vegansaurus!

07/25/2014

Guest Post: My favorite masculine vegan has a pussy  »

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As of late, conversations about masculinity and meat eating have re-emerged, partially in response to John Joseph’s book, Meat Is for Pussies, and also from a segment on NPR about masculinity and veganism. But this conversation has left a lot to be desired from many vegans, especially feminists.

It’s great to see traditional assumptions about masculinity challenged by veganism, but we can do better. I date a butch lesbian vegan who is training for a marathon, lifts weights, is masculine, and has a pussy. Below are five of the most frustrating aspects of the conversation.

1. Hardcore veganism is feminist
The idea that there is a real man or that one type of man is a “pussy”* and another is more masculine is a) homophobic and b) misogynist. There is nothing hardcore about reclaiming traditional patriarchal language and behavior in the name of an ethical movement. And remember: If you aren’t sure how to do better please ask a vegan feminist. We would love to help!

2. Ethical veganism is not a diet or about controlling your body
All people who are vegan eat a plant-based diet and strive to live a compassionate life towards human and non-human animals alike. This extends to varying degrees into all consumer products, as well as different practices one supports. There’s plenty of debate about how veganism extends beyond the plate.

One thing that is not up for debate, however, is that ethical veganism is not about restricting food as a diet or about controlling your body. With the emphasis on proving vegan diets can also provide for the nutritional needs of those who run ultra marathons and body-build, the conversation seems to have become confused. As the NPR segment argues, men are generally the face of this misconception.

3. Veganism doesn’t need to be saved from feminity
A lot of this conversation about masculinity and veganism is people reacting to being bullied for being too feminine or behaving like a girl (or a “pussy”)  for being a vegan. The basic premise that this is something to tolerate or build a defense against is offensive in its own right.

Eating plants is not an inherently feminine behavior, nor is eating meat an inherently masculine behavior. Anything that encourages either side of this argument is essentialist and tired. This is not to say that being treated as an outcast or ostracized for making an ethical choice many people consider weird is not difficult, just that it’s part of the patriarchy, man. Making ethical vegan choices is something to be proud of for no reason other than the inherent virtue of making the right ethical decision, which has nothing to do with your gender.

4. Veganism shouldn’t need a mainstream male stamp of approval to be taken seriously
If you’re going to get media attention for being male and vegan, please say something feminist and mention some of the inspiring feminist vegans who you know and love!

5. Where are my male feminist allies?
It’s very annoying to see instances of misogynistic language promoting veganism get the seal of approval by prominent male vegans. Those in the position to hold the microphone with the most amplification have a responsibility to say something and push our movement to be less homophobic, and more feminist. And if you aren’t sure how, please pass that microphone on to a #feministvegan who does. 

*Similar to queer, the word pussy has been reclaimed by some feminists, probably most notably the feminist Russian punk band Pussy Riot. Read more about that here. 

Jamie J. Hagen is a Boston-based writer who writes about feminism, feminist security studies, and LGBTQ politics for such publications as Rolling Stone, Autostraddle and RH Reality Check. She tweets @jamiejhagen and you can visit jamiejhagen.com for more of her work.

Photo via The Animal Blog

07/09/2014

Vegan Travel, Romance Novel-Style in Mendocino  »

Up a small highway from the beach cliffs of Mendocino, surrounded by lush, color-popping gardens, sits the breezy Stanford Inn by the Sea eco-resort. I mean, don’t you already feel more relaxed?

Perhaps you’ve heard of it. Maybe you’ve even visited? I went for the first time a few months back and I can’t believe it took me this long.

Full disclosure: while still a bit folksy, this was a luxurious vacation for me. I normally crash on friend’s couches or find the cheapest possible sun-bleached California motel. While The Stanford Inn is no such place, it’s also not a hyper modern or glam resort of the boutique hotel variety.

It does, however, serve you fresh, warm vegan chocolate chip cookies upon arrival, and every day after that. God, I wish someone would leave gooey cookies out for me nightly back in the real world.

