Friday, November 30, 2012

Creamy Vanilla Pumpkin Pie Coffee - DIY with Torani!

It has been one of those weeks! I'm so looking forward to some 'down time' and hopefully relax a bit.  One of my favorite ways to do that during the holiday season is to have a nice hot cup of coffee or cocoa and sit in front of my Christmas tree.  It's something about the soft glow of the lights, and the picturesque look of the tree that is soothing to my soul!  Now, with the help of Torani Syrups, I can enjoy much more than a plain cup of coffee or a boring hot chocolate.  I can sit by my tree (or let's be real, I can be fighting the crowds doing Christmas shopping, with travel mug in hand) with a delicious coffee drink that rivals any coffee house, without the hefty price tag!  My current favorite is this Creamy Vanilla Pumpkin Pie Coffee.....
So delicious, with seasonal flavors, and so easy to make!

All you need is - 
Torani Pumpkin Pie Syrup (available in regular and sugar free!), vanilla coffee creamer, a cup of strong coffee, and cinnamon cool whip (or make your own delicious whipped topping and add cinnamon to it). 

Creamy Vanilla Pumpkin Pie Coffee

1 cup of your favorite strong coffee
2 Tablespoons Torani Pumpkin Pie Syrup
2 Tablespoons vanilla coffee creamer 
a generous 'dollop' of whipped topping (approx 1/4 cup)
**all measurements can be easily adjusted to suit your tastebuds
  • Make coffee using your preferred method (I use a Keurig coffee maker). Add syrup and creamer (a little chocolate syrup would be really good to mix in there too!), stir, add whipped topping. Sprinkle with a little pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, or cocoa.  Relax and enjoy!

Torani Syrups come in a huge variety of flavors.  I received the Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie and Sugar Free Hazelnut for review, but there are so many flavors I want to try! They have Gingerbread, Peppermint, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Macadamia Nut, Chocolate Milano, Chocolate Mint, Chocolate....oops, carried away. Chocolate does that to me.  But trust me, they have pretty much every flavor you could want! You can read more about them at  

The syrups are certainly not limited to coffee either. You can use them to add flavor to just about anything!  Stir Sugar Free Hazelnut into hot chocolate for a delicious Nutella-type drink, without all the calories!  Add Pumpkin Pie syrup to confectioner's sugar to make a delicious glaze for baked donuts (yes, recipe coming soon!), cakes or cookies.  So many possibilities! 

Have you used Torani Syrups? What would you use them for? 

Most of all this holiday season, take time to relax, enjoy your time with family and friends, and BELIEVE.

This post is sponsored by SheSpeaks & Torani. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Perfect Chocolate Cake

Not even kidding. This cake is a chocolate lovers dream. However, you'll kinda have to take my word on it, b/c my pictures totally do not do this cake justice.  It was very poor lighting and I was in a hurry.  And I think I had consumed some adult beverage(s). Maybe, not committing to that one.  My brother said he wanted a chocolate cake with chocolate icing for his birthday.  Awesome!  But not any old cake would do, I wanted the Perfect Chocolate Cake!  I deviated from the original recipe just a bit, and also made it a bundt cake instead of a layer cake.
You know when you have butter, chocolate and cream's gonna be good.
Chocolate cake, with a thick layer of fudge-y chocolate filling, and a chocolate glaze on top (not pictured).  Oh yes.

Perfect Chocolate Cake slightly adapted from Tasty Kitchen
my changes are in italics


1 package (18.25 oz. size) Devil's Food Cake With Pudding
1 cup fat free plain yogurt
¾ cups Water
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup olive oil
4 whole Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract


1 package (12 Oz. Size) Semi-Sweet Chocolates
1/4 cup fat free half-and-half (that's what I had on hand)
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 sticks unsalted butter
2-½ cups confectioner's sugar

Grease and flour bundt pan. With an electric mixer, mix the devil’s food cake mix with yogurt, water, oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape sides with spatula and mix for another 2 minutes on low. Pour into pan. Bake at 350ºF until done (sorry, I didn't time this and now I have forgotten! The original recipe was in layers and baked for 20 mins; I started there, but I'm not sure exactly how long it took.) <-- i="i" style="font-size: small;">reason #357 why I will never be a professional food blogger.  
Let cool.

