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Thanks for the awesome tips about vacuum sealing - great idea!

Congrats to your husband on getting that job, and giving notice at the old one! And you have given yourself such a shift in approach to making the trip alone - good job! Staying in a house with an actual kitchen should make it so much easier compared to what I was imagining. Options galore, that's great.  You three are giving yourselves plenty of time to plan ahead...now that song is in my head again, we can plan, we can plan plan, yes we can, yes we can can LOL Just writing about food makes me hungry and wanting to cook something. 

This is good because recently I was so busy at work, I got into a little mini-depressed-cooking-rut where I just didn't want to, and couldn't imagine ever cooking anything ever again. Does that happen to you? I didn't want to waste the meat that I had thawing in the fridge during those days, so I made a big batch of the ropa vieja inspired sliders. This time I didn't really use the recipe, I just winged it. (Wung it?) and it was good, but maybe too many raisins. Pretty windy. I could've quarantined myself yesterday LOL.

An acquaintance of mine who is an OB/GYN P.A. bent an ear about the early menopause thing and hot flashes, and she confirmed my approach, adding that alcohol and hot soups/beverages are a big culprit, and that getting vigorous cardio vascular exercise is the real key. Like running. Waah, my knees can no longer tolerate a run, but the conversation gave me a nudge to power hike as often as possible. As for compliant snacks, that's a great point. I'm thinking jerky, trail mix, dates, and maybe those EPIC bars will be more palatable when I'm *that* in need, and I'll test that out on a training hike once I've worked my way up to a higher intensity.

I have a friend who is sort of a Tommy Emmanuel groupie!!! It's not about sex, but she seriously follows him around wherever he is in California, and now he recognizes her, and sometimes they talk and hang out a little, which makes her glow and smile in the re-telling like nothing else I've ever seen.  She LOVES him. I saw Jake on Youtube once performing While my Guitar Gently Weeps, and that really is amazing! Have a GREAT time!

I'd never heard of Elbert Hubbard, either, but I saw that quotation recently on a Buddhist IG feed, and it didn't sound like something Buddha actually said, so I googled it because I really, really like that quote. Ha ha. I get a little envious and curious when I see things about nuns in cloister, or people on silent retreats. Silence makes me happy.

Still kinda thinking of doing a W30 in March, or....just really upping my game on my own bike. We'll see...

Your Saturday evening is probably underway by now - live it up!!!

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The show was amazing and it even quit raining! My husband used to take guitar lessons from a banjo player (hahaha) and he used to always say, "That's a lot of notes!" about some of the bluegrass tunes. Saturday night was definitely a lot of notes! Before the show we went to a nearby restaurant that has a nice cocktail menu and had a couple of real cocktails then I caved and had a glad of white wine at intermission. That was my first glass of white and definitely the most sugar I've had but I didn't seem to have any negative repercussions. We decided to fix a nice dinner at home so we could splurge on the cocktails and I was thinking about your puttanesca-ish chicken from a few days ago. I did that with some shrimp and it came out really good along with some asparagus with a little preserved lemon. Thanks for the inspiration!

I've had curried chicken salad on the brain since you mentioned it, too, so I made a nice big batch for my lunches this week. I put a bunch of celery and apple in it so it's nice and crunchy. I used all of the dark meat since that's my favorite (plus my husband is not a dark meat fan) and saved the breasts for dinner tonight so I'll get some good mileage out of that chicken. I got a quart of bone broth out of it, too so that's a bonus. I had to force myself to cook this weekend and didn't cook anything but my breakfasts the weekend before so, yeah, I get those don't feel like cooking blues, too. Sometime I just want anything I didn't have to cook. I was supposed to get a pot of chili going yesterday and kept looking at that chuck roast that was looking back at me. It's still in the fridge -_-

I did make a really good green bean salad, though. 1 lb green beans (not too cooked), 12 oz cherry tomatoes, 2 T balsamic, 2 T red wine vinegar, 2 T olive oil, 1-2 minced garlic cloves, salt & pepper. Mix everything together except the green beans and let the tomatoes macerate for a little while. Add the green beans and YUM. It's supposed to have some fresh basil in it too but I forgot it the first time I made it and liked it so much that I've never bothered. If the beans are still warm when you add them, it's good like that, too.

So if you up your game, what are you thinking about doing? I'm starting to feel like I'm flailing around a bit. What I really need to do is quit making excuses and get my rear in gear! I'm doing really well with my meals but not so well at moving beyond the speed of sofa.

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Your green bean salad looks delicious! I've been grocery shopping at a different store lately, and they carry two lb. bags of haricot vert - GASP - my fave. I could eat them every day - usually steamed, tossed in ghee with s/p. I will try your recipe with these!

Your weekend of cocktails, white wine and bluegrass sounds super fun. My friend will be jealous when I tell her about the line-up!

I've been thinking about what upping my game will look like...it seems I have a comfort level with being more or less on plan with one exception per day, like today and yesterday I was pretty W30-true with the exception of pre-grilled chicken that has some darned unpronounceable stuff in it. Otherwise all compliant...I noticed I was getting in trouble when I tried to cut back on fat and carbs as I think I mentioned, so I'm back to one meal per day with yams, and every meal has plenty of good fat. I feel good doing this, so I'll try to just be reasonable with the off-roading...and do my best to stay away from the Mexican place because I am vulnerable to the presence of chips in my face :wacko: Another thing that's helped lately is taking Michelle Tam's advice to keep an eye on when the leftovers are running low, to transfer some frozen meat to a big stainless steel bowl in the fridge to slow thaw properly until it's time to cook again. I'm getting good at that kind of timing, and it's helping me to keep the cook-ups going, and always have good options on hand. I'm getting hooked on having a pound of mild pork sausage for sliders in the morning...that, plus the haricot vert and some yam oven fries for breakfast with a dollop of mayo makes me very happy this week.

After trying a bunch of Mel J's salad dressings, yesterday I went back to an old favorite that I've made for 20 years, and it's still delish, an old friend. Equal parts EVOO and balsamic (slightly less balsamic) in a jar, with a dollop of dijon to taste, a small amount of minced shallots to taste, a pile of minced basil, a small glug of maple syrup (optional) and s/p, shaken up vigorously. This is divine.

