Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mustard-Almond Crusted Mahi Mahi

Finally, here is the third recipe in the standing-at-the-front-of-the-grocery-store-with-my-cookbook series. 
This one, by far, was the most delicious.  Definitely a top 10 meal that I've made since we started clean eating and worthy of being added to the "My Favorite Meals" page of gold-medal dinners.

This recipe is, as usual, really simple.  
  1. Select a white fish of your choice.  The recipe called for tilapia, but the grocery store was all out and out choices were Haddock or Mahi Mahi.  We took a vote and with a score of 1 - 0, the Mahi Mahi was selected.
  2. Once the fish is washed, top each fillet with 1/2 tablespoon of all-natural mustard. 
  3. Mix whole wheat bread crumbs with chopped almonds. 
    • Here's where I have to digress a little.  I put MJ in charge of getting whole wheat bread crumbs while I went off to find chopped almonds.   MJ came back with bread crumbs, reporting that there was no whole wheat option.  It wasn't until we got home and I started cooking that I realized he picked panko crumbs.  He said I knew they were panko crumbs in the store but I definitely did not.  Oh well, I had a Tim Gunn "make it work" moment and used the panko crumbs instead.  Meanwhile, I don't really think "chopped almonds" exist, so my choices were slivered almonds, sliced almonds, or sliced almonds with the skin still on.  MJ picked the third option and we were on our way.
  4. Top the fish with the almond/bread crumb mixture.  Pat it on to make sure it stays.
  5. Bake fish.  We did 400 degrees for 18 minutes.
  6. Pick a veggie and side dish of your choice.  We opted for brussel sprouts (that we sauteed) and some quinoa with chickpeas.  Really this fish could go with anything.
  7. Plate, eat and enjoy!

This meal was really, really delicious.  Luckily we made 5 pieces because MJ ate a ton and we still had enough for leftovers!   Let me know if you try this tasty dinner!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Orange Glazed Salmon

Tonight's meal is another standing-at-the-front-of-the-grocery-store-with-my-cookbook selection!  This meal sounded delicious and easy - glazed salmon?  Very few ingredients?  I'm in.

Unfortunately, it wasn't till I was home, making this salmon, that I realized the recipe called it "GRILLED glazed salmon."
Womp womp, we don't have a grill.

Can Julie Chickpea save the day?
Stay tuned:

Here's how to make it:
  1. Select a veggie of choice, that you will grill/saute/bake to your liking.  The recipe suggested asparagus spears, so we selected a pre-cut medley of asparagus, mushrooms and onions, that we then sauteed on the stove and seasoned with some garlic salt.
  2. Salmon.  Or whatever fish your heart desires.  The recipe has you top the salmon with some brown sugar and orange rind and let it marinate for 2 - 8 hours.  Well, not only do we not have a grill, but we definitely don't have an "orange zester" or whatever it is you used to get the outside of the orange into an edible form.  Do people really have those?  And if you do, have you actually used it?  Instead I just squeezed some fresh orange juice on the fish and called it a day. I let the fish marinate for ALMOST 2 hours (i mean, it was getting late, and we were hungry) before I popped the fish in the oven and cooked it for about 15 minutes.
  3. Chop up a fresh pineapple.  We actually did this.  Yes, I know it's shocking but I followed instructions!

Colorful, no?
But, this actually turned out pretty bad.  I mean, it was completely edible but the flavor was lacking and the pineapple totally didn't go with the asparagus/orange flavors.  Now, I know what you're thinking.  Obviously my error was in the incorrect use of the orange.  I'd totally be willing to try this meal again once I get my hands on one of those zester thingies.  Until then, I volunteer you, faithful reader, to try it out and tell me about it!  Send me a message and I'll send you the exact recipe so we can make sure the fish you make is delicious! 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Peanut Toss Chicken

Sorry for the delay in posts, friends.  We spent a few days not cooking anything and then a lot of days cooking and somehow I fell behind.  Don't worry, I have a lot of posts queued up for a few days of yummy clean eating.
This week I did something strange - I brought my cookbook to the grocery store.  I hate shopping when I'm not sure what I'll be making because I'll either a) fall back on boring meals that we make all the time, or b) forget a key ingredient, like the chicken.
So, I bought my cookbook.  Actually, it went something more like this:
MJ: "hey Julie, since I did the grocery shopping last, we're out of everything!  Meet me at Trader Joe's on your way home from work?"
Julie: "okay, dear, but can you bring the 100, 200, 300 cookbook? It's tiny."
MJ: "yea it's huge but I'll bring it."

