longer have the capabilities to skate fast or backwards but images of Shamburgers always come to mind whenever I slip on a pair of skates.

Vienne started back to school this week and my hunger for a great Shamburger returned with a vengeance. Since I’m in the midst of exploring “real food” ingredients, baking a good 100% whole wheat bun was a must.

I hope you enjoy this hamburger bun recipe and I’ve also tacked on my favorite burger recipe to go with it. Enjoy!


100% Whole Wheat Hamburger Bun

Makes 8

2 cups 100% White Whole Wheat (King Arthurs)

½ tsp salt

1 T dry active yeast

¼ cup vital wheat gluten

1 cup skim or 1% milk

4 T butter or olive oil

¼ cup honey

1 egg


Place all but ½ cup of the flour and all the dry ingredient list in the mixing bowl and mix well.


Heat the milk, honey and butter or oil in the microwave for about 1 minute.  The temperature of the mixture should be between 115-120 degrees.


Turn on mixer and pour in the milk mixture and the egg.  Mix well scraping in the dry ingredients from the bottom of the bowl.  The key is to not add too much flour but if the dough is sticking to the sides of the bowl, sprinkle in more flour.  Stop as soon as the sides pull clean but sticking at the bottom is ok.  Let mix or knead for 5-8 minutes.


Take out the dough hook and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise until double.  I know this sounds strange but I sprinkle the top of my dough with water for added moisture.  It seems to let the dough rise better.


Uncover the bowl and place the dough on a lightly floured surface.  Knead a few times and divide the dough into 8 pieces.  Knead each ball and flatten before placing on the greased baking pan.  Cover with a towel and let it rise.


Remove the towel and place another baking pan on top of the buns and press down.  This makes the dough spread out into the bun size needed.  Brush the tops with water and place the towel on top again.  Let rise about 10 minutes.


Bake buns at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Brush with butter or oil when they are done.  Will keep about 5 days and can be frozen for later use.




1 can Worthington Vegetarian Burger

1 pkg. Lipton Onion Soup Mix

1/2 or more dry Seasoned Bread Crumbs

4-6 eggs
Mix all together.  Fry in light Olive Oil until done in the middle.  Makes 8 burgers.



100 % Sprouted Wheat Bread

March 5, 2012

I’m amazed at the price of really good bread at the grocer. With bread labels reading like a chemist’s shopping list, it spurs me on to bake my own bread.

The past few weeks have been so fun! A bunch of ladies and one gentleman from the church suggested we get together to learn how to bake bread. I say the term “learn” but all of them know the basics of bread making and just wanted to upgrade their skills. So we have been meeting and baking together and amid the talk and laughter, we’ve baked some really great bread.

We started with White Whole Wheat Bread then on to Flax and Bran Bread. This week was the hardest recipe of the bunch to master, 100% Sprouted Wheat Bread.

For homework, we all sprouted our own wheat to bring to class, each having various success stories and some sad ones as well. It’s really important to have fresh winter wheat and to read the directions well.

The sprouting process isn’t exact because of the warmth of each kitchen is different but to know the signs of when it is ready really helps with that. It may take a try or two to finally figure out exactly what works in your kitchen but when that happens, you will be rewarded with a beautiful nutty flavored bread that is very healthy for you.

As a novel twist, try baking this bread in a Number 5 can, it’s the size that canned juices, such tomato juice, come in. Baking this or any bread in a cylinder can will produce bread slices that perfectly fit those large size garden tomatoes (just one slice will do you) from the Farmer’s Market. I also like the round bread slices as an alternative to hamburger buns. It’s just a fun idea.

They say that bread baking is an art form so below is the recipe that works for me. Give it a try or maybe a couple of tries if need be, to perfect a loaf of bread that keeps you healthy and really tastes wonderful.

Sprouted Wheat Bread

Makes 1 loaf

Note added 3/14/2012:  Last month we installed a humidifier for the house and set it at 35%.  Little did I know what a difference it would make in this recipe.  I had to delete 1/4 cup water, the amount of water used to process the sprouts.  I just let my processor run a bit longer and found that some whole sprouted berries and some cracked ones actually made the bread better.

