25 July, 2008

Countdown Begins - Celebrate Life

Countdown begins:



Celebration


Wedding Day - 23 JULY
COUNT - 23
Hubby's Birthday - 15 AUGUST
COUNT - 23
My Birthday - 7 SEPTEMBER


Celebrate Life..
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24 July, 2008

My first Wedding Anniversary at Barbeque Nation

First Wedding Anniversary celebration

MY First Wedding Anniversary, it’s been an exact year celebrating the life with the companion. Indeed it’s the best feeling to share things and to be heard. Girls always need attentions, there is no limits to it and I am so proud as well as glad to say that my Hubby have been so humble and empathetic for all the things happening in my life. For being belonged to a typical Indian Culture the power/freedom given to me not to change my name and choose be known as before marriage sounded is something in my view incredibly inevetible to ignore. We have been more like best
friends
, sharing stories, weird jokes but also have some common passions like cooking, traveling and one of the most essential is shopping.

Two weeks before my first wedding anniversary I bought one gift for him, (which he insisted) a coffee mug, but could not hold back the secret and gave him the same evening, wishing it in advance. Well you must be thinking a coffee mug...well it is for his office purpose and what else could be expected form a girl it has to be something good and useful thing indeed! But just , just a day before my 1st wedding anniversary, yesterday he asked me what gift I was giving him this anniversary to him.......well "I thought I gave the gift so called the bold shinny black coffee mug".......ummm......I haven’t planned yet I replied! (Safe answer lets shop NOW)

23rd July,2008 My first wedding anniversary and yet another day celebrating my life as always a good start of a day with the cup of hot ginger tea prepared by my hubby in the morning. Busy phone lines for the wishes and where is the party to night a question after the every wish became today's jingle. So how do I feel after one whole year? Questions without any full stops....." Good....infact Great...!"I chuckled.

Soon when hubby went to office, I thought to do some SHOPPING. Went to the shop and bought a nice purple shade t-shirt. I had not planned to buy for me but having to the glance at the female section collection, got little tempted and bought for myself too a nice bright sky blue color.

Well I believe the only way to make your hubby happy is to buy something for yourself, as when you are happy , hubby is also happy to see your happiness..... so I thought to buy for myself too.

Came back home after a tini-mini shopping and started dreaming how would we make this evening more happening and memorable! Suddenly the door-bell rang; well Hubby took a half day and came back home early........Surprise! Surprise!! We cooked the kheer (Indian dessert) together and spent time together remembering some of the most happening times together in a year.

All those wonderful traveling to the beautiful destinations we did. There are more than 15 different places I have visited in past one year. And nearly 50 blogs are written in "Humming Today", so I show both thumb Up this year with background music of mauja mauja...!

Anyway coming to the celebration day, in the evening I gifted him the t-shirt I brought for him, He got so delighted and as for my return gift he said we shall be going in due course of time to Amby Valley, Lonavala-Pune. Well, that’s the pretty good deal and I am so excited to go there.

Then, we got ready, and worn our new t-shirts and went out for dinner to the recently opened Restaurant "Barbeque nation". This restaurant is the one of the biggest third outlet opened at Bangalore. Infact it was today celebrating its first 30 days/1month ceremony. I shall give more information about this restaurant in my latter blogs.

Well we reached the 3rd floor, entered the restaurant, first impression........"it’s a damn a huge place". In the mean time saw a chef......"I think I have seen him somewhere...do I know him...?" I thought. "Please this way sir, this table..." the service person guided us nicely......"Thank you". While we were making ourself comfortable on the table, I was wondering about that Chef .."I think ,I know him..." I told hubby, that chef looks like one of my senior of IHM, Guwahati college. He can be a look-alike also, anyway let us order starters. The barbeques placed on the charcoal on the table, instructions given how to do it by yourself, well ! this is a new and excellent concept, which I have never seen at any restaurant or hotel.

