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Sunday Recipe Club: Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread; love & marriage & bread

March 12th, 2017

Locked myself out of my blog, but here I am, back in. The breadmaker broke. Everything breaks at once (“when it rains/it pours”) — the fence, the breadmaker, the thermostat outside that tells us inside how cold/hot it is, the carpets are trashed, the puppy ate the entire irrigation system in the backyard, which didn’t work all that well, anyway, truth be told, and on and on.

I thought I’d use Steve’s recipe for homemade bread, couldn’t find it, then I remembered we wrote this cookbook and there it was. Only it’s too hard, I hadn’t remembered that until I saw it again.

But right next to it… my bread recipe. That I don’t even remember at all. I don’t remember baking it, writing it down, including it in the cookbook, nothing. But there it was, here it is, it’s simple and rises fast and the 2 loaves I baked turned out awesome.

So my kid, who only loves only homemade bread, and always has, is happy. I’m happy about that, and other stuff. Spring. Our crazy puppy. My other kid is happy, too. One kid is out walking the dog right now, the other is playing video games. Later, we’ll go for dinner with friends.

Things will settle down someday. In the meantime, I write, and bake bread.

Some things don’t change.

xo wm

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread

Dissolve 2 tablespoons yeast in 2 cups warm water; leave for five minutes
Stir in 1/2 cup sugar or honey
Add one cup oats
Add 3/4 cup vegetable oil
Mix in 2 eggs
Add 2 cups white flour & 3 cups whole wheat flour, stirring in as you go. Depending on the weather, you might need a little more or a little less flour
Add in 2 teaspoons salt as you stir

Turn onto floured bread board. Knead nine or ten times.

Put into greased bowl, cover with towel, put it somewhere that’s not too cold, not too hot, not too drafty, and let rise until double in size.

Grease pans or cooking sheets, form dough into 2 loaves of bread or 24 rolls.
Leave again and let rise until doubled.
Bake at 375 degrees until nice and brown and yummy. Brush with butter when done.

Bon appetit, babies!
wm

Friday Recipe Club! Tortellini Soup & Pumpkin Bars

December 16th, 2016

Tortellini Soup a la Nancy

This was a crockpot recipe that I modified. It’s easy to put together in a hurry, and it stretches if needed. I cooked it on the stove.

* Celery, carrots, onion, garlic

Dice & saute in a few tablespoons of olive oil.

* Add one can (small or large) diced tomatoes. Fry them up a little with the veggies.

* Add herbs (I used oregano, basil, chives, red & black pepper & salt) & vegetable (or chicken or beef) bouillon

* Add water.

* Let simmer awhile.

* Add one or two packages of cheese tortellini, until pasta is cooked but not mushy.

* Let simmer awhile longer.

* Add one package spinach, let it wilt.

* Turn off heat, then add one or two cans evaporated milk, plus some heavy cream or regular milk.

* Add lots of parmesan cheese. Serve it up!

Pumpkin Bars a la Paula Deen

Bars:
4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
15 -ounce can pumpkin
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Icing:
8 -ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.

To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.

Bon appetit, babies.

love,

wm

Tuesday Book Review: “The Mermaid’s Purse” and “Clangers: Looking for a Lullaby”

November 1st, 2016

Patricia Polacco, I love you so dearly. I love you like an auntie, a friend, a sweet neighbor. And one of my favorite children’s authors ever. Even though we’ve never met, I know you. Thanks for that! This newest book, “The Mermaid’s Purse,” is going on my list of top five Polacco favorites (others are “Thank You, Mr. Falker,” “Chicken Sunday,” “My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother” and “Mr. Lincoln’s Way.” For reals, everything she’s written and illustrated is great. How cool — and unusual — is that?)

“The Mermaid’s Purse” (Viking, 2016, $16.99, ages 3-5, according to press release, but I’d like to change that to “all ages”) is, as many of Polacco’s stories are, based on a story from her family. This is her grandmother’s story, about her love of books, her community, and the love of her life. Just so cool. Keep it in mind when shopping for holiday gifts this year.

