Cherry Beergaritas

Posted on: May 17, 2012

On my trip last week, I made a list of summer goals! I have not had a summer without classes in almost 4 hours and I decided I better start giving myself some things to work on before I waste the whole summer playing in the sun (okay, to be honest, that would not be so bad either).

Anyways, I shall post my summer list here so that I can slowly cross it off with that handy little font tool that wordpress has!

Summer Goals

1. Learn to like Mushrooms

2. Make homemade marscapone and ricotta cheese

3. Pickle my own grown cucumbers

4. Take some time to do a little yoga everyday

5. Try new cocktails

6. Make my first recipe zine

7. Get my Etsy shop up and running

8. Make Homemade dog biscuits for Tuko

9. Go camping at Turkey Run and Hoosier National Forest

10. Eat Vegan once a week (I think I will be making it every Wednesday)

Okay, that is enough of a list. I also have ‘decorate my new house’ on my list but that is going to have to happen regardless of whether I make it a goal so I’ll leave that off.

Back to number 5. I have already starting trying so many new cocktails this summer and absolutely love the learning experience that comes with seeing what mixes so well with what. I’ve also learned that I am not really an Old Fashioned kind of gal but do love me a Dark and Stormy. However, there is one super easy cocktail that I have already revisited about half a dozens times this summer…the good ol’ Beergarita. Beergaritas taste a lot like margaritas but the soda gives them an extra frizz similar to what you get when you drink a mimosa. The recipe I use is a revamped one that turns the traditional beergarita into a Cherry version that is so satisfying when sitting on your porch and soaking up the sun.

  • 1 – 12 ounces corona
  • 12 ounces of tequila
  • half a tube of limeade concentrate (should in a frozen tube in the freezer section)
  • 12 ounces of Cherry Sprite
  • Ice
  • Maraschino Cherries, for garnish
  • a splash of maraschino cherry juice, for color

Pour the corona into a pitcher. Use the empty corona bottle to measure out the same amount for the tequila and sprite. Combine all ingredients in a pitcher. Serve over ice to all your friends!

And perhaps with some guacamole or corn salsa (you’ll probably need these snacks after the tequila sneaks up on you!).

Veggie Hoagies

Posted on: May 16, 2012

So vacation was awesome but I am feeling a little sluggish from all the gas station munchies and PB&J road sandwiches. I’ve decided to dedicate this whole week to “cleansing” my body and trying to pack it with as much veggies as possible. So far this week, every morning has started off with a Green Monster [smoothie] and a big veggie sandwich for lunch. I am hoping to post about my Green Monster creations soon- as soon as I can get an appetizing picture of green slushiness (maybe this won’t be anytime soon..)

Anyways, as an attempt to keep my boyfriend from breaking up with me from a veggie overload, I’ve tried to expand and get as creative as possible with our sandwiches this week. The other day I whipped up these oven toasted hoagies and they will for sure become a new staple in my lunch routine. So perfect because you can use whatever veggies you have on hand and then load them with the melted cheese and tangy dressing.

As usual when I post a sandwich suggestion, feel free to substitute whatever veggies and cheeses you think sound good.

 

 

Veggie Hoagies

  • 2 ciabbata buns
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 5 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 Tablespoon fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (or 1 Tablespoon fresh)
  • 4 slices of Swiss cheese (or whatever cheese you prefer- omit if vegan)
  • 1/4 cup Italian dressing
  • salt/pepper
  • tin foil

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the sliced ciabbata rolls on a ungreased cooking sheet and stick them in the preheating oven for 5 minutes (or until they start to become toasted).

In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium. Add the onions and saute for about five minutes. Then add the peppers, mushrooms , basil, oregano, salt, and pepper and saute for another 10 minutes or until all the veggies have softened.

Divide the cheese and dressing between the two rolls. Top with the veggie mixture and the tomatoes. Spray tin foil with cooking spray and wrap the sandwiches in two pieces.

Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese has completely melted.

Serve warm with chips or coleslaw or whatever sounds yummy!

 

Rustic Cakes with Red Wine Onion Relish

Posted on: May 15, 2012

I pulled out this recipe book the other day because I had stumbled upon this Vegan cookbook when I was at Powell’s in Portland a few months back. The pictures are gorgeous and I am just in love with the fact that he adds a little play list to go with every recipe. Anyways, this is the only recipe I’ve tried out of the book so far and I was blown away. These little cakes are soooo delicious. I lathered them with this caramelized onion relish for dinner and then ate the leftover with maple syrup the next morning (honestly, I can not tell you which version was better- they were fantastic both savory and sweet!).

I’ll admit- I’m biased when it comes to breakfast food (and particularly when it comes to being able to serve it for dinner without any regrets). But to be completely honest, I think that the onion relish may have been my favorite part about the whole thing. Although the cakes are super delicious by themselves, the onions practically melt in your mouth and have the most beautiful color from being soaked in the red wine. I’d recommend putting this relish on everything- crackers, sandwiches, rustic cakes, imitation meat, etc.

Also, I upped the corn meal a lot so that the batter was easier to work with. This made the cakes denser so if you like yours thin then feel free to use a little less cornmeal when making your cakes.

Rustic Cakes with Red Wine Onion Relish

For the cakes:

  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cup almond milk
  • Coconut oil (for frying)

For the onion relish:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onions, thinly sliced 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons red wine
  • 1 tablespoon water

Combine, all (except the coconut oil) in a bowl and mix until a thick dough forms. Stick in the fridge for ten minutes or until it’s chilled.

