DIY Skull Cut-Out Tank Top

DIY Skull Cut-Out Tank - Candy Coated Culinista

DIY Skull Cut-Out Tank – Candy Coated Culinista

I love to get crafty and with all the clearance sales going on, I took the opportunity to purchase some cheap tanks, tees, skirts & denim. This way I can get creative and not care how much I spent because it was a steal.

Difficulty level is: Easy & Fun

Materials
• 1 tank top
• 1 pair of sharp fabric scissors

Assembly
1. Lay your tank top out flat and sketch out you skull face with a pencil or pen.
2. Cut out the design as neat as possible.

Tips
• Make sure you use fabric scissors from a fabric store. I tried using my household scissors and the edges weren’t as neat and tidy.

Please Enjoy

Reviews
I had so much fun just taking to a piece of fabric and cutting away. Mr. C. said it was “very cool and creative.” He also said I looked like a pumpkin as I was wearing my coral shorts to the gym that day. This is what gave me the idea to make it a Halloween post, one wry comment from the hubby. The girls at the gym said “is that another one of your creations” and liked it.

My thoughts
Besides not wearing orange on the bottom when I wear this top, I had a blast making this. It took no time at all and as I love skulls and collect all things skulls, I knew exactly how I wanted this face to look. The tank top only cost me $3.00 and this is a great way to see where my creativity goes.

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Frankencrispies

Frankencrispies - Candy Coated Culinista

Frankencrispies – Candy Coated Culinista

I wanted some quick and easy yet totally cool and attention grabbing Halloween treats for the kids at church, my God-Kids and my friends.

From Canadian Living

Yield/Serving: 16 squares
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 1 hour
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 5 cups mini marshmallows
• ¼ cup butter
• 1 tsp vanilla
• ½ tsp peppermint extract (optional)
• Green paste food colouring
• 6 cups rice crisp cereal
• 1 cup black chocolate wafers
• 32 red mini candy-coated chocolate pieces, (such as M & M’s)
• 16 small ridged black licorice, tubes cut in half

Assembly
1. In Dutch oven or large heavy saucepan, melt marshmallows with butter over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 6 minutes. Stir in vanilla, peppermint extract (if using) and enough food colouring to tint as desired. Stir in cereal until coated.
2. Scrape into parchment paper–lined 13- x 9-inch (3 L) baking dish; let cool on
rack, about 30 minutes. Transfer to cutting board. Cut into quarters lengthwise, then crosswise, to make 16 rectangles.
3. In microwaveable bowl, melt coating chocolate on high, stirring after 30 seconds, until smooth, about 1 minute. Using spoon or piping bag, spread chocolate over top quarter of each rectangle
for hair; add mouth, eyebrows and scars as desired.
4. Dab some of the remaining chocolate onto 1 side of each red candy piece; press onto rectangles for eyes. Dab some of the remaining chocolate onto 1 end of each licorice piece; press 1 onto each side of rectangles to make neck bolt. Let stand until set, 5 minutes.

Tips
• Use red or any coloured thin licorice like candy if you don’t like licorice flavour like myself, and most kids.
• Make-ahead: Store in airtight container for up to 3 days.

Please Enjoy

Reviews
“Woah cool”, “these are so cute”, “I’m going to take a picture”. These comments made me feel great. I think I did a good job and these treats were enjoyed by all my little ones and my friends. All the kids eyes got big and they ate them really fast. I think that means they like it as kids can be the harshest of critics.

My thoughts
I didn’t know if they’d be a hit or not so I only made 16 treats, and apparently I needed to make more. “C.C. you forgot me” Next I will see if these will be favourable by the older adults, granted one adult said “I saw these and thought they were a toy until they started eating it. You really have a talent there, keep it up.” So motivators are all around and are not solely Mr. C. anymore, which is great. I was just thinking to myself that if she only saw other foods I’ve made then she’d be floored.

***I loved making these so much that I decided to make a second batch this evening for the girls at my gym glass tomorrow.

Frankencrispies - Candy Coated Culinista

Frankencrispies – Candy Coated Culinista

Sky High Pumpkin Pie

Sky-High Pumpkin Pie - Candy Coated Culinista

Sky-High Pumpkin Pie – Candy Coated Culinista

Meringues drive me crazy argghhh. I have made meringues about a half dozen times now, once for Christmas, twice for a Pavlova I was making just to ensure these things would turn out properly for the actual recipe and then with my beloved favourite treat the macaron. The problem is my meringue seems to have no lift when it comes to baking it; and for this recipe I was supposed to make it using the Italian method of beating a hot syrup mixture into the eggs whites. Maybe it was the humidty or the light rain outside but it just didn’t work for me and I felt as deflated looking down at my soupy mess. In that moment I decided to make meringue the only way I know how that has had some success; the French way. This method turned out great and I was happy I had some height to my Sky-High challenge. I also got to use my kitchen torch for the first time; as I decided to buy one a year back when I was making crème brulee and I had to brulee the things in the broiler (an experience I’d prefer not to enjoy again.) Here is my picture on the Chatelaine gallery.

