Category Archives: Recipe

I did a lot of debating if I should save this recipe till next Vegan MOFO or not. I do want to continue my Vegan MOFO theme of American Cake Off for 2018, but this one I wanted to post this year. Why? THERE ARE STILL ELECTIONS GOING ON IN THE UNITED STATES!

Some of these elections are big deals. In New Jersey we are voting for a new governor (thank god), state legislator, and freeholder. And in my case, I have the questions to vote on, and people who are running locally for the board of education. This election is a pretty big deal as it can get more democrats into the senate, possibly getting the majority.

Part of the reason why there isn’t much coverage about the election is because it really depends on where you live. I am voting for some stuff that no one else is voting on outside of my town. There are lots of important mayor elections, and not every state even has an election going on.

So let’s talk about this election cake! I first read about it in American Cakes, but there isn’t a recipe. Perhaps it is because most people steer away from fruit cakes, or because the author didn’t find it unique enough compared to other recipes? Not sure. But I was very excited about the idea.

Back before women could vote- ladies would slave away in the kitchen baking cakes. They would use this as a way to encourage men to go out and vote. And boy did the original recipes feed many men. An original recipe called for thirty quarts flour, ten pounds butter, fourteen pounds sugar, twelve pounds raisins, and my favorites one pint wine and one quart brandy. This might make your jaw drop but this was intended to feed MANY people. 

For the 2016 presidential election OWL Bakery decided to start a campaign calls #MakeAmericaCakeAgain. The bakery posted a recipe on Google Docs for anyone to make, but sold the cake in their stores. Proceeds went to League of Women Voters, with many other bakeries across the USA contributing. There is already a vegan version of the cake out there by Yum Universe. But I don’t know about it, it is gluten free but uses bourbon to soak the fruit. Then she has the audacity to recommend tequila or gin to soak the fruit to make it 100% gluten free?! 1) not all gin are gluten free, and 2) what about wine based spirits?

The other problem with the OWL and Yum Universe recipes is that the cake needs the starter to go overnight. That is a lot of time. But I found a recipe from Food52 that only has your starter go for 3 hours. That is a lot more manageable, and the recipe looks a lot less scary in comparison. 

This recipe isn’t perfect. I wish I tried using only oil in the recipe, but I had a lot of little bits of shortening and an almost empty butter container in the fridge, so I used a mix of the three. I also didn’t have sherry wine or brandy, so I used amaretto and marsala. You can use whatever you want, but I recommend something sweet. So if you aren’t using booze, maybe a juice, kombucha, sweetened tea, whatever. Think about what flavors will go with figs, raisins, and the spices.

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Okay so this isn’t a scary drink or cake for Halloween. This drink was GOING to be posted last week but I didn’t quite squeeze it in. Which means my last cake post will be tomorrow (or later in the week) as a result. Not quite making it for Vegan MOFO. NOOOO!

But if you want something spooky, might I recommend making the Masala Bloody MaryGreen Mary, Reanimator, Suspira, Spiced Pumpkin Carriage, or the Pumpkin Spice Macaccino for those who don’t partake in alcohol.

I could of named this cocktail something like Spicy Cucumber Lemongrass Spritzer, but cocktails need names damn it! Names that tells you NOTHING about the drink itself. Bloody Mary? Tells you nothing about ingredients (I mean other than something’s red), Tom Collins still nothing, Death in the Afternoon, nope. Manhattan– well you get the point.

So how did I get this name? Well, similarly to the Green Mary, I have a lot plants going into this drink. And for the most part, they are things I don’t use often enough. The lemongrass set forever in my fridge, cucumbers always go bad, and I have to be very careful with jalapenos since they can make the air toxic when cooking. Add in the slightly green color of the cocktail, I thought it was a great name.

I like this cocktail because you muddle the cucumber with a little bit of sugar. That way you don’t need any simple syrup or a juicer. Heck you don’t even need a fancy muddler- I just used the other end of my ice cream scoop.

As usual I am too lazy to actually buy citruses so I used some orange bitters to top it off and some lemon seltzer. I am glad about that choice because it gives the whole drink a nice light and clean taste.

