cold brewed coffee with homemade vanilla almond milk

As much as we are enjoying our latest indulgence of cold brewed coffee and vanilla almond milk now… I can only imagine making this by the gallons in summer.Coffee cold pressed-25It started with ummmm, let’s see, maybe an article from one of my magazines and/or just a few blog post readings such as Food 52 and The Kitchn. These are for iced coffee. I’m saving the ice for summer and just having it cold.

Cold pressed coffee

A little fact about me- I am a magazine JUNKIE and have subscriptions to: Hobby Farm, Bee Culture, Culture Magazine (cheese), Yoga Journal (I’ve recently converted), Women’s Health, Oprah, MS Living, Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Country Living, Bon Appetit,and I’m down to the last of my German Food and Travel. The decor ones are short lived as they are usually the add for $5 special. I have stacks of saved French,UK,Australian and German issues. They are all interesting and I love to peruse them now and again.

Print recipe: {cold brewed coffee and vanilla almond milk}

Cold brewed coffee is quite a simple process of soaking medium ground coffee beans overnight for 12-15 hours

Coffee cold pressed-2You’ll find different ratios for coffee to water but my ratio has been 1 cup ground coffee for about 4 cups of water. I think you just need to play with it a little. I switch it up between our local french roasted coffee from Local Goods (higher oil content) or Herkimer drip blend (a drier bean) from Seattle. And from here- some will used it as a concentrate with the original four cups giving 6-8 cups of coffee. I find I like my ratio virtually straight up. I’ll add up to a 1/2 cup of the vanilla almond milk to 8-12oz cold coffee.Coffee cold pressed-3

AND with the idea of cold pressed coffee being less acidic and thus better for a little elbow joint pain I’ve been trying to keep at bay, we’ve been drinking this pretty regularly now. Check out this informative NYTimes article on cold brewing coffee as well as tea where they will also mention less caffeine and a smoother flavor.

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I use a plain old strainer and the butter muslin I bought from New England Cheese Supply for making chèvre. Or you can find something similar on Amazon.

Coffee cold pressed-6Strain brewed coffee
Coffee cold pressed-5And keep in a sealed container in the fridge. I’m making enough for a couple days about every 2-3 days. I’ve read you can keep cold brewed coffee up to a week but in my opinion the flavor starts turning a little bitter.Coffee cold pressed-8The vanilla almond milk also starts the night before with one cup organic almonds soaking in cold, preferably filtered water for 12 hours. I have also read that a minimum of 2-4 hours can suffice.

Vanilla almond milk homemadeStrain out the soaking water Vanilla almond milk homemade-3Place soaked almonds in a blender with 2-3 cups of water. Now I know that is an annoyingly large variable with the water. I’ve seen anywhere from 2-3.5 cups of water used. The first batch I did with 2 cups water and it was lovely and rich. The second batch with 3 cups water, and it was a little thin at first but came together ok the second day… I’ve settled on 2.5 cups for 1 cup almonds.

I used a whole vanilla bean the first batch then moved to 1 teaspoon of Beanilla’s 2 fold madagascar extract.

Applesauce cake-9I add 2 T coconut sugar for sweetener. This you can also adjust to taste. Add a wee pinch of salt.

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Puree this for 2-3 minutes till almonds are completely pulverized. Then pull out the butter muslin once more to strain the nut matter from the liquid.
Vanilla almond milk homemade-8Next job is re-cycling the almond refuse. We could pretend it’s ice cream.

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The first batch I also used 2 cups of almonds and it was too much to use in just a couple days. Ollie still uses milk on his Meusli… – print recipe here- yes- the link is spelled wrong. I NEVER can remember the u comes first.. even after three years in Germany!

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Pouring and shooting

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One of my favorite kitchen gadgets is the aerolatte frother- for a quick foam and sometimes even to whip one or two tablespoons of cream.

cold pressed coffee wendyellenthomas.comIt’s really not a lot of work once you get in the rythym every 2-3 days or 4 if you want to stretch it out. I’ve tried heating it up but I just don’t think it’s as yummy. I’ll still have a hot latte in town now and again but use this recipe (for now at least) for the daily consumption. Again, I flavor about 8-12oz of cold brewed coffee with 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk, 1 tsp maple syrup and a dash more vanilla.

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Here’s to a smooth, non dairy, low acid morning…or afternoon:)

Muffins and smoothies…

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Does anybody know why i’m getting a little arrow on some of these pics???

