Roasted Tomato Soup with Muenster Breadsticks

Written by chanie on January 27th, 2015

I really feel bad for you guys. Here I am living it up in sunny Miami, while my fellow Brooklynites are stuck with a curfew while the city shuts down due to a blizzard. I’m truly thinking of you while I sit here relaxing at the beach! :- p

And just to show you how much I care, I’m sharing this comforting roasted tomato soup with muenster breadsticks in honor of Snowmaggedan 2015! I know you all stocked your houses to the hilts, so chances are, you have the ingredients on hand (and then some), so lets get cookin’!

They’re calling this NorthEastern historic and crippling and I’m calling this recipe duo soul-warming and pure comfort food. It’s the perfect kind of meal to eat at the fireplace while piles of fluffy white snow accumulate outside your window. Winter Storm Juno’s got nothing on you.

We start our not-so-little snow feast with roasted tomato soup. If you’ve never roasted tomatoes before, it’s time to start! They become so deliciously sweet – perfect with sweet roasted garlic and shallots. Topping off the soup with pesto and fresh basil just takes it over the top.

You can’t have tomato soup without cheese and bread! I love me some grilled cheese with tomato soup, but roasted tomato soup requires something a bit more sophisticated – like breadsticks! Don’t be overwhelmed by the thought, I keep things simple using a quick & easy pizza dough (you can even use store-bought dough). And for the filling – I use my ultimate favorite cheese of all time – MUENSTER! Muenster is a white cows-milk cheese that melts incredibly well. Natural & Kosher makes convenient pouches of shredded muenster that are perfect for making grilled cheese, mac ‘n cheese, pizza, or quesadillas.  I like to twist my breadsticks so I get lots of the toasted crispy cheese all around, but you can also make these more traditional and keep the cheese inside (see recipe for how).

Now back to sunny Miami – we’re keeping away from the pool today because it’s all of 55 degrees,, and the natives are pulling out their Uggs! I’m still on a high from The Miami Marathon (hashtag Miami Famous) this past Sunday, which I was lucky enough to walk/run in honor of The Friendship Circle.


Running a marathon was something I’ve always wanted to do, but I never thought I’d really do it. When my friend Rochel Leah recruited me for Team Friendship, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into. Little did I know, I’d have to train 4 times a week to complete 13 miles, when I could barely meet a single mile mark.

Six weeks of training proved nearly impossible in 20 degree weather (and less!), but I pushed myself to my limit and walked/ran as much as I could. Four times a week didn’t happen, but I managed quite a few training sessions, increasing my mileage to as much as 10 miles. I covered Prospect Park, Brooklyn Heights, Dumbo, Williamsburgh, Long Island City and more! I can’t wait to share pics and more about my experience in a future post. In the meantime, you can still support my run and help me reach my fundraising goal here!

I’m off to relax in the sun, but stay warm you guys, I’m thinking of you!


Related Recipes:

minestrone soup
3-cheese broccoli pull apart buns
lasagna roll-ups

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Blogoversary Funfetti Cake

Written by chanie on January 19th, 2015


The past few months have been a whirlwind! Case in point: I actually made this funfetti cake for my son’s first birthday back in November, but I didn’t have a chance to blog about it until now. I’m sure he won’t mind if I share it with you all in honor of my FOUR YEAR BLOGOVERSARY. Yippee!


It almost makes me tear up a little to think about it, but I can’t believe I’ve actually been blogging consistently for four. whole. years. That’s one thousand, four hundred and sixty days of thinking, dreaming and writing about my food memories and adventures in the kitchen.


Four years in, I can honestly say, I have never been so proud of what I’ve accomplished. Just sticking with something, and not getting bored of it is a testament to having found my niche in life. And you guys – my awesome, amazing fans, who have constantly encouraged me with your emails, comments and feedback – you keep me on my toes, always pushing me to dream up something bigger and better!


And I could never have dreamed up what this year would bring! Writing an ebook (and selling hundreds of copies!), a video series with TorahCafe, Joining the Blogher and Culinary Content Network, Features on The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Cosmo and The Daily Meal, friendships with food bloggers, The front page of The Wall Street Journal, a spot on The Meredith Vierra Show, my own magazine column (info coming soon), a social media campaign with a huge brand (info coming soon) and relationships with kosher food brands that I’m honored to represent.


