Memorial Day Hot Dog Bar

Holidays stress people out.  And with food, it’s a stressor that hits every month.  Think about it… In every month there is a holiday or a party (from Valentine’s Day to March Madness, etc..) that you have to cook something for and invite people to.  It can be overwhelming.  I don’t want it to be overwhelming though!  So I have put together this really simple Hot Dog Bar.  All you have to do is prep the ingredients and grill the dogs.  All of maybe 10 minutes.  15 if you have to do some of the chopping.  I promise this is a super easy party!  You will love it and your guests will be impressed.

Here are the three easy tips for a successful Hot Dog Bar:

  1. Use pre-chopped ingredients in mason jars – I used red onions, green onions, olives, jalapeños – that they were all taken straight from the fresh pre-cut section in the grocery store.  Also, don’t even try to make your own guacamole or dill dip – use fresh from the deli!
  2. Decorations: Paper flags will run you maybe $10 and I like to stick them in photo holders on the table for a festive centerpiece or backdrop.
  3. Let everyone make their own hot dog!  It cuts down on things having to be hot and ready, is ready in minutes and can last the entire party! 

A couple of pro-tips:

  • I used little wooden spoons for the mason jars to add a fun flair and personality to them!  You can use any type of spoon – but I just loved the wooden ones and can be found in bulk at different craft stores.
  • Layer your mason jars on upside down flower boxes! Throughout the year I’ll use flower boxes as centerpieces to put flowers in – for this party.. I have flipped them over and put the mason jars on top!

Here are some of my favorite Hot Dog combinations:

  • Greek Hot Dog: Dill dip, tomatoes, cucumbers, and feta cheese
  • Mexican: Mexican corn, queso fresco, cilantro, guacamole and jalapenos if you want.
  • German Brat: purple cabbage, sauerkraut, pickles, and cheese
  • Fresh Fruit – Mango and Pineapple salsa with honey
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Mother’s Day Giveaway

I’m doing a Giveaway today for what is quickly becoming one of my favorite companies – Spoonful of Comfort.  Think about it like this for $70 you can ship a care package to your friends, coworkers, or family and it comes wrapped with a personalized note, if you want it. 

I mean really? Sign me up. 

Can I be honest with you for a minute… I originally was approached by Spoonful of Comfort to shoot content for them and talk about their product.  They sent me their tomato basil soup and I shot it and ate it for my meal, actually wrote a blog post for them about using the rolls as mini grilled cheeses.. it was awesome.  I loved it – you can see that post here.  However, I wasn’t super happy with the pictures I took.  So I approached Spoonful of Comfort and this time asked them to send me the Rise and Shine box and another, YES ANOTHER, Tomato Basil Soup Box.  I wanted to post about it on my feed, but since I didn’t like the pictures – needed more product.  This time.. I shared the soup with some friends and they loved it! 

Yes, maybe this was free product for me to eat and shoot, but it’s amazing!  It is product that I would buy and will buy over and over again.  Great for new parents, newlyweds, mother’s day, father’s day, or maybe just an easy grilled cheese and tomato soup night with friends – you need this product.  

So this weekend is Mother’s Day.  The giveaway will run all day Monday and all day Tuesday and you can get this cute are packaged shipped to mom for Mother’s Day!  Please and Thank you! 

You could also just send it to yourself! 🙂 

Back to the different packages… I have tried 2 of them and am absolutely blown away by the packaging, the presentation, the taste, and the quality of this food.  One is the Tomato Basil Soup box that comes with the most delicious chocolate chip cookies and rolls and the other box comes with breakfast pancakes, tea, a cute teacup, and the most delicious organic Maple Syrup!  

The Rise & Shine Box is personally what I would ship to mom, BUT, I will make a deal with you… enter the giveaway and I will let you choose whether you want the Tomato Basil Soup or the Rise & Shine Box! 

