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Food Matters
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12 Foods to Increase Brainpower for Students

When it comes to your studies, your brain is a big deal. It’s your body’s control center that is responsible for maintaining important activities such as breathing, moving, thinking and heartbeat to name a few. This is why it’s important to keep your brain healthy.

The foods you eat on a daily basis determine the health and performance of your brain. You cannot focus on your studies if your brain is weak and tired. Eating the right brain foods will make your mind healthy and improve your concentration and performance in school. Today, we are going to discuss 12 of the best foods to increase your brainpower while studying.

woman grocery shopping in produce section
Photo by
Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

1. Fatty Fish

Most people associate sea food with increased mental performance. And you know what? They’re right. Fatty fish is number food for the brain. As you probably know, there are very many types of fish. Fish such as trout, salmon and sardines are rich with omega 3 which build the nerve and brain cells.

These cells improve learning rate and memory. Omega 3 has additional benefits. It slows down mental aging and reduces the chances of one getting Alzheimer’s disease. Lack of enough omega 3 in the body leads to difficulty in learning and depression.

A study conducted recently found out that people who ate fish regularly had more gray matter. Gray matter boosts memory, making decisions and generating emotions. In general, fatty fish is the best brain food.

2. Coffee

If you love taking coffee before heading to class, you’ll be amazed by the benefits you get. Coffee contains two ingredients namely antioxidants and caffeine. Caffeine has several effects on your brain. They include:

  • Alertness – Caffeine keeps your mind extremely alert by blocking the chemical adenosine which makes you feel tired and sleepy.
  • Feeling good – Caffeine induces the hormone serotonin which boosts your moods.
  • Improved concentration – People who drink coffee regularly are more effective and productive than those who don’t because caffeine improves concentration.

Coffee has also been known to reduce neurological diseases and Alzheimer’s.

3. Blueberries

Blueberries have several health benefits to your mind and body. Blueberries have anthocyanin which is a compound with anti-inflammatory effects. It also contains antioxidants which relieve stress and reduce inflammation. Stress and inflammation have been linked rapid aging and neurological diseases. The antioxidants found in blueberries accumulate in the body and this helps in improving communication between cells in the brain. Blueberries also boost memory.

4. Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice found in curry powder which improves the performance of the brain. Turmeric contains curcumin which improves blood circulation in the brain. Blood carries essential nutrients and oxygen around the body while taking away toxic wastes. Therefore, the better the circulation, the better the performance.

Turmeric has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Curcumin boosts memory especially for people with Alzheimer’s. Turmeric induces the secretion of dopamine and serotonin which boosts moods and reduces depression. It also helps the growth of cells and this delays mental aging. You can start reaping the benefits of turmeric by cooking food with it or drinking turmeric tea.

fresh veggies for sale
Photo by
Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

5. Broccoli

Broccoli is packed with antioxidants and vitamin K which accelerate the growth of brain cells and boost memory. It also has anti-inflammatory effects which protects the brain from being damaged

6. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are rich with antioxidants which protect the brain and body from being damaged by free radicals. They are also rich in several minerals such as iron, magnesium and zinc. People who don’t have enough iron usually suffer from impaired cognitive function and brain fog. Zinc improves the signaling of nerves.

People with zinc deficiency usually suffer from neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and other conditions such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease. Magnesium improves memory and learning. People with low magnesium suffer from depression, headaches and even epilepsy.

7. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate and cocoa powder are rich in compounds that boost brain functions. They include caffeine, antioxidants and flavonoids. Flavonoids enhances learning and boosts memory.

Scientific researchers have reported that chocolate compounds slow down mental aging and boost memory. A study involving 900 participants found out that people who ate chocolate regularly were effective mentally than those who did not. They also experienced positive feelings.

8. Nuts

Several studies show that consuming nuts regularly improves the heart. Nuts also improve brain functions and prevent it from neurodegenerative diseases. People who eat nuts on a regular basis have a sharper memory than those who don’t.  Nuts contain antioxidants, healthy fats and vitamin E which all improve the functions of the brain.

Eating nuts specifically walnuts will boost your health since they contain omega 3.

