6 Kitchen Appliances That Are Essential For Thanksgiving Dinner Preparations

If my grandmother is to be believed, then Thanksgiving is one of the most stressful dinners a person can prepare. Not only must the turkey be picture perfect but it must be complemented with a wide variety of side dishes and desserts. One way to ensure your Thanksgiving dinner preparations are as easy as possible is make sure you have the best kitchen appliances available to assist you. These appliances will not only save you time but also make it easier to prepare multiple dishes simultaneously and ensure they are all finished at the same time.

Here are six small appliances that are essential to preparing Thanksgiving dinner for your family.

Stand Mixers

Stand Mixer

An overlooked kitchen appliance which is incredibly useful during Thanksgiving preparation is a quality stand mixer. While they are most often associated with desserts a stand mixer is surprisingly versatile. The mixer itself is ideal for creating smoother mashed potatoes, combining dressing ingredients, and preparing silky sweet yams. Plus, a growing number of stand mixers have the capacity to support a variety of accessories which have nothing to do with mixing, but give you the freedom to leverage the mixer’s powerful motor to complete other tasks. For example, you can grind meats, stuff sausage, roll perfect pasta, strain fruits/vegetables, and even make ice cream.

Pressure Cooker

Fagor Pressure Cooker

Another useful kitchen appliance is the pressure cooker. The purpose of a pressure cooker is to speed up the necessary cooking time for a variety of labor-intensive recipes. You can even cook a juicy, delicious turkey in a pressure cooker, although it probably won’t be very presentable if you plan on carving it at the table. To help with Thanksgiving dinner preparations, a pressure cooker is ideal for a variety of time intensive desserts, such as bread pudding and custards. It can also be used to quickly churn out giblet gravy.

Slow Cooker

Slow Cooker with Turkey

A slow cooker is another extremely valuable kitchen appliance everyone should take advantage of when making Thanksgiving dinner. Its primary value is the ability to help free up oven space by allowing you to make one of your side dishes in it. A slow cooker is perfect for making Thanksgiving stuffing, casseroles, and any grain or rice-based side dish. You can also use a slow cooker to keep dips or your gravy warm while you are finishing up the main dishes. Some people prefer a triple slow cooker which allows you to heat up three different types of food at the same time.

Deep Fryer

Deep Fryer

Similar to a pressure cooker, a deep fryer is an excellent way to save time if you are planning on cooking any foods which will be fried in oil. While pan frying is a great way to impart flavor into food, you can easily deep fry the same items in less time, without sacrificing taste. Another option is to start out using the deep fryer and then transferring the food over to a pan while they are finishing. This is particularly helpful if you have multiple appetizers which are all fried.

Food Processor

Cuisinart Food Processor

When it comes to saving time in the kitchen during Thanksgiving, very few kitchen appliances are as valuable as having a food processor within reach. It is amazing how much a food processor can chop, dice and slice during the food preparation portion of cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of asking all of your family to help you chop and dice, a food processor can do better work in significantly less time. It will also help assist in making all the delicious sauces, dips and spreads that make your turkey complete.

Similar to other small kitchen appliances on this list, food processors usually come with a variety of helpful attachments and accessories which make it even more versatile. This tool can be effectively used to prepare dishes for every course you plan on making.

Freestanding Cooktops or Range Burners

Ranger Burner Cooktop

If there is one complaint that is common among most people preparing Thanksgiving dinner it is a lack of space on the stove. Unfortunately, stovetop space is one of the most difficult resources to replicate in the kitchen. The easiest way to compensate for this is by using a couple of freestanding cooktops and range burners. Normally they are setup independent of any other appliance and simply need to be near an outlet. Not only does this provide you with more stovetop burners to use but it also is a fantastic space-saver. You can setup one or two range burners anywhere as long as it can reach an outlet.

Preparing the perfect Thanksgiving dinner is hard enough with all of the right tools. There is no reason to make matters worse by trying to prepare everything without adequate space for heat sources. Making a small investment in the high-value small kitchen appliances listed above will yield immediate benefits. The best part is all of these kitchen appliances take up very little space and are versatile enough to be used all year long.

