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  • Learning to cook with a solar oven is a useful skill to develop as you prepare for emergencies. It helps to have a variety of ways to cook your food in an emergency so that you’ll always be prepared to feed you and your family. A solar oven is the most self-sufficient method of outdoor cooking because the only fuel you need is an energy source that will never run out and can be used anywhere there is sunlight.

    Cooking with a solar oven, such as the Sunflair Deluxe Solar Oven Combo, allows you to cook your food while you’re off having other outdoor adventures. Sit back, relax, and let the sun do its job with the confidence that your food will never burn, but will come out moist, warm, and delicious. The Sunflair Deluxe is convenient, easy to use, and portable.

    Basic How-To:

    Cooking with a solar oven is similar to cooking with a slow cooker, so make sure you give yourself 3-4 hours (high-moisture foods will take longer) to cook your food before you plan on eating. The length of time it takes to cook your food depends on the amount of available sunlight, the season, and the type of food you’re trying to cook. Midday in the summertime (when the sun is higher in the sky) will cook your food faster than early or late in the day during wintertime. Slow cooker recipes are great to use in solar ovens where conventional recipes should have their cooking times doubled or more.

    The following recipes were cooked at 150 to 200 degrees. If the temperature of your oven gets hotter than that, your food won’t need to spend as much time in the oven.

    So the sunnier the day the better, but even with partial cloud cover or wind, your food will still cook through. Because this is a lightweight, portable oven, make sure to stabilize it with rocks if you’re in a high wind area.

    Before you begin preparing your meals, set up the oven according to the package directions and place the oven in the sun to preheat. Make sure to put the oven on a level surface, directly facing the sun (the oven’s shadow should be straight behind it). Place the included thermometer inside the oven and zip closed the clear, plastic cover.

     How to set up the Sunflair Solar Oven

    While the oven preheats, prepare your food. Once you start cooking your food, check it every hour to hour and a half, and rotate the oven as needed so it constantly faces the sun with its shadow straight behind. If the oven ever reaches a temperature too high for your meal, open the zipper to release some of the heat.

    For Best Results:

    • Use Sunflair bakeware—thin, dark pots that absorb heat and cook food best
    • Cook your food in high sun for faster cooking
    • Slightly tilt your oven back when the sun is directly overhead to get the most amount of sunlight in the cooking chamber
    • Wipe steam off of the plastic cover and vent by partially unzipping the oven.
    • Leave the oven zipped closed as much as possible
    • Avoid shadows in the cooking chamber

     

    What We Made:

    Solar Pork Chops with Apple Pear Cabbage (Approx. 4-5 hours)

     Solar Oven Pork Chops with Apple Pear Cabbage

    This sweet entrée combines the flavors of apples and pears with delicious pork chops. It makes a great meal for camping or in an emergency. Cooking it in the solar oven can also be a fun way to cook your dinner at home tonight.

    Spicy Roasted Cauliflower (Approx. 5 hours)

     Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

    The spice of this healthy dish will set a slight fire to your mouth—and will leave you craving more. Try using this great recipe as a side for dinner or a snack during a movie. Or add your own oils and seasonings to create a unique blend of flavors your family will love.

    Want to learn more about solar ovens? Check out Emergency Essentials’ Solar Oven Cook-offs:

    Do you have any tips for cooking with a solar oven?

    --Kim

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • How to use a Siphon Hose

    Imagine this…

    You’ve been storing water over the past few years, sealed safe and sound in the 55-Gallon Water Storage Barrel, but an emergency just turned the world upside down. There’s barely any water left in the state, let alone your city, and what is available is contaminated. Luckily, your family has prepared for this moment. You’ve stored enough clean drinking water to help you outlast this emergency…But how do you get the water out of your storage barrel?

    In an emergency, people resort to all types of ways to get to their clean water (such as tipping the barrel on its side). But there’s no need for that. Not when you can easily do it with the siphon hose and keep your barrel free from contamination. With the siphon hose it’s as easy as one, two, and three. All you need is a bung opener, the hose, and a bucket.

    1.  Get yourself a siphon hose, if you don’t already have one.

    Storing water is fairly useless if you can’t get the water back out of the barrel to use in an emergency. A siphon hose gives you an easy, efficient way to remove water from large containers, whether you need it to drink or you need to empty the barrel so you can clean it out and replace your water.

    In addition to the siphon hose, try adding the Garden Hose Adaptor to your supply. This adapter allows you to connect your siphon hose to your garden hose for additional length when siphoning your water. This adaptor can also be used to extend your garden hose if you need the extra length for other projects.

    How to use a Siphon Hose

    2. Position the bucket and stick the siphon hose in the water

    Place a bucket on a lower surface level than the container you are siphoning your water from so the hose will slope downward. Next, notice the difference between the two ends of your siphon hose. One end is bare, exposing the plastic tube that the water will travel through. The other end has a copper head piece on it—this piece allows for flow control and induces the siphon action. Stick the bare, exposed end of the tube into your empty bucket. Place the siphon end into your water barrel.

    How to use a siphon hose

    3.  Shake it up and down

    Keeping the siphon end fully submerged in the water, begin moving it in a quick, vertical, up-down motion. You’ll begin to see water entering the tube (unable to flow back out through the siphon), making its way out of the barrel and into your empty bucket. After a few seconds, when the water is flowing on its own, you can stop shaking the hose and the water will continue to flow from your barrel into your bucket.

