Browsing the archives for the morel tag.


Vegan (and Soy-Free, Gluten-Free) Cream of Mushroom Soup with Morels and Dryads

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vegan mushroom soup

vegan mushroom soup

Amazing, amazing vegan “cream” of mushroom soup…and the mushrooms are MORELS and DRYAD’S SADDLES! It doesn’t get better than this!

yellow morels

yellow morels

Vegan Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup

vegan, gluten-free, soy-free

In a pot with water, boil:

  • 3 potatoes, peeled, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 5 button mushrooms (optional)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • paprika

Boil until POTATOES and CARROTS are tender. Remove from heat.

Add CASHEWS and blend well. (We used our vitamix, but any blender should be fine.)

In a pan with olive oil:

saute chopped MORELS with salt.

In another pan with olive oil:

saute chopped DRYAD’S SADDLE with salt.

Dryad's Saddle

Dryad's Saddle

(I sauteed in them in two separate pans because later in the season dryad’s can become bitter, and in case this had happened, I didn’t want to ruin the batch of morels!!! But they were just fine.)

Return now creamy broth to pot and adjust seasonings: SALT, PEPPER, PAPRIKA  to taste.

Add sauteed mushrooms and enjoy.

PLEASE MAKE 100% CERTAIN OF IDENTITY OF ALL WILD MUSHROOMS USED!

~ Melissa

Food Under Foot

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Yum-mazing Morel and Mashed Potato Muffins

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Yum-mazing Morel and Mashed Potato Muffins

Yum-mazing Morel and Mashed Potato Muffins

As stipulated in the 5th annual Morel Recipe Challenge, this recipe had to be baked. And what better way to bake than with muffin tins?

These Morel Muffins came out AMAZING. I have never baked anything in muffin tins, not even muffins. We only have the tins around to sort buttons and mix paint. But after today I may actually use them for savory recipes! I’m definitely making these again!

Dried Morels from Marx Foods

Dried Morels from Marx Foods

I used the wonderful dried morels sent to me by Marx Foods. To reconstitute them I simply poured boiling water over them, covered the bowl with a dish and let stand about 20 minutes. I then used that morel soak water to cook the potatoes, so make sure to save it! (You could also cook the quinoa in it…just make sure to use it, yum!) You could also use fresh morels in this recipe.

4 medium potatoes, peeled, cubed and boiled/steamed in the morel soak water. Then mashed. Add extra water when cooking if necessary and mash the potatoes and the cook water together at the end. You will need 1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes for this recipe.

And I added garlic mustard because, well, it’s that time of year and I love using wild ingredients! But you can either omit this altogether or substitute arugula or chives. I picked some garlic mustard leaves, washed and dried them then chopped them very fine and small.

garlic mustard
garlic mustard

Yum-mazing Morel and Mashed Potato Muffins

An original gluten-free dairy-free vegetarian recipe by Melissa Sokulski for the 5th Annual Morel Recipe Challenge

You will need a muffin tin for this recipe.

  • 2 oz dried morels, reconstituted as above and chopped. You could also use one cup of chopped fresh morels.
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (it will be about 1 cup chopped onions)
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or butter, to saute morels, onions and garlic, plus a bit more to oil muffin tins
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes (see above)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup flour, plus a bit more to flour muffin tins (I used a mix of almond meal and buckwheat flour to keep the recipe gluten free, but you can use whatever flour you like.)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp chopped garlic mustard (you can also use arugula, or chives, or omit, see note above)
  • 1 Tbsp brown mustard
  • salt
  • pepper
  • nutmeg

Tip: I made this recipe gluten-free and dairy-free so my family could eat it. However, I KNOW it would be DIVINE with your favorite cheese grated and mixed into the batter!

