Pumpkin Breakfast Loaf with Chocolate Drizzle

vegan pumpkin breakfast loaf with chocolate drizzle
That bite in the air. The clear blue sky against the purple Ochil Hills. The sickly sweet pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks. Mali tentatively poking his head outside the open back door, sniffing out the cold air, and deciding against walking outside today. My tartan stole and homemade knitted baby blue scarf. All my favourite TV shows back for another series. My first pumpkin delivered in my weekly veg bag.

It’s autumn. 
autumn walk in stirling
I’m bouncing with excitement. The other day at work, a colleague greeted me at the door and remarked it was colder today, to which I replied: ‘I know! It’s great!’ (Except it’s freezing in the office, which is not great.)

Like spring after a drawn-out, dreary February, I feel rejuvenated. Summer is wonderful – especially in Scotland, where you get nearly 20 hours of light a day, brambles grow along the River Forth for peckish walkers to pick, and we get a month-long cultural festival in Edinburgh (The Fringe) – but I can’t stand it for long. It’s the heat, you see. I’m like an overdressed Victorian middle-class snob, fanning herself feverishly as she lounges underneath a parasol, complaining to everyone with ears about the heat. Autumn is a welcome breath of fresh air after a short but much-enjoyed summer. 

I just feel alive. Hopeful. Chipper. (I know, me, chipper!) There’s just so much to enjoy, all things pumpkin spice being top on the list.

If you detest all the pumpkin madness, I am sorry (that you are such a miserable person), and want to prepare for what is coming next: many, many pumpkin recipes. #sorrynotsorry
Vegan breakfast pumpkin chocolate loaf
vegan pumpkin loaf autumn recipe

Pumpkin Breakfast Loaf with Chocolate Drizzle

  • Servings: makes one loaf, approx. 10-12 slices
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Notes: The chocolate drizzle doesn’t look amazing in these pictures, because I’d tried making it with vegan butter, and the result was disappointing. It’s much, much better without it. Just chocolate + maple syrup makes a thick, syrupy drizzle. On another note, this loaf isn’t too sweet, and can be made with wholemeal flour. If you want to serve it for dessert, you can add a few tablespoons of raw cane sugar.

For the pumpkin loaf:
225g (1.5 cups) plain (wholemeal) flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (The Kitchn has a good recipe for it)
125ml (1/2 cup) maple syrup
75ml (1/3 cup) coconut oil, melted
250ml (1 cup) pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
2 tbsp non-dairy milk of choice

For the chocolate drizzle:
50g (1.75 oz) dark chocolate
1 tbsp maple syrup

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC and grease a loaf tin.

2. Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre; place all the wet ingredients in the well, then fold them in.

3. Pour the batter into the loaf tin, smoothing out the top with a spatula. Bake for 45 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.

4. Chop or break the chocolate and add it to a small saucepan, along with the maple syrup. On moderate heat, melt the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon to combine. Set aside to cool a little, but not too long; you should ideally pour it over the  loaf in the next ten minutes, while the chocolate is still runny but cool enough to set.

Keep covered with a cloth or stored in the bread tin for up to 3 days.

How does autumn make you feel? 

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Love and cookies,

Hazelnut Chocolate Bundt Cake with Butterscotch Sauce ‘Noisettine au coulis de caramel’

Hazelnut chocolate bundt cake with butterscotch sauce title
For Vegan Month of Food 2014 I am adapting recipes from the first book I ever learnt to bake from: 
Chocolat: Fondre de Plaisir by Camille and Nathalie Le Foll. Join me as I veganise 20 recipes from this book – it’s going to be a month of total chocolate decadence!

I remember the first time I made this cake. It was the summer I was 17 going on 18; I had just graduated from high school and had 3 blissful months of sweet nothing to do until I moved to London to read English and Creative Writing. I practiced playing ‘Mona Lisa [When The World Comes Down]’ by The All-American Rejects on the guitar every day in the garden and went to the gym every day to try and lose weight (not that I needed to, but I had a very distorted body image back then). Mum and I saw ‘Julie & Julia’ at the cinema one evening, an event which was to be downfall of my gym routine as I instantly fell in love with cooking and baking. I kept going to the gym but I also made cakes at least twice a week. I baked them all from Chocolat: Fondre de Plaisir.

This butterscotch sauce was out of this world – so good that I had a spoonful straight out of the pan, and then another, and ten more. I’d never tasted anything so sweetly satisfying. Sugar, cream and honey melting together in a pool of perfect golden delight.
Noisettine 2
Revisiting the recipes from this book I’ve realised that in French baking there is a tradition of melting solid chocolate and incorporating it into the cake batter, in contrast to most American and British recipes I’ve read on the Internet, which use cocoa powder. The latter is admittedly a cheaper option, but it steals a heavenly experience from the baker: melting the chocolate.

