Archive for category heart attack

What is ApoE4? Why You Should Be Tested – A Quick Primer on Paleo for the Confused Fat Consumer

To Paleo or not to Paleo? That is the question.

If you are ApoE 3/4 or 4/4 that is not a question at all, you do not process lipids well – lipids are fats.

Approximately 25-30% of the population have the ApoE4 variant. If you do, you are at a higher risk for Cardio Vascular Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and more. Find out if you have this gene though lab testing…do it! You CAN fight your genes and win if you start the fight before it is too late. Get tested. Don’t know where to start? Talk to a health professional familiar with genetic testing and get it done. Here is a link to one lab that performs the tests required to get the ApoE4 answer. There are other labs out there, this is just a sample to help you get on the info track.

The diet data studies are in for us 4’s; low-fat, good-carb, is the only way for us to control our lipid profile. The Journal of Nutrition study looks at the ApoE genotype interaction with quantity and quality of dietary fat consumed.  The Journal of Lipid Research study looks at how the ApoE genotype modulates the LDL cholesterol-lowering response to a diet. Both determine lower fat intake in ApoE4 affected people is paramount in optimizing lipid profiles. More data is out there, please do some Googling!

Paleoists, I am not trying to “harsh your mello”, but I would like you to stop trying to convince EVERYONE that eating saturated fats as a method of weight reduction is safe. I don’t want my fellow 4’s, which could potentially include you, the Paleoista, to be killing themselves slowly.

“If we view the population as a statistical whole, switching from an unhealthy diet to a clean Paleo diet even if it is high in SFAs in average lowers the risk for CVD. Unfortunately, if we break down the numbers according to APOE status, this remains only true for those of us that don’t carry the APOE4 gene.

For carriers of the APOE4 gene consuming saturated fatty acids can substantially raise the risk of CVD

Unfortunately, the wider Paleo community has not yet realized this important fact and still promotes the consumption of SFAs to everyone, potentially putting people in harm’s way.”

Everyone should monitor their lipids. A full cholesterol profile is a must to determine if your food consumption is producing positive health results. Optimal eating habits should be the goal. So many factors are involved and cannot be addressed in one short blog post, but to sum up, genetic testing, lipid testing, and macro balancing are key:

“With all general guidelines and medical research on APOE4 and nutrition, we should keep in mind that the reaction of our metabolism to dietary changes is highly individual. Determining the right balance of macro nutrients, especially balancing MUFAs and carbohydrates for an optimal cholesterol profile requires individual experimentation and frequent retesting”

Read the full article quoted above here.

Please note that losing weight on a Paleo diet, low blood pressure, low BMI, and or being “buff”, is NOT an indicator you are non-ApoE4, or that your vascular system is healthy. FYI -“Grass fed” is not a blanket insurance policy for clean arteries.

I am thrilled if Paleo works for you non-4’s, but please have your lipid profile done anyway. Sometimes even good genes cannot combat a bad lipid profile.

Confusion now cleared, we low-fatters can get down to the serious business of modulating our intake of fats and cholesterol.

No diet is “one-size-fits-all”. Food can be medicine or it can hasten an untimely demise. Choose your menu carefully: do your research – read, read, read, employ balance, stay away from fad diets, make healthy eating choices a lifestyle you can live with while on this earth. Do 20 minutes of exercise at least 3 days a week, more is better.

All the best for a Happy New Year, my peeps! Make 2017 your healthiest year ever!

Epicuriously yours,


The Fat Free Gourmet


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The Holiday Spread – Not the Food, Not Your Waistline…



Ughhh… so here we are, 2017 has arrived and we have no more excuses for guilt-free gluttony! Time to settle down into the everyday world and the obligation of taking care of ourselves.

Some of us may have done better than others at moderating the sugar and fat that passed through our celebrating lips, others may have consumed a bit more calories than needed. Calories will always be king – too much of any macronutrient calorie gets stored as fat if we don’t burn it. Calories-in must equal calories-out or less, respectively, if we want to maintain, or lose body fat. That is the crux of it and why exercise becomes a crucial ingredient of a healthy body lifestyle. Move it or get fat – Get 20  if you can!

