Google Amy's Cooking Adventures: 2017
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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Pico de Gallo #InspiredbyNature

*Disclosure: I received product to sample from ­­­­­Charles Viancin & Republic of Tea.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This week, I’m participating in a Progressive Picnic, organized by Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla and sponsored by Charles Viancin.

Today’s theme is Quick dips & appetizers.  To make this recipe possible, Charles Viancin provided me with their awesome 5-piece Timber cutting board set.  The set includes a silicone mat (which doubles as a trivet) and creates a sturdy, no-slip surface for the 4 cutting mats (designated beef, chicken, fish, & veggies to keep cross-contamination to a minimum).

I decided to make Pico de Gallo for our progressive picnic.  Pico is so perfect because it’s quick, it’s fresh, and uses seasonal ingredients!  Pico de Gallo is also crazy versitle.  You can eat it straight as a fresh salsa or add it into tons of other dishes (several of which will be on their way soon!)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Mermaid Martini #NationalMartiniDay

Did you know today is National Martini Day??

Now that’s a day I want to celebrate!

I wasn’t sure at first what I wanted to make.  Then I came across Mermaid Water (basically a rum punch) and the classic Fishbowl and decided do a take on the two of those to create a Mermaid Martini!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Beef Stew with Dumplings #SoupSwappers

I’m back with this month’s Soup Saturday Swappers!  This month’s theme, English Stews, was chosen by Sneha from Sneha’s Recipe.

English stews are actually pretty hard to come by.  I found lots of stews shared by British chefs, but does that automatically make it a British stew?  I say no.  Just because I learned how to make croissants does not automatically make them an American food.

After quite a lot of searching, I came across a couple recipes for British Beef Stew with Suet Dumplings.  Finally – something that sounded like it might have originated in England!

Now, since I’m in the US, suet is not a pantry staple.  Suet appears to be a type of rendered beef fat, so, like I do for anytime anything calls for rendered fat, I substituted bacon grease. 

The stew itself starts with some beef seared stove top.  Then all manner of yumminess and some broth are added and the stew gets to braise in the oven for a couple hours.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Frozen Banana Daiquiri

It’s suuuuummmmmmerrrrr!  WooHoo!!!!

You guys, I absolutely adore summer.  I love the warmth.  I love the sunshine.  I love riding my bike and going to the pool.   And I LOVE that I get 3 months to stay home with my boys!

Oh but wait – curve ball. 

I also just started grad school (for the second time).  So, I got my Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and went straight back to school and got my Master’s in Education and Reading Instruction (in 2005 & 2006).

Now after just getting back into the workforce, I’m heading back to school to…drumroll please…be the new school librarian!!!!

You guys, I LOVE books almost as much as I love summer, so even though I’m rocking some summer school (I’m the nerd with textbooks at the pool this year) I am so incredibly excited!

So let’s celebrate with a cocktail inspired by a book!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Steak & Bacon Risotto


Before we get started, I’m going to put it right out there and let you know that this is not a true risotto.  I used the wrong kind of rice and the wrong method.  Regardless, the end result was decidedly risotto-esque, and since this was a toss all the leftovers in the pot type of deal, the recipe and therefore title was realized as the dish cooked.

So this recipe came about one night when the refrigerator was full of random odds and ends and we were about to go out of town, so I really did not want to make a huge main dish, but there really weren’t enough leftovers to feed the whole family.

So I tossed some rice in a pot and started formulating as it cooked.  At first I thought to make something like my favorite Hamburger Rice Skillet or French Onion Chicken &Rice, but I really didn’t have the ingredients for either.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

German Brotchen Rolls

I recently finished reading the Baker’s Daughter by Sarah McCoy.  The novel follows Elsie and her family during WWII in Germany.  Elsie’s family (at least somewhat) sympathized with the Nazi party (more so, they did what they were told to keep their livelihood).  It was fascinating to read a story from the perspective of a regular German citizen.

The story also has a second, modern day point of view character, Reba.  And honestly, I would have much rather read an entire story about Elsie instead of being interrupted by Reba.  Reba was boring and whiny and I really just wanted to enjoy a good historical fiction. 

Thankfully, more of the story centered on Elsie and her journey through WWII, so I was able to deal with Reba.

Since Elsie came from a family of Bakers (thus the title), there were many amazing breads described throughout the story.  However, the one that stood out the most and had a prominent role in the story were the Brotchen Rolls.

Brotchen Rolls are a rustic German hard-roll.  Most of the recipes I found involved whipped egg whites in the dough and plenty of steam during baking.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Brownie Tuxedo Cheesecake

Hubs’ favorite desserts are brownies and cheesecake, so it’s always fun to find way to combine the two!

