Tag Archives: Jason

MasterChef – One Year Later; Avon Walk For Breast Cancer; A Special Foodie PenPal Package; and a MAURPOWERFOODIE GIVEAWAY!!!

Last night marked the premier of MasterChef Season 4, and I could not help but feel a rush of nostalgia, as it was just 1 year ago that I was going through the excitement of being one of the top 100 in Season 3. From news appearances to interviews and features in papers, tribunes, websites, and magazines, it was an amazing time. An experience I am so fortunate to have had, and the birth of MAURPOWERFOODIE! Can’t believe that this was but 1 year ago…

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I still have not worn that shirt since the show. But I did do something else for the first time since being on the show. I used the ingredient which quite arguably sent me home… Black Garlic.

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For my dish on the show, I decided to use a smear of black garlic on the plate for presentation and too add a depth of flavor. This did not go over well with the judges (the infamous skidmark remark) and in retrospect was a horrible use of the ingredient. Well I decided what better way to pay tribute to the amazing experience I had on the show and how far I have come since by using Black Garlic the right way in order for a MasterChef Season 4 Premier/Season 3 1 Year Anniversary Dinner. So last night I had my friend Alyssa over for dinner and the show. And the meal was fantastic. Black Garlic Rubbed Steak, Black Garlic Butter Corn on the Cob, and Loaded Smashed Baked Potato. As you can see, Alyssa enjoyed it thoroughly:

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MasterChef was a huge step on my culinary journey and has led me towards many things. As for last night’s premier… what a great episode! Definitely some amazing talent this year, some unfortunate flops, the judges were on top of their game in both entertaining and giving some solid critiques. So happy to see my boy Luca Manfe from Season 3 back after his heartbreaking elimination last year and can’t wait to see what he does this year to redeem himself. One thing some of you may remember me conquering after MasterChef was walking 40 MILES for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer!

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Well, I am happy to announce that I am walking again this year 🙂 I have a fundraising goal I have to make of $1800.00, so please, help me out and make a donation to help put an end to Breast Cancer. And be sure to see below how your donations can help you win today’s MaurPowerFoodie Giveaway!

Speaking of that giveaway… I decided to do it because my Foodie PenPal whom I sent a package to last month, Judy Thompson, was nice enough to actually send me one back. So I figured to pay it forward, I would give away a PenPal box just like the one I sent Judy to one of my luck followers. First things first, what did Judy send me? An amazing collection of snack foods: Chocolate covered marshmallows, Chocolate covered potato chips, Chocolate covered cherries, caramel waffle crisps, and almond biscotti. All of which were delicious and have since been devoured.

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Which brings us to what you have all been waiting for… the GIVEAWAY! Your own MaurPowerFoodie PenPal Box, featuring some of my favorite snacks and ingredients and pictured below:

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So, how do you win??? Easy! All you have to do is go to the Giveaway post and follow the simple instructions.

There you have it! It is as easy as that to earn anywhere from 1-8 entries for the MaurPowerFoodie PenPalPackage, and the drawing will be done June 21st at 8:00 PM EST, so be sure to ENTER NOW!!! Winner will be contacted by e-mail to make arrangements to get your address to send your prize to 🙂 Good luck everyone.

Until next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” Maur signing off. Can’t wait to see who the winner is 🙂


The Iron Bridge @ 100 Church Hill – Sandy Hook, CT

Last week I posted a teaser trailer posing a very important question…. Did I find a new Best Burger in CT.  Some of you may remember when I took my trip to Pub 25 for an inside look at the building of my favorite burger in the state. Well, I was told that I had that right there, in the same town there was competition I had not tried yet. The “Home of the Burger & Brew”, The Iron Bridge @ 100 Church Hill.

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So, I  took a trip to the Iron Bridge to try this Burger & Brew deal. First things first, if you are looking for a good deal, this is it. $9.49 gets you a 12 oz gigantic burger, curly fries, a fried onion brick, and a mug of draft beer. It is so much food, I could not finish it in one sitting after starting of my meal with the soup of the day, a sheet crab & corn bisque.

