Mixed vegetable soup- An Indian recipe

Mixed vegetable soup

This weekend I was sick, and our friends were here too from New Jersey. I loved their presence and all the help they provided. Felt so pampered but still feel tired. I asked my kids what would they like to eat for lunch tomorrow and thankfully they both said soup. So here I am after making soup with all the good stuff for tomorrow’s lunch box sharing this easy recipe with you. It’s not only good for kids, but I feel it’s one of the best things to have when you are down with the flu or have a sore throat.
The beauty about this soup is you can choose whichever vegetables you have at home. Even picky eaters who don’t like eating vegetables can get the all the nutrition from this soup.

Kids lunch box: Mixed vegetable soup

Prep Time             Cook Time           Total Time
15 mins                      15 mins                     30 mins

Ingredients                                                                 
2 stalks celery
3-4 cauliflower florets
1 potato
4 tomatoes
1 bell pepper
1 cup mixed vegetables
1 small zucchini
1 cup small shell pasta
1-2 cloves
2 Tbsp tomato ketchup
2 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 cups water
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Directions
1. Boil tomatoes and clove along with other vegetables except bell pepper, zucchini and celery in water for 10 mins.
2. Drain the vegetables and keep the remaining water.
3. Puree the tomatoes.
4. Cook pasta till it is all done.
5. Chop bell pepper, zucchini and celery in small pieces.
6. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat and add bell pepper, zucchini and celery to it and saute for few minutes.
7. Add tomato puree and ketchup and let it cook for few mins.
8. Add the remaining water in which vegetables were boiled.
9. Add remaining vegetables and pasta.
10. Add salt and pepper and let it boil for few minutes.

Serve it with toasted bread.
Enjoy this soup with your kids and for recipes with mixed vegetable check these recipes of Quinoa with lots of vegetablesquick and easy pav-bhajiVegetables packed khichdi and vegetable pulao for kids,

Quinoa with lots of vegetables

I got super tired today by cleaning closets. I took a big home project in hand this weekend so was very busy. Does it happen to you that you get more tired in weekend catching up on your to-do list?

No matter how much tired you are you need to feed your hungry kids

Well, let me get back to the business, no matter how much tired you are you need to feed your hungry kids. So I made Quinoa with lots of vegetables for kids since it cooks in no time and is very nutritious.
I heard about Quinoa last year. When I got to know that it’s all packed with protein, you can imagine the amount of happiness it gave me. Being a vegetarian, I do get concerned now and then about the amount of protein I give to my kids. Quinoa is the perfect meal and adding lot of vegetables make it very healthy and delicious. It is definitely a keeper in your pantry.

Quinoa is definitely a keeper in the pantry.

Here is the recipe from my kitchen of equal parts of Quinoa and vegetables. It is very similar to making pulao. You can check my other recipes here and here with lots of vegetables.

Kids lunchbox:   Quinoa with lots of vegetables

20160228_112221_Richtone(HDR)

Prep Time        Cook Time        Total Time
10 mins                 15 mins                 25 mins

Ingredients
1 cup Quinoa
1 cup mixed vegetables
1 Potato
½ Onion
1 Tomato
2 ½ cups water
2 Tbsp oil

Spices
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp red chili powder
Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Wash Quinoa many times. I prefer using a strainer.20160228_101552_Richtone(HDR)
  2. In a deep pan heat oil.
  3. Add cumin seeds and when they start to sizzle add chopped onion and saute for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add turmeric powder.
  5. Add chopped potatoes and saute for a couple of more minutes.
  6. Add mixed vegetables, chopped tomato, chili powder, cumin and coriander powder.
  7. Saute for a couple of more minutes and add quinoa.
  8. Add garam masala and black pepper and saute for one more minute.
  9. Add water and cover the pot. Put the heat on high.
  10. When water starts boiling, simmer the heat on the lowest settings till quinoa is fully cooked.

You can add more or fewer spices as per your taste. My kids cannot handle many spices so I try to keep them on the lower end. Enjoy making quinoa and leave your suggestions, in the comments below, on other protein options for a vegetarian family. Follow me on my facebook and Pinterest.