Let’s address the dreaded “New Year’s Resolution”. I don’t have one. It is a life-long goal for me to monitor what I consume or I would weigh 5 or 6 tons by now, ha-ha, insert un-smiley face here. I was not blessed with a stellar metabolism – next time they pass those out I am at the front of that line and at the line front of the VO2 max endowments! My new year consists of a back-on-the-wagon approach, I am not in shock nor disappointed by an onset of abrupt changes, but start towing the line again, I must.

Time for a detox, some new exercises, new meditations and visualizations, and a renewing of commitment to reach and or maintain previous goals. This is exciting for me because I always enjoy the challenge of new beginnings!

This year I received some beautiful Christmas presents from my daughter, Vanessa. She gave me a 2017 Erin Condren day planner, some awesomely cute sticky notes, sparkly gold pens, and a Zen Garden!! I am all about organization so these are my kind of toys! I love writing down goals, it keeps me on track. The Zen Garden will be there to keep me focused if I need some positive distraction.


Erin Condren planner with awesome sticky notes!


My Zen Garden

Some of you may already know that I am a life-long, low-fat eater due to my family health history. I was diagnosed clinically hypothyroid and anemic at the age of 7 and have endured severe to moderate adrenal fatigue for over 25 years, these issues led to my heart-attack and subsequent quad bypass surgery in 2011 – the doc said my eating habits saved me from an earlier heart attack and death. No, I will not eat Paleo. No I do not do coconut oil. We each need our own diet, diets are not “one size fits all”. I respect all healthy eating styles and endorse what works for each individual.

My genetic testing shows that I cannot process fats in a positive manner, and guess what? At least 33% of you are in the same genetic boat with me! No worries, you and I have got this. My recipes help get through the holidays without much damage, help with life’s other celebrations, and a few cheat days here and there. I strive for a balance of quality nutrients and some “good fats”. It works for me, I am not on any heart or cholesterol lowering meds.

No food recipe for you in this post, however I am offering a recipe of sorts. Here is my “basic recipe” for a Happy New Year:

Eat lots of greens! Greens raise your level of vibration and that is a positive thing. Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard, Asparagus, anything green and preferably raw, yes, raw. You will get the most benefit from the vitamins and minerals contained therein if the greens are consumed uncooked. Smoothies are best, salads work too. Add in some pineapple for reducing inflammation, and blueberries for antioxidant boosting. Next, squeeze in at least 20 minutes of yoga, resistance, or aerobic exercise each day. I suggest using the Fat Secret application or one similar, to monitor all of that.  Fat Secret counts calories, macronutrients, and has a fitness tracker. It is another tool that I use daily to keep me in line.

These few ingredients above are only part of the “Recipe for 2017”, please add in a good dose of the following in generous amounts:

Adopt a positive attitude about life, living, and friendships. Start with honoring yourself. Small rituals can help create and maintain a positive mood which will be contagious to others around you. Start small. Take a spa bath or shower at home. Light a few candles, make some lemon water to sip, and soak in a warm tub infused with essential oils, baking soda, and Epsom Salt, for at least 20 minutes. Start eating healthier foods, or introduce more organic foods into your diet. Start a new exercise program or hobby. Read 10 minutes a day. Learn something new. Put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then step out to help others. There is little more satisfying than sharing good things when you are whole and available. Share with those in true need, support a homeless human or animal, try to make a difference in this world. Positive vibrations promote a positive environment for all  – all of us need a little more of that. You can make your life, your body, your world, a beautiful place in which to dwell! Start with one ingredient at a time, adding more as needed to taste.

…spread the joy, not your waistline.

This is your recipe…Make It A Beautiful Life!


Epicuriously yours,

The Fat Free Gourmet

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Fat-Free Pumpkin Pie Cookies…and Pancakes too!

img_1732Pumpkin Pie Cookies…and pancakes too… it’s a two-fer!

Thanksgiving again?! This year went by quickly! Hope ya’ll had a good one!