2 cups dry organic hard red winter wheat berries, Clovers or Natural Foods carry them.
¼ c warm water for processing sprouted wheat in food processor. If the wheat is damp, try using as little of this water as possible)
1 tsp yeast + 1/4 cup warm water (below 115 degrees) to dissolve the yeast
⅔ tsp salt
2 T olive oil
2 tsp honey
¼ cup vital wheat gluten

Sprout the wheat:
At least two days before you are going to bake the bread, rinse the wheat and cover with water. Set aside at room temperature overnight (approx. 24 hrs).

The next morning, drain the wheat, rinse and place it back in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a plate and a thick towel so the wheat is in the dark. Wait until the wheat begins to sprout and is chewable. Rinse and drain every 12 hours. As soon as a tiny sprout (looks like a white string)is just starting to show, it’s time to grind the wheat and bake a loaf of bread. This part can happen rather quickly or not. Depends on the room temp. and how fresh the wheat is.

Grind the wheat in a meat grinder or a food processor with ¼ c warm water until it’s like a mash.

Please be advised that room temp. mash will facilitate the rising of the bread. Yes, you can refrigerate the sprouted wheat to use later but I prefer to time my sprouts to my bread baking time so the sprouts are fresh and room temp, 44 hrs for my kitchen. I start at noon one day, continue sprouting the next day and bake bread the morning of the 3rd day.

It’s best to have room temperature sprouted wheat for the bread to rise well. Process or grind the sprouts in the food processor with ¼ cup warm (115 degrees or less), then place the mash into the bread mixer. Dissolve the yeast in ¼ c warm (115 degree) water and add it to the mash along with the rest of the ingredients. Knead the dough (it will look very strange and will be sticky!) for at least 15 or more minutes. The dough will clean the bowl but will be sticky and wet but keep going. This dough needs to be kneaded more than regular bread because the gluten strands develop slower. Kneading is the real key here. Error on a longer knead time.

Proof the dough in a clean bowl, covered with loose plastic wrap that has been oiled or sprayed, allow it to rise until doubled. (I use a sink filled with warm/hot water.)

Wet your hands and the surface you will use before pressing the dough down and shaping into a loaf. Place in a greased or sprayed bread pan (4 x 7 inch size). Cover and allow to rise until doubled. About 1 inch above the side of the bread pan. There is a pretty big oven spring with this type of bread.

Bake the bread at 375 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Remember that this is a wet dough, thus the longer bake time. Internal temp should read 200 degrees if you want confirmation that it’s done.

Remove the bread from the pan and allow to cool completely before slicing. If you want a warm slice of bread, an electric knife always cuts warm bread into perfect slices. Because this bread is very tender inside, it’s best not to slice it hot because the whole loaf looses the crispy structure that holds the bread into shape while it cools. I’m amazed at how long the bread feels soft and tastes fresh.

Note: The oil may be deleted from the recipe but the bread will not brown very well.

Candied Ginger Cheesecake

February 2, 2012

Photo by Pat

In my mother’s kitchen, food failures were banished. Some went straight to the garbage can. Well, I say “can”, it was actually hole in the garden where she buried all her kitchen scraps. Others went to the basement and were housed in a giant clear square Tupperware container.

I have no clue why the Tupperware, but I was sure happy for it on those days when I was banned to the basement to practice my ironing, I would open the Tupperware box and sample her failures hoping she would not notice that anything was missing.

I’m sure I am a lot like my Mother. I make something and it disappointments me a bit and so I store it to taste later to see if it was really that bad. I’m my own worst critic.

February was usually the month that Mother experimented the most with food. The Tupperware pile usually sported hearts in various flavors. I’m sure she was bored with winter and Valentine’s Day is such a sweet holiday to do some creative cooking.

Valentine’s Day also inspires me to bake something sweet for my hubby. Today I baked a beautiful cheesecake. This is one of my personal recipes that makes a soft custard cheesecake. I do love the drier New York style cheesecakes too but this one is so creamy and decadent that it takes cheesecake to a new level.