So I met MJ at the front of the store and while he selected bananas and apples, I flipped through the 300 section of the cookbook to decide what to get.

The first meal I picked was "Peanut Toss Pork" but we Chickpeas don't eat pork, so I substituted the pork out for chicken.  You may remember that I've made this exact recipe before, which I also knew, but didn't bother to read my previous blog post before making this meal.
The good news is that I cooked the veggies correctly this time.  The bad news is that I still thought the sauce had WAY too much ginger.*  But again, the good news is that I made the sauce on the side and could happily enjoy the meal without any gingery contamination. 

So here's how you make peanut toss chicken/pork - cook whatever you like.

  1. Begin preparing brown rice.
  2. Heat peanuts in a pan for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. While MJ stirs for you, cut peppers and onions into long strips.  The recipe also calls for carrots, but I'm not a huge fan of carrots, so I left them out.  But don't listen to me, if you like carrots - cut some carrots!
  4. Remove the peanuts from the heat and throw in sliced chicken/pork.  Saute until the meat is no longer pink.
  5. Remove the chicken/pork and add the veggies.
  6. Meanwhile, make sauce from the following ingredients: low sodium soy sauce, cider vinegar, ginger (NOT TOO MUCH), garlic, salt, pepper.  I'd give you measurements but I hated the ones the book suggested, so I would never tell you to do that.*
  7. Once the veggies have been cooking for about 5 minutes, re-add the chicken and peanuts. 
  8. Cook another 2 minutes
  9. Serve over brown rice.  Top with non-gingery sauce.
  10. Enjoy!
* I should probably mention that MJ enjoyed the sauce.  Maybe I'm just ginger-sensitive?

Monday, June 18, 2012


Good afternoon readers.  MJ and I were traveling this weekend, which means we cooked 0 meals and I have no new recipes to report.  Don't cry.  Please? Okay go get a tissue, I'll wait.

Okay great.  Feeling better? Don't worry, I still have stuff to talk to you about.  Remember, this blog isn't just about recipes, but about all kinds of ways to eat clean.  As we all know, I love chocolate. And candy.  And it's a regular occurrence for me to eat a twix bar or a reese's peanut butter cup because they are just great.  And easy.  In the past, I viewed these digressions as just a natural, unavoidable part of clean eating.  But the world is about to change.

MJ showed me a Wall Street Journal article about a 15 year old boy that is changing candy.  And it's awesome.  Nicky Bronner loves chocolate too.  And when his parents made him throw out most of his Halloween candy because it was unnatural and bad for him, he decided to change candy.  He created a line of candy called "Unreal" that is supposed to taste just like the candy we all know and love, but using only all natural ingredients.  AKA he is "unjunking" junk food.  Let me tell you, I really hope this kid delivers on his promise.  And that our future Chickpea-Jordan babies are just as ambitious in their futures. 

Here's one example of the Unreal candy.  They made a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup that's supposed to be way better than a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.  Looks like there are also "cleaner" versions of M&Ms, Peanut M&Ms, Snickers and Milky Ways coming out.  All I can say is that I cannot wait till the Unreal products come out.  I will definitely try them and report back to you.  I think they are coming to CVS in July.

Have you heard of Unreal?  What do you think of Nicky's new candy line?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Honey Mustard Tilapia

Michael Jordan and I watched a special on the 1992 Dream Team last night.  He really enjoyed reminiscing about his glory days in the 90s.  Great video footage of all his fans in Barcelona.

We should really get together with Magic and Bird soon.  Maybe I'll invite them over for dinner.

