No-Bake Snickerdoodle Bites – A Quick and Easy Low Sugar Treat

I’ve been making a treat similar to this recipe for several years (found over at TheNourishingHome.com). I’ve tweaked it here and there…then sort of forgotten all about this great treat. Last week I decided I needed a lightly sweetened snack. Not salty. Not desserty. Not meaty. Just something filling and lightly sweetened.

These Snickerdoodle Bites are perfect.

snickerdoodle bites2

I’ve kept these Snickerdoodle Bites in my fridge, grabbing one in the afternoon when I need a little something to get me through until dinner. Because these are made with coconut flour, they are filling and nourishing. And did I mention that they are lightly sweetened to perfection? Like, if they were produced in mass and put into a box, the box would definitely say, “Lightly sweetened…to perfection.” Yep, that’s what it would say.

No-Bake Snickerdoodle Bites

1 cup creamy almond butter or peanut butter (almond butter is my fav for these)
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut flour

Mix the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. Roll the mixture into teaspoon-sized (or whatever sized) balls. Refrigerate before serving – or just start eating because who can wait?

Do feel free to add more honey if you prefer – although then these might be slightly more than lightly sweetened, thus ruining my description. But I’ll never know, so it won’t matter, and truly – we want these to be perfectly sweetened for your family’s delight.

No-Bake Snickerdoodle Bites - a quick and easy low sugar treat

Coconut flour is naturally gluten free – a great option for those of you who must avoid gluten. Our family doesn’t not need to avoid gluten – however we like coconut flour because it is so rich in nutrients! “Coconut flour is the fiber from coconut meat after most of the oil has been extracted to make coconut oil.” (source: Tropical Traditions) Adding protein and fiber to our (lightly sweetened) snacks? Yes please!

Where do I get coconut flour? I either order it from Tropical Traditions or Amazon. (Right now, this coconut flour at Amazon is a wonderful price!) Here are some of my other coconut flour recipes:

But right now, these lightly sweetened No-Bake Snickerdoodle Bites are my favorite coconut flour recipe. It’s probably because they only take 5 minutes to prepare and don’t require baking. And also because they are lightly sweetened to perfection.

Are you a fan of coconut flour? How do you use it at your house? 

This post includes affiliate links.

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What is Whole Wheat Pastry Flour? Where Do I Get It? How Do I Use It?

There’s this stuff called “whole wheat pastry flour” I keep talking about in my Low Sugar Treat baked goods. What in the world??

Never fear. I shall explain. You need to know this so that you can make this Low Sugar Super Moist Chocolate Cake. And probably for other reasons too.

All About Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

What is Pastry Flour?

First let me explain a little bit about different varieties of wheat so you can understand what makes pastry flour. There are other grains worth mentioning, but to keep things simple (I like simple), let’s just stick to what is most commonly used and what I like best. (Not that it’s all about me and my preferences, but I am the one writing this so…)

Hard Red Wheat

This is most commonly used in store-bought breads. It has a high protein content and a heavier texture and flavor. When you purchase “Whole Wheat Flour” at the store, you are most likely getting flour ground from red wheat. This is all good, however, it is my least favorite flour to bake with and eat. My experience is that breads turn out too heavy and dense when made with red wheat.

Hard White Wheat

I prefer the hard white variety of grain over red wheat a million times over. It is slightly lower in protein, but still offers all the goodness and nutrition of whole grain with a lighter taste and texture. Don’t let the word “white” throw you off here. It’s not white flour – it is a white wheat grain used which makes a delicious whole wheat flour. I use this almost exclusively in my kitchen. Or at least I did…

Soft White Wheat

This is my new love. Soft wheat has a low protein content, making it light and fluffy and absolutely wonderful to work with. It is this soft wheat that becomes Whole Wheat Pastry Flour when ground. Aha! Now we know what pastry flour is.

Take a look at the following picture, although it’s a little bit tough to see the difference in the grains of wheat. On the right are “soft wheat berries” and on the left are “hard wheat berries.”

hard wheat soft wheat

The soft wheat berries are a bit more rounded whereas the hard wheat berries are more flat and pokey. (I excel in the use of adjectives.)