Although my favorite topping is the rhubarb sauce my sister makes, this time I plan to top it with a mixture of fresh berries in a just-sweet-enough glaze. It looks so pretty when it’s all assembled.

Thinking back to the days of childhood, the goodies in Mother’s discard pile were pretty good. The baked meringue hearts were my favorite and despite her critical self talk, I learned a lot about the food stored in her Tupperware.

Oh, and did I tell you that she kept the Christmas presents stored under her bed?!

Candied Ginger Cheesecake

15 purchased Gingersnap Cookies, crushed fine
2 T. butter, melted

Mix melted butter into the crushed cookies. Butter the sides and bottom of a 8” springform cheesecake pan. Pour crust mix into the pan and press tightly into the bottom of the pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 8 minutes. Cool.

Note: This crust will not stay crispy but will be saucy when served. It can be omitted if desired. I just like the extra boost of flavor it gives.

1 15-oz carton of whole milk ricotta cheese, room temp.

Photo by Pat

1 c sour cream
3  8-oz pkg. of cream cheese, about room temp. but no more than 70 degrees
1 cup sugar
6 eggs
4 T fine white dry bread crumbs (no crusts) (I use dry french bread cubes)
1 T lemon juice
2 tsp clear vanilla
⅛ th tsp salt
3-6 T minced crystallized ginger (according to your love of ginger)

Photo by Pat

Warning: This recipe will fill a large food processor bowl and will fill the cake pan to the brim.

Place all the ingredients except the ginger in a food processor and cream just until smooth, no longer. Scrape sides and give it another quick whirl. Stir in the minced crystallized ginger.

Pour into the prepared cheesecake pan. Using a knife slice, through the mixture to release bubbles. Place filled pan inside a large baking bag (kind used for baking turkeys) or wrap foil around the pan before placing in the bain-marie to keep the water out. Don’t close the top. The purpose is to keep the water out of the cake.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare bain-marie (water bath) by finding a pan to hold the hot water and the cheesecake pan. Pour hot, almost boiling water into the pan and add the wrapped cheesecake. The hot water should come about half way up the side of the cheesecake pan. Slide everything into the hot oven and bake 1 hour and 45 minutes. The cheesecake will puff ever so slightly and giggle when it’s done. An import indication are the specks of brown that will form on the top telling you that the cake is done.

Photo by Pat

Remove from oven and remove the pan from the water bath and foil or bag. Place the cake near the warmth of the oven to cool. Let cool 3 hours. During this time I usually make sure the cake has loosened from the top edge of the pan. A sharp knife can help release it. Cheesecakes need to cool slowly so take your time with this part. When cool, move to the refrigerator and let set at the least overnight uncovered. I prefer a couple of days before serving..

Remove from pan by pushing up from the bottom. Your cheesecake should be flat across the top so there is no need for extra sweetened sour cream to fill it like some recipes suggest.

Top with your favorite fruits and serve. I’ve enclosed my berry glaze to which you may add a mixture of fresh berries available at the grocer. Whip cream would be yummy as well.

Fruit Glaze:

Combine 1 cup of fresh or frozen berries of your choice with 1 c water. Boil 3 minutes.

In a bowl blend 1 cup sugar with ⅛ th tsp salt and 3 T cornstarch. stir into the cooked fruit, stirring constantly until thick. Cool. Stir into 3 c berries. Serve over cheesecake.

"Ta Da" Photo by Pat

Chinese New Year

January 9, 2012

Photo by Gerik

Reading food magazines and planning meals are two of my favorite things to do with my daughter and daughter-in-law.  Christmas was no exception.  What was unusual was that as I casually put down my Bon Appetit, saying that I didn’t find much to interest me, daughter, Chelle, quickly opened  to a page I had overlooked and told me about her experience eating at Pok Pok’s in Portland, OR.

Pok Pok is not in your traditional restaurant setting but actually in a regular house.  Seating on the main floor with the kitchen upstairs makes for a cozy feeling atmosphere. Or so she explained.

