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Easy Indoor Slider Burgers with Spicy-As-You-Like-It Special Sauce

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It’s burger season. It’s also unpredictable, chance-of-rain just about everyday season, which might just foil your grilling burgers plan, unless you’re like my dad who grills in snow, sleet, and rain. Weather is no more a deterrent for my father than it is for the mail man. I guarantee he’ll have ribs on the grill during the apocalypse. I like that about him.

I, however, am a fair-weather griller. Thankfully, burgers can still be enjoyed on rainy days with these simple, indoor burger sliders. The kids love these tiny tasty burgers. Who am I kidding? We all love these burgers. Hot dog buns, split into thirds make the perfect little slider buns. A dill pickle slice and spoonful of my spicy-as-you-like-it special sauce complete each perfect mini burger.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to making these tasty burgers, which may quickly become one of your easy go-to weeknight meals!

Step 1: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Scatter 1/2 finely diced onion in an even layer at the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish or half-sheet pan. **Click HERE  for a step-by-step photo guide for dicing onions.

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Step 2: Crumble 1 pound of ground beef over the onion. **Use 80/20 ground beef. It makes a difference!

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Step 3: Press the meat into an even layer. Sprinkle with seasoned salt. (I used Old Bay seasoning.)

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Step 4: Bake for 18-20 minutes. While the burgers are cooking, divide 7-8 hot dog buns in half. Cut the bottom halves into thirds. Top each piece with a spoonful of special sauce and a dill pickle slice.

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Step 5: Once the meat has cooked, remove it from the oven. Pour off any excess juices. Top the meat with slices of American cheese. Place in the oven for another few seconds to melt the cheese.

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Step 6: Arrange the tops of the hot dogs buns on top of the meat. Cut through the buns and meat so that each bun is cut into thirds. **A pizza cutter makes a convenient cutting tool.

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Step 7: Pick up each bun and burger portion and place it on top of the prepared bottom buns. Enjoy!

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Spicy-As-You-Like-It Special Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonaisse
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon dill relish
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Tabasco, to taste
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions

Combine the mayo, ketchup, dill relish, onion powder, and garlic powder until well blended. Add a few dashes of tabasco sauce, then stir and taste. Continue adding tabasco, as desired. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

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Thanksgiving Burgers

Three of the Most Embarrassing Moments of My Life:

1. The time in elementary school when one of my best friends took the opportunity to announce my crush to the entire class. Amy likes Anthony, my pal announced to her fully-attentive audience, leaving me red-faced and fumbling for words. If only I could have come up with some clever retort, like So’s your face or Your mama dresses you funny! Except that we all wore matching plaid uniforms… You can bet I kept my crushes to myself after that.

2. The time in high school, when, during a class exercise involving a map of Europe, I replied “Switz” in response to a question about SwitzERLAND. Hey…it said Switz on the map and none of the other countries were abbreviated. I wanted to crawl into a hole when the teacher responded, “Switz? Do you mean Switzerland?” Ummmm, yeah. The correct answer would be Switzerland…not the mysterious land of Switz; home to Switz cheese and Switz watches!

3. The time in college, when I discovered I’d been walking down Main Street with the back of my skirt tucked into my pantyhose. Yes, that really happens…to me, apparently. I only discovered my wardrobe malfunction after trying to decode the odd looks I’d received from my employer, who’d been standing on the porch of  the local bar and restaurant I’d worked at, as I passed by with my tushie on display. For goodness sake, quit ogling and tell a modest girl she’s half dressed in the middle of town!

Oh, and did I mention that I started high school with a face covered in poison ivy? Yeah, for real.

I was never meant to be one of the cool kids anyway. If I were a food, I’ve always been more of a lima bean than a cupcake. I like unicorns, cried at the end of Battlestar Galactica, and won a bridge-building contest in my honors physics class (cause I’m cool like that). I trip over my own feet with concerning frequency and somehow manage to miss my mouth while drinking, more than I’d like to admit. I’m a clutz, a germaphobe, and a neat-freak.

It’s ok. I happen to like lima beans.

Knowing what you know now, are you sure you still want to hang out with me? Would you still like me if I told you that seeing the Christmas decorations currently on display in my local Target makes me giddy with excitement? There is no too early for Christmas stuff in my book. It’s coming and I can’t wait. And somewhere in between now and my favorite holiday, there will be Thanksgiving!