Celebrating health with more muffins and smoothies…

One of my favorite sounds this time of year rang through the valley as I took these photos. Baby lambs calling for their mama’s and mama saying “for God’s sake I’m right here- Can’t I just go pee for thirty seconds on my own!”

Really though, they are so sweet… just like these muffins I had to make again. Here’s the GF version if you missed it.

I HAD to do it again. … with the all purpose flour, canola oil and white granulated sugar. As much as I love deviation- this is straight up followed. I even let them sit for twenty minutes before I buttered one and inhaled it in all it’s Morning Glory. They were good but not as good as in the bakery. That’s when you realize publishing a cookbook with your secrets won’t necessarily detract from your business.

Next is juicing…

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I’m not sure if the New Year juicing, fasting, GF cleansing has been plucked from popularity and you know I’ve had some dips already in the chocolate tin. Since I often get recycled magazines from the library I’m trending a little behind the beat anyway.  But if you could see me now I think I might be glowing.

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I’ve been reading about the positive impact of fruits and vegetables in the same blended drink. Sounds good except I don’t want to put my strawberries through the champion (old school around here) and my fibrous kale and carrots in the stand up blender (the one with a metal switch).

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So until I get something, if ever, a little more updated, then I’ll be pulling both units out. And this morning I had the time. Really it wasn’t so consuming.

I love juicing and I love smoothies and usually will crank both out for a week or two at a time. Because I have the attention span of a goldfish the thrill disperses quickly and I can’t justify a $500 bill on a new machine.

I juiced carrots, celery, kale and an orange. Poured this mixture directly into the blender and added a little spinach, berries, peaches, a frozen banana and my whey protein powder. Throw some flax or chia seeds in there and you will get an A++.

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Since I’ll probably do this for a few months , weeks, days, I decided to make up some packets. Two things that I still here my French cooking teachers say- “economy of motion… we must win the time”. This was his direct translation of gagnez le temp!… And “bien assaisoner”. Use the damn salt and pepper already (but that does not apply here).

I only made up three packets and they make about two servings each. Make them accordingly for yourself or family. But trust me the time it takes to pull out the peaches, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and frozen bananas (the going brown ones you already peeled and put in a baggie), reach a hand into each one, and put them all back… OR you could pull out one little baggie and plop it in the blender. You can always rinse out the baggie and reuse it

Healthy mind-body smoothie

You could of course also portion and prep your veggies for several days at a time too. This way when you pull out two machines- it’s not so bad. And if you have one of those Breville’s or Vitamixes, well hell – you’ve got it made.

You will literally start to glow at least on the inside when you see all this goodness your body will be shortly receiving. I’m just finishing my first glass now. Still picking the raspberry seeds from my teeth. The first sip was a little hmmm… I’m confused. A hint of greens and orange… berries. Do I like this? By the third sip. “I think so.” By the last bit. I love it and am  on for seconds. Or maybe I should wait a few hours so I don’t go into detox shock.

Here’s the official Macrina Morning Glory recipe:

Ingredients 
▪ 1/2 cup seedless raisins 
▪ 1/3 cup walnut halves 
▪ 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 
▪ 1/2 cup granulated sugar 
▪ 2-1/4 teaspoons cinnamon 
▪ 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda 
▪ 1/4 teaspoon salt 
▪ 1 medium carrot, grated 
▪ 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated 
▪ 3/4 cup chopped pineapple 
▪ 3 eggs 
▪ 1/4 cup canola oil 
▪ 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 
▪ 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 
▪ 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
▪ 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut 
▪ 1/3 cup coarse raw sugar

Have a lovely week,

Tschüß xx

Rice salad with spinach and pistachios

Rice and spinach salad-6The sun shines today and 2013 is feeling good. We have a long to do list with our move back. Our Hamburg belongings are on a ship just coming up the coast of CA as I write. O  is tracking it on an iphone app. Love that. We are also working on his USA visa and closing up shop in Hamburg. Well he is closing things up and still working a ton… he’s a champ.

On this side of the Atlantic, we are getting the house back in shape- things like the hands and knees tile floor scrubbing and re-sealing and dismantling and cleaning the six burner stove…

IMG_2945 stove cleaning

We are re-arranging rooms and painting walls that were begging to be refreshed with a new coat of paint. And then there’s the barn/greenhouse, landscape and garden- but I’ll save that for another post. We are planning a huge multi-family garage sale in the spring, passing on about twenty years of child-rearing goodies, clothes I’ve clung to far too long, random iron hooks, mop heads that never fit, multiple quantities of the same size tape measure, alarm clocks, no longer needed tools etc. Sound familiar? As I sort and separate, I am also consciously considering how I will not collect as many personal possessions in the next twenty-five years. This is how long I have lived on my own. Ok- twenty-seven to be exact. January is my spring cleaning.