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3 Common Uses for Combo Kitchens

Combo Kitchen

A combo kitchen is single, standalone unit that serves all your basic kitchen needs. A typical combo kitchen consists of a sink, mini refrigerator and stovetop range. Sometimes referred to as compact kitchens, combination kitchens, kitchenettes or all-in-ones, combo kitchens are available in a variety of configurations. Some models include freezers, ovens, electrical outlets, cabinets, built-in cutting boards and storage drawers.

A combo kitchen is a great solution when space is in short supply, such as in small apartments or guest houses. Other models are especially built for outdoor use, making them perfect for backyard barbecues and patio entertaining. Because combination kitchens are considerably more affordable than traditional kitchens, they also make practical substitutes during home renovations, especially when your budget is being stretched thin.

Let’s take a closer look at three common uses for combo kitchens, so you can make an informed decision as to whether one is right for you.
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Jump on Juice: An Overview of the New Juicing Diet Trend

Juicing fruits and vegetables for health has been going on for centuries, but movies like Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead bring the trend into the mainstream. Many people start juicing as part of a weight loss plan, for cleansing the digestive system or to replenish nutrients after an illness. However, the main benefit of juicing is that it’s a simple way for you to start consuming healthier foods you may not have ate otherwise.

With so many different juicing products on the market, it’s easier than ever to take advantage of these health benefits. This is especially true now that modern juicers do much of the work for you.

Here’s a quick rundown of how juicing works, its pros and cons and how you can get started today.

How Juicing Works

In simple terms, juicing refers to the process of extracting juice from fruits and vegetables. The modern juicing trend usually refers to centrifugal juicers, which push fruits and vegetables through a feed tube and into a chamber where the juicers grind them. The juice moves through a tube and into a pitcher, while the pulp is left behind.

Masticating juicers are also popular. These machines work more slowly and require you to cut up the fruits and vegetables before juicing them due to the smaller feed tube diameter, but they tend to extract more juice from each item. They often produce juice with more pulp than centrifugal juicers.

Manual, handheld juicers can also be used to produce juice. The benefit here is more portability and a much lower cost investment, but these juicers require a great deal of effort to use. Manual juicers are best for infrequent juicing.

Health Benefits of Juicing

In fact, juicing advocates espouse the health benefits of ingesting a high level of nutrients in larger quantities than is possible by eating the same number of whole plants. Juicing delivers vitamins and phytochemicals to the body rapidly and in large quantities. Juice is highly caloric but quickly digested.

Juicing for weight loss is the primary goal for most people who are new to this diet trend. Juicers often follow juicing diet plans that last for weeks or even months in an effort to lose weight. This trend is echoed in the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. There are many online communities devoted to juicing for weight loss.

On the other hand, some people prefer to incorporate juice into a more typical diet as a way to get more healthy nutrients into their system. For instance, many juicers opt for a juice made from fresh vegetables or fruits for breakfast or drink juice as a snack. It is also common for athletes to drink freshly juiced fruits and vegetables after a workout or athletic event to replenish lost nutrients and hydration.

Health Dangers of Juicing

While there are definitely many health benefits associated with juicing, we must also point out some of the potential dangers associated with the process.

First off, health advocates are quick to point out that juicing should never be used as a substitute for eating fruits and vegetables. Juicing is a great way to deliver many essential vitamins and minerals, but should never be your only source of these important foods. This is due to the amount of fiber that is extracted from your fruits and veggies during the juicing process. Ensuring you consume the recommended dietary fiber no only lowers your risk for developing many dangerous health conditions, it also assists in your weight loss program.

Another potential danger of juicing is the consumption of too much sugar. Fruits are full of sugar, in fact one apple has approximately 23 grams of sugar, which is also about the same amount one orange has. In comparison, one 12 oz. can of Coca Cola has 39 grams of sugar. If you were to juice just one apple and one orange, you would be consuming more sugar than a can of Coke. One could argue that it’s a different kind of sugar in the two drinks, which is fair, but there’s no denying the potential dangers of adding an abundance of extra sugar to your diet.