Place a large mixing bowl aside filled with ice. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt the semisweet chocolate chips, half-and-half, cream and butter. Stir constantly until mixture begins to thicken. Whisk in the confectioner’s sugar. Place mixture in the bowl with ice and mix with an electric mixer for 4-5 minutes until the filling becomes thick. (you want it thick enough to maintain it's shape on the cake and not ooze out between layers, but not so thick that you can't spread it).

To assemble cake, cut cooled bundt cake in half (I used a long bread knife for this).  Carefully remove top layer, spread chocolate filling on bottom layer (to desired thickness - mine was thick!) and place top layer back on cake.  At this point you can either sprinkle on a little confectioner's sugar to make it look pretty, or add a chocolate ganache.  My 'glaze' never set like I wanted it too, so it was very runny :-(  Didn't matter though...this cake was the bomb!
another not-so-great picture

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pecan Pie Brownies

Pecan Pie. Brownies. Merged together to form a chocolate-y, gooey, pecan-y (ok, so maybe that's not a real word, but stick with me) dessert.  I made these for Thanksgiving, and they were so popular that they may make an appearance at Christmas too!  I first saw them over at Plain Chicken, and knowing how much my oldest daughter loves pecan pie, and my love for chocolate, I knew I had to give them a go.

Pecan Pie Brownies 

1 package brownie mix and ingredients listed on box (9x9 size)
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour (I use unbleached all-purpose)
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350.
Spray a 9x9-inch pan with cooking spray (or butter it).
Prepare/mix brownie mix according to package directions.
Spread in 9x9-inch pan. (do not bake yet!)
Whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, flour, corn syrup, vanilla and eggs.
Stir in chopped pecans.
Spoon pecan mixture over uncooked brownies.
Bake 30-35 minutes.

recipe source: Plain Chicken

Mine did not set up nice and pretty like the picture in the original post, they were more runny and gooey. That's not a bad thing. However, my 11 y/o did most of the work on this one, so it could have been an error or they didn't bake quite long enough or the kind of brownie mix we used. We used the Ghiradelli Triple Chocolate! Can't have too much chocolate ;)  They were yummy all the same!

I'm linking up over at:  Naptime CreationsMandy's Recipe BoxIt's a Blog PartyWeiner Tales33 Shades of GreenBlessed with Grace Our Delightful HomeCrazy for CrustInside BruCrew Life

Monday, November 26, 2012

Holiday Baking with Truvia®!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Truvia® Natural Sweetener for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I am super excited (and blown away) that Thanksgiving is this week!  The rate at which time is passing me by is alarming, however, this time of year makes me so happy! I lovelovelove the holidays!  Being as I am sorta a food freak ('foodie' sounds better I suppose), I am gearing up for all the things I want to bake.  Yep, this time of year allows me to get my bake on with wild abandon.  With my husband being diabetic, and for my family in general, I like to find lower sugar options, without sacrificing taste or texture of the recipes.  That's where Truvia® comes in.  Truvia® Baking Blend is a blend of Truvia® natural sweetener and sugar, that provides sugar-like taste and texture in recipes, but with 75% fewer calories and twice the amount of sweetness than sugar.  That means that one 1.5 pound bag of Truvia® Baking Blend has the equivalent sweetness to 3 pounds of sugar! 

So, in honor of the upcoming holidays, I am going to share a time honored tradition in these parts....Pumpkin Pie!  But not just any pumpkin pie, one that you will be proud to serve along side your turkey and cranberry sauce, but with 2/3 less sugar than the sugar sweetened version!  Just look at this deliciousness - 

(photo and recipe from here)

Pumpkin Pie from Truvia®

Pastry shell for 9" pie 

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin

1 can (12 ounces) evaporated fat-free milk 

 Visit the Truvia® website for more tips and information on Truvia® Baking Blend

Do you have a favorite Holiday recipe where Truvia® Baking Blend could be used in the place of sugar? I would love for you to leave a link or recipe in the comment section! I am always on the lookout for new recipes!  I could even choose one and feature it here on the blog if anyone is interested.

