Oh My! Gingerbread Puffs

Nothing says the holiday season to me more than the smell of gingerbread cooking! Some people could say that I am just a little obsessed with gingerbread men. I wouldn’t go that far, but I do truly enjoy decorating with the little guys during the holidays. Gingerbread men provide such an air of whimsy and childhood innocence. Well, and then there is that fun element of creativity to create each and every one.

I knew that my mission was to create a recipe that my family and I could thoroughly enjoy my gingerbread this holiday season. After much researching and finagling, I was finally able to find a recipe that just was too good for words. So, let’s get this party started and gather up some ingredients.

Oh My! Gingerbread Puffs

  • 3/4 cup vegan butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packaged brown sugar
  • 1 lg egg (room temp)
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups Gluten-Free Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Xanthum Gum (ONLY USE IF NOT IN YOUR GF FLOUR BLEND)
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp Ground Allspice
  • 6 tbsp sugar (FOR ROLLING)
  • Sprinkles
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2-4 tsp Almond Milk

Notes:

  • If you are using a Gluten-Free Flour blend that has Xanthum Gum in it, do not add the 1/2 tsp Xanthum Gum in the recipe
  • The almond milk can be replaced with another alternative milk if necessary.

Alright, now that we have our ingredients together. Let’s gather up the Gingerbread Man before he can run off and let’s get started!

1)Gather up the Vegan Butter, Sugar, and Brown Sugar. Place into mixing bowl and cream until light and fluffy.

2) Add the Egg, Molasses, and Vanilla Extract into the mixing bowl. Mix until well blended.

3) Gather up the Gluten-Free Flour, Baking Soda, Salt, Ground Ginger, Ground Cinnamon, Ground Nutmeg, and Ground Allspice. Place all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix together.

4) Little by little, add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well combined.

5) Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

6) Preheat the oven to 350F.

7) Add 6 tbsp sugar into a small bowl.

8) Using a cookie scoop, scoop the dough and roll into balls.

9) Roll the dough balls into sugar and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Place the dough balls 2″ apart.

10) Dip the bottom of a glass into the sugar and use it flatten the dough balls.

11) Bake the cookies at 350F for 8-10 minutes or until set and browned.

12) Cool on a wire rack.

13) Gather together the Powdered Sugar, Vanilla extract, and Almond Milk for the icing. Add the Vanilla Extract to the Powdered Sugar. Add the Almond Milk in small amounts only adding enough to get to the consistency that you prefer for decorating.

14) Once cookies are completely cooled, drizzle icing on half of the cookie and add sprinkles.

15) Let icing set and dry.

16) Enjoy!


Mrs. Claus’s Sensible Rolled Sugar Cookies

Every Christmas Eve, my kids and I set out to make cookies for Santa. We have always waited for that day, so Santa could get extra fresh cookies and special hot chocolate to keep him warm on his journey. My children have always wanted to make sure that Santa kept warm so he would not get sick riding through the snow. Of course we can’t leave out the reindeer who are working so hard to help. So, we leave them a bowl of water and carrots to enjoy and boost their energy back up. Coming up to the holidays, I knew I just had to find a recipe and adapt it so we could keep our tradition alive and enjoy making cookies for us and Santa.

After several attempts with my willing family elves, I finally found got the recipe just how it needed to be. Never fear! These sugar cookies are just what Mrs. Claus asked for. So let’s start by gathering the ingredients.

Mrs. Claus’s Sensible Rolled Sugar Cookies

  • 3 cups Gluten-Free Flour
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup Vegan Butter, unsalted

Notes:

  • You can substitute for the egg in order to make this recipe Vegan as well (I would lean towards using Banana as the substitute as it will add creaminess)
  • If you do want to eliminate the almond extract, you can just substitute with vanilla extract or another flavored extract that can add some extra flavor, for instance lemon extract
  • You can ice these cookies any way you desire, or just add sprinkles for a festive holiday look

Alright, so now that we have all our ingredients together, let’s get the hot chocolate warmed up and get started

1)Preheat the oven to 350F

2) Bring together the butter and sugar. Place into a mixing bowl and cream together until light and fluffy.

3) Add in the extracts and egg into the mixing bowl. Mix until combined.

4) Bring together the baking powder, salt, and gluten-free flour. Place into a bowl and mix together.

5) Add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl a little at a time

6) Mix until thoroughly combined.

7) Place dough onto slightly floured surface and kneed until smooth and together.

