Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lemony Pound Cake

My sister is a full-fledged chocolate hater.

Though I don't always understand how she could dislike such a delicious treat, I do sometimes try to cater to her wishes and bake things that aren't chocolate.

So, when she came to me a couple days ago, requesting a pound cake be made, I jumped to the task.

There was only one problem:  I didn't want a typical pound cake.  You know, the ones with a pound of every ingredient.  Instead, I was hoping to find a recipe that was slightly scaled down.  I stumbled upon this one from epicurious (I would link it, but I don't have the web address, just a printed copy).

Lemon Pound Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • a pinch salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350.  Butter and flour a loaf pan (i used one that made mini loaves), knocking out excess flour.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.  In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, to the butter mixture, making sure to beat well after every addition.  Next, beat in the lemon zest and vanilla.  Add flour mixture, alternating with milk, and mix until just incorporated.  Spoon batter into pan and bake until the top is golden.  This should take around 1 hour, maybe more depending on the pan you use.  Let cake cool before eating, cutting, or serving.

It's good, there's no doubt about that.

The lemon zest adds a refreshing zing while the butter gives you a rich flavor while not being too heavy.

The chocolate hater gives it a thumbs up too, by the way.

I think this recipe would be great on a warm day.  In my opinion there's absolutely nothing better than sitting outside in the sun, eating cake.

Especially an amazingly good lemony pound cake.

C'mon, who's with me?
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Strawberry Cake

On his birthday, along with a yummy breakfast, I also treated my dad to a delightful strawberry cake.

Fluffy, light, and filled with fresh strawberries this cake is sure to please.  And it's eggless too!

I wasn't totally sure about this cake when I decided to make it.  I had originally planned on an angel food cake, but then bailed at the last minute because I was unable to find the correct pan.

I needed another cake recipe, and fast.  This particular one caught my eye simply because it was pretty.  Im a sucker for some beautiful food.  Lucky for me, this cake tasted just as good as it looked!

Strawberry Cake - original recipe can be found here

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-3/4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup Sugar
  • 1-1/2 tbsp cane sugar (you can use regular sugar too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup yogurt, mixed with some water
  • 1 (or maybe a bit more) cups thinly sliced fresh strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a cake pan (I used a 10 inch round one).  Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a separate bowl beat the butter, oil, and 2/3 cup sugar together.  Once fluffy beat in vanilla extract.  Gently mix in flour mixture in multiple batches, alternating with yogurt.  Mix until just combined and don't overmix.  Fold in the chopped strawberries next.  Pour batter into cake pan and smooth on top.  Lay down more chopped strawberries and sprinkle with (cane) sugar.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake is golden on top and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Let cake cool for 15-20 minutes before serving.

In all honesty, I shouldnt really be surprised that this cake was as delicious as it was.  After all, it had fresh strawberries which I am absolutely in love with.

Dad ate some cake too, making me very happy because I always like to think that someone enjoyed what I created.  Also, it would stink to have a cake you didn't like on your birthday, so I'm glad he enjoyed it.

If you like fruit cakes, this is a must.  The juicy strawberries moisten the cake and make it just the right amount gooey.  You can even try the same recipe with a different fruit if your not a total strawberry lover.  

I'd love to hear about your experiments!
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Strawberry Banana Bread

It's was my dads birthday last week, so I did what any good daughter would do: I made him breakfast!  Strawberry Banana Bread to be exact

Right when I took the bread out of the oven I knew it would be a huge success.  It just had that promising perfectly browned top that was sure to yield an amazing slice of banana (and strawberry) goodness.

And sure enough, I was very right.  The bread was devoured!  The whole family chipped in, eating at least one piece, and by the end of the day the whole loaf had disappeared completely.  

But most importantly, my dad enjoyed it, which was pretty much all I wanted.

To find the recipe visit here.  And, trust me, use the optional strawberries.

I have to say, this banana bread really brought me back to my childhood.  The days when I would come running downstairs after my bath at night for a piece of piping hot banana bread that had just come out of the oven.

I remember that banana bread was one of the few things my dad could make really well.  He would whip up a loaf whenever the bananas turned so brown that no one would dare touch them.  I'm pretty sure the first time he made it he had to convince me that he hadn't used the ugly banana because otherwise I wouldn't even go near the loaf.