I am in the middle of a huge remodel/building project so you haven’t seen me for a while, so time to make an appearance for the holidays.

In need of some quickie recipes? They do not get much quicker than this! A box of spice cake mixed with a can of pumpkin and you are good to go for pancakes or cookies. Who doesn’t love either of those?

It started on a Sunday while I was left unattended with a can of pumpkin. I poked through the boxes in my pantry and found the spice cake mix. I dumped them both into the mixer bowl. Blinded by the shiny stainless bowl I thought, “just add egg beaters”. I did not know what I was making…that happens a lot.

After mixing, I had to select a pan. Hmmm…cookie sheet! Out came the raw sugar, a little sprinkle on top then into the oven and when it came out, “oh my pumpkin pie”!

I experimented with other “sprinkles”; brown sugar, cinnamon sugar, but decided I liked the raw sugar best. Try all three toppings, then pick your favorite. As you have read, I am always down for a good cooking experiment!

When testing, I never cook the entire batch – this is how the pancakes were born. Since the first and second batch of cookies were thumbs up, I had left over cookie dough…hmmm…eat with a spoon or try something else? I added some water and boom, onto a hot griddle…

…there you have it, the birth of the Thanksgiving recipe two-fer, cookies and pancakes!


Fat free Pumpkin Pie Pancakes ready to take off the griddle and serve!



The Fat Free Gourmet’s Pumpkin Pie Cookies

Here’s your tweaks:

♥ This is a great recipe to cook for two – split the cookie dough, add half the amount of water listed in the full recipe to half the cookie dough to make pancakes, bake the other half as cookies. Both freeze and reheat well.

♥ Add additional water to make a thinner pancake batter to make crepes. Fill with a mixture of fat-free Cool Whip, fat-free cream cheese, and fat-free Ricotta cheese, flavor with vanilla and sugar to taste.


Let’s make ‘em!

The Fat Free Gourmet’s Pumpkin Pie Cookies

1 – 15.25 oz. box spice cake mix

1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree

½ cup egg substitute

Raw sugar (my fav), brown sugar, or cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Dump the first 3 ingredients into a mixing bowl. By hand or with electric mixer, stir until dough is smooth.
  3. Drop by teaspoonful onto a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. I use silicone sheet liners, spray sparingly or omit if using those
  4. Sprinkle with desired sugar topping (raw, brow, cinnamon sugar mix)
  5. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until set.

Makes 36 cookies.


Pumpkin Pie Cookies baking with a brown sugar topping


Nutritional Data
36 Servings
Amount Per Serving:
Calories 50.5
Total Fat 0.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 96.1 mg
Potassium 12.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 11.0 g
Dietary Fiber 0.5 g
Sugars 5.4 g
Protein 1.1 g

The Fat Free Gourmet’s Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

Tastes soooo perfect with maple syrup. Makes a beautiful holiday breakfast!!


Pumpkin Pie Pancakes with fat free whipped cream, maple syrup, and a sprinkling of pumpkin pie spice


Same recipe as above with these additions or exceptions:

  1. Preheat griddle to med high.
  2. Add 1 1/3 cups water to the mix to make batter.
  3. Ladle approximately ¼ cup of batter onto a griddle sprayed with cooking spray.
  4. Cook each side to golden brown. Serve warm with maple syrup. Fat free whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice optional.

Makes 24 pancakes.

Nutritional Data
24 servings
One pancake:
Calories 75.8
Total Fat 0.7 g
Saturated Fat 0.4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 144.1 mg
Potassium 18.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 16.5 g
Dietary Fiber 0.8 g
Sugars 8.1 g
Protein 1.7 g

As always, Peeps, Have an awesome holiday season and stay epicurious!



*Recipe Nutritional data calculated by SparkRecipes.

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The Fat Free Gourmet’s Zucchini and Corn Flakes — or How big is too big?

Fat Free Zucchini and Corn Flakes with Fat-Free Ranch Dressing

Fat Free Zucchini and Corn Flakes with Fat-Free Ranch Dressing

A fat-free recipe for medium garden grown zucchini, 
or other vegetable of your heart’s desire!

