Lemon Pesto Eggplant Parmesan Sandwiches

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September 6, 2015 By

Sometimes, I find myself in a pasta rut. During this time, I’ll rely too much on pasta to get by. How can I not? Just add vegetables to sauce and you have yourself a solid dinner and a filling lunch for the next day.

Well, the truth about pasta is that it can get repetitive. Sometimes, it’s fun to switch it up. That’s why I’ve created this recipe in the style of a sandwich. It’s a fun way to eat eggplant Parmesan, vegan style. You can eat it as a sandwich, burger, or even a sub!

This recipe can be a hybrid of other recipes and my own combined. For the “Parmesan” cheese, you have two options. If you have Chao cheese at your grocery store, using a slice on your sandwich is easy and delicious! If Chao cheese isn’t sold at your local grocery store of if you’d prefer to create something homemade, I have attached a moxarella cheese recipe, as seen by My Wife Makes and inspired by Vedged Out.

 

Lemon Pesto Eggplant Parmesan Sandwiches

Click here for a picture-free print out version of this recipe!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20-25 minutes

Yield: 4 patties for 4 sandwiches

 

Ingredients

For the eggplant patty:

  • one large eggplant, sliced
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, gluten-free and vegan (I use the brand Gillian’s Breadcrumbs)
  • 4 pieces of rice paper
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the lemon pesto:

  • 1 juice of a small lemon, squeezed (3 tablespoons of lemon juice)
  • 1/2 cup of fresh basil, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pinches of salt

Other ingredients:

  • grape seed oil, as needed
  • bread of your choice (sandwich bread, sub rolls, buns)
  • Chao cheese slices (or homemade Moxarella cheese recipe, seen here)
  • your favorite marinara sauce
  • any other sandwich add-ons (onion, tomato, spinach, etc.)

 

Step 1: Slice the eggplant and decide what you are doing with it.

Cut your eggplant into thick slices. When cooked, eggplant loses its volume a bit, so cutting it a bit thicker will work out nicely in the final product. I suggest cutting up to 6 inch/15 centimeter slices.

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After that, you have a big choice to make. Are you going to fry your eggplant or bake it? DECIDE NOW.

If you are going to fry your eggplant, see STEP 2.

If you are going to bake your eggplant, go down to STEP 3.

 

Step 2: Precook the eggplant in the oven.

Ah, so you’ve chosen to fry your eggplant. A fine choice for the taste buds. While taking photos of this entry, I chose to fry my eggplant as well.

You’ll want to precook your eggplant in the oven to make it softer before frying it. Preheat the oven to 350º F / 176º C. Coat your baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of grape seed oil and bake for 15 minutes. Allow the eggplant slices to cool before Step 3.

 

Step 3: Wrap and bread your eggplant.

Without egg, it can be difficult to keep breadcrumbs on whatever you’re trying to cook. My favorite solution is to first wrap it in sticky rice paper, which will hold breadcrumbs beautifully. Plus, rice paper has a fantastic texture that can hold any flavor.

Speaking of flavor, on the list of ingredients, I put “salt and pepper, to taste”. The breadcrumbs are where you really get that flavor in. Your breadcrumbs might already have an amazing flavor; in this case, you don’t need to add anything to it. In my case, the breadcrumbs I buy don’t have any flavor, so I need to add salt and pepper on my own. Feel free to get creative here. You can amp up your breadcrumbs by also adding garlic powder and/or Italian herbs.

Set up an assembly line for your work station: a large, flat dish filled with warm water, a plate to wrap the eggplant, a dish with the breadcrumbs, and a dish to place your finished patties on. To assemble, first submerge one piece of rice paper into the warm water for around 10 seconds. Next, transfer the softened rice paper onto the wrapping plate. Strategically fold the wrapping paper so all sides of the eggplant are equally covered. Lastly, take the patty onto the breadcrumb plate and cover the rice paper with breadcrumbs. Continue this process until all patties are complete.

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Step 4: Cook your patties.

If you are baking your eggplant: Cook your patties at 450º F / 232º C for 20 minutes, flipping the patties about halfway through.

If you are pan-frying your eggplant: In a deep skillet, coat the bottom with 4 tablespoons of grape seed oil at medium heat. Once the oil is heated, use a spatula to gently place the patties in the skillet. You may have to turn the heat down to medium low, depending on your stove. Flip patties over when they have cooked to golden brown (5-10 minutes). Cook the other side of the patty for 5 minutes. When both sides are golden brown, place on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up excess oil.

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If you created the homemade moxarella cheese, the patties taste delicious if the moxarella cheese is browned. After the patties are done cooking, add the moxarella cheese into the oven on broil. Cook for 3-5 minutes, keeping your eye on it to prevent burning.

 

Step 5: Prepare other toppings, including the lemon pesto.

If you haven’t done so by now, begin to heat up your marinara sauce in a saucepan on the stove. Cover and stir occasionally.

