Posts tagged ‘rice’

I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts…

If you instantly recognized the title of this post as being from The Lion King, then you have my congratulations. You’re a person after my own heart.

For people of my generation who grew up in the 90’s, it was the golden age of Disney animated movies. We got all the good ones: Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, Mulan, etc. Everyone has their favorite. For me, it was The Lion King, hands down.

This movie amazed me. I remember seeing the movie in the theater for the first time. It was the first movie I ever cried at (Mufasa…*sniff*). I loved everything Lion King. I remember drawing the characters in my free time. I would make up stories about Simba (when he was a cub), all while listening to the soundtrack to the movie on cassette tape (in my cute red Sony Walkman with matching red ear phones).

At my elementary school, where every year each grade would put on a musical production of some sort, my grade even got to do a production of The Lion King. I don’t really remember what the performance part entailed so much, but I remember we got to sing all the songs from the movie, which I thought was great.

Yes, The Lion King holds a special place in my heart, and probably always will. So when I was thinking about summer recipes, and then coconut recipes, I instantly thought of the coconut song that Zazu (the bird that acts as Mufasa’s advisor) sings for Scar. Although the song is not originally from the movie (google it), it’s where I first heard it.

I hope someday that my kids can enjoy The Lion King as much as I always have. So in honor of summer (and Zazu’s coconut song), I’ve made a list of delectable coconut recipes I’ve found across the internet. I can’t wait to try some them! I recommend you try some as well, and bring the flavor of the tropics to your home! You can even eat whatever coconut treat you make while watching The Lion King. Channel your inner child, or enjoy it with your kids. Or just make yourself a piña colada and hum the coconut song while drinking it. You can’t beat that.

Piña Colada Sorbet with Sesame Crisps from Blissful Blog. Who can resist a frozen dessert with rum in it?


Coconut Cream Crepes from Food Coma. Coconut and dark chocolate! I love desserts that are disguised as breakfast foods. I mean, hey! Crepes are a type of pancake, and pancakes are for breakfast, right? So this is a breakfast food. Don’t argue. My logic is flawless.


Coconut Waffles from Pastry Affair. Standard breakfast fare with a delicious coconut-y twist.


Coconut Crab Rice from Joy the Baker. Not all coconut treats are sweet! With coconut, crab meat, and fresh cilantro. This looks awesome.


Mango Coconut Chia Pudding from Skinny Taste. I really want to try this one. You just combine all the ingredients, let it soak overnight, and the chia seeds expand and become tapioca-like in texture. And it’s healthy! Maybe I’ll try this for breakfast one morning…


Lime-Coconut Cupcakes from Bluebonnets and Brownies. Lime and coconut. What a classic combination. Or maybe I’m thinking of coconut and rum…or maybe just coconut rum…

Wait, why is the rum gone…?

(sorry, couldn’t resist)

There are so many more wonderful coconut recipes out there, but I’ll stop here for now.

Go forth now, my children, cook with coconut, and spread the coconut song love!

I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts, dee dul dee dee dul dee, there they are standing in a row. Big ones, small ones, ones as big your head…


August 3, 2012 at 8:52 am Leave a comment

Spring Coconut Curry

When Hisa and I got up this morning to go swimming, it was dark, raining, and thundering and lightning. We went to the pool though, only to discover that when there’s lightning the pool closes (which seems odd considering it’s an indoor pool). So, we came back home and I baked muffins for breakfast. And my parents were happy. Because there were muffins. And they were good. The end.

It really is quite a cold (compared to the 70’s temperatures we’ve been having this week), wet, miserable day. But on the other hand, we really need the rain, the trees are starting to leaf out, and spring is on its way (or I suppose it’s already here really). Nonetheless, we’re going to try and go swimming when the pool opens for lap swim this evening, although, I admit, I would love nothing more than to snuggle up with a blanket, have a cup of cocoa, and watch movies and read all day. That’s what rainy days are for, right? 🙂

We had this dish for dinner one night while we were in Texas working on the farm. The sauce is basically made up of Rotel, coconut milk, and buttermilk, three things I would never had thought to combine. For whatever reason though, it works. And the resulting slightly spicy, coconut milk curry is really really good.
This curry is great for featuring spring vegetables like asparagus, carrots, spring onions, peas, leeks, fennel, etc. I used a big bunch of new asparagus, carrots, mushrooms, onions, and green bell pepper as well as diced chicken, and served it over steamed brown rice, but feel free to use whatever spring vegetables you like/have, and leave out the chicken if you want to make it vegetarian. This is really good served on steamed rice, but I think it would also make a lovely pasta sauce.


Thanks Nancy, for such a wonderful dinner idea!


