Over 30 Easy Recipes for Delicious Picnic Food

Did you know that April 23 happens to be National Picnic Day? It seems fitting that it would fall just about the time when we’re all quite ready to get outside and enjoy a bit of warm sunshine and a slower pace. And, let’s be honest, pretty much any day without rain or freezing temperatures ia a good day for some al fresco dining! I’m not sure what your picnic traditions include, or if you even have any but, there’s just something special about a picnic. It’s not that the food is fancier than most days, it’s the change of scenery and being in the middle of the budding and blooming color all around us. Just to make it easier for you to celebrate, I’ve gathered up over 30 recipes for delicious (and easy!) picnic food for you to try with your family.

To get you started, you’ll find 6 Tips and Menu Ideas for a Day at the Zoo or Park that may include several picnic opportunities. If you are traveling and need some ideas for picnicking on the road, this post could help, too!  Some of these sandwiches are often served hot, but I think they’d be fine cold, or the meat could be put in a thermal container to keep it warm. Others could be made at home and wrapped up to take with you, like the Hawaiian BBQ or Chicken Bacon Ranch Sandwiches.

Pita Pockets Make Perfect Picnic Food

One of the best perks of these recipes is that the meats can be cooked in the crock pot and they all freeze well, which means if you make up an extra large batch now, you’ll be ready for weeks of impromptu picnics. And let’s face it, there are literally endless ways to fill pita pockets

  • Greek Chicken Pitas from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.
  • These Greek Pita Sandwiches start with meatballs and just get better and better from there.
  • Chicken Gyros from Kate’s Recipe Box.
  • Beef Gyros are a great way to serve steak on a picnic.
  • We enjoy serving our Beef Shwarma with a cucumber-yogurt sauce instead of the traditional tahini sauce.
  • You can prep and freeze the meat for these Chicken Broccoli Picnic Pitas and add all the veggies to be served in the pita as a chicken salad. A perfectly tasty and tidy picnic option.

Shredded Meat Sandwiches are easy to make ahead and so filling

Chicken Salads & Sandwiches are always a hit

  • My Peach Chutney Chicken Salad Sandwich uses cooked chicken and a delightful combination of ingredients that taste great and come together quickly.

Summer Picnic Classics never fail to impress

  • Slow Cooker Beer Brats are a classic summer grill idea with only 2 ingredients that can actually be made in the slow cooker.
  • 70s Fried Baloney Sandwich and other such sandwiches are sure to make the kids happy with their classic simplicity.
  • Gina’s Club Sandwiches were named for my sister, and as you would imagine, it’s a tasty club sandwich for any day of the week, especially if a picnic is involved.
  • Tomato Sandwiches are perfect when those fresh tomatoes start showing up in the garden or your local farmer’s market. Nothing says summer like a thick sliced juicy fresh tomato.
  • The secret to these PBJ on Depression Era Bread is the tasty Depression Era Bread. It just takes the classic PBJ up a notch or two.
  • These Egg Salad Sandwiches are a classic recipe that includes how to boil the eggs, and a great little item to have the kids help whip up.

  • Loaded Hot Dogs can be made with 3-ingredient “Cheater Chili” and a little slaw.

Classics with a Twist keep things fun and interesting

Roulades, Frittata Bites & Chicken Legs are too good to pass up

  • These Ham & Swiss Roulades from Carmella at Assortment Blog are made using handmade or store-bought pizza dough and can be filled with a variety of meats and cheeses based on what sort of mood you’re in.
  • This Bacon Spinach Frittata Bites recipe from Jessica at Life as a Mom would be perfect for a breakfast picnic with some fresh fruit because picnics aren’t just for lunch and dinner!
  • Chili Sauce Chicken Legs are a tasty warm option that is easy to eat and slightly messy in a good way, making them perfect picnic food.

And there you have it, over 30 recipes for celebrating National Picnic Day on April 23 or any day you like!

