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Saturday, September 9, 2017

Chocolate Dhip banana bars

Several of my cooking memories involve my older sister. She was always a bit ahead of me as she was older. One day, she brought home a cookbook for kids. Inside this book was many amazing recipes with great pictures as well. One of the recipes I recall helping her make was Chocolate Chip banana bars. Bananas never lasted long and so mom had no problem with us using them in baking. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did

chocolate Chip Banana Bars

5 very ripe bananas (about 1 2/3 cup)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup oil (any type- I use coconut)
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup flour (I regularly swap out all-purpose flour for whole wheat!)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup mini chocolate chips, divided
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 15×10.5″ pan with non-stick spray.
Peel bananas and mash well. Stir in brown sugar, oil, milk and eggs until combined.
Add in dry ingredients and stir. Fold in 1/2 the chocolate chips.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle remaining chips on top. Bake 18-22 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool completely and cut into squares.
Yields 24 bars.

I like to make a batch, then cool, cut and freeze in individual baggies. Since they’re filling, they make a wonderful snack, breakfast or school lunch addition.

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Friday, September 8, 2017

Date Nut Bread Day

Date Nut Bread Day is dedicated to the bread made with dates and nuts. Dates, or date palms, have been cultivated in the Middle East and Indus Valley for thousands of years, and probably originated around Iraq. Dates spread to South West Asia, northern Africa, and Spain through trade, and were brought to Mexico and California by the Spaniards in 1765. There are three variations of dates: soft, dry, and semi-dry. One type of date nut bread, date and walnut loaf, is traditionally eaten in Britain, and is made with treacle, a sugary syrup, or with tea, along with dates and walnuts. It is also popular in Scotland, Australia, and New Zealand. Date nut bread is popular in the United States, especially around the holidays. In fact, one reason that one of the National Date Nut Days takes place on December 22 is likely because it is close to the holiday season, although it is not known why the other day is celebrated on September 8.

National Date Nut Bread Day is being observed today! It has always been observed annually on December 22nd. It has always been observed annually on September 8th.

1 cup chopped dates
1 cup boiling water
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.
Soak the dates in the boiling water for 15 minutes.  Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar.  Add the egg, molasses, and date mixture, and blend on low speed.  Add the remaining ingredients and continue mixing on low speed until combined.
Pour the batter in the loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

**Breads like this freeze well.  Just be sure to wrap them well and place in a freezer bag with as much air removed as possible.

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Literacy Day

International Literacy Day recognizes the importance of literacy and acknowledge the need to creat a globally literate community.The persons ability to read or write helps to connet and empower individuals. The United Nations considers literacy a basic human right. The world today shows that 16% of the world is unable to read or write. The socio economic issues like poverty and gender helps build the percent of illeteracy.

Literacy day was created in 2000 to help combat illiteracy. A pledge that by 2030 all youth and substantial proportios of adults both men and women will have the ability to understand literacy and numeracy. The National Assessment of Adult Literacy, 50% of American Adults was unablee to read a book at the eighth grade leveel.

The more that you read, the more things that you will know, the more that you learn, the more places that you'll go - Dr. Seuss

More time must be invested in teaching others to read. Both political and financial reasons should help push the reasoning to ensure that literacy is fully recognized. The ability to read is a powerful tool.

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Suicide Prevention Awareness

Suicide can be prevented and the best way to do something is to know the warning signs. Signs should be taken seriously. Warning signs of suicide include:
  • Hopelessness
  • Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out
  • Uncontrolled anger or rage
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Risky behavior
  • Withdrawing from friends, family and society
  • Dramatic mood changes
  • Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping too much
  • Expressing no reason for living or no sense of purpose in life

Get help IMMEDIATELY by contacting a mental health professional or calling 9-1-1 or The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).

Suicide is serious but preventable public health issue. In my personal life suicide has left harmful effets on many that I know. A young man took his life during his parents divorce period. This young man was a close friend of our own family.  My daughter also dated a young man in highschool that took his life. Nothing good ever comes from issues such as this, they leave the ones behind feeling hurt and in pain. that is why when we see the signs we should recognize and get help. 

suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for all ages in 2014
42,000 people took their own lives through suicide in 2014
469,000 were treated in U.S. emergency departments for self inflited injuries in 2014.

