10 Christmas movies & the “accidentally” vegan junk food that goes with them.

Short and sweet, pun intended.  Here are 10 Christmas movies to choose from and the “accidentally” vegan junk food that goes along with them.  Some of these you will recognize as Christmas movies and some you have probably forgot about.  Regarding the food choices, I am not saying anything listed below is healthy, but it is vegan and we wanted to focus on items available almost everywhere that  you might enjoy while traveling or in a bind this holiday season.

NOTE:   It is your decision if ingredients like palm oil and sugar are vegan.  Do the research on where these items come from and decide yourself.  If anyone mentions bone char/sugar, you are going on the naughty list and I will burn your face off with my eye lasers.

1.  Elf & Blueberry Pop Tarts.  

Starting the day off with Pop Tarts and a light hearted movie.  Sure Zooey Deschanel is one of the stars of the movie, and she is a complete @$$hole who was an outspoken, boasting and bragging vegan.  However Zooey turned anti-vegan because, like a baby, she was incapable of making healthy decisions on her plant based diet and blamed it for her poor health.  Maybe she was eating nothing but blueberry pop tarts?  At least you get some Artie Lang (as Santa) for a brief moment.  You can make your own icing if you prefer.    Just add 1.5 cups of powered sugar, 2 tablespoons of your favorite fruit preserves and 1 tablespoon of milk (almond, rice, soy, hemp, cashew, etc…)

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  • Ingredients:  ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], FOLIC ACID), CORN SYRUP, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, DEXTROSE, SOYBEAN AND PALM OIL (WITH TBHQ FOR FRESHNESS), CRACKER MEAL, CONTAINS TWO PERCENT OR LESS OF WHEAT STARCH, SALT, DRIED BLUEBERRIES, DRIED GRAPES, DRIED APPLES, LEAVENING (BAKING SODA, SODIUM ACID PYROPHOSPHATE, MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE), CITRIC ACID, CORNSTARCH, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL BLUEBERRY FLAVOR, MODIFIED WHEAT STARCH, SOY LECITHIN, XANTHAN GUM, CARAMEL COLOR, RED #40, BLUE #1, BLUE #2, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, NIACINAMIDE, REDUCED IRON, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1), FOLIC ACID.

2.  Scrooged & Otter Pops

I love Scrooged.  It’s a dark, gritty and wittty movie full of hilarious dialogue and a star studded cast.  Feel the icy chill of the 3 ghosts that visit Bill Murray’s character while sucking down otter pops.  Bobcat Goldthwait & David Johansen (New York Dolls) play great supporting characters.

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  • Ingredients:  WATER, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, FRUIT JUICE (CONTAINS ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING: APPLE, GRAPE OR PEAR JUICE FROM CONCENTRATE), CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF THE FOLLOWING: CITRIC ACID, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, SODIUM BENZOATE AND POTASSIUM SORBATE

3.  Die Hard & Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos

Yeah, Die Hard IS a Christmas Movie.  There is Christmas muzak, Christmas Tree’s and even some white powder being passed around the party.  There is not much to add here, just watch this movie and load up on Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos, they are the bold flavor you need to pair with John Mclane.   Just remember it’s not really Christmas until Hans Gruber falls off of Nakatomi Plaza and your belly is full from Christmas gorging.

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  • Ingredients:  whole corn, vegetable oil (contains one or more of the following: corn, sunflower, and/or soybean oil), salt, sugar, monosodium glutamate, fructose, sodium diacetate, soy sauce solids (soybean, wheat, salt), onion powder, corn maltodextrin, hydrolyzed soy protein, hydrolyzed corn protein, garlic powder, tortula yeast, malic acid, extractives of paprika, spices, caramel color, disodium inodinate, disodium guanylate, dextrose, and natural flavor. contains soy and wheat ingredients.

 

 

4.  A Christmas Story & Cracker Jack

Because of 24 hours of a Christmas Story, you either love this movie or hate it.  I never get tired of it.  How can a movie with so many classic lines and hilarious scenarios not be a Christmas Classic.  As a little child growing up in the midwest, everyone wanted a BB gun, myself included.  Of course, all you ever heard from your mother was “You’ll shoot your eye out.”  Sit back for 24 hours and enjoy Some Cracker Jack, just beware of unfair Asian stereotypes towards the end of the movie.

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  • Ingredients:  popcorn, molasses, peanuts, sugar, corn syrup, salt, corn and/or soybean oil.

