Cinnamon Spice Crepes with Coconut Sugared Peaches

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About 10 years ago I figured out I could no longer tolerate cow’s milk dairy. I was feeling so awful. My stomach felt like someone was holding it in their hand, I was getting migraines all the time, my sinuses were constantly stuffy…I just didn’t feel right.

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Once I stopped the dairy I had major improvement. Then over a few month’s time, I could tell that gluten was also an issue. It caused what I call “cement neck”, joint issues, and often after I ate it, I was so tired and lethargic, I felt like I’d been drugged. I started to have hormonal issues and adrenal issues. I tested positive for Candida overgrowth in my gut. I kept a food diary for a year and a half, and sure enough, every single time I had gluten foods, they made me sick.

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I began to strictly change my diet, focus on my gut and my adrenals, address the hormone issues, and wouldn’t you know it…when you begin to help all of your body’s major “parts” to work together, your health improves.

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A few years later when I got very ill while we were living in New Hampshire, I tested positive and was diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease. I’d been having Lyme flares off and on for at least 7 years but didn’t know what they were and neither did anyone else at the time. I’m a research warrior when something is going on with my body or in my life. I like to educate myself on the why’s and how’s and how other people are dealing with things. So, I researched for months and months about Lyme, food sensitivities, gut issues, systemic inflammation, auto immune disease, and every combination of symptom and chronic illness you could think of. I joined private groups so I could also learn more from other people with similar issues.

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One of the many helpful things I learned was that there are other grains that have similar DNA to wheat, so your body treats them as wheat, even though they are technically “gluten free”. Lyme Disease causes a lot of inflammation and joint issues, so the pain and other symptoms I was having made a lot of sense…but still, I just felt that there was more I could be doing to help my body deal with it naturally. I did not want a future full of pharmaceuticals.

I learned a lot about inflammatory foods and how systemic inflammation is linked to the foods we eat, the health of our gut, life stress, and stress on the body from illness. I learned about how food allergies and sensitivities, along with gut issues, lower your immune system. When you are consistently putting things into your body that tax your immune system, every part of your body suffers inside and out. Add a bacterial infection like Lyme Disease or any chronic illness or auto immune disease to a gut and body damaged by food sensitivities and stress, and it makes for a perfect storm of horrible illness.

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I pretty strictly eliminated all grains from my diet for about a year, along with many inflammatory foods like potatoes and legumes. I’ve had major improvement in all of the Lyme symptoms. Fatigue, pain, joint swelling, flu symptoms, sleep issues, vertigo, ringing in my ears, hormonal issues, nervous system complications like anxiety, numbness and tingling in my extremities and face, and shingles outbreaks. Diet has been paramount in allowing me to live an active life while battling a chronic illness. In fact, I have shared with people many times that I feel that without the changes in my diet and the battle against inflammation, I would surely be bed bound, if not dead.

Now I am able to eat rice, quinoa, and buckwheat on occasion, but I try not to push it. I can also eat potatoes and legumes now and then. However, if I get into a mode where I am indulging often and ignoring what my body is telling me, problems arise and it can take weeks to remedy. About a year ago I also added high quality curcumin supplement to my diet along with my other supplements. Absolute miracle worker, I would highly recommend curcumin supplements for everyone, but that’s a post for another time.

Long story short, in order to keep on top of your health, you must pay attention to your diet and gut health. Your gut is the epicenter of your immune system and the immune system and nervous system absolutely cannot work the way it was created to work, if you’re losing a battle with systemic inflammation.

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I have made it my mission to help people to understand that they are their best health advocates. I love to help you and show you that living with food allergies, sensitivities, and even chronic illness, doesn’t have to be the worst thing that’s ever happened to you. You can embrace all the good parts, and if you’re conscious about how you treat yourself, there are many good parts to be embraced.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to educate yourself. Being knowledgeable and being in tune with your own body and how it works and what it doesn’t like, will give you great freedom and improve your health dramatically. Educating yourself provides you with tools to take care of your body without sacrificing many of the things you love to eat and do.

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Now, go make yourself some crepes and seize the day!

