Cocoa-Crusted Macadamia Nuts

Posted by on September 20, 2011 | 15 Comments

One of the joys of blogging is making friends with amazing people, and even meeting a few (in person!) whose work you’ve admired over the internet for what seems like ages. For me, one of those people was Amy Green. I got to chat with this sweet lady nearly a year ago (my how time flies!) and meet her face to face at the GFAF Expo earlier this year. Now that I know her personally, it is that much more fun to use her cookbook, Simply Sugar & Gluten Free. Knowing her voice makes me feel like she is right there in my kitchen as I read the recipes.

Some cookbooks I tag like mad with excitement, then set them down, never to return again. But Amy’s was easy to dive into. The recipes are every day gems, with a definite slant toward baking. Granted, some of the recipes use dairy, but this isn’t a milk-heavy cookbook, and most seemed easy enough to convert for me. Even so, I started with ones that were dairy-free as is, and wasn’t a bit disappointed …

First up was the Slow Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice. The chicken came out so perfectly tender, but the surprise was really the rice. I used a wild rice blend from Lundberg, and it turned out like a really rich risotto! I enjoyed the brown and wild “risotto” for a light lunch the next day with broccoli. Doing just this rice and vegetable portion alone, would be an easy vegetarian crockpot meal if desired. The only change I made was to add a little garlic, and I doubled the mushrooms.

Next up was the Cocoa-Roasted Nuts. This is such a lovely and creative recipe! I love how Amy doesn’t rely just on stevia to sweeten, but rather uses it in combination with other unrefined sweeteners for a pleasant flavor that isn’t overpowering (as stevia alone can be). Amy uses almonds and egg whites in this recipe, which I didn’t have on hand, so I made quite a few modifications. The version I ended up with was a little more than “cocoa” and almost bordering on dark chocolate. However, I was true to her flavors, which made for a snack that was just lightly sweet and salty, but rich with cocoa flavor. Below is my version, adapted from Amy’s original. But, for a lower fat and more “polished” version, try the Cocoa-Roasted Nuts in Simply Sugar & Gluten Free.

To note, other scrumptious recipes that I have marked to trial (soon!) from this cookbook include the Banana Oat Bars, Buckwheat Blinis, Slow Cooker Ketchup, Ruthie’s Apple Crisp, and the Grilled Balsamic Dijon Chicken.

Recipe: Cocoa-Crusted Macadamia Nuts

Summary: Recipe adapted from Simply Sugar & Gluten Free: 180 Easy and Delicious Recipes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less by Amy Green. Keep in mind, this is just a lightly sweet, lightly salty recipe – good for some cocoa antioxidants in snack form. For more of a dessert, I’d coat them in melted chocolate once cool (mmm, nuts with a crisp cocoa coating enveloped in chocolate!), but that’s just me.


  • 1 Tablespoon Oil (I used melted coconut oil)
  • 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1-1/2 Cups Macadamia Nuts (or nuts of your choice!)
  • 2 Tablespoons + 2 Teaspoons Coconut Sugar or Palm Sugar (If you can’t find coconut sugar, regular or organic powdered sugar will do. Simply use 3 tablespoons, omit the cornstarch, and skip the spice grinder step – the result will be a little sweeter)
  • 1 Teaspoon Cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 1 25mg Scoop Pure Stevia Extract Powder (some of the blends have dairy in them, so I use only the pure one, like this one from NuStevia)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt


  1. Preheat your oven to 250ºF and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  2. Combine the oil, maple syrup, and vanilla in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Add the nuts, and stir to coat.
  4. Place the coconut sugar and cornstarch in your spice grinder and whiz away until you get a powder (about 30 seconds).
  5. Stir the sugar mixture in a bowl with the remaining ingredients until well combined.
  6. Add the powdered mixture to the nuts and stir to coat. It will be very thick, creating a paste-like coating on the nuts, but should stick!
  7. Spread the nuts out on your prepared baking sheet. In general, they should be spaced out so that they aren’t touching and clumped together.
  8. Roast the nuts for 25 minutes, rotate the pan and roast them for another 20 to 25 minutes.
  9. Remove them from the oven and let the nuts cool before handling (hot nuts!). They will crisp up as they cool.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 50 minute(s)

Diet type: Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Peanut-Free, Wheat-Free, Refined Sugar-Free

Number of servings (yield): 6


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Filed Under: Alisa's Recipes, Cookbook Trials

Chocolate Cherry Fudge Drop Cookies

Posted by on September 9, 2011 | 24 Comments

On Go Dairy Free today, I have a review up of the gorgeous cookbook Simply … Gluten Free Desserts by my friend Carol Kicinski. This woman is amazing. As you probably know, I’m not gluten-free, but do dabble in the art. Many gluten-free goodies are, well how do I put this politely, on par with cardboard. However, some rise above as either tasty in their own right, with a unique texture and flavor, and some actually push gluten-free boundaries, rivaling gluten-filled foods for quality. Carol’s cookbook is stuffed with the latter. Decadent recipes that you won’t believe are gluten-free, no joke.

Of course, this isn’t a “health and diet” cookbook. As Carol joked, a reporter once referred to her as the “Paula Deen for gluten-free” (but you’d never guess it to look at her – gluten-free is doing this woman good. I’ve met Carol in person, and dang she looks AMAZING!). But, this is the cookbook you pull out when you want to dazzle guests. When you want to fool people who think that gluten-free can’t taste indulgent. And most importantly, when you want to treat yourself. – Note that I’m still recovering from the worst breakfast cookie ever that we purchased (brand shall remain un-named), not surprisingly, on sale for just 50 cents as a “treat” the other day. Next time I’m going for the ice cream bar. Or one of the desserts from this cookbook.