I am really hungry, can’t wait so asked the Restaurant Supervisor how much time it will take to cook these. "Maam, 90% it is done it shall take only 5minutes." OK! Suddenly he asked question that amazed me......"Maam, are you from Hospitality Industry?” For couple of seconds many thoughts hassled into my mind. My first thought was, "how does he know? Second thought why he is asking that too with the positive and assured answer" Yes! Very firmly I replied, Ahhh....how you know. Followed with another question, did your Chef told you? He said "yes! The chef thinks that you are his collage junior" I soon interrupted, requesting him, "Can I please meet the Chef?" He soon made a call and called the Chef to meet me.

The Chef came and replied "Rachana...!” Yes Sir, Hi...how are you? Well! HE is my senior of college IHM,Guwahati and I am not wrong, amazing the world is so small, today I feel. I meet him after long 4 years, and he still remember me with name and He is here standing right inform of me...With in minutes, my all nostalgic moments, images, faces of colleges, friends, teachers all came in front of my eyes, and my eyes soon turned a bit watery. Yes! I got a bit senti!!

I introduced him with my hubby and another surprise for him to accept, "You got married...when...?” Well this is my first wedding Anniversary, TODAY! He said we were today his guests and everything has to be specially ordered. What a great evening and double treat, first my celebration and now meeting my senior after such a long time gave me an immense pleasure. He (Chef Pradeep Kumar), is a busy person, still he took some time and sat with us sharing our collage days thoughts. It was a great moment for me to think and wonder that we did not had much conversations in collage. But an urge to meet old friends activates an intact bond, we still share as of being a senior-junior. We talked about our few common friends, teachers, college building, studies etc. On his instructions we were give high priority in serving. We got more delighted when a surprise chocolate cake to cut was brought by Chef Pradeep. He's been truly wonderful to us and I feel so blessed to have such seniors. It was simply the best day of my life with so many happy moments that shall be cherished all throughout my life.

While still all these surprises are sparkling and tickling my life, I dont want to forget to mention that I owe a humble "Thank you" to my hubby for SIMPLY Tackling Me so nicely around the year with all the mood swings and demands made..

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22 July, 2008

Stuffed Aubergines - Indian Style

Kids hate it. They make the tongue itch, some kind of an allergy, I guess! But these are stocked with vitamin B and its relatives. As well as potassium, iron and zinc in abundance. They are also an excellent source of fibre while it is low in calories and blissfully free of sodium and fat. In India people love to call it "Baingan Raja"( king brinjal ).

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Roast, stir, grill, frying all can be done with this glossy skin, soft, chewable texture vegetable. I personally do not really like aubergine much but when it comes to stuffed-aubergine, I simply love them. Though a preparing the mis-en-place takes lots of time but its worth when one tastes it.

Aubergines come in a wide variety of shapes, colours and sizes. Aubergines can be the size of a grape to realy big one; the seed-filled, rounded, some also has green stripes and some are the beautifully long and slender pale-purple, the aubergine can also be ivory-coloured, certainly led people in some countries to name it the ‘eggplant’.
It is known with many names like aubergine, eggplant, brinjals, same way in Indian there are many variations made to cook them in terms of the spices used.

From tamarind, curd, peanuts, coconut many different spices are used to enhance the taste. I use none of the above mentioned spices. As I have always believed in, to keep it simple yet delighting. Here, I am using small sized Green eggplants.