Meanwhile, while we were watching MJ win the gold with his buddies in '92, we ate dinner.
This week, MJ went to the grocery store on his own.  Which means he bough bananas, milk, and a bag of salad.
Luckily, we had a package of frozen tilapia.  I defrosted it and then flavored it with a Chickpea family classic - honey and mustard.  This combination really works on any fish.  Equal parts honey and mustard.  Super easy.  I also topped the tilapia fillets with a few panko crumbs to give the salad a little more pizazz.  I baked the fish in the oven for 15 minutes and then put it on the salad and called it a day.

During a commercial break, MJ added balsamic vinaigrette to his salad.  Then he asked for rice.  We have this really easy frozen rice medley from trader joes:

It only takes 3 minutes to make and tastes great.  I topped mine with a little honey/mustard mixture to tie in the flavors.  This meal probably took about about 1 minute of prep time and 15 minutes to cook.  This dinner gets a gold medal for being simple, easy and yummy.

Honey Mustard Tilapia with Salad and Rice Medley

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Eggplant Kale Penne

It's funny how much things have changed over the past year.  One of our staple dinners has become Eggplant Kale Penne.  I learned about this meal through following my clean eating meal plan, and as I was brain storming how to tell you about this dinner, I went back though my old posts and found the first time I made Eggplant Kale Penne, on Day 13.

The difference between Julie Chickpea Future Jordan and the Julie Chickpea of Day 13 is tremendous.  First of all, I don't bother to look at the recipe anymore, so all the beef I had with the clean eating editors is long forgotten.  But now that I'm thinking about it, they really should have done a better job editing their cookbook.  Page numbers seem like a simple enough thing to check and fix.  Anyway, since Julie Chickpea Future Jordan doesn't follow the recipe anymore, the issue with ingredient quantity and portion size are nonexistent.  I make my own rules now.  So, here are my new rules/recipe:

Before starting, buy:
  • 1 eggplant or two, depending on the size of the eggplant and the size of the people you are feeding
  • whole wheat pasta of choice (2 oz uncooked per person)
  • 1 package feta cheese
  • 1 jar natural tomato sauce (optional)
  • pine nuts
  • 1 bag kale.  This is what we get:

So here's how you make it:
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Make pasta.
  2. Preheat oven to 400.  Chop 1 large eggplant into 1-inch cubes.  Yes, some of them will be triangles.  That's okay. Lighten up a bit, you're just going to eat it.  Line a tray with foil and spread cubes  evenly over the tray, adding a little bit of oil and some salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the little eggplant cubes half way through.
  3. In a large wok/frying pan, add kale.  If you have a small wok, cook the Kale in shifts.  Keep the heat on medium and stir frequently.  Season to taste.  We use garlic salt.  The entire bag should cut up in less than 5 minutes. 
  4. Plate the pasta, add eggplant and kale, sprinkle with pine nuts and feta cheese.  Then, if you're MJ, add tomato sauce.

Something that hasn't changed this past year?  MJ is still pretty much Slowpoke Rodriguez. 

Chickpea Cookie Dough Update.

I went away for the weekend and left MJ alone in the house.  I came back to find this:

I'm gonna go ahead and say the chickpea cookie dough was a huge success.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Popcorn Caluliflower

The other day, Michael Jordan requested that we make cauliflower for dinner.  Now when he says "we," he of course means "you" aka yours truly, Julie Chickpea. 
I accepted his challenge/request because it's so rare that MJ expresses any type of opinion about what we eat other than to say "this is great, Julie!  I can't wait to do dishes!" 

I love cauliflower, but it's a big pain to chop up and makes a huge mess.  I know that you can buy pre-chopped cauliflower, but that's cheating. 

The Chickpea family has a famous "Popcorn Cauliflower" recipe that involves a lot of spices and a lot of oil.  Over the years I'm modified this recipe, and my version of Popcorn Cauliflower goes something like this:
  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Chop up 2 heads of cauliflower so there's almost no stem/trunk (you know - if you picture them as little trees, we only want the leaves).
  3. Put all your tiny cauliflower tops into a big zip lock bag
  4. Add a little bit (1/8 tsp) of the following spices:
    • cumin
    • turmeric
    • garlic powder
    • onion powder
    • salt
    • pepper
    • paprika
  5. Zip the bag.  Shake shake shake.  All the cauliflower should get spread with the spice mixture and will probably turn yellow from the turmeric.  Shake shake shake.
  6. Cover a baking tray (one that has edges!!) with foil.  Spray the foil with pam/oil mist so that your baby caulis don't get stuck. 
  7. Spread the little cauli tops on the tray so they are pretty even and not that stacked on top of each other.
  8. Bake for about 20 - 30 minutes.  Yea I know that's a huge range but just reach in (CAREFULLY) and taste one.  If it tastes delicious, they're done.  If you prefer them a little more done, leave them in. 
I should note that I've seen/tried other great cauliflower recipes that involve some type of bread crumb or panko crumb.  I've done this occasionally but prefer just the spices I've listed above.

