Posts Tagged 'vegetarian'

Strawberry Fields Salad

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Strawberry Fields Salad

Whereas most people think of strawberries as desserts, these juicy berries can add a delicious sweetness to a savory dish. This fresh and bright salad has the perfect combination of tastes and textures. Each element of the combination … the sweetness from the fruit, tartness from the baby lettuces, saltiness from the cheese, and crunch from the nuts … compliments the others.

The blush wine vinaigrette is a homemade version of a popular store-bought dressing. Making homemade dressings is very simple since most dressings, like this one, use ingredients most people already have in their pantry. Don’t be surprised if you prefer homemade versions of dressings better than their grocery store counterparts. This one for example has a brighter flavor (thanks to the freshly squeezed lemon juice), has no preservatives or MSG, and costs so much less than the bottled original.

Add sliced chicken or a salmon filet and you have a complete meal.

Enjoy!

Strawberry Fields Salad

For the blush wine vinaigrette:
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
5 tbsp. canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
6 cups mixed baby greens
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
2/3 cup green or red grapes, halved
3 tbsp. chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the blush wine vinaigrette:
In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Slowly add the oil in a stream, whisking to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad:
In a large salad bowl toss together the salad blend, strawberries, grapes, chives, almond slices, and crumbled goat cheese. Add the dressing to taste and gently toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 6 appetizer or side salads.

Cooking Tip: Mix and match this colorful salad using your favorite ingredients. Try substituting spinach or dried cranberries. Goat cheese is also a nice substitute for the blue cheese.

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Food Styling by Jennifer Chandler.

 

Cabbage Soup

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Recently I was at my friend Lucia’s house and she gave me a pint of the veggie soup she was making.  I am not normally a huge fan of cooked cabbage so I was pleasantly surprised to find out how tasty the soup was.  When she told me how easy it was to make, I knew this was one I needed for my repertoire. And to top it all off – this soup has nothing bad for you in it!

Lucia uses fire-roasted canned tomatoes and I think that is the key.  They add a nice depth of flavor to the soup.

I made a big pot and then froze it in one serving portions so I have a quick go-to lunch or supper when I don’t have time to cook!

Enjoy!

Lucia’s Cabbage Soup

1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 head of green cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 cup diced carrots
2 cans (15-ounce) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups vegetable broth
Kosher salt and black pepper
Hot sauce (optional)

Place the onion, bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, garlic, and vegetable broth in a large stock pot. If needed, add water until all the vegetables are covered. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Serve warm. Season with hot sauce if desired.

Serves 6 to 8.

Freezes well.

Vegetarian and Vegan

Freezer Veggie Soup

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Freezer Veggie Soup

My friend Nevada Presley runs a vegetarian prepared foods business called Get Fresh Memphis.  All her healthy options are yummy, but her soups are one of my favorite things to order.  They are always simple, uncomplicated, and delicious.

I was so happy when she shared this recipe with me for my next cookbook. It is so easy to make since it uses pantry staples like frozen vegetables and canned beans.  Plus, you will be surprised at how flavorful it is. I whip up this soup on days when I feel like a quick and healthy meal. I also keep several servings in my freezer for quick lunches.

Excuse the format of the photo … it’s just a sample of what it’s going to look like in “The Southern Pantry Cookbook.” (Which by the way is due out in the Fall 2014.)

Enjoy!

Freezer Veggie Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (14.5-ounce) Italian-style diced tomatoes
4 cups (1 32-ounce box) vegetable broth
1 bag (12-ounce) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed (about 3 cups)
2 cups frozen cut okra, thawed and rinsed
1 can (14.5-ounce) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes, broth, mixed vegetables, okra, and beans. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Serves 4 to 6.

Cooking Tip: Italian-style diced tomatoes are simply diced tomatoes flavored with Italian seasonings.  If you don’t have a can in your pantry, use regular diced tomatoes plus 1 tablespoon of dried Italian seasoning.

Pantry Short-Cut: A bag of frozen mixed vegetables contains carrots, corn, green beans, and green peas.  You can always add whatever frozen vegetables you have on hand. You can also substitute chicken stock for the vegetable broth.

Freezes well.

From “The Southern Pantry Cookbook” by Jennifer Chandler (release date Fall 2014)

Photo by Justin Fox Burks

Vegetarian Gumbo

veggie gumbo

Vegetarian Gumbo

“Vegetarian Gumbo with Beans?!” – You may question.  I did too … but my friend Justin Fox Burks insisted I give his recipe a try.

Well … as usual … Justin’s recipe was some darn good stuff.  His concoction of veggies and spices offers a tasty gumbo that had everyone at our table asking for seconds.

