Wednesday, December 14, 2011

GBP 101 Soups, Salads & Sandwiches~Cookbook Review & Giveaway!

Yes! Another review and  giveaway! Another chance for you to win a cookbook! I'm having so much fun doing this, and enjoy meeting new blog friends and getting great feedback!

I love to make soup, especially during the fall and winter. I know I've mentioned that before...many times. And I think in every review I have picked at least one soup recipe. How exciting when I was asked to do an Early Bird Review on a cookbook that has so many yummy soup recipes! Plus, the Salad and Sandwich recipes are great too! Let's just say, it was very hard picking the recipes for the review.

What I love about the recipes in 101 Soups, Salads & Sandwiches, they are so easy to put together in a pinch. I'm always looking for recipes that I can make in very little time, with ingredients that I will have on hand. Makes my day so much easier!

~~Beef Stew & Biscuits~~

1 lb. ground beef
1/4 c. onion, chopped
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/8 tsp. pepper
3-1/2 cups frozen or canned mixed vegetables
2 8-oz. cans tomato sauce
1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, cubed
12-oz. tube refrigerated biscuits

In a skillet, brown beef and onion, drain. Add seasonings, mixed vegetables and tomato sauce; mix well.
Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Fold in cheese cubes; pour into an ungreased 2-quart casserole dish.
Arrange biscuits on top. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, or until biscuits are golden. Serves 4 to 6.

~~Macaroni & Cheese Chowder~~

14-oz chicken broth
1 cup water
1 cup elbow macaroni, uncooked
1 cup milk
8-oz. pasteurized process cheese spread
1 cup cooked ham, diced
1 cup corn

Over medium heat, bring broth and water to a boil in a saucepan. Add macaroni
and cook until tender, about 12 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add milk, cheese, ham and
corn. Simmer and stir until cheese is melted. Serves 4-6.

~~A Little Different Macaroni Salad~~

16-oz. pkg. elbow macaroni, cooked
4 carrots, peeled and grated
1 sweet onion, chopped
1/2 c. red pepper, chopped
1/2 c. green pepper, chopped
2 c. mayonnaise
14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 c white vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Combine macaroni, carrots, onion and peppers in a large bowl. In a seperate bowl,
whisk together mayonnaise, condensed milk, sugar and vinegar. Pour over macaroni and
vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Chill at least 8 hours to allow dressing to thicken. Mix well before serving. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

I have an extra copy of this book to give away to someone!
Giveaway starts today, and ends December 28, 2011. Two weeks to
leave your comments! I will announce a winner Dec. 28, 8:00 p.m.
All you have to do for a chance...leave your comment either on this blog post, follow our
Facebook blog page, or leave a comment on the FB page. Or, do all 3 for 3 chances! Don't forget
to leave your email so I am able to get in touch to let you know if you've won!
This is a really great cookbook, and I'm looking forward to finding a home for my extra copy!
Good Luck!!


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Cookies & Candy

Emily and I spent the afternoon making cookies and candy. We had a lot of fun. Although, I think I totally lost control of the sugar sprinkles. Emily took charge with that part! Which is why we have every color of the rainbow for one type of cookies. My goal was red and green, but I think pink, orange and blue also fit right in. 

The first cookie we made came from a cookbook called Christmas Cookies for Kids.

Chocolate Mint Sugar Cookies

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
10 oz. pkg. mint chocolate chips
Red and Green coarse sugar (optional)

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl; set aside.
Combine sugar, oil and vanilla in large bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in mint chocolate chips. Shape rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in coarse sugar. Place on ungreased baking sheets. (I use parchment paper. I love that stuff!)
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 7-9 minutes or until centers are just set. Let stand 2 minutes; remove to wire racks and cool completely. Makes about 5 1/2 dozen.

Banana Drop Cookies
From: Gooseberry Patch Christmas Cookie Jar

2/3 cup shortening
1 3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
1 c. ripe banana, mashed
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped nuts
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Blend shortening, 1 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well; stir in mashed banana. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt and nuts; mix well. Chill for 30 minutes to overnight. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheet. Mix remaining sugar and cinnamon togethe; sprinkle on unbaked cookies. Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Makes 3 dozen.
*I used parchment paper and did not grease and it worked great.
This cookie reminded me of Snickerdoodles, only with a banana flavor. Very YUMMY!!!

