Saturday, January 10, 2015

Powdered Citrus,date squares..and housekeeping.











Many have picked meaningful words for 2015~
I read them here and there..and enjoyed reading what I saw..
If you could peek below the fairies and angels..you would see a glass etched ornament given to me maybe 4 years ago by my friend Nancy..it says ..HOPE.
So I am picking..have picked that♥

Christmas hibernated here  January 9th..
It involved a whole lotta organization and cleaning..

It takes one full day to ready for Christmas..and one full day to do a system restore.
Putting up Christmas is way funner,
Putting Christmas to sleep involves more cleaning:)and is way less fun..
I don't mind it..though..it's a ritual for me..

Hand made ornaments go in one bag/box..breakables in another..see above:)Little porcelain faces.. glass balls..etc..confiserie types..

OLD ones..not antiques..just old since our wedding .in another..etc etc..

I don't wrap them..or it would take 2 days..they are gently placed.They look haphazardly placed..but no..they are fine..the ones that look haphazardwere place on the top of the tree..I needed the ladder and the rest had been placed~

Everywhere feels younger...lighter..yet less ZEN...and then again..more Zen.Like a makeover.

We had days with minus 20 F temps..  some snow..some freezing rain..

I busied myself in the kitchen..making those powdered infusions of clementines and meyer lemons..
The idea and recipe was found here..I could not find a better way of showing you the finished product than by gleaning(copying) almost  exactly how she showed us..
It was the best way to share..
Basically peel your oranges..(organic..)lemons..limes.. being careful to peel up the least bit of white..possible..as that is the very AMER..bitter part..If they are not organic make sure you wash the citrus carefully..I use a mix of vinegar and water..I am fine with that..
Then I put them on parchment..and baked in a slow oven..she recommended 100 C  for 1.5 hours..it took mine longer..keep checking..you want dry..so that when you pulse in your coffee grinder(I have one specifically for herbs and spices)..there is no moisture and you get a fine fine grain/powder.
The scent is suerb!
Perfect addition to zest up muffins..  cakes.. icings..pancakes..cookies ...even date squares.

I have baked since New Years and 2 trials were absolute shambles..blueberry baked donuts..oy..
not pretty not good ..
That little silicone mold will have to wait a while before I venture that route again..
And really beautiful stuffed cookies made in a moon cake mold.
I had tried mooncakes..to no avail last year..so when I saw cookies ..I thought .."I have found THE recipe" for my molds..
Not so much.
My cookies were rock hard..the impression faded at baking..FLOPS.

I did make this for dinner one night ..adding mushrooms I had pan sautéed first..I had to bake longer because I used skin on ,bone in.. legs..We rarely if ever have skin on ..bone in..but ..in some cases the 2 are needed..
It was quite good for a quick and easy meal.


So  as far as baking went..since the new recipes were being so stubborn.. ..I made a tried and true..
Date squares..as far as I know..Jacques and I love them ..and Frédérick..
So I brought some over.
We all probably have as many date square recipes as banana bread recipes..but a friend lost his aunt during the holidays and he had given me her recipe..
So I made those thinking of him..and her..
The secret he and she said..:" Is love..and the freshest dates you can find..in this case and their cases..Medjool from Algeria."


La recette~

And they qualify this recipe as no different from many others..the sole reason they are so good..is that they are made with love~

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour(I put 3/4)
1 cup butter in small cubes
2 + cups of rolled oats
450 grams of fresh dates..pitted.
1 cup water or orange juice



Now I grate the butter.. she says/ he says.. to cut the butter in small pieces and blend into the flour..I grate the cold butter and with my extremely clean fingers..I blend the butter into the flour and then add the brown sugar and oats that I have pre-blended.
It makes the crumble..Work it gently but thoroughly so the butter is well incorporated.
After pitting the very fresh dates..cook them in one cup of water or orange juice..(I do half half)..