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Stuffing the aubergines takes time , so have patience. The best thing about the stuffed aubergine is one can store then in cold storage for atleast a week and enjoy taking one out heat a bit on pan and enjoy it either in lunch or in brekfast with paratha/bread. Please go through the recipe and your will fin it indeed simple to make, but consumes time.
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Ingredients:
  • Small rounded firm brinjals - 8 to 10 Nos.
  • Medium onions - 250 gms
  • Garlic-ginger paste - 20 gms
  • Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Chilly Powder - 10 gms
  • Coriander Powder - 10 gms
  • Turmeric Powder - 5 gms
  • Dry Mango powder (Aamchur) or lime to taste.
  • Salt to taste.
  • Oil - 20 gms
  • White thread (optional)

Method:
  1. Wash and the clean brinjals.
  2. Make 2 slits to form a deep cross. Leave the stalks intact. Put them immediately into cold salt water, this shall prevent them to turn black from inside.
  3. Roast fennel and cumin seed together, let it cool, then crush and powder them coarsely.
  4. Grate the onions properly.
  5. Mix the onions with ginger-garlic paste, red chilly powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, crushed fennel and cumin seeds with salt to taste. Also add some aamchur (dry mango powder) to the mixture. If no aamchur is there, then squeeze a lime to add a tint of sour taste. Mix it well for the filling.
  6. Use hands and stuff the mixture into the slit of the brinjals/aubergine/eggplant/baigan. One can also tie the stuff aubergines with white thread and remove latter when cooked. (Remember not all the mixture can be stuffed. So the remaining mixture shall be used latter while frying the stuffed aubergins.)
  7. Heat oil in a heavy pan. Non-stick pan is preferred. Now add the remaining mixture when turned golden brown add the cumin and fennel seeds powder. Let the mixture turns dark brown.
  8. Check the salt and other spices and add accordingly. Add half cup of water. Now slide slowly the stuffed brinjals (barwa baigan) in the mixture.
  9. Cover with remaining mixture. Simmer on low, covered till done. Stir once or twice in between carefully.
  10. Poke with the knife at the brinjals and check they are tender to touch. Garnish it with spring onion or coriander leaves. Serve hot with chappatis, bread or with rice-dal.
NOTE:
This dish "Stuffed Aubergines - Indian Style" is dedicated to the WBB-Feast. Deadline for this event is July 31st, 2008. Rush and post the recipes with your picture of dish & mail to Sia. Check out for more details to MonsoonSpice .

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18 July, 2008

Simple Snack - Raw Banana Cutlet

Raw Banana Cutlet
Buying the vegetable from the shop is a headache for me. What to buy and what not to, there is always so much of variety. I almost get confused. And in this confusion I bought raw green banana .It was a mess decision indeed, as I had never cooked anything with green banana. What to do? And two days passed ignoring the green banana kept in the fridge.

Well, today was a innovation day and finally I discovered eating the hot golden crispy banana cutlets. I am more excited to make these cutlets as today is my cousin Aman's birthday. He turned six years old. A naughty but cute little boy is very much fond of banana. Hence, making this dish on his birthday gives me great happiness.


So here, I am sharing my recipe with you. You can be more innovative to make further changes to enjoy according to your choice and taste.

Raw Banana Cutlet

Ingredients:
  • Raw banana - 1 Nos.
  • Potato - 2 Nos.
  • Bread crumb - 50 gms.
  • Cornstarch - 20 gms.
  • Red chilly - 1 Nos. (optional)
  • Green chilly - 2 Nos
  • Spring onion - 10 Gms (optional)
  • Ginger - 10 gms.
  • Cumin Seed & Ajwain - 10 gms.
  • Red Chilly powder - 1tsp.
  • White sesame - 1 tsp. (optional)
  • Sugar powder- a pinch (optional)
  • Salt as per taste.
  • Oil to deep fry.



Major Ingredients


Method of Preparing :

  1. Boil the raw green banana and potato. Peel both the banana and potato, and mash together in the bowl.
  2. Chop finely the chilly, ginger and spring onion and mix it with the boiled mashed banana and potatoes.
  3. Roast the cumin seeds, ajwain and black pepper. Crush roughly the roasted seeds. Roasted spices adds more flavour. Add this also with other remaining spices with cornstarch and sugar powder in the mashed mixture made of boiled banana and potatoes.
  4. Make small portion of size of walnut and press make cutlets. Be innovative and create any shape, round, circle, oval, trinagle etc. Wrap up the cutlets with bread crumbs. This shall work as the binding agent. Sesame seeds can also be added to the cutlet.
  5. Heat the oil in the shallow pan . When the oil is warm, deep fry the cutlets until golden brown on the medium flame. The cutlets must not be very thick in size, this shall help to cook well and crispy.
  6. When golden brown, take them out on the tissue paper to extract the extra oil.