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I’ve finally made this cocktail! I had the idea to make a bloody mary with tomatillos for awhile. But was nervous about where to start, so I googled it and there are MANY people who had a similar idea. At first I was going to make a recipe for a recipe roundup (the tomatillo edition will be coming up soon!) but I never seemed to have all the ingredients. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money for something that isn’t really food.

It also didn’t help that I never had vodka on hand. I am not a huge vodka person, I don’t quite see the point. So it doesn’t have any flavor? Isn’t the fun of booze to have the flavor? I get it- there is a time and place for vodka, and some of the liquors I like are pretty much infused vodkas.

So when it became tomatillo season here I knew I really HAD to make some cocktails with tomatillos. I jazzed things up a little and made the jalapeno lemongrass vodka, and decided to use it in the bloody mary. Since the vodka uses lemongrass, I tried to use more “asian” based mix ins. Instead of tabasco sauce, I used a little Sriracha. Instead of vegan Worcestershire sauce, I use some sweet soy sauce.

If you are interested in this drink but not a spicy person, simply make the lemongrass vodka without jalapenos. I would recommend keeping in the sriracha, it add just a hint of spice. The recipe makes 4 drinks, and they aren’t very strong. If you want to make them stronger just change the ratio of water to vodka, though you might want to change the serving size to 6 glasses instead of 4.

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I am always shocked at how many vodkas aren’t vegan. Stupid filters! And it gets more complicated when you start going into the flavored vodkas. Is the bacon vodka vegan? So cake vodka is vegan but not candy bar vodka? It can get all so confusing.

But in many ways, buying these flavored vodkas are pointless. It is so easy to make your own at home! It is literally as simple as dropping crap in a bottle, adding vodka, and waiting to two weeks, drain. Okay it involves a little foresight on your end, you need to start making the vodka before creating the cocktail.

I originally made this infused vodka last year… when I was pregnant. haha. I didn’t drink it for awhile. See my CSA started to grow lemongrass, and I didn’t have time to make a curry paste with it. So I soaked it with vodka, waited several months till I could drink again. I was going to make some recipes for cocktails, but I couldn’t find any lemongrass vodkas available commercially. So I knew I would have to make a recipe for the blog.

So now I decided to give the recipe. But I added a little twist. I had a jalapeno from my CSA and couldn’t use it because they were super spicy. Long story short- baby- can’t use it. So I thought make something ONLY for adults (and didn’t involve heating up the pepper). There is a slight trick to this, the jalapeno infuses MUCH faster than the lemongrass and only needs a few hours. 

So make this vodka, and I will have a recipe soon posted to use it.

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Rations, rations, rations. That is what motivates people to cut out eggs and dairy from their cakes. So I have yet another cake to share that was already vegan. Naturally I made some modifications, but let’s start with the history.

Many kids in America has played The Oregon Trail. I have not. But if you haven’t played it, the premise was pretty easy. It was a computer game where you traveled across the United States on the Oregon Trail to get to the west. On the REAL Oregon trail, you probably would of made this cake. Or if you were traveling anywhere really, whether you were a cowboy or relocating. Most everything in this recipe is shelf stable, making it great for most pioneers.

The recipe may look familiar with other cakes- boiled raisin cake, war cake, depression cake, or my favorite milkless eggless butterless cake (thanks wikipedia) What makes this version pretty awesome is that you don’t dirty up too many dishes. Unlike the Wacky Cake, which tries to only use one pan, this one really isn’t mess when mixing the batter. Sure you will have to dirty up another small pot, and something to drain the raisins, but overall it is a pretty easy clean up

Now I could of just made the recipe line by line, but I thought this could use some jazzing up. First I stuck with raisins, but you can easily swap out any other dried fruit. The recipe even suggests it. Just chop up any large fruit, and just follow the recipe. 

But I thought I would use a little booze in the recipe. I thought and thought about what kind- and finally settled on a gose beer (pronounced go-suh). A Gose is a sour beer originating in Germany. It is spiced with coriander, and is known to be salty. It gets it’s name since it originally was brewed in the town Goslar. The style almost disappeared in obscurity, but it has recently become really popular since the rise of sour beers.

