Crustless Quiche Cups to the Rescue!

Here is a fool-proof recipe for crustless quiche cups. These are great to have on hand for grab and go breakfasts or snacks.

This is such a simple recipe, I’m almost embarrassed to talk about it. Besides this, all one has to do is google, “Basic Quiche Recipe” to find something similar. I am sharing this here because if you are like me, you’re a fan of the following three things:

  1. Easy recipes
  2. Re-purposing leftovers.
  3. Healthy & Delicious grab & go food

I started making these every other Sunday because Charlie, my husband, is a body-builder and a sugar addict. Before and after the gym, he needs healthy snacks to feed his body. These are packed full of protein and vitamins and the bonus for me is that he loves them. Typically I make a dozen regular sized muffins and six extra large ones. Out of the dozen, I usually take four or five to my father. I’m trying to get him OFF those horrible, processed protein milkshakes and onto something better for him.

The basic recipe for a dozen cups is simply six eggs and a half a cup of heavy cream whisked together and poured over anything your heart desires! The possibilities are endless. Seriously. The photo below is from four weeks ago. These were filled with leftover rotisserie chicken that I shredded, broccoli, bacon, red bell pepper & onion, plus one can (drained) of Mexican style diced tomatoes and some cheddar cheese. I seasoned them with cilantro lime seasoning, some fresh cilantro, salt, pepper and a little bit of cumin. They came out smokey with just a hint of spice and they received rave reviews.

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As you can see in the photo above, I am very generous when I fill the cups. This last time, I added even more filling than you see. In order not to make a huge mess, I always pour my egg/cream mixture into a measuring cup or other vessel with a spout. If your vegetable/meat/cheese combo seems too dense, just poke the backside of a knife around a bit and pour in little batches. Once the cups are full, wrap the pan on the counter gently to be sure the mixture gets to the bottom. Often, I use a fork to poke around to make sure I’ve gotten the egg evenly incorporated. I do not mix the eggs and cream with the veggies and then pour because it would come out in plops. I don’t like plops. Plops are messy. However, I do like to say the word, “PLOP”. Say it with me…

Plop! (you’re smiling, I can see it.”)

When they come out of the oven, I let them sit in the pan for about five minutes; then I cover them with a cooling rack and flip it upside down so the quiche fall out. They’re upside down at that point, so I turn them over and let them cool to room temperature. These were the Mexi-style ones I made weeks ago.

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Below are the muffins I made this past Sunday. These were filled with freshly sauteed onions & red peppers and freshly fried bacon crumbles. (We like onions & peppers, so I usually have to make them fresh for my quiches because we never have left-overs of them.) I always have broccoli on hand, so I also added chopped cooked broccoli, cheddar cheese & chives. Per usual, once the cups were filled, I added more cheese, bacon and chives to the tops. (I like pretty food!)

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Crustless Quiche Cups

Ingredients: (Makes 12 regular-sized cups)

For the Egg Mixture:
6 eggs scrambled
½ c. cream
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Optional: Dash of hot sauce

For the filling:
2 ½ cups cooked chopped broccoli florets
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
5 strips of bacon, fried (reserve the bacon fat)
1 tablespoon butter (USE REAL BUTTER)
2 cups shredded cheese (whatever you like, I used cheddar)
1 bunch chives, chopped (you can use the dry variety if you need to)
½ teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned salt
½ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Whisk together all of the ingredients for the egg mixture. Set aside while you work on the filling.

Fry the bacon until crisp, then remove it to a paper towel. Do not drain the skillet.

Sauté the onion and red bell pepper in the bacon grease. IF you are scared of bacon fat, you can clean out the pan and use 2 Tablespoons of olive oil or butter instead. I added 1 Tablespoon of butter to my bacon fat because I’m craaaaaazy about butter! Once the onions and peppers are just barely translucent, turn off the heat and set the pan aside to cool.

Once cooled, crumble the bacon (reserve 1/4th of it for topping) and add it to the pan along with the cheddar cheese (reserve a little for topping), broccoli, chives (reserve a little for topping), and seasonings. Combine gently using a spatula.

Spoon the mixture evenly into prepared non-stick muffin tins. (I spray mine even though they are non-stick.)

Pour the egg/cream mixture evenly into each cup.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

Note: Ovens vary, so start checking at 20 minutes.

Once they have cooled, I put them in pairs inside sandwich-sized zip-locked bags. From here they go into the refrigerator. If I am going to freeze them, I wrap each one in plastic wrap and then put them all in a large zip lock bag or container.