Pyaz (Onion) Parantha for kids lunchbox

Monday is back and schools are reopened after Winter break. Weather is also little better than before. I am excited and all set to prepare lunch for my kids.

Why am I so excited? Last Friday my daughter told me how happy she felt when her couple of friends told her that she is lucky since she brings food from home and they wish to bring lunch from home too. I think, we all love food cooked by our moms the most.

We all love food cooked by our moms the most.

When I was little, I used to be a very picky eater and my mom used to figure out all kinds of ways to make sure I eat my food. Today’s recipe, Pyaz parantha, takes me down to my school days. Many times I used to share my lunch with my best friend. She also used to love eating paranthas made by mom.

Today’s post is dedicated to my mom and also to all the moms who bring a smile on their kids faces and feel happy making lunch for their kids.

Making pyaz parantha does not need a lot of ingredients but is a little tricky. It needs some practice. What makes it hard to make is that onions start sweating as soon as salt is added to them. When you try to make these delicious paranthas make sure you chop onions just right before making them.

Following is the recipe with little tips and tricks and pictures to help busy moms like me who are finding a time and ways to cook something new and delicious for their kids.

Pyaz Parantha for kids lunchbox

Pyaz Parantha
Prep Time              Cook Time           Total Time
10 mins                       5 mins                      15 mins

Ingredients
1 Onion
2 cups whole wheat flour
Some water to knead the flour
Salt to taste
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp red chili powder
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp chopped ginger
½ tsp amchur powder
Pinch of Ajwain (carom seeds)
2-3 Tbsp Ghee

Directions

  1. Put water in 1 cup wheat flour as needed and knead into a soft dough. I love my KitchenAid for that. It’s super easy to operate and save my time. Leave rest of the flour to roll paranthas.
  2. Chop onions into very small pieces.
  3. Add rest of the ingredients to onions and mix properly. Add salt at the end and mix again. Stuffing is ready.
  4. Take small amount dough in hand and make a roll. 20160217_190351
  5. Roll dough on a flat surface using a rolling pin and make a small roti. Use remaining flour as needed so that the roti doesn’t stick with rolling pin or on a flat surface.Pyaz Parantha
  6. Add a small amount of onion stuffing on the roti. If you see some water in your stuffing then put the stuffing in your palms and squeeze the water out before adding it to roti. 20160217_190503
  7. Pick opposite corners of the roti and join together.20160217_190520
  8. Also, join other two sides and dust some flour on it.20160217_190543
  9. Roll again. Don’t put too much pressure while rolling otherwise stuffing will come out.pyaz parantha
  10. Heat a pan or tawa on high flame and put parantha on it.20160217_190355
  11. After few seconds flip the parantha and add some ghee.
  12. When parantha looks little cooked flip it again and add more ghee.Pyaz parantha
  13. Cook till both sides are done.
  14. Add more ghee and wrap it in a foil paper to keep in a lunch box.
  15. Serve with yogurt.

My kids love eating these paranthas and with some practice it gets easier to make these. One medium size onion can be used to make 2-3 parathas.Let me know if you also like paranthas. For other kids lunchbox recipes click here.

Pav-bhaji with leftover vegetables- a party hit

Hosted a Valentine’s day party yesterday at our house. Though it was the weekend but I was tired after making three dishes and was all set to lie down for a while. My husband then asked me, will that much food be enough to feed 20 people? I didn’t feel like making any other dish but something in my heart said, common get up and make the fourth one too.

Lazy I stood staring at fridge as if it’s going to give me ideas

Lazy I stood staring at fridge as if it’s going to give me ideas about the fourth dish which can be quick, easy, mess-free, enough for 20 people and at the same time delicious. And then I saw the lonely green bell pepper looking at me wanted me to pick it up. I grabbed it and also grabbed the other loners like some cabbage, one orange bell pepper and a small broccoli.
A smile ran through my face because I knew by that time what to do with these leftover uncooked vegetables.

Half the battle is won if you know what to cook

I think half the battle is won if you know what to cook. So with these raw vegetables and just a couple of hours left to the party I was feeling doing a victory dance. No mess, no fuss, and simple were my goal.