How to Use Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

This is very important! While soft wheat produces a pastry flour that looks and acts like all-purpose flour in many ways, we cannot use soft wheat in any recipes that include yeast because it does not contain enough gluten. Ground soft wheat (pastry flour) can only be used in non-yeast recipes like muffins, quick breads, pancakes, waffles, cakes, and cookies.

But let me tell you what I’m learning! Grinding soft wheat into whole wheat pastry flour for use in non-yeast goodies is fantastic! Hard wheat can be used in any recipe – yeast or no. But soft wheat (pastry flour) helps cakes and muffins bake up softer and lighter.

Lookie. Here’s my freshly ground whole wheat pastry flour.
Doesn’t it make you want to bake a cake?
(Scroll through these recipes for low sugar cake recipes.)

Pastry Flour 3

Where Can You Get Whole Wheat Pastry Flour?

Well, you can buy some Soft White Wheat Berries and grind your own if you have a grain mill. (I have a Nutrimill.)

Or, you can purchase ready-made whole wheat pastry flour from Amazon or Vitacost (learn how to get $10 off your first Vitacost order here). You can order some through a health food co-op like Azure Standard or another one you are a part of. And while I haven’t looked and don’t have one close-by, I would imagine that stores like Whole Foods and Natural Grocers carries it.

So Let’s Review

Hard wheat makes regular whole wheat flour which can be used in ANY whole wheat flour recipe.

Soft wheat makes whole wheat pastry flour which can only be used in non-yeast recipes like muffins, quick breads, pancakes, waffles, cakes, and cookies.

You can keep it simple and use regular whole wheat flour for all of your baking needs. Or you can use pastry flour for your non-yeast baking for a lighter, fluffier baked good, then use regular whole wheat flour for yeast breads.

For more information about flour, grain, and varieties of wheat, you may want to look through all of my posts on Grains and Grain Mills.

What is your favorite flour to use in baking? Do you use a variety or stick to one kind?

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So…What Are the Cake Boys Up to Now?

Remember the Cake Boys? That series of videos, started by our little boys, was the beginning of what has become a passion of theirs: video and music creation.

cake boys

In fact, Asa (who is now 18) plans to make a career of videography. His chosen college major is Business Communication, which will guide him in the right direction for pursuing his own business as a videographer. He continues to learn, experiment, and develop his talent. He researched and used some of his savings to purchase a very nice camera as well as professional video editing software. The guy is well on his way. He even has his first professional video job later this summer (filming and editing a wedding video). Skies are the limit with how he can use his creativity in videography.

And Justus? He’s 15 now and while he also loves creating videos, he has also discovered a bigger passion and talent for music. He is taking both piano and guitar lessons, and he loves singing. Even more, he is gifted with the ability to compose music sound tracks on FL Studio – music creation software Matt found and invested in for the boys a few years ago.

Elias (13) and Malachi (10) join in with both music and video creation from time to time. We are anxious to see how God continues to grow all of the boys and develop their talents.

So Cake Boys videos have given way to several varieties of videos – both fun and serious. It amazes me. I cry like I’m their mom every time I watch something they create.

Here are two of their recent “Ace Video” productions, now being shown in Asa’s YouTube account.

NOTE TO PARENTS: The first video below, called “Refresh” was created with kids in our youth group to encourage and refresh a large gathering of teens we hosted for a youth rally at our church back in January. The struggles addressed in this video are real to life and important. However, some of the content is a little bit heavy for young viewers, so please use discretion. Matt and I are actually featured in this video (oh my) and you can be assured that nothing is actually being smoked. Video editing software is amazing, which makes the cigs look very real (oh my). I told you you’d need to use discretion. The video is powerful and had a huge impact at the youth rally. Note the sound track, as it was created completely by Justus, specifically to fit this video.

Refresh

Below is the boys’ most recent video in which they took four of their favorite songs and recreated them into a music video “mashup.” No viewer discretion needed on this one! It’s awesome, music fun!