Simply … Gluten Free Desserts is definitely not dairy-free (though there are some awesome dairy-free recipes in it), but I love the challenge of adapting recipes. I started simple, with Carol’s Chocolate Cherry Fudge Drop recipe. Everyone LOVED these. I had five different taste-testers, and all wanted more. Just taste it for yourself …

Chocolate Cherry Fudge Cookies - Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free


Recipe: Chocolate Cherry Fudge Drop Cookies

Summary: Recipe adapted from Simply … Gluten Free Desserts by Carol Kicinski. This recipe is Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Peanut-Free, Wheat-Free, and optionally Soy-Free (depending on your chocolate).


  • 4 Ounces Dark Chocolate, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil, Palm Shortening, or Dairy-Free Margarine (I used coconut oil)
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons Brown or White Rice Flour
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Tapioca or Potato Starch
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/3 Cup Chocolate Chips or Dark Chocolate Chunks (I chopped up some more dark chocolate)
  • 1/2 Cup Dried Cherries, chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds


  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. You can melt the dark chocolate with the oil in a double broiler, but I use the lazy method: Heat the chocolate and oil in a medium-sized bowl in the microwave, on high for 60 seconds. Remove and whisk the chocolate vigorously. If the chocolate isn’t quite melted, zap it for another 15 seconds, and whisk again, until smooth.
  3. Let the chocolate cool, if needed, for a couple of minutes, then whisk in the egg, sugar, flour, starch, baking powder, and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Stir in the chips or chunks, cherries, and almonds.
  5. If the mixture is still a little thin, let it cool for another 5 minutes. It continues to thicken as it cools. You don’t want it to get too thick, just thick enough to scoop and so that it doesn’t run all over the baking sheet.
  6. Scoop the dough by the tablespoonful (I literally used a tablespoon measuring spoon), into mounds on your prepared baking sheet.
  7. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges are firm and the tops lose most of their shine and look cracked.
  8. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then move them to a wire rack.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Diet tags: Gluten free, Dairy free, Vegetarian

Number of servings (yield): 18

Copyright © Alisa Fleming.

Not Gluten-Free? The flour isn’t a major component in this recipe, so feel free to sub in any flour for both the flour and starch to get results that are similar and tasty.

Chocolate Cherry Fudge Cookies - Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free


Filed Under: Alisa's Recipes, Cookbook Trials

Free For All “Nutty” Chocolate Chippers

Posted by on February 28, 2011 | 30 Comments

What I wouldn’t give to spend a day in Jules Shepard’s kitchen. I can only imagine the energy, the creativity, and of course, the delicious food.

When you really take a look at them, you will notice that cookbooks are an insightful reflection of the author. They give you glimpses of their cooking style, their organization, what inspires them, their favorite types of food, and even their health philosophy. And truthfully, after one pass through Free For All Cooking, I knew Jules Shepard was a woman who I wanted to know.

Just one look at my book and my blog will tell you that my personal style is all about adapting recipes for anyone to enjoy. Creating options and learning to be flexible in the kitchen … well, Jules takes this concept to a whole new level.

Free For All Cooking is like an amazing mix and match cookbook. You know those childhood books where you could choose to go to page x or page y for the next portion of the story, and whichever way you chose would take you to a different, but equally entertaining conclusion? Think of this method, but in recipe form, and you will understand Jules’s style. 

For beginners, you can follow the story straight through, making the recipes to a “T,” as there is always a core recipe. If there is a sub you must make for a particular food allergy, Jules has you covered. You can easily follow one of her recommendations; the entire book is gluten-free, but she includes a myriad of dairy-free and egg-free options throughout. Then, for those who like a little adventure and are more comfortable with experimentation, Jules gives you so, so many options with the “choose this or that” approach. Sub this flour for that one, try this egg substitute instead, toss in these add-ins or those ones, or both!

I’m fairly new to gluten-free cooking and baking, and still bake with gluten sometimes too, but Jules’s method helped me to open my mind and not be so afraid to experiment with the different flours and even juggle egg replacers. She reminded me that recipes can be forgiving, and that changing things up may even create a new favorite.

But enough rambling … I’m sure you’re dying to know more about the actual recipes in this cookbook! There are of course many, many baked good recipes, including Buttermilk Biscuits, Pizza Dough, Whole Grain Sandwich Bread, Scones, Danish Pastries, English Muffins, Pop-Tarts, Crusty French Baguette, Challah (pictured below), and the list goes on.

In addition to the Pizza Dough, I’ve marked the Flour Tortillas, Potato Gnocchi, and Coconut Rice to make as soon as possible (we are in the midst of packing things up for a move, so I need to wait before stocking up on more flours and canned goods). But of course, in classic Alisa fashion, I busted out Free For All Cooking to make the Nut Butter Cookies right away …

Yes, I know what you are all thinking, “another nut butter cookie recipe Alisa?” But really, can you ever have too many cookie recipes? I mean, they each have their own nuances, and these were definitely unique cookies. They came out perfectly sweet, but not sugary (Jules gives the option of using a granulated sweetener or liquid – I opted for the liquid), thick, and soft. They simply begged for a tall glass of vanilla almond milk for dunking or a hot cup of tea. Quite different from the chewy PB chocolate chip cookies that I posted for you weeks ago.