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When Iron Bridge says “Soup of the Day”, you can tell they mean it” Fresh ingredients and made that day. With a little bit of Cajun flare, this bisque had great depth of flavor and just a bit of kick on the after taste. The owner Ray, told me they have one regular who lives all the way up in Hartford and makes the trip just to have this soup when it is on special. After my soup, I knew Pub 25 might actually have competition for its crown, so I took a trip into the kitchen to see where the magic was made. What did I find…?

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…A plethora of fresh, hand formed burgers larger than a fist. These monstrous creations looked great. A little bit leaner than your average burger with a 90/10 ratio, I could still see that a lot of thought, time, and trial went into making these burgers exactly how Ray wanted them to be. The next step in the process is to season and flame grille these babies. Flame grilling gives you great flavor and a nice slight char on the outside. I went back to my seat and waited for the delivery of this…

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Topped with sauteed onions and bacon, by creation was complete. So first I had to go right for the burger. Juicy,  well cooked… This is a great burger. Now, when it comes to burgers I have found there to be two major schools of thought. First, let the meat talk for itself… keep the seasoning light, and just make sure you use fresh, quality meat. This is what Iron Bridge does and they do it extremely well. I would liken this style of burger to the home of the original Hamburger Sandwich in the Country, right here in New Haven, CT… Louis Lunch. Very simple but very tasty. The second school of thought is to try and enhance the flavor of the meat with the right seasoning blend. Big, bold flavors that play with your taste buds. This is the style of the burger at Pub 25. So which is better? I will get to that in a little bit. First, back to this meal. As I mentioned, you also get curly fries (these were pretty standard, but perfectly cooked with a nice crunch but not overdone) and an Onion Brick. This onion brick, to me, was the highlight of the meal. Think crispy onion straws to the EXTREME! They take a bunch of very thinly sliced onions, dip them in a perfectly seasoned beer batter, and fry them together into a brick of unhealthy, fried goodness. Crispy on the outside, and nice flavorful onion on the inside, what makes this special is not only how well it is cooked or how well it is seasoned, but the fact that the batter does not overpower or hide the flavor of the onion. Over all, this was a fantastic meal.

So now, onto the verdict… Did Iron Bridge take away the throne from Pub 25? Well… this all goes back to those two schools of burgers (see how I tied everything together), and my personal preference are those big, bold flavors offered by Pub 25. Just remember, this is a matter of opinion. Iron Bridge still offers a great product and is well worth your trip to try it for yourself and make your own decision. I know I will be back to try some of the other dishes I saw make their way out of the kitchen while I was there.

While Iron Bridge may be “The Home of the Burger & Brew”, it is not the home of my favorite burger in CT. Pub 25 can keep that title…. for now.

The Iron Bridge @ 100 Church Hill on Urbanspoon

Until next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” Maur signing off…. “Om Nom Nom… mmmmm…. Burger….”


The First MaurPowerFoodie Giveaway!

That’s right… it is time for the 1st MaurPowerFoodie giveaway, and we are starting out BIG! One lucky winner will win a pair of tickets to this weekend’s CT Wine Festival for the day of their choice!!!!! All you have to do is follow these simple instructions:

1) (Mandatory) Subscribe to this blog. Make sure you confirm your e-mail. You must be a subscriber to be eligible to win. If you are already subscribed, you ARE already eligible.

2) (Mandatory) Comment on this post stating your desire to win AND which day you would prefer to attend (Saturday or Sunday)! This qualifies you for your first entry into the random drawing as well as qualifying you for the additional entry options below.

3) (Optional-Worth 1 additional entry into the random drawing) Follow me on Twitter @MaurPowerFoodie and Tweet “Enter to win @MaurPowerFoodie’s first big giveaway! CT Wine Festival Tickets!!! http://wp.me/p2jjsv-52” linking to this blog post.