Cinnamon Spice Crepes with Coconut Sugared Peaches

The recipe below looks wordy and complicated, but this is not a complicated recipe I promise, it is absolutely simple! I make them often with all kinds of different toppings and they come together very quickly. They’re also an easy, but impressive, breakfast or even dessert for when you have guests.

*Makes about 7 crepes and serves two people. Can easily be doubled.

For the peaches:

1 1/2 Cups of Frozen or Fresh Peeled Peaches

1 Tablespoon of Coconut Sugar (Maybe more if your peaches aren’t sweet enough)

About 1 Tablespoon of Water and 1 teaspoon of Arrowroot

Place the peaches in a small saucepan and if they are frozen, heat them on medium low until thawed and juicy. Add the coconut sugar and heat on medium until the sugar is completely melted and incorporated with the peach juice. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of the arrowroot mixture at a time, waiting a minute or so in between to get to the desired sauce thickness.You will need very little, don’t allow it to get too thick! Remove from heat, transfer to a small bowl and chill in the fridge or quickly in the freezer. (Your whipped cream will melt on top if the fruit isn’t chilled or at least cool.)

For the crepes:

1/2 Cup of Sweet Potato Flour

1 Tablespoon of Coconut Flour

Dash of Sea Salt

1 teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon

1 Small Pinch of Nutmeg

1 Small Pinch of Cloves

3 Eggs

1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract

3/4 Cup of Full Fat 100% Coconut Milk

2 Tablespoons of Water

Dairy Free Butter For Pan

Extra Cinnamon For Sprinkling

Measure all the ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk to thoroughly combine. Heat a small to medium ceramic skillet or non-stick pan to medium. Place 1/2 teaspoon of butter and spread around until melted. (You will only need to do this once.) When the butter starts to bubble, scoop just shy of 1/4 cup of batter into pan, lift the pan and swirl to the edges. Cook for about 1 minute until the crepe moves freely and flip. Cook for 5 seconds longer and transfer to a plate with parchment. I use a paper plate on top to cover them and keep them warm. They won’t stick together.

For the whipped coconut cream:

1 Cup of chilled 100% Fat Coconut Milk (There are two ways you can do this. With canned coconut milk that has been chilled over night, where you just use the solids, which then you would need probably 2 cans. Or, you can use one box of Arroy-D 100% Coconut Milk that has also been chilled over night. I used the Arroy-D this time.)

About 2 Tablespoons of Powdered Sugar or Very Finely Powdered Coconut Sugar

About 1 1/2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

Pour the coconut milk into a stand mixer and whisk for a few minutes until milk is thickened. Add the powdered sugar and whisk for another couple of minutes scraping down the sides, then the vanilla extract. Continue whipping for another minute or so until thickened.

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Grain Free Pizza

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2016-04-21 18.42.10

We are pizza fanatics.

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I’m just going to be up front with you and say that my pizza…is my favorite. 

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We try gluten free pizza often when we go out. In Seattle, in Idaho, in our hometown…but honestly, nothing compares so far to what we make at  home. 

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For some reason, restaurants can’t think out of the Udi’s pizza crust box. Every single time we spend $20 or more each on a gluten free pizza meal at a restaurant, I cannot wrap my mind around how a chef or restaurant owner would be OK grabbing an Udi’s pizza crust out of the freezer and serving it to their customers. Blows. My. Mind.

It’s dull. It’s flavorless. It is as exciting as cardboard on your plate. And don’t even get me started on the tasteless pepperoni, and overcooked sausage. Or the fact that none of these restaurants (even high end) understand that there is a readily available (even locally made!) vast assortment of goat and sheep’s milk cheeses other than the same old stand by, feta.

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Every time we eat pizza out, my husband and I spend a large part of our mealtime talking about how we would run a restaurant. From the quality and type of food we would serve, how we would treat our staff, and most importantly, how we would treat our customers. We are serious about customer service and all it entails.

One can dream.

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Last weekend we had high hopes for a little local restaurant we found. Outdoor seating (my favorite), smells of fabulous wood fired pizza…turns out, the server and the person making the pizza, weren’t educated about the ingredients in their gluten free crust, or in the pepperoni or their sausage…or even their sauce! We opted out of the meal. I choked down a really bad glass of Riesling and we moved on.