9. Oranges

Oranges are rich in Vitamin C which plays a crucial role in the prevention of mental aging. Eating foods rich with vitamin C regularly will protect you against Alzheimer’s disease and mental aging. Vitamin C fights off free radicals that destroy brain cells.  Apart from oranges, other foods rich in vitamin C include guava, strawberries and tomatoes.

10. Eggs

Eggs are rich in choline and vitamin B which develop the brain and improve its functions. Lack of vitamin B leads to depression and rapid mental decline. People with dementia are encouraged to eat eggs to control the condition.

11. Green Tea

Green tea is a beverage that supports brain functions. It’s rich with caffeine that makes an individual alert and antioxidants that protect the brain from damage and helps an individual relax.

12. Whole Grains

Whole grains are rich with vitamin E which enhances memory and brain functions. Whole grain foods include oatmeal, brown rice, barley and wheat to name a few.

There are lots of other foods that improve brain functioning and keep it healthy. Fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants that protect the brain from free radicals and any other damage in general.

Coffee and tea promote alertness and also prevent brain damage. Eggs and nuts boost memory and develop the brain. You can keep your brain healthy, boost your memory and generate positive feelings by eating the foods discussed above on a regular basis. Also, drink enough water. Your brain needs it.

Harry Southworth is a professional content writer and proofreader for essay writing service Studyclerk. He loves sharing the best self-improvement and writing tips for students in his blog. During his free time, you’ll find him riding his horse or playing with his two lovely daughters.

Why Food in a Jar Is the Fun Your Family Has Been Missing

Food in a jar might sound strange, but it can be a fun way to make full meals you can toss in your lunchbox. If you haven't tried preparing food this way, here are some easy recipes to get you started that the entire family will love.


1. Salted Turtle Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are a fantastic make-ahead breakfast. Prepare them the night before, and you've got a morning meal ready to eat right out of the fridge. This recipe uses the natural caramel flavor of Medjool dates instead of caramel sauce. Cocoa powder and pecans, along with pure maple syrup, make it taste exactly like your favorite chocolate turtle treat.

Try our Savory Overnight Oats to mix up your weekday breakfasts!

2. Deconstructed Sushi

Sushi doesn't seem like a meal you'd eat out of a jar, but this is a fun deconstructed version of this Japanese favorite. All you have to do is layer your favorite sushi ingredients in a mason jar and keep it in the fridge until you're ready to enjoy it. Make a deconstructed avocado roll with rice, carrot, cucumber and avocado, or get fancy with some imitation crab or even tuna. We'd love to see some deconstructed sashimi.

3. Chicken and Dill Instant Noodles

Noodle cups are a quick and easy lunch, but they're packed with MSGs and enough sodium to choke a cat. Thankfully, it's easy to make your own instant noodles. All you need is some shredded chicken, rice noodles and frozen peas. Pour some hot water on top when you're ready to eat, and you've got the perfect DIY instant noodle cup.

4. Mini Frittatas in a Jar

Who doesn't love frittatas? They're like omelets, only better. For this recipe, you'll need mason jars you can toss in the oven. Canning jars work well for this because they're designed for high temperatures. Then, all you have to do is brown your sausage, mix all your ingredients, and bake at 375 F for 10-15 minutes until a knife comes out clean and the tops are brown.

5. Chicken Potpie in a Jar

We all love a good chicken potpie, but taking one to work with you can be messy. These super-tasty potpies in a jar are the perfect solution. Line with pie crust, fill them and top with more crust. Then, throw it in the oven until it's baked to a perfect golden brown, and you've got a tasty, healthy lunch in a jar you can easily reheat in the break room microwave.

6. Burrito Bowl Mason Jar

Burritos are great for lunch, but they're not always the healthiest option. This burrito bowl mason jar is the perfect alternative. Layer up an avocado lime dressing at the bottom, and top it with roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, tomatoes and any other toppings you like on the top. Layering it like this keeps your soft ingredients, like tomatoes, from getting soggy in the dressing while you wait for lunch.