I quickly boiled few potatoes and mashed them and to that added lots of butter. Added all the leftover veggies to my Vitamix blender along with some ginger, garlic, frozen mixed vegetables and tomatoes and pulsed them into a not so thick blend. Added all that to the butter and mashed potatoes. Added pav-bhaji masala, some salt, some Deggi mirch for color. Also added my secret ingredient the chilli garlic sauce. Kept stirring it in between till it cooked on a low heat and voila what a hit in my party. Everyone loved it and I loved it too since I didn’t have to cut anything and had to clean only my blender which is super easy to clean.

Here is the recipe on popular demands of my guests. Enjoy making it and never throw those loner vegetables. Leave a comment if you want to know what other dishes I made which were also very easy and no mess and share it with your friends

Pav-bhaji with leftover vegetables- a party hit

Pa

Prep Time         Cook Time        Total Time
5 min                     55mins                  1 hour

Main ingredients
4-5 small potatoes
5 tomatoes
1 cauliflower
1 small broccoli
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper ( optional)
5-6 garlic cloves
2-inch ginger
½ packet mixed vegetables ( frozen)
3 Tbs Pav-Bhaji masala
4 Tbs butter
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp Deggi mirch
1 Tbsp chili garlic paste

Garnish
Cilantro
Lemon
Butter
Onions
Tomatoes

Directions
Boil potatoes, peel and mash them.
In a big pan add mashed potatoes and butter.
Put all the raw vegetables along with ginger and garlic in a blender and pulse it into a not so thick blend.
Add the vegetable blend into the pan and cook on a low heat.
Add ginger garlic paste with pav-bhaji masala.
Add Salt to taste and Deggi mirch.
Let it cook with some stirring in between.
Garnish with some butter, chopped tomatoes, cilantro and onions
Serve with buttered pav ( bread). Can heat them in an oven too.

This recipe can serve 15-20 people easily. For a smaller portion or for kids lunchbox reduce the quantity of main ingredients and cook time will also then reduce. Try it for your next party and let me know how it goes.

Suji Halwa Roll

The very first dish that I cooked for my in-laws

The very first dish that I cooked for my in-laws after a couple of days of my marriage was Suji ka halwa. I was super nervous that day when my mother-in-law asked me to make halwa. I had no idea how to make it, but I didn’t want to say that to my mother-in-law in front of so many guests who were eagerly waiting to taste it.

My only rescue was to call my mom and ask her how to make it. I called her and got her secret recipe with which I not only pleased my in-laws but also after ten years of marriage my suji ka halwa is a big hit among my friends and family. My American kids love this Indian dessert and my husband who is not a big fan of sweets also love it ask me to make it at least once every month.

Today I decided to share this never failed, please your guests and kids and easy to make, my all time favorite comfort food/dessert that I decided to give to my kids this week for lunch but with a small twist.

Before I share this recipe that I got from my mom, one thing I would like to point out is that one should be very careful about the proportions of the ingredients, and then only Suji ka halwa turns out to be perfect.

Lunchbox recipe #6 Suji halwa roll

Suji Halwa

Prep Time     Cook Time       Total Time
2 mins               28 mins               30 mins

Main Ingredients

1-2 Tortillas or Roti
1 cup Suji/Rawa ( Preferably fine one)
1 cup Sugar
3 cups Water
¾ cup Ghee

Garnish
Nuts
2 green Cardamoms

Directions
In a deep and wide pot heat Ghee on medium heat.
Add Suji to ghee and roast it till it becomes light brown and your whole house starts smelling awesome with it’s smell.
You can add nuts and cardamoms now or later. I prefer to add them now and roast them a little bit with suji.
Carefully add water and sugar and keep stirring it. Make sure no lumps are formed.
Suji will quickly absorb water and will swell through.
Keep stirring on low heat till it starts leaving the sides of the pan little bit and you can see some ghee coming on top.
Make a roti or heat a tortilla add suji, roll it and cut from the middle and pack it for lunch.

I know some of you might be thinking that it’s not all healthy and full of nutritional meal, but I feel that it’s ok to let kids have dessert for lunch sometimes, isn’t it?

If you are looking for some nutritious vegetarian Indian recipes for your kids lunchbox, then please check my posts at this link and feel free to leave a comment or any suggestion. Until next Monday have a great week.

