Sunday, November 10, 2013

Comment-to-Win 3 Vintage Kitchen Mysteries from Guest Author Victoria Hamilton!



Please welcome back author Victoria Hamilton! She's sharing some great cooking tips with us today and sponsoring a fun (and generous) contest. 

Leave a comment on her post and you will be entered to win the first three books in her national bestselling Vintage Kitchen Mystery series, including this one, newly published: Freezer I'll Shoot.

The contest is now concluded. Scroll to the end of this post to see who won.

And now, take it away, Victoria!

~ Cleo Coyle







Tips from
the Soup Queen

Victoria Hamilton, author of
the national bestselling
Vintage Kitchen Mysteries
I love soup. Is there any food more satisfying to the soul than a good bowl of soup? Is there any prepared dish more versatile? Maybe it’s a sign of my devotion to soup that I say "no" to both questions.

My love affair with soup began out of necessity and thrift. As a poor twenty-something, I couldn't afford to waste anything. If I was fortunate enough to have a chicken to roast, I used the carcass to make broth and leftover vegetables went in to make soup. When I didn't have a chicken to cook, chicken backs were dirt cheap and make a great broth. Over the years I relied upon soup to stretch my food dollar.

Now I still do the same . . . but mostly because it is so soul satisfying to make a steamy, fragrant, delicious pot of soup. I have never thrown away a chicken or turkey carcass in my life without making it into the basis of soup. I buy extra turkeys this time of year so I’ll have more turkey dinners, but also because they will make gallons and gallons of my favorite, turkey vegetable soup.

Over time I have developed a lot of ‘must do’s’, but soup is the most forgiving of foods. There is no recipe for my soup, just some tips. So here we go...






Victoria's Tips for
Making Great Soup



* The secret to good stock is time. After thanksgiving... (I celebrate both Canadian and American Thanksgiving because, well, two turkey dinners. Need I say more? Plus I have a lot to be thankful for.) The carcass goes into the stock pot and stews for a full day. I then cool the broth, strain it, and put it in a large food safe container in the fridge overnight. Turkey and chicken stock will have a layer of fat on the top after cooling. Don’t take it all off, just most of it! Fat equals flavor.


* The other secret to great stock is. . . if you roasted your poultry, make sure to put a couple of cups of boiling water in the roasting pan to get all the little bits and bobs from the bottom. That is caramelization, and flavor lives in the roasted goodness. Dump the resulting broth in with the carcass if you’re freezing it to use later, or the stock pot if you’re doing it right away.


* Don’t ever, ever, ever salt your stock! You’ll have plenty of opportunity to salt your soup at the end, if it needs it. If you've done everything right, you won't need much, as the flavor of the broth will be intense with just herbs and veggies. And besides, you will develop flavor by reducing the stock with simmering . . . if you put salt in to taste and then reduce, I can guarantee your soup will be too salty.


* And on the subject of herbs. I use 'em if I've got 'em, but great broth is great even without herbs, especially if you used herbs when roasting the chicken or turkey. I do often use thyme, rosemary, savory, marjoram--whatever I have--but it's not necessary every time.



* If you want to be fancy, tell people that you wouldn’t think of making soup without mirepoix. Hah! All you’ve said is you need carrots, celery and onions to make really good soup. I don’t think I've ever made chicken or turkey soup without lots of mirepoix. ;-) You can sauté your vegetables before putting them in the soup stock, but it’s not necessary.



* That being said, almost any vegetable can go into your soup. I have used: green beans, yellow beans, cauliflower, broccoli, canned tomatoes, potato, celery, onion, carrot, cabbage, parsnip, and more than I can even remember. It’s great if you've just got a handful of something left, like the soup that is simmering on my stove right now that has the last of the green beans in it. You can add even cannellini or navy beans to your soup!