Warm the olive oil over low to medium low in a small skillet. Saute the onions for 10 to 15 minutes or until they are browning and starting to caramelize. Add the sugar, wine, and water and bring to a bowl. Let it simmer over low until the wine has evaporated.

In a large skillet, warm a thin layer of coconut oil. Make golf ball size dough balls and small down. Place 3 to 4 cakes in a skillet and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side (depending on how hot the oil is).

Serve warm with the onions piled on top and maybe some asparagus on the side.

Oh! And don’t forget to eat your leftovers the morning after with maple syrup!

Moody Monday: Back From the Wild Wild West

Posted on: May 14, 2012

And I’m back! After a much needed week-long adventure to Colorado, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico, I am back at work and back into the routine.

The trip was absolutely amazing and we experienced soooo many amazing things including camping on the beach, hanging out in mountain logging towns, and exploring New Mexico thrift shops.I am hoping to have a full post of pictures later this week so stayed tuned!

As for Moody Monday, it’s not so moody around here with all the exciting happenings (still on cloud nine from my trip and officially starting my full-time job at Secretly Canadian Distribution today).

Hope to be back into action with recipe posts tomorrow! Happy Monday!


Southwest Road Trip

Posted on: May 6, 2012

Hey Everyone! Just letting you know I will be MIA for the week because we are taking our annual cross country road trip.

Be back in a week or so! I will be documenting a lot of my trip through instragram so feel free to follow me (username: shellywest) if you’d like to follow along!

Veggie Sloppy Joes / Summer Picnic

Posted on: May 4, 2012

I had my last final yesterday afternoon which meant I was going to study all day…or at least that was my plan until it decided to be 80 and sunny outside. So, to compromise, we had a picnic in my backyard to take a break from my studies (which eventually turned into my just studying outside the rest of the day).

We were, surprisingly, able to enjoy our sloppy joes in peace because Tuko was too distracted by all the squirrel action going on in the trees around us.

Wyatt was so into his Joe that he managed to scarf down 3 in a row (hungry boy).

Veggie Sloppy Joes

Adapted from A Couple Cooks
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 celery stock, diced
  • 1- 15 ounce can of kidney beans
  • 1-15 ounce can of pinto beans
  • 2 cups of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • squirt of srichacha sauce
  • dash of fresh ground pepper
  • buns
  • garnish with [vegan] cheese

In a skillet, heat up the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and saute for about five minutes or until they start to soften. Then add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until it has reached a desired consistency.

Lather in between a bun and top the mixture with cheese.

Serve with chips or corn on the cob or coleslaw. And enjoy on a fun colored blanket outside with your favorite people (and animals)!

Roasted Balsamic Carrots

Posted on: May 2, 2012

I totally get why people insist on creating super elaborate dishes with dozens of ingredients; I myself have made plenty of recipes that hit that description on the head but for some reason I always come back to the simple ones. Roasting vegetables is probably the first thing you learn in cooking 101 but yet there’s nothing better than the bold, natural flavors that come from roasting. These carrots only have five ingredients but every ingredient is important and you can taste the delicious chemistry that is created when these ingredients are cooked together.

Anyways, I am going to keep this short because I have been writing papers all week for my finals and more writing just seems like a chore (which is never what this blog should feel like!) However, now that I’ve managed to write such a passionate previous paragraph about these flavorful carrots, you should probably just try them out for yourself and not take my word for it.

Roasted Balsamic Carrots

  • 6 carrots, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil

 

Preheat oven to 425. Combine the nutmeg, cinnamon, balsamic, and olive oil in a bowl. Toss the carrots in the mixture and then lay in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Cook for 10 minutes. Flip and then roast for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Enjoy as a delicious side or an afternoon snack.

 

Moody Monday: Graduation

Posted on: April 30, 2012

This Monday is a bit strange for me. It does not really feel like a Monday at all because I have been busy all weekend writing papers and getting ready for my post graudation trip (we are taking Tuco on his first camping trip to Arizona!). Anyways, what is going to get me through the week is knowing that after 4 years of this routine, I will officially be a graduate next weekend. Yikes!

My pictures for the post are a picture of me with friends from each year I have been in school. I usually try to not be so self absorbent (by posting so many pictures of myself) but it was just too much fun to see the changes over the years. I feel like a completey different person than I was four years ago and it’s so strange to imagine that I am about to start a new and different growth period in my life. Anyways, this post was suppose to be fun and to see the evolution over the years (top left is freshman, top right is sophomore, bottom left is junior, and bottom right is this year). Exciting things!

Hope everyone has a fantastic week!

Saucy Saturdays: Sweet Pepper Aoili

Posted on: April 28, 2012

To continue on with our ‘Saucy Saturdays’, I’ve decided to make a dressing that is perfect both as a dip or lathered on veggie sandwiches. Aioli is just really a fancy word for ‘flavored mayo’ but it really does bring new meaning to mayonnaise. I never have been a big mayonnaise fan until I discovered garlic aioli to dip onion rings in or spicy aioli to dip carrots into.

This dip was ridiculously easy to make and I was hoping to save it for upcoming lunch sandwiches this week but I already ate half of it with wheat thins! I used some mini sweet peppers I had lying around but feel free to use regular sweet peppers instead (I’d say use two). This sauce would be really great on grilled burgers or hot dogs and I can only imagine that this will be made again and again this summer.