Suicide can and must be prevented. Help reduce harmful behaviors like drug abuse and social isolation, and increase positive ones like getting help and connecting with others.

Spiced Pumpkin Waffles

This waffle recipe is perfect for fall. Take a look in your pantry to see if you can find that left over can of pumpkin.

Deliciously Spiced Pumpkin Waffles

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 2/3 cups milk
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl. In a second bowl, add eggs, sugar, pumpkin, milk, and butter; beat well. Gently fold in the flour mixture. Spoon in about 3/4 cup of batter into the waffle iron. Cook each waffle for 4-5 minutes. This recipe makes approximately 5 waffles on my waffle iron.

Additional Notes- I double this recipe to make an extra batch to freeze or when entertaining. Make sure to spray your waffle iron well with nonstick spray or these will stick to the waffle iron and make a big mess. Also, be sure to leave these on at least four to five minutes. If you try to take them off sooner than that, they will not taste as good or set up as nicely.

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Backpack To School

There are many things to take note of when our children start back to school. One thing that we may not be noting enough of is their backpack. Yes, we want them to have one that they like but it should also be one that is right for them as well When selecting backpaks be sure to take note of:

  • that the shoulder straps are wide and padded. Narrow straps can dig into the shouldeers which can result in pain and restrict circulation
  • backpacks should have two shoulder straps. Backpacks with only one shoulder strap may not distribute weight evenly
  • A backpack with a padded back will help protect against sharp edges on objects inside the pack and increase comfort. 
  • the backpack itself should not add much weight to the load
  • rolling backpacks may be good choice for students who must tote heavy load. There are times that a rolling backpack will make it harder such as going upstairs and in snow or mud

Prevent injury when using a backpack follow a few steps
  • use both shoulder straps in order not to strain muscles. Using just one shoulder strap could also increase curvature of the spine
  • shoulder straps should be tight so that the pack is close to the body. 
  • pack light never more than 10 to 20 % of th students total body weight Pack heavier items closest to the center of the bak
  • Do not carry all the books needed for the day rather stop at locker often to unload books
  • use body mechanics bend using both knees instead of at waist when using backpack
As parents we can help our children be safe with their backpacks. A few things we can do
  • encourag our children to inform us of any pain or discomfort that the backpack may cause
  • Pediatriian should be sought for advice

Health Awareness :: Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is an irregular and often rapid heart rate. It can inrease your risk of strlke, heart failure and other heart related complications.

Atrial fibrillation takes place in the heart's two upper chambers. They begin to beat chaotically and irregularly out of control with the two lower chambers. of the heart. This process often results in heart palpitations, shortness of breath and weakness.  Atrial fibrillation is not normally life threatening however, it is a serious medical condition that may require emergency treatment. Episodes are not always present and may come and go but others may develop episodes that do not go away and require treatment of medication and other interventions to alter heart's electrial system.

Signs of atrial fibrillation inlude dizziness, weakness, and fatigue. Life style changes, medication and sometimes procedures such as a pacemaker are needed.

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Thursday, September 7, 2017

easy Salami Pasta Salad

3 cups uncooked penne pasta
8 ounces hard salami, cubed
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
4 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
4 teaspoons minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 teaspoons minced fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

n a large saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions; rinse in cold water and drain. Transfer to a large bowl; add salami, parsley and onions.
In a small bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar and seasonings. Drizzle over pasta mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Just before serving, stir in cheese. Yield: 8 servings.

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Salty Caramel Popcorn

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
3 cups white granulated sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon large flaked sea salt, divided
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda

Lightly spray two heatproof rubber spatulas with nonstick cooking spray, along with one sheet of parchment. Line a baking sheet with the sprayed parchment and set aside.
In a large saucepan or pot with a lid, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the popcorn kernels, cover, and keep the saucepan moving until all of the kernels have popped, about 4 minutes. Transfer the popped popcorn to the baking sheet, and pick out any un-popped kernels and discard.
In a deep, medium saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 cup water. Cook over high heat, without stirring, until the mixture becomes a light golden-yellow caramel, about 10 minutes. The mixture will be quite bubbling and it can be hard to see its actual color; this is why I favor using a thermometer. I allow the mixture to cook until it reaches 340 degrees F and then take it off the heat. When the caramel reaches 340 degrees F, remove it from the heat and allow it to stand for about 30 seconds. Carefully whisk in the baking soda mixture (the caramel will bubble up and rise). Pour the caramel over the popcorn and toss using the nonstick spatulas, until all of the popcorn is evenly coated. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon sea salt.
While the popcorn is still warm, separate it into small pieces and then cool to room temperature, which should take about 15 minutes. Mixture will be good for up to 3 days, if kept in an airtight container.
Yield: 6-8 servings

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Happy Birthday Grandma Moses

Anna Mary Robertson Moses better known as Grandma Moses was born September 7, 1860. She would live to be 101 years old. Grandma Moses was an American folk artist only beginning her artistic carreer at the age of 78. Her art work has appeared on greeting cards and other merchandise, shown and sold around the world as well being displayed in many museums.  Grandma Moses appeared on magazine covers, televisions and in documentaries of her life. She was also awarded two honorary doctoral degrees.

Anna Mary had a long life with many years of hard work. At the age of 12 she would begin work as a live in housekeeper. She would work there for 15 years. One employeer supplied her with art materials to create drawings. In 1905 at the age of 45 she worked a farm with her husband. Together the couple would have 10 children only 5 would survive past infancy.

November 2006 The 1943 piece of art Sugaring off was valued at $1.2 million U.S.

Grandma Moses piece of art in the White House titled Fourth of July also is the name of a commemorativee stamp issued in 1969.

Norman Rockwell and Grandma Moses were friends with each otheer.

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Waffle Dogs

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup corn meal
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon oil
1 egg
1-3/4 cup buttermilk (more if necessary)
hot dogs
oil for frying

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, corn meal, brown sugar, baking powder and salt.
Make a well and stir in the oil, egg and buttermilk. Add more buttermilk if necessary to get a dipping consistency.
In addition to regular hot doges we also tried cubes of cheese which was the food of choise for the Cheese-atarian Kid. I pierced each with a skewer and set aside.
For this particular maker it took a little practice. The best outcome was to spoon some batter right into the maker, placing the dog on top then add more batter. Perfection! It worked just like a waffle maker!
I changed it up and topped some of the hot dogs with pizza sauce and mozzarella. The pizza dog was the hit!
If you don’t have a corn dog maker add oil to a deep fryer and fry according to manufacturer’s directions.

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Eating Nutritionally at School

The early years of school are often very exciting. From learning early lessons of math to how to spell words its a Chance to have a bit of fun. The first of school is also a great time to focus on good habits. It may seem that everything is new but others may welcome the new changes but maybe not to many at one time.

Packing a lunch box and taking it to school is one of the delights of a young students life. They are able to show responsibility and be successful at it. Base the amount of food on how much your own child prefers. If your child has food allergies or other health conditions make sure to note this as well.

Here are a few ideas for packing lunches:
Avoid the prepackaged snacks and lunch products. These can bust a budget as they may cost more money than buying lunch from the school each month. Packaged foods also contain mystery preservatives that are not healthy Instead try this:

Fresh fruit kabob with tube of low-fat yogurt;
Apple slices with peanut butter and low-fat granola;
Fresh cut veggies and whole-wheat pita chips with individual container of flavored hummus (pizza flavor is now available from Sabra!);
Bowl of vegetable-based soup with whole-grain crackers;
Trail mix with low-fat milk;
Low-fat cheese with whole-grain crackers; and
Two whole-grain fig bars with low-fat milk or yogurt

September is Baby Safety Month

As parents we should keep the safety of our little ones at the top of our minds. Planning ahead and taking precautions to keep our baby safe and happy and healthy. 

Carbon Monoxide affets babies and children more quickly than adults. Fumes can not be seen as they have no colour or smell. A Carbon Monoxide detector is needed to alert of any leaks. 

Make sure your home is a safe place with plug socket covers. Door slam guards, corner protectors, and safety latches can help protect little fingers as well Staircases can be very dangerous. A stair gate should be used to avoid falls. Ensure that stairs are kept clean as well.

