Momma’s Hearty Pasta Salad

Any cookout I am invited to, I am quick to scour the buffet table of edible goodness until my eyes are fixed on the beautiful selection of salads- potato, macaroni, fruit and my favorite… Pasta salad! All just waiting to be devoured. And who better to put away a big plate of pasta salad than me? I think of it as my duty to help rid the world of dreaded leftovers that just hang out in the fridge after being forgotten. That’s acceptable, right?

If I’m asked to bring a dish or if I have a cookout of my own, you can guarantee that I am the one who brings the pasta salad. It’s always been a tradition of my mom and mine to make it for big events and it’s highly requested. Momma is a believer that a good pasta salad should be hearty and have just the right amount of dressing that is neither too wet or too dry.

Hearty Pasta Salad

After many years of making it, we found that a good pasta salad starts with a quality dressing and is best the next day as the flavors have time to really infuse into the noodles and veggies. If, after 24 hours, the salad is dry, we can simply add more dressing in as needed. Of course, you don’t have to wait a whole day to dig in but it’s like a good chicken noodle soup- always better the longer it sits.

I’m sure that there are plenty of versions similar to this, and maybe even identical, but this is how we make ours and it’s a favorite to anyone who has tried it. So, if you need something to bring to your next gathering, give this recipe a try!

Momma’s Hearty Pasta Salad


  • 1 lb. Rainbow (tri-colored) Rotini noodles
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 package of sliced pepperoni
  • 1 can of black olives, drained and sliced or halved
  • 1/2 block of pepper jack cheese, diced or small crumbles
  • 1/2 block of Colby Jack cheese, diced or small crumbles
  • 1- 16oz. bottle of Italian Dressing (our favorite is wishbone)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Cook rotini noodles according to package. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking of the noodles. Add to large bowl with lid.
  2. Dice tomatoes (saving the juice that comes out), onions, cucumber and peppers. Toss everything in with bowl of noodles.
  3. Slice pepperoni’s into half circles, separate and add to the pasta salad mix.
  4. Add olives, pepper jack and colby jack cheeses.
  5. Toss in half the bottle of dressing and the 1/3 cup parmesan. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2-4 hours (or over night).
  6. Right before serving, add remainder of dressing (more or less as desired).


  • Don’t have tomatoes on hand? No problem. Just use a can of diced tomatoes and be sure to add the juice from the can as well.
  • Halved cherry tomatoes are also a great substitute for the whole tomatoes.
  • Every now and then I will switch out or add different ingredients to my pasta. I have been known to use: Broccoli florets; carrots (thinly julienned); green olives; yellow onions; summer sausage (thinly sliced and halved)

I hope you like this recipe for Momma’s Hearty Pasta Salad. You really can’t go wrong with it. Your results all depend on what you like best so don’t be afraid to play around with different variations, dressings or noodles. This just just how we like to make ours and it’s never failed us.

Got a different variation of pasta salad that you like best? Share it with me. I would love to give it a try for my next cookout.

Don’t forget to give my blog a quick follow for new recipes and a updates in my crazy life.  ❤


With All My Affection

Ah, Fridays! My favorite day of the week- where my days as a student are put on hold until next Tuesday and I can play catch-up on all the fun things mommies do on their days off (wait, what exactly is the fun stuff?)

Ok, so maybe that isn’t the only reason I love my Fridays. It might also be that Fridays mean…. FEATURED FRIDAY! If you haven’t been keeping up with my blog so far, my Featured Fridays are a way of showing my appreciation to my fellow bloggers. I love stopping by their blogs and reading all they have to offer, whether it’s food, family, beauty, etc…

So who’s this week’s feature? None other than Arielle from With All My Affection!


Meet Arielle


Arielle is a Vietnamese girl born and raised in Montreal, Canada. You can find her on her blog writing about food (obviously my favorite part 😉  ), fashion, beauty and all of her travels. If her blog isn’t enough, you can even follow her on facebook and Instagram.

