Girls on Food


Shake, Rattle and Roll: Bonnie’s Yummy Yogurt Shake

Bonnie 3 gimp color shake

As an obsessive cook-from-scratcher, one of the things I make is yogurt….lots of yogurt. In fact, I average 64 oz (that’s half a gallon!) every other week. Click on Make Yogurt In A Thermos – EASY! to learn how.

Why so much, you ask? Yogurt is a multifaceted superfood. Studies have shown that people who regularly eat yogurt live longer and healthier. But homemade yogurt has a bit of a bite to it since no sugar or thickeners have been added. In fact, because you don’t add sugar or thickeners it’s incredibly easy to make, especially with something like the euro cuisine gy50 greek yogurt maker. However, getting my kids to partake was a challenge. Unfortunately, touting the health benefits of foods falls on deaf little ears, followed by “I wanna go to McDonalds!”

So I started making yogurt fruit smoothies as our dinner beverage. BUT, since perception is everything, I called them Yogurt SHAKES. My kids were quite familiar with the word “shake” – associating it with other words such as “ice cream”, “dessert”, and “yummy”. No need to bother them with facts. We moms sometimes have to be a little sneaky…. but the kids will thank us later. Continuing with my crafty ways, I did make a point to leave the word “yogurt” – wanting them to have positive thoughts about it.

I took the well-known Tired Mom Syndrome math equation: hungry child = cranky child = cranky adults = junk food = happy child, and applied the substitution principle by exchanging “healthy food” for “junk food”, coming up with:



Yogurt Shakes are easy, nonfat, frosty, creamy, and nutritious. But more importantly, they’re something you and your children can enjoy guilt free. How often does THAT happen?!

One of the things I love about Yogurt Shakes is that they’re an easy way to fulfill those pesky daily fruit requirements. If you’re adventurous, you can even throw in spinach or kale. I’m not that brave. I live by the motto: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Use any fruit you like but, unless you have an aversion or allergy, a banana is a must. There’s something magical about the interaction between the ice cubes and a banana that produces a creamy shake instead of one filled with annoying ice chunks.

Tip: I wouldn’t be living up to my self-proclaimed title of Queen of Freeze if I didn’t remind you to freeze those over-ripened bananas heading to the compost heap. Use them in your Yogurt Shakes!

Yogurt Shakes are made in a blender. If you have one of those jet-engine blenders (like I do), you’ll have no problem getting a creamy chunk-free shake. But if you have a cheapy one (I have one of those, too), you might want to invest in an inexpensive ice crusher….or a hammer and a sturdy plastic bag, and break up the ice cubes before putting them in the blender. Even with a banana, the motor just isn’t powerful enough to completely purée the ice. If you don’t mind the odd ice chunk, don’t worry about it.

Although I occasionally change up the fruit, this is my go-to Yogurt Shake recipe. I always add a packet per person of Emergen C – I’ve found it not only enhances the flavor, but it’s another way to add vitamins into our diets.

Note: I use only 1 banana even if I double the recipe. If I triple it, then I add an extra banana.

YOGURT SHAKE – for 1 person

  • 1 large spoonful nonfat plain yogurt
  • 4 strawberries
  • 1 large handful blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • splash pomegranate juice
  • splash orange juice
  • optional: 1 pkt/person Emergen C (I use Pomegranate-Cranberry and/or Blueberry Açaí)
  • about 6 ice cubes – more ice cubes will yield a thicker shake

Mix everything in the blender on medium/high. Serve immediately.

For more articles and recipes, go to my blog at VEGETARIAN COOKING FOR CARNIVORES BLOG.

The Earl’s Lemon Drop and Earl Grey Creme Infused Vodka

It’s been too hot out recently to drink tea in it’s usual state, so what was I to do with this newly acquired Earl Grey Creme from Teavana? Infuse it into vodka and make a cool, refreshing cocktail of course! A regular at my bar works at Teavana and had brought this tea in for me and another bartender to try, she was telling us that the loose leaf teas are the best of the crop and give the best flavor. This particular one includes a nice vanilla touch to it and it’s been fun to try out in different infusions. Here I use it in a vodka and lemon drop inspired cocktail which is perfect for a summer evening.