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This time however, instead of just opting out, I explained to the server why we decided to eat elsewhere. I told her that it’s my opinion that the servers and the people preparing the food should be well versed with what’s actually in their food. As a person with food allergies, I take a chance every time I eat out. I know that’s my responsibility, but a restaurant with knowledgeable servers and staff, makes me a repeat customer. She ended up being very kind about it, apologetic, and said she would speak to the owner about the entire restaurant becoming better educated. I was happy with her response. We tipped her and left and who knows, maybe in a few months we’ll give them another chance.  

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Pizza doesn’t have to be complicated for it to taste amazing. I’m all about easy food! Easy or not though, it has to taste fabulous, be a treat for the eyes, and have high quality ingredients. You can use crust mixes or come up with your own crust recipe, but either way, make it unique with all of things you love. 

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I like to use Chebe Foccacia Bread mix as my base. I add a little of this and a little of that, and before you know it, it makes the perfect pizza crust. It’s soft like “regular” pizza crust with crispy crust edges, has great flavor, and gets rave reviews every single time I make it. 

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Chebe mixes are gluten free, soy free, corn free, rice free, potato free, yeast free, peanut free, tree nut free, egg free, lactose/casein free, iodine free, sugar free, non GMO, and kosher certified.

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Grain Free Pizza

*Makes two 13″ pizzas

2 Boxes of Chebe Focaccia Mix

6 Tablespoons of Non Filtered Organic Olive Oil

4 Large Organic Eggs

1 Cup of Filtered Water

1 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1 Tablespoon of Organic Dried Oregano

1 Tablespoon of Organic Dried Basil

1 Tablespoon of Organic Garlic Powder

1 Can of Organic Tomato Paste

1/4 Cup of Vegan Pesto 

1/2 Cup of Daiya Cheddar Style Cheese, grated

3 Other Types of Cow Free Cheeses About 1 1/2 to 2 Cups of Each (We used two types of goat mozzarella – low moisture and Brazilian Breakfast and a Dutch Style goat cheese that is similar to sharp white cheddar), grated

About 3 Handfuls of Organic Baby Spinach

1 Organic Yellow Bell Pepper, sliced thinly

About 1/3 of a Medium Organic Red Onion, sliced thinly

About 8-10 Large Organic Cremini Mushrooms, sliced

1/2 lb. of Gluten Free, Dairy Free Pepperoni (We have Applegate sliced at the deli)

4 Gluten Free, Dairy Free Hot Italian Sausages (also purchased at our deli)

Avocado Oil

1 Tablespoon of Organic Dried Oregano

Arrowroot or other GF flour for dusting hands, dough, and rolling pin.

*Preheat oven to 375 degrees

  1. Line two pizza pans with parchment. I lay it on top and cut it in a circle. Nothing fancy.  Set aside.
  2. Empty the hot Italian sausage from their casings and lightly brown in a medium pan with a little avocado oil. Drain on paper towels if necessary.
  3. Empty both Chebe mixes into a medium bowl. Measure in the oil, add the eggs, water, herbs, sea salt, and garlic powder. Stir with a fork until all the ingredients come together. 
  4. With floured hands, knead the dough until ingredients are fully incorporated and the dough is mostly smooth. Cut the dough in half and set each half on the parchment paper. (Remove the paper from the pans to make rolling easier.) Pat out each mound into a small circle, flour rolling pin and top of dough and roll to the edges of the paper. You can leave the edges as is, roll them up a bit for a thicker end crust, or crimp them. Whatever you like.
  5. Slide the parchment and pizza crusts back onto the pizza pans and bake for 17 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  6. Spread the tomato paste – half a can each, (I use the back of a spoon) around each crust all the way to the edges. Do the same with the vegan pesto.
  7.  Sprinkle each crust with the Daiya cheese. Then sprinkle the oregano on both crusts.
  8.  Next, top both crusts with the peppers, onions, and mushrooms.
  9. Choose one of your 3 remaining cheeses and sprinkle over the mushrooms.
  10. Add the sausage to both crusts. Then the remaining two cheeses. Then the pepperoni.
  11. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

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Baked Potato, Spinach, & Egg Scramble

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2016-04-19 09.55.01

I am an early riser. Usually around 4:30 but no later than 5:30.