Do you have a favorite picnic food? What about a favorite picnic spot, whether it’s one you go to now or one you enjoyed as a child?

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What to do with leftover Ham

Easter is just around the corner. That means many of us are thinking about all those delicious things we’ll be cooking and eating for Easter Dinner. But after Easter is over, if you are lucky you’ll have the awesome bonus of some delightful leftovers. If you are really lucky (or get a great deal at the store on extra!) you’ll have a nice little stash of leftover ham. I love leftover meats because it jumpstarts my meal planning and makes prep so much easier on super-busy days.

Turkey and Chicken aren’t the only meats that you can turn leftovers into lots of wonderful meals with! There are dozens of ways to take that bit of extra ham and turn it into meals your family will love–and ask for more of!

In this post you’ll find 14 of our family favorites. These are almost all super easy to make. Some of them take just 15 minutes from prep to setting it on the table. Others are true comfort foods, and all of them are absolutely delicious.

14 Ways to Use Leftover Ham

1. Ham and Pineapple Fried Rice

2. Ham Asparagus Swiss Quiche

3. Sausage Ham Cheese Quiche

4. Western Omelette Casserole

5. Ham and Bean Soup

6. Quick Ham and Pineapple over couscous

7. Ham and Swiss Scalloped Potatoes

8. Ham and Vegetable Soup

9. Potatoes and Ham

10. Ham Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

11. Scrambled Egg-wiches

12. Red Beans and Rice with Ham

13. Ham Potato Chowder

14. Breakfast Casserole

I’d be thrilled if you took a moment and dropped me a comment telling me what you do with your holiday ham leftovers!

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3 Things that Work in the Kitchen This Week plus Music I’ve been loving

1.  FB Live cooking a 15 Minute Meal

I did a FB live on Friday and made Pizza Quesadillas from this week’s Traditional Meal Plan.  I timed it and actually finished in just 9 minutes.  You can make dinner super quick!

I don’t know why my eyes are closed in the screen shot of this.

 

2.  Didn’t work – Breakfast Casserole in the Pressure Cooker

You don’t know till you try.  I thought it would be so great to make a quick breakfast casserole in the Instant Pot, except the pot never came to pressure.  Big fail.  But know I know.

You could put the casserole in a dish that fits inside the pot and add water around the outside of it, but I don’t think you would be able to make a very big casserole doing that.  At that point, I’d rather use the oven or slow cooker.

3.  Bread Machine

This hasn’t worked in the kitchen yet, but we ordered a bread machine.  We used to have one many, many years ago, but it broke so when we want bread we make it by hand.  The other day I was watching Laurie from Passionate Penny Pincher make her dinner on FB live and she was setting up her bread machine.  I said something about it and my 18 year old son heard me.

Somehow he’d never heard of a bread machine and as the person most likely to bake bread in this house, he was flabbergasted that this appliance exists.  He even offered to go halfsies with me on one, so we ordered this one from Amazon.  It comes tomorrow, hopefully in time to make a loaf of bread to go with dinner.

Music I’ve been loving

I’ve been listening to Ellie Holcomb’s new album called Red Sea Road.  It’s very good.  I listen on Spotify and have had the album on repeat all week.

What’s working in the kitchen for you?

This post contains affliate links.

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Join the Countertop Cooking Challenge – Grab your slow cooker and Instant Pot and join the fun!

Get your slow cooker ready!  Pull that new Instant Pot that you aren’t sure what to do with out of the box, because we’re going to be using both of these appliances this month!

I’m really excited to partner with Laurie from Passionate Penny Pincher to bring you Countertop Cooking Challenge.  Laurie and I are both going to be cooking from Eat at Home Meal Plans (you don’t have to be a member to follow along though).  The Countertop Cooking Challenge officially starts Feb. 6!

She’s going to be focusing on the slow cooker recipes and I’m going to be cooking Instant Pot recipes.  You can catch both of us cooking on Facebook Live videos.  Laurie will be on the Passionate Penny Pincher page and I’ll be on the Eat at Home page.  Be sure to go like both of our pages.

