Blog Archives

Saucy Stuffed Shells – Baked and Meatless

Shells 004Shells 007Shells 009Shells 010OK you must be thinking is she kidding Stuffed Shells? gotta be the most fattening food to eat , and it probably is outside of lasagna, baked ziti and the like. Super delicious and sometimes you just hafta roll with it. I wanted a crowd pleaser that was vegetarian and something that can easily be made ahead and frozen.  My mind wanders to yummy, gooey food with a lot of cheese because who doesn’t love a lot of cheese. Ah , yes Stuffed Shells.  I wouldn’t cook like this all the time, but once every blue moon no one is getting hurt, right? I served with a salad , no need for bread and butter here. Homemade Maple Syrup Salad Dressing ( see on blog) and it was really pretty awesome. Took a few hours to prepare, mostly because I made my own sauce ( Sunday night sauce) but feel free to use a jar of prepared sauce if you must. This is a perfect meal to make ahead of time, and just pop into oven.

Of course if you love it with meat you can make a meat sauce and follow same directions.

Happy Holidays to all — and visit me on Instagram @cookingwithcandi

Ingredients:

1 box Jumbo Shells ( you won’t use all but a lot of them break, etc.)

1 lb. Ricotta ( I used Part Skim)

1 lb. Mozzarella Shredded ( I used Part Skim) if you can obtain fresh mozzarella and shred it that would make it even better! whatever works for you

1 cup grated Parmesan ( any kind you like)

1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

*marinara sauce or any red sauce I made my own and use my own recipe. If buying sauce and there are some delicious good sauces out there, you’ll need at least 1 jar and maybe a 1 1/2 jars. I make a big batch of sauce and freeze the remainder. It’s nice to have a little extra sauce in case you need it when you re-heat the stuffed shells.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Prepare Pasta , cook for between 12 and 15 minutes, you’ll want them soft but not undercooked at the center. Drain pasta and cool for easy handling.

Combine ricotta, 1/2 of the mozzarella, 1/2 of the Parmesan, parsley and egg in a bowl. Taste for Salt and Pepper.

When shells have cooled down, fill them with rounded spoonfuls of cheese mixture and arrange them seam side down in casserole dish. I used a 9 x 13 Pyrex. Top Shells with remaining sauce and remaining mozzarella and grated cheese. Place shells in very hot oven . You can turn on broiler for last few minutes , it should be slightly browned and bubbly. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Delicious!

Brussels Sprouts and Apple Salad

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Actually this salad had some lettuce and brussels and apples and walnuts and parmigiana cheese!!!! A-mazingly delicious and super fresh tasting.

I found it on a blog site Once Upon a Chef and made a few changes to it but it was absolutely delicious. Easy ingredients and you can prep ahead and stick it in the fridge all dressed and ready to go. My kind of salad and one I will be making all winter long. The original recipe called for all brussels sprouts but I did 1/2 lettuce mix and 1/2 brussels. You can do whatever you’d like .

Dressing was fresh and sweet because of the honey. This would be amazing as a dinner salad with any protein added.

*salad should serve 4-6 as an appetizer size salad.

Enjoy! and follow me on Instagram @cookingwithcandi

Ingredients:

I used  about 1 12 ounce package of shredded Brussels Sprouts

app. 9 – 12 oz. of any lettuce you’d like I used a combo of different lettuces

1 large apple such as Honey Crisp

3 Tablespoons minced shallots, app. 1 large shallot

4 Tablespoons extra virgin Olive Oil

4 Tablespoons vegetable oil

6 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

3 Tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped –to toast the walnuts –pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and set an oven rack in the middle position. Arrange the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. ( no need to spray or oil the pan) Bake, checking frequently until lightly toasted and fragrant (if you smell them you better remove them, they burn rather easily) set the timer for 4 minutes but they will probably take 6 minutes. Allow to cool and chop them up.

3/4 cup thinly sliced  Parmigiano-Reggiano — I use a peeler to slice cheese while it’s cold it’s easier to slice.

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the shredded Brussels Sprouts, lettuce, apple, vegetable oil, olive oil, shallots, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt and pepper; toss well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours to allow the sprouts to soften and the flavors to meld together.

When ready to serve, toss the walnuts and cheese with the salad. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary , then serve.

 

Maple – Dijon Chicken with Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash.

Here’s a new recipe that I absolutely loved making and loved eating! Tasty and Easy and anyone can do it. All it took was a few pantry ingredients that almost everyone has in their home.