  • 6 – 7 small sweet peppers, any color (I stuck with red so that the end product would be a solid color)
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • dash of salt/pepper

First, roast the peppers: Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Place bell peppers on a foil lined baking sheet and brush 1 tablespoon of olive oil onto the peppers. Roast for 10 minutes on each side (or until each side is very browned). Place in a plastic bag for 5 minutes and then remove skins.

Add the peppers along with the rest of the olive oil, mayo, garlic cloves, salt, and pepper to a small food processor (or blender). Pulse until everything is well incorporated (about five minutes). Season more with salt/pepper.

Serve with french fries, crackers, vegetables, on sandwiches, or whatever you have lying around in your fridge that needs a layer of sauce on it!

a few ideas of what to dip into it.

Nacho Night – Buffet Style

Posted on: April 27, 2012

We are in the full swing of Spring which means unpredictable weather is upon us! It’s been rather crazy this year…usually I just plan on it raining for 2 months straight but we have been struck with many random sunny warm days followed by cold 50s. It’s a bit out of the norm and makes planning even harder.

When a random cold spell hit us last week, I decided to stay in and have a movie night with a few friends. I love popcorn but sometimes you just have to spice things up! We ended up doing a small ‘nacho bar’ instead because it’s so customizable that you are able to cater to even the pickiest of eaters. The nacho night went over perfectly and it was fun to be able to share food and a movie with people without having to worry about picky eaters or breaking the bank!

Also, at this ‘nacho night’ I discovered Beergaritas for the first, official, time and ooooooh man! I don’t even know where to begin. Expect a post in the next couple of days with a recipe but we made some delicious (and surprisingly simple) Cherry Beergaritas to go with our themed evening. There is just something about adding a little fizz to the traditional Margarita recipe that makes that drink just so darn refreshing!

This was so simple to plan and create that it will definitely be added to my future dinners when I need something quick or am looking to entertain a large group on a budget.

Vegetarian Nacho Buffet:

Nachos should never be an exact science so here are some suggestions to add to your plate:

  • Tortilla chips
  • Doritos
  • cheddar cheese (or dairy free cheese to make vegan!)
  • sour cream
  • jalapeno
  • onions
  • red bell peppers
  • vegetarian meat crumbles + taco seasoning packet (follow packet directions)
  • corn
  • black beans / pinto beans
  • salsa (fresh, store bought, corn salsa, mango salsa, wateverrr)
  • scallions
  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • avocados
  • lime juice / lime wedges
  • cilantro
  • tomatoes
  • olives
  • shredded lettuce

Layer it all together in a big bowl and enjoy with a Beergarita!

Pizza Party: BBQ Tempeh Pizza vs. Creamy Purple Potato Pizza

Posted on: April 25, 2012

I live about two blocks from my favorite house in Bloomington. This house is actually a HUGE old historic home that was converted into 4 businesses. The business in the basement is a coffee shop that is just too quirky not to love; I probably owe my degree to this place since it gave me a place to actually enjoy going to when I had to write awful papers for classes. Soma is filled with old TV-turned-fish tanks, mannequin’s dressed as 80′s drag queens, and map murals all over the walls. I find all of it’s charm to be very inspiring and often times write these blog posts there to get the juices flowing!

Anyways, in the “attic” is a very awesome consignment shop that has shelves and shelves of cute vintage clothes. And next to that is a stone shop that sells adorable jewelry and gems. Lastly, there is a burrito shop called ‘Laughing Planet’. This place only serves local meat and everything is organic. On top of these healthy ingredients, they always come up with the most creative combination for burritos. For example, for Thanksgiving they have a burrito that is filled with mashed potatoes, corn, vegan gravy, turkey or tempeh, green beans, and served with a cranberry salsa. Sounds weird…which it is but also surprisingly delicious.

Oh yeah, the point of this story? I was eating lunch there last week with Kelsey and we decided to try their special of the week which was a ‘grill out’ themed burrito. It was filled with sweet potatoes, kale, corn, bbq tofu, and black beans. Absolutely delicious. And this burrito was the first thing I thought of when I realized how much homemade bbq we had leftover from Kristin and I’s cooking adventure the other night.

I wanted to do something besides Mexican since we just made tacos the night before so I decided to try to turn it into a pizza! This, for some reason, led to Wyatt wanting to compete with my pizza idea and make it into a competition.  So off we went to Bloomingfoods and he managed to snatch up some beautiful purple potatoes and locally made Alfredo sauce for his pie.

Both the pizzas turned out delicious. I have to give Wyatt some credit for coming up with such a delicious recipe on a whim (and one that definitely photographed better). Neither of us would budge on which pizza was better so you guys will just have to whip these pizzas up and decide for yourselves!

Pizza Dough

  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups of flour
  • corn meal, for dusting

In a mixer with a dough hook (or a large mixing bowl if you don’t have a mixer), combine the yeast, sugar, and water and let sit for 10 minutes (this gives the yeast time to start reacting).

Next, add in the salt and olive oil. Turn the mixer in low and start adding the flour a half a cup at a time (or use your hands to mix in the flour). Start with 3 and a half cups of flour but add more if the dough is still too sticky that it’s not turning into a ball. Mix on high for five minutes.

Place in a oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Let rise in a warm place for about an hour or so.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Dust your surface with cornmeal and use a rolling pin to roll out two pizza crusts with this dough. Place on an oiled cooking sheet and set aside while you prepare the toppings

BBQ Tempeh Pizza

  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce
  • 4 oz tempeh, cut into small pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup kale, chopped
  • 1/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/2 sweet potato, diced
  • 1 cup Gouda, shredded

Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium. Add the tempeh and saute for about five minutes. Mix in 1/4 cup of bbq sauce and cook for about a minute. Remove from heat.