“Clangers” is a sweet and funny little book based on the U.K. television show. The copy I received for review includes a CD. (“Clangers” was written by Janet Lawler and audio book is read by the one and only William Shatner, Grosset & Dunlap, 2016, $18.99, ages 3-5.) Stop-motion is cool because it’s not only fun to watch, visually, but it transfers well to the page. The book is bright, colorful, and includes froglets, bed caves and an Iron Chicken. What more could a kid want?

ps I made this Potato Leek Soup for dinner a couple weeks ago. Perfecto. And this? Callaloo? Looks super yummy.

– wm

Friday Recipe Club: Black Beans & Polenta

March 25th, 2016

The day afer

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

Denver, when it’s snowing. Crazy, cuz it’s almost April, dudes.

This one is from my friend Kimi, because the girl knows how to cook!

Black Beans & Polenta, a la Kimi

“Cheap, healthy, fast and easy. Always organic.”

Black beans, fresh squeezed orange, chopped jalapeno and onion over polenta, topped with avocado, vegan sour cream and Secret Aardvark habanero sauce (made in Portland, Oregon!). Mixed greens on side with balsamic vinegar & garlic dressing.”

oh, yum.

Sunday Recipe Club: Lemon Ricotta Poppyseed Pancakes

March 20th, 2016

azalea

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

Bon appetit, babies!

– wm

Lemon Ricotta Poppyseed Pancakes

This is a great one, borrowed from Martha Stewart. Perfect for spring brunch.

Ingredients

3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
Pinch of coarse salt
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese, plus more for serving
3/4 cup milk
3 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
Unsalted butter, softened, for cooking
Honey Syrup, for serving

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, milk,
egg yolks, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the cheese mixture and mix until batter is just combined. Stir in
lemon zest and poppy seeds.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until stiff. Gently fold egg whites
into batter.
3. Heat a griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium­high heat; brush surface with butter. Working in batches, ladle
1/3 cup batter for each pancake on griddle, leaving space as they will spread. Cook until golden and top begins to
bubble, 3 to 4 minutes. Gently turn and continue cooking until bottoms are light brown, 3 to 4 minutes more. Serve
immediately with ricotta and honey syrup.

Tuesday Recipe Club: Best Banana-Coconut Bread Ever. Also, Best Blueberry-Coconut Bread Ever, and My Sister’s Coconut Cookies

March 15th, 2016

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Pretty picture of Mt. Hood for you, by one Steve Rawley

Best Banana-Coconut Bread Ever

1 3/4 cups flour
a little less than 2/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe banana (2 to 3 medium)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup oil
1/4-1/2 milk
2 eggs
1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas and stir in lemon juice. Add honey; beat in eggs; add oil. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and vanilla. Drizzle in milk until batter is almost consistency of cake batter. (It should be a little thicker than that.) Stir in coconut last; stir all ingredients until blended. Don’t overbeat.

Pour into two greased loaf pans. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool thoroughly on wire racks. Wrap and refrigerate leftovers (if you have any leftovers).

This recipe turned out great! Well, it’s hard to go wrong with banana bread, but still! I recreated it the next day, with 2 cups of frozen blueberries and the rest of the coconut and baked it as a cake in a 9×13 dish.

Baking temps: Start baking at 350, cake or loves, then turn down to 325 about halfway through baking. I used soy milk with the banana bread; rice milk with the blueberry cake. Both were fine. Bon appetit, babies :)

Coconut Cookies (my sissy’s recipe) (because we are cuckoo for coconut)

(Leave out the raisins and add chia seeds and coconut instead)

Ingredients:
¾ cup coconut oil, softened
¾ cup white sugar
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
2 ¾ cup rolled oats
1 cup raisins, golden and regular

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
In large bowl, cream together coconut oil and sugars until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Gradually beat into butter mixture.

