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My experience with endometrial ablation | Part 3: One week after the procedure

SO... it has been one week and one day since my ablation and I can honestly tell you I feel physically 100% fine from it.  I am thoroughly surprised at how well everything feels in that general area.  I thought for sure there would be some remaining pain or soreness, but there is really nothing.  

Since there really isn't much to report on the subject, I thought I would take this opportunity to answer some of the more "interesting" questions I've been asked about the whole thing.  There are some things that you may not feel comfortable asking your doctor about, but I definitely encourage you to do it anyway.  While reading here and in other places are great for learning about other people's experiences, it is always best to talk to your doctor about anything pertaining to your own health.

I want to give everyone fair warning right now that some of the questions and explanations may not be for the faint at heart.  So if you would rather not read on, I completely understand.  OK, here we go...

The most frequently asked question I hear pertains to the amount of blood I experienced after the procedure.  Surprisingly enough, there was very minimal blood.  There is a bit of spotting and a watery discharge that comes and goes, but wearing a thin pad or a liner is enough.  There was one day over the weekend when I did have a small bit more bleeding, but I think that was because it coincided with the date when I would normally have had my period.  I think my body was just adjusting.

The second most asked question is about how I am feeling.  I really do feel fine... physically.  I had some minor cramping the same day over the weekend when I had the spotting.  But otherwise everything feels exactly the same as it did beforehand.

I am not going to lie, though... mentally I am not really sure yet.  As you read in my post the day after the procedure, I had experienced some sadness which I attributed to the anesthesia.  That did go away after a day or two.  However, I still have a lingering sense of 'What If?'  

I don't think I made the wrong decision.  However, I can't shake the fact that I willingly ended my body's chance of ever having a baby again.  I know this is an irrational thought because I had consciously made the decision to have no more children a LONG time ago.  And I STILL do not want any more children.  Because I know my thinking is irrational, I will definitely talk to my doctor about it when I see him next week.  

I will update you all again after my visit with the doctor and let you know if anything else comes up in the meantime.  And PLEASE let me know if you have any questions.  You can either comment below or send me an email at cynthialeemom@yahoo.com.  I don't know if I can help you, but I certainly will try.  

To read the rest of the series about my endometrial ablation, here are the links:

Part 1- Before the Procedure

Part 2- One day after the procedure

Part 3- One week after the procedure

Part 4- Two weeks after the procedure


My experience with endometrial ablation | Part 2: One day after the procedure

As promised, here is my honest account of how things went yesterday.  

I want to start this post by saying how I feel today: I feel 100% fine!  As if I had not undergone any type of procedure yesterday at all.  I am writing this at 8:00 AM.  I know this feeling may be fleeting as the day goes on, so I will take it easy today.  But as of right now, I am surprisingly AOK.

My doctor said everything went very well.  There were no issues and the procedure went smoothly.  I have to see him in two weeks.

Yesterday is sort of blurry in my memory due to the anesthesia, but I will tell you all that I remember.  The procedure itself went rather quickly.  I remember seeing 10:00 on the clock of the operating room and then I was asleep.  I then woke up in the recovery room and the clock said 11:12.  

I immediately felt pain in my abdomen.  It wasn't terrible pain, but enough to get my attention.  It was a sort of dull pain throughout with a slightly sharper pain in my left side.  Because I felt that pain, I got worried that it would get worse as the medication wore off.  On the contrary, it subsided as the day went on.  By the time I went to bed at 11:00 last night, I was just a little bit crampy - like I normally feel the day of my heaviest flow each time.  

When the anesthesia fog started to lift, I checked under the blankets to see what everything looked like.  There was very minimal spotting.  Throughout the day yesterday, there was only one or two spots.  This morning I am wearing a pad as a precaution, but so far it has not been needed.  I will probably wear one for the next few days to be safe.

The physical part of the procedure was very easy.  The worst part about it was the anesthesia which nauseated me and left me feeling hungover all day.  What I was not prepared for though was how I was going to feel emotionally.  

