AIP Antipasti, Charcuterie & Aperitivo

AIP Antipasti
Last week was one of those weeks where I couldn’t keep the days straight and no matter what day it was it was one day closer to Christmas. I had a lovely Christmas at the beach spending time with part of my family, then I returned home to have more family visit. There’s nothing better than being able to share quality time with people you love. We had the best weekend doing absolutely nothing but watching old home videos… and now some how it’s officially New Years! Someone please explain to me where the year has gone?

It’s safe to say this time of year can often be difficult to keep it clean and stay on track to meet your 2015 goals all while still allowing yourself to have some indulgence. That part is important though, it’s okay to indulge. There is no one telling you what you can and cannot eat, everything is a choice and if choose to eat the chocolate then enjoy doing it! And certainly don’t beat yourself up for it.

AIP Antipasti & Apertiv

 

One of my not-so-guilty pleasures happens is the salty and sweet flavors joined together. It satisfies the craving I have for two different sensations. I understand why chocolate covered potato chips were created – I really do (though I have never tried them) I am totally in the consumer pool for that type of indulgence.

My palate for these flavors increased during my time spent living in Florence, Italy. Italians know how to combine salty meats with all types of fruits, jams, preserves, spices and cheeses. I ate my weight in wasabi fig jam with Pecorino cheese while there. It’s where I fell in love with prosciutto wrapped melon and the place where I discovered real balsamic. One balsamic I sampled was as thick as molasses and was well over $100!

Of course, this was all before I changed my lifestyle preferences.

AIP Antipasti

Fortunately, when I looked at creating an autoimmune protocol friendly antipasti (meaning before dinner) platter there weren’t too many components missing from my salty sweet pairings. I tried to think of a way to incorporate indulgence, nutrient density, small bites and easy preparation.

It has all my favorite things inspired by my adoration for salty and sweet flavors. I am telling you, these flavors are heaven and I’d sit down and just eat this for dinner, if it didn’t defeat the purpose of having a “before dinner” snack.

AIP Antipasti

Many of these recipes require little to NO cooking because they are things I eat regularly and had pre-made. This makes them perfect to throw together for guests while preparing a meal for later or to take with you to a party. Some of these recipes are from many of my favorite bloggers and friends in the paleo and AIP community who have graciously shared their cooking talents the world. Thank goodness these people exist, because their food creations are divine! I’ve included some more links at the end of the post for other recipe ideas you could easily add or subtract to create your own custom antipasti platter.

No antipasti is complete without an accompanying apertivo. A typical before dinner drink that helps to stimulate the digestive system. This mocktail is refreshingly seasonal and will help to activate your digestion while you nibble.

 

AIP Antipasti

AIP ANTIPASTI, CHARCUTERIE & APERTIVO

Fig Jam

Plantain Crackers

Prosciutto Wrapped Avocado with Balsamic Drizzle (recipe below)

Zucchini Cheese (my version was raw garlic & green onion)

Bacon Beef Liver Pate

Raw Caramel (recipe below)

Sliced Apples, Pears & Prosciutto

Orange Ginger Apertivo (recipe below)

 

 

SEA SALT RAW CARAMEL CRACK (its semi addictive)

Sea Salt Raw Caramel

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups pitted Medjool dates

1/3 cup full fat coconut milk (additive free)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Process

1. Cover dates in water and let soak for 2-3 hours. The skins will begin to shed from the tender inside.

2. Remove skin and strain dates from the water.

3. Add dates, milk, acv and salt in a high-speed blender and cream until smooth. Eat with caution!

 

PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED AVOCADO WITH BALSAMIC DRIZZLE

AIP Antipasti

 Ingredients

1 avocado

6 slices prosciutto

Good quality balsamic vinegar

 

Process

1. Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit and slice length wise 4 slices in each half.

2. Take each slice of avocado and wrap it in prosciutto. Sometimes even a half a slice will work, just depends.

3. Put on plate and drizzle with balsamic to serve.

 

ORANGE GINGER APERITIVO

AIP Antipasti & Apertiv

 Ingredients

San Pellegrino Mineral Water (or other sparkling water)

Juice of one orange

1/2 piece of ginger smashed

Cranberries and or rosemary for garnish

 

Process

1. Cut the orange and juice each half.

2. Peel and cut the ginger, then smash it use the side of a knife or spoon. Place ginger in glass (or if making larger batch in pitcher).