If you’re having a hard time waiting for that Thanksgiving meal, try this tasty burger on for size! The patty combines all the flavors of the turkey with the stuffing. Served on a doughy potato bun and topped with gravy and cranberry sauce, this turkey burger (with a twist) gives you a burst of Thanksgiving flavor with every bite!

Enjoy!

Thanksgiving Burger

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 pound bulk breakfast sausage
  • 1/3 cup celery, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup leeks, finely sliced *
  • 1/2 cup dried apples, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 6 potato buns
  • Turkey gravy, homemade or store-bought
  • Cranberry sauce (jellied or whole berry), homemade or store-bought
* Click HERE to see my photo guide on how to slice leeks.
Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Using your hands, combine the turkey, sausage, celery, leeks, apples, salt, poultry seasoning, and pepper until well blended. Form into six patties. Place the patties onto a lightly greased baking sheet (a little vegetable or olive oil will do the trick). Cook for about 12 minutes, until fully cooked (internal temp of 165 degrees). Place each cooked patty onto a potato bun. Top with warmed gravy and cranberry sauce.

Top Ten Gourmand Mom Recipes

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m greatly entertained by reading through the search terms which lead people to this little blog. It often leaves me puzzling over how the terms “Christmas money wreath” or “dog with running shoes” brought people here. What in the world have I been writing about? Of course, most of the time, people are just looking for recipes and, as it turns out, some of those recipes are quite popular!

Here, I’ve compiled a list of the top ten most viewed Gourmand Mom recipes. Then, if you scroll down a bit further, you’ll see ten of my personal favorites. (Clicking on the recipe titles will bring you straight to the recipe.)

What’s your favorite recipe? Tell me about it!

Top Ten Gourmand Mom Recipes

(according to page views)

Crab Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers  – Coming in at #10, these spicy little appetizers are a fresh and flavorful alternative to the kind you’ll find in the frozen food section of your grocery store!

A Better Caramel Apple Cake – Yum! This recipe is the result of experimenting with a delicious recipe I found in the Food Network magazine! Who knew that a bit of boiling water would make such a big difference?? With apple season reaching its peak, now’s a great time to give this one a try!

Almost Perfect Fontina Chops – This recipe is inspired by a Bonefish Grill dish, which is apparently a big favorite, since I get a few search hits every day from people looking for this recipe. This version is not intended to be a copycat recipe; it’s just a delicious dinner inspired by the popular Bonefish dish.

 Independence Day Berries and Cream – Mixed Berry Mousse and Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta – My love for panna cotta began with this sweet treat. Mmmm….fresh berry mousse with sweetened cream! Mmmm…

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese and Almonds – The fresh ingredients do all of the hard work in this simple and delicious salad!

Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp – This is another recipe that gets a ton of search hits. The people want Hawaiian garlic shrimp…and with good reason! It’s delicious! Next time, I’d veer away from the traditional preparation and cook these babies with the shells removed to get more of the buttery garlic in my mouth and less on my fingers.

Chicken Wing Dip – Coming in at #4 is Chicken Wing Dip. It’s practically a classic and totally crave-worthy. Oh dear, just thinking about it makes me want to throw batch in the oven. Must. Have. Chicken Wing Dip.

Pumpkin Gingersnap Parfait – Perfect season for these tasty treats. Some may prefer to sweeten the pumpkin a touch more in these easy treats. For me, they’re just right!

Sweet Honey Cornbread – This one scored most of its hits when it landed on WordPress’ Freshly Pressed section for a day. It’s a great cornbread recipe; sweet, tender, and super easy to make!

And the #1 Most Viewed Gourmand Mom recipe is (drumroll, please)…

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cream Pie  – This luscious pie wins the top spot by a landslide. Somehow it’s found itself within the StumbleUpon community. I’m really not quite sure how StumbleUpon works, but it sure drives a ton of traffic to this delicious recipe!

Ten of My Personal Favorite Recipes

Greek Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce – This burger takes the cake as far as my husband is concerned! It’s become his meal of choice for birthdays, anniversaries, and any other excuse he can come up with!

The World’s Greatest Penne ala Vodka – I can’t claim credit for the creation of this recipe, but it’s definitely on my list of all-time favorites!! Seriously the best vodka sauce I’ve ever tasted!

Sausage, Bean, and Rapini Soup – This incredibly satisfying dish is in our regular dinner rotation. It freezes well, so make it in a huge batch to keep on hand for an easy dinner. Make it as brothy as you prefer and serve with a nice piece of French bread!

Chicken Salad Sandwich – Waldorf Style – There’s something incredibly satisfying about the combination of sweet, savory, and crunch in this chicken salad. It’s on my go-to list of easy weeknight dinners!