There’s also a complimentary dessert and tea-time nightly for guests. And this was my introduction to the Stanford Inn at the Sea, after a windy drive from San Francisco. With my husband and rescue chug in tow, I walked past an already-crackling fireplace in the modest, lodge-like common area and devoured a rich chocolate torte with hints of orange along with a mug of hot mint tea.

When we made it to the room, there were vegan dog treats wrapped in plastic with a bow and the aforementioned chocolate cookie plate — because we needed more desserts — along with a rustic bedroom set and wood-burning fireplace, already roaring.  We opened the picture window porch doors to views of endless greenery and far off waters. It’s all feeling very Danielle Steel at this point.

We traipsed through the gardens to meet the lodge’s elderly llamas, who lived up to their expected cuteness, along with a few donkeys and at least one pony. Below that we walked down to Catch a Canoe & Bicycle Too, on the edge of the river. The inn has a deal with Catch a Canoe, and guests can ride complimentary mountain bikes during their stay.

Later, we made it back to the saltwater pool and Jacuzzi at the Inn, essentially enchanted in the atrium trimmed with wild plants.

Throughout our stay, we munched complimentary breakfasts at the Raven’s Restaurant (attached to the inn) of delicious, decadent vegan Florentines and benedicts and the signature brunch dish: The Stanford Citrus Polenta over braised greens with cashew cream sauce. We returned nightly for the excellent tempeh burger, tamari-maple glazed tofu, and winter ravioli with butternutsquash filling in beurre blanc sauce.

Did I mention that our dog happily sat at our feet during the entire stay?

Perhaps it all sounds a bit (cashew) cheesy, but the comfort of knowing everything you’ll be eating is both vegan and yummy, matched to all those romance novel touches of crackling fireplaces, windswept beaches, colorful gardens, and secluded-feeling saltwater pools makes the Stanford Inn a rather irresistible spot for veg couples. 

06/10/2014

Oakland’s Awesome, Sun-Baked, Line-Filled Vegan Food Fest   »

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Let’s get this out of the way: the lines were long. And I mean like, crazy long. Long enough to wind through the outdoor patio lined with pop-up vegan restaurants and snake back around on themselves.

The first annual Oakland Vegan Beer & Food Festival this past Saturday was well attended, almost shockingly crowded. We knew Oakland loved a good vegan dish (and beer), but wow. Some reported waiting in line for up to two hours.

Although certainly frustrating, I’m going to look at the silver lining here and posit this simply means they’ll need more space and more food booths next time, which the organizers know—not such a bad thing.

After the fest, Hella Vegan Eats posted a love note to the community on their Facebook page that included this insight: “We are overjoyed that there was such a positive response to this event even with the crazy long lines. We can’t wait to begin planning next year’s #OAKVEGBFF with way more vendors, more space, better organization, etc. Now that we know to expect so many people, we can plan accordingly!”

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Personally, I waited half an hour in line then another half hour for one of the most delicious dishes I’ve ever had, courtesy of S+M Vegan. The flavorful Okonomiyaki (savory Japanese pancake) stuffed with tots and veggies and topped with pickled relish and sweet soy was succulent and satisfying. Standing while eating, I finished it far too quickly.

While waiting, we sipped tart ciders and sampled decadent pastries including a gooey chocolate grasshopper bar and caramel cupcake from Timeless Coffee. As the Oakland sun beat down, I tried tastes of a dark Ale Industries Rye’d Piper and the Linden Street New Oakland Glow.

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I also got a chance to chat with the duo behind Rhizocali Tempeh. They mentioned that they were surprised, coming from Gainesville, Florida, a town with two independent tempeh-producing companies, to find no other locals currently producing tempeh in Oakland. Nuts, right? The organic tempeh-makers based in the same commercial kitchen as Hella Vegan Eats and S+M Kitchen.

Wildly popular fest organizers Hella Vegan Eats had some especially long lines as well, but I saw many a vegan walk away ecstatic with a glistening plate of fried “chicken” and waffle or mac-n-cheese Lusty Lovers tacos from their booth.

While the food vendors were all lined up in the outdoor patio, inside we got to check out some rather shiny classic cars and art installations.

