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The Silver Platter Review & Giveaway

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

My first impression of The Silver Platter cookbook was how big and beautiful it is, almost a coffee table book. Having formerly trained in graphic design, I always look at the layout first. And the pictures. Both are stellar. Beautiful, bright and colorful photos accompany each meticulously-written recipe. And the food doesn’t just look good, it looks inviting, and not intimidating in the least. I love the partnership of Daniella and Norene in this book. Daniella is a young mom looking to feed her kids easy and healthy dinners, while Norene brings her culinary expertise, offering sage advice for each recipe.

I think my favorite part about The Silver Platter is that all of the recipes can be made with basic pantry ingredients. Daniella managed to bring a variety of dishes that are packed with flavor using basic ingredients and no added junk. Her recipes are healthy, wholesome and family-friendly without being boring. Many are gluten free and allergy-friendly too. A nutritional index for each recipe is even included in the appendix.

The Silver Platter features recipes that are both basic enough for every day and innovative enough for the holidays. From appetizers, soups and salads, to fish, poultry, meat and dairy, as well as grain side dishes, vegetable side dishes, cookies, treats and cakes, they’ve got everything covered! I can’t wait to try the baby eggplant fans (genius!), crunchy corned beef strips, berry plum soup, snap pea salad with basil-mint dressing, broiled lemon fish, three-seeded schnitzel, basil chicken with sundried tomatoes, raspberry london broil, cheesy quinoa bites, panko-topped bok choy and edamame, fudgy pretzel brownies, white chocolate popcorn clusters, blueberry flan and heavenly halva cheesecake!

In honor of Thanksgiving, I’m sharing some festive recipes for apple cranberry couscous and sweet potato squash soup below, AND, I’m also giving away a copy of The Silver Platter! To enter, simply leave a comment below about your favorite Thanksgiving dish. For an extra entry, follow Busy In Brooklyn via any of the channels below. Just be sure to leave a note in the comment letting me know where you follow.

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Giveaway is open to U.S. residents (for international entries, prize can only be shipped in the U.S.). Winner will be chosen at random at 10:00 AM EST on Tuesday, November 24th, 2015.

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Unstuffed Mushrooms

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

Thanksgiving is coming up and all I can think about is stuffing. Particularly cornbread stuffing. It’s my absolute favorite! Make that chorizo cornbread stuffing and Ill take two portions please :)

Believe it or not, I did not grow up celebrating Thanksgiving. My mom used to make us turkey sandwiches, just for kicks. And sometimes she’d make some Thanksgiving dishes for Shabbat the week of Thanksgiving. I always wanted to experience the whole turkey-gravy-stuffing-pumpkin pie-cranberry sauce-green bean casserole smorgasbord, but I’m kind of too lazy to make it all! Lucky for me, my friend Melinda from kitchen-tested is doing the whole shebang, and I kind of invited myself over! Melinda is an amazing cook and I cannot wait to see what she has up her chef”s sleeve. Make sure to follow me on Instagram, because I will definitely be posting pics from that sure-to-be-epic meal!

Speaking of lazy, this unstuffed mushroom recipe can also be called lazy stuffed mushrooms, because that is, in fact, what it is. I was digging through my fridge for a side dish the other week, and I found all the ingredients I would need to make stuffed mushrooms. Except I was too lazy to make stuffed mushrooms, so I made unstuffed ones! I added some roasted chestnuts and Chardonnay for a truly festive dish, perfect for your Thanksgiving meal!

This post is sponsored by kosherwine.com. All opinions are my own. 

Related Recipes:

teriyaki mushrooms
spinach stuffed mushrooms
spaghetti squash with spinach, mushrooms and white wine
Tuscan white beans with spinach and white wine

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Za’atar Roasted Kabocha Squash with Silan

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

{Funny Story} So, when I was growing up, my mom always used to make roasted kabocha squash for Shabbat, except she always called it kaboochie squash. She would send me to the store with a list, and whenever I would ask the guy in the produce department for kaboochie squash, he had no idea what I was talking about! And neither did anyone else in the store. Go figure.