If your bread is gluten-free and vegan, you probably need to thaw and toast. This bread by Food for Life is expensive, but so delicious!

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If you are adding any vegetables to your sandwich (such as onion, tomato, or spinach), prepare.

To make the lemon pesto, put all lemon pesto ingredients in a food processor or blender. Spread it on your bread when ready.

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Step 6: Assemble and enjoy!

Put it all together, and you have delicious sandwiches!

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If you tried it and liked it, tag me on social media. Also, add me!


 

Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

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Mushroom-Walnut Tacos with Queso

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January 29, 2015 By

The idea for these tacos came in bits and pieces. I guess it started a few weeks ago  when my soon-to-be brother-in-law was telling me how mushrooms are the umami, or savory part, of vegan dishes. He’s right! Mushrooms have volume, can easily absorb flavors, and ooze juices when cooked just right.

Fast forward to that special time of month when my stomach becomes a dumping ground from all the crap I stuff my face with. Okay, I’m exaggerating a tad, but the cravings were a bit out of control this month. I was obsessed with this Dairy-Free Dorito Popcorn recipe from Whole New Mom.

I thought about that perfect spice blend nonstop that week. Then, it came to me: “This would be a delicious taco seasoning.” That thought, plus the thought of the savoriness of mushrooms, led me conceive this dreamy meal. The “meat” here is full of flavor and has a great consistency!

Don’t get me wrong; I looove black bean tacos. However, it’s difficult to incorporate taco seasoning in black beans. They’re just not the absorbent type.

Try this recipe and you will not be disappointed. In fact, you might be obsessed like I am.

 

Mushroom-Walnut Tacos with Queso

Click here for a print-out version of this recipe!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10-20 minutes

Yield: 8 tacos

 

Ingredients

For the Mushroom-Walnut Meat:

  • 2 large portobello mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, crushed (but not minced)
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • a dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

For the Queso:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, milled in the blender or food processor
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/8 cup grape seed oil

Additional Ingredients/Toppings:

  • Taco shells/tortillas (I used mini corn tortillas to keep it gluten-free)
  • tomatoes
  • red onion
  • spinach
  • avocado

 

Step 1: Prepare the toppings.

I’m trying to get more organized in the kitchen by chopping the little stuff first.

I got an EXTREMELY rare, beautiful picture of my cockatiel Fleegle here. I was taking pictures of my chopped fruits and veggies, and Fleegle flew over to see what was going on. As soon as I snapped this picture, he flew away, leaving me with a lovely picture of his wingspan! I’ve never seen the details of his underwing, and it’s so beautiful!

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Step 2: Blend/mix/cook the meat.

I like to start with the spices. Since nutritional yeast is made with flakes, I like to put all the spices in the blender together at once. That way, all the spices are evenly distributed and fused together.

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After that, throw the mushrooms in the food processor until the mushrooms are in tiny pieces.

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Are your walnuts crushed yet? If so, do that now. Make sure your walnuts are decent chunks. I lightly crushed mine with the handle of my cutting knife.

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Mix the spices, mushrooms, and walnuts together in a bowl. There’s your meat!

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Throw the meat on a skillet set at medium heat. Stir/flip the meat every minute or so for about 10-12 minutes. You’ll start to see the meat become more crumbly; this is jackpot, people.

No, you're not looking at poop in a ramekin. It's deliciousness in a ramekin.

No, you’re not looking at poop in a ramekin. It’s deliciousness in a ramekin.

Step 3: Blend your queso.

The queso can be made in 5 minutes while the taco meat is cooking (as long as you keep stirring the meat every minute or so).

Start by placing only the cashews in the blender/food processor. Blend until the cashews are in tiny bits or like cashew meal.

 

Post milling

Post milling

After that, toss or pour the rest of the cashew cheese ingredients in the blender/food processor and blend until all ingredients turn into liquid gold.

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Step 4: Prepare your taco shells.

If you’re using corn tortillas like I did, you’re going to need to fry them on the pan on medium heat. I used a tiny bit of coconut oil for every tortilla I used. The tortillas fried for about 2 minutes on each side.

For those of you that are baking your tortillas in the oven, follow the packaged directions to do that.

For those of you eating soft flour tortillas, you may happily be on your merry way to Step #5… asshole. What? I didn’t say anything. Okay, I’m just super jealous, alright? Sorry.

 

Step 5: Assemble your tacos.

Oh yay! This is the fun part! Will you put on the leafy greens first, or the meat? Who cares? It’s up to you!

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If you like what you see, you might want to do the following:

  • Follow me on Instagram @thisvegangirl. I post my day-to-day meals there. If you try one of my recipes, I love when you post a picture and tag me!
  • Like me on Facebook for quick updates on new recipes.
  • Follow my board on Pinterest to see what’s pinspiring me.
  • Comment below!