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Oil muffin tin with olive oil and sprinkle with flour to make it easier to remove “muffins” after cooking.
  3. Reconstitute dried morels (if using dried) by covering dried morels with boiled water. Cover bowl and let sit at least 20 minutes, until mushrooms are soft and able to cut. SAVE soak water to cook potatoes or quinoa.
  4. Boil (in morel soak water) and mash potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Boil 1/2 cup quinoa in 1 cup water (or morel soak water) for 15 minutes until quinoa is soft and water has been absorbed.
  6. Saute chopped morels, onions, and garlic in olive oil (or butter) for at least 10 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Mix sauteed morel mixture with mashed potatoes, quinoa, and all other ingredients.
  8. Divide mixture evenly into the 12 muffin cups.
  9. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool at least 5 minutes to help it set and make the muffins easier to remove.

Enjoy!!!

Baked Morel Muffins

Baked Morel Muffins

Festive foraging,

~ Melissa Sokulski

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Morel Season 2013 Begins

Identification
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Morel season is finally upon us!  The official start of my 2013 mushrooming season began when I found these tiny gray/white morels last weekend:

photo26

Or did it start even before that, when I signed up to participate in the 5th annual Morel Recipe Challenge and I received my 2 oz of dried morels in the mail:

Dried morels and instructions from Marx Foods

Dried morels and instructions from Marx Foods

I am still working on my recipe for this challenge…it must be something baked and I do have some ideas….it is due by Sunday so stay tuned!

In the meantime I have found a few early morels (in addition to the tiny white ones) and had a very scrumptious dish of sauteed morels, fiddleheads, and nettles with onions and rice.

Sauteing morels and fiddleheads with onions

Sauteing morels and fiddleheads with onions

And remember, if you are looking for morels for the first time, there are a couple of tricky mushrooms out there: false morels. The two main Genuses are Gyrometria and Verpa. The Verpa - especially the Verpa bohemica (or wrinkled thimble cap) - disguise themselves as half free morels so be careful.

Gyrometria, one kind of false morel, not edible

Gyrometria, one kind of false morel, not edible

True morels are:

  1. 100% hollow inside, all the way from top through the stem. There will be NO cottony stuff in the inside, no folds or chambers, just completely hollow.

You can see how this half-free morel stem is completely hollow. Also, the top of the morel is attached almost at its bottom, not at the tip top.

You can see how this half-free morel stem is completely hollow. Also, the top of the morel is attached almost at its bottom, not at the tip top.

  1. Morels do NOT attach only at the top of the stem like Verpas. The tops (spongy-looking part) of the morel attach to the stem at its base; you can’t pull the spongy part of the mushroom easily off. Even half-free morels attach halfway down the top, not at the tip top like the Verpas.

(I’m sorry I do not have a picture of a verpa, but you can search the web and find some. Here is a good picture from mushroomexpert.com)

Morels must be cooked before eating! This is a general rule for all wild mushrooms.

Enjoy the spring! There is a lot out there in addition to morels right now:

  • fiddleheads (please harvest responsibly!!! Preferably from someone who grows them. Only take one or two from each plant, they are so easily destroyed.)
  • spring beauty
  • garlic mustard
  • Japanese knotweed
  • stinging nettles
  • deadnettles
  • dandelion
  • chickweed
  • onion grass
  • ramps
  • violets
  • wintercress
  • cleavers
  • burdock
  • broad leaf dock
  • curly/yellow dock
  • ground ivy/creeping charlie

We had a great time on our Frick Park Earth Day walks, by the way. Thanks for coming out to walk with us!

Talk to you soon…and soon there will be a new morel recipe up!

Happy, safe and responsible harvesting to all,

~ Melissa

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How To Store Extra Wild Mushrooms

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Chicken Mushroom (Sulfur Shelf)

Chicken Mushroom (Sulfur Shelf)

Too many mushrooms? Sometimes it happens. We stumble upon a downed tree covered with chicken mushrooms. We sneak a peak behind an old oak and find fifty pounds of hens of the woods (oh, how I wish!) We walk through the woods passing giant puffball after giant puffball. Much of it we leave but sometimes we take more than we can stomach in a sitting or two. So….what to do with the extra?