When we serve these, we usually heat them in the microwave about 30 -40 seconds, then top with hot sauce or sour cream, salsa, and/or fresh herbs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smokey Potato Leek Soup ala Sickly Baba!

Ever since I started making my own soups, I have a hard time with any type of canned soup. (This is mainly because the stuff in the cans is so full of sodium and fat and yet it still tastes bland to me.)Today I made a Smokey potato-leek soup that turned out really well. Here is the recipe.

I am on my second go around with sickness. Thankfully, it’s just a virus, and I’m feeling better today, yet I am still not really into eating anything but mild food. That being said, after having not eaten a thing but saltines yesterday, this morning I woke up feeling hungry for chicken noodle soup. Ordinarily, I would have made my own, but I’m sick, remember? Charlie pulled out a can of chunky chicken noodle and lovingly made it for me. (He takes such good care of me even when I’m not sick. I am Blessed!) I was happy to eat it (and that it stayed down), but it reminded me of why I like to make my own soups. It was borderline tasteless, brimming with sodium and fat and the noodles tasted like rubber.

Now I don’t know what to think of myself. Have I become a food snob? I used to love chunky chicken noodle soup!

This afternoon while Charlie was at the gym, I reached that stage of illness where you are really still too sick and weak to do much; yet you are so bored, your brain tells you it’s okay to get up and go make a pot of homemade soup. (After all, it’s not that hard.) I have a butternut squash sitting on the counter waiting to be cut up and roasted and turned into a beautiful, creamy soup, but instead I focused my attention on the ever present leeks in my fridge. I pulled them out, cut them up and threw them into a bowl of cold water to be certain there was no sand. Meanwhile, I peeled and chopped about two and a half pounds of russet potatoes. (Why? Because if I didn’t, they were bound to start sprouting any day. We don’t eat a ton of russets.) It bears reporting that I prefer to use Yukon gold potatoes in soups, but this is what I had on hand. Use what you have on hand, people!

Next, the leeks got drained, dried; then sautéed in some olive oil and butter for just a short time. Afterward, I added the potatoes, seasonings, and then six cups of chicken stock. The top went on and I let it boil for about thirty minutes-until everything was soft enough to blend.

At this point I was feeling accomplished and it dawned on me that we had a pound of bacon that also needed to be used before it was wasted. What better thing to do then to make some bacon as a garnish, right? I always make my bacon on a sheet pan with a rack, so this too, is really easy to do. I was just about to lay the stuff out in strips when I remembered having seen one of those Facebook videos that showed bacon being weaved together so it would form a perfect square for bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches. OMG! Genius! I just happened to have a big juicy tomato on the counter and some lettuce in the fridge. Poof! Done! I weaved that bacon like a professional bacon weaver and into the oven it went.

I was so proud when it came out looking pretty! (Seriously, I was envisioning the Instagram praise-fest about to happen! I am a sick girl and not in a good way.) I decided to take some of the smaller pieces of cooked bacon and drop them into the the soup for a little more Smokey flavor. See them?

Truth to be told: I did all of this today…but I made frequent trips to the couch to pass out, drink ice water, take my temperature, cough, etc. See that last soup photo? It’s not even hot. I just forgot to take the money shot so I fudged it. Now I am back, dying on the couch, but this blog is scheduled to go. LOL! (I really did love this soup, however.)

This photo below; now that’s actually hot soup! LOL!


Ingredients:

2.5 pounds potatoes peeled and cut (I used russets but Yukon golds are better.)

3 large leaks sliced into rounds

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter (REAL butter)

6 cups low sodium chicken broth (that’s two 32 oz cartons)

1.5 teaspoons red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon raw honey

2 pieces of cooked bacon crumbled

1/4 cup cream

3 tablespoons full fat sour cream

Juice of half a lemon

Salt & fresh ground pepper

Directions:

1) Clean and slice leeks

2) Peel and cut potatoes (If you use Yukon Gold, skip peeling. It isn’t necessary.)

3) Heat olive oil and butter in a Dutch oven (medium high heat) Sauté leeks for about five minutes. Salt & pepper.

4) Add potatoes, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, hot sauce, Italian seasoning, more cracked pepper. Stir.

5) Add chicken broth and bacon pieces. Turn up heat, bring to boil, reduce to simmer and put the lid on. Simmer 20-30 minutes until vegetables are tender enough to be blended.

6) When the vegetables are tender, turn off heat, remove bay leaves, stir in honey and allow to cool with the lid on about 30 minutes.

7) Pull out and mash (or rough chop) about a cup of the potatoes. Set aside.

