Go Niners, Pink Pasta Recipe, and Random Updates

I used to write to-do lists before starting the day. Now I write chalkboards.

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Go Niners! First game at the new stadium today! These pictures are old, but still good ones!

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The boys are getting bigger. Don’t worry. I tell them every day to stop it.wpid-20140813_111246.jpg

I’m telling you, they’re the ones begging for boba every day. I have to limit it to once a week.

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The sister and I braved the challenge of bringing the boys out to eat. It went well! a bit stressful and tiring, but we made it without a meltdown! wpid-20140814_113123.jpg

These sticky placemats were AWESOME. We could sprinkle some puffs and baby cheetos (they’re not really cheetos, don’t worry) on the mat and the boys could feed themselves. Adrian loves pho. He can eat anything.wpid-20140814_113247.jpg

Then we hung out outside of the restaurant. So hard to get both boys smiling so this was the best picture!

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Here are some funny faces Adrian made while I was trying to get a picture of the boys.

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After we tried putting the boys down for their afternoon nap, we found them like this. Cute you say? Well if you were there, you’d say STINKY! The boy had poopy diapers which prevented them from napping, but they were happy campers anyway. Silly boys.

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We went to a local baseball game last week. Fun! Can’t wait to bring the boys.

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Look who was at the game!!! wpid-20140812_200852.jpg

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I usually don’t do this, but I created something without a recipe! A co-worker shared a quick and easy pasta recipe and I just had to try it. I’m calling it: Pink Pasta. This dish is nice because the sauce is fairly light, which works out for someone like my mom who is not a big fan of red sauces.

Pink Pasta

Ingredients:

Pasta (I used shells, but would love to use bow-tie next time)

1 lb Italian sausage (I got the fresh one that looks like ground beef, not in the casing)

5-6 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 onion, diced

Half pint heaving whipping cream

One can diced tomatoes (preferable PETITE diced, but regular works, too)

Red chili pepper flakes

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Cook pasta according to package directions.

Heat oil in a medium sized skillet. Saute garlic and onion until onion is translucent.

Add Italian sausage. Cook until cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Add whipping cream and diced tomatoes (do not drain tomatoes). Simmer for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Add pasta and a generous sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Mix well. Simmer another 5 minutes.

Add sea salt and additional red pepper flakes to taste.

Ta-da!

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How was it? I really liked it, although  it was missing something. Hubs and I agreed it should have had chicken! I also am not a fan of tomatoes so I’m glad I enjoyed the meal. I did pick out the tomatoes though, whoops! I also want to add some CHEESE next time. I think it’ll be FABULOUS after the addition of chicken & cheese.

See more of my recipes HERE!

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Your turn to share!!!

~What dish have you created (or imitated) without exact measurements and directions?

~What is a go-to dish that you’ve mastered over time and don’t need to refer to a recipe anymore?

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Five things I’ve learned about having twins

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A quick sneak peek at my new obsession… Can’t wait to really get into chalkboards and calligraphy and all things fonts/pens/writing!

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Jer takes a selfie

After doing this twin-raisin’ thing for a year now, I think that qualifies me to finally share some important lessons learned. If you’ve read some of my posts throughout the past year (plus my pregnancy), you know that I’ve not only dealt with my fair share of challenges, I’ve learned a lot about becoming a first-time parent and mother. Not only in figuring out how to care for two infants, but how to keep my sanity, stay strong, and do things for me.

Yes, he's a lot louder than he appears

Yes, he’s a lot louder than he appears

While this list could go on for much longer, here are the top five things that I’ve been thinking about lately. These five things pretty much summarize life with twins at my house. I think it’s safe to assume other first-time moms and especially moms of multiples can agree with me here. If you are not yet a parent, you would probably find this list intriguing, especially if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to raise a baby, let alone two! 🙂

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1. Lots of crying

The nature of having twins is that you cannot always tend to them when they need you. If I had a DIME for every time a baby cried while I tended to his brother, there would be no need for a college savings account. It breaks my heart and every bone in my body hearing them cry, but not only do I know that I will eventually get to them, I also know they won’t remember these days!

