Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

5 Quick and Easy New Year’s Eve Snacks

Here are 5 Quick and Easy New Year’s Eve Snacks that you can use for your New Year’s party or gathering!

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Cajun Chex Mix

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Cheese Ball

Marinated Chicken Wings

Marinated Chicken Wings

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Dry Beef Dip

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Spiced Sugar and Popcorn

 

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Individual Pizzas

The recipe for today goes back to junior high school. This card came from my sister, but I remember making these in Home Economics class, too. These Individual Pizzas are so easy and so good and are perfect for anything from an after school snack to serving at a New Year’s party. You can keep the ingredients on hand and be ready, at any time, for a tasty snack. These are really fun to do. On the day I made these, I was wishing I had more than one can of refrigerator biscuits so I could just keep on making them. But that would be bad. Someone has to then eat all of them, right?

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I got so many great recipes from my junior high school Home Ec classes that I still use today, and I’ve now handed them down to my kids and now they’re making them!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Individual Pizza

Pop open:

1 tube of Country Style or Buttermilk refrigerator biscuits

Flatten until thin or about 5 inch in diameter.

Top with:

Pizza sauce

Italian seasoning

Mozzarella cheese, shredded

Your favorite pizza toppings – sliced olives, mushrooms, onions, peppers, pepperoni, sausage, Canadian bacon, ground beef, etc.

Bake at 500 degrees for 5-8 minutes or until cheese is melted.

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You can flatten the biscuits as thin as you want.

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Go ahead and top the biscuits with your favorite ingredients.

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Before and after baking, you can see how delicious these are!

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I cut up a leftover grilled turkey dog to put on one of mine.

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Pepperoni is always good!

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This one is topped with sliced green olives. Delicious. Make up a can or two of these fun little pizzas and get the party started! Let everyone make their own and put their own favorite toppings on. Everybody’s gonna have a great time. Don’t forget to keep some for yourself!

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Merry Christmas, 2016!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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I think I was 2 years old in this photo, and I can tell by looking at the ornaments on the tree behind me, that I still have some of them on my tree right now!

I wish you the happiest of holidays with your friends and family – and furry friends!

 

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Christmas Cookies

Christmas can be traumatic for kids, as you can see by the photo I’m sharing today. This is when I was 3 years old, and Santa made an appearance at the house. I always felt that way about Santa – scared to death!

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I’m not sure why, but that’s just how I always felt. That is sheer terror on my face! My mom doesn’t seem to be terrified. In fact, she seems to be enjoying MY terror! Ha! The really funny this was that Santa was actually my Grandpa in a Santa costume. If I had only known!

I found this recipe in Grandma’s file – it’s another clipping, maybe not from a newspaper, but from some publication. She’s written some notes on it, so I thought we’d give it a try. The actual name of these cookies is cut off, but she gives instructions for what she did to make them Christmas cookies, so that’s what we’re going to call them – Christmas Cookies. This recipe is another one that can be made a couple of months ahead and kept in the freezer for whenever you need them. I could see making a batch of these in about October and having them all ready in the freezer. As long as you’re mixing up cookie dough, you might as well mix up a batch of these for next month. They aren’t just for Christmastime, but for anytime you need a quick treat. Note the “Real Good” connotation on this one!

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From the phrase at the top of the recipe, it sounds like these maybe delicious!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Christmas Cookies

Cream together:

1 cup shortening (I used butter)

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Stir in:

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Add:

2 cups oatmeal

With your hands, mix in:

1 cup coconut

1 cup walnuts, chopped

(For Christmas cookies add – 1 cup red and/or green maraschino cherries, chopped)

Chill slightly (I chilled the dough about 10 minutes) and roll into 2 logs about 2 inches in diameter.

Wrap tightly and freeze.

To bake:

Slice in 1/4 inch slices and bake on ungreased baking sheets at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

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I split the dough in half to make the two logs.

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I used parchment to wrap the logs, labeled them, and into the freezer they go! I love these recipes that you can make ahead and have ready whenever you need them.

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The recipe suggests using an electric knife to slice the frozen dough, but I used my serrated bread knife and it worked just fine.

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The logs sliced right through, even though they were frozen solid.

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Put the frozen slices right onto a baking sheet and bake. Easy peasy.

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The cookies come out crispy and delicious.