Tell more about your breakfast casseroles - since the sausage/kale casserole, I'm wanting to branch out. Also, did you talk to your sister-in-law about food planning yet?

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That balsamic sounds great and easy. My husband loves balsamic vinegar; I'll have to make a batch of it for him. Thanks! I missed that helpful hint of Michelle's but that's a great idea. I tend to let myself run out of defrosted stuff all of the time then I'm scrambling in the evening trying to get something put together. Oh! I keep forgetting; here's the cauli tortillas I like: http://slimpalate.com/cauliflower-tortillas-paleo-grain-free-gluten-free/

I think I HAVE been eating the haricot vert every day for the last 2-3 weeks and I don't seem to be getting tired of them. I'm ready for a breakfast casserole break and your pork sausage/yams/haricot vert sounds really good. I'll probably make a big batch of that for next week as a hash then slide a couple of fried eggs on top. I totally make up my breakfast casserole every week depending on what I have on hand. I like to have a little meat of some sort in it but don't always and just add more veg. I usually do 3 eggs/day plus whatever veg I have on hand, especially if it's getting a little tired looking. I usually sauté my veg so it's doesn't water everything down but if I grate up turnips, I use them raw just like you'd use potatoes for a hash brown casserole. If I want it more quiche-like in texture, I beat a can of coconut milk into my eggs before pouring over the veg/meat mix. I try to vary my herbs/spices so I get some variety- taco flavored or Italian or just spicy and it always takes more salt than I think it will. Grease your pan really well and bake at 350 until puffy & set.

Hah! I feel your pain at the Mexican restaurant. I've been avoiding it because I figure I'll probably face-plant the chips & salsa if we go. I'm fine resisting them at home when my husband's chowing down on them but I know exactly what will happen if we go eat Mex- no moderation!

I finally booked my flight and my rental car after agonizing over what city to fly into and whether or not to hitch a ride with another family member. It was starting to get complicated and was going to add a bunch of travel days so I just bit the bullet and will meet everybody there. We decided that eating out the first night would be best since everyone will spend most of the day traveling. They are going to bring the proteins for the remaining 3 nights they will be there and I will work on sides. I've got coffee covered:P and everyone will be responsible for their own breakfast and packing a lunch. Now I just have to figure out some good, easy sides for 9 adults and 1 kid. There's a full kitchen and a nice big grill as well as a fire pit out back. I was hoping there would be a Costco on the way so I looked it up. HAHAHA the closest one is in Chihuahua, Mexico 170 miles away!! I never thought I'd need a passport to go to Costco! I thought that was hilarious.

I like your off-roading plan; very reasonable!

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A passport to go to Costco, that's funny! The idea of someone else bringing the proteins brings out my inner control freak...I'm already vicariously wringing my hands. I hope they bring stuff you like!! Besides the Mexican Costco, will you have some grocery store options? 

Thanks for the recipe! Looking forward. I caved to Mexican tonight...what can I say? The cauli tortillas at home would be a much better alternative. In any event, the owner is very tolerant of my order sans beans, cheese, sour cream, etc....the off-roading was chips, but I was otherwise under control, happily.

Yes, for me, having those green beans on my plate makes it feel like Thanksgiving, especially together with the yams. And I'm really committed to not wasting even a morsel of that 2 lb bag (they're almost gone - the outlook is good) so this morning I steamed a huge handful to put on my lunch salad for later, and that is something I will repeat! If we are what we eat, we are slim little green beans? I'm sticking with that. 

Tomorrow is sort of a half day (1-8 pm =  a free morning for myself!) so I'll do some cooking, color my hair, not be in a giant hurry, get some chores done. It's been *so* cold, and that is my latest excuse for not exercising outdoors, but really it's a little out of control, this exercise inertia....I must get back to my habit. You are my witness. I've lost a lot of fitness. In which case, at the very least, I should and will do some yoga in the morning in my warm house, and meditate. yeah.

 

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Great mental image; I've been eating so many of those beans I figured I was going to turn into one anyway! I put them in my breakfast casserole this week to make sure they didn't go to waste. Today I feel like a slim little green bean;) which is better than I felt yesterday. It wasn't a "kill all things" day but more like a "maim all things day" and I'm attributing it to exercise inertia, as you so aptly put it. I felt sluggish and kind of bloated and just not motivated in general. I feel much better today but I'm not sure why. I dreamt that my alarm went off and woke up really disoriented to a bunch of weird noise. I finally realized it was only 320 and what I was hearing was a raging wind and rain storm. I couldn't get back to sleep and finally got up at 445 but I did a couple of sun salutations and a brief weight workout then I smoked a special promo that Vitacost and ebates were having. They had Primal mayo, really good tuna in packets and some packets of olives. The olives have a little sunflower oil in them but, at this point, I figure I'll have to let some little non-compliant things in for my trip just so I can try to keep the big non-compliant things out. That's OK.

If it were anybody else, I'd be freaking out about the proteins but my brother & SIL eat really well when they DO eat so I'm not worried about it. They have a bigger budget than I do plus she works for a food distributor and can get some really nice stuff for a good price. I wish it was grass-fed but beggars can't be choosers! They are bringing a whole beef tenderloin (!) for one night, some burger meat that is mixed with ground pork belly and chicken for coq au vin that she says is good, easy and mostly hands-off. Now I just have to figure out some sides. I think that green bean salad will make an appearance, grilled veggies, big green salads, and a bunch of other stuff to make enough to feed 9. I'm trying not to stress over it too much and be a little more "go with the flow" but my inner control freak is having some minor panic attacks :blink:

Enjoy your unhurried morning!

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I'm so literal, as you know, I swear in so many ways I'm five years old. When you wrote that you smoked a special promo that Vitacost was having, I wondered just how green it was. LOL. 

Ooh, it sounds like you are in really good hands with your bro and SIL and their excellently yummy taste in things. How fun! Whatever you make for side dishes is going to be a smash hit.