Brothas C Mashup

I’m offering you this show-and-tell for two reasons:

1. Many have asked about the Cake Boys. Sniff (and rejoice) along with me that the little boys in those videos are not little boys any more, but are instead becoming young men working for the Lord and following His leading. We get quite a kick out of watching the boys’ first video attempts – hearing their young boy voices that are now such deep manly voices. Now you know what the Cake Boys are up to these days!

2. I want to encourage you to be excited – as we are – to watch God develop the talents in your children as they grow. Not sure what your kids’ talents are? Pray. Ask God to bring them to light in His time, then watch Him do His work. You will be amazed at what our Father will do. Be prepared to foster your child’s talents, but most of all – be at peace, resting in the truth that the Lord will do His work.

Happy Gratituesday, by the way! I’d love for you to leave a comment to share what God is doing in your life – specifically in the lives of your children if you are a parent.

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Stickers on Produce. I Cannot Handle It.

Those of you who know me well are very aware that I have plenty of weirdness lurking in my brain. Hey, we all have a variety or three of weirdness going on, do we not? We all think our personal weirdness makes sense (and is, therefore, not weird) and we do not understand why other people’s weirdness is different from ours. Then when we see someone else being weird we’re all dude, that’s so weird. When in truth, the weirdness we see in others is simply a different variety from our own weirdness because we are all weird.

The Bible backs me up on this although I think it uses more terms like “different gifts” and “knit together uniquely” and stuff like that.

So here’s one of the ways I’m weird that you likely did not know as of yet.

First, I love staring at my groceries. Yes, you knew that one already. That’s not my weird thing even though it kind of is. What you didn’t know is what I’m about to show you. I cannot handle it. I mean, it looks like a lovely table full of grocery and Bountiful Basket purchases. But as it is at this point, I can not admire it. There’s too much distraction.

stickers produce 2

There are stickers everywhere. It’s highly alarming. I want to see the pretty produce in all its natural beauty. But the bar codes and the item numbers and the sticky residue – oh it is all too much.

stickers produce1
Say it isn’t so.

stickers produce 3

So weird thing #672 about Laura: I have to take all the stickers off my produce the minute I set it down in my kitchen. The admiring of the produce cannot happen until all stickers are removed.

stickers produce 4

You think I’m kidding.

stickers produce 5

Ahhhhhhhh, there now. Now we can all stare at the pretty produce, without stickers, in all its God given glory.

stickers produce 6
Before you say, wow Laura that’s weird – let me just remind you that you also have weird things that you cannot handle. They are perhaps different from my weird things because God knit us each together uniquely amen and amen. But you, my friend, are also weird. And I mean that in the kindest, most supportive way. I do.

Today, let us embrace our weirdness. Leave a comment confessing one way you’re weird.

Just so you know, if you make fun of my weirdness, I will pretend to give you a big bear hug but what I will actually be doing is placing all 28 of my produce stickers onto your back then watching to see how long it takes you to notice. Then people will see your back full of stickers and think you’re weird and it would be for real.

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Free Summer Blessings Printables ~ Use These Free Printables to Be a Blessing!

What can you and your family do to be a blessing to someone during the next few days? I encourage you to pray with your family about this. Can you take someone some food? Visit a neighbor? How can you be a light and bless someone?

To bless your efforts (blessings all around, right?!) – we’ve made some fun Summer Blessings printables for you. They are free. Help yourself! Print as many as you like.

Summer Blessings Printables

Download the Summer Blessings Printable
Cards and Gift Tags Here!

Suggestions for ways to use these printables:

  • Print a set of 6 or 8 of the Blessed and Hello note cards. Tie them up with a ribbon and give them as a gift. Be sure to include envelopes! (Like these.)
  • Print a few Blessed and Hello note cards. Spend some time writing encouraging notes in the cards to give or send.
  • Bake something yummy, package it up and attach one of the cards or gift tags. (Here are some baked good recipes to pick from.)

What else? Leave a comment to share ideas of ways we can use these fun new printables!

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Make Orange Creamsicle Ice Cream – No Ice Cream Freezer Required

Orange Ice Cream

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Orange.