...for  a little over 5 minutes until you get a type of jam consistency (my words)..
In an 8 x 8 pan..(I add a piece of parchment that overhangs so I can lift the whole square out and put on a board to cut into ind. squares or triangles.)  place half the crumble and don't press down hard..

With a spoon ..spread the date mixture over all..and top with the rest of the crumble..
I added a smidgen of my orange powder to the date mixture..
Bake at 375 for ap 30 minutes..Check because they said 45 minutes and really after 25 mine were browning..so check you will know when they are ready..they brown and they just look cooked/baked..as you can see every oven is different.

My notes..I used a 9x9 silicone pan..
So nice w/ tea/coffe/milk.
A classic in the kitchen.

The ones I usually make are from Ann Lindasy..If you scroll down to Best Ever Date Squares you will find the recipe here..
I also like Blueberry Oat bars..these are my faves..

Tomorrow..I am seeing Jersey Boys with my daughters ..♥

I'll let you know..it was my Christmas gift from them..The tickets said:" Lunch and a show with your girls".





73 comments:

  1. My mother gifted me with oranges, and your recipe will be perfect! Thank you!

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    1. I think you will really enjoy this.And you will make it pretty.

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  2. Your photos are so gorgeous. I just keep scrolling from top to bottom. That top one - love, love, love.

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    1. Pam..truthfully it is I that is in awe of your photographs..I always want to ask ..which lens..which camera etc..but know and appreciate that you are a professional:)You photographs from the day I met you;-) have only gotten better and better and better till there is like no better .
      Really..I mean it.

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  3. Monique, I echo Pam's comments about your photos. Amazing! The citrus is lovely. A friend gave us a gift of Meyer lemons from their own tree. They are huge! I've used all but two. Will bake something this week with the last two. ;-)
    I wonder about your beautiful pieces shown, they toile design on the white enamel ware. Gorgeous!
    The bars look delicious.
    I can relate to your words about packing it all away. It's like saying goodbye to old friends for me.
    The Christmas gift with your girls is the best kind ~ a shared experience. Enjoy the theatre!

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    1. Sarah..I too have had lemons from a friend's tree and they made our lemons look like ping pong balls:)
      The pattern is Audun by Villeroy And Boch..both the kettle and colander were gifts from one of my daughters .A long time ago..2 seperate occasions..I favor that pattern..I never tire of it.
      I am still thinking about your DA gifts:)
      Tonight!

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  4. I can't wait to hear what you thought of Jersey Boys! I am with you it is much funner putting up Christmas than taking it down. The house always seems to be so empty afterwards. I can remember cooking an appetizer for the big house once which used powdered citrus peels on shrimp. It was a lot of work to make the powdered citrus in the quanitities needed ahead of time, but they tasted glorious so well worth it. I love all of your photos, always. That enameled colander with the lemons . . . oh lala. I love it. You have a beautiful home. I don't have to really see it to know it is so. Love you. Hope you are enjoying your January. xxoo

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    1. Marie..I will let you know..the last live show like that I saw was Paul Potts ..again with my girls..a birthday gift years ago..and I tripped down the aisle..Hope they will be prouder of me tonight.

      Those little sidelights..it was so dark I could not see a thing:)
      January seems to be flying by too..Happily even young people have told me time flies now.

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  5. PS - I love your word for the year. Hope. and of course the date squares. I have been wanting to make some.

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  6. Your citrus powers are so pretty and I know you will use them a lot. I can only imagine what incredible flavor they bring to to dishes. I totally agree that putting up Christmas is a whole lot more fun than taking it down and putting it away. My joy comes from carefully placing the fragile and old pieces carefully for next year. As always, I enjoyed all of your pretty photos and know your date bars must taste splendid. Enjoy the Jersey Boys.
    Sam

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    1. Thank you Sam:) I think the citrus might be good on so many of your colorful dishes..:)

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  7. I love your word for year. Joe's sister is named Hope :-) I know you will enjoy the show and lunch today! Stay warm my friend.