I really enjoyed my day yesterday. I've been drinking coffee late into the day, and then using half a sleep aid. I know I have to knock this off. But it feels like an adventure, and I have so few of those...so few vices. Today I shook myself out of the bed and accompanying sleep aid coma, and quickly rustled up a batch of Merguez seasoned Turkish sliders, and ate them with steamed haricot vert and a big green salad. So I'm off to a good start. My local grocer is carrying this, which is only enabling my coffee habit, but I love it so http://threetrees.com/

There's a bunch of stuff in the fridge I'm not sure what to do with, so I'll try improvising a casserole, and will let you know how it goes!

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Ha! Tennessee is not as open-minded as California about green things. Funny!

Well, not only did I not do a good job of riding my own bike this weekend, I think the wheels fell off and the chain slipped.:angry: Saturday I had a couple of glasses of wine while I was working on a big pot of chili then had a couple of margaritas with the chili. I topped that off with a few beers on Sunday so by Sunday evening I felt bloated and puffy and generally yucky and of course that totally messed with my sleep as well. I've been totally compliant since then and trying to let that lesson sink in. I've been fine with 1 or 2 drinks of whatever variety but overindulging needs to be off of the menu. 

How did your casserole come out? I did a non-casserole breakfast for a change. I made a hash with some ground pork (and a few too many red pepper flakes) cauli, brussels, sweet potato, red bell and onion then I'm topping it off with some scrambled eggs. It's really good but I have to remind myself to scramble some eggs to take with me every day.

Yesterday I made a batch of Mel Joulwan's Pumpkin Balls, too. https://meljoulwan.com/2014/12/06/maple-pumpkin-macaroons/ It was an experiment for my trip and I like them but don't love them and I want to love them. I added 3 scoops of collagen peptides and left out the maple syrup, though, and that might make a difference. The organic almond butter from Costco is pretty runny + I wanted them to be compliant + I was hoping that would make them a little firmer so they'd travel well. I really thought that I would find them to be fairly sweet even without the maple syrup but they're not. Maybe I'll add some dried cranberries or raisins next time to bump up the sweetness without adding more liquid. 

I woke up a little early this morning so I did a short weight routine and a couple of sun salutations and stretching to start my day. I confused the cats but it was a nice way to start my day. It really perked up my mood, too; I've was in a bit of a funk yesterday probably leftover from the misadventures of the weekend. I got a new (to me) copy of Stranger in a Strange Land that has all of the stuff that was edited out of the original version so I've been reading that and really enjoying it. The main character, Michael Valentine Smith, said he had "much learning to learn and much growing to grow". That's me!

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I congratulate you for getting back on the bike! That part is a mad new skill, isn't it? Yay! Also, you comforted and respected yourself by spending your "up early" time to be in your body, with a boosted mood to show for it. Good job. Is your self regard back on track, too, I hope? Giggling about the cats. My cat shows rare interest in human activity when I'm on the floor doing such, as well.

I have a copy of Stranger in a Strange Land coming my way - can't wait to read it.

I'm having a hopeful week - I've been re-reading ISWF, and I've been pretty on my game this week with food and slowly but surely getting back to morning hikes. I did eat chips last night, but otherwise had a compliant dinner...I'm cutting back on coffee but enjoying it and not beating myself up about it - also having some great sleep lately - partly due, I'm sure, to trying out Valerian root as a sleep aid. I know it's short acting, but it sure feels like I'm getting benefit of a long acting boost, easily going back to sleep if I have to get up at 3. So that has me wondering if it may also be improving the diet and cutting back on coffee...I'll keep working with the levers and gears, shifting things around to keep observing. So nice to feel fresh and rested in the morning.

The casserole was pretty tasty. And I used my largest casserole dish so I could share with the hubs. I based it on the Michelle Tam one, so I didn't branch out very much...but I think I'll try one with plantains as the base, that caught my eye recently. I did a second attempt at Mel's gingerbread pork stew, this time using a 3 lb pork shoulder. With your experience in mind, I also doubled the broth. It was pretty divine. With sweet potatoes (I think I prefer yams). But for all the effort (I spent a ghastly amount of time browning the meat in batches) it sure hasn't lasted very long. We had a dinner guest the first night, and I observed a somewhat shameful covetousness in myself - part of me doesn't want to share, is that wicked? Ha! Anyway, I'm going to make it again SOON with a 4 or 5 lb roast and maybe just brown one side of each piece, because I want my cooking pot full to the top. 

Ooh, the pumpkin balls look good. Mel and her balls. Balls balls balls. I love it.

Moment of self honesty this week, as I still learn again and again to read my labels: that pork sausage that I've been eating so much of? Dextrose. Insert ominous sound....and they don't list how much! Argh! I'm going to load up on ground pork next grocery trip and make my own, but I already know I'll have to re-set my palate because that stuff is like crack - there is probably a lot of dextrose! = ( The learning continues!

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Hey! I didn't mean to disappear. I swear I replied to your last post! I must've misplaced that brain cell. How's everything going? I've been maintaining pretty well but not moving as much as I should. I HAVE managed to stay off of the scale, though. I feel like I might be a little lighter but trying to just keep on with the plan and let it have it's way with me. I feel like even when I go off-roading a bit, it's easier to get back on track. I've even managed to resist deep fried yummies when my husband was eating them right in front of me! I did indulge in some real french fries that were topped with brisket, jalapenos and cheese. It was intentional, the portion was very moderate and it was totally worth it so no guilt! I did, however, have more beer with them than I should have but we had a lovely day pretending we were on vacation and then I moved on. 

Two things on that long list of "Things That Make Me Crazy" are browning meat and added sugar. Do "they" really have to add sugar to everything?!? There's even sugar in the salt, for pete's sake! I don't know if you've ever taken a look at Kenji Lopez Alt's "Serious Eats" blog. It's kinda science-y food/recipes/drinks and I've gotten some good ideas from him. One of them is to brown your meat in bigger hunks- like steak-sized hunks- then cut it up into cubes afterwards. It still makes a mess on the stove, on the floor, everywhere but it's so much quicker and I actually think there is less splatter. You still get the brown bits on the bottom of the pot and enough of the meat is brown to give that good flavor but it's not nearly as labor intensive or as big of a time suck.