I just love one sheet meals — another reason to go out and buy a large sheet pan if you haven’t done so already. 18 x 13 is the size you’ll need because if you crowd the ingredients they end up steaming and not really roasting. Roasting is what you’re after here.

I chose Chicken Thighs because they can stand up to the cooking time along with the veggies. I didn’t use Drumsticks but you certainly can use both. If you insist on white meat you’ll have to remove chicken earlier than veggies or you’ll have dried out chicken for sure.

Enjoy this lovely sheet pan meal and I added Brown Rice.

Please follow my blog on Instagram @cookingwithcandi— thanks

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce

4 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard, divided

3 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup, divided ( used 2 and 1)

6 large bone in chicken thighs, or use 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks or whatever pieces you’d like

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

app. 12 ounces butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4 inch cubes

app. 12 ounce Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved

6 sprigs of fresh thyme

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

 

and you’ll need some cooking spray — you can use Olive Oil spray or just regular spray

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray an 18 x 13 inch large rimmed sheet pan

In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, 3 Tbsp. of the Dijon Mustard and 2 Tbsp. of the pure Maple Syrup

Season the chicken all over with Salt and Pepper and then arrange the chicken on the sprayed baking sheet

In a large bowl combine the Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, thyme, and olive oil, season with a sprinkling  of salt and pepper here too.

Arrange the vegetables on the baking sheet around the chicken. Pour the Dijon-Maple -Soy sauce over the chicken, turn to coat completely, and pour any remaining sauce over the veggies.

Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the veggies are tender, app. 35-40 minutes. Look at the chicken after 30 mins. I cooked for 35 minutes and it was browned up rather nicely.

Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining 1 Tbsp. Dijon and 1 Tbsp. Maple Syrup and remove chicken from oven.

Brush the remaining mixture over the chicken. Bake a few more minutes till browned and perfect looking.

Serve alongside some brown rice or any rice you’d like.

Amazingly Delicious.

Un-Stuffed Cabbage

photo 3 (4)photo 2 (2)photo 3 (4)photo 3 (5)photo 4 (3)photo 2I love stuffed cabbage and my Grandmother made the most amazing stuffed cabbage ever . I love stuffed cabbage but do not feel like dealing with the actual stuffing of the cabbage, it is way too labor intensive for me.  I have made several variations of this and found this one to my liking the best. You can play with the ingredients which is what I did . Original recipe is from Kosher by Design and it is perfect for Passover by just leaving out the rice and substituting matzoh meal in its place. Basically this is meatballs in a sweet and sour sauce with cabbage . I doubt very much that Joel would ever eat real “stuffed cabbage” but he liked this. The cabbage cooks down so much that you don’t even realize you’re eating cabbage. I also used 1/2 chicken ground meat and 1/2 beef ground meat , this is entirely up to you. I wouldn’t do all chicken because it might be a bit dry, you can definitely make this with turkey but use dark meat turkey or the balls will also be very dry. You can also make this ahead for the holidays which is always a very good thing and feel free to freeze it.  This is the original recipe , adjust amounts for how much you’re making. I made 2 lbs. of meat but made full sauce as I was testing it out. You’ll want to use a large pot for this recipe. Enjoy!

This will be on our Rosh Hashana menu this year with raisins and meat , sweet and sour, oh so perfect!

Follow me on Instagram @cookingwithcandi

Ingredients:

Meat

3 lbs. ground meat– I used chicken and beef (dark meat turkey is best here) white meat turkey tends to be very dry. Mixed with beef it’s fine but if using alone you’ll need to use dark meat ground turkey.

2 large eggs, lightly beaten. Use room temperature eggs they work best.*see my post about eggs–a little note on my blog.

3/4 cup uncooked long grain white rice, for Passover use matzoh meal and omit the rice

1/4 cup water

1 onion finely chopped

Kosher Salt to taste–app. 1/2 to 1 tablespoon

Pepper to taste–app. 10 grinds on a pepper mill, or app. 1/4 of a tablespoon

*garlic powder if you like

Sauce:

2 packages of shredded cabbage, probably about 1 head of cabbage finely shredded, no need to do it when you can buy it pre-shredded (not red cabbage)

1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil

Kosher Salt to taste ( app. 1/2 tablespoon)

1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher Salt

1 1/2 cups tomato juice

4 8 ounce cans tomato sauce ( or 32 ounces)

1/2 cup brown sugar ( use whichever brown sugar you have in house , it won’t make a difference. Light or Dark, I actually used dark.