Well this right here ^^^ is what “kaboochie” squash looks like. And once I made my mom show it to me the knobby weird shaped pumpkin, I never had to ask it for again. {Phew.}

Fast forward a number of years (I don’t want to date myself or anything), I was newly married and cooking for Shabbat. I wanted to make the delicious squash my mom had always made growing up, so I googled it, and found that it was actually called kabocha squash. Sorry mom.

It turns out that kabocha squash is actually a Japanese pumpkin, and the stuff is goooood. It’s literally my most favorite squash of all the knobby little things out there. Lucky for me, it’s also the hardest to cut.

Its’ so hard to cut, in fact, that Levana Kirschenbaum, Wholefoods chef par excellence, actually has a picture of herself cutting one open with a hammer in her cookbook! I don’t use a hammer in my kitchen, but here is what I do: First I remove the stem at the top and then I cut it in half vertically. I scoop out the seeds and place it flesh-side-down on my cutting board. Then, following the curve of the squash, I cut it into wedges. Voila!

Now my mom used to cook the kabocha up with a drizzle of oil and lots of brown sugar, and it was deeelish. But I wanted to bring out the savoriness of this squash, so I roasted it up with my favorite spice – za’atar. I coated it all with some sweet sticky silan, for a hint of sweetness, and finished it with an extra sprinkling of sesame seeds. You can garnish it as I did with pomegranate seeds and parsley, or just serve it up as-is for a sweet and savory bite!

Once you familiarize yourself with this awesome squash, feel free to use it in roasted pumpkin soup, my kale and kabocha salad with pears and pecans, or in recipes that call for boring old butternut squash. The flavor and texture of kabocha is by far superior, you’ll never turn back!

Related Recipes:

wilted kale & kabocha squash salad
savory butternut squash fries
za’atar roasted chickpeas
silan roasted figs

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Sous-Vide Stuffed Eggplant
with Pistachio Dukkah & Tamarind Tahini

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

So I’m sitting on board a Jetblue flight en route to Florida, noshing on my Terra Blues, drinking a diet coke, and working on my blog post via (free!) Fly-Fi. We were lucky enough to score an empty seat, so my very active 23-month old (who’s on the last free flight of his life) is all buckled in and on his way to a white-noise nap. You gotta love Jetblue!

I really wanted to get in this last post before Sukkot because I started a trend a couple of years back where I post a STUFFED recipe in honor of Sukkot and the harvest festival. Traditionally, holipches/holishkes (stuffed cabbage) is served up on Sukkot because we want to celebrate the abundance of the harvest season. Fall is when farmers harvest their wheat in Israel, and stuffing vegetables with filling symbolizes their desire for a year of overflowing harvest. Any stuffed recipe is well suited to honor this custom, including my “ratatouille” mechshie, savory eggplant mechshie, globe zucchini mechshie and of course, stuffed cabbage!

This year, I really wanted to take it up a notch, and since stuffing eggplant is one of my favorite things, I decided to give stuffed sous vide eggplant a try. I recently met a talented chef who was touting the benefits of sous-vide vegetables, and when he told me that sous-vide eggplant is literally soft as butter, I just had to give it a try! I had just got my new Sous Vide Supreme and what better way to use it than to test this technique!

Truth be told, my first try at sous-vide eggplant was an #epicfail. The eggplant was tough and not altogether cooked and after some research, I learned that since veggies tend to float in the water bath, you need to weigh them down to ensure proper cooking. My second try was successful and the results were soft-as-butter-delicious!

Now if you’re going to sous-vide eggplant, you have to have a sophisticated stuffing to match the modernist cooking technique. Roasted eggplants stuffed with Israeli salad is a regular in my house, as well as my
roasted eggplant parmesan, but as delicious as those recipes are, they are still homey comfort foods that wouldn’t do justice to my sous vide eggplant. I really wanted the eggplant to be the star, so I wanted to accessorize it, but not fully outfit it, to borrow some fashion terms :)

If we’re talking food fashion, there’s nothing more fashionable than nut and seed blends right now, so pistachio dukkah was just the thing! I recently did a #myspicerack spice roundup on my Instagram feed, and when I posted about the pistachio dukkah that my sister sends me all the way from Aussie, I got lots of recipe requests! I decided to make my own version from scratch with fresh cumin and coriander seeds from Holon, my favorite Middle Eastern market in Brooklyn. The results were incomparable to the blend my sister had been sending me. It was just so amazingly fresh, crunchy and and nutty, I don’t know why it took me so long to make my own! And you don’t even need a fancy spice grinder, a simple food processor works just fine!