Hard Tac Candy Treats
From: Gooseberry Patch Farmhouse Christmas

1 cup water
1/2 c. light corn syrup
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. flavored oils used for candy making
food coloring

Combine first 3 ingredients in heavy pan. Using a candy thermometer, continue to cook until mixture reaches 310 degrees. Remove from heat and add flavoring and as much food coloring as desired. Pour onto a greased jelly roll pan. When cool enough to handle, cut or break into squares.
*I break my candy with the handle of a table knife. The pieces are not the same size, but I think it looks nice that way. :)
I also dust the pieces in powdered sugar.

The cookies and candy, along with some of our cheese will be put together as gifts for friends and the drivers who deliver our grain, milk house supplies and to the couple who pick up our milk. I'm hoping to add a large loaf of either Pumpkin Bread or Banana Nut Bread with each gift. I'm so glad that Emily enjoys helping and she looks forward to making gifts for others.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

We Have Snow!

We have some snow! At least inside we do! Emily has been making snowflakes to hang around the house. She's creating a blizzard with paper around here!

We do this every year. She loves to make different snowflakes.

I even remember making them in grade school.

I think the snowmen I have around our living room feel more at home now that we have some "snowflakes".

Only 2 weeks until Christmas! Hope you are enjoying the season! And don't forget to leave a comment on my "Giveaway" blog post or on our Facebook page to have a chance or two to win the newest cookbook from Gooseberry Patch!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Cookbook Review And Giveaway! ~GBP Fresh From the Farmstand

The folks at Gooseberry Patch has again asked me to review a new cookbook, Fresh From the Farmstand !(click on "Fresh From the Farmstand" to view more) This is a wonderful cookbook! The recipes are full of yummy fresh veggies and fruit! The hard part was choosing recipes to share with you!

Here in Ohio our weather has been so cloudy and rainy, and of course for me that is PERFECT soup weather! The first recipe I chose to review was Miss Mary's Potato Soup. Such a comfort food! I love soup and I love comfort food!

Miss Mary's Potato Soup

1/2 lb. bacon diced
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
8 c. water
1/4 c. chicken soup base
4 c. milk
6 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 t. pepper
1/2 t. dill weed
1/4 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. all-purpose flour

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook bacon and onion until bacon is crisp. Add celery and cook for about 10 minutes over medium-low heat; drain. Stir in water and soup base; bring to a low boil. Add milk, potatoes, pepper and dill weed; cook until potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes. To thicken, blend butter and flour in a bowl ; add one cup fo hot soup broth and mix well. Add to soup and stir well; cook and stir until thickened. Serves 8.

I'm always looking for recipes for lunch. That is our break time in between chores. So, I like to find something that is easy and quick. Mom's Meat Rice was perfect!

Mom's Meat Rice

1 lb. ground beef
3 green, red and/or yellow peppers, chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 T. canola oil
3 c. cooked rice
salt and pepper to taste

Brown beef in a skillet over medium heat; drain and remove to a bowl. In same skillet, cook peppers and onion in oil; drain. Add beef and cooked rice to vegetables; season with salt and pepper. Warm together over low heat until hot and bubbly. Serves 4-6.

And of course, that brings us to my favorite thing...dessert! We LOVE carrot cake at our house. It has carrots in it, so that means it's healthy. That's what I'm sticking with I have a second helping!

Made-From-Scratch Carrot Cake

4 eggs, beaten
3/4 c. canola oil
1/2 c. applesauce
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1 T. vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 T. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
3 c. carrots, peeled and grated
Optional: 1-1/2 c. chopped pecans, divided

In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, applesauce, sugars and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients except carrots and pecans, mix well. Stir in carrots; fold in one cup pecans, if desired. Pour into a greased 13x9" baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes; turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Frost; sprinkle with remaining pecans, if desired. Serves 12-18.


1/2 c. butter, softened
8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
4 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Beat until smooth and creamy.

Gooseberry patch has sent me an extra copy of this book to give away! I'm so excited to find someone to give Fresh From the Farmstand to!

You have two chances to win!

1. Comment on this blog post about how you would like this book! Don't forget to include your email address so that I am able to contact you.

2. Like our Down on the Farm facebook page and leave a comment there. (click on "Down on the Farm" to go to the facebook page).

Deadline will be December 18, 2011 at 8:00 p.m. and the winner will be announced on December 19.

Good Luck!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Decking the Halls Today!