Have you ever melted chocolate? Oh, there’s nothing like it. In ‘Julie & Julia’ the modern day heroine, Julie, after a harrowing day at her godawful job, returns home with several packets of butter and begins melting them into a pan. ‘Is there anything in the world better than butter?’ she asks. Yes, there is: melting butter and chocolate together.

Go do that today and if you don’t feel the tiniest shiver of childish joy, I wash my hands of you.
Noisettine 3

Hazelnut Chocolate Bundt Cake with Butterscotch Sauce

  • Servings: makes roughly 10 servings
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Notes: I use wholemeal flour in these recipes because I happen to have (well, had) 2kg of it in my cupboards. If coconut sugar is too intense for you, use regular raw cane sugar instead.

You will need: a small-medium sized bundt tin. (If in doubt, go for the smaller size.The original recipe is a traditional round cake, so feel free to use a small round springform cake tin if you wish.)

For the cake:

150g (1 cup, tightly packed) self-raising wholemeal flour
150g (5.3 oz) roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
75g (1/2 cup) coconut sugar
100g (1/3 cup + 1 tbsp) vegan butter
200g (7 oz) dark chocolate, roughly chopped
5 tbsp soya milk
2 tbsp ground flaxseed + 6 tbsp water

For the butterscotch sauce:

80g (1/2 cup) coconut sugar
150ml (2/3 cup) rice, oat or soya cream

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Grease the bundt tin and set aside.

2. Combine the first three ingredients (minus a handful of chopped hazelnuts) in a large mixing bowl. Lightly whisk the ground flaxseed and water in a smaller bowl (these are your ‘flax eggs’ ) and set aside for now.

3. Place a small saucepan over medium heat. Melt the butter, chopped chocolate and milk, stirring till smooth. Pour into the bowl of dry ingredients, folding in the flax eggs too. Mix till just combined.

4. Pour the batter into the bundt tin, smooth out the surface with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes exactly.

5. Meanwhile prepare the butterscotch sauce: add the coconut sugar to a medium-sized pan over fairly high heat and leave to melt for about 3-5 minutes. Gradually pour in the cream, stirring quickly and constantly. Simmer for ten minutes until reduced by about a quarter, then set aside to cool.

6. Carefully flip the cake onto a platter, pour over the cooled butterscotch sauce and top with the leftover chopped nuts. Enjoy now or save for later.

What is the first cookbook you ever learnt to cook or bake from?

Have you seen my other vegan chocolate recipes for Vegan MoFo 2014? Click here to catch up and don’t forget to subscribe via email (link in the sidebar) so you don’t miss another one. You can also follow me on InstagramTwitterFacebookPinterest and Tumblr! You can also follow my blog through Bloglovin‘.

Love and cookies,

Chocolate Speculoos Cookies

Chocolate cookie butter cookies title
I’m such a tease, I know. It’s been weeks since I posted a photo of this recipe on Instagram, but in my defence I have been working crazy hours since the start of the month. My job at the Edinburgh International Book Festival is fantastic but the commute is long and I do work six days per week, so I have zero time to bake sweet treats right now.
Chocolate cookie butter cookies 11
Speculoos spread 1
Not that you need tons of time to whip up a batch of these cookies. Making the chocolate Speculoos spread is a breeze: just blend biscuits, cocoa powder and milk until smooth, which takes about two minutes, and you’re done. The tricky part is refraining from eating all the chocolate spread before it makes it into the cookies… (I made a monstrous amount of the spread, and only about a quarter ended up in the cookies. Oops.)
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Chocolate cookie butter cookies 3
Seriously, this spread. If you don’t end up eating it straight out of the blender I will question your sanity. It is the best thing to ever come out of my kitchen. Make it today and your life will never be the same. For reals.
Chocolate cookie butter cookies 10
A note on Speculoos. I know these tasty biscuits (cookies) are becoming popular all over the globe, even existing in a form of spread known as ‘cookie butter’ in the USA, but I wonder if international readers know what I’m talking about when I speak of Speculoos? (Also known as Speculaas, which is the Flemish pronunciation, as opposed to the French pronunciation.) I have never known a life without these biscuits – they are omnipresent in the Low Countries and I have made many recipes based on this childhood staple (exhibit A, B, C.) If you don’t know what they are, please refer to this Wikipedia article and enlighten yourself. Speculoos are widely produced and sold by Lotus, who also created the sweet spread from these biscuits – in the UK this spread, and the biscuits, are sold under the name ‘Biscoff’. (Why, I haven’t the foggiest.)
Chocolate cookie butter cookies 6

Chocolate Speculoos Cookies

  • Servings: makes 12 large cookies
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Notes: I know 1 tbsp sugar sounds very little, but trust me when I say the biscuits/cookies are already so sweet that you hardly need to add any sweetener. Feel free to omit the sugar completely. 