So anyway, I made Julie's version of the Chickpea family popcorn cauliflower recipe.  This time I also baked some chicken.  MJ added some orange/teriyaki glaze to his chicken, which is pictured below:

Do you have a cauliflower recipe you love? Let me know!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Peach Salsa Salmon

Good afternoon, Bloggettes. 
I have another fabulous, quick and easy recipe that I created. 
You can customize this recipe any way you want to make it delicious for you. Here's what I did:

I was standing in Trader Joe's and decided I wanted to make some type of fish with a flavored salsa.  There were two contenders for Battle Salsa: Peach and Pineapple.

First, I was worried that the Peach salsa was called "spicy" and "smoky."  I have zero tolerance for anything spicy and was worried a strong spicy flavor might ruin the meal for me.  But this salsa is on the mild to medium side, so don't be alarmed.  Both Peach and Pineapple had all natural ingredients, all that I could pronounce, and similar calories/serving.  However, the Peach salsa had less sodium, so it was crowned the winner of the epic battle of peach v. pineapple.

I also picked up some salmon, which MJ and I love, avocados, which we adore, and some Spanish rice to complete the dish.

Honestly though you could make this meal with any salsa, any fish, and any rice/side dish and it will be delicious.

At home, I turned the oven on to somewhere around 400, poured some salsa on top of my salmon, and baked the fish for about 15 - 20 minutes (checking often and ignoring the burning smell from the salsa that leaked onto the tray).

I loved how little effort I had to put into the meal.  More importantly, I loved how it tasted because I used all of our favorite things.  The peach salsa had great flavor and wasn't spicy at all.  And I think avocado takes any meal to the next level, so tonight was a great success in the Chickpea-Jordan household.  Let me know if you come up with a fish-salsa creation that you want to share!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Chickpea Cookie Dough!

As you know, I love cookies. 
A lot. 
But it's difficult to eat cookies when you are trying to live a healthy lifestyle.  Don't get me wrong, I do still eat cookies, but if there's a healthy alternative out there that still tastes yummy, I'm ready to try it.

I've previously tried Almond Butter Cookies and Chewy Mocha Brownie Cookies and Dessert Nachos.  All were relatively successful and, if you're going to eat dessert, these are great alternatives to the unhealthier counterparts.  So I'm always willing to try a new dessert and when Pinterest led me to this Healthy Cookie Dough, I knew I had to try. 

This recipe comes from a girl who calls herself "Chocolate-Covered Kate" which I think is French for "we should really be friends since we both seem to like healthy-versions of desserts."  Call me, Kate.

Anyway, when I saw this recipe it literally had my name on it.  I mean, my name is Julie Chickpea.  And I love cookies.  Match made in heaven.  Sorry MJ.

So Kate lists out ingredients that you should use, but in true Julie Chickpea style, I only used what I had. Which is how I think all recipes should work. If you don't have it in your fridge/pantry, forget it. It will still taste good.

So here's what Kate said to use:
  • 1 1/2 cups chickpeas or white beans (1 can, drained)
  • 1/8 tsp plus 1/16 tsp salt
  • tiny bit over 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup nut butter (You can get away with using only 3 tbsp. If you use peanut butter, it’ll have a slight “pb cookie dough” taste)
  • up to 1/4 cup milk of choice, only if needed
  • Sweetener (anywhere from 2/3 cup of brown sugar to 2 or 3 packets of sweetener, liquid sweetener, etc.)
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 to 3 tbsp oats
Then you put it all except for the chocolate chips in a food processor (NOT A BLENDER) and then add the chips and eat it.  She gives a lot of good suggestions for dippers also. 