3. Fill glass half with mineral water and half with orange juice. Garnish and enjoy!

* Would also be great with other citrus like grapefruit or lemon!

 

 

Other Recipe Ideas

Beef Bacon & Kale Meatballs

Another Dairy Free Cheese Recipe

Plantain Chips

AIP Flatbread

Cherry Pie Bars (I’ve filled them with cranberries, apples and sage to make them savory too!)

Sweet & Savory Kale Chips

Apple Pie Gummies

 Mushroom Pate

Dairy Free Cultured Cream Cheese

Pear & Bacon Bites (minus paprika for AIP)

 

Could Also Add

Olives & Veggie Crudities

 

ENJOY & HAPPY New Year!

xo,

Kari

AIP Pumpkin “Cheesecake” Pie

AIP Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

I wouldn’t lie to you when I say this is the best Paleo desert I have ever made. To me it’s reminiscent of the real deal baked good, with very little real baking!

AIP Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

I first made this pie for Thanksgiving and it was utterly out of gluttony. I wanted to have a pumpkin pie because honestly I was the only one missing out. Other than my sister, everyone in my family fully enjoys their glutenous pies,  full of eggs and sugar of which I do not eat. So I set out on a mission to make something for myself so as not to miss out on the joy of eating a dessert during the Holidays.

AIP Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

Last year, was a different story. I was eating full Paleo, which meant still eating eggs, almond flour, nutmeg, and most sweeteners. Basically, all the essentials for a pumpkin pie weren’t that difficult to come up with. I then too, was determined to have a dessert for the family gathering.

I remember telling my Grandma that I was going to make a Paleo pie, and it would be my first attempt. My Grandma now recalls on this occasion as “the pie from hell”. Literally, it was that bad. The crust was so difficult to work with. We tried rolling it out. We failed. We then tried flipping it off of the parchment paper on the pie pan. A crumbling disaster. Finally we resolved to pressing it in the pie pan and not caring what it looked like.The filling tasted great, considering I loaded it with coconut sugar and then topped it with pecans. But when I finally cut a piece, the crust was a just a nightmare. At that point it didn’t even matter if it tasted good. My Grandma and I spent 3 hours making that pie. And by the time I finished in the kitchen, it was 1:00 am Thanksgiving morning.

Coconut Whip Cream

I can’t say there’s been a more supportive person in my lifestyle change that doesn’t also follow gluten-free living. My Grandma always asks if you’ve eaten something, if you’re hungry and if so, can she cook you something? She always takes special care to make sure there is something for me to eat at every chance she gets. Which is not easy when you’re used to cooking traditionally southern meals. She constantly tells me how inspiring it is to her that I take care of my body.

AIP Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

 

So naturally, when I brought up making another pie this year, she was supportive and wanted me to have something to enjoy. Then she asked me, “Oh please tell me, not the pie from hell?” HAH! I hesitated before I told her “No, but this pie has to be egg, nut, dairy, gluten, nightshade – free.” Her eyes widened a bit and she probably thought I was lying to her. And truth be told, I had no guarantees that this pie wouldn’t be the sequel, making it “the pie from hell 2”.

AIP Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

I wanted the crust to have a true flaky texture and only a subtle sweetness while looking and tasting like graham cracker. I’m crazy, I know this already. It’s a tough feat but I am stubborn, so when I want something I do my darnedest to make it happen. At first I couldn’t figure out how to get the crust the exact texture I wanted, with a nice color.

The secret? Molasses. It seriously makes this crust what it is. Everyone who smelled it cooking asked if it was graham cracker, and then when they tasted it wanted to know if I put cinnamon in it. SCORE! Even my very non-gluten-free uncle who sends my Grandma dessert recipes on Facebook as a request for her to make, LOVED this pie! This is a serious victory if you ask me!