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2. It’s not double the trouble

It’s triple, sometimes quadruple, the trouble! Yes, it’s twice the diapers, twice the bottles, twice the soothing, twice the care. But the effort required to care for infant twins is compounded by the fact that you cannot always immediately tend to a baby’s needs, causing him to cry and fuss even more, and so you scramble around trying to finish tending to the first crying baby, and after you finally get to the second crying baby, you feel like you’ve run a mini marathon and can barely catch your breath. Then, you finally catch your breath, but it’s time to do it all over again!

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3. If it’s not one, it’s the other

Even when you think you’ve got the hang of this twin-parent thing, it’s such a challenge figuring out what they need. You finally get one baby happy, then the other is not having it. Or one baby finally gets through a week or two of fussiness ALL THE TIME, and then now the other baby is fussy all the time. It’s almost like they know how to tag team it. On a less difficult note, the same goes for other things as well. Taking a picture of the babies together is quite a feat. one baby will be cheesing and laughing while the other is mean-mugging. Then they’ll switch. Not gonna lie, it can take up to 5-10 pictures just to get one DECENT one.

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4. You have a built-in excuse for quite a while

I have no shame (maybe a drop) using the boys as an excuse to be too tired to work out or do anything productive, an excuse for a messy home (don’t all new parents get to pull that card?), and an excuse to do be grumpy and irritated. Yes, they’re a joy, but the happiness is not without the struggle. If I have to go through all this work for the babies, don’t expect me to do much else! I used to tell myself that I get double the clearance time to workout (typically new mothers have to wait 6 weeks until cleared by the doctor to work out). That doubled clearance time tripled and quadrupled and now it’s one year later and I’m still not trying to lift a single dumbell. I can barely trot down the block without dry heaving, so I am just not ready to work out yet.

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5. You’re heart wants to explode

Ok, I’ll stop complaining. How is there even anything to whine about when I get the blessed opportunity, privilege, and honor of being the parent to two beautiful, healthy baby boys? Every day they amaze us. It sounds cheesy and cliche, but they truly do fill my heart beyond capacity. Just this morning when they were being difficult at breakfast – they weren’t eating, refusing and whining and pushing the spoon away – I was very frustrated because I put so much time and energy and MONEY into preparing them good ol’ homemade baby food. I didn’t expect the rejection to be so heartbreaking and irritating. After I put the boys in their playyard alone and walked away, I overheard them laughing with each other. These boys were seriously cracking up. I go and peek at what is going on and find Adrian playing peek-a-boo with Jer and they were both hysterically laughing. It is those breakthrough moments that bring me back to the ground and realize that we are doing just fine.

A ton of pictures without the rambling

First year collage I made for the boys!

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I don’t know who these kids are. Do you? They look too grown to be mine.wpid-photogrid_1407714819611.jpg

Oh, nevermind. Yes, they’re mine.wpid-img_20140810_060743.jpg

Quick recap of the week… opened a ton of presents from their 1st birthday! Can’t wait to post more pictures because I sure did Pinterest-it-up!
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12 month check-up with Lola (hub’s mama).
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Chillin with our buddy, Zac!
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We got to get out of the house on our own! Attended a wonderful wedding ceremony and PAR-TAY, I mean reception. Congrats, Kendra & Jason!
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Packing food for… daycare! The boys are eating really well. Here is miswa (hope I spelled that right), lugow, and ground pork w/ chayote. Yummy Filipino food from Lola! I plan to practice these recipes and share soon! Gotta build up that homemade baby food repertoire! wpid-img_20140810_211641.jpg

Aaaaaand to balance all the healthy goodness the boys are eating, we ate some cronuts…wpid-img_20140810_114718.jpg

And… whatever this thing was, a donut with Thai tea ice cream.wpid-img_20140809_155947.jpg

That’s all folks! Crossing my fingers I get a post up this week on breastfeeding/pumping and the boys’ 1st birthday celebration!

