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Vegan no bake cookies!

Even though I have been eating a vegan diet for more than 2 years now, there are still some old favorite dishes and other food items that I have yet to replicate minus the meat, eggs and dairy. One of those is no bake cookies. You know, the yummy ones that show up at just about every holiday party? I haven’t had them in years and honestly hadn’t even thought about them much.

Then we had plans Monday night to visit a friends’ house and we needed to bring a snack. For some reason they popped into my head and I went straight to the internet to find a recipe that contained ingredients I already had on hand at home. Success! I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner! I also wish I had thought to start taking pictures sooner.

Not only are these super tasty but I love the fact that you don’t have to bake them; although waiting for them to cool and harden is almost as time consuming ;)

I found this recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter no bake cookies on the Peta website thanks to Google! It was the first one that popped up when I searched for “vegan no bake cookies” so I went with it. I  followed the directions and ingredients exactly so you’ll have to click the link if you want to try it yourself :) But I promise, they are delicious!


Still enjoying them for dessert a couple days later ;)

Vegan Cinnamon Muffins

I have been reading Jenna’s blog for years, which means that for a long time, I have been drooling over her recipes! But it’s possible that I have either a) never made any of them myself or b) I have but it’s been so long that I can’t remember.

Well, whichever situation it is, I finally remedied that!

Jenna has a lot of vegan recipes on Eat Live Run but I chose to recreate her originally non-vegan Cinnamon Toast Muffins because I knew they were something my husband and friends would enjoy and that I could easily make some substitutes for myself in order to make it vegan.

Vegan Cinnamon Muffins (adapted from Cinnamon Toast Muffins by Jenna @ Eat Live Run)

Ingredients:

1 and 1/2 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze)

1/2 cup organic sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 Ener-G egg replacer “egg” (1.5 tsp powder + 2 tbsp warm water)

1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ginger

Dash of salt

Topping: 4 tablespoons vegan butter (I used Earth Balance), 1/2 cup organic sugar, 1 heaping tsp cinnamon

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients in one big bowl and the wet ingredients in a second, smaller bowl. Combine the two together and mix until well combined (I always have trouble with flour sticking to the bottom of my bowl so I make sure to scrape the bottom really good as I mix). Bake in a greased muffin tin for 25 minutes, poke center muffin with toothpick to make sure they are done.

To make the topping, melt the butter on the stove and then stir in the sugar and cinnamon. I thought mine was too chunky so I added a little water, then it was too runny so I couldn’t get it to stick very well. Next time I will just roll the muffins in the chunks :)

This recipe yielded 8 muffins for me, I actually used the wrong measuring cup for the flour, milk, and sugar and you will see that Jenna’s original recipe called for more of those three ingredients, so if I had managed to do that correctly, I may have gotten 9 or 10. But they were still awfully delicious!

I took these for dessert to my in-laws house a while back and everyone seemed to enjoy them, but I also had some for breakfast, which I have to say they were probably better suited for. I recommend 10 seconds in the microwave, plus a smear of peanut butter.

Thanks Jenna for sharing amazing recipes with the world. I will definitely make this one again!

Have you tried any great recipes recently? Feel free to share in the comments section!

The Happy Herbivore stops by!

If you have not heard of the Happy Herbivore or her awesome recipes yet, you are truly missing out.  To get you all properly introduced, she has offered to answer some questions for me and shares one of her recipes with you too!

Meet Lindsay, the Happy Herbivore :)

The Interview

See Sarah Eat: How did you become vegan?

Happy Herbivore: I went vegan while on vacation in San Fran in Dec 2006. I’d been
vegetarian on and off my entire life, (and had been veg for about year
consistently by then). I’d heard so much about veganism; all these
health benefits, that I was curious, but worried it would be too hard
where I lived. Since SF is a vegan’s town I figured I might as well
experiment where it was “easy.” I felt so good, that I stuck with it
when I got home. Seeing huge, positive changes in me — more energy,
no tummy troubles, weight-loss, clear skin, kept me going and then
when I found out about all the horrors of the dairy and egg
industries, I knew I’d be vegan for life.

