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365 days of dinner: July 10-27, 2009

August 9th, 2009 at 05:34 pm

I haven't been posting dinner pics, despite the fact that we've been taking them fairly faithfully, for two reasons: one, I feel tired all the time, and two, food is just not exciting to me like it used to be. I was going to try and conscript NT or AS into doing an entry for me, but they've been plenty busy with other things. So I'm going to suck it up, ignore how unappealing these pics are, and post some before we get too far behind to ever finish this project.

Friday, July 10, we ate at a great restaurant, Sen Yai Sen Lek Thai, which uses local ingredients and sustainable practices such as composting. The last two photos are of dessert: black beans and sticky rice in a warm sweet coconut-milk soup, and banana and sticky rice in the same. Much, much more delicious than they look, believe me!

July 11 we had avocado salad and pizza:

Sunday, July 12, we had a big English fry-up for brunch, and veggie brats, cole slaw and veggie patties for dinner:

July 13 we had creamy broccoli pasta:

Tuesday, July 14, we had BBQ tofu, jalapeno potato salad, bacony (via Bacos) green beans and biscuits.

Wednesday NJ and CC brought over a risotto with baby lima beans and oven roasted squash. I was having a weird stomach night so I didn't have any, but I was told it was delicious.

Thursday, July 16, we had mock duck and vegetables in a spicy peanut sauce.

July 17 was basil rice-noodle stir fry.

Saturday, July 18, we had a kind of Asian-Middle Eastern fusion dinner: mahogany tempeh (a recipe from Vegan Fire and Spice), wasabi mashed potatoes, garlicky greens, and oven-roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce.

Sunday for brunch we tried out a recipe from the new Vegan Brunch cookbook, Tofu Benny, which NT served over a beet-potato hash. For dinner, we had Asian-flavor sesame-cabbage tofu pasta. This marks about the end of Asian food for awhile; I basically found that I can't stomach many of the flavors that I normally love.

Monday, July 20, I made spaghetti and tomato sauce with breaded, pan-fried zucchini:

Tuesday NT made spinach tart and oven-roasted cauliflower:

Wednesday, July 22, we went to the Torchlight Parade in downtown Minneapolis. We brought ingredients and made pizza at NJ & CC's house but neglected to take photos.

July 23 NT made BBQ gluten "wings" and a wild rice salad:

Friday July 24 was my and AS's 12-year anniversary! We went to a nice Italian restaurant called Zelo in downtown Minneapolis. We were with a group of friends and having so much fun that we forgot to take many pictures, except of the wine and the dessert (gelato and sorbet).

July 25 we had Morningstar buffalo wings, corn on the cob, kale and biscuits:

Sunday, July 26, NT made pesto fresh pasta with green beans. Unfortunately I found that pesto is too rich for my delicate stomach these days, so I foraged for something else to eat that night.

July 27 I made chili with TVP (textured vegetable protein) and AS made cornbread:

Whew, I can't look at food photos anymore, so I'm going to take a break!

365 days of dinner: July 4-9, 2009

July 18th, 2009 at 04:35 pm

Thanks again to everyone who offered their support and congratulations on my last two entries. Time has really flown and I realized I haven't done a dinner photos post in a while!

So going way back to Independence Day, we had a party that night, but first NT cooked Spicy Crispy Vegan for lunch and fresh pesto on fresh pasta with balsamic seared tomatoes:

Sunday I took care of meals, and cooked spaghetti with tofu balls (OK, but I'm still looking for a really great meatball substitute) for lunch, and vegan fish 'n' chips with mushy peas (translation: beer-battered tofu with vegan tartar sauce and Ore Ida fries and thickened instant pea soup) for dinner:

Monday night I made vegan spare ribs (out of gluten flour and spices) with an asian marinade we bought somewhere, stirfry peas and mushrooms, and potstickers (someday I want to make them from scratch, but these were from frozen).

Tuesday we all pitched in to make different components. We had salad, BBQ tofu, corn on the cob and a spicy potato-chickpea salad.

Wednesday, July 8, was the night we found out I was pregnant! Luckily the dinner was really simple: pasta with a spicy garlic toss and cherry tomatoes.

Thursday we had spaghetti with creamy tomato and white bean sauce:

OK, I think I'll take a little break there.

365 days of dinner: June 21-July 3, 2009

July 4th, 2009 at 07:00 pm

Sunday, June 21, we had grilled veggie brats, sauteed greens from the CSA and grilled corn on the cob.

Monday I made cheese and veggie "chicken" quesadillas, fresh corn and lettuce salad, and guacamole.

Tuesday I made what we call "KFC bowl" because it was inspired by a KFC product we saw in commercials: a bed of mashed potatoes topped with corn, broccoli, veggie Morningstar buffalo wings and gravy.

Wednesday we had our friends over for TV night and made them our homemade pizza:

Thursday, June 25, I made oven-roasted portobello, spinach and roasted red-pepper sandwiches with vegan garlic aioli, and tomato, corn and lettuce salad.

On Friday I made potato gnocchi in a creamy (but vegan) vodka sauce that NT prepared, served on a bed of fresh spinach and topped with fresh basil leaves.

Saturday was the start of two days of Pride celebration in Minneapolis, where my gay, bi and straight-but-supportive friends got together and toasted GLBT culture and rights. Party central was at our friends NJ & CC's condo; they're right on the parade route and blocks from both the park where the booths were set up and the bar where the block party took place. Saturday night they served us burritos:

Sunday night we expected to come home for dinner, but AS and I ended up going to the block party, and grabbed dinner (veggie burgers) at NJ and CC's, while NT fixed something for himself at home during studying. I didn't have the camera because I didn't expect that, so I unfortunately don't have any photos from that night.

Monday, June 29, I made Southern Fried Tofu, oven-roasted new potatoes and lemon-butter broccoli.

Tuesday it got too late to make the planned dinner, so I treated NT and AS to sandwiches from Pizza Luce:

Later, AS made strawberry-rhubarb-peach pie!

Wednesday, July 1, NJ & CC came over for TV night and brought veggie brats (including this spicy chipotle variety, which I had with tomatoes and tofu sour cream), baked beans and wild rice salad, among other treats.

Thursday NT made my favorite risotto, red Thai curry with mock duck, potatoes, peas, peanuts, shiitakes and cilantro.