It was such a thrill watching some of my recipes go viral this year. My drunken hasselback salami was by far the hit of the year, with poutine latkes and cauliflower nachos coming in at a close second.


What shocks me more than anything is how much I have been recognized this year. I get stopped in restaurants and groceries in all different communities, by people from all walks of life. It’s weird to be perceived as somewhat of a celebrity, but also so humbling. I love when people come up to me and tell me how much they love following my instagram, or how it’s not Shabbos without my hasselback salami. It truly makes my day. And my week. And my year.


Over the last few months, I’ve been working hard on living a healthier lifestyle by adopting a mostly Paleo diet. I completed (almost) 3 rounds of the Whole30 cleanse and I’m about to embark on my first half-Marathon! I’m walking to support the work of The Friendship Circle, an amazing organization that does so much to help children with special needs. When I started training 2 months ago, I could barely walk a mile, and now I feel strong and ready to tackle a 13-mile walk/run. I would love if you could support my efforts by donating towards my run and the work of The Friendship Circle, here.


In the past year, I’ve also watched my youngest grow from a baby to an infant (who’s 1st birthday cake we are celebrating here) and I learned to deal with difficult food allergies for the first time. I cut the adorable JewFro off my older son at his upshernish, and I watched my two beautiful daughters continue to grow into the young girls they are becoming.


It’s not easy juggling work and family, but one of the realizations I came to this year was that I CAN’T DO IT ALL. I am learning to let go and realize that it’s ok if my house isn’t always picture-perfect, and no-one will starve if I order take-out every once in a while, and most importantly, it’s ok to ask for help.


As I enter into my fifth year of blogging, I’m filled with excitement for the many new opportunities my blog has opened for me. I’m looking forward to continuing my journey of creative expression and Jewish pride with many more healthy, kosher and inspired recipes that will nourish my family, and especially, my fans.

Now, a little bit about this cake! Y’all know I’m not much of a baker, so I love any easy recipe that looks adorable and comes together in no time. That’s where this no-mixer, super-easy yellow cake comes into play. It’s my go-to for quick party cupcakes, an iced sheet cake, or my favorite, a bundt cake, spruced up with sprinkles. Molly Yeh’s sprinkle experiment is what inspired this funfetti version, and it makes the perfect quick party cake for a baby birthday, kids party or apparently, a 4 year blogoversary ;)

What were some of your favorite recipes on Busy In Brooklyn this year? Share them with me in the comments below!

Here’s a short video clip of some of the best moments of BIB’s 4th year! Enjoy!

 

Wilted Kale & Kabocha Squash Salad

Written by chanie on January 12th, 2015

Kabocha squash seems to have gained popularity in recent years. When I was growing up, no-one ever seemed to know what it was. Maybe that’s because my mom always called it kaboochie squash! She’s not usually ahead of the trend, but she’s been making it ever since I can remember.

Kabocha is a winter squash that’s grown primarily in Japan. It’s often referred to as Japanese pumpkin. It’s not the prettiest looking thing, and it’s one of the hardest squashes to cut, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Kabocha squash is sweeter than traditional pumpkin, with a creamy texture similar to sweet potato. My mom always roasted it with brown sugar, my favorite, but it’s also wonderful braised with savory Asian flavors like soy sauce and ginger.  To make kabocha squash easier to tackle, I like to look for small ones that I can break open with one swing of my chef’s knife. The best part about it is that it’s got an edible peel, so there’s no need to start fussing with the knobby skin.

For this winter kale salad, I decided to roast the kabocha squash with maple syrup and pair it with seasonal pears and pecans. I’m not a fan of raw kale, so I wilt it down a bit to make it easier to eat. If you don’t find raw kale to be tough, you can go ahead and skip this step.