I'm still on a kick with veg hash w sausage or ham and scrambled eggs for my breakfasts. It's a little more work but it's a nice change of pace and I feel like I'm getting more veg. I know the ham has a bit of sugar in it even though it's country ham not city ham but I don't think it's very much; it doesn't taste sweet at all. Seasoning up some ground pork for breakfast sausage works, too. Have you given it a try yet?

I hope all has been good!

 

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Hi Holly! Well, we broke our impressively long pattern of every day check ins, which was inevitable, after all, eh? No worries!

Ah! Life is rich and full, and so, so busy with good things. I've had a wonderful couple of days. Food-wise, I am way off road, but I'm not worrying about it. I think I have some good momentum with the nearby trail hikes, and two days ago had a wild experience of bumping into some renegade cows (tagged and branded) which have been roaming the 29,000 acre + BLM land which is my backyard playground and hiking place. I didn't even know there were renegade cows that got through a breach of fencing many years ago wayyy on the other end of the borderlands of this acreage. In recent weeks I thought I heard mooing or chainsaws in the distance but thought it was the latter as there is also logging activity resuming up there somewhere (up there in the direction of  the 6,000 ft + peak at the top and sequoia groves)....but here came these terrified cows stampeding past me, trying to avoid me, and running off down the trail from whence I came. Then I bumped into a friend on the trail and she took me along a creek bed side trail I didn't even know existed, and it was like a portal to a fairy land. All of that to say that I have feeling of "in love all over again" with this backyard hiking area, and can't wait to go back to the creek bed trail. The adventure was about 6 miles, more than my usual every day hike, and my knees are a little squawky, so I'm keeping an eye on that.

I like the tip about saving time by browning the meat in larger pieces. I'm going to work with that!

I think chips are a gateway food, and I need to avoid chips. Yeah. Everything goes to heck when I eat chips. I've been on a tear. But one can always start over, right?

I've got a lot of good food in the fridge, and it's time to get cooking. Steaks for future salads. Pork for taking a stab (no pun intended) at my own sausage.

I made a layered taco casserole with shredded yam hash on the bottom. That was darned good. And I made an enormous batch of hash which I have been eating for breakfast with leftover meat and a fried egg on top. I love that. But I've been eating less veg rather than more, so I need to reverse that, and that will help.

Cheers!

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I love your cow story; that's so funny! A couple of years ago we hiked Mount Rogers in Virginia and they have wild ponies. Thankfully there was no stampede but it was pretty cool getting to see them. My husband still threatens to turn me in to the feds because I petted one of them before I saw the sign that said it was a federal offense to pet or feed them. Your hike sounds wonderful. We haven't been able to get out much at all. In the last 8 weekends, it has only NOT rained for one of them and even then it had rained all week so everything was a muddy mess. To top it all off, it snowed this morning! Since we haven't been able to get outside, I signed us up for a hiking navigation/compass class at REI yesterday. It was pretty good and we learned a lot. Some of the trails in Big Bend have notes that say you should be competent with a compass and map so I figured this was a good time to do that. There are so many amazing places to hike within a couple of hours of Nashville and that got us fired up to do more local exploring this year. Sorry to hear about your knees. Six miles is a pretty good day! I hope they settle down soon.

Ooh, I have avoided chips for that very reason. I'm OK at home but if we go to a Mexican restaurant and they put that basket of chips & salsa on the table I know exactly what will happen and it won't be pretty. I've been eating well but having my husband on "vacation" for a week before starting his new job has been really bad for my alcohol consumption and now we have a birthday party for a friend of ours at a craft brewery this afternoon.

I enjoyed my curried chicken salad so much a couple of weeks ago that I decided to make another batch but between the time change and spending the afternoon at REI, 45 minutes away, I didn't get it finished. There is an Amish couple that I get my chicken from and they are usually a pretty good size. By the time all was said and done, I had a couple of pints of bone broth, a big batch of chicken salad and two breasts that we turned into chicken picatta for dinner last night. I'll get the chicken salad finished tonight and that will take care of my lunches this week. I've been on a blueberry & blackberry kick for a couple of weeks now that doesn't seem to be abating. I guess it could be worse, huh?

Your taco casserole sound really good. What else did you put in it? We have lots of good stuff, too. Saturday I got a piece of a brisket and put it in brine & spices to corn so we can have corned beef for St. Patty's Day. I'm looking forward to that; it'll be something different. We got a little lazy this past week and did several dinners of pan-seared meat and a quick veg side so I want to step it up a bit this week. Of course, now that I think about it, the place to start would have been to take something out of the freezer. My trip is only 10 days away and we have houseguests coming this weekend AND the weekend after I get back so I've been a liiiitle ADD lately.

OK, time to focus!

 

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Wow, everything is so full leading up to your Big Bend trip, the time is going to whiz by so fast. The REI class sounds like loads of fun – so great that you did that! In our house, the hubs is a tried and true navigator/map reader/compass commandeer, having practiced a lot on the BLM land and also on our hikes, so I admit I'm a little dependent on him, in the interdependent scheme of things, that is. If I were in your shoes, going solo at Big Bend, the REI class seems a perfect way to learn some new chops. I should do that, too! When we're planning our trips, I make sure I know where we're going, and in my own way analyze distances and elevation changes between camp outs and water sites, etc, so I'm not sleeping at the wheel but it would behoove me to learn some compass skills. Thanks for showing the way, it's inspiring me.

Some days/weeks, it's all about convenience and pan searing the meat and getting veg together - no shame in that, I say! This morning I was lamenting how little time I have to read because I'm working such long hours...and I don't even have children in the equation! It can be a little overwhelming. I have ingredients in my pantry for things I was planning to cook some time ago, and it seems like the gorgeous recipes are money in the bank - I might not draw on 'em this week, but I'll do what I have to do in the meanwhile, like searing the meat and cobbling a compliant but not perfect meal together. That is my life profile lately, and the time I might have spent cooking has been rich with friends and occasions between work – last week was especially wonderful. Now, time to get focused. My knickers are feeling a little tighter, so yesterday I began again in earnest, and while I don't have a ton to show for it in just one day, I do have familiar signs of daily cycles that tell me I'm doing what works well = ) Deep sigh.