8)Roll out the dough to about 1/4″ thickness onto a lightly floured surface.

9) Using a cookie cutter, cut out your favorite shapes.

10) Place onto cookies sheets, separated by about 2″.

11) Bake at 350F for 6-8 minutes or until lightly golden brown. (This time depends upon your individual oven settings)

12) Cool completely on a wire rack.

13) Once cooled completely, decorate your cookies with icing.

14) Let icing dry completely.

15) Enjoy!


Dad’s Sensible Apple Pie

Every family has traditions that they follow during the holidays. These traditions are what keep the family a strong unit and make memories. As far back as I can remember, my dad would spend hours making these Dutch Apple Pies. He always had to make at least 2, because they would be devoured. Just a bite of this pie every holiday brings back such fond memories of my childhood and family.

I knew that this holiday season, I could not live without his amazing pie, but I was going to have to make it Color Me Sensible friendly. After searching and looking for ways to make this pie so that I can enjoy it for years to come, I finally found a recipe and ingredients to work. Serving it up at Thanksgiving, not a single family member could tell that it wasn’t Dad’s Dutch Apple Pie. The pie came out so good, that noone knew it was Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and even Vegan. I am so excited to share this recipe with you all. So let’s get the ingredients together.

Dad’s Sensible Apple Pie

  • 6 large Apples (MacIntosh is what we use)
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Gluten-Free Flour
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 3/4 cup Almond Milk Plain Yogurt
  • Gluten-Free Pie Crust

Streusal Topping

  • 1/2 cup Gluten-Free Flour (sifted)
  • 1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Vegan Butter

Notes:

  • I prefer to use MacIntosh apples, but you can substitute out for any other type apple you like. Just remember the softer and sweeter the apple, the sweeter the pie will turn out and it will also become softer.
  • If you would like a slightly deeper flavor profile, you can use Dark Brown Sugar instead of Light Brown Sugar
  • You can also add Vegan Caramel or even Dairy-Free Cheddar Cheese to this recipe, if those are flavor profiles you enjoy

Now that we have everything together. Let’s Get Started!

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.

2. Gather up the Sugar, Light Brown Sugar, Gluten-Free Flour, Ground Cinnamon, Ground Nutmeg, Lemon Juice, and Yogurt for the Filling.

3. Place ingredients into a metal mixing bowl.

4. Mix ingredients until completely incorporated.

5. Gather up your apples. Wash them, peel them, slice into small slices, and place into mixing bowl with filling ingredients.

6. Place mixture into Gluten-Free Pie Crust. I found this brand of Gluten-Free Pie Crust that is also free of Soy, Dairy, and several of the other top allergens. Great find.

7. Get together the Gluten-Free Flour, Light Brown Sugar, and Vegan Butter for the Streusal Topping.

8. Place the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Using your fingers, crumple up the butter into the dry ingredients. The streusal topping is ready when it is in small pea sized and smaller granules.

9. Gently place the streusal topping onto the prepared pie.

10. Bake in the oven at 400F for about 50 minutes or until the streusal is golden and the apples are tender.

11. Allow the pie to cool completely before slicing or topping. I found this non-dairy cool whip topping from SoDelicious to use as a topping.

12. Enjoy!


Savory Corn Pudding

So, I have to admit, I absolutely love corn dishes. Corn is such a versatile and sweet vegetable to me. Over the years, I have been to many gatherings that had corn pudding as a regular side. This is where my affinity for corn pudding began. There is something very savory and delicious about this casserole dish. So, with my son’s help and determination, I set out to develop a recipe that I could actually eat as well. After a little finagling, we came up with a corn pudding recipe that will leave everyone in disbelief that there is no dairy or gluten to be found inside. So, let’s start by gathering up the ingredients.

Savory Corn Pudding

  • 1/2 cup Vegan Butter
  • 1/3 cup Gluten-Free Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups Almond Milk
  • 2-(15 oz) cans of corn
  • 1 tbsp Thyme
  • 1 cup Dairy-Free shredded cheddar cheese

Notes:

  • You can use any milk substitute for the Almond Milk if you choose. Just remember that alternative milks like Coconut Milk will alter the taste of the casserole.
  • I used fresh Thyme for this recipe, but dry Thyme can also be used as well
  • If you want to amp up the spice a little, you can use canned mexican corn instead of regular corn, it will add a little bit of a kick to the dish.

Alright, so now that we have all the ingredients together, Let’s Get Started!