Now that my pistachio dukkah was done, I needed a creamy sauce to bring it all together, but just plain old tahini wouldn’t do the trick. After visiting the amazing tahini store in Shuk Machneh Yehudah in Jersualem, I knew that you could mix so many things into tahini – both savory and sweet, so I decided to go with tamarind. Tamarind paste is both sweet and sour, so it’s a great balance to the salty dukkah spice and sweet pomegranate seeds. Top it off with some chopped parsley and you’ve got it all – color, texture, and balance, just the way food should be. Happy Stuffing!



This post was sponsored by Sous Vide Supreme. All opinions are my own. 

Other Eggplant Recipes:

Roasted eggplants stuffed with Israeli salad
roasted eggplant parmesan
roasted eggplant parmesan with feta
za’atar eggplant chips with harissa whipped feta
miso-glazed eggplant

Other Stuffed Recipes:

“ratatouille” mechshie
savory eggplant mechshie
globe zucchini mechshie
stuffed cabbage!

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Beer & Franks Baked Beans

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

With Father’s Day soon approaching, I was wracking my brain trying to think of the most serious guy food I could come up with. It’s BBQ season after all, and there’s nothing that guys like more than to sit back with an ice cold beer and some hot dogs, am I right? A side of baked beans or chili doesn’t hurt either, so I decided to mix it all together for some serious guy grub – beer and franks baked beans, can I get an Amen?!

To really up the ante on this beer-franks-beans mashup, I used beer infused hot dogs from my favorite brand, Abeles & Heymann. They also make whiskey infused dogs, so if you want to try for a bourbon version, go right ahead!

The thing about these baked beans, is that they’re not really baked, in fact, they come together quickly on the stovetop. And they really do taste like beer. So if you don’t like thick creamy stout as much as I do, go ahead and use stock instead. The brown sugar and molasses add such great flavor, you won’t even miss the beer! (Although if you’re serving this up for dad, he might!)

Now honestly this was first try at making baked beans from scratch (well semi-scratch if you count the fact that I used canned beans instead of dried). I usually just buy a can of baked beans and heat it up on the stovetop, straight from the can. That’s the way my mom always did it, campfire-style, and that’s the way I do it too!

Making from-scratch beans wasn’t hard at all, it came together in no time! I love how the franks turn it into an all out meal, and I served it over mashed potatoes for some serious comfort food. My kids gobbled up their beer-infused-dinner, none-the-wiser, but I wondered if they were a wee bit tipsy, or if it was all the candy they had consumed from their last-day-of-school-parties (what’s up with that, by the way?!). If you’re worried about all that alcohol (as not all of it will burn off during cooking), you can make these adult-only. Don’t you just love the idea of spiked beans?

Now that I’ve made beer infused baked beans, I’ve got all sorts of spiked foods up my blogger sleeve! Considering how viral my drunken hasselback salami went, I’m pretty sure you’re all liking it too!

Happy Father’s Day ya’ll! Have fun, stay safe, and don’t get too drunk on these boozy beans!


This post is sponsored by Abeles & Heymann. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter

Other Hot Dog Recipes:

hot dog eggrolls
bunless fajita dogs
spiralized spud dogs
kid-friendly dirty rice
fire roasted tomato rice stoup with franks

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Pumpkin Banana Souffle

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

It’s been a while since I’ve updated you on my Paleo journey and I think it’s about time! I first wrote about my diet struggles back in June, and I’ve since completed two (and a half) Whole30’s. The 30-day cleanse is based on the Paleo diet, with some more stringencies to help the body reset it’s natural rhythm. I love what the Whole30 did for me! It completely eliminated my sugar cravings, and got me back on track to a healthier lifestyle. Hundreds of you have jumped on the Whole30 bandwagon and purchased my Paleo 30-day meal plan filled with over 100 Whole30-compliant recipes!