Grilled Honey Garlic Baby Lamb Chops – I want to slather this honey garlic sauce on everything. I think I could live on this honey garlic sauce.

Cheddar and Garlic Biscuits – I first made these biscuits during a major craving for Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits. I searched online for a copycat recipe and found a ton of Bisquick-based recipes. Wanting to make fresh biscuits from scratch, I combined the elements from a basic, buttery drop biscuit with the seasoning of the Red Lobster biscuit. They’re perfect. Everyone cheers when these are on the menu!

Salmon, Cucumber, and Orzo Salad in Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette – This was initially intended as a pantry meal, if you will; something quick and easy using a few leftover ingredients I had on hand. It became an instant favorite. There’s something incredibly satisfying about the combination of flavors and textures in this simple dish!

BBQ Beef Chili – This hybrid chili/bbq beef dish makes my mouth water. Serve it with the cornbread from the Top 10 list!

Corn and Bacon Fritter Cakes – I just posted about these recently. I want to eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday, topped with smoked salmon and creme fraiche. The best part is that they reheat really well. In fact, they may even be better reheated than straight out of the pan. Pop them in the oven for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees and they’re perfect! (P.S. A dollop of sour cream would make a fine substitute for the creme fraiche!)

Pizza Dragon and Chairs of Stock (Steak Bordelaise Pizza) – My brother in law goes nuts for this pizza! He’s still trying to figure out how to package it and sell it, since he’s convinced it will make me millions. This pizza is a steak dinner on a pizza crust. It takes a little time to get all of the components together, but everything can be prepared ahead of time and it’s worth the trouble!

Do you have a favorite Gourmand Mom recipe? Any other recipe you’d like to see here? Tell me about it!

Independence Day Menu Ideas

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It’s almost time to celebrate America’s birthday; America’s number one holiday for backyard barbecues and launching brightly colored explosives into the sky.

Many of us will spend the day with friends and family, gathered around a hot grill, enjoying good summer food and cheering to independence. Check out these ideas for making your Independence Day menu extra delicious! (Click on the titles for a link to each recipe.)

And if you’re wondering how to make that tasty American flag cake pictured above, click here for a step-by-step guide.

Grilled Ribeye and Corn on the Cob with Chipotle Butter – Including lots of tips for grilling a delicious, juicy steak!

The Mona Lisa Burger – A juicy beef patty with gorgonzola, roasted garlic aioli, olives, prosciutto, onions, and sun-dried tomatoes

Grilled Honey-Garlic Baby Lamb Chops– A simple and elegant grilled alternative to burgers!

The Hangover Burger (aka The Heart Attack on a Bun) – Beef patty with bacon, chili, and spicy cheese sauce, topped with a slightly runny fried egg. Heavenly delicious!

Greek-style Lamb Burger with Tzatziki Sauce– My husband’s most favorite dish in the whole world, hands down.

Turkey Burger with Fresh Tomato Salsa– Slightly cheesy and perfectly delicious!

Barbecue Beef Chili – Pulled barbecue beef meets spicy chili in this super-satisfying dish. Totally worth the time it takes to put together. Make a huge batch and freeze the leftovers!

Baked Potato Salad – A flavorful potato salad alternative for those with an aversion to mayonnaise (like myself)!

Mediterranean Cous Cous – Simple and flavorful side dish which can be made ahead and served chilled.

Tomato-Cucumber Salad– Fresh summer tomatoes and crisp cucumber in a tangy vinaigrette.

Barley and Bean Salad – Bursting with nutrition and bright flavors!

Grilled Fingerling Potatoes– Throw them in a foil packet and pop them on the grill. Sprinkle with a bit of gorgonzola, if desired!

Dinosaur Barbecue Macaroni Salad – The only macaroni salad I’ve ever loved!

Orzo with Salmon and Cucumber A fresh and satisfying side dish or main course on a hot summer day!

Tomato and Mozzarella Caprese Classic and delicious!

Fresh Ginger Lemonade– A hint of infused ginger root with freshly squeezed lemons gives this lemonade that extra something special!

Mixed Berry Mousse– Pair it with a layer of vanilla bean panna cotta for an extra special treat!

Shrimp Scampi Flatbread Pizza

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As predicted, every pizza joint in my area is suddenly a fish fry too! After Easter, the Friday fish fry specials will gradually fade away, but for anyone who abstains from meat on Fridays during this time of the year, your local pizza shop is probably your one-stop-shop for Friday takeout!