So here are the details of each box: 

Rise and Shine package includes:

  • Buttermilk Pancake Mix
  • Organic Maple Syrup
  • Gourmet Hot Tea
  • Double Decker Teapot and Mug
  • Crisp Tea Towel
  • A personalized note for Mother’s Day

Tomato Basil Soup package includes: 

  • 64-oz. jar of sensational soup (4-6 generous servings)
  • 1/2 dozen bacci rolls
  • 1/2 dozen cookies
  • a Ladle to serve up the smiles
  • Personalized notecard
  • Colorful, custom packaging that’s a treat in itself
How to Enter: 
  1. Like @spoonfulofcomfort and @atabletopaffair on Instagram
  2. Tag 3 friends.  
  3. Each 3 friends is an additional entry. 

Giveaway ends 5 pm CST on Tuesday, April 30! 

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Perspective is Everything.

Perspective is everything.  Our perspective is the lens at which we view life and most importantly God’s role in our life. 

Your perspective is formed by what you know is true.  As Christians, this wisdom should come from God’s Word.  It should open up characteristics and truths about Jesus that unlock an intimacy with Him that we haven’t known before. But, having said that… how many times do we not take advantage of this wisdom.  We don’t require ourselves to use the wisdom and create a new perspective, develop a new lens to look at like through.  We don’t mirror our thoughts after Him, we mirror our thoughts after what those around us tell us.  Instagram stories, entertainment hosts, friends, the list goes on.  

If we harvested the wisdom that we gained from God and began to form a new perspective with it, we would begin to identify God’s goodness in our lives. 

Most recently, God’s goodness has been at the forefront of my mind.  What exactly is God’s Goodness?  What does that even mean?  In order to understand God’s goodness – you have to understand what His goal, what His mindset is.  His mindset is, has, and always will be His glory.  Now yes, He loves us and desires us – but He desires us to desire Him and glorify Him. Check out Isaiah 43:1-7.

vs. 7 says; “Everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed even whom I have made.” NASB

John Piper says it like this: “No matter how deep we probe into the motives of God, we will never arrive at a layer which is not love.”

God is good all the time. Too many Christians define God’s goodness by their circumstances rather then Who God actually is.  Men fail us.  The world fails us.  Our friends and family fail us.  So why do we try so desperately to define God and relate God to a relationship we have, to a worldly image of Him. I have been pondering that question because Christ is so much bigger than any box we could fit Him in or any circumstance that we could go through. 

Even when we go through trauma and disappointment, God is in the middle of that and He is reigning supreme. (Psalm 115:8) He is orchestrating every step we make and holding us so tightly to His will.  (Ephesians 1:11) 

We should stand in awe just at the thought that God cares enough for each of us that He is directing our footsteps.  He wants to be the Good Shepherd, we just have to accept and humble ourselves before His plan. 

But what happens when life happens, things start to hit the fan, and life begins to crumble?  Is God still good then? The answer is a firm and resounding YES!

In that moment, perspective takes control.  You can decide to be mad at God and pray hard without ceasing that your circumstance would change, or you can choose to have a Heavenly perspective. 

Abby, what does that even mean?  It means that you can look at your negative circumstances – the people yelling at you, the decisions you made, the trauma and death that surrounds you and say… God, you created this for Your Glory.  Help me identify what Your Glory looks like in this mess.  Because it is a MESS. 

Then God begins to dialogue with you about why He has you there.  What He wants you to learn.  How He wants you to respond.  Who He wants you to love through the mess. 

At that moment… you begin to look UP and not OUT.  You begin to GLORIFY GOD and see God’s Goodness through the mess.  

That is the joy found in Christianity.  That is the entire point of our existence.  He wants us to desire Him because He knows that when we have His mindset, when we are truly desiring Him – we are peace-loving, kind, and filled with the JOY of Heaven.  

So as I sit here with my head arched over and my heart in my throat… I am so undeserving of this type of pursuit.  My perspective is selfish.  I rarely go through trauma with my head looking UP at God and not OUT at physical answers and people.  