Ahhh zucchini.

You can stuff them, steam them, sauté them, even eat them raw! They are a low-calorie vegetable that will take on the flavor, be it sweet or savory, of whatever you choose to mix with them.

Garden grown zucchini present a special challenge…size – it really does matter.

Young tender 6 to 7-inch zucchini squash are perfect for steaming or sauté, 8 to 10-inch are great for stuffing. If you allow them to grow  larger, they become a problem: the skin is tough, the flavor is strong, and they tend to be a little bitter. Typically, zucchini larger than 10 inches go to what I call, “grated recipe” status; I use them in breads, fritters, cookies, salads. But, oh those seeds, what to do with them, they definitely must go!

This year’s garden provided an overabundance of larger zucchini nearing the end of the growing season due to my waning  attention. With a glass of Moscato wine in one hand, and a 14-inch long zucchini in the other, I decided to do something daring…

I laid it on the counter. There it was, in front me, about 2 inches in diameter. What to do with it? I grabbed my knife and hesitantly sliced it in half. (Now, here is where it gets tricky: how big are the darn seeds?!) Hmmm, I inspected. This one had smallish seeds, and so I finished the slicing of it.  I continued into ½ inch thick round slices. Not holding anything back, I spontaneously moved forward with a recipe I had been flirting with for quite some time!

You don’t really need a certain sized zucchini for this recipe, not a giant, smaller is better. Suffice it to say, my 14-incher turned out cravingly well even though it was a slightly larger sized zucchini than I would have normally chosen to use.

Here comes the fun part of this recipe: the tweaks! Those fun creative touches that will make this recipe your own. I am all about experimenting and trying new things! Looking forward to hearing what tweaks you did and the results. Try some of these and create a cravable new favorite!

  • Use any sized zucchini except a giant, and cut it into any shape you like, you may have to adjust cooking time for smaller or larger sized pieces.
  • Use any vegetable you like, simply adjust the cooking time for the density of the vegetable. For instance, potatoes and cauliflower may take a little longer cooking time to achieve the desired tenderness.
  • Serve as an appetizer, a side to your favorite main dish, or as a main dish if you are doing vegetarian.
  • Change up the ethnicity! Add different spices to the egg or the breading mix, your choice, let you imagination go wild! (I like to season both mixtures to give ‘two layers of flavor”.)
  • Serve with a sauce and garnish! Fat-Free Ginger Sesame Dressing (Lighthouse Sesame Ginger Dressing is one of my favorite!) or a few dashes of soy sauce for Asian; with fat-free pasta sauce for Italian, with traditional fat-free Ranch or Blue Cheese dressing for game day festivities, or make up your own low-fat or fat-free sauce! You can even top them with a few sprinkles of fat-free cheese for the last minute of baking in the oven. Pictured are Mae Ploy Sweet Chilli Sauce, a dollop of spicy mustard, and sprinkle of cilantro; also pictured with fat-free ranch or blue cheese dressing.
  • Marinate the zucchini before you bread them for another layer of flavor. A 20 minute soak in your favorite marinade would do the trick. How about soy sauce mixed with seasoned rice wine vinegar, lemon juice, or perhaps balsamic vinegar with a dash of garlic. Dill pickle juice for that “fried pickle” flavor!

Here’s the basic recipe:

1 14-inch long by 2 inch in diameter zucchini, cut ½ inch in thickness, or equivalent vegetable, cut accordingly

1 ½ cups fat-free egg substitute
1 teaspoon onion powder

1 ½ cups Kellogg’s Corn Flake Crumbs or finely crushed (see photos) corn flakes
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
Salt to taste
(add 1 tablespoon of grated low-fat parmesan topping to this mixture if desired)

Pre-heat oven to 350°. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, then spray with a light coating of fat-free cooking spray. Set aside.
Cut vegetables, set aside.
In a shallow bowl mix together egg substitute and onion powder, set aside.