Orange who?

Orange you glad I didn’t bore you with the ridiculous banana knock-knock joke your three year old thinks is funny every time he tells it over and over? Between my four boys, I heard that joke 45,000 times. It was so hilarious every single time, of course. If you don’t know which joke I’m talking about, I am very, very jealous and and also very happy for you. Look it up if you must, but I’m warning you: do not tell your three year old.

All jokes aside, orange you excited to try this recipe? You should be! It’s very refreshing – and super easy. No need to dig out the ice cream maker and rock salt. You do need a high power blender, however. I invested in a BlendTec about a year ago, and I’m not sure how Ma Ingalls and I ever lived without it. That thing is a power horse and makes my kitchen life so much easier. I probably use it three times every day – no exaggeration.

But speaking of exaggeration, check out this orange:

orange ice cream 1

I got two of these giants in my Bountiful Basket order last week. As you can see, this one was so huge, I could barely hold it in my hand. This recipe calls for two medium-sized oranges. The above orange does not qualify as “medium-sized.” He is an over-achiever and we are so proud. I used about 1 1/2 of this size orange for this recipe. And really, this recipe isn’t rocket science because I don’t know what rocket science is and also because this recipe is flexible in its ingredient quantities. Just freeze some orange wedges and throw them in a blender with the other stuff and it makes a really great treat.

Knock, knock.

Just kidding.

Alrighty, here is the very easy recipe, which I found here and tweaked only slightly. Thank you for the great idea, SuperHealthyKids.com!

Low Sugar Orange Ice Cream

2 cups whole milk or coconut milk
2 medium-sized oranges
3 Tablespoons maple syrup or 20 drops liquid stevia
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peel oranges and divide them into sections. Lay them flat on a cookie sheet. Place them in the freezer for about two hours or until they are frozen solid.

Put half the frozen orange segments into a high power blender. Add milk and blend until smooth. Add remaining oranges, maple syrup or stevia, and vanilla. Continue blending until smooth.

Pour mixture into a 9×13 inch dish. Place in the freezer for 1-2 hours before serving. (If it is in the freezer longer than 1-2 hours, remove from freezer a few minutes before serving to make scooping easier.

Orange Ice Cream with dairy free option!

Do you have a BlendTec or other high power blender (like Vitamix)? What all do you do with it? Isn’t it great?!

 Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.
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35 Minutes ~ 6 Winner Winner Chicken Dinners

Hows that for a dumb title? Well, you too will feel like saying silly things and maybe even doing the chicken dance after you spend such a short amount of time creating so many delicious meals for your family. Plus, I just had a great cup of coffee so my typing fingers are under the influence of caffeine.

Last week – using ugly meat pictures – I showed you how I used my Eat Right Away: Beef Edition packet to make 6 Beef Meals in only 45 minutes. I promised you that I would do the same with the Chicken Edition. So here I am. But this time – I’m excited to report that it only took 35 minutes of work time to crank out 6 meals. We have big eaters at our house, so the only way I was able to turn 8 pounds of meat into only 6 meals for us is that I’ll be adding several fruit/veggie sides along with potatoes, tortillas, rice, or pasta to stretch that chicken. If your family is smaller than mine – you could do the same amount of work and end up with more than 6 meals!

Eat Right Away Chicken Edition 22

I’m really, really excited about this. One of my biggest goals here is to emphasize that it really doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming to feed your family healthy, real food meals. Here is the run-down of my 35 minute date with 8 pounds of chicken.

On Friday, I picked up my Bountiful Basket meat order (the first one to come to our town!). I got 24 pounds of nitrite-free bacon and 24 pounds of nicely raised boneless/skinless chicken. I put 8 pounds of chicken in the fridge to thaw.

erwchicken1

On Saturday, I got to work making four out of five of the recipes included in the Chicken Edition packet. (I didn’t make the Teriyaki Chicken and Veggie Kabobs because while I had plenty of chicken, the other ingredients needed were not on sale. No need to pay full price – I’ll make a triple batch of those another time!)