Having dried or frozen wild mushrooms on hand is actually awesome. In the middle of the winter how nice it is to cook up a maitake chili, or top our omelets with morels…pure decadence!

But every mushroom is different: some dry better than others, some fresh freeze wonderfully, and some it’s best to cook before freezing. Here is what I do with my extras:

  • Morels: having excess morels is rare but possible. These I dehydrate and they reconstitute beautifully.
  • Chicken mushrooms: I have never dried because I hear they “turn to dust.” This year I tired fresh freezing extra chicken mushroom, and also dry sauteed some and then froze it. In both cases I cut it first before freezing because as a rule it’s best not to thaw mushrooms, just throw them from the freezer into a hot pan or pot.
  • Hens of the Woods (Maitake) - these store well both dried and fresh frozen (I’ve done both.) I also cut these into smaller pieces when drying or freezing and again, don’t thaw the mushrooms before using; just throw them from the freezer onto a hot pan or into a hot pot (which is why I cut them before freezing.)
  • Giant Puffballs: Cook and freeze. They can be sauteed, fried, blanched, steamed, baked, grilled…however you want to cook them and then freeze them.

How have you stored your extra mushrooms? I’d love to hear if you have different experiences or advice on how to preserve the mushrooms!

Love and giant puffballs,

Melissa

~ Food Under Foot

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The Hunt for Wild Mushrooms

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This article first appeared in the East End Food Cooperator in August, 2012 (I think it was August). Unfortunately I can’t find the link to the article, but you’ll get to the Coop’s website with the link above. I added the pictures below. :-)

The Hunt for Wild Mushrooms
by Melissa Sokulski

morel mushrooms, early spring

morel mushrooms, early spring

Mushrooms are an interesting entity: neither plant nor animal, fungi are their own kingdom and upon close examination actually have more in common with animals than plants. Their cell walls contain chitin, found in shells of crabs and exoskeletons of insects but absent from plants. Plants make their own food but like animals fungi digest their food with enzymes they produce. Fungi also take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide like animals, while plants do just the reverse.

Nevertheless, as a vegetarian I am comfortable eating mushrooms and wild mushrooms are a true culinary delight - a feast for the forager - if you know what you are looking for.

When my husband and I first decided to learn about wild mushrooms, we were extremely fortunate to stumble upon the amazing and generous Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club. We decided to go on one of their free weekly walks, open to members and guests. They meet at parks all over Allegheny County and beyond, there are now chapters of the club in Indiana county and Washington/Greene counties. Usually led by club mycologists and attended by experts as well as amateurs, this is a great way to learn about the fungus among us (I just had to!)

chicken mushroom

chicken mushroom

On our way to Deer Lake to meet the club one Saturday in August, my husband Dave and I promised each other that no matter what they said we would not eat any wild mushrooms. Wild mushrooms are dangerous, I proclaimed, mimicking the warnings of my herbal mentor who told me, “Native Americans didn’t even eat wild mushrooms,” (untrue) and “The number one cause of death among mycologists is mushroom poisoning!” (also not true.) But apparently a promise made is a promise broken in our household because before long we were filling our basket with golden yolk-colored chanterelles, a prized culinary mushroom.

a member of the western pa mushroom club with a basket of chanterelles, on our first mushroom walk

a member of the western pa mushroom club with a basket of chanterelles, on our first mushroom walk

One mushroom expert pointed out the false gills of the mushroom, and further explained that chanterelles grow singly from the ground unlike the poisonous (but rarely deadly) Jack O’Lantern, a common look-alike which often grows in clusters on wood. “But sometimes the wood is buried,” he warned, “like an underground root, so you have to be careful.” Another distinction is that Jack O’Lanterns are bio-luminescent, they glow in the dark. I was beginning to learn that edible or not, mushrooms are endlessly beautiful and fascinating.

We got the mushrooms home and prepared them, slicing them and noticing the apricot smell. We sauteed them (most edible wild mushrooms need to be cooked or can make you sick) and were hooked.

