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Tag Archive: dinner

Roasted Tomato, Pepper, and Garlic Soup

October 11, 2015 Print this page

Have you ever tried roasting tomatoes before? If you haven’t (or even if you have), you HAVE to give this soup a try. Rich and filling, it’s filled with hearty flavors that make a perfect late summer or early fall meal. Serve with some homemade crusty sourdough bread if you’re into that kind of thing.

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 min
Yield 8-10 servings

2 pounds of mixed tomatoes, halved or quartered if on the larger side

4 large bell peppers, sliced into big pieces

1 head of garlic, outer skin removed

1 teaspoon of sea salt

4 tablespoons of olive oil

1-2 teaspoons of unrefined cane sugar (optional)

Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease two large baking sheets with olive oil and set aside.

Divide the halved and quartered tomatoes and peppers evenly between the two baking sheets. Drizzle each with 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Toss to coat and put in the oven.

Put the head of garlic on a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle it with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Wrap it up into a little bundle and put it in the oven, too.

Roast the tomatoes and peppers in the oven until soft and beginning to brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Once soft, remove the garlic from the oven, too.

When the vegetables have cooled off a bit, transfer the tomatoes and peppers to a large blender. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skin and put it in there too. Pour in the salt and add a dash of cayenne, then puree until completely smooth.

Dump the contents of the blender into a large pot or dutch oven. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to low and cook for 30 minutes. Taste and add a bit of sugar, if necessary. If the soup seems incredibly thick, pour in up to 1 cup of vegetable broth or water.

Serve hot.


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Roasted Pork and Pineapple Red Curry

September 5, 2015 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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So I’m a senior in high school. A SENIOR?! HUH?! It feels like just yesterday I was a pipsqueak freshman posting on yestoyummy.tumblr.com (my prehistoric blog), getting excited about not being the youngest in the school anymore. And now I’m the oldest and I drive myself to school and I’m applying to college and what how did this all happen again?!

Back in eighth and ninth grade, I used to think that I wouldn’t change in high school. And while my favorite color is still the same (purple) and I still want to study the same thing (health in the context of food and nutrition), I’ve realized lately that I’ve actually changed…a lot.

I see the world in a different way: more calmly, more graciously, more like a centered adult as opposed to an anxious teenager. My best friends now aren’t the exact same crew I rolled with at age fourteen. I have new passions, like yoga, and I’m starting to think I might want to double major in English because I love to write. I spent a month in a foreign country with someone I’ve never met before, worked on a farm for a summer, survived and loved AP Chemistry, got a stuffed jackalope (actually two), recited my first slam poem, went on my first road trip alone…

Gosh, I know I’m still Abby in there, but I do feel different. And that’s only natural.

Everyone keeps telling me that life keeps on going faster and faster from here. That’s a little terrifying but also exciting I suppose. Honestly, I’m trying to hold onto the present moment before it all slips between my fingers and I’m walking across a field with a diploma in my hand.

Curry anyone?

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I think curry is the perfect savor-the-moment food. Yes, it takes a while to prepare, but when you sit down to eat it, you truly enjoy the complexity of all of those flavors you so carefully put together.

I was inspired to make this by a Thai restaurant near my house where my good friend Chloe and I frequent when we get the chance. They have this AMAZING curry with crispy duck and pineapple, and it’s super spicy and finger-licking delicious.

To put my own spin on our usual favorite, I decided to use pork shoulder, which has a nice balance between meat and fat to keep it flavorful without biting into pure grease. I also boiled the meat to make it as tender as possible, then roasted it for a bonus crunch. The pork alone is insanely good, but in the curry it’s the BOMB.

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I’m warning you now: there are a LOT of ingredients in the curry, but really, it’s not too difficult to make. Basically all you’re doing is throwing a bunch of stuff in a pot. I think you can do that.

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I also fell in love with cilantro for some reason this summer so I put a boatload of the green stuff in my personal curry. If you aren’t a fan, feel free to scale it back or remove it altogether. I won’t judge you. Promise.

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Get ready to have your tastebuds blown out of the water.