And last night, July 3, I made Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon smothered in amazing chick'ny sauce (a recipe submitted by a user on some vegetarian site), lemon-butter broccoli and mixed kale and beet greens from our CSA with sesame oil and hot sauce.

365 days of dinner: June 12-20, 2009

June 21st, 2009 at 08:14 pm

Friday, June 12, we had a spicy pasta bake with garlic baguette:

On Saturday, we had a tamale-making party with a few friends. It was my first time making tamales, which was easier and funner than I thought it would be. The only problem was that the farmers-market jalapenos I bought and roasted to put inside the tamales were so hot, everyone could only eat a couple each. We also had mollete (refried beans on an AS-baked bolillo roll), guasacaca (Venezualan avocado dip) and a mango rice pilaf that NT just made up (he's awesome like that). Unfortunately, I only took a pic of some of the tamales, right before they went into the steamer:

Sunday NT did all the cooking. He made this salad with blackened cherry tomatoes tossed with balsamic vinegar, Bacos (did you know Bacos are vegan?) and vinaigrette. Yum! The main course was a fantastic risotto with Thai green curry, edamame, mushrooms and a topping of fresh cilantro that we grew!

On Monday, June 15, I was making penne marinara, and to make it unique decided to try making "beanballs" from a Veganomicon recipe. I didn't get the texture quite right (they were kind of falling apart) and I scorched them somewhat while pan-frying them, but the flavor was fantastic (actually the burnt bits were the most delicious), so I may try them again, with more gluten flour, and try baking them to see if that helps them hold together better.

Tuesday, I was meant to cook, but we got the request for more evidence from USCIS, so I was busy freaking out and digging out paperwork. So NT stepped up to bat and made Memphis BBQ tofu (from the Vegan Dad site), steamed asparagus and potato salad.

Wednesday, June 17, our friends weren't able to come over (they were bringing dinner), so AS and I scraped some spending money between us and treated ourselves and NT to Thai food from one of Minneapolis's favorite mini-chains, Sawatdee. We had spring rolls, pad thai and massaman curry:

Thursday I made a massive taco salad, with burger crumbles, leftover refried beans and guasacaca, black-eyed peas, tofu sour cream, etc., etc. So good, but I'm ashamed to say I finished mine while NT and AS left some in their bowls. Hey, it had lettuce and tomato, therefore it was healthy!

NT got off work early on Friday, so when I got home he was making fresh pasta with CSA spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. He topped this dish with homegrown basil.

Last night, June 20, we had friends over. They'd just gotten back from Tanzania and wanted Thai food, but since we'd just had that, we talked them into getting food from Kindho, our now-favorite Vietnamese restaurant since Lotus on Hennepin closed down. They also have some Thai elements in their food so it worked. At AS's request I also made tofu spring rolls and Lotus-style dipping sauce for everyone.

Woo hoo! I'm all caught up!

365 days of dinner: June 1-11, 2009

June 15th, 2009 at 04:18 am

Time for some more dinner pics. Let's see how many I get done before I get tired!

Monday, June 1, I had a completely bland white beans and grain dish and some steamed broccoli. NT and AS also had these tomato-rosemary-olive tarts (I can't remember their exact name, but they're from this great cookbook called Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone).

Tuesday, last day of my cleanse, I had a lentil-buckwheat salad, and AS and NT (lucky bastards) had veggie "chicken" parmesan over spaghetti.

Next day, June 3, to celebrate the end of my diet, AS made me vegan Rice Krispie treats! Very exciting, since marshmallows have gelatin and I haven't had one of my favorite snacks in years. I won't show them because they didn't stick together enough, but they tasted sooo good, we all just ate handfuls of it. Our friends came over and brought dinner, so we had two lovely curries and roti, and NT heated up these neat roulade appetizers we got at the Indian grocery store a few weeks ago--greens and chickpea flour rolled up together and cut into little rounds. Everything was especially good, possibly because I was so happy to be eating spiced food again. Smile

Thursday, June 4, I made fajitas with zucchini, yellow bell pepper and pinto beans:

On Friday, we had an easy dinner of veggie burgers or chicken patties, with a salad of some of the veggies we got from our very first CSA box of the year!

Saturday, June 6, we had a couple of friends over, and we had build-your-own-salad (which I forgot to photograph) and pizzas. They were impressed by AS's homemade crusts!

We had so much fun that night that we were fairly tired and hungover on Sunday! Luckily we had planned for spaghetti. I gave AS rough instructions for making marinara sauce and she did it herself. It was delicious!

Monday, NT and I teamed up to make Italian marinated tofu, steamed asparagus and chickpea-quinoa pilaf:

Tuesday we had my favorite dinner, Pasta della California topped with veggie buffalo wings. We also had a side salad (can you tell we're getting a ton of lettuce from our CSA?):

Also, NT made this bizarre-but-it-totally-worked Vegan Dad recipe: pineapple dessert pizza with jam sauce and chocolate chips. It was great for breakfast the next day, too!

On Wednesday, we were going out later and wanted something quick and easy, so we made tofu hot dogs with Bush's baked beans and salad.

Thursday, June 11, I made Slivered Seitan and Broccoli stir-fry from the book Vegan Fire and Spice. We had barley on the side (since the cleanse, we've decided to try having different grains from white rice once in a while). Another success; my new cookbooks have all been great so far! We also had steamed Chinese dumplings that we'd picked up frozen on our big shopping trip a few weeks ago. You can tell from the lighting that it was finally warm enough to eat out on the balcony again.

OK, that's all I have loaded onto the computer, so I'm going to stop for the night.

365 days of dinner: May 24-31, 2009

June 9th, 2009 at 05:09 am

OK, so waay back to Sunday, May 24. We went to an all-day hip-hop festival and mostly scrounged food we'd snuck in, out of a backpack. One thing we'd brought was some Southern Fried Tofu. When we got home, we didn't feel satisfied with the bits and pieces of food we'd had, so we ordered some nice Pizza Luce pasta and sandwiches and had it delivered. (OK, both of these are old pics being repurposed, because we didn't think to take any photos during or after this exhausting event.)

To make up for missing Sunday dinner, I took a picture of Monday brunch (we had a leisurely meal since it was Memorial Day and none of us had to go to work). We tried out three recipes from our new exciting cookbook, Vegan Brunch. I would say the Tofu Denver Omelet and the Individual Hash Browns were promising, but I need to perfect the techniques for both. I thought the Brooklyn Coffee Cake AS made was divine, but she said she would change it up a bit next time. Still, the cookbook is VERY exciting, and I've made a recipe since then that turned out absolutely perfectly, so I think it's a matter of refining technique.

