04 May 2012

Waiter? There are balls in my soup. [Creamy Tomato Soup with Baked Mozzarella Balls]

OMGOMGOMG!  
I'm still tallying up the winner from yesterday's shenanigans but had to sneak this amazingness into your life ay-sapp [that's ASAP if you don't speak crazy]

Baked Panko Mozzarella Balls with Creamy Tomato Soup
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I'll try to write up the recipe for the soup next week.  
Scratch that -- I *will* write it up for you next week.  Promise.
Until then, all you'll need is a bowl of creamy tomato soup and some balls.

Creamy Tomato Soup with 
Baked Mozzarella Balls
-aka cheese ball soup-

ingredients
1 steaming hot bowl of tomato soup [scroll down for recipe!]
3-4 cubes of  mozzarella cheese
1 egg white, whisked
1/4 cup flour [or a little less]
approx 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning blend [like Ms Dash]
cooking spray

advance prep:
The first order of business is to cube/ball your mozzarella into one-inch cubes.  [a little smaller will work too!]  In order to survive the baking process, they'll need to be frozen.  Place them on a plate, spaced, and pop them in the freezer.  The key here is to prevent them from all sticking together from moisture... otherwise you'll need to take a hammer to the frozen block of cheese.  Once they've hardened, move them over to a freezer baggie and continue the freezing process.  I usually keep them no less than 4-5 hours in the freezer - though overnight is always better.  I make this so often that I keep a little container of frozen mozz balls in my freezer at all times.  


Baked Panko Mozzarella Balls with Creamy Tomato Soup

Get Cooking!
[This post] has details and photos of the process if ya need em!  Preheat oven to 425F.  Keep mozzarella cubes frozen until you have everything set up and ready to go!   *Ahem*  Don't let your balls thaw.  Combine seasoning blend and panko in a shallow bowl, and egg white and flour into separate bowls as well.  Next, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and top with a wire cooling/baking rack.   Ready?  Grab your mozzarella from the freezer and prepare to be amazed at how easy this is.  Dip the frozen cheese in the flour, then the egg, and finally roll around in panko to coat.  Pop it on the wire rack and repeat for the remaining mozzarella cubes.  Spray each ball with cooking spray and bake at 425 for approximately 10 minutes.  When golden brown, remove from oven and serve atop a piping hot bowl of tomato soup.  Grilled cheese is so 10 seconds ago  =)

Note: since our ovens march to the beat of their own drum, the balls could take anywhere from 8 minutes to 12 minutes.


Baked Panko Mozzarella Balls with Creamy Tomato Soup

These golden balls of cheesy goodness can easily be whipped up for a simple solo lunch or even a hungry crowd -- without slaving over measurements =)  I've learned to pre-slice a block/ball of mozzarella and keep the cheesy little cubes in my freezer at all times so I can have balls whenever I want.  =)  They're also really stinking good with pesto.  So once you get past the title and my childish sense of humor, put some balls in your soup.

So... How was it?
To.  Die.  For.

Baked Panko Mozzarella Balls with Creamy Tomato Soup

Creamy Tomato Soup
Makes 2 medium bowls or one giant bowl =)

ingredients
1/2 of a 14.5oz can of tomato sauce [pureed tomatoes]
1/2 of a 15oz can of low-sodium fire roasted tomatoes
1/2 an onion, diced [approx 1.5 cups]
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 Tbsp grape seed or olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, smashed and minced
1 stalk of celery, diced [approx 4 Tbsp]
5 baby carrots, chopped
3 ounces cream cheese [or 1/4-1/2 cup of milk or cream]
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp freeze dried basil [or fresh] plus extra to garnish
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

tools needed immersion blender or a fairly decent blender/processor.  After borrowing my neighbor's immersion blender, I've decided that I need to run out and buy one -- stat!  I've never been able to get my soups super creamy and smooth until now.  It's like a magic wand for foodies!