Filling out the application to join the club, one question asked, “How many wild mushrooms can you confidently identify?” I confidently filled in the blank with a zero. The thought of being able to identify wild mushrooms daunted me. Now I can identify over thirty, from delicious morels to the deadly Destroying Angel, both of which do indeed grow in this area.

Giant Puffball Mushrooms

Giant Puffball Mushrooms

The late summer into the fall is a great time to learn about wild mushrooms. There are a lot of beginner-friendly edible mushrooms to identify all throughout the city parks including the chicken mushroom or sulfur shelf (one of my favorites), chanterelles, giant puffball, black trumpets, lions mane or bear tooth, and the hen of the woods. The best way to learn to identify these mushrooms is by walking with experts like those in the mushroom club and attending their monthly meetings at Beechwood Farm Nature Reserve, which are also free and open to guests. Their annual foray is in September. There are walks and talks by experts, as well as a mushroom feast: dozens of dishes made with wild mushrooms by members of the mushroom club.

You can also find identification information and wild mushroom recipes on this website. Adding mushrooms to your foraging basket is as fun as it is delicious, and can be safe with care and knowledge. As I’ve heard many times from many people in the mushroom club, “There are old mushroom hunters and there are bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old bold mushroom hunters.”

This article and all pictures copyright Melissa Sokulski

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Week 5 of Community Supported Foraging

CSF Newsletters, General Posts
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This week’s share:

  • morels
  • garlic mustard
  • red clover flowers and leaves (new this week!)
  • violet leaves and flowers (violet leaves are new!)
  • black locust flowers (new this week!)
  • apple mint (new this week!)
  • lemon balm
  • burdock stalks
  • nettles
  • chickweed

Blooming Black Locust Tree

Blooming Black Locust Tree

Yeeehaaa!  The sweet smell of flowers is in the air. You may have noticed the black locust trees in bloom - either by sight or smell. These delicious flowers are the only part of the tree that is edible. They smell magnificent and taste like honey. I enjoy them as a snack as is (raw) and added to a smoothie. One Food Under Foot follower emailed to tell me she enjoys them tempura style! My favorite fermented soda ever was made with black locust flowers! See newsletter 3 for info on making the ginger bug starter. Then pour boiling water over the locust flowers, add some sugar, when it cools to room temperature strain and add some of the ginger bug starter. Cover and let sit a couple days for a fizzy fermented healthy beverage.

Black Locust Flowers

Black Locust Flowers

Red Clover flowers and leaves are also new this week! I never realized how amazing red clover flowers smell until I had them all the table dividing them into shares this week. Wow - yum!

Dividing Red Clover Flowers into 9 Shares

Dividing Red Clover Flowers into 9 Shares

These are gorgeous large blooms! One thing you’ll notice about these flowers are the oval leaves underneath the flower in sets of three. There is a look-alike to clover (which is not yet blooming, but it will be soon) called Crown Vetch and you definitely do not want to eat it! Crown Vetch contains high amounts of nitro-compounds that can cause heart attacks. Not only is it unsafe for humans but for horses as well (ruminants such as cows can safely eat it). Crown Vetch was planted all along Pennsylvania highways and is extremely common and invasive. Vetch leaves are very different from clover, however. Clover leaves occur in sets of three, vetch leaves are in pairs: 15 to 25 pairs of oblong leaflets. The picture below shows white crown vetch, which could be mistaken for white clover, but there is also purple, which is similar in color to red clover.

White Crown Vetch (Poison)

White Crown Vetch (Poison)

Ideas for Red Clover include:

  • Raw in Salads
  • Saute in stir fry
  • tempura style!
  • pull petals out and add to cookie or pancake batter
  • smoothies (of course)
  • soup
  • dried - blossoms can be dried and used to make a tea which balances hormones (mainly women)
  • dried - blossoms can be dried and ground into flour (mix with regular flour in recipes…adds protein!)
  • fermented soda - see week 3 newsletter for information on making a ginger bug starter. Then add the starter to sweetened red clover tea to make a naturally fermented soda.