4) (Optional- Worth up to 5 additional entries into the random drawing) Make a donation to my Avon Walk For Breast Cancer page. Every $20 donation is equal to 1 entry up to $100.00.

There you have it! It is as easy as that to earn anywhere from 1-7 entries for the tickets, and the drawing will be done first thing Wednesday morning at 8:00 AM EST, so be sure to ENTER NOW!!! Winner will be contacted by e-mail to make arrangements to get you the tickets 🙂 Good luck everyone.

Until next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” Maur signing off. Can’t wait to see who the first winner is 🙂


A Philadelphia Feast!… In Norwich, CT?

Philadelphia, PA… The city of brotherly love, a wealth of historic sites and stories, and home to one of the most iconic American foods known to man: The Philly Cheese Steak! One of my all-time favorites. Whenever I go down to Philly I am sure to get a cheese steak. I tend to try a different place every time using a method taught to me by a good friend from Philly: look at the people coming out of the restaurant and if you can see grease through the bag… go inside and order yourself a cheese steak. The only problem with the Philly Cheese Steak, I could only get one in Philly. Much like the famed Baltimore Crab Cake or the New England Clam Chowder or so many other great staples throughout the world, anywhere besides Philadelphia that claimed to have a Philly Cheese Steak, lied. I am not saying I have not had some wonderful Steak and Cheese sandwiches, just that they were not Philly Cheese steaks. That is until I was invited up to Norwich, CT to try Philly’s.

Located at 33 Sherman Street in Norwich (down the street from Backus Hospital), when you drive by Philly’s, it is easy to ignore from the outwardly appearance and simply drive on by without even noticing it. That would be a mistake. This has to be one of the best kept secrets in the State of Connecticut. While not much to look at, Philly’s delivers authentic Philadelphia flavors and quality better than anywhere else outside of Philadelphia itself… in fact, it pretty much transports you down to the City of Brotherly Love. Two warnings: 1) There is not really many places to eat. Outside there is a small counter with a few seats, but there are no tables inside, so come expecting to take out or stand at the counter and eat (like I did) unless you get one of the coveted outside spots.


I was lucky enough to have owner Shem Adams (pictured below) there to walk me through the men and prepare me a feast of a tasting course by course. Shem is originally from Philadelphia, which probably explains why he has been able to create something that gave me an unexpected reaction to eating his Philly Cheese Steak, describe a little later (everything in its time).  He first came up to CT in 1994 and then moved up permanently in 1997. After years of going back and forth to Philly just to get a load of his favorite sandwich, Shem decided enough was enough. In 2010  he decided to start Philly’s and spent the year preparing the restaurant to open. When it did in 2011, it was immediately welcomed by the town residents, quickly becoming the place to go for lunch and to have provide the food for local events and fundraisers. Plus, Philly’s delivers to the Norwich area from 11-2 for lunch. Shem was taught the secrets of the true Philly Cheese Steak by his friends back down in PA, and brought the magic up with him.

Anyways, enough already with me rambling on… Let’s get to the FOOD! He started me off with the Buffalo Chicken Fries.

The fries were well seasoned and perfectly crisp out of the frier, topped with a monstrous portion of chopped Buffalo Chicken prepared with a “Doctored-up” Frank’s Sauce (as Shem put it) and a “drizzle” of Ranch Sauce. I started munching away at the sinfully delicious platter, barely getting my complimentary words out to Shem in between bites when Shem stopped me and asked one simple question… “You like ketchup?”. “Of course!” I replied. Shem responded “Put a little on them.” as he slid me the bottle across the counter. This took a great platter of fries to whole different level. The sweet tartness of the ketchup melded into the smooth ranch sauce and simply made me utter one word… “Duuuude!” That’s all I needed to say as Shem smiled knowing full well that my meal was only beginning.