For fun, I’m going to share my versions of Jules’s Nut Butter Cookies with you here, but if you want to start having some fun with flours in the kitchen, go get Free For All Cooking!

Jules, let’s do lunch.

Nut Butter Chocolate Chippers

Recipe adapted from Free For All Cooking: 150 Easy Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly Recipes The Whole Family Can Enjoy by Jules E. Dowler Shepard.

Do not attempt to eat these cookies without a nice cool or hot beverage nearby. They are very thick and rich! If you find the dough a bit too thick, feel free to add a little bit of milk alternative or water, a teaspoon at a time, to get the right consistency. This recipe is Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Wheat-Free, optionally Vegan, and optionally Nut-Free.

  • 1 Cup Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, SunButter, or Soy “Nut” Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Honey or Agave Nectar (I used honey)
  • 1-1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 Cup Mashed Banana (can sub applesauce)
  • 1/4 Cup Potato Starch
  • 1/4 Cup Tapioca Starch
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 1/3 Cup Oats, ground in a spice / coffee grinder to make oat flour
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Semi-Sweet or Dark Chocolate Chips

Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the starches, brown rice flour, oat flour, and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix the nut butter (or seed or soy butter), honey or agave, banana, and vanilla, until well combined. Add the flour mixture from your other bowl and blend well. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Shape dough into balls the size of ping pong balls. Place them on your prepared baking sheet, and either simply flatten and shape them you’re your hands, or use the old peanut butter cookie trick – dip a fork in sugar and use it to press down the dough for that criss-cross top.

Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they lose their sheen. Let them cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely … or simply eat them.

Makes 16 to 18 cookies


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Filed Under: Alisa's Recipes, Cookbook Trials

Grain-Free, Egg-Free Coconut Macaroons

Posted by on February 7, 2011 | 33 Comments

Ricki Heller’s blog, Diet Dessert & Dogs, was one of the first that I discovered, and quickly fell in love with, back in the early blogging days. Her wit, her stories, and oh, those wonderful recipes. Sure, anyone can make a pepperoni pizza, but have you seen a truly tasty, made-from-scratch version that is also vegan and gluten-free? What about decadent truffles that are dairy-free, low in sugar, and sneakily packed with sweet potatoes? And have you ever thought to replace the carrots in quick bread with nutritious parsnips?

This woman is immensely creative with healthy food and can take on ANY special diet challenge. Honestly, I am so grateful to have a friend who is so inspirational.

But lest you think she is too perfect when it comes to nutrition … Ricki is human … she has a voracious sweet tooth. So it came as little surprise to me when she married her passions for sweets and good health in her latest e-cookbook, Desserts without Compromise.

Ricki already has a vegan and wheat-free dessert cookbook under her belt (just in case you aren’t familiar, Sweet Freedom is a must have too!), but she took it several steps further, creating a collection of desserts suitable for her ACD Diet. That means these desserts are all low glycemic, refined sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, … and just for kicks, Ricki makes all of her recipes egg-free, since she is also vegan. Yes, if you are looking for diabietic-friendly, ACD (anti-candida diet) and SCD (specific carbohydrate diet) qualified, or simply healthier dessert recipes, then Desserts without Compromise is definitely for you.

Desserts without Compromise was literally my savior during my recent ten-day “sugar break.” Just when I thought I couldn’t hold out any longer, I remembered Ricki’s e-cookbook, and went straight to the kitchen. Within minutes, I had several Carob-Coconut Sweeties just waiting to be devoured …


(This is actually Ricki’s photo, my photos were not nearly this nice!)

As Ricki mentions in the recipe, it makes a small batch, just in case you can’t stop. Smart move, because yes, I did devour the whole batch. I’m not a big tahini fan, so I prefer all nut butter in this recipe, but it does have a nice contrast for those of you who do like tahini.

With that success, and my strict sugar-free challenge completed, I moved on to the lightly sweetened recipes, and these awesome Grain-Free Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

Loved, loved, loved them! Ricki mentioned that you could use any nut in the recipe. Since we didn’t have any hazelnuts, I used ground cashews, and the cookies still turned out perfect!

Of course, once I get started on cookies, I can’t stop. So I also made the heavenly Grain-Free Coconut Macaroons

Again, I used cashews instead of the almonds called for in the recipe (this time, because the husband is allergic to almonds). In addition, I made a few little changes to the recipe, customizing it to the ingredients and tools that I had on hand. So Ricki was kind enough to let me reprint my version for you here …


Grain-Free Macaroon Cookies

Recipe adapted from Desserts without Compromise by Ricki Heller.

These little gems brown quickly on the outside, but stay soft and chewy on the inside … like a cross between a macaroon and a chewy cookie. This recipe is Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Wheat-Free, and optionally Vegan.

  • 1/3 Cup (1.5 ounces) Raw Cashews
  • 2 Tablespoons Flaxseeds
  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Honey (or agave nectar if you are keeping it vegan like Ricki)
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil, melted
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • up to 1/4 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips (I chopped up some dark chocolate chunks) or Cacao Nibs

Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line a cookie sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

In your spice grinder, grind the cashews and flaxseeds into a powder (takes just about 30 seconds). Place the cashew / flax mixture in a medium-sized bowl, and add the coconut flour, honey or agave, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt. Stir until everything is well combined. Fold in the shredded coconut, followed by the chocolate or cacao nibs.

