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Tuna, Cheese & Corn Dinner Pie

Tuna, Cheese & Corn Dinner Pie



This is an old, old, OLD recipe that I cut out of a Reader's Digest magazine a bazillion years ago.  Its from Pillsbury flour.  There are a whole variety of different kinds you can make. This tuna version is one of our favourites.  You make a kind of a paste and spread it into a pan, fill it with your filling ingredients and then pour a mixture over top and bake. It is very similar to a quiche, but a lot easier as there is no making of pastry!  The paste bakes up to create a crust all on it's own!

As you know, each month I an the lucky recipient of a Degustabox. When I saw the contents of the January Box I immediately knew the recipe I wanted to make, highlighting one of the products of the box.  There were several reasons for this.  First we love Tuna, and secondly I thought it was the product in the box that would lend itself best to use in a recipe. Oh, I know I could have made Tuna Sandwiches, but why settle for a sandwich when you can have a dinner pie!


I love these boxes. Opening each one is tiny a bit like opening a Christmas box. Always a surprise and always filled with things I want to try. Degustabox is a monthly foodie subscription service that sends out a range of specially selected foodie products. There's always a great mix of new products that I haven't tried before, as well as plenty of treats from more established brands. Quite often you will have the opportunity to try new products before they arrive in the shops, so it can be a bit of a sneak peak! Each Degustabox costs only £12.99, delivery costs are included in the price, and there is no fixed contract involved - you can cancel at any time. I love getting these boxes!!  This box actually arrived several weeks ago, but it has taken me a few weeks to get stuck in and try the articles which arrived in the box! Here is what I received.


PULSIN Vanilla Whey Protein Powder 1 X £1.99

The NEW Vanilla Whey Protein powder is rich in essential amino acids and high in calcium which is vital for muscles and bones. With 22g of protein per 25g serving, the natural powder is vegetarian, low fat, made using hormone-free milk from UK grass-fed cows and has no added sugar. The powder can be added to a milk of choice or water to create a handy and healthy protein shake. It can also be added to other recipes such as smoothies and breakfast bowls to provide a protein boost. It is available in 25g single-serve sachets and 250g pouches. 

PULSIN Vanilla Chocolate Chip Protein Booster 1 X £1.59
Looking for a scrumptious bar with a boost of protein? Then snack a Pulsin Vanilla Choc Chip Protein Booster! With a cookie dough taste and texture, plenty of dairy free choc chips and packing 13g of plant based protein it's a healthy and filling snack.  

These Pulsin products are really great for anyone who is recovering from radio therapy or cancer treatments or an illness of any kind that needs to build up their system. Protein powder got Todd through his treatments.  I like that the powder is high protein and sugar free! Great for Diabetics I would think, such as myself.

EXPLORE CUISINE Organic Edamame & Mung Bean Fettucine 1 X £3.00
Explore Cuisine original range of pastas were developed by our founder who was searching for a protein rich alternative to traditional spaghetti. The result was a BEAN powered pasta that is great in taste and texture and provides our highest amount of plant-based protein and fibre per serving with the lowest level of carbohydrates. Our Edamame & Mung Bean Fettuccine contains 22 g of protein per 50 g serving, almost 3 x more than regular pasta. 

I havaen't actually used this yet, but I am keen to try it out. As a Diabetic I think it might be very friendly as it is low in carbs and sugars and high in protein!  Bonus!
 
HERSHEY'S Cookies'n'Cream 5 Pack Snack Pack 1 X £1.00
 HERSHEY'S Cookies 'n' Creme Candy bars are a unique twist on a classic flavor combination. Enjoy crunchy chocolate cookies and smooth white creme in each delicious bite.  

Unfortunately I was not able to enjoy these myself, but Todd really enjoyed.



Columbian Crunchy Chicken Bites Seasoned Corn Coating

A mild blend for light, oven-baked, crunchy bites. Use our simple blend to make delicious Colombian-inspired crunchy chicken bites in your oven. We use corn, instead of wheat, to get that extra crispiness which is loved by adults and kids alike, making it perfect for a family night in.