Next up came “The Broad Street Bully”. An accolade winning sandwich (featured as one of the best sandwiches in THE COUNTRY by The Travel Channel), this goliath of meal is packed with Extra Meat (Twice-Shave Rib-eye), provolone, Fried Onions, Mushrooms (though I got mine without), sweet and hot peppers, pickles, and of course… Cheez Whiz.

This overstuffed behemoth could satisfy the hunger of any body, not to mention the fries I had already eaten, but I dug right in…

And after one bite, I, Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” Maur, the man who has probably never stopped talking a day in his life, was speechless. FINALLY, an authentic Philly Cheese Steak NOT in Philadelphia. Every single ingredient melded into the next; there was no need to chew because the meat was sliced so thin it just melted in your mouth; each flavor played off the other creating a simple feeling… comfortable bliss. This was the moment that teleported me out of Norwich, CT and down to Philadelphia, PA. I do not know if I can type the words to fully do this sandwich, so I will type just one, “GO!”. Experience this or any one of the other many different varieties of Cheese Steaks. Quite possibly the most intriguing to me is the sandwich that is 100% Shem entitled “The Barkley”. Made with both steak and chicken, 3 cheeses, and a host of other toppings, this is my next order when I return. Philly’s also offers chicken instead of steak for any of the sandwiches, a variety of hoagies, and can even do a vegetarian option without the steak. One last look at the Fries and Cheese Steak before I devour them and the meat on the slicer ready to be sliced fresh for the next sandwich.

So I had some delicious food already under my belt (and pushing it out with each bite) but my feast was still not over. Next came something completely foreign to me: The Original Tarantini Panzarotti. Made by Shem’s friend Leo from Camden, NJ (right outside of PA), this was something I had never heard of yet tasted.

What’s inside that crispy, fried homemade crust? Quite simply, mozzarella and home-made sauce. This is your basic childhood pizza bite ON STEROIDS! Freshly fried with a flavorful crispy fried dough on the outside, the inside is filled with oozing, melted goodness.

If you want a trip back to your childhood, this is how you get it. I don’t know if I can go back to pizza bites after having these, but I may start trying to make them myself, though I am sure it will take me some time to get them as perfect as these.

And of course, what meal would be complete without dessert? Certainly not this feast. But for dessert we went off menu! I have been given permission to share with you one of the secrets of Philly’s: Fried Philly Bread!

As I said, this item is not on the menu, and actually not even available every day. When you go, ask for it. If they don’t have it that day or have sold out (which they do fast), GO BACK FOR IT! This is a fried cinnamon spice baked bread that is then fried to the point that there is a crispy, cinnamony outer crust, but the inside is still super moist and fluffy. The cake is then topped with vanilla ice cream and a house-made butterscotch sauce. Far from the healthiest way to finish a calorie packed meal, it was certainly the best way I can think of to end the feast. I devoured the dessert down to each spoonful of that butterscotch sauce. Also, be sure to try one of the many flavors of one of Philly’s favorite drinks, Jarritos. I went with Fruit Punch and am going to get Pineapple next time.

Quite simply put, do not miss out on this hidden treasure of Connecticut. Thank you not only to Shem (pictured below with me), but to the rest of the staff at Philly’s Marlon (pictured below, original customer and new employee), Ed, and Evan, for an amazing meal. You certainly showed me why Philly’s is the true replication of the City of Brotherly Love.

I also talked to Dave, Jess, & young Jamie who were enjoying their Barkleys and Fries. Dave had been many a time and bragged to Jess of the quality of these sandwiches, and Jess was not a believer… Until, like me, she took one bite. They all gave the food two thumbs up as their mouths were too full to comment fully. But did manage to let me know they will back… A lot! I know am looking forward to my return visit. Be sure to check out their website, friend them on facebook, and follow them on twitter. Call for your order (860)912-1057 and be sure to tell them MaurPowerFoodie sent you.

Until next time, this is Jason “Maur Power Foodie” Maur signing out. I am going into a food coma now.