Yes, the knee thing has been a little alarming and disappointing. My theory is that taking on that Rae Lakes Loop last August without trekking poles was a HUGE lesson. I had assumed that since then my knees had plenty of time to heal. I haven't had any symptoms at all until that six miler. The hubs is a pharmacist, and he tells me to use NSAIDS before my hikes/walks. Internet specialists tell me to beware of steep hills, esp. downhills. That worries me, because there is nothing flat here for me to hoof along. This is hill country! Which brings me back to nutrition. I must adhere to W30 ways to manage my weight and to help heal the joints as I take a more gentle training program than I had intended, now that the weather and conditions are heart achingly perfect, in these next couple of months before it's hot again. Telling myself do not despair. I know what I have to do. Will I do another actual W30? I'm going to feel it out between now and April 1st...maybe, probably. Meanwhile keep my bike on the road, and like you in my own way right now.....f o c u s e d .

Mmm, brisket sounds yum. I Just finished up that taco casserole yesterday at breakfast...I started with a base layer of yam hash, baked it for 20 minutes, and when it cooled I added the top layer of ground bison and diced yellow/red/orange bell pepper with all the taco seasonings. Next time I'd make it a little hotter/spicier. The egg mixture also had coconut milk in it, which to my surprise turned the hash into a creamy mash when it was all done. I'd like to do it again, and add even more veg, maybe carrots and celery and zuccs, too... I'm off today more or less, so I'm going to put a pork shoulder in a pot and make that gingerbread stew again, and I have a couple of volunteer meetings while that simmers, then get shopping, and unlike less busy days, I don't even have anything planned yet, so I'll be winging it, which feels a bit like free wheelin' it onthe bike, but I'm trusting myself. One thing that has not slipped as I've been in the weeds is having plenty of nice salad greens for leftover whatever was seared (LOL) in previous days for my lunches at work. Thanks for ping ponging back to me the curried ckn salad - that is sounding good again, too!

Onwards!

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Well! No sooner was that comment about chips out of my mouth than a basket of chips was in front of me! Potato chips tossed in sriracha then re-crisped in the oven and served with ranch dressing. It was crunchy, salty, spicy and went well with a really good alt bier. I managed to restrain myself and just eat a few but I could see where I could mindlessly go crazy with them. I did manage to pass on pizza and wait until I got home to eat something compliant for dinner so it wasn't a total loss even though my "dinner" was sort of snack-ish. I had a couple of Applegate hotdogs (my new favorite) with some kraut then a half of an avocado then some almonds and coconut flakes with a few dried blueberries. Then I fell asleep at 830! I hate the time change thing; it never treats me well.

I have been really hungry the last few days and I'm thinking that having those extra drinks is the reason. Time to reel it in and see if I'm still hungry between meals and if I am, then I need to reassess. I think I've gained a couple of pounds (hmmmm tight knickers!) but I don't want to see the numbers. My plan is to weigh myself right before I leave and then again when I get back and compare the results to the amount of off-roading/compliance I managed. If I wasn't very successful at maintaining, I might consider an April W30. I need to read some motivational Meadowlily. She is of the opinion that you should just do it once. I guess I've already blown that since my W60 was my second go around.

Yeah! I like the thought of having the ingredients handy as being money in the bank. I pulled out a little bitty pork tenderloin this morning so I might try to get a little more creative for dinner tonight. We've been hitting the salads pretty hard, too and I've been going through cherry tomatoes almost as fast as blackberries and blueberries.

Have you tried collagen peptides for your knee? I got some at the beginning of my W30 waaaaay back in December but I haven't taken them consistently enough to be able to tell if it helps or not. They're a bit pricey but lots of people swear by the results.

It sounds like you've had a great week and are having a great day, too. Cool!

And upwards!

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Chips! Ah, danger danger! LOL cajun Holly, those sound really good. Mm. I'm interested in looking more into Meadowlily's POV on things, too, since you quoted her on only doing it once. One thing that bums me out about an actual W30 is stopping my vitamins! That doesn't feel right. But, neither do too-tight knickers, and who am I kidding, my con-compliance is way beyond vitamins recently. Anyway, I like your plan, assessing after you get back from your trip! Ha, I'm enjoying our ongoing solidarity and timing.

I spent tonight worshipping at the altar of my stovetop. LOL. Hubs was upstairs glued to the Pennsylvania special election returns while I made lots of noise, and lots of grease splatter making gingerbread pork stew, and roasting yams. I was a bit horrified when he came downstairs, and nonchalantly said that I got grease all over his cell phone, which was, I swear, five feet away from the stove. I had not one, but two splatter screens over my pan. Waah. I clean as I go, but sI realize my kitchen is long overdue for a serious scrub down, and I can no longer stay in denial about how far the grease goes. A good spring cleaning is on the horizon, including a serious soapy scrub brush to the floor-every-where.:blink:

Ooh, collagen peptides, I'll look into that! At a quick glance online, I see there's a *lot* of stuff about them from people who have them to sell. So I'll have to spend some more time to get some real info I can wrap my brain around. I'll look into the familiar heroes to get their take – is there a place you recommend I look to get the low down on what they are and how it could help? Thanks! I'm interested.

Remember that Mel J. apple chicken hash I used to write about all the time back in December? I'm craving that again...so while I was winging it grocery shopping this afternoon, I dreamed up a big batch with 3 lbs of ground turkey, and to the apple sautée I will also add carrot/shallot/celery/sliced baby bok choy. That should last a while, even if I share with my hungry spouse. I also got chicken breasts for curried salad and romaine hearts to eat them in at work. There's brussels in the crisper, too. You inspired me with the brisket, so I picked one up today – it's non compliant but what the heck – and I'm going to make cabbage too, and soda bread for my dining companion. So the immediate outlook is mainly compliant, and I am more prepared for the rest of this week all the way through early next week than I've been in a while, so this is progress. 