From Chatelaine

Yield/Serving: 1 pie
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 90 min
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
For Crust
• 2 cups gingersnap crumbs
• ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
For Filing
• 5 egg yolks
• 2 cups pure pumpkin puree
• ¾ cup coconut milk
• ½ cup brown sugar
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• ¼ tsp salt
• 1/8 tsp ground cloves
• 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
For Candied Pecans
• 1 cup pecan halves
• 1 tbsp granulated sugar
For Meringue
• ¾ cup granulated sugar
• ¼ tsp cream of tartar
• 5 eggs whites

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Have a 9” pie plate at the ready.
2. Stir gingersnap crumbs with butter in a medium bowl until moist. Press crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of pie plate. Bake in centre of oven, covered with foil, for 10 min.
3. Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl. Add pumpkin, coconut milk, brown sugar and spices. Whisk until mixture is smooth. Pour filling over warm crust. Smooth top.
4. Bake in centre in centre of oven, covered with foil for 30 min. Remove foil and continue baking until filling slightly jiggly in the centre, about 20 more min. Transfer to rack to completely.
5. Toast pecan in a medium non-stick frying pan set over medium for 3 min. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp granulated sugar. Stir constantly until sugar is melted and pecans are shiny, 3 to 5 more min. Transfer to prepared baking sheet to cool.
6. Preheat broiler. Combine ¾ cup granulated sugar with ¼ cup water and cream of tartar in a medium saucepan and set over medium-high. Simmer until sugar is dissolved and mixture turns syrupy. Remove from heat. Beat egg whites on high in the bowl of a stand mixer, until soft peaks form when beaters are lifter, about 2 min. Slowly pour hot syrup in a stream down the side of the bowl, beating until stiff peaks form, about 2 more min.
7. Spread meringue on pumpkin pie to the edges, leaving a high mound in the centre. Using the back of a spoon form swirls on meringue.
8. Broil meringue in centre of oven, rotating every 30 sec, until peaks turn golden brown, 2 to 3 min. Let cool. Garnish with pecans. Serve warm or cold.

Tips
• I couldn’t find gingersnap cookie crumbs; so I bought the cookies and beat them with a rolling pin in a ziplock baggie until they became crumbs. My cat and Mr. C. was wondering what I was doing making all this noise and beating things around.
• I used ground ginger instead of ground cloves.
• For my French meringue use: 2 egg whites and 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar. You can batch up this recipe to 5 egg whites and 2.5 cups of confectioners’ sugar if you like. This is a good alternative if it is a humid or rainy day out or if you’re like me and Swiss or Italian meringue is a challenge for you to make.
• With the left over egg yolks, make an omelette.
• Since pumpkins are in season, you can make you pumpkin puree by hand. Cut pumpkin in pieces, remove the seeds and roast in a pan covered with foil at 400°F until tender. Then remove from skin and blend in a food processor, blender or use an immersion blender until smooth.

Please Enjoy

Reviews
Mr. C. loved it and asked for another piece later the same night. “The crust was amazing and use the gingersnap crust the next time you make a pie please.”
My neighbour and the two construction workers working on his house stopped and admired my pie from up on the deck as I did my photo shoot and said “whatcha got there C? Oh I love pumpkin pie and is that meringue” I love when men know their food; it makes me so happy. I will be making a pie for them soon; maybe this week even.

My thoughts
Besides my issue with the dreaded meringue it turned out well and is the perfect fall recipe.

Jamie Oliver

When: Friday October 19th 2012, 7:00 pm
Place: Massey Hall

Jamie’s in town and I can’t wait. I have been watching him since I was a teenager. I wasn’t even into cooking yet, just liked the show and kept watching. I can honestly say he was the first chef who got me enthused and into cooking even if it was only suggesting ideas to my mom to cook for me. I remember watching him on TVO before Canada had any solely-dedicated food stations and I just thoroughly enjoyed the show and how he made cooking so easily accessible that even a young person like me could accomplish a recipe and not feel intimidated.