With slightly wet hands (to avoid sticking), shape the dough into 12 little rounds. Flatten each to about 3/8 to 1/2-inch thickness (they don’t spread). Place the cookie disks on your prepared cookie sheet, and bake for 5 minutes. Turn the cookie sheet for even browning, and then bake for another 4 to 6 minutes (I take mine out at exactly 10 minutes total), or when they are turning a golden brown on the outside.

Makes 12 macaroon-cookie gems


Now this is just the tip of the iceburg for Desserts without Compromise. Check it out on Ricki’s website. Other great recipes that I hope to make soon include the Soy-free Corn-free Creamy Vanilla Custard, Almond Cinnamon Fudge (with other nuts for us!), Mint Chip Ice cream, and Individual Bread Puddings with Caramel Sauce …


Filed Under: Alisa's Recipes, Cookbook Trials

Super-Simple Spiced “Overnight” Granola

Posted by on February 2, 2011 | 38 Comments

I seem to be on the “auto-ship” plan for a lot of publishers thanks to Go Dairy Free, so random diet books and cookbooks often appear on my doorstep without warning. Last week, The $5 Dinner Mom Breakfast and Lunch Cookbook by Erin Chase arrived. I confess, this one is not really up my alley. The recipes are very, very easy and have short ingredient lists … two things I love … but, there are a many pre-packaged short-cut ingredients used, lots of sugars, and the recipes are almost a bit too basic for our tastes. This cookbook really belongs in the homes of small families with little kids and even littler time.

Also, please note that this cookbook is not dairy-free or free-from in any fashion, not by a long shot. But the recipes are simple enough that some who are free-from and willing to use quite a few store-bought alternatives may find it quite useful.

That all said, I can’t resist looking through cookbooks, and a few recipes intrigued me. I ended up making two of the recipes before passing this cookbook onto my sister (who has a big family, but with small girls and on a budget), and both were a success.

First up was the Lemon & Dill Tuna Pasta Salad

I actually made this gluten-free, as I was testing out Goldbaum’s Brown Rice Pasta. Two thumbs up on the pasta. It was tender and delicious, and the spirals held up even when I let the pasta salad chill overnight! Most gluten-free pastas seem to break quite a bit if slightly overcooked or when stored overnight.

The pasta salad itself had a nice fresh taste (though it still uses some mayo! Just a heads up for you purists), and filled us up for lunch. I did double the tuna and the peas, and I added a grated carrot (keeping the dressing and pasta amounts the same). If I had made the recipe as is, it would have been a bit too carb-rich for us and I think our motors might have run out within an hour or so.

The next day, I decided to give her Overnight Granola a go …

Making granola is so easy, that I literally haven’t bought a box at the store in over three years. But this recipe … this recipe takes easy to a whole new level. I love Erin’s concept to simply “set it and forget it” with the granola, and the fact that she keeps the recipe so basic (just oats) leaves a lot of room for experimentation.

Though you could enjoy it as cereal, topped with fresh fruit and doused with some almond milk, I opted to saute up some apples and dates, and use the granola as a topping. It was a delicious sweet breakfast treat that my husband and I both loved!

Like the original recipe, I kept it simple, but did make a few modifications for taste and texture preferences and to make it dairy-free. I also tested it as a daytime recipe … and as it turns out, just a couple of hours will do …


Super-Simple Spiced “Overnight” Granola

Recipe adapted from The $5 Dinner Mom Breakfast and Lunch Cookbook by Erin Chase. Erin recommends using a mixture of rolled oats and quick oats as it helps the granola clump a bit … and she was right! I changed the ratio, using more rolled oats, but it still clumped nicely.

This recipe is Vegan / Vegetarian, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Wheat-Free and optionally Gluten-Free (with the use of certified gluten-free oats).

  • 1/4 Cup Oil (I used melted coconut oil)
  • 1/4 Cup Honey (can sub agave nectar for vegan)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 to 1-1/2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Cups Rolled Oats
  • 1 Cup Quick Oats (not instant)

Preheat your oven to 300ºF (check to make sure your oven doesn’t run hot!).

Combine the oil, honey, vanilla, spices, and salt in a small dish and stir to combine. Place the oats in a large bowl and stir to mix the two kinds up, then add the liquid ingredients and stir until all those little oats are nicely coated. Spread the oat mixture out on a baking sheet (preferably one with rimmed sides so the granola doesn’t slide off the sheet!) or large jelly roll pan.

Place the oats in the oven and allow them to bake for just 10 minutes, not a minute more, then turn off the oven and leave the granola inside to finish baking. Don’t peak! You can leave them there while you run errands, go to bed, etc. But I found that they were done (as in the oven was cold and the granola was golden) after about 2.5 hours. So 2 to 3 hours is plenty if you are awake and remember them. Stir to declump a bit and store the granola in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes 6 servings

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Filed Under: Alisa's Recipes, Cookbook Trials

Grain-Free & Egg-Free Bread Rolls!

Posted by on January 27, 2011 | 27 Comments

I’ve really been loving experimenting with gluten-free and even grain-free, but since we haven’t yet determined if baked eggs are okay for Tony (we’ll be testing that down the line), I find myself limited in what recipes I can try. Especially since we live at high altitude. Note, lack of gluten + lack of eggs + lack of oxygen = numerous baked good failures. Oh yes, and he is allergic to almonds too … so almond flour is out for anything I want to share (lord knows I don’t need a pan full of brownies all to myself!).