After being seated at Pok Pok’s, she and her friends were presented a menu which was large and rather daunting with a variety of unfamiliar items from all different points in Asia, they were overwhelmed with choices.  Handing it back, they asked the waiter to send them enough food for the table with menu items they think the group might enjoy.

“Mom, I had no idea what I was eating but it was heavenly!”  And so she begun to explain the food.   What else was there to do but to make up a shopping list and begin cooking.

I’m not foreign to the flavors and ways of Thai cooking.  Somsri began working for me 28 years ago when she came from Thailand as a new bride.    She brought with her all the exotic flavors and ways of serving that graced many banquets and parties. She taught me well, even showing me how to eat on banana leaves.

The Chinese New Year will soon be upon us.  The recipes I have chosen from the Bon Appetit’s Pok Pok article requires a few things you would not normally find in your cupboard but they are well worth your time to seek them out and trying the wonderful flavors they impart to these two yummy dishes.

Using frozen banana leaves for individual serving plates.

Pok Pok’s Pad Thai
2 servings

5 oz. pad Thai rice noodles
3 T vegetable oil
1 large egg, room temp
6 med. shrimp, peeled, deveined (I used 1/2 can Mock Albalone–gluten dumplings)
½ block of tofu cut into cubes and deep fried until golden in place of pressed tofu
1 T sweet preserved shredded radish, rinsed, chopped into pieces (I didn’t use this)
1 cup bean sprouts
5 T tamarind water or 2 T plus 1 tsp tamarind paste mixed with 2 T plus 1 tsp water
1 ½ T Thai fish sauce
1 ½ T simple syrup (I used Karo Syrup)
4 garlic chives, cut into 1” pieces
½ tsp ground dried Thai chiles, divided
2 T crushed roasted peanuts, divided
2 lime wedges

Place noodles in a large bowl; pour hot water over to cover.  Let soak until tender but not mushy, 5-10 minutes.  Drain; set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over med. high heat.  Add egg; stir until barely set, about 30 seconds.  Add shrimp (gluten pieces), tofu and radish if using; cook until hot.  Add noodles and toss cook for 1 minute.  Stir in sprouts.  Add tamarind water, fish sauce, and simple syrup and stir-fry until sauce is absorbed by noodles and noodles are well coated, about 1 minute.  Stir in chopped garlic chives.  Add ¼ tsp ground chiles and 1 T peanuts and toss well.  Transfer to serving plates.

Garnish with remaining peanuts and lime wedges.  Served the extra ground chiles on the side.

Long Bean, Cucumber, and Tomato Salad
4 servings

2 dried Thai chiles, soaked for 2 minutes in warm water, drained
2 sm garlic cloves, crushed
¼ lime, cut into 3 wedges
1 T sugar
1 T dried tiny shrimp (I omitted)
9 long beans(2 ½ oz) or green beans, trimmed, cut into 2 ½” lengths, I cooked mine to the
tender crisp stage)
1 English cucumber, coarsely chopped into 1” pieces
2 T Thai fish sauce
2 T fresh lime  juice
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 T crushed roasted peanuts

Place first 4 ingredients in a clay mortar and pound with a wooden pestle until mashed into a fine paste, about 5 minutes. (I used my immersion blender. . . much quicker).  Add shrimp if using and continue to make a paste.

Add long beans, cucumber, fish sauce and lime juice into a bowl and add the paste.  Mix well.  Add tomatoes, lightly crush if you wish, I like the looks of mine not mushed up.  Let marinate for 10 minutes.  Stir in peanuts.

I garnished my salad and Pad Thai with whole peanuts as well, just because I like the texture.

Southwestern Pinto Bean Soup

January 2, 2012

Photo by Pat

Oh my!   My scales say what? Are you kidding?

The holidays were good to me this year, a pound here and a pound there.  Why must I feel like I’m not enjoying myself unless I have all the Christmas goodies which includes enjoying every bite even the leftovers.  Oh well, the damage is done!

My mission today was to search for really yummy foods that would magically dissolve the pounds and fully satisfy my food addiction. Yes, I know, unrealistic expectations on my part but I can hope, right?

