How to Make: Organic, Made-from-Scratch Lotion {EASY!}

A few years ago, my part-time blog partner, Kris, posted a recipe for homemade lotion here on the blog. We have been making different variations of the recipe ever since. Once you successfully make your own homemade batch of lotion, you will NEVER waste your money on the store-bought stuff again. After experimenting with different oils, I have come to find I have two favorite concoctions and I’m going to share them with you today.

Before I get down to the business of lotion making, I want to be clear that this lotion is likely more oily than what you are probably used to. But the oils and beeswax are what lock the moisture in your skin and because the ingredients are organic and good for your body, you will notice that your skin stays soft and healthy-looking for much longer than it does with the other stuff you buy. Plus, a little goes a LONG WAY so if you find it to be oily, use less. Trust me, it’s so awesome – it’s worth trying.

Occasionally I’ll get lazy and buy some organic, fantastic-smelling lotion while I’m out shopping, and it’s always a disappointment. The homemade stuff is just so much better. My husband suffers from psoriasis and years ago, when we started making our homemade version, he noticed a big difference in how his skin felt compared to using other lotions. <—– That alone is reason enough to make our own.

 

Supplies:

  • A glass measuring cup that can be heated (PYREX recommended)
  • 3/4 cup organic oils (My 1st recipe calls for: Jojoba, Olive Oil and Vitamin E oil. My 2nd recipe calls for: 1/4 coconut oil, 1/4 Shea butter, sweet almond)
  • Beeswax, organic (pellets recommended)
  • Essential Oils (optional, for scent)
  • Small sauce pan
  • Blender
  • Spatula
  • Glass jars with lids, for lotion storage
  • Water

Directions:

In a measuring cup, measure out 3/4 cup of oil – You can pick out any oils that you want and mix and match the amounts, but I generally do 1/2 cup olive oil, and split the remaining quarter cup between jojoba oil and vitamin E oil. Add in 2 tablespoons of beeswax.

ALTERNATE RECIPE –  1/4 cup coconut oil, 1/4 cup shea butter and 1/4 sweet almond oil with 2 tablespoons of beeswax.

Fill a sauce pan up about half way with water and add in the measuring cup of oil. You want the water to reach the level of the oil mixture, but not to be too full that it will splash all over the stove when it’s simmering. Turn the heat up to medium high and stir the oil/wax mixture occasionally until the beeswax pellets are completely melted. Once melted, turn heat off, use a hot pad to remove the measuring cup and place it on the stove top to cool for 2 minutes. Add 30 drops of your favorite essential oil to the hot oil mixture at this point. Our favorite is sweet orange.

In a blender, add 3/4 cup of cold water. Turn the blender on “blend” mode and slowly add the hot oil mix to the blender. If the blending mixture stiffens up and stops mixing, turn the blender off and use the spatula to push out any air pockets that are sometimes created during the blending process. You may need to repeat this a few times. Once all of the oil is added to the water and things are blending smoothly, set the timer for 2 minutes and blend away.

Once blended, transfer the lotion from the blender into a heat-tolerant, glass jar, and leave it uncovered overnight, until it is completely cooled. The next day, cover the jar with an air-tight lid.

That’s it!

Couple additional notes…

  • Remember: A little goes a long way!
  • The essential oil scent fades over time. You’ll smell the essential oil during application, but as the day goes on, the smell fades. So don’t worry about the fragrance overpowering your lotion.
  • Play around with oils! Some oils are less “oily” than others. Some will make your body feel better than others. Look up organic oils and their benefits and determine which mixture sounds like the best fit for your body and needs. My husband prefers lotion made with Hemp Seed Oil. He thinks it helps with his psoriasis more than any of the other oils, but I don’t like that one as much because of the “woody” scent it has.
  • Make a few batches at a time. We go through about one batch per month (between the 3 of us), so I like to make 3-4 batches since I have the supplies out anyway.
  • In the summer, keep a jar in the fridge to apply cold. It really cools you down nicely.
  • Homemade lotion makes a fantastic gift. Think of your friends and family when making it!
  • Oils I’ve tried variations of and liked: Organic: Vitamin E Oil, Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Olive Oil, and Sweet Almond Oil, Hemp Seed Oil

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Make It Minnesota Magazine – Minnesota Kitchen – Can It and Ferment It Recipe

This month I was invited to take over the “Minnesota Kitchen” portion of Make It Minnesota Magazine. Each issue of the magazine has a theme, and the theme of this issue is: Driven. In the article, I explain my drive behind preserving food and I also share one of my favorite fermented recipes, Strawberry Chutney, from my book, Can It & Ferment It, that is coming out this summer (7.18.17).