AIP Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

The crust is not a roll out crust, nor is it quick to make. It does take attention, but it is not the pie from hell, halleluiah! It is simply a process. But isn’t that part of what makes pies loved? It is a labor of love and pies are to be enjoyed few times a year, so go on and enjoy the process because that’s all a part of the experience.

AIP Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

AIP Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

Settlers who made pies were most likely trying to extend their winter squashes or whatever leftovers they had by combining it into a pie which would be much more filling to sustain them through harsh winters.  To say we’re pretty spoiled in the 21st century is a gross understatement.

Once you’ve assembled the pie crust though, the filling is easy all thanks to blenders!

What I love about this faux “cheesecake” pie is the texture is light as if the filling is almost whipped. It’s not overly filling or heavy like most pies are. Careful though, this may cause an overindulgence by consuming larger pieces than usual.

AIP Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

I can’t tell you how relieving it is to me to have not only discovered this pie so I no longer have to suffer the memory of “the pie from hell”. And, I get to EAT it ALL. But thankfully, I’m pretty good at sharing so my family will be getting their fill this Christmas too.

 

Oh, and in case you wondered, my Grandma agrees – this pie is the BOMB!

AIP PUMPKIN “CHEESECAKE” PIE

AIP Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

Ingredients

Crust

1 cup coconut flour

1 cup melted coconut oil

4 tablespoons arrowroot powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 tablespoons alcohol-free vanilla

1 tablespoon molasses

1/2 cup water

 

Filling

2 cans organic pureed pumpkin

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon  ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

2 teaspoons alcohol-free vanilla

2 cans full-fat coconut milk

3 tablespoons gelatin

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup dates (soaked and pureed)

 

Coconut oil for greasing

Tools: Blender + 8 1/2 or 9 inch spring form pan

Process

1. Completely coat the spring foam pan with coconut oil. I use my hands to rub all the sides, and get where the two pieces meet around the bottom of the pan. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.

2. In a bowl pour the coconut flour and either use a sifter or mix until there are no clumps. I have always seen better results if I sift. Then add the arrowroot powder and salt, mix until combined.

3. Then add vanilla and mix in molasses until mixture is crumbly. Then add in oil slowly, the mixture will begin to become liquid.

4. Lastly, stir in a little water at a time and the mixture will become more crust/dough like but a bit crumbly in large chunks.

5. At this point, use your hands to make sure the mixture is well incorporated.

6. Then take handfuls at a time and press the crust into the bottom of the pan and form into the sides. This will take a few minutes, but it’s so worth it! You may have about 1/2 cup of dough that you don’t use and that’s okay, freeze and save or crumble and bake for a crumbly topping.

7. Once the pan is fully covered put in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until it’s browned on the edges.

8. While the crust bakes, prepare the filling. Soak the dates in warm water for 5 minutes, remove the outside skin and blend on high until a smooth paste is formed. Add pumpkin, all spices, vanilla, and maple syrup to the blender. Blend until fully incorporated.

9. On the stove top add the two cans of coconut milk and gelatin into a sauce pot and stir to combine. Turn heat on low and continue stirring until mixture is completely warm but not hot.

10. Once the mixture is warm add it to the blender and mix on high until everything is combined.

11. Take the pie crust out of the oven once it’s done, and allow it to cool completely, all of the liquid should be baked out. Once it is cool, add the filing inside of the crust. Place in the fridge and allow to set for at least 5 hours, preferably overnight.

12. Before you serve let it come to room temperature and make your whip topping. I use Against All Grain’s recipe for this, because it’s so good and there’s no need to reinvent!

 

ENJOY

xo,

Kari

The Love Language of Giving

The Love Language of Giving

I want to drag Christmas morning out for as long as possible. My sister, especially would get frustrated with me as I’d carefully unwrap each piece of tape and then each layer of wrapping paper all to relish in the anticipation. Then I’d want everyone to open their gifts the same way, but my sister tore into hers as if they would melt before she could finish. I’d ask my parents if we could each open a gift one at a time, because as much as I do enjoy receiving gifts, I love even more watching others open theirs.