Pinterest has a few fun ideas which I pinned but what really caught my eye was a Southwestern vegetarian chili from  The lead-in to the recipe stated that it was modified to take out the fat and to boost the flavors.  Just what I needed.

Let me state right up front, this is not your ordinary chili soup recipe.  The flavors that really makes this dish zing come from the smokey chipotles with a liberal dose of fresh lime juice.  Flavors that meld perfectly with the condiments of avocado, Frito’s, and tomatoes.

The recipe is vegetarian, even vegan/gf but additions of sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese would be so yummy if you have the calories to spare.    I think I will eat mine with a side of corn bread, with maybe some honey!

Southwestern Pinto Bean Soup
Makes 8 cups

1 c Vegetable Stock or Broth
2 T minced garlic
2 med. onions, diced
1 large red bell pepper, I roasted mine first to boost the flavor
1 ½ c dry pinto beans, sorted and washed
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. oregano
2 chipotle peppers, diced, plus add some adobe sauce
4 cups water
1 can corn, drained
3 oz. tomato paste
1 lime, juiced
2 tsp. salt

Avocado, cilantro, green onions, Frito’s, quartered cherry tomatoes

Heat the vegetable broth in a large pan or slow cooker.  Add the garlic, onions and pepper.  Simmer 1 or 2 minutes.  Add the pinto beans, cumin, oregano, peppers, water and corn.  Cover and cook (simmer on the stove or on “high” for slow cooker) until beans are cooked.  Usually 3-4 hours.   When the beans are soft, take out 1 cup of beans and juice and place in a small deep bowl.  Stir in the tomato paste and blend with an immersion or blending wand until creamy.  Return to the pot of beans and add the lime juice and salt. Serve with bowls of condiments of your choice.

Christmas Cookies

December 21, 2011

Photo by Pat

It’s been a busy Christmas season and I thought to myself, I have plenty of treats so I’ll just not do the Christmas cookies. Out of the blue, a comment on Dancing in the Kitchen from a long ago friend brought them front and center so how could I not do the cookies.

Chelle, my daughter, is home for Christmas. What a treat!! She hardly ever comes home for Christmas because she uses her holiday time visiting when the niece and nephew celebrate their birthdays in the summer. You can see how much we rank in her book!! But that is okay because those babies are mighty sweet.

“Let’s make cookies!”, she exclaimed and off we were mixing up batter and doing our own little version of “cook dancing”. It’s a wonder any cookies got baked because the dough is so much better when snitched when no one is looking.

The recipe we used was one I have used many years in my catering business. I’ve always loved the white on white decorations and I’m still not tired of it. Colored decorations are fine but I love the glow of candlelight dancing off the shine of the cookies on Christmas Eve. Beautiful!

Here’s the recipe and a little nudge in case you have decided to forgo the cookies this year.


Satin Sugar Cookies

Makes 2 or so dozen

1 c. sugar

1 c butter

3 oz cream cheese

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp almond extract

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg yolk

2 c. flour


Mix well.  Cut out the cookies, using your favorite cookie cutters.  I like to roll my dough a little on the thick side because I don’t like crispy edges when they bake.  Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until the bottoms begin to brown but there is no browning on the top.



1 cup powdered sugar

1 T butter, very soft

Hot Water


Mix the powdered sugar, butter and several drops of hot water.   Keep adding drops of hot water until you reach the glaze stage which means the spreading marks disappear by the time you set the cookie down on the wax paper but doesn’t drip off.  Sometimes I add a touch of corn syrup to make them shiny but it takes longer for them to dry.  Be sure they are dry before decorating them



2 T butter, softened

2 T milk

Powdered sugar


Mix together and thin with milk until you have an icing that you can easily pipe with a pastry bag.  Decorate your cookies as you wish.  I usually outline, add a few inside details and then sprinkle with white sprinkles.   Allow them to dry several hours before stacking and storing for Christmas.




Garmisch Nut Stollen

December 11, 2011

Photo by Gerik

December always seems to be about the food.  My recipe box is full of special things specifically for the holidays.  This recipe is one of them.