This magazine is available in print as well as in a digital format. To view the magazine online, click here.

6 Delicious and Unique Recipes Featuring Rhubarb

Pic from one of our 2015 harvests, when we made some jam. 🙂

The rhubarb in our home garden started appearing in early March and I still have 20 cups of it (cleaned and chopped) frozen from last year’s harvest. Year after year I make dozens of jars of strawberry-rhubarb jam and apple-rhubarb jam and today I’m in the mood for something new. After some time spent searching the internet, I created a collection of 6 recipes that piqued my interest. I intend to give 1 or 2 of these a try this week!

  1. Rhubarb BBQ Sauce
  2. Rhubarb Simple Syrup
  3. Stewed Rhubarb 
  4. Spicy Rhubarb Chutney
  5. Rhubarb Butter
  6. Rhubarb Kimchi (Fermented)

If you have a favorite rhubarb recipe not listed, please let me know in the comments.

How to Grow Alfalfa Sprouts in a Jar

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Growing sprouts is one of the easiest things you can do on your own. They are tasty and add a delightful crunch to a sandwich, salad, taco or soup.  In addition to being delicious, they are also packed with health benefits. According to Livestrong.com, alfalfa sprouts are a great source of dietary fiber, protein (important for vegan diets), and B vitamins.

To grow your own alfalfa sprouts at home, you just need a quart size mason jar (or other similar glass container), cheese cloth, a rubber binder, organic sprouting seeds, tap water and about 4-5 days.

I buy organic alfalfa sprouting seeds here. They are very inexpensive.

  • Add 1 tbsp seeds into a clean quart jar and fill with tap water until the seeds are submerged. About 1-2″ of water. Cover jar with cheese cloth. Soak overnight.
  • After the seeds have soaked 12+ hours, pour the water out that they were soaking in and rinse once more. Cover with cheese cloth. Turn the jar horizontally and slowly rotate to spread the seeds out so that some will stick to the sides of the jar. Store in a dark place (such as a dark corner of the counter top or in a cupboard), out of direct sunlight at room temperature (ideally 68-72°F). Store the jar on it’s side. You don’t want the seeds in a wet mass in the jar or they may mold. 
  • Repeat the steps of rinsing the seeds daily until the seedlings have grown 1-2″. It takes about 4-5 days.
  • My mom has grown sprouts for decades and she tells me to place the jar in sunlight for about 20 minutes once the sprouts have grown to their edible length. This gives the sprouts a chance to turn darker green.

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Soak over night, or for at least 12 hours

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Rinse daily and gently rotate the jar so the seeds can spread out and grow

THAT’S IT. IT’S SO EASY. Kids can’t get enough of these things. Once the sprouts are big enough to eat, I take what I need from the jar and continue to rinse and let them grow on my counter for a few days. If longer term storage is needed, store them in the fridge.

Enjoy!

Delicious Korean Tacos with Kimchi: Recipe

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A couple years ago my aunt found a restaurant in south Minneapolis, the Nokomis area, that served Korean Tacos. They soon became her favorite go-to meal for the evenings she didn’t feel up to cooking or didn’t have enough time to. Unfortunately, after the rent was raised at the restaurant, the owner had to close down and this left my aunt saddened by the loss of her favorite tacos. 😦 So for her birthday dinner last year, I was determined to make a Korean taco as equally satisfying for her and that’s when I came upon Bakedbree’s Crockpot Korean Taco recipe. I altered the recipe to my liking and changed the recipe to one that is baked in the oven, versus being cooked in a crockpot, so my recipe will be done in 3 hours instead of 8-10.

Ingredients:

  • 3lbs. Grass Fed Chuck Roast
  • 1/2 Cup Organic Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup BRAGG Liquid Aminos (or Coconut Aminos)
  • 1 Whole Medium Sliced Onion
  • 10 Garlic Cloves, Sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Grated Ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • Optional – Red Pepper Flakes
  • Olive oil, (or other high heat oil)
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Sea Salt
  • 1 cup of Water

Lime Cream Sauce:

  • 1 Cup Plain Yogurt
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 Lime Juiced
  • Salt to taste

Toppings for serving:

  • Kimchi (I use my homemade kimchi recipe, but store bought is just fine!)
  • Lime wedges
  • Siracha
  • Corn tortillas
  • Cilantro
  • Bean Sprouts

Pre-heat the oven to 275°F. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven and heat over medium high heat. Sprinkle sea salt, garlic powder and onion powder over the meat. Sear the chuck roast on one side, for about a minute until it’s browned. Flip the roast over to the other side and toss in the onions and garlic.