Justin and his wife Amy Lawrence are co-authors of the fabulous vegetarian recipe blog “The Chubby Vegetarian.”  Their blog has become my go-to for all things veggie.  It is a great resource for dishes so delicious and creative that you will never miss the meat. This recipe is also featured in their new book “The Southern Vegetarian” (May 2013, Thomas Nelson Publishers).  I was lucky enough to get an advance copy and am loving everything I have made so far. It’s a must for vegetarians and meat-eaters both!

Back to the gumbo … Justin’s recipe calls for liquid smoke. An ingredient I had never used before.  But since it was at Whole Foods I figured it was safe to eat! I used the Hickory smoke flavor. It gave the gumbo that depth that a smoked sausage adds a traditional gumbo.

Enjoy!

The Chubby Vegetarian Gumbo

Click here for the original recipe.

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped tomato (1 medium)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (1 medium)
8 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons creole mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon vinegar
10 dashes Tabasco
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 quart vegetable stock
4 cups sliced okra (1/4 inch slices, stem-end discarded)
1 1/2 cups red beans (1 16 ounce can, drained and rinsed or makes your own)
10 ounces crimini mushrooms (quartered)
1 1/2 cups diced zucchini (1 medium)
1 1/2 cups diced  green pepper (1 large)
1 1/2 cups diced red pepper (1 large)
1 cup thinly sliced celery (2 ribs)
4-5 cups cooked jasmine rice
1/2 cup sliced green onion (for garnish)
5-6 sprigs baby dill (for garnish)

To make the roux, place the canola oil and the flour into a medium-sized dutch oven. (This is the pot in which you will eventually make the gumbo, so using it now saves on dishes later. A heavy pot like this is essential when making a roux because of its ability to distribute heat evenly.) With the oil and flour in the cold dutch oven, turn the heat on medium. Whisk the mixture constantly until you notice that it has become nutty (it’ll kind of smell like — gasp! — fried chicken) and fragrant (both of which happen about five minutes into the process). At this point, turn the heat to low. Keep a close eye on your roux, and whisk the mixture about every minute so no part of the roux burns. Continue in this fashion for about another twenty minutes or until the roux has taken on the color of an old penny. Remove the pot from the heat. Congratulations — you just made your first roux!

Place the tomato, onion, garlic, worcestershire sauce, mustard, liquid smoke, vinegar, Tabasco, soy sauce, thyme, red pepper flakes, paprika, nutmeg and oregano into the work bowl of your food processor. This is quite an unconventional method for making gumbo, but it works beautifully. Blend mixture until smooth. This is your flavoring agent for the whole dish. Now return the dutch oven with the roux still in it to a burner set to medium-high heat, and immediately add the mixture you just made in the food processor. Stir to incorporate. Continue cooking and stirring the resulting mixture until most of the liquid has evaporated, and it resembles a paste. Add the vegetable stock and stir. Once the mixture is heated through, turn the burner to medium-low. Add the okra, red beans, mushrooms, zucchini, green and red peppers, and celery to the pot. Cook uncovered for about 20 minutes until everything is heated through, but not mush.

To serve, ladle out some gumbo into a bowl and top with about 1/2 cup of rice, a few green onions, and a sprig of fresh dill. Have plenty of crusty french bread and butter on hand for sopping up the amazing broth.

Serves 6 to 8.

Cooking Tip: If you like okra but are not a fan of the sliminess that sometimes can occur with it, sauté the sliced okra in batches in one tablespoon of canola oil until lightly browned. Add the cooked okra to the gumbo. Problem solved.

Spinach and Mushroom Quesadilla

Spinach & Mushroom Quesadilla _4082

Spinach and Mushroom Quesadilla

Like most weekdays … it’s often a busy night with the kid’s sports practices so I often need a quick and easy option for supper.

Quesadillas are always a good option for a super fast dinner.  I always have tortillas and some type of cheese in my fridge.  They are a great way to use up leftover veggies.  If nothing fresh is in the fridge, grab some frozen spinach or corn or canned black beans. This recipe is from my cookbook Simply Grilling.  I love the smoky flavor a grill gives a quesadilla … but they can easily be made indoors on a grill pan or in a skillet.

Enjoy!

Spinach and Mushroom Quesadilla

Cooking quesadillas on the grill gives them a deliciously smoky flavor.

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound white button mushrooms, stems removed and discarded, and sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bag (6-ounce) fresh baby spinach
8 fajita-size (6-inch) flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Vegetable oil, for the grates

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and thyme. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the mushrooms from the skillet and set aside.