Can’t find a gose beer? Any sour beer will work just fine. If you don’t know a lot about beer, just ask someone who is working at the liquor store or look for any bottle with sour, lambic, or wild ale. If you choose just a sour beer (or any type of sour juice) remember to add a pinch of salt, gose beers are naturally salty.

I used Sixpoint Jammer. It is a gose that is vegan and American, so I like that. I was lucky enough to buy the can individually from Total Wines and More, but you can also see if you can order it online. But remember, this isn’t the ONLY vegan gose out there. There are tons, and it might even be from the country you live in.

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“Why can’t you make normal cakes?” asks my husband. Duh- that would be boring. I am very much that type of person who hears about something weird and crazy and instead of thinking “that sounds gross, I should stay away” I think “my god, that sounds gross! there must be something to it!” I’ve ordered a mustard cocktail, miso ice cream, and spicy pepper ice cream. This is one of those instances- sauerkraut? In a cake?

Another appeal of this cake is that it has Pennsylvania Dutch roots. I probably should make a post of all the regional recipes featured on this blog. And this isn’t the only Pennsylvanian dutch recipe featured in the book. There the shoofly pie, which pushes the definition of a cake (and a pie) and the Moravian Sugar Cake, which sadly I know I will not have anytime to attempt (it uses yeast.)

Since it is National Chocolate Cupcake Day, here is a little fun chocolate cake history. It took quite sometime for bakers to add chocolate to their sweets. Originally chocolate was viewed as a medicine, and was more focused in Europe for melting in milk, or making milk chocolate bars. I think you can hear more about this evolution from Stuff You Missed in History Class But slowly it made it’s way in a cookbook in a very small amount in a spiced cake. Sarah Roerer takes the credit for pouring melted chocolate into a cake, to make a “healthy” cake. Do you think we will be laughing about how we make “superfood” desserts by adding spirulina and maca to our cakes in the future?

And there may be many of you wondering “what’s up with Devil’s Food Cake?” This is something I’ve been wondering for a LONG time as a child. According to Wikipedia and American Cakes– not much. Early recipes used a lot of different things in the batter- sour milk, heavy cream, sour cream, baking powder, baking soda, white sugar, brown sugar, melted chocolate, cocoa powder, spices, and even mashed potatoes. Confusing huh? Make things even more confusing not all Devil’s Food cakes has the same frosting. What can be agreed on that Devil’s Food Cake is a fun name next to the other American classic- Angel’s Food Cake. And in general, there’s more chocolate than normal so the cake is super rich and dark.

The recipe in American Cakes calls for chocolate sour cream frosting. The recipe reminded me of the simple chocolate mousse recipes I’ve seen using silken tofu. I would make my own sour cream from silken tofu anyways, so I just used the Chocolate Mousse from The Post Punk Kitchen (from the Cupcakes Take Over the World cookbook) Depending on how you like the frosting you can halve the recipe. I use maybe 60% of the recipe, but it is plausible to use the whole thing.

Just like the book, I used canned sauerkraut. It worked out fine, but I think you would probably get dreamier texture by using homemade or “fresher” sauerkraut. I normally buy jarred sauerkraut but I didn’t have two cups. If you don’t really like sauerkraut but want to give this recipe a go, I suggest sticking with canned. It will have exactly enough you need.

this is what happens when you try and take photos for the blog with a kid… they just want to see what is going on.

Like any cake recipe this really isn’t “healthy.” But it does have a fair amount of iron and vitamin c (from the sauerkraut and cocoa powder). So I guess if you are a menstruating pirate- this will help fight anemia and scurvy! If you are a fretful parent who is thinking about making a fruit cake for their baby’s first birthday, this one isn’t the worst. You can cut down on the salt and sugar. And the frosting is made with tofu so you get a little bonus protein!

That being said, I am all for just straight up enjoying your cake. I liked the taste, and I think I would just chop the sauerkraut more in the future. It is super moist and easy to make. Oh and a little extra fiber. What is there not to like?

he eventually got that cake

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Today’s Vegan MOFO prompt is about secret ingredients. And since we are doing cakes and cocktails, I think it is worth talking about the secret ingredients of booze. See alcoholic drinks don’t have the same standards as regular food. They don’t need to list their ingredients, and many places hide their recipes keeping them very secret for hundreds of years.