Stir in oats and raisins (chia seeds and coconut). Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool slightly, remove from sheet to wire rack.

xo me, wacky mommy)

Tuesday Recipe Club: Slow-Cooker Moroccan Lentil Soup, Cheddar Biscuits, Mo Indonesian Stir Fry

February 16th, 2016

Those of you who are new to cooking with me, welcome. Those of you who’ve been here before… you know how I am. Bon appetit, babies!

Slow-Cooker Moroccan Lentil Soup

(originally from EatingWell magazine)

Ingredients:
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped carrots
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
6 cups vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
3 cups chopped cauliflower
1 3/4 cups lentils
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups chopped fresh spinach or one 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preparation:
Combine onions, carrots, garlic, oil, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon and pepper in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add broth, water, cauliflower, lentils, tomatoes and tomato paste and stir until well combined.
Cover and cook until the lentils are tender, 4 to 5 hours on High or 8 to 10 hours on Low.
During the last 30 minutes of cooking, stir in spinach. Just before serving, stir in cilantro and lemon juice.

Tips & Notes:
Make Ahead Tip: Stir in spinach (Step 3), cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months. Stir in cilantro and lemon juice just before serving. Equipment: 5- to 6-quart slow cooker
For easy cleanup, try a slow-cooker liner. These heat-resistant, disposable liners fit neatly inside the insert and help prevent food from sticking to the bottom and sides of your slow cooker.

OK, that’s from their website, and I’m sure the recipe is super-good that way. But I had to free-style it, like always. First of all, I skipped the slow cooker because I didn’t feel like using it. I carmelized one onion, not two, along with the carrots, the spices (which I doubled because of course I did), and the garlic. And you know I didn’t use a measly two teaspoons of olive oil. Because I was out of olive oil (wth?). So I used vegetable oil and butter and omg so good.

I added in a small can of tomato paste and fried that up, too. Then I turned the heat down a bit and added the canned tomatoes. Only I was out of the regular kind, so I used what I had, along with a can of Rotel. Hello, Rotel, I love you, baby.

Then what? Then things went to hell, and Steve got involved, so you can imagine. No cauliflower: I subbed a bag of frozen broccoli. No fresh spinach: Added a frozen package of spinach. Then I had to turn up the heat again, because of all the frozen stuff. Water to cover, plus a little extra, plus two vegetable bouillon cubes. Half a package of lentils, but was it 1 3/4 cups? I have no idea.

Then I let it simmer simmer simmer and dear God, this was the best soup I’ve ever made. We ate it all up and didn’t even share with the kids. #letthemeatpizza

Next?

Cheddar Biscuits, a la Steve & Betty Crocker

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening (why use shortening when you can use butter?)
3/4 cup milk
add: a big pile of shredded, extra-sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:

Heat oven to 450°F. In large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until mixture looks like fine crumbs. Stir in milk until dough leaves side of bowl (dough will be soft and sticky).

On lightly floured surface, gently roll dough in flour to coat. Knead lightly 10 times. Roll or pat 1/2 inch thick. Cut with floured 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter. On ungreased cookie sheet, place biscuits about 1 inch apart for crusty sides, touching for soft sides. (We just used teaspoons and made drop biscuits.)

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Serve warm with what’s left of the soup.

Mo Indonesian Stir Fry (from OSU Extension Service)

I swiped this recipe from my students at the Young Women’s Academy, many years ago. It’s been my go-to ever since.

Ingredients
4 cups water
2 packages (3 ounces each) ramen-style noodles
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in thin strips
1⁄4 cup peanut butter
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1⁄2 cup water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
2 carrots, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
1⁄2 large head cabbage, thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
1⁄4 cup green onions, thinly sliced

Directions:
Bring 4 cups water to boil in a 2 to 3 quart saucepan. Add noodles, cover, and remove from heat (do not add flavor packets). Wait one minute, drain noodles and set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine peanut butter, soy sauce, and 1/2 cup water. Heat over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat (350 degrees in an electric skillet). Add chicken and cook until no longer pink when cut, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Add red pepper, ginger, and carrots and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add cabbage and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until cabbage is crisp-tender.
Stir in green onions, cooked noodles and peanut sauce. Toss and serve immediately.
Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

Notes:
To avoid peanuts or peanut butter, try this stir fry with sunflower seeds or sunflower seed butter.