If you’re feeling like something other than pizza, fried haddock or frozen fish sticks, I’ve got a few ideas for you. For starters, I’ve got a new recipe for a shrimp scampi flatbread pizza. We’ll start with a basic shrimp scampi, which will drizzle over individual flatbread crusts, and bake with a bit of asiago and mozzarella cheese. Garlic-flavored naan (Indian flatbread) makes an especially tasty crust for this pizza. Many supermarkets now carry prepared naan, either fresh in the bread or international section or frozen. If you can’t get your hands on flatbread or naan, a thin prepared pizza crust would do the trick.

For the purpose of this pizza, small salad shrimp (the kind you can typically find cooked and frozen) work perfectly. If you’d like to use this scampi recipe for serving over rice or pasta, substitute the salad shrimp for larger, fresh shrimp and allow them to cook in the buttery garlic sauce.

Shrimp Scampi Flatbread Pizza

Ingredients

  • 4 flatbreads, Indian naan, or a thin-crust pizza shell
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups cooked salad-sized shrimp, defrosted
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Salt
  • 2-3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup asiago cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the garlic just begins to turn a golden brown. Lower the heat, if necessary, to prevent burning. Add the white wine and lemon juice. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and gently simmer until heated through. Season with crushed red pepper and salt, as desired. Stir in the fresh parsley. Allow the scampi mixture to cool slightly.

To assemble the pizzas, place the flatbreads or naan onto baking sheets. Sprinkle approximately 1/4 cup asiago cheese over each flatbread or naan. Spoon some of the shrimp mixture, with a small amount of the buttery sauce, over the cheese. To prevent your pizza from becoming soggy, do not use too much of the sauce. A light drizzle around the pizza will be perfect. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese over the top of each pizza. Bake for about 12 minutes.

Makes 4 Individual Flatbread Pizzas

Looking for a few other meat-free dinner options? Check out these previously posted Gourmand Mom recipes:

Codfish Cakes


Pan-Fried Tilapia with Grapefruit and Shaved Leeks


Broiled Salmon Bruschetta


Coconut Crusted Tilapia with Tropical Fruit Salsa


Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese in a Citrus-Honey Vinaigrette


Cinnamon Apple and Brie Quesadillas


Broiled Halibut with Olives, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Capers


Tropical Fish Tacos with Spicy Mango Salsa and Coconut Rice


Salmon Burgers with Horseradish Sauce


Heirloom Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella


Chilled Avocado Soup and Crab Cakes with Chipotle Remoulade


Buttermilk Battered Coconut Shrimp with Pineapple Chipotle Dipping Sauce


Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp


Shrimp and Asparagus in a Lemony Basic Alfredo Sauce


New Year’s Eve Hors d’oeuvres Round Up

I’ve said before and I’ll say it again. I love hors d’oeuvres. In my opinion, there’s no better way to entertain, be it for a casual girls’ night in, an elegant cocktail event, or a poker game, than with a selection of tasty hors d’oeuvres. One of my favorite events to host with an all hors d’oeuvres menu is New Year’s Eve. We keep things casual around here; pajamas, champagne, and an all munchies menu. With that in mind, I thought it wise to take a look back at some previously posted hors d’oeuvres and appetizer ideas which work perfectly for a New Year’s bash!

Click on the titles for links to recipes and more info on each idea.

Petite Toasts with Smoked Salmon and Crème FraicheCold smoked salmon with a dollop of crème fraiche. Check near your grocery store’s cheese section for crème fraiche, which is similar to sour cream, only thicker and less sour. If your store doesn’t carry crème fraiche, you can substitute with a bit of sour cream or cream cheese blended with fresh dill.

Feta Cheese Mousse with Summer FruitsWatermelon and fresh figs will be more difficult to find at this time of year. Substitute with any fresh or dried fruits. Goat cheese would also work well in this recipe and pair deliciously with fruit.

Buffalo Chicken Wing DipThis one’s a crowd pleaser! Not too pretty to look at, but super tasty. Pair with tortilla chips, fresh celery, or chunks of doughy bread. It can be made ahead, refrigerated, and baked before serving.

Olive Tapenade Three WaysThree variations on a simple and delicious olive tapenade. My favorite is the sun-dried tomato tapenade. Serve with crackers or slices of baguette.

Asian Style Turkey Meatballs with Hoisin Peanut Sauce – An interesting twist on cocktail meatballs. Prepare ahead of time and reheat before serving. About 15-18 minutes in a 350 degrees oven should do the trick!