It’s also the month I barely need to muster the willpower to eat clean nor do I need to clear the pantry of naughtiness, for I am superior at allowing myself to over-indulge in an extreme holiday way. I am brilliant. So come Jan 1st, I was so over it. And these first couple weeks have been a breeze. Now day seventeen. The chocolate covered expresso beans are making eyes at me. The sight of the left-over dough balls are once more appealing. And really isn’t there less calories in a little bit of dark chocolate than a rice cake with tahini and currants? But wait. This is for my health. As it was in this Jan 2012 post.

I will do my best to complete the month of January without refined sugar, processed foods or wheat. I’m no paleo so I will keep eating brown rice.

Rice and spinach salad

Loads of fresh veggies like spinach…

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And nuts…

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A lot of lemon. I’ve been adding zest to many many things. I have also started my day with a large glass of warm water and a squeeze of lemon. Google this and you will get loads of good reasons why to try this. But you can start here. A blogger who credited her sources. good girl. And this is not new info. Who remembers Jethro Kloss’, Back to Eden (I don’t have a kindle, this is just what my front cover from the 80’s looks like). I just upacked my copy of this and proudly placed it on the shelf. Too classic for the garage sale.

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And really, I’ve been cooking and eating like a winner. Last week I made three salads. A red and white cabbage carrot salad that accompanied almost every lunch and dinner, our perennial lemony quinoa with cucs, tomatoes, peppers and capers…

salads (rice&spinach)

And last but not least the rice salad with fresh spinach and pistachios, adapted from the Jan 2013 Oprah mag. I will admit too, I love this magazine. I love me and I love my body, my life and so on. And I am a self help junkie… but I think in a good, non-preachy way. I also love food and health stats.

This is a simple side dish and it is a great way to use up the leftover rice. You can add or subtract quantities to adjust to the amount of rice on hand or if you cook it fresh.

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Print oh so simple recipe Rice with Spinach and Pistachios. The others are self explanatory… I think. If not, give me a shout.

2 cups cooked brown rice (basmati is nice)
2 T olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
2 # spinach cut in strips
Zest of 1 lemon and 1 T juice
½ cup roasted and chopped pistachios
1 T dill (optional)
dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

For another healthy grain salad, check out this red quinoa with pistachios from The Bitten Word. I’d throw some spinach in that one, too.

So here’s to a fresh start in the new year and don’t worry, those sweets and treats will most certainly be sneaking back in through the cracks in no time and yell out to the world with glee… We’re back :-)

Tschüß xx

 

One year Ago: Check out Granada, Spain

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And Seville, Spain….

 

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streetbynight

New Year’s Salad and welcome Otis

New Year's Salad & Otis-5Just a little hello on the last day of 2012.

Here is a salad inspired by my friend Jen who’s roots grow from Sweden. This salad, her mother’s holiday special is a great way to ring in the New Year.

Here are the nuts and bolts:

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Inspired by summer…

Summer is in full throttle. We are enjoying dinners with friends, work on the property, trips to Seattle and an abundance of fresh local foods. I’m indulging in the purchase of shiny magazines in English that require the turn of a page and not the swish of a finger across a screen. I’m currently sans computer for a few days and it’s kind of nice. The iPad works great but typing and photo editing aren’t so fun. It’s a good break. Here’s a visual of our happenings.
In Seattle last weekend, we picked O up at the airport. He finished teaching the semester with concerts and finals, and followed us to the states about three weeks after our arrival. After dinner one evening with friends in Woodinville, Chloe nailed a couple shots crossing the 520 bridge over Lake Washington. This girl has an eye let me tell you.

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She loves bridges…

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Back on island now, we love last minute dinners because within a half mile in all directions, we have the luxury of picking and purchasing such arrays of foods like this. Just picked raspberries, kale, chard, snap peas and fresh eggs that have not seen the inside of a refrigerator and once again, local Sockeye.

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Can one tire from fresh, local Sockeye salmon? No… Because it’s going to be followed soon by King salmon. Poor us. Here is our walk to Buck Bay Shellfish farm just down the road…

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Great old barn along the way…

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We drive by Buck Bay here (and the farm) daily.