Anyway, add this recipe to your collection.  The strawberries add a nice twist and it can easily be made non-fat by using a certain type of milk.
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Monday, May 28, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Have you ever heard the saying "don't judge a cookie by it's face"?


Well please pretend you have for the sake of these cookies . . . because they are uuuuuugly.

I know people say you eat with your eyes, but I'm going to ask you very nicely to please just eat with your mouths when it comes to these cookies.

Ok? You got that? Great.  Now I don't have to worry that you'll X out this page when I show you another picture.

I only have one thing to say now:

Try these cookies!!!!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

(makes a small batch)

  • 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup flour
  • a pinch salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • up to 1/3 cup chocolate chips, depending on your preference
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1-3 tablespoons milk of choice, as needed
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix your dry ingredients, then add in wet. Form cookies and bake 6-7 minutes. Take out when still underdone–they’ll continue to cook while cooling, and so you don’t want them to get hard.  I might've eaten one before letting it cool (he,he)

These chocolate chip cookies can be eaten with a tall glass of milk, given as a present to a friend, or devoured all in one sitting.  I'm sure you could bring them to a party too, but in that case I highly reccommend doubling, tripling, or maybe even quadrupling, the recipe because as it is you only get about 6 cookies.

Oh, and by the way, I'm challenging anyone to use the same recipe and make prettier cookies.

It's on!
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Friday, May 25, 2012

5 Delicious Ways to Use Celery

Look!  Celery!

Now, everyone who just wrinkled their nose, or thought "ew", Stop (you know, unless you're allergic or something).

Celery is awesome.  It's fresh, crunchy, super healthy, and has a really great green color.

Ok, hopefully you're aboard the celery bandwagon now.  And if you are, you're probably asking one question:

How the heck do I use this amazing vegetable?

Well, i'm going to give you five ways.

  1.  Celery is great on it's own!  It can satisfy the crunch you're craving while being way healthier than the potato chips you way be used to.  It's also a great thing to snack on when you're on a diet because it has practically no calories at all.
  2. If plain celery doesn't have a strong enough taste for you, then try it with peanut butter.  You can pack in a protein punch while still being nutritious.  Peanut butter also makes celery a more substantial snack.  You can even try celery with peanut butter and raisins to have the ever popular ants on a log.
  3. I think my favorite way to have celery is in salads.  Whether it's the basic salad, with lettuce and tomatoes, or something fancier like one containing a grain, celery instantly brightens a dish and adds a much needed crunch without overwhelming the original flavor.
  4. This one sort of connects back to number 3, but have you tried celery in tuna salad?  It's yummy!  I almost always add it when I eat tuna.
  5. Many soup recipes call for celery.  It may not seem like the typical ingredient, but believe me if you look, it comes up everywhere!  That means it must taste good, right?

Are you in love with celery yet?  You should be!

It'a a great vegetable with tons of possibility's and you're missing out if you don't just try some of them.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rainy Day Double Peanut Butter Cookies

Rain rain go away, come again another day

Just kidding.

Rain, don't you go anywhere.

Do you like the rain?

I do!

I love the misty smell, and the refreshing feeling after raindrops have coated my face.  Most of all, I love the excuse rain gives me to be lazy, read, and bake things.

And there is nothing like eating a peanut butter cookie a double peanut butter cookie while reading a book on a rainy day.

Seriously, nothing.

Double Peanut Butter Cookies - Recipe inspiration comes from here
(makes 2-3 cookies, perfect for when you want to eat the whole darn batch)
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp peanut butter
  • a pinch salt
  • a little but of baking soda (1/16 tsp, if you want a precise number)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp applesauce
  • peanut butter chocolate chips (you can leave these out, but then your cookies won't be double peanut butter)
Mix dry ingredients.  Add peanut butter and wet ingredients.  Mix well and form into cookies (or maybe one big one).  Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

Remember, you don't have to share these cookies! 

You get to eat every lest crumb all to yourself.  

And just to tell you, these cookies taste way better if you eat them while they're still warm (but then again what cookie doesn't)

So, go ahead: mix your ingredients, preheat your oven, and when the cookies are ready, take a big ol' bite right away!