But all is not lost. I have had some successful experiments, and I have certainly found at least a few recipes to learn from. My favorite recent find was Kelly’s new cookbook, Grain-Free Baked Goods and Desserts: Gluten-Free, Casein-Free, and Often Egg-Free. I would say that a little over half of the recipes call for eggs, but some don’t … and those my friends, are true gems.

I started making her Red Rock Rolls last week …

… and moved onto the Cinnamon Raisin Bagels in small roll form (very similar recipe to the Red Rock Rolls, but with cinnamon and raisins instead) …

Tony is loving the Cinnamon Raisin version as a sweet snack (only 1 Tablespoon of honey in the whole recipe and he enjoys them as a treat, woohoo!), but I am still partial to the Red Rock Rolls with oregano and onion. Okay, they’re both good.

Since our climate here is very, very dray, I’ll be adding a little extra moisture in my next batch. As you can tell from my picture (below), compared to Kelly’s, they are coming out a bit flatter here (my dough is also a touch dry). But, we haven’t really cared. They still taste scrumdidli-umptious, and really do have a bread-like texture!

Since the recipe is printed online, Kelly was kind enough to let me share it with you here. Enjoy!

Red Rock Rolls

Recipe adapted ever so slightly from Grain-Free Baked Goods and Desserts by Kelly Brozyna of The Spunky Coconut. This recipe is Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free and optionally Vegan.

Just guessing here, but I think Kelly calls them Red Rock Rolls, because they turn this amazing red-orange color on the outside when they bake.

Add to mixing bowl:

  • 3 Tablespoons Ground Flax Seed OR 1.5 Tablespoons Ground Chia Seeds (you can buy meal or grind the seeds yourself—I use my coffee grinder)
  • 3 Tablespoons Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum OR Guar Gum
  • 1/4 Cup Unsweetened Milk Alternative (I used coconut milk beverage – in a refrigerated carton)

Beat with electric mixer.

Add, preferably in this order:

  • 1 Tablespoon Honey (can sub agave nectar for vegan)
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil, melted
  • 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Tapioca Flour / Starch
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder (Kelly has a grain-free baking powder recipe in her book)

Beat again until a mass begins to form.

Form the dough into a ball with your hands. (I put some oil on my hands so the dough doesn’t stick to them.)

Divide the ball in three (or four, we do four).

Roll each piece into a ball and flatten into the shape of a burger or veggie pattie that is about 1″ thick.

Bake at 350ºF on unbleached parchment paper for about 24 minutes.

Best if eaten while hot; do not refrigerate.

Makes 3 to 4 rolls


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I submitted Kelly’s Red Rock Rolls to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays on Simply Sugar- & Gluten-Free!


Filed Under: Alisa's Recipes, Cookbook Trials

Vegan Thanksgiving E-Cookbooks

Posted by on November 18, 2010 | 5 Comments

Just wanted to give a shout out to some Thanksgiving e-cookbooks that I had a hand in …

A Bountiful Vegan Thanksgiving E-Book: In the giving spirit, all profits from this e-book will be donated to humanitarian charities concerned with hunger, microfinancing for women in developing countries, and the alleviation of human trafficking. It costs just $8.95. The e-book was created by Nava Atlas, but several of us authors had the opportunity to contribute! You will find one of my favorite holiday recipes (Tender Squash Dinner Rolls – trust me, amazing!) from my book, Go Dairy Free, in this e-book (which has 65 creative holiday recipes in total!).

Mission Impossible Pies E-Book: I helped with the “production” of this e-cookbook, but the recipes and photos are all Hannah. It includes a dozen crustless pie recipes that are perfect for the holidays. You will enjoy the no fuss factor in making these, and how many options there are for both vegan (egg-free / dairy-free) and gluten-free. It costs just $5 and includes full color photos for all recipes.

Ebooks are great and instant! No need to wait for that Amazon order when you need those recipes now.

If you need “helper” recipes, Go Dairy Free (the book/cookbook I wrote) is also available as an ebook, and it includes all of those building block recipes you need for creating dairy-free holiday meals like sweetened condensed “milk,” condensed creme of mushroom soup, evaporated “milk,” etc.

Are you converting and favorite holiday recipes to dairy-free, gluten-free, or vegan this year?


Filed Under: Cookbook Trials

Jam-Filled Snackin’ Muffins (or Soda Rolls)

Posted by on March 10, 2010 | 12 Comments

I swear, sometimes I feel like Celine reads my mind when it comes to trialing out baked goodie recipes. I purchased some all-fruit spread solely for the purpose of coming up with some jam-filled muffins and PB&J granola for my husband’s morning snack … when low and behold, I opened her new book 500 Vegan Recipes (co-written with Joni Marie Newman) to discover recipes for both!

Vegan Jam-Filled Soda Rolls

She calls these muffins “rolls,” which I suppose is fair since they really aren’t very sweet, save for the jam surprise in the middle. Nonetheless, they are perfectly yummy and satisfying for breakfast. I had to modify the recipe a wee bit, based on what I had on hand. I did use honey (sorry, I know it isn’t strict vegan practice, and have no fear, 500 Vegan Recipes is honey-free!), but you can stick with their suggested sweetener or agave as I have noted.


Jam-Filled Snackin’ Muffins (or Soda Rolls)

Recipe adapted from 500 Vegan Recipes by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman

They do specifically recommend soymilk for this recipe since it curdles best; though you may have success with other milk alternatives. Though we don’t typically stock soy in our house, I was reviewing this soymilk for Go Dairy Free, so I decided to use it here. This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, and optionally Soy-Free and Refined Sugar-Free.