Outside, dogs roamed the lines, some very cute pups up for adoption via Rocket Dog Rescue—which received 20 percent of the event’s proceeds—and others brought by attendees, just stretching on leashes and seeking fallen drops of precious veggie meats.

To see more yummy photos of the event, creep on the #OAKVEGBFF hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.

06/03/2014

First ever Oakland Vegan Beer & Food Festival is THIS WEEKEND  »

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Bay Area: Did you also watch the drool-worthy photos from the second annual La Vegan Beer & Food Festival roll in on Instagram and Twitter with stomach-rumbling envy a few weeks back? Just me? Well surprise, surprise, we’ve got our very own (granted, relatively more intimate but just as fun-sounding) vegan beer and food fest going down this weekend! Envy-drool no more.

The first ever Oakland Vegan Beer & Food Festival takes place this Saturday, June 7, 11am-5pm, in the beer garden/art gallery space Classic Cars West, 411 26th St., Oakland. It’s free entry but like all food pop-ups, you’ll pay for your eats as you go.

The awesome ladies behind popular vegan pop-up Hella Vegan Eats will be serving up their signature blend of out-of-this-world colorful dishes:  Lusty Lover mac & cheese tacos, mini potsticker burritos (yep), “chicken” and waffle bites, and smoked seitan reubens.

And Black Spring Coffee, Curbside Creamery, Timeless Coffee Roastery and Bakery, S+M Vegan, Rhizocali Tempeh, and more will join Hella Vegan Eats in the gallery.

I recently got on the S+M Vegan tip when I discovered their cashew cream cheese in specialty flavors, which you can pick up at Berkeley’s newish vegan store, Republic of V. The plant-based couple behind S+M is also know for pop-ups and cooking classes. Their Saturday menu is still being fine-tuned but they say it will be a selection of their favorite foods from different countries, inspired by their travels. That will likely include a Drunken Chicago Dip sandwich featuring savory beer-infused seitan served au jus with crunchy giardinera and sweet peppers in a Dutch crunch roll, a Drunken Croque Monsieur sandwich with thin slices of hickory smoked tofu, secret cheesy sauce, pickles and mustard au vin rouge, a take on Okonomiyaki (savory Japanese pancake) stuffed with Tater Tots and veggies brushed with sweet soy glaze and a Kartoffelsalat (German potato salad).

On the sweet side, Black Spring Coffee, which opened its doors last year, is known for yummy vegan pastries, as is fellow Oakland coffee shop, Timeless, which has warm house-baked treats. Black Spring will have pastries and iced coffee; Timeless is bringing pour over coffee, chocolates, and even more pastries. Oh and Curbside Creamery will have vegan ice cream sandwiches!

CommonWealth Café & Pub is bringing a variety of beers and ciders.

Plus, there’ll be DJ sets by Alexa Pantalone and Melissr Elliot. Even cooler? It’s for a good cause: 20% of food sales benefit Rocket Dog Rescue.

Better start warning your friends of an onslaught of incoming vegan food photos. Come to think of it, is there an official Oakland Vegan Beer & Food Festival hashtag yet? I’ll keep a look out.

The goal is make this a biannual event, with one in the spring and one in the fall, and smaller nighttime versions taking place once a month. 

05/28/2014

Bikini Bites’ wants to open a vegan taco cart in Orange County and they need your help!  »

image"Don’t discriminate, accomodate! Vegans need food too!”

UPDATE: Bikini Bites reached their fundraising goal! Yay! BUT you can still donate so Bikini Bites can get an extra awesome cart with totally metal accessories!

Bikini Bites embodies the DIY punk spirit, as its creator Betty Mankiller is a one-woman vegan catering rock star specializing in tantalizing on-the-go food! She regularly serves up her all-vegan noms at various concerts, record release parties, and other special events around Orange County and LA. Besides running her own catering business, she recently created the all-vegan menu for the Black Rose Tavern in Los Angeles, regularly hosts fundraisers for animal rescues, and donates a portion of her profits to animal welfare causes.