1.Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Prepare a 9X13 Casserole Pan  with cooking spray.

3. Place butter into a microwave safe dish and melt the butter completely.

4. Gather together the Gluten-Free Flour, Baking Powder, Salt, Garlic Powder, and Sugar.

5. Place the dry ingredients together in a sifter and sift them into another bowl.

6. Gather up the eggs. Crack the eggs one at a time into a small bowl, check for egg shell fragments, then dump into bigger bowl.

7. Add the almond milk into the mixing bowl. Whisk together until completely mixed.

8. Add the Gluten-Free Flour and Melted Butter to the egg mixture. Whisk together thoroughly making sure that all the Gluten-Free Flour is completely incorporated.

9. Add the thyme to the egg mixture. Whisk until the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

10. Add the Shredded Dairy-Free Cheese to the egg mixture. Whisk together until thoroughly incorporated.

11. Once thoroughly mixed, pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

12. Bake at 350F for 50 minutes, or until the casserole is browned and no longer jiggly.

13. Enjoy!

Savory Stuffing

Alright, so my favorite side dish at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner is hands down, the stuffing. I have very fond memories of growing up and helping my mom make the stuffing and getting the turkey ready for the big feast. You better believe that no Color Me Sensible diet was going to stop me from having my stuffing this year. So after looking around, I discovered that they actually make Gluten-Free stuffing mixes. I was amazed and so happy. Here is how I went about my very savory stuffing this year.

Savory Stuffing

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup Raw Turkey Sausage
  • 1/4 cup dried Sweetened Cranberries
  • 1/8 cup chopped almonds
  • 2 cups Gluten-Free Chicken Broth
  • 5 tbsp Vegan Butter

Alright, so now that we have all the ingredients together, let’s get started!

1.Take the Chicken Broth and Heat up till it is steaming.

2. Add the Vegan Butter to the Chicken Broth and allow to melt completely.

3. This is the brand of stuffing mix that I used. Place the stuffing cubes into a mixing bowl.

4. Take your Celery and Onion and diced into small dices.

5. Gather up the Onions, Celery,Cranberries, Almonds, Turkey Sausage, and Seasonings.

5. Add all the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl and mix until they are combined completely. Make sure that the sausage is crumbled up into small pieces throughout.

5. Add your Chicken Broth mixture to the bread mixture and allow to soak in for a moment.

6. Once the bread mixture has soaked up the chicken broth, Place into prepared pan. I used muffin tins for this, but you could also use another casserole dish or prepare and stuff into a turkey.

7. Bake at 350F until golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 165F.

8. Enjoy!


Sensible Pumpkin Bread

Halloween ushers in a wonderful time of the year for me, FALL BAKING!!

Okay, I know I live in Florida and our fall is at best summer 2, but I love holiday baking season kicking in right after the Halloween pumpkins get carved up. In our family, Pumpkin Bread and Pumpkin Muffins are a staple after Halloween. They have such a warmth and comfort to them that really makes us feel at home. As soon as we carve up our pumpkin I begin the process of making ALOT of Pumpkin Bread to hopefully get us through the week..lol.

I want to share with you guys the recipe that has been tried and true in our household for years. Of course, make sure to make any dietary substitutions that you need. Let’ gather up the ingredients!

Sensible Pumpkin Bread

  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 cup Vegan Butter, melted
  • 15 oz Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/3 cup Almond Milk
  • 2 cups Gluten-Free Flour
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 3/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil

Notes:

  • You can add any additional toppings or flavor elements you like. We added Dark Chocolate Chips and Dried Cranberries
  • This recipe works well as Loaves, Muffins, and even Little Muffin Tops.
  • Make batches ahead of time and freeze loaves in the freezer to use as desired
  • You can always substitute out the eggs as well to make this a Vegan Friendly recipe

Now that we have gathered all of our ingredients. Let’s get Started!

1)Preheat oven to 350F.

2)Gather up all ingredients.

3)Place butter in microwave safe bowl and heat until melted.

4)Bring together Melted Butter, Brown Sugar, Sugar, and Vegetable Oil.

5)Place into mixing bowl and mix on low speed until thoroughly incorporated.

6)Add Eggs, Pumpkin Puree, and Almond Milk to the mixer. Mix until thoroughly incorporated and smooth.

7)Add Ground Cloves, Ground Cinnamon, Ground Nutmeg, Salt, and Baking Powder into mixing bowl. Mix until incorporated.