It's late and last night I didn't sleep well at all, so I've taken a couple of valerian root caps, which recently I've found works brilliantly. Have you ever tried that? Supposedly they're short acting, but I swear I sleep all night, even getting back to sleep easily if I have to get up at 3. Glorious! They smell like a teenage boy's dirty gym socks, but it seems a small price to pay, and there's no hangover! I'd still rather be using vigorous cardio vascular exercise for my sleep aid, but that day will come, right?

Good for you for not looking at the numbers – don't do it! BTW how's your shoulder and hand

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It's funny that we're on the same page about so many things! Degreasing my stove is on my to-do list for this evening and I totally agree about the vitamins. One of the things I was glad to restart after my W60 was my vitamins. I know that if I had spent the extra $$ on compliant vitamins, I could have kept taking them but I had 2 big bottles of the non-compliant one that I felt I should finish off first. I realize we probably eat better than most but the quality of food in general has deteriorated to such a point that I really think supplementation is a good thing. I try to buy local, organic and biodynamic (when I can get it) but right now there isn't any fresh, local produce here at this time of year so grocery store and organic when I can is the best I can do. 

Speaking of supplementation, Mark Sisson had this post: https://www.marksdailyapple.com/10-reasons-to-eat-more-collagen/ . I read it and followed a couple of links and it got me inspired to take it regularly. I have the Vital Proteins gelatin as well and make gummies out of ginger/turmeric kombucha but haven't done that in a month or so. I even have the kombucha in my fridge so there's no excuse! I looked at Sarah Ballantyne's site but all I found was sponsored stuff (and that's getting more common with her-disappointing) and also Wellnessmama but didn't find much real information just personal experience kind of info.

I keep forgetting to check out that hash recipe and now I'm getting a security alert when I try to access her blog so I'll have to try later. I finally finished making my curried chix salad and, for some reason, that got me all pumped up about my meals this week! I put a bunch of celery and apple in it so it's nice and crunchy plus I brought cherry tomatoes and berries to go with it. I didn't add any meat to my breakfast casserole this week but figured 3 eggs with extra veggies would be fine. Now I think that might be why I've been getting hungry earlier than usual. This morning I added half an avocado to it and feel much more satisfied. I have one more avocado left so that will be enough to get me through the work week. I guess I won't make that mistake again! I'd gotten so used to NOT getting hungry/having cravings between meals that it made me feel like I was seriously off-roading and starting to obsess. Better now:D

Cooked a tiny, little pork tenderloin for dinner last night and had caramelized carrots and parslied potatoes for hubby and brocc for me. There wasn't a lot of fat so I decided to try dipping my brocc in mayo. I've seen lots of posts with various people raving about it. Meh! It's kinds weird. Chicken breast and big ass salad for dinner tonight, I think. I'm at that point in the grocery cycle where I need to use up all of the odds and ends.

Glad the valerian is helping. I tried it a while back without much success except as comic relief. That big, doofy cat stuck his nose in the bottle to check it out and, you know that curiosity/cat thing?, well the expression on his face was priceless. Apparently it's stinky to cats, too. Vigorous cardio is just what I need! I'm going to spray down my stove when I get home then let it soak and do it's job while I put in some time on the rowing machine. I heard a rumor that it's supposed to be pretty and warmer this afternoon so I may amend that plan and walk our driveway and behind the house instead. Double duty- I need to break in my new hiking boots some more anyway.

Shoulder is doing pretty well but would be doing better if I were more consistently working on it. Hand is about the same but it's been hurting more than usual. I'm hoping that means the nerve is still regenerating. I massage it every night with a concoction of EO's that have anti-inflammatory properties and it seems to feel better the next day when I do. If I forget, I can tell the difference- stiffer, more tingly. I gave up on ever being able to wear my wedding ring on that hand and tied it on my right hand to see if it would fit. It did! My right (dominant) hand is slightly larger than my left (or, at least, it used to be) so I always wore a half size bigger ring on that hand. Not any more! I think I'll take that as a NSV!

 

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Thank you so much for pointing the way towards collagen peptides!! I spent some time with that post, and will read more and follow the yellow brick road ASAP. It's very humbling to feel so feeble, so I have a whole new process in front of me. Did you get good results from using the gelatin? I'm excited about all the possibilities for my knee health and so much more – thank you!

Good job figuring out why you were hungry! So, it wasn't the alt bier, after all, eh? The curry sounds delicious. I'll have a little time this afternoon between appointments to do some cooking, so that is on my list, with the hash. I hope Mel's site is not in danger! I think other bloggers have copied the recipe – with our without her permission I do not know...but I did see it elsewhere at one time.

Last night my husband looked at the gingerbread stew re-heating and said, "for all the work you did last night I thought there would be more." He's exactly right - next time, a bigger shoulder. Also, less clove, which I didn't notice last time. While I was in spice blending mode I also made a small jar of Lebanese 7-spice blend that I can't wait to try out next time I'm in the mood to make balls or sliders.

Your cat and the valerian!! That's hilarious! It's so stinky I have to wash my hands after handling it cuz it lingers and lingers.

Ooh, new hiking boots! Nothing like good hiking boots.  Wow, you lost a half a ring size - yes, that's an NSV to celebrate! 

Would love to know more about the oils you use on your shoulder. I love to make blends for oils and lotions. Oh, and I made an awesome bug repellent last summer for my hike. Lately I've been using lavender and frankincense in fractionated coconut oil to wash my face. I am coveting the last of a gorgeous chamomile lavender shea butter a friend gave me and am gearing up to make my own. I bought some raw shea butter, and am looking forward to melting it down with olive oil and mixing carrot seed and fennel oils. I want to do it soon in case I am not happy with it I'll still have some of the gifted one that I love so much. It's from the UK and I can't get more unless I spend  over $100, so I hope to like making it on my own or I'll just have to leave the country and never come back. It would be more practical to give it a go with my own lavender and chamomile oils, but I'm afraid it won't be the same. These are good problems to have, eh?