Thermomters are very important as well. Both for room and tub as they ensure no burns and that it does not get too hot. 

Keep little hands away from dangers they should not touch. Medicine and cleaning supplies are just a couple of things that should be locked up high and away to prevent any dangers

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Apple & Cinnamon Cake

2 cups white SR flour
2 eggs
1/4 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 apple cut into slices
2 apples cut into small pieces
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tb sugar additional
Add the apple to a saucepan with the additional sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and enough water to cover. simmer this until the apple slices are just turning tender and carefully remove those.  Leave the other apple pieces cooking until they turn very soft and all the liquid has gone.
Cream the butter and sugar.  Beat in 1 egg, the vanilla, half the milk and half the flour.  Add the other egg, remaining milk and flour.  Beat together until mixture is creamy.
Prepare a cake tin.  Spoon half the mixture out into the tin, then spread the stewed apple mixture over this.  

Spoon on the remaining cake mixture.  Top with the slices of apple and sprinkle cinnamon on top.

Bake at 180ºC for about 30- mins until the cake has cooked through.  This cake will be quite moist due to the apple filling.  So you may need to turn the heat down a bit to stop it getting too brown on top while it’s finishing cooking.

Sauteed Mushrooms

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp light olive oil
1 1/2 lbs (24 oz) baby bella (cremini) mushrooms
garlic salt, to taste (or use salt and garlic powder)
black pepper, freshly ground
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice form 1 small or 1/2 large lemon
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

. Rinse and quickly pat dry mushrooms (go on and rinse them, you have my permission :)). Cut off stems to be parallel with the base of the mushroom (important for sautéing ease).

In a large heavy pan over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp oil. Once oil is hot, add mushrooms in a single layer, cut-side-down (cook in batches if your pan is smaller). Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper. Sautee until bottoms are browned (5 min), then flip over, season again with garlic salt and pepper and sautee until browned on the second side (5 min).

Squeeze in 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp parsley. Stir mushrooms and cook another 1-2 min, adding more seasoning to taste. Remove from heat and serve.

Substitute Teaching Tips

Being a substitut teacher is never an easy job. One can do a great job and make a difference in the life of a child by following just a few steps The substitute teacher is so much more than that. It is not a day for the students to have free while teacher is gone. It is the substitutes goal to help students learn something new. Remind students that their teacher wants them to do the best they can and that they should all strive to learn today. It is best to always have a morning activitiy in case the regular classroom teacher does not.

While taking class role make sure to take note of students names. Introduce yourself as the guest teacher and tell them what you would like to have from them. Allow students to be helpful when possible

Bring along a backpack that will help you keep class busy and attentive. Ideas for your bag could include:

-Pencils clearly marked with bright colors


-Dry Erase board and Markers

-Emergency Plans

-Photocopies of Activities – Word Searches, Mazes, Number Games,

-Deck of Cards (butterflies)

-Stickers- great for an incentive, even up to 5th grade if they are interesting stickers!

-Soft Ball (tossing in games)

-Index cards

-Sight Word Flash Cards

-U.S. Animals Flash Cards

-Word and Picture Flash Cards

-Uno Game (with words, not numbers)

-Glue Stick

-Mad Libs

Rainbow Waffles

2 cups Bisquick™ Original baking mix SAVE $
2 eggs
1 cup milk
Gel food coloring (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple)

In a large bowl, whisk together Bisquick™, eggs and milk until smooth.
Divide the batter into six portions, around 1/3 cup each, giving a little extra to the bowls for the red and orange colors.
Use gel food coloring (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple) to color each bowl of batter to your desired vibrancy. Whisk in food coloring until evenly blended.
Transfer each color of batter to its own piping bag and cut off the tips (careful not to spill the batter).
Carefully pour each color into a heated circle waffle maker to make your rainbow, starting with red, then orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. Cook according to waffle maker instructions.