 

¡Olé!

thisvegangirllogo

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Carrabba’s Dipping Oil Pasta

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January 27, 2015 By

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I do my best to support local family-owned restaurants. However, most of the restaurants I go to are vegan; therefore, when it comes to eating out with omnivorous family and friends, sometimes the easiest decision is to go to a chain restaurant. I have been impressed the past few times I’ve been to Carrabba’s Italian Grill.

For those of you who have been to Carrabba’s, have you ever had to consciously tell yourself to put down the bread and step away from the dipping oil full of herbs? I swear I could make that dipping oil my entire meal.

This pasta is inspired by the dipping oil at Carrabba’s. I basically made my own dipping oil with tons of herbs, added some tomatoes, olives, spinach, and homemade cream cheese, and mixed in some pasta. It’s so, so good and has lots of health benefits:

  • Oregano – has both antibacterial and anti fungal properties that make it effective against some forms of food-borne illnesses and even some antibiotic resistant infections
  • Thyme – full of antioxidants, which prevent cellular damage that can boost overall health and help prevent cancer, inflammation, signs of aging and more
  • Parsley – contains chlorophyll, myricetin,  and vitamin K, which can help prevent cancer  and diabetes, as well as improve bone health
  • Basil – reduces inflammation and swelling, contains anti-aging properties, and is rich in antioxidants
  • Garlic chives – helps prevent prostate, esophageal, and stomach cancer, as well as regulating sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory; folate, found in chives, also helps prevent excess homocysteine, which helps with depression and production of feel-good hormones, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.

 

Carrabba’s Dipping Oil Pasta

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 3-4 servings

 

Ingredients

For the dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh garlic chives, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Must-haves:

  • 1 pound of pasta (I used GF Ancient Harvest quinoa rotelle)

Optional add-ins (all highly recommended!):

  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, cut into thirds
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Castelvetrano olives, cut into thirds
  • 2 tablespoons of 5-minute cream cheese (recipe here)

 

Step 1: Chop the dressing ingredients.

I picked all the herbs straight from my herb garden. Here in Florida, all these herbs are easy to maintain as long as they are watered a few times per week.

Place all the herbs, and other dressing ingredients, in a large boil with the olive oil, mix, and let it sit and relax in there. The idea is to mildly infuse the flavors into the oil.

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Step 2: Start boiling the noodles.

Boil your noodles of choice according to packaged directions. When the pasta is finished boiling and it’s time for straining, I like to spray cold water on the noodles for a lukewarm pasta salad experience.

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Step 3: Chop/add optional ingredients.

While the noodles are boiling, chop/add the optional ingredients you would like to add to your dish. This might be the perfect time to make your 5-minute homemade cream cheese. I love adding this stuff to pasta!

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Step 4: Mix and serve!

Once all ingredients are in finished, add all ingredients to the large bowl, mix, and serve!

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If you love what you see, you might want to:

  • Check out my Instagram @thisvegangirl to see what I eat every day. I love to see you guys making my recipes, posting it to IG, and tagging me in the picture!
  • Add me on Facebook to see when new recipes are posted
  • Follow my board on Pinterest
  • Comment below!

 

Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

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Greek Cucumber Noodles

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December 25, 2014 By

I love eating raw food! Raw food never drags me down or changes its mind on how it wants to behave that day. Raw is fresh, bold, and gives me a healthy energy boost.

Cucumber noodles are an excellent alternative for anti-pasta people. It’s a lighter choice that packs a ton of that cool, crisp cucumber flavor that you know you love.

I love eating this recipe for dinner, as it doesn’t make me feel like a heavy sack of shit when I’m lying in bed.

You can serve this recipe on top of toast, with corn chips, or simply by itself. It doesn’t matter. It would probably be good if eaten off the sidewalk, for Christ’s sake. Try it for yourself!

 

Greek Cucumber Noodles

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

 

Ingredients

For the dressing:

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Other ingredients:

  • 2 large cucumbers, spiraled
  • 1 cup Castelvetrano olives, cut into thirds
  • 1 cup tomatoes, diced
  • 2/3 cup red onions, finely chopped
  • 2 avocados, pitted and diced
  • 2 cups of spinach, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of Cream Cheese with Chives (click for recipe), optional

 

Step 1: Spiral your cucumber noodles.

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To turn your cucumber into noodles, you will need a device or appliance. I bought the Vegetti, available at Bed Bath and Beyond for a good price. This is one of those items that actually is as easy as it looks. It takes only a minute to transform the cucumber into those healthy, raw noodles. You can also use one of those spiral peelers used for apples or potatoes, too, but you’ll spend more and it’ll take up more space.

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Once your noodles are made, take some kitchen scissors and cut the noodles into smaller pieces. You might think it’s cool that they’re long, but trust me, there’s no reason to have a 6ft-long noodle. Place your noodles in a large bowl and set aside.

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Step 2: Mix dressing ingredients in a separate bowl.

Start with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice in a separate bowl. Whisk those ingredients together quickly for 30 seconds until contents aren’t separating from each other. (This step can also be done in the food processor.) Add the minced garlic, oregano, and salt to the dressing.