I’m known to my family as the “gift-giver”. For the simple reason that I love giving people presents, and watching the smile come over their face as they open it. I rarely ask what someone wants, because I usually get them something they didn’t know they wanted. I like gifts with meaning. Most people would think that means I also love getting gifts. Which I do, but it’s a much deeper connection than what it seems on the surface.

There’s a saying “It’s not the gift, but the thought that counts,” which I find they are mutually exclusive. Gift giving is about intention, about feelings, and sharing with a person you care about just how much you love them.

It is not the gift, but the thought that counts.
It is not the gift, but the thought that counts.

The Love Language of Giving

But Christmas isn’t all about gifts right? It’s about sharing joy, and love and happiness. I think our gifts should encompass them.

The Love Language of GivingGiving gifts is about affection. Whether you are making something or purchasing, taking the time to create or think of another, that’s why gifts are so special. You can put intention behind your gifts simply by what you’re giving. This year, I have so much love and joy to share.

The Love Language of GivingNot that I haven’t had this same feeling in past years, but it’s different for me now. I live far from all of my friends, and continuing on my journey after having them in my daily life for so long has not been the easiest.

I am finding life moving quicker as the years pass and all I want to do is grab on the edge, dig my nails into the ground and hope to gain strength from a gradual climb. But I want to slow down, pause in the moments where I find happiness, and when I have it embrace that warm glowing feeling that generates deep in my belly.

The Love Language of Giving Last Christmas was difficult for me. I enjoyed the day with family but the winter months seemed drearier than they ever had before, as if the days never fully came for me and I spent most of the time in the dark. I was in a job I hated. I felt utterly unaccomplished and lacked motivation to make a change. A flare of my arthritis set in about this time, and so with it depression. I could not channel hope and instead felt purely lost.

The Love Language of GivingBut this year, is different for me. I have transformed so many things in my life over the course of a few months and I feel the momentum underneath me pushing me to conquer my dreams.  I have so much to share. I want to seek joy through every avenue possible. I realized my passions are worth delving into deeply so that I can give more of myself to others.

There has been some reservation on my part, about sharing fully what I am doing and where I want to take my future. I think mostly because I wasn’t even fully confident in it myself yet. There was hesitation in whether my healing lifestyle would “work”. I had doubts, “what if I don’t see the results?” And now, it’s what I want to share with everyone.

It’s something that has taken a while for me to come to, and largely a part of my healing process. But my best gift has been time, to learn more about myself. And in turn, my ability to share with others has increased tenfold. Because even as difficult as some of it has been, my continual metamorphosis has allowed me to appreciate my true self, and see all the gifts I  have to offer.

The Love Language of Giving

So I spent an afternoon drawing, creating, cutting and writing. I slowed down, appreciated all my friends and the incredible work they are doing in their lives. I am so grateful to have each of them. I want to share with them just how delicious and accessible healthy meals are. Hopefully encouraging them through my experience to go after what they really want by using their natural gifts.

I gave them a spice or herb that in one way or another reminded me of them. One of my friends is the most warm and giving individual I know, if she could she would donate a limb to stranger if they needed it. She got cinnamon because it’s warmth radiates in food. Another girlfriend got ginger as she has an aura about her that’s calming and her strength is insurmountable. Cardamom, one of my favorite spices,  has a smell entirely unique just like a friend of mine who has been irreplaceable in my life. Another friend and I lived in Italy together, and during that time we shared so many memories and happiness. I gave her oregano to remember each of the special memories we have.

The Love Language of GivingSage is one of those herbs that to me is nearly intoxicating. It’s smell is earthy and I usually want to use it on just about everything. My one friend, is like this, you generally just want to be around her and her fun witty way is something that I adore. In my opinion, thyme is the herb that stands the test of time (pun intended). This girl has influenced me more than she may know and her passion for helping exudes her. Being the foundation of her reputation this makes her one of the most kind people I know.

I love Christmas, for so many reasons, love, family, traditions, presents, food! Many of which I am sure you can relate to. Reflecting on last Christmas, and the year in between has had me already thinking and planning for New Years. If like me, you are all about making New Year’s resolutions, leading your life through what you desire, or know someone who fit’s that description, check out my ideas for planning below.