So making a cocktail vegan is more tricky than what you might think. I made a list of common hidden ingredients for cocktails, liquors, beers, and wines. Some are more common than others, and it worth noting that there is a lot of animals stuck into a vodka bottle. Always check with the site Barnivore to see if they are vegan, or if they aren’t listed, contact the companies one on one.

Honey

If you are a ren-fair fan you probably know about mead. It is a really old drink that is made from adding water to honey, and letting it ferment. I use to make it, and boy is it friggin easy. So far there isn’t any “vegan mead” but that is something I’ve always wanted to try out. One day right?

But honey gets hidden in a lot of drinks. Sometimes in cocktails as an ingredients (you can easily swap out simple syrup or something similar) or they are used in brewing beers. They are often found added to liquors, or more tricky- used as the main ingredient for fermentation for things like vodka or herbal liquors.

Milk

It seems kind of gross. I mean, if you are vegan for a long time that is. Milk is used in two ways- beer and liquors. In beer you have two main styles that use it- cream ales and milk stouts. Milk stouts are defined by their use of lactose sugars, but cream ale refers to the color of ale. But many companies like to add lactose to the brew, just like Forgotten Boardwalk‘s cream ale. Just quickly look at Barnivore to see if you are cleared to drink the cream ale.

Then you have cocktails and liquors. Clearly you can just sub cream or milk in a cocktail to a vegan cream or a vegan milk. But here is the tricky part about liquors. “Creme de…” doesn’t mean that liquor will have dairy! Back in the day, “creme de” was a way to describe a sweet liquor. The name came about because the liquor was so smooth from the sugar that is was creamy. Examples would be creme de violette and creme de menthe. That being said, cream is often used in liquors. The most well known one is Bailey’s, which they have released a vegan version to use. The easiest rule of thumb is if the drink is cloudy/opaque then it probably has cream/milk.

Bugs

Many vegans may already know about the cochineal bug, and how humans like to use them for red dyes. They are often found in liquors, especially amari.

There has been actual bugs tossed in booze. We all know about the worm at the bottom of a tequila bottle. Let me tell you, even if you aren’t vegan, don’t buy any bottles with worms on the bottom. It just add a little wormy flavor to it. There are some drinks with bees in them. There is a super rare liquor in Japan that has giant hornets in it, supposedly with medical benefits. And there is a practice of putting bees in mead while fermenting to add some tannins, but this is an old practice that isn’t really done anymore.

Eggs

Yes, another weirdo ingredient for booze. It makes sense, really. Alcohol keeps things preserved. Most animal products are easily perishable. Cocktails that use eggs like eggnog (and the many similar variations around the world) were made in the winter so it could sit and sit and sit and not spoil. Back in the olden days, you could easily find eggs in beer but no real specific styles came from it. People also use to drink beer with a raw egg cracked into it. There is also a liquor called Advocaat, which is made from eggs, it also shows up in The Shining!

But you see eggs mostly in cocktails. Yes, we mentioned winter egg drinks like eggnogs, but you mostly see them in as egg whites to create some bubbles. Many people are starting to use aquafaba to get those lovely foam going, heck I’ve even tried it out with my pink lady cocktail. It is easy to take out of a cocktail, but it won’t have the same texture.

Oysters

I have a confession. I really miss oysters in my booze. No I am not talking about those crazy bloody mary’s adorned by a whole salad bar. I am talking about Oyster Stouts. Yes, there is a beer made with oysters and I haven’t had a stout with the same salty-umami-ness. These are luckily- pretty easy to spot. They are usually advertised as such.

Again, cocktails love oysters. Or rather the juicy-brine. Be warey of cocktails that use clamato juice (mixed in beers, and bloody mary like drinks). Sometimes the simple brine is used, which just the other day my Mother was talking about a drink where it is just oyster brine and a liquor.

Beef Broth & Worcestershire Sauce

I hope I am not grossing you out. Truthfully I love savory cocktails, sadly there aren’t many VEGAN savory cocktails. Luckily beef broth isn’t super popular in cocktails. You probably won’t pass many bars that have it, just the super hipster ones.