7. Apple Pie Pancake in a Jar

You don't need a griddle to enjoy pancakes. These apple pie pancakes feature baked apples, apple butter, almond butter and all sorts of spices. You won't even know you're not digging into a slice of pie. Mix up a batch, bake them and enjoy warm. You can toss anything on top, from yogurt and almond butter to ice cream, if you've got a craving for apple pie a la mode.

8. Shrimp and Feta Cobb Salad

Food in a jar doesn't have to be sweet. You can enjoy all your favorite savory flavors too, like this shrimp feta cob salad. Start by putting your favorite dressing in the bottom of the jar and layer everything up, starting with your heavier ingredients like whole grape tomatoes or chopped red onion. Top it with cheese and shrimp and toss it in the fridge until lunchtime.

9. Caprese Salad in a Jar

Caprese salads — made up of tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese — are super tasty, but they're not exactly the easiest thing to bring with you when you're away from home. The difference between this and other mason jar salads is that you don't want to put your dressing in the bottom. The arugula and basil will get soggy quickly, so bring your dressing along in a separate container.

10. Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food, and adding pumpkin to it makes it even tastier. These single-serving mason jar snacks use elbow mac, fontina cheese and canned pumpkin to create one of the most amazing types of mac and cheese you will ever enjoy. Bake them in the oven, then reheat in the microwave when you're ready to eat.

If you're always struggling to figure out what to make for lunch, consider some food in a jar. These make-ahead meals are super simple and can be stored in the fridge. You'll always have something tasty to enjoy when you're out of ideas.

White Wheat: What Is It?

What is white wheat and why would you care?

White wheat isn’t just processed white flour. It’s a 100 percent whole wheat variety that is lighter in color than the typical red wheat we’re used to. The Whole Grains Council says we can think of it “as sort of albino wheat” because its genes for bran differ from standard red wheat. White wheat also has a less intense flavor than typical red wheat flour.

White wheat has gained popularity over the past 10 years or so because when it’s used to bake bread, the finished loaf has an amber color, which is more appealing to some people. In baked goods, white wheat gives a lighter texture and color.

white wheat
Photo by Loretta Sorensen

I use white wheat in my bread baking for the lighter, less coarse loaf it produces. It’s the only wheat flour I use in my Ezekiel bread because it results in a more fluffy, tender loaf than red wheat flour.

White wheat flour and white wheat berries are showing up on more and more grocery store shelves, which means it’s easy to add it to your pantry. Depending on the brand, the cost of white wheat flour is very comparable to red wheat.

To store white wheat flour or berries, follow all the recommendations for any whole grain or whole grain flour: keep it in the freezer to retain its freshness and quality for a long period of time – a year or more. It can also be stored in the refrigerator for a short time or in the cupboard on a short-term basis.

When it comes to using white wheat in your favorite recipes, you can substitute it one-to-one for traditional whole wheat. There’s no difference in how it works in your bread dough.

While white wheat flour works very well in bread recipes, it can also be used as a substitute in any type of recipe that calls for wheat flour. That includes cookies, bars, muffins, etc. Note that if you’ve previously used processed white flour in your recipes, 100% white whole wheat flour will likely produce a somewhat heavier product.

If you’re happy with regular wheat bread, you may consider substituting a portion of your red wheat flour with white wheat. The result will be a loaf that’s somewhat lighter colored, lighter textured and less intense flavor.

As far as how long a white whole wheat loaf of bread stays fresh, that is also the same as any 100% whole grain bread. I store all my bread in the refrigerator in a bread keeper (because plastic bags can gather moisture and more quickly spoil your loaf). They keep for as long as 14 days.

White wheat can be a great addition to regular whole wheat bread and other whole grains breads such as rye and multi-grain breads. It’s lighter texture and less intense properties may also work very well in making pastries calling for 100% whole grain flour.

The health and nutrition benefits of white wheat flour, says the Whole Grains Council, are considered to be the same as red wheat. “Most nutrition differences among wheat varieties are driven by environmental conditions, such as weather and soil composition. For example, when crops are in a drought, the protein in wheat will be higher . . .”