Inspiration for With All My Affection is derived from many fashion and lifestyle bloggers from all over the world. By creating her blog in 2013, Arielle has been able to share her love of life with all of her beloved readers while fulfilling her hopes of inspiring them to step out of their comfort zones, try new things and just simply learning to love life and live it to the fullest.

While normally I would opt for something food related, I just adore being able to read about all the beautiful destinations Arielle gets to visit. Places, that I can only dream of going. I can get lost in each beautifully captured image and easily fantasize walking the streets of Venice; discovering the ruins of Pompeii; or taking in all the sites of Athens. How could one not want to visit these amazing locations after stopping by her blog? 

If you’re considering seeing the world for yourself or maybe just want to pretend to escape from reality through her posts, you should really check out all of Arielle’s travels and everything else With All My Affection has to offer. 

Thanks for taking time to read about this week’s Featured Friday. Remember to check out all of my other features listed below and show them some love.

Keep checking back every Friday to see who my next feature of the week is!

Are you a blogger who wants to be my next feature or do you have someone you want to nominate? Let me know in the comments and you could be the next.



Dee’s in the Kitchen

Hello beautiful bloggers, foodies, and readers alike!

I hope everyone had a beautiful Friday. I had a date with my favorite hair stylist today, so I sure did! I was ready for something a little less “Worn-Out-Mom” and I certainly got my much needed hair-over (is that even a thing?).

The past couple days, I have been a little under the weather with congestion so I am a little late on this week’s Featured Friday.  Never fear! I am finally ready to introduce you to another blogger who I have recently became facebook friends with (again through The Ready Steady Cook Club -or RSCC- on facebook). I just love meeting new people who share the same love for food, photography and blogging as I do.

Ready to find out who this week’s Featured Friday is?

Meet Deanne!


You can find Deanne on her blog, Dee’s in the Kitchen. Once a hard worker in the corporate world, Deanne (or Dee) knew her true place was in the kitchen utilizing her creative side, which lead her into the creation of her blog in 2015. Much of her inspiration and encouragement has been derived from her brother-in-law, who happens to be chef. 

Dee is a lover of food who finds joy in entertaining for family and friends. She never misses a chance to host a party. So if you’re looking for awesome ideas or ways to host parties of your own, this gal has what it takes to throw down!

On her blog, you can expect to find her tweaked up versions of classic family favorite recipes and a handful of her own creations, along with her own Restaurant Copy-Cats! Each recipe is accompanied with mouth-watering photos of each dish.

One recipe from her blog that I’m confident you will enjoy (being the Pollock that I am) is her made-from-scratch recipe for Peirogies, 3-Ways.

These are my all-time favorite Polish delight! Despite the time put into them, they are quite delish when made right and Dee’s recipe is very close to my own (Bonus!). If you go for the potato and cheese filling, it’s like mashed potatoes in a dumpling. And who doesn’t like mashed potatoes? 

 I really love how, in this recipe, she breaks it down in steps that are easy to follow along. With each savory filling, these babies are well worth the time put into each little dumpling. A little word of advice from The Hungary Pollock, if left with the difficult decision of choosing homemade vs. store bought- HOMEMADE ALL THE WAY! 😉 

If you’re looking for scrumptiously satisfying meals, be sure to keep up with all of Dee’s in the Kitchen updates and join the “Cooking fun”! You will not be sorry you did! 

Thanks for taking time to read about this week’s Featured Friday. Remember to check out last week’s feature, The Simple Cook, and show Colin some love. Keep checking back every Friday to see who my next feature of the week is!

Are you a blogger who wants to be my next feature or do you have someone you want to nominate? Let me know in the comments and you could be the next.

Simply Anna Lisa

Hello Lovelies!

It’s time for another Featured Friday! Last week was Chris, a Dog, and a Food Blog (if you haven’t checked it out, please give him some love!)! This week I am featuring a dear friend of mine who also happens to be my husband’s cousin.