* Another beauty of soup is: you can use any kind of pasta in it, any at all! Even if you've got a handful of uncooked rotini or ziti left and think that size pasta is too big for a bowl of soup (you’re probably right) just crunch it up! You can even use a variety of pastas. Just crush them slightly and add them to the soup. Soup is very plebeian dish; it is not fancy-schmancy, and will be cheerfully different every time you make it. Just don’t add the pasta too soon, or it will take over the soup pot. Orzo starts out looking innocently like rice, but if overcooked ends up looking like dumplings; trust me, know.


Now it’s your turn to school me. 

What are your no-fail soup tips? I am a willing student in all things soup, and I just know you all will have lots to tell me! Is there one soup you make all the time, or do you change it up? Share, please!


~ Victoria


~::~


About
Freezer I’ll Shoot...

Trying to escape her overbearing mother, vintage kitchenware enthusiast and soon-to-be columnist Jaymie Leighton retreats to her family’s cottage on Heartbreak Island. While there she hopes to write an article about the Ice House restaurant, owned by good friends and neighbors, siblings Ruby and Garnet Redmond. Once an actual icehouse, the restaurant is charmingly decorated with antique tools of the trade, including a collection of ice picks.

One night, while working on her article, Jaymie overhears an argument, and, ever the sleuth, sets out to explore. But when she stumbles upon a dead body, her blood runs cold. It’s Urban Dobrinskie, whose feud with the Redmonds is no secret, and he’s got an ice pick through his heart. Now Jaymie’s got to sharpen her sleuthing skills to chip away at the mystery and prove her neighbors’ innocence – before someone else gets picked off…


~::~

Victoria Hamilton, nationally bestselling author of Freezer I’ll Shoot, Book 3 of the Vintage Kitchen Mystery series, is the pseudonym of Donna Lea Simpson, bestselling author of romance and historical mystery novels.

Victoria starting reading mystery novels at the age of 12 and devoured Agatha Christie mysteries, as well as those of Dorothy L. Sayers and Ngaio Marsh. She still adores mysteries, especially the cozy mysteries of Janet Bolin, Krista Davis, and others. 

She loves to cook, and collects teapots and teacups, as well as vintage kitchen utensils and bowls. She also enjoys crafts, especially cross-stitching and crocheting, and spends summer days in the garden, drinking tea or wine. Besides the Vintage Kitchen Mystery series Victoria also writes the Merry Muffin Mystery series and the Teapot Collector Mystery series which debuts with Tempest in a Teapot, out June 3rd, 2014.

To visit Victoria Hamilton Mysteries website, click here.

To friend Victoria on Facebook, click here

To like Vintage Kitchen Mysteries on facebook, click here.

To read Victoria's Blog, click here.

Twitter: @MysteryVictoria

*Soup photo courtesy of Stock.xchng, royalty free stock photos.


Victoria's Contest 


Congrats to "Karen in Ohio" who left the winning comment.

Karen - To claim your price,
contact Victoria by next Monday
via her public e-mail box:


Victoria(at)VictoriaHamiltonMysteries.com

Karen has won all
three of Victoria Hamilton's
Vintage Kitchen Mysteries...


Thank you for
joining us today, Victoria!

Good luck, everyone!

~ Cleo



72 comments:

  1. I love creamy, single vegetable soups and rely on my immersion blender to get the right texture.

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  2. I enjoyed your first two books. I haven't read the third yet.

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    1. Hope you like Freezer I'll Shoot just as much!

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  3. Hi Victoria- you and I went to the same soup school! I never salt- the broth, veggies, bits of meat- do it for me.....turkey is the big soup here in the Fall.....and when I am at the butchers', they see me coming! I look for the ham ends.....for ham and beans....pick a bean! I like doing a minestrone, going into Spring..to clean out the cupboard of any odd dried beans.....soaking them, and a bit of baking soda are key. I do like to have extra broth in the freezer..if I can- comes in handy when someone has a cold...I have'nt bought a store bough soup in.....well....a long time to be sure! We make our own tomato soup every year....I laughed when I saw you get "extra turkey "!! LOL!! We have been known to eat at a friend's, and come home with the carcass!!!!!!