Happy Baking!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Perfectly Simple by Zone Perfect - Product Review

If you are like me, life sometimes gets in the way of eating a balanced meal.  Sometimes, life with 3 kids gets in the way of mom eating at all!  Grabbing a quick snack on the run, especially this time of year, can happen more often than not, and 'convenience foods' are frequently loaded down artificial ingredients and weird things we can't pronounce.  So when I was sent samples of the new Perfectly Simply Bars by Zone Perfect, I was very excited to give them a try.  Perfectly Simple bars are limited ingredient nutrition bars with no 'hydrogenated' anything! Real ingredients, (only 6-10 of them) and 10 grams of protein to tide you over while power shopping!
Perfectly Simple Bars come in 3 flavors: Toasted Coconut, Peanut Crunch, and Cranberry Almond. My favorite is the Cranberry Almond. It has lots of fruity flavor, with the crunch of almonds.  Now, if they would just throw in some chocolate chips, we'd be good to go ;)  (Can you believe there are some people in this world who do NOT like chocolate?! I know, it's hard for me to fathom.)

The bars come individually wrapped, so you can throw one in your bag as you are rushing out the door. I also liked the fact that they do not have that weird 'protein bar' taste.  The flavor of the fruits really shine through. The Toasted Coconut is also good, even if you are not a big coconut fan, since the coconut is mild and blends with the flavors of the dates and almonds.  So, if you like fruit and nut bars, I think you will like the Perfectly Simple Bars by Zone Perfect.  Learn more by joining the conversations on Facebook and Twitter and become a VIP on the ZonePerfect website!

Disclaimer: I was sent samples of each bar to facilitate my review through BloggyMoms. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dermagist Skin Care Products Review & GIVEAWAY!

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been following a new skin care routine.  My skin has been a source of "irritation" (literally!) for as long as I can remember.  As a child, I had excema. Over the years, it has been one thing after another...too oily, too dry, break outs, redness, name it.  It took me years to find out that I have A LOT of allergies, and SUPER sensitive skin.  I have tried product after product, hoping to find the miracle skin care regimen to beautiful skin.  Lately, my issue has been redness and break outs.  Yes, break outs at 40!  So when given the opportunity to try Dermagist Skin Care Products, I was anxious to give it a try. I was also very hesitant, because of how sensitive my skin is.
Clarifying System for Acne-prone Skin
I tried the Clarifying System for acne prone skin. (pic from site)  The product descriptions states "Rapidly soothes and diminishes the look of Blemishes and Redness with Resveratrol, Glycolic Acid, Niacinamide, Aloe and Chamomile", which is exactly what I was looking for.  I started using the system, but only once a day, instead of the recommended twice a day, to see how my skin would react. 

Even at the lower recommended usage, I saw results almost immediately.  The first thing I noticed after just a couple of days was the decreased redness and generalized irritation of my skin.  I was so surprised that I did not have any problems with using the cream, because creams in the past have always caused my skin to break out, even when they were oil free and hypoallergenic.  This one does not.  I've been using it for 2 weeks now, still just once a day, and I have definitely seen improvement. It is not completely clear, (but I'm also not using it as recommended), but there is less redness and fewer breakouts. Also, it is not extremely drying like many other products for acne prone skin. I might have a couple of dry spots on occasion, but no itching or scaling or redness than can come from harsh treatments.

Overall, I am very pleased with the products I have tried, and looking forward to trying the wrinkle smoothing cream! ('time marches on and eventually you realize it is marchin' across your face'.~ Steel Magnolias)  Visit Dermagist on Facebook to stay up to date on specials and products and read on to find out how you can try them for free!