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Roasted Pork and Pineapple Red Curry

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 2 hr 15 min
Total Time 2 hr 30 min
Yield 6-8 servings

3 lb of boneless pork shoulder, cut into approx 1 1/2-inch cubes

4 cloves of garlic (whole) + 2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon of salt + more to taste

1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil

2 red onions, chopped roughly

8 ounces of mushrooms, sliced

2 bell peppers, seeded and chopped roughly

1 large tomato, chopped roughly

1 cup of pineapple chunks (or more if you’d like)

2 teaspoons of ginger, minced

3-4 tablespoons of red curry paste

1 tablespoon of honey

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

1 14-ounce can of full-fat coconut milk

1 cup of water or broth

1/2-1 cup of cilantro, roughly chopped (I love cilantro so I put a bunch in)

Directions

Put the pork cubes in a huge pot and add the whole garlic cloves, tablespoon of salt, and a whole bunch of water. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, and let the pork cook until fork-tender, abut an hour and a half.

Once the pork is tender, remove it from the pot and pat it dry with paper towels. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet. Place the pork cubes on the baking sheet, sprinkle them with salt, and roast until crispy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside.

Heat up the coconut oil in a large, deep pot over medium heat. Add the red onions and saute until beginning to become translucent, about 5 minutes, then add the mushrooms and peppers and saute for 3 minutes longer. Add the chopped tomato and pineapple and cook for another minute.

Scoop in the crushed garlic, minced ginger, red curry paste, honey, and tomato paste and stir well to completely cover the vegetables and pineapple. Sprinkle with salt and add the coconut milk and water and bring to a boil.

Once bubbling, reduce the heat to low, add the roasted pork chunks, and cover the pot with a lid. Cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 15 to 20 minutes, then taste and add more salt/honey/curry paste as necessary. Right before eating, stir in the cilantro and garnish the top with some extra leaves. Serve hot over rice.


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What is your favorite spicy food? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know! 🙂


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Roasted Pork and Pineapple Red Curry

September 5, 2015 Print this page

Want a spicy, vibrant dish to impress your friends and family? Look no further than this delicious curry. Yes, the ingredient list is long but it is SO worth it. Serve over brown or jasmine rice for a truly awesome meal.

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 2 hr 15 min
Total Time 2 hr 30 min
Yield 6-8 servings

3 lb of boneless pork shoulder, cut into approx 1 1/2-inch cubes

4 cloves of garlic (whole) + 2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon of salt + more to taste

1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil

2 red onions, chopped roughly

8 ounces of mushrooms, sliced

2 bell peppers, seeded and chopped roughly

1 large tomato, chopped roughly

1 cup of pineapple chunks (or more if you’d like)

2 teaspoons of ginger, minced

3-4 tablespoons of red curry paste

1 tablespoon of honey

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

1 14-ounce can of full-fat coconut milk

1 cup of water or broth

1/2-1 cup of cilantro, roughly chopped (I love cilantro so I put a bunch in)

Directions

Put the pork cubes in a huge pot and add the whole garlic cloves, tablespoon of salt, and a whole bunch of water. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, and let the pork cook until fork-tender, abut an hour and a half.

Once the pork is tender, remove it from the pot and pat it dry with paper towels. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet. Place the pork cubes on the baking sheet, sprinkle them with salt, and roast until crispy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside.

Heat up the coconut oil in a large, deep pot over medium heat. Add the red onions and saute until beginning to become translucent, about 5 minutes, then add the mushrooms and peppers and saute for 3 minutes longer. Add the chopped tomato and pineapple and cook for another minute.

Scoop in the crushed garlic, minced ginger, red curry paste, honey, and tomato paste and stir well to completely cover the vegetables and pineapple. Sprinkle with salt and add the coconut milk and water and bring to a boil.

Once bubbling, reduce the heat to low, add the roasted pork chunks, and cover the pot with a lid. Cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 15 to 20 minutes, then taste and add more salt/honey/curry paste as necessary. Right before eating, stir in the cilantro and garnish the top with some extra leaves. Serve hot over rice.


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The Best Summertime Light Meals + Snacks

August 8, 2015 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Hello everybody, and happy summer! As we speak, I am sitting on my grandparents’ porch, feeling the warmth of the sun and marveling at how pretty dappled trees look in August. The air is filled with energy, the days are long, and everyone seems to be in a good mood.