I haven't used this coating mix yet, but I am not unfamiliar with Latin American Kitchen.  They are my go to product when considering Mexican food. I use their tortillas all the time, as well as their sauces, etc.

CLIPPER Everyday Organic Tea   gift sample

A beautifully rich, full-bodied black tea blend from some of the world's finest organic tea gardens. All our organic products are grown in a way that preserves the natural balance of the environment and we were the first tea company to use unbleached tea bags! Clipper products are made with pure, natural ingredients and a clear conscience.

*A sample size product was included in the Degustabox. The full-sized version can be purchased at £3.69 for a box of 100 teabags. 

We don't drink black tea, (for religious reasons) so I am unable to give an opinion on this product.


A coconut marshmallow bar that is 100% melt in your mouth gooey deliciousness. These Mallow & Marsh bars are handmade in England using only natural ingredients and they are under 100 calories each. 

Okay, I confess, this was just too tempting and I did enjoy a bite of it.  YUM!



LIGHTERLIFE FAST Ready to Drink Shakes 2 X £2.49

The diet that works around you! 2 days each week replace all of your meals with 4 LighterLife Fast products (available exclusively from Superdrug and Superdrug.com). These delicious ready to drink shakes can be enjoyed as part of the Fast plan, as a quick protein hit or meal replacement.

For more information and to register for the free LighterLife Fast plan go to www.lighterlifefast.com.

I haven't used these yet either.  

MISO TASTY RAMEN NOODLE KIT 1 X £1.99
 Miso Tasty Ramen Noodle Kits are perfect for tasty and easy mealtimes. A true cupboard lifesaver! Our noodles are accompanied by our signature miso soup base plus a seaweed garnish for an authentic experience. This spicy flavour provides a warming, zesty base for a quick noodle meal that famously hails from Sapporo, Japan. Simply add your own toppings! 
Made from dried, not fried noodles
100% natural - free from MSG and additives

Suitable for Vegetarians

Easy meal in 10 minutes

Serves 1-2 

I love Miso Soup and Ramen Noodles.  So this was a no-brainer love, love product!

ROBINSONS Fruit Cordial 1 X £2.49
 Robinsons most sophisticated squash yet. New, Robinsons Fruit Cordials is a sophisticated twist to squash with combinations of real fruit and botanical flavours. Contained in a glass bottle, Fruit Cordial is a new more concentrated way to bring a burst of Robinsons' flavour to the dinner table.
*One of three flavours was included in each Degustabox.

I actually think this was my favourite thing in the box. I haven't been able to find it in the shops yet, but as soon as I can, I am buying it. I got the Raspberry, Rhubarb and Orange Blossom one and it is fabulously tasty!


LATIN AMERICAN KITCHEN by Santa Marie
chipotle mayo topping  1 X £1.80

Creamy, hot & smoky. The Chipotle Mayo Topping makes a great addition to any of our Latin American Kitchen range. 

Once again, no stranger to their delicious line of products.


JORDAN'S JUICY RED BERRY FRUSLI BARS 2 X £0.45

Jordans Juicy Red Berries Frusli Bar: handfuls of zingy cranberries and raisins, all mixed up with British wholegrain oaty awesomeness. 

These were too high in carbs and sugars for me, but Todd enjoyed them very much.


MAHTAY YERBA MATE Sparkling Tea 1 X £1.49

Mahtay is a lightly sparkling drink that was designed with today's busy, health-conscious lifestyle in mind. It blends the ancient energy-giving properties of South American yerba mate with coconut water and açaí berries to deliver refreshing taste, natural energy and supportive health benefits in every drop. Just 45 calories per 300ml bottle. 

I haven't used this yet, but it sounds very tasty and I love that it is low in calories.

WILD PLANET Albacore Wild Tuna Steaks 1 X £3.49
Ranked #1 in the US by Greenpeace for sustainability, pole and line caught Wild Planet Albacore Wild Tuna - No Salt Added is firm in texture with a rich, clean taste. Remarkably delicious any way you enjoy tuna – in a classic sandwich, atop a salad, mixed into your favourite recipe. Our tuna is hand cut and hand packed -- there is NO added water, broth, oil or fillers. Cooked just once to retain all of the natural juices, Wild Planet tuna is rich in Omega 3 -- simply mix the juices back into the tuna for added flavour and nutrition. A Wild Planet tuna sandwich just may be the best you've ever tasted!  