Dermagist has graciously agreed to give one Mo'Betta reader their choice of product to try! Just complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was sent the Dermagist Clarifying System to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own. No other compensation was received.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Thankful


Be The Match, Health

Be safe in your travels, be thankful for all you have, be prayerful for those in need, and have a 

Happy Thanksgiving!

♪♫ Santa Claus is comin' to town! ♪♫

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Snack Mix

Do you need a little something to sit out for folks to munch on while waiting for the main event Thursday? This snack mix went over very well with kids and adults alike at my son's preschool Thanksgiving Feast last week, so I thought I would share.

Start with -
Baby cornucopias! Aren't they cute?!  

Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn (recipe follows)

You end up with -  
A sweet and salty combo that looks cute and taste great!

Thanksgiving Snack Mix

For the baby cornucopias - 
1/2 bag of Bugles  (I bought the smaller bag, not sure what size)
1/2 bag of white chocolate chips or 2 blocks white almond bark
candy (optional) - I used Sixlets b/c they are made in a peanut free facility, but you could use mini M&M's too)

Melt chocolate in the microwave (30 seconds, stir, then 15 second increments if needed, stirring after each interval).  Once melted, dip the ends of the Bugle in the white chocolate and place on wax paper. Add candy if desired.  Chocolate will harden as it cools.

Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn - from Budget Savvy Diva

8 cups popcorn
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 stick of  butter (4 T.)

Pop popcorn (I use an air-popper. The brown bag method is also cool.) Set aside in a large bowl.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Add your cinnamon, sugar and butter in a microwave bowl and heat in microwave until butter is melted.  Mix well.
Drizzle butter mixture over the popcorn. Spread popcorn mixture onto a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

For the snack mix- combine your chocolate dipped Bugles, the remaining bag of plain Bugles, the Cinnamon Sugar popcorn and remaining candy pieces into a large bowl and mix together.  You end up with a yummy sweet and salty combination!

It is a great little 'project' for the kids to do as well.  My girls melted and dipped the Bugles, while my son helped place the candies on them.  The cinnamon sugar popcorn could be made ahead of time so you aren't tying up the oven too.

I'm linking up over at:  Naptime CreationsMandy's Recipe BoxIt's a Blog PartyWeiner Tales33 Shades of GreenBlessed with Grace Our Delightful Home, Crazy for Crust, Inside BruCrew Life, Eat at Home (Ingredient Spotlight: popcorn)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanksgiving Ideas

Uh, well...I'm a little behind folks.  Thanksgiving is in just a few DAYS. DAYS I said!  All these other blogs have been highlighting Thanksgiving ideas for a week now...and me...well, I got nothin'.  So, I figured it was high time to get my booty in gear.

Here are a few of my previous posts that might work for ya in case you are still looking for a few things to round out your Thanksgiving menu.  Unlike myself, who has my menu fully planned out. hahahahahahaha  I've heard about people who plan things in advance....

So here goes -

Homemade 'Kings Hawaiian' Bread
Parmesan, Roasted Garlic & Basil Bread
Pumpkin Cornbread
Pumpkin Yeast Bread
Spiced Pumpkin Biscuits
Sweet Potato Pumpkin Butter Biscuits

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans
Brussels Sprouts with a Balsamic Vinegar Glaze
Cauliflower au gratin
Roasted Green Beans

Starchy sides
Classic Risotto
Mac n' Cheese (this is a super easy version, great for the kids. Great for mom b/c you throw everything in a dish and forget about it for an hour)

Meat - not a fan of turkey?
Beef Roast
Roast Chicken

Desserts! (my personal favorite)
2-ingredient Apple Angel Food Cake
Blueberry Dump Cake
Boston Cream Poke Cake
Brown Sugar Pumpkin Cheesecake with Chocolate Shortbread Crust
Chocolate Cake - egg free!
Chocolate Cobbler
Chocolate Pudding Dump Cake
Creamy Apple Crumb Pie
Dark Chocolate Chess Pie
Deep Dish Cookie Pie (for a healthier dessert)
Low Carb Chocolate Eclair Cake
Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake
Pumpkin Spice Chex Mix - fun for the kids

and I will have some new recipes this week as well!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fun Holiday Craft Ideas for Kids - Guest Post

Today's post is from Jenn Lopez - a writer, crafter and mommy!  She has some fun craft ideas that would be great to do with the kids this upcoming Thanksgiving week.  Hello?! HOW is Thanksgiving already here?