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    1. LOL... NEVER waste anything! I love making split pea soup with a big ham bone! YUM!

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  4. We are 'soupers' here too! The little mister and I both make it. Thanks for the great advice and a snappy looking blog post too.

    Congrats on the new book.

    Hugs,

    MJ

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    1. Well... I must tell you that Cleo is responsible for how nice the blog looks!! LOL.

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  5. Oh my goodness, your post was wonderful!!! I saw a package of turkey wings at the store yesterday; I think I'll go back today and buy them to roast and then start a stock. I've never long-cooked my stock and then refrigerated it before making my soup, going to give that a try. I also love thick and creamy soups and rely on my immersion blender - it is one of my favorite tools. My mom makes the best soups and always has a freezer full. I just returned from a visit with her and we had soup each day!!! Yum.

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    1. What a great idea for the rest of the year when I don't want to roast a whole turkey... thanks, Sharon!

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  6. I love soup!! My current favorite is roasted tomato, but there are so many possibilities. Minestrone, broccoli cheese, chicken noodle, beef vegetable . . . I could go on and on. We have always made soup with our turkey carcases. Nothing better when it is cold out. Great post!

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    1. Roasted tomato... do you roast the tomatoes yourself or use canned roasted tomatoes?

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  7. Homemade soup is a staple at our house, and I consider it a personal housekeeping failure if there isn't at least one container in the freezer.

    I make a ten-vegetable soup that starts with a couple of beef short ribs, and it makes two gallons or so of a hearty, satisfying meal. I always use okra in it, and in fact freeze sliced okra in small baggies just for this soup. The secret ingredient, added close to the end of the several hour cooking time, is a can of V-8 Juice. Gives the soup a nice zip.

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    1. Okay... I've never used Okra. Kind of scared of it. Do you have any advice for an okra novice?

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    2. Nothing to it. I just add it in with the rest of the veggies, and it kind of melts away. But it adds some body to the broth. You could dust it with flour and fry it first, but I don't think that's necessary.

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    3. Karen - Congrats! By random draw, you have won the contest! To claim your prize, contact Victoria by next Monday at her public e-mail box.

      Victoria(at)VintageKitchenMysteries(dot)com

      Thanks to everyone who left comments and thanks especially to Victoria for providing such a generous prize to our followers.

      Enjoy the books, Karen!

      ~ Cleo

      Delete
  8. I use my crockpot to make soup every weekend. Then I have it on hand to take for lunch for all of us for at least a couple days of the week. We love lentil soups and split pea and will try almost any bean based soup.

    I usually make my pasta for soup on the side so that it doesn't get too soft. My crockpot is my favorite tool for soup making.

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    Replies
    1. I have used my slow cooker to make soup before and it turned out great.

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  9. Hi Victoria! Thanks for joining us today. I love soup and make my own broth all the time. My mother throws all the leftovers in soup – and I mean *all* of them. There was one very memorable time when she actually used leftover Chinese takeout. That doesn't appeal to me, but the weirder the combination, the more she seems to like it!

    ~Krista

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    1. Oh, Krista... your mother and mine... same cloth! We called it mystery soup, and sometimes it actually looked like dishwater ((shudder)).

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  10. I love making soup, I just tend to overdue it. I make it 16 qts. at a time. I love your Vintage Kitchen series and own all three so I'm not entering the contest.

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    1. There is no such thing as overdoing it where soup is concerned!

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  11. Love your books and would love to win these 3, which I have not read yet.

    Here's hoping I'm lucky :)

    debredevil@yahoo.com

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  12. Hi, I have enjoyed your books and look forward to reading the next in the series. I make soup often in the winter, especially soup with roasted squash that has to be pureed.

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    1. I've never made squash soup, but I think I'll try it. Do you think leftover squash would work?

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  13. Recently read A Deadly Grind. Loved it. I look forward to reading the other two. I wish I would make homemade noodles for chicken noodle soup. My favorite dish that mother made. Need to find a source for frozen ones.