Now while I fully support the Whole30 concept, I think it works best as a 30-day cleanse, which is exactly what it is. It’s too hard to live a Whole30 lifestyle all the time, especially being a foodie and recipe developer. Which is why I’ve transitioned to a mostly Paleo diet – rich in healthy proteins and fats, and limited to natural sweeteners and no-grain alternatives like almond flour.

I find that the Paleo lifestyle is pretty easy to stick to. I eat lots of eggs, chicken, meat, veggies and healthy carbs like sweet potatoes and pumpkin. Of course my spiralizer keeps things exciting with lots of zoodles (zuccchini noodles), veggie fries and cauliflower rice! I try to always think outside the box, preparing burgers with portobello mushrooms “buns”, making eggrolls with an omelette, or sushi with cucumber ribbons. These original recipes can all be found in my ebook, which you can read about in more detail here.

Although I’ve adopted a mostly Paleo lifestyle, I’m still a huge foodie who enjoys eating out, and developing fun and unique recipes for my blog. In those cases, I believe strongly in the principal “everything in moderation,” so I try and give myself a break to enjoy every now and then. I still have lots of weight to lose, and I think it’s time to head to the gym to get that ball rolling (literally!)

My blog is a reflection of my lifestyle, so I thought it was time to bring back some tried and true Paleo/Whole30 compliant recipes for all of my loyal Paleo followers to enjoy. This incredible pumpkin banana souffle is so ridiculously easy to make, you won’t believe how good it tastes! The banana adds all the sweetness you need, so you can eat this without any guilt. I love that I can eat it warm or cold, for breakfast, dinner, or even dessert! It’s nice enough to serve for company, and it’s so versatile too! Top it with some bacon or sausage crumbles, eat it with some roast turkey, or spoon on some coconut whipped cream for a truly decadent treat!

Other recipes that use pumpkin puree:

pumpkin ricotta pancakes
pumpkin pie smoothie
baked pumpkin oatmeal
pumpkin crisp
pumpkin whoopie pies

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Cranberry Sriracha Green Beans

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. I don’t know if it’s all the beautiful leaves on the ground, or the fact that I can cover up in a  cute jacket, without having to bundle up in a stuffy down winter coat. It probably has a lot to do with all the amazing pumpkin recipes, the sweet apple cider, and of course,…Thanksgiving! I’m on to Thanksgiving food weeks before the holiday (and not just because I’m a food blogger)! Case in point: my dinner last night was turkey burgers with cranberry pear relish, fried sage and Paleo pumpkin biscuits. I just can’t get enough of classic Thanksgiving dishes and flavors – I can eat them all year round.

Now speaking of classic Thanksgiving dishes, y’all know how traditional green beans are – especially green bean casserole. I’m not one for casseroles, but sriracha? yes please! Whether you are going Asian or not with any of your dishes – this sweet and spicy recipe makes the perfect Thanksgiving side dish! The sweet cranberries add the perfect festive touch, making this a great addition to your holiday meal. Gobble Gobble!


Related Recipes:

crunchy shriveled green beans
spicy roasted edamame
teriyaki mushrooms

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Rosh Hashanah Simanim Roundup

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

If you’ve never been to Florida, you probably haven’t heard of Winn Dixie. Although if you have, you probably love the store as much as I do. Since my in-laws live down in the sunny State, I’m lucky enough to visit on occasion and try out the amazing array of kosher restaurants and supermarkets there. What I love so much about Winn Dixie is that it is both a general supermarket AND a kosher one. Which means, if you need a kosher ingredient 30 minutes before Shabbat, they’ll still be open, and they’ll definitely have what you’re looking for. Not only does Winn Dixie have over 1000 branded kosher products, they also boast a kosher deli and bakery.