Let the dressing sit for a few minutes, letting all the flavors fuse together. You may want to return to the bowl at least once to whisk the ingredients together.

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Step 3: Chop up all veggies.

Do this step while the dressing is sitting. When finished, place all ingredients, including the dressing, in the large bowl with the noodles. Mix and serve!

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If you like what you see here, why don’t you try doing one/some/all of the following?:

  • follow me on Instagram @thisvegangirl, where I post my day-to-day meals. I love when readers try my recipe, take a picture of it, and tag me or use the hashtag #thisvegangirl so I can see it. It’s so exciting!
  • like me on Facebook to get updates on new recipes posted
  • follow my board on Pinterest to see what’s inspiring me
  • comment below!

 

Thanks for your love and support. Happy Holidays!

 

Love,

thisvegangirllogo

 

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Quiche Bites

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September 26, 2014 By

When it comes to my own recipes, sometimes I need to get Pinspired. I follow a lot of vegan recipe boards on Pinterest, which allow me to step out of my comfort zone and make something I’ve never made before. These recipes aren’t for my blog, though. It’s just for me to enjoy.

However, there are the rarest of occasions when I step out of the vegan realm, put on my big girl pants, and reluctantly creep into a scary world: the vague search option Food & Drink. Anyone who is vegan knows that just looking at the Food & Drink option on Pinterest without anything in the search bar is very, very difficult. The worst, even. Recipes oozing with cheese and countless amounts of other options I can’t indulge in flood my feed.

But there’s a method to my madness: the Barney Stinson in me is bored and wants to challenge himself by looking for something to veganize.

Sure enough, a few days ago, I came across this famous pin from The Kitchen is My Playground:

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They’re called Individual Veggie Quiche Cups To-Go. Woah! That’s cool! My Gluten-Free Pancake Bites have probably been my most popular recipe to-date, so I am a huge fan of the cute little to-go breakfast treats! Unfortunately, the quiche recipe above has egg and cheese in it.

Challenge accepted, I told myself.

My first attempt at the recipe you are about to see was a huge success. Don’t you love it when that happens? Who knows… maybe I’m just getting better at this stuff!

Anyway, I’m very impressed with the taste and texture of these Quiche Bites. I can picture them as being an awesome hors d’oeuvre. I just relocated to a new Florida city, so I’m thinking about making these when I attend my first vegan potluck!

 

Quiche Bites

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40-45 minutes (depending on which oil you use)

Yield: 24+ mini quiches

 

Ingredients

For the food processor:

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbs grape seed oil or coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 heaping tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 12oz package of extra firm tofu, cubed

To (finely) chop:

  • 1 cup spinach (or any dark leafy green)
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1 cup mushroom
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup green onion

 

Step 1: Blend the food processor ingredients.

You want to start out with the cashews. Just the cashews. My food processor is pretty weak, so here are the results it yielded:

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DSC_0005As you can see, the cashews aren’t ground into a fine pulp. Rather, it’s broken down to tiny little bits. It’s good for the texture we’re looking for.

After that, add all the other food processor ingredients (oil, milk, nutritional yeast, salt, smoked paprika) but the tofu. We’ll save the tofu for last.

As far as oil preference, I’ve found that different oils produced a different quiche. If you’re looking for a light, airy quiche, use  grape seed oil. The batch containing coconut oil was more moist and hearty, so if that’s what you’re all about, use coconut oil. The ones photographed here contained coconut oil, but I’ll admit that I prefer the taste/texture/results of grape seed oil in this recipe.

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Now, what I like to do with the tofu is plop in the cubes while the food processor is turning. I don’t know if it does anything special, but I like to think that it’s less overwhelming for my appliance.

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Once all the tofu is mixed in, you’re going to be left with a strange concoction: the base! Pour/gloop the base into a big bowl. Set aside.

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Step 2: Place chopped veggies in the bowl.

If you haven’t chopped your veggies yet, now is the time to do so.

I’m proud to share that my green onions are doing very well! I’m using them for today’s recipe. All of these have grown just by placing the white bulbs in soil… that’s it!

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Just to let you all know, you don’t have to do use these particular vegetables. You might want to take this opportunity to clear out the refrigerator by using veggies you have on-hand. In my previous batch, I used arugula instead of spinach, white onion instead of green, and didn’t use any mushrooms at all. It still tasted marvelous. Use whatever you’ve got, and I’m sure it’ll be yummy.

Once your vegetables are chopped, place them in the same bowl as your base. Mix.

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DSC_0053I know, it doesn’t look beautiful. Trust me, though; it really is.

 

Step 3: Pour and bake.

I need you all to know that I used a mini muffin pan for these Quiche Bites. Using a regular muffin pan will not yield the same fantastic results; it’s too heavy and thick, causing the quiche to fall apart. However, if you have a round pie dish lying around, you could probably yield some nice results from that.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Get out your mini muffin pan. I didn’t use muffin cups for this recipe, but hey, that’s up to you. Also, I didn’t grease my muffin pan, as the mixture has enough oil in it to moisturize the pan with minimal stickiness.