 

Here are some of my favorite gifts to help get a head start on an AMAZING New  Year!

For Starting A New Year

Desire Map Day Planner

Desire Map Book

Desire Map Journal

#Truthbomb Card Deck

 

I am filled up this year, and feel extremely fortunate to share that with my friends, and with you. Thank you!

xo

Kari

Immune Boosting Turmeric Tea

Immune Boosting Turmeric Tea

These past two weeks have been chaotic, to say the least. And even that would probably be an understatement. Between traveling, preparing for the holidays, working on new projects, figuring out plans for the new year – it’s been pretty hectic. Oh and then yesterday, I decided it would be a great idea to de-clutter and purge.

So here I am trying to detox a few of the materialistic things, while managing the outlining stress of all the other factors I have going on in my life. I know the last thing my body needs is an extra increase in sugar intake, and my adrenals especially do not need to be slammed by caffeine.

So yesterday I decided to give my body some self-love. Along with trying to live a bit more minimally, I want to make sure my body is healthy going into this crazy holiday season. Which also happens is the season for sickness, too. Yesterday, after many hours of purging I went to a nearly two-hour detox yoga class. It was SO amazing. Everything I needed in a class and truthfully, leading up to it, I thought “I don’t really need to detox from anything, I’m doing pretty good.” WRONG!

Immune Boosting Turmeric Tea

I  was completely wrong about what my body needed. In fact, I needed the emotional release of pushing my body through movements, to sweat, to deeply stretch in order to help set me back to a  state of balance and clarity.

So today, along with work I am taking it easy on myself. Being gentle with my body and recognizing that I just did a lot of HARD work. Between physical movement and emotional fatigue, I need to give my immune system some support as it deals with all the baggage I am throwing at it. Oh, and the change in season.

As I type, I am sitting and sipping on this turmeric tea.

Ginger happens to be one of my favorite spices to cook with. It adds such complexity of flavor and spice to different meals by adding only a tiny bit of it. A little really goes a long way in the case of ginger although I prefer to use A LOT just because I love it. I am glad too, that I enjoy it so much because the immune boosting power of ginger is one of the greatest. It not only helps to balance out the immune system functions but works as an anti-inflammatory to help calm down the systemic inflammation response in the body, for people like me, whose immune systems think it’s a great idea to attack itself!

Being a part of the ginger family, turmeric is a well-known superfood that has antioxidant properties that help to boost the immune system to support your body and keep your antibodies healthy. Turmeric has been used in Chinese and Indian medicine for generations to help bodily ailments like arthritis, irritable bowl syndrome, and as a powerful anti-inflammatory it helps to reduce overall inflammation in the body. Along with these benefits you can see here an in-depth nutritional profile of turmeric that indicates high levels of magnesium and potassium.

The gentle spice from the ginger rejuvenates and awakens the body while the green tea and turmeric warm you up, making this drink super cozy. Your body will thank you!

 

IMMUNE BOOSTING TURMERIC TEA

Immune Boosting Turmeric Tea

Ingredients

1 cup hot water and one green tea bag (let steep for 2-3 minutes)

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 tablespoon coconut milk (make sure it’s free of additives)

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

½  teaspoon fresh grated ginger

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Sprinkling of  ground clove

 

Process

1. Stir together coconut oil and turmeric until it creates a paste.

2. Pour hot green tea into a blender, add half of turmeric paste along with cinnamon, fresh ginger, clove and coconut milk.  Blend on high until mixture becomes frothy.

3.Pour in serving cup sprinkle more cinnamon//clove//ginger or favorite spices, relax and enjoy.

 

Tip: Save the other half of your turmeric paste for another morning and you’re already one step ahead. You can easily make a large batch of the paste as well.

ENJOY

xo,

Kari

Winter Warming Lamb Stew

Winter Warming Lamb Stew

Stews are one of those meals that make you feel downright cozy. In the winter especially, holding a warm bowl full of nutritious broth and hearty vegetables is the meal-ticket to laying under a blanket and snuggling on a couch. After I eat a bowl of stew that’s pretty much what I want to do.