By the way, did I mention that I’m volunteering on a farm this summer? Well, in case I didn’t, yeah, I’m helping out over at Amber Waves Farm. It’s a pretty sweet gig.

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It’s amazing to be outside in the mornings, pulling vegetables out of the ground with my hands and smelling the earth around me. I’ve done “pick your own” produce since I was a child, but I often forget about where my food is really coming from, so being on a farm is the perfect solution for someone who loves to cook. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to pull cucumbers from the field and eat them for lunch a few hours later, or eat fresh sugar snap peas right off the stalk. Such a nice change of pace from my life as a student.

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(Yes, there is a baby in the CSA box. No, babies are not offered in Amber Waves’ CSA box.)

With the warmer weather also comes warm weather food, which is always best on the simpler, quicker side. Who wants to crank up the oven to 450 degrees or slave for hours over a stove when it’s already hot outside to begin with?! Not I! There’s also suddenly so much more local produce to buy (or for me, to pick), so a savvy chef would best make use of what he or she can find at the farmer’s market, or at least conveniently at the grocery store.

Here are a few ideas for some lighter meals and snacks you can make on these warmer summer days, or at least what I’ve been eating a lot of lately. I hope you enjoy! 🙂

Avocado Toast with Fresh Vegetables

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One day in late spring, I needed to pack myself something for lunch and didn’t have much in the fridge to choose from. I saw half an avocado, some Ezekiel bread, and a leftover tomato from the night before, so I figured, “Well, how bad can it be?!” I toasted up two slices, smashed on some avocado, added the tomato, and garnished everyone with sea salt and black pepper…and when I took a bite, I was WOWED. How could something simple taste so good?!

Avocado toast is a no-brainer on a warm day. It’s filling but not stuffing, and you can really use whatever vegetables are in season, be it cucumbers, tomatoes, or even fresh corn. I recommend investing in a good sea salt, because it’s SO worth it. Add a little lemon zest or juice if you have a second; otherwise, just dig in.

If you’re gluten-free, feel free to use gluten-free bread as your toast or brown rice cakes (which are AMAZING with this). If you’re paleo, try smashing an avocado on top of big slices of raw zucchini or jicama–just find something relatively large and crunchy.

Smoothie Bowls (and Smoothies in General)

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When the weather gets hot, eating a bowl of oatmeal is like a sentence to sluggishness and sweating at 8:00 A.M., at least for me. I need to eat something cool in the morning, or I have the strong urge to go back to sleep, for some reason. Does this happen to anyone else?

Anyway, I love having a big smoothie bowl first thing in the morning. I usually do something simple for the smoothie base–maybe a frozen banana or two with some almond milk or a bit of cocoa powder–then top it off with lots of fresh fruit, especially berries. For some protein, I’ll throw in some cacao nibs, chopped nuts, or hemp seeds, and that keeps me full and happy until lunch time.

I highly recommend adding a handful of spinach or kale to your smoothie, or using a teaspoon or two of spirulina powder to get some veggies and additional nutrients in. If you’re an athlete, feel free to include a scoop of protein powder in your smoothie.

Sushi with Whole Grains

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Sushi tastes SO GOOD, and surprisingly, it really isn’t that difficult to make. It’s light on the stomach, filled with different textures, and can be made to scale: if you’re alone for dinner, sushi is a great choice, and if you’re having six or seven guests, sushi is still a great choice. Just decide how much rice you’d like to make–I’d say about 1/2 (dry) cup per person, to be generous–and get rolling.

Of course you can use the classic white rice, but sushi is delicious with brown rice or even quinoa! With these less starchy grains, I recommend adding a little rice vinegar mixed with some water and a bit of sugar to help hold everything together.

Personally, I’m a big fan of vegetable sushi filled with cucumber, carrots, bell peppers, a little avocado, and some fresh mango, but you can also use fresh seafood if you’d like. (Just make sure it’s sushi grade!) If you’re looking for inspiration, check out my Purple Vegetable Sushi, where I show you how to roll and assemble your own sushi from scratch.