 

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Today I made my hash...but I couldn't find the recipe I think I used a lot before, so I just improvised. After eating a big plate of it with lovely bitter greens to complement the sweet note from the apples, I sat down to find the recipe, darn it, and I did. It was IG where I found and saved it. Here it is...Kitcheneer nods to Well Fed, but I swear I can't find it on the WF website, or in any of my coveted three WF cookbooks, either. In the end it was good to trust myself and just improvise, anyway, which I don't do enough of.

http://www.thekitcheneer.com/recipe/harvest-meat-and-potato-bowl/

I took a lot of liberties with the recipe - no cranberries (too sweet) or nuts/seeds (they just get soft anyway, and I don't need them it this puffy point). The veg I diced up (carrot, celery, shallot, mushrooms) just meld into the texture of the meat, and the apples I chopped a little larger and left a little crunch in there for texture contrast – it's heavenly!

 

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Thanks for the link; that does sound delicious. I think your adjustments to the recipe sound right-on and I have some ground pork in the freezer so I think that will be my breakfast next week. Holy cow! I only need 3 breakfasts because I'm heading west on Thursday! Maybe I'll try to take one with me to eat between flights and leave the 5th one in the freezer so I won't have to cook the instant I get back. I'm going to work the Friday after I get back. It's the last day of the month so that will let me get some of the end-of-the-month stuff done and not walk into craziness on Monday.

I got a pair of Vivobarefoot hiking boots on super sale and they were a non-food W30 reward to myself. They're different but I like them. I've worn them around town to start breaking them in a bit but yesterday I took them up the hill behind our house. They didn't really feel like they needed much breaking in but I didn't want to chance tearing up my feet and being miserable. My old Keen's have been great but they don't make that style any more (it was their narrowest design) and I have weird issues with my feet anyway so I do better in barefoot shoes. I've gotten to where any kind of an arch really aggravates one of the joints in my feet. Nothing is simple, sometimes - not even a pair of shoes!

I love that Lebanese 7-spice. MJ puts it in her tabbouli. I wasn't crazy about the cauli as a sub for the bulgur (too wet) but I saw a different recipe that used soaked, coarsely ground cashews. I think I like it more than the bulgur and really love the 7-spice in it. I might have to make some of that before too long; it's been a while. I leave clove out of everything; just not a fan and add a little extra allspice. I agree with your husband! Anytime I have to brown meat and make that mess, I want to make a big enough batch to make it worth cleaning up- 5 pounds is usually a good amount for us. My stove is shiny clean! I know it won't stay that way, though :) 

We had stir fry for dinner last night- thinly sliced flank steak, bok choy, celery, green onion, carrots. I just realized we forgot the red bell pepper- oh well. I was out of OJ to make Nomnom's stir-fry sauce so I just kinda winged it and it was really good. I think tonight is going to be big ass salads with the rest of the flank steak. At least I have a plan for tonight because I need to start getting my sh!t together- literally and figuratively! I haven't even started gather up the STUFF I need to bring with me.

I've been using Acure organics unscented lotion then adding ginger oil, ylang ylang, sweet orange and a little helichrysum. The ginger oil smells so good! The first time I made it I didn't write down what I used so now I'm about to make my third batch and I WILL write it down! What did you put in your bug repellent? We use a garlic spray around our house and campsites but that doesn't help when you're on the trail or sitting in a field listening to music. That shea butter sounds luscious. Even if you try to replicate it and it's not the same, it will still be wonderful.

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Yeah, I think a little clove goes a long way! I can see why you skip it, and as usual I'm learning from you  – add some allspice, good idea!  Your stir fry sounds so good and sparked a motivation to do something like that soon. I love bok choy. I think I love to say bok choy almost as much as I love to slice it up on my cutting board, and watch it wilt in the pan, so pretty.

I'm excited for you about the trip! I looked up your boots online - I had never seen barefoot hikers before....good that you found something so comfy it seems they don't need breaking in. Again, funny the resonance here - "up the hill behind our house"...how wonderful to have something like that nearby. I like the plan to have plenty to eat in the freezer so you don't have to cook right away, *and* having something for the airport or flight, not to feel disappointed in the meager offerings "out in the wilderness" of mainstream where things pass for edible and are over-priced, to boot. What did you decide on for your side dishes to share?

That's a great tip about the soaked, coarsely ground cashews. Cashews are amazing. The first time I had really good, imaginatively made raw food was a piece of raw lasagna, and the "cheese" was soaked/blended cashews...raw food is not my thing, but I love the versatility, and the person who shared some with me was using raw food to treat RA, with great results. Now I'm wanting tabouli, too, and missing my Lebanese friend who used to make it for us!

I have a small bottle of ginger EO that I haven't tried yet, but your blend sounds really good. I've never heard of helichrysum, I'll look that up. Yes, thank you, I think whatever becomes of my shea butter experiment will be lovely - the good stuff will run out, so I must enjoy it while it lasts, and enjoy the new ones, too! LOL. For the bug repellent I used everything I had in my EO "pantry" that I read was unpleasant for bugs: in 4 TBSP of fractionated coconut oil as a base, I added 12 drops each (I think I doubled this in the end, but didn't document it) of cinnamon, clove, lavender, sage, rosemary, lemongrass (I didn't have lemon), and peppermint. I did get some bites, especially when I squatted down on my haunches during rest breaks (my knees won't let me do that right now!), they bit up my knees. In the end, it was worth it to get a few bites, and I didn't mind the fragrance of the EOs at all, really. The hubs stayed with the intense poisonous stuff in cream form, and though he respected my choice, he worried that my oils might attract bears. I think they are only attracted to what they want to eat, and the smell of EOs probably tells them "humans are here, stay away". That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

Happy Friday and preparation-weekend!

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"I think the value of doing a Whole30 is to begin seeing meat, fish, eggs, veggies, and fruit as the good stuff and to start thinking of everything else as an unavoidable evil that you have to deal with occasionally." Tom Denham via Meadowlily

Helichrysum is supposed to be really good for your skin as well as having anti-inflammatory properties. I made my first anti-inflammatory lotion just like you did your bug repellant. I looked up everything that was supposed to be anti-inflammatory, wrote it down on a post-it, used them all then lost the post-it. :wacko: I think I had some Clary sage in there, too but not too much. Sometime I wind up caving in to my misery and using the poison stuff, too but it has to be really bad. I'm a no-see-um magnet and I guess I'm allergic to them because I look like I have the measles when we come in from working in the garden and my husband is fine. They annoy him when they're in his face but he doesn't react like I do. I have some skin so soft spray repellant that is probably 15 years old but it still works.