Monday night we had a crazy-looking (but tasty) vegan "fish" that we picked up at United Noodle, a great Asian grocery store in Minneapolis. We had it with green bean salad and wild rice/brown rice pilaf:

Tuesday, May 26, I began a cleansing diet to try and speed recovery of a chronic condition I've had for a few weeks. (It appeared to work, by the way; I've been healing much more quickly this week!) So I would have a simple meal of grain, beans and vegetables, and NT and AS would have that as a side dish, with some accompaniment. So this first night I had barley, collards, mushrooms and white beans, and AS and NT also had veggie sausages in a red wine gravy.

Wednesday, I had kale and adzuki beans with kasha (buckwheat groats), NT had tofu in peanut sauce on the side, and AS had teriyaki salmon with hers.

Thursday, May 28, we had millet and yellow split peas and a grilled portobello mushroom. AS and NT had cubed vegetarian ham on theirs.

Friday I had red lentil and bulgur pilaf, and steamed broccoli. NT and AS ordered pizza, and also had some of the steamed broccoli.

Saturday, May 30, we tried a multigrain porridge with soymilk, fresh blueberries and quick-stewed apples. It was soo good! The porridge had rice, millet and several other grains.

That night, I had...oh, some other combination of beans and grains. I can't remember what they were, but it tasted pretty good. I also had oven-roasted Brussels sprouts. AS and NT repurposed the rest of the veggie ham with a mustard sauce.

Sunday for lunch we had a black bean, quinoa and mango salad with grilled corn on the cob:

And Sunday night I had lentils and spinach over buckwheat. I think AS and NT had a potato-and-burger crumbles hash, but I forgot to take a photo of theirs.

Phew! OK, at least I got through May. Now I have to get to bed.

365 days of dinner: May 23, 2009

May 31st, 2009 at 08:06 pm

Whoops, got sidetracked painting and didn't get back to this yesterday! I'll just do one more day of dinner for now.

So the dinner we had for Saturday, May 23, has a bit of a backstory. There was a wonderful Vietnamese restaurant called Lotus on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis. (It was part of a mini-chain and there are still several Lotus restaurants, but each one had its own spin, and this one was the only Lotus whose food we went crazy for.) We hadn't been back for awhile because of not wanting to eat out as much, and wanting variety, but there had been times a decade ago when AS and I would go there once a week.

Anyway, a couple months ago we wanted to go there for a special occasion, but we called ahead and it was gone. Not just closed, actually; next time we went that far down Hennepin, we saw that the building had been bulldozed. (Here's hoping the genius owner is enjoying a comfortable retirement somewhere!)

They made mock duck entrees (the first mock duck I ever tasted, actually!) with thick, spicy, slightly sweet sauces that just hit the spot. But the big deal was their spring rolls. No other Thai or Vietnamese restaurants in Minneapolis make them quite the same, with quite the same sauce. I remembered long ago asking one of the waitresses what was in the sauce, and making her repeat the ingredients a couple times so I'd remember them. I actually still remember the ingredients, I think. So I decided to make Tofu Spring Rolls a la Hennepin Lotus and an entree that was an homage to them as well.

I found a recipe for Lemongrass Mock Duck on the Internet that sounded a bit like the Imperial Mock Duck I used to get at Lotus, so NT made that recipe. I didn't find a spring roll recipe that sounded similar to what I wanted, so I sort of winged it. I'm proud of that because I'm big on following recipes and not much of an improvisational cook. But the spring rolls turned out almost exactly as we remembered them, and the dipping sauce was quite close!

NT's mock duck dish also turned out really, really tasty:

It was almost like having Lotus back again, for a day, on our balcony. Sigh...

365 days of dinner: May 17-22, 2009

May 30th, 2009 at 09:17 pm

OK, second entry of 365 Days of Dinner for today. Let's see how many days I can get done.

Sunday, May 17, we had veggie fajitas for lunch (made by NT, which was exciting since I usually handle Mexican cooking):

Then we went to a party, and guess what they were having? Well first, this luscious fruit selection:

But then...veggie fajitas! LOL. But it was great, because they used different beans, fillings and preparations, so it tasted totally different.

Monday night, May 18, we had our old favorite, pizza, but it was nice enough weather to dine al fresco, on our balcony:

Tuesday night we had a quick meal of veggie chili dogs, canned baked beans and potato wedges (just from frozen). Besides the chili dog shown, I also had a veggie dog with dijon and sauerkraut. Mmmm...

Wednesday, May 20, we were over at our friends' house for our usual Wednesday get-together, and they made grilled cheese sandwiches (soy cheese for me!) and a homemade tomato soup that was divine! Breaking with SavingAdvice blog tradition, this photo features AS biting into one of said sandwiches!

Thursday we had NT's fresh pasta with tomato sauce, and AS's focaccia rolls (with garlic and margarine rubbed on them, yum):

Friday, May 22, we had "chicken" enchiladas. AS made the main dish, which was exciting both because I usually handle Mexican cooking and because AS usually doesn't cook entrees at all--she's our resident expert on baking and desserts.

OK, I'm really proud of my next dish, so I'm going to stop this entry and put it at the top of the next entry.

365 days of dinner: May 16, 2009 (and dessert from May 15)

May 30th, 2009 at 08:46 pm

Finally I've remembered about 365 Days of Dinner at a time when I'm by a computer and have access to the photos! Let's see how many I can get through before I go paint the front hall with NT.

First off, I forgot to post a photo of the dessert we had after vegan chicken 'n' waffles on Friday the 15th. This is an unbelievably delicious (and pretty!) apple tart from the Barefoot Contessa, made vegan by the lovely and talented AS:

So Saturday, May 16, we went out for sushi to a new place during our incredibly expensive weekend. It was a cute little place by the U of M called Obento-ya, and the food was just unbelievable. I wasn't drinking, but AS and NT each had a sake flight:

Only AS could have the miso soup, because it had some kind of fish ingredient:

I had inari, which is a slightly sweet dish with rice stuffed inside a cold skin made of fried tofu:

AS had sashimi (fish sushi without rice) and avocado rolls:

I had avocado rolls too. It's a deceptively simple dish, but when it's prepared just right, it's just like a mouthful of heaven!