  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1-1/4 Cups Plain Soymilk (see above note for other soy-free milk alternatives)
  • 1-1/4 Cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1 Cup Whole or White Spelt Flour (I used whole spelt)
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey, Raw Sugar or Agave Nectar (I used un-vegan honey)
  • 2 Tablespoons Oil (I used extra-light olive, but you could use grapeseed, canola, or melted coconut oil)
  • 1/4 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  •  1/4 Cup Jam or All-Fruit Spread
  • Melted non-dairy margarine (optional)

 Preheat your oven to 400ºF, and lightly grease 12 muffin cups.

Combine the vinegar and soymilk in a medium-sized bowl or glass measuring cup, and allow it to sit as the vinegar “curdles” the soymilk.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Add the sweetener, oil, and applesauce to the now curdled soymilk. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture in your large bowl, and gently stir until just combined. No over-mixing!

Place 1 heaping tablespoon of the batter in each muffin cup. Top each mound of batter with 1 teaspoon of jam. Top the jam with the remaining batter (another heaping tablespoon per cup).

Bake for 15 minutes. As soon as you remove the rolls from the oven, brush the tops with non-dairy margarine if desired. Personally, I would skip this step next time, as I wasn’t a big fan of the salty margarine topping … but I am sure many people would love it. Pop the muffins out (they seemed to come out of the cups nicely, even while still quite hot) and indulge.

Yields a dozen sweet and savory muffins

Vegan Jam-Filled Soda Rolls

6 Winners and 5 Delicious Recipes

Posted by on November 22, 2009 | 21 Comments

Our cookbook winners have been chosen … Congratulations to:

The 1,000 Vegan Recipes Winner:  Tanya!

The Go Dairy Free: Guide and Cookbook Winner:  Ordinary Vegetarian!

The Go Dairy Free: Guide and Cookbook E-Book Winner:  Elaine!

The Sweet Freedom Cookbook Winner:  Elizabeth!

The The Garden of Eating Winner:  Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free!

The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook Winner:  GFCFmom

And since I had to close additional comments on the giveaway posts (and those recipes were sneakily hiding at the bottom of each post), I leave you with a delicious round-up of this week’s featured recipes (yep, photos, recipes and all, right here). Enjoy! I have to go catch up on reading all of your great comments! … 

Cinn-ful Sweet Potato Cookies

This recipe is adapted from Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. This book/cookbook is also available as an ebook to be downloaded in an instant worldwide.

These deliciously soft cookies are perfect for sharing this holiday season. See the options at the end the recipe for jazzing them up even more.

If you use coconut oil (as I did), just make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature. I have a bad habit of adding chilled maple syrup, which causes the coconut oil to solidify. Also, if you like a soft cookie, store any leftovers in a ziploc bag once cool. This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free, and optionally Nut-Free.

  • 2 Cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour or All-Purpose (Plain) Flour (Can sub your flour blend of choice though I haven’t tested GF flours in this cookie as of yet)
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Melted Coconut Oil, Grapeseed Oil, or other Neutral-Tasting Oil
  • 1 Cup Sweet Potato Puree (can sub pumpkin puree)
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Preheat your oven to 350ºF (175ºC).

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, mix the oil, sweet potato, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture into the wet mixture. The dough will be rather sticky. For best results and better manageability, chill the dough for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour. If using coconut oil, it will firm up particularly well.

Drop the dough by the heaping tablespoonful onto baking sheets (ungreased non-stick or lined with non-stick silpats or parchment paper).

Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until they no longer look wet, and are just beginning to brown around the edges, or to your desired doneness. (I like them a little softer on the insides, so I bake them for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the size).


Cinnamon-Sugar Topping: If desired, combine 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar (white sugar, palm sugar, etc.) and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in a small dish, and sprinkle the mixture atop each ball of dough before baking.

Pecan Topper: I like the festive touch of pressing one nice half pecan into the top of each ball of dough before baking. The pecans toast up nicely.

Flavorful Add-ins: If you like, you can add dried cranberries, raisins, chocolate chips, or nuts to your cookies. Stir about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of your desired add-ins into the dough after you stir in the dry ingredients.

Yields 3 to 4 dozen cookies, depending on how big you make ‘em

Cinn-ful Sweet Potato Cookies - Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Vegan


No Waste: Orange-Oat Muffins

This recipe is from Sweet Freedom by Ricki Heller. See Ricki’s blog for deals and specials on this cookbook. She does ship direct to U.S. and Canadian customers, and also has an ebook available for worldwide purchase.

“Unlike many low-fat muffins, these taste great: they are moist and flavorful, with an intense orange presence. There’s also substantial fiber from the fruits and whole spelt. Using a food processor means these are incredibly easy to prepare!” – or blender in my case as you shall see. And yes, Ricki includes metric measurements for all of the recipes in Sweet Freedom, just like this one. This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, and Free from Regined Sugars.