Earl Grey Creme Infused Vodka


I used about a tablespoon of the Teavana Earl Grey Creme in about a cup and a half of vodka. I stuck it in a jar in the refrigerator for about 4 hours. Then I strained it through a tea strainer and back again through a coffee filter. You could skip the second straining but you might have some small specks of tea left. Alternatively you could also try bagged tea if straining is just not your thing. Try it with soda, tonic, or my own recipe below!


The Earl’s Lemon Drop

Refreshing with a little bite, inspired by the classic lemon drop and anything but.

1.5 oz earl grey infused vodka

0.75 oz Tuaca vanilla citrus liqueur

0.5 oz fresh lemon juice

0.5 oz homemade simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water dissolved)

0.25 Luxardo Maraschino liqueur

2 d. Scrappy’s Cardamom Bitters

Sugar and fresh or dried lemon for garnish.

Prep a coupe or martini glass by rubbing lemon around the rim and dipping the rim into a plate of sugar. Place all ingredients in a mixing tin with ice and shake vigorously 8-10 times. Strain into your glass and finish with a lemon slice, peel, or as I did a dehydrated lemon wheel. IMG_6105


Thanks a Melon: Jill’s Watermelon Agua Fresca

Who doesn’t love a good slice of watermelon in the summertime? And even better, a refreshing drink to cool off? I say combine both.

My husband and I had the Watermelon Agua Fresca at Whole Foods the other day and then decided to create our own healthier version of it.

The term ‘agua fresca’ usually represents a drink with fruit, water and sugar, but this healthier version is just fruit with a bit of water (and honey if you’re missing the extra sweetness). You can add your own personal flavor addition as well… I recommend Lime, Basil or Mint!

Watermelon Agua Fresca


• Half of a Large Seedless Watermelon or a Whole Small Seedless Watermelon
• A large wedge of Lime or a few sprigs of Basil or Mint
• Enough water to cushion the blender
(Optional) A tablespoon of honey

Chop the watermelon in half and scoop the fruit out with a kitchen utensil of your choice and into the blender. Mine was the 3/4 Cup Measuring Spoon.


Add enough water to cushion the blender (About 1/4 of the fruit covered in water). Add a little honey if you think you’ll miss the added sweetness of a typical agua fresca.

Blend on puree and pour into your favorite stylish glass. Then add your squeezes of lime or sprigs of Mint or Basil and let the flavor soak in. Chill in the fridge (or a shaker for some added fun and quicker chilling) and enjoy!


To check out some of Jill’s artistic creations (including her blog), visit her artist website:

Happy 4th of July: Vegetarian Corn Dogs


Happy 4th of July everyone!

What could be more American than a corn dog? Well, we vegetarians can still enjoy them by using faux (that’s a fancy way of saying, ‘fake’) hot dogs. I make them a little healthier by baking, rather than deep frying them.

They’re absolutely delicious – even my carnivorous husband loves them! I’ve made an instructional video you can watch by clicking CORN DOGS.

FYI, not all imitation meats are created equal. Some are downright disgusting. But some are fabulous – so if you don’t like one brand, try another. My favorite fake hot dog comes in a can, so they’re moist. They’re called Linketts (see photo). And, vegans – eat away!


Have a safe 4th, and remember to keep your pets inside.


Bonnie’s DIY Tomato Veg Cocktail

VIRGIN....or, VODKA???

Oh, those lazy days of summer!

Every now and then I like to take a little time to read a book, sip a cocktail, and enjoy our beautiful backyard – completely ignoring the pile of shirts that need ironing and the carpets that need vacuuming.

Fiddle-dee-dee! Like Scarlett O’Hara, I’ll think about it tomorrow.

My beverage of choice today is a Tomato Veg Cocktail. Yes, I could have had a V8, or even bought Bloody Mary Mix. But I like to know what’s in my food, so I created my own version.