Related Recipes:

kale persimmon salad

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Cream of Chicken Soup in Bread Bowls

Written by chanie on January 6th, 2015

Winter has been good to us this year — so far. Besides for a few cold and blustery days, we haven’t had much snow. In fact, today is just about the first day of real powdered white fluff that didn’t melt when it hit the ground. Days like these call for hearty meals. The kind that involve fresh yeast and a creamy bowl of hot soup.

I’m really not one for baking doughs, but when I saw snow in the forecast, I decided to challenge myself to a comforting dinner of bread bowls filled with cream of chicken soup. It was so much easier than I had anticipated, mostly thanks to the new Bosch mixer that I bought myself for the New Year.

The Bosch makes dough-making so incredibly simple, I don’t know why I didn’t splurge on it 10 years ago! The only problem with baking up some yeasted breads and treats is that they are such a tease! I’m reserving my bread-making for special occasions, like snowy winter days like these.

The only thing better than these easy soup bowls, is the comforting cream of chicken soup that goes in it. It’s almost like a chicken pot pie, minus the puff pastry. I love to add potatoes for a hearty meal that kids and adults alike can enjoy.

Stay warm out there!

Related Recipes:

individual chicken pot pies
chicken pot pie croquettes
leftover turkey pot pie
pumpkin pot pie

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Secret Restaurant Recipes Review & Giveaway

Written by chanie on December 30th, 2014

I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about a cookbook. Like ever. It probably has a lot to do with my affinity for eating out. And beautiful food photography. And superb design. And impeccable styling. In a word, this book is: PERFECTION.

And I’d expect nothing less from seasoned cookbook writers Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek. Leah is the author of Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking, while Victoria is the managing editor of Whisk magaizne. Together, they coauthored the Made Easy cookbook series including Starters & Sides Made Easy, Passover Made EasyDairy Made Easy and Kids Cooking Made Easy. When I heard they were working on a new cookbook, I wondered what they would be “making easy”, but I never imagined it would be restaurant recipes!

As a true foodie, I’ve eaten at many a kosher restaurant, and I was surprised to see just how many amazing kosher restaurants are covered in this book (over 70!). From Tierra Sur in Oxnard, California (one of the best restaurant meals I’ve ever had), to Rare in Miami Beach, FL (love their crab cakes) and Pizza Pita in Montreal (I always wondered how they make their poutine!). There’s also Carlos & Gabby’s in New Jersey (who doesn’t love their crispy chicken fingers?!) and New York favorites like Amsterdam Burger Co. (the breakfast burger is incredible!), Reserve Cut (I always orders the short rib tacos!) and my favorite local places like Basil Pizza & Wine Bar (they serve up their famous basil fries just up the street), Mason & Mug (I’ve been reinventing their deviled kale salad forever!), and Pardes (wish they would have included their smoked paprika popcorn recipe). Restaurants in England, Israel, Italy, Mexico and even Panama, are also included.

It’s so exciting to get a sneak peek behind some of the establishments that we regularly frequent. And Secret Restaurant Recipes is about more than just the recipes. It also includes tips and techniques from today’s top kosher chefs. I was surprised to see that some of the recipes are fairly easy, while others are more involved. When I first looked through the cookbook and had a craving for Reserve Cut’s short rib tacos, I just got up and went to the restaurant! On the other hand, Pizza Pita’s poutine was so ridiculously easy, I was able to make it quickly at home.

Thanks to the generosity of Artscroll/Mesorah Publications, I’m sharing 2 recipes from the book here. I recently did a demo at a chinese auction where Victoria Dwek also demonstrated the eggplant chicken from Segal’s Oasis Grill in Phoenix, Arizona. It smelled so incredible, I just knew I had to include it! I’m also sharing a dessert recipe from Bagels & Greens because if their donuts are any indication, these brownies are going to be a real treat!

Of course, I’m also giving away a FREE COPY of Secret Restaurant Recipes! To enter, simply leave a comment below about your favorite kosher restaurant dish. For an extra entry, follow Busy In Brooklyn via any of the channels below. Just be sure to leave a note in the comment letting me know where you follow.

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Pinterest 

Giveaway is open to U.S. residents (for international entries, prize can only be shipped in the U.S.). Winner will be chosen at random at 10:00 AM EST on Tuesday, January 6th, 2015.