Spring Coconut Curry

(serves 5 – 6)

  • 1/4 c. coconut oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 – 1 1/2 in. pieces
  • 1 c. sliced mushrooms
  • 2 c. chicken cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk
  • 1 can original Rotel
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 c. uncooked brown rice
  1. Cook rice according to package instructions.
  2. Heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and bell pepper, and saute for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add mushrooms, asparagus, and chicken, and saute until chicken is cooked through, about 8 – 10 minutes.
  4. Add flour, and mix until becomes paste-like. Cook for 1 more minute.
  5. Add Rotel, coconut milk, buttermilk, and oregano. Heat until hot, but not boiling. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with steamed rice.

March 8, 2012 at 11:01 am Leave a comment

Greek Cabbage Rolls

I love my mom’s abundance of cookbooks.

She has your regular cookbooks (ex. the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, a crockpot cookbook, a Christmas food cookbook, etc.), some not so regular cookbooks (an Indian food cookbook, a Vegetarian food cookbook, etc.), and then some completely random cookbooks (a cookbook with traditional recipes from Somerset England, a Betty Crocker cookbook published in 1950, etc.).

I love the random cookbooks. They have such interesting recipes in them. Especially vintage cookbooks. One cookbook I recently found, and cooked from, was a cookbook created by the women of a Greek Orthadox church. I think my mom bought it years ago at a Greek Festival in Oklahoma. A lot of the recipes sound delicious, but I decided to start out with making cabbage rolls.

I’ve made cabbage rolls before, although I don’t make them that often, as they do take quite a bit of time to make. They’re a fun dish to make once in a while though, and they’re great for dinner parties or potlucks.
I think it’s interesting how so many different countries and cultures have their own cabbage roll recipe. Even Japan has their own cabbage rolls recipe, which I’ve made before, however, this was my first time to make Greek/Mediterranean cabbage rolls. I altered the recipe to suit my own tastes and to make it healthier, as I often do, and I was not disappointed! These cabbage rolls were fabulous! If you’ve never had Greek cabbage rolls, give these a go.

Serve them with some tabouli salad, hummus, and warm pita bread for a lovely Mediterranean dinner.

First, cook 1 1/2 cups of brown rice (or use white rice if you want) according to the package instructions. Meanwhile, brown a pound of ground meat of your choice, then drain off the fat. Beef and lamb are both great, but I used ground turkey as a healthier alternative.


When the rice and meat are both done, mix them together in a large bowl along with 1 cup of sliced almonds (toasted), 1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. allspice, and season with salt to taste. At this point, you can serve the filling (called Hashwa) as it is, or continue to make cabbage rolls. Both options are delicious. Just sayin’.


Cut the cores out of two heads of cabbage. Heat a large pot of water with a good dash of salt on to boil. When boiling, add one of the heads of cabbage. Carefully peel off the outer leaves of cabbage as they soften and come away from the head. Remove them from the pot and place them on a plate or baking sheet to cool. Continue doing this until you only have the tiny inner leaves left (keep these small leaves), and then repeat with the second head.


When the cabbage leaves have cooled enough to handle, slice off the heavy ribs near the base of the leaves. Don’t cut it off too high, or it will make it difficult to roll the cabbage leaves. Place the sliced off ribs in a layer in the bottom of a large pot.


To roll the cabbage leaves, place a single leaf on a plate. Place about 2 tablespoons of the filling above the cut out part of the leaf (note: I actually cut this leaf a little too high, which made it kind of hard to roll. You want to cut the rib out a little less high than this one).


Fold over either side of the leaf to cover the filling.


Fold the outer sides in towards the middle of the roll. Roll the bottom part of leaf (with the filling in it) upwards, tucking in the sides as you go along so they don’t stick out farther than the filling-stuffed part of the roll (just like you would roll a burrito). Stop when the seam is on the bottom of the roll. Gently press the roll a little (seam side down) so that the roll will stay sealed.


Place the rolls, seam side down, in the pot on top of the layer of sliced ribs. Once you’ve laid down one layer of cabbage rolls, begin a new layer on top of it.


Once you’ve added all the rolls to the pot, pour in enough water so that the top layer of roll are about half to 3/4 of the way covered with water. Add 4 cloves minced garlic and 1/2 tsp. salt. Place the leftover cabbage leaves (those little ones you saved) on top of the cabbage rolls in a layer, and place an inverted plate on top of that. Put on high heat until the water comes to a rolling boil, then reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice in the last 15 minutes of cooking.
Turn off the heat, remove the plate, and let the rolls rest for about 5 – 10 minutes before removing the layer of cabbage leaves. Carefully drain the water remaining in the pot, and remove the cabbage rolls to a serving plate.