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    1. Pasta is my next challenge, starting with gnocchi (sp??). I watched MasterChef Junior, and if a thirteen year old boy can make gnocchi, so can I!

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  14. I recently began making soup in my pressure cooker - split pea and minnestrone come out wonderful, with a fraction of the cooking time and all the taste! Thanks for the giveawy opportunity.

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    Replies
    1. I'll confess... I've never used a pressure cooker. I've heard horror stories... slow cooker is more my speed!

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  15. I always make soup once the weather starts to get colder. It's comfort food for us and freezes well.

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    Replies
    1. Comfort food is the exact word for it!

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  16. I love, love, love creamy potato soup and it so full of fat, lol! It's so yummy on a cold day, though.

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    Replies
    1. I love cream soups but don't make them often for that very reason! I know you can make them less fattening... but why would you?

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  17. Love all your books. Just ordered "Freezer I'll Shoot". It's a chilly fall day, here in Coastal NC. I am roasting a chicken for Sunday Dinner. Like you I always use the carcass. So, I will be making soup tomorrow night. Thanks for the boiling water tip, the in roasting pan.

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  18. Never tried making my own stock - maybe this year. I do love to make soup in the crockpot or occasionally on the stove. Two of my favorites are bison cheeseburger soup and sweet potato soup (can't remember the actual name of it) that I found on one of Cleo's posts last year. And for summer - I love cold avocado soup.

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    1. Bison cheeseburger sounds... ambitious!

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  19. I follow the tradition my mother taught me, the day after making pot roast and carrots, potatoes in the crock pot, you make beef veggie soup with the leftovers. My family expects it, and even with the passing of my mother earlier this year, it is a tradition I will carry on.

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    Replies
    1. So sorry to hear about your mother, Kathy... it's hard. But traditions keep people alive!

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  20. I'm not a big soup eater but do keep a small supply of canned on hand to which I add leftover vegies, meat, pasta, etc. That's my idea of home-made soup for a single senior.
    Really enjoyed A Deadly Grind. Books 2&3 are on my wish list. I hope this is going to be a long series!

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  21. I never learned to cook things other than basics so all my soup comes from cans. I love your vintage kitchen mysteries and the muffin mysteries and am sooooo glad you have another series coming out next year. I am adding it to my list.

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    Replies
    1. Some people cook to live, I live to cook! If everybody wanted to cook, though, who would those of us who do cook feed?

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  22. Homemade soup is wonderful. I made a soup last week. The first time serving it, it was (relatively) straight chicken vegetable. The next time I flavored the bowls with some homemade curry flavoring. The last time, i added pinto beans and a bit of chili powder--not enough to make it actual chili, but to add another flavor.
    Great stuff!

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    1. I read all the previous posts and remembered an important (to me) memory. My father was quite a cook and periodically made soup. It would start out in one pot as he began. Then as he got inspired and added more ingredients, he had to use another pot, and another pot! By the end, it was packed up in jars and other containers and much of it went to lucky friends. Well, at least I think they were lucky.
      I must admit, I tend to have soups that "grow". They also tend to be thick and are known as "stewp".

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    2. You've had your father's example to go by! I must admit, I go opposite to my mother, who just dumped everything in the fridge into soup.

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  23. I love soup too. Any soup, any season- all year long. In the fall I crave acorn squash or pumpkin soup. Winter means any kind of hearty bean soup. When feeling like I want to lower my calorie intake, there is nothing better than a vegetable soup made with a chicken or turkey carcass- an of course a lot of vegetables. I like the convenience of using the crock pot, but any large pot will do. Thank goodness that my freezer is full of soup. I will not go hungry. I have unwillingly become unemployed, and I can't seem to find a new job. (Apparently experience in the job place is no longer desired if you are over 50.)
    Thanks for the soup talk. I think I'll make some today.