Holiday crafts for the fall are fun for the kids and perfect for keeping them occupied for hours, allowing you to have more time to prepare for the upcoming holidays.  With materials that you probably already have around the home or can find outdoors, plus a little help from the craft store, kids can use their creativity to create countless Halloween and Thanksgiving items.

*      Natural items – Nature offers a large array of materials for being creative and being green at the same time. Pinecone turkeys are a classic; made with a pinecone body, a feather or leaf tail, and some little googly eyes purchased at the craft store.  Feet and a beak can be made from twigs or pipe cleaners. A hot glue gun is a must for this project. offers many other craft ideas using naturalmaterials.
*      Glitter Pumpkins – Take some Elmer’s Glue and pour into a paper plate and have the kids paint the entire pumpkin with the glue.  They can then create their own glitter designs by applying the glitter.  They can make faces, abstract designs or anything else they desire.
*      Wax Paper Transfer Candles – Have kids draw onto wax paper with permanent markers any holiday designs they want like leaves, flowers, pumpkins or Pilgrims. Wrap the wax paper tightly around a white pillar candle and secure with tape.  Using a blow dryer, heat the wax paper evenly. The design will be transferred to the candle. These will make an excellent gift or a holiday decoration in your own home.
*      Kandy Korn Kone – A large floral foam cone, available at any craft store and some pompoms of yellow, white and orange are all that is needed to create a holiday “tree” that looks like a big piece of Kandy Korn. Glue, or pin, a row of yellow around the base, followed by orange in the middle and white at the top. The same technique can be applied to a witch hat for part of a Kandy Korn Witch costume.  A wig and an orange, yellow and white ensemble will complete the look. More creativeHalloween costume ideas can be found at Disney’s Family

Nowadays, it is so easy to find creative craft idea that kids can do for the holidays. There are also printable craft items available on line that can be printed out and folded into unique items.  Another idea is to let kids design the Halloween and Thanksgiving cards that are sent to friends and family. offers a great selection of holiday cards that can be used for any season.

Thanks Jenn!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Green Giant Seasoned Steamers and a GIVEAWAY!

If you have been around my blog a while, you may notice the lack of vegetables.  I know, it's a problem.  We are just not big veggie fans around here, so I am constantly looking for new ways to get more vegetables into my family.  So, when I was given the opportunity to try the new Green Giant Seasoned Steamers, I jumped on it.  They are available in six different varieties, and they are sauce-free!  I was excited about that since I rarely like the sauces put on frozen vegetables, and you know my picky kids will not eat any sauce!

The six varieties available are - Mediterranean Blend, Tuscan Seasoned Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts with Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper, Honey Roasted Sweet Corn, Honey Dijon Carrots and Backyard Grilled Potatoes.  We tried the Backyard Grilled Potatoes - 
They were so simple to make, because they steam right in the bag.  My 11 y/o actually got them ready while I was tending to the other stuff!

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor of these potatoes. They were really good!  I loved the grilled flavor, without having to brave the cold!  Now, I want to try the Honey Roasted Sweet Corn.  Check Green Giant out on Facebook, and then head over and download your 1.00 off coupon so you can try them to.