Buy some time this Black Friday for your kids

Spending time with your children is more important than spending money on them

buy the gift of time on black friday for your kids

This morning when I picked the newspaper all I saw were numerous advertisement for Black Friday deals. So many deals on toys on kids clothes. Then I went to do some window shopping and noticed how cleverly all shops have things to attract kids not only in kids sections but also all over the shops.

With a blink of an eye, my daughter turned eight this week. My daughter was born on Black Friday. I still tell her that she is the best deal I could have ever got.

Now eight years have passed, and she has turned up in a young kid who loves to go shopping with me. In these eight years, my life has changed for good. I earned my Doctorate, got a got job and moved from a very family friendly place Utah to busy as a bee New York.

In these past eight years, like many of you, I have also had my moments of joy and worry. The absolute happiness of being a mother and lots of fear that am I doing all that makes a good mother?

So what makes a mom the best mom for her kids? With my two children, I have learned a lot and realized that though all kids are different from each other but there is one common thing in all the kids, and that is they want their parents to spend time with them.

As a working mom in a very competitive environment, the most difficult thing is to get enough of time for kids. On working days, I only get two to three hours in the evening with my kids and in that time there is a lot to do. Chores, homework, dinner, bath kids and put them to bed. So how to find enough of time?

Here are few things that I feel keep my guilt away of not being able to spend enough time with my kids and help both my kids and me.

Play, play and play
With the money, you can buy them the best toys in the world. But buying toys is not sufficient. I remember when I was little my parents also used to purchase lots of toys for me. I still remember most of them but what I cherish the most is playing chess with my father and Ludo with my mother. It brings a smile on my face when my daughter asks me to dress up her doll because I remember how much fun it was when my mom used to sew clothes for my dolls. My love for badminton is all because my father used to play with me even when I grew up. So my advice to busy parents, who try to make up for the lost time and try to compensate it by buying toys for them is to pick up that doll lying in the corner, or the tea set sitting in the toys box, that board game collecting dust or even the video game and sit with your children and play with them. The time you spend playing with your kids can never go to waste.

Act silly
It just breaks my heart when I see kids leaving their innocence to early. Have your ever thought why kids are becoming so mature at a young age. I would blame it on none other than parents. I have seen many parents treating their kids like mini adults.I think the best way to keep their innocence alive for as long as possible is to have fun with them, act silly sometimes and get down to their level. See the world through their eyes. It’s easier than said and do not take much time; it’s an everyday act.

Listen with an open heart
Kids have a lot to say and share, even the quiet ones. As a parent, it’s our job to sit with them and listen with an open mind. Don’t be judgmental when your kids complain about other kids or have problems with school etc. Just listen, sometimes they don’t even expect any solution from you but they just want to be hugged and heard. Even those little things like “my stuff toy are hungry”, listen to them and give them food for that hungry stuff animal. It’s these small things that matter, and they get the assurance that no matter how much busy you are but you always listen to them.

Do not lose your cool
Lose weight, lose bad habits, lose anger. There are plenty of things one can or should lose but never lose your cool in front of your kids. Many years ago I saw a movie called Baghban. In that film, there is one dialogue a grown up son says to her mother, “ I have always seen you smiling.” Last year was very stressful for me and even though I never lose my cool in front of my kids, my toddler made a frowny face and asked me one day, “Mom why you look like this sometimes”? This image is not how I want my kids to have of me. So after that I realized the importance of a smile. Now imagine how your image is downloaded in your child’s mind if you scold or shout at them or in front of them. Losing temper in front of your child is losing the precious time to make a sweet memory with them.

Losing temper in front of your children is losing the precious time to make a sweet memory with them.

So this Black Friday get the gift of time for your children, it’s the best deal not only for your kids but also for yourself.
For more ways to spend time with your kids, see my post http://muktasvision.com/trick-to-get-a-treat-of-quality-time-with-kids/ and follow me on my Facebook.

Vegetables packed Khichdi

My three years old is going through some not so happy tummy phase. He suddenly became a picky eater and a fussy one too. Getting him vegetables or a nutritional food has become a challenge now. I know this could just be a phase, but meanwhile I need to feed him as much healthy as possible and that too something that is easy to digest.