But I truly believe that if I begin to shift my thoughts, my actions and reactions, my entire mentality will morph into a perspective that will radically change my life. 

God is so GOOD.  He really truly wants us to experience His Goodness.  But in order to experience Him – we must shift our perspective.  

Join the conversation below, and let me know your thoughts about perspective and why it’s hard to change your perspective.

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5 Minute Ravioli

I am always looking for an easy week night meal to switch into my rotation, especially when I want something a bit more indulgent than plain chicken and broccoli.  This 5 minute ravioli is seriously one of the fastest recipes I’ve made in a long time.  It takes everything that is wonderful about cheese and pasta and takes it to the next level for an easy dinner.

Something else I love about this recipe is that it uses one pot and one bowl!  If I’m looking for an easy and fast recipe chances are I don’t have time to do dishes or waste time with anything else, I just need food on the table right now. 

Just one request… fast food for my family that I don’t have to sacrifice taste or quality for.  

Insert the best pasta dish EVER! 

Ingredients are easy: 

  1. Ravioli – I LOVE the spinach and ricotta ravioli from Walmart; so tasty! 
  2. Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
  3. Heavy Cream
  4. Basil 
  5. Minced Garlic – yes, I use the pre-minced garlic it’s just too easy not to. 
  6. Salt and Pepper to taste

Serve with chopped basil, parmesan cheese (I really like flaked cheese not the shredded), and breadcrumbs (no need to toast). 

After that.. it’s simple.  Cook the ravioli per the package.  As soon as you start that start the sauce. 

The Sauce is so simple: 

Garlic and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto in a pan on low heat, add basil and cream and let it simmer for 1-2 minutes.  You are melding all of the flavors together – be careful not to burn any of this, so cook it low and slow. 

One thing that I love to do is add shredded Rotisserie Chicken into the sauce. If I have extra chicken, or if I plan to grab one at the store… I will always add a little extra protein to any dish!

When the ravioli is done… add the ravioli to the sauce pan and serve with parmesan and basil and breadcrumbs! 

So do me a favor. When you love this recipe as much as I do, will you post about it? Will you tag me on Instagram or Facebook? Will you share this post with your friends? I hope you do!

Let me know what you think about this table top and would love to see your creations on Facebook and Instagram – just tag #AtableTopAffair. 

Interested in seeing more of my recipes and entertaining inspiration?  Subscribe to my blog and stop by Instagram and say hey! 

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Lemon Cake Cookies

Lemon has been a favorite flavor of mine for a long time.  Not necessarily eating a plain lemon, or even lemon in my water, but the essence of lemon in my cakes, cookies, chicken… you name it I really enjoy lemon.  So what if I told you, I had a super easy Lemon Cookie Recipe? 

This cookie recipe is so easy that you don’t have to even really make the batter because you are starting with a lemon cake batter.  Yes!  You heard that correctly lemon cake batter! 

Springtime makes me so happy and these are always the first set of cookies I make for the season and I keep them stocked at my house for anytime friends or family come over.  

Pro Tip: This recipe could be replicated for Strawberry cookies a well – just replace lemon for strawberry.  Some nuances will occur in the frosting with strawberries vs. lemon zest.. but I can touch on that at a later date! 

These are also great backdrop cookies for any springtime party you have!  So get excited and start hosting! 

Once you mix the batter it will be very sticky.  I would strongly suggest using a cookie scoop – it will be the easiest way to drop the cookie batter on the cookie sheet. 

Once the cookies are on the cookie sheet you can make the frosting which is sugar, zest, and whole milk.  The more powdered sugar you have in the mixture the thicker it will be – I actually use double what the recipe is because I like the frosting to set up pretty quickly and not run everywhere. 

Cook for a short 6 minutes and voila!  Ready to eat in minutes and they seriously taste like springtime!  

Happy Eating (and hosting)-


Lemon Cake Cookies

The easiest and fastest way to get to springtime… with lemon cookies made straight from a cake mix!  You’ll never make chocolate chip cookies again!  (well maybe you will!)