Meet Anna!

image1 (1)

You can find Anna on her blog, Simply Anna Lisa. Anna blogs about finding her personal happiness and discovering who she is as a person. On her blog, you can expect to find out what it’s like to be a Fur-Momma to two, four-legged, drooling fur babies. 


My favorite thing about her blog is her witty humor and her aspirations to complete everything on her ever-growing 12 Months of Happiness list. I think this is a great concept for anyone who’s trying to bring happiness into their lives and willing to try new things. 


Let’s show Simply Anna Lisa some love! Join her on her journey in discovering who she is meant to be in life and be sure to keep up with her 12 Months of Happiness endeavors. 

Thanks for taking time to read about this week’s Featured Friday. Keep checking back every Friday to see who my next feature of the week is!

Are you a blogger who wants to be my next feature or do you have someone you want to nominate? Let me know in the comments and you could be the next.

Wanna be Blogger-Buddies? Contact me and let’s chat! 🙂

Don’t forget to Follow me!

Angry Orchard Cupcakes

Hello Foodies! I am so excited to tell you about these awesome cupcakes! If you like apples and you like hard cider you will love these Angry Orchard Cupcakes!

Angry orchard Cupcakes with my Fireball Caramel Sauce

My husband and I don’t drink often, but when we do our go-to drink (next to my Moscato) is an ice, cold hard cider. We’ve tried a handful of ciders and we’ve narrowed our favorites down to Strongbow and Angry Orchard.

I made these cupcakes a little over a year ago for my classmates. They were a hit. I actually adapted the recipe from the blog, Brown Sugar but I wanted to see if I could come up with a recipe of my own.

To get these deliciously moist cupcakes, I simply found a basic cake recipe, combined Angry Orchard Hard Cider (Crisp Apple), Green Apples, and a few spices to top off this apple perfection. I find the hard cider enhances flavor of the apples so it’s imperative you do not leave the cider out. If you don’t like the idea of adding alcohol to your cupcakes, no worries, the alcohol actually cooks out leaving behind its crisp flavor!_MG_0543 copy

Top these bad boys off with a Caramel Buttercream frosting and a drizzle of my Fireball Caramel Sauce and they are sure to please!

Here’s how I make them:

Angry Orchard Cupcakes


  • 3 green apples, cored and peeledAngryOrchardCupcakes2
  • 2 Sticks of butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temp.
  • 2 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup Angry Orchard Hard Cider, Crisp Apple+ 1/4 cup, set aside



  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Prepare cupcake pan by lining them with your choice of paper cupcake liners.
  2. Start by cutting your peeled apples into small dices. Add them to a bowl and pour in 1/4 Cup of the hard cider. Set aside until the end of the mixing process.
  3. In a stand mixer, beat together softened butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar; until light and fluffy. Scrap bowl down.
  4. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl. Working in thirds, add to butter mix. The mix may look separated but that’s ok.
  5. In a separate bowl mix in flour, baking powder, salt and spices until evenly distributed.
  6. With mixer on low, slowly add in dry ingredients. Careful not to over mix.
  7. When dry ingredients are incorporated, add vanilla; Add in the remaining Angry Orchard while still mixing.
  8. Remove mixing bowl from stand mixer. Fold in diced apples and the cider it has been marinating in.
  9. Using a portion (ice-cream) scoop,  fill the cupcake liners up about almost to the top (this is an airy batter so it will not do a lot of rising)
  10. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
  11. Top with my Buttercream frosting and drizzle with my Fireball Caramel Sauce. Enjoy the awesomeness!
Fireball Caramel sauce drizzled over my Angry orchard Cupcakes

I hope you enjoyed this recipe as much as I enjoyed creating it! If you like a super moist cake, these cupcakes are for you! I find that the more tart the apple, the better the bite!

Got a recipe you wanna share? Send them to me in the comments. I am always on the look out for new things to try.

Wanna be Blogger-Buddies? Contact me and let’s chat! 🙂

Don’t forget to Follow me!