New this month, I’ve added Instant Pot recipes to all three meal plan types – Traditional, Slow Cooker and Whole Food.  I’m so excited about this addition to the plans.  Now you’ll find Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker recipe options for some of the recipes.  That gives members one more way to fit dinner into their days.

But even if you aren’t a meal plan member, you’ll want to join us in this challenge.  We’re going to making dinner simple and delicious using both the slow cooker and Instant Pot.  You’ll get new recipes and cooking tips and have your dinner done too!  (If you are interested in becoming a member, you can use the code EARLYBIRD at check out to get a discounted price.)

You’ll also want to sign up for the Countertop Cooking Challenge emails.  I’ll be sending out special deals, links to the FB live videos and other tips for you through email.

Sign Up Here:





I’m so excited to have you join us for this Countertop Cooking Challenge!

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Join me for Healthy Kickstart!

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I know we’re right in the middle of the holiday week.  You’re probably finishing up leftovers while planning menus for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

But this is the perfect time to get a jump start on your health in the new year!  I’m so excited about the Healthy Kickstart group I’ve been working on.  We’re going to focus on positive eating habits – cutting back on sugar, carbs, dairy and refined ingredients.  We’ll be kicking up the vegetables and choosing healthy ingredients while keeping the meals simple and family friendly.

Healthy Kickstart is a judgement free zone.  We all start in different places and we all have different goals.  We will honor each other and ourselves in this process.

Enrollment is now open.  You can find out all about Healthy Kickstart by clicking here.  

I hope you’ll join me!  

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Healthy Kickstart into the New Year

I know we’re just about to celebrate Christmas and there’s lots of feasting and sweets still to come, but I wanted to give you a glimpse into something that’s coming.

I’m inviting you to join me for Healthy Kickstart!  We’re going to focus on positive eating habits – cutting back on sugar, carbs, dairy and refined ingredients.  We’ll be kicking up the vegetables and choosing healthy ingredients while keeping the meals simple and family friendly.

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We all have different goals with our diets and different things we’d like to improve.  You may want to:

  • Cut out all sugars, carbs, and dairy or just cut back on them
  • Incorporate more vegetables in your diet
  • Start cooking at home and stop running through the drive through
  • Give up a food vice like sodas, caffeine, sweet treats etc.

No matter where you start or what your personal goal is, Healthy Kickstart can help.

Healthy Kickstart is a judgement free zone.  We all start in different places and we all have different goals.  We will honor each other and ourselves in this process.

This program will include:

  • 4 Weeks of Healthy Kickstart Meal Plans
  • Private Facebook Group where we’ll cook through the plans together
  • A supportive group of people who are all focusing on their health
  • Help in setting your personal goals in reforming your eating
  • Videos showing how to shortcut the recipes, making them even easier and more versatile
  • Breakfast, lunch and snack ideas and recipes
  • Encouragement and support in sticking with it and building new habits

Enrollment starts December 27.  There will be special pricing for Eat at Home Meal Plan members, but anyone is welcome to register.

More info will be headed your way in a week or so.  For now, let’s all enjoy Christmas with family and friends.  There’s much to celebrate and be grateful for!

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Cooking Chicken for the Freezer and Me Looking Silly on Facebook Live

3 Things that work in the kitchen

1.  Facebook Live – What a grocery trip with an Eat at Home Meal Plan list looks like

I summoned my courage on Thursday afternoon and did another live video on Facebook.  And because I’m so awesome *insert eye rolling emoji here*, I filmed the first several minutes sideways.  

In the video I share the meals I shopped for, compare Kroger vs Walmart online ordering/store pickup, get real about the grocery prices and more.  If you’ve ever wondered what you get when you shop with an Eat at Home list, this video should help answer that question. You can watch the video here.

In related news, the $49 12 month membership sale ends today!  Use the code BIRTHDAY to get the sale price.  Find out more about the plans here.