Bring a large pot to a boil. Boil the sweet potato chunks for about five minutes or until they become a little soft (cooking time will depend on how big or little you made the chunks – make sure you don’t let them get mushy though!).

Lather the rest of the bbq sauce on the pizza. Top with the tempeh, kale, frozen corn, sweet potato, and gouda. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the cheese has browned.

Creamy Potato Pizza

  • 1/2 cup Alfredo sauce
  • 3 ounces of Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup cheddar, shredded
  • 1/2 Tablespoon dried Dill
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Dash of fresh pepper

Lather Alfredo sauce on top of dough. Then top pizza with everything else and stick in the oven for 15 minutes or until cheese has browned.

Vegan Chickpea Gravy

Posted on: April 24, 2012

So I have this loooong list of things I’d like to do to make my eating lifestyle better (only eating organic, making homemade condiments, etc) but all these things take just a little bit of extra effort so I’ve been slowly trying to incorporate them into my kitchen habits.

Along those lines, I finally conquered cooking beans from scratch instead of using old canned bean. I’ve seen my roommate do this dozens of times but it always seemed so time consuming (soaking the beans over night and then cooking them on the stove top for houuurs). However, I found a super easy trick and the secret is using a crock pot! All you have to do is wash the beans, put them in the crock pot with a few extra inches of water, and let it cook while you are sleeping or at work! And then you can come home to yummy, fresh beans waiting to be eaten/cooked with.

And with these fresh cooked beans I made some yummy gravy to go on mashed potatoes. I don’t know what has been up with my gravy addiction lately but it’s bad…I guess at least I’m been making my gravies as healthy as possible, right?

Crockpot Chickpeas

  • 1 cup of dried chickpeas
  • water

Wash the chickpeas thoroughly. Place in your crockpot and cover with water. Make sure the water goes up about 2 to 3 inches past the beans.

Cook on low for six to seven hours.

Drain and enjoy the beans fresh or add to yummy recipes!

Vegan Chickpea Gravy

Adapted from Isa’s Vegan with a Vengence
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/8 cup nutritional yeast

Start by heating up the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and mustard seed and saute for about ten minutes or until the onions start to brown.

While those cook, whisk together the 2 cups of water and flour and set aside.

Add in the minced garlic to the skillet and saute for another 30 seconds. Next, put in the chickpeas and use a masher to mash they into small pieces. Then mix in the spices, lime juice, and soy sauce. Turn the heat down to low and add in the flour mixture. Stir until a thick gravy forms. Sprinkle in the nutritional yeast and add a tiny bit more water if it’s still runny.

Whisk until it has reached a thick and desirable consistency.

Remove from heat and lather on mashed potatoes, egg sandwiches, vegetarian “meat”, or whatever you are feeling.

Moody Monday: Baker Bettie’s Cookie Wars 2012 / Hazelnut Shortbread with Marscapone Frosting

Posted on: April 23, 2012

Oh…Hi, Monday. Did anyone go to Record Store Day on Saturday? I went to support my local store and listen to one of my co-worker’s DJ. Also, I picked up the newest Nobunny album as a house warming gift to Wyatt and I and got an exclusive Record Store Day 7″.

Anyways, my monday has not been SO moody so far because I am still on cloud nine from finding out I won Baker Bettie’s Cookie Wars yesterday! Yay! It is the first food (or blog) contest I have ever entered (I am the LEAST competitive person you will ever meet) but it was a super fun challenge to create something within the guidelines of the contest.

Soooo…for my Moody Monday post I am going to celebrate my cookie creation by posting the recipe and some pictures!

Make sure to go check out what everyone else who entered made because there are some serious creative cookies in there. I can’t wait to try the Passion Fruit Goat Cheese Mint Cookies or the Chili Dipped Coffee Biscotti. Mmmmm!

 

For the cookie:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped hazelnut

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds only
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • dash of vanilla extract
  •  Blackberries for garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine the flour, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. In another bowl, blend the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Then mix in the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar fixture. Fold in the hazelnuts. Spread dough (you can try to roll it but it’s a bit crumbly) onto a floured counter top and cut out desired shapes. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges brown (this will depend on how thick you make the dough).

Remove from oven and let cool.

To make the frosting: Take out the vanilla seeds by slicing the pod in half and scraping a knife along the inside of the bean. Whisk together the mascarpone, vanilla seeds, honey, and vanilla extract. Spread on the shortbread and top with a blackberry!

 

Saucy Saturdays: DIY Barbecue Sauce

Posted on: April 21, 2012

I’ve been wanting to start ‘Saucy Saturdays’ for while now because I am a veggie sandwich nut. I eat one for lunch everyday and my pooooor poooor boyfriend has to deal with the same thing to eat all the time. I try to mix it up with different veggies, bread, and condiments but I feel like we’ve tried every bread in Bloomington and I’m weary about the hidden calories (and preservatives) in a lot of condiments. So, as a goal for this summer, I am going to try to make a new sauce/dressing every week to bring variety of flavors to my fresh salad and sandwiches. We shall see how long I keep this up but I am excited to try to knock off another healthy goal on my summer list.

Anyways, I begin with the first sauce as a homemade version of my absolutely favorite type of  sauce ever: BBQ! There is something about bbq that just compliments so many things…the fact that it’s tangy and can be sweet or spicy just counteracts all those hardy grilled goods. This version is exceptionally tangy with a subtle kick of sweet.