Philly's CT on Urbanspoon


A Simple Italian Dinner

Today I was at work and found out I needed to make dinner, but I did not have anything defrosted and knew I would only have about an hour to prepare something after stopping at the store and heading home. I knew I had some tortellini in the fridge and could easily defrost some homemade sauce (don’t have any homemade sauce, no need to use/buy a jar of it, you can make your own with my 15 Minute Sauce Recipe!). So I stopped at the store and picked up some complimentary ingredients: Hot Italian Sausage, Sweet Italian Sausage, boneless chicken breast tenders, fresh mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese. That’s it!

Here are all the ingredients you need (minus the sauce):

I got home and started on the meal.

Now for the nice and easy steps to follow:

1) Marinade the chicken in Italian dressing, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper.

2) Start water to boil.

3) Grill all the meats (Hot Italian Sausage, Sweet Italian Sausage, and boneless chicken breast tenders).

4) Preheat the oven to 400.

5) Boil the tortellini to a nice al dente… usually about 5-6 minutes. Drain tortellini and set aside.

6) Remove the meats from the grill.

7) Cut meat into bite size or smaller pieces.

8) Warm sauce in pot from pasta.

9) Mix in meats and tortellini.

10) Pour the contents of the pot into a glass baking dish.

11) Top the dish with a layer of mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.

12) Put the dish in the oven on broil for 5 minutes until cheese is the completely melted.

13) Enjoy!

 

There you have it… a delicious, Italian dinner in an hour!  I would normally make my own sausage (more on that in a later post) but when time does not permit, fresh sausage from the butcher at the grocery store certainly does the trick. This really came out great, and I highly suggest it next time you are in a pinch for a quick dinner, or even if you’re not.

 

Till next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” Maur signing out.


Bacon, Garlic, and Egg Fried Rice… A MaurPowerFoodie Specialty!

When I was younger, my first job was working in a Chinese Take-out Restaurant answering the phone, taking orders, and ringing people out. This means I ate a lot of fried rice. So it is no surprise I learned how to make it and decided to put my own spin on it to keep it exciting. Today, I am here to show you how to make my Bacon, Garlic, and Egg Fried Rice. Great as either a main course or side dish, this one is not for the extremely health conscious eater as I actually fry the rice in BACON FAT! Anyways, we are going video style on this post, so enjoy as I teach you how to make MaurPowerFoodie’s Bacon, Garlic and Egg Fried Rice.

There you have it… Nice and easy, not to mention DELICIOUS! For those of you who want to print out the recipe or have it at easy access, I have included it below.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup of long grain white rice

2 cups water

4-5 slices of thick-cut slab bacon or pork belly

2 tbs unsalted butter

5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 bunch of green onions

1 bottle of soy sauce

1-2 eggs

Garlic Powder

Onion Powder

Salt and Pepper (to taste)

1) Combine rice and water into pot with a lid, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and let steam for 15 minutes, until water is absorbed by rice. Uncover and fluff with a fork.

2) In a large pan or wok place bacon onto pan and turn on high, wait till bacon begins to sizzle and reduce heat, allowing bacon fat to render in pan. Flip bacon and repeat process.

3) While bacon is cooking, chop garlic (if not done so already) and cut  green onions into small rings (Chop off white ends, and cut the rest of the onions as a bunch upwards from chopped off end)

4) Increase heat to high again and allow bacon to caramelize on both sides.

5) Remove bacon from pan, add butter to pan and allow it to melt into the bacon, distributing butter evenly.

6) Add garlic and onion to pan and stir, this will cook pretty fast, so remove from heat before moving on to the next step.

7) Chop the bacon into desired chunks. I prefer larger chunks so I cut the bacon in half lengthwise and then chop the slices about pinky finger width ( I also have small hands, so take that into account and use your judgment).

8) Put the pan back on the heat, add the bacon chunks, and stir.

9) Add the rice and stir.