I need to feed my kids as much healthy as possible and that too something that is easy to digest.

Vegetable Khichdi is one great solution I have found. This khichdi is not only healthy but also super delicious. My son loved it and didn’t even realized how many vegetables and legumes he was eating all at once. A Very balanced meal, great for a lunchbox and also quick to make. Total mom friendly.

 

Lunchbox Recipe #5  Vegetables packed khichdi

vegetables packed khichdi

 

Prep Time              Cook Time              Total time

5 mins                     25 mins                   30 mins

 

Main Ingredients

1/2 cups Rice                                                                                              20151113_103831 

¼ cup split Mung dal

¼ cups split Urad dal

¼ cups Toor dal         (Optional)

¼ cups Chana dal      (Optional)

2 cloves Garlic

1 small onion

1 Tomato

As many vegetables you want of your choice

I used ¼ Ghiya (lauki), few Cauliflower florets, 1 potato, 1 cup corn, little bit carrots and some spinach leaves 

4-5 cups water

vegetables packed khichdi

 

For tempering

1 Tbs cumin seeds (Zeera)

2-3 Tbs Ghee

Salt to taste

1/2 tsp amchur

1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions

  1. Wash and cut all the vegetables
  2. Combine rice and all the lentils (dals) together and wash them thoroughly.
  3. Heat 2 Tbs ghee in pressure cooker and add cumin seeds.
  4. After 30-40 seconds add onion and saute for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add all the vegetables and saute for 3-4 minutes
  6. Add Tomatoes and saute for couple of more minutes
  7. Add rice and lentils mix and saute for 1 minute
  8. Add water, salt, amchur and black pepper
  9. Pressure cook for on high for two whistles and on slowest settings for another two whistles.
  10. Open the lid of the cooker after all the steam is gone and add 1 Tbs of ghee.
  11. Serve it with yogurt to complete the whole nutritional meal.

Earlier this month I posted a recipe of vegetable pulao. This vegetables packed khichdi is different than vegetable pulao.

  1. In this khichdi, I focused on adding just little bit rice (¼ cups) and focused more on vegetables. In vegetable pulao rice was 1 cup.
  2. Another difference is the amount of water used in both dishes. In khichdi, I used 4-5 cups of water, and you can add more or less depending upon how thick or semi-fluid like you want this khichdi to be. In pulao, you need to be careful to the water and rice ratio.
  3. I also prefer cooking khichdi in a pressure cooker and pulao comes out better in a big and deep pot.

If you want you can also add cumin powder and coriander powder when you add rest of the spices and increase the spice level as much as your kids like. My kids do not eat spicy food so I try keep spice level to very minimum.

Please leave a comment if you like my recipes or have any suggestions. Thanks for stopping . To see more lunchbox ideas, please see my kids lunchbox category.

 

TLS 21 days challenge

TLS 21 days challenge

Babystep# 4 towards healthy lifestyle
Today I am going to start with my TLS 21 days challenge. I have gained a lot of weight over past three years, and now I am all set to achieve a healthy lifestyle.
This week I joined a sugar-free for five days challenge. This challenge is going to be one big sacrifice since I have a big sweet tooth in my mouth. To some five days seems to be not much but for me it will be a big milestone if I can do that. One day has already passed, so I am feeling very happy.
I also completed my 30 days water challenge. Please see the details here if you want to know more about it. It was a very successful challenge, and I got an overwhelming response from people who were with me in this challenge. I see my skin has improved, less stress, and more energy. Here is a testimonial of that from one of my friend who joined me in this challenge.

water challenge
I also worked in my sleep habit and had started listing more to my body. Here is the link to the post if you also find it hard to get a good amount of sleep.

Taking one more step towards a healthy lifestyle, I decided to take this TLS 21 days challenge.