This yummy brownie tuxedo cheesecake starts off with brownies (I just baked up a box mix – I still haven’t found a homemade version that compares yet!) then combines with 2 flavors of no-bake cheesecake!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Lemon Poppy Seed Pudding Cookies #worksmarter #sharpenyourkitcheniq #sponsored

Disclaimer:  I received a V-Etched Better Zester from KitchenIQ for my honest review.  All opinions are 100% my own.

Today I made some bright summery Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies and I got to use the most amazing kitchen tool to do so!

I recently received a V-Etched Better Zester from the folks over at KitchenIQ and I’m loving it!  The Better Zester perfectly zests citrus without zesting the bitter white pith.  PLUS, there’s an awesome measurement compartment and a built in scraper for easy, mess free zesting.  Oh, and it’s dishwasher safe!  Boom.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Anybody Want a Peanut Buttercup? #FoodnFlix

This month Food ‘n Flix pick is the Princess Bride, hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen.

Excuse me a moment…


Sorry (not sorry) I was so excited when I saw this month’s movie choice!!!

Princess Bride was the very first movie Hubs & I watched together.  In fact, he was the one to introduce me to this Classic Tale of True Love & High Adventure! 

It wasn’t until after we were married, however, and merging our book collections, that I realized that The Princess Bride is a book too!  And the book is even more phenomenal than the movie!  AHHH!!

For this event, I took the opportunity to rewatch the move and reread the book.  Fun fact, William Goldman (author of the book) is a screen play writer who wrote his own screen play, which is why the movie is so amazing and follows the book so well.  The best part about reading the book is that is fills in little tiny details you never knew you were missing from the movie!  And while it’s nearly a 400 page book, it is a very quick read.

Anyhow, the recipe.  One of the classic lines from the movie is when Fezzik and Inigo and rhyming in the beginning.  Vezzini says “stop it, I mean it” to which Fezzik replies,

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Mini Bacon & Greens Quiche

Back in January, I won a book from the monthly Foodies Read drawing!

I won the book Food Swap by Emily Paster.  The book begins my defining a food swap.  A food swap is basically a Farmer’s Market type setting only with homemade canned goods (jams, pickles, salsa), spice blends, cookies, granolas, you name it!  And instead of selling the goods, a bartering system is put in place.

After defining a food swap, the book outlines how to set one up in your own community and then offers a wide variety of recipes that can be very successful at food swaps.

Personally, I don’t think a food swap would be for me.  You really have to be willing to put yourself out there.  My introverted self gets anxious just thinking about it!

However, I did love the recipes (and there are adorable gift tags in the back that I’ll totally use when I give handmade food gifts at Christmas!)

One recipe I had dog-eared was for mini frittatas.  But then, I thought, why not add toast and make mini quiches?  Then I thought, why stop there?  Better add bacon too!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Apple Cheddar Cream Cheese Danish #BrunchWeek

 This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the #Brunchweek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.

Hasn’t Brunchweek been a blast?

I am so happy I got to participate this year!

Today’s recipe is a completely amazing apple Danish.  And since I made them small-ish, they’re probably technically bear claws.  But no matter what you call them, they are delicious!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Cheddar Asparagus Mini Quiche #BrunchWeek

This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the #Brunchweek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.

Mini Quiche are one of my favorite brunch recipes to make!

They’re quick and easy, reheat well, and you can even freeze them after baking for a fast breakfast down the road.  And they’re completely customizable – you can
toss any protein and veggie combo you like into these!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Welcome to #Brunchweek

This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the #Brunchweek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.

Welcome to the fifth annual #BrunchWeek hosted by Terri from Love and Confections and Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures. We are so excited to have you join us this year as we celebrate Brunch and prepare for Mother's Day. 

Forty Bloggers from around the North America will showcase their best brunch dishes, from cocktails to cakes, danish, tarts, and pizzas - with 170 recipes, there is something for everyone! Our amazing Sponsors have donated some great prizes for the #BrunchWeek giveaway. Thank you so much, Sponsors, for your generosity. We have an incredible giveaway below and we’d love if you would take a moment to read about it and what you can win!

Prize #1 Red Star Yeast is giving one winner an amazing baking set, which includes “I Knead to be Loaved” apron, French rolling pin, Bench/Dough cutter, Oven mitt, Dough scraper, Bamboo spatula, Silicone spatula, Measuring spoons, Kitchen towel, 6 3-strips of Red Star Yeast, Red Star Yeast recipe book, Kansas Wheat Commission recipe book

For more than a century, home bakers have trusted the high quality and consistent performance of RED STAR Yeast. Inspiring bakers from novice to professional, our goal is your baking success! Visit for hundreds of tried & true recipes, baking tips and how-to videos. Better yeast. Better bread. Every time.