1 cup sugar

3 lemons squeezed , I got about 1/2 cup , they were smallish lemons

1/2 cup raisins

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl combine the meat, eggs, water, rice and onions. Season with Salt and Pepper , and if you like garlic powder. Gently mix by hand, and I do mean gently, if you over do it the meat will be like concrete. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the shredded cabbage and about 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the tomato juice, tomato sauce, brown sugar, sugar, lemon juice and the raisins. Stir till well combined and continue cooking sauce at simmer setting.

Gently form meatballs out of the meat mixture, I made a rather nice size meatball, not too large and not too small. Make whatever size you’d like. Just do not over-handle the meat because it will cause meat to toughen. Add to cabbage mixture, just drop into the hot sauce and do not stir, you can pile them on top of one another because they will cook down.

I left it to simmer for about 1 1/2 hours . I didn’t touch the meat balls for at least the first 1/2 hour, you’ll want them to cook through and form into nice balls before you stir, so just leave them to cook. After the first 1/2 hour or so you can gently stir and move the meatballs around. They don’t require a lot of stirring around .

This dish brought back memories of my childhood and was a most satisfying main dish.

Tomato and Watermelon Salad

IMG_2227With the last breath of summer upon us I made this salad and it was absolutely delicious, refreshing and sweet and salty all at the same time!

The only thing is I was so busy serving my dinner that I forgot to take a photo of it! You’ll have to trust me on this one. It’s super easy and you can cut everything up and get it all ready ahead of time and put it together when you’re ready to eat it.

You’ll want to make sure that the watermelon and tomatoes are nice and cold so leave them in the fridge till you’re ready to serve! I added thinly cut red onion for a bit of a bitter taste but if you hate the onion thing you can easily omit it. I only used 1/2 red onion because I liked the flavor. I also used Basil but if you’d like you can substitute Mint very easily. Play with it.

Happy End of Summer and Enjoy Labor Day Weekend and Follow me on Instagram @cookingwithcandi

Ingredients:

I used small cherry tomatoes and used about 1 pint– I cut them in 1/2 , you can use any kind of tomatoes you like I would just cut them into small pieces about 1 -2 inch pieces

1 lb. seedless watermelon cut into small pieces about 1 -2 inches as well

red onion thinly sliced — I only used 1/2 red onion (read above)

1 teaspoon kosher salt plus a little more for sprinkling

Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tablespoons Sherry Vinegar–I love the flavor of Sherry Vinegar and use it whenever I can –if no Sherry Vinegar substitute with White Balsamic Vinegar

1 cup crumbled Feta Cheese

Directions:

Combine the cubed watermelon and cut up tomatoes in a large Non-reactive bowl such as glass. Sprinkle with Kosher Salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill. I put into the fridge while I prepared my dinner. I also added the red onion at this point.

Whisk together in a small bowl the oil and vinegar with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and a little more freshly ground black pepper to taste

Right before you’re serving take tomatoes and watermelon out of the fridge and add cheese to it, then the dressing and toss gently to combine. Let it sit for a few minutes and drain off the excess liquid because as it sat it got very liquidy. Serve with a slotted spoon.

That’s it! Totally Delicious and Refreshing!

Follow me @cookingwithcandi on Instagram

 

 

Champagne Vinaigrette and Kale/Brussels Salad

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Dressed Salad

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Ingredients

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View from Deck

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Joel’s Salad with lots of Parmesan Cheese–hey he ate it!

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This Champagne Vinaigrette appeared on my blog back in 2012. It’s really perfect on any kind of greens and this is the salad that I made along with it. I love Kale but I don’t like feeling like I’m eating the front lawn. I like my kale very finely chopped and massaged with dressing. I use my food processor to chop the kale and I dress the salad ahead of eating it and let it sit for a while so that the kale can absorb as much of the dressing as possible. This salad was really delicious and I know this is almost impossible to believe but I got Joel to eat some of it! The way I did that was to add a lot of parmesan cheese to his plate and he ate it.  Enjoy this dressing it is perfection in a bottle and good on almost anything you put it on.

Follow me on Instagram @cookingwithcandi thanks and I’ll follow you back .

Happy End of Summer!

Champagne Vinaigrette:

1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1 teaspoon whole grain mustard (Maille makes a wonderful mustard)

1/3 cup Champagne Vinegar

1 tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar

1 teaspoon Honey

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

kosher salt to taste app. 1/4 teaspoon to start

freshly ground black pepper , a few grinds of the mill to taste

Ingredients for the Salad:

1 bunch of Kale or a bag of washed and chopped kale , baby kale is great as well

1/2 lb. of Brussels Sprouts, washed and cut thinly–now you can buy brussels already sliced which makes prep super fast and easy!!!