The Tuna was the product I chose to highlight with a recipe. No surprise there because as a rule I only use albacore tuna in this house!


I may have told you this before but I was shopping in the grocery store one day when I was a very young bride and I was buying canned tuna, and an old Italian Woman stopped me and told me to never buy anything but Albacore tuna, that it was the best.  She actually insinuated that other tunas were garbage in comparison (her words, not mine.)  In any case, I have only ever bought Albacore tuna when I can get it since then. Albacore tuna is a larger fish with a lighter colored flesh, a firmer texture, and a milder flavor than the solid or chunk light fish varieties.  Simply put. I like it best. 


It IS the best.  Oh, I know it is a bit expensive, but what good fish isn't?  A tin of this at £3.49 will feed a family of six when mixed into a casserole, and that is a lot less than steak or chicken.  So as far as I am concerned, its good value for money. 


Aside from making very delicious sandwiches, tuna is a wonderful main meal ingredient, especially when baked into a tasty quiche/pie such as this one! 


It goes together quickly and its really delicious.  I suppose you could have it with chips on the side, but we had it with a delicious salad, made from mixed baby greens and chunks of steamed beetroot! It makes a perfect mid-week supper dish! 


*Tuna, Cheese & Corn Dinner Pie*
Serves 6
A delicious dinner pie that makes its own crust! Quick and easy to make.  All you need is a salad on the side. 

For the crust:
70g plain flour (1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
55g of white vegetable fat (1/4 cup)
60g sour cream (1/4 cup)
1 medium free range egg, lightly beaten
For the filling:
1 (142g) tin of solid albacore tuna, drained and flaked (6 1/2 ounces)
75g frozen sweetcorn, thawed (1/2 cuup
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
120g grated strong cheddar cheese (1 cup, sharp)
1 medium free range egg, beaten
1 TBS flour
180ml milk (3/4 cup)
1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
salt and black pepper to taste  

Preheat the oven to 225*C/425*F/ gas mark 7. Butter and lightly flour the bottom and sides of a 9 inch metal or a 10 inch glass pie dish.  Set aside. 

Put all of the ingredients for the crust into a small blender, food processor and blitz to combine well. Spread this batter thinly on the bottom of the dish and thickly up the sides to within 1/4 inch of the rim. In the following order layer, tuna, sweetcorn,onion,  and cheese into the crust.  Whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour over top. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown and the filling is set.  Serve cut into wedges. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley flakes to serve if desired.  

Every box does include an information card, along with some other bits, recipes, etc. from the brands included.  I find it really handy to have, to know about the products a bit more and to also know how much the products would cost if I went on to buy them, and also for ideas on how to use some of them.

So, that was the January  Degustabox - a nice selection of products as always. We loved it. The price of each Degustabox is £12.99 (including delivery). To order your box, visit www.degustabox.com  Many thanks to Degustabox UK for sending me this box. I have to say I really look forward to getting my box each month. There are always lots of things in it to enjoy and new products to try out. I highly recommend. You can also tailor the boxes to your own likes and dislikes by filling in your own Taste Profile.  Do you like the sound of the Degustabox October 2017 box? Why not sign up now! I find them to be really good value for money spent and I really enjoy trying out new products that I have not tried before.  

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Note - Although I was sent a box free of charge any and all opinions are my own.
Bon appetit! 
 
 
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Marie Rayner
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Tomato & Rice Soup

Tomato & Rice Soup



I think if I were to have to pick a favourite kind of soup for myself out of all the soups, tomato soup would be right up there near the top.  I adore soup, and I especially like homemade soups.  As I have told you in the past my mother made really good soups from scratch, but one kind she never did make from scratch was Tomato Soup.  We always had tinned tomato soup, and I was always very happy with that.  I still am, having a particular liking for the Heinz brand of tomato soup.  I don't think it ever disappoints.  I am trying harder though, these days, to cook everything that I can from scratch and that included Tomato Soup.   This Tomato & Rice Soup is a particularly nice one!