I have been excitedly waiting for this event to come around; I even went by Massey Hall the day before to take a picture of Jamie’s name on the Marquee (geeky I know). The price of the show included a copy of Jamie’s Great Britain – 130 of my favourite British recipes, from comfort food to new classics; and we received a surprise copy of Jamie Magazine. Guests of the show were allowed to ask Jamie questions and some would be selected from the audience. I didn’t have a question in mind so I choose a light hearted one – “What was your biggest mistake when you first became a chef? I should have picked a more hard hitting question but sometimes it is nice for celebrities to not be asked the same questions time and time again; and I wanted to mix it up a little. My question wasn’t chosen, but that’s alright with me.

After a short introduction by the host, Matt Galloway from CBC’s Metro Mornings; Jamie came out waved to the audience, accepted his applause and got down to business. Matt and Jamie chatted and he told stories about cooking and his childhood. I seem to find UK people to always be hilarious, witty and charming. Their type of humour is much like my own so needless to say I laughed a lot. Jamie shared a few anecdotes I’d like to share with you all: He was in special needs class back in school. (But he truly wasn’t special needs; it was just how the school system regarded anyone who needed to learn in a different manner). He is dyslexic and the school couldn’t handle his needs back then. The kids in his class would sing “Special needs” to the tune of The Beetles “Let it be” every time he was called to go out to his specific classes. One of the funny moments was Jamie actually sang it for us and we all chuckled. It’s pretty cool that he can laugh at this and see it for what it’s worth. He also mentioned that he grew up around food as his parents owned and ran a pub named “The Cricketers” where he got to practice his skills.

A question was asked of how he likes the Canadian TV food stations and he thought Food Network Canada was better than Food Network America, because the quality of programming was higher in his eyes. He spoke of his Food Revolution and how not enough kids know how to cook; and this needs to be as important as Science, Math and English even if only the basic cooking skills are taught. He believes there are 10 meals that can save your life, and they are just basic recipes that are not made from processed foods that make us unhealthy. He commented that if he could bring one of his restaurants to Canada it would be Jamie’s Italian as it would work best here; because of its regimented menu that could be moved to a Canadian market easily. Jamie is passionate about mentoring and has done so with Chef Derek Dammann (Maison Publique) a gastro pub that Jamie partnered with Derek in this endeavour. Jamie believes you should mentor the up and coming as much as you can, and unlike some other chefs who don’t necessarily like doing this in fear of being out-shined, he believes in it whole-heartedly. As sometimes without a well-established chef’s mentoring you just can’t make it whether it’s financial or other obstacles that get in your way.
Jamie spoke of his love of Scotch Bonnets & Chillis. Any fan knows this and he told us of a story with one of his daughters: she was talking back to him and he was trying to be patient, even though she was pushing all his buttons he tried to let it slide. But when she came back a few moments later all happy and carefree Jamie was still ticked. She asked “daddy can it have a treat”. So Jamie gave her a treat alright, he spiked it with hot peppers and then he could hear her saying off in the distance “mommy this treat is hot”.

Back in his early days Paul Smith the designer used to frequent a restaurant Jamie worked in and Jamie was none the wiser. When Jamie had his first big break he bought a Paul Smith suit and was told by a co-worker that you’ve cooked for him numerous times, and he’s out there right now! He’s the one who sent compliments to the chef. Now Jamie didn’t believe it was him and asked for some ID and upon seeing the ID he was shocked and they have been friends ever since.
Jamie spoke to us about his new show at the time called Food Fight Club, where you find the best of a particular British food from all across Great Britain (eg. Sausage, desserts, cheese), and then they take the dish and products overseas to battle it out with the French, German, and Italians etc. Celebrities will be involved and the studio audience will be able to participate

This was a great night and I will treasure getting to see the man who got me excited about food.

Cranberry Molasses Cake

Cranberry Molasses Cake - Candy Coated Culinista

Cranberry Molasses Cake – Candy Coated Culinista

Yesterday was Thanksgiving dinner at the in-laws. As usual it was delicious and I filled up on appetizers and had little room left for the actual meal. I had planned to make three desserts for the day but after the wedding of two friends I grew up with on Friday (the DIY Towel Cake was for them); then a full day of work on Saturday I deemed three desserts to be a little too much. I did however manage to make another Thanksgiving themed dessert.

From Taste of Home

Yield/Serving: 12-15
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 40 min
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup molasses
• 3/4 cup water
• 2-1/4 cups fresh cranberries or frozen cranberries, thawed
Butter Sauce
• 1-1/2 cups sugar
• 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
• 3/4 cup butter, cubed

Assembly
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, molasses and water; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in cranberries.
2. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
3. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cut warm cake into squares; serve with butter sauce.

Tips
• Cranberries are in season right now and fresh is always better then frozen when available.