Violet Leaves are new also, though you have gotten the flowers before. This little mix is great in salads or smoothies. Violet leaves and flowers are both very high in vitamin C.

violet flowers and leaves - high in vitamin C

violet flowers and leaves - high in vitamin C

I believe apple mint is new to your share as well. Doesn’t it smell just like apples? Mmmmm. You can dry this mint to save and have later as tea, or make tea with it now or add to salads or dishes which call for mint. It’s great in smoothies! I love adding apple mint to smoothies almost as much as I love adding lemon balm (also in your share) along with other greens such as chickweed.

This may be the last week for morels! We have been out there looking high and low for you, every chance we get! Phew! Many people have reported this is a slow year for morels but we have done ok. Just multiply what you have gotten in your share ten times - not too bad! I hope you have enjoyed them! And who knows…maybe it’s been “slow” because they are not even fully out yet - it’s only the beginning of May! We will still be out there scoping the forests and hills for morels until at least mid-May, so hope is not lost for a banner amount in your share! *Remember to always cook wild mushrooms before eating!*

We found this awesome morel today...it is in the shares!

We found this awesome morel today...it is in the shares!

Some tips for this week’s share:

  • try using garlic mustard leaves in place of lettuce on sandwiches and burgers
  • if garlic mustard or any green gets wilty, soaking in ice water revives (thanks Rhonda!)
  • If you find yourself with too many greens, remember you can dry them or freeze them
  • a great way to save garlic mustard is turning it to pesto and freezing the pesto in ice cube trays
  • you don’t need to peel the burdock stalks if you cook them: just boil them and they will get soft and the bitterness goes away
  • remember to always cook wild mushrooms before eating!

Here are links to some recipes we’ve posted previously using things that are in your share. (All recipes are vegetarian and gluten-free!)

And remember you can search our blog (search box upper left) or  check back to previous newsletters for ideas.

Enjoy this week’s share!!

~ Melissa Sokulski

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CSF Week 4 - Burdock Leaf Stalks and Morels

CSF Newsletters, General Posts, Recipes
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This morel is in someone's share this week!

This morel is in someone's share this week!

Welcome to Week 4 of the CSF!

New this week: Burdock leaf stalks, onion grass bulbs, catnip and lemon balm.

In your share this week:

  • Burdock Leaf Stalks
  • Catnip
  • Lemon Balm
  • Purple Dead Nettle
  • Onion Grass with Bulbs
  • Garlic Mustard
  • Chickweed
  • Japanese Knotweed
  • Nettles
  • Morels

What a fun share we have for you this week!

We’ve been out hiking the hills and forests of Western PA and we do indeed have more morel mushrooms for you this week! Remember to always cook morels and all wild mushrooms before you eat them! I have been enjoying morels sauteed in butter with onions and eaten with eggs, or in fried rice. In fact, I made some wonderful fried rice with morels, nettles and cat tails the other day - yum!

The Burdock Leaf Stalks are new this week. (They look like huge stalks of celery.) They taste very bitter if you eat them raw due to their outer skin. However, I found by boiling them in water (I added salt to the water) for 20 minutes (then throw away that water), they are no longer bitter and they are no longer stringy. (If not cooked enough they are pretty tough.) You don’t even need to peel them! If you’d like to try them raw I recommend peeling them - it is just the outer skin that is bitter.

I made a delicious dish with a good sauce by cooking the stalks:

  1. Wash stalks
  2. chop them into small pieces, about 1 -2 inches (smaller than in the picture below…I made it a couple times and I liked it better when the stalks were a little smaller than shown.)
  3. put them in a pan and cover with water
  4. simmer with lid 20 minutes
  5. save stalks, throw out water

Then:

  1. Melt butter into that same pan (you can use olive oil to make vegan)
  2. Added 2 Tbsp of buckwheat flour (I used buckwheat so it’s gluten free, you can use whatever flour you like)
  3. Mix over medium heat
  4. Add a little water and mix the flour in evenly, keep adding water slowly and mixing until it becomes a thick sauce
  5. Add salt and pepper (and Parmesan cheese if you want, optional.)
  6. Once sauce is done add burdock stalks back in and stir until coated.
  7. Serve with the sauce.