AS had grilled scallop skewers, and I had grilled mushroom and tofu:

NT had this amazing grilled rice ball (wish I could remember what it was called; I had one later and it was really tasty) and a bento box of breadcrumb-coated skewered veggies, among other things:

Well, I think I'll leave this entry at that, because there were so many photos for that one meal! I'll start another one and see how far I get; I can see and hear NT clearing the hall for painting.

365 days of dinner: May 5-15, 2009

May 23rd, 2009 at 05:12 am

Wow, it's been a while! I might have to do some tonight and some tomorrow.

So, going all the way back to Tuesday, May 5, we had "spicy crispy vegan" over rice (one of our old standards).

Wednesday we were over at our friends' house. They served up minted couscous salad and a chickpea-green bean salad:

Thursday, May 7, we had cheese quesadillas with black beans and rice on the side.

Friday we had a quick and easy dinner of storebought veggie burgers and tater tots:

Saturday was another quickie meal, rotini with tomato sauce:

Sunday, May 10, we had a real treat: handmade ravioli a la NT, stuffed with mushrooms and topped with a wine-sundried tomato tomato sauce.

Monday night we had another easy dinner (notice a theme for these weeks?) of Morningstar buffalo wings, lemon-butter broccoli and biscuits:

Tuesday, May 12, we had "Asian roast dinner": Asian-marinated tofu, wasabi mashed potatoes and Szechuan string beans.

And Wednesday we reprised BBQ sandwiches from the Vegan Dad cookbook, along with Gunsmoke Slaw from the cookbook Vegetarian Planet. We had our friend over and it was a big success!

Thursday, May 14, NT made us a spicy, creamy (from coconut milk) chickpea/spinach curry over rice:

Friday, May 15, AS and I teamed up to make a vegan version of chicken 'n' waffles, with corn on the cob. The "chicken" was one of our favorite recipes from Vegan Vittles, Southern-Fried Tofu. We had lots of breading left over, so we'll be having that again soon!

OK, I'm going to stop for the night! I'll try to get caught up the rest of the way tomorrow, but I might be too busy to do until Monday

365 days of dinner: April 27-May 4, 2009

May 5th, 2009 at 04:09 am

Last Monday's late-night comfort meal after NT's class was goulash. Goulash to me means a tomatoey, meaty, bell-peppery mixture poured over macaroni. NT was surprised; he thought goulash would be a stew, and that he was eating pasta bolognese. I guess they are really similar, LOL. Anyway, I used Morningstar crumbles for the beef, of course. This is a super easy but nice dish, and the texture could be mushrooms, beans or even real meat.

Tuesday, April 28, NT did the cooking, and we had a wonderful spring meal of balsamic-rosemary pan-fried tofu, new potatoes and asparagus.

Wednesday we had one of our friends over, so I tried out my new cookbook, Vegan Soul Kitchen. I made Hoppin' John (creole rice and black-eyed peas), Green Pea and Leek Puree, and Carrot-Cranberry-Walnut Salad with Vinaigrette. (Those are approximate names because I'm too lazy to go get the cookbook.) I absolutely adored all three dishes. This cookbook is a keeper for sure!

Thursday AS and NT teamed up to make lovely pizza:

Friday, May 1, I made pasta with creamy collards sauce. The recipe, from Simply Vegan, calls for frozen kale, but we had some frozen collards so I used those up and it was just as good. The creaminess comes from soymilk, flour and nutritional yeast.

Saturday night NT made fresh pasta and I made a simple tomato sauce to go over it. Can you see how amazing his homemade noodles are in this picture? They're always soo good.

Sunday, May 3, I made one of AS's favorite dishes, Brooklyn Pad Thai from Vegan With a Vengeance. It's a bit labor-intensive, but always worth it in the end.

Tonight I made black bean and rice burritos. I went for more of a California vibe versus my usual Mexican flavor; I cooked the beans in garlic, salt, cumin, red onions and chipotle in adobo. I mixed the rice with lime juice, chopped cilantro and salt before mixing in with the bean mixture. Then I rolled it up in the tortilla with cheese, tomato, lettuce, salsa, soy sour cream, and more cilantro and red onion.

365 days of dinner: April 13-26, 2009

April 27th, 2009 at 02:54 am

Lots of dinners to catch up on...

Monday, April 13, I made veggie burgers (actually made them for once rather than using the ready-made ones) Smile:

Tuesday we had our perennial favorite, pizza:

Wednesday, April 15, I made a recipe from a new cookbook called "Vegan Fire and Spice," seitan and broccoli in a spicy orange sauce:

Thursday we had my personal favorite dish, Pasta della California from the Veganomicon cookbook, with Morningstar buffalo wings chopped up and sprinkled on top:

Friday, April 17, we picked up some deli foods at Lund's and took it down to Lake Minnetonka to picnic during the sunset (we had a rental car and wanted to do something different!):

On Saturday we had a friend over, and tried out some new recipes. NT made fried risotto balls (amazing), and I made vegetable ragout from Vegan Fire and Spice. I wish I'd taken a pic of AS's dessert, peach upside-down cake with bourbon sauce...

Sunday (April 19) NT made fresh pasta for lunch, and I made a veggie bolognese sauce to go over it:

That night we went to a restaurant in St. Paul, Sajiya. I took pics of the sake flight AS and NT ordered, the fried potato-edamame appetizer NT had, the gomae spinach I got, and the beautiful bento platter of vegetarian specialties that NT and I both had.

Monday night I made bean-and-rice burritos:

Tuesday the 21st was NT's night to cook, and he made a spicy szechuan "beef" and broccoli (the beef was Morningstar veggie steak strips):

Wednesday our friends NJ & CC cooked for us at their place. We had pasta fagioli and oven-roasted asparagus:

Thursday, April 23, we had "pizza burgers" (with sauteed onions and peppers, pizza sauce, and mozzarella):

Friday we got food from one of our favorite takeout places, a Vietnamese restaurant called Kinhdo (all this restaurant eating has been great fun, but we're all running pretty low in spending money! Smile). Here's my favorite, mock duck & potatoes with broccoli, and AS's standby, basil stirfry:

Yesterday, April 25, I just had to take a photo of the French toast AS made, using her own homemade French baguette:

Last night's dinner was Tofurkey roast with mashed potatoes, gravy and blackened Brussels sprouts--and it was nice enough to eat out on the balcony!