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There’s nothing better than cookies and milk. Nothing.

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Grandma’s note says that these cookies are “Real Good” – she was right! The cookies are delicious and festive – just what you need in a Christmas cookie. I’m keeping one of the logs for sometime in January when we’re ready for sweets again. Make a batch to use when last-minute guests come, or just in case you run out of cookies over the holidays. We can’t have that. 10-12 minutes and you’re golden – and the cookies will be, too!

 

 

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Ritz Cracker Cookies

The recipe for today is one that my mom probably got from a co-worker years ago. She worked at a bank in town, and is still friends with some of those co-workers today. I used to love going to the bank when it was time to pick her up from work. To pass the time until it was time to go home, she would usually have me help with some mundane chore like stamping her tickets with her initial stamp. Or maybe I would go check out the lunch room downstairs and watch TV until it was time to go. At Christmastime, the bank would play Christmas music and have a HUGE flocked tree in the middle of their lobby. That was not something we usually had in our home (we maybe had a flocked tree once), but it was so big and so gorgeous at the bank – I was amazed by it. I have to say, these Ritz Cracker Cookies are one of my favorites. She used to also make them with Wheat Thins crackers stacked 3 high, almost like a petite-four. They are incredibly easy to make, they’re fun and festive, and they’re absolutely delicious. And addictive, did I mention addictive? Yes, they’re very addictive.

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Yes, these are taaasty. And addictive. Did I mention addictive? I think I did.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Ritz Cracker Cookies

Melt together:

1 package of chocolate almond bark

1 12 ounce package of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4-1/2 cup paraffin wax, chipped finely

Spread creamy peanut butter between 2 Ritz Crackers and dip in chocolate mixture.

Put on waxed paper.

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I found it easiest to make the cracker sandwiches first, before melting the chocolate.

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Next, melt the chocolate almond bark, chocolate chips, and wax.

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The chocolate is shiny and ready to go.

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Put your dipped treats on waxed paper – if you put the whole works on a baking sheet, it’s easier to move them around if you need to.

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I put Christmas sprinkles on top – because it’s Christmas. You can decorate according to whatever holiday or occasion you want.

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Aren’t they beautiful?!!

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Man, I love these. Did I mention that they’re addictive?

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Try these tasty treats as part of your cookie tray – they’re a quick and easy addition to it. Just make sure to make plenty of them – they’re very addictive. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Egg Casserole

Christmastime is the time for family get-togethers. My mom tells about all her cousins and aunts and uncles staying overnight at her grandparents farm at Christmastime, and that was a LOT of people – there were 8 siblings in Grandma’s family and then there would have been spouses and kids. This photo was of 3 generations (an aunt, an uncle, a grandparent, Grandma and Grandpa, and my mom and her brother) in front of the Christmas tree in 1950, when my mom was 10 years old – she’s the one in the checked dress.

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They look like they’re all ready for church. I love their hats!

A breakfast dish like the one I’m sharing today would have been great for them with a lot of people staying overnight for the holiday. Because this is the time of year for family, family, family, and sometimes family stays overnight, that means you need a very quick and very easy dish for breakfast or brunch in the morning. A delicious Egg Casserole is the perfect dish for your overnight company. This is so easy and so good, and that’s what you want when there’s so much to do! How many times have I said that when making these recipes? Grandma sure knew what she was doing – make it easy and make it good!

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This is another great recipe that you can make the night before!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Egg Casserole

Butter a 9″ x 13″ pan.

Put in bottom of pan:

3 cups seasoned bread croutons

2 cups cheese, shredded (I used cheddar)

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/2 cup onion, diced

Beat together:

10 eggs

1 can cream of mushroom soup

2 cups milk

1 stick margarine (I used butter), melted

salt and pepper

Pour over bread and cheese.

Refrigerate overnight.

Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 1 hour (I forgot to make this the night before I needed it, so I made it 3 hours before baking it was great).

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This has all the ingredients that make an egg bake so darn good.

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Bread, cheese, bacon, eggs – how bad can that be?

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The melted butter does solidify once you put it into the eggs, so it looks a little weird before it goes into the oven.

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Add a piece of fruit and you have the perfect breakfast/brunch dish.

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Oh man, this is so good! This egg dish is just what you need for the hoards of overnight holiday company that inevitably show up this time of year. It’s so easy,  you could even make more than one! It’s so delicious – your guests may never leave!