Worcestershire sauce is MUCH more common. It is found in the classic Bloody Mary. What the heck is in Worcestershire Sauce that isn’t vegan? Anchovies. Bummer. But you can easily find vegan version of worcestershire sauce, and hell, a bloody mary will taste better when you make it at home than in a restaurant (they are almost always using a mix)

MEAT!

I’ve heard horror stories of vegans carefully asking about the bloody mary containing Worcestershire sauce, and end up with a worcestershire free bloody mary topped with strips of bacon. Ouch. But I am not talking about that. I am talking about MEAT IN YOUR BOOZE!

Okay don’t panic. You are 99.9% in the clear. I just know of two cases in modern booze making. Back in colonial America everything was tossed into beer, including meat. Mystic Brewery is testing old American recipes, which means they’ve tried some of those meaty recipes. If you ever visit, a quick mention of your veganism will help steer you clear of these brews. Then there is one mezcal brewery that uses a dead chicken while the mezcal ages. I mean, like a raw chicken sitting in the same room. So technically it is vegan since the chicken isn’t IN the mezcal. Needless to say both of these aren’t easy to find so you are pretty much good.

So what is the culprit in this drink? Well it is honey. I like using hard ginger ale because the liquor in the drink is amaretto, which is a fairly low ABV. But the most popular brands of hard ginger ale use honey.

The good news? Henry’s Hard Sodas are all vegan! The bad news? They are owned by Miller Coors. Womp womp. What can one do? If you don’t drink much, feel free to just use regular old ginger ale! 

As for amarettos, most are vegan. Use barnivore to double check, but I used Di Amore Amaretto. It gets decent ratings, and it is cheap as fuck. I think I paid $12-15 for a bottle, and the mainstream Disaranno is a much higher $25. Ratings are about the same. But it is vegan so if you have mucho cash- GO FOR IT!

Know of any other weirdo ingredients in your booze?

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Today’s prompt is “go to gadget,” and that would be my cocktail shaker! Okay it isn’t. But I sure love my shaker. It is so shiny and pretty, and despite reviews, I don’t have problems with leaking. It is a pretty big shaker, making it great for mixing drinks that go into high ball glasses, or mixing up several drinks at once.

But this drink I am sharing today I call the Cherry Cherry. I name it as such because it has cherries in it, and I like the song by the artist Chara. The cherry really is the star of this cocktail.

I had some sweet pickled cherries that my husband got me for Christmas. I LOVE them. They are much more acidic than traditional maraschino cherries, and much smaller. These cherries were bought from my local CSA, so it isn’t like I can just send you a link to buy them. But you can make your own pickled cherries, and it looks like Punk Domestics have many links to pickled cherry recipes. Need to buy some? That’s okay. You can use maraschino if you are in a jam. But these Woodford Reserve cherries look dreamy to me.

So what booze to buy? Most amarettos are vegan. I went with di Amore Amaretto. It is cheap and vegan. I used Kammer Obstler’s pear-apple eau de vie. I actually do not know if it is 100% vegan. If you are wondering eau de vie is a type of clear fruit wine, usually made from fruit other than grapes.

There aren’t many eau de vie listed on Barnivore, and it isn’t that common of a drink in the USA, you can use apple brandy or pear brandy (or a mix of both) if you are in a jam. I would recommend the peach brandy from KOVAL because it is vegan and the bottle is super pretty.

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Oh the vegan applesauce cake. You are such a staple to vegans everywhere. Just a quick search of the words vegan applesauce and cake comes up with so many pinterest pins. I’ve read about people in Europe complain about us damned American bakers who keep putting applesauce in our baked goods, and I remember reading in How It All Vegan that applesauce is a great way to replace eggs.

I was a little surprised to see how American this cake is. Applesauce has been put into cakes in the United States back in Colonial New England. But it wasn’t until the depression era that it became a popular ingredient. Now you may be thinking- “I know there are apples in cakes in Europe,” but they are often chopped apples, or layered in the cake. Folding in smashed up apples into a batter is pretty American. There is even a national applesauce cake day in the United States on June 6th. Side note today is national vodka and national taco day. That just seems like such a mistake waiting to happen.