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    1. Hope and Grace ..two of my favorite girl names..I love them.
      I think we will park indoors..there is a gathering in the city ..for France.:(
      For solidarity and love and support.

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  8. So much sunshine & gold in your photo...Lemons are so refreshing, such a nice contrast to the middle of a northern winter...
    A fun project, borh putting out & putting to sleep Christmas!
    We liked Jersey Boys a lot...
    Enjoy! R.

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    1. Good to know..Thank you..I am sure I will enjoy it..Live is always more of an exciting feeling.

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  9. I am a nut for citrus. To be able to make my own fresh, dried orange zest is nothing short of thrilling. Thanks for this. We, too have (had) a coffee grinder just for spices, but somehow it got lost in our move. I'm wondering if a Bullet Blender, Ninja Blender, or food processor would work. I have made almond flour in the Ninja, so it does grind pretty fine.

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    1. I had misplaced my second grinder also..I guess because it's not something I use all the time..but it was there..hideen behind other baking things..
      I bet the Ninja would work!
      Nice little powders to have around.

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  10. I know the sunshine and citrus give no clue as to how cold it is outdoors. It's always warm and inviting in your kitchen and home :) I will have to try the dried zest! It would like a perfect thing to have on hand as I'm always zesting citrus for recipes. The date bars - yum! I need to make a pan for myself as I'm the only one in the family who loves date, sadly. I love the box of ornaments :) We just got our tree down Friday. It's been too cold to take it outside and the front stairs too slick with snow! A warm up is coming - yay!

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    1. I'm sure you noticed an ornament or two;)
      Our tree came down Fiday also..
      A void no?
      But clean.
      Until next year:)

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  11. Vous faites des infusions maison ? C'est quelque chose que j'aimerais également faire, cela permet beaucoup de nouveaux mariages ~
    A part mettre un peu de cannelle par-ci par-là je n'ai jamais créé.

    Bonne soirée

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    1. Tu aimerais beaucoup le blog de Chef Nini...tu connais?

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  12. The chicken dish sounds great, will try it with the mushrooms. I love dishes with whole grain mustard. The whole house must have smelled wonderful as the infusions baked. Another for me to try. Have a great time at Jersey Boys.

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    1. The Jersey Boys.:Wonderful.
      You and me both w/ whole grain mustard.

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  13. Bonsoir chère Nana,

    Une recette qui me plaît !... J'aime tout ce qui est à base de citron et d'orange. Bientôt je ferai la confiture d'orange amère.
    Pour le jour de l'an, j'avais préparé une bûche au citron... une belle manière de revisiter la tarte au citron...
    Merci pour ton gentil petit mot et à la pensée particulière concernant les victimes de l'attentat à Paris.
    Gros bisous ♡

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    1. Tellement triste cette..ces histoires..
      La paix..dans le monde..il me semble que ce serait beaucoup moins triste et beaucoup plus facile.
      Je peux m'imaginer ton beau dessert avec ton talent artistique :)

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  14. You had me, Monique, until the grating of the butter. I am far too lazy a cook to do that. But, I loved the idea of the citrus powder. I have made citrus salts in the oven and maybe I'll try it. I still have more citrus to pick in the greenhouse. I got very cold here last week; I was out of town and the propane heater went out. I have a little electric heater as backup, but I am almost afraid to look in the greenhouse, which will come later today.

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    1. I hope all is well in there~
      I think having a greenhouse must be such a pleasure.
      .I have seen your citrus..Hope you like ..I made a batch of Ina's make ahead scones to freeze this morning because they were so good Christmas morn and I used the clementine dust:)

      Grating..I have a very old hand crancked kitchen appliance that is on 3 stands and you insert different graters /slicers..it was my mom's so you can imagine how I love that old stainless gadget.It grates butter in a nano.. and no force required..perfect little grated butter pieces..
      So I can't take credit for going above and beyond..
      Funny even with my modern choppers..processors etc..this gets used the most.
      Must be love:)
      I would think having a greenhouse must be

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  15. Monique, I love the lemon photo - so uplifting on a grey, wet winter day. May have to make those date squares too.