8)Add the Gluten Free Flour into mixing bowl. Mix until thoroughly incorporated and smooth. Make sure to scrape down the mixing bowl sides to ensure the mixture is mixed thoroughly.

9)Prepare Baking pans by greasing them thoroughly. Add mix into pans spreading evenly. Add any desired toppings at this time.

10)Bake in the oven at 350F for 50 minutes. Make sure that you test the center for doneness by using a toothpick and inserting into middle. When it comes out clean, the bread is done.

11)Allow to cool thoroughly on a cooling rack.

12)Enjoy!


Spooky Chocolate Cookie Cutouts

Who says that Cutout cookies are just for the Winter Holidays? I absolutely love making character and shape cutout cookies with the kids during the various seasons of the year. Halloween is no exception. What I love most about this recipe is the rich cocoa flavoring that just seems to encapsulate Halloween to me. With a flavor profile that crosses somewhere between a brownie and a shortbread cookie, this recipe is soon to be one of your family’s favorites.

Let’s get together our ingredients.

Spooky Chocolate Cookie Cutouts

2 cups Gluten-Free Cup for Cup Flour

1/2 cup Cocoa Powder

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1 cup  Vegan Butter, Softened

1 cup raw sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

For the Icing

1 cup Powdered Sugar

1/4 cup Almond Milk

1/4 cup Cocoa Powder

1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract

Sprinkles

 

Also need cookie cutters in any shape you want to use.

Now that we have everything together, Let’s get started!!

 

1)Gather together all the ingredients for the cookies

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2)In a mixing bowl, add your vegan butter, raw sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat until it is smooth and creamy.

3)Crack the egg into a small bowl and then add to the ingredients in the mixer. Mix until smooth.

4)Add the Gluten-Free Flour, Cocoa Powder, Salt, and Baking Powder into the mixer. Mix until a soft dough forms

5)Once the dough has come together, place the finished dough into a bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

6)Preheat your oven to 375F.

7)Remove dough from refrigerator and lightly dust the workspace with some additional Gluten-Free Flour. Roll out the dough to approximately 1/8″thick

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8)Use your desired cookie cutters to cut out the shapes and place gently onto a cookie sheet

9)Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, making sure that they are slightly browned on edges.

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10)Once cookies are done baking, place on a cooling rack to ensure that they cool completely.

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11) Gather together the ingredients for the Icing.

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12)In a mixing bowl, place the Powdered Sugar, Almond Milk, Cocoa Powder, and Vanilla Extract and whisk together until smooth.

13)Using a spoon, spread the icing across the cookie shapes. Finish off with sprinkles.

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14)Share and Enjoy!!

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Emergency Preparedness

Living in Florida, I have become accustomed to an occasional disastrous hurricane here and there. No big deal, right? When I was younger, I lived through Hurricane Andrew in Miami and witnessed devastation first hand. The one thing I knew growing up, was to watch the weather channel and always be prepared for hurricanes. This year was different. As Hurricane Michael approached the gulf coast of Florida, a harsh reality hit… what would I do if we lost power for food?

Let’s face it… my Color Me Sensible diet has placed me in the position of eating freshly prepared meals and refrigerated meals. There is not much in the way of non perishable items that really fit into the Color Me Sensible diet lifestyle. So .. I set out on a mission to discover ways that people like me can prepare for disasters and keep themselves safe and healthy. Here are some of the tips and suggestions I have come up with. Hopefully they can give you some ideas for your your own disaster preparedness.

  1. Canned Meat Items
    • This is definitely an item that you can tailor to your own. I went with Chicken Breast and Tuna myself. There are so many other options you can choose from. I also got some extra condiments from a sandwich shop in order to tailor these items and keep them nonperishable. My goal was to make some sort of Chicken or Tuna Salad and eat them with some Gluten-Free Crackers. Keep in mind, if you have no refrigeration you will need to eat it in one sitting, so I went with small cans just in case. There are so many other options, so just keep an eye out on the ingredients and have fun with it.
  1. Nuts & Trail Mixes
    • Nuts are a great source of protein that is nonperishable. There are so many options and varieties to choose from. Decide based on what your diet can handle and go from there.
    • Trail mixes are also a great source of protein and energy that are nonperishable. They offer a variety of options to include dried fruits and granola pieces as well. EnjoyLife has great trail mix options that are major allergen free. Feel free to check them out.
    • Dried Fruits & Vegetables are also a good option to add to your nonperishable list. They offer nutrition and variety to your Color Me Sensible diet. Keep in mind family allergens and just be creative.
  2. Cereal
    • Never underestimate the role that cereals can play in nutrition during your day. There are multiple companies that make Gluten-Free and Allergen Friendly cereals to spice up your nonperishable diet.
    • If you want to get really creative feel free to mix cereals, nuts, and other items together to make some great trail mixes that are nutritious and packed with energy.
  3. Cereal Bars
    • There are several companies that offer Gluten-Free options for cereal bars that will offer some variety and options to your Color Me Sensible diet.