Enjoy the golden hot and crisp cutlets with green coriander or mint chutney or simply with tomato sauce. My hubby liked this cutlet between the two breads as sandwich. So have it in the morning as a breakfast as banana is good for health or just have it crisp as brunch with the hot cup of ginger tea.

NOTE:

This dish "Raw Banana Cutlet" is dedicated to the WBB-Feast. Deadline for this event is July 31st, 2008. Rush and post the recipes with your picture of dish & mail to Sia. Check out for more details to MonsoonSpice

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16 July, 2008

Cluster/Gaur Beans Bhaji - Indian Cuisine

Cluster Beans/Gawari Phali Bhaji
Easy cooking with loads of flavour, retaining the color and minerals of the vegetable is always my motive while preparing the dish. Let the vegetable have its own taste. So, here I am again with a one of the legumes widely used as green vegetable , the Cluster beans/ Gwar phali/ Gaur beans.

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The ingredients used are few and can easily be found in anybody's kitchen. Cluster beans are something we dont prefer to cook but this recipe is simple yet tasty. Many innovations can be made to cook these beans to have different flavour, but I prefer to have it simply with less masala(spices), this retains the color and taste of the vegetable.

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Ingredients :
For 3-4 people
  • Cluster Beans/ Gawari phali - 250 gms
  • Potatos (Peeled & cut into Cubes) - 2 medium sized
  • Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Red Chilly Powder - 1 tsp
  • Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
  • Salt as per taste

Method of Prepartion:

  1. Pluck top & tail & string the beans.
  2. Wash them thoroughly in water, keep aside to rinse.
  3. Now chop in to small pieces (1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size).
  4. Wash, peel and cut potatoes in to small dice.
  5. Heat oil in the pan.
  6. Add cumin seed. When they start to sputter add the diced potato.
  7. Fry the diced potato, now add coriander powder, red chilly powder, and salt to taste. Mix it well.
  8. When the potatoes are half cooked, add chopped gavar phali/ cluster beans.
  9. Cover and cook on a low flame for 3-4 minutes
    Remove the lid stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  10. If the cluster beans/gavar phali are not cooked well then sprinkle some water if needed. Simmer for 3-4 minutes
  11. Let the gavar phali/cluster beans be tender and soft.
  12. Serve hot with bread, Chapati , Paratha, puri, Indian's favorite breads.

NOTE:

  • Cluster Beans /Gawar must be young and tender, not woody and fibrous. If woody and hard, boil it in water for 3-4 minutes. Rinse the water and carry on the procedure.
  • Potaoes are optional, it adds to the volume of the Bhaji, and one who loves Aloo/potatoes will enjoy!
  • Add some fine chopped onion while frying the spices for change and enhancement of flavour. Can also add Hing (asafetida powder) while frying. This shall enhance the flavour of the bhaji.
  • Some also like to add lentils and grated coconut, but its all about the innovations to be made to change the flavour.

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As we are celebrating the spirit of summer with vegetables on WBB- feast, this cluster beans bhaji shall add up more taste and variety in the WBB–Summer Feast for July,08 announced by blog Monsoon Spice.

Enjoy Cooking!