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  16. Your little trinket treasures look so pretty Monique ... randomly placed but all sweetly tucked away. Yes packing up from Christmas is not the fun part but a necessary routine ... I try do mine on the 12th day of Christmas but this year it was much later. Thank you for sharing the "date squares" recipe they would go perfect with a pot of tea .... 1/3 earl grey to 2/3 English breakfast - just perfect.

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    1. I love too many teas Dianne:)
      Thank you for all the French photos you share~

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  17. I just made Martha Stewart's Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies. They weren't a flop but I wasn't too thrilled with them. Some were too hard and hubby ever so gingerly asked if I could bake the rest less so to make them softer. I agreed. We may have gotten down to -25 but only because of the high winds. I don't mind the snow (a new scenery for me to see a foot of snow outside my windows) I just don't like it when it's blowing in with 40 mph gusts of wind. I just have to adapt to it and I'm really trying. How ever do you do it, seems like your climate is 10F degrees colder than MI. I love your dishes, where do you get them? I usually take down Christmas decorations on New Years Day. I'm with you, it's not as fun but I do like cleaning the area and having a clean house. If it were up to my hubby, he would have them up year round!! No!!! Have a blessed week!!

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    1. My husband is the same..he gets a sad face when I say I will put Christmas away..so I wait a few days and then I say it with determination..and conviction.. and I start:)
      Then there is no choice.
      I am used to winter..we stay in on below zero days unless we have appointments..
      I was out with my daughters yesterday and one of my daughter's friends has moved to Saudi Arabia for 3 years..my daughters..both of them..find her so lucky w/ her sea vistas..blue skies and seas.
      I don't..And I said to them..at your age..40 ish..I wondered also why we lived here:)
      My eldest said you don't work anymore.. no cars to warm up no buses for the children..snowsuits etc..
      In a way she is right..
      When I had to show 15 homes in this weather and my feet were wet cold and frozen....:)
      But.. right after... when I got home..it was heaven again.
      I love the 4 seasons..
      We dress warmly..enjoy creature comforts..like reading etc..
      And I can honestly say..that I still pick here.

      If I had a second choice..Provence.My husband also.
      Have a blessed YEAR!


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  18. Guess what have I got for Christmas-))) I got Villeroy and Boch's Audun Chasse china set for 8 people. I love every dish-))) I see you also have some ..

    We have very alike taste-))
    Hugs, and have a good week Monique!!

    Yelena

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    1. You were spoiled and it is so well deserved!!
      It is my very favorite VB set..for 8?:)
      Wow.

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  19. Yes Monique, you need a search box. Just click on add a gadget and put it up close to the top. So people can find your fabulous baked goodies.
    Goodness, Monique, you are the best baker. I adore your photography skills...

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    1. Thanks Linda..I am going to try some of your great tips tomorrow.you are great at all that!
      So nice to share!

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  20. I love your photo of the box of angels and fairies. Lovely. We have a faux fir, so could leave it up till spring.... but usually start putting the decor away after Epiphany. I love the surprise every year of seeing the ornaments and remembering their histories. The citrus powder -> what a great idea. The kitchen must smell wonderful while you're making it. mmmmm

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    1. Ours is faux faux too..It was just too much sawing the base off ..dragging the tree in and out..So we went this route a few years ago..loved that it was all pre-lit..however sadly..maybe 5% work..we had to add and add.
      I do too love taking them out the ornaments ..there is a memory attached to all..even if the day I bought one..as insignificant as that..to family ones that are dear..friends..
      Jacques would leave it up until February!

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  21. Aww what lovely and beauty post Monique!!
    Im agree with Christmas
    Still I dont restore my Christmas stuff..
    I need some boxes...
    Here usually I let all until january 12th cause is my mom birthday, was last Sunday she has 84 and I dont believe maybe we want parents for ever sigh!
    Have a nice time with the boys dear!