I have a new blog (as a side project to this one, of course!) on the horizon that I am collaborating on with my friend Kristin. We had a meeting last night which actually just turned into us making this barbecue to lather all over Mexican style tempeh tacos. Mmmmm, Not only did the tacos turn out amazing but this recipe made enough sauce for us both to walk away with about 4 cups each. So you are warned…this sauce makes a lot and be prepared to be cooking with it for weeks after! Or whip this up when you have a big grill out coming up to serve to your guests. Nothing is better than fresh condiments on grilled goods!

 

DIY Barbecue Sauce

Adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • I can of tomato paste, 6 ounces
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 Tablespoons ground cumin

In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over low and add the onions and garlic. Cook for ten minutes or until the onions are translucent.

While those are cooking, mix together all the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Add the mixture to the onions when they are ready and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 30 minutes.

Lather all over tacos, pizzas, veggie burgers, and everything else.

Store in the fridge if using within a couple of weeks or freeze some for future use (or give some away to your amazing Ma or grumpy neighbor or whoever’s day you are trying to make).


Moody Monday: Dog Park Picnic

Posted on: April 16, 2012

Why hello Monday, is that you…AGAIN? Okay, well I least I just had a beautiful weekend to hold me over. This weekend was filled with picnics, the farmer’s market, and live music so I can’t complain too much.

Today’s Moody Monday is about picnics (and how much I freaking love them). But to be more exact, it’s about the picnic I had yesterday. As you probably know if you’ve ever read my blog previously, I have a really really cute boxer puppy that has more energy in a day than I have in an year. Luckily, Bloomington has an amazing dog park that backs up to a lake with lots of dog friendly trails.

Anyways, so yesterday I made up a few yummy veggie sandwiches stocked full of farmer’s market produce and carrot slaw and we headed to the park. We took our puppy for a hike and had a beautiful picnic out in the woods. It was a perfect ending to an eventful weekend.

 

 

 

Pesto Parmesan Ravioli /// How to Handle A College Boy

Posted on: April 15, 2012

This should really be “how to handle a college boy’s kitchen” but that doesn’t sound quite as exciting. I promise it’s harder than you might think…have you ever had to even walk through those filthy, dishes-piled in the sink, off smelling room that 20-something year old boys call a “kitchen”? Well, try cooking in it! I give my boyfriend credit…he is pretty clean but his 3 roommates are not which makes trying to prepare a dinner almost impossible.

After dating these types of boys for over 4 years now, I have a few tips for girlfriends, parents, etc trying to feed those incompetent boys in their lives.

1. Get Creative. I always have a small heart attack in the beginning when I am trying to compile things I will need for the meal and realize that Wyatt doesn’t own measuring cups, mixing bowls, or a microwave. But I realize if I just take a deep breath and relax than I can get rather creative with it. Use tupperware for mixing bowls, melt things over the stove top, use your best judgment for measurements, etc.

2. Keep it simple. The less ingredients used the less you’ll have to worry about them not having something. Spices seem like a standard for most but you’d be surprised. Also, always bring your own perishables… just because there is milk in the fridge does not mean it hasn’t been there since last summer.

 

3. Be prepared to share with his roommates. Not only will this score you extra brownie points but that other boys in the house probably haven’t had a home cooked meal in months either.

 

 

4. Ask them to clean before you arrive. When I made this ravioli, a huge grease fire started on the stove top because it had not been cleaned in months (Luckily, I made Wyatt put it out while I stood back and took pictures). Be aware of the lack of cleanliness and make sure they do something about it BEFORE you start cooking.

 

5. My last piece of advice is to bring beer. Even if they don’t enjoy your cooking, they will be satisfied enough with the beer to invite you back again.

 

Simple Pesto Parmesan Ravioli

  • 1 16 ounce package of ravioli
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • 1/4 cup prepared pesto
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook ravioli according to the instructions on the package.

Mix together the pesto,tomatoes, heavy cream, and half the parmesan. Fold into the cooked ravioli.

Pour into a square casserole dish and top with the rest of the parmesan. Cook for 20 minutes or until the top is browned.

Season with salt/pepper and serve with a baguette.

Carrot Slaw

Posted on: April 14, 2012

So I got some adorable carrots at Bloomingfoods this morning. I realize that seems weird for a type of food to be “adorable” but I think it’s possible. If it’s in miniature form…or colorful. And these carrots are bursting with color, to say the least.

See, aren’t they? Well anyways, I’ve been determined to start ‘Saucy Saturday’s’ and something keeps coming up. Like these carrots. How could I not immediately make a recipe with them instead? And I decided on a slaw so two condiments in one day just is too much. Oh well, I shall try again next week.

I’ve only eaten this by itself so far and it is delicious! To be honest, I don’t ususually think of carrots being able to hold their own but they manage to shine in this yummy recipe. The citrus and cranberries give it a great sweet kick as well so I think I will be putting these on some veggie dogs later this week (and for sure on my usual veggie sandwiches). I hope to post a picture of them as condiments as soon as I try it out! Until then, they can handle themselves on their own.

PS psssssst, substitute the honey for agave nectar to make it vegan!

Carrot Slaw

  • 1 pound carrots (or about 10 medium carrots), grated
  • Juice of half an orange
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 cup crushed pecans
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt/pepper, to taste
  • garnish with cilantro

Wash and grate the carrots.

Combine all ingredients together. Refridgerate for at least a half an hour so the flavors can blend.