When I was wheeled back into the area where my husband was sitting, something came over me.  A wave of sadness overtook me.  I couldn't contain myself from crying.  I know it was partially from the anesthesia, but it was also something else.  It hit me like a ton of bricks right at that moment that I could no longer carry a child.

My husband and I had decided long ago that we were done having children.  It was absolutely no surprise that this procedure would prevent just that.  But the finality of it struck me like a blow to the chest when I woke up.  A rush of thoughts flooded my brain.  Did I make the right choice? 

As the day went on, I noticed that sadness slowly going away.  You know that whole 'when a door closes, another one opens' adage?  Well, I started to feel the other door opening inch by inch with every hour.  I could see how much better things are going to be now that I don't have to worry about all the issues I was having with my periods before.  I felt lighter and more free.

Today I feel like a brand new woman.  All that sadness from yesterday is gone.  I think I needed that cry as a type of closure.  It helped me to accept the changes I made to my body and move on to this next part of my life.

I will post again in a week to let you all know how everything is progressing.  I hope this is helpful to anyone who may be considering the procedure!  

 

Here are links to the rest of the series:

Part 1- Before the Procedure

Part 2- One day after the procedure

Part 3- One week after the procedure

Part 4- Two weeks after the procedure


My experience with endometrial ablation | Part 1: Before the procedure

I know my blog is all over the place, and I'm cool with that because, well, my life is all over the place.  Take for example this current post.  It is going to be about something I never thought in a million years I'd be writing about.  It does not match anything I've written about in the past and does not fit with my normal recipe-loving, funny-kid-anecdote-writing, giveaway-giving posts at ALL.  But because I know I'm not alone in this world, and I know that I value other women's opinions about their experiences with health issues, I thought it could possibly be helpful to someone if I start a small series about something I'm currently about to experience: endometrial ablation.  

If you'd like to stop reading now, I completely understand.  I mean, there ARE going to be some gory details and phrases like "uterine bleeding" and "dilated cervix" that might not appeal to everyone.  Please  go about your day as if nothing ever happened and please still talk to me when you see me on the street.  But if you are considering having this procedure done, please read on.  Hopefully this series will give you a little bit of insight on what it's like.

No, I'm not going to give you the pros and cons of why I chose to go through with this procedure.  My choices are my own.  But I will tell you that for me it seems like the best solution out there.  And I will tell you that I have done a lot of research about it.  For me, all the benefits are outweighing the bad possible outcomes tenfold.  What I also want to tell you is my 100% honest experience with the procedure so that you can have an idea of what it's like from an ordinary mom's perspective.

I am scheduled to go in this upcoming week.  I have had my consultation with my doctor and had bloodwork done already.  The procedure itself is supposed to only take about 10-15 minutes, but I will be completely knocked out, so it will require me to be in an outpatient surgical center for a few hours.   The ablation itself should only take about 5 minutes, but my doctor told me he will also perform a hysteroscopy (which is just the insertion of a camera to get a better picture of my uterus) and a D&C (dilation & curretage).  

I have talked with a few friends who have gone through this procedure.  It is interesting to me that every single person I have talked to has had a different experience with it.  Some had horrible pain while others were back to their normal selves the next day.  I am very hopeful and at the same time very interested in how my body will react.

 If you have any questions now, please go ahead and ask them.  If I already know the answer, I will certainly give it to you.  But if I don't, I will ask my doctor for you!  

I hope you will find this series helpful.  I will be posting again once I get home and then again in a few weeks...then months...so you can have a good idea of my personal progress.  I may not have all the answers for you, but I know that sometimes just hearing about someone else's experience can help when trying to make your own decisions about your health.  Best of luck to you!

