Saturday, September 20, 2014

Caramelized Banana Aebleskivers - A New Breakfast Favorite!


Whether you call them aebleskivers, ebelskivers, filled pancakes or something else. These little filled delights are simple, delicious and amazingly easy to customize. I finally got around to getting my own little aebleskiver pan, a simple cast iron pan from Lodge. Seasoned it, like my other cast iron pans, and then went to work on finding the perfect fillings for our.

One big hit I was excited to share is this caramelized banana filled aebleskiver. Perfect for our weekend family breakfasts. Now, you could go one step farther and add rum for a bananas foster filling, but I think the banana and brown sugar combo is just perfect for our family.

With 3 small children pancakes and breakfast for dinner is always a hit. With aebleskivers I can do another pancake night while still keeping it fun and different. With a simple batter, you could customize them to fit your family.


To start with this easy caramelized banana filling was a hit with everyone in my family. ...and a fabulous way to use up some bananas that were starting to brown on the counter.


The other little tweak I added for my aebleskivers was to make my batter slightly sweet with decadent little vanilla bean specks throughout. Yes, I am currently in love with my Nielsen Massey Vanilla Bean Paste. No more dried out bean pods in my cabinet!


So, you will need a good pan. You can find everything from the simple cast iron pans to non-stick and even electric versions.

I like cast iron. It needs a little more love and seasoning, but you can't beat the price and you know it will last for-ever.


Don't let turning scare you off. Just let them cook on one side... then with cooking chopsticks, skewers, knitting needles, etc. Flip them so the filling can ooze down and cook on the other side.

Filling gets dropped on top and it will magically end up baking inside the ball.


Then them brown all around then take them out and dust with a little powdered sugar or drizzle with warm maple syrup.

But, I like simple. The banana filling packs a lot of flavor and I just went with powdered sugar. What would you fill or top your aebleskivers with?


Caramelized Banana Aebleskivers

You Will Need:

  • 2 ripe bananas, sliced and quartered
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. + more butter for brushing the pan, unsalted
  • 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1  tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
  • 1 c. milk (buttermilk or whatever you have on hand)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
Place 1 tsp. butter in a cast iron pan over medium add the bananas and brown sugar.Let the sugar start to bubble and gently caramelize the bananas. Let the bananas soften slightly, then take off the heat and let the filling cool slightly while you prepare the pancake batter.

Start preheating your aebleskiver pan over medium heat and brush lightly with butter.

In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. Melt the remaining 2 Tbsp. butter and add this, milk, egg yolk and vanilla bean paste to the batter. Stir just to combine. Whip the egg whites till fluffy, but just soft peaks. Fold the whites into the batter.

Fill the aebleskiver cups 3/4 full and spoon a tsp. or so of banana filling onto the top. With your turners (I like long skewers) check to see your aebleskivers are not sticking to the pan. Once the bottom has good color, start turning the cake. Let the batter flow down into the bottom to create a round aebleskiver.

When they are done all around, remove from the pan and dust with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!


Andrea
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Friday, September 19, 2014

Gravel on the side of the Road, by Kris Radish Review

I received review copies from BookSparks in order to write my book review posts for the 2014 Summer Reading Challenge. All opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links. #SRC2014


Yes, this gem fell out of my Summer reading. But, honestly this is a great book to read this Fall... or anytime of year!




A woman who worries about carrying a .38 special in her purse, nearly drowns in a desert canyon, flies into the war in Bosnia, dances with the FBI, tells Geraldo he shouldn't put guests in hotel rooms with rats and spends time with murderers, has more than a few stories to tell. Gravel on the Side of the Road-True Stories From a Broad Who Has Been There is a daring and revealing adventure itself. Beloved novelist Kris Radish returns to her non-fiction beginnings with her first book of autobiographical essays. Her writing career has spanned four decades and has included award-winning newspaper work, magazine features, a national syndicated column, eleven books and enough stories and adventures to fill up many more. Radish s talent for telling it like it is, sharing the wit and wisdom of a life lived mostly on her own terms and her keen sense of humor are highlighted in these stories some of them previously published, all of them offering a glimpse into worlds many never dare to enter. Kris is definitely a broad who has been there.