I have had the absolute pleasure of enjoying her home-cooked comfort food at various shows and events, and can attest to her wizardry with vegan food! Her specialty is vegan tacos, and let me tell you, once you have tasted her spicy tofu tacos or carne asada tacos you won’t be able to resist going back for seconds (and thirds, and fourths)!

Good news for Orange County vegans: Betty’s goal is to purchase a mobile taco cart so she can make more of her tasty tacos and cater more events! She is currently fundraising to help purchase one, so please consider donating to make this happen! OC definitely needs a vegan taco cart, and how great would this be at various venues, concerts and events?!

Take a look at some of her specialties (all vegan!) and join in drooling with me:

Seitan buffalo wings with bleu cheese dressing
Crab cakes
Jackfruit sliders
Mac & Cheese with coconut bacon
Bleu cheese wedge with coconut back
Irish nachos
Black bean burgers with bacon vegenaise
Loaded nachos with spicy sunflower cheese
Carne Asada tacos with citrus cabbage slaw
Spicy tofu tacos with citrus cabbage slaw
Jackfruit margaritas
White russians

Betty is almost at her fundraising goal, but needs a few more donations to make it happen! Please consider donating to Bikini Bites, whose motto is “changing the world one bite at a time”!

Please donate at: http://www.gofundme.com/8mwv8o!

Visit and like Bikini Bites on Facebook!

Sarah Jahier is The Spooky Vegan, an Orange County-based blogger who wanders the night in search of vegan options. She writes about the vegan lifestyle and her other two obsessions, Halloween and horror, on her site, The Spooky Vegan. You can follow her daily esoteric ramblings on Twitter.

03/31/2014

Faux Moccs: Stylish vegan shoes for kids are here!  »

Finding vegan shoes for children isn’t very easy. I had been searching high and low for about six months with only a few questionable pairs to show for it when I heard about Faux Moccs, a company created by Kortney Campbell, one of the Vegan Housewives, I knew that I had found my solution. I interviewed her for an in-depth look into this vegan mom-run company. 

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According to Kortney, the soft-bottom design of Faux Moccs is especially important for the development of baby and toddler feet. The sylish design of the Faux Moccs encourages babies and toddlers to spread their toes and feet naturally while still offering protection from the outdoors. The fact that children’s developing feet were taken into consideration in the construction of the shoe makes them worth their weight in eco-friendly material. They are made from either nylon or polysester fiber matric manufactured in the USA (the vast majority being nylon). They are breathable and water resistant with no PVC, vinyl or plasticizers. Eco-friendly, vegan, AND biomechanically sound? This is a combo unlike any I’ve ever seen in the kids’ shoe department.

Kortney came up with Faux Moccs when she was having a hard time finding cruelty-free footwear for her 17-month-old son, Judah. Once she realized that other moms were probably having the same issues, she decided to veganize a shoe that would fit her (and his) needs. She tapped into her love of moccasins, her degree in fashion design, and her hero, Betsey Johnson, for inspiration. The resulting design is nothing short of genius. The array of colors offered combined with the handsome look of the shoe are sure to make any mom happy to dress up her little one for a playdate. Kortney says she hopes to release new designs with each season — our kids can be fashionable all year long as they outgrow their stylish vegan shoes.

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Check out Faux Moccs here.

Jessica Schoech is the founder of The Vedge App, an up-and-coming app that will revolutionize the way we find veg food worldwide. She is a self-professed crunchy, vegan mom (cloth diapers, anyone?), wife, and foodie, who finds the most joy in welcoming people of all backgrounds to the green side, especially vegan parents and children. You can find her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and at Power to the Veg! on Facebook. Images courtesy Faux Moccs.

03/17/2014

Calling All Vegan Families: Welcome to Generation Veggie!  »

Is there anything cuter than vegan babies playing together?  I mean, look at these faces! Image by Todd Moore.