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Apple Snack Crisps

Remember roasted chickpeas?

Well, I bring you another healthy snack with a crunch.  Except, this one is for those days when you want a little something sweet.

Can you guess what these are (without looking at the title of the post)?

Apple Crisps!

Crunchy, sweet, and sprinkled with cinnamon

And did I mention you can make these in the microwave?

I bet you're already sold.

Crunchy Apple Crisps

  • 1 apple, washed and cored
  • cinnamon (as much as desired)
  • optional: sweetener
  • optional: other spices
  • 1 tsp water
Slice the apple as thinly as possible. The thinner the slice, the crunchier and crispier the chip.  Then, stir apple slices in a mixing bowl with the remaining ingredients.  Make sure to toss the slices well so they are evenly coated in the mixture.  Place the apple slices on a sprayed microwave safe plate.  Microwave for one to three minutes, opening microwave between each shift to let steam out.  Microwaving times will differ, but the chips will be slightly curled at the edges and dotted with brown spots when they are done.  Be careful not to burn the slices.  After that, just toss them in a bowl and you're ready to go!

These make an excellent afternoon snack and will probably come in handy when apple picking season comes around.

Be creative with you're spices, and be sure to try different kinds of apples.  Who knows?  Maybe you could even use a different fruit!

What can you come up with?
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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Protein Packed Chocolate Mousse

Don't you love a good chocolate filled treat that you can lick off your hands?

I mean, c'mon who doesn't?

Anyway, if you answered yes (and no one) to the question(s) above then this post is right up your alley.


It's rich, it's chocolaty, you can eat it with your hands, and, it's healthy?

Why yes it is, this good ol' mousse has tofu (which, if you don't get too picky, could mean that you could eat this dessert for breakfast, lunch, and maybe even dinner.  After all, tofu does have protein)!

Protein Packed Chocolate Mousse
(inspired by this recipe)

You need:
1 package firm tofu
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 1/3 cups chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
a pinch salt
2-3 tbsp sugar (you can taste as you make it to determine how much you want)

Melt the chocolate chips.  Then, put everything in a food processor and blend until really smooth.  Pour into individual jars or cups (like I did), if you want.  Put the mousse in the fridge to chill.  It get's firmer the linger it sits.

That's a pretty easy recipe, huh?

You have no excuse not to make it.

So, I won't keep you any longer.  Why don't you go get out your food processor?

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Beany Blondies

I'm slowly overcoming my bean hatred. . .one dessert at a time.

Yes, this is another bean dessert.

Except, this time I'm using white beans!

When I made these I made both chocolate chip and cinnamon.  I did this mainly because I have a chocolate hater in my house (surprising, i know), but i also wanted to taste the difference in taste.

I have to say I enjoyed the chocolate chip more, but that could just me be being in favor of anything with chocolate.  Needless to say, the little chocolate hater of the house like the cinnamon ones.

If you decide to make these blondies feel free to make only one kind, both, or maybe even make up a new variation (I'd love to hear what people come up with)!

Beany Blondies - inspired by this very popular recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups white beans
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • optional: chocolate chips, cinnamon, peanut butter chips, any other add-ins you can think of
Preheat oven to 350F.  Put all ingredients into food processor and blend until mixture is very smooth.  Mix in any add-ins.  Pour batter into sprayed 9x9 (or 8x8 for thick blondies) pan.  Cook for approximately 30 minutes.  Don't be worried if the blondies still look a bit undercooked when you take them out, that's normal.      Let the pan cool before cutting blondies into squares. 

Any bean dessert haters out there?

If you want to be extra sure you won't taste the beans, add some peanut butter in place of some, or all, of the applesauce.  It'll do a good job of covering up the flavor, even though you can't really taste it with only applesauce.

Still not sure?

Try making them for a party.  Don't tell people about the ingredients and see what opinions are! 

Ready to make them?

Go, now!  The time it will take you to make them will not be wasted!
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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Black Bean and Brown Rice Veggie Burgers

I love how every veggie burger tastes different.