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12 July, 2008

Happy Birthday Papa - Celebrate Life

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Dearest Papa,


I thought, let people know that "My Father Strongest ", (U.K.Shakyawar).
I have got a perfect reason to celebrate as you are celebrating your lovely golden 50 years.
I love all the times we have spent together agreeing and disagreeing the things. Sometimes, I might not agree with you but surely I cant ignore your view of point. Indeed you are such a spiritually inspiring person with an excellent power to convince me and others with your ideas and decisions.
I regard you as Visionary ! You make decisions thinking at least 10 years in advance, hence at the moment your thoughts sometimes doesn't appeal but deep inside heart we know that you are right. Hats off ! to your will-power and strength. There, have been so many moments when I almost brook up with the weird ends of life, but you gave me hope and happiness simultaneously which is difficult to see together. A backup to always feel blessed and glad to be Your Daughter, (Rachana Shakyawar). "Whatever happens without your will is good, as it happens with the will of God", this thought and belief of yours have let so many difficult times in life smooth & easy-going.
I love you as a father, best-friend, mentor, and above all as a superb driver(hehhehehhe...heheh..), Still remember, those long travelling trips (Baroda to Delhi) we had, when I was studying in school. It has been the best experience of my life from which i have learned so much. And the patience you had during my school times in teaching me Mathemetics, is incredibly great.

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Laugh a loud and Dance like rock, Sing at the peck of throat in the Bathroom, Sketching and writing diaries, I have all learnd from you. Your positive synergy have been a reason to smile. Your inner character of spreading happiness and a determined reach out of hand for service to all without any personal gain is incredible. You gave me full freedom to do anything I wished to to, in perfect term you allowed me to make mistakes and still have you by my side to clear up the mess. This unconditional love and affection of yours has been my biggest strength to which today I lead a happy stable life.
You have been such a perfect father and infact we share such a eternal bond. With each and every decision you made for me directly and indirectly hinted me, how much you treasure and pamper me. Being with you feels so undesirably nice. Its always being like "U Me aur Hum". The way you have been so protective yet lavishing towards family is wonderful.
There are so much common topics, issues, moments, ceremonies, celebration, people we have that glued us together and firm. This very year,2008 when you are celebrating your Golden Jubilee of life, I shall be celebrating Silver Jubilee of my life, what next I could ask from you that YOU gave me a perfect gift, companion (Hubby) to cherish/celebrate the Life.
Its only words and words that all I have, to take your heart away. And thank you for always loving me providing me a perfect family. You make me the happiest daughter on earth.
I love you very much and Happy Birthday!
Cheers!
Celebrate friendship..
Umi :)

"I write the blog
not because
I need to but because
I want to."

..Blog Author

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11 July, 2008

Ghiya Kheer - Indian Dessert

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My mom makes a simply perfect kheer with Ghiya/lauki. The best thing about this kheer is that it is very healthy to eat, moreover its quick to make. The best thing about Ghiya Kheer is the salient creamy green colour. It cool green colour appeals me, the most. This dessert is very tasty and easy to digest. Serve it hot or cold to your guests, or just enjoy is dessert with the dinner. Check out the list of ingredients mention below to prepare this Indian dessert.

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Ingredients:
  • Bottle Gourd (Ghiya or Lauki) - 250 Grams
  • Sugar - 200 gms
  • Milk - 500 gms
  • Green Cardamoms - 6Nos.
  • Cashew nut - 10-12 Nos.
  • Raisins - 10 gms.
Procedure of Making:

  1. Boil Milk in a deep pan for 15 Min. Non-stick pan shall be prefered.
  2. Keep stirring it occasionally on the slow flame.
  3. Wash, peel bottle gourd and grate it nicely.
  4. Add this grated lauki/ghiya to the boiling milk in the deep pan.
  5. Cook it, till the milk is reduced to half of the original quantity.
  6. Add sugar , raisins , cardamom powder and cook for 5 mins.
  7. Keep aside and allow it to cool.
  8. Garnish it with more of raisins and cashew nuts.

Serve it hot or cold to your guests, or just enjoy this dessert after the dinner. I like to eat it chill, in the morning. How do you like it, do write to me..!

Note: This blog, is to celebrate the spirit of summer with seasonal fruits and vegetables in the WBB–Summer Feast for July,08 announced by blog Monsoon Spice.