However, don’t let these potential dangers stop you from juicing. There’s no denying that juicing has many health benefits and can help assist in a weight loss program or just improving your overall diet. Just remember to watch your sugar intake and find other sources of fiber. As the old saying goes — everything in moderation.

Popular Juice Combinations

Fortunately, juicing is extremely versatile. Just about any vegetable or fruit works in a juicer, and there are countless combinations that make a tasty juice. Experiment with your favorite produce to come up with unique blends. It is also a good idea to read up on the health benefits for specific fruits and vegetables to target specific health goals.

Juice fasts typically include different types of juice throughout the day. A breakfast juice, for example, often includes fruit like apples, oranges, melons or grapes. Suggested dinner juices tend to include heavier produce like zucchini, kale or spinach. Juicers sometimes include spices like ginger, garlic or even hot sauce to add more flavor.

One very popular juicing recipe for any time of the day is a green juice. Sometimes referred to as “Green Goddess Juice,” green juices include a base of fresh greens like kale, spinach and other dark, leafy greens. There are many excellent variations beyond the green base, but typical recipes call for ingredients like green apples, cucumber, lemon juice, celery and additional liquid like coconut water or almond milk. Green juice is often part of a juice fast, but it is also typical of the kind of juice in a typical healthy diet.

There are hundreds of juicing recipes out there. Try out a few of these recipes, experiment with your own ingredients and you’re guaranteed to find a juice that you’ll want to drink all day long.

The Best Juicers on the Market

The Best Juicers

It’s easy to add more juice to your diet. First you need to find the right juicer for you. We have a wide selection of juicers available for you. Here’s a list of some of our favorites:

The Top 3 Juicers on the Market

  1. Kuvings Multi-Purpose Masticating Slow Juicer (Model #NJE-3570U)
  2. Metrokane Citrus Power Juicer (Model #1009)
  3. Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juice Extractor (Model #67608)

When done with a balanced diet, juicing provides a number of remarkable health benefits. Just be sure to keep an eye on how much sugar you consume, as well as make sure you’re still consuming the recommended amount of dietary fiber. If you have any doubts, it would be wise to consult with a doctor or a nutritionist prior to starting a juice diet.

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Utilizing Your Small Space: Freestanding vs. Built-in Beverage Refrigerators

Living in a small space certainly has its pros and cons, but one challenge that can be easily avoided is cramping due to large appliances. If you have a smaller home, you need to decide whether you prefer a freestanding or built-in refrigerator. For a lot of people, the built-in option is their preferred choice due to their added space efficiency and storage capabilities. No matter what you choose, beverage refrigerators also come in a variety of shapes and sizes designed to accommodate any home. It’s wise to weigh all of your options to figure out which type of refrigerator is the ideal choice for your home.

The Differences Between Free-Standing & Built-In

Danby Beverage Fridge

While the differences between the two types of refrigerators seem pretty clear, they each have their own set of advantages and disadvantages associated with them.

Built-in refrigerators are designed to fit under your existing counter. These can typically replaces old appliances that are taking up space, such as a trash compactor. Whether you use it as your primary or secondary refrigerator, the built-in option is great for freeing up some much-needed space in a smaller home or apartment. If you live in a large home that has a crowded refrigerator, the built-in device is perfect for storing smaller items, in order to free up some space in your main fridge.

Free-standing refrigerators can be set up just about anywhere. They make a great addition to a game room, home bar or man cave, as you can store your drinks right there for easy access. For the same added convenience, the free-standing beverage fridge is also a great addition for parties. The downside is that they take up more space than a built-in. If you have a small living space, then the free-standing fridge may not be the best choice for you. The important thing to take into consideration, is the size and shape of the fridge, and whether or not you can live with it taking up your much needed space.

If you have limited counter space, a built-in unit frees up room for cooking and other appliances, whereas a freestanding unit requires its own area. On the flip side, beverage refrigerators that are built-in eliminate some of your storage space, but keep your counters clear and your home easier to walk around in. There are a few obvious trade offs between the two types, so just remember to think it out and utilize the space by purchasing compact appliances wherever possible.