Chris, a Dog, and a Food Blog

Hello lovelies!

I want to do a something a little different than my normal posts. For the past week I have been working overtime promoting my blog all I can. From starting a Twitter account to posting on my blog’s Facebook page.

Along the way I have followed and connected with some other awesome bloggers- new and seasoned to blogging- who share a similar love for food, photography and life as I do. A few of these bloggers, I am lucky enough to call my “Blogger Buddies”.

So what is it that I want to do different? Well, I am glad you asked. Each week I want to feature some of my favorite blogs that I’ve visited. This is great way to help them build up traffic to their blog and, really, I just want to say a little something nice about their blogs that I liked about them.

One of my Blogger Buddies has already started this trend, making me the first feature of his blog, using my recipe for Tuscan Styled Pork chops. So this is kinda like a Pay-it-Forward post. I encourage all bloggers to do the same!

So, with that being said, now’s the time to introduce to you the person behind the original idea for Feature Friday- blogger, Chris Hunnicutt. 


You can find Chris on his blog at Chris, a Dog and a Food Blog or on his WordPress blog by clicking Here

Chris likes to whip up scrumptious recipes, share photos of his culinary creations and even likes to do Restaurant reviews. On his blog, you can expect to find trials of his life, his family and his little dog named, Molly. Looking for healthy alternatives to the food you love? Find them on his blog. He has a handful of healthy recipes that you won’t have to feel guilty for scarfing down. 

Let’s give Chris, a dog, and a Food Blog some love! Stop on over at either of his blogs and be sure to check out his recipe for Oven “Fried” Chicken with Cauliflower Mash and Sauteed Mushrooms
Oven “Fried” Chicken with Cauliflower Mash and Sauteed Mushrooms


Thanks for taking time to read about my first Feature Friday. Keep checking back every Friday to see who my next feature of the week is!

Are you a blogger who wants to be my next feature or do you have someone you want to nominate? Let me know in the comments and you could be the next.

Wanna be Blogger-Buddies? Contact me and let’s chat! 🙂

Don’t forget to Follow me!






Early American Pumpkin Pie

Yesterday, I gave you my recipe for a Golden, Flaky Pie Dough, but what’s a pie dough without its filling? One thing my momma would always let me bake for our holiday dinners was a pumpkin pie. I’ve tried many pumpkin pie recipes in my day but none could hold up to the one I found in the “America’s Favorite Brand Name Baking” book. I’m oober happy to share this one with all of you, lovelies. It’s a keeper and one I plan to pass along to my little ladies.

I really love how this recipe has an old fashioned taste and brings back warm memories of family gatherings the moment this spiced, pumpkiny custard hits my mouth. It has all the flavors of fall in one, round dessert.

If you love pumpkin flavored desserts as much as I do, you must give this recipe for Pumpkin Pie a try. I’ve tweaked it up a little to my liking (like, um, adding a little vanilla… and I think I added a touch of maple syrup, once) and the flavor is amazing! Here’s how I make it:


Early American Pumpkin Pie


  • 1-9″ unbaked pie shell
  • 1 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
  • 1 c. milk
    Pumpkin Pie
    Please excuse the cell phone pic, this was all I had handy. I’ll post better soon 😉 

    1 c. sugar

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbs. butter, melted
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice


  1. Preheat your oven to 425° F.
  2. Combine all ingredients except pie shell in a large bowl; blend well.
  3. Poor into pie shell.
  4. Bake 45-50 minutes or until knife inserted into filling comes out clean.
  5. Allow to cool completely before cutting into.
  6. Serve with a pumpkin spiced Creme Chantilly (whipped cream) and enjoy the wonderful flavors of fall! 🙂

I hope you liked this recipe for Early American Pumpkin Pie. I’m sure it will win favorite with your guests
. We love it here!