We decided this year, since moving into my in-laws log house, and we have more room (and it's just really cozy!), we wanted to have a tree upstairs and a tree downstairs in the dining room. We decorated our artificial tree upstairs. We wanted a live tree downstairs. We talked about buying one at our local grocery store...but, we really wanted to do something as a family and make it more traditional. So, we packed our saws in our pick-up truck and drove around to our back hayfield.

Now, with us, we don't do things just the simple easy way. We almost got the truck stuck in the mud. And almost slid it into the woods and over a hill. That was with our 4-wheel drive locked in. But, after a few minutes of sliding, Emily going into panic, and me trying to tell my husband how to drive...we managed to get going again on solid ground.

We found a tree right away that we thought would do just fine for us. But, figured we should walk the woods to look around, just in case.

We made sure we wore some hunting orange, it was the last day in Ohio for gun season. We didn't want anyone to think we were a bunch of deer running around. 

We ended up going back to the first tree we found. Which worked out good because it was close to our truck. We measured it. It was almost 10 feet tall. No problem! We used the bottom branches to make some decorations for around the house and I'm still working on more of those.

The tree is not what you will find at a tree farm or a tree lot. Our trees in our woods have not been pruned and shaped. But, I actually like that. It's so simple and primitive. It gives our dining room a cozy feel. And I used a lot of handmade ornaments on it, and that really adds to it.

I made several decorations to hang above the doorways. I think they turned out nice, and they make the house smell amazing! I love the pine smell at Christmas! 

We had a lot of fun doing this and I think Emily is excited to have a live tree this year! Even if it is a "Charlie Brown" tree. :)

Hope everyone is having a lot of fun this Christmas season!
Enjoy the simple things!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Savory Salisbury Steak

Today I made a Salisbury Steak recipe that is so much like my Grandma's! It turned out very yummy and I made sure I jotted the cookbook and page number in my "Good Recipes" notebook. I have to keep track of what I cook and what I like so I know where to find it next time.  That's a good sign that I have too many that even possible??

Savory Salisbury Steak

10 3/4 oz. can golden mushroom soup, divided
1/3 cup water
1-1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 onion finely chopped
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

In a small bowl, mix 3/4 cup soup and water; set aside. In a seperate bowl, mix remaining soup and other ingredients. Form into small patties; arrange in a single layer in a greased 13x9 inch baking pan. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Drain; spoon reserved soup mixture over patties. Bake, uncovered, an additional 10-12 minutes. Serves 4-6.

This recipe is from GBP Sunday Dinner at Grandma's. 

This coming week I will be posting a Gooseberry Patch Early Bird Review (3 wonderful, yummy recipes!) and of course that means there will be a cookbook giveaway! More details coming... :o)
The cookbook being reviewed is Fresh From the Farmstand.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas!

Hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We did, and we ate way too much turkey...and all the sides too!

I tried a new recipe for our dressing/stuffing, I'll be sharing it later today. 

We decided this year to put our tree up on Thanksgiving and start decorating. Well, I was motivated by the fact that my dear child was decorating my cobweb duster. She had it propped up and was hanging a couple of her ornaments on it. I got the hint.

We're also planning on going out in our woods, and find a live tree. It may not be perfectly shaped, considering it's not a tree that is raised for a Christmas tree, but that is what I like about the idea. And since we've had one of those years, we figure we may as well go all out with decorating, and really enjoy the holiday season.

Hope everyone is enjoying the Christmas season! We're looking forward to so many things this year, the holiday program at the school, driving around the area and looking at Christmas lights with some hot cocoa, baking cookies and making candy, our favorite Christmas movies (we've already started with the Grinch), family, turning on the Christmas music in our barn (our girls love the music, and it makes the chores a lot more enjoyable!).

Monday, November 7, 2011

Apple Cake with Butter Sauce

I made this for my family last night, and it was gone fast! It turned out so rich and yummy, I will be making this one again soon!

Apple Cake with Butter Sauce

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 tart apples, cored, peeled and grated

Cream butter and sugar together. Beat in egg and vanilla and set aside.
Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg; gradually add to creamed mixture.
Fold in apples. Pour into a greased 8"x8" baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Serve with warm butter sauce. Makes 12 servings.

Butter Sauce

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup half-and-half

Melt butter in a saucepan; stir in sugar, brown sugar and half-and-half. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

This cake recipe is from Gooseberry Patch Taste of Autumn cookbook.  