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This morning I wasn’t hungry when it was time for breakfast so instead, I waited until about 10:30 to have breakfast when I would normally be craving a mid morning snack.

So I was starving.

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Something weird is still going on with my stomach. I think I told you about all of the oysters and other seafood I ate while we were in Seattle a few weeks ago. I really miss all the fresh seafood we had living on the east coast. So…while in Seattle, I went a little overboard.

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I came home very sick and it lasted about a week. Now, a few times a day I’m still getting some strange stomach twinges. It’s messing with my love of food. I’ll have to increase the curcumin I’m taking I guess and the kefir to kill off any unwanted creatures hiding out in my gut. My husband is experiencing something similar.

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Needless to say, it hasn’t completely hampered my overall appetite for all foodie lover type things. Like big breakfasts. And this one has potato in it which is a special treat for me. I try not to eat them too often as they are high on the inflammatory scale.

The next time you make baked potatoes, bake a couple extra and put them in the fridge. They keep for several days. I used one in this scramble and it was delicious. I also like to use them for potato pancakes. When I bake my potatoes I lay it on a square of foil and drizzle avocado oil, sprinkle with garlic powder, sea salt, and any other seasonings I like. I do this because I love the skins. Baking them this way makes for a very tasty baked potato with dinner or a very tasty baked potato breakfast!

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Baked Potato, Spinach, & Egg Scramble

*The majority of our diet is organic so while I don’t always list the food in my recipes as organic, it almost always is. It’s a good idea and a healthy way to live to strive to eat organic as much as possible. Potatoes are very high on the pesticide list, and don’t even get em started on the health issues concerning conventional eggs.

*This would probably feed two people a light breakfast.

1 Leftover Seasoned Baked Potato, cubed

About 2 Tablespoons of Diced Red Onion

1 Clove of Garlic, diced

About Two Handfuls of Baby Spinach

2 Eggs

Avocado Oil

Drizzle a little avocado oil in a medium skillet. Saute the potatoes until they begin to brown and add the onion and garlic and continue cooking. Add the spinach and toss until the spinach is wilted. Scoot the potato and spinach mixture to one side of the pan. Drizzle a little more avocado oil and add eggs. Scramble the eggs and toss with the potato and spinach.

Apple & Cinnamon French Toast Casserole

3 Comments

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How was your weekend?

Ours was fabulous! Spring has sprung in the best of ways. Warmer than normal temperatures and lots and lots of sun.

You know I love the sun.

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I’m sitting here in my office in front of a big window as I get this blog post situated. The sun is just coming up. Outside up to the left, there’s a mama Robin building a nest between an eve and the crook of a downspout. It’s amazing how hard and how quickly they work.

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She was here last spring and summer too. Unfortunately, another mama kept destroying her nest. Good mama kept rebuilding it and fighting her off.

Perseverance or instinct?

per·se·ver·anceˌpərsəˈvirəns/ noun
 Steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

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Mean mama even tossed out all of her eggs. So there were no baby Robins to be heard last year. It tugs on my heart strings.

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This year she’s back with new energy and hopefully a new plan to fend off bad mama.

And believe it or not, I recognize her.

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I choose to believe that she’s back and building another home because of perseverance, not so much the result of instinct.

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She and I have that in common. We like to stay positive and keep trying, despite difficult conditions or “bad mamas” (anything or anyone)  who try to interfere with life. I  love seeing that perseverance in animals and people.

There’s a huge payoff in persevering.

Hopefully for her, the payoff will be peace in her new nest and new babies we can watch grow in a few weeks. Maybe she’ll continue to make our home her home and we’ll be able to keep track of how many babies she’ll have over the years.