These are the recipes I worked on:

  • Easy Apricot Chicken
  • Sloppy Salsa Chicken
  • Mexi-Chicken Pasta
  • Chicken Tostadas

First I put 2 pounds of chicken into a pot with the Apricot Chicken ingredients, put a lid on the pot, and started it cooking on low. It was an exhausting five minutes. Thank you for your compassion.

erwchicken2

Next, I used kitchen shears (the best way to cut chicken, if you ask me) to cut 4 pounds of chicken into pieces for the Mexi-Chicken Pasta and Chicken Tostadas. Want to know what’s great? You use the same ingredients to cook the chicken for both of those recipes so this is super efficient!

erwchicken3

There it is. Seasoned and ready to cook. Prep took about 15 minutes. Onto the stove it went.

erwchicken5

I put the remaining 2 pounds of chicken into a third pot along with the Sloppy Salsa Chicken ingredients. Two minutes later, it was cooking on the stove. Are you grasping how easy this is? I burn complicated recipes in my fireplace. I like simple foods.

erwchicken4

While all three pots of chicken cooked, I ate lunch with my family. (Tuna casserole, green beans, and raspberries – thanks for asking.) I stirred the chicken from time to time while our older boys shared about their week at camp. (They’d just gotten home a couple hours before lunch.)

After lunch, the Mexi-Chicken Pasta and Chicken Tostada meat was finished – so I set it aside to cool.

erwchicken6

The Apricot Chicken was finished to I used a fork and knife to kind of shred it. I say kind of because it’s not completely shredded. I got to a point where I was like, eh good enough.

erwchicken7

Same thing on the Sloppy Salsa Chicken. I shredded it until it was at the “good enough” stage. It’ll pull apart more when we rewarm and serve.

erwchicken8

(I told you these chicken pictures were ugly. Good thing this stuff tastes so good.)

At this point, I let all three pots sit out to cool. Later, I filled five freezer bags: 2 with Sloppy Salsa Chicken, 2 with Apricot Chicken, and 1 with chicken for Mexi-Chicken Pasta. The remaining chicken was left in the pan to quickly rewarm after church Sunday for Tostadas. Lunch within five minutes of getting home from church? Yes please!

erwchicken9

Those five bags of food joined the 6 beef meals from last week.

I’m going with your suggestions on which packets to work on next – focusing on meatless and slow cooker recipes. It is too much fun and oh so helpful to learn these new recipes.

Learn more about the Eat Right Away Packets here. Or just grab them here:

Eat Right Away: Beef Edition
$2.00

Add to Cart

Eat Right Away: Chicken Edition
$2.00

Add to Cart

I love how easy it is now to pull out these prepared foods to serve to my family. Tuesday we put baked potatoes in the crock pot, set out a bag of frozen Apricot Chicken, then went to the swimming pool. We got home, warmed up the meat, cooked some green beans, cut up a cantaloupe, and had our meal. Crazy easy. Plus, all my men raved about how good the Apricot Chicken was. Bonus!

Have you tried any of the recipes in these packets yet? How’s it been going for you? Hope they are a blessing to you as they have been for us!

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Pyrex and Lilla Rose – Summer Sales

This stuff makes me think of summer picnics, which makes me terribly happy. Summer, summer, summer, summer…I love summer. I also love great deals. Who doesn’t?

I cannot recommend these Pyrex Smart Essentials 8-Piece Mixing Bowls W/Colored Lids highly enough. I have two complete sets and I use them constantly – especially in the summertime for fruits, veggies, and salads. The lids that come with these make this set soooooo practical and helpful. I love them. They are only $15.28 at Amazon right now, which is fantastic. Get one. Get two. You will love them!

pyrex bowls 2

Also, this WednesdayFriday, June  17-19 Lilla Rose will have 10% off EVERYTHING – including returning patriotic flexis for the 4th of July and brand new adorable themed bobby pin sets. There will also be 30% off select retiring items. These are so awesome for summertime!

To help determine your perfect size, watch the sizing/styling videos, then order with confidence, knowing that Lilla Rose has a 90-day sizing guarantee for free exchanges!

