Spring Root Vegetable Casserole


Veggie Casserole

My friend Becky uses a service called Blue Apron. Once a week they send a box of fresh ingredients accompanied by three detailed recipes. She loves it. She received the opportunity to give free meals to friends, so she gave me a free week to try. This is one of the Blue Apron recipes that I made. They always send you the exact amount of ingredients needed. I love the fact that there’s no waste. I also like that they send ingredients that I might not try on my own. A good example of that is the kohlrabi used in this recipe. Before trying this recipe, I don’t know that I would have ever bought a kohlrabi, but I will now when I make this recipe again.

Ok, so what is a kohlrabi, and what are spring onions? A kohlrabi is a vegetable that is shaped like a turnip but has a taste and consistency much like a cross between cabbage and broccoli stems. It’s actually a German word that means “cabbage turnip”. When you cook with it, you typically peel off the outer layer of skin using a vegetable peeler. On to spring onions – these look similar to scallions, with a long green top, but they have a little, round, white onion at the bottom. In the Northeast, they’re typically found at farmer’s markets during the months of May and June. They’re both great seasonal ingredients and were perfect in this casserole.


Spring Root Vegetable Casserole
Recipe adapted slightly from Blue Apron

6 ounces English peas
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 spring onions
1 small bunch lemon thyme (~6 sprigs or to taste)
1 kohlrabi, medium diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and medium diced
5 ounces egg noodles
1 cup low-fat milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Heat 2 medium pots of salted water to boiling on high. Shell the peas. Remove and discard the root of the spring onions. Thinly slice the spring onions, separating the green tops and white bottoms. Pick the thyme leaves off the stems; discard the stems and roughly chop the thyme.

Once the water is boiling, add the kohlrabi and sweet potato to the 1st pot of boiling water and cook 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a knife. Drain thoroughly and transfer to a bowl. Set aside.

While the vegetables cook, and once the 2nd pot of water is boiling, add the egg noodles and cook 5 to 6 minutes, or until tender. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain thoroughly; set aside. Wipe out the pot.

While the vegetables continue to cook, in the same pot used to cook the noodles, make the béchamel sauce. Melt the butter on medium. Add the flour, garlic and white parts of the spring onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the flour is golden and the onion is slightly softened. Stir in the milk and half the Parmesan cheese; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 8 to 10 minutes, or until smooth and thickened. Remove from heat.

To the béchamel sauce, add the shelled peas, cooked vegetables, cooked noodles, 3/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water and all but a pinch of both the lemon thyme and green parts of the spring onion (save the rest for garnish). Stir to combine. (If the mixture seems too thick, add up to an additional 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water.)

Transfer the vegetable-pasta mixture to a medium baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs and remaining Parmesan cheese and sprinkle evenly over the casserole. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until bubbly and browned. Remove from the oven and let stand for at least 5 minutes before serving. Prior to serving, garnish with the remaining lemon thyme and green parts of the spring onion.

Yield: 2 servings

One year ago: Gail’s Rolled Sugar Cookies with Piped Icing
Two years ago: Avocado-Mango Salad
Three years ago: Chocolate Chip Biscotti
Four years ago: Curried Carrot Soup
Five years ago: Butterscotch Blondies
Six years ago: Crispy Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies

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Chock-Full-of-Chips Drops



These cookies are delicious. They’re stuffed with oatmeal, chocolate chips, white chips and M&Ms. They’re a like a loaded oatmeal cookie with an excellent chip to cookie ratio. The boys loved them. One cookie after a meal will satisfy any sweet-tooth.


Chock-Full-of-Chips Drops
Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1 cup wheat cereal flakes
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
1/2 cup miniature candy-coated milk chocolate pieces
1/2 cup white baking pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl combine flour, oats, wheat flakes, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a very large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Mix in the flour. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the semisweet chocolate pieces, miniature candy-coated chocolate pieces, and white baking pieces.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoons, or using a small ice cream scoop, 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are golden. Cool on cookie sheets for 1 minute. Transfer to wire racks; cool.

Yield: ~2 dozen cookies

One year ago:
Provençal Cherry Tomato Gratin
Two years ago: Black Bean and Pepper Jack Burgers
Three years ago: Strawberry-Orange-Vanilla Smoothie
Four years ago: Shortbread Cookies
Five years ago: Sweet Potato Bread
Six years ago: Asian Salmon Burgers

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Brigadeiros (Brazilian Fudge Balls)



I have had my eye on this recipe for a while now and I decided to make it when I found real chocolate sprinkles (or jimmies as I used to call them when I lived in Boston). Most of the chocolate sprinkles you find in places like supermarkets are made of wax and food coloring. I’m not sure they have any real chocolate in them. If you want real chocolate in your sprinkles, look for chocolate vermicelli. I found mine on Amazon.