I heard a lot from my friends, some acquaintances and couple of Doctors as well that it’s important to reduce intake of carbs especially the ones with high GI and take more protein along with some fiber. That helps in maintain a good metabolism that is the ultimate key to a healthy body and mind.
After researching a lot and overcoming my being skeptical about such weight loss solutions, I decided to go with TLS 21 days challenge. Reasons for being willing to try this out over tons of other options are:

  1. It consists of just two phases. The first phase being the only detox. Detoxing is what many people can swear. But to me it’s more like, if you want to clutter free your body from all the junk you have been storing in it. Remember that muffin you ate with butter on top or ahh those hot fries on a rainy day and yes that free pizza slices you eat on your team building, yes all that you need first to clear everything out.
  2. Phase two is then fat burning that to me is like creating room in your body for all the good stuff by burning that fat that is taking so much space.

Soon I will keep posting my progress and challenges I face in this challenge. For more on healthy lifestyle check out my other posts at http://muktasvision.com/category/health/

Vegetable Pulao for kids lunchbox

Monday is back again and again comes the big question what’s for school lunch today?
Today my kids’ lunchbox is packed with carbs, protein, and some vitamins. As you might know me by now, I love to cook quick and easy nutritional food for my kids.
There are numerous ways of making pulao and here is my way of making vegetable pulao for my kids that they love.

Lunchbox # 4  Vegetable Pulao

Vegetable Pulao

Prep time                   Cook time                  Total time
10 mins                        20 mins                      30 mins

Main Ingredients
1 cup Rice
1 small potato
1 cup mixed vegetables
2.5 cups water
1 Onion
1 Tomato
2 Tbs Ghee

Spices
1 Tbs Cumin seeds
1 Bay leaf
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Garam masala
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp red chili powder
1 Green Cardamom
Salt per taste

Directions

  1. Wash rice thoroughly and if time permits soak them for 15 mins before cooking.
  2. Chop onions, tomatoes, potatoes and other vegetables.
  3. In a deep pot heat ghee or oil and add cumin seeds, bay leaf and crushed cardamom.
  4. Add onions and sauté till they are golden brown. Then add turmeric powder and red chili powder.
  5. Add tomatoes and sauté till they are soft and add in potatoes.
  6. After potatoes are also soft, add all other vegetables like peas, carrots, beans, corn or whichever vegetable is available.
  7. Add garam masala, salt, and black pepper and then add rice.
  8. Add water. Usually, the ratio of rice to water is 1:2 but since I add lots of vegetables, so I add ½ cup of water extra.
  9. Cover the pan and when water starts boiling then simmer or lower the heat to the lowest settings of your cooking range and cook till rice completely soaks water.
  10. To add protein to the lunch, I add some yogurt to the lunch that goes very well with pulao.

To see more lunchbox recipes that cook within 30 mins are very easy to make check http://muktasvision.com/category/kids-lunchbox/

Trick to get a treat of quality time with kids

This year has been very busy so far. Summer passed with a blink of an eye. My daughter will be eight next month. I am excited and nervous to see my kids grow so fast. I already miss the days when I used to cuddle with them for as long as I wanted. Now they have their agendas, home-works, playdates, extra-curricular activities, daycare, T.V. and the list goes on.

I cannot just list what keeps them busy, I also have an almost endless list of my to-dos. My office work, weekend coverages, cooking, other chores and my list is never going to stop.

When I was doing my Ph.D., I used to spend a good amount of time with my daughter. I used to play with her a lot and used to make up for my research time in the night. I never felt the guilt of not spending enough time with her and managed my research work as well.

After starting working in a competitive company, I realized that now I can buy lots of expensive toys for kids but don’t have enough time to play with them. So I started looking for ways to spend quality time with my kids.

Following are my three tricks for the busy moms like myself to spend quality time with kids this Fall.

  1. Pumpkin decoration: It’s October and who does not love decorating pumpkins? My trick to do pumpkin decorations with my kids is to take them to an art supply store like Michale’s. Such stores usually have events for kids to do such crafts. The treat I got was a mess free house and two cute pumpkins painted by my little munchkins.

tricks to get a treat for busy moms

     2.  Apple picking: this is the best way I found to spend quality time with kids. They have a lot of fun picking apples, and I get to teach them the benefits of healthy eating. The treat we got is the bag full of apples at a very reasonable price.

apples picking

  3. Party preparation: we are planning a Halloween party for kids. My trick to spend time with my kids is to involve them in the party planning. I ask them their ideas of decoration and take their help to do so. It is so much fun to hear their ideas and the treat is a decorated house that your kids love.

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