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Never ending views, great folks,food and prices…

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Up our apple tree lined driveway…

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…we nibble a few salmonberries…

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Back to dinner…
Here was my prep for the salmon once again destined for the grill.
Lemon slices, garlic, fennel fronds and smoked salt…

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The two fillets put back together were grilled in foil…

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A little sautéed onion, garlic and fennel with lemon, seasoned the brown rice for our side dish. For greens, we used my favorite variety of kale, Red Russian which can grow virtually year round here. We massaged it, added avocado, olive oil, lemon, garlic and toasted sesame seeds.
For dessert, simple shortcake biscuits topped with fresh raspberries and whipped cream. Gotta love it!
Photo of our friends and their darling sit on the porch for dinner…

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Hope everyone is getting one moment or many to enjoy and be inspired by summer…
Tschüß for now,
Wendy

Tarragon Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Hazelnuts & a side of Asparagus

This tarragon chicken salad with cranberries and hazelnuts, exploding with flavor and texture, easily kept my mind off the cupcakes and yeasted cakes I’ve temporarily sworn off. And it will yours too. I didn’t search for any recipe this time because I didn’t want to know if someone’s already done it. Sometimes, with the access we have online to practically everything, it can take a bit of the thrill out of thinking you’ve discovered something for yourself. Now I know tarragon chicken salad is nothing new. And I know somebody out there has put cranberries or hazelnuts with chicken. Maybe they even used an orange vinaigrette to dress it. And yes, once I publish this post I might very well google it… but until then I’m enjoying having put this together myself.

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Lost, Found & Fresh

Lost, Found & Fresh

Since we’ve been pounding the cupcakes lately, and that ‘diet’ way back when only lasted three weeks, I thought I’d throw something fresh your way. I sort of lost my way just like Chloe’s black winter coat last week. She left it on the public bus Friday afternoon, the first really warm day of the year. I couldn’t blame her…It was one of those days where you forgot how cold the morning had started and by the afternoon you were practically peeled down to your skivvies…. practically nothing that is. So of course it’s like ‘what coat’? It was fortunate she even realized where she left it. We (O) called the HVV(public Hamburg transport) yesterday and the coat was indeed located and we needed to bring in identification and some sort of proof that it was ours. Like in case someone else left a black winter coat on the 283, direction Bahrenfeld between 3.15 and 3.45pm. O found a year old photo on the computer. Can you imagine rustling through boxes of snapshots or negatives looking for a picture? My idea was to bring the detached furry hood that Chloe refuses to wear, as proof we are the rightful owners. Our particle reference number in hand, we arrived at the Fundbüro. It was like walking into an OCD dream. The quiet, organized main office had two employees and no que… and racks on six walls with hundreds of lost, stranded keychains, all tagged by location found, date and a reference number. It was amazing.

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Sushi for St Patty

Sushi for St Patty

We strayed far from a traditional St. Patty’s Day meal. No cornbeef. No colcannon. No Guinness chocolate cake… although that’s definitely on my list. No green or otherwise beer. We had an evening at the sauna, and Irish meals after an evening of swimming and sweating, I do not crave. Sushi on the other hand, like spring rolls, is perfect. Having filled my luck quota this weekend with the coincidental green liner and napkin under the last round of cupcakes meant no tuna for us on Saturday. I literally was behind the man who bought the last tuna steak at our fish monger. The tuna I had imagined, during my twenty minute wait, spicing up with chili oil and mayo. The tuna I would place next to sweet mango and avocado. I guess I wasn’t the only one thinking tuna for St Patricks Day.  I’ve honestly never made sushi without fresh tuna. We still enjoyed fresh salmon, smoked salmon, shrimp and tofu.

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Hot Sauna & Cold Spring Rolls

Hot Sauna & Cold Spring Rolls

We had a nice evening at the Blankenese Pool and Sauna this week. You’ll have to go to the link as I couldn’t hijack any images to show. We started with a few laps in the 25 meter pool to stretch out. Whether alone or surrounded by excited children, we always enjoy this beautiful floor to ceiling windowed, light filled  building. France too has wonderful pools throughout the city but Germans really prioritize health through hydrotherapy and wellness centers. One can even take an insurance paid ‘wellness’ trip.