Grab your copy on Amazon.com

My Opinion

I think everyone is a sum of all those crazy, exciting and memorable moments in our lives. A good storyteller will be able to recount those times with vivid imagery and brutal honesty. Kris Radish delivered on both accounts. Having a life brimming full of memorable moments she decided to share them with her readers. I applaud her bravery for sharing her autobiographical essays.

What I liked most about this book was that it was easy to grab for a quick read here are there. Don't get me wrong, if you want to knock this out in one afternoon you could, but as a busy Mom building up my own portfolio of memorable moments I enjoyed the bite-sized stories and experiences. It was like seeing a tiny glimpse into the woman and author that Kris Radish is today.

And there is enough in this book to keep you laughing out loud and then chuckling to yourself for weeks! 

I love how her experiences made me think about how I would handle a similar situation. What if I was a night guard at a remote cabin when "Jesus" showed up? Or if I would have choice words with Geraldo or...just stare at his head. 

If you are a fan of Kris Radish, you will love to see some of her real life experiences written down. I think it gives me even greater appreciation for her other writing and great novels. If you haven't had the pleasure of reading her work before, this is not a bad place to start.


About the Author

Kris Radish is the author of nine novels and two works of non-fiction.  A former award-winning journalist, magazine writer, nationally syndicated columnist, waitress, worm picker, university lecturer, lifeguard and Professional Girl Scout—to name just a few of her past lives—Radish is also co-owner of a wine lounge, the Wine Madonna, in downtown St. Petersburg Florida where she hosts books clubs and special literary events with groups from across the globe. Her empowering novels celebrate female friendship, real life, personal empowerment—and naturally, the importance of celebrating life as often as possible. She calls her genre, Broads Who Have Been There, and it takes one to know one.  Her widely popular novels include The Elegant Gathering of White Snows, Dancing Naked at the Edge of Dawn, Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral, The Sunday List of Dreams, Searching for Paradise in Parker P.A., The Shortest Distance Between Two Women, Hearts on a String, Tuesday Night Miracles and A Grand Day to Get Lost.  Her twelfth book and third non-fiction work, Gravel on the Side of the Road–True Stories From a Broad Who Has been There and her tenth novel, The Year of Necessary Lies will both be published by SparksPress in 2014.

Be sure to check out her website, http://www.krisradish.com/

Andrea
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Preparing for the Seasonal Flu and Giving Back with Walgreens

This Walgreens immunizations shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions and experiences are mine alone. #GetAShot #CollectiveBias


Growing up I wanted nothing more than to see the world beyond my small town. I dreamed of going places that I had only read about in books, or learned about in the pages of National Geographic.

So once I left home, I went out and saw the world.

Teaching English in Japan for 3 years gave me the opportunity to travel on school holidays. I did my traveling through Asia with a pack and second hand guide books. Traveling solo I had many opportunities to meet interesting people and quietly observe the cultures and customs of the countries I visited.  I went to Malaysia, Thailand, Korea and China.

I was scuba diving in Thailand during the 2004 tsunami. Luckily, I was on the opposite side of the country from the destruction and was unaffected by the devastation until I tried to find an open room in Bangkok before my return flight. There was a great wave of displaced tourists and I was grateful to have been able to fly back to Japan without problems. But, I never did find a room and shower.

I still remember the poverty in Bangkok. The helpful children hoping to earn extra money while showing a tourist like me around for the day.

The English language teachers in my area collected and raised money to send to an orphanage in Thailand. Even the simplest items were needed.