Tonight, we had another recipe from Vegan Fire and Spice: Three-Alarm Lo Mein. Third great recipe from that cookbook so far!

365 days of dinner: April 5-12, 2009

April 14th, 2009 at 01:17 am

Sunday the 5th, NT tried another recipe out of Vegan Dad for lunch: Roasted Garlic White Sauce. He made fresh pasta to put it over and added diced portobello mushroom. It was mild, tasty, but overall not too exciting. We liked it though.

That night he made lemon, mushroom and broad-bean risotto, with garlic bread on the side. I'm not huge into lemony dishes, but this one was just magnificent. The flavor, the texture, everything.

Mondays I usually try to do something casual and homey, since NT doesn't get home from class until late. April 6 I decided on grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup. I put different things in, like sauteed onions and mushrooms. NT had Branson pickle in his, one of those inexplicable British foods that I don't get (but AS loves too). Anyway, I think whitestripe put the idea of grilled cheese in my head a few weeks ago. Smile

Tuesday NT cooked again, this time trying out Mandarin Chickpeas from Vegan Dad. None of us knew what to expect, but it was really yummy! Instead of putting it over rice, NT mixed in some quinoa.

Wednesday our friends cooked for us at their home. We had simmered tofu with a chili-sesame sauce, pickled cucumber-apple salad, and two storebought sides, kimchee and spicy bamboo. It was all great but my faves were the tofu and the kimchee.

Thursday, April 9, I cooked yet another dish from the Vegan Dad cookbook. What can I say? A lot of his recipes sound so good, and they're relatively easy to make. this was Seitan and Mushrooms in Vegan Oyster Sauce. The seitan was yet another variation with a really interesting texture. It was another one that didn't blow us away but was very enjoyable at the same time. I feel very comfortable with his cookbook, because even if his recipes aren't all superstar recipes like his hot wings and BBQ sandwich, they're reliably easy to make and nice to eat.

Friday I made a decadent feast of chimichangas (fried burritos with vegan "beef" and cheese/soy cheeze filling) on a bed of lettuce with ranchero salsa and more guacamole than three people should ever have in one setting. Smile The salsa was only OK, not worth the time and effort I put into it (roasting and peeling peppers and tomatoes, for example), but the burrito and guacamole were big winners. NT made strawberry-lime margaritas to go with it!

Saturday, April 11, we went with some friends to a new restaurant called Roat Osha. It was excellent in its way, slightly Americanized Thai food. Really reasonable wine and cocktail prices, too. None of my pics came out very well, but we had spring rolls, lab esan (spicy tofu salad with cucumber and lettuce), veggie stir fry (forget the name), coconut ice cream, fried bananas, and mango and sticky rice (my favorite Thai dessert!)

Sunday night I cooked another recipe out of Vegan Dad called Tofurkey Tetrazzini (which uses diced vegan turkey slices). It was homely (especially compared to our night of Thai food) but really tasty in a comfort-foody kind of way. That topping you see is bread crumbs and ground-up almonds, which added a really nice texture and flavor to the casserole.

365 days of dinner: March 31-April 4, 2009

April 5th, 2009 at 04:50 pm

Tuesday NT was going to cook, but the three of us had such a good time relaxing and chatting and sipping wine on his night free from classes that it got kind of late. We moved the planned meal to next week and ordered pizza from Pizza Luce instead. NT had the Rustler, a vegetarian BBQ pizza, with olives instead of onions:

Wednesday, April 1, we had our friends over for our regular get-together. I made these amazing (though amazingly time-consuming) potato-kale enchiladas from Veganomicon. Thanks for the suggestion, kashi! They were so good that I'll make them again, though I'll try to cut down on the 3+-hour prep time!

On Thursday I made BBQ seitan sandwiches from our new superstar cookbook from Vegan Dad. I had to make a loaf of veggie lunchmeat and BBQ sauce, both from his cookbook, then thinly slice half the "meat" and simmer it in the sauce. Just like an Arby's sandwich, only healthy and beautifully spiced! The salad had blanched fresh corn, cherry tomatoes, snowpeas and sliced avocado. I have to post several photos so you get a sense of the whole operation!

Then Friday, April 3, I made another Vegan Dad home-run: veggie "hot wings." (I can't believe I made two successful wheat-gluten dishes in one week--usually my seitan is rubbery and awful.) NT made vegan "bleu cheeze" dressing and sauteed bok choy, and we had the rest of the potato salad from earlier in the week.

Saturday our friends NJ and CC invited us over for a delightful Asian (mostly Thai, I think) feast and a viewing of "Slumdog Millionaire." Clockwise from the top, that's massaman curry, shredded green mango salad, cucumber-peanut salad, and some sort of tofu-pepper-noodle dish that I didn't catch the name of.

365 days of dinner: March 22-30, 2009

March 31st, 2009 at 04:56 am

Our food looks so much better with our new camera! Smile

Sunday, March 22, when we got home from Vegas we were so tired we wanted something easy. Our friends had given us some fusilli and a jar of organic heirloom-tomato sauce, so we threw those together, with just a hint of margarine:

Monday, March 23, we had a very laid-back meal of tofu dogs, tater tots and Bush's vegetarian baked beans:

(I had my baked beans right on top of my dogs!)

Tuesday (March 24) is NT's night off school, so he usually makes dinner. This time he made Thai green curry with mock duck over rice:

Wednesday, March 25, our friend NJ cooked this delicious kidney bean and cabbage dish with arborio rice (and an awesome baked pear with chocolate filling that I forgot to photograph):

Thursday I made our standard mushroom pasta, but we didn't have farfalle so I made it with whole wheat rotini instead:

Friday NT cooked us a quick spicy garlic pasta with chopped breaded chik'n patty on it, so we could run out to a friend's party soon after:

Saturday, March 28, we had our old standby, pizza:

(OK, I forgot to take a photo, so I lifted this one from a previous post! Smile)

Sunday morning AS and I teamed up to make vegan sausage-apple brunch bundles, courtesy of the Vegan Dad Cookbook that we just got NT for his birthday (you should check out his

Text is site and Link is

And Sunday night, I made cheese-and-(veggie)chicken quesadillas, and NT made Spanish rice and beans:

Tonight we just had veggie burgers (though check out the super-flat buns we found at Target!), but I fancied them up with sides of potato salad and garlicky kale:

365 days of dinner: March 13-21, 2009

March 26th, 2009 at 01:07 am

I'm going to cram all of Vegas into one entry, so here goes!