Here are links to the rest of the series:

Part 1- Before the Procedure

Part 2- One day after the procedure

Part 3- One week after the procedure

Part 4- Two weeks after the procedure


Butternut squash done two ways: Cabot's Winter Squash Gratin and Squash Soup

After receiving a beautiful box of cheese from Cabot Creamery compliments of the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council (ADADC), I scoped out their website for a recipe to try.  I landed on their Winter Squash Gratin and decided it would be perfect for us.  The full recipe is on their website, but here is how I made it:

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photo credit to www.cabotcheese.coop

Cabot's Winter Squash Gratin

      • 6 ounces Cabot Sharp Cheddar grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
      • 1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs (I made crumbs from a full sleeve of Saltine crackers)
      • 2 tablespoons butter
      • 2 cups chopped onions
      • 1 teaspoon sugar
      • 1/8 teaspoon salt
      • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crumbled
      • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
      • 2 pounds dry-fleshed butternut squash peeled and seeded*
      • 3/4-1 cup chicken broth
Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine cheese and bread crumbs in bowl and set aside.
In large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and sugar. Stir often until onions are golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in salt, thyme and pepper, then transfer mixture to 1 1/2-quart baking dish.
Cut squash into smaller chunks and cut these chunks into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Add to onions and stir together well.
Pour 3/4 cup of chicken broth evenly over squash. Cover dish tightly with lid or foil and bake for about 70 minutes, or until squash is tender and broth is nearly all absorbed. If squash appears dry, add remaining 1/4 cup broth. 
Sprinkle squash with reserved bread crumb mixture. Bake until topping is golden, about 20 minutes longer.
 
*Don't throw away those seeds!  Roasted butternut squash seeds are even more delicious than roasted pumpkin seeds in my opinion.  Just clean the seeds and let them sit overnight to dry.  Then toss them with a tsp of olive oil and a pinch of salt.  Roast them on a single layer in a 275° oven for about an hour or until they are golden brown stirring occasionally.
 
The gratin was delicious, but let me tell you- it made a lot!  We had about half a tray left over after eating our fill with dinner.  
 
The next day, I felt like making soup.  Squash soup sounded good, so I put the leftover gratin into a pot with about 2 cups of chicken broth and whirled it up with my hand blender.  I placed the pot on medium heat stirring it once in a while until it was warm.  It was a bit salty, so I added a half cup of water and heated it through.  When it was done, I topped it with the butternut squash seeds I had saved and roasted previously.  
 
My daughter thought the soup tasted like goldfish crackers.  When I tasted it, I had to agree.  It was delicious!  It was smooth and very filling with the mixed green salad we had on the side for lunch that day.
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Squash Soup
 
Hope you will try both recipes!  Let me know what you think. 
 
Oh, and yes, all you foodies out there.  The picture above shows pumpkin seeds on the soup, not butternut squash seeds.  I tried to get a shot of the butternut seeds, but they were too good.  I ate them all. 

Grilled cod with almonds recipe

The other night I was trying to figure out a good way to use up some frozen cod we had in the freezer.  The weather was nice, so grilling was on the forefront of my brain.  I wanted something that had a grilled flavor, but still sort of resembled a basic fish fry.  I checked the cabinets for some crunchy stuff I could smash up to make a nice coating on the fish.  I found almonds, saltines and flax seeds.  Perfect!

Here is what I came up with:

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Grilled Cod with Almonds

  • 4 Tbsp & 1 tsp melted butter
  • 4 cod fillets fresh or thawed
  • 10 saltines
  • 1/2 cup roasted salted almonds
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp flax seeds
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley

Coat the cod with 4 Tbsp melted butter on both sides and place on one sheet of aluminum foil.  Place on indirect heat on a low grill for about 10 minutes.   IMG_2763While it is cooking, whirl up the saltines, almonds, garlic, flax seeds and parsley in your food processor until the mixture looks like coarse bread crumbs.    

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Take the fish off the grill (leave on aluminum foil) and place the whole thing on a large plate.  Divide the almond mixture in four and top each piece of cod with it.  Drizzle the tsp of melted butter over the fish and put the whole thing back on the grill for about 10 more minutes or until the fish is flaky and the topping is slightly browned.  

My husband loved it.  My daughter liked it with a little lemon on it.  I absolutely loved it and really sort of made an ass out of myself declaring my love for it at the dinner table.  My family now thinks I'm insane.  ...Hope you like it! 