note for a creamy vibrant bisque [as pictured above] follow recipe as directed, for a redder, tomato-packed soup feel free to add extra pureed tomatoes to the mix.  I simply made the recipe as written and then split it in half.  Half stayed as is, the other half got extra tomato added.  Both were deeelish -- I'll let you decide which one is your fav! <3  Ooh! and if you want a cream-free tomato-basil soup recipe to add to your collection [click here]

get cooking!
Saute chopped onions, celery and carrots in 2 Tbsp oil until tender.  Once tender, add garlic and saute for about a minute or so to bring out the flavor.  Season with salt and pepper.  Next add tomatoes, tomato sauce, cream cheese and broth and let simmer for 25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the flavors have shacked up together. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, and the sugar, if needed.  Next add your basil.  If you're using plain dried basil, start with 1/2 Tbsp and then slowly add more to taste.  For freeze dried [its amazing, buy some!] or fresh you'll want to toss in a Tbsp.  Next, puree using a hand held immersion blender until fabulously smooth and bisque-like. Serve in soup bowls with a sprinkle of fresh basil on top.  [I'm a basil fiend, so I go a little nuts with this step!]  Serve piping hot topped with the mozz balls above.  You'll have a grand old time dunking your balls in this soup.  You're welcome =)

I make this often -- especially in the fall/winter!  Partially because it gives me a viable excuse to crack inappropriate jokes and partially because it's the best soup of my LIFE! <3  You'll want to swim in it.

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85 comments:

  1. Sprint2theTableFriday, May 04, 2012

    Hee hee... balls. :)

    Balls or no balls, this looks ah-mazing.

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  2. *NOMZ* Tomato soup and mozzarella. Two of my favorite things in the world. Happy foodie is happy.

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  3. You my friend, are a genius with your recipes :)  Tomato soup + mozzarella is always a winner and this is such a tasty take on it!

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  4. I want to eat this as soon as I want to eat again.

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  5. I just died.  Is that an acceptable breakfast?

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  6. Again, I must say, BRILLIANT!!! Why didn't I think of that?!? 

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  7. Excuse me but I need to go wipe the drool off my keyboard!

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  8. Balls or no balls? Pshhh. There are always balls. always.

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  9. Crystal @ A Lovin' ForkfulFriday, May 04, 2012

    Wow! I love this recipe. Can't wait to try. Thanks. : )

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  10. Ooooh my god, I need this in my belly NOW. YUM!

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  11. Normally there are balls in my soup but of the matzoh variety. I think I can make an exception for these they look fantastic!  

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  12. What a clever and unique soup! I have never seen a recipe like it. Definitely going to make it soon!
    Thank you for sharing!  Allen.

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  13. Oh my goodness that looks so good. Tomato soup is my favorite <3 

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  14. I do love some good balls in my soup... yikes haha. But seriously looks amazing!

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  15. That is some kind of comfort food craziness...but I like it! ~Deirdre

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  16. Tomato soup with cheese?! Count me in, friend!

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  17. That looks amazing!!!!

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  18. Anna @Crunchy Creamy SweetFriday, May 04, 2012

    OMG! This look out-of-this-world!

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  19. This looks so amazing! I love grilled cheese and tomato soup, and I can't wait to try making this.   I bet it would be great with Swiss cheese too (my favorite).

    Here are some tofu falafel balls: http://whatgracecooked.blogspot.com/2012/02/meatless-mondays-tofu-falafel.html

    And these sweet wine cookies are sort of ball shaped! http://whatgracecooked.blogspot.com/2011/12/sweet-wine-cookies.html

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  20. These look awesome!! 

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  21. You've outdone yourself with this one.  This looks so crazy good.  Do you think it would work in the toaster oven??

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  22. Amazing recipe! Can't wait to try this!!

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  23. OMG! That looks fantastic. Everything I love in one place!!

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  24. I need to eat those!!

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  25. Sloane@Life Food and BeerFriday, May 04, 2012

    I love this different take on Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese! You can't tease us with amazing pictures and no recipes :)!!! And my favorite "ball" recipe is a meatball soup I make. I haven't made it in a while. It may be my new recipe for my blog! 

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  26. Umm Jenn you have me drooling.  Tomato soup and grilled cheese is my comfort food and holy crap this looks amazing!  You know the way to my heart ;)

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  27. The timing of this recipe is perfect!  I happen to be sitting here playing a little endocrinology jeopardy in a last minute study frenzy before tonight's final exam.  Our topics?  "Ah Ballz" and "My Eggo is Preggo".  and yes.  It is those balls we are studying so I'm thinking of taking a quick break to make some cheese balls to go with it.  :)  Thanks for the idea!

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  28. I need to make my own mozzerlla sticks/balls, I have never tried. Tomorrows rainy sunday may be the perfect day!