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2.  Cooking chicken for the freezer – pressure cooker vs slow cooker

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In that load of groceries that I picked up on Thursday, I got two whole chickens.  I decided to cook them right away.  I love having cooked chicken in the freezer for quick meals.  It only took about 5 minutes to get these birds in their respective pots.  I sprinkled them with grey sea salt from France, black pepper and added about a cup of water to each pot.

I set the timer on the pressure cooker for 35 minutes and used a natural pressure release.  The total time for that chicken was about 1.5 hours.  I might have gotten by with five minutes less on the cook time, but the chicken was about perfect the way I set it.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – Pressure Cooking is not miraculous in cooking speed.  Yes, the cook time said 35 minutes, but that’s not the whole story.  The total time involved was 1.5 hours.  It didn’t heat up the house and it was easy.  Bonus – the pot is easy to clean too.  Just don’t expect a cooked chicken in 35 minutes or you’ll be disappointed.

For the slow cooker, I set it on high and let it cook all afternoon and evening while we were at an out of town soccer game.  It was falling-off-the-bone tender when we got home.

3.  BBQ Festival

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Last Saturday we had enough time between soccer games to go to the BBQ Festival in Danville, KY with friends.  It was the most delicious hour of the week.  Jim and I shared a BBQ Sundae.  I know that sounds strange, but it is so good!  Baked beans, Key Lime Cole Slaw and Pulled Pork.  Hog heaven in a cup!

We also hit up the grilled corn stand.  Good corn on the cob is like eating summer.

To top it all off, I ordered a scoop of Bourbon Butter Pecan gelato and a scoop of chocolate gelato.  While I ate that, we stumbled on a place selling Bacon Chips.  They looked like dog food, but they tasted great, especially with the Bourbon Butter Pecan gelato.

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

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My Biggest Time Saver Plus a Sale!

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I save a ton of planning and grocery shopping time each week by using Eat at Home Weekly Meal Plans.  It’s my number one favorite time saver.  And not just because it’s my own product!  Here are three reasons why I love it:

1.  My pantry stays stocked with common ingredients.

This means even if I need to tweak a meal or test out a new recipe idea, it’s likely that I’ll have the ingredients on hand.  The color-coded shopping list makes it really easy to swap ingredients or even whole meals if I need to.  Usually, I just buy it all anyway, because I know eventually I’ll use the ingredients.

2.  No planning!

Meal planning can be so time consuming. I used to get sucked into the rabbit trails of the internet and my cookbooks, looking for recipes to fix.  Now I just print off the meal plan/shopping list and go.

3.  Recipes that fit my day – 15 minute and slow cooker meals.

Some days require a meal I can get on the table quick.  Every week the Traditional and Whole Food plans have at least one 15 Minute meal that is perfect for those nights.

There are also slow cooker meals each week, plus a whole plan dedicated to slow cookers!  These are great for days when I have a couple of minutes in the morning to fill the crockpot.  There’s nothing better than knowing dinner is done early in the day!

Sale!

My birthday is coming up in a few days and I’ll be turning 49.  I thought it would be fun to celebrate with a $49 sale on 12 month meal plans.  That’s only 94 cents per week to save several hours of planning time and stress.  And it’s an $11 savings off the regular price.  That’s a no-brainer if you’re looking for help with meal planning/list making/cooking etc.

Find out more about Weekly Meal Plans here.  The sale ends Monday, September 19.

Click here to get 12 Months of Weekly Meal Plans for just $49.  Use the promo-code BIRTHDAY at checkout.

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In Praise of Humble Weeknight Suppers

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Sponsored post Mirum Shopper. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

I spend a lot of time coming up with weeknight dinner recipes.  That doesn’t mean that we don’t hit the occasional evening and all plans fall through the cracks.  Just like your family, sometimes things just don’t go the way we think they’re going to.

You know what?  That’s okay!