  • Author: Abby Turner


  • 1 box lemon cake mix (I use Great Value from Walmart)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make sure if you aren’t using a nonstick cookie sheet like mine from Williams Sonoma you put down parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, oil, eggs and lemon zest of 1 lemon until combined. Batter will be thick and sticky.
  3. Drop tablespoon full of batter on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. (I use a 1/4c cookie scoop)
  4. Bake for 6-88 minutes. When you pull the cookies out of the oven, slap the cookie sheet down on the counter to bounce the cookies off the cookie sheet – this allows air to get under the cookies and help them set.  Let cool on wire rack. 
  5. For icing, mix together powdered sugar, lemon juice and milk. Once cookies cool, drizzle icing on top of cookies. For this step – I used 3 cups of powdered sugar, 1 lemon of juice, zest of 1 lemon and 1/4c of milk.  But I like my icing to set fast and be really thick!

Let me know what you think about this recipe? I would love to see your creations on Facebook and Instagram – just tag #AtableTopAffair.  Interested in seeing more of my recipes and entertaining inspiration?  Subscribe to my blog and stop by Instagram and say hey! 

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White & Greens for Easter

Easter is right around the corner and I love it!  I was just telling a friend this week that Easter is probably my favorite holiday to cook for and host.  Why? It’s your first foray into springtime.  You get to dust out all of the whites and greens and pinks and bright fun colors for the first time since… well, last summer!  

Every year I like to change it up with my table (and I have had some fun tables in the past).  But this year I decided to go with chambray, whites, and greens.  I loved how it turned out.  The only thing I bought were the brown wicker chargers.  They were like $2 a piece at Homegoods which I thought was a great buy! 

Pro Tip: Always go for a place setting of 8 when purchasing things.

I used fake flowers for my centerpiece for the month leading up to Easter and will have fresh white flowers on Easter – so I will update this post to show you the flower box I do for the table for this weekend. 

One question I get a lot is how do you host 15+ and only have a table for 6?  

While this table is set so perfectly now, on Sunday I will seat 8 around this table and will have 2 additional square card tables to seat 8 more (one table will actually sit in my living room. Those two tables will have take flowers and will not have matching plates because I don’t have enough 🙂 

Another question I get a lot is if I set the plates at every place setting when do people get them. 

What I like to do is set the table with a charger and a salad plate.  That salad plate is the plate I have people use for appetizers.  So when they arrive, I direct them to grab a plate from the table (that way they can put coats phones, etc.. down at ‘their seat’) and get their appetizer.  At that point they can also grab their glass and fill it with a drink. 

Bottom line: Entertaining is easy.  You have these things and at it’s core – you have a table!  Invite people over and have fun! 

Let me know what you think about this table top and would love to see your creations on Facebook and Instagram – just tag #AtableTopAffair. 

Interested in seeing more of my recipes and entertaining inspiration?  Subscribe to my blog and stop by Instagram and say hey! 

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Easy Easter App You Can Set The Table With

Easter is right around the corner and whether you are getting ready to set the table for a lunch with your family or having a Spring Time brunch with your friends – you will LOVE these quick tips to make hosting your party easy!

I love all things parties and food! But one thing I can not sacrifice is ease. I do not want to be spending a ton of time or energy setting up for a party because it doesn’t have to be difficult.

That being said I have 3 easy tips for an easy party in minutes.

First: Flowers are everywhere in the spring.

You can buy them anywhere from a garden nursery to your local grocery store. But my hack… invest in some fake flowers! They make an easy transitional tablescape that will help fill the space and look really spring-y and festive.

Second: I love these Turkish Towels as a table runner or table cloth.

Really these were intended to be used as towels
on the beach or at the pool, but I think they are great on a table!

Last – let’s talk about this appetizer.

I like to pre-portion my apps for my guests. But if you didn’t want to do pre-portion, you can just set out the app ingredients and have everyone fill their own carton.