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Hot Dog Eggrolls

Written by chanie on December 22nd, 2014

I don’t know about you, but as we inch our way towards the end of Chanukah, I’m slowly getting bored of all the dairy dishes I’ve been having. I’ve had my fill of donuts and latkes and I need something a little different! We still have a few more days to indulge in fried foods and I’ve got you covered. These hot dog eggrolls are just the thing!

Now, I know what you’re thinking. 6 days of loading up on trash and she’s trying to get me to eat hot dogs now?!  YES! You see, I had a huge misconception about hot dogs until I stepped into the Abeles & Heymann factory. Seth Leavitt, the company’s owner, took me behind the scenes for some hot dog education.

Before I even stepped foot in the factory, I had to stand in a box of cleaning solution, to clean my shoes before heading in. This level of hygiene continued throughout my tour, with every step of the process being meticulously clean. I even had to wear a hairnet and labcoat! (check out my Instagram feed for pics!)

Abeles & Heymann hot dogs can be found in stadiums around the country. And for good reason. They start with a REAL cut of meat. I always thought that hot dogs were made from complete junk but I was shocked to see the quality of the meat that’s used in it’s production. It looked just like any large roast you’d purchase at the butcher. From there, Abeles & Heymann uses old world recipes with quality ingredients to produce premium hot dogs that are slow cooked to perfection. Their franks contain no fillers, and their new reduced fat and sodium line has no added nitrates or nitrites!

Abeles & Heymann is at the forefront of an innovative campaign to create healthier alternatives to chemical and artificial nitrates. They have pioneered the use of natural nitrates, celery and cherry, to create a fully-cooked uncured collection of no-nitrate-added hot dogs. When Seth gave me a few packages to try, I turned to my most opinionated taste testers – my kids! My pickiest daughter, who can barely finish a single hot dog in one seating, asked for seconds. And I didn’t have to feel guilty about giving it to her! I would call that a winner!

Now that we don’t have to feel guilty about eating hot dogs, we can go ahead with our hot dog eggrolls! These crispy, dippable appetizers make the perfect addition to your Chanukah party, Superbowl bash, or New Years event! You can even bake them for a reduced fat version.

I filled the hot dog eggrolls with traditional frank condiments like sauerkraut and pickle relish. You can feel free to get creative with fillings like sauteed onions, facon, coleslaw or even chili! The dipping sauce combines sweet apricot jam with Abeles & Heymann’s sweet and tangy mustard for the perfect bite!

If you’re wondering where to pick up some Abeles & Heymann bounty, their amazing collection of hot dogs and salami’s can be found in stores throughout the U.S. Alternatively, you can purchase them online at the Abeles & Heymann store. And for a limited time, enjoy 15% off your order, using coupon code BUSY!


Don’t forget to check out the Abeles & Heymann blog and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

This post was sponsored by Abeles & Heymann

Other hot dog recipes:

spiralized spud dogs
kid-friendly dirty rice
fire-roasted tomato rice stoup

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Gelt Hot Chocolate

Written by chanie on December 16th, 2014

I’m super excited for this Chanukah blog post because WE’RE HAVIN’ A PARTY! Albeit a virtual one, but we can still have fun, right?! And all parties have to have prizes, so there’s a great GIVEAWAY too!

I got together with a few other bloggers to create a virtual menu and I was assigned the drinks. Now when I think of Chanukah, I imagine sitting by the lights of the Menorah, snuggled up under a warm blanket, sipping hot chocolate and singing Chanukah songs. The kids are around me playing draidel (ok, fighting over draidel), and my husband is frying latkes in the kitchen. Yes, Chanukah is just about the only time I let him take over and make a mess! He learned to make perfect crispy fried latkes when he was in Yeshiva in Israel and I don’t mind getting a little break from cooking so the kitchen’s all his (for at least a night..or two).