Friday night we were too annoyed and tired to eat dinner; we'd had a snack at the airport before our flight that ended up being more filling than we expected. AS did go down to the store and get some OJ, so I took a pic of that just to have some record of the day:

Saturday for lunch we had amazing vegan Chinese food at a place called Veggie Delight. All the menu items were made with fake meat!

That night, we ate at Cheesecake Factory. OK food, but way overpriced for what it was. I had the tamale appetizer and a giant serving of spaghetti.

Sunday night (March 15) we went to the Spice Market buffet at Planet Hollywood. It was more expensive than later, better buffets we tried. Good hummus though!

Monday's lunch was at the Bellagio buffet, which was tastier, less expensive and more broad-ranging than the Spice Market. So good, in fact, that I forgot to take photos! I did snap one of my friend's dessert, luckily. Good thing I did, too, because I was feeling sick that night and didn't have dinner, and no one else photographed theirs.

Tuesday night (March 17) we had more amazing food, this time at Komol, a Thai restaurant.

The next day we had a hurried, but delectable, meal at a place called Red Velvet. I highly recommend it if you want something to satisfy vegans, vegetarians and meateaters. I forgot to take a pic till we got back to the room, so here's pics of my leftovers:

That night we just dinner at a place in the Luxor; it wasn't very remarkable and I forgot to take pictures.

Thursday (March 19) for lunch, we went to our favorite buffet, the Carnival World Buffet at the Rio.

That night we had dinner at a Chinese restaurant in New York, New York. Can't remember the name, but it was pretty good for being a Strip restaurant!

Friday, March 20: We decided to go back to the Rio for dinner, since we liked it so much for lunch!

Saturday (March 21) we had lunch at a delightful place called Cozymel's that did sort of California-style Mexican food. Really reasonably priced, and lovely outdoor seating as well.

And that night, for NT's birthday dinner, we had even more incredible food at an Indian restaurant called Ghandi.

And that was it for our holiday eating!

365 days of dinner: March 10-12, 2009

March 13th, 2009 at 03:32 am

Tuesday night we had fresh pasta with pistou sauce, pine nuts and veggies. NT has perfected making pasta on a pasta's just amazing.

Wednesday I made pasta primavera with whole wheat pasta and a soymilk/nutritional-yeast based sauce. Fresh broccoli, carrots, frozen peas were the main veggies. I thought it was only all right, but everyone seemed to like it.

Tonight I made oven-roasted cauliflower, herbed potatoes and marinated portobello mushrooms, with our favorite gravy, "chickeny sauce," for the potatoes.

These are our last homemade meals for awhile, because tomorrow night we'll be in Las Vegas! I'll try to remember to take photos every night. I figure we'll be taking our new camera everywhere with us anyway, so hopefully we won't forget!

365 days of dinner: March 5-9, 2009

March 10th, 2009 at 11:40 pm

Thursday was taco night. I like to do build-your-own tacos so everyone can have just the right filling for themselves. We each took a picture of our results (note the face NT made with his, middle picture):

Friday was (of course) pizza night:

Saturday was AS's birthday party. I'd been feeling kind of gurgly and not-right in my stomach for a few days, so I ended up not eating anything for dinner. Here's a delicious avocado dip called guasacaca that one of NT's co-workers brought over. I just tasted it tonight, and it's fabulous!

Sunday NT and I were both feeling kind of yucky, so we skipped dinner and AS fended for herself. At about 11 p.m. I did have a piece of AS's birthday cake, which we bought from the local co-op:

Yesterday we were feeling mostly back to normal, so I made Asian marinated tofu with a side of stir-fried veggies, served over quinoa. I left the tofu under the broiler a bit too long, so it ended up more like Asian flavored croutons, but they still tasted pretty good. Smile

365 days of dinner: March 4, 2009

March 10th, 2009 at 09:29 pm

Last Wednesday was AS's birthday, and we had takeout Chinese food over at our friends' place. I just got the photo of the food last night.

The restaurant is Evergreen Chinese, recommended by a couple fellow bloggers. It's really near our place, reasonably priced, and chock full of vegan and vegetarian options as well as meat! We split about 7 dishes between the 5 of us, so that we could try a bunch of different things. It was amazing! We'll definitely be going there from time to time. It's good to know there's an option like this nearby.

We've been eating out a LOT (by our standards), but it's all been using spending money or money that's in the budget for that purpose. In Vegas next week, of course, we'll be eating out every night. Very unusual year so far, compared with our eating habits of the past two.

365 days of dinner: Feb. 27-March 3, 2009

March 5th, 2009 at 09:25 pm

I don't have last night's dinner yet because I took it with my friend's much better camera. But I have plenty to catch up on:

Friday, Feb. 27: We had a nice pasta bake that NT made up the night before and AS popped in the oven to be ready when we got home. We were going to a party later, so we needed something fast, and this worked out perfectly (and was delicious!) NT divided the pasta bake into two loaf pans so one could have real cheese.

Saturday, Feb. 28: Another party to go to, and NT had to get his DJ equipment there early, so I bought pizza delivery for all three of us. This time we went with Galactic Pizza, the other wonderful vegan-friendly place we love besides Pizza Luce.

Sunday, March 1: Lemon pepper pasta courtesy of NT, a staple in our house. It had loads of fresh veggies including spinach, basil, red peppers and mushrooms. Yummy!!

Monday, March 2: It was my birthday so we went out to dinner at Namaste, a little Indian cafe near our place. I forgot to take our camera! Luckily I found a photo of NT's appetizer online, some kind of potato-yogurt thing with spicy rice crispies (I don't know, but he was ecstatic over it!) I had a wonderful potato croquette thingie with mushroom filling called aloo chop, and our main dishes were these mild bean concoctions. Not the Indian food I'm used to, but tasty nonetheless. They had a spicy coconut chutney on the side, which I've never had but really liked.