Another Summer vacation I headed to China for two weeks. I did see the Great Wall of China and explore a lot of Beijing before the Olympic construction was finished, but I also took planes and buses farther into the heart of China.

Compared to the rural countryside where I taught in Japan, China was another world entirely. Poverty was more prevalent outside the heart of Beijing.

That was nearly 11 years ago. Despite the weather being hot and humid I was so excited to see The Giant Buddha of Leshan in Leshan, China (Sichuan Provence). It was carved into the cliff face in the 8th century. There were stairs behind to climb all the way to the top of Buddha's head.




Now, as a Mom of 3, I don't have the time or energy left to backpack around Asia. Though I treasure those adventures, my priorities have changed.


Now my focus is on keeping my family healthy and happy. With a young toddler, and school back in session, that means we all need to get our seasonal flu shots. I don't have time to catch the flu from my kids. Who would take care of them? And my husband and I being immunized means we won't pass the season's worst gifts onto my 1-year old or the Great Grandparents.

 My kids get their shots during their regularly scheduled check-ups, but my husband and I have to get ours elsewhere. Even more than getting the actual immunizations, I dislike having to find somewhere to get it. Last year we went to our local clinic and waited around for over an hour.

Yeah, for a simple little shot!


This year I got smarter and headed into my local Walgreens. There is no appointment needed and in my store there is almost no wait. But the best part about getting my seasonal flu shot at Walgreens, is helping to give a lifesaving vaccine to a child in a developing country.

This "Get a Shot. Give a Shot" campaign helps children like the ones I met during my travels through Asia.

From now through October 13th, when you get a flu shot or other immunization at Walgreens, you will help provide a life saving vaccine through the United Nation Foundation's Shot@Life Campaign.
Did you know that 1 in 5 children around the globe still don't have access to vaccines against things like Measles and Polio?



My photos may have started to fade, but my memories and the benefit that these vaccines can have for children in developing countries are good for my soul. Yes, Walgreens not only saves me money and has convenient services my family uses, but their charitable efforts can help provide up to 3 Million vaccines to kids that need it most!

Now, that feels good.

Are your immunizations up to date?  Have you heard of the "Get a Shot. Get a Shot" campaign before?

Andrea
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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Pea and Leek Risotto


I have been told that I eat a lot of green foods.

Well, I don't think that is a bad thing. Take this Pea and Leek Risotto, for instance, it is big on green but also flavorful, filling and fabulous. Even if green isn't quite your thing, you might change your mind after trying a creamy bite of this.

This was sparked from the weekly Food Bloggers Challenge. Sadly, our fresh peas have come and gone for the year, so I was looking for a dish I could enjoy using frozen peas. A quick blanch to perk these little guys back up and they are not bad. Perfect for this simple dish.


The best part for me were the leeks. sauteed with a yellow onion, they add a sweetness to the rice that pairs well with the sweet, yet earthy, little pea.

For risotto making I like to have all my ingredients out and ready. My stock is warm, the onions and leeks are being softened and my peas were already blanched and waiting to go.


Believe it or not, this is the first time I have broken out the immersion blender in a couple of months. I would rather dirty this handy tool than the whole food processor for a job like this.


Of course the biggest thing about risotto is going slowly. It takes about 20 minutes of stirring and ladling in more stock, but so worth it!


Then stir in the pureed and whole peas, a little mint if you like, and a hearty helping of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese. Don't, under any circumstances, forget the cheese!


Pea and Leek Risotto

You Will Need:

  • 4 c. vegetable stock
  • 2 c. peas (I used frozen since they are out of season)
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 leeks, diced an rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 c. Arborio Rice
  • 1 c. dry white wine
  • 1 c. Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
Warm the stock and the peas in two separate small pots. Process half the peas up with an immersion blender and a ladle full of stock for processing. Set this aside.

In a large saute pan, soften the onion and leek in the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add one ladle of stock and then press the garlic cloves. Heat and stir for about a minute. 