Greek Cabbage Rolls

(serves 8 – 10)

  • 1 lb. ground meat
  • 1 1/2 c. uncooked rice
  • 1 c. sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • salt
  • 2 heads cabbage
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
  1. Cook rice according to package instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, cook ground meat in a skillet until browned. Drain fat, and add to a large bowl along with the rice.
  3. Add butter, almonds, cinnamon, and allspice, and mix well. Season with salt to taste.
  4. Cut out the cores of the cabbage heads. Put a large pot of water with a good dash of salt in it on to boil. Once boiling, add one head of cabbage. Carefully peel off the outer leaves as they soften and come away from the head. Remove them to a place or baking sheet to cool. Continue until only the tiny inner leaves are remaining (keep these). Repeat with the second cabbage head.
  5. Once the leaves have cooled enough to handle, slice off the heavy ribs near the base. Place the ribs in the bottom of a large pot in a layer. One at a time, place about 2 Tbsp. of filling on the center of a cabbage leaf. Fold in the sides over the filling, and roll the leaf up until the seam is on the bottom. Press gently to seal the roll, and place in the pot in a layer on top of the cabbage ribs. Continue until you run out of filling or cabbage leaves.
  6. Add enough water to pot so that top layer of cabbage rolls is half to 3/4 covered by water. Add minced garlic and 1/2 tsp. of salt to the water. Place leftover cabbage leaves over rolls in a layer. On top of that, place an inverted plate. Put on high heat until water comes to a rolling boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. In the last 15 minutes of cooking add lemon juice.
  7. Remove from heat, remove place, and let cabbage rolls rest for 5 – 10 minutes. Remove top layer of cabbage leaves, drain any remaining water, and carefully remove rolls to a serving plate. Serve.

February 10, 2012 at 2:19 am Leave a comment

Chicken Korma (with korma curry paste recipe)

Since Hisa and I came to my parents’ house from Japan, we’ve been unable to use our laptops with the internet.

My parents have two computers in their house, only one of which is hooked up to the internet.

Although the internet is fairly fast dsl, the computer it’s hooked up to is so incredibly old (it has a floppy drive), that it simply can’t handle doing anything remotely fast or even an average speed. The result is that the internet is quite slow. Although considering the computer itself, the internet does pretty good in terms of speed. The problem is, anything and everything the computer does is horribly slow.

Open a browser? Wait a whole minute for it to appear.

Opening the start bar? Click it, then wait for half a minute for it to appear.

Now I’m not trying to sound impatient with the computer here or anything, but it’s like trying to get a 110 year old man to cook a four course meal. You’ll be dead yourself by the time the meal is ready.

Now, take that situation and you can understand why Hisa, who’s in the middle of trying to find a job via the internet, and myself, a food blogger who likes to update daily, were starting to get a little frustrated with the computer/internet situation.

I began inquiring my parents about WiFi, and how much it would cost to get. My mom, bless her, followed through on my inquiries and called their internet service provider to find out. She discovered that they only needed to pay a one-time fee for a WiFi router, and they could have WiFi. How easy is that?

The very next day, with some encouragement from myself, Dad and I went to the internet provider’s store in town, and bought a router. That evening Hisa and I got it hooked up, and now we can finally use our laptops to access the internet again! Hisa can now continue his job hunt with much more ease, and I can post here at the same time! What a concept, right? We can also use our iphones with the WiFi, and my parents want to get the direct movie download to your TV service by Netflix.

Ah, WiFi. It’s like Christmas come early!

I tried out a new Indian recipe this week. For those who don’t know, I love Indian food (and Thai, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Greek, German, and Mexican food), but I only have a few Indian recipes I’ve made before. I think Indian food can be intimidating for a lot of people to cook, because there’s simply so many spices involved, many of which are unfamiliar to people not from that region.

What I’ve realized from some of the Indian dishes I have prepared, however, is that although there are quite a few spices involved in Indian cooking, you see many of the same spices in every Indian dish. Once you have the staple spices, you can make many of the popular Indian dishes that are popular in the West.

I tried out a new Chicken Korma recipe by Jamie Oliver for dinner the other night, and everyone loved it! It sounded a bit complicated at first, as I actually made the korma curry paste, but it was quite easy really! Once I had all my ingredients assembled (which always makes cooking easier), everything went along quite quickly.

Now you don’t have to make the korma curry paste yourself. I’ve provided the recipe for it, but feel free to use store bought korma paste if you want.

I served this with steamed brown rice with turmeric and ginger in it, but plain steamed rice or naan bread would be great with this as well.