For the chocolate Speculoos spread:

300g (10.5oz) Speculoos/Biscoff biscuits
260ml (1 cup + 1 tbsp) oat milk
3-4 tbsp cocoa powder

In a processor, blitz the biscuits to a fine powder, then add the milk little by little and finally the cocoa powder. Within a few minutes you should obtain a smooth, creamy, dark paste. Pour into an air-tight jar (probably about pint-sized but it’s hard to tell due to constant sampling during recipe-making…).

For the cookies:

1 tbsp soft brown sugar
110g (3/4 cup) spelt flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
180ml (3/4 cup) chocolate Speculoos spread (see above)
180g (3/4 cup) vegan butter

Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC. Line two baking trays/sheets with baking parchment.

Cream the butter and sugar together, either by hand or with a mixer. Fold in the chocolate Speculoos spread, then the dry ingredients.

Chill the dough for about 20 minutes in the fridge.

Roll the dough into 12 large balls. Press these flat onto the baking trays/sheets band bake for 15 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack.

Keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who loses all self-control when faced with chocolate Speculoos spread?

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Love and cookies,


Roasted Rhubarb Granola Muffins

Roasted Rhubarb Muffins Title 2
(So. Almost two weeks ago I announced on Instagram that this post would be live soon on another website almost two weeks ago but it never did. Annoying. Sorry about the delay, I was so eager to share this recipe with you as soon as possible. Hopefully you can still find some rhubarb in the shops.)

Rhubarb gets me into a frenzy. Every year it’s the same: those pretty, slender stalks that bear my two favorite colours only visit our vegetable patches for a short while and before you know it, they’ve gone. So I panic, buy loads, try to make the most of them, but I just end up making lots of rhubarb crisp.
Roasted Rhubarb Muffins 7
But not this year, because I’ve started expanding my arsenal of rhubarb recipes. Since breakfast is my favorite meal of the day I tried making rhubarb granola, which was a great success and inspired me to make these muffins. The rhubarb, roasted in coconut sugar, softens and sweetens but retains a sharpness that perfectly complements the sweet, moist texture of the muffins. Granola replaces the traditional streusel topping to make these muffins the perfect weekend baking treat.
Don’t be scared by the oil in this recipe – 1/2 cup divided over 9 muffins isn’t so bad. If you really do want to make this recipe low-fat, substitute the same amount of fruit puree such as apple or banana for the oil. If you don’t want to use maple syrup (or don’t have any), use 1/4 cup of coconut sugar and add an extra splash of milk to thin out the batter if it gets too lumpy.
Roasted Rhubarb Muffins 3


Roasted Rhubarb Granola Muffins

  • Servings: makes 9 muffins
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Granola topping
1/2 cup (40g) oats
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp mixed seeds (e.g. sunflower, pumpkin)
1 tbsp canola (or vegetable) oil

2 stalks of rhubarb
1 tbsp coconut sugar
1 + 1/2 cups (225g) spelt flour
1/2 cup (40g) oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 (60ml) maple syrup
1/2 cup (125ml) canola/vegetable oil
1/2 cup (125ml) non-dairy milk
2 tbsp ground flaxseed + water

1. Firstly, pre-heat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Slice the rhubarb in 1/2 inch (1 cm) pieces. Toss the rhubarb and coconut sugar together in a roasting dish and roast 20 minutes while you prepare the muffin batter and granola topping.

2. For the granola topping, simply combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside until needed.

3. Whisk together the ground flaxseed and 6 tbsp water in a small bowl. Set aside to get while you gel on with the muffin batter.

4. Combine the spelt flour, oats, ground ginger and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Fold in the maple syrup, oil, non-dairy milk and gelled flaxseed and water mixture. The batter should be thick and smooth.

5. If you haven’t already, remove the rhubarb from the oven. Drain any excess juices and fold the softened pieces of rhubarb into the muffin batter.

6. Pour the batter into 9 large muffin molds. Cover generously with the granola topping.

7. Lower the oven temperature to 340ºF (170ºC). Bake the muffins for 23-25 minutes, or until the tops are golden and crisp and a skewer comes out of the muffins clean. Cool on a wire rack before enjoying still slightly warm.