When you’re fortunate enough to know other vegan families and have your children meet for the first time, it is nothing short of inspirational.  Seeing children not only living, but thriving on a vegan lifestyle, sends the message that you are indeed on the right track and your children are walking billboards for compassion. Whether they were born vegan or you’ve helped them transition to veganism at some point in their young lives, raising vegan children comes with challenges and hurdles not unlike the ones you encounter as an adult vegan. If only there were a community that tied solutions to all of those challenges together with a pretty bow to help make our lives a little more simple, sign me up!

Cue the GenerationVeggie.org Indiegogo campaign! The non-profit site promises to bring a smorgasbord of vegan family resources, including yummy recipes for kids, the low-down on how to have a healthy vegan pregnancy, tips for hosting vegan kids’ parties, and even—get this—a list of top vegan kid-friendly restaurants. Now that’s what I’m talking about!

I’m excited to see this campaign succeed and can’t wait to delve head first into this magical Internet land of vegan families. Check them out and toss them some support.

Jessica Schoech is the founder of The Vedge App, an up-and-coming app that will revolutionize the way we find veg food worldwide. She is a self-professed crunchy, vegan mom (cloth diapers, anyone?), wife, and foodie, who finds the most joy in welcoming people of all backgrounds to the green side, especially vegan parents and children. You can find her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and at Power to the Veg! on Facebook.

03/03/2014

5 Must-Try Vegan Options in Orange County  »

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: while LA is undoubtedly the vegan Mecca in Southern California, Orange County isn’t far behind. Orange County is located between Los Angeles and San Diego, roughly an hour from each, and has amassed quite a collection of excellent vegan restaurants that are definitely worth the visit.

Since it would probably take at least a few dozen paragraphs to tell you about all the vegan options in Orange County, I’ve decided to spare you a wall of text and instead recommend restaurants based on meal-times throughout the day, from brunch to a late night snack [Ed. note: can we organize everything like this always?]. A lot of people will be coming to town this upcoming weekend to attend the Natural Products Expo, not to mention those who visit for the beaches or Disneyland on a regular basis, so now is the perfect time to recommend the best vegan options for those on a tight schedule or for those that may only be visiting Orange County for a day or two. I’ve only included restaurants that are unique to Orange County so you can maximize your time and try new things!

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Pictured above: The vegan Huevos Rancheros at Seabirds Kitchen

Brunch: Seabirds Kitchen in Costa Mesa, CA

There used to be limited options for breakfast or brunch for vegans in Orange County, but no more! Though there are several options for vegan brunch, my number one go-to is Seabirds Kitchen. Seabirds started off as a vegan food truck in Orange County (you probably saw them on Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race), but recently opened a brick and mortar location in Costa Mesa. I am a big fan of all their menu items at any time of the day, but you can usually find me there for their weekend brunches, which feature seasonal mouth-watering creations like huevos rancheros, waffles, breakfast quesadillas, breakfast bowls and the best Bloody Mary I’ve ever tasted (bonus points: it is served with fried pickles as garnish!). If you have room, make sure to try their chaffle, a decadent half waffle, half churro creation topped with coconut sorbet [Ed. note: HOLD THE PHONE! I NEED A CHAFFLE STAT!]. Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 1 pm. 

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Pictured above: The vegan torta with Soyrizo at Tacos Cancun

Lunch: Tacos Cancun in Costa Mesa, CA

Tacos Cancun is a tiny hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant that has a whole separate vegan menu. Not only that, but they also have a separate grill for preparing vegan food. They actually get it, guys!! They have all sorts of vegan dishes you can order with soy “beef”, Soyrizo or even vegan “chicken.” My favorite is the torta, which I order with Soyrizo, and is kinda like a Sloppy Joe (dare I say Sloppy José?). I’m also a fan of the vegan nachos, which are HUGE, and topped with vegan cheese, vegan sour cream, beans, and all sorts of other goodies. You also HAVE to get the vegan horchata, which is served in a fancy wine goblet so you feel all fancy. If you happen to be there on a Mondays, also ask them about their vegan special, which in the past has included homemade tamales or chile rellenos. Don’t forget to order their vegan fried ice cream, too! A quick tip: you need to specifically ask for the vegan option when ordering since they aren’t a strictly all-vegan restaurant.