It is simple, using nothing at all out of the ordinary, in fact I am guessing that you would have everything in the house right now to make it.  Good tinned plum tomatoes.  I like Cirio myself.  In a soup where the tomato is the star, you want really good ones and I have never made any secret for my love of Cirio Tinned tomatoes.  They are . . .  simply put . . .  the BEST.  You can almost taste the Italian sunshine on them . . .



So . . .  good tinned plum tomatoes in tomato juice  . . .  along with some vegetables.  Carrots, onions, celery  . . .  nothing too fancy . . .  a clove of garlic . . . 



These are sauteed in a bit of butter and olive oil until golden.  I then stir in a bit of whole wheat flour and leftover cooked brown rice  . . . I cook that until the rice just begins to brown and then I add the tomatoes, breaking them up with the back of a wooden spoon, into nice chunks. 


A bit of chicken stock and some dried herbs . . .  basil and oregano . . .  salt and black pepper, and my secret ingredient, a splash of hot sauce. Not a lot just a splash.  It then gets simmered, covered  . . . for about half an hour.


You could add a handful or two of baby spinach leaves.  Its very good with those as well, but today I did not have any to add.  Frozen spinach would also work.


At the end of that time you simply stir in a bit of light cream. I tend to use skimmed evaporated milk because it is lower in calories and fat and to be honest you can't really tell the difference.  All in all this is a lovely soup. Toothsome, wholesome, and quite quite delicious!


*Tomato & Rice Soup*
Serves 4 - 6
(depending on appetites)


Wholesome, delicious and very simple to make! 

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, plus leaves, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 TBS butter
1 TBS olive oil
2 TBS whole wheat flour
245g cooked brown rice (1 1/2 cups)
2 (400g) tins whole plum tomatoes in tomato juice, undrained (28 ounces)
1 TBS soft light brown sugar
1/2 tsp each oregano and basil flakes
480ml chicken stock (2 cups)
240ml light cream (1 cup)
(I use low fat evaporated milk)
salt and black pepper to taste
a splash hot sauce if desired





Heat the butter and the oil in a large saucepan until the butter begins to foam.  Add the celery, onion, carrot and garlic.  Saute, stirring occasionally over medium low heat until the onion is golden.  Stir in the flour and rice, breaking up the rice.  Continue to saute until the rice begins to brown a bit.  Add the tinned tomatoes, breaking them up with the back of a spoon, the chicken stock, brown sugar, oregano and basil and a splash of hot sauce if using.  Bring to the boil, then reduce to a very slow simmer.  Cover and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning with some salt and black pepper.  Stir in the cream and heat through without boiling.  Serve immediately.


I of course enjoy mine with crackers.  Todd favours a roll.  I tried to tempt him with some hot buttered toast instead today, but he wasn't having it.  It was a roll all the way.  I had some nice big whole wheat rolls and he thoroughly enjoyed. I think you will too!  This is very diabetic friendly with the use of the brown rice and whole wheat flour, and the extra protein they provide.  Bon Appetit!



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Marie Rayner
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Banana, Rum, Date and Walnut Tea Loaf

Banana, Rum, Date and Walnut Tea Loaf



What would we do without over-ripe bananas to use?  I don't know.  I have a hard time keeping them in the house long enough for them to get ripe enough to bake with. I always have to tuck a few aside and hide them from Todd so he doesn't eat them up!  He is also likely to throw them away if he thinks they are too ripe.  I keep telling him that is when they are the best for baking, but if I am not quick enough, he tosses them without thinking.  He does enjoy the fruits of my labours however, so maybe with time, he will be coming to me with them saying what will you bake for me!  Hope springs eternal! 


The more freckled the banana the better, but I would say not much less than this, and I have been known to use bananas that are almost black. If you can't find a use for them right away, then peel and pop into a freezer container and freeze.  Then you will have them to hand when you CAN use them at a later date! YUM!