 

Winter Warming Lamb Stew

I live in the Southeast where the weather can still be fairly warm in the winter time, but having grown up living in Belgium and later in Virginia, I know what damp and bitter cold feels like. Some days here, the weather is crisp in the mornings and later evening but generally we don’t see significant temperature drops until January. Last week, this was not the case.

It got so cold here that I broke out my winter coat and my fuzzy slippers. There’s nothing I hate more than cold feet!! But I’ll let you know something else, I secretly LOVED it!! Yes, I miss the cold (GASP). I know, I know and then I decided I had to make this lamb stew. And while I don’t thing lamb stew is strictly reserved for the colder months at all, I wanted something that had warming spices, healing broth and wouldn’t take much effort.

Winter Warming Lamb StewWinter Warming Lamb StewThe unique flavor of the this stew comes from the cut of meat I use, lamb neck. It is such an awesome part of lamb to use in stews because it breaks down to this delicate texture that melts in your mouth as you eat it. Combine it with herbs like bay leaf, rosemary, sage and cinnamon…

Your whole house will smell as if you’ve you’d been baking all day. And you very well could have with all that extra time not having to worry about what to have for dinner. Cha ching! And all you did was stick a few things in a Crockpot. Might as well call you the next Julia Child.

But really, slow cooking meals are the best because they are low energy. I mean YOUR energy, not the electric bill. When I don’t feel like being in the kitchen a lot, slow cooking is my solution.

Winter Warming Lamb StewThe finishing touches though, are what make this stew special. In the last few minutes of the cooking process you add the cranberries. The tang in every bite compliments the fatty (good fat!) parts of the lamb and the denser vegetables of the carrots.

Whenever I make this I have a huge batch of leftovers and then am always sad when I get down to my last serving. Thank goodness it’s a cinch to make!

 

WINTER WARMING LAMB STEW, WITH CARROTS & TURNIP ROOT

Winter Warming Lamb Stew

Ingredients

2.5 lbs lamb neck (this should include the bones)

4 medium turnip roots

5 medium-sized carrots

1 onion

1 bay leaf

2 full sprigs fresh rosemary chopped

5 sprigs fresh thyme

1 ½ cups chicken or beef broth

1 ½ cups water (can use more broth instead of water, but the bones from the lamb will create much of their own broth with this water)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

½ cup fresh cranberries

 

Process

1. Put olive oil, lamb necks, onion and salt into the slow cooker and turn on high for an hour.

2. After an hour turn to low, add the broth, water and bay leaf. Then add vegetables and all spices and let cook for 8-10 hours, the meat will fall off the bones.

3. Cut cranberries in half and store them in the fridge until the last hour of cooking.

4. After the final hour, turn off the heat, add the cranberries to the pot and cover for another half our.

5. Skim off any undesired fat from the broth. Serve!

 

ENJOY

xo,

Kari

Diagnosis Is Not Always “The Answer”

I am staring at a blank screen thinking about all the things I want to say – how can I tell the story of my disease in a way that you can understand? It’s an ongoing theme in my life, and for many I believe, to seek understanding. But the reality (at least my reality) has been that most people don’t understand. So writing about my journey so that you might  know how my autoimmune disease affects me is difficult, but I’m not going to shy away from that.

I was 15, a young naive freshman in high school who actively played sports and enjoyed being around a multitude of friends. At the start of the new year I began having sharp pain in my hands. I would try to straighten my hair or hold a pencil and I couldn’t. My fingers were swollen up like sausages and the pain resonated deep into my bones. At first, my Mom thought it was just from my period — but after a week she knew that was wrong. And thus began the agonizing journey to find a diagnosis, a label to answer the nagging question I repeated over and over in my mind.

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ROASTED VEGGIE SALAD WITH POMEGRANATES & HORSERADISH DILL DRESSING

Roasted Vegetable Salad with Pomegranate

I seriously love my Instagram family – that’s what they are really, super supportive, kind, thoughtful, encouraging! What’s not to love? I asked today if it would be helpful for me to post the recipes I shared while guest posting for Whole30’s Instagram account. And I got a definitive answer of – YES PLEASE!! So here is the beginning of a series of those recipe posts, this one is an easy favorite!

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