Please Enjoy

Reviews
My dad had two slices and asked for “more butter sauce please”.

My thoughts
There is sweetness and tartness to this cake which I loved; I am a huge fan of cranberries. When the butter sauce is added it gives an extra warmth and richness. The cake has a breadiness to it, like a Panettone sweet bread loaf that is served throughout the holidays. I will be making another version of molasses cake for sure around the holidays with my twist on it..

Pumpkin Chocolate Bundt

Pumpkin Chocolate Bundt - Candy Coated Culinista

Pumpkin Chocolate Bundt – Candy Coated Culinista

I spent Sunday morning waiting for the LCBO to open. I don’t drink except for the occasional cocktail so when I went to the LCBO at 10:30am and realized it wasn’t open yet I knew I wasn’t a regular there. I came back at 11:50am for the noon opening to find a line up of 15–20 people I kid you not and I just chuckled to myself and thought “These people are serious”. I was waiting for the pumpkin cooking club challenge to come, since Canadian Thanksgiving is on October 14th 2013, it was inevitable I thought. So I had my pure pumpkin puree on hand already when the challenge was posted. When I saw the recipe for the Ultimate Pumpkin Loaf, I decided to get creative and put my Candy Coated Culinista twist on it. I’ve been thinking about how I can get people to like pumpkin more in desserts more. I seem to find pumpkins get a bad rap; you either love or hate it. I am on the fence though, with me it all depends on how it is presented to me. Yes they are the quintessential fall squash, but they seem to be in one of two places in pumpkin pie or on the porch and butchered up for Halloween with a light shining from within. So this challenge gave me the chance to experiment and let me say it was touch and go for a bit there, as I was looking through the oven window praying this thing rises.

Click here to see my picture on the cooking club gallery page.

Altered from Chatelaine

Yield/Serving: 12
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 40-45 min
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
• Cooking spray
• 1 ¾ all purpose flour
• 1 tsp Baking soda
• ½ tsp cinnamon
• ½ tsp ginger spice
• ½ tsp nutmeg
• ½ tsp salt
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup brown sugar
Melting Chocolate
• 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chunks
• 1 tsp sunflower oil
Pumpkin
• 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
• 1/3 cup pumpkin ale
• ¼ cup sunflower oil
• 1 tsp vanilla
Chocolate
• 1/3 cup pumpkin ale
• ¼ cup sunflower oil
• 1 tsp vanilla
Glaze
• 2/3 cup icing sugar
• 2 tbsp pumpkin ale
• ¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
• 1 tsp vanilla

Assembly
1. Preheat over to 350°F. Lightly spray the Bundt pan with cooking spray.
2. Stir flour with baking soda, spices and salt in a medium bowl.
3. Whisk eggs with brown sugar in a large bowl, and add in flour mixture.
4. Pour semisweet chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and add 1 tsp of oil and cook until all the chocolate is melted. Check the chocolate at 30 seconds intervals to ensure it doesn’t burn, and stir each time.
5. Split mixture in half and add half to the electric mixer.
6. Pour in pumpkin puree, 1/3 cup ale, 1/3 sunflower oil & 1tsp vanilla into the electric mixer and whisk until combined.
7. With the remaining half of the mixture pour into a clean mixer bowl and add chocolate, oil, ale and vanilla.
8. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the prepared pan, followed by the chocolate mixture and smooth the top.
9. Bake in the centre of oven until it is dark golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
10. Let cool for 15 min and then run a silicone knife spatula along the edges transfer to rack to cool.
11. Whisk icing sugar and pumpkin ale in mixer and spoon over Bundt ad add pepitas

Tips
• Pumpkin ale is sold I beer or liquor stores during the fall; but cream ale works just as well.
• Since its fall I found Pumpkin seeds at Metro on a random trip to the market and saved myself the trip to a Latin grocery store. They were much bigger seeds and super spicy and salty, but you only get a few seeds with each slice so it didn’t alter the flavour in any way.

Please Enjoy

Reviews
They were all gone by 8:30am at Mr. C’s office and that made me smile. But two said they aren’t fans of pumpkin, they really enjoyed the chocolate but they didn’t care for the pumpkin.

My thoughts
I was pleasantly surprised with what came out of my oven. When I split the mixture into two the chocolate part looked so dry that I decided to add more sunflower oil and ale to get it wet. If I had left it drier there was no way it was going to turn out right. I will be making this for Thanksgivings dinner with the family. This is the first year my dad is up to having Thanksgiving out since my mom has passed away and I want the desserts to be extra special. The in laws make a mean Thanksgiving dinner with Fresh un-frozen turkey, homemade cranberry sauce, green beans with almond slivers, creamy mashed potatoes, and a parsnip mash. So that leaves me with dessert and I haven’t even mentioned the appetizers. I can’t wait and I hope I just hope my dessert hold up to the amazing meal. There will be
more recipes to come. I am planning to make a cranberry molasses cake and an apple caramel trifle and I can’t wait.