SSE: Amen to that! So, what do you think are some of the biggest challenges to eating a vegan diet?

HH: You have to give up a sense of convenience, which is not necessarily a
bad thing. In my early months as a vegan I was annoyed that I could
no-longer just grab a slice of pizza, or a muffin at starbucks; I had
to pack my lunch… but one thing I’ve realized is how GOOD that is. I
used to eat out a lot and my wallet and waste line suffered for it.
Being vegan really does help me stay on track and make good choices.

SSE: What inspired you to write your own cookbook?

HH: When the opportunity presented itself, I wasn’t entirely sure I even
wanted to write one. I’d been considering it, and had just started
looking into it when I met my publisher haphazardly, but once the
project started going I got really into it. I realized it was the
opportunity I’d been waiting for: to show people that eating
vegan–and eating healthy–is easy, approachable, affordable and
delicious!

SSE: What is your favorite recipe that you have created?

HH: My favorites come and go in waves. Last week I was obsessed with the
nacho cheese sauce but right now I would give just about anything for
a carrot cake cupcake.

SSE: What new recipes/projects are you working on now?

HH: I’m in the middle of writing my second cookbook, and after that I’ll
write my third cookbook and after that, I plan to open my own
restaurant, or something. I’d really like to be on TV too! I guess I
have a lot of aspirations!

That she does!

Thank you Lindsay for answering my questions and for being an inspiration and a big help to me when I went vegan. Your recipes are some of my all time favorites (mmm, meatloaf) and I definitely credit you for helping me realize that vegan cooking doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive :)

Make this recipe!

Lindsay is generously allowing me to share one of her recipes with you guys, which I hope you will all go home and make right now. Seriously, this stuff sounds delicious!

Quick Queso (makes 1 cup) – Lindsay says: “It’s okay to go at this sauce with a spoon. I won’t judge.” ;-)

1 cup non-dairy milk (such as fat-free soymilk)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tsp granulated onion powder
1/2 tsp granulated garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp chili powder or cayenne (optional)
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste

Whisk all ingredients together in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often until thick. Serve immediately.

Note: Gluten-free flours or blends may be substituted, such as chickpea flour. Also, add a 1 10-ounce can of Rotel tomatoes with green chilies for a Mexican Queso twist.

Quick Queso

Photo credit: Happy Herbivore flickr page

Biographical notes

Lindsay S. Nixon is a rising star in the culinary world, praised for her ability to use everyday ingredients to create healthy, low fat recipes that taste just as delicious as they are nutritious. Lindsay’s recipes have been featured in Vegetarian Times, Women’s Health Magazine and on The Huffington Post. Lindsay is also a consulting chef at La Samanna, a luxury resort and four-star restaurant in the French West Indies. You can learn more about Lindsay and sample some of her recipes at happyherbivore.com

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins Redux

If pumpkin just totally disgusts you, then you may want to avoid this blog for…say, three months?

Turns out they had Libby’s canned pumpkin at the Walmart grocery store, so I stocked up, big time.

After a couple bowls of pumpkin oat bran, I decided that it was time to get baking with the stuff. After all, I did buy 10 cans of it. Yes, 10.

It’s my precioussssss….

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while have probably seen a few different takes on Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.

The original recipe was not vegan, as it contained eggs, but I have been tweaking it over the past year to make these muffins friendly to my diet and still very delicious!

The last time I made them, they came out a little dry and stuck to the paper. I hate that!

I decided to give them another go this week for Girl’s Night Potluck on Wednesday. When I busted out the paper, I checked the date on it for fun.

I have apparently been using this recipe since 2008!

I made a few substitutions, quite a few actually, so I will share the recipe with you since it varies so much from the original (see picture and link above).

Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups Whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Agave nectar
  • 2 Flax “eggs” (2 tbsp milled flax seed mixed with 1/4 cup water)
  • 3/4 cup Libby’s canned pumpkin (accept NO substitutes)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (because I love it that much)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • A few shakes of salt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use the Kroger brand which has no dairy)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375* (reduced heat due to use of agave nectar. See tips on that here)
  • Line muffin pan with foil or paper liners.
  • Mix the flax “eggs” and let sit for a few minutes.
  • Mix the agave, flax “eggs” and oil in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Add in pumpkin (I omitted water due to use of agave nectar).
  • In a separate, larger bowl, mix together flour, baking powder & soda, spices and salt.
  • Add wet ingredients to dry and mix together well.
  • Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Fill cups evenly and cook for 18-20 minutes (reduced cooking time for agave nectar as well).

The biggest change I made this time was with these two things:

I think the last time (when they stuck to the paper) I also used the Ener-G egg replacer, which is a good product but for baked goods, flax “eggs” work so much better. That’s just my opinion!

This is actually quite an easy recipe to follow and it made my kitchen smell really good!

So…how were they?

Pretty much perfect. They were sweet, moist, and delicious. No paper sticking this time too! My friends were ooh-ing and aww-ing all night so I’m guessing that they liked them too. :)

I am definitely sticking with this version of the recipe for a while. May have to print out this blog post and replace that old paper from 2008!

What is your favorite pumpkin recipe?

Tax Day

Thursday was an interesting day, which started with me mailing our taxes at almost the last minute (well, 10 a.m. at least)!

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And also an old fashioned, cooked on the stove top bowl of oats :)

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Not only do they taste better, but they make for a better presentation too!

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When I got to work, I had some tea and mixed nuts.

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Then I had one of the best lunches ever! I hadn’t had this in a while and I recently saw Caitlin enjoying it, so I decided to add it back to the rotation ;-)

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While I think vegetarian baked beans are my favorite, this works well with black beans, pinto beans, etc. Veggies + protein = <3

And I enjoyed some ripe, juicy strawberries too!

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For my afternoon snack, I tried some new sun dried tomato hummus with carrots.

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I ate it all, but it left a weird aftertaste and I’m not sure that I really liked it that much. But oh well, I tried something new ;-)

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After work, I went to the gym and ran 2 miles.

So far I have only missed one day of running this week, so I feel pretty good. I’ve been taking lots of short walks at work too to get my Vitamin D!

For dinner, I went with Indian. Pre-packaged Indian, that is!

012 013I thought I checked all the packages well at the store but that dang rice contains milk! :(

Just shows that even at 7+ months into this, it’s still easy to make mistakes and stuff slips in. It still turned out to be a nice dinner.

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It wasn’t the best I’d ever had but it was pretty good. I also had some broccoli with Smart Balance Light for some more veggies.

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After dinner digested, I took Suzie to the dog park for a little bit so she could get her exercise too! She loves it there. I’m so glad we got her signed up.

When we got back, I was really craving non-dairy ice cream, but instead of spending a lot to get some high calorie, sugary treat, I made a much healthier version…Banana soft serve!

I just threw one frozen banana in the food processor.

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Then processed until it got creamy, stopping to scrape the sides a few times.

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I topped mine with almond butter and chocolate chips! So much better than processed, store bought ice cream :)

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I watched “500 Days of Summer” which was cute but also a little depressing. It was a beautifully shot movie though, made me want to live in a big(ger) city ;-)

I got hungry again later that night, so I had a small cup of oat bran with almond butter and chips.

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Do you wait until the last minute to do your taxes?

I don’t usually wait until the last day but we had to pay state taxes and I had to wait until we got the money together for that!

Sweet Potato Cornbread

Last night’s girl’s night potluck was totally fun! We ended up watching “Twilight” which I hadn’t really seen before. I’m not as big of a fan as some of you ;-) I haven’t read the books either, but it was a fun movie to watch (and laugh about) with the girls.

(Source)

For dinner, we had vegetarian chili that Beth made on top of some noodles.