Monday Recipe: “Almost Ali’s Oatmeal Cookies” & the Pioneer Woman’s Mexican Macaroni Salad

July 6th, 2015

American mermaid

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

This mermaid says, When in doubt, bake. Or make a salad. Or just slice some vegetables and dip them in some kind of dunk. I wouldn’t mind a good recipe for Spinach Dunk, by the by, if anyone has one to share? The pre-made stuff is too salty.

This is my friend Helen’s recipe, and she borrowed it from the Oregonian, “with a few minor changes.”

Bon appetit, babies!

Almost Ali’s Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 -1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 -1/2 cups uncooked oats (quick or old-fashioned)
1 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
1 cup finely diced dried apricots
1 cup white chocolate chips or chunks

Directions:
Heat oven to 350ºF.
Combine butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla and mix until well blended.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Beat until well blended.

Stir in oats, nuts, apricots and white chocolate chips; mix until just blended.

Shape into 1-1/2 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Flatten balls slightly. Bake 10-12 minutes or until just beginning to brown around edges and slightly moist in center.

Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

As for this delicious salad… we made this one for Mother’s Day? A party? Something, anyway, awhile back. It is so yummy.

Mexican Macaroni Salad
a la the Pioneer Woman

For the salad:
1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked to package instructions, drained and rinsed with cold water
2 ears fresh corn, husks and silks removed
1 can (15 oz.) black or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped black olives
6 whole Roma tomatoes (or 2 large tomatoes), chopped
3 whole green onions, sliced thin
1/2 whole red onion, finely diced
Chopped cilantro

For the dressing:

1 cup jarred salsa (spicy is best)
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 limes, juiced (optional)

Preparation Instructions:
Grill the corn on a grill pan, or just place it in a hot skillet to brown some of the kernels. Remove from pan, allow to cool slightly, then use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off the cob.

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and stir until combined.

Place the macaroni, corn, beans, olives, tomatoes, green onions, red onion, and cilantro in a large bowl. Pour 3/4 of the dressing over the top and gently toss until all the ingredients are coated. Add the final 1/4 of the dressing if you think it needs it. Cover and allow salad to chill for 2 hours.
Garnish with cilantro, lime wedges, and any other extra ingredients you have.

Sunday book review, movie round-up & anything else i can throw in here. Happy 2015!

January 11th, 2015

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

“We are the night ocean filled
with glints of light. We are the space
between the fish and the moon,
while we sit here together.”

– Rumi

“Bottom line is we’re all flawed in this world. No one’s perfect,” film director Richard Linklater, accepting his Golden Globe award for directing, “I want to dedicate this to parents that are evolving everywhere and families that are just passing through this world and doing their best.”

I’ll see how many categories I can hit here… Ready? Ready-steady-go!

* Pacific Ocean: It’s beautiful. It makes me happy, i love my negative ions i get from the ocean, and the wildlife is so fun to watch. The sea lions in that picture are making what’s called a “raft.” They all hold onto each other and float around. Hippies :)

* Book review? Here’s what on my nightstand (and on the Kindle): Re-read “Wild,” re-reading “Torch,” re-reading Carol Shields magnum opus, “Unless,” reading “Quiet” and learning all kinds of stuff about introverts, extroverts, high reactives and the modern age, just finishing Dreiser’s “An American Tragedy,” genius, and… that’s all I can think of.

* Recipes:

Oven-Fried Spuds (excellent, best potato recipe ever)
Soup! (Steve’s recipe. This one clears up your head, fast)

1 onion, sliced thin
1 bulb garlic
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
6 cups water

Saute onion and garlic (I like whole cloves, but you can chop or press) on low until soft. Add bouillon cubes and squish. Add water and bring to boil. Can be garnished with fresh slices of jalapeno for an extra sinus kick. Wasabi would be good, too.