The Kansas cooperative, Farmer Direct, is comprised of more than 300 producer members who “have been working for almost two decades to grow and popularize white wheat,” which has been a principal Australian commodity for many decades.

Learn more about this wonderful whole wheat flour option.

Find more of Loretta Sorensen’s recipes, bread baking tips, bread-making videos and her book at Bake Your Best Ever Bread. Her book, Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever! contains recipes and a wealth of baking pointers. Follow her on Facebook and Pinterest (Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever).

These 11 Recipes Will Make the Perfect Mother's Day Brunch

Mother's Day is sneaking up fast, and partners and kiddos everywhere will be busting out the bacon and scrambling eggs. Why treat mom to an ordinary brunch when you can make it extraordinary? She did give you life, after all.

The following 11 recipes will allow you to shower mom with love for all she does throughout the year. Plus, they're easy to put together — as long as the tiniest tots are supervised in the kitchen. Get your grocery list ready so you can show mom just how much you care.


1. Mimosa Fruit Salad

Prep this colorful salad Saturday evening before the big day to welcome mom to brunch with a flourish of color and crunch. The recipe contains a touch of prosecco — just enough to whet mom's appetite for the rest. Plus, the mix of berries, fruit and honey are all chock-full of antioxidants, so mom gets her vitamins for the big day you have planned.

2. Minty Pea and Pecorino Finger Sandwiches

These tasty little bites look super classy and elegant but don't take much time to make. You can prep these the night before and have them ready to go in the morning. The mint, peas, and chives create a flavor punch that's sure to wake up mom's taste buds.

3. Sausage and Egg Breakfast Pizza

This recipe takes a tiny bit more time to prep if you go the route of making your own crust, but you can substitute a store-bought pizza base to make readying this treat easier. The mild Gruyere and fontina cheeses take the bite off spicy breakfast sausage — I recommend using a slightly hot turkey sausage to keep the recipe even lighter — and the egg whites prevent the dish from being too high in calories.

4. Overnight Apple French Toast

Making French toast in the oven instead of the stovetop lets you get the little ones more involved in prep time. Letting the sliced bread marinate in the egg mixture overnight lends a depth of flavor regular French toast can't match. The maple blends perfectly with the apple bread, but you can substitute store-bought syrup, too.

5. Eggs Benedict Casserole

Moms who adore regular Eggs Benedict will drool for this tasty casserole version. It contains all the smoky flavor of the meat and creamy, lemony goodness of hollandaise sauce, but since it needs to sit overnight in the fridge, all you need to do Mother's Day morning is pop it in the oven and prep the sauce. The eggs add a fluffy consistency to the dish.

6. Tacos Rancheros

Does mom like her food south-of-the-border style? This fun recipe combines the tasty flavors of the classic Mexican breakfast dish all rolled up in a flour taco shell. You only need one ancho chili pepper, but if mom really enjoys spicing things up, add some jalapeño slices along with or in place of the optional avocado.

7. Egg and Cheese-Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Potatoes make for a hearty brunch, and you can't go wrong when you add eggs and cheese to anything. This is an elegant-looking dish that's sure to be the star of the table, and the added bacon makes it a full meal. Enjoy for brunch and save the recipe for a simple and delicious dinner side dish as well.

8. Egg White Frittata With Lox and Arugula

Mamas who like to keep things kosher will dig right into this flavorful frittata. If you have a big day planned for mom ahead, the arugula gives her a shot of energy and the protein in the egg whites will keep her feeling full through the days' activities. Since the dish whips up in just 18 minutes, you won't need to slave over the stove for long.

9. French Toast Dippers

These French toast dippers make for a sweet treat at the end of a Mother's Day brunch — or anytime during it. Serving with syrup, icing, and strawberry preserves gives the woman who raised you a variety of sweet sensations on her tongue. Kids dig these dippers, too, so the little ones can enjoy as well.

10. Strawberry Heart Doughnuts

These adorable heart doughnuts tempt mom with sweet delight, and they also can double as a snack to take along to the next pink ribbon fundraiser. They do take a bit of time to make, but most of it is spent waiting for them to bake and raise — you won't need to spend the whole day in the kitchen. These doughnuts taste equally scrumptious with or without the frosting, so those with less of a sweet tooth can enjoy them plain.