Recipes adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Korma Curry Paste and Chicken Korma recipes.

Korma Curry Paste

(makes about 1/2 cup)

  • 2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled -or- 1 Tbsp. ginger paste
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. garam masala (if you can’t find this in your regular super market, try a health food store)
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp. peanut or coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 fresh green chilies
  • 3 Tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 Tbsp. almond flour
  • small bunch fresh cilantro, washed and diced
  1. In a small pan over medium-high heat, toast the cumin and coriander seeds until golden brown and fragrant. Remove from heat, and grind seeds in a mortar and pestle or food processor to make a powder.
  2. Add powdered seeds and remaining ingredients to a food processor and process until they form a smooth paste.

Chicken Korma

(serves 4 – 6)

  • 1 3/4 lb. skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger -or- 1 Tbsp. ginger paste
  • a small bunch of fresh cilantro, washed
  • 1 (15 oz.) can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp. peanut or coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 c. korma curry paste (either store bought or the recipe above)
  • 1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 3/4 c. slivered almonds, plus more for serving
  • salt and pepper
  • Plain yogurt for serving
  1. Dice chicken into bite sized pieces, peel and finely slice onions, peel and dice ginger, and separate cilantro leaves and stalks. Reserve leaves for serving and finely dice stalks.
  2. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add butter, onions, ginger, and cilantro stalks, and saute, stirring often, until soft and golden, about 8 – 10 minutes.
  3. Add korma curry paste, coconut milk, water, almonds, garbanzo beans, and chicken. Mix well. Bring mixture to a boil, then turn down heat, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
  5. Serve chicken korma with rice or naan bread. To top, add slivered almonds, a dollop of plain yogurt, and cilantro leaves as desired.


December 23, 2011 at 3:36 am Leave a comment

Menu Plan Monday for Nov. 14 – 18

First of all, let me just say, things are gonna be a little crazy around here this week.

In case you haven’t heard, Hisa and I are moving out of our apartment this Friday.

Hisa had his last day of work on Friday, so we’re cleaning, packing, throwing stuff away, and much more this week.

I have a couple dinners and a couple lunches planned this week, but nothing else.

This is why:

This is our fridge. Take note of all the empty space.

The remaining contents (from top to bottom) include: olives, plain yogurt, ground flax seed, cornmeal, the last of the apple butter, some yogurt cups, the last of the bread, some cheese, and abura-age (fried tofu thingies).

We’re trying to finish everything off before Friday rolls around, so we haven’t been buying much food. There’s also some stuff in the refrigerator door and the cupboard, but not a whole lot. Thursday morning we’ll be getting rid of all our pots and pans (not that we have that many), and that evening someone is coming to buy our gas stove (Japanese stoves are small portable things with two burners and no oven like American stoves), so Wednesday will pretty much be my last day of cooking in this apartment.

We also need to turn off our refrigerator sometime on Thursday, so the freezer can thaw out, and we can clean it.

So please pardon this week’s short and rather simple and uninteresting menu plan. I felt I should explain why so you wouldn’t think I was holding out on you. I’m moving. Internationally. Have pity.

I just noticed there’s a large blob of sauce on the side of the bowl. Opps. Bad food picture-taking me.

Menu Plan Monday for Nov. 14 – 18:

November 14, 2011 at 11:35 am Leave a comment

Oyakodon – Simmered Chicken, Onion, and Egg Over Rice

It’s turned chilly here since yesterday. It finally feels like November I would say. Coincidentally, yesterday was officially the first day of winter according to the Japanese calender. Despite the colder temperatures, it still doesn’t really feel like fall to me quite yet. More of a late fall feeling.

On a different note, Hisa and I decided to cancel our honeymoon trip to Thailand. If you’ve been watching the news, then you’ve probably heard about the horrible flooding that’s been going on there. It’s the worst flooding in Thailand in 50 years. It started up north, and has been gradually moving south. It finally hit Bangkok, and has pretty much gone from bad to worse, with no improvement in site.

Although the island in Thailand we were planning on spending the second half of our trip has not been effected by the flooding, we were planning on spending the first half of our trip in Bangkok. Plus, the international airport is in Bangkok, and in danger of being flooded as well.

We realized that there was a very good chance that if we went to Thailand, the airport could flood and close while we were there, consequently leaving us stuck in Thailand. We would then probably miss our flight back to the U.S., Hisa’s visa would expire, and we would have to do the whole visa process again <insert horrific blood-curdling scream here>. There is no way in heck I’m going through that visa process again, filling out all that paper work, paying all that money, making all those trips to the U.S. Embassy. Heck. No.