Eat by itself or in a sandwich!

 

 

Vegan Gravy Train [Sandwich]

Posted on: April 13, 2012

I get it. I totally know what you are thinking. You can’t believe that I am posting about these HUGE breakfast sandwich topped with GRAVY while everyone is all excited about their breakfast juicers and green smoothies. And yeah, both those things will be much much healthier for you. Hell, that is what I usually consume for breakfast (although, I have not gotten my juice out yet this year- can’t wait though!).

Here is the problem with that… I LOOOVE breakfast/brunch food. It’s the best food genre ever to exist. So since I limit myself to healthy energy boosters in the morning, sometimes I like to splurge for dinner. And eating this ridiculously delicious sandwich for dinner hit the spot. I highly recommend you to transform your indulgent breakfast ideas into dinner plans. It’s super fun to mix things up!

Also, this was extra exciting for me to make because it’s the first time I’ve ever poached an egg. I know, crazy! I’ve managed to tackle homemade cheese and DIY pierogies but have never poached an egg… ridiculous, I know. Glad to say it was super easy and I am rather sad that I didn’t tackle poached eggs sooner. Lastly, the gravy is vegan but obviously the egg is not. Feel free to make it vegan by omitting the egg or substituting with tofu.

Breakfast Sandwich

For Two
  • 2 eggs, poached
  • 2 English muffins
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 tomato, large slices

Peppered Sage Gravy:

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 cups almond milk (or regular)
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon butter

To poach the eggs: Bring a small saucepan of water to a slight boil. Add a dash of vinegar and put the egg in a small bowl. Drop the egg into the water and turn off the heat immediately. Let sit for 4 minutes in the water and scoop out with a spoon.

To make the gravy:

In a large skillet, whisk the flour, nutritional yeast, and milk together. Once it is a smooth consistency, add all the spices. Place the skillet over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Next, add in the butter and reduce to medium low. This is when you recruit someone to continuously stir the gravy while you start prepping the scramble. Cook the gravy until it is thick and feel free to add more salt/pepper.

Assemble: Toast the muffin. top with butter, tomato, avocado, poached egg, muffin top, and then lather in gravvvvvvyyy. (or as my boyfriend says…”ride the gravy train”…although that has nothing to do with it).

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Glaze

Posted on: April 10, 2012

Every Easter since I can remember I spent it with family. Since my parents are divorced, my brother and I would have two huge Easter meals. I would have a brunch with my Ma and a dinner with my Father. This was great as a kid because that also meant you received two baskets, twice the amount of candy, two egg hunts and twice the amount of dessert.

However, in addition to be being grown up and grown out of Easter baskets, I now live 4 hours away from family and going home for the holiday just did not seem feasible. I knew it would be okay because I’m not religious and I would have been dragged to church by my Ma and lectured about my faith. But I felt a little sad not celebrating my favorite meal of the day- brunch. So, I had to compensate in some way by whipping up a brunch recipe that I’ve been eyeing for weeks.

The product of my Easter blues were these Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls. And they were well worth not receiving a free buffet brunch this year. These rolls are not over sweet because they are made with whole wheat flour and sweet potatoes but still very indulgent with the sugary maple glaze lathered all over them.

Adapted from So Good & Tasty

For the rolls:

  • 2 cups mashed sweet potatoes, cooled
  • 1 cup almond milk, warmed
  • 4 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoons nutmeg
  • 5 Tablespoons butter, melted

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup (+ more if you’d like a stronger flavor)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk and maple syrup. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let sit for ten minutes.

In another bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, eggs, oil, and spelt flour. Add to the yeast mixture and mix well. Next, add in the flour a cup at a time until a sticky ball of dough forms.

Transfer to an oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Let rise for one hour or until it has doubled in size.

Wait…go play with your puppy…wait…dance to 90s classics…wait….watch a rerun of Twin Peaks…wait…

Split the dough in half. On a floured surface, roll out a looooooong rectangle (this doesn’t have to be an exact measurement or science. Just roll it wider if you like more layers and taller if you like them big and popping out the top of the pan).

Make the filling mixture by combining the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Spread half the melted butter over the dough and sprinkle with half the filling mixture. Roll from the bottom (with the long sides being from left to right) to the top as tightly as possible. Slice into 6 sections and place in a greased baking dish. Repeat with the other half of the dough so you end up with a total of 12 rolls.

Cover with a clean towel and let rise for another half an hour.

Go take a walk…play bananagrams with your roommates….do some online shopping…wait…

Preheat oven to 400. Cook for 18 to 20 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.

To make the glaze: Whisk together the powdered sugar, heavy cream, and syrup until a thick glaze forms. Lather over the rolls and let sit for a minute so it melts.


Moody Monday: Porch Naps

Posted on: April 9, 2012

Monday, agaiiin? The weeks are going by so fast! I graduate in less than a month and am in no way ready for “the real world”. I feel too young and niave still…I feel too entitled to everything still. I am not ready for that reality check.

On a happier note, I went to the first Farmer’s Market this past Saturday. Oooooh, how I love the market! Fresh produce, plants, baked goods, puppies! As I noted in my previous post, I got some yummy produce that I used right right away and am already ready for next week’s market! Oh summer…you are approaching fast!

Anyways, Moody Monday… I think I shall write today’s post about porch naps. I have an absolutely fabulous porch AND a plant filled sunroom which I have become keen to on windy days. Both days this weekend I took some afternoon naps on them and could have not been more satisfied. What is a better feeling than waking up to fresh air and beautiful sunshine?