Spicy roasted almonds and walnuts recipe

On my quest to make some wholesome snacks for my family, I often go through the pantry to see what I can use.  For some reason, we have about a million pounds of almonds and walnuts in there right now.  

We will have no problem throwing some of them in our salads, smoothies and breakfast cereals.  And I am planning on using some of the almonds to make almond butter per my friend Stephanie's recipe at Confessions of a Stay at Home Mom.  

...But I came up with this savory little ditty, too.  And it is GOOD.

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Spicy Roasted Almonds and Walnuts

    • 2 cups unsalted whole almonds
    • 2 cups shelled walnut halves
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 1/8 tsp (or more if you are daring) cayenne pepper
    • 1 tsp oregano
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 1/8 tsp salt

Put nuts in a large bowl and toss with olive oil.  Mix all the spices together in a separate bowl and then toss with the nuts to coat.  Spread the mixture in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake at 300° for 30-40 min stirring occasionally.  Let them cool and save them in an airtight container.  You can eat them warm, but I prefer them at room temp when they have a chance to regain their crunch.

This recipe is adapted from one I read in the cookbook Men's Health Muscle Chow.  I liked their idea, so I went with it to form my own recipe.  I hope you like it!


Roasted garlic and cauliflower soup two ways

Yesterday I was feeling experimental.  I put a head of cauliflower and a head of garlic in the oven to roast.  My thought was to make some soup with them.  Little did I know that one head of cauliflower makes a lot of soup.  

Like, a LOT.  

Like so much that if I were to eat one bowl of cauliflower soup per day, I'd be done with it by Christmas '15.  

It's a lot of soup.

So I decided to split the base soup in half and dress it up two different ways.  Here are the recipes!

Cauli

Roasted Garlic and Cauliflower Soup

For the roasted garlic and cauliflower:

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the top off the head of garlic to expose the tops of the cloves.  Drizzle with a little olive oil and wrap the whole thing in aluminum foil.  Slice the cauliflower into 1 inch thick pieces.  Drizzle with olive oil and salt & pepper and toss to coat both sides. Don't worry if it falls apart a bit.  Place it in a roasting pan.  Put the garlic and the cauliflower in the oven to roast for about 35-40 minutes turning the cauliflower once.  Pull it out if it when it starts getting brown on the edges.

T0 make the soup:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 1 small carrot diced
  • 1 small stalk of celery diced
  • 3 small or 2 large red skinned potatoes
  • 6-8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 head roasted cauliflower 
  • 1 head roasted garlic

Saute onion, carrot and celery in olive oil over medium heat for about 2 minutes until onion is transparent.  Add potatoes and saute one more minute.  Add 6 cups broth and cook until potatoes are cooked through.  Take off heat and add cauliflower and roasted garlic (squeeze the garlic right out of the skins).  Whirl up the mixture with a hand mixer or blender.  Add more broth or water if needed.

Now that you have the base soup, you can come up with your own spice mixtures to add to it.  It is delicious on its own with just some salt & pepper, but here are two ways I came up with that worked really well.  I just took the whole pot of soup and split it into two separate pots:

In one pot I made Parmesan & Sage Soup by adding 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese and 1 tsp dried Russian sage. PS: My 9 year-old daughter tried this one and said, "Now THAT...is good soup.  It's perfect, Mom."  ***I'm melting over here!!***

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Parmesan & Sage Soup

 

In the other pot I made a Southwest Soup by adding 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp diced chives and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper.  

Cauli1
Southwest Soup garnished with salsa & chives

 

For both recipes, I just added the extra ingredients and put the soups back on the stove to heat them back up.

I hope you like them both!  


Greek Yogurt: It's not just for lunch - 2 recipes and a giveaway

Do you like Greek yogurt?  I love its thick creamy texture and the fact that all that extra protein fills me up.  A nice bowl of Greek yogurt drizzled with honey and walnuts tastes like a decadent treat to me.  My husband eats it every single day for lunch.  