  • 1 Whole Medium Organic Seedless Orange, washed, whole and with skin [This is one time when you want to spring on that organic orange, since you will be using the peel too]
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) Finely Ground Flax Seeds
  • 3 Tablespoons (45 ml) Water
  • 1/2 Cup (60 g) Chopped Dried Pitted Dates (they should be soft)
  • 3 Tablespoons (45 ml) Sunflower or Other Light-Tasting Oil [I used grapeseed]
  • 1/4 Cup (60 ml) Pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) Blackstrap Molasses
  • 1/2 Cup (120 ml) Plain or Vanilla Soy or Almond Milk
  • 1 Cup (140 g) Whole Spelt Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon (5 ml) Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Teaspoon (1 ml) Sea Salt
  • 1 Cup (100 g) Old-Fashioned, Whole Rolled Oats (not instant)

Preheat your oven to 375F (190C). Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners for small muffins or 9 liners for large muffins, or spray with nonstick coating.

In the bowl of a food processor, process the orange segments until almost smooth.  Add the flax seeds, water, dates. oil, maple syrup, molasses, and milk alternative and process almost to a smooth puree (you can leave a few small flecks of date and/or orange, but none should be larger than sunflower seeds). Set aside for a few minutes to rest, while you prepare the dry ingredients.

Alisa’s Note: No Food Processor? I don’t have one either. I simply added the orange sections through the milk alternative to my little old blender, and let ‘er rip until it was well blended, with a few tiny date and orange bits left for interest.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt.  Add the oats and stir to mix.

Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture in the bowl and stir just until combined (it’s okay if a few dry spots remain, you just don’t want to overmix!). Spoon the batter into your prepared muffin cups or tins – they will be quite full.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating the pan about half-way through [I skipped the rotation], until a tester inserted into one of the muffins comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pans before removing to a rack to cool completely.  These taste even better the next day, as flavors meld [I can vouch for that!].  These muffins freeze beautifully [I can’t vouch for this, since we devoured them all while fresh].

Yields 9 to 12 scrumptious muffins

orange-oat muffins from sweet freedom


Honey-Mustard Chicken with Ginger

Recipe adapted from The Garden of Eating by Chef Rachel Albert-Matesz. For faster deliver, this cookbook is available to purchase direct from Chef Rachel via her website.

In the cookbook, it states to cut the chicken into 2-inch wedges. I completely missed this part and broiled them whole – luckily it worked out beautifully. This recipe is Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free, and Free of Refined Sugars.

Prep: 20 minutes ~ Cooking: 8 to 10 minutes ~ Yield: 6 servings


  • 1-1/2 to 2 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

Honey-Mustard Marinade:

  • 3 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Creamy White, Yellow, or Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Finely Grated or Minced Fresh Gingerroot
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Red or Black Pepper

Add chicken to a glass or Pyrex dish. Mix marinade, pour over chicken, and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours, all day, or overnight.

Cook chicken pieces on grill, under broiler, or in lightly oiled, heavybottomed skillet over medium heat, about 3 minutes per side, or until firm, meat is beige throughout, and juices run clear when a test piece is cut in half. I opted for broiling.

To broil, preheat your broiler (about 8 to 10 minutes), and move the oven rack so that the meat will be about 5 to 6 inches away from the element. Spread the meat out in a broiler pan or over a wire rack in a roasting pan, to allow the juices to drip while cooking. Give it a good basting of that thick marinade, and broil for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the chicken begins to brown. Flip the chicken and marinade it again (see the next step for heating up that marinade). Return it to the oven and broil until the chicken begins to brown and the meat is cooked through, roughly another 5 to 7 minutes.

Add a dash of water to any leftover marinade, bring to boil, and simmer 4 minutes. Baste chicken with mixture as it cooks. Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers and use within 3 days. (They’re delicious cold)


  • In step 1, add 1 tablespoon minced fresh or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, tarragon, dill, or basil.
  • Honey-Mustard Chicken with Chipotlé: Replace ginger with 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotlé. Omit black pepper and garnish final dish with minced cilantro before serving.
  • Honey-Mustard Chicken Salad: Serve chicken over heaping individual plates of raw spinach, arugula, or spring greens, minced scallions, parsley, red radishes, celery, fresh or sun-dried tomato slices, avocado, and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

Nutrition analysis provided by The Garden of Eating: 1 serving ~ 230 calories, 30 g protein, 7 g carbohydrate, 9 g fat, 15 mg calcium, 128 mg sodium



Chewy Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Recipe adapted from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook.

Since I used homemade almond flour, and didn’t want to spend all day grinding and sifting, I reduced the batch size of the recipe, and adjusted some of the ingredients accordingly. Also, I didn’t have any agave nectar on hand (we aren’t big fans), but found that honey and maple syrup do sub nicely.

This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Soy-Free, Free from Refined Sugars, and far easier than it looks – boy I do ramble on, don’t I?

  •  3/4 Cup Almond Flour, packed*
  • 2 Tablespoons Arrowroot Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Grapeseed Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons Agave Nectar, Honey, or Maple Syrup – or combination (I used 2 tablespoons honey + 1 tablespoon maple syrup)
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Frosting (optional) (I was sampling the frosting from Sean’s Food, but you can use the Marshmallow Frosting Recipe in the Almond Flour Cookbook, Elana’s Coconut Cream Frosting, the Vanilla Frosting in Go Dairy Free, this Peanut Butter Fudge Frosting, or whatever creamy filling you choose)

Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the almond flour, arrowroot, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the sweetener(s), oil, and vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients in your medium bowl, until well combined.

Scoop the dough by the tablespoon onto your prepared baking sheet. I found the dough to be just a touch sticky but fairly pliable, allowing me to loosely roll them into balls.

Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. Do not overcook them. The tops of the cookies will start to look a little dry and crack a bit when done, but not as much as chocolate cookies that contain eggs. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet or a wire rack for 30 minutes.