Take a tablespoon and try to neatly spoon your mixture inside the divots. Here was my best attempt at cleanliness:

DSC_0062Lol, I know. Horrible.

I really, really wanted to only do only one batch of these, so I stuffed and stacked them high. If you have enough patience to do another batch, by all means, do that. You’ll get to see my results in a few seconds, anyway.

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If you used olive oil or grape seed oil, your bites should be ready in 40 minutes.

If you used coconut oil, bake them for 45.

Take them out and let them cool down for 5 minutes. They’ll seem a little moist when you first take them out, but the cooling process will help them harden a bit.

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It's easy to see which quiches were overstuffed… oops!

It’s easy to see which quiches were overstuffed… oops!

 

Step 4: Spoon out quiche bites and enjoy!

Actually, I “forked out” my quiches (with a fork). It won’t be perfect, but that’s the glamorous life of someone who doesn’t like to buy cupcake cups!

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These little babies are SO GOOD! They’re the perfect breakfast treat for those of us who miss omelets!

If you decide to make the best decision of your life and try these out, make sure you let me know how your dish turned out! You can comment below, tell me on Facebook, or use the hashtag #thisvegangirl on Instagram. I update the blog once a week, but I post on Instagram several times a day. Also, you can follow my board on Pinterest. I post my own recipes there, but I also post other recipes that tickle my fancy.

 

Happy baking,

thisvegangirllogo

 

 

 

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Peach Pie Quinoa Porridge

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August 7, 2014 By

The word “porridge” makes me think of something I’d hate. Lumpy, tasteless nast. Perhaps a mix between grits (which I’ve never liked) and bland oatmeal, which sounds absolutely awful, doesn’t it?

I’m pleased to say that my quinoa porridge tastes nothing like that! It’s delightfully sweet, a hearty texture, and pleasantly filling.

So, what’s the difference between this and, say, the Almond Butter Smoothie Bowl? Not much, actually! If you want something more light, go with the smoothie bowl. If you want something more substantial and pie-tasting, then try the quinoa porridge.

Using vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg in this recipe make you feel like you’re enjoying a decadent pie.  This is the perfect breakfast for someone who wants protein, has a sweet tooth, and wants something that won’t do damage on your figure.

 

Peach Pie Quinoa Porridge

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes (can be done during prep time)

Yield: 4 bowls (adjust measurements accordingly)

 

Ingredients:

For the base:

  • 6 bananas, frozen or ripe
  • 4 peaches, pitted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • coconut milk or almond milk
  • 2-3 handfuls of dark leafy greens (optional)

Toppings:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 4 peaches, pitted and diced
  • hemp hearts
  • chia seeds
  • walnuts

 

Step 1: Start cooking the quinoa.

Start by gathering one cup of uncooked quinoa and two cups of water. Pour these items together in a pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

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I prefer cold porridge (like Mama Bear), so when my quinoa is done cooking, I’ll place my quinoa into the freezer for a few minutes to cool down. You might prefer hot porridge, in which case you would scoop your quinoa directly into your porridge bowl.

 

Step 2: Prepare the base.

In essence, the base is a smoothie. A mock-dessert smoothie, that is. Thankfully, only spices create the illusion that you’re indulging in a pie, so you don’t need to worry about added sugar.

First, add all the “base” contents EXCEPT COCONUT/ALMOND MILK into your blender or food processor. I personally use a NutriBullet for my smoothie needs. Add the milk last, filling it up until it almost reaches the top of the rest of the contents. You don’t want to add too little (too lumpy) or too much (too watery).

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Pre-blend

Post-blend

Post-blend

As I mentioned before, I like my porridge cold, so I’ll use frozen bananas and frozen dark leafy greens to make the base a little icy. If you’d prefer your porridge to be warm/hot, you might opt for non-refrigerated fruit and milk as your base.

The dark leafy greens are optional because they don’t do anything for the taste or texture. I throw in these greens to create the most nutritious breakfast I can. If that’s not your style, leave it out! The base will turn out a beautiful peach color instead of a deep green, which might look more appealing to the dubious guest.

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Once the base is ready, I place my porridge bowls in the freezer to keep cold until everything is ready. Otherwise, pour your base in bowls and set aside.

 

Step 3: Prepare toppings.

Cut up your peaches and gather all your nuts and things. I didn’t have walnuts this day, so I opted to use chopped almonds instead. Personally, the almonds failed in comparison, as they were a bit too crunchy next to the other contents in the bowl. It’s all about preference, though. Use whatever nuts/seeds you have on-hand. Don’t be stressed if you don’t have everything, as all the added nuts and seeds are optional.

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Step 4: Create your bowl and serve.