But Greek yogurt can be used for so much more than just a quick lunch.  Did you know you can use it in place of a lot of other dairy products in your recipes to get the benefit of its active yogurt cultures and extra protein? Yup.  In fact, it tastes better in some recipes, if you ask me.  

I tried a recipe given to me by the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council for Easy to Make, Easier to Eat Muffins and found them to be quite good.  Here it is if you would like to try it yourself.   IMG_2262

Easy to Make, Easier to Eat Muffins

  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/2 c softened butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 c plain Greek yogurt (I may try vanilla Greek yogurt next time for a different flavor)
  • 3 Tbsp whole milk (although I used skim and it was fine)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.  Whisk butter and sugar together and add eggs.  Add Greek yogurt, milk and vanilla.  Mix flour with baking soda in a separate bowl and gradually add to liquid mixture.  Fill muffin tins almost full and bake for 20 mins or until golden.  Makes about 12.

It got me thinking about what else I could put Greek yogurt in... I came up with this recipe for Potato Salad with Greek yogurt and chives which came out absolutely perfect.  I hope you will try it!IMG_2261

Potato Salad with Greek Yogurt and Chives

  • 8-10 small cooked and cooled redskin potatoes cut into bite-size pieces*
  • 1/4 small yellow onion diced
  • 1 large stalk of celery diced
  • 1 hard boiled egg chopped
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp diced chives
  • 1 tsp diced parsley
  • Salt & Pepper to taste IMG_2250

All you really need to do is add all the above ingredients in a bowl and stir them up.  As with all potato salad, in my opinion, it is better when it sits for a while before eating it.  I like to make it in the morning and put it in the fridge until dinner.  

*To save time, I like to put the egg and the potatoes in the same pot to boil.  To do so, just put a cold egg in a pot and cover it with water.  Bring it to a boil on the stove and add your potatoes.  Once the potatoes are done, drain the water and stick the whole thing in the fridge to cool.

Oh, and guess what?  The American Dairy Association and Dairy Council would love to get you on board with all the fantastic benefits Greek yogurt has to offer, too!  They have given me a lovely gift pack for one of you awesome readers consisting of some really handy Silicone Solutions baking items, an apron with I Love Greek Yogurt emblazon on the front, a cooler tote with the same sentiment on it and the best part... coupons for FREE Greek yogurt!  IMG_2298

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Greek yogurt is great for a lot of different diets including diabetis and gluten-free diets.  A lot of lactose intolerant people find that Greek yogurt is easy to digest as well!

To find out more about the benefits of Greek yogurt and other awesome dairy products, check out the American Dairy Association and Dairy Coucil's website ADADC.com.  You can also visit their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @AmerDairyAssoc.

Disclosure: I was given the same gift pack as listed in the giveaway.  No other compensation was given to me.  All opinions in this post are my own.  I love Greek yogurt!


Dermagist Hydrating Spa System- review and giveaway!

If you guys know me at all, you know that I am a cheapskate.  No, frugal is too nice a word for what I am.  I am a flat out, penny-pinching pain in the arse when it comes to buying anything.  I hate spending money.  I especially hate spending money when it comes to myself.  

However...

When it comes to my skin, I will spend whatever it takes to make it feel good.  See, I have dealt with skin issues my entire life.  I have always had the driest skin due to environmental issues and allergies.  I also suffer from psoriasis that can be downright painful at times.  I will try anything and everything to help make the pain go away.  When I find something that makes me feel even a little bit better, I stick with it.  

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Dermagist Hydrating Spa System

 

Recently, I was asked to try some skin products from Dermagist and write about my experience with them.  Of course I jumped at the chance because 1)they were giving me free samples to try and 2)my skin was being particularly mean at the time.  

Within a week of my saying yes, I received Dermagist's Hydrating Spa System (sold on their website for $89.99) which included full bottles of three products: Hydro-Renewal Hand Cream, Foot & Heel Revitalizing Cream, and Hydropeutic Body Lotion.  