Converting a Free-standing to a Built-in

One of the added benefits of a freestanding refrigerator, is that it can stand alone or on top of a countertop, all you need is an electrical outlet and you’re good to go. If you choose to install a freestanding unit under your counter, just know that there is a safety risk associated with doing so. This is because the unit needs the proper amount of venting space, it’s likely that it’ll overheat.

If you choose to install a free-standing unit underneath your countertop, try to leave at least two to three inches on each side of the cooler, as well as at the top, if possible. This will help keep the unit from overheating. Another possible downside of converting your fridge for this purpose, is that you run the risk of voiding your warranty by operating it in too small of a space.

The Benefits of Thermoelectric Cooling

EdgeStar Beverage Refrigerator

Furthermore, you can look for beverage refrigerators that employ special features, such as thermoelectric cooling instead of a compressor. A thermoelectric cooler is a cooling node with a ceramic piece that passes an electrical current. There are also often small fans which help to evenly distribute the cool air throughout the unit. There are many advantages of having a refrigerator that has this feature. Not only do they work well in small spaces, but they also tend to have a longer life associated with it. This is because there are no “moving parts” within the unit, unlike the compressor-based refrigerator, so less maintenance is required.

Thermoelectric cooling systems are available for both built-in and freestanding models and are much safer and energy-efficient than their compressor-based predecessor. Depending on how large your living space is, this may be a great alternative for you.

Top Models To Get You Started

There is a wide variety of beverage refrigerators to choose from. So, here’s a quick list of our favorite models to get you started.

Built-In Refrigerators:
Freestanding Refrigerators:

Choose whether a freestanding or built-in beverage refrigerator is right for you based upon your current space availability. For small spaces, a built-in unit is a smart choice. Opt for a thermoelectric model to save money and provide your beverages with optimal storage safety. Home beverage refrigerators are functional, beautiful and ideal for storing your favorite beers, sodas and wine.

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5 Must-Have Products for the Holidays

The holidays are upon us.  If you’re anything like me, you are looking for ways to make entertaining fun and simple.  While I can’t personally help you cook, I can offer some products that are sure to make you feel like you have an extra set of hands!  Because let’s face it, you’d rather be spending time with family and friends than in the kitchen cooking.

Deni triple buffet server/warming tray

Deni Warming Tray

Warming Tray

Cooking holiday meals requires a PhD in timing.  Getting all of the food cooked so that everything is ready at the same time is nearly impossible.  Don’t let your hard work get cold!  Keep your food hot, fresh and ready to serve to your guests with this Deni triple buffet server/warming tray.

 

Ronco Stainless Steel Rotisserie

Stainless Steel Rotisserie

Rotisserie

Save the oven space for other delicious creations and cook your turkey or ham in this Ronco stainless steel rotisserie!  One of the best features is the 3 hour timer.  You can start it and not think about it again until the timer goes off.

 

 

 

Deni Electric Gravy, Sauce & Syrup Warmer

Deni Gravy, Sauce and Syrup Warmer

 

Electric Gravy, Sauce, & Syrup Warmer

Prepare your gravy or sauces ahead of time and keep them warm in this  Deni electric warmer.  This is a great complement to the Deni Buffet Server (above).  No more serving cold gravy or having to reheat it in the microwave.

 

 

Broil King Professional Single Burner Range

Broil King Single Burner

 

 

Single Burner Range

If you’re anything like me, you never have enough oven or stove space for cooking your holiday meals.  Wouldn’t it be great to have an extra cook top   You can with this Broil King professional single burner range.  It is portable so you can take it anywhere, even outside on the patio to free up some kitchen counter space.

 

 

 

Waffle Maker - Heart Shapes

Heart Shaped Waffle Maker

Waffle Maker

If you are hosting your family at your place over the holidays, waking up and cooking a gourmet breakfast for the crew, may not be a top priority for you. Make it quick and easy with delicious waffles. The Kalorik heart shaped waffle maker makes it simple, with lights that indicate when the waffles are done. Like warm syrup? That electric syrup warmer above should do the trick. Plus, your family should really “feel the love” as they dig into those heart shaped waffles!