Egg wash for Fat-Free Baked Zucchini and Corn Flakes

Beaten egg and onion powder. Add other spices to the wash for an extra layer of flavor!

In another shallow bowl mix together the last four ingredients, set aside.

Corn flake dredge

Corn flake breading mixture…yum!

Set up your breading prep area; from right to left or left to right whichever is most comfortable for you. Set up in a line with vegetables first, egg mixture second, corn flake crumb mixture, then baking pan. First dip vegetables into the egg mix using only your left or right hand, next into the corn flakes using the opposite hand, then place onto baking sheet. This method is the best way to keep your hands from getting “breaded”!

Prep area set up

Set up for prep area, start from the side most comfortable for you.

Zucchini in pan ready to bake.

Ready to bake!

Bake for 30 minutes or until desired color is reached, and vegetables are fork tender. Serve warm. Serves 6.

Baked corn flake encrusted zucchini fresh out of the oven!

Fresh out of the oven!

Can be made ahead and reheated in the microwave.

(Yum, I just devoured some of the photo shoot left-overs from yesterday!)

Serve with the sauce and garnish of your choice.


Nutritional Data
6 servings, zucchini only, no garnish or sauce
Amount per serving:

Calories 127.8
Total Fat 0.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 282.9 mg
Potassium 321.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 24.1 g
Dietary Fiber 1.9 g
Sugars 3.5 g
Protein 8.6 g


Fat-Free baked corn flake encrusted zucchini with Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce and hot mustard.

Fat-free baked corn flake encrusted zucchini with Mae Ploy Sweet Chili sauce and spicy mustard.

Let me know how your “tweaks” turned out! Leave your comments below or on any of my social media haunts! I welcome everyone to share their ideas and results!

Hope you and yours are looking forward to a loving holiday season! I will be publishing the “Pumpkin Spice Latte Gelato” recipe soon, so be on the lookout!



Epicuriously yours,

Eliminate the excess – eat to live! ❤

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Quick and Easy Super Yummy Fat-Free Yuletide Eggnog

ff eggnog

Serve this delicious nog with a spice dusting of your choosing: pumpkin pie spice blend, apple pie spice blend or just good ol’ freshly ground nutmeg…a dollop of fat-free whipped cream, or even a few mini-marshmallows…or all of them if you are feeling it! This fat-free eggnog will blend well with your favorite spirits or a shot or two of espresso for a yummy Eggnog Latte!


1/2  gallon fat-free milk

2 small packages  (4 serving size) instant vanilla pudding mix, sugar-free or regular, French Vanilla flavor works well

1 tablespoon Brandy extract

1 tablespoon Rum extract

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, freshly grated or pre-ground

¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional)


Add all ingredients into a large pitcher. Whisk together or blend with immersion blender or hand  mixer until  incorporated. Chill and serve.

Happy Holidays and enjoy! ❤

ff eggnog latte

Epicuriously to you,



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Your Health Cocktail – What Are You Drinking?

bandaid heart

We all have a mix, a cocktail if you will, that got us to where we are, our own personal brew that makes up our health profile. “Yeah, right, life is like a cocktail!” you’re saying to yourself. Just stay with me here. your life to a Tequila Sunrise, a mixed drink made of orange juice and tequila with just a touch of grenadine syrup to make that beautiful  red-orange sunset in a glass. Imagine that is your current life situation contained in that glass. The orange juice is good for you, you could conservatively drink it every day and no real harm would come to you, given that you have no physiological adversities to it. Now, the tequila, well that’s an entirely different story – just a non-essential shot of alcohol to give the drink a kick. The Tequila Sunrise tastes wonderful while you drink it but you probably would not want to make a constant habit of consuming it because the tequila will eventually cause some type of problem.  The good and bad mixed together may be palatable and even make you happy for a while, but it might take a toll on your health.