 

 

 

 

 

5.  Home Alone & Papa Johns Pizza

Yeah it’s endorsed by a mouth breather and the founder is a loser to the extreme, but who cares right?  If you need pizza asap Papa Johns standard crust is vegan.  Even their garlic dipping sauce is vegan.  If pizza helped Kevin McCallister through his tough time, then pizza will help you through the holiday’s.  Just don’t forget, no cheese please, and when you tip the delivery driver say “keep the change you filthy animal.”

  • Screen Shot 2015-12-25 at 12.08.03 PMIngredients:  Unbleached and enriched high-protein flour, purified water, sugar, soybean oil, salt, yeast and extra virgin olive oil.

 

 

 

 

6.  National Lampoons Christmas Vacation & Pillsbury Apple Turnovers

Arguably the best in the Vacation series, Christmas Vacation is a classic that is full of humor that anyone who attends Christmas functions with family can relate to.  The little scenes between Clark and their yuppie neighbors (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) always get me cracking up.  Plus, cousin Eddie is at the top of his game in this one.  Eat some cheap pastry and get that Christmas bonus!

  • Screen Shot 2015-12-25 at 12.23.09 PMIngredients:  Water, Enriched Flour Bleached (wheat flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Sugar, Soybean Oil, Dextrose, Hydrogenated Palm Oil*, Dried Apples, Modified Corn Starch, Palm Oil, Baking Powder (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium aluminum phosphate), Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil*, Salt, Vital Wheat Gluten, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Starch, Potassium Chloride, Citric Acid, Mono and Diglycerides, Molasses, Preservatives (sodium benzoate, erythorbic acid, potassium sorbate, TBHQ, citric acid), Xanthan Gum, Dough Conditioner (sodium stearoyl lactylate, mono and diglycerides, calcium sulfate), Spice, Ascorbic Acid, Calcium Gluconate, Sodium Phosphate, Artificial Flavor, Yellow 5, Color Added, Red 40.

7.  Edward Scissorhands & Top Ramen

Oh Johnny Depp, you magnificent, sexy bastard.  Have you ever made a bad movie?  This Tim Burton classic is epic in so many ways.  It’s dark, funny, artistic and thought provoking.  The score is Danny Elfman, is there anyone else Johnny Depp and Tim Burton use?  Also featuring Winona Ryder as the crush of my youth and (weirdly) a buff Anthony Michael Hall as the protagonist.  Why Top Ramen?  Something about not needing a knife (scissorhands) to eat this and memories of so many late nights in college.  Just remember to get Nissin Ramen as the popular Maruchan Ramen is not vegan.

  • Screen Shot 2015-12-25 at 12.39.13 PMIngredients:  Ramen Noodles: Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Vegetable Oil (Contains One or More of the Following: Canola Oil, Cottonseed Oil, Palm Oil) Preserved by Tocopherols and/or TBHQ and/or Ascorbyl Palmitate, Contains Less than 2% of Salt, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Potassium Carbonate, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Alginate. Seasoning Mix: Salt, Soy Sauce Powder (Wheat, Soybeans, Maltodextrin, Salt), Monosodium Glutamate, Spices, Hydrolyzed Soy, Corn and Wheat Protein, Garlic Powder, Caramel Color, Onion Powder, Rice Oil, Citric Acid, Disodium Succinate, Dehydrated Leek, Calcium Silicate (Anticaking Agent), Disodium Guanylate, Disodium Inosinate.

8.  Gremlins & Blow Pops

Little green monsters destroy the small town of Kingston Falls.  A “dorky” bank teller releases these monsters after gaining a new pet and violating two of three rules: No water (oops), no food after midnight (errrrr sorry, chicken will turn you into a monster), and no bright light. Hilarious destruction in a town straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting.  All that aside, you had me at Phoebe Cates.  Yes, BLOW POPS & Phoebe Cates!!!

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  • Ingredients:  SugarCorn Syrup, Gum Base, Starch, Citric Acid, Glycerin, Artificial Flavors, Artificial Colors (Including FD&C Red 40FD&C Blue 1), Turmeric Coloring and BHT Added as a Preservative.

 

 

 

 

9.  It’s a Wonderful Life & Oreos

Enjoy the classic black & white Christmas movie with everyone’s favorite black & white cookie.  Both are a timeless Christmas treasure.  Merry Christmas high fructose corn syrup.  Merry Christmas soy lecithin.