I hope that everyone is having a wonderful fall so far. I'm so excited to start putting some recipes together for Thanksgiving. I can't believe it is getting so close. We'll most likely be staying home for the holiday. It's almost impossible for dairy farmers to go anywhere far, at least all together. :)

Happy Fall!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Snappy Apple-Cinnamon Pizza= Sweet, Rich Comfort Food!!!

Today was one of those yucky, rainy days. The kind of day where napping all day seems like the only thing to do.

I also like to make comfort foods on rainy days.

I came across a recipe the other day. I was making my grocery list, and I usually pull out one cookbook and pick out a few new recipes to make.

The perfect comfort food stood out.

Apples and cinnamon. Perfect Fall Comfort Dessert! YUM!

And how cool, you use refrigerated cinnamon rolls for the crust! Easy and yummy!

Snappy Apple-Cinnamon Pizza
GBP Homestyle in a Hurry cookbook

12.4 oz. tube refrigerated cinnamon rolls
21 oz. can apple pie filling
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp. butter, melted

Seperate cinnamon rolls, setting aside the frosting from tube. Flatten each roll into a 4-inch circle. Arrange rolls on a greased 12" round pizza pan, overlapping edges to form a crust. (I used a pie dish, it was what I had ready). Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes.  Spoon pie filling over crust within 1/2 inch of edge. Combine brown sugar and butter; sprinkle over pie filling. Bake an additional 6-8 minutes, or until crust is golden. Cool. Warm reserved frosting slightly and drizzle over pizza; cut into wedges. Makes 10-12 servings.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

We Welcome Mocha To Our Family!

We've added another 4 legged "kid" to our family two weeks ago! Her name is Mocha, she's a 7 year old Chocolate Lab. I just love her! She's so sweet!

Emily has declared Mocha her best friend.

We wasn't planning on adding another dog to our family, yet. Annie (our beagle) is getting older, so we have talked about another dog, someday. We're glad Mocha is here, though.

She was my Dad's dog. He raised her from a puppy, and trained her.

In mid-September he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. It started in his lungs, spread through his lymph nodes and into his brain. Unfortunately, at this stage, they don't give too much hope with treatment. :(
It's been so hard to accept this diagnosis. Thankfully, my Dad is accepting it, is faithful and is feeling blessed, even with such a difficult illness.

We don't know how long we'll have my Dad around, the drs. have said he may have a month, but they never really know for sure.  I'm just thankful we have been able to relieve his worry of where Mocha would go. And I think she'll be good for me, in the coming weeks.

My Dad with Emily, Christmas 2010. :)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Tiny Tips for the Kitchen

In our house, my favorite room is, of course, the kitchen. I love cooking, baking and just visiting with family and friends in the kitchen. And I always love helpful hints for the kitchen.

Gooseberry Patch has a book that is perfect for me, it's called Tiny Tips for the Kitchen. I've enjoyed getting new ideas from this book. I even picked out a few to share...

~Create a pretty marbleized effect when baking a white cake mix. Simply sprinkle batter in its pan with a few drops of food coloring, then swirl the color around with a knife tip.

      I love doing this! It's fun for birthdays and makes a pretty cake, that is easy!

~A mini photo album is just right for keeping tried & true recipes handy on the kitchen counter. Slide in a few snapshots of happy family mealtimes, too!

     This is a fun idea for making a recipe book for a gift, also.

~Chopped or crushed candy bars make a fast & easy topping for frosted cakes. Try using toffee, caramel or nougat bars...mmmm...!

      This is super yummy! Again, a perfect topping for that swirled birthday cake! ;-)

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tiny Tips for a Cozy Home

I've been looking through the newest books from Gooseberry Patch.
Tiny Tips for a Cozy Home has so many wonderful ideas for around the home.

I've chosen a few to share with you.

~"This super-simple table runner adds a cheerful look to any tabletop. Simply line up enough bandannas to fit the length of a table, then stitch them together. Oh-so easy and colorful!"

This is one that I love, and it brightens up any table!

~"Hang up an old fashioned mini washboard where family messages, calendars and to-do lists can easily be found. Button magnets and clothespin clips will hold everything in place and add a dash of whimsy."

In our busy household, this is a must!

~"Who says teacups need to be tucked away on a shelf? Insert cup hooks along the top of a window and hang teacups up side-by-side. What a sweet "valance" for a cozy kitchen.