These fudge balls are currently one of my favorite desserts. I’m a sucker for chocolate sprinkles (the real ones) and these little balls remind me more of a chocolate caramel than traditional fudge. They are incredibly delicious, but a little dangerous too because it’s hard to eat just one.

When you make these, plan to stay right next to the stove for at least 20 minutes. This is a very hands-on recipe. Once you start to cook the ingredients, you need to stir the fudgy mixture for at least sixteen minutes, until it gets quite thick. If you leave the stove, the chocolate at the bottom of the pan will burn.

Store these fudge balls in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve them. They’re best chilled. Did the boys like these?  You bet.


Brigadeiros (Brazilian Fudge Balls)
Recipe from Saveur.com

4 Tablespoons salted butter
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
2 (14 oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk
3 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 cup chocolate sprinkles

Bring butter, cream, and milk to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add chocolate and sifted cocoa powder, and reduce heat to low; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is the consistency of a dense, fudgy batter, about 16 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; let cool. Chill until set, at least 4 hours.

Using a small ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, portion out fudge and roll into balls. Roll each ball in chocolate sprinkles until evenly coated. Chill until ready to serve.

Yield: About 24, but this depends upon what size you make them

One year ago: Braised Coconut Spinach with Chickpeas and Lemon
Two years ago: Peanut Butter Cup Blondies
Three years ago: Caramels
Four years ago: Yucatan Pork Tenderloin
Five years ago: Carole’s Country Style Spareribs
Six years ago: Buttermilk Bran Muffins

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Spinach and Chickpea Curry


spinach chickpea

This side-dish is easy to throw together and it’s packed with flavor. Using canned chickpeas and canned (or boxed) diced-tomatoes really speeds up the process. We ate this one night as a side dish, and another night on brown rice as a vegetarian main course. This dish has an Indian flair, and it makes your kitchen (or your whole apartment in my case) smell great while it’s cooking. If you live in a house with an exhaust fan that vents to the outside, you’ll be in good shape because you’ll smell the curry while it’s cooking, but the smell will soon dissipate. In the case of NYC apartments, you might smell the curry for a couple of days. This is not one of my favorite features of NY apartments. We burn a lot of candles here.

If you like Indian food, it’s worth investing in some garam masala, which is a standard ingredient in many Indian dishes. If you invest in some (it’s actually not that expensive), you can use it in these recipes: Shrimp with Spiced Masala and Coconut Milk, Chicken Tikka Masala, and Caramelized Spiced Nuts.

This recipe calls for 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. If you like dishes with a little kick, you can up this to 1/4 teaspoon, or even 1/2 teaspoon, depending upon how spicy you like things.

The boys wouldn’t go near this with a 10-foot pole.


Spinach and Chickpea Curry
Recipe from FineCooking.com

3 Tbs. canola oil
1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh ginger
1 Tbs. curry powder
1 tsp. garam masala
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 14-1/2-oz. can diced tomatoes
Kosher salt
7 oz. (7 packed cups) baby spinach
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Heat the oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, ginger, curry powder, garam masala, and cayenne, and cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas, tomatoes, and 1-1/4 tsp. salt. Add the spinach by the handful, stirring to wilt it as you go. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the spinach is completely wilted and the flavors have melded, 4 to 5 minutes more. Season to taste with more salt. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cilantro.

Spoon onto a platter, and serve with yogurt as an optional topping.

Yield: 4 servings

Two years ago: Curried Lentil Stew with Potatoes
Three years ago: Pink Grapefruit Sorbet
Four years ago: Tortillitas with Shrimp
Five years ago: Frozen Chocolate Covered Bananas
Six years ago: Basil Parmesan Chicken Salad

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Double Chocolate Banana Bread


chocolate banana bread

I always have a couple of overripe bananas in my freezer. I keep them for times when I want to make a banana bread or a smoothie. It’s tough to buy a banana that’s perfect for cooking. I find it takes a couple of days of sitting on a kitchen counter to get to the stage where it’s perfect for a recipe.

I used three of my overripe frozen bananas for this decadent chocolate banana bread. If you love chocolate, this recipe is for you. My boys don’t like bananas, but they all loved this bread because it tastes a lot more like chocolate than it does bananas.   One of my sons actually thought it could have been a little less chocolatey, but he still liked it.  All you need is a small piece of this bread to satisfy any chocolate craving you might have. A slice is perfect with a milk chaser.


Double Chocolate Banana Bread
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

3 medium-to-large very ripe bananas
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks or chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan or coat it with cooking spray.

Mash bananas in the bottom of a large bowl. (You should have slightly over a cup of mashed bananas.) Whisk in melted butter, then brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. Place baking soda, salt, flour and cocoa powder in a sifter or fine-mesh strainer and sift over wet ingredients. Stir dry and wet ingredients with a spoon until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks or chips.