  • Screen Shot 2015-12-25 at 1.11.09 PMIngredients:  sugar, unbleached enriched flour, high oleic canola and palm oil, cocoa, high fructose corn syrup, leavening, cornstarch, salt, soy lecithin, vanillin and chocolate.

 

 

 

10.  Bad Santa & Alcohol

It’s the end of the night and you are probably sick of explaining veganism and taking jabs about your “vegan food” from friends and family.  You need alcohol, and a lot of it.  Bring on Bad Santa and drinks.  This dark comedy became a Christmas classic the minute it was released.  Billy Bob Thornton plays a legendary drunk mall santa and vulgarity ensues.  Bernie Mac & Tony Cox have some incredible one liners and confrontations during the film.  Drink up mother truckers because Christmas is almost over!

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  • Ingredients:  Check Barvivore before you consume.

 

 

 

 

Well that’s it, my top 10 Christmas movies and the “accidentally” vegan junk food that goes with them.  Let me know what movie you would put on this list and the vegan treat that goes with it.  Happy Holiday’s.

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Hearthstone: Tavern Brawl – Who’s The Boss Now?

 

If we are posting a new Tavern Brawl guide/walkthrough then it must mean a new Tavern Brawl is out.  Hip Hip Hooray!  This guide will give you some suggestions and strategies to dominate your opponents while this Tavern Brawl is taking place.  This is the Who’s The Boss Now Tavern Brawl and it is a fun one.  The dungeon bosses who you normally battle against in story mode are here to help, or hinder, depending on how you look at it.  You get a random Dungeon boss hero power overtime you use your hero power, and no limit on how many times you can use it a turn, if you have enough mana.  The Dungeon Boss Powers are Poison Cloud, Decimate, Activate, Wild Magic, Me Smash, Jeering Crowd, Pile On, The Majordomo, Web Wrap, Harvest and Bone Minions.

You can use any class you prefer although I prefer Paladin or Hunter for this Tavern Brawl.  Most of the cards you need are neutral, so pick whatever hero has the spells to compliment your deck.  Hero power does not matter because you get a random one each time you use it.  I try and avoid taunt minions in this build as the hero powers add a lot of taunt minions to the board.  I also avoid weapons because with the number of minions on the board and the random hero powers, giving yourself powerful weapon boosters can be tricky.  I like to keep the ratio around 18 minions/12 spells, give or take, because the hero powers also give you a lot of minions on the battlefield.

The basic strategy is to use your hero power as much as possible, so naturally you want to load your deck up with Inspire minions and minions that do positive actions for your hero power and negative actions for your opponents hero power.  You will see my full deck build at the bottom of this article.  Here are 5 must have cards for this Tavern Brawl.

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1.  Saboteur is such a good card for this battle.  It’s always fun to screw your opponent over right? This card makes it so your opponent can’t play it’s hero power unless they have 7 mana, yikes!  If you want to get crazy you could add some cards that return minions to your hand and play this card multiple times, although this is not necessary.

 

 

 

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2.  Fencing Coach is a gift from the Hearthstone Gods.  You can use your hero power for (0) mana since this card gives you (2) less mana the next time you use it.  Using your hero power as many times as possible is key, this card will get you there.

 

 

 

 

 

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3.  Maiden of the Lake.  Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.  Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.  Anyone, anyone?  Well even if you don’t get the reference, you can still add this card to you deck and now use that hero power for only (1) mana.  After all, you can’t expect to wield supreme power just ’cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!

 

 

 

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4.  Frost Giant is the only card over (5) mana I have in this deck build.  You are going to be using your Hero Power multiple times, so by the time you get around to using this card it is going to cost (0).  YIKES!!!

 

 

 

 

 

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5.  Dart Trap is in the Hunter Class, which is one reason I like to use this hunter for this challenge.  Yeah it is just one card, but I like all the secrets hunter has to counter your enemy opponents spells and minions.  Just like the Saboteur card above, this allows you to frustrate your opponents and do 5 direct damage to their hero when they use their Hero Power, which they will.

 

 

 

 

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This is my Hunter, Tavern Brawl deck.  Not pictured are (2) Arcane Shots.  As I stated above using all these Inspire minions adds all kinds of minions and extra effects to the gameplay.  Paladin is also useful as you can add a Murloc Knight to your deck.  I hope this guide will help you with your future battles or at least give you some ideas on how to build a deck.  Happy vegan hunting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hearthstone: Gift Exchange Tavern Brawl – Dominate your opponents!