So what about THIS recipe? Well, according to American Cakes, this cake was popular for many reasons. First there was World War I, then the depression, then World War II. Ouch. This particular recipe uses applesauce both as a fat replacement and an egg replacement. It felt like this cake could pop up on some super healthy “clean” food blog, but it is just really economical.

Oddly I have not used applesauce that often in baking. I guess mostly because I don’t really like eating applesauce. Sure I loved it as a kid, but not so much as an adult. Luckily I baked this cake twice so I used up most of the jar. The first time making it I thought it was too sweet. But after a day the sweetness mellows out. I baked it a second time with less sugar, and oil instead of margarine. I posted the recipe with the original amount of sugar but you can easily drop it to 3/4 cup of sugar if you like things not very sweet.

I took the second cake to my Grandmother’s who loved the cake. She also couldn’t get over the fact that you could bake without butter or eggs. I never fully understood why people say this, but I guess I always baked enough to know that not all recipes use butter or eggs. Then my Mother started to confuse my Grandma about how you can use shortening or lard in a recipe. Now she will make me a cake out of lard thinking it is vegan. But she asked for this recipe, and I will happily share. It right up her ally- insanely easy to make.

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Welcome to Vegan MOFO 2017! Yey! This year I’ve got this! lol nope, I don’t. I am crazy to think I can balance a baby and a blog post each day. But I love Vegan MOFO, so whatever. I’m going to try and make it work.

This year I decided to try and do a theme. Way back in March I wanted to try and bake cakes from my cookbook American Cakes. I thought I would do a cake a month or so… and I got only one done. In my defense I tried several different cakes, but haven’t found the perfect veganized version. Since it has taken me so long, I decided to make it be my theme for Vegan MOFO- Historical Vegnaized American Cakes! If you want to read more about my mission, check out the original post.

KIND-OF working with the weekly themes, this week is Changing Vegan Perceptions. So I thought I would pick recipes that are vegan to begin with or near vegan. Yes, vegan baking is historical. Who knew? There are actually quite a few recipes that needed little to no modifications in the book- enter the Wacky Cake.

There are lots of stories surrounding this cake. Some people say it came about from the depression since butter and eggs were so readily available. But it seems more likely it would of been made during World War II because of rations. But author Anne Byrn focuses on the popularity of this cake as an “emergency dessert.” 

This concept cracks me up, but is a very real social requirement of the 50s. You must be prepared to feed a guest at any moment! My boss talks about how guests would show up, and there was routine that the dinner portion would shave down just a little for everyone to make up for the extra table setting. Then his Mom would cook up some potatoes to make up for plate space. Since this recipe didn’t have any perishable items, it made it easy to whip up. Heck I made the whole cake and topping in one nap time (aka less than an hour)

The original recipe is suppose to be made in just the cake pan. You sift the flour, create little holes in the flour, and fill them with the liquids. Mix all together and bake. I found this to be a pain in the butt, and it didn’t mix all the way. So I just mixed it all together in my kitchen-aid mixer and got much better results.

At first I felt a little odd making this cake without making any modifications, but after a quick search- I found that this cake is ALL OVER THE PLACE. Heck, even when reading the recipe I thought “this looks like the recipe my Mother in Law made..” Yup- it was. She used the recipe from Mayim Bialik’s cookbook, she even makes it on Rachael Ray. So I felt a lot less weird about posting this recipe. I did try and keep the caramel topping in the book. I personally love it. I even tried to make it a little more “shelf stable” by using coconut oil instead of margarine. But you can use whatever frosting you want- or just some powder sugar.

And if you are wondering why it took me so long to post a recipe that I didn’t really alter? Well, it is because I kept not getting very good photos. First time making it, I didn’t bother with photos, for whatever the reason. Then the second time I made it for a party and someone cut tiny little squares and they just weren’t very photogenic. Then I made it again, which annoyed my husband (this isn’t his favorite cake) and I kind-of over cooked the caramel. *sigh* but I HAD to get the photos this time. So there you have it. Three cakes in total. Yikes.

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