Tuesday, March 3, I made a vegetarian pot pie in a square casserole dish. I even made the crust myself (usually I make AS do it)! We had leftover mashed sweet/regular potatoes on the side. It kind of came apart, but I wanted to show off the creamy (yet vegan) insides as well as the crust I did myself (did I mention that?)! Smile

365 days of dinner: Feb. 21-26, 2009

February 27th, 2009 at 05:30 am

Saturday, Feb. 21: A simple, light meal of veggie burgers and fries before we went to a party (where we knew there'd be more good food).

Sunday, Feb. 22: A vegan version of a British classic--fish and chips with mushy peas. I beer-battered something (kelp-powder-crusted tofu) for the first time, and it turned out awesome (if messy). The mushy peas were canned; we'd picked one up on our trip to England and had been meaning to have fish and chips for a while, since that's what it traditionally goes with. This was soooo good, but we don't usually eat super-greasy food, so it's not something we'll have often.

Monday, Feb. 23: A really low-key meal of sloppy joes (made with vegan burger crumbles), tater tots and salad.

Tuesday, Feb. 24: Since I made a classic British meal, NT turned the tables and gave us a vegan soul-food treat--BBQ "ribs" (Morningstar again), mashed potatoes and turnip greens. He nailed those greens! I was really impressed. Payback for how impressed he was with my British meal. Smile

Wednesday, Feb. 25: Top Chef night again, so our friends came over and brought dinner: squash pasta bake with vegan parmesan. I thought it was quite nice.

Thursday, Feb. 26: Potato-and-cheese stuffed Anaheim peppers with a side of Oaxacan beans and rice. Two new Mexican recipes that were time-consuming, but so worth it!

365 days of dinner: Feb. 15-20, 2009

February 21st, 2009 at 07:35 pm

Lots to catch up on here, so let's get into it!

Lunch on Sunday the 15th was so pretty, I had to take a picture! NT made spicy bean patties with a side salad, and topped the salad with lentils and his own vinaigrette. Wonderful! I don't think AS cared for it as much, but NT and I will definitely have this for work lunches in the future.

Sunday night we had baked flautas, salsa fresca and cold avocado soup. The flautas and salsa were a hit, and the soup was...edible. Not really our cup of tea, but at least we tried something new!

Monday the 16th was our old favorite, mushroom farfalle. Usually I use dried parsley, but we had some fresh left over from other stuff so I threw that in. (This dish, plus an instructional video I saw, have changed how I serve pasta. Basically, don't drain or rinse pasta: drop it into the sauce along with 1/4 c of pasta water and some extra fat [butter, margarine or olive oil], and turn the heat up high under the sauce as you gently mix all together.)

Tuesday, Feb. 17, we had another recurrent favorite, spicy crispy vegan over rice. Gingeriffic!

Wednesday the 18th was a semi-experimental meal, mock duck and peppers in a spicy peanut sauce over millet. Our friends were over for Top Chef, and they were crazy for it. Little did I know NJ is a peanut-butter addict! Lucky break. Smile

Thursday the 19th we had spaghetti and red sauce with vegan "meatballs" (available in the frozen section of our local co-op). I can't believe it's the first time this year--I love spaghetti marinara!

Last night, Feb. 20, we went to happy hour and brought some pizzas home with us. I totally forgot to take pictures, and there were no leftovers, but you can pretend there's a delicious BBQ seitan pizza in this box! Smile

365 days of dinner: Feb. 12-14, 2009

February 16th, 2009 at 07:11 pm

This first dish, which we had Thursday, is my No. 1 favorite meal and has been ever since I discovered it. Pasta Della California, from Veganomicon, with my personal twist of putting baked, chopped-up Morningstar buffalo wings on top at the end. It's pricier than most of our meals because it requires not only buffalo wings but avocados and arugula. But it's simply the most delicious dish in the whole world!

Friday I wanted something simple and laid-back, so we had spaghetti in a really simple recipe, with olive oil, garlic, fresh flat-leaf parsley, and crispy breadcrumbs on top (I sauteed them in oil to crisp them up). AS and NT also had shredded parmesan on top. It was quite tasty despite its simplicity!

Saturday night AS made danishes for us to have the next day. We split one before we went out to dinner! Breathtaking, and 100% vegan. This pic doesn't really do them justice...

We had our Valentine's dinner at a little organic, mostly vegetarian, locally sourced restaurant. Right away coming in you could tell they were having some kind of drama. I think they had more customers than they were used to or something, and they were out of several dishes. The waitresses were tense and stressed-out. Despite all that, our food came promptly and with no problems and tasted perfectly fine, so we're still not sure what was going on.

I had a very tasty falafel appetizer with dill-tahini sauce:

My main course was a vegan mac & cheese. I could tell they did a nutritional-yeast sauce similar to what I do at home. Mine's better though, much more flavorful.

NT's main course was a gorgeously flavored portobello tureen over roasted cauliflower. I wished I'd ordered that!

AS had a barbecue tempeh sandwich and salad. The tempeh had a really different texture from what we're used to, but the waitress said she couldn't really ask the chef about it. Tension!

For dessert we had a cappucino brownie and some cookies. Nice, but nothing compared to what AS can come up with at home. She spoils us!

365 days of dinner: Feb. 9-11, 2009

February 15th, 2009 at 08:14 pm

I'm dividing my pics into two posts, since I'm so behind. Here's three days of dinner:

Monday we had Asian marinated tofu and sauteed bok choy over rice. I got the bok choy recipe from a blog I follow; it was delicious! We had to find vegetarian oyster sauce, pictured behind the dish.

Tuesday was red Thai curry risotto with mock duck, which we've already had once this year. This time NT obliged me and used the classic ingredients used in the Joe's Garage version I love so much: diced potato, peas, fresh cilantro and shiitakes. I also insisted it had peanuts in it; upon tasting this dinner I realized peanuts were not in the original. But they should be!

Wednesday we went to our friends' house for Top Chef, and we had 17-bean soup (I think that's how many types of beans Smile ) with sides of oven-roasted cauliflower, tater tots and cole slaw (the latter we brought). Yummy, all of it!