Prize #2 Dixie Crystals is giving one winner 1 case of 2-lb Extra Fine Granulated Sugar, a silicone baking mat, White Marble Pastry Board and Marble Rolling Pin, and Dixie Crystals red ruffle apron.

Since 1917, Dixie Crystals® has been the South's choice for high-quality sugar and sweeteners. Our pure cane sugar products are all natural, non-GMO and provide consistently delicious results.

Prize #3 Cabot Creamery Coop is giving one winner $50 assortment of Cabot Cheese, one Berghoff Cheese Knife and one Slate Cheese Board

Cabot is a co-operative owned by 1,100 dairy farm families throughout New England & New York. In our farmers’ communities, they are often the ones to volunteer first. We honor their community spirit with our Reward Volunteers program. Learn more & start logging your volunteer hours today!

Prize #4 Nielsen-Massey Fine Vanillas & Flavors is giving one winner a set of their pure flavors: 2-oz each of Orange, Lemon, Peppermint, Almond, Chocolate, Coffee, Rose Water, and Orange Blossom Water.

Nielsen-Massey Vanillas has been crafting the world’s finest vanillas and flavors since 1907. Each of Nielsen-Massey’s all-nature pure flavors are crafted with premium ingredients, sourced from around the world and chosen to meet the utmost quality standards. From lemon to peppermint to coffee or chocolate, Nielsen-Massey’s pure flavors offer convenience, quality and consistency to ensure your favorite recipes taste delicious every single time. All products are gluten-free, allergen-free, GMO-free, all-natural and Kosher.

Prize #5 Michigan Asparagus is giving one winner an Asparagus Steamer Pot with $40 gift card to Williams Sonoma and a box of fresh Michigan Asparagus

Fresh asparagus is the taste of spring and Michigan is one of the largest domestic asparagus growers in the U.S. Michigan Asparagus is available mid-May through June and is the only hand snapped harvested asparagus which means more usable asparagus and less waste.

Prize #6 Rainier Fruit is giving one winner a set of 3 stoneware pie plates with $40 Williams-Sonoma gift card and a box of fresh Lady Alice apples.

If you love apples, pears, cherries and blueberries than Rainier Fruit is the fruit brand for year. Nestled in the shadow of Mount Rainier, we focus on growing fruits and living a lifestyle that is Wholesome to the Core and brings you the best of organic and conventional grown fruit including our proprietary Lady Alice apples and all your other favorites like Honeycrisp and more. RAFFLECOPTER CODE: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Nielsen-Massey, Rainier Fruit, and Michigan Asparagus for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek recipes. All opinions are my own. The #BrunchWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Six winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The #BrunchWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other social channel mentioned in the #Brunchweek posts or entry.

Twisted Star Cinnamon Rolls #BrunchWeek

This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the #Brunchweek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.

Ok, how gorgeous is this bread?!?
I thought this beauty would be the perfect kickoff to #BrunchWeek!

Want to know the best part? 

It’s not nearly as difficult to execute as it looks!  If you can make regular cinnamon rolls, you can totally make these!

It holds up well to the star shape, yet it stays soft and tender at the same time!  Plus a little of that caramelized sugar oozes out of the star and caramelizes on the bottom of the bread!  Yum!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Tortilla Chip Sombreros #DerbyDayRecipes

It’s Derby Day! 

Do you watch the races?

I confess, I never have, but I do love the fashion!  Especially the hats!

Since the Kentucky Derby falls right after Cinco de Mayo this year, I ended up with a bit of a mash up recipe.

A mash up recipe that’s totally inspired by Despicable Me 2.  Yes!  It’s the Tortilla Chip Sombrero!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Galaxy & Nebula Cookies #MaytheFork #FilltheCookieJar

Happy May the Fourth!  It’s Star Wars Day!  Hooray!

I’ve always been a Star Wars fan, so I love uniting with all the geeks out there on May 4th!

Appropriately enough, the Fandom Foodies theme for this month is Star Wars, hosted by Brittney at My Main is a Cook – with the cleverly coined hashtag #MaytheFork!

I’ve hosted Star Wars Parties in the past with various themed recipes, but I knew that I wanted to tackle cookies (again) this time around.  I used a version of my mom’s sugar cookie recipe (below).

Monday, May 1, 2017

Conchas (Mexican Sweet Bread)

As I was researching breads for a different baking project over the winter, I came across the pretty Mexican pastry, Conchas!