Then add in the Arborio rice and coat it in the butter and oil. Add in the wine and allow it all to evaporate out of the rice before adding a ladle of stock. Continue stirring and adding stock, one ladle full at a time, till the rice is thick, creamy and tender. Turn the heat down to low.

Stir in the mashed peas, whole peas, Parmesan and season to taste.

Serve immediately with diced mint and a mint garnish.

Enjoy!



Weekly challenge to push the creativity of food bloggers. Create an original recipe each week to accomodate the weeks ingredient. If you are a blogger that is interested in linking up your themed recipe, please join the Facebook group to learn how.

Andrea
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Friday, September 12, 2014

Skin Care from the Inside Out with Exaltria

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #30Days2BetterSkin #CollectiveBias


And so it happens. Despite raising three small children, I have started to look into the mirror and wonder who is looking back at me. Do I really how fine lines? Where did the start of crows feet come from? Have I been taking my skin care regime seriously?

The truth is I'm going to be 36 this year and my skin isn't getting any younger. Yes, I don't feel it yet, but I am showing my age.


Sun damage, late nights in my 20's, and failure to treat my skin with the respect it deserves has left me less than happy with my skin's appearance. I just don't feel comfortable going out anymore with a naked face. I do feel the need to "put on my face" before seeing people.

I never post pics, here on the blog, of myself without make-up, but this seemed like a worthy cause. I can't wait to see how the after photos turn out.

So for the next 30 days I am not only going to be taking Exaltria, a natural dietary supplement that works from the inside out, I will also be doing 4 other healthy things to take better care of myself. They include:

  1. Drinking more water each day
  2. Working up a sweat for 30 minutes each day
  3. Healthy eating to start my day
  4. Washing my face twice a day
Wish me luck and stay tuned! All I have to lose is a few year's worth of lines and age showing on my face. 

Andrea
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Monday, September 8, 2014

Sketching Inspiration for my little Dancer - September Silhouette Challenge


Another month, and another Silhouette challenge! For September the theme was Home Decor items. I really had my heart set on trying out the Silhouette Sketch pens and thought I would make my daughter an inspirational picture to go in her room. Yes, every month for this challenge I have been trying to use a new product or technique with my electronic cutter.

My daughter just turned 5-years old and her Mimi promised to take her to Ballet classes. This girl has been begging for dance lessons for the past 2 years. She was over the moon!

I wanted to keep this project simple and inexpensive because kids' tastes and interests change almost daily. Right now I want to encourage her to try her best at dance class - but the frame was inexpensive and I could swap out the card with another Silhouette design in just a few minutes.

I headed to the local craft store and grabbed an unfinished wood frame, chalkboard paint, card stock and the basic set of Silhouette Sketch Pens.



I created a simple design in the Silhouette program. Because I wanted to use multiple colored pens for this project, I put the designs on separate layers. 4 layers included the dancer in black, the word "dance" in dark pink, the other words and corner flourish in purple and the cut line to fit my frame in the last layer.

I selected sketch pens as my medium and then de-selected all the layers that I wasn't working with. I began with. The current layer showed up in dark red.



Using the sketch pens was really simple. They just fit right in where the blade goes. Push them all the way down and then secure them or the pen may work its way loose while sketching.

I had to create 3 sketches before the ink in my pens were flowing freely and I figured out how to tighten them down securely. Save yourself the headache and double check before you sketch.


The first layer I sketched was the dancer's outline in black. Don't remove the mat between colors, just change pens and select the current layer you want to sketch. Send back to the Silhouette and the machine will return to the same place.


The final step was to select my final layer for cutting out my design, putting the blade back into the machine and selecting card stock.

To finish off her art I spritzed it with a glitter scrapbooking mist. I also painted the frame with a chalkboard paint so I could doodle and leave a "Love Mom" on the bottom.

The best part about this project is, if she drops dance and takes up soccer tomorrow I can whip something up quick to show my support using the Silhouette and my sketch pens.