Reduce water and bouillon by half to thicken.

* Work… is going well. Super well. I love working at a school (computer lab again this year), I’m with the best staff and boss in the universe (no I’m not saying that because they might read this — they really are gifted, funny, smart, wonderful with the students and everything else I was hoping for) and I love that my students are willing to work on my Spanish with me. #yohabloespanolmasomenos

* My own kids… are great. Whoever said, “Eh, you think that when they’re little they really need you, but when they’re teenagers? That’s when they really need you,” that person was so smart. (Seriously, probably 20 people said that to me when the kids were toddlers, and I thought they were joking.)

* Nekkid Neighborsremember them?

* Sex? Not at work, people, keep that in mind, always. Or with the Nekkid Neighbors. Just a bad idea, aight? Lol. We’ve been watching Californication on Netflix, and swear to God, every time I watch it, I feel like I’ve been in an orgy, and it was kind of great, but equally horrible. Yeah.

* Speaking of pop culturemovies. We saw “Wild,” loved it, “Nebraska,” also great, “Boyhood,” one of the best movies I’ve ever seen in my life. Seriously.

* Holidays: How can 2015 be a real year? It’s so space-age sounding.

* And in the category of Pets, Stupid… Our sweet, loving, funny Wacky Cat 2 passed away last month. I keep looking for him, thinking I see him, missing him. It just sucks.

* Houses & Homes: We’re cleaning & rearranging & opposite-of-hoarding like mad right now because we’re moving again.

In five years.

But, as one of my 80-something-year-old neighbors told me after New Year’s, “Every year, I don’t know what it is. The days go slower and the years go faster.” Then he gave me a big smile, I smiled back, and he pedaled off on his bike. I know just what he means.

All for now, xo,

wm

Here’s a happy story… and a Tuesday Recipe Club

December 16th, 2014

Once upon a time, I was a little girl, and I loved to eat cookies.

Some things never change.

Over the years, I’ve craved my Mom’s soft, crispy, crumbly and rich Chocolate Crinkles, her mom’s chewy-addictive chocolate chip-banana cookies, and the reindeer sugar cookies (secret ingredient: almond extract) the sweet neighbor across the street used to bake for us every year. Thin, crispy, and perfect. But the cookies I have craved the most are my grandma’s butter cookies. My dad’s mom was from North Dakota, no-nonsense, and knew just how to keep me happy: Books to read, apricots to nibble on, a Kentucky Fried Chicken picnic in the park with the entire family, and a Tupperware container full of the best cookies in the world.

And I had no recipe for them.

I’ve searched through my mom’s files, my own files, my grandma’s cookbooks (inherited *all* of the cookbooks from both grandmas #blessed) and no luck. Tears. Sadness. And a yearning for “how did she make those, exactly?” I’ve guessed, experimented, no luck. Was thumbing through her copy (which looks like it was her mommy’s copy, it’s vintage and gorgeous and about 100+ years old) of “Pantry Secrets,” compiled by St. Aldolphus Altar Society, Langdon, North Dakota (produced in the plant of the Cavalier County Republican, Langdon, N.D.).

Yes, that’s right. Suddenly, there it was. The clouds parted, the sun came out, and there was much rejoicing.

They’re that good. Hallelujah and Merry Christmas from our house to yours.

My Grandma’s Delicious Cookies

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 well-beaten eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in one tablespoon hot water
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
4 1/2 cups flour

(notes say: roll with date filling — no recipe for that — and “make in roll in icebox or add chocolate drops)

We made drop cookies with one batch of dough, and used the second batch as cut-out cookies. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

We did a basic powdered sugar frosting, dyed green and red, to ice them. (I also have a great recipe for “10 Minute Justrite Fudge” and some quite fantastic recipes to share from the Jiffy Cookbook, but those will have to wait for another time.)

Bon appetit!

– wm

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