Pasta Loaded with Vegetables

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Not gonna lie, I’m super into pasta. What I love about it is that it’s like a blank canvas for other flavors and can be thrown together in under a half an hour. Even in a typical grocery store, there are so many different kinds of pasta to choose from in all shapes and sizes: pick what looks appealing to you! I love the heartiness of whole wheat pasta, so that’s my usual go-to, but I’m also a fan of brown rice and quinoa pasta. (By the way, the pasta pictured above? Oh yeah, those are llama-shaped, and made out of quinoa. Cool beans.)

Use whatever vegetables you have on hand–onions, garlic, tomatoes, broccoli, the list goes on–and give them a quick saute in some olive oil. Add a splash of wine or broth and maybe a little tomato paste, and voila, you have a great base! Throw in your desired pasta, give it a stir, and garnish with some fresh herbs, sea salt, and pepper.

My best piece of advice is to use a pasta that’s in a similar shape to the vegetables you’re using. For example, if you’ve got little cherry tomatoes in there, use shells or orecchiette (helmet-shaped pasta); if you have sliced onions or julienned zucchini, go for linguini or spaghetti.

Ice Cream and Sorbet…Basically 24/7

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My first dessert was ice cream, and ever since then, it’s been my favorite. I love it all: ice cream, gelato, sorbet, sherbet…if it’s a frozen treat, I’ll try it.

I’m also obsessed with making ice cream and sorbet, if you haven’t been able to tell from my Instagram page. I love coming up with unique flavors and figuring out a way to make them healthier and vegan, if possible. Some of my favorite flavors I’ve tried this year are Cheap Date (date-caramel ice cream with a splash of rum–get the joke?!), black raspberry-sweet corn, and roasted apricot with ginger and walnuts. The possibilities are endless…or you could just be boring and make vanilla or chocolate ice cream. 🙂

Speaking of which, here’s a recipe for you, giving you the low-down on how to make your own sorbet! I tried to be as clear and specific as possible, so whether you’re a novice or an old pro you can still make your own frozen treat to enjoy.

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Sorbet 101 (vegan)

Are you absolutely terrified of making your own ice cream? Has your ice cream machine sat untouched in your closet for years? Do you just eschew from frozen treats because of all of the cream and sugar? Then this recipe is for you: there’s no cooking involved, and all you need is a blender–you don’t even necessarily need an ice cream maker!

Use whatever fruit is in season, or use thawed frozen fruit or tropical fruits (like a combination of bananas and mangoes) in the wintertime.

Pictured in recipe index is an almond-dragonfruit sorbet I made in Hawaii. 🙂

Ingredients

Prep Time 5 min
Cooking Time
Total Time 24 hr
Yield 6-8 servings

4-6 cups of fruit of choice (I love the combinations of strawberry/banana and raspberry/peach)

2/3-1 cup of unrefined cane sugar or coconut sugar

1 tablespoon of vodka or alcohol of choice

1/2-1 tablespoon of vanilla, almond, or citrus extract (optional)

1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice (optional)

Handful of herbs, like thyme, sage, or lavender (optional)

Directions

Here’s how it works: first, put all of your fruit in the blender with NOTHING else. Blend until everything is pulverized, then look on the side and see how many cups of fruit puree you have.

My rule of thumb is to use 3 tablespoons to 1/4 cup of sugar for every cup of fruit puree: for example, if you have 4 cups of fruit puree, use 1 cup (or a little less) of sugar. It doesn’t have to be exact: just round up or down to the nearest whole number if you have, say, 3 1/2 cups of puree.

Feel free to scale back the sugar a little bit, but DON’T overdo it. Because sorbet has no fat, you’re in a battle against liquid to prevent your frozen treat from becoming too icy, and sugar helps keep things from becoming an edible igloo. With tarter fruits–like strawberries and blueberries–you’ll definitely need more sugar, but with sweeter fruits–like bananas and really ripe peaches–you can use less.

Once the fruit has been blended, add the calculated amount of sugar, vodka (this also helps prevent the igloo problem), and extract/citrus juice/herbs, if you’re using them. This is your chance to be creative with your flavors, so go crazy! Here are some combos I’ve made:

  • Strawberry/banana puree with lemon juice and vanilla extract
  • Raspberry/peach puree with lavender
  • Dragonfruit puree with almond extract

Blend again. Once everything has been well-incorporated, pour the puree into a bowl and place it in the fridge to cool for 4-6 hours. This is critical: you don’t want to be putting warm ingredients into the frozen ice cream machine base.