If making sandwich cookies, spread frosting (however much you want!) on the bottom of one cookie and top it with the bottom of another cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies. Take a bite, smoosh and enjoy.

*Elana recommends blanched almond flour, which I am sure is superior. If you are like me and just have some raw almonds on hand and want to trial this recipe out, pulse them in your spice grinder until a mealy/floury consistency is reached. This happens very fast, do not overgrind lest you end up with almond butter. Using a mesh sieve, sift the almond flour to extract the finest bits to use for your flour. Repeat until you have the amount you need. Don’t fear waste either; you can turn any rejects into almond butter!

Yields a dozen soft and chewy cookies or six smooshable sandwich cookies

Grain-Free, Dairy-Free Chewy Chocolate Cookies


Hollandaze Sauce

This recipe is from 1,000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson, published by John Wiley & Sons.

  • 3/4 Cup Unsalted Raw Cashews
  • 3 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 Cup Hot Water
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Yellow Mustard
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Turmeric
  • Pinch Ground Cayenne
  • 3 Tablespoons Vegan Margarine

In a high-speed blender, process the cashews to a fine powder. Add the nutritional yeast, water, lemon juice, mustard, salt, turmeric, and cayenne and blend until smooth.

In a small saucepan, melt the margarine over medium heat and add to the cashew mixture. Blend until smooth. Serve as is or return the sauce to the same saucepan and heat, stirring, over low heat.

Yields 1 1/2 cups



Filed Under: Alisa's Recipes, Cookbook Trials

Cookbook Giveaway #5: 1,000 Vegan Recipes and a Hollandaze Sauce Recipe

Posted by on November 20, 2009 | 161 Comments

1000 vegan recipe giveaway

So what do 1000 vegan recipes look like? Something like this …

1000 vegan recipes

Trust me, this hard-backed baby is thick. I thought there were two books in the package. Now, whenever Robin Robertson, author of 1,000 Vegan Recipes, is asked “What does a vegan eat?” she won’t need to say a word. She can just haul out with this massive cookbook and lay it on them.

I must admit, when I thought of the idea of this many recipes in one book, I was a bit overwhelmed. I have had jam-packed cookbooks sit on my shelves for years merely because it is just too much work to sift through them. But 1,000 Vegan Recipes is beautifully organized, and filled with simple, yet flavorful recipes. It really is that cookbook you open up when you don’t know what to make and you don’t want to have to head to the store to pick anything up. Just thumbing through, I found dozens of recipes that used only ingredients I regularly stock.

I would give you a list of sample recipes, but there are simply too many to give you an accurate overview. Entrees, appetizers, sauces, soups, desserts … dozens upon dozens of recipes for every category. Instead, I will give a quick review of the three recipes I trialed within 24 hours of receiving this book. 

It was lunch time when the book arrived, otherwise known as big-massive salad time, and I was craving something new for our salad dressing. I went for the Creamy Artichoke Dressing and didn’t regret it.

creamy dairy-free artichoke dressing

I won’t give away the secret, but this amazingly dairy-free dressing took no more than two minutes and a blender to create and it didn’t contain any mayo (vegan or otherwise) or dairy alternatives! Yet, it turned out so rich and creamy. Upon refrigeration it thickens even more, so you can thin it a bit for a lighter dressing.

Of course, after lunch I was craving something sweet, and the Agave-Glazed Pecans recipe looked too, too easy. But, I turned them into Maple-Glazed Pecans (an option Robin gave in the cookbook), and used a heavy hand with the vanilla.

maple glazed pecans

I was surprised by how gooey they turned out, but that was a benefit in my book. They were delicious! Though next time I mights spice them up even more.

As long as I was cooking up the pecans, I thought, “Why not try the walnut recipe too?” The savory Five-Spiced Walnuts tasted like hot buttered popcorn (with a fragrant kick) right out of the oven!  This easy recipe is going to the top of my repeat list.


Of course, there are many more substantial recipes in this book, but I barely got past skimming the first few chapters before I was compelled to head to the kitchen. But don’t take my word for it … Win a copy for yourself today!

  • To enter to win a copy of 1,000 Vegan Recipes, leave a comment on this post telling me why you want to win this cookbook.
  • To receive a bonus entry, spread the word about this giveaway … tweet it, share it with your friends on facebook, mention it on your blog, or email some colleagues … whatever works for you. Just make sure you come back here and leave a second comment letting me know you did.

Entries will close at midnight TODAY, so get your entry in now! All of this week’s cookbook winners will be announced at the end of the week.

It is very rare that I would post a recipe here that I haven’t yet trialed, but when Robin mentioned featuring her Hollandaze Sauce recipe, I lept at the opportunity. And, I can assure you, I will be making this recipe to top some asparagus very soon …


Hollandaze Sauce

This recipe is from 1,000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson, published by John Wiley & Sons.

  • 3/4 Cup Unsalted Raw Cashews
  • 3 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 Cup Hot Water
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Yellow Mustard
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Turmeric
  • Pinch Ground Cayenne
  • 3 Tablespoons Vegan Margarine

In a high-speed blender, process the cashews to a fine powder. Add the nutritional yeast, water, lemon juice, mustard, salt, turmeric, and cayenne and blend until smooth.

In a small saucepan, melt the margarine over medium heat and add to the cashew mixture. Blend until smooth. Serve as is or return the sauce to the same saucepan and heat, stirring, over low heat.

Yields 1 1/2 cups


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