This is a lovely Tea Loaf, perfect for using up a few overripe bananas, but that's not all it has going for it.  It is moist and rich and very interestingly tasty with a few other bits that add a great deal of interest, flavour and texture to it.  I have adapted the recipe from the Carnation Recipe page with a few changes from the original as you will note.


I blitz the bananas in my small food processor attachment for my stick blender, along with a TBS of dark rum. You don't need to buy a big bottle of rum for this. I always keep small sample bottles of alcohol in the cupboard just for things like this.  Also you could use a tsp of rum flavouring added with water to make up a TBS if you wanted to. It would work perfectly.


Aside from that it is filled with lovely pieces of sticky dates, which go very well with the banana and the rum for that matter  . . . you add some lemon zest and juice to the dates, along with some bicarbonate of soda and boiling water. It foams.  Soda counters out any tannic acidity from the dates and also evens out their colour.  I looked it up because I have an inquiring mind and wanted to know why we always seem to be adding soda to dates  . . . with boiling water. Perhaps it even helps soften them a bit so they mix in better.


In any case the loaf is nicely studded with them, and the toasted walnut pieces. You don't have to toast the walnuts first, but I always do.  They just taste nuttier and nicer if they are toasted first!


I always let it sit and ripen overnight before I cut it. Sure you can eat it right away, but it cuts nicer if it has been allowed to get really cold and set overnight. I am not sure why this happens, but it does.  When you try to cut tea loaves not too long after baking they always seem to crumble.  Letting them age is best.


The Canadian in me loves them sliced thinly and spread with softened butter.  I can't seem to help myself.  Sure it is great without it, but it is even better with butter!  Say that really fast three times, better with butter, better with butter, better with butter!  Most things like this are. Mmmm . . .


*Banana, Rum, Date & Walnut Tea Loaf*
Makes 1 large loaf
(9 by 5-inch loaf tin)

Moist and delicious and filled to the brim with sticky dates, crunchy walnuts and rummy bananas! Beautiful cut into thin slices and spread with softened butter. 

150g stoned dates, chopped (1 cup)
2 TBS boiling water
the finely grated zest and juice of one lemon
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
2 medium very ripe bananas
1 TBS dark rum
85g baking spread (6 1/2 TBS, something like country crock will do)
55g dark soft brown sugar (1/4 cup packed)
170g Condensed milk (1 cup plus 1 1/2 TBS) 
(also known as Sweetened Condensed)
2 large free range eggs, lightly beaten
225g self raising flour (1 1/2 cups plus 2 1/2 TBS)
1 tsp baking powder
115g toasted walnut pieces (1 cup)




Preheat the oven to 170*C/325*F/gas mark 3. Butter a 9 by 5 inch baking tin and line with baking paper. 

Place the dates into a bowl along with the boiling water, lemon zest, lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda.  Stir and then set aside to cool completely.

Peel the bananas and put into a mini processor with the rum.  Blitz until smooth.  Stir this mixture into the date mixture.

Cream together the baking spread, brown sugar and condensed milk until smoothly combined.  Gradually mix in the eggs and then the date mixture.  Sift together the flour and baking powder. Stir into the creamed mixture until well combined and there are no dry streaks of flour.  Stir in the walnuts.  Pour into the prepared baking tin. Smoothing over the top.

Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour 15 minutes, until risen, set and golden brown.  A toothpick inserted in the centre should come out clean.  Let sit in the tin for 15 minutes before lifting out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Cut into slices to serve with some softened butter.  Store any leftovers tightly wrapped.


This was a really great way to use up the remainder of my condensed milk from yesterday.  I enjoyed  a thin slice with some lemon and rose tea. Oh boy but it was a pleasant way to spend some of my Saturday afternoon!  Bon Appetit! 



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Marie Rayner
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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies



I am an oatmeal cookie afficionado.  I have never met an oatmeal cookie that I didn't like, including these cookies that I am showing you here today.  They are incredibly crisp edged and yet chewy  middled, and stogged full of lovely sweet raisins.