I have never been comfortable squatting. I'd like to change that, though. I've worked a little bit on squatting properly but I haven't done it recently. Maybe I'll work on it some more after I release some more fat into the universe.

We used to have an amazing black Chow and she would stick her head into this gigantic rosemary bush I had then come inside smelling all yummy. My husband always said she smelled like she'd been marinated. Hopefully the bears don't think that about you and your bug repellant!

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Today I successfully dodged both the basket of chips at the Mexican place AND the girl scout cookies the hubs bought. He already ate one box at work, and I've asked him to hide the second one from me just to stay safe for the weekend. = )

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Thanks for the great quotation - I like it. I've continued to be consistently close to W30 and it feels really good psychologically and physically. I woke up this morning to find the last of the girl scout cookie cellophane wrap in the trash and took a deep breath of relief, whew! 

I've been reading up more on collagen, and just ordered me some!! Yay! it's all very promising. How was your corned beef? My husband who is really pretty uninterested in food, apparently just loves the stuff, and I didn't know it until now. I've never used brisket before, so I'm looking into other brisket recipes. Also, because collagen is on my radar, want to use the crock pot more to get that good collagen, and also do more roasting of meats with bones still in so that I can keep them in the freezer until I have enough to make bone broth. I know you are all over this, a real pro....I've never felt motivated until now, so I'm open to your pro tips! I still have some funny flavored Epic bone broth in my pantry that I think I'll start sipping at night to see if it helps with sleep.

I'm also really liking the hash, and planning some variations. This morning I pan sautéed a pile of zoodles, then pushed them to the side and steamed them with the leftover hash, and it feels so nourishing.

Are you getting closer to ready? Will you take Wednesday off or power through?

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Saturday was gorgeous so we played hooky and went into town to listen to music at the Irish festival and had a great day. I thought I was doing pretty well getting ready but I'm having a minor panic attack this morning; probably sleep deprivation induced. I woke up at 230 and couldn't get back to sleep. I came to work an hour early so I can leave a little early to get my hair trimmed. The corned beef took an eternity to cook. I put it on to cook in a low oven at 730 AM, thinking it would be ready in time for dinner but it was still tough as shoe leather. It's finally cooked so that'll be dinner tonight with some cabbage and carrots. I'm loving the hash! I used pork because I have plenty and added 'shrooms, apple, celery, sweet potato, onion, kale and beet greens. It was a perfect vehicle to help clean out the fridge before I leave. I'm trying to leave it in some semblance of order so my husband can find stuff in it. He's already thanked me :) 

I've never tried the Epic bone broth. Is it flavored with something or just funny tasting? WalMart actually had a really good organic bone broth but the last couple of times I tried to get some, they were out of it. The crock pot makes it so easy. If I cook a chicken, I throw the bones & scraps in a pot and just make a smallish pot full but when I'm doing a big batch, I get backs, necks and feet from my Amish chicken couple and put it in the crockpot. I don't ever have enough beef bones that have meat on them so I buy some meaty bones for beef broth when I need it. I've tried it the "classic" way with aromatic veg, a little tomato paste, peppercorns and stuff but I like it plain much better. I do like to roast the bones in the oven first for both beef & chicky even though it does add to the greasy dish pile. I'm out of beef right now so that'll be a project for later- probably May. We have some friends that have a big picking party every April and we provide the food so I don't see getting around to it before then. Too much going on!

Congratulations on passing the chip challenge! And girl scout cookies! I've been eating mostly W30 as well and it definitely feels good. I was really proud of the fact that I have had no grains at all since Dec 3 but I accidentally broke my record on Saturday. I was trying to eat a burger using the bun (that I asked them to leave off) as a handle but it was so messy that a little bun snuck in without me realizing it. Oh well, I don't think 2 tiny bites of bun are anything to get worked up over but I was annoyed with myself for not paying better attention. At least I wasn't even tempted by the fries; they were greasy and horribly undercooked- yuck. I think I feel a little slimmer, too. Hopefully the scale will agree with me when I weigh in before my trip. If not, it is what it is and I feel good!

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I sympathize with that sleep-deprived anxiety...I recall you are a great list-maven, and I know that your lists will guide you through in an organized manner! You can do this, Holly! Wishing you deep rest and long sleep (as much as possible!!) between now and your Thursday departure = ) As for the late to the party corned beef, at least Monday dinner is covered! Will there be enough for leftovers? We devoured ours at one sitting.

Your Saturday excursion sounds fun. FWIW you have my full support in your self-exoneration in the case of the accidental bites of hamburger bun. I'm impressed by your long record!

I bought a case of six EPIC bone broth jars, and I already ate the plain chicken broth, now I will take a plunge into beef jalapeño sea salt, turkey cranberry sage, bison apple cider, etc...writing this to you, I realize how incredibly unadventurous I am to not have already eaten these, but instead hesitating, because, why? I dunno, but now it seems silly. I'm sure they're delicious. It's like I've been channeling my fussy older sister and my late mother, both of them forever six years old, and now I just woke up. I'll sip some tonight for a sleep aid and see what happens! If they're not tasty I'll tell myself it's medicine, so as not to waste 'em. Hopefully they will be better than the bars = )

I liked reading about the hash you made, yum!  Kale makes so much sense especially as it just shrinks down so small. I find my largest fry pan isn't large enough for the batch cooking I want to do, so I've been eyeing an even bigger one (14"? 16" can't remember) and also a big wok. Taking your cue I did make a sesame chicken stir fry on Saturday with mushrooms, bok choy and orange peppers. A wok might be nice, yeah...

Hey, if you're too busy to check in while preparing for the big trip, I'll look forward to a re-cap of the adventure when you get home! xo 

 

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