Conchas are named so because the sugar shell is cut to resemble a conch shell.

And they’re so pretty, I thought they’d be perfect for a Cinco de Mayo celebration!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Gluten Free Banana Oat {Pikachu} Pancakes

Banana Oat Pikachu pancakes are perfect for Pokémon fans everywhere!

Spud is a huge Pokémon fan.  In particular, he loves Pikachu!  Spud also loves pancakes, so he decided that we needed to combine his two loves and make Pikachu pancakes!

Can I confess that all of us were way more excited by the cuteness of Pikachu than the pancakes themselves?

I had some bananas moldering on the counter and decided to try to use them up in one fell swoop, plus I was nearly out of flour and somehow managed to not have a spare bag waiting in the wings.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Power-Up (Mushroom) Apples #MarioMonth #FandomFoodies

Power-Up (Mushroom) Apples are a fun, Mario-themed after school snack!

Who’s ready for some Fandom Foodies?

This month Bryan from Level 1 Chef chose the theme: Super Mario Bros!

Guys, I LOVE Mario!  Hubs and I both grew up with the classic game, so it is near and dear to our hearts.  In fact, we dressed up as Super Mario Bros for Halloween a few years ago!

And I also had a blast making these Mario Kart themed cupcakes for a birthday party!

So what to make for the challenge?  Mushrooms are obvious what how to interpret them?  Sure I could make cookies or cupcakes, but I didn’t want to do that.  I could have made a mushroom based dish, but coming right off of Lent, I’m tired of fighting with Spud over mushrooms (turns out he’s one of those people who will literally gag if he eats a mushroom).

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

BLT Pesto Pizza #FantasticalFoodFight

 BLT Pesto Pizza brings a classic to a whole new level!

It’s Fantastical Food Fight time!  Each month Sarah at a Fantastical Sharing of Recipes hosts FFF!  Participants whip up something within the monthly theme.  This month’s theme was BLT!

At first, I made a BLT breakfast sandwich.  I took an English muffin and an egg and added all the BLT goodness!  It was delicious, but unwieldy.  I just wasn’t thrilled with it.

Then I decided to BLT my pizza.  But not just any pizza.  The kids had requested pesto pizza and it was just meant to be!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Lentil Quinoa Veggie Burgers

Lentil Quinoa Veggie Burgers are a great Meatless Monday Vegetarian option!

During Lent, Dude checked out a vegetarian cookbook from the school library and wanted to make dinner one night.

He chose a recipe for Veggie Burgers.  He was excited because he’d found a veggie burger that didn’t include beans in any way.  It left me wondering what exactly the *were* made of. 

Upon closer inspection, I saw that the burgers relied on TVP or Textured Vegetable Protein.  I squinted suspiciously at the recipe, then went off to find out what fresh horror TVP could possibly be.

What I found out was that TVP is the “stuff” that leftover after soybeans have been processed to make soybean oil.  There is very little nutritional value, other than the high protein content.  TVP is often favored in vegan or vegetarian recipes because it supposedly has a “beef-like texture” when rehydrated.

None of these facts convinced me that I wanted to use TVP.  I don’t like soybeans at all and TVP sounds just as horrifying as I had suspected.

But spud reeeeeeally wanted to use his recipe.

So I managed to convince his that lentils are different from beans and that we could add quinoa for some additional protein and structure.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup #SoupSwappers #EasterRecipes

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup is the perfect soup course for the Easter table.

Now that I’ve shared all those yummy bread recipes, it’s time to share a soup to go with them!

This month’s Soup Saturday Swappers theme is Root Vegetable Soups hosted by Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm!

There are so many ways to interpret root vegetable soup!  Potatoes?  Onions? Beets? Carrots?  Celery root?  I mean, you could go so many directions on this!

Almost immediately I decided I wanted carrots involved, since it’s Easter and all.  Then I decided that I also wanted beets (beets are so delicious!)  Then, I kept adding some of the more flavor neutral root vegetables (parsnip and rutabaga), plus some necessities (onion and garlic) and got to roasting!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Honey Cinnamon Quick Bread #EasterRecipes

Honey Cinnamon Quick Bread is perfect for Lent and First Communion Preparation!

So, I just realized that all of the Easter recipes this year are bread recipes…

But we love bread around here, so it’s cool, right?

I used this bread recipe for a First Holy Communion Lesson with my 3rd graders.

The lesson begins by reminding the children of the story of the Last Supper (which is celebrated today on Holy Thursday!)

Jesus broke the bread and said, “This is my Body, which will be given for you. Do this in memory of me.” Luke 22:19

Jesus also said, “I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me shall not hunger.” John 6:35

Here is what each ingredient represents:

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Praying Arm Pretzels #EasterRecipes

Praying Arm Pretzels are a wonderful Lenten tradition for kids!