It uses condensed milk, which I always have in the cupboard. This, I believe, is the secret behind their delicious moreishness.  I had used some condensed milk earlier in the day to make Todd a simple milk shake, and so these cookies were the perfect way to use up some of  the remaining milk in the tin.


Both Condensed and Evaporated milk are forms of concentrated milk, (available in tins) in which a bit more than half of the water content has been removed, with the main difference between the two milk products being sugar content.  Condensed milk is always sweetened whereas evaporated milk is unsweetened.  It was only since moving over here to the UK that I came to understand that Condensed milk always refers to the sweetened variety. (Sweetened Condensed Milk.)


Evaported milk is created by heating milk until about 60% of its water content has evaporatd. It is then homogenized, packaged and sterilized.  It is creamy, dense and ultra concentrated and when you chill it really well (ice crystals present) you can whip it like cream. It comes in several varieties including skimmed, lower fat and full fat. I always have tins of it in my larder and I use it a lot in both sweet an savoury dishes.  I keep both the low and full fat to hand, and often use the low fat in the place of cream in dishes where I am wanting to have something creamy, but not necessarily with all of the fat and calories of cream.  It is a great store cupboard item!



Condensed milk (or Sweetened Condensed Milk as it is also known) is also a concentrated  milk product where 60% of the water content has been removed, after which sugar is added before canning.  It contains as much as 45% sugar and is rich and thick with a slightly caramel colour and super sweet flavour.  When it is cooked even further you end up with dulce de leche, or caramel.  It is used in kitchens throughout the world, most commonly being used in baked goods, pies, ice creams, puddings as well as being used as a sweetener in coffee and tea.


I used some  Sweetened Condensed Milk today to make Todd a delicious milkshake, which is not only very quick and easy to make, but very delicious.  The kids are sure to love these and the recipe amounts can very easily be increased to serve more than one person.  They are a real treat.  You could use vanilla instead of the orange blossom water for flavouring if you wished.


*Simple Milk Shake for One*
Makes 1 serving
 
Quick, easy and delicious! 

60ml semi-skimmed milk (2 % milk 1/4 cup)
60ml water (1/4 cup)
60ml condensed milk (1/4 cup sweetened condensed)
1 tsp soft light brown sugar, packed
drop of orange flower water 

Blitz all of the ingredients together in a mini blender until frothy. Serve in a chilled glass.



I used some of the remainder of the milk to make these very tasty cookies.  (Todd was not complaining!)  I did cut the recipe in half because there are only the two of us and I am not supposed to be eating anything like these, and believe it or not, most of the time I try really hard to stay away from the sweet stuff.


I cannot punish him for my misspent youth however.  That would be a form of cruel and unusual punishment for the stick man who does really enjoy a sweet cake or biscuit, and has no health problems in doing so.  He spent so many years on his own that I do like to spoil him a bit every now and then if I can!  He never complains!


*Oatmeal Raisin Cookies*
Makes approximately 2 dozen
 
 
Crisp at the edges, chewy in the middle. Stogged full of sweet raisins and incredibly morish! 

225g butter, softened (1 cup)
225g caster sugar (1 cup plus 3 TBS)
170g Condensed milk (3/4 cup plus 2 TBS)
200g oats (scant 2 1/2 cups)
150g self rising flour (1 cup plus 1 1/2 TBS)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
150g raisins (1 cup)




Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Line two large baking sheets with baking paper.  Set side.


Cream the butter, sugar and condensed milk together until pale and light.  Mix in the flour, oats and cinnamon to thoroughly combine. Stir in the raisins.  Shape into golf-ball sized rounds and place onto the prepared baking sheets leaving plenty of space between (at least 2 1/2 inches).


Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden edged. (Rotate the baking sheets halfway through the baking.)  Leave on the baking sheet to cool for about 5 minutes before scooping off onto wire racks to finish cooling.  Store in an airtight container.



And I still had some condensed milk in the tin to use, so tune in tomorrow to find out what I did with that!  You are going to love it, I guarantee!  Happy Saturday! 







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Marie Rayner
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