Variation October 13th 2013
Yesterday I made another Bundt for Thanksgiving at the in-laws and I used water instead of Pumpkin Ale in step 6. I also used swirled milk & white chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet chocolate chunks in step 7. Please use the same measurements. Mr. C. said this tasted better than the first batch. I served it with freshly whipped vanilla whipped cream. Everyone at the Thanksgiving dinner enjoyed it and loved the combination of pumpkin & chocolate.

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie - Candy Coated Culinista

Pumpkin Pie – Candy Coated Culinista

Last year I had 4 Thanksgiving dinners to attend; this is in no way the normal for me it just happened that way and all I knew was it was going to be a busy long weekend. I prepared a full diner for myself and my dad, me and Mr. C, and then desserts for dinner at the in-laws and at my God-Daughters. My youngest God-daughter was Christened on the Sunday prior to Thanksgiving so the reception was Thanksgiving themed of course. I decided to make apple pie and pumpkin pie for the last two dinners. As I will not have too much time and I need some simple but tasty dessert options, these two fit the bill. This was my first attempt at making pumpkin pie, but not pies in general so I used my pie baking knowledge and made me some pies.

Yield/Serving: Makes 3 pies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 cup sugar
• ½ tsp salt
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• ½ tsp nutmeg
• ½ tsp mixed spice
• 2 eggs, lightly beaten
• 1 can (15 ounces) Pumpkin Pie Filling
• 1 cup of half & half
• 3 unbaked pastry shells (9 inches)
• Whipped cream or ice cream, optional

Assembly/Method
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. In a small bowl combine the sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, mixed spice.
3. In a large bowl lightly beat the two eggs and then add the pumpkin and the sugar mixture.
4. Slowly stir in milk until well incorporated.
5. Pour into pastry shells.
6. Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes and reduce heat to 350°F for 50 minutes longer, or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
7. Cool on a wire rack.
8. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if desired.
9. Refrigerate leftovers.

Tips
• You can use milk instead of half and half.

Please Enjoy

Reviews
Mr. C said “The pumpkin pie was delish! The crust was nice and crunchy at the edge without being burnt and the pumpkin filling was soft, moist and tasted wonderful. I couldn’t stop at just one slice!”

My thoughts
Using the one can of pumpkin filling gave me 3 pies. My intentions were to only make two, but I had enough filling for more. This made Mr. C. quite happy as we had what I have coined a “House Pie”.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies - Candy Coated Culinista

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies – Candy Coated Culinista

It’s October and I want some Halloween themed treats. I made these last year for my co-workers at both jobs.

From Whoopie Pies

Yield/Serving: 12
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• ½ tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp baking soda
• 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
• ¼ tsp salt
• 1 cup light brown sugar
• ½ cup sunflower oil
• 1 large egg, beaten
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• ½ cup canned pumpkin puree
Filling
• 1 cup cream cheese
• 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
• 2 tbsp maple syrup
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Assembly/Method
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2-3 large cookie sheets with parchment paper. Sift together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
2. Place the sugar and oil in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 1 minute. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract then the pumpkin puree. Stir in the sifted flour mixture and beat until thoroughly incorporated.
3. Spoon or pipe 24 mounds of the batter onto the prepared cookie sheets, spaced well apart to allow for spreading. Bake one sheet at a time, in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes until risen and just firm to the touch. Cool for 5 minutes, then using a palette knife transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
4. For the filling, place the cream cheese and butter in a bowl and beat together until well blended. Beat in the maple syrup, cinnamon, and confectioners’ sugar until smooth.
5. To assemble, pipe or spread the filling over the flat side of half the cakes. Top with the remaining cakes.

Tips
• Added sprinkles to one side orange & black
• Line with parchment paper if not using whoopee pie pans or bottom will burn.

Please Enjoy

Reviews
Demographic and palate were key. I found these to be less of a hit at my part-time job where it’s 20 something’s; meanwhile at my full time job these where a hit. Maybe it’s an age thing who knows; but nonetheless the decoration and the time and effort were appreciated. This is when I decided I need a way to C.C. up pumpkins.

My thoughts
I found it hard for the center to get cooked through thoroughly. By the time the middle was cooked the bottom was burnt and I had to trim the bottoms.

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