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In a bowl, stir together the BRAGG Liquid Aminos (or coconut aminos), brown sugar, vinegar, grated ginger, 1 cup of water and sesame oil. Once both sides of the roast are browned, remove the pot from the burner and add the liquid to the roast.

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Cover the roast and bake for a total of 3 hours, check on it after 90 mins and flip the roast over. Remove the cover for the duration of the cooking time. Add a 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup of water if the pan looks dry. At the 3 hour point, your roast should be very tender and pull apart easily. If it isn’t, cook another 30 minutes and check again.

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At some point while the roast is cooking, create the Lime Cream Sauce (see ingredients above) and mix together. Set in the fridge until it’s time to grub.

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Once everything is ready, grab a corn tortilla, and top it with a little of everything and ENJOY!

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YUM!

Beautifully Fermented Watermelon Radishes: How to Ferment Radish Pickles

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About a month ago I tried my first watermelon radish. I quickly fell in love with the beauty that was unleashed once I cut it open.  The color burst found inside is one of a kind. I have come to prefer watermelon radishes to the regular red radish, as they are not as harsh tasting; they are a mild version of what I am used to and they are much more aesthetically pleasing.

Initially I tried roasting the radish with other root veggies and I fell even more in love with my new found friend. I was unsure what to do with the remaining radish and so naturally I decided to ferment it. 🙂 If something is good raw, it’s going to be even better fermented… that’s what I’ve come to find anyway.

I only fermented one radish and that filled up a pint sized mason jar.

To Make: Wash the radish, cut off the ends and slice it up. I used a mandolin to thinly slice the radish. Pack the slices in a jar and cover it with brine.

The brine is made up of 1 teaspoon of sea salt (or kosher salt), stirred into 2 cups of water (filtered water is preferable but not required) until dissolved. Remember to leave about an inch of space from the top of the mason jar to curb spill overs as the radish ferments. I used a glass jar weight to keep the radish from floating above the brine and molding. If you don’t have a weight, you can sanitize a rock and use that. Cover the jar with cheese cloth and let it ferment on the counter for a few days. I like to taste my ferments daily and decide when it has the taste I prefer. I fermented this just 4 days. Once the desired fermented flavor is met, put a lid on the jar and refrigerate.

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Normally I add garlic to everything but this time I really wanted to taste how the radish fermented on its own. The beautiful pink color from the center of the radish leached out into the brine and made a gorgeous pink color out of it. The radish pickle tastes even less like a radish now and is a treat to have on the side of a meal or even chopped up and added to a salad or sandwich. My 5 year old even approved of them and she’s the true test after all.

Love for Local: Wintertime Roasted Root Vegetable Recipe

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Typically in Minnesota, we think of summertime being the months of farmer’s markets, gardening and freshly plucked produce. Surprisingly there are a lot of wonderful produce options during the winter months that, I hate to admit, but I’ve looked past for years.

Recently I took a closer look at the produce section of my local co-op and found that not only was there a wide variety of root veggies to pick from, many were grown in MN and WI! I quickly gathered a basket of mysterious looking veggies and went home to experiment.

I decided the easiest way to sample all of the veggies at one time would be to roast them. Roasted veggies make a great snack and are a fantastic side dish to almost any meal. It turns out the assortment of veggies I collected included: yellow and orange carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, celery root (celeriac),  beauty heart radish (watermelon radish) and turnips.

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I became completely enamored with the radish. Who knew such a vibrant color would be hiding inside? The flavor of it was similar to a regular red radish, but with less of a punch. The celery root had a faint flavor of celery, but a texture more similar to a potato. Shockingly, the roasted rutabagas were my favorite veggie of all.

These commonly overlooked root vegetables are not only versatile but offer a gauntlet of nutritional benefits to your health. Many are rich in vitamin C (antioxidant) and phosphorus, which is important for the health of your bones. They are also high in fiber and low in calories!

How to Roast Root Vegetables

  • Preheat oven to 400°F
  • Clean all veggies (cut skin off of the celery root, peel carrots and parsnips, cut ends off of radishes and parsnips) and rough chop them into fork-friendly sized chunks

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  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
This looks more like a platter of fruit than a platter of vegetables, doesn't it? Stunning!