And actually, it’s better than okay.  If we stop for a minute and just breathe, we can regroup together.  It’s okay to make do on some nights, pulling together what we can find for dinner.  Bring the kids into the kitchen and let them help you come up with ideas.

Hellman’s Mayonnaise is encouraging families to make a Strangewich.  What’s a Strangewich?  It’s any sandwich that uses an unexpected ingredient.

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For our Strangewich, we used peanut butter, banana and pretzels.  Since peanut butter is even more divine when it’s warm and gooey, we grilled the sandwich using Hellman’s on the outside of the sandwich to create a crisp exterior.

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Paired with a big glass of milk and apples from the fruit bowl, this makes an easy, fun supper.

Try changing up grilled cheese by adding hot sauce to give it a kick.  Or pile on the veggies, like tomato, spinach, onion etc for a “grilled cheese run through the garden Strangewich”!

Let your imaginations run wild and turn the evening of making do into a memorable supper with your kids.  Not every evening has to have a perfect dinner.  Sometimes, the very best things happen when you’re figuring it out together.

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Right now you can get two Hellman’s Real Squeeze for just $7 at Target stores.

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored and I have been compensated for my time, however all opinions are my own.

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Paris Trip – What We Ate and More

Paris us in front of love wall

Jim and I recently got to take a trip to Paris together.  It was our first time to go to Europe and the longest trip we’ve ever taken with just the two of us.  It was wonderful!

I wrote about my apprehensions about taking the trip in this post.  Like so many of the things we worry about, it all turned out fine.  More than fine, actually!  We are so grateful that we booked the trip and went, even when there were many reasons to keep us at home.

Maybe you’ve been thinking about a memory making trip or another event, but something is stopping you.  I know that there are times it just doesn’t make sense to follow through, but often we put things off for small reasons.  We hold ourselves back, making up excuses to not follow through, building up false barriers.  If that sounds familiar to you, let this post be your encouragement to follow through!  You’ll be so glad you did.

Our Tour Group

Instead of going it alone, we decided to take a Rick Steves Tour.  I never would have considered a tour, if not for this post from Amy at MomAdvice on the tour they took in Italy.  We loved being part of the tour group.  Our guide was phenomenal.  On the first day, she taught us all how to use the metro and equipped us with metro tickets just like the locals use.  We rode the metro all over the city by ourselves and never felt uncomfortable about it, thanks to her instructions.

The tour gave us plenty of time to explore the city on our own in addition to group times.  We also had local guides at the Louvre, Versailles and in the Marais district.  These guides were fantastic in helping us really understand what we were seeing.

As for our times together as a group, we really enjoyed that as well.  We met a lot of interesting people and had a great time getting to know them.  We toured together in the mornings and also had three dinners together.  The rest of the time was ours to spend in any way we liked.

Sainte Chappelle

It’s impossible to pick a favorite out of everything we saw, but Sainte Chappelle would at or near the top for me.  We toured here one morning with the group and had to leave far too soon.  Lucky for us though, there was a violin concert that night and our guide offered to arrange tickets for us.  Jim and I took her up on the offer, used the metro to get back to the oldest part of the city where Sainte Chappelle is located and paid for our tickets at the table our guide told us about.  We chose the cheap seats at the back, which was perfect because could see all the windows during the concert.  What an amazing experience to listen to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in that beautiful place!

The Food

Rue Cler fruit market

Food in Paris is everywhere and it’s all so good!  Fruit and vegetable stands line the streets, there are boulangeries on every corner and most restaurants have seating outside.  Often the chairs face the street at these cafes.  I guess French people take their people watching seriously.