I bet I could have one three days in a row and not get tired of them at all because each one tastes different.  Some are sweeter, some more savoury.  It all depends on what's in the burger and how it's cooked.

For example, this veggie burger isn't even a veggie burger at all!  Sure, it's vegetarian and has prunes, carrots, and onions, but really, the stars in these burgers are black beans and rice (that's right, yet another recipe that goes against my bean hatred)

I've actually never mastered a real veggie burger.  You know, the kind that actually looks like a burger - with grill marks and all - and is packed with vegetables.  But, these burgers might actually be better than the frozen kinds you buy at Trader Joes.

And I'm not even a vegetarian.

Black Bean and Brown Rice Veggie Burgers
(you can find the original recipe here)

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey (or agave)
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tbsp hoisin
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice (1/2 cup uncooked)
  • 15 oz can black beans, drained, rinsed and diced
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup carrots, finely diced
  • 1/4-1/2 cup wheat bran
  • 6 prunes, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  1. In a small bowl combine soy, honey, molasses, and hoisin to make basting sauce.
  2. In a large bowl combine diced black beans and cooked rice.
  3. Pour oil into skillet.  Saute onions and garlic on medium heat until soft and the pan is dry.
  4. Add onions, carrots, 1/4 cup wheat bran, minced prunes, and spices to bean mixture.  Stir to combine.
  5. Evaluate how well your veggie mixture holds into patties.  If the mixture seems too dry or chunky, add basting sauce by the teaspoon until moist enough to stick.  If the mixture seems too wet, add a bit more oat bran.
  6. Shape veggie mixture into 4-6 patties and place on squares of wax paper.  Chill patties at least one hour (i chilled for less, because of short time, and they sort of fell apart, but still tasted fine)
  7. To cook, brush patties with basting sauce and place on a hot grill or skillet.  Cook about 5 minutes then bast again and gently flip.
  8. Cook about 5 more minutes and then gently remove burgers to serving plate.  
Whether you're a vegetarian or just like a good non-meat burger once in a while you should definitely add these burgers to your list of recipes to try.  Remember, sometimes just because something doesn't look good, doesn't mean it can't taste great!
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Single Serving Blueberry Muffin

I already have a recipe for a single serving baked oatmeal blueberry muffin.

So why not an actual blueberry muffin?

I asked myself that yesterday, and I didn't have a single answer.  That left me with only one choice: I needed to make a single serving blueberry muffin.  And here it is!

Blueberry Muffin (for one!) - Original recipe comes from here

3 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
At least 1 tbsp blueberries (I used way more, but it depends on what you want)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp applesauce
1 tbsp + 1 tsp milk
1 tbsp sugar
Optional:  a few sprinkles cinnamon

Mix dry ingredients, then add wet ones.  Pour into microwave save bowl (ramekin, coffee mug) and microwave for around 90 seconds.  You can also bake this in the oven at 330F for approximately 17 minutes.

Don't you love recipes you can make in the microwave?  I've been making a ton of them lately because they're just so easy and quick.  Also, I don't exactly have the best oven, so microwaving is sometimes the better way to go!

Anyway, enjoy this muffin as breakfast, an afternoon snack, or maybe even a midnight (healthy) treat.  You could even top them with a bit of whipped cream for pure awesome-ness.

Believe me, the possibility's are endless.

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Mango Smoothie (with a protein boost)

I think it's fair to say that smoothies are one of the best foods in the world.

I love that they can be customized again and again to fit anyone's needs.

And then there's the fact that they taste great.  That's definitely a plus.

Wanna know another plus?  The smoothie being featured in this post also has a secret protein boost!

Mango Tofu Smoothie
(makes one serving)

  • 1/4 cup silken tofu (firm would probably work too)
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 3/4 cup milk (almond milk is what i used)
  • Honey, to taste
Thaw your mango first.  I actually left mine in the blender, all ready to go, all night, but you can always leave the mango out at room temperature for a but or just heat it up quickly.  Then, blend everything together.  It's as easy as that!  That's another plus about smoothies, they're really easy to make.

I  could go on and on with the pro's of smoothies, but i think i'll spare you the time.

I'm sure you'll be able to think up plenty on your own once you're drinking this delicious smoothie.  It should definitely help to get your "good things about smoothies" creative juices flowing.