This looks more like a platter of fruit than a platter of vegetables, doesn’t it? Stunning!

  • Toss veggies in 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil (or other high heat oil of choice)
  • Once evenly coat veggies with oil, sprinkle seasonings of choice over veggies and mix well. I used garlic powder and Montreal steak seasoning but salt and pepper would work just as well.
  • Spread veggies out into one layer.
  • Roast veggies until tender, which is about 30 mins. Cook longer as needed.
  • DEVOUR. 🙂

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All products used in this post were generously provided by Lakewinds Food Co-op.

Chicken Foot Bone Broth Recipe: Step by Step Guide to Making Gelatinous Broth

 

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I’m sure that you’ve heard the buzz about bone broth by now. Up until a couple of years ago, I didn’t know there was a difference between bone broth and soup stock. The main differences are the length of time each are cooked and the extra nutrition you get from broth vs. stock.

If you have not heard of bone broth, do some research and you’ll quickly see why it’s not only delicious but so beneficial to your health. Bones from animals offer a variety of benefits to your health including improving your immune system, strengthening bones, healing digestive system lining, improves your complexion and much more.  Of all the broths I’ve made and tasted over the last couple years, my absolute favorite broth to make and devour is Chicken Foot Bone Broth.

There are so many ways to make broth and it seems everyone has “the best” recipe or “the most effective” way to leach even more goodness from the bones. I’ve tried roasting the bones, soaking them for hours in apple cider vinegar and several other tricks I’ve read about, but the truth is, every recipe is divine and I’ve never tasted a bad broth. I like to keep things easy in my kitchen and that’s exactly what my broth recipe is!

Here is what you’ll need to make my very easy, super tasty and gelatinous Chicken Foot Bone Broth:

  • A Large Stock Pot (I use an 8 quart stock pot typically)
  • 1 lb of Chicken Feet, membranes removed – a little less than a pound or a little more than a pound will be just fine as well
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Carrots
  • 2 Celery Stalks
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Tablespoons of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Bay Leafs
  • Water
  • Garlic Powder
  • Sea Salt
  • Oregano

One important rule that you must remember is  there are no rules when it comes to seasoning the broth. You can pretty much add in whatever veggies and seasonings you like and the broth will turn out amazing. Don’t feel as if you need to stick to my recipe, toss in whatever you have on hand.

I prefer to make small batches of broth because I don’t have a lot of freezer space to store jars. If you prefer large batches, double the recipe.

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Put Chicken Feet into Stock Pot

It's so easy a 5 year old can make this recipe, and she has been since she was 3 ;)

It’s so easy a 5-year-old can make this recipe, and she has been since she was 3 😉

I leave the veggies in large pieces so they are easy to strain once the broth is finished. Cut the carrots, celery, garlic and onions and add them to the pot.

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Sprinkle garlic powder, salt and a dash of oregano into the pot. Add Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV), toss in bay leaves and fill the pot up with water. I normally use an 8 quart pot and fill it about 2″ from the top. 

Bring pot to a boil, cover and reduce heat to gently simmer for 24 hours. Once complete you will have a golden liquid that is going to bring much joy to your life. I enjoy broth by the mugful but it’s great to use for homemade soup recipes as well as. Typically I’ll add a little additional salt or seasoning once it’s finished simmering.

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Once the broth has cooled, strain it and store in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to 7 days. I find that my small batches of broth ALWAYS gel up.

What’s great about the bones is that you can use them again! I often times strain out my broth, leave all the bones and previously cooked produce in the pot, add more of everything from the ingredients list, sans new bones and cook a second batch. The second round does not usually produce such a gelatinous broth as the first, but it still tastes great and it’s perfect to use for soup and other cooking.

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My absolute favorite way to use my broth is to make soup with it. Almost daily I have kimchi, broth and two poached eggs for breakfast or lunch. It’s a fantastically flavorful meal that is very nourishing for the body and low on calories. Try it!

All products used in this post were generously provided by Lakewinds Food Co-op.

 

 

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Lunchtime Juice Recipe: Swiss Chard, Carrots, Celery, Cucumber and Apple

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For the last 3 weeks I have been participating in a 8-Week Health Challenge. The challenge includes forming better daily habits such as, not eating sweets, drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day, being active for a minimum of 30 minutes per day (I’ve been trying for an hour), eating a total of 5 servings of fruits & veggies each day as well as a few other goals. I’ve decided to revert back to a mostly Paleo diet, as that worked for me two years ago and with that, I started juicing again.