What’s your favorite way to eat rhubarb? Leave me your recommendations in the comments below 🙂

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Love and cookies,

Vanilla Rhubarb Crumble Granola

vanilla rhubarb crumble granola title
If time were a horse galloping in the prairie I would lasso it cowboy-style and bring it to a halt. It seems I’m 3 days behind all the time; when I think it’s Monday, it turns out it’s already Thursday, the weekend is nearly upon me and I haven’t finished half the tasks I was meant to. This means weekends do not exist anymore – but let’s be honest, when you’re a student, you rarely have weekends, anyway. The past four years have been a blur.
vanilla rhubarb crumble granola 2
vanilla rhubarb crumble 1
It’s rhubarb season. For another moment, at least, and then it’ll be gone. I’ve pretty much missed strawberry season already, but I’ll be damned if I miss blueberry season! *Grits her teeth and glares at Time.* I already posted a gluten-free strawberry rhubarb crumble last summer so this year I wanted to give you something a little similar, but a little different; a little indulgent, and very much weekend-food: Vanilla Rhubarb Crumble Granola. It’s like having rhubarb crumble for breakfast, or granola for dessert… whichever, does it matter? Just dig in.
collage vanilla rhubarb crumble granola
(It’s a short post, I realise. I’m busy tackling writing this Dissertation, which is taking up 90% of my brain capacity. Apologies. I hate being busy. I’m not one of those people who relish in the Western culture of busyness, I swear.)
vanilla rhubarb crumble granola 3

Vanilla Rhubarb Crumble Granola

  • Servings: 2-3 servings, depending how much you like sharing or how large your appetite is in the morning
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Note: It’s best to eat this fresh, but if you’re cooking just for yourself, it will keep a second day as long as you store it in the fridge. It’s not bad cold but I prefer it hot. 

Granola ingredients:

100g (1 cup) oats (not instant)
20g (1/3 cup) chopped almonds
40g (1/3 cup) pumpkin seeds
40g (1/3 cup) sunflower seeds
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract

Rhubarb crumble ingredients:

1 stick of rhubarb, chopped
1 tbsp maple syrup

To serve:

vanilla soy yogurt

Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF). Grease a small roasting tin.

Mix all the granola ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

Cook the rhubarb and maple syrup in a wee saucepan for about ten minutes, or until the rhubarb has softened. Mix into the granola ingredients.

Spread it all n the baking tray. Bake for 15 minutes.

Cool slightly before serving with fresh, cold vanilla soy yogurt.

I haven’t got much to say, so tell me how you’re making the most of the summer fruits season?

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Love and cookies


Irish Cream Chocolate Cheesecake

(First things first: Happy Independence Day to the US! And happy birthday to my friend Vanessa.)

Irish Cream Chocolate Cheesecake title
Remember last Friday’s post? Just before it went live my not-so-vegan, can’t-cook-to-save-his-life Cookie Monster emailed me with an idea. ‘Why don’t we make a cake for our anniversary to put it up on your blog?’ This made a few things very clear to me:

1) He really never plans things in advance, does he?
2) And yet, I never give up hope that someday he will.
3) He clearly hasn’t noticed that during my Masters degree I only blog on Fridays.
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But bless him for trying. I actually thought it was a splendid idea. I keep trying to get him into the kitchen, show him a few simple recipes, but every time I end up doing everything myself. Oh well. To each his own talent(s).
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In the end, we settled on making a vegan cheesecake. Baileys cheesecake. When the cake came out rather thin (I could have made it taller but the price of cashews in the UK gives me heart palpitations) he suggested we add a chocolate layer (‘A chocolate ganache layer,’ said I; ‘What the f*** is ganache?!’ quoth he). Then he got this crazy idea to use an apple corer (I’m surprised he knew what that even is) and slice holes in the cheesecake and fill them with chocolate. I might have called him a nutter.
But the Irish are nothing if not determined, so he bought me an apple corer and under duress made me cut holes out of the cheesecake, fill them with ganache, and cover the whole lot in chocolate.

Well I’ll be damned if it wasn’t the best thing I ever ate.

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In honour of all the things I might have never tried, known or experienced, I made this cake for my Cookie Monster, who never ceases to push me out of my comfort zone. (And who did not lift a finger to help but instead watched the World Cup. Some things never change – but maybe I don’t want them to.)IMG_2195_1

Irish Cream Chocolate Cheesecake

  • Servings: serves 8-10
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For the base:

250g (8.8 oz) digestive biscuits (graham crackers)
125ml (1/2 cup) coconut oil, melted
60ml (1/4 cup) rapeseed/canola oil (or more coconut oil; I just ran out)

For the cheesecake filling:

310ml (1 + 1/4 cup) Angela Liddon’s recipe for vegan Irish Cream
400g (14 oz) cashews, soaked for 2 hours
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
75g (2.8 oz) vegan white chocolate chips

For the chocolate ganache:

250ml (1 cup) coconut cream
200g (7 oz) dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Line and grease a round 20cm (8 inch) springform tin.