While hubby hosts a fryfest, I like to mix up a warm drink – some mulled wine, spiced apple cider, or gelt hot chocolate, obviously. I came up with this fun Chanukah version of hot chocolate based on a drink that my friends and I used to order at a place called Cafe K, back in the old days. Cafe K is still around, and they might still serve it! It was called “Torino Hot Chocolate”, after the chocolate bar that was used to make it. They’d take a whole bar of this chocolate and pour hot milk over it, and that was it! It was a dreamy confection and we’d save up our calories to splurge on it in the winter. It would warm us up from the inside out and we’d relish each and every sip!

I thought it would be fun to do the same with some chocolate Chanukah gelt! It makes a great party drink – just put out a vase filled with chocolate gelt, an urn of hot milk, and an endless selection of toppings and you’ve got yourself an amazing hot chocolate bar that will be the talk of  your Chanukah party!

And now for the rest of our virtual party menu, check out the mouthwatering dishes from these talented bloggers:

Appetizer:  Turkish Lentil Soup by Samantha from The Little Ferraro Kitchen
MainRoasted Jalapeno and Cheddar Strata by Melinda from Kitchen Tested
Side: Mac and Cheese Latkes by Miriam from OvertimeCook
Dessert: Deep Fried Rugelach by Amy from What Jew Wanna Eat

And now for the exciting part – the prizes! We’re giving away 2 separate packages – a cookbook package sponsored by Artscroll and a Gourmet Kosher Foodie Package sponsored by Nomoo cookies and California Gourmet. Enter to win below. Happy Chanukah!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other Festive Hot Drinks: Mulled Wine
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Beer Battered Pumpkin Rings

Written by chanie on December 11th, 2014

I seem to create trends for myself when it comes to the holidays. Of course every Chanukah there’s a latke, and every Purim, a hamantasch. But it’s more than that. Every Succot, I post a different type of mechshie (a Syrian stuffed vegetable dish), every Purim, I do something else with salami. And it seems, every Chanukah, I post something with gourds (different varieties of pumpkin).

It wasn’t really on purpose, and I didn’t even realize it until I made these! First there was my amazing zucchini parmesan chips, then my Thanksgivukkah pumpkin ricotta cheese latkes with cranberry syrup (you MUST make these for Chanukah morning, they’re insanely good!), and finally my gluten free butternut squash latkes with ginger applesauce and curried sour cream.

This year, I’m continuing the trend using delicata squash – a small mild-flavored squash with an edible peel (you gotta love the no-peeling!). To make the most of my fried pumpkin idea, I decided to coat the squash in pumpkin beer batter. If you’ve never tried a pumpkin ale, it’s got a hint of pumpkin flavor from vine ripened pumpkin and harvest spices. It’s definitely up there with one of my favorite drinks, as well as one of my favorite batter ingredients!

What beer does for tempura batter is truly amazing. You can google it, of course, but  basically the foam, alcohol and carbon dioxide in the beer cause a chemical reaction when it hits the hot oil. It results in an incredibly crisp and light batter. And who doesn’t love a light and crispy coating?

It’s Chanukah after all, so exploring the best type of batter for deep frying is exactly the sort of research we should be doing! Fried latkes and donuts are all good, but there’s nothing like a deep fried oreo, some tempura-fried veggies or sweet and delicious apple fritter rings.

Traditionally, beer batter is used more in savory dishes, but I love to shake things up, so I added a little sugar and some more pumpkin spices, to really bring out the pumpkin flavor. What you get is an ultra-crunchy light coating that pair perfectly with what’s inside….delicata squash.

The only thing better than the pumpkin beer batter is what I put on top! Some cinnamon-scented powdered sugar! And to really take it to the next level, I created a maple GREEK yogurt dipping sauce – as an ode to the Chanukah miracle!

Now when you look at these beer battered pumpkin rings – what do you see? Come on, you all know you’re thinking of it…DONUTS! I love that these look just like the traditional fried Chanukah dessert, yet they’re something else entirely! How fun is that?!

And when you top ‘em off with the thick Greek yogurt sauce, it looks just like frosting. And believe me when I tell you – this sauce is probably the best frosting you’ll ever taste! It’s even good for you – so how’s that for deguiltifying the whole beer-battered deep fried rings thing. They’ve even got squash inside, so you’re technically just eating veggies with greek yogurt, right? ;)

To get the recipe for my Beer Battered Pumpkin Rings with Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce, head on over to my guest post on THE NOSHER!