So what are you waiting for?

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Carrot Chickpea Hummus

As you may recall, I don't like (mushy) chickpeas.  That means I definitely don't like hummus.

Why are you posting about it then?

Well, you see, I made this for a party, and it was devoured.  It would have been a crime not to give the recipe!

And, anyway, I had a bunch of pictures.

Roasted Carrot and Chickpea Hummus
(makes about 2 cups)

1 pound carrots, cut into 1/2 inch slices
6 cloves garlic (skins still on)

1 15 ounce can chickpeas, washed and rinsed
1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 1/2 tsp ground cumin, divided use
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1-2 tbsp tahini
Juice and grated zest of 2 medium lemons
1/2 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy), more or less as needed
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (hot or sweet), plus more for sprinkling 

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. In a roasting pan or on a large rimmed baking sheet, combine the carrots and garlic with the oil, 1-1/2 tsp cumin, and salt. Roast the carrots, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned, about 25 to 30 minutes.Cool, then squeeze garlic out of their skins.
2. In a food processor, pulse the carrots and garlic until chopped. Add the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and lemon zest; pulse until blended. Add the milk, smoked paprika, and remaining cumin; pulse until smooth, adding more milk if necessary.

3. Transfer hummus to bowl. Drizzle with additional olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of smoked paprika.

Now, I never tasted this, but I have witnesses who said it was really good.

To quote someone: "This hummus is lighter than the usual, but still delicious"

So, you should go make it!  Even if you don't like hummus, you could always bring it to a party like I did.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Oatmeal Dried Fruit Cookies

Sometimes I over-estimate my love for fruit.

Or at least my love for dried fruit.

I don't live in a place where fresh fruit is available all year.  So, i sometimes have to resort to dried fruits.  Unfortunately, sometimes i buy too much.  Especially when I go to Costco and every bag weighs more than my head.

Anyway, that leaves me with a lot of dried fruit.  And what do you pair with dried fruit?  Cookies of course! 

Dried Fruit Oatmeal Cookies
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
A pinch salt
4 ounces butter, softened
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup assorted dried fruit (you can use more or less depending on your taste)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl whisk together flour, flax, oats, baking soda, spices, and salt.  Cream together butter and brown sugar in a different bowl.  Add the egg and vanilla to the butter and sugar mixture and combine.  Then, gradually add the dry ingredients, until they are incorporated.  Form balls of dough and put onto lined baking sheet.  Bake for 9-10 minutes, then let cookies cool.

These cookies proved to be a great way to use up my excessive amount of dried blueberries.  

However, I'll admit they're not the prettiest cookies in the world.  Don't let their appearance fool you, though, these cookies taste way better than they look!

Seriously, these cookies are awesome.  I just have to warn you guys about one thing: these oatmeal cookies taste healthy.  Not in a bad way, just don't expect them to taste like a heart attack in a cookie.  But, then again, these are oatmeal and dried fruit cookies, what do you expect?

Hopefully, I didn't just scare you away.  Some people can be scared of the word "healthy".  Oh well, their loss, you don't want to miss these little bites of deliciousness!  

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chocolate Oatmeal Parfait

I wish I could say that my breakfast was this glamorous everyday.

Because, seriously, who doesn't want to have a big bowl (glass?) of chocolate oatmeal first thing in the morning?

You know what makes it even better?  This lovely parfait is chalk-full of fruit and is much healthier than anything you can find at your local ice cream store.

I'm guessing you want the recipe now.

Chocolate Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Parfait
(makes 1 serving)

  • 1 serving (40 grams) cooked oatmeal
  • Sliced strawberries
  • Sliced banana
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • Sweetener
Stir the cocoa powder and sweetener into your oatmeal.  Then, pour a layer of oatmeal into a glass (if you want to feel fancy you can use a pretty one like above).  Top the oatmeal with a layer of strawberries, banana slices, or both.  Repeat the process until you're all out of oatmeal or fruit.  

You can try mixing up the recipe with different fruits and maybe even a different grain.  

Whatever you decide to do, this is a great breakfast that will be sure to satisfy your sweet tooth as well as your need to kick-start the day.

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