The twins at 1 year

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AJ & JT @ 1 Year

The twins @ 1 year

One year. 365 days. 525,600 minutes. How do you measure a year? (shoutout to my R.E.N.T. fans out there!) How do you measure a year with twin babies? Without having an accurate record count, I’d say 5,000 bottles, 4,300 diapers, 2,000 pumping sessions, 16,000 ounces of milk pumped, and who knows how much $$$ spent on baby STUFF. Would I call my babies priceless? Ehh… they are pretty dang expensive. Not only monetarily speaking, but they cost us sleepless nights, endless worries, immeasurable energy, countless drops of blood, sweat, and tears… Would I call my babies worth it? Is that even a question? Without blinking an eye, of course they are worth it. They are worth more than life itself.

…And now they are ONE! We made it an entire year, just when I thought I’d never see the light at the end of the tunnel. Time to throw away the receipt and keep them forever! If we made it through the roughest part of their lives (relatively speaking), I can truly say we can make it through anything.

I posted these thoughts of mine on Facebook and Instagram a few days ago. I finally have some time to share here:

Getting the nervous jitters. Nearly a year ago, we prayed and waited patiently for the boys to arrive. With each day that passed, I literally cried with joy knowing the boys were blessed with another chance to grow and “cook.” And then at 34 weeks and 5 days, they decided it was time to make their debut.

This Friday, we’ll celebrate their first birthday. As much as it is a huge milestone for them, it is an even bigger celebration for us. Cheers not just to the joy, happiness, and laughter, but to all the pain, tears, frustration, challenge, exhaustion, and heartache we’ve endured. Here’s to going from surviving to thriving.

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It’s amazing how much can happen in a year.

There were the worries:

  • the boys’ early arrival (34 weeks & 5 days)
  • their almost-month-long stay in the NICU
  • their blood-sugar issues, Adrian’s heart issues
  • their torticollis/plagiocephaly that lead to helmet-wearing (blog post on helmets WAY overdue)
  • what seemed like endless visits to doctors and specialists
  • my struggle with efficiently nursing two babies
  • the stress and hard work required by exclusively pumping
  • feeling hopeless as we struggled to get the boys to sleep more during the night
  • the daycare search
  • the return to work
  • the fact that we were literally sending them to a daycare with people we have just met
  • the day-to-day challenges of being a full-time worker outside of the home and having a “2nd job” when the babies get picked up from daycare and are with us the rest of the night.

Then there was the joy:

  • the boys’ “graduation” from the NICU and finally coming home
  • their defeat of those medical issues and a decrease in doctor visits
  • my increasingly abundant milk production and frozen “stash” (I plan to do a breastfeeding/pumping post ASAP!)
  • the boys sleeping through the night UNDISTURBED from 7 pm to 5:45/6 am
  • discovering how much the boys enjoy their daycare provider and do really well there
  • capitalizing on opportunities at work to advance my career and enjoying my work life
  • going out with the boys to parties, the mall, walks to the park, and other realms of civilization outside of our house
  • truly enjoying the smiles, laughter, funny moments, precious cuddles, and overall fun we have with the boys
  • learning from other fellow moms, moms of twins/triplets, and also sharing my own knowledge and experience with new moms
  • gaining confidence as a new mom and parent
  • watching the boys thrive

Alright, I’ll put away the violins and talk about what the babies are doing now!

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AJ @ 1 Year

Adrian Joseph

Stats

Height: 2′ 7″

Weight: 20.6 lbs

Adrian likes to:

  • EAT! Not only does he eat almost everything offered to him, he can sit in his highchair for long periods of time and is patient. Unlike some other babies, not naming any names…
  • Climb on top of me
  • Smile in his scrunchy-nose-cheesy way
  • Talk. All the time! Getting louder and the syllables are more distinct
  • Throw things (he’ll throw a small ball in front of him)

He can:

  • Pull himself up to stand
  • Crawl the “right” way
  • Clap his hands
  • Wave bye (although he says “Da-da-da-da” while waving)
  • (Sorta) say, “Uh-oh!”
  • Climb stairs
  • Sip from a straw cup

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JT @ 1 Year

Jeremiah Tyler

Stats:

Height: 2′ 8″

Weight: 20.9 lbs

Jeremiah likes to:

  • Army crawl
  • Mimic a zombie (he does his “zombie voice” on command!)
  • Be carried or given ANY kind of attention. He’s our new divo.
  • Scream like a pterodactyl. He’s our Jerodactyl.
  • Climb over anything in his way, boppy, pillow, toys, me.
  • Cling to mommy or daddy
  • Use his binky… still!