Tomatoes, Mozzarella, and Basil PestoA classic favorite! Serve with slices of baguette and let your guests construct their own little hors d’oeuvres.

Baked BrieFill with apricot preserves or your favorite type of jam. Fresh whole-berry cranberry sauce works well too!

Bacon Stuffed MushroomsOmit the bacon for a vegetarian alternative.

Shrimp with Spicy Cocktail SauceNew Year’s Eve feels like the perfect night for shrimp cocktail! Make your own cocktail sauce and serve with a few wedges of lemon.

Crab-Stuffed Jalapeño PoppersA fresh and elegant alternative to frozen jalapeño poppers! Certain to clear those sinuses.

Mini Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes with Chipotle RemouladeMy personal favorite of the bunch! Prepare the mini crab cakes exactly as directed for full-sized crab cakes, only smaller. Broil for about a minute less. Serve each bite-sized crab cake with a dollop or drizzle of the remoulade.

Blue Cows in a BlanketWhile all your neighbors are serving Pigs in a Blanket, you can stand out with these Blue Cows in a Blanket!! Think mini Bacon Bleu Cheese Burgers wrapped in puff pastry! Ummm….YUM!

Apple Cinnamon RangoonsI want to marry these little goodies and run away with them to spend our lives together in apple cinnamon bliss. (Don’t tell my husband!)

Spinach Dip with Fried Wonton ChipsA simple prepare-ahead dip. Serve in a bread bowl with chunks of bread for an even easier, and equally delicious, alternative.

Spanakopita – Recipe Coming Tomorrow!!

A Few Other Simple Ideas…

Pigs in a Blanket – People love ’em. Make your own honey mustard sauce by combining dijon mustard with honey, as desired. Or serve with a simple Sweet and Sour sauce made from ketchup, grape jelly, and a splash of Worchestershire sauce.

Dates wrapped in Bacon – I might be making these myself this year. Stuff the dates with goat cheese or bleu cheese, if desired. Wrap each date with a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Bake for about 20 minutes in a 400 degrees oven, until bacon is crispy.

Dried Figs with Goat Cheese and Prosciutto – Easy as it sounds! Cut dried figs in half. Place a small piece of goat cheese on the cut side. Wrap with a piece of prosciutto

Assorted Cheese Tartlettes – A fun alternative to a traditional cheese platter. Purchase pre-made phyllo shells and fill with a variety of cheeses and other toppings. Bake in a 350 degrees oven for about 10 minutes before serving. Try Feta with Olive Tapenade and Pine Nuts, Gorgonzola with Poached Pears and Bacon, Brie with Dried Apricots and Almonds, or Cheddar with Ham and Apples.

Daddo’s Tuna Burgers

My father calls me Amo. I call my father Daddo. My siblings are also all called by names with an -o tacked on to the end. I don’t remember when or why we began calling each other in this way, but there’s something about it which makes my heart throb with love for my family. It’s like our private family language. There’s love in that -o.

Recently, I shared my family’s top secret recipe for Connecticut Supper; a beefy, cheesy casserole-type dish, which is my dad’s specialty. But, my dad has other specialties too. And the one which most easily comes to mind is his recipe for tuna burgers. My dad’s tuna burgers aren’t actually burgers, in the traditional sense. They’re more of a tuna melt with a twist. Whatever you call them, they are delicious and make a super-simple meal, which is perfect on nights when you have no idea what to cook.

My dad prepares these foil-wrapped goodies by the dozen and throws the extras in the freezer for a quick meal anytime. I’d almost guarantee that when I visit my family for Thanksgiving, I’ll be able to find a few of these babies hiding out in the freezer. They won’t last long with me in the house!

So, next week, when you’re wrapped up with preparing pies and dishes in preparation for Thanksgiving, and haven’t a moment to think about what you’re going to eat for dinner, make these. Add a quick salad on the side. Dinner is served.

Daddo’s Tuna Burgers

Ingredients

  • 3 6.4-ounce packets Chunk Light Tuna in Water
  • 1/3 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Olives, sliced
  • 6 slices American Cheese, chopped
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 6 Rolls (Vienna or Kaiser)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine tuna with mayonnaise until well-mixed. Stir in the olives and cheese. Split the rolls in half and lightly butter the insides of both halves. Place a mound of the tuna mixture onto each bun and tightly wrap the buns in foil. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the insides are warm and melty and the buns are slightly crisp.

Make 6 Burgers

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The Gourmand Mom

Good food, seasoned with a dash of life

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