*this is optional but it adds pretty color and some more crunch. 1/2 small head radicchio, cored and thinly sliced

1/2 cup of Grated Parmesan or Shaved Parmesan

1/2 cup of dried fruit, I used dried craisins, but raisins, cherries, any of them will do

1/2 cup pignoli nuts, I roast them in the oven for about 4 minutes till they get toasty. ( in oven at 350 degrees for about 4 mins.)

*add any seasonal fruits or vegetables or protein you may like,  this is just a basic salad idea.

Directions:

Using my blender I threw all vinaigrette ingredients  except for the olive oil which I slowly streamed in through the top of blender until dressing emulsified. Taste for Salt and Pepper and you’re good to go.

Wash and Dry the Kale, remove the stems and ribs and just use the leaves. Even better you can buy triple washed kale already chopped. I still put that through my processor because it’s not chopped enough for me.

In the food processor I chopped up kale slowly, you don’t want to over chop the kale either. As soon as it starts to break down I stopped and removed it and added more.  I do it in sections till it’s all chopped.

Slice Brussels very thinly into slices , they will fall apart as you slice and mix them into salad.  Add Brussels to Kale with all other salad ingredients except for Parmesan Cheese. I added cheese when I was ready to serve to individual plates.

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Raw Chopped Salad pre dressing

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–Set it and Forget it Chicken Taco Chili

This is a very easy recipe and will cook in the slow cooker on high in 6 hours! So set it and forget it. This is a re-blog from last October so if you missed it you get another shot at it and if you already made this recipe here you go again.

It’s the Golden Globes Awards this evening and I intend on eating this in front of the TV Screen. No muss No Fuss come tonite, all the heavy lifting will be done by noon. My kind of cooking.

Slow cookers make for perfect cooking all year round. Nothing better than setting it and forgetting it! Making life easier and less clean up after dinner. I happened to have a package of Taco Seasoning Mix in the house so I used it along with cumin and chili powder. I used dark meat and white meat chicken, you can use whichever chicken you’d like. Just set it and forget it and come home to this delicious meal of chicken . If you don’t own a slow cooker this may be a good time to buy one!

Follow me on Instagram @cookingwithcandi I’ll be looking for you!

Ingredients:

1 small yellow onion , chopped

1 15 oz. can black beans, drained-you don’t have to rinse the organic beans. If you already have them in the house and they’re not organic just rinse them with water and drain.

1 15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained -you don’t have to rinse the organic beans–same instructions as above

1 8 oz. can tomato sauce

10 oz. package frozen corn kernels

2 10 oz. cans diced tomatoes with chilies –available in the Mexican Food aisle in the supermarket

4 oz. can chopped green chili peppers, chopped–also available in the Mexican Food aisle

1 packet Taco Seasoning- *if you don’t like using Taco Seasoning see note below

1 tbsp. cumin

1/2-1 Tbsp. chili powder

Kosher Salt to taste–if using the package of Taco Seasoning you may not need extra salt , wait till 6 hours of cooking are over and taste for salt . I sprinkled a little bit at the end of seasoning to taste.

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts and I added 6 small skinless , boneless chicken thighs and if you cannot find boneless don’t worry because the meat will fall off the bones and you can remove all the bones from the chili before serving.

I don’t know the nutrition information but I have to believe that this is a fairly low-fat , low caloric way to go. I added the dark meat so maybe not as light as you can make it. Enjoy!

*handful of fresh cilantro – chopped if you would like

Directions:

Combine drained beans, onion, chili peppers, corn , tomato sauce, diced tomato, cumin, chili powder and taco seasoning in a slow cooker and mix well.

Nestle the chicken in to completely cover and cook either on Low for 8-10 hours or on High for 4-6 hours. I did it on high for 6 hours.

App. 1/2 hour before the cooking was over I thought I would shred the chicken, when I opened the slow cooker and started to stir the chicken it all just fell apart on its own!!! This was so amazing how I didn’t even have to do that. I guess it cooked so long that it just fell apart! This was just perfect and tasted so delicious! If that is not your experience and you only cook for 4 hours you may want to shred the chicken yourself about 1/2 hour before finished. But mine really did shred itself as I stirred it with a wooden spoon.

Top with fresh cilantro and your favorite chili toppings! I also serve with soft corn tortillas. You can use crunchy taco shells or whatever you’d like, this is totally optional. And some avocado never hurt anyone!