But here's what I really used:
  • However many chickpeas we had left from our Can Salad dinner.  Probably about half the can.
  • 1/8 salt
  • No baking soda.  Didn't have it, and I wasn't going to buy it to add "a tiny bit over 1/8 of a teaspoon."  Sorry, Kate.
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup almond butter (because it was more fluid and therefore easier to stir than peanut butter)
  • 1/4 cup fat free milk
    • Note: this made it very thin.  I would probably not add milk next time.  However, after leaving the dough sitting in the fridge overnight, the mixer thickened and there's no problem anymore.
  • 1 tablespoon Stevia
  • a handful of 65% cocoa chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons oats
Now the problem is that we don't own a food processor or any type of electric mixer, except for a blender.... but my BFF Kate says absolutely no way should you use a blender.  MJ was also using the blender to make himself a smoothie. So I made the executive decision to to smash the chickpeas by hand/fork and stir in the rest of the ingredients using an old fashion bowl and spoon.  Grandma Chickpea would totally approve.

I think the results came out great, considering I was making it up as I went and opted not to use any technology in the mixing.  MJ and I ate this by the spoonful as a light, quick snack/dessert.  Almost like licking the spatula when Momma Chickpea bakes for me, minus the risk of salmonella.  It doesn't taste exactly like cookie dough but it definitely doesn't taste anything like chickpeas.  We have a ton left, but when this runs out I'd definitely be willing to try it again.  Maybe I'd use a food processor next time.  Maybe.

Thanks Kate.  I love you.  So call me, maybe.
Chickpea Cookie Dough!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Can Salad... and can you make chickpeas taste like cookies?

Hey, what's up?
I'm not.  Because I ate a delicious salad.  I call it "Can Salad" because it requires the opening of a lot of cans.  I used to call it Steak Salad and I still could call it that, but I feel like the new and improved "Can Salad" title is much more fitting.  Because essentially, you can open up cans of whatever you have and put it in your salad.  I'm made this steak salad so many times that I don't even follow the original recipe.  This time, I used:
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Chickpeas
  • White kidney beans
  • Red Kidney beans
  • Chopped cucumbers
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Broken up pieces of whole wheat pita chips
  • Steak (cooked on the stove, seasoned to your liking)
    • I know what you're thinking now.  Julie, you eat a lot of red meat.  You're so right, reader.  And I rarely eat red meat and never order it in a restaurant.  I just happened to pick two recipes with steak and blogged about cow parts two days in a row.  I blame the quinoa.  Please forgive me?  I'll make it up to you tomorrow, I promise.  Okay great thanks.
Dressing: Sweet Relish.  I do not like pickles and I love this relish stuff.  Perfect light dressing.  Even MJ only used the Relish as dressing without adding anything else.  If that's not enough for you though, you can add EVOO or some red wine vinegar.  Or both.  Or make up your own dressing.  You, too, can ignore a recipe just like I have done many times!

I'm pretty sure the recipe is also supposed to call for corn, but after I opened the three cans, MJ said we had enough and we will save the corn for something else.  Any ideas?
my beautiful Can Salad!

Speaking of too many beans, we have a very large amount of left overs.  Most of the beans, veggies and meat we will use for lunch or left over salads, but I saw this recipe on pinterest for chickpea cookie dough, so the remaining chickpeas are definitely going to sacrificed for the sake of science... aka I'm dying to see if you can really make chickpeas taste like cookies.  Please stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Beef and Quinoa Sautee

I made another delicious, healthy, new meal.
Want to hear about it?
This recipes comes from The Best of Clean Eating - Book 2.  The sequel to my first meal plan adventure. MJ got me Book 2 for my birthday.  Lame gift right?  
But then he proposed.  MJ for the win.

Book 2 is like the ugly step sister to my original bible/book because there is no meal plan in the back.  I was surprised and disappointed and relieved to see there wasn't another meal plan included, because I wasn't sure I had it in me to commit to the full Julie/Julia style system again but wouldn't have be able to turn it down if there was.  So I've just be trying recipes as though Book 2 were just a regular cook book.  Which it is.  So this is normal.