8) Add cream and sour cream. Stir. Then blend with an immersion blender (This is what I use.) Add the reserved potatoes back in with the juice of half a lemon.

9) Taste. We like our soup spicy, so I usually add more cracked pepper and red pepper flakes.

10) Stir and cover. Turn the heat back onto low. Let the flavors marry for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Note: The best garnish in the world for this soup are caramelized onions! Also great: crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped scallions


PS- I ended up making a grilled cheese sandwich with the bacon lattice for Charlie. (By the time he came home from the gym, I was way too tired and over-extended to make TWO. I didn’t need a sandwich. I needed to be in bed.)

I present the Cha-Cha approved bacon, tomato, caramelized onion, Fontina cheese on Sourdough bread grilled cheese:

What’s that? Eggplant Disguised as BACON?

Let it be known that I have always hated eggplant. I made this recipe and I can now say that I was wrong. There is ONE way I’ll eat it and this is when it’s disguised as bacon! This stuff is great. Here’s how easy it is to make!

This will be short and sweet.

Make this. You will be shocked over how great it is!

The End.

PS- You’re welcome

Slice up the eggplant, paint the sauce on both sides and bake! How much easier can it be?


Ingredients:

1 medium eggplant

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. Hot sauce

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

1/2 tsp. Liquid Smoke

Freshly ground black pepper

NOTE: Some people use maple syrup in this recipe. I really do not use a lot of sweet in my recipes so I left it out. If you want it, however, use 1/4 teaspoon.

Directions:

1 Preheat oven to 400°.

2 Slice eggplant lengthwise into just shy of quarter inch thick strips. Cut off the skin. (It’s easier than peeling ahead of time)

3 In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, soy sauce, hot sauce, smoked paprika, and liquid smoke. (Maple syrup optional)

4 Place eggplant slices onto a baking sheet and brush both sides with sauce. Season with cracked pepper.

5 Bake until eggplant is cooked through and beginning to get crisp, 35 – 40 minutes.

Enjoy!

See ya tomorrow!

Sexy Zucchini Leek Pie drives my husband wild!

I confess. I am a reformed recipe hoarder/waster.

I used to go through my favorite foodie magazines ripping out recipes I fully intend to try, only to have them get thrown into my kitchen “drawer of death”, resurfacing years later to be thrown straight into the recycle bin. Thanks to the Internet, if I see something I love and want to make later, I usually just google it later.

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I confess. I am a reformed recipe hoarder/waster.

I used to go through my favorite foodie magazines ripping out recipes I fully intend to try, only to have them get thrown into my kitchen “drawer of death”, resurfacing years later to be thrown straight into the recycle bin. Now, thanks to the Internet, if I see something I love and want to make later, I usually just google it until I find it.

The following recipe was adapted  from one of the only recipes that I purposely stuck to my refrigerator door so that I would see it every day and be shamed into making it! The original (Zucchini pie) recipe was torn from the pages of Cooking Light Magazine (August, 2017 edition). Their pie photo was so beautiful, (google it), I had to save it! Last week while trying to decide on dinner,that photo grew arms and started waving a white flag in my face. Okay, Okay, it was time! I had all of the ingredients in the fridge to make something similar, so I adapted it to make “Zucchini Leek Pie”.

The first step is to set your spiralizer on the “thick” setting and go to town on a couple pounds (I used a little less) of unpeeled zucchini. Then you place your spirals on paper towels with some salt and let them stand for 30 minutes. This is to let them sweat out their liquid. If you don’t have a spiralizer, you should get one. They are so fun to experiment with and you don’t need to spend a ton of money. Ours came from the “As seen on TV” section at Walgreen’s. (I think we paid $9.99 for it.) We have discussed buying a fancy version, but we aren’t making zucchini spirals with any regularity, so the little one works well for us.

spiralizer

When I opened our fridge I spied two cleaned and prepped leeks that had been in there a while. Not wanting to waste them, I decided to cut them up and use them in the pie. I also subbed in freshly chopped chives, basil and garlic.  Their recipe called for just the tomatoes, garlic and fresh oregano to be wilted in the pan. I didn’t have oregano, so I left it out. (When I do this dish again, I will skip this step with the tomatoes. I don’t think it’s necessary.)

Here you have the beautiful tomatoes halfed, chopped leeks, chopped fresh garlic, chives, basil, salt and pepper in just a wee bit of olive oil. Pretty colors!

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Once the leeks were cooked to my satisfaction, I turned off the heat and let the mixture cool a little bit. Meanwhile I blotted the zucchini with more paper towels until it felt dry, then put it in a kitchen towel and squeezed it as hard as I could. Once you’ve extracted as much moisture as possible, transfer it to a bowl. If you have never made zucchini spirals, you might not realize that the strands are very very long. I used kitchen scissors to cut them up so they would be more manageable.