Each smoothie bowl should receive roughly 1/4 cup of quinoa, 1 sliced peach, 1 tbs hemp hearts, 2 tbs walnuts, and 1 tsp chia seeds.

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I like to decorate my bowl to make it look as pretty as possible. Ultimately, you end up mixing everything together to get the full “porridge” effect, so the beauty is a fleeting moment in time. That’s why I take pictures of all my decorated bowls on Instagram. 🙂

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Pretty and pristine.

Pretty and pristine.

All mixed up.

All mixed up.

By the way, the peach route isn’t the only way you can take this bowl. In fact, I’ve made this exact bowl with strawberries, blueberries, mango, pineapple, and raspberries. See what’s in-season and go for it! You can see my day-to-day bowls on my Instagram account. Follow me there and see what I’m eating for the day. Also, I’d love to get inspired by you. If you use one of my recipes, take a picture and use #thisvegangirl so I can see your creations!

Don’t forget to friend me on Facebook, follow me on Pinterest, too!

 

Happy blending,

thisvegangirllogo

 

 

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Almond Butter Smoothie Bowl

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July 14, 2014 By

I have been more active on the This Vegan Girl account on Instagram recently.

Being on IG, I had no problem finding people to follow. Gorgeous photos, vibrant colors, exotic fruit, and ideas made to inspire filled my feed.

There was one recipe that seemed to be appearing time and time again: the smoothie bowl. In Buddha bowls or mason jars, these bowls were fruity, colorful, and versatile. The term “nana ice cream” also became a new word in my vocabulary.

I decided to try it myself. Not only was it incredibly easy, but the results have been superb time and time again. It is a fabulous breakfast or snack that can fill you up with healthy, wholesome ingredients.

The main things you’ll need to make Nana Ice Cream, or the base of any smoothie bowl, must contain the following:

  • frozen banana
  • non-dairy milk (I use coconut milk, as it is thick and sweet)
  • a blender/food processor

I bought three bunches of bananas, sliced them, placed them in a plastic storage ziplock bag, and put the bag in the freezer. Do this the day or night before you intend to make your smoothie bowl. These bananas will definitely be gone in the next week or so.


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When you’re ready to make the smoothie bowl, place 2-3 handfuls of frozen banana in your food processor. Fill with milk near the top of the fruit, almost covering the top frozen banana (but not quite). Mix and serve. It’s that simple.

Of course, there are so many ways to get creative with it. Here is one of my favorite smoothie bowls to make.

 

Almond Butter Smoothie Bowl

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

Yield: as little, or as much, as you need

 

Ingredients

Base: (to go in the food processor)

  • frozen banana
  • frozen dark leafy greens
  • coconut milk
  • 2 tbs almond butter
  • a splash of vanilla
  • flax seed (optional)

Toppings:

  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • walnuts
  • hemp hearts
  • chia seed

 

STEP 1: Gather your base ingredients and place them in your food processor or blender. 

The day before, I cut up frozen banana and placed them in the freezer in a plastic ziplock storage bag.

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As far as the frozen dark leafy greens go, I make my own plastic ziplock storage bag containing a medley of my three favorites: kale, spinach, and swiss chard.

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My baby Fleegle loves to help in the kitchen! Here he is singing to the bag of frozen dark leafy greens.

When placing the items in the food processor, put in all ingredients except the coconut milk. You want to pour in the milk last in order to fill in gaps and see exactly how much you need. The milk should be filled near the top of the pile, but don’t have it cover the ingredients. You want enough milk so the contents will stir, but you don’t want so much that you’ll be left with watery soup. You’ll want it to be the consistency of frozen yogurt (or frozen yogurt juuuust as its starting to melt).

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STEP 2: Pour the base into a bowl.

I usually end up putting the bowl in the freezer as I prepare the toppings. This keeps the base cold, along with the bowl.

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Or, you guys could be professional chefs and have everything ready before you begin. Whatever, all you organized people out there. Again, I’m the epitome of amateur hour.

 

STEP 3: Prepare the toppings.

I have all my seeds and nuts in mason jars. I’ll set them out in a row, kind of like an assembly line.

In this case, I needed to cut the strawberries. I sliced up a handful.

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STEP 4: DECORATE!

This is the fun part!

Remove your smoothie bowl from the freezer. Stir it up before dressing it up, as the top and edges may be slightly solid from being in the freezer. After that, have fun!

Matt likes to just sprinkle and pile his toppings in no particular order or fashion. I, on the other hand, treat each bowl like a blank canvas. I try to make each bowl a different work of art.

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To check out all of my smoothie bowl art, go to my Instagram account. Don’t forget to add me while you’re there. I’m trying to update the blog once per week, but I upload something on IG almost every day.

 

 

Happy blending,

thisvegangirllogo

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The Toast Sampler

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July 7, 2014 By

It’s breakfast time, and you’re not quite sure what you’re in the mood for. Never to fear, for The Toast Sampler is here!