I always loving doing fun, food related activities with my kids.

This year, since I’m teaching 3rd grade, I get to take those fun activities to the classroom!

And since I’m teaching at a Catholic school, I can really make Easter and Holy week faith based.

For yesterday’s Holy Week lesson, I brought bread baking to the classroom!

After lunch, I introduced the Legend of Pretzels.  According to legend, a Catholic Monk wanted to motivate children to learn their prayers.  Since people at that time prayed with their arms crossed over their shoulders, he made the school children pretzels as a reward for learning their prayers. 

Additionally, the word “pretzel” may have its roots in the Latin word, “pretiola” meaning little reward!

For a bit more info and a cool printable, click here.

Oh, and as an added bonus, pretzels, divided into three sections as they are can be a great teaching tool for the Holy Trinity (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as the three persons in one God).

Pretzels for the win!!

After discussing the history of pretzels, we moved into a science/math/cooking lesson and made our pretzel dough.  I did the mixing, then had the kids each take a turn kneading.

Monday, April 10, 2017

30 Minute Dinner Rolls #EasterRecipes

30 Minute Dinner rolls are perfect for Easter!

I LOVE making homemade breads.  But some days I get home late from work or the oven is in use all day on a major holiday and I just don’t have time to make fresh bread.

Or so I thought.

Because that’s when 30 minute dinner rolls come in!

That’s right, 30 minutes from start to finish (well, depending on your oven.  Mine took a bit longer, because I like my rolls to be deeply browned).

Now what happens here, is that you use a quick yeast, shape your rolls immediately, go for one quick rise, and bake.  The resulting rolls are delicious.  However, because of the significantly reduced rise time, there’s less time for gluten development.  Therefore, these rolls will be quite heavy and a bit dense (yet still very soft), compared to the light delicate crumb of, say, my Grandma’s Two Hour Rolls.  The tradeoff is totally worth it, though, for a super-fast dinner rolls!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Orange & Herb Roasted Chicken #CooktheBooksClub

Orange & Herb Chicken is a homey delicious recipe the whole family will love!

Hey hey!  It’s time for Cook the Books Club!  In CtBC, participants read the selected book and cook up something delicious!  This month Debra from Eliot’s Eats chose Life from Scratch by Sasha Martin.

The memoir follows Sasha through her difficult upbringing, with poverty, instability, adoption, and death of loved ones.  She had a lot of hardship to overcome, though it eventually led her to happiness.

Her past eventually brought her on a mission to cook across the world from a-z and chronicle her adventures on her blog.  It’s an amazing story of perseverance in many ways, from overcoming the struggles of her childhood to the huge cooking a-z project she undertook (with an infant, no less!)

Quite a few recipes referenced in the story are included in the book.

I chose to make the nice, homey roast chicken Sasha made when she cooked for her boyfriend for the first time.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Quadruple Grilled Cheese #GrilledCheese

Quadruple Grilled Cheese for National Grilled Cheese Day!

Guess what?!?

It’s Grilled Cheese Day!  Hooray for grilled cheese!

I’m celebrating by making the most cheesiest grilled cheese there is.

But before we get to the deets, let me bring you this puzzler:

At what point does a grilled cheese stop being a grilled cheese and become a grilled sandwich?  I mean, is cheese the only requisite for the moniker of grilled cheese regardless of the number of additional ingredients added?  Or is there some magical threshold where the number of added ingredients outweighs the amount of cheese and becomes a grilled sandwich? I dunno, these are the weird things I contemplate sometimes.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Nilla Wafer Hamburgers

Get ready for April Fool's Day fun with Nilla Wafer Hamburgers!

This is an April Fool’s treat I remember from my childhood!

My boys got a kick out of this when I told them we were having cupcakes (meatloaf & potato) for dinner and hamburgers and chips (chocolate chips) for dessert!

Have you ever made candy hamburgers?

I just might have to make these for my 3rd graders this year!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Meatloaf Cupcakes with Potato Frosting #FoodnFlix

Meatloaf Cupcakes are delicious any day, but especially fun on April Fool’s Day!

Last year, on April Fools, I told the boys we were having cupcakes & candy for dinner and hamburgers for dessert (more on that on my next post).

They didn’t believe me.

Little did they know!

I just omitted that the cupcakes were meatloaf cupcakes with potato frosting and chive and bacon sprinkles.  And the candy might have been grapes in candy wrappers!

The laughed so hard when they realized that they truly were having cupcakes for dinner…even if they were meatloaf.



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