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Nutrition Packed Gyro Style Burritos

1lb 95% lean ground beef
1 onion chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp fennel seeds
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 (10 oz.) package frozen spinach, cooked, drained
2 Tbsp. raisins
9 eggs
½ cup feta cheese
½ cup plain yogurt
¼ cup cucumber, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
10 whole-wheat tortillas

Make yogurt dressing by combining yogurt, cucumber, olive oil, mint, lemon juice, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a large, non-stick skillet, add beef and onion. Cook over medium heat until beef is browned. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, oregano, basil, salt, cinnamon, fennel seeds, and cayenne pepper. Add spinach and raisins. Cook until heated throughout.
(At this point, the mixture may be refrigerated overnight or frozen for later use. Thaw before using, and heat in large, non-stick skillet over medium heat.)
In a medium bowl, stir eggs with a fork or whisk until well-beaten. Pour eggs into beef mixture. Stir, and cook until eggs are set, about 10 minutes.
To make burritos, spoon filling onto tortilla. Sprinkle feta cheese over the filling, then drizzle yogurt sauce over cheese. Fold tortilla around filling.
Burritos may be frozen, but omit the yogurt sauce. Wrap each burrito in plastic or foil, and store in an air-tight container. Unwrap, and reheat in microwave.

Be Enthusiastic

Today, choose to wake up and attack the day with enthusiasm. What is it that makes each day unique, worthwhile and exciting to you?? To me, the day is full of family, friends and the sun that helps to warm me. There are things that we all have to find passion in.

Breakfast Flowers

3 slices lean ham
16 wonton wrappers
4 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
8 Sunny Queen free range eggs
8 tsp sliced shallots

Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
Coat 8 extra large muffin cups with a spray of oil. Put a wonton wrapper in each cup. Repeat with second wonton wrapper, placing on an angle in each muffin cup to form a flower shape.
Sprinkle 1 tsp grated cheese into each wonton cup. Break one egg into each cup. Top with diced ham. Sprinkle sliced shallots over the top. Season with pepper.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until wrappers are golden and eggs are set. Cover with foil if shells brown too quickly.

recipe source here

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September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. It is one of the most deadly of women's canceers. An average of 21,980 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The World Health Organization department there are oveer 238,000 new cases diagnosed annually and nearly 152,000 deaths worldwide.

This cancer most commonly occurs in women in their fifties and sixties. Many of these ladies diagnosed will have genetic history with a strong family history of ovarian cancer or the BRCA mutation gene.

It is important to seek quickly and not wait until the disease has begun to spread but if detected at its earlieest stage. Symptoms of ovarian canceer are often subtle and easily confused with other ailments and include:

Other symptoms may include:

• Nausea, indigestion, gas, constipation or diarrhea
• Extreme fatigue
• Shortness of breath
• Backaches
• Weight Gain

At current time there is no adequate screening test of ovarian cancer. This is one reason why this cancer is often found in later stages. If any symptoms last longer than 2 to 3 weeks talk to your doctor.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Cheese Pizza Day

September 5th is dedicated as National Cheese Pizza Day. The cheese pizza that is pie shaped flatbread with toppings of your choice. In this case it is the choice of cheese alone. Cheese pizza was first enjoyed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in Naples (later to be part of Italy).

The working poor in Naples lived outside or in small homes. They did not have much money and relied on cheap food. Pizza which consisted of flatbread with toppings such as tomatoes, garlic, cheese, oil or anchovies was sold by street vendors. Pizza could also be found in informal restaurants.

Naples would officially become part of Italy in 1861 and by 1889 Queen Margherita and King Umberto visited Naples. Here the King and Queen would try pizza and legend has it that they fell in love with the mozzarella pizza. The pizza itself hosted mozzarella cheese, red tomatoes, and green basil. They also loved that the colors of the pizza were also the colors of the flag of Italy. It was not until 1940 when the rest of Italy would fall in love with pizza.

Pizza would gain popularity in the United States when Neapolitans immigrated to the new world. Lombardi's was the first pizzeria in the United States. It was located in New York City and established in 1905. The original oven is still in use but the restraunt itself has since moved. St. Louis, Chicago and Boston would join in on the pizza bandwagon. World War II would help make pizza even more popular with a variety of crusts and toppings growing more popularity in some areas more than others. Pizza would become famous world wide and is still enjoyed today.

Get a great deaal at Pizza Hut by using the promo code SAYCHEESE. Like a few toppings on your pizza?? The deal running today through September 11th has you covered with a 1/2 price pizza.

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