Yum!!!

*to make your own seasoning follow this

1 1/2 Tbsp. Cumin

1 1/2 Tbsp. Chili Powder

1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder

1/4 tsp. Onion Powder

1/4 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. paprika

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Breakfast in a Jar–Overnight Oats

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This has become one of my favorite go to breakfasts. It is packed with nutrition and delicious not to mention so very filling.  Low in fat and low in sugar. Fiber from the chia seeds and anti-oxidants from the blueberries!  I make 2 of them at nighttime and my breakfast is ready and waiting for me in the morning and then I have one for the next morning. No fuss at all, easy simple ingredients and substitute any fruit you like. I happen to love blueberries but bananas would work as well as peaches, etc. If you don’t like nuts or chia seeds just omit or use any kind of seeds (flax) or nuts you like. Awesome! I used a mason jar because they have such a good lid and you can shake it up and close tight. Take it with you on the go , before the gym, before ski , before a hike and before a bike ride! My new favorite breakfast. If you’re not doing any of those activities it’s still a great go-to breakfast. Enjoy!

Follow me on Instagram @cookingwithcandi

Ingredients:

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

1 Tbsp. slivered almonds

1 Tbsp. Chia Seeds

1 Tsp. Brown Sugar (now this is such a little bit of sugar but if you like a substitute you can do what ever makes you happy) I personally like the brown sugar flavor

dash of cinnamon

app. 1/3 cup of blueberries

3/4 cup of milk ( any milk you like) I use fat-free and 2% depending on what I have in the house.

Directions:

Load it all in the mason jar and shake it up good.

Place in the refrigerator overnight and there you have a delicious healthy breakfast ready for you before you start your

Champagne Vinaigrete and Kale/Brussels Salad

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Dressed Salad

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Ingredients

photo 3 (4)

View from Deck

photo 2 (4)

Joel’s Salad with lots of Parmesan Cheese–hey he ate it!

photo 1 (4)

This Champagne Vinaigrette appeared on my blog back in 2012. It’s really perfect on any kind of greens and this is the salad that I made along with it. I love Kale but I don’t like feeling like I’m eating the front lawn. I like my kale very finely chopped and massaged with dressing. I use my food processor to chop the kale and I dress the salad ahead of eating it and let it sit for a while so that the kale can absorb as much of the dressing as possible. This salad was really delicious and I know this is almost impossible to believe but I got Joel to eat some of it! The way I did that was to add a lot of parmesan cheese to his plate and he ate it.  Enjoy this dressing it is perfection in a bottle and good on almost anything you put it on.

Follow me on Instagram @cookingwithcandi thanks and I’ll follow you back .

Happy End of Summer!

Champagne Vinaigrette:

1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1 teaspoon whole grain mustard (Maille makes a wonderful mustard)

1/3 cup Champagne Vinegar

1 tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar

1 teaspoon Honey

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

kosher salt to taste app. 1/4 teaspoon to start

freshly ground black pepper , a few grinds of the mill to taste

Ingredients for the Salad:

1 bunch of Kale or a bag of washed and chopped kale , baby kale is great as well

1/2 lb. of Brussels Sprouts, washed and cut thinly–now you can buy brussels already sliced which makes prep super fast and easy!!!

*this is optional but it adds pretty color and some more crunch. 1/2 small head radicchio, cored and thinly sliced

1/2 cup of Grated Parmesan or Shaved Parmesan

1/2 cup of dried fruit, I used dried craisins, but raisins, cherries, any of them will do

1/2 cup pignoli nuts, I roast them in the oven for about 4 minutes till they get toasty. ( in oven at 350 degrees for about 4 mins.)

*add any seasonal fruits or vegetables or protein you may like,  this is just a basic salad idea.

Directions:

Using my blender I threw all vinaigrette ingredients  except for the olive oil which I slowly streamed in through the top of blender until dressing emulsified. Taste for Salt and Pepper and you’re good to go.

Wash and Dry the Kale, remove the stems and ribs and just use the leaves. Even better you can buy triple washed kale already chopped. I still put that through my processor because it’s not chopped enough for me.

In the food processor I chopped up kale slowly, you don’t want to over chop the kale either. As soon as it starts to break down I stopped and removed it and added more.  I do it in sections till it’s all chopped.

Slice Brussels very thinly into slices , they will fall apart as you slice and mix them into salad.  Add Brussels to Kale with all other salad ingredients except for Parmesan Cheese. I added cheese when I was ready to serve to individual plates.

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Raw Chopped Salad pre dressing

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