Because I’m such a big fan of the store, I was so excited to promote their #FreshNewYear campaign with a Rosh Hashanah Simanim Roundup. What are simanim? They’re symbolic foods that are eaten on Rosh Hashanah to symbolize our hopes for a sweet New Year. The symbolic foods include leeks, pomegranate, gourds (includes squashes like acorn, butternut, delicata, kabocha, spaghetti and pumpkin), dates, black eyed peas (some use green beans), apples & honey, beets, carrots and fish head (some use ram’s head). These specific foods are eaten because their hebrew names are related to other Hebrew words that convey our wishes for the coming year. Jews of Sephardic decent actually host a seder where these foods are eaten and a blessing is made over each symbolic food. For a detailed list of the blessings and simanim, click here.

So without further ado, lets get started!

LEEKS:

fried leek rings with homemade ketchup
Greek-style leeks with prunes and cinnamon
steamed cod with leeks
leek fritters
olive oil braised leeks with thyme
cream of leek soup
cauliflower leek puree
veal scaloppine with leeks

POMEGRANATE:

how to deseed a pomegranate
carrots with pomegranate molasses glaze
salmon with pomegranate molasses glaze
pomegranate coleslaw
pomegranate brisket tacos
roasted lamb with pomegranate and wine
pomegranate glazed london broil 
pomegranate sorbet
mini promegranate pavlovas
mini pomegranate bundt cakes

GOURDS:

Syrian candied gourd
honey roasted squash
soy braised kabocha squash
quinoa stuffed acorn squash
roasted acorn squash and pomegranate farro salad
sausage and apple stuffed butternut squash
butternut squash chili fries
roasted butternut squash and apple soup
spaghetti squash with spinach, leeks and mushrooms
sweet spaghetti squash
pumpkin whoopie pies
pumpkin crisp
pumpkin pot pie
delicata squash muffins
delicata squash salad with spicy maple dressing

DATES:

how to make your own silan (date honey)
date honey cake
Rosh Hashanah roast
silan roasted chicken with squash and dates
couscous with dried dates
bacon wrapped dates (use kosher bacon)
medjool date pecan pie
gingerbread date truffles
chewy date granola bars
sticky date pudding

BLACK EYED PEAS OR GREEN BEANS:

black eyed pea hummus
black eyed pea salsa
black eyed peas salad
black eyed pea cakes
black eyed pea fritters
Egyptian black eyed peas
Brazilian rice with black eyed peas
black eyed peas with meatballs
black eyed peas and green beans
crunchy garlic shriveled green beans
honey ginger green beans
sauteed green beans with mushrooms and cipollini onions
grilled green beans with harissa
pickled green beans

APPLE & HONEY:

holiday salad with apple and honey vinaigrette (watch me make a variation here!)
apple and honey BBQ sauce
apple honey drumsticks
apple and honey challah
honey roasted za’atar chicken with fruit
chicken and apples in honey mustard sauce
apple and honey baklava
apple rose pie bites
honey cake with caramelized apples
apple and honey bread pudding
apple and honey tart
apple and honey muffins
apple and honey trifle

BEETS:

roasted beet and orange salad
beet pomegranate salad
roasted beet salsa
angel hair pasta salad with golden beets
beet soup with beet green pesto
rainbow Anna potatoes with beets
beet pickled deviled eggs
beet latkes
beet rugelach
moist chocolate beet cake
red velvet cupcakes

CARROTS:

carrot salad with honey lemon dressing
Moroccan carrot salad
creamy carrot and leek soup
roasted carrots with tahini harissa sauce
whiskey glazed carrots
tzimmes roast
carrot risotto
rice with carrots and raisins
carrot muffins
carrot cake sandwich cookies
carrot cake pudding
carrot truffles

FISH OR RAM’S HEAD:

fish head curry
fish head soup
Vietnamese fish head soup
gefilte stuffed salmon head (scroll to the bottom)
baked lambs head with potatoes

For more Rosh Hashanah recipes, check out the Winn Dixie holiday ebook below! It’s packed with lots of Jamie Geller’s amazing holiday recipes that you’ll want to make again and again!

NOTE: All photos (besides the ones with the BIB watermark) are from 123RF Photo.