The carton is actually just a cardboard egg carton I have cut into 2 sets of 6. I love these Happy Egg containers because they are bright yellow! How fun are they!

I do want to make one call out – per the FSIS they say that egg containers should be single use packaging. I used a kitchen safe bleach and hot water to clean mine and then let them dry. However, please do this at your own risk and I am not in anyway saying this is safe and you should make your own judgement call. Another option is to use mini cupcake liners inside each egg holder to protect the food.

And I love that the eggs are brown because I know they are just a bit more fresh and they add nice color to the appetizer! Always about presentation right?? Ha.

In this carton what I’m serving is 3 dips, I have 2 hummus and a guacamole, bread sticks and veggie sticks for dipping, and a medium-boiled egg. If you like deviled eggs.. you can substitute with that really simple by purchasing pre boiled eggs and just making the inside mixture.

For the medium boiled egg – I boiled it for about 6 minutes and then using this egg
topper I’m going to show you how to take the top off.

How to use an Egg Topper:

  • Pop it really hard
  • While holding the bottom of the egg – Move it around and make sure the egg is
  • Pull off the top. If you have trouble you can use a knife to help pop it off.

Stick it in the carton and dip the breadsticks. Again, medium-boiled egg not your thing… add another dip or a deviled egg and make this carton your own.

Isn’t that easy! Ready in minutes and best part… you throw away the carton after you use it!

I want to see your creations so as always connect with me on Instagram! I love seeing everyone’s creations and answering questions you have! Don’t forget to comment below and share your creations with #atabletopaffair

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King Cake Punch

Everybody raves about the King Cake around Mardi Gras… but what would happen if you took the “King Cake” and put it in a PUNCH! I am totally a drink fein. I love a good punch – so I have created a fun punch bowl that is both festive and delicious.

First layer Purple, Green, and Yellow Fruit in the bundt pan. The purple fruit is a blood orange, the yellow fruit is lemon and the green – limes! I also threw some oranges in there with them!

Next layer the fruits in the bundt pan! You can even add chewy candies to help add some personality to the punch!

Once you have filled the bundt pan, fill it with lemonade and freeze for 4-8 hours (or overnight).

Pro Tip: Take a large bowl and put hot water in it. Set the Bundt pan down in the hot water to melt it just enough for it to come out of the bundt pan. It won’t take long!

You will love this recipe and your friends will drink it all up! Happy Mardi Gras!!


Let me know what you think about the recipe and would love to see your creations on Facebook and Instagram – just tag #AtableTopAffair. 

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Beer Bread

You will be shocked at how delicious and easy this Beer Bread is. With ingredients you probably have in your pantry and fridge already – this is a great bread to memorize and make all the time. It gets made at my house with soups, as breakfast bread (add a touch of cinnamon yum!), or just bread to enjoy with your friends. It’s delicious!

It is super easy – mix all of the ingredients and then add the beer! I usually use a Dark IPA, but this Ultra did the job nicely! (note: this is a 20 oz. can – I only used 12 oz. of it).

Sifting flour for bread recipes is a must-do.

Part of the recipe is about sifting flour. Sifting flour for bread recipes is a must-do. Most people just scoop the 1 cup measure in the flour canister and level it off. That compacts the flour and will turn your bread into a “hard biscuit”.  That’s because they aren’t sifting their flour! If you do not have a sifter, use a spoon to spoon the flour into the 1 cup measure. Just try it! You’ll totally agree.

Lastly, pour the butter over the mixture in the loaf pan. Don’t be shy! I have made it using 1/2 a stick and a full stick and definitely like it better WITH the full stick! It just makes the top of the bread so crunchy and ‘fat’ always makes things better right?


Beer Bread

This is literally the easiest bread ever!  I make it quick when friends are coming over, when I’m cooking a stew to soak up the goodies, and makes a great bread for toast. Seriously you will not be disappointed in this bread!