 

Remember this is just a general idea list for you to get ideas to include in your own disaster preparedness kit.

Above all else be safe when it comes to preparing for disasters.

  1. Make sure that you have a plan for yourself and your family members.
  2. Make sure that you have a list of all current medications and medical issues for all family members.
  3. Make sure to have resources available to you in case things go awry.
  4. Make sure to have important documents and emergency contact information handy as needed.

Help each other through times of need and work together as a community.

 

Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event

Imagine being able to go to an event where you don’t have to worry about finding something that will fit in to your Color Me Sensible Diet. Imagine going into a convention center and just knowing that no matter where you go, you can enjoy what is being offered. Sounds like a dream right?

On Saturday November 3, 2018, in Jacksonville, Fl, vendors, experts, and the like will get together to help bring awareness and information to all those that are affected or just interested in learning more about gluten and allergen issues with food. Companies will be offering samples of food for attendees to taste and discover new possibilities with their Color Me Sensible diets. There will be experts on hand to answer questions and give advice to all those in need. I am super excited to be able to meet with these leading professionals in the field and learn more that will not only help myself, but I will be able to help share with you all.

Are you as excited about this opportunity as I am?

Well you should be!! You can get your tickets now at the site listed above to ensure your spot in this amazing event.

Want to know how you can also get tickets?

Comment on this post and tell me why YOU want to attend the Gluten & Allergen Wellness Event in Jacksonville, Fl. Four(4) lucky followers will win tickets to attend the event.

Ticket Giveaway

So join me and lets embark on this journey and learn more about our Color Me Sensible diets!!

Stir Fry for All

If you had to ask me what I thought was the most versatile food on the planet, my answer would have to be stir fry. The whole concept is just amazing. You take some meat, veggies, seasonings, and mix them together and serve them on whatever vessel you desire. The versatility and flexibility that stir fry provides is pretty much unmatched. No matter what portion of the Color me Sensible diet you fall on, you can create the perfect stir fry for your liking. This is definitely a dish that you can customize to your favorite flavors and have so much fun doing it. I  have included a recipe here that is a general guideline for how to make a stir fry. Feel free to get your imagination going.

Stir Fry for All

1 pound Top Round Steak

1/2 medium onion

1/2 medium green bell pepper

1 celery stalk

1 medium carrot

1/2 yellow squash

1/2 zucchini

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

 

Important Notes

  • You can substitute out any veggies or meat for the ingredients I have listed. Remember my recipe is a guideline only. Get creative and make it your own.
  • Stir fry can be served over rice, noodles, lettuce, or whatever else you would like
  • You can buy precut  stir fry veggie mixes in the frozen food sections if you have a hard time getting fresh produce. Those mixes work really well for a quick stir fry if you need to throw something together real quick.
  • You can also precut your meat and veggies, portion them in bags, and freeze them for quick dinner throw togethers. You can plan out several different types and have them ready for when you need to throw dinner together real quick.

 

Now that you have gotten your imagination flowing. Let’s get started!

  1. Gather your vegetables and make sure that they are washed off.

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2. Cut vegetables into thin strips. Try to make sure that they are around the same thickness and size in order to ensure that they cook through properly.

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3. Place olive oil into saute pan and heat over medium heat.

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4. Take out meat and trim any fat necessary from meat.

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5. Cut meat into thin strips.

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6. Sprinkle seasoning on meat.

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7. Add prepped meat into the prepared saute pan.

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8. Saute the meat until halfway cooked through.

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9. Add minced garlic and continue to saute until meat is almost cooked through.

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10. Add your veggies to the mix and stir often to saute.

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11. Cook together until the vegetables are tender and the meat is completely cooked through.

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12. Serve your stir fry over your choice of base. Whether it is rice, noodles, lettuce, etc.

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13.  Enjoy!