So here's your first Book 2 Recipe:

Book 2 names this recipe "Beef Stir-Fry" which is so smothered in boring that I was required to rename it "Beef and Quinoa Sautee."  Much better, right?

Here's what you do:
  1. Cook 1 cup quinoa, according to package directions.  Set aside.
  2. On a wok, heat 1 Tbsp oil.
  3. Add 1 cup chopped onion and 3 cloves of minced garlic.  Heat for 2/3 minutes.
  4. Add 1 chopped red pepper, 1 chopped orange pepper, and 1 chopped green pepper. (I used 1 red and 2 orange.  Sue me).  Also add 1 cup chopped roasted red pepper.  Stir for 2 more minutes
  5. Add 1 lb of beef, trimmed of fat and cut into this strips.  Stir for 2 minutes.
  6. Add 1 cup low sodium beef broth.  Simmer for 2 minutes until steak is cooked through.
  7. Remove from heat. season with basil, salt and pepper.
  8. Serve over quinoa.
  9. Enjoy immensely.

As you may have gathered by this recipe, you are going to spend a lot of prep time chopping away.  I enlisted the help of Sous Chef Jordan and I'm sure he'd be happy to come to your house and help you chop vegetables... as long as you feed him.

Book 2 claims this meal serves 4 and is 377 calories per serving.  We both ate seconds and had a ton of left overs, so this is a great meal to make if you don't feel like cooking the next day or later in the week.

Finally, Book 2 has an image of chopsticks next to their much prettier picture of their boring-titled "Beef-Stir Fry."  If you plan on using chopsticks, I wish you luck.  We opted for forks.

Monday, June 4, 2012

10 Minute Turkey Tacos

The other night, MJ and I had the easiest dinner ever invented.  The recipe came from one of my clean eating cookbooks, but I changed it to be Julie Chickpea style.
This meal is so easy, I would trust MJ to make it on his own.

Here's what you do:

1. Take some small, whole wheat wraps (we used 5: 3 for MJ, 2 for me) and wrap them in foil and throw them in the oven to warm up.

2. Brown some lean, ground turkey.  Season lightly.

That's it.  Seriously.  Everything else is ready to go:

Open a bag of lettuce.  Put lettuce on wrap.

Open a can of low sodium black beans.  Spoon beans on wrap.

Open a jar of natural salsa.  We used Trader Joe's Fresh salsa.  Take a look at the ingredient list.  It should only say things like tomatoes, onions, cilantro, etc.  No words you can't pronounce.  Spoon salsa on wrap.

Open an avocado.  Spoon directly into mouth.

Add ground turkey. 

Eat tacos.

10 Minute Turkey Tacos!

I'm back and getting married!

Hello again to all my long lost readers!  I know it has been over a year since we last met via blog post, but have no fear, Julie is here. 

Let's see  - a lot has changed over the past year.  I've changed jobs. Changed cities.  Changed relationship status.  That's right, Julie Chickpea is going to be Mrs. Julie Jordan!  It's true, clean eating gets you engaged.  You should really try it. 

So now I have a new goal in the distant future: be in shape and lose weight for my future wedding to Michael Jordan.  However, I still maintain that this is not a diet, and this is certainly not a wedding diet and this is certainly certainly not a wedding diet blog.  This is just the beginning of my future life with MJ, and I'm starting early.  Or continuing where I left off.  However you want to think about it.

Now on to the food.  I still have my go-to peanut butter, whole wheat english muffin and banana breakfast almost every morning.  Unless we forgot to go to the grocery store and I eat a veggie egg white flat bread at Dunkin Donuts. 

I've made an effort to start cooking dinners again, and that's where this handy dandy blog will help us both.  I'll tell you about our dinners.  You read about them and try them out!  Sound like a plan?  Okay you don't really need to try any of them, but I'll still tell you about our dinners.  However, since I'm not following an exact meal plan, I'll just tell you about each meal on its own instead of telling you about my whole week/day.  And I'll probably tell you about my wedding, too.  And we'll lose weight! Sounds like a plan? Great.  Let's get started... again.

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