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Pictured above: A snack of vegan chili cheese fries and vegan corn dog from Vegan Pizza

Mid-Afternoon Snack: Vegan Pizza in Garden Grove, CA

The perfect place to grab a mid-afternoon snack to tide you over until dinner is located in Garden Grove, about 10 minutes away from Disneyland. And the perfect snack? Vegan corn dogs! Though the restaurant name is Vegan Pizza (and their pizzas are delectably delicious), my favorite item on the menu is the corn dog, made with a veggie dog that’s dipped in some kind of magical batter that gets deep fried to glorious perfection!

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Pictured above: Au Lac’s spring rolls served with peanut sauce

Dinner: Au Lac in Fountain Valley, CA

If you are looking for a memorable dinner, look no further than Au Lac in Fountain Valley (just outside of Huntington Beach). It may not look like much from the outside since it is situated in a strip mall, but once you step inside you are transported to an opulent dining room with deep red walls. The menu is all vegan and offers an array of Asian-inspired cooked vegan dishes as well as a full raw menu. While there are many Asian-inspired vegan restaurants in Orange County, Au Lac’s flavorful and elegant dishes make them stand out big time. 

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Pictured above: A variety of vegan donuts from The Donuttery

Late Night Snack: The Donuttery in Huntington Beach, CA

Have a hankering for vegan donuts at 3 AM? The Donuttery in Huntington Beach has you covered! They are open 24-hours and though they aren’t an exclusively vegan eatery, they have quite a selection of vegan donuts that keeps growing and growing! Their newest vegan flavor is blueberry, but they have plain, glazed, chocolate, maple, lemon and so many more. This is the perfect pit-stop after a late night on the town, an early morning treat or anytime you want vegan donuts (which is pretty much any and all the time for me!).

I hope to see you at one of these fine vegan or vegan-friendly establishments soon!

Sarah Jahier is The Spooky Vegan, an Orange County-based blogger who wanders the night in search of vegan options. She writes about the vegan lifestyle and her other two obsessions, Halloween and horror, on her site, The Spooky Vegan. You can follow her daily esoteric ramblings on Twitter.

12/05/2013

A Very Late, but Very Delicious Homemade Thanksgiving  »

The hubby and I celebrated Thanksgiving with my Dad at my sister’s house this Tuesday after a weekend of fighting a flu. This homemade vegan Thanksgiving was the perfect medicine.  (L to R) Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce, Sweet Potato Mash, Bean and Rice Tamale, Stuffing, and Fresh Corn.

I also made an Easy Vegan Pumpkin Pie!

- Veggie Angie

12/01/2013

The Germans don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but funnily enough, they have a word for it: Erntedankfest (literally “Harvest gratitude festival”). For the past three years I have been sharing one of my favorite holidays with a few American friends also in Berlin, as well as bringing the Germans (and other foreigners) in on this tasty (vegan) secret.
This year’s menu consisted of:
Seitan Roast Stuffed with Shiitakes and LeeksCaramelized Onion-Butternut Roast with ChestnutsMashed PotatoesMashed Spiced Sweet PotatoesApple, Sausage, and Sage Sourdough StuffingBaby Bok Choy with Crispy Shallots and Sesame SeedsBrussel SproutsPumpkin Coconut SoupCrustless Pumpkin PieShe’s My Cherry Pie

The Germans don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but funnily enough, they have a word for it: Erntedankfest (literally “Harvest gratitude festival”). For the past three years I have been sharing one of my favorite holidays with a few American friends also in Berlin, as well as bringing the Germans (and other foreigners) in on this tasty (vegan) secret.

This year’s menu consisted of:

Seitan Roast Stuffed with Shiitakes and Leeks
Caramelized Onion-Butternut Roast with Chestnuts
Mashed Potatoes
Mashed Spiced Sweet Potatoes
Apple, Sausage, and Sage Sourdough Stuffing
Baby Bok Choy with Crispy Shallots and Sesame Seeds
Brussel Sprouts
Pumpkin Coconut Soup
Crustless Pumpkin Pie
She’s My Cherry Pie

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