11. Peach Bellini

A Mother's Day brunch simply isn't complete without champagne, but mom deserves more than a basic mimosa. A peach bellini fits the bill nicely, and the slightly less acidic flavor and hint of sweetness from the peach puree make the beverage pair well with nearly anything else on the menu. They look elegant enough served plain in a flute, or you can garnish them with a slice of peach and a mint leaf if you prefer.

Bread Machine Ezekiel Bread

Ezekiel bread has a reputation for being nutritious, but can it also be easy to make, and tasty? This recipe is all of that!

Ingredients are taken directly from the Biblical account of instructions given to Ezekiel. The secret to making this bread light and lovely? Go easy on the flour, your dough can be a bit sticky for the final rise. And use 1 Tablespoon of gluten. The bread’s reduced wheat content makes it lower in gluten so adding a bit extra will just give you a higher rise. If you prefer a heavier loaf, omit the gluten.

You can purchase ground flours or grind your own in a high speed blender, especially since you use just ¼ cup of the bean, lentil, millet and barley flours. If you don’t want a coarse grind flour, grind a bit extra and sift out the coarse portions.


Bread Machine Ezekiel Bread


  • 1 1/4 cups water (I use hot tap water but you can warm on the stovetop, too)
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

In cold weather, I heat the measuring cup with some hot water before I use it so it doesn’t affect the temperature range I want.

Measure the water and syrup into a measuring cup. Using a digital thermometer, check the temperature range. If it’s below 105, you can warm ¼ cup of the liquid on the stovetop to reach the correct temperature range. Once it’s the correct temperature, stir in the yeast, dissolving as much of the yeast as possible. Set aside.

  • 2 1/4 cups white wheat flour (red wheat flour produces a coarser bread)
  • 3/4 cup spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup barley flour
  • 1/4 cup millet flour
  • 1/4 cup lentil flour
  • 1/4 cup bean flour (I used black bean but any bean flour would work)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon wheat gluten (optional but gives a higher rise)

Sift all dry ingredients well.

If temperatures are very cold, I use hot water to warm my bread machine canister before I use it. Pour yeast mixture into bread machine; add dry ingredients.

2 Tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil 

Pour the oil on top of the dry ingredients. Start the machine.

My bread machine completes a mix/knead (10-18 minutes) rest (20 minutes) mix/knead cycle (10-18 minutes). When that is complete, place the dough in a bread pan sprayed/coated with a non-stick product. I place my pan in my oven, which is warmed to near 100 degrees. Cover the pan with a tea towel to help keep it from drying out while the dough rises.

Within 30 to 45 minutes the dough should raise satisfactorily. Don’t allow it to rise too high or it’s likely to fall when you bake it. Remove the raised dough from the oven; heat the oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit). Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until the crust is well browned. Remove from the oven and immediately take the bread out of the pan and cool on a rack for a couple of hours. Enjoy!

Find more of Loretta Sorensen’s recipes, bread baking tips and her book at Her recent book, Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever! contains more recipes and a wealth of baking pointers. Follow her on Facebook and Pinterest (Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever).

Quick and Easy Pickled Radishes

Radishes are the little jewels of my spring garden. Because they pop up soon after sowing and are quick to mature, they are among the first vegetables to grace the garden. And these little jewels with their showy green foliage provide not only a pop of color and a welcome sight after a long winter but also fresh, peppery bite to my taste buds that need awakening after months of eating hearty winter fare.


I feel like radishes are a little bit of an overlooked vegetable. While they have a reputation as mainly being crunchy and slightly spicy salad fixing, they’re also nutritious — small but mighty being loaded with fiber and vitamin C. And don’t be fooled into thinking that the only way to eat a radish is as a garnish for a green salad because they’re actually quite versatile. They are delicious roasted, sauteed, grated into vegetable slaws, or on top of a baguette slathered with butter.