Followed by a swim we head to the steam room a little before 5.30pm to get warmed up. I like to open those dirty, clogged pores that I’ve been slathering with creams and oils to fight the cold weather. We breath in humid, steamy air while we wait for the attendant to come with little bowls of salt.

Armed with salt, we scrub that layer of dead skin with little remorse .. the bodies largest organ of elimination (the skin) rewards us feeling as silky as a baby’s butt. Each of us have a go at our own bodies, and O and I finish doing each other’s backs. We sit on little face cloth sized towels in a small room and I do my best to remain silent. The salt pulls beads of sweat out of our skin and we are soon seriously dripping. If we time it right, little pots of honey are offered next. I could do this every week. Great stuff.

I’ll mention here, there are a few beauty care pieces I’ve yet to pull together in this country. For instance, I wanted to ask the lady who entered the steam room just after us, where she gets her bikini wax but a) it’s hard to get the right words out in German and b) it might leave her feeling a bit hesitant to take the last seat on the tiled bench next to me. So I didn’t. I’ve really learned to think before speaking since living here. This has been a very positive lesson for me. Normally I am a serious/funny kind of a female wise cracker and it doesn’t always work… in English. And forget it in German.  Click here if you want to read about my first and only waxing experience… Wax on wax off- an experience. This is optional reading… not just something you want to accidentally scroll to at the bottom of the page.

Let’s continue…Next is the main hot dry sauna. Each hour there is a special aroma and steam procedure. Citrus, eucalyptus, lemongrass. I was one of three women and eleven men sitting naked and close together. Large, thin, hairy backs,  all shapes and sizes but nobody cares. We had a chamomile/ elderflower mix. These guys do an ausbildung(internship/training) for this… Most German people who don’t attend University will complete an internship in something, even if you work at the grocery store. I’ve only seen men doing this job. They come in with towel skirts or shorts and scoop scented water onto the hot coals, then wave and snap a towel (not the one on their waist). The scented heat wafts across my face. I cover it with my hands, feel the heat, breath deeply and concentrate on nothing. Sometimes, ice chips are offered. I eat them and hold them against the souls of my feel and back of my neck, feeling them instantly melt.

In the fifteen minutes, that had felt like sixty, I had moved from the third step to the first.  Heart rates up, we exit with the sauna guy. We head to the showers and choose warm, ice cold or my favorite, the rain cycle. A mix of warm and cool water that varies between a pitter patter and pelting against my skin. With skin washed, we don our robes, take an apple or grape juice, sometimes a tea over to the lounge chairs and rest. I try to focus on a mantra.. om nama shivaya… instead of writing this post. But I also try not to fight my thoughts. I try to let them flow through. If I say the mantra in my head I can stop thinking for a few minutes and I feel relief.

We relaxed here for a good 30-40 minutes. Sometimes we go for a second round but that night Chloe was at home on her own and had been on a bike ride, or so I thought. I’m a bit of a paranoid and since we couldn’t be reached by phone – I was not 100% relaxed. So we called it a night and headed home for spring rolls, green salad and quinoa salad.

I used rice paper, glass noodles, napa cabbage, red cabbage, orange and purple carrots, red and yellow peppers, cilantro, mint and basil.

Here’s the process of dipping the rice paper in warm water. The trick is getting it wet and elastic but not over doing it or it cracks. These photos were taken by Chloe :-)

Swish it around in the water then carefully let the excess water drip off. Then I lay it on a stone tile or a plate would work.

I’ve got all my very thinly sliced veggies, cooked shrimp, rice noodles and herbs ready to fill the wraps. I start with the shrimp and mint leaves. Honestly though, sometimes I forget the order between the one hundred and twenty seconds it takes from one roll to the next. Like this one for instance, I put the mint on first and didn’t notice till processing my picks…

Then some cooked glass noodles…

Your veggies, cilantro and basil….Thai basil is the best here but couldn’t find any this day.

Now we begin to roll. I pull the ends up on each side…

Then fold the side closest to me up…

Tuck it in and roll…

Roll it as tight as you can without busting the wrapper. This might take one or two practice rolls…

Here’s what you’ll have on the inside… note shrimp coming out. These were my rolls shot the next day as I ran out of good light. They still tasted great but the wrapper degrades a little. They are a super lunch though. You want to wrap them tight in plastic wrap to store.

These were so much fun to take photos of and edit. Glorious color. Think of all the vitamins!

I eat them with thai chili sauce… I could drink the stuff. love it so much.

Ok last one… probably..

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