I hope these products will help make your holiday meal-cooking as easy as possible, and give you more time to spend making memories with loved ones.  Eat up!

 

 

For more holiday entertaining ideas, check out our Pinterest page!

Holiday entertaining Pinterest Board

Pinterest Holiday Board

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5 Easy Weeknight Recipes Using a Toaster Oven

Kalorik Toaster Oven

A toaster oven is the perfect appliance for small spaces because it combines the utility of a toaster and a microwave, allowing you to cook food evenly and quickly for fast snacks and on-the-go meals. The versatile Kalorik 4-slice toaster oven lets you to change between a variety of cooking methods: broiling, baking, and toasting with a selector switch. With a full range temperature control (up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit), you can also get that perfect crispy pizza crust or crunchy french fries without the grease. Toaster ovens are a space and energy efficient alternative to full-sized convection ovens that can heat up the whole kitchen.

5 Easy Toaster Oven Recipes

The following recipes are delicious, quick, and easy solutions to your dinnertime blues – all solved by the amazing toaster oven.

Greek-Inspired Flatbread

Greek-Inspired Flatbread

Spread olive oil and Italian herbs on a piece of pita bread. Top it off with Kalamata olives, feta cheese, arugula, and tomatoes. Toast until the pita bread is at your desired crispiness or the feta is melted.

Maple-Mustard Salmon

Marinade salmon for 30 minutes in 3 Tbsp of dijon mustard, 3 Tbsp of maple syrup, 1 Tbsp of champagne vinegar, 1 minced garlic clove, a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake fish until opaque, about 7-8 minutes.

Crab Bruschetta

Crab Bruschetta

Mix together 8 ounces of crab meat, 1 cup of sliced plum tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of minced fresh basil, ¼ teaspoon of dried oregano, 1 clove of minced garlic and grated Parmesan cheese. Brush baguette slices with olive oil and top with the mixture. Toast for 5-8 minutes.

Garlic-Roasted Asparagus

Garlic-Roasted Asparagus

For the asparagus, toss it with 2 Tbsp of olive oil, 2 large cloves of sliced garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of basil and a pinch of pepper. Turn oven to 450 degrees F and roast for 10-15 minutes.

Chicken Flautas

Chicken Flautas

Mix together 1 cup of shredded rotisserie chicken, ½ cup of roasted poblano pepper, ¼ cup of corn, 2 Tbsp of yogurt, ½ small chopped onion, ½ cup monterey jack cheese. Spread the mixture on a tortilla. Roll the tortilla up and place in the toaster oven for 10 minutes on each side, so 20 minutes total.

 

What’s your favorite meal to make in a toaster oven?

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What is a Halogen Oven?

Morningware Infrared Halogen Oven

I think everyone who knows me, knows that I am not a cook. I don’t enjoy cooking and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m terrible at it.

When I saw this halogen oven from Morningware at the Housewares Show a few years ago, I was intrigued mostly because I had never seen anything that looked like it before. When we stopped at the booth to learn about this product, I knew it was something we had to add to our website. I also knew it was something I had to have for myself.

The convenience of this oven is amazing! It cooks 50% faster than traditional ovens and can heat up to 400 degrees without pre-heating. It uses convection, conduction, halogen and infrared technology to cook. You don’t even have to defrost your meat, you can put it in frozen and it will cook in about 30 minutes!

The Morningware oven also comes with a cooking chart so you’ll never have to guess how long your different meats and vegetables need to be in the oven. It’s so fast and easy that even I can cook using this!

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Immersion Blender Recipe: Garlic Mashed Fauxtatoes

Immersion Blenders

Immersion blenders are a product that I have recently fallen in love with. They just take the hassle out of blending. In a previous life, I would often burn myself while I was trying to transfer whatever hot mixture I was cooking up into the blender while making soups. And it never failed that I would splatter ingredients all over my kitchen and my shirt while I was trying to use a hand mixer to whip up some mashed potatoes. Then, one glorious day, I came across an immersion blender (also known as a stick mixer) and I have not looked back since.