Your personal life cocktail is made up of many ingredients, some positive some negative. For instance; being sedentary is negative (tequila), daily exercise is positive (orange juice). Some ingredients may be temporarily or permanently out of your control and unchangeable, so we are forced to include them in our mix at present or for the rest of our time here on this planet.  These unchangeable bitter ingredients might include an illness, stress related to our employment or lack of, our relationships, our financial state – these things can be fluid and may change quickly or over time. If you have too much tequila, try adding more orange juice!

I thought I was the hostess with the perfect cocktail, ha ha, silly me! It took awhile to figure out just what was in the bottom of my cocktail shaker! I came from a family where my brother was my abuser, not physically, just a narcissistic bully who never grew up. I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism at age seven. My father, had hypothyroidism, cardiovascular disease, age onset diabetes, and died from his second massive stroke at age 64. I met and married a man just like my brother (just felt like home I guess!). I was married to him for 23 years and had two children with him. I ran a small corporation with my ex-husband and homeschooled my children. Eventually my mother developed Alzheimer’s disease and came to live with us. Stress was a major factor in my life! Over several years, three different medical doctors told me that if I did not change my current situation I would probably end up very ill. My mother passed and after that time I decided to listen to the doctors and left my husband – my kids and I moved 400 miles away. That’s my tequila.

Here’s my orange juice! My father had what the doctor called, “familial high cholesteremia”. No matter how little fat he ate his lipid levels would remain high. He was a chef, owned a restaurant, and had a difficult time staying away from fats. I started to create low and fat-free recipes for him…I was ten years old at that time. His condition made a huge impact on my personal choices. I stopped drinking milk. I stopped eating butter, margarine, and mayonnaise. I ate smaller portions of red meat. By the time I was 19 years old I was on a very low-fat eating regime. I joined a gym. I snow skied, water skied, hiked, played tennis, lifted weights, and took aerobics classes. I took up meditation and yoga. My weight always fluctuated due to my out of control hypothyroidism and pregnancies, but I remained active and didn’t eat much fat.

I was 52 when I finally left my husband. At age 54 I had a major heart attack and subsequent bypass surgery…more tequila to my mix. What a shock that was. Before the heart attack I could do 30 minutes straight, full-out on a ski machine without stopping, lift weights, and play tennis. I did yoga and meditation, and wore a size 3! My cocktail was palatable but it took its toll. Stress and my adrenals had given out. I didn’t realize how bad the stress was until after I left the marriage and moved far away from the situation. Reality set in, I had way too much tequila  in my daily Tequila Sunrise for far too many years.

There are ingredients in your life cocktail of which you are in control, don’t wait, take control as soon as you are aware of them. My cardiologist told me that I probably put off my heart attack by a good ten to fifteen years because of my eating habits and exercise. Too bad I couldn’t have avoided it completely and taken care of myself. I just didn’t get out of my bad situation soon enough and my thyroid and adrenal system was about to fail due to the stress. Out of control thyroid disease causes heart problems.

Some of the best information out there on cutting edge therapies, tests, and strategies for preventing or reversing arteriosclerosis and heart disease are contained in this book, Beat the Heart Attack Gene:

Exercise, eating correctly for your genotype (genetic testing to choose the proper diet for the way your body metabolizes lipids), and maintaining well-being are important ingredients that should be generously mixed into your life cocktail, don’t skimp on any of those. Make time for yourself and always make sure you have a good balance to the mix. Get a complete cardiac blood panel with genetic marker testing from a reputable lab that does a full cardiovascular analysis. Here is a link to the lab I use, Health Diagnostic Laboratories, which is also recommended by the above referenced book:

One more thing that helped me to get on track after my heart attack, I found a brilliant thyroid doctor.  My thyroid went completely bonkers after the bypass surgery and I needed individualized thyroid treatment to regulate my endocrine system. I do not take heart medications or cholesterol lowering drugs, just thyroid meds, minimal hormone replacement, and lots of good vitamins, but that is a whole other blog post!

Mix your life cocktail with as many good ingredients as possible, heal and stay healthy. Shaken or stirred, I wish you a long, happy, and delicious life!

Epicuriously yours,


Please come visit me at any of my web haunts for more ideas, inspirations, and fantastic fat-free recipes!

My website:




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