The Toast Sampler cures breakfast heartaches and solves all your morning culinary problems, including:

  • I don’t know what I’m in the mood for. Each piece of toast caters to a different taste region of your tastebuds, so it’ll combat any/all cravings.
  • I don’t want a sugary breakfast. I hear ya. With The Toast Sampler, few strawberries will be the only sugar you’ll consume, and it’ll be the perfect amount of sweetness.
  • I need something to-go. Have you ever tried eating cereal and driving? I have, during my stupid teenage years. Not only was it completely idiotic, but extremely difficult. My point is that toast is a lot easier, and more safe, to eat on-the-go.
  • I’ll be hungry in an hour. You obviously didn’t have The Toast Sampler for breakfast, then. I pile on the vegetables and fruit, with filling spreads on the bottom.
  • It’s not gluten-free. Oh, but it is. I use GF bread and toast them up. The GF bread will also help with problem of staying full.
  • I’m not hungry in the morning. The Toast Sampler is so yummy, you’ll want it.
  • I don’t have time. You’ll need a bit more time to prepare this than cereal, but definitely not as much time as, say, pancakes.Wake up 10-15 minutes earlier to indulge in this breakfast delight. It’s worth it.
  • I don’t cook. … it’s toast.

 

Are you convinced? If not, maybe the pictures will help. BEHOLD:

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Forgive me, as I don’t  have exact measurements on spreads and seasoning. Just spread and sprinkle, guys. It’s not that hard.

 

Avocado Toast

  • Tofutti vegan cream cheese base
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • lemon juice
  • salt
  • pepper
  • spinach on top (I took a few leaves and tore them with my fingers.)

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If you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or someone who loves avocado, you’re probably very good friends with avocado toast. There is my spin on it.

 

Almond Butter Toast

  • almond butter base
  • lots of strawberry slices on top

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I actually have two almond butters right now. One is a CRUNCHY VARIETY (hardly ever seen), which I adore. The other is a vanilla espresso variety, which I equally adore. I hope that eating the vanilla espresso almond butter gives me a tiny boost in the morning.

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Hummus Toast

  • hummus base
  • grape tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • arugula leaves
  • hemp hearts

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This one was a spur-of-the-moment toast that I ended up loving! I used a kalamata olive hummus, which was divine.

 

Happy toasting,

thisvegangirllogo

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Portobello Sandwich with Spicy Garlic Mayo

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August 6, 2013 By

Oh, the mushroom. So juicy, so versatile, and so delicious.

And yet, so easy to mess up when it comes to something like a sandwich/burger.

You don’t want it too juicy, as it will turn your bread into undesirable mush. You don’t want to undercook it, as it has a dry texture and a lack of succulent flavor. Not to mention that portobellos have a habit of breaking, which can just ruin the presentation. (Don’t laugh… It’s important to me!)

Portobello mushrooms make a great meat substitute for sandwiches. They’re filling, luscious, and omit such a wonderful, one-of-a-kind flavor! I was determined to make the perfect portobello sandwich, but first, I had to think of the best way to cook those problematic portobellos.

And then, it hit me: I have a George Foreman grill! It sits out on my back porch and it’s a hassle to clean, so it barely gets any love. However, I knew that the grill would be the ultimate solution to my over-juicy mushroom problem.

 

OOOOH, a solution indeed. This sandwich is fantastic.

This sandwich is hearty, succulent, and tangy. It’s stacked high with flavors that complement each other beautifully. The mushrooms have just the right amount of juice & flavor without doing unpleasant things to the bread. It’s like a burger with class. It’s the perfect thing to pack for lunch, or could be a delightful addition to a vegan barbeque.

 

Portobello Sandwich with Spicy Garlic Mayo

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5-7 minutes

Yield: 1 sandwich

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of hearty bread (GF people, I’d recommend an Udi’s bagel)
  • 4-5 portobello slices (or 1 portobello mushroom, sliced)
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup alfafa sprouts
  • 1/4 spinach
  • 2 Dill pickle slices
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • mustard (optional)

 

Spicy Garlic Mayo Ingredients:

  • 2 tbs Veganaise
  • 2 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, miced
  • 1/2 tsp salt

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STEP 1: Begin by heating up your grill to a medium high heat. On my grill, I put my setting on 4, with 5 being the highest setting. Basically, you want to hear your mushrooms sizzle.

Drizzle your portobellos with olive oil, salt, and pepper. After that, throw them on the grill. After 5 minutes, flip them over and let them cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.

Drizzle lightly; I swear mushrooms are more absorbent than sponges!

Drizzle lightly; I swear mushrooms are more absorbent than sponges!

 

Tsssssss!

Tsssssss!

 

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After cooking for 5 minutes, they reduce in size and turn golden brown.

After cooking for 5 minutes, they reduce in size and turn golden brown.

 

 

STEP 2: While the ‘bellas are sizzling away, start cutting up your veggies and creating your mayonnaise by mixing the mayo ingredients in a small bowl. I was surprised at how simple it was to make the mayo fit the desired taste I was looking for! Go me!