Pour into prepared pan and bake 55 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out batter-free. Cool in pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert it out onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 1 loaf

One year ago: Salted Chocolate Caramels
Two years ago: Monkey Bread Muffins
Three years ago: Baja-Style Fish Hand Pies
Four years ago:  Chicken, Ham and Swiss Roulades
Five years ago: Sweet-n-Sour Pork Chops
Six years ago: Sweet Corn Muffins

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Avocado Toast


avocado toast

This is my new favorite breakfast! There’s not much to putting it together, but the combination of olive oil, hearty whole grain bread, half an avocado, salt and pepper makes an incredible treat. The first time I made it, I had lemon olive oil on hand, which made an amazing avocado toast. Regular olive oil is good too, but the lemon olive oil was incredible. Now that I’m out of lemon olive oil, I have to figure out how to make a batch myself. Until I make the lemon olive oil, I may resort to giving my avocado toast a good squeeze of lemon or lime.

Next time I make this, I might try some Aleppo pepper or some red pepper flakes to give it a little kick.  I have been using Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Bread.    My husband calls it virtuous, which to him means it tastes very healthy.   I think it’s delicious when topped with creamy avocado.

This may sound like something you’d serve at lunch, but trust me, it’s great for breakfast!


Avocado Toast

slice of bread
half a ripe avocado
olive oil
salt and pepper

Toast the bread to your liking. Drizzle it with a little olive oil. Mash the avocado on top of the toast and season with salt and pepper.

Yield: 1 serving

One year ago: Pumpkin Cake Doughnuts
Two years ago: Mexican Lasagna
Three years ago: Chocolate Dutch Baby
Four years ago: Meyer Lemon Sorbet
Five years ago: Sweet Potato Muffins
Six years ago: Candied Carrots


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Polish Cabbage, Potato and Bacon Casserole


cabbage casserole

This isn’t the best photo, but I love this casserole so much that I had to post the recipe. For me, this is comfort food at its best. I have made this several times in the last couple of weeks and I’d be really happy to eat a serving of this any day. This is not exactly a seasonal dish, as I should have posted it a month or two ago when we were still in the midst of cold days and nights in NYC, but I’d eat this any time of year. This will definitely become part of our regular fall/winter dinner rotation. So glad I found the recipe.

Polish Cabbage, Potato and Bacon Casserole

Recipe from Serious Eats

3 medium russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 slices (about 4 ounces) thick-cut bacon, diced
1 small but heavy head green cabbage (about 2 pounds), quartered, cored, and sliced into ribbons
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Nonstick cooking spray
3/4 cup grated gouda cheese

Preheat oven to 375°F. Add potatoes to a medium pot, add 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and cover with water. Set pot over high heat and bring to a boil, then drop to a simmer. Cook potatoes until they are firm-tender, about 7 minutes. Drain potatoes and set aside.

Add bacon to a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until bacon has rendered most of its fat, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.

If bacon has rendered more than 3 tablespoons of fat, drain fat, reserving 3 tablespoons. Return Dutch oven to medium-high heat and add cabbage, onions, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, and scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until vegetables have wilted and begun to brown, about 15 minutes. Add apple cider vinegar and deglaze pan, stirring rapidly and scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom. Add potatoes to cabbage mixture and stir to combine. Season thoroughly with salt and pepper, then add reserved bacon, parsley, half-and-half and breadcrumbs. Stir to combine.

Lightly coat the bottom of a large casserole dish with cooking spray. Add cabbage mixture and press firmly and evenly into pan. Top casserole with an even layer of grated cheese, then cover pan with a sheet of tin foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove foil and bake until casserole is bubbling and cheese has browned, about 20 minutes more. Remove from oven, let rest for 10 minutes and serve.

Yield: 6 servings


One year ago: Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl
Two years ago: Sugar Cookies with Nutella and Sea Salt
Three years ago: Chocolate and Meringue Angel Pie
Four years ago: Pad Thai with Chicken and Shrimp
Five years ago: Herbed Basmati Rice
Six years ago: Quick Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

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Creamy Curried Cauliflower Soup



I love cauliflower and I’m always looking for new and interesting ways to cook it. One of my favorites is this recipe for Hot, Buttered Cauliflower Puree. Another favorite is Oven-Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic, Olive Oil and Lemon Juice. Add this soup to the list of things that I love to do with cauliflower. This soup is great for a cold and/or rainy day.

I know that this soup is called “curried” cauliflower soup. You may be wondering why my photo doesn’t look like any curry powder was using during the preparation. I actually used all of the spices in the ingredient list but the turmeric, which gives dishes a traditional “curry” color, because I didn’t have any in the house. Next time, I’ll toss it in.   It can only make the soup better, and it was very good without it.   If you don’t have vegetable broth on hand, you can substitute chicken broth, but if you do, the soup will no longer be vegetarian.