2. Pulse the digestive biscuits to a coarse sandy texture in a food processor. Tip into a large bowl and with your hands, mix in the oil to form a sticky dough; this is your base. Press it into the bottom of the lined tin, ensuring it is nice and even.

3. Bake for 15 minutes, then cool on a wire rack while you get on with the rest of the cake.

4. Discard the soaking water of the cashews. Blend the cashews, coconut oil and vegan Iris cream until smooth; this will require a high-speed blender, a tamper and some patience. At most it will take ten minutes. Add in the white chocolate chips, either by stirring them in with a spoon or by letting your blender do it at the lowest speed for just a few seconds.

5.Pour the cheesecake filling onto the cooled cake base (the springform tin should obviously still be around the base at this point). Place in the fridge overnight for best results.

6. In the morning when the cake is set solid, use an apple corer to cut out little cylinders from the cheesecake. (Go on and eat them what else will you do with those little creamy towers?) You will pour the chocolate ganache into and over them.

7. To prepare the ganache: melt the coconut cream in a saucepan over medium heat. When the cream is liquid and just about bubbling, remove the pan from the heat and drop the broken chocolate into the cream; let it ooze and melt, then stir with a wooden spoon till evenly blended. Let cool for a few minutes, then pour into the holes in the cheesecake and over the whole cake.

8. Set in the fridge for another couple of hours before carefully releasing the cake from its springform tin and serving with a few shavings of white chocolate on top. (And obviously drink up the remainder of the Irish cream while devouring a slice of cheesecake.)

How do you push your boundaries and get out of your comfort zone?

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Love and cookies,


Limoncello Drizzle Cake {GF and sugar-free} Celebrating 2 years.

limoncellocake title
I get fairly personal on this blog – after all for me, food is such a foundational part of my day, of my entire life, that there are memories associated with most dishes I make, especially cakes and desserts. (Like Mum’s cake, or Granny’s chocolate mousse, or these ice cream sandwiches.) And sometimes I mention my Cookie Monster. But I don’t really talk about him that much because a) he gets embarrassed like that, and b) I like to keep him to myself.
Especially considering the past year. We were (or rather, I was) optimistic about long-distance. One year, we could do that, right? Let me fast-forward to the point: long-distance is brutal. Skype is great but human contact is essential in a relationship. There has been more shouting, crying and sulking than either of us would have liked. There were times I thought, ‘This is it, we won’t make it.’ There were more ups and downs than a roller-coaster can boast; at this point, I think we’re both ready to get off the ride.
That’s not to say we never have good times together. We have loads. Last year we went to Naples and we brought back two bottles of limoncello. Sunshine in a bottle. If I could bottle his smile and save it for a stressful day, I would. But for now, limoncello will have to do; with each bite of this cake I remember that week of sunshine, gelato and blissful relaxation we spent together.

Two years together. Thanks for sticking with me, babe.

Limoncello Drizzle Cake {GF}

  • Servings: makes one 20cm/8 inch cake, or 8 servings
  • Print

3 tbsp powdered stevia
120g (1/2 cup) vegan butter
2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 6 tbsp water)
1 tsp vanilla essence
The juice of a small lemon and the zest of three
120g (1 cup) ground almonds
180g (1 cup + 1 tbsp) polenta
1 tsp baking powder
125ml (1/2 cup) warm water
A few tablespoons of limoncello and soya or coconut cream to serve

Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF). Line or grease a round 20cm (8″) springform cake tin.

Cream the butter and stevia till light and fluffy in a large mixing bowl. Add the flax eggs, vanilla essence, lemon juice and zest. Incorporate the warm water and remaining dry ingredients a little at a time to combine them more easily; the batter should be even and somewhat thick, but not lumpy or tough to handle.

Pour into the lined/greased cake tin. Smooth out the top so it’s even. Lower the temperature to 180ºC (350ºF) and bake for 40 minutes; the edge of the cake should come away from the tin and be golden.

Cool on a wire rack. Release the cake from its tin and carefully place it on a tray/plate/stand. (I do this by flipping the cake upside down onto a plate, then flipping it again onto the desired platform of presentation.) Drizzle over as much limoncello as you like without drowning the cake and serve each slice with a generous glug of cream.

Thank you for letting me share my personal stories with you. Your continued support means the world to me. ❤

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Love and cookies,