Whisk the remaining ingredients, then add the vegetables and stir. (Sorry, no photo of this part.) The whole shebang goes into a spring form pan to bake. When it’s finished, it gets turned out upside down and it looks LOVELY!

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Ingredients

  • 2 pounds zucchini
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pt. grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 large leeks, carefully cleaned and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 7 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha Sauce (or your favorite hot sauce) optional
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Cooking spray

Directions:

1) Using the large holes of a spiralizer, cut zucchini into noodles. Place zucchini on a bed of paper towels. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Let this sit for at least 30 minutes.

2) Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add tomatoes, leeks, garlic, chives and basil; cook, stirring often, until the leeks are soft and the tomatoes are wilted. Remove from heat and allow this to cool. (Remember, you will be adding it to an egg mixture so it needs to be close to room temp.)

3) Preheat oven to 375°F. Place half of zucchini noodles on a clean kitchen towel. Wrap towel around zucchini; twist and squeeze until all liquid is extracted. Repeat with remaining zucchini. Cut zucchini into manageable lengths.

4) Whisk eggs in a large bowl until lightly beaten. Whisk in milk, flour, hot sauce, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add tomato mixture, cheeses, and zucchini and stir to combine (kind of gently as you want to combine everything but not destroy the integrity of the vegetables.)

5) Wrap bottom plate of a 9-inch spring form pan tightly with foil. Assemble pan; coat bottom and sides with cooking spray. Pour egg mixture into pan. Bake at 375 degrees until set in the middle. Check it at 50 minutes. Mine took 60. Important step:  Make sure to let it cool for at least 15 minutes. Carefully remove the sides of the pan. Place your serving platter on top and invert. Then remove the bottom and garnish.

6) Watch your family swoon. I really love sour cream so I garnished mine with that, but you can do anything you like or nothing at all.

NOTE: This pie is NOT good re-heated in the microwave. The morning after I made this we got up thinking it would be great for breakfast. We nuked two pieces and both agreed that it tasted bitter. Best to put it in the oven covered (at 250 degrees) and let it heat up slowly and evenly for about 15-20 minutes.

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PS- Tomorrow we’ll talk about stuffing spaghetti squash with broccoli Alfredo (Not to be confused with Charlie Alfredo, below.)

Charlie Tortellini

Delicata Squash & Onions with Tomatoes!

I like to try new things. On a recent trip to Trader Joe’s, I spied a pretty display of different types of squash. My eye kept going to the pretty Delicata Squash and so I picked two of them. Here’s what I did with them.

I have had two delicata squash’ sitting on my counter for the past month (yes, MONTH!). They arrived in my home in much the same way a lot of things do: impulse purchase at Trader Joe’s! Last night I decided I was tired of looking at them, so I did a quick search through some recipes on the Internet to see what to do with them. Nothing appealed to me so I decided to put together my own using ingredients I had on hand.

I have an abundance of fresh herbs in my garden so I picked some thyme and some tarragon. I also had about a quarter of a bag of basil sun-dried tomatoes to get rid of. I hate those things, but my husband loves them, so I indulged him. Next I simply cut the squash in half, cored it and sliced it and then sliced a couple of Spanish onions. (I would have loved to use red onions for their color, but we were out.) Lastly, I threw in the last of a bag of baby Roma tomatoes mostly for color.

Pretty, isn’t it?

If you have never had Delicata squash, it tastes like a cross between butternut, acorn and yellow squash. They told me at the store that it is sweeter, but I found it to be milder. It’s not as dense as acorn and butternut and not as watery as yellow squash. I found it to be a perfect mixture and I love the fact that the skin is so thin, it can be eaten. (No need to peel! Yay!)

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I greased a casserole dish, sprinkled in some of my fresh thyme leaves and a few cloves of garlic and then I put down my slices, alternating between the squash and the onion. Last but not least, I sprinkled on the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and the last of a bag of baby Roma tomatoes.

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Once I was satisfied with how it looked, I melted about 3 Tablespoons of butter and a splash of olive oil along with more thyme leaves and tarragon. I drizzled the mixture over the top of the squash and onions and tomatoes.

I covered it with foil and baked it at 400 degrees for the first 20 minutes, then I uncovered it and baked it 30 minutes more (until it was fork tender.)

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Let me tell you. I am a fan of this squash and this dish. The next time I make it, however, I will come up with some form of sauce to bring it all together. This could have easily been done on a sheet pan with no particular order, but I liked this presentation for the table.