This is the view of my paper crane mobiles when laying on my couch in the sunroom. The thought of porch naps will be what gets me through this week!

What’s your Moody Monday perker?

Farmer’s Market Sweet Potato and Asparagus Curry

Posted on: April 8, 2012

Yesterday morning, after much anticipation, I went to the first outdoor Farmer’s Market of the season!! It was even better than expected. In years past the first few market’s were only filled with budding herb plants and strawberry shrubs but with the weather being so warm lately, there was plenty of produce to be had! I got a box of sweet potatoes, a (still living) head of lettuce, and a bunch of asparagus.

Needless to say, I immediately started thinking about how to combine the three. I ended up saving the lettuce for sandwiches this week but found this great curry recipe for the sweet potatoes and asparagus. This made me particularly excited because

  1. I am using my sweet potato and asparagus
  2.  I LOOOOOOVE curry
  3.  this curry was like no other curry I have ever made before

[Here comes the rant about my love for curry] WOAH, it is kind of ridiculous how much I love curry. It’s so flavorful, vegan, stocked full of all my favorite vegetables, and infinitely versatile. Yesterday was a particularly chilly day compared to what we’ve been having so the idea of warm goodness lathered over some soft rice sounded so satisfying. Summer is no place (sadly) for curry and I was super excited about being able to make this one more time this season. What was especially fantastic about this curry was it used every vegetable I would have avoided when making my usual curry. I associate curry with onions, peppers, potatoes, etc but this one was chocked full of asparagus, sweet potatoes, and even a bit of corn! And the best part is it still turned out fantastic. Gah, okay, I am done ranting about how amazing it is and am going to now tell you how to make it.

Sweet Potato and Asparagus Curry

  • 1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons powdered turmeric
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 can of corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14 oz) can of coconut milk
  • 2 sweet potatoes, washed and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • fresh cilantro, for garnish

Preheat oven to  400 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, throw the asparagus in and immediately turn off he heat. Let it sit in the warm water for a minute and then drain.

On a large baking pan, toss the asparagus with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Cook for 8 minutes in the oven. Once cooled, cut into 1 inch pieces.

In a large pot, heat the other tablespoon of olive oil over medium. Add the mustard seeds and cook until they pop (about 3 minutes). Next, add the onions and saute for 5 minutes or until they have softened. Then add in the garlic, spices, and bay leaves and cook for another 2 minutes.

Next, add in the coconut milk + 1 can full of water to the mixture. Add in the tomatoes, corn, and sweet potatoes and bring the sauce to a simmer. Let simmer for about 30 minutes or until the sauce has become thick. Lastly, add in the asparagus and simmer for 1 more minutes.

Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro. Munch down with naan bread or a mango lassi! Enjoyy!

Sweet Berry Tart

Posted on: April 5, 2012

You can probably expect to see a lot of baking posts in the next month. Things are winding down with school which means stress is at an all time high as I finish this chapter in my life and begin to prepare for a new one. This entire year has been a game of decision making and I am constanly hoping I make the right ones. The time is nearling where I will begin to see where my decision takes me and I feel like I have been holding my breath waiting. In the meantime, I’ve turned to yoga and baking to cure my anxiety.

This tart was influeced by how beautiful I thought the Galette was that we made the other month and this could almost be considered a sweet spin on that recipe (although I am going to continue to call it a tart because I have a diffferent “sweet spin” in mind that I plan to recreate for a sweet Galette ASAP- stay tuned for that!).

Anyways, this tart did turn out beautiful and absolutely delicious! I have become  a big fan of these “free form” type crusts instead of the traditional because I just love the rustic look it gives to the pies; it just gives off more of a home cooked feel than standard pies that mimic the same kind you purchase in the store.

For the crust:

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3 tbsp ice water

Filling:

  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • dash of lime juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 tsp water, beaten together

  • 1 tsp strawberry jam
  • 1 tsp water

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using your hands, rub the butter into the dry mixture until it all resembles coarse sand. Then, add in the ice cold water and form a ball of dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 5 minutes or until chilled.

To make the filling, combine the berries, cornstarch, sugar, lime juice, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Let sit while you roll out the dough to help make a thick syrup.

Take the dough out of the freezer and use a rolling pin to make a 12 inch circular crust. Scoop the filling into the mixture and make sure to leave an inch or two empty to fold over. Next, fold over the edges and brush them with the egg/water mixture.

Cook for 15 minutes. Lower heat to 375 and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until the berries have softened and the crust has browned.

Combine the teaspoon of jam and water together and crush on top for a nice glaze.

Serve with ice cream or whip cream.

Make sure to share with your puppy and roommates!

Baked Southwestern Egg Rolls with Cilantro Lime Sauce

Posted on: April 4, 2012

These remind me of “pub grub”; I really don’t like sports…or chains so when I do end up at Chilis or TGI Friday’s (I guess those are bad examples of “Sports” bars but you know what I am talking about), it’s always out of desperation and I am normally so hungry I could eat anything on the menu (and then it usually turns out I cant eat anything on the menu- even the salads are drenched in meat!). Anyways, I always see these as appetizers and skip right over them knowing they are going to be filled with beef. I guess these were a product of my frustration about having to skip over clever (well…relatively clever) food ideas because of my diet restrictions.

They turned out really yummy. Crunchy on the outside with gooey, hot, cheesy insides. I kind of wished I had stuck avocado inside or made some guacamole to go along with them but that’s probably just because I am avocado obsessed. You should feel free to add (like avocado or more jalapeno, if you like it hot) or take out (replace the crumbles with more beans if you don’t have any on hand) whatever you’d like.