Return the skillet to the stove top and add the remaining olive oil. Add the spinach and cook, stirring often, until just wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Place 4 tortillas on a work surface. Evenly sprinkle each with 1/4 cup of the cheese, 1/4 of the spinach, and 1/4 of the mushrooms. Cover with the remaining tortillas.

Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Place the quesadillas on the grill. Close the lid and cook, turning once, until golden brown and the cheese is melted, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

To serve, cut the quesadillas into wedges and serve warm.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tip: The varieties of quesadillas that can be prepared are endless—the only requisite ingredient is cheese. Have fun experimenting with your favorite ingredients.

Grill Pan Friendly: This recipe can easily be made indoors on a grill pan or cast iron skillet.

Source: Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Black Bean Burgers

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Black Bean Burgers

Forget the veggie burgers in the frozen food section of your supermarket! Homemade black beans burgers are so much tastier and better for you.

I featured this Black Bean Burger in my cookbook Simply Grilling.  It originated in the kitchen of  Nevada Presley (my dear friend and chef/owner of Get Fresh Memphis).  I so appreciate her always sharing flavorful vegetarian dishes with me.

This version is made with black beans and oats. A dash of cumin gives it a southwest spin.  Sometimes I serve it as a burger and others I serve it bun-less and topped with a spoonful of guacamole.

When making this recipe, do not be tempted to skip the step of draining the pureed vegetables. That extra moisture makes the black bean burgers too sticky to be grilled.

Also, the black bean burgers are refrigerated for an hour before cooking to help them keep their shape. To get ahead of the game, the burgers can be assembled as long as 24 hours in advance. Just be sure to cover and refrigerate until ready to grill.

Lastly, Nevada added the egg to help the burger stay together better. But for a vegan version, just omit the egg and add a tablespoon of veganaise.

Black Bean Burgers

1 can (15-ounce) black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup finely diced green bell pepper (about 1/2 green pepper)
1/4 cup finely diced yellow onion (about 1/2 small onion)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 cup rolled oats
Vegetable oil, for the grates
4 hamburger buns, split
2 ripe avocados, pits removed and sliced

In a medium bowl mash the black beans with a fork until thick and pasty.

Place the green bell pepper, onion, and garlic in food processor and process until pureed. Place the mixture into a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and press to strain the liquid. Add to the beans and stir to combine.

In a small bowl stir together the egg, chili powder, cumin, and hot sauce. Add the egg mixture and the oats to the beans and stir until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide into four patties, each about 3/4-inch thick. Cover, place in the refrigerator, and chill for at least an hour and as long as overnight.

Preheat a clean grill to medium high for 8 to 10 minutes with the lid closed. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Place the burgers on the grill. Close the lid and cook, turning once, until golden brown and warmed through, about 5 to 6 minutes on each side. About 1 minute before the burgers are done, place the buns, cut-side down, on the grill and cook until lightly toasted.

To serve, place each burger inside a bun and garnish with avocado slices. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Grill Pan: These burgers can easily be made indoors on a grill pan.

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Southwest Pinto Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayonnaise

SW Pinto burger

Southwest Pinto Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayonnaise

When I was doing my 30-day vegetarian challenge back last Fall, my friend Ellen shared a bunch of her favorite recipes.

While one of Ellen’s daughters has been vegetarian for several years, the rest of her family still eats meat.  She explained that it can be hard preparing meals that everyone at her table will eat.  Since I was in the same situation trying to feed my non-vegetarian family too, she kindly shared several dishes that consistently pleased everyone at her table.

This bean burger was a huge hit when I made it.  No one complained … and in fact, everyone asked for seconds! The chipotle mayonnaise really makes the burger stand out.

Most of the ingredients I already had in my pantry.  The only thing I needed to pick up was the cilantro and canned chipotle peppers.  You might be just as lucky.

A helpful hint (or two!) when cooking these burgers. They tend to be a little moist, so be sure to take the time to let them refrigerate for 10 minutes before cooking.  This little step really helps them stay together better. I also recommend using a non-stick skillet to cook them in for easy flipping.

Enjoy!

Southwest Pinto Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayonnaise

Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine. Click here for the original recipe.

For the burger:
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño pepper
2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained
1 (8 3/4-ounce) can no salt-added whole-kernel corn, drained

For the Chipotle Mayonnaise:
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon canned minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce

Remaining ingredients:
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 (1 1/2-ounce) whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted
4 romaine lettuce leaves

To prepare burgers, combine the first 10 ingredients in a large bowl. Add pinto beans and corn; partially mash with a fork. Divide bean mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 3 1/2-inch patty, and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

To prepare chipotle mayonnaise, combine mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon chipotle in a small bowl; set aside.

Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties to pan, and cook 4 minutes on each side or until thoroughly heated. Place patties on bottom halves of buns; top each patty with 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1 lettuce leaf, and top half of bun.