I wish I could say that all you have to do is throw everything in a blender and push the button. Unfortunately, it’s a little more work than that. The veggies need to be cooked for about 20 minutes so they puree better.

The other bit of work is strictly up to you and your preference. Tomatoes and red peppers both have skins that don’t completely break down, even in a high powered blender. What you end up with is lots of skin slivers. Also, the strings on the celery spine should be removed. These things are not necessarily bad – in fact, they add a little more fibre. However, I prefer my Tomato Veg Cocktail without the bits.


peeling tomatoTo remove seeds, cut the tomato in half horizontally and poke your finger into the crevasses. Firmly grasp each half in your palm, cut side facing out, and shake out the seeds.


peeling pepper


peeling celery

TOMATO-VEG COCKTAIL – makes about 3¾ cups

  • 1½ lbs tomatoes (2 large), skinned, seeded, and chopped in large chunks
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 2 T red beet, skinned & chopped
  • 1/2 cup spinach, sliced & packed
  • 2 T parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, peeled & chopped
  • 3 stalks chopped celery, strings removed
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1½ cups water
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 1½ T vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Put the tomato, carrot, beet, spinach, parsley, red pepper, celery, onion, and water into a large saucepan. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat to simmer, and let cook for 20 minutes. Stir now and then. Turn off burner and let mixture cool with cover on.

Pour into a blender or food processor and purée. Add in lime juice, Tabasco, Worcestershire, and sea salt. Blend on low speed. Adjust seasonings, if needed.

Refrigerate until it’s super cold.


Dehydrated Citrus: How To and Uses

IMG_5920I am the queen of best intentions, one of those great intentions is always having fresh citrus around to pop into tea, water, and recipes for an extra kick of flavor. The reality of this is that I buy a bunch of gorgeous fruits and then they proceed to go bad as I forget to use them, I toss them, and repeat the process. Fortunately a great way to fix this has been taking all that lovely citrus and dehydrating it for extended use. I have a dehydrator but if you don’t you can easily dry a batch of fruit in your oven too.

How To Dehydrate Citrus

Select the fruit you want to dry. I am using limes, lemons, and oranges. Make sure they are IMG_5576clean and remove stickers.  In order to get the zest and fruit but not the bitter white pith I peeled the zest away with a carrot peeler. Try to get as little pith as possible by keeping your peels thin and not pressing too hard. After I peeled the fruit I cut it into thin slices so that this can be dried separately. At this point you have to decide if you are going the oven or dehydrator route. The dehydrators are great, more energy efficient, and not too pricey. But if it isn’t something you will use a lot or have limited space you may just want to use your oven.

In the Dehydrator

I have this affordable 5 tray dehyrator from Ronco, it is pretty simple but a good value if you’re looking to get one. Mine does not have options for temperature, so if you are using a different one I recommend checking your manual for individual temperature settings and IMG_5579dry times. For mine I just place the zest strips together on some trays since they dry faster and the citrus meat on the others. Since they dry slower and need more time I put the meat in the bottom closer to the heat source. I checked on it and in about 8 hours the zests were ready to be removed. Left overnight, close to 24 hours, I removed the meat slices. I left them a little longer so they would get really dry, but they may brown a tad bit. There were a few thin cut ones that I had to remove sooner. Checking in on your fruit is really important but since it is such a slow process with the dehydrator there is a lot of room for negligence.

In the Oven

Your oven will dehydrate much quicker so make sure you keep a little more vigilant with IMG_5577checking in on your fruit. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and lay all the zests together and meats together without overlapping. Place your oven at it’s lowest setting and prop the door open a bit (I used a folded pot holder). Everything here will depend on how low your oven goes, mine has a lowest setting of Warm and then 200 after that, so I’m not really sure what “Warm” is quantified as. My zests were finished within 3-4 hours and the wheels of fruit were done around 8 hours.


This is the fun part! Experiment with using your dried citrus where you would normally use fresh. Try the meat versus the zest. I love the vibrant flavor of the dried flesh but the zest can add a nice understated zing to food and drink. Make sure you store them in airtight containers once cool.