I had put a number of things on my Paris food bucket list before we left:

A picnic style meal

We had an unintentional picnic on a bench near the Abbesses Metro Station in Montmartre.  We saw tables at the place we chose to eat and also a line to get food to go. We got in line and chose our food, then realized that since we’d gotten it to go, we couldn’t sit at the tables.  Had we sat down to begin with, we could have ordered food brought to us.  For some reason this concept threw us a couple of times.  It turned out fine though, because we found a place to sit on a nearby bench, the drizzly rain paused for a while and the warm baguette we bought was the best of the whole trip.  We also picnicked near Notre Dame with these eclairs for dessert:

Paris eclairs

  Onion Soup

This was served at our first group dinner and it was delicious!

Onion soup

 Macarons

I wanted to try macarons, because the only time I’d had them at home I wasn’t impressed.  We had macarons from a small bakery in Montmartre and again at the famous Laduree.

Laduree box

It was fun to go to Laduree on the Champs Elysees.  We chose a box of six macarons in six different flavors.

Laduree macarons

They are beautiful.  We liked them all except the Rose flavored one.  I thought that tasted like my grandma’s bathroom!  Overall though, macarons are not my thing.  There are so many, many other sweet treats to eat that are much better.  They’re very photogenic, but I’d rather feast on croissants, pain du chocolat, creme brulee, eclairs …

Fallafels in the Jewish Quarter

L'as du fallafel

I’d heard about this fallafel place and seen photos on Instagram.  I really hoped we’d get to eat here and we did!  If you look closely at the crates in the left of the photo, you can see they are full of eggplants.

This meal was fantastic.  We shared it with two people from our tour group.  It was fun to get to know them while we ate messy, delicious fallafels.

The best meal

The best meal I had was at our second group dinner at Bistro de Gaspard.  I had duck with potatoes and roasted onions.  The menu gave it a longer, more appetizing name, but I can’t remember that.  I only remember how amazing it tasted!  The picture doesn’t look like much, but trust me this was wonderful.

Paris duck dinner

The caramel dessert topped the meal perfectly.  Every spoonful carried the most intense caramel flavor without being too sweet.  Perfection!

Paris caramel dessert

The biggest surprise

At our first group meal, we were served coffee.  In France this means a shot of espresso.  I don’t care for espresso, but I decided to try it anyway.  Oh my!  Un cafe in Paris is not the same thing as an espresso in the States.  Instead, it’s an intense coffee flavor without any hint of bitterness or harshness.  I could have downed several of these a day easily.

Paris un cafe

If anyone knows how we can make coffee like this at home, please let me know.  I did try a Starbucks espresso when we got back and yuck!  Not the same at all.

What we brought home

I’m pretty sure I’m the only person in our group to bring home salt as a souvenir.

french sea salt

This type of salt is very expensive here in the States, but at the grocery store in Paris it was under three Euros a bag.  It adds a lot of flavor to recipes and it’s a fun way to remember the trip while doing an everyday task like cooking.

chocolate bars assorted

We also brought home a fantastic chocolate haul.  Visiting a chocolate shop was on my Paris bucket list, but I didn’t have a specific shop in mind.  One afternoon we asked the young lady working the desk at our hotel and she gave us the name of a great little shop on Rue Cler.

Chocolate with pistachio

This is the pistachio filled bar.  In the words of the young man who let us sample a bite in the chocolate shop, “it’s crazy”!  The color is reminiscent of guacamole, but the taste is pure pistachio.  So good!

Chocolate block stack

We also bought this stack of single origin chocolate.  We haven’t unwrapped these yet, but I’m looking forward to trying them all.

Paris was everything I imagined and more!  I’m so, so grateful Jim and I were able to go together.  To top it all off, we got bumped up to first class on the way home.  Those seats that fully recline to a bed are no joke.  That’s the way to travel!

New Motto – Take the Trip!

I hope reading about our trip has been an encouragement to you to follow through with your dreams.  Don’t let little worries get in the way of living life.  I’m not just talking about big trips to Europe.  There have been plenty of times in the past when I’ve let small worries get in the way of date nights, short get-aways, etc.

My new motto is “Take the trip!”  Whether it’s a small trip to take a walk in a new part of town or a larger opportunity, it’s worth it to stretch myself and do something new.

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