Creamy Curried Cauliflower Soup
Recipe adapted every so slightly from The Kitchn

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium white or yellow onions, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cloves minced garlic
1 large head of cauliflower (about 2 pounds), trimmed and cut into florets
4 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 cup coconut milk
Freshly-ground black pepper, to season
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley, for garnish (optional)

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until shimmering. Cook the onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt until onions are soft and translucent, 8-9 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add garlic and cook for 2 additional minutes. Add cauliflower, vegetable broth, coriander, turmeric, cumin, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring pot to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer until cauliflower is fork-tender, about 15-17 minutes

Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender until smooth, and then return the soup to the soup pot. (Alternatively, use an immersion blender to purée the soup right in the pot.) Stir in the coconut milk and warm the soup. Taste and add more salt, pepper or spices to taste.

Yield: 6 – 8 servings

One year ago: Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Two years ago: Chipotle Quinoa with Corn and Black Beans
Three years ago: Oatmeal, Cranberry and Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Four years ago: Crisp Roasted Potatoes
Five years ago: Dinner Spanakopita
Six years ago: Grandma Sachs’ Crumb Cake

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Cinnamon Streusel Baked French Toast Sticks


Baked Streusal French Toast

I made these French Toast sticks recently on a lazy Saturday morning. The boys LOVED them (well, actually, three out of four did). I found them a little too sweet for my liking. They don’t take too long to make because you bake them on a large rimmed cookie sheet, so you’re able to make the entire batch of French toast at once, rather than a couple of slices at a time.  This is definitely not your everyday breakfast recipe.  Save it for when you have company.

I found my Texas Toast at Trader Joe’s. Texas Toast is just a nice thick piece of bread that’s twice the width of a typical slice. I typically make French toast using stale bread. My Texas Toast was nice and fresh, so I decided to toast each piece lightly before cutting it into sticks. Toasting the bread dried it out a little bit, which gave it more structural integrity when I dipped it into the egg mixture. Don’t forget to add a pinch of salt to the egg mixture. In my opinion, the French toast is slightly too sweet without it.

Cinnamon Streusel Baked French Toast Sticks

Recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod

For the French Toast Sticks:
4 slices Texas Toast (or French bread)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
a pinch of salt

For the Cinnamon Streusel:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Cut the bread slices into 3 sticks. In a large shallow dish, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, salt and cinnamon. Dunk bread sticks into batter, let excess drip off, then place onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 9 minutes.

While the French Toast Sticks are baking, make the cinnamon streusel. In a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Mix together with a fork, or in a small food processor, until you have a crumbly mixture.

Remove French Toast Sticks from the oven after the 9 minutes. Flip the sticks over and evenly sprinkle the cinnamon streusel over them. Place the pan back in the oven and bake for another 9-10 minutes, or until sticks are golden and streusel is set. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

Yield: 4 servings

One year ago: Coconut Bread
Two years ago: Salted Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars
Three years ago: Spanakopita Lasagna
Four years ago: Chocolate Chip Waffles
Five years ago: Chive Risotto Cakes
Six years ago: Cheddar Corn Chowder

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Orange-Glazed Shrimp



This is a perfect weeknight meal. It’s easy to make, it’s delicious, and you can get it on the table in about 30 minutes. Serve it with rice and steamed broccoli and you have a nice dinner.

A couple of tips: Don’t overcook the shrimp. It’s easy to do, but if you overcook them they’ll be rubbery and tough. A perfectly cooked shrimp looks like it’s in the shape of a “C”. An overcooked shrimp will be in a tight “O” shape. Typically shrimp don’t take more than 3-4 minutes in total to cook.

For the fresh juice, I used 4 tangelos (I had them on hand) and 2 mandarins. They produced exactly the right amount of juice, and fresh juice is always much better than the orange juice that you buy in the supermarket.

This will definitely be added to our regular dinner rotation.

Orange-Glazed Shrimp
Recipe from Food and Wine

1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds large shrimp, shelled and deveined
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
Chopped parsley, for garnish
Steamed rice, for serving

In a saucepan, bring the orange juice, sugar and soy sauce to a boil. Simmer over moderately high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 20 minutes. Stir in the zest.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Cook half of the shrimp over moderate heat, turning once, until white throughout, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a plate. Repeat with the remaining olive oil and shrimp. Return all of the shrimp to the skillet, add the orange glaze, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Transfer the shrimp to a platter, garnish with parsley and serve with rice.

Yield: 4 – 6 servings

One year ago: Macaroni and Cheese with Black Beans and Chipotle
Two years ago: Oreo Rice Krispie Treats
Three years ago: Homemade Cheez-It Crackers
Four years ago: Breakfast Tart with Pancetta and Green Onions
Five years ago: Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Six years ago: Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

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