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Tavern brawls are one of the best features of Hearthstone.  It’s always super fun to play with different rules using all the rare and legendary cards some might not have acquired.  This Tavern Brawl is no different.  The Gift Exchange gives each player a Winter’s Veil Gift and when you destroy this “minion” you receive a Stolen Winter’s Veil Gift that gives you a choice of 3 cards, which are very powerful cards with lowered mana costs.
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Just like most of the Tavern Brawl’s, you can use any class and win, there are multiple ways to make a winning deck.  It’s all about card synergy and adding the right neutral class cards.  I am going to talk about my favorite cards for this battle and I will be using a Rogue deck.  Basic strategy is to destroy as many of the 0/4 gifts you can, especially the ones on your side of the board.  Destroying the gifts on your side of the board does not allow your enemy to destroy them and thus gives you a huge advantage.  So use your spells and various minions to destroy your boxes first, and then use your minions in battle to destroy the boxes on your opponents side of the battlefield.  I also only use mana cards with a cost of 5 or lower, with a great number of 1 and 2 mana cost cards so I can cast a lot of minions and spells.  Loading up your deck with high mana cards is not necessary because of the Winter’s Veil Gift boxes you will be smashing that will give you high cost minions and spells, at next to nothing mana.
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Crazed Alchemist is a must for any deck in this brawl.  Swapping the attack and health of a minion allows you use this ability on the Winter’s Veil Gift, turning its health to 0 and giving you the powerful Stolen Winter’s Veil Gift.  Combining Crazed Alchemist with the Youthful Brewmaster allows you to destroy 4 boxes for very little mana.  Hoarding these gifts keeps your opponent from those high powered cards.

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Pit Snake (Rogue class) and Emperor Cobra both have poison, so no matter how much damage they do, you can destroy boxes and those high powered enemies your opponent draws.  I do not include Maexxna because the mana cost is too high.

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I include a lot of low cost, taunt minions.  This keeps your enemies from attacking you, but also stops them when they do get chances to destroy boxes.  I use multiple Goldshire Footman, Annoy-o-TronTauren Warrior and I especially like Lil’ Exorcist because its battlecry gives you a +1/+1 for each enemy minion with Deathrattle.  Your opponent will have a lot of Deathrattle cards with the Winter’s Veil Gift’s on the board and also when your opponent casts the powerful minions they receive from smashing boxes.

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Unearthed Raptor is an awesome card for this brawl, it’s in the Rogue class.  It’s Battlecry gives you the ability to copy a minions Deathrattle, which means you can copy the Winter’s Veil Gift Deathrattle and add even more powerful Stolen Winter’s Veil Gifts to your hand.

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Now we are getting epic!  Add a Baron Rivendare (neutral class) to your deck and double your Deathrattle bonus! That means every box you smash you get two gifts!  Using this card in conjunction with Unearthed Raptor (above) mean’s even more gifts!

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The Goblin Sapper is a way to get a high powered minion onto the battlefield with little mana cost. Like most Tavern Brawls, you (and your opponent) end up with a lot of cards in your hand, so this is perfect for the Goblin Sapper who gets +4 attack if your opponent has 6 or more cards in their hand.  Hold onto this card and wait for your opponent to load their hand up.

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Here is my Rogue deck for this Tavern Brawl.  I load up on Backstab, Cold Blood, Deadly Poison, Eviscerate and Assassinate.  With all the low cost cards you will be playing, using combo cards will be no problem.  I also like to add 1 Poisoned Blade.  You can buff this up and use your combo spells to gain a high attack and take out the gifts and high enemies on the board!  Adding the low cost Taunt minions will keep your opponent from damaging you and those precious boxes.

I like to use multiple decks, I usually make a new class deck each day and mess around until it has good synergy.  Warlock, Shaman and Priest have a lot of spells that are great for this battle as well.

Let me know your thoughts and what cards, and classes, you like to play with.  You can battle me anytime you want, my username is the same on all platforms, VeganN3rd.

Happy Feist of Winter Veil!

Hearthstone: Blackrock Mountain: Grim Guzzler walkthrough w/ video.