Juicing is a fantastic way to get vegetable and fruit servings in, as well as a very healthy way to blast your system with easily digestible vitamins and phytonutrients (a beneficial substance found in plants that is believed to help prevent diseases). I like to juice at least a couple times a week over lunchtime. It’s always surprising how filling the juice is and what an energy rush I get from having it.

Here is the latest juice I made and it was so tasty I had to share it on the blog.

Organic Ingredients:

  • 2 Carrots (rich in vit. A, C, K, B8 as well as folate, potassium, iron, copper and manganese)
  • 1 Apple (rich in antioxidants, as well as a great source of vit. C)
  • 3 Celery stalks (a wonderful source of vit. K, A, C and also contains folate & potassium)
  • A Bundle of Swiss Chard (a great source of vit. A, K & C as well as potassium, iron & magnesium)
  • 1 Whole Cucumber (full of vit. K, C, B1 as well as copper, potassium, manganese & biotin)

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Don’t forget to add some water to your juice and mix well before drinking.

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The juice turned out to be a dark brownish green (not the prettiest juice I’ve ever made), but the flavor was wonderful and all of the ingredients complimented each other well. No one ingredient overpowered the others.

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One tip I have is to line your juicer “waste bin” with a plastic bag. The pulp will gather in the bag for a super quick clean up.

To see what other healthy meals I’ve been eating over the last few weeks, check out my Instagram. To see my other favorite juicing recipes, click here.

All products used in this post were generously provided by Lakewinds Food Co-op.

MinnesotaFromScratch is 3! {Happy Blogiversary}

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Last week the blog turned 3! It’s amazing the opportunities I have been given that are a direct result of the blog, as well as the many fascinating people I have met through the years because of the blog. I appreciate each and every one of my readers, thank you!

2015 was such an incredible year. I personally, had one of the best years of my life. It was the first year since becoming a mother that I was really able to divulge myself into my interests once again. I was able to preserve throughout the seasons, making 2015 my highest yielding canning/fermenting year ever. If you are interested in what I preserved, follow this link. And one item not on that list is pickled red onions – oh my, YUM.

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wild and free

I had an amazingly successful year with my stamped metal jewelry hobby-turned-business, which is a hobby I started at the end of 2014, but has now morphed into a true passion. It’s not something I talk about frequently on the blog but it’s a very large part of my life and a big part of what made 2015 so wonderful. If you are interested in seeing what I’ve been up to in the custom jewelry sector of my life, here is a link to my page.

pickle contest

Another large highlight of 2015 was a trip to Boston I took with co-author of this blog, Kristin and two other of our family members from NYC. We all met in Boston for the Boston Fermentation Festival. I got to meet Amanda Feifer, blogger extraordinaire of Phickle and author of the new book, Ferment Your Vegetables. I also got to meet the co-founder of the event and potter of my favorite, most gorgeous fermentation crock, Jeremy Ogusky. At the event we got to sample many ferments from local fermenters and even judged in a pickle contest — that was a true highlight for me. We took advantage of being in Boston and toured it endlessly for the 3 days we were out there. What a lovely city – I can’t wait to go back.

Enough about me… here are the top 5 posts that kept people coming back to the blog in 2015:

#1. 101 Things I Love About My Mother  – This one moved up to first place this year. I had no clue anyone would be interested in this tribute to my mother, let alone become my most popular ranking post. 🙂

#2. Pickled California Mixed Veggies – An easy refrigerator pickled veggie recipe with lots of flavor that is a great addition to salads, bloody mary’s, or just a quick flavorful snack.

#3. Chunky Cream of Broccoli Soup – No Blender Needed.  – This post has been my 3rd most popular for the last two years. It’s a go-to recipe in our household, super easy and delicious. A crowd pleaser.

#4. Baked Zucchini with Mozz Cheese AKA “The New Garlic Bread” –  Baked zucchini is a perfect healthy substitute for bread when eating an Italian dish. It’s a wonderful side dish for any meal, really.

#5. Cucumber, Kale, Apple & Carrot Juice Recipe – A new recipe to make the list this year and I’m happy to see it on the top 5. Juicing is a terrific way to get a blast of vitamins and nutrients into your body quickly and it’s easy on the digestive system. I’ll be posting more juicing recipes in the weeks to come.

Happy 2016!

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