10) Add soy sauce. (as with most cooking, I cook to taste and not in exact amounts. As seen above in the video if you pour in a spiral from the outside in it works pretty well)

11) Season with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to taste. (be light on the salt as there is already sodium in the soy sauce)

12) Create a well in the middle of the rice exposing the pan, add the egg into the well stirring constantly to prevent it from sticking and then mix into the rice.

13) Serve and Enjoy!

This is one of my absolute favorite recipes. I hope you enjoy it too! Until next time, this is Jason Maur, the MaurPowerFoodie, signing off.


Tres Leches Cake… MaurPowerFoodie Style!

I was never one for the traditional cake. I always wanted an ice cream cake, or a cannoli cake, or a lava cake. Regular cake just always seemed to dry and mundane. That is until I stumbled upon my first Tres Leches Cake. Moist, flavorful, delicious, and simply right up may alley. Well recently I thought, “Why only have this special treat when I go out?” And so I set to work to create my perfect Tres Leches Cake recipe… And I did! I put my own twist on this classic Brazilian dessert, and instead of simply a vanilla cake with whipped frosting, I make a citrusy Orange-Vanilla cake with Cherry Whipped Cream. Don’t worry, even if you are not a baker, just follow these instructions and you will be fine… in fact, you will be the talk of the party! (like I was this past Easter when I made it)

Alright, so here goes…. First the Ingredients:

  • For the cake:
  1. Vegetable oil
  2. 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  5. 4 ounces of room temperature, unsalted butter
  6. 1 cup sugar (fill the measuring cup a little of the brim on this one 😉 If you like it sweet )
  7. 5 whole eggs
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  9. 1 1/2 teaspoons orange extract
  10. 1 tsp lemon juice
  • For the glaze (aka The Three Milks or Tres Leches):
  1. 1 (12 ounce) can of evaporated milk
  2. 1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk
  3. 1 cup half and half
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 1 teaspoon orange extract
  6. 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • For the Whipped Cream
  1. 2 cups heavy cream
  2. 1 cup sugar (again, fill it a little over the brim)
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 3 tablespoons cherry juices (juice from a jar of maraschino cherries)
  • Top of the cake
  1. 1 lemon (for zesting)
  2. 1 jar maraschino cherries

There you have it. Now that you have all of the ingredients, let’s put this bad boy together. Starting with the cake batter:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly oil and flour a 13″x9″ metal pan.
  3. Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed for about a minute until fluffy.
  4. Decrease the speed to medium-low, and gradually add the sugar.
  5. Add one egg at a time, allowing it to mix thoroughly before adding the next egg.
  6. Add the vanilla extract, orange extract, and lemon juice.
  7. In a separate bowl, whisk together your flour, baking soda, and salt.
  8. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the stand mixer at a time, allowing the ingredients to mix before adding the next batch.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.
  10. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
  11. Remove from oven and set aside and let cool for about 5 minutes.

While the cake is cooling, it is time to make the glaze! Here goes:

  1. Whisk together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, half and half, vanilla extract, orange extract, and lemon juice.
  2. Take the baked and cooled cake and using toothpicks or a fork, perforate (poke) the cake to create tiny little points for the glaze to seep through.
  3. Pour the glaze on top of the cake. (this will look like it might overflow, but it won’t)
  4. Let the cake sit until the glaze has soaked in and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (or for at least 6 hours, overnight is better)

Finally, now that the cake has sat and absorbed all that moist goodness, it is time to make the whipped cream:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, whisk together on medium-low the heavy cream, sugar, vanilla, and cherry juice.
  2. As stiff peaks begin to form, increase the speed and whisk until thick.
  3. Spread the whipped cream over the cake.
  4. Place cherries on top of the whipped cream as desired.
  5. Zest your lemon, and sprinkle the zest over the cake.

That’s it! Now let’s take a gander at how it looks 🙂

Then simply enjoy it with your friends, family, coworkers, or whoever else you want to impress until it looks more like this:

I hope you all enjoy this delectable dessert as much as I do. Until next time, this is MaurPowerFoodie signing off.