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"I write the blog
not because
I need to but because
I want to."

..Blog Author

Hope you liked our article. Don't forget to share your view or link to us. Thanks!

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02 July, 2008

ME - Indian Bride

I, have been always facinated with the way of celebrating the typical Indian wedding, which is full of differnt traditions and rituals that are followed for days to marriage. I love attending the groom's baraat at night and also dancing to the loud beats and tunes of the band. Dancing and reaching to the bride's home and simply hitting the food corner. But the other side story of the bride's is really amazing.

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Every girl longs to look at her best and as beautiful as angel on her wedding day.
In India SHAADI/Marriage is termed as one of the major occasion and celebration of life. Its all about the celebration, new relations, happiness, decorations, delicious food, variety of Indian sweets, party, friends get-together, blessings and above all shopping the bride and groom's grant dresses. The bridal dress adds more colours to the auspicious occasion. Often a girl aspires herself to look like any other beautiful actress in the bridal wear. Madhuri Dixit in HAHK, Kajol in KKHH, Rani Mukerjee in KANK, Prity Zinta in KHNH, and many more bollywood actress have made their mark with the designer's bridal wear.

The wedding day is one the most special day in her life, where she a monthes before starts planning about the ceremony. A dream that the girl and her parents share together since her childhood. Same way it is also the moment for the others, who anxiously wait to have a glimpse of enchanting bride's looks, for which she have been planning for long.

I also had an imaginative picture for my bridal wear. More thinking, I laugh as I remember long back in my school days, one of my very best friend Tanushree said, that "ME" being good in art, must sketch and design my own unique bridal wear.
While my wedding day shopping was done, I made sure to have a good survey of undersanding the fabric, budget and the unique design of my bridal wear.

Wedding dress is so special and attached to lots of joy and happiness, which together makes it so memorable. It was hot June month, sweating and searching for the bridal dress that would hold up the sight.


Finally I tried my luck to the mall close to my home, Pacific Mall, Ghaziabad. Under one roof Chhabra555, I found a huge collection of variety in colours, style and pattern in dresses to suite all types of budget at no compromise over quality. This uniqueness of Chhabra555 impressed me and I bought my wedding and reception dresses from there. It is not only a fantastic place to hang over but I found it very comforting and easy shopping from this particular shop.

Reddish tones was the shade, I wanted for my traditional Indian wedding outfit that is lehnga. Bridal lehngas are available in every possible cuts, styles and fabrics. A-lines, fish cuts, mermaid styles, kalidar lehenga styles are quite popular in bridal lehengas.

I chose it to be grand and elegant so Kalidar style on the Crepe fabric worked simply excellent. My Lehnga-choli had famous work of Zardosi lehnga which belongs to Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Rich brocade, looked glamorous and elaborate with its contemporary patterns. The golden pattern was indeed unique as it did not consist of any floral embroidery but had diamond shaped lines all over the the lengha-choli. I took one extra chunari with the light weight and with same color tone but with floral design which looked great with the contemporary patterns of lehnga.

Exclusively heavily embellished gloden jewellery, gajra (flowers) in hair, mehndi in hands, made all the difference in making the perfect looks of the Indian Bride. And not forgetting to mention that the elegant off-white Sherwani with the tints of Embroidery made my hubby, too looked good. Also a bandini print red tone stole with the gloden-red shade pagadi on head, amalgated and completed the outfit so well .
Here, are some glimpes of my wedding ceremony which are indeed the timeless moments of my life. It was in the rainy season on 23rd July,2007 so I regard it as "Monsoon Wedding". I shall be celebrating the first aniversary of my marriage soon, hence blog is comming on its way at the best time.

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Other people who are intersted in buying the bridal wears can go through these sites links:

"I write the blog
not because
I need to but because
I want to."

..Blog Author
Hope you liked our article. Don't forget to share your view or link to us. Thanks!
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