Other Fried Chanukah Recipes:

zucchini parmesan chips
confetti latkes with harissa sour cream
gluten free butternut squash latkes
corned beef arancini
french fried chicken nuggets
spinach falafel burgers

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Poutine Latkes

Written by chanie on December 2nd, 2014

I could NOT be more excited about today’s recipe because it’s all about one of my favorite things….POUTINE! If you’ve never heard of it, it’s because it’s a Canadian specialty, and you probably have never had a chance to try it in the U.S. When I visited Montreal recently with my family, I tried poutine again for the first time in years, and I just wanted to keep going back for more!

Traditional Poutine is made with french fries and cheese curds which are smothered in gravy. Of course kosher poutine is a bit of a challenge, because A. kosher cheese curds are not available in the U.S. and B. it’s hard to create a rich gravy without using stock and drippings. Alas, I have mastered the art of KOSHER POUTINE and I couldn’t be more ecstatic!!


First, the cheese curds. Cheese curds are the solid parts of soured milk, and are sometimes referred to as squeaky cheese. I had the brilliant idea to pull apart shreds of fresh mozzarella, and they did the perfect job of resembling the curds, both in look and texture. I think they work wonderfully as a sub for the traditional.


Now onto the gravy! How do you get a truly rich gravy without much work, and without drippings? You turn to UMAMI flavors like soy sauce and parmesan. They give the gravy that depth of flavor that you can’t get in a vegan recipe. Of course this makes the gravy dairy, but your poutine is smothered in fresh mozzarella cheese curds anyway, so the more the merrier!


Actually, the dairy part of this is what really got me thinking about turning it into a Chanukah recipe. Dairy is customarily eaten on Chanukah to remember the bravery of Yehudit, a young widower who lived in Bethulia in the land of Judea. To save Jerusalem from a paralyzing siege and approaching enemy troops, Yehudit seduced a Greek general into a drunken slumber by feeding him salty cheese and quenching his thirst with strong wine. As the general slept, she beheaded him with a sword. After finding that their general had been killed, the Greek army fled in disarray.


There’s no doubt that smothering potato latkes (mini or otherwise) in cheese curds and gravy might put us all in drunken slumber, but trust me when I tell you, it’s worth it. Even if you need to take a nap afterwards!

 

Look for the Natural & Kosher logo wherever fine kosher cheeses are sold.

Stay tuned for more exciting cheesy recipes, coming soon!

For other recipes & ideas using Natural & Kosher Cheese products, you can follow them via:

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Say Cheese! :-D

This post was sponsored by Natural & Kosher Cheese.

Other Chanukah Recipes:

confetti latkes with harissa sour cream 
gluten free butternut squash latkes
cheese latkes with raspberry sauce
fried zucchini parmesan chips

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Thanksgiving Bibimbap

Written by chanie on November 25th, 2014

I’ve wanted to make a bibimbap for the longest time, just so I can say the word bibimbap. It sounds like a hip hop dance, but it’s actually a Korean dish of warm rice topped with sauteed veggies, thinly sliced meat or tofu, a fried (or raw) egg and a spicy chili sauce. I decided to get creative with the bibimbap concept, and turn it into a a fun opportunity to use up Thanksgiving leftovers.

My Thanksgiving bibimbap includes some leftover sliced turkey, green beans, sauteed shredded pumpkin, roasted brussel sprouts, chestnuts and a fried egg. It’s finished off with a drizzle of sriracha cranberry sauce, the same one I used in this recipe. You’re welcome to adapt this dish based on your Thanksgiving leftovers, just be sure to keep things simple and not mix too many flavors.

What are some of the fun ways that you repurpose your Thanksgiving leftovers? I’d love to hear! Share them with me in the comments below!

Happy Bi Bim Bopping!

Other Thanksgiving Leftover Ideas:

leftover turkey pot pie
pot pie croquettes (use turkey instead of chicken, flour instead of potato starch, and panko instead of ground nuts)

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