Seasonings- try pulverizing the meat or zest in a spice grinder and make your own seasoning mixes or set aside for those recipes that call for citrus zest. Homemade lemon pepper anyone? Try lemon sugar for your iced tea and my personal favorite, a snappy orange salt for margarita rims.IMG_5557

Drinks- Add a strip of zest or a wheel to water or tea. Keep them in ziplocs in your purse to pep up your water on the go. Try making your own tea blends featuring the dried zest.

Candy- If you are a fan of sour candy then this is nature’s gift to you. I pop the dried flesh out of the wheels and eat it straight. Oranges are a fun sweet and sour treat, lemons will have you wincing! As much as I love limes raw, they just don’t do it for me here but give it a try.

Cooking- use in broths, marinades, and the like to add extra flavor. I can’t wait to add some of my slices to the next pot of cuban black beans I make!

Bonnie Proposes a Toast: Toasty Tomato Pesto Sandwich


It’s all happening in the garden! Tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, basil, and, of course, the ever-present zucchini.

What to do with nature’s bounty?

When I picked my first tomato, I wanted to make the most of this tempting treat. So I came up with an amazing sandwich:  toasted focaccia bread slathered with pesto, topped with provolone cheese and a slice of my precious tomato.


I’m a firm believer in cooking from scratch – it not only saves big bucks, but it empowers you to choose what goes in your body. So, of course, I made the pesto and focaccia myself.

However, I understand not everyone shares my passion. You can simply purchase the pesto and focaccia and STILL have a great tasting sandwich.

Because I can’t help myself, I’ll share my pesto recipe for you adventurous souls – it’s easy, I promise!


  • tomato slice (preferably home grown or from a farmer’s market)
  • 2 or 3 Tbsp. pesto (recipe follows below)
  • 2 slices provolone (or whatever cheese you prefer)
  • focaccia roll (or bread cut into sandwich sized piece)
  1. Slice the focaccia in half horizontally and toast it.
  2. Lay the cheese on bottom half and zap in the microwave for 15 seconds or so to melt the cheese.
  3. Slather on pesto.
  4. Add the tomato.
  5. Place the top half of the roll.

PESTO – makes 1 cup

  • 2  1/2 cups (4 oz) basil, packed
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2  1/2 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup Romano cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Put all ingredients in a blender and puree. You’re going to have to start and stop a lot to smoosh things around for awhile.  WARNING:  Do NOT push down with any utensil while machine is running. Been there, done that. Turn machine off before mixing things up! Pretty soon everything will blend on its own.

Now open wide and enjoy the feast!!!

Creamy Bacon-Wrapped Jalapenos

Bacon-wrapped jalapeños are the queen of snacks, perfect for the Women’s World Cup Soccer parties this weekend (if you’re going) and it’s really easy to make.

Ever since I was introduced to these, I’ve been cooking them for all the parties I had. All my guests like them. Even the pickiest eater I know, my Grandpa, loves them.

I broil them in the oven, but you can also cook them on the BBQ for a hint of smoky flavor. The BBQ is a little harder but it’s worth it. It will require you to tightly wrap the bacon around the jalapeños.


Creamy Bacon-Wrapped Jalapenos


  • 6 Serrano (or Jalapeno) Peppers (Jalapenos if you like it spicy!)
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese
  • 16 oz Hardwood Smoked Bacon (Applewood if you like it sweet!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the peppers in half and dispose of the insides. It’s up to you if you want to leave the stems. Personally, I think it helps to pick them up while eating.

Spread cream cheese evenly inside the peppers without overflowing.

Wrap the peppers in bacon, starting at one end and finishing at the other.

Place peppers, cream cheese side-up on a non-stick baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes and then broil until desired crispiness.

Take them out, let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy your gluttonous snack!

To check out some of Jill’s artistic creations (including her blog), visit her artist website:


Bonnie enjoying a little homemade yogurt!
Bonnie enjoying a little homemade yogurt!

Who makes their own yogurt?  I DO!

Why? Because it’s healthier than store bought (look at the list of ingredients on nearly every carton – yuck)! Plus, I’m frugal (okay, cheap!).