One of my personal favorite ways to eat radishes, though, is on top of fish tacos. For me, a few slices of crispy radish is just what a good, homemade fish taco needs. This time, I decided to change it up a little bit, and actually pickle some radishes to top my tacos. I used organic apple cider vinegar and lime juice for the acid, and then added a hint of garlic and fresh ginger. (I also included sliced carrot and red onion in my pickles, but you can do only radishes if that’s your preference.) And these pickled radishes are only for tacos - they’re also an excellent topping for veggie and grain bowls, Banh Mi sandwiches, or as an accompaniment to anything barbecued. 


• 1 cup organic apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)
• Juice from 1 lime
• 1/2 cup water
• 2 tablespoons cane sugar
• 1/2 tablespoon canning salt
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1 pound of sliced radishes, carrots and red onions (you can omit the carrots and/or onions)


1. Add the vinegar, lime juice, water, sugar, salt, ginger and garlic to a stainless steel or enameled saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil on the stovetop, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

2. Place sliced vegetables into a hot, sanitized jar. Carefully pour the hot brine over the vegetables, leaving 1/2-inch of space at the top of the jar.

3. Cover jar with a clean towel and allow to cool to room temperature. Place lid on cooled jar and store in the refrigerator.

Keep in mind, these are small-batch pickles not intended for canning, so stash them in the refrigerator after they have cooled. I find these radish pickles need to sit in the fridge for a few days before they reach their fully-pickled flavor, and are best eaten within 2-3 weeks.

Barter for Bread!

The idea of trading one product for another – bartering – goes clear back to 6000 B.C. when tribes in Mesopotamia traded goods with Phoenicians. The practice was also used in Babylon.

The origin of the word barter goes back to the 15th century, stemming from the French word “barater,” which, among other things, meant “haggle.”

America’s barter system was very popular during the Great Depression of the 1930s, when many people had little money. Bartering was a means of obtaining food and other necessities. 

When I was approached about the possibility of trading bread for other products – including naturally raised beef – I could hardly say no!

Since I had already calculated the value of a loaf of homemade white bread – which ranges between $1 and $1.50 – it was fairly easy to strike a deal on a fair trade for one pound of the beef. Two loaves of white bread – 100% organic – for one pound of beef, 100% natural.

It has proven to be a beneficial trade on both sides.

Photo by Loretta Sorensen

Since that trade has been working so well – and I find it so easy to produce a quality loaf of bread – I’ve been pondering more options for making a trade.

In rural areas – and perhaps more often now in urban areas, too – farm fresh eggs aren’t hard to find. If the eggs are organic and laid by free range hens, the cost of a dozen eggs may well be equal to two loaves of bread. Of course, that depends on the flour and other nutrients used in the bread.

When you’re baking 100% whole grain bread, it has a value of at least $4 per loaf. If your recipe includes added nutritional ingredients such as flax, the total cost of a loaf may be somewhat higher.

To calculate the cost of producing your bread, review this article.

Once you’ve determined what you have invested in your bread loaves, compare it with the cost of purchasing the item you will take in trade. Your objective is to complete a trade that’s fair for all parties involved.

When I bartered for the beef, we struck a deal that covered a weekly trade for about 12 weeks. You may want to make a one-time trade or set up a once-a-month agreement. The terms of the agreement are totally in your control.

In the case of bartering for homemade bread, be careful not to overestimate your ability to produce enough bread to cover your trade agreement. If you need to produce multiple loaves of bread in a short time, consider implementing my “Bread Express” method.

You may also want to strike a deal with your bartering party that includes how you will amend the agreement or “catch up” with your trade agreement if for some reason you can’t produce the promised loaves.

One added benefit of this kind of agreement is that you will have ample opportunity to polish your bread baking skills and promote your bread quality and availability if you’re wanting to make more trades or sell some of your bread.

Long time journalist Loretta Sorensen is the author of Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever! and regularly shares information about whole grains and bread baking. You’ll find her book on her blog site at, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the Country Store at Our Dakota Horse Tales. Her weekly bread baking posts are featured at Mother Earth LivingGRIT MagazineOur Dakota Horse Tales, and on Pinterest, and Facebook.

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