My friend, Linda, has the uncanny knack of doing little acts of kindness just when needed and very unexpected.  She and I use to live next door to each other and although we could not chat over the back fence (too much acreage between us), it was so fun to look across the way and see the light over her kitchen sink shining in the twilight.  She is a wonderful cook and baker.

One Christmas morning she showed up at my doorstep with this beautiful nut stollen.  She learned to bake it while working in a restaurant in Austria.  It is a wonderful recipe and amazingly easy to make but looks very complicated when done.

True confession time, I overthink things.  I hesitate to just show up with a food gift intended for immediate consumption for fear my friends had already planned something.  But when it happens to me  I love it!!!

This nut stollen really breaks the mold for me because the stollens I remember from years past were chocked full of candied fruit.  I do love dried and candied fruit but not in bread. That being said, the raisins in this recipe are just perfect to me but for those of you who don’t care for them, just leave them out.

This year I’m going out on a limb and will just do it!  My greetings of Christmas cheer will be in my gift of this beautiful stollen to those I hold dear.  It’s an act of friendship any way you look at it.

Garmisch Nut Stollen
Makes 2

1 ½ pkg. active dry yeast

Photo by Pat

2 tsp. sugar
⅓ c warm water (105-115 degrees)
1 c milk
½ c unsalted sweet butter
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
2 T sugar
4 ½ c all-purpose flour
2 T unsalted sweet butter, melted
2 tsp grated lemon peel
¼ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 C golden raisins
Nut Filling, recipe follows
1 egg
1 T whipping cream
White icing, recipe follows
½ c chopped walnuts for garnish

Dissolve yeast and 2 tsp sugar in water, let stand until bubbly, about 5 minutes.  Heat milk in small saucepan until hot; remove from heat.  Stir ½ C butter and the salt into milk.  Beat 2 eggs and the yolks in large mixer bowl.  Gradually beat in 2 T sugar until thick and lemon colored.  Beat in milk mixture and 2 C of the flour until smooth.  Beat in yeast mixture.  Stir in melted butter, lemon peel, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg and remaining flour to form soft dough.  Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead 5 minutes (I let my mixer do the work for me).  Knead in raisins.  Let rise covered in large greased bowl in refrigerator overnight or 4-5 hours if you are in a hurry.

Make Nut Filling

Remove dough from refrigerator, let stand covered 30 minutes.  Divide the dough in half and place 1 ball back in refrigerator.  Roll out the dough to about 12 x 12” square.  Spread ½ of the nut filling over dough, leaving 1” border on all sides.  Mix 1 egg and the cream in small bowl.  Brush border with part of the egg mixture.  Loosely roll up dough beginning at long edge.  Pinch seam and ends to seal.  Transfer dough to greased and floured baking pan.

Photo by PatSlice the dough roll in half long wise starting about 1 inch from the top.  Turn pieces with the cut sides facing upward.  Working quickly, twist halves together.  Pinch ends together.

Repeat with the other dough ball from the refrigerator.  Let both stollens rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 degrees, bake stollen 15 minutes; brush with part of the egg mixture.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Bake 10 minutes.  Brush with remaining egg mixture, sprinkle with 2-4 T sugar or coarse sugar crystals,  Bake until golden and nut mixture is set, 5-10 minutes.  (If stollen browns too fast, cover loosely with foil.)  Cool on wire racks 30 minutes.

Make White Icing
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 T hot water

Drizzle icing over stollen in decorative pattern, sprinkle with chopped walnuts.  Cool completely on wire racks.  Refrigerate tightly wrapped up to 4 days, serve at room temperature.

Nut Filling – makes 4 cups
4 egg whites, at room temp
2 c finely chopped walnuts
1 ½ c ground walnuts
1 cup sugar
4 tsp water
½ tsp ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients except 2 tsp of water in medium-sized saucepan.  Cook, stirring, over low heat until warm and sugar dissolves, about 10 minutes; remove from heat.  Stir in remaining water.  Cool to room temperature.  Filling can be made up to 24 hours in advance, refrigerate covered.  Bring to room temperature before using.


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