It was a little spicy and definitely filling, although I did go back for a little more after this initial bowl :)


That hunk of bread you see in the above picture was my contribution this week…Sweet Potato Cornbread! I was originally going to make biscuits until I learned that I do not own a rolling pin. What?! Guess what I’m shopping for soon?

Not only have I never made this recipe before, I’ve never even made my own cornbread. I get so excited when I am able to create something myself from scratch, as opposed to making it out of the box. I feel a sense of achievement :) The best part is, I had all of this stuff in my fridge and pantry already!

Sweet Potato Cornbread (based on this recipe from Random Girl)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup corn meal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup Silk plain almond milk + 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and allspice. Next, stir in the cornmeal. Add each of the remaining ingredients and mix together. Spoon into a lightly oiled square pan bake for 30 minutes.

It definitely tasted like cornbread! It came out very moist and just a little sweet. I really enjoyed it and so did the girls. What a great way to use up some sweet potatoes too!

We enjoyed some merlot for dessert. I hadn’t had merlot in forever!


This merlot was really good. It was dry but not too much. I prefer red wines to white. What about you?

While we were watching the movie, I snacked on some orange flavored Lifesaver mints, which tasted just like orange tic tacs! Loved ‘em.


When I got home, I was quite hungry again. Not sure why, but I wasn’t going to bed with a growling stomach, so I had half a pita with almond butter, which settled things back down.

Hope you are having a good week so far! I can’t believe it’s already Thursday. I’ve got a busy weekend coming up but we’re expecting beautiful weather again, hooray :)

What are your plans for the weekend?

Using up the apples

I’ve been racking my brain on how to use up these apples! Thanks to everyone who made a suggestion. Basically, I got lazy (and cheap) and didn’t want to buy any ingredients I didn’t already have.

Somehow I managed to come up with this:

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Vegan Apple Crisp

Ingredients:

  • 5 small apples, cored and sliced
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup soymilk

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Grease or spray a 2 qt (8×8) baking dish
  • Core and chop apples, place them in a large bowl
  • Combine sugar, flour, and cinnamon in separate bowl
  • Add dry ingredients to apples and mix well
  • Place apples in a greased 2-qt baking dish
  • Cover evenly with soymilk
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes

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I thought this tasted pretty good but it’s a recipe I want to improve upon. I think when I get some whole wheat pastry flour that would work better. But not bad.

Especially when topped with peanut butter!

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I finally had to scoop the rest out and put it away in the fridge or else I might’ve eaten it all!

Dinner at Waffle House was nothing to write home about. Even Josh was a little disappointed. I think it really depends on the one you go to and apparently the one by our house is kind of lame.

I got a regular order of hash browns with tomatoes, onions and mushrooms. It was pretty good but I think I would get a large order next time. I just wasn’t sure what I was getting myself in to.

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I ate some cinnamon toast when I got home :)

Vegan potato soup

I had main course at our girl’s night potluck this week and since I had a lot of potatoes to use up, I decided potato soup would be an awesome meal!

But since I had never tried making it before, I went immediately to google to find “Vegan Potato Soup.” After scrolling through a few recipes, I finally found one that sounded easy enough and which I had most ingredients for already (which is my criteria when searching recipes by the way).

Behold, the Vegan Potato Soup recipe from Daily Veggie with my own modifications.

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Ingredients

  • 5 medium sized, washed, peeled and diced potatoes
  • 1/2 medium-sized onion, diced
  • A few green onions, chopped
  • 2 tsps pre-minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cups of light plain soy milk
  • 2 tbsps whole wheat flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste

This was the first time I could remember using my vegetable peeler to peel potatoes and it worked quite well!

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Directions

Start my sauteeing oil, onions and garlic in the pot.

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After a few minutes, add the potatoes, salt + pepper and water.

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Let it cook for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes become soft. Then add the soy milk and flour, stirring well so that they mix. Let simmer for another 15-20 minutes, until the soup appears “creamy” and ready to eat. Add more salt and pepper if desired.

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I thought this soup tasted pretty good. It had a great consistency and the potatoes were chunky and soft. My only complaint is that it was a bit on the bland side, so I’d like to see what spices or seasonings I could add to this to improve upon that.