Want to Check Out More Silhouette Projects?

My Silhouette Challenge buddies and I are all sharing projects on our blogs today, so peruse the projects below for a wealth of Silhouette inspiration! Our Sons & Daughters Wood Shims and Word Art Simple DIY Canvas Art Pallet Signs Chalk Paint Pumpkins with Fabric Leaves Make a Personalized Scarecrow DIY Wall Art for the Bathroom Decoupaged Fall Leaves Lampshade Gimme A F.A.L.L! Eat SOMETHING Sweet Baby Love Quilt Big Reveal Sketching Inspiration for my little Dancer - September Silhouette Challenge Family Feature Presentation Wall Art Last Unicorn Shadow Box Makin' my office a little more artsy fartsy Family Command Center DIY Grandparents Sign with Photo Frame Dream Big Little Girl Canvas Art Fall Pallet Sign {Grateful, Thankful, Blessed} Pumpkins and Apples Sign Handmade Freezer Paper Cloth Napkins
1. The Moberg Family // 2. Sandpaper and Glue // 3. American Honey // 4. Weekend Craft // 5. Grey Luster Girl // 6. From Wine to Whine // 7. Cutesy Crafts // 8. Practically Functional // 9. Home At Eight // 10. McCall Manor // 11. Dragonfly & Lily Pads // 12. Adventures in All Things Food // 13. Create it. Go! // 14. Please Excuse My Craftermath... // 15. The Outlandish Momma // 16. The Sensory Emporium // 17. My Paper Craze // 18. unOriginal Mom // 19. My Favorite Finds // 20. Architecture of a Mom // 21. Black and White Obsession //
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Overcoming a Picky Eater's Problems with Enfagrow Toddler

My youngest loves food, but his typical toddler eating habits have left a few gaps in his diet that Enfagrow can help me fill. That is why I was so excited to be part of this sponsored post program. All opinions and experiences are my own.


My youngest, Elliott, is a great eater... for a toddler.

Okay, so his favorite foods may be grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese and well... cheese. But, he is working hard at exploring the tastes and textures we offer him at the table each day. Despite my best intentions, some days his steamed vegetables are launched across the room instead of being eaten or his whole grains and lean proteins are smeared on his high chair tray and into his hair. After two older children I am not going to make mealtime a war zone. Toddlers can be picky and inconsistent eaters even on the best of days.

The only problem we have is Elliott is both very active, but also a light eater. On his last visit to the pediatrician's office he hadn't gained weight. His head has been steadily growing and he is taking his first steps, but he just needed more calories and nutrition than he could get out of his normal meals.

One suggestion I was given was to try to a toddler formula like Enfagrow Toddler Transitions or Enfagrow Toddler Next Step.


Now that Elliott is transitioned to solid foods, I can't ensure that he receives all the good nutrition he was getting while he nursed. Enfagrow has important nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, iron and a prebiotics blend to support digestive health in just two servings a day. That means I can add Enfagrow to his sippy cup at two meals and get some of those nutritional gaps covered. The powder is super easy to mix with water, even when we are on the go.


One concern I have since he doesn't eat many foods with natural fatty acids, is that he may not be getting DHA in his diet.


But Elliott is not alone. In fact, DHA is particularly hard to get from the foods toddlers typically like to eat. Cookies? Not there. Grilled Cheese? Not there, either. Naturally you can find it in fatty fish or nuts. Neither of these are typically on Elliott's menu so I needed to find another source.


So what is DHA, exactly?


Well, it is an omega-3 fatty acid and an important nutrient for the brain. When I was taking a prenatal vitamin, while pregnant with Elliott, it was suggested that I look for one that had DHA. And since 85% of his brain growth is going to take place here over the first three years of his life, it is important to me that he has DHA through his toddler years.



I spend so much time playing and trying to stimulate Elliott's growing curiosity, I might as well make sure he has the proper nutrition to feed that growing brain.