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  29. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love.Sunday, May 06, 2012

    Ohh, I love this idea! I could think of a number of recipes to use these with!

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  30. I want these balls in my face!!! BALLS!!!!!

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  31. bahahaha! and the ORANGE soup right? =)

    #duh

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  32. Kristin WalkerSunday, May 06, 2012

    Whoa!!  This looks all types of amazing.  I adore tomato soup, but especially cheese :)

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  33. Jenn these look AMAZINGGGGG. This is SO going into my May Blog Love post - and I am making this for dinner this week for sure!

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  34. Thanks Anna!!!! You'll have to let me know what you think! I'm a little biased but they're my favorite soup combo in the world right now! =)

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  35. bahahahahaha! i'm pretty sure if I ever do get pregnant my first post will now be titled "my eggo is preggo" =)

    go get your ball on! and good luck on your final! xoxo

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  36. The way to your heart is through balls? =) note taken

    xoxo

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  37. cheese balls, matzo balls, even meatballs... soup is just a ball-magnet =)

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  38. your balls look amazing...i must say!  lol
    xoxo from Trinidad

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  39. I am looking forward to the tweaked version of your tomato soup... I have had a tough time finding a homemade tomato soup I love, and I can't wait to try yours!

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  40. Jenna BustamanteFriday, May 18, 2012

    this looks delish.

    and what do ya know! i happen to speak crazy too! ;-)

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  41.  This looks amazing, I am sure it tastes amazing too.

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  42. Oh my, this looks soooo good!! I'm going to try this one! 

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  43. CarolinelaningFriday, June 01, 2012

    Okay, I am making these tonight with tomato soup and decided to do a TEST RUN on the cheese balls...I followed instructions EXACTLY (the cheese cubes have been in the freezer for 48 hours). I did 2 balls with pesto and 2 balls without to see which I liked best. After 9 minutes in the oven at 475' the pesto balls had completely melted and cheese had fallen through the rack onto the foil lined baking sheet while the panko/pesto coating remained on top. The plain ones held up much better, but also fell quite a bit. Of course I ate them anyway and they were amazing. Tonight when I make these "for real" I will only be baking them for 8 minutes (checking with oven light after 6). I also will not be using the pesto, based on the experiment, although they tasted amazing. They are well worth making and hopefully these slight alterations will make them perfect. Thank you!!!

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  44. Hey Caroline! They have worked for my friends in family *but* I'm sure ovens vary in intensity [just as altitudes vary and such] so I would highly suggest trying them at 425F instead of 475 -- I'm actually going to adjust the temp in the post as well just in case! Let me know if that helps? I've even made them at 385F once but had to keep them in muuuuch longer so I think 425F might be the best temp to shoot for. Thank you so much for the heads up! This is the first time I've heard of them falling so I want to make sure they work perfect for everyone! Hope your weekend is off to a great start! xoxo

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  45. THIS LOOKS AMAZINGGGGGG!!!!!

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  46. Oh wow I love the look of the melty gooey stringy cheese. I want some NOW! Ahh, calories

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  47. Have you ever tried using string cheese (mozzarella)?  I want to make this tonight and can't go to the store because the babe is asleep!

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  48. Can you use fresh mozzarella balls packed in water? And if you can, do you still need to freeze them?

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  49. Yes! <3 It works. Just freeze it well!

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  50. Hey Donna! Yes!!! But squeeze out some of the water before freezing --- and absolutely freeze them! If you use room temperature balls they will just turn into a bubbling puddle of cheese in the oven. Freezing helps them stand up to the heat while the panko crisps around them!

    Let me know if you have any other questions! =) xoxox

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  51. This was delicious! Thank you for sharing!

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  52. Yay! Glad you loved it! -- Thanks Krissy!

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  53. I cant wait to try this! How would I go about using fresh tomatoes as opposed to the canned ones? I try to avoid canned products but I really must try this soup!!

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  54. Dice the tomatoes and measure out approx 2 cups of chopped tomato for the soup =) I plan on making it from actual tomatoes once my garden picks up and yields more than one at a time! -- Totally the healthiest option! <3
    Hope that helps! Thanks Loren!

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  55. MaskedreporterMonday, July 09, 2012

    Can you make it gluten free?  Please!!!!!

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  56. Yes of course!!!!