Also, enter my giveaway to try any variety of Seasoned Steamers for free, plus these other goodies!
The giveaway includes:
  • (1) VIP coupon for one free package of Green Giant Seasoned SteamersTM
  • Apron
  • Green Giant Serving Spoon
  • Mixing Bowl
Just enter by completing the Rafflecopter form - 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  The coupons, information, and gift packs have been provided by Green Giant®through MyBlogSpark.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I love bark. Not like a dog, but chocolate bark, of course. I made some in honor of Veteran's Day...
and I had some fun at

The good thing about chocolate bark is you can make it however you want...I've made Halloween bark, Valentine's Bark and it's a great thing to let the kids help out with.  Since my girls were out of school for Veterans' Day, I put them to work.  We used pretzels, white chocolate, dark chocolate, and M&M's.  We packaged it up with red, white and blue ribbon and shared some with our Veteran neighbor.

We didn't stop there!  We also made Thanksgiving bark...
Too bad it will just be a memory by the time Thanksgiving gets here. 
I added some dried cranberries, cherries and blueberries to some too.

What you will need:

Cookie sheet
Wax paper
pretzels (or Rice Krispies, or both!)
white chocolate (I used one small/standard size bag)
dark chocolate (or semisweet/milk; butterscotch..whatever you like) 
*I used a small/standard size bag of dark chocolate as well)
your choice of toppings (sprinkles, candy, fruit, nuts, sea salt)
(coconut oil or shortening to thin chocolate if needed)

Place your pretzels in a single layer on your wax paper lined cookie sheet.  Melt white chocolate (I always use the microwave...start out at 30 seconds, stir and then 15 seconds intervals, stirring after each one, until chocolate is melted. Burnt white chocolate is no fun, so I am super careful!). If it seems too thick, add a teaspoon or so of shortening/butter/coconut oil to thin.  Pour melted white chocolate over pretzels, spreading carefully to cover.  While white chocolate is firming up, melt dark chocolate using the same method.  Pour dark chocolate over white chocolate.  At this point, you can add whatever toppings your heart desires.  Just add toppings, very lightly press them into chocolate and allow chocolate to harden.  You can stick your pan in the fridge or freezer to speed this along. Just keep in mind if you use M&M's and you stick them in the freezer, they get a grey/white ashy color to them at room temp.  Still delicious, just not pretty! I'm not sure why this happens, but it has happened to me several times (I'm not a fast learner apparently).  Break your bark (or cut into pretty pieces) and enjoy!
Here, have a bite!

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Friday, November 9, 2012

The non-recipe recipe post

Okay, so that title probably doesn't make much sense...but, I do have a couple of quick and easy meal/snack ideas that are not really recipes. Maybe the pictures should just speak for themselves!

BREADDDD! One of my favorite things.  In an attempt to get something on the table quick, fast and in a hurry AND having something my kids would eat....I came up with this. We'll call it 'ham n'cheese bread'!

Take a loaf of Italian bread and cut it in about 1 inch slices on the diagonal - but don't cut all the way through the loaf. Then, make 1" slices in the other direction (does that make sense?), but again, do not cut all the way through your loaf. You end up with these cool little pull apart bite size pieces of bread.  Once you have the bread can pretty much fill it with anything you have on hand!  This one I sprayed with a little olive oil and a very light sprinkle of garlic powder (picky kids and all), then stuffed it with whatever cheese I had in the fridge, and chopped Canadian bacon. Wrap in foil and bake until cheese is melted.  It would be a great appetizer, side, or add a side or two and it can be a quick and easy meal.

All you have time for is a Lean Cuisine for lunch?  No problem.  "Soup it up" with some pre-packaged greens (I like spinach and arugula), a few chopped cherry tomatoes, and a sprinkle of grated cheese (I used Asiago). Or, you could have a salad on the side like a normal person, but what's the fun in that?!

This is a super easy, throw whatever is in the pantry together, type snack - but my kids love it!

I used:
1 cup Kashi Cinnamon Harvest Shredded Wheat
1 cup Cheerios
1 cup Nature's Path Pumpkin Flax granola
1 cup Goldfish crackers (nuts would be good, but my son is allergic)
1 cup M&M's (cinnamon, regular and mini's)
1 cup mixed dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries & cherries)

I kept the 1/4 measuring cup in the bowl for some portion control!

Happy Friday!


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