So, we decided it would probably be safer to cancel our trip. Instead, we’re going to be traveling in Japan. Neither of us has ever been to Kyushu (the large southern island of Japan), so we’re thinking of flying to Kyushu, and traveling back up north via bullet train, stopping at various cities along the way. It may not be as exciting as visiting a foreign country (I no longer consider Japan as a foreign country. It’s just home #2), but it’ll still be a lot of fun I think.

Oyakodon, is one of my favorite Japanese donburi dishes (donburi is basically something served on top of steamed rice).

“Oyako” translates as “parent and child,” and “don” is simply short for “donburi”. It’s called parent and child donburi, because it’s simmered chicken and egg on top of steamed rice. Get it? The parent is the chicken, and the child is the egg. … Is that kind of morbid? Maybe. But it’s still really good!

This is a very simple, but delicious and filling dish. The egg is usually added at the last minute, and the dish is served with egg only partially cooked, but if semi-raw egg grosses you out, or you don’t have access to very fresh eggs (U.S. supermarket eggs do not count), then you can cook the egg completely before serving it.

Heat a little oil in a skillet. Add one chopped onion, and one large chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces. I like to add a little bit of carrot, cut up into matchsticks, but that’s not normally in oyakodon. I just like adding a bit more vegetable to the dish.

Cook everything over medium heat until the onion is translucent, and the chicken is almost completely cooked.

Add 2/3 c. bonito fish soup stock (Japanese dashi, or you can use veggie or chicken stock), 2 Tbsp. cooking sake, 2 Tbsp. mirin (sweet cooking sake), and 2 Tbsp. sugar. I actually added a little too much stock here, so yours will have slightly less liquid in it. Bring it to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer, and let simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add 2 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce, and continue simmering for another 2 – 3 minutes.

Fill two deep serving bowls with white steamed rice (enough for one person in each bowl). In a small bowl, beat 2 eggs together. Slowly drizzle egg mixture over the chicken onion mixture, and turn heat to low.

Let egg cook briefly on a low heat. If you’re using very fresh eggs, turn off the heat when the eggs are not quite completely cooked, cut the mixture in half, and gently scoop one half into each bowl, on top of the rice. Spoon as much of the remaining liquid over each bowl as you want. You want some liquid to reach the rice, but you don’t want it soupy.

You can serve this with thinly sliced green onions on top, but as I don’t like raw onions (eww), I don’t.

Enjoy you’re chicken, onion, eggy, rice mixture of joy!



(serves 2)

  • 2 servings of steamed rice
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/3 c. matchstick carrots (optional)
  • 2/3 c. bonito fish stock (aka dashi) (or chicken stock or vegetable stock)
  • 2 Tbsp. cooking sake
  • 2 Tbsp. mirin (sweet cooking sake)
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 green onion, sliced thinly for garnish (optional)
  1. In a medium sized skillet, heat a little oil over medium heat. Add onion, chicken, and carrot. Saute until onion is translucent, and chicken is almost completely cooked, about 5 – 6 minutes.
  2. Add bonito stock, sake, mirin, and sugar. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Let simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 5 – 7 minutes.
  3. Add soy sauce, and simmer for about 2 – 3 more minutes.
  4. Add steamed rice to two deep serving bowls.
  5. Turn heat down to low, and slowly drizzle beaten egg in evenly over the chicken mixture. Let cook briefly.
  6. When egg is almost completely cooked (but still partially raw*), turn off heat. Divide mixture in half, and gently scoop half into each bowl, on top of the rice. Garnish with green onion and serve immediately.

*If you do not have access to very fresh eggs, or you’re not sure if you’re eggs are fresh or not, I recommend you completely cook the egg before serving this dish. If you chose to serve the egg partially raw, you do so at your own risk. In Japan it’s quite common to eat raw egg in various dishes, but Japanese eggs are MUCH fresher than eggs in the U.S.

November 9, 2011 at 1:13 pm 2 comments

Today’s Lunch

After what seems like a week of clouds and rain, it’s finally sunny again today! It’s in the low 60’s, sunny, and crisp! In other words, a beautiful fall day! I love it!

Did you notice I used exclamation points for all those sentences?

That’s how I roll. Don’t hate.

Yay for fall!

Today’s lunch: Chicken tikka masala (in the thermos), steamed rice, salad with carrots and pumpkin seeds, and an apple

October 26, 2011 at 1:31 pm Leave a comment

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About Me

My name is Rachel. I'm a small-town girl born and raised in Oklahoma, currently living in Japan, who likes cooking, baking, reading, working out, and traveling. Join me in my culinary adventures, my domestic doings, and the story of my life, one day at a time.

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