Yogurt is good for you in so many ways, such as boosting the immune system, helping the digestive tract with good bacteria, and adding needed calcium to our diets (Hear that, ladies?).

I make it in a thermos, which is the perfect medium for growing a culture since the temperature remains constant. It’s super easy and, once you get into the routine of making it, you’ll always have pure, healthy yogurt at the ready. You can watch my how-to video by clicking HOMEMADE YOGURT IN A THERMOS.

A word of warning – homemade yogurt can be an acquired taste since it doesn’t contain all the sugars and thickeners that companies add to make it sweet. So, just add your own fruit or granola, if you don’t like the tartness of plain yogurt.

While the actual amount of work time is about 15 minutes, the cooling and incubation bring the total time to about 13 1/2 hours. So, DO THE MATH! Start the yogurt when you’ll be available to remove it from the thermos.


NOTE:  Put aside enough plain yogurt to start your next batch before adding in the goodies.


  • 1 quart milk (I use nonfat)
  • 1 cup powdered milk
  • 1/4 cup PLAIN yogurt (either from your last batch or purchased)

–  Heat liquid and powdered milks in a saucepan to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat.

–  Prime 32 oz thermos with hot water.

–  When milk cools to 110 degrees F, gently stir in yogurt.

–  Empty water from thermos and pour in milk. (Use a funnel – trust me on this!)

–  Cap the thermos and set aside UNDISTURBED for about 12 hours. The length of time depends on your taste preference – the longer the incubation, the tarter the yogurt.

–  Remove yogurt from thermos and refrigerate.

Be sure and check out my blog, VEGETARIAN COOKING FOR CARNIVORES BLOG.

Grandma’s Pasta Salad (with a twist!)

My grandma has always made that kinda pasta salad you can’t stop eating. I decided to take her delicious recipe and not only make it healthier with whole wheat, but also a meal in itself with more protein.

The core ingredients are solid, but for the seasoning, feel free to get creative with measurements. Check out what’s in your spice cabinet. Maybe you’re more of a sweet kind of gal, so a dash of sugar may do the trick for you. Or try different kinds of mustards. Make this dish your recipe with the seasonings.

Always remember, when possible, buy organic, fair trade and free range from a trusted retailer!


  • 9 oz whole grain pasta
  • 12 oz hardwood smoked bacon
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 pickle spears
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 6 slices roasted red pepper
  • 3 oz black olives

Seasoning (add to taste, using as little mayo as possible):

  • Mustard
  • Mayo
  • Dill Seasoning
  • Splash of pickle juice
  • Sea Salt
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Sriracha (for a little kick!)

Cook all the bacon in a pan, flipping until crispy. When finished, turn stove off and cover.

Bring 3 quarts of water to boil, add pasta and a dash of sea salt and bring back to a boil for about 8 minutes (until pasta is al dente). When finished, turn stove off, drain and cover.

And use my mom’s foolproof hard-boiled egg method…

Put all the eggs in a pan fully covered with water that’s been salted for 10 seconds. Boil on High for 5 minutes. Finish on Medium Heat for 17 minutes. When finished, drain and fill the pan with cold water.

Then dice pickles, celery, red peppers, black olives, bacon, eggs (if you’re watching your cholesterol, remove half the yolks from the batch) and add to drained pasta.

In a mixing bowl, add mustard, mayo, salt and parmesan to taste, and try to use as little mayo as possible. Then I like to add dill seasoning and a splash of pickle juice (I’m a salty kind of gal). Then add Sriracha (I love a good kick). Then mix this seasoning into the pasta salad.

Let the pasta salad cool in the fridge for 3-4 hours and enjoy!

Makes about 8 servings.