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    Replies
    1. Hey, Lori, keep your chin up! Soup really does stretch a budget no matter your age, doesn't it?

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  24. We've been on a simple potato soup kick. One tip is a that a little turmeric will help perk up a dull looking soup that needs a little color.

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  25. We h ave a "soup troup" at work. We take turns making soup and bringing it to work.

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  26. I mostly make a vegetarian vegetable soup when winter hits. A good cook told me that you need at least 7 vegetables to have a good vegetable soup, so we start with a tomato juice base and add in at least 6 more vegetables, usually onion, carrots, green beans, potatoes, a can of kidney or chili beans, corn - but any other veggies would be a good addition - those are just the ones I usually have in my kitchen.

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    1. I've never made a vegetarian soup, but it sounds good!

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  27. Soups are my favorite meal in the Winter time, thanks for the recipe, tips, and contest!

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  28. I've read bowled over and can't wait to read the other two!

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  29. I have only recently been making from scratch soups. I love all the recipes that are available for that! I just made a wild rice and mushroom soup that is very good. And I am happy to be eating the whole batch by myself over this last week. I don't have any tips yet, I am still learning about making soup.

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    1. Oooh, sounds good! Actually, mushroom soup is the simplest soup to make, to me! Sauteed mushrooms, a bit of broth, in a roux and with cream or milk!

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  30. When I have tomatoes from the garden practically coming out my ears I make Tomato Basil Soup with Feta. I love it for lunch at work and it freezes beautifully so I can have reminders of summer throughout the winter months.

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    1. Sounds good, except... I'm not fond of feta. I would substitute Parmesan, or something else?

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  31. I love homemade vegetable beef soup, my father-in-law used to make the best and passed the skill onto my husband.

    wfnren(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. Homemade vegetable beef... that is a meal!

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  32. One of the easiest soups is put a bag of frozen hash browns (cubed if you can find them) in a crock pot with most of a box of chicken stock and a chopped onion. Cook on low for several hours then add an eight ounce block of cream cheese. cook until melted. I also often chop up part of a ham steak and add at the beginning. Another tip is add a little horseradish and cinnamon to your vegetable beef soup. Sounds weird, but it is really good.

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    1. OMG... sounds so good and easy, except... horseradish really is one of those love it or hate it things, don't you find? I can't stand it... shudder. But everyone else in the house loves it!

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  33. Our family go-to soup (originated by my dad) is called refrigerator dump that is made at the end of the week. It starts with the basic olive oil in a stock pot with a bunch of diced onions, carrots, and celery. Once that is cooked for about 10 minutes, you add whatever broth you like (about 6 cups to start). Then you dump in any veggies leftover in the fridge (such as green beans, broccoli, corn, etc), add diced up meat leftovers (chicken, beef, etc), and spaghetti sauce or a few tablespoons of salsa.Cook for about 2 hours on low or dump everything into a crockpot and cook on low for about 4-6 hours. Serve over heated leftover rice, noodles, etc... you get the picture. Don't put the starch (rice, noodles, etc) in the actual soup when cooking because it will cause the soup to become starchy and will sour the soup after a few days in the fridge.

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    1. I agree about adding the noodles/pasta to cook just before serving... it does absorb a lot of liquid! Soup never lasts long enough in my fridge to go bad, though!

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  34. Have read your first book in this series. Really enjoyed it. Would love to win your giveaway.
    My family loves soups. Just the thing for our area (Chicago) as the weather is starting to turn colder. Soup is perfect.

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    1. It seems that most people are on the soup train this time of year!

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  35. The comment-to-win giveaway is now over. Thanks to everyone who left comments. By random draw, the winner of our contest is "Karen in Ohio"!

    To claim your prize, Karen, please contact Victoria by next Monday at her public e-mail box.

    Victoria(at)VintageKitchenMysteries(dot)com

    Thanks so very much to Victoria for providing such a generous prize to our followers.

    Enjoy the books, Karen!

    ~ Cleo

    ReplyDelete