Cheesy Eggplant Parmesan

 

Cheesy Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan can be made in a multitude of ways.  Sometimes the eggplant is fried, other times it is baked.  Sometimes the eggplant is served over a bed of tomato sauce, other times it is baked in a sauce.

Personally, I like it best baked in a tomato sauce with lots of cheese.

I love the texture of a crispy eggplant that is fried, but for everyday meals, frying is just too messy and who needs that extra fat?  In my version, I use Panko breadcrumbs to give the eggplant that same crispy coating you would get by frying … but instead the eggplant is baked in the oven.

Serve with a big salad or sautéed spinach.

Enjoy!

Cheesy Eggplant Parmesan

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds total), peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
4 cups marinara tomato sauce (homemade or store bought)
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a shallow bowl combine the breadcrumbs, 3/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning. Place the beaten egg in a third shallow bowl.

Generously season both sides of the eggplant slices with salt and pepper. Next dip the eggplant in the egg wash to coat completely, letting the excess drip off. Then dredge the eggplant through the Parmesan breadcrumbs, evenly coating on both sides.

Place the eggplant slices on the baking sheet. Bake until golden brown on the bottom, about 20 minutes.  Turn slices over and bake until browned on the other side, about 20 more minutes.

Spread 1 1/3 cups tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Arrange the eggplant in an even layer in the dish. Cover with another 1 1/3 cup of sauce and 1/2 cup of cheese. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, sauce, and cheese.  Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the top.

Bake until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Serves 6.

 

 

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

Now that the weather has gotten cooler, I am starting to make hearty soups for supper.

Fuel Café in Memphis has had a vegetarian chili that I have loved for years.  Now that I am going meatless one day a week, I figured it was time to experiment in the kitchen and try to replicate this favorite.

Fuel adds quinoa to a traditional vegetarian bean quinoa … so I did the same.  The quinoa resembles the texture of ground beef in the dish … something that is good if your family is used to having meat in their chili.  And … the combo of the quinoa with the beans makes this dish a complete protein. Something that is an added nutritional bonus.

For ease, I used canned beans and tomatoes in my version.  I opted to use fire-roasted tomatoes instead of the regular variety because I like the added flavor they give a dish.  That said, regular diced tomatoes will work just as well.

Garnish your chili as you like … with a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheese, sliced jalapenos, or fresh cilantro.  We enjoyed ours with cornbread.  Next time, I’m making it with my Broccoli Corn Bread (click for the recipe) … I think it will be the perfect combo!

My recipe didn’t turn out exactly like Fuel Café’s … but I did come up with a chili that my whole family loved and that I will definitely be making often. It’s fun to take an idea from a dish you have had out or at a friend’s house and invent your own original!

Enjoy!

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeño
1/2 green bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
2 cans (15-ounce) black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can (15-ounce) red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1 can (28-ounce) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and cooked per package directions
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeno, green bell pepper, and red bell pepper, and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the black beans, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, and water. Stir in the cooked quinoa. Season with the chili powder, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 30 to 35 minutes. Adjust seasonings as needed.

Serve hot. Garnish as desired.

Serves 6.

Cooking Tip: For a stronger chili flavor, you can add another tablespoon of chili powder.

Freezes well.

Butternut Squash Risotto

Butternut Squash Risotto

With Halloween this week, I thought my Meatless Monday recipe should be pumpkin-inspired!

Pumpkins and winter squashes like the butternut and acorn varieties are both of the gourd family and can be used interchangeably in most cases.  I love the flavor of the sweet “meat” of Butternut squash.  It’s my favorite of the winter squashes. I use it in soups, salads and dishes like this one.

Risotto sounds complicated, but it is actually very easy to make. All it takes is a little patience to wait for the rice to absorb the liquid.

This is the basic recipe for making risotto. Once you have mastered this simple recipe, you can make any flavor combination you are craving.

Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Risotto

1 medium butternut squash (about 1 pound)
5 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion (half a small onion)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Peel, halve, and remove the seeds from the squash. Cut it into 1/2-inch pieces. In a medium saucepan place the squash and enough water to cover by 1-inch. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until fork-tender, but not too soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a medium saucepot over high heat, bring the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat to low.

In a large saucepot over medium heat, melt the butter and oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon, making sure all the grains are coated. Cook until translucent, about 1 minute. Add the white wine and simmer uncovered until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the simmering stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently. Wait until each addition is almost completely absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup of the stock. The risotto is done when the rice is tender, but still firm.

Stir in the cooked squash and the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the squash is reheated and the cheese is melted, about 2 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Recipe from Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler.


Jennifer Chandler

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