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For me, the payoff for striving to stay positive and persevere despite “difficult conditions”, is always that I become stronger. Perseverance also makes us wiser, more joyful, able to count all kinds of blessings regardless of any situation, and then we can share that attitude in the form of positive support and love for others.

Apple & Cinnamon French Toast Casserole
1 Apple (I used Gala), Cubed (1 1/2 Cups)
8 teaspoons of Dairy Free Butter
6 Eggs
2 3/4 Cups of Full Fat Coconut Milk
1/2 Cup of Coconut Sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract
2 teaspoons of Pure Almond Extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray an 8×11 baking dish with coconut oil. Add the bread cubes, apple, and dot with the 8 teaspoons of dairy free butter. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, coconut sugar, sea salt, cinnamon, vanilla, and almond extract.
Pour egg mixture over the bread mixture. Using a wooden spoon, press down lightly on the bread and apples to make sure all of the cubes have been coated. Let sit for 15 minutes, pressing down with the spoon now and then.
Bake for 60 minutes or until the top is browned. It should still have a bit of jiggle but not be runny in the middle. Keep in mind it will also set up a bit more upon standing so don’t overcook!
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Grain Free & Dairy Free Dinner Rolls

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What’s the first thing you crave when you have to go gluten free or grain free?

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Bread, of course.

I think it’s human nature.

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Not only do we want what we can’t have, but bread is comfort food. It pretty much has love and grandma’s house written all over it.

It goes with almost anything, it’s satisfying, and it makes your house smell amazing.

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Living on salads and meat on the Paleo diet or any grain free diet gets boring very quickly. When we’re bored with our food we do naughty things like eat foods that aren’t good for us.

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It’s my opinion, and the reason why I started this food blog, that people with food allergies should be able to enjoy foods like they always have.

Which includes bread.

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The only difference is that the foods we enjoy now don’t make us sick. They’re healthy for our bodies and don’t contain all of the fillers and preservatives and other unhealthy things we’ve eaten in the past.

I love these dinner rolls because they aren’t just designated to dinner. I use them for hamburger buns, sandwich buns, I cut them in half and toast them, and in the next couple of days, I’m going to show you something  extra special to make with them.

See you soon!

Grain Free & Dairy Free “Dinner” Rolls

*Makes about 15 rolls

2/3 Cup of Arrowroot

1 1/2 Cups of Sweet Potato Flour

1 Cup of Coconut Flour

4 teaspoons of Xanthan Gum

4 teaspoons of Double Acting Baking Powder

1 teaspoon of Sea Salt

2/3 Cup of Dairy Free Butter, cold

3 Tablespoons of Yeast

2 1/2 Tablespoons of Coconut Sugar

1/2 Cup of Warm Water

6 Eggs, Separated

3 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar

3 Tablespoons of Grass Fed Gelatin

1/2 Cup of Cool Water

Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Measure the arrowroot, sweet potato flour, coconut flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, and sea salt into a large bowl and whisk until combined. Measure in the dairy free butter and work through lightly with fingers until the butter is broken up throughout the flour. Set aside. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs to stiff peak.

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Warm the 1/2 Cup of water and add the sugar and yeast. Whisk quickly and set aside. In a ramekin or small bowl, measure 1/2 cup of water and the gelatin. Work quickly. Whisk together with a fork and microwave for 20 seconds. Set aside.

Add the egg yolks to the whipped egg whites and mix on medium to combine. Add the apple cider vinegar, the yeast mixture, and with the mixer on medium, slowly drizzle the gelatin mixture in.  Change the whisk to a paddle. Turn the mixer on medium and slowly add the flour mixture. Turn the mixer on medium high for 1 minute.

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The dough will be wet. With a spoon, scoop out 15 mounds of dough onto the baking sheets. It helps to get one had wet to remove the dough from the spoon in a round semi ball form. I like mine to look rustic, but you can also smooth out the dough a bit with a wet hand once it’s on the baking sheet if you like.

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Place the baking sheets on top of the stove. Spray two sheets of plastic wrap with non-stick spray and lay lightly over the dough. Cover each baking sheet with a light dish towel and let rise for 40 minutes.

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Remove the dish towels and plastic and bake for 20 minutes.

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