This is a simple walkthrough so you can beat the first boss, Coren Direbrew, in Blackrock Mountain.  It’s a pretty easy battle to win and you can win by using any deck with trial and error.  This is also a great way to learn about card combinations and getting to know your card library.  I am going to focus on a simple mage deck using no legendary cards and almost all common/basic cards that most beginner players will have in their library.  There are a few blue gem (rare) cards, although most people should have these as well.  Most of the minions I will have in this deck have spell damage so my low cost spells are amplified.  You can watch the full video below (or here) where I play the deck we are building.

Coren’s hero power costs (0) and puts a minion from each players deck into the battlefield.  This means all Battlecry abilities are null and void.  You can stack your deck with high mana minions since you don’t have to pay the cost, as well as a few low cost minions for the first few rounds.  Use your mulligan if you do not get low cost minions on your draw.  Below is the deck that Coren uses.

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Class Card Quantity
Neutral Ancient Brewmaster 1
Baron Geddon 1
Core Hound 2
War Golem 2
Spiteful Smith 1
Force-Tank MAX 2
Mogor the Ogre 1
Dark Iron Dwarf 2
Elite Tauren Chieftain 1
Grim Patron 2
Warlock Succubus 1
Rogue Dark Iron Skulker 2
Warrior Brawl 2
Inner Rage 2
Whirlwind 2
Execute 2
Boss Dark Iron Bouncer 2
Get ’em! 2

 

 

You need to be aware that Coren has a Dark Iron Bouncer as well as a Brawl card, so be ready for him to wipe out the field using these in combo, although Brawl works great on its own.

Dark_Iron_Bouncer(14474) Brawl(297)

Using this mage deck I have low cost taunt minions to block attackers as well as lots of spell damage minions so my low cost spells do extra damage.  Using the Flamewalker’s with all the low cost spells is a good strategy to chip away at Coren’s health and minions at the same time.  Using the Mage hero power you can also knock out pesky enemy minions with one health left.

Mage Deck
(18 Minions/12 Spells)

Arcane Missiles (2)
Mirror Image (2)
Goldshire Footman (2)
Shieldbearer  (2)
Arcane Explosion (1)
Frostbolt (1)
Annoy-o-Tron (2)
Kobold Geomancer (2)
Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2)
Frost Nova (2)
Flamewalker (2)
Soot Spewer (2)
Cone of Cold (1)
Dalaran Aspirant (2)
Fireball (2)
Blizzard (1)
Stormwind Champion (2)

As I stated earlier, it’s a very simple battle and you can make a winning deck with almost any class.  I hope that this helped you or gave you some ideas.

Next week we will take on the second boss in Blackrock Mountain, High Justice Grimstone.

High_Justice_Grimstone

 

Kid Dicarus

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I will be uploading videos and blog posts with various “favorite games” lists, but as a first post I must mention one of my all time favorite NES games is… Kid Icarus.  I spent a large chunk of time when I was younger trying to defeat Plutons, Reapers, Monoeyes and Eggplant Wizards.

It goes like this:  Once upon a time in Angel Land, a nubile warrior named Pit has been chosen to defeat the hideous Medusa.  Medusa wants to destroy Angel Land, along with everything and everyone in it, and Medusa has also kidnapped Palutena, the Princess.

From the deep caves of the Underworld to Palace’s in the sky, Pit will need all his dexterity and wisdom to defeat the monsters and ultimately Medusa.  You have a bow & arrow, water of life and angels feathers to help you on your way.

Kid Icarus is a platform game where the player goes through numerous vertical levels, shooting enemies with his bow & arrow on the way and collecting hearts they leave behind.  As Pit continues upwards, more and more of the level ends up beyond the bottom of the screen and if Pit falls down out of the screen, he dies.  Pit earns exp. as he defeats enemies, and he gains levels from this experience. The more levels Pit has, the more maximum health he has.

The levels contain doors which lead to different chambers.  Some are filled with enemies, some are treasures which allow Pit to power-up, some are stores where Pit can purchase items, some will replenish his health.  Some levels Pit will be able to take a test in hopes of getting a powerful weapon, or a strength upgrade.  Hearts taken from enemies are used in shops to buy items and power-ups. Items include a shield which damages enemies, a stronger bow, a hammer, a torch and various other upgrades.

This game is super fun, very hard and the musical score is epic.  I can still hear the theme playing over and over as I cram handfuls of Cheetos into my gullet with oversized glasses of Jolt Cola.  I still enjoy playing this today, although it’s with handfulls of Tings vegan cheetos and bottles of GT’s Kombucha.