Burdock Stalks with Sauce

Burdock Stalks with Sauce

This week we also finally made homemade nettle pasta again! We had run out of eggs so we just omitted them and made vegan pasta instead. I added a little water to the steamed nettles while blending them, and then mixed (by kneading) the nettle/water mixture into buckwheat flour (again so it was gluten free, you can use regular flour if you wish.) It came out great!

100_3402

Catnip is an herb which is beloved by cats as well as people! You will find this soft-to-the-touch mint in your share this week. As a tea (you can boil it fresh or dry it first, then steep) it acts as a muscle relaxant and induces relaxation and sleep. I have mine hanging to dry in my doorway and my cats are going CRAZY today!

catnip (far right) hanging to dry nest to 3 bundles of already dried thyme

catnip (far right) hanging to dry nest to 3 bundles of already dried thyme

The Lemon Balm is also a mint, this one very lemony. I like to add the leaves to tea (fresh leaves or dried) and salads. I think lemon balm also makes a delicious pesto. Try slicing the leaves and floating on top of a lemongrass soup after it’s done cooking. Very delicious.

This week we found a gorgeous field of onion grass (at Wild Red’s Gardens in Morningside.) You’ll find we harvested the whole plant this time: bulb as well as green.  You can cook the bulbs as you would any onion bulb or shallot. Use the greens as you would chives. They can also be dried if you find yourself with an abundance!

You’ve seen all the other wild edibles before…check back to previous newsletters for ideas. I have been using garlic mustard leaves on sandwiches (in place of lettuce) and I love it!

Please remember to send me any pictures and recipes that you make with your wild edibles…I’d love to pass them along to the rest of the share!

Enjoy your share this week!

~ Melissa

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Walks Scheduled…Including Our First Walk This Sunday!

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Welcome to Food Under Foot!

Many of you are finding us today from the wonderful article published in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. If you are new to the site, make sure you sign up for our free newsletter (which includes five free ebooks) in the green box on the right hand margin.

Also, you may have noticed a May 28 walk listed in the newspaper. Unfortunately that was last year’s walk. The good news is: there are walks scheduled even sooner, including our first walk this Sunday! Many more walks will be scheduled this year as well (hopefully including one with Leah!)

Wild Edibles Walks

This Sunday, April 15, 2012. 11 am

Join us for our first walk of the season! We’ll be hunting for morel mushrooms as well as identifying all sorts of wild edibles, so come with a basket or paper bag in case we find some morels!

Where: Parking lot by Frick Park Clay Tennis Courts (Braddock Ave.) See Map

800 South Braddock Ave, 15221

When: Sunday April 15, 2012, 11 am

Fee: $10/person, $15/couple or family (kids under 10 are free), checks or cash only please

Questions: (412) 381-0116

Earth Day Walks in Frick Park

Saturday, April 21, 2012. 1 pm and 2 pm

Join Melissa Sokulski of Food Under Foot at Frick Park’s 2012 Earth Day Celebration! This free celebration takes place at Frick Environmental Center on Beechwood Blvd Pittsburgh, PA from 11:30 to 4 pm. Our free walks will be at 1 pm and 2 pm. Hope to see you there!

Where: Frick Park Nature Center

2005 Beechwood Blvd. Pittsburgh, PA 15217

When: Saturday April 21, 2012, 1 pm, 2 pm

Fee: Free

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Enjoy the site! There is lots of great information here. If you are on facebook make sure to follow us over there. And please sign up for our newsletter (right margin, green box) so we can stay in touch.

Thanks!

~ Melissa Sokulski

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