 

 

 

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Fantasy Fudge

The recipe for today came from my other grandma. She loved Christmas, too, and made a lot of goodies every year. She had a sister-in-law who made a lot of candy, and that’s probably where she got a lot of these Christmas candy recipes. I used to sit for hours in front of Grandma and Gramp’s big silver Christmas tree watching the color wheel change colors over and over and over again. They had blue decorations on it and I thought it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. I would lay right down under the bottom branches and watch the glittering branches change from red to blue to green to yellow. I loved that tree. Gramp had a sweet tooth like no other, and at Christmastime he would come home with many different kinds of Christmas candy. That may be why Grandma made so many different kinds of candy at that time of year. I know that she got this recipe for Fantasy Fudge from a family member sometime in the 1970’s, and that’s how long I’ve been making it, too. This does make a big batch, which is good, cuz it doesn’t last long. Just sayin’.

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Oh man, does this bring back memories of Christmas back in the day!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Fantasy Fudge

Combine in heavy pan:

3 cups sugar

2/3 cup evaporated milk (5 oz. can)

3/4 cup butter

Bring to a full boil.

Boil 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in:

12 ounce package of chocolate chips

Stir until melted.

Add:

7 ounce jar of marshmallow creme

1 cup nuts, chopped (I didn’t add nuts because not all in my family like them)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat until well blended.

Pour into greased 9″ x 13″ pan.

Cool at room temperature.

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Again – pretty simple ingredients that add up to a delicious treat!

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Get the syrup boiling away.

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Add the chocolate chips.

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Mix in the vanilla and the marshmallow crème.

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Pour it into a baking pan.

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That’s it! A huge batch of fudge that will last you into the new year. Maybe.

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This is another ridiculously quick and easy recipe that makes a lot – perfect for gift giving or as part of your cookie tray. If you want this to last until into the new year, I guess I would hide some. That’s what I have to do in my family, or there just won’t be any left. If you don’t hide it, it’s just too handy. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

 

 

 

 

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Day 12 – 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas – Rosettes

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Today is the 12th and last day of the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing all of the Scandinavian treats, crafts, and fun things I’ve posted here for you! There are so many more to share – I may have to do it again next year! I’ve saved the trickiest thing for last. Today we’re tackling Rosettes. These are a fried treat that are kind of a cross between a donut and a cookie, and while they aren’t necessarily hard to do – they can be a bit tricky. When I pulled out the recipe, I had clipped an extra piece of paper to it with some “helpful hints” on it. There will be more on the “hints” as we go along. Ok – deep breath – here we go . . .

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rosettes

Beat:

2 eggs

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 drop almond flavoring

Add:

1 cup milk

1 cup flour

Mix until smooth.

I let the batter sit about an hour before starting to fry.

Fry in hot oil (about 375 degrees) on rosette iron.

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This is another recipe with incredibly simple ingredients.

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Once you have the batter mixed smooth, let it sit about an hour. I have read that “hint” somewhere since the last time I made these, and as far as I’m concerned, the more “hints” you have to help you out with these, the better.

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Dip the iron in the hot oil first for a few seconds, then dip it into the batter – being careful NOT to dip it more than 3/4 of the way up the iron or it won’t come off. I had some trouble getting the batter to stick at first, so I held it in the batter for about 5 seconds and that worked great. One of the “helpful hints” that was on the sheet clipped to the recipe, to not hold the iron in the batter very long. This is what’s so funny about making rosettes – sometimes one thing will work and the next time you make them, it may not. It’s total trial and error from time to time. I just might not make them often enough. This was a treat that my dad made with my sister when we were growing up. It ended up being their “thing” because they had the system DOWN.

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Hold the iron with the batter on it in the hot oil until the bubbles slow down a bit – about 30-40 seconds, and if you don’t keep it under the oil, it will fall off of the iron. We had a little trouble with that a couple of times (my daughter helped me and made some of her first krumkaka – it took her awhile to get the hang of it).

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I usually have a knife handy and use the point to help get the krumkaka off of the iron and onto a paper towel to drain and cool.

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My family likes them to be dipped in sugar. Grandma did this right before serving, but we decided to try it right away AND before serving if they need more.