Now, when I am cooking soups or whipping up mashed potatoes, I just get out my immersion blender and stick it right in the pot that I have been cooking the ingredients in, flip the switch and that’s it. It makes for less mess which means less clean up and less time.

The latest thing I have been whipping up with my immersion blender is No Potato Garlic Mashed “Fauxtatoes.”

No Potato Garlic Mashed “Fauxtatoes”

Ingredients

1 Head of cauliflower
2-3 Tablespoons of sour cream
3-4 Laughing cow cheese wedges
3-4 Garlic cloves, minced
2 Teaspoons coarse ground pepper
Salt to taste

Directions

1. Steam the cauliflower and drain water from the pan.
2. Add all other ingredients to pan with cauliflower.
3. Take an immersion blender and blend until desired consistency. (I enjoy my “fauxtatoes” smooth, so I blend until there are no chunks left.)
4. Enjoy!

What recipes do you make with an immersion blender?

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Who Says There is No Room for a Kitchen?

tiny kitchen

Are you living in a space that doesn’t come equipped with a kitchen but you would spend a lot less money if you could just cook from home?  Are you converting a portion of your home into an apartment or other living area but just don’t know how to equip the space with a kitchen without spending an arm and a leg?

In this day and age people have all different kinds of living arrangements that don’t necessarily cater to the typical idea of a kitchen; however, if you equip your space with the following items, you will be cooking in no time.

Let us know in the comments how you save space in your small (or large) kitchen!

 

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Saving Space with Multi-Function Cookers

Kalorik 3-in-1 Breakfast Maker

Who wants a cluttered kitchen? It seems everyone I talk to is complaining about the lack of counter and/or storage space that they have in their kitchen. There are so many different appliances out there and they are great until you realize you don’t have a place to put them in your kitchen. Many manufacturers have become aware of this struggle and have answered with the multi-function cooker.

Multi-function cookers come in many different varieties from the breakfast makers that include a coffee maker, griddle and toaster all-in-one to the toaster ovens with burners on top. Though they come in many different varieties, one thing holds true with all of them: They save space. What was once 2, 3 or even 4 separate appliances is now in a single appliance. Isn’t technology grand?

Check out our multi-function cookers:

Sunpentown 3-in-1 Breakfast Maker   Nostalgia Electrics Breakfast Toaster   Kalorik 3-in-1 Mini Toaster Oven with Coffee Maker and Griddle   Avanti Multi-Function Countertop Oven

 

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Food Processor Homemade Peanut Butter Recipe

Foo Processor Peanut Butter

A trend that I have seen lately is people are tending to eat less processed foods and therefore, they are eliminating the foods that include ingredients they cannot pronounce from their diet.  To do this people are eating more fresh fruits, vegetables and meats as well as making more foods from scratch.  Unfortunately making things from scratch can be time consuming, but there are definitely some things you can make from scratch that will have you wondering why you ever bought them pre-made in the first place because they are so simple to make.

Many of the simple items to make can be made with the help of a food processor. Personally I feel that no home should lack this kitchen staple because there are so many things you can use it for.  If you do not already have one, I have the DLC2009CHB – Cuisinart 9-Cup Food Processor and I love it.

One of the simple items to make with a food processor is homemade peanut butter.  It is so easy I hate to even call this a recipe, but here it is:

Homemade Peanut Butter

Ingredients

4 cups of roasted unsalted peanuts
4 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar (optional for sweeter peanut butter)
Salt to taste (I only add a dash)

Directions

Place all ingredients in the food processor and turn on.  Let it process until the peanut butter consistency is to your liking.  I like the consistency of my peanut butter to be smooth and creamy so I usually let my food processor run for several minutes.

As mentioned, I have the DLC2009CHB – Cuisinart 9-cup food processor and I would recommend it to anyone.  I not only make peanut butter with it, but I also use it to make salsas, hummus, soups and even bring it out to chop onions because I always tear up when I do it by hand.

Let me know in the comments if you use this recipe to make your own peanut butter!

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