He can:

  • Pull himself up to stand
  • Clap his hands
  • Point to certain things in a book
  • Hand things to me (book, toy)
  • Do all kinds of tricks with his binky (he’ll hold it in his mouth sideways, put it in his mouth without looking…)
  • Sip from a straw cup
Read more monthly updates HERE!
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Boys’ first birthday festivities: Sneak peek!

Celebrating their actual birthday on Friday, August 1st… supposedly National Twin Day?!?! Still looking for confirmation, but how cool would that be?
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Decorations for their carnival-themed birthday!
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Monthly photos compiled together:
wpid-20140802_131621.jpgGifts galore!
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Couldn’t wait to take out their radio flyer, which was a gift from Jer Bear’s Ninang (Godmother) Marie, Ninong (Godfather) Ellis, Kuya Eli, & Kuya Ethan! I will update this post with an AWESOME video clip the hubs took of the boys enjoying their new wheels.
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Well, it’s been one heck of a ride. This past year (plus the duration of the pregnancy!) was a true roller coaster ride. From here on out, I won’t be posting the “official” monthly updates, but I will certainly keep sharing tons of pictures and videos of the boys as they grow! Thanks for reading!

Homemade Ball Pit and a Fruit Mash Up

My babies are almost one!!! I was warned time would fly, but it was hard to believe it. When you’re running off 4-5 hours of choppy sleep, up 2-3 times during the night, tending to two newborns ALL-DAY-LONG, you don’t even think the light at the end of the tunnel is around the corner. You feel trapped in a deep, dark abyss called first-time-parenthood-to-twins and you just fight to survive while praying for the sun to come up!!! Sorry if this sounds super depressing, but those first few months are ROUGH. The great news is, there IS a light at the end of the tunnel! It started to make an appearance for me personally when the babies could reciprocate smiles and laughter. As much as you can love a newborn, those challenges in the beginning are very trying and it takes a little while before you can enjoy being a parent. For those parents out there with newborns, check out these great reads here and here and here that helped inspire me and support me in terms of being a mom, parent, and just getting through the beginning!

wpid-img_20140722_081100.jpgHere’s a glimpse at how I get to blog:
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Yeah, they were knocked out. wpid-20140721_090220.jpg How cute that their got all cozy next to each other?

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Homemade ball pit!!! How cool is this?! We ordered these ball pit balls and threw them into the pack-n-play. Instant success! See video for proof. I was concerned about the price of the balls, but when a fellow mom told me her 2.5 year old twins STILL love them, I was sold.

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They LOVED it!!!

How funny is this? Coffee and water for mommy, bottles and straw cups for babies.

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Costco shopping carts for the win! They boys lasted about 2/3 of the store. I had more on my list to buy, but since we ended up having to carry them, we headed straight for check out. There’s something hilariously ridiculous about carrying a baby (or two) while pushing a shopping cart designed to hold them both.
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Nice shot of the boys playing together:
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Last Friday’s boba trip. Jer couldn’t believe the bill even though we get the same thing every single week.

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Can you believe Prince George turned one??? I remember watching Will and Kate’s first appearance with baby George while I was on bed rest. I almost cried at the time. Re-watching the clip made me feel happy for them and bittersweet that babies really do grow so fast! Something about how humble and accessible this couple is, despite their high rankings. They seem extremely down-to-earth and I wish I could meet them! Plus, Kate’s wardrobe is AMAZING.