Oh! Also, these only make between 6 to 10 (depending on how much you stuff them) so if you’re thinking about making them as an appetizer for lots of guests, I may suggest doubling the recipe. Mmmkay, that is all! Happy Eating!

 

Baked Southwestern Egg Rolls with Cilantro Lime Sauce

  • About 10 wonton wrappers
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups meatless crumbles (like this or these)
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup of black beans, rinsed very well
  • 1 1/2 cups corn (canned or frozen)
  • 1 heaping tsp cumin
  • 1 heaping tsp chili powder
  • dash of cayenne
  • dash of salt
  • 3/4 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese

For the dip:

  •  1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • dash of salt

 

 

To make the sauce: stick all the ingredients in a food processor (or blender) and mix for about 2 or 3 minutes or until everything is well combined. Stick in the fridge while preparing the eggrolls to help solidify the flavors.

For the egg rolls: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. First, warm up a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the frozen crumbles and saute for about 3 minutes. Next, add the corn, jalapeno, black beans,onions, red pepper, and seasoning. Saute for another 3 to 5 minutes or until everything starts to soften. Remove from heat and fold in the cheese.

Take a look at the picture below to help guide you with wrapping! Basically, you are going to take about 2 Tablespoons full of mixture and put it in a long line diagonally across the wonton. Next, fold the corners directly on the left and right and then roll up the wonton from the bottom. I know it sounds complicated in writing but hopefully the picture will help!

 

Coat the tops with a tiny bit of olive oil. Cook for ten minutes. Enjoy with the chilled sauce and a beergarita!

Moody Monday: Pancake Party

Posted on: April 2, 2012

It felt particularly hard to get out of bed today. I think I was dreaming that I woke up and it was Saturday so I felt cheated when I woke up to Monday morning smacking me in the face. Oh well, life goes on, right?

Today’s Moody Monday is about eating breakfast/brunch for dinner! I am not sure if there is any food genre (I don’t think “food genre” is a real term but oh well) I enjoy more than Brunch. However, it is never convenient to host a brunch party when you associate with a group of youngsters who wish they were rock stars and think it’s cool to party all night and wake up at 4 PM. This has led me to really appreciate breakfast for dinner because it allows you to make all the essentials (french toast, bloody marys, mimosas, hashbrowns, etc) without having to worry about no one showing up.

The other Friday I had a few people over from work and we had a pancake party. Without the help of Evan, we whipped up some yummy versatile pancakes that we managed to throw dark chocolate chips, hazelnut, and strawberry jam into. Mmmmm.

Kristin managed to rock the pancake flippin’

Pancake mix-ins inspired By Food Coma!

Oatmeal Honey Buttermilk Bread

Posted on: April 1, 2012

I realize a lot of you already know this but I live in a house of five girls but what you don’t know is that really translates to 6 girls, 2 boys, and a dog if you count all the baggage that comes along with college ladies (boyfriends, siblings, animals, etc). Anyways, my point is there is always SOMEONE around which is fantastic because I love the company but baking is one of my stress reliever and every once in a while I just want to bake in peace. Luckily, Saturday was one of those days where I took the kitchen all to myself. I woke up extra early because I knew that would give me time with two of my roommates being late sleepers, one being in Chicago, another in New York checking out Cornell for the fall, and my boyfriend at work. It was wonderful to just be able to put a vinyl on and go to work.

I love my breadmaker because it gives me the ability to just throw everything in the machine and come back at lunch to fresh bread for sandwiches but making it by hand is so simple and satisfying when you have the time. I realize it seems daunting thinking you have to plan for 3 hours to make this bread but really there is about 20 to 30 minutes of hands on time so when you are busy around the house anyways, letting it rise for an hour by itself is not a big deal. Anyhow, this bread is delicious and anyone who appreciates fresh bread with their sandwiches, I highly suggest making this recipe!

The recipe makes two 8×9 loaves of bread but since I only had one pan I made one loaf and 4 big sandwich rolls (yum!). The bread turned out super moist (still just as moist today – the day after!) and very hearty with the ever-so slightly hint of sweet from the honey.

Oatmeal Honey Buttermilk Bread

adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride
  • 1 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3 Tbsp + 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt

Combine 1 cup of oats and hot water in a bowl and let sit for 10 minutes or until the oats absorbs the water up.

In the bowl of your mixer, add in 1 tbsp of honey with 1/4 cup warm water and sprinkle the yeast on top; let sit for 5 minutes so the yeast can react to the water.

Next, add in the soaked oats, buttermilk, oil, 2 tbsp honey, oil, whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, and salt. Turn the mixer (with the bread hook) on low until everything is combined and then turn up to medium for 10 minutes.

Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap for one hour or until it doubles in size.

Wait, go play with your puppy, do some dancing to David Bowie, wait.

Tuco helping me bake

Place the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about five minutes to get the air bubbles out of it. Divide the dough in half and place in two oiled pans (or form into circles if you’re making rolls). Mix the remaining tsp of honey with 1 tsp of very hot water and brush on top of the loaves. Sprinkle the remaining oats on top.

Let sit for about 30 minutes to let it rise a bit more.

Preheat oven to 375. Cook the loaves for 20 to 25 minutes and the buns for 15 to 20 minutes.

Enjoy hot with butter or make sandwiches like I did below!

wishing I had some avocado

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