Lilla Rose Summer Sale (1)

 

This post contains affiliate and sponsored links.

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Build a Breakfast Burrito Bar

It seems that I’ve been on a bit of a Build a _________ Bar kick during the past few months. I believe it just makes sense now that my kids are older. They definitely have specific tastes and preferences. Laying out ingredients and letting individuals put together what they like just makes sense.

That, and it’s much less work for me. I like this part best of all.

Beyond the family, the Build a __________ Bar idea is wonderful for company. Guests can fill their bowl or plate just the way they like. This is a great way to accommodate people with food allergies or differing tastes.

So let’s see. Shall we review the Build a ______ Bar ideas I’ve shared up to this point?

I thought surely I had posted about Build a Chef Salad Bar, but I guess I never have. That’s one of the easiest meal ideas, so I highly recommend it.

And now, consider a Breakfast Burrito Bar. This worked wonderfully for company a few weeks ago.

Build a Breakfast Burrito Buffet

Simply lay out breakfast burrito items and let everyone fill their plate according to their tastes. Here are some suggestions for the buffet:

Build a Breakfast Burrito Buffet

  • Warm tortillas
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Cooked meat like ham, sausage, or bacon
  • Shredded cheese
  • Salsa
  • Chopped veggies like peppers, onions, and mushrooms
  • Spinach

Of course, it’s great to offer a variety of fresh fruit for a side dish.

Do you have any other Build a __________ Bar ideas to share? I love how simple this is!

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Gratituesday: On a Positive Note…

gratituesday[2]

I consider myself to be a fairly positive person. Grumbling helps nothing. I don’t like hearing it from others and I don’t like participating in conversations that are negative and whiny.

Inside my own head, however? I have found myself fighting to take captive every thought and make them obedient to Christ. I haven’t even recognized how negative my thoughts have been because ultimately, I really am trying to figure out positive outcomes for every aspect of my life – my marriage, my boys, our church life, my friendships. But with each of those can come discouragement since life isn’t perfect and my ideals aren’t being rolled out on a red carpet. That’s how I find myself focused on the negative instead of breathing in and relishing in the positive.

This was my brain this morning:

  • Did he really leave his strawberry bowl on the floor after I asked him last night before bed to put it in the sink? I’ve gotta get that boy to listen and obey better.
  • Whose duffle bag is that? I know they are tired after camp, but I asked the boys so many times to unload their dirty laundry in the bathroom. Ugh.
  • I don’t even know where to begin on my to-do list.
  • Is it really cloudy again today? When is the sun going to shine???
  • Shoot. I forgot to thaw meat last night.

This was, of course, all within the first five minutes after I stumbled out of bed this morning. So much for “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

While frustrations are real, my thoughts and attitude have been very negative.

Without knowing it, a friend of mine – during a 30 second, obviously Spirit led conversation – convicted me in the church foyer yesterday between Bible class and worship time. I don’t even remember her exact phrase. I was just struck by her suggestion that the positive must outweigh the negative. I actually barely heard her at the time because I was gathering my kids so we could find a pew.

Well, God did His work, as He always does. I chewed on my friend’s words, which helped me recognize how negative many of my thoughts have been. This morning (strawberry bowl, duffle bag, list, cloudy, meat – yes that) sealed the deal as I got ready to open my Bible with my coffee.

Even in my prayer life, I have been so focused on the negative. It’s as if I don’t even recognize all of God’s goodness and His promises.

So hi. I’m confessing all of this here to you. God is so good, you guys. He offers so much goodness. My life is full of goodness. When I stop being negative and recognize the positive? It’s a no-brainer that I am more cheerful and have more energy.

I’m sharing this on Gratituesday not just so we can think about what we’re thankful for. It’s more than that. It’s about fully allowing our minds to recognize that God has provided so much goodness! We’ve got to fill our minds with the positive so that we can actually see the God-given blessings that are absolutely overflowing around us.

Please join me today in allowing God to do His work in our minds as we recognize His abundant goodness.

Look around you. Breathe in the good. Leave a comment here to share and encourage us all: In what ways do you see God’s goodness in your life?

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