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  22. Yes..I would have loved my mom forever:)
    Mine..her birthday was Jan 2nd..but she has been gone 41 years.
    Thank you Gloria.

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    1. Aw dear The moms are something special.
      Hugs dear monique!

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  23. Monique, I am glad you added the search button. I will figure out why yours isn't working and get back to you,

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  24. Love your picture of the gorgeous citrus. :) So beautiful. And I agree, treats that are made with love are extra yummy!

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    1. They DO taste better.I know when I am making something in that way..always tastes better than a have to make because:)

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  25. I really like the idea of the rinds, Monique. Would be wonderful to use in dishes here and there, even savory. Must be lovely with chicken dishes.
    My daughter, thankfully, helps to take down the tree ornaments and she wraps them carefully. I hate that part of things, but love putting everything up!
    My dad loved date bars....haven't made them in years. There was one recipe, dates and apricots mixed in a bar, always loved that recipe. Same idea as your recipe, but using both fruits.

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    1. I bet they are great with apricots:)
      I added them to scones yesterday..will bake 2 today and see:)

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  26. Drooling again all over everything.
    Love the idea of the powdered citrus. could you make watercolors out of them?
    Just add binder et voila. Pretty colors!

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  27. I so really love the look of a box full of ornaments, yours are so pretty :) The date bars sound delicious, out west in california they make date shakes which i love.
    Hope you had a wonderful day with your daughters sounds like fun and stay warm, wow 20 below i can't imagine it.

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    1. It's really a bit too cold..even the squirrels are hiding..:)
      Hope you are creating:)

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  28. Those date bars are seriously making my mouth water. I know that little essence of orange made them ridiculously delicious. Love, The Jersey Boys, didn't think I would...

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    1. I knew I would like being out w/ my daughters..but me too..never knew I would like it that much!:)

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  29. I always enjoy your beautiful photos, Monique. Those lemons are so bright and cheery. Thank you for sharing your recipe for date bars. My mother loved dates and used them in baking all the time. I'll have to make a batch in her honor.

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  30. Every visit here is such a treat! I made tangerine tea once with dried rinds, but the idea of the citrus powders is fascinating, I am going to try it!

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  31. Made the chicken dish tonight with the mushrooms. So good and quick. I also did some lemon and orange infusions. I have a recipe for orange and cranberry bread. I'll send your way Sunday, you might want to add some orange infusion to kick it up a notch. If you like it you can share. Wonder how the lemon would go with some shortbread cookies...

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    1. Thanks Terry! I bet the lemon would be good in shortbread..Smells great doesn't it..they?:)

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  32. Sometimes eye-feasts are JUST as filling as feasts. I have an eye-feast whenever I visit you.

    All joys,
    Sharon

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  33. A little late but everything looks amazing! Can you believe I have never ever had a date bar? I think I need to remedy that ASAP!
    The dried citrus looks wonderful! I think I want to come and spend the winter with you...everything looks so comforting!
    Bisous xoxoxo

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    1. You could never leave Miss Z.
      Oh do try date bars..The Ann Lindsay ones with coffee in them are delicious too.
      Have a craving again..

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  34. Je n'ai jamais essayé ces carrés aux dattes, je pense. Je prendrai ta recette, donc ... C'est vrai que des fois, on fait des essais pas forcément concluants. Mais chez toi, je sais toujours que ce que j'essaierai fonctionnera ...
    Des bises de bonne année
    Hélène

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    1. Hélène..ceux de Ann Lindsay avec le café dans les ingrédients.. très bons..tu dois aller voir..le lien après Best Ever Date Squares..:)

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  35. J'oubliais de te dire que ta poudre de zestes d'agrumes est géniale !!!

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    1. C'est Ninj ..J'ai eu l'idée de Nini..et beau coup d'idées de toi aujourd'hui!

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  36. Putting up decorations are much more fun. I never really thought about separating the breakable ones from the non breakable ornaments. Good idea. Where did the colander come from it is so elegant.

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