I think everyone liked it though…no leftovers!

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Day 12: Getting into the groove

Happy Monday everyone! That’s right, I said HAPPY!

I know most people usually dread Mondays but I’m loving them (I actually find Tuesday to be more brutal). It’s the start of a new week and time to start something new, whether it be a fitness goal or cooking up some new recipes!

Something funny to start off the day…I forgot to weigh in! I had no expectations for this week really but I usually do it anyway, just to “check in” with myself. Oops! Oh well.

Breakfast was oats with banana and peanut butter. I chose to put half the banana in while it was cooking and then the other half as a topper. Mmm…

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I drove to work today, so I parked my car the 1+ mile away from my building and walked in the cold! It was 45 this morning but I wasn’t making excuses to be lazy ;-)

Snack this morning was some plain ol’ peanuts. Hooray for good fats!

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I also went for a chilly 15-minute walk on my break, which actually ended up warming me up a bit :)

Lunch was leftover Tuscan Beans with sage and garlic. Plus some carrots and hummus on the side for more bulk.

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I used a new kind of hummus this time. I got this on sale for $2.50 at Meijer.

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But I probably won’t get it again. It was okay but nothing near the flavor of Sabra or other kinds I have had – which are only a few cents more expensive. Worth it though!

For my afternoon snack, I had a Silk yogurt in strawberry banana. It was pretty good but a bit too sweet. I want to try some other non-dairy yogurts soon.

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I had to walk the 1+ mile back to my car this afternoon, but thankfully it was much warmer :) I was planning to run or do yoga when I got home but in the end, I just didn’t feel like it.

I walked a lot today and that is enough!

For dinner, I made another recipe straight out of Vegan Planet!!

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Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas!

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It took some extra time and preparation, but I wasn’t in a hurry so I really took my time and followed the recipe exactly (except cut in half).

I had some topping leftover, so I decided to bake it on top of the enchiladas. Getting ready to go into the oven:

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My plate…two enchiladas and lots of topping. The salsa I used was pretty spicy so this dish was exploding with flavor!

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There were literally chunks of sweet potato in every bite. I love this combination!

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Apparently, I hated them, ha ha ha…

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I have to say, as a person who previously enjoyed Mexican food with lots of cheese and sour cream…I don’t miss them AT ALL! In fact, I think they would’ve ruined the flavors of this dish.

As I was packing up the leftovers, I ate some right off the spatula! ;-)

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I can’t wait to pick out my recipes for next week. Who knew this could be so fun and actually save me money too! I guess I did, somewhere in the back of my mind.

Off to watch Dancing with the Stars! Chuck went first and I totally used all my votes on him already, but I cried when Melissa Joan Hart got her scores from the judges, she was fantastic!

What has gotten into me? Ha ha.

Good night my dear friends! God bless.

p.s. Check me out on Caitlin’s Operation Beautiful site today!

Quick breakfast

Hey guys, happy Saturday!

I was up bright and early this morning thanks to an early bed time (I’ve become 80 years old somehow) but I’m feeling great and I am about to go for a walk at the Zoo with two of my aunts. Great way to start a Saturday :)

I’m also going to look at my aunt’s garage, we’ve decided to turn it into a “family gym” and I get to see the progress they have made so far. Basically we all have multiple pieces of fitness equipment (machines, weights, mats, etc.) so we thought, why not put it all in once place? So cool.

Breakfast this morning was something I have not had in a while, French toast! I also finally got some cherries at the store last night, they were on sale for $2.99/lb and they taste so great, I’ve waited so long for these ;-)

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I drizzled a little honey on my toast and it was just right. I basically use the Better Homes & Gardens recipe (from the red and blue cookbook) only I cut it down to 1 serving and I omit sugar. I just use 1 egg, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/4 cup milk (which today, was rice milk), 1/4 tsp each of nutmeg and cinnamon.

Yum :)

Gotta run, er walk, so I will “see” you all later!

Happy Sunny Saturday.

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