Oh, and because I love pumpkin so much, here are a few Fun Facts about Pumpkin Pie:

  • Pumpkin pie was not served at the first Thanksgiving, though pumpkins were used in other recipes at the time.
  • The American colonists used pumpkin in pie crusts, but not in the filling.
  • In 1929, Libby’s canned pumpkin was introduced to America. Libby’s is not actually pumpkin but another kind of squash called a Dickinson that also has orange flesh. (I feel like I’ve been living a lie when I found this one out!!)
  • The world’s largest pumpkin pie weighed over 350 pounds and was made with 80 pounds of pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, and 144 eggs
  • Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites. (ok, it’s not about the pie but it is about the pumpkin)

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Golden, Flaky Pie Dough

Ahh. The holiday season is upon us. Thanksgiving is about four days away and I can already smell the turkey being pulled from the oven! Thanksgiving is my absolute, all-time favorite holiday (Halloween being a close second). It’s the only holiday that folks don’t “expect”gifts or fancy things. This holiday’s only requirement is good food and good fun with the people you love.

Every year,  my sweet husband and myself host a Turkey Dinner- with all the fixings of a traditional thanksgiving dinner- the Saturday directly following Thanksgiving. This year makes our fifth dinner (wow!) and each year we have a great turn out. I don’t dare host it on the actual holiday. It’s too much on everyone between all the competition of family time. If you’re like my husband and I, you probably do a lot of bouncing around between family dinners on each side of your families (Stressful, isn’t it?).

To start the holiday off right (this year) I decided I wasn’t going to slave away the night before and day of my dinner. I figured a little planning ahead and pre-prepping food that can be made ahead would save so much time and I MIGHT actually get to get myself ready in time for guests to arrive. So far it’s working out perfectly. I managed to make and freeze my pie dough, an apple pie, punch and today I’m going to make a pumpkin roll (recipes to follow).

What’s a thanksgiving dinner without pie?  And what’s a pie without pie dough? We all have our favorite pie dough recipes, some that may have even got passed down through the years from a beloved family member. Me? I never really found a dough recipe that stood the test of time (at least, not yet). However, last year in the test kitchens we were introduced to a dough recipe that they used all the time and still use to this day! It’s a great dough that delivers a beautiful golden, flaky crust when baked. Oh, and best of all… this dough can be used for savory meals like pot pies, too! 😉

So here is how we make it 🙂

Flaky Pie Dough


  • 2 c. Flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2/3 c. shortening
  • 5-6 tbs. Cold Water


  1. Sift flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  2. With a pastry blender or fork, cut shortening into the flour until particles are about the size of small peas.
  3. Gradually add in a couple tablespoons of water at a time until the flour mixture is moist enough come together. (Do not add too much water or dough will be sticky).
  4. Divide dough into 2 balls.
  5. Lightly dust board or cleaned table with flour and roll dough into about 1/8″ thickness about 2″ larger than your pie plate.


  • Follow your pie recipe for further instructions on baking your dough. Some recipes, like cream pies,  may require you to dock (prick your dough with a fork) and blind bake (adding some form of weight, like a layer of parchment paper with dried beans, to your dough to keep the dough from bubbling up) before adding the filling. Other recipes, like custard pies, require a raw dough before baking.
  • When preparing your dough, be careful not to over work it. Overworking will cause your dough to be tough and hard to work with.
  • This dough actually freezes really well, so if you’re like me and can use all the extra time you’re thrown, make a double batch of dough ahead of time, separate into individual balls, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for about 2 months.

Like my recipe for a Flaky Pie Dough? Let me know in the comments. If you have a favorite dough recipe you would like to share, send it to me and I’ll give it a try!

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Cider Hot Chocolate– Autumn in a glass

Cider Hot Chocolate How’s my wonderful foodies out there? Staying warm, I hope! The weather here in Eastern Kentucky just can’t make up its mind. I guess that’s what they call an “Indian Summer”, teetering from hot to cold in a matter of a few days.