To check out some of Jill’s artistic creations (including her blog), visit her artist website:

Super Creamy Dairy Free Mexican Squash Soup with Crostini

I love squash, all kinds of squash, so much that I always plant as many varieties
as I can in our garden. One of my favorites is the Mexican squash also
sometimes called summer squash. I love its flavor and texture. It is very
similar to the Italian zucchini just way way more flavorful. You can find it in
any Latin market or some farmer markets. Right now in California it is in
season so this is the best time to cook with it. Let’s get started with this
simple and delicious recipe:
Pictured: Mexican Squash Plant from my Garden
Ingredients for Soup:
  • 4 Mexican squash
  • 1 ½ white onion
  • 2 qts chicken broth. Vegan alternative vegetable broth low sodium
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 2 tbs canola oil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 4 springs Fresh cilantro
Ingredients for Crostini:
  • 1 rustic baguette roll
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • Salt
Start by chopping the squash into squares and chop the onions in slices.
Pictured: Chopped Mexican Squash
Put the canola oil in the pot and add the onions. We want to caramelize the onions
a little bit, to accomplish this lower the flame to medium and move the onions
for a few minutes.
Pictured: Onions
Add the Mexican squash with the onions. Add salt and pepper to taste. You will see
that the squash will change color and it will get soft.
Pictured: Squash, Onions, Salt & Pepper
Add the chicken broth to the squash and onions. If you want to make this recipe
Vegan just use Vegetable broth. Bring it to a boil and let it cook for about 5
minutes. After that use a hand blender/emulsifier to blend the soup.
Pictured: Hand Blender/emulsifier
That will create the creamy smooth consistency of our soup. Add the bay leaves and let it
cook for 20 minutes. Lower the flame to low.
Pictured: Soup with Bay Leaves
To make the crostini the first thing you want to do is turn your oven on at 380°F.
Slice the baguette as thinly as possible.
Pictured: Rustic Baguette
Arrange on a baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil on both sides of the bread. You can use a brush for this. Season the bread lightly with salt.
Pictured: Rustic Baguette


Our soon to be crostinis are ready to go in the oven bake them for 10-12 minutes.
We want them to be slightly brown and crunchy.
Pictured: Crostini
Garnish the soup with a little bit of cilantro. Buen provecho!
Pictured: Mexican Squash Soup with Crostini


Girls on Food Miso Lentils: A Healthy Side Dish

Being a Girl on Food can be tough on my wallet and my waistline. I’ve realized that I need to start cooking at home more often, even if it’s just for me and my boyfriend. I came up with this healthy recipe on a day when I was too lazy to go grocery shopping. Although I was making it up as I went along, I shocked by how good this turned out. It’s definitely a side dish worth sharing. Lentils are great, zero fat, high in fiber and protein, perfect for those watching their weight. Enjoy!

Soybean Paste, White Type


Girls on Food Miso Lentils 


Makes 5 x 1/2 cup servings

  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of Soybean Paste, White Type
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup whole green small lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

I got my Soybean Paste at a Japanese Market called Mitsuwa Marketplace. It’s a giant grocery store that has a food court, coffee and pastry shops and sushi grade seafood. I could spend an entire day there. There are darker, saltier miso pastes to get, but I prefer the lighter kind.

Start by browning the yellow and green onion with the coconut oil together in a medium to large sized sauce pan, stovetop. Once they’re looking cooked, turn the heat down to a low simmer. Then add the soybean paste and 2 cups of water. This should look similar to the miso soup you would order in a sushi restaurant.

Broth is almost ready to add lentils
Broth is almost ready to add lentils

Bring the miso soup to a boil. Then add the green lentils.

The lentils swimming in soup
The lentils swimming in soup

I let the lentils boil in the soup for about 5 minutes. Then, reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer until liquid is almost absorbed, approximately 35 to 40 minutes. Once the liquid is absorbed, turn off heat and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. They will have a creamy texture but will still be a little firm, cause that’s the green lentil’s texture.

The miso lentils, almost ready to plate

I’m a little embarrassed with my meat topping choice here. It was healthy to go with pan fried tilapia… but it wasn’t easy on the eyes. I tried to dress it up with some wilted spinach and a little cherry tomato. Sigh. Sorry.

My ugly tilapia (sadface)
My ugly tilapia (sadface)

The lentils would go great with rotisserie chicken, grilled veggies or tamari marinated tofu. Those would also look prettier.

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