When the cooling time has elapsed, pass the puree through a sieve to remove any seeds or big pieces of herbs that didn’t get blended properly. Now you’re ready to get things rolling!

Here are the two methods for churning the sorbet:

ICE CREAM MACHINE METHOD: Pour the fruit puree into the ice cream machine’s base and churn according to your manufacturer’s instructions. (I churn mine for half an hour, usually.) Once churned, pour into a glass loaf pan or plastic container, cover with a piece of plastic wrap or a lid, and let harden in the freezer overnight (or for at least 12 hours).

BLENDER METHOD: Pour the fruit puree into a large flat glass dish, cover with a piece of plastic wrap, and freeze until just solid, 1-2 hours. Remove the dish from the freezer and cut the contents into squares–it doesn’t have to be perfect–and put them into the blender. Blend until just incorporated, about a minute, then pour the puree back into the glass dish and freeze for another 1-2 hours. Repeat this process twice more, then pour the finished product into a glass loaf pan or plastic container. (The purpose of this is to add air to your sorbet, which will make it creamier and also allow it to freeze better.) Cover with a piece of plastic wrap or a lid, and let harden in the freezer overnight (or for at least 12 hours).

Let the sorbet sit out and thaw for 10 minutes before scooping and eating.


What are some of your favorite summer foods? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!


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Fire Roasted Corn and Black Bean Burgers with Mango Salsa (gluten-free + vegan)

June 16, 2015 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Happy summer! The sun is shining! Birds are singing! No math for two and a half months! (Sorry, conic sections, but I’m giving you the Cee Lo Green treatment.) I am now officially a senior! I can read books I want to read! I can use exclamation points freely in writing without looking like a fool! HOORAY!!!

I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the beginning of this beautiful season than with a fresh yet hearty veggie burger.

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How did these gorgeous burgers come about? Basically, I was in a very big cooking mood after taking my SAT subject tests last month, so I made homemade buns, black bean burgers, and salsa, all from scratch, and then proceeded to artfully arrange them for photographing purposes.

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Here are the buns I made that I’m not going to give you a recipe for…because it’s TOP. SECRET. (OOHHHH.) Actually, I’m just lazy, so you’re stuck with a photograph. Sorry bub.

To give you some perspective, these burgers were about half the size of my head, and neither of my parents could actually fit the entire thing into either of their mouths at once. Sorry to disappoint you, but this dish won’t stay this perfectly-assembled for very long.

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While these burgers aren’t meaty, I’d say, they have a wonderful chewy texture and are loaded with flavor. Black beans and corn are already a winning combination, but when you pair them with juicy mango pieces, luscious avocado slices, and crunchy fresh vegetables, you have a recipe for awesome. Studded with cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika, this dish has the perfect amount of seasoning without being too spicy.

Best of all, both the burgers and the salsa are super easy to prepare, especially if you’re using store-bought buns or making a veggie burger salad instead. (This, however, was not the case for me: to quote my AP chemistry class, “Abby, you always take the complicated way.”)

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Really, though, the process is simple. You saute everybody in a pan…

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…then for a pulse in the food processor and an orderly formation…

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…and finally a bake in the oven until beginning to crisp and tender in the center. And the salsa, well, it’s basically just mixing things together in a bowl. I think you can do that.

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But if you still need a recipe, I’ve got you covered for both below. 😉

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Mango + Cucumber Salsa

Fresh, simple, and sweet, this salsa makes for a fabulous summer accompaniment to anything grilled or simply on its own. Feel free to substitute basil or cilantro for the mint and lemon or orange juice for the lime.

Ingredients

Prep Time 5 min
Cooking Time
Total Time 5 min
Yield 6-8 servings

2 mangoes, fully ripe

1 small cucumber or 1/2 of a large cucumber

A handful of mint leaves, finely minced

The juice of 2 limes (about 3-4 tablespoons)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Peel, slice, and dice the mangoes into 1/2-inch cubes. Peel and de-seed the cucumber and dice it about the same size as the mango.

Mix the mango and cucumber in a bowl with the mint leaves, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Stir together and taste, then add more lime juice, salt, or pepper if necessary. For best results, let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before eating.


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What is your favorite summer burger? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know! 🙂


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