    There are gluten-free panko breadcrumbs [ http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=gluten+free+panko&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=8122668939&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=1099084612434366395&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&ref=pd_sl_3ier1bs029_e ] as
    well as gluten-free flour [ http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/gluten-free-multi-purpose-flour?utm_source=frooglecom&utm_medium=cse&utm_campaign=shopping&gclid=CNayjMLvjbECFYFo4Aod0CshKQ ]
    and [http://www.bobsredmill.com/gf-all_purpose-baking-flour.html] that can be used for the mozzarella balls -- the soup is gluten free! =)

    Hope that helps! =)

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  57. Omg just made it was amazing !!!! I like a little spice so I used fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles!!! Yummy yummy!! The mozzarella balls were so delicious.

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  58. Fire roasted tomatoes are my FAVORITE! WHOO!!!! Glad it was a hit Mary!!!! <3

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  59. Ashley @ Wishes and DishesFriday, August 24, 2012

    This is my kind of meal!!!!

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  60. Holy cow. This soup is killer. I've always wanted an actual recipe for amazing tomato soup and now I have it! Thank you so very much for posting this!

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  61. I fixed this tonight and it was incredible! I loved it! I doubled the recipe and have the leftover soup in the freezer for another night. Thank you so much for sharing!

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  62. Yay!!!! Thanks Patty!!! Glad you enjoyed it!

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  63. AHHHH thank you Sasha!!!!! <3 Hope you're having a great weekend!!!!

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  64. I cannot wait to make this tonight! I put my balls (LOL) in the freezer last night in anticipation. Quick question: can I substitute ricotta for the cream cheese?

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  65. Yay!!! SO excited about your balls! haha! Ricotta should work! It it's too chunky you can blend it in a food processor or blender first to make it a creamier texture =) I've even used greek yogurt in a pinch!

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  66. I'm sure the recipe is great (I just read it for the first time) but I'm forwarding it to all my girls just as much for the entertainment value. ;)

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  67. Haha I'm sure they'll appreciate an email about balls? I mean, who *doesn't* want balls in their inbox? =)

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  68. Jus saw this on Pinterest and WOW!!! I can not wait to try this. Beautiful photography as well.

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  69. I just made this for dinner and WOW. So good. The mozzarella balls didn't get frozen enough so they sort of collapsed, but we scraped them up and they were still super good in the soup. Thank you so much.

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    Replies
    1. Ahhh glad you liked it! Freezing overnight should help them stay together better next time + I'm so glad they still made their way into the delish soup! <3 Thanks Christy! =)

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  70. what size cubes for the mozz balls?

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    1. about an inch in diameter or just under -- totally up to you! <3

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  71. So I sent my husband to the store with the shopping list and he came home with the only fire roasted tomatoes that Kroger had.......after I got the soup all mixed up I thought it looked different....turns out he bought "salsa style" fire roasted tomatoes.....basically fire roasted tomatoes with jalapenos...it has a little wang to it now...not sure if it's the tomatoes or because I quadrupled your recipe to feed the family and for leftovers.....where did you get your fire roasted tomatoes and were they only tomatoes?

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  72. Oh my gosh, this looks amazing! I pinned it because I WILL be making this! BALLS!

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  73. This was uhhhh-mazinggggg! Loved it so much!! Thank you!

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  74. have you ever coated the cheese balls with the egg whites, flour and panko before freezing? I just wonder if this is possible.

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    1. I haven't simply because I was worried about them getting soggy -- I wonder if it actually would though or if I was just being paranoid? I have made them, baked them, and THEN froze the baked mozz balls and they reheated in the toaster oven quite nicely though some of them did melt down to bubbly cheese blobs in the process -- which is perfect for the times I want to serve them on top of the tomato soup anyways! But mainly I just keep the mozzarella cubes frozen in my freezer and assemble/bake when the craving strikes. So if you want them entirely pre-prepped I'd probably say bake for at least a few minutes, freeze them spread out on a cookie tray or plate, then move them to a freezer safe container for safe keeping. Hope that helps!

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  75. hahahaha I was eating cereal as I read the title and seriously just spit out my cereal laughing. So funny!!! This soup looks awesome!

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  76. I'm coming back 10 months after discovering this soup recipe to say that this is in my top five favorite foods of ever. I've probably made it 15 times over the last year, and my roommate and I are convinced it's the food of the gods. Thank you for posting!

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    1. Thanks Angela!!!! This totally made my day! =)So so glad it's a hit with you and your roomie! xoxo

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