  • Author: Abby Turner


  • 3 cups flour (sifted – super important that it is sifted)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 2 tablespoons salt (one in mixture and one on top before baking)
  • 1⁄4 cup sugar
  • 1 (12 ounce) can beer
  • 1⁄2 cup melted butter (1/4 cup will do just fine)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix SIFTED dry ingredients then add the beer.
  3. Pour into a greased loaf pan.
  4. Pour melted butter over mixture and sprinkle 1 tbsp salt on top.
  5. Bake 1 hour, remove from pan and cool for at least 15 minutes.


Pro Tip: This recipe makes a very hearty bread with a crunchy, buttery crust. If you prefer a softer crust (like a traditional bread) mix the butter into the batter instead of pouring it over the top.


Sifting flour for bread recipes is a must-do. Most people just scoop the 1 cup measure in the flour canister and level it off. That compacts the flour and will turn your bread into a “hard biscuit”.  That’s because they aren’t sifting their flour! If you do not have a sifter, use a spoon to spoon the flour into the 1 cup measure. 

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Cajun Shrimp Stew aka Jambalaya

Guys! Mardi Gras is like tomorrow! Holy Cow. Every year I forget. And every year I am so sad that I didn’t enjoy the Cajun spices longer. Oh well! At least I made this incredible saucy Jambalaya-liked stew and was able to actually enjoy it for a couple of days prior to Mardi Gras!

This year, I tried my luck at Beer Bread and boy oh boy was it AMAZING! Since this Jambalaya is thicker than most, due to the Roux you make before adding the vegetables; the beer bread is perfect to soak up the leftover juiciness! It is so delicious.

In fact. It’s so delicious I’m going to stop talking and just give you the recipe!


Cajun Shrimp Stew

This stews is packed with all of the Cajun flavors and hearty protein you need to celebrate Mardi Gras.. or any day for that matter!

  • Author: Abby Turner


  • 8 ounces Jimmy Dean Style Sausage
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced 
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 14 ounce can of Stewed Tomatoes, semi-drained
  • 3 tablespoons your favorite Creole Seasoning – I like Tony’s!
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 12 ounce beer – I used a dark IPA
  • 1 1/2 pounds raw shrimp peeled + deveined (I left the tails on for the pictures! You want to take them off)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • steamed white or brown rice for serving


  1. In a medium size soup pot, brown the sausage over medium high heat. Remove from the pot and set aside.
  2. To the same pot, add the oil and flour, whisking until combined. Cook for 10 minutes or until the roux is lightly golden. Add the onion, garlic, celery, green pepper.
  3. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until fragrant, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, 1 tablespoon creole seasoning and the smoked paprika, cook another 2 minutes.
  4. Slowly pour in the beer and let simmer, add back the sausage and bring the mixture to a low boil, simmer for 10-15 minutes. This is so critical.  Don’t add back the sausage too early or it will get lost in the seasoning mixture from above.
  5. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium high heat. Once hot add the butter. Toss the shrimp with the cajun seasoning and place in the hot skillet. Sear on both side for about 4 minutes per side or until pink and cooked through. Remove from the heat. Now add the shrimp and Worcestershire to the creole mixture. Simmer until ready to serve. 
  6. Serve the shrimp over a bowl of hot rice (i like to cook my rice in coconut oil over hot heat before boiling.  Just adds that extra bit of flavor!) and then you can’t forget the beer bread! 

– –

Make sure to subscribe to the blog down below so that you can get the posts sent straight to your inbox!  Share this post with your friends and your family so everyone can get these great tips and as always tag #atabletopaffair on instagram and Facebook to share your favorite appetizer boards with me! Would love to see your fun creations! 

Don’t forget to leave your comments below!

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welcome to my table

I’m Abby, and I’m all about setting the table every day and making a simple dinner with easy recipes to enjoy with friends. The inspiration you’ll find here are simple and meant to encourage you to declutter your table and invite friends over! I spend my days working as a marketer for a retail company and dreaming of dinner time. I really hope that through A Table Top Affair you will find a newfound love for your kitchen and that relationships would be formed around your table.

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