I decided to pair this with blackened sword fish (recipe is coming next ), and roasted green beans and it was delicious.

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Ingredients:
2 small Delicata Squash
2 Onions (use what you like)
10 sprigs (or more) of fresh thyme
10 sprigs (or more) of fresh tarragon
4 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
4 Tbsp. butter (use REAL butter!)
10 (or more cherry tomatoes) I used baby Roma tomatoes
3 Tbsp. chopped sun-dried tomatoes (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Slice the squash length-wise. Core and then slice into wedges.
Slice the onions the same size as the squash.
Grease a baking dish. (anyway you like. I used coconut oil spray)
Sprinkle down about ¼ of your fresh herbs.
Crush the garlic and add it to the pan as well.
Put down the squash and onions, alternating between the two.
Add the tomatoes and the sun-dried tomatoes on top.
Melt the butter and 1 Tbsp. olive oil with remaining herbs and drizzle all over the top of the vegetables.
Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes.
Uncover and bake 30 minutes more (or until fork tender).

Now say, “Delicata, Delicata, Delicata!” (because it’s fun to say!

 

 

Working Smart, not Hard with Simplot Good Grains!

may or may not have mentioned that my husband and I cook the Fellowship Meal for a large church every Wednesday night. We have a lot of diners who are watching their weight and/or trying to eat more healthfully. Because of this, we try to offer things that they can eat and not feel guilty about.

I may or may not have mentioned that my husband and I cook the Fellowship Meal for a large church every Wednesday night. We have a lot of diners who are watching their weight and/or trying to eat more healthfully. Because of this, we try to offer things that they can eat and not feel guilty about.

LAST week, we made the tortellini dish that destroyed everyone’s Weight Watcher’s points!  Naturally last night, I wanted to make up for that. Ordinarily this would have involved buying fresh vegetables and a lot of preparation chopping, cooking, serving, etc. However, for the past six weeks, I have been working full time filling in for one of my office mates and catering a number of events, so I opted for a healthy and easy side dish! Operative word: easy.

Enter this stuff:

Ancient Grains & Kale blend

Charlie and I bought a bag of Simplot Good Grains Ancient Grains & Kale Blend a couple of weeks ago thinking we’d see how we like it before introducing it to the church. One of the dishes we make at least one a week are tuna bowls. Usually that starts with a base of either quinoa or couscous. I am not a huge fan of plain quinoa, so if I’m going to eat it, it usually involves my having to saute a lot of things to add into it. Some nights I just don’t feel like doing all of that so these grains were worth trying. We like them very much and find them very versatile! There are only two of us, so one bag of this stuff keeps perfectly in the freezer and we can get about 5 meals for two out of it.

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This is one of our tuna bowl suppers.  Now we sub the couscous base for the Ancient Grains & Kale Blend.  YUMMY!

Which brings me to last night at church. We bought two cases of the Exotic Grains and Fire Roasted Vegetables Blend and then added freshly sauteed chopped onions, red and yellow peppers and a very  large bag of spinach. There are so many roasted vegetables already present in this mixture, that it’s not really necessary to add anything. I just wanted to add my own flair to it. I also happened to have a huge bag of spinach and another bag of chopped onions to get rid of! (Truth) After this, I added soy sauce, one of my favorite seasonings; Lawry’s Seasoned Salt; fresh cracked pepper and a lot of garlic Italian seasoning to taste.

Simplot Good Grains

As I was making this dish last night, my mind was conjuring up all sorts of other dishes that could be made utilizing these wonderful grains. I think they would be awesome to add to salads, wraps, burritos, quesadilla’s and even soups. If you like stuffing vegetables like mushrooms, acorn squash, zucchini or even tomatoes (yes, I know tomatoes are fruits), this brand makes other grain mixtures that would lend well this!

Just the word, “Stuffing” makes me think of Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving makes me think of sage and sage makes me think of sage dressing and that makes me think that roasted butternut squash, cranberries and/or apples could be added to any one of the Good Grains Blends for a delicious Thanksgiving side dish! The possibilities are endless!

In fact, I just thought of another way to make this, Asian fried rice style! Follow all of the directions for making fried rice but sub in whatever Good Grains Blend you like the best! Happy experimenting!


Since last night I was cooking for a huge crowd and seasoning as I go, and since I highly doubt you want a recipe for 100+ people, I will simply tell you to go out and get yourself a bag or two. Heat it up, taste it plain (it’s great) and then start adding whatever it is that makes your palate happy!

PS-some more images:

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