365 days of dinner: Feb. 6-8, 2009

February 9th, 2009 at 02:13 am

Friday night NT whipped up spaghetti with tempeh, garlic, olive oil, herbs and spices:

Saturday we had Spinach Noodle Kugel from Veganomicon. We agreed it was good. As in, we'll probably have it again for a change of pace, but it wasn't exceptional enough to go into the regular rotation. Mild, wholesome and pleasing, though:

Tonight we had chik'n parmesan (made with Boca spicy patties, and soy cheese for me). The sides were penne with tomato sauce and baked stuffed zucchini:

365 days of dinner: Feb. 2-5, 2009

February 6th, 2009 at 06:04 am

Monday we had a "golden vegetable casserole with herbed dumplings." Mixed reviews. NT loved it, AS could barely eat it, and I thought it was pretty good. The main thing that bugged me was that it was stovetop; how then could it be a casserole? I think England has a different sense of that word than we do. Also I'd never done dumplings before, and I'm not sure they were right, though NT insisted they were delicious.

Tuesday night we had pizza (this will pop up frequently because it's our favorite dinner). The only thing unique is we used the rest of our bolognese sauce as the pizza sauce.

Last night we had friends over, and I had a craving for that staple vegetarian option at restaurants, grilled portobello sandwich with roasted red pepper, spinach and garlic aioli. AS made an amazing focaccia to go with it, and NT suggested oven-baked sweet potato fries, which ended up going beautifully with the sandwich. Here's a pic of the sandwich open-face before I put it together.

Tonight we had a wonderful meal: gnocchi with tomato sauce, served on a bed of fresh spinach. I got the idea from some blog but used a gnocchi recipe from a cookbook I have, The Compassionate Cook. I added herbes de provence to the dough so the gnocchi would have more flavor. I don't generally follow a recipe for tomato sauce because it's so delicious no matter what. This time I put a can of crushed tomatoes with olive oil, minced garlic/onion/green pepper, Italian seasoning mix, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and a little Splenda, and let it simmer for about an hour while I worked on the gnocchi.

After dinner, NT grilled some pineapple on the George Forman. It was sooooo good! Grilling caramelizes the juice and gives the outside a sweetness that's, well, caramel-y, while the inside is tart and warm and juicy. It tastes so decadent, it's hard to believe it's healthy.

365 days of dinner: Jan. 27-31 & Feb. 1, 2009

February 2nd, 2009 at 05:21 am

Tuesday, Jan. 27:
Bean, rice and "beef" burritos

Wednesday, Jan. 28:
Veggie hot dogs, coleslaw and baked beans at our friends' house (almost forgot to take a picture, but I stopped my friend right before he had his last bite of hot dog, so we could snap this photo)

Thursday, Jan. 29:
"Beef" and broccoli stir-fry (using Morningstar steak strips) over rice

Friday, Jan. 30: Spaghetti bolognese (using Morningstar burger crumbles)

Saturday, Jan. 31: Mixed greens salad and Chickpeas a la King from the Vegan Vittles cookbook (we usually serve it on toast, but we were out of bread so we had it over tater tots. Turned out to be even tastier that way!)

Sunday, Feb. 1:
First, NT took a photo of our lovely brunch of "mollete" (refried beans and cheese/soy cheese on bread, toasted in the oven and topped with salsa). For the bread, AS made "bolillos," Mexican small baguettes with a hint of cinnamon in them.

Then, we were supposed to have people over for Super Bowl, but I was sick and out of it and we had to cancel. Frown We'd planned to make Southern Fried Tofu (also from Vegan Vittles) nuggets, so we went ahead and did that, and one of our friends that we canceled on actually brought over some of what he'd prepared for our party, a white-bean chili. It went perfectly with the tofu nuggets!

365 days of dinner: Jan. 25-26, 2009

January 27th, 2009 at 09:14 pm

I don't want to jinx myself, but I've done better than I thought at this! I haven't missed a day (unless you count the times I had to photograph leftovers).

Anyway, Sunday night we had what used to be a typical Saturday lunch in NT's childhood: Cornish pasty and chips. We stuffed the pasty with vegetarian burger crumbles, carrot, potato, onion and herbs & spices.

And last night we had a "weekday roast dinner":

Which is basically some kind of easy meat substitute with several sides. This time it was Boca chicken patties topped with instant veggie gravy. One side was oven-roasted broccoli compliments of, who got it from, who got it from a Barefoot Contessa cookbook. (Whew! I like to give credit where credit is due. Smile ) I was really excited about making this but a tad underwhelmed at the result, but maybe next time I'd roast it for less time and make sure it was piping hot when I served it. Or maybe I've already discovered my favorite broccoli (steamed tender-crisp and tossed with melted margarine, lemon juice, salt and pepper) and will never be impressed by another preparation.

I was more impressed by the random recipe for honey-glazed carrots and parsnips I found on These were tasty! And another serving of French fries made the meal quite filling. I was proud of this meal because the only thing new that we bought were the Boca patties ($3.49, and we still have one left over). All the other components were either staples or extra stuff that needed to be used up. Despite that it was a very enjoyable meal!

365 days of dinner: Jan. 22, 23 & 24 (+ 1 brunch)

January 25th, 2009 at 09:21 pm

Thursday night we had a dinner that will pop up pretty regularly: farfalle with mushrooms. We use a recipe in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone that is dead simple, but following it exactly yields a perfect result. For instance, finishing the pasta off with a dab of butter at high heat in the skillet gives it a truly unique flavor and texture.

Friday we had a friend over and ordered Thai food in. I didn't remember to take a picture at the time, but luckily we had leftovers:

Last night we had Tequila Chili Lime Tofu, a recipe from the Vegan Dad blog (

Text is and Link is with Spanish rice and guacamole. This was a nice change from the typical Mexican flavors I usually flavor--really light and citrus-y.

And I couldn't resist taking a picture of the "full English" that NT made for brunch today: fried potatoes, mushrooms and tomatoes; tofu "bacon"; baked beans; and scrambled eggs (tofu for me). Note the HP sauce in the background, integral to this breakfast. Smile

365 days of dinner: Jan. 20-21, 2009

January 22nd, 2009 at 09:49 pm

Tuesday night we had a Southern-style meal that we all collaborated on: I made honey-barbecue buffalo wings (vegan, of course!) and garlicky greens (kale), while NT made jerk-spiced sweet potatoes and AS made skillet cornbread. Mmm-MMM!

Wednesday we tried something completely new: leek and bean cassoulet from Veganomicon. You make this stew in a cast-iron skillet, then drop balls of biscuit dough on top and bake it in the oven. I really liked it; it was homey and comforting. AS helped out with the biscuit dough and NT had cooked up a batch of beans for me over the weekend, so it was also not labor-intensive at all. I took a photo while it was still in the skillet and one after I dished it out.

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