Take out the bread, spread on the mayo, and… ohp! The mushrooms are ready!

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Look how excited the bread is!

 

 

STEP 3: Gather your mushrooms and start building your masterpiece! The order of your stack can be the crucial difference between a firm sandwich and a jumbled mess, so choose your order wisely.

I started off with a spinach base with the mushrooms on top. (In hindsight, the tomato would’ve fit nicely underneath the portobellos, but that’s up to you to decide.)

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Next, I went with the avocado, followed by the tomatoes and onion. I only had grape tomatoes on-hand, which made things a bit more topple-y than I wanted, but whatever. Tomato, tomata.

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Finally, I added the alfalfa sprouts and topped it with the sliced pickle. NO REGRETS WHATSOEVER.

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I added mustard on the top slice before completing the sandwich, but it’s optional. The sandwich is still amazing without it.

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And voila! In 3 easy steps, you’ve got yourself a lovely gourmet sandwich.

 

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Happy devouring!

thisvegangirllogo

 

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Hawaiian Stuffed Shells

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July 26, 2013 By

Well, I’m back in Florida. Ah, finally, I have been reunited with Pubilx, my Nutribullet, my crockpot, and my food processor!

Matt will come home in a few weeks, so I have a few weeks to have a little bit of glutenous freedom with my dishes! Desserts to come, but for now,  let’s talk about the stuffed shells.

First off, let me say that it’s insane that I haven’t found any gluten-free versions of jumbo shells! If any of you have found this gem, please let me know.

After creating my Ricotta Cheese recipe, there were several items I had in mind to use with the invention, and stuffed shells was one of them.

I don’t know if it was the Florida vibe or the fact that summer will be wrapping up soon, but I’ve been craving something tropical. You know, like a Hawaiian pizza, wrapped up in a fancy presentation. Thus, the Hawaiian Stuffed Shell was born!

Your customary stuffed shell might be traditionally Italian, but I liked how unique this tasted! If you like coconut and pineapple, then you’ll love these shells. They were sweet, tangy, and fun. If you’re feeling up for a bit of an tropical adventure, give ’em a shot!

 

Hawaiian Stuffed Shells

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 3-4 servings

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of jumbo shell pasta
  • 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 1 ball of ricotta cheese (see recipe here)
  • 4oz tempeh, diced (half the package, but if you want a “meatier” stuffed shell, add more)
  • 1 package of mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup spinach, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup pineapples, finely chopped
  • 2 tbs shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • 1 tbs chia seed
  • 3 tbs warm water
  • 2 tbs oil
  • 2 tbs tamari sauce
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • salt/pepper to taste

 

STEP 1: Prepare, prepare, prepare! If you haven’t made your ricotta cheese yet, I suggest making that first. See the recipe here on how it’s done.

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Start a pot of boiling water for your jumbo shells. You won’t need all of them, but it’s up to you whether you boil the whole box or not. Make sure you take a few minutes off of the cook time on the shells, since they will continue to cook in the oven. The box on my shells said to boil for 14-15 minutes, so I cooked mine for 12 minutes.

 

When the shells are done and strained, you might want to run them under cold water for a few seconds to cool them down. You’re going to stuff them a few minutes later, and I’m sure you don’t feel like burning your hands off today.

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STEP 2: Start a small skillet on medium for your tempeh. Use the 2 tablespoons of oil to start. Once you have placed the tempeh on the hot skillet, drizzle the tamari sauce and lemon juice onto the tempeh. Keep the tempeh on until about golden brown on both sides, which should take 5-7 minutes total.

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STEP 3: Prepare your oven pan by spraying cooking spray onto a 13 x 9 pan. Place the sliced mushrooms on the bottom of the pan.

I don’t like placing the mushrooms into the shells, as they tend to get a bit juicy when they cook, which might make the ricotta cheese do some funny, undesirable things. However, when it’s placed on the bottom of the pan, it gets the perfect amount of cook time to where it’s plump, juicy, and perfect!

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STEP 4: Place the cooked tempeh, pineapple, ricotta cheese, shredded coconut, and salt/pepper into a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the 1 tablespoon of chia seed with the 3 tablespoons of water, let it sit and magically form into its sticky goo, and combine it into the mixture. Stir it up!

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STEP 4: Let’s stuff some shells, baby. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of mixture and stuff it in a shell. Stuff at your own discretion, but remember, it might change your serving size. This is the amount I stuffed mine with:

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STEP 5: Pour the whole jar of your favorite pasta sauce on top of your shells. Then, cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375°F for 45 minutes.

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STEP 6: After baking, uncover and enjoy! Unless you would like to burn the ish out of your tongue, I suggest that you patiently wait just 5 minutes longer to let them cool down. Or, do what I do and impatiently dive right in, blowing the crap out of every bite prior to putting it in my mouth.

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Happy cooking!

thisvegangirllogo

 

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