This post is sponsored by Winn Dixie

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Angel Hair Pasta Salad

Thursday, September 18th, 2014


I’ve really got to start cooking from cookbooks again. It’s literally been years since I’ve made something from a cookbook. And it’s not because I don’t have any – trust me. I’ve got more cookbooks than I have room for in my small Brooklyn home. They’re all just sitting there on the shelf, like figurines on display, looking pretty!

I usually only take my cookbooks out on Shabbos, when I browse through them like an old photo album. I drool over the good recipes, sigh over the bad ones, and then return them to the bookshelf. Once in a while I promise myself to try a recipe, but I usually forget or don’t get around to it.

Recently, my Shabbos guest was looking though my cookbook collection and she asked me what my favorite recipes were from some of my cookbooks. It made me realize that cookbooks are not just for browsing – some of them have really good recipes that I should actually be cooking. She told me some of her favorites dishes from the cookbooks we had in common (like Smitten Kitchen, Jerusalem, Plenty, The Kosher Palette, Kosher by Design and others) and I promised myself I would give them a try.

It really hit home this week because for the first time in a while, I was stumped. I had planned on an apple and honey dessert for the blog, but sadly, it flopped (yes, that happens to me!) and I couldn’t think of anything else that I wanted to post. Until, I was speaking to my friend and she mentioned a recipe for angel hair pasta that she was making for dinner. She said it had mushrooms and leeks – and when I heard leeks, I was all over it. My mind started racing, thinking about all the ways I could turn it into a Simanim salad – filled with lots symbolic foods that we eat on Rosh Hashanah.

I went straight for some of my favorite Rosh Hashanah foods – beets and pomegranates – keeping things mess-free with golden beets. The pomegranates add great crunch, and the honey rounds it all out with a hint of sweetness.

So thanks to Dina (and whoever came up with the original recipe), for getting my creative juices flowing again.I can’t wait to dust off my cookbooks and open my eyes (and palate) to a new range of recipes! Shall we call it a New Year’s Resolution?

What are some of your favorite cookbook recipes? Share them in the comments below!

Related Recipes:

Israeli couscous salad with roasted beets, carrots and parsnips
holiday salad with apple and honey vinagrette

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Dairy Made Easy Cookbook Review & Giveaway

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Leah Schapira & Victoria Dwek turn out new cookbooks faster than I develop recipes. Their latest addition to the Made Easy series is a fantastic collection of dairy recipes, just in time for Shavuot!

Like Starters & Sides Made Easy, Passover Made Easy, and Kids Cooking Made Easy, the Dairy edition is layed out in the same attractive, easy-to-read style. Even their cookbook-making skills seem made easy. They’ve mastered a template that provides a small soft-cover book that’s beautifully styled, easy to flip through, and filled with tips and tidbits, all without seeming overwhelming. The beautiful pictures draw you in and the down-to-earth recipes make you want to open your pantry right then-and-there to whip up one of their quick and easy dishes.

Besides for 60 easy-to-make recipes, you’ll also find a comprehensive cheese guide, a Make It Light section, a Make it Pareve Guide, and bonus serving ideas. Leah and Victoria fill each page with great tips, like how to measure frozen fruit, how to soften butter quickly or how to bake pizza without a pizza stone. They also share their thought processes and family anecdotes in a fun and friendly way.

What do I not want to make from this cookbook? It’s filled with mouthwatering recipes for breakfast, great starters & sides, soups, salads & sandwiches, and of course pizza, pasta and dessert (hello 180 calorie cheesecake!).

Some of the recipes I look forward to trying are the granola thins, arancini, sweet chili home fries, stuffed sole, French mushroom soup, hasselback baguette, honey pomodoro pizza, cajun creamy penne, cheese buns, peanut butter creme brulee and strawberry cheesecake ice cream.

In honor of the upcoming holiday of Shavuot, I’m giving away a free copy of the Dairy Made Easy cookbook! To enter, simply leave a comment below with your favorite Shavuot dish. You can also follow Busy In Brooklyn via any of the channels below for an extra entry. Just be sure to leave a note in the comment letting me know where you follow.

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Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be chosen at random at 10:00 AM EST on Monday, May 26th, 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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