Elliott's next weight check is coming up and I am confident I am doing everything I can to give him excellent nutrition. Enfagrow Toddler has been easy to add right alongside the steamed vegetables and grilled cheese sandwiches.



Do you have a picky eater? How do you help your toddler maintain a balanced diet?

Tracking Pixel

Giveaway Time!!

One lucky reader at Adventures in All Things Food will win an Enfagrow gift package (ARV $38) that will include the following:
     One Toddler Transitions Can (21oz.)
     One Toddler Next Step Natural Milk Flavor Can (24oz.)
For a chance to win, comment below with why you love Enfagrow or why you want your toddler to try it. Giveaway ends September 24th, 2014 and the winner will be announced here on the blog and emailed so they can claim their prize. Winner must be 18 or over and reside in the US. Good luck!


NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 UNITED STATES AND D.C. 18 YEARS AND OLDER ARE WHO ALREADY HAVE INTERNET ACCESS AND VALID E-MAIL ADDRESSES ARE ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Promotion begins 9/8/2014 at 12:00 AM PST and ends at 11:59 PM PST on 9/24/2014. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. Official Rules, eligibility, prize descriptions and odds disclosure are available at http://www.thesitsgirls.com/sweepstakes-official-rules/ . Sponsor: Mead Johnson & Company, LLC, 2400 West Lloyd Expressway, Evansville, IN 47721.

I received compensation and free Enfagrow for this post. 

Enfagrow would be happy to help you with your question. Please contact them at 1-800-BABY-123.



Andrea
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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Plums - Spiced Plum Wontons with Sweetened Sour Cream


This week bloggers were challenged to tackle the plum.

Do you ever bake or cook with plums? We actually have prune orchards here on the farm, but not a single plum tree. One of my favorite houses we lived in while I was growing up was surrounded by a great diverse collection of fruiting bushes, trees and edibles. There were two large plum trees and during the Summer I could eat my fill. I still prefer my plums ripe and hot, since that is how they came off the tree.

Originally I was going to bake with the prunes on our farm. No, not exactly a plum... prunes are older and though California tried to rebrand them as a "dried plum", the two are not exactly the same. It just happens that while at the store I saw some gorgeous, plump plums.


And yes, the plums were as delicious as they looked!

For my recipe I knew I wanted to serve them hot and simple. Why not stuff slices in a wonton? You might remember that I shared an easy recipe for making your own gyoza or wonton wrappers. But more and more grocery stores are also carrying them.


While living in Japan I had a lot of different wontons and even dessert styles. I think my friends there would appreciate these simple plum wontons because they don't go over board with sweetness.


Spiced Plum Wontons with Sweetened Sour Cream

You Will Need:

  • 5 ripe plums, pitted nad cut into 1/8ths
  • wonton wrappers
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. Chinese 5-spice or more to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • powdered sugar & cinnamon *optional for dusting the top

Start a pot of water boiling. Mix together the brown sugar and Chinese 5-spice powder. Adjust to suit your taste.

Place one wrapper down on your work surface. Place a slice of plum and top with 1/4 tsp. of brown sugar mixture on top. Brush the edges of your wrapper with egg wash and top with another wrapper. Press edges firmly to seal. It needs to have a good seal all around so no water enters the wonton. Repeat until all the wontons are made.

Boil till the wrapper is tender and cooked through. Use a slotted spoon or spider to remove the wontons. Let them cool slightly while making the sweetened sour cream.

Mix together the sour cream, extract, nutmeg and cinnamon. Dust the wontons with a little additional powdered sugar and cinnamon. Serve with the sweetened sour cream.

Enjoy!



Weekly challenge to push the creativity of food bloggers. Create an original recipe each week to accomodate the weeks ingredient. If you are a blogger that is interested in linking up your themed recipe, please join the Facebook group to learn how.





Andrea
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