I took some "before" pictures and started using the products immediately.  Within a week, I could already see a difference in the way my skin looked and more importantly how it felt.  I have been using them now for about a month and can tell you honestly that my skin feels fantastic.

Here are some things I noticed since using Dermagist:

- My nail beds and cuticles on both my hands and feet are smooth and shiny.

- My inherently cracked, dry heels look much better in my sandals since I've been using the foot cream.

- My whole body feels smooth to the touch.

- I don't feel the constant need to slather on extra lotion throughout the day.  Using the Hydrating Spa System twice a day (once in the morning & once at night) has been enough.

- I have not had any psoriasis flare-ups when using the Dermagist products. No, the products themselves are not meant to be psoriasis treatments.  However, stress is a known cause of flare-ups in a lot of psoriasis patients, including me.  My skin has always been a stressor in my life.  The psoriasis makes me anxious which causes more flare-ups which causes more stress...it's a vicous cycle.  Since the Dermagist helped my skin, it helped keep my stress level in check as well.  Therefore, I have been having less psoriatic flare-ups.

 

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My hands feel and look SO much better!

 I was very happy to have been given the opportunity to try Dermagist's products.  My experience with them has been wonderful.  If you are anything like me, you probably won't take my word for it and want to try them yourself.  Well, good news!  Dermagist is offering a Hydrating Spa System for one of my lucky readers!  All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below and complete the tasks to be entered into the giveaway.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don't fret if you don't win!  Dermagist is also offering a 10% discount with promo code "SUMMER" good until Sept 15, 2013.  Just enter it into their site when ordering.  They also offer discounts for repeat customers as well.  I hope you like it!

*I was given a Dermagist Hydrating Spa System free of charge.  No other compensation was given.  All opinions are my own.


GoPicnic ready-to-eat meals review and GIVEAWAY! #spon

Since I am typically in front of the computer most of my days, I am always looking for something interesting to eat...something that will hold my attention without causing me to get up and graze the fridge unnecessarily.  As I was wandering through Target one day -during one of those stolen moments without the kids- I came across these little GoPicnic ready-to-eat meal boxes. They were exactly what I was looking for in a lunch.

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This little box has so much fun inside

 

 

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...see what I mean?

I know it's not just me, but I love foods that are compartmental:  Bento boxes, TV dinners, and now these meals.  I like the option of eating one or two things now and saving the rest for later.  But the key is that those things taste good.  These definitely do.

Here is a little more about GoPicnic's ready-to-eat meals:

-GoPicnic meals need no refrigeration.  Everything in that little cute box is individually wrapped and shelf-stable.

-Everything in GoPicnic meals are ready to eat with no extra preparation required. Just open and enjoy.

-They can be purchased online at gopicnic.com, in retail stores like Target and are now available at Regal Cinema Theaters!

-They are very reasonably priced between $4-$6 apiece.

-GoPicnic offers many different varieties of meals including vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and kosher meals. If a meal falls under any of those categories, it will be clearly labeled on the box.  Each food item is clearly labeled with its ingredients so you can screen for specific allergens as needed. 

-Each box is filled with 5 different individually wrapped delights to equal 1 complete meal.  Most are under 400 calories.

-Every box has a few fun food facts and a Sudoku puzzle printed inside to help keep you smiling even when your meal is done!

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My favorites include the Black Bean Dip & Plaintain Chips meal, the Salami & Cheese meal, the Turkey Stick & Crunch meal and the Hummus & Crackers meal.  I actually just finished a wonderful piece of dark chocolate with sea salt from my Hummus & Crackers meal and it was delicious!

After eating a bunch of different varieties on my own, I thought I would contact GoPicnic to tell them how much I loved them.  They very graciously sent me two meals to review.  And better yet they offered to give two more meals to one of you lucky readers!  All you need to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter.  The only mandatory entry is the "Leave a Blog Post Comment", but you can gain additional entries by completing the tasks in the form.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Best of luck to you! I hope you win!

Disclosure: I was given two meals to review, but have been enjoying GoPicnic ready-to-eat meals for quite some time on my own.  All opinions in this post are my own.