Here’s another “recipe” I want to share! I was proud of myself because even though this “recipe” is not completely ingenious, I did come up with the idea spontaneously. I basically needed to do something with the pears I steamed and wanted to mix up the flavor for the boys. I knew pears and blueberries went well together, thanks to Wholesome Babyfood.

Pear and Blueberry Mash Up

Ingredients

3-4 pears (I prefer to use organic Bartlett, but these were whatever I found at the grocery store)

1-2 cups organic blueberries

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wpid-20140723_214427.jpgThoroughly wash fruits.

Core pears and slice into 1 inch pieces. Steam for 15-20 minutes or until tender.

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Place in food processor or blender and puree to desired consistency. Since the boys are almost one, I don’t worry about the skin any more, so long as it is chopped (not offering a whole blueberry because it is still a choking hazard).

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The results resembled an applesauce consistency.

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One thing I noticed is that after putting the fruits in the fridge, it solidifies a bit to resemble a very firm jello consistency. I thought it would remain like applesauce, but it may be that I didn’t add additional water when pureeing. The boys enjoy the mash a lot. Over the weekend, I would scoop out a dollop to go with whatever meal they had (not just breakfast) and I didn’t even warm it up. I would just take it out to room temperature and offer it as a palate changer.

See more homemade baby food recipes and tips here!

Pictures of the Boys and Chicken Noodle Soup

Lots of pictures of the boys and a chicken noodle soup recipe!

Tickle attack early Saturday morning:

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Hanging out at Gramma’s house. Daycare was closed and Gramma graciously offered to watch the boys along w/ Auntie Ninang.

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Cool arial shot of the boys (I stood on the master bed)

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Thank goodness the ceiling fan still entertains them. They were super fussy w/ me and once I threw them on the bed, they looked up and stared… and stared… Jer even raised his hand in an attempt to reach the fan.

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“Say it ain’t so!!!” The boys have officially taken over our family room. I thought we could be strong and enforce what is “off limits” by applying the behavior therapy techniques I’ve learned in a previous job (basically it’s like training a dog!), but not only are we inconsistent, it is TIRING! This situation is temporary anyway as we finish preparing their playroom. It’s great that they are contained, but the downfall is that we have hardwood. We don’t mind them crawling around on the wood, but they are slowly pulling themselves up and it would be tragic if they fell backwards. Thus, constant supervision is necessary. We know we can protect them from everything, which is why we let them roam around and figure things out, but OUCH! Wouldn’t want them to take a big blow to the head.

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Last baby update… Oh, Jer. This is what he does with his bottle – he shakes it above his head until his face is full of milk drops. Then I’ll take away his bottle because I assume he’s finished. Then he reaches for it and tries to drink more. What a crazy boy!

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Our drying area looks a lot different than a couple of months ago. What was once a ton of pump parts and smaller bottles is now a bunch of bigger bottles, food containers, mesh teethers, straw cups, and utensils!

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Random update: Jamberry nails are pretty cool. I was skeptical at first because I’ve never tried the Sally Hansen sticker nail stuff, but WOW! Jamberry nails stayed on my hands for over a week! No chipping or peeling, whereas regular nail polish, even with a few coats and a top coat of course, would have chipped after day 3! With all the hand washing and use of my hands, Jamberry seems like the way to go. (This post is NOT sponsored – LOL!)

wpid-img_20140713_223240.jpgChicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

2 cups chicken stock (I used Costco’s organic chicken stock, no salt added)

1/2 cup dry pasta

1 celery stalk,

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 cup peas frozen

Onion

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Wash and dice celery.

Wash, peel, and dice carrot.

Dice onion.
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Cook chicken broth on high heat until boiling. Add all remaining ingredients and return to a boil.

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Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

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Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cooled, puree or put in food processor for a bit. The boys are old enough now that we don’t even need to puree. As long as the pasta and veggies are soft enough to squeeze between your fingers, they are soft enough for a baby to gum (chew without teeth).

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See more recipes here! I also started an “adult” recipe page, mostly to see for myself the recipes I have tried and been successful with.