I found the perfect way to warm my body when temps hit below my comfort zone (I like to stay somewhere between the 70’s and 80’s. Anything lower and it’s time for a sweater and thick blanket). If you couldn’t tell, my favorite magazine will always be the Food Network Mag. I never miss an issue! In the October issue, I stumbled on a recipe for Cider Hot Chocolate.

Ha, yea that doesn’t sound like a good mix at all. You could say I was a little skeptical. “Was”. Keyword. When I tried it, it was like Autumn exploded in my mouth. A perfect blend of fall spices. You have to give this one a try. I promise, if you like apple cider, you will love this!

Cider Hot Chocolate


  • 2 C Apple Cider
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 C. Heavy Cream
  • 2 oz. Chopped white chocolate

Cider Hot Chocolate


  1. Simmer Apple Cider with the first 5 ingredients for about 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk in heavy cream.
  3. Add in white chocolate and whisk until melted.
  4. Pour into mugs, sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon, and enjoy the sweet comforts of fall!


  • I am pretty sure that when I made this I was lacking the ground cloves. If you don’t have it on hand, it was still delicious without it. 

I really hope you enjoy this recipe for Cider Hot Chocolate as much as I did. It was so perfect for those cool nights we’ve been getting here in Kentucky. Impress your guests at your next bonfire with a hot cup of this creamy goodness!

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Lakeview Sunset

This semester I am taking English 101. One of our first assignments was to think of our favorite place to be. We were given instructions to write about it, while being a detailed as we can. I chose to write about Lakeview beach in Lorain, Ohio. Although I rarely get the opportunity to travel that far north and visit family, when I do get up there- I make it a point to make a stop at the beach during the sunset (preferably with a cherry dipped cone from the K-cream Korner in my hand).

Here is my Sensory Detailed Creative writing:

Lakeview Sunset

By: Samantha Holbrook

English 101-320

Along the shores of Lake Erie, crowning the city of Lorain, lies the beautiful Lakeview Beach. The place I go to distance myself from my troubles; watching them as they wash away with each crashing wave. I plop my bottom softly in the pillowy ground, burying my toes below the surface of the gritty sand. Evidence of the day’s torrid heat still lingers within.

My eyes become fixed on the silhouette of a crane perched gracefully upon the algae covered rock wall-divide. There’s something majestic in his stance as he dare make a move. Beyond him, I become dazed; observing the never ending body of water glistening beneath the amber and tangerine filled horizon, as if to dance to the song of the heavens’.

Another rush of waves spill violently onto the shore, clamoring against the empty pier to the side of me. My thoughts start to flee from my wondering mind, losing myself in the peace I have found. My quietude is soon interrupted by the sweet sounds of children snickering and splashing close by, and the humming of the boat’s motors as they float away. I can hear the screeching of seagulls calling in the distance; circling around Lorain’s very own lighthouse.

A sort of fishiness fills the mock-sea air, so strong you can almost taste it. The sky, no longer the brilliant hues of red and orange that it once was, is now pink and deep purple. I stand and begin walking along the beach side, all matters of lake life float up upon the sugar sand. The seaweed catches between my toes and the soles of my feet get an uncomfortable massage from the millions of broken shells beneath me. I take a second to scavenge the shoreline for sea glass and periwinkle shells before readying myself to visit the fountain, located atop the hill from which I came.

I climb the partially sandy hill with patches of overgrown grass, finally making it over to the fountain. Surrounded by couples and small children with their parents, making one last stop before leaving for the night. The water amazes everyone with its changing spouts and the varying colors. A gentle mist grazes my face and creates a silver veil of droplets on my long, brown hair. I smile and toss in a penny for good luck.

Before departing from my happy place, I turn and face the open waters one last time.  What’s left of the golden orb disappeared behind the frail, wispy clouds. A soft glow of the lighthouse’s light beams into the night sky. I savor in the moment and remind myself how Lorain, Ohio will always hold a piece of my heart.

I hope you enjoyed a little of my creative writing! Thanks for reading!

Where is your favorite place be when you need to get in touch with your inner peace? Tell me in the comments, I’d love to hear about it.

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