I love to find teacups at flea markets and thrift shops. And it doesn't matter if they don't match, they are all pretty!

I feel that fall is the perfect time of year to make our homes cozy!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It's September! That means Fall!

I am so excited that September is here! I'm looking forward to fall! The cooler weather, leaves changing, and fall cooking. I seem to cook and bake more in the fall than any other time of year. I just love the flavors of fall like pumpkin, apple, cinnamon...yum!

I made some Pumpkin Pancakes yesterday morning and they were a hit.  Emily loved them plain, without syrup. The recipe comes from the Gooseberry Patch Autumn in the Country cookbook. 

Pumpkin Pancakes

2 c. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/2 c. canned pumpkin
1-1/2 c. milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp. oil

Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and spices in a large bowl; set aside. Combine remaining ingredients in a seperate bowl; mix well. Stir pumpkin mixture into flour mixture just until moistened. Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a lightly greased hot griddle. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface; turn and continue cooking for an additional 2-3 minutes, until golden. Makes 16 pancakes.

With the end of summer, and the beginning of fall, we've noticed that the butterflies have been extra busy before leaving for the coming winter.  Emily and I took a "butterfly walk", and took some pictures of our colorful friends.

 Emily started 1st grade two weeks ago. She was worried that they would have a test on the first day! She's loved 1st grade so far, and really likes her teacher, and she even lost her first tooth this past week. So far the school year is getting off to a good start!

Have a great week!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Short on Time? Quick Soup Recipe!

Today we're busy running errands and doing chores. Typical Monday!

I ran across a quick soup recipe. I'm making a grilled chicken salad to go with the soup for a quick lunch!

Fast-Fix Tomato-Basil Soup

4 (10.75 oz.) cans tomato soup
2-1/2 c. water
1 cup whipping cream
1 Tbsp. chicken bouillon granules
3 Tbsp. Romano, Asiago & Parmesean cheese blend
2 Tbsp. dried basil

Add soup to a stockpot over medium heat. Stir in water, whipping cream,
bouillon, cheese and basil. Whisk ingredients together and heat through,
but do not boil, stirring occasionally. Serves 4-6

Recipe from: Gooseberry Patch Homemade Harvest

Have a great week!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It's been too hot to cook!

We've been having unusually high temps here in southeast Ohio. Last week our high temp.for two days hit 113 degrees, plus 85% humidity (and this was on more than one thermometer).

Now there is no way I'm turning the oven on when our kitchen temp. is almost 100 degrees.

So, I pulled out my slow cooker. I love it! It's one of my favorites in the kitchen. Then pulled out Gooseberry Patch Slow Cookers, Casseroles & Skillets.

I decided to make Mushroom Roast, and it turned out very yummy! And it didn't heat my kitchen up! Even better!

Mushroom Roast

3-1/2 to 4-1/2 lb. beef chuck roast
garlic salt, salt and pepper to taste
29-oz. container beef broth
1-oz. pkg. onion-mushroom soup mix
1 onion, diced
4-6 potatoes peeled and sliced
2 10-3/4 oz. cans cream of mushroom soup
8-oz. pkg. sliced mushrooms
4 carrots, peeled and chopped (I had a pkg. of baby carrots on hand,
and used those)

Sprinkle roast with seasonings to taste. Combine broth, soup mix, onion and potatoes in large
slow cooker; place roast on top. Pour soup over top of roast; add mushrooms. Cover and cook
on low setting for 8 to 10 hours, or on high setting for 5 to 6 hours. Add carrots to slow cooker
halfway through cook time. If liquid does not completely cover roast, turn every hour to
keep roast moistened. Serves 6-8

Hope everyone keeps cool!
Have a great week!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wanna take a walk?

We have the most beautiful stream that goes through our farm. We put on our old shoes and walk the stream when the weather gets hot.
Emily and our dog, Annie, look forward to the walks. And I have to admit, it's an adventure for me too!

We start our walk in the "dry cow pasture". That is where our girls stay during the 2 months before they calve. We call it maternity leave...only it's a rest before having the baby.
 Emily and daddy. 
 Annie loves going in the water. It's a great way to cool off! 

Emily decided she wanted to pose for a picture at each "cool" rock she came across.
I took advantage of this, since she is rarely willing to have a nice picture taken of her.
Usually her tongue is sticking out and she is making a silly face! :)

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