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It made a nice tray full. I never had such good luck making them – especially the star ones – it must have been help from the ancestors!

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Rosettes are the quintessential Scandinavian thing, as far as my family is concerned, and it was the perfect way to end the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas! I hope you’ve had as much fun as I have during the last 12 days! Thank you so much for reading and following along on this journey!

God Jul!

 

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Day 11 – 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas – Ice Lantern

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We are at Day 11 of the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas, and today we’re making Ice Lanterns. You can do these several different ways, but I made this one by freezing it in an old tin mold. You can also freeze water in a balloon (don’t forget to tie the balloon shut so you don’t lose the water out of it) and freeze it halfway so there is a hole left in the middle – that’s where you put the candle. Be careful – if you let it freeze too much, you won’t have the hole to put the candle in. Not that I have any experience with that or anything. Freezing it in the mold is really fun and pretty foolproof, so let’s get started!

Here is the lantern as I made it:

Ice Lantern

Find a mold that you want to make into a lantern – I have used a bundt pan and a tube pan in the past. You can also use containers of two difference sizes, using the smaller one to make the center hole where you’d put the candle.,,,

Decide what festive decorations or ornaments you want in it – you can leave it just plain clear water if you want to, but I tend to want to make it more festive looking with bits of evergreen and fresh cranberries. You could add any decoration that won’t be destroyed by the freezing process.

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I start by putting the greens and berries in the bottom of the mold.

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Then I put just enough water to cover the greens and berries and set it out on our deck (if it’s cold enough) or into the freezer to freeze. If you fill it with water, the goodies will float to the top, therefore being on the BOTTOM of the mold instead of the TOP of it where they show up better and are pretty when you add the candle’s glow. Once that part is frozen, fill the mold with water as full as you want it and freeze until it’s firm.

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I put the frozen lantern out on our deck. It seemed like it might not show up very well, so I initially put it on a white plate, but I liked it better without the plate.

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They glow so nicely when you add the candle. I have lined our front steps and driveway with these over the years. It’s so much fun to do when you have guests coming over for the evening.

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You can see the evergreen branches and fresh cranberries showing through the ice. The glow of the candle shining through these ice lanterns is so special and welcoming. It isn’t just a Christmas thing – these would be great to do for any gathering all throughout the winter. This reminds me so much of our trip to Sweden and Norway where there were candles everywhere. I think it’s a very Scandinavian thing to do!

 

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Day 10 – 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas – Swedish Sausage

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It’s Day 10 of the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas, and today we’re making Swedish Sausage. I’m not sure if it’s really Swedish, or if that’s just what they call it. Regardless, Grandma and Grandpa had this every year for Christmas, and if we weren’t able to be together with them on Christmas, we’d have it whenever we got together this time of year. It’s one of those things where if I have it once a year, I’m good. It’s getting hard to find now, but I called around and found a store that carried this Swedish potato sausage. I remember this so well from the growing up years. Grandma would be standing at the stove in her holiday apron, being so careful with it, making sure it was cooked just right. She was dead serious about her heritage and this was one of those things that seemed to be a big part of it along with lefse, all the Scandinavian cookies, and her stories of her family and their traditions when she was growing up. She loved to tell the stories and she had a rapt audience in me!

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Funny thing – when she says that it’s from the “store” here, she means the store in the tiny town one mile from where they lived. They must have gotten the sausage there until the store closed sometime in the early 1980’s.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Swedish Sausage

Cook sausage in a glass pan in 300 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Cover for the last half of cooking time.

Cut into pieces and fry in pan (she must have originally just left it in the oven but turned the sausage half way through the cooking time but I know that in later years, she would cut it and fry it in a pan).

Serve.

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When putting it in the pan for the oven, I pricked it in a few places with the tip of a knife so there would be no blow-outs. Halfway through she said to cover it, so I used a bit of foil.

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After baking, it’s time to cut it into pieces and brown it in the fry pan.

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It wasn’t exactly the same flavor as I remember, but it was good. I’m sure every place that makes it has their own recipe and spices that they use.

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Try this delicious and spiced sausage, and you’ll be trying a bit of Swedish heritage. It smelled so good in the oven and for a few minutes it took me back to Grandma’s kitchen at Christmastime. I got a bit emotional, but I still enjoyed the warm and wonderful fragrance of the Christmas memory.

 

 

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