    If you struggle a bit getting the water into the hose to start siphoning, make sure your vertical shaking is done with quick, jerky movements. If the water stops siphoning when you let go of the hose, just shake it in the vertical, up-down motion for a little bit longer.

    4. To stop the flow, remove the copper valve from the water

    Once you have enough water, simply remove the copper valve from the water to stop the flow.

    You can siphon about 2 gallons of water per minute with this hose, making it a great way to quickly remove water from large containers. The siphon hose can also siphon gasoline, oil, diesel, and other fuels, solvents, and chemicals safely. But it doesn’t only siphon—it can remove water from clogged sinks, aquariums, water tanks, and more! The siphon hose is great for a variety of liquid removal needs.

    Note: If you use your siphon for drinking water, use a separate siphon hose for gasoline and other chemicals—and be sure each one is clearly labeled.

     

    Still confused? Check out this video of how to use the siphon hose:

     

    --Kim

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: water storage

  • A Surprising Use for Freeze-Dried Fruit

    One of the unexpected ways I've learned to use freeze-dried fruit is in baked goods—and I don't mean adding freeze-dried fruit to muffins or quick breads, although those are delicious options, as well. In addition to the traditional ways of using freeze-dried fruits in baking, use them to flavor frosting, cream cheese filling, buttercream, or even your batter!

    Using fresh fruit in these items can prove... runny. You know what I mean—you want the delicious flavor of your favorite fruits, but when you get the strawberries (raspberries, etc.) into the frosting, the water in that fresh fruit ruins the consistency.

    Using freeze-dried fruits can give you all the delicious fruit flavor you're looking for without any of the watery aftermath. Just measure out the amount you think you'll need, crush them in a food processor or blender (do NOT rehydrate... remember, we're trying to avoid additional liquid), and stir them in! It's that simple.

    Trust me. You'll want to give it a try. You can thank me later (preferably in the form of freshly-baked cupcakes...).

    --Urban Girl

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, Urban Girl, Food Storage Tips, cooking, baking

  • Missing Runner Survives Snowy California Wilderness and all he wants is a Burger!

    As darkness fell and temperatures dropped, Bob Root snuggled deeper into the shrubbery atop a cliff in the California wilderness. For two days in early April, he struggled to survive in the snow, searching for the trail he’d lost track of during a morning run.

    Root had set out early Sunday morning with fellow members of the ShadowChase Running Club, wearing only a light shirt, shorts, and running shoes. However, he soon found himself lost after running ahead to catch up with another group.

    Fox News reported that Root was able to survive on energy supplements and the small amount of water he carried with him. When the cold caused unbearable shaking, Root resorted to compressing and releasing his muscles, and sticking his fingers in his armpits to stay warm.

    When searchers finally found him, there was only one thing Root wanted after this ordeal—an In-N-Out burger.

    Heidi Ryan, a member of the ShadowChase Running Club believes, “Root’s training helped him survive. ‘He has great endurance and that obviously helped him,’”

    To read the rest of the story, check out Fox News’ article, “Authorities say runner who survived in snowy California wilderness craved an In-N-Out burger.”

    You never know when you’ll find yourself in an emergency. Whether you run off-trail, must evacuate your home in the middle of the night, or face some other crisis, it’s important to develop your own survival skills now so you can survive and stay calm in an emergency.

    Root’s training taught his body how to endure, which enabled him to outlast this emergency. Keeping your body fit is a skill that requires time, patience, and hard work, but which in the long run can help you survive in an emergency and have a better quality of life every day.

    Often times survival skills can even come in handy when you aren’t in an emergency. Activities such as campouts, backpacking trips, boating excursions, ski and snowboard outings, and other outdoor adventures are good examples of times when it may pay off to have first aid training, know how to keep yourself warm, or how to stay hydrated—just to name a few.

     

    Check out some of our Insight articles to develop your own survival skills:

     

    Have you ever found yourself in a situation like this? What did you do? What survival skills do you think would be helpful during an emergency?

     

    Photo Courtesy of Fox News

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, Survival, survival skills

  • Drop, cover, and hold on. According to the American Red Cross and Ready.Gov, doing these three things will protect you during an earthquake.

    On April 17th, 2014 at 10:15 a.m., our team at Emergency Essentials will practice our Earthquake Preparedness as we participate in the Great Utah Shakeout, a state-wide earthquake drill. If you followed our blog last year, you’ll know that we did this drill last April as well, and it was an eye opening experience.

    Here are a couple of tips we learned from last year’s Shakeout that can help you and your family survive an earthquake.

    1.      Practice Makes Perfect. Find out when the Shakeout is happening in your state, territory, or region, and sign up. If there isn’t a Shakeout in your area, hold a family or community drill of your own.

    2.      Learn to Drop, Cover, and Hold on.  Drop to the floor and find a sturdy desk or table to get under. If you can’t find a sturdy table or desk, the Red Cross also suggests “sitting on the floor next to an interior wall [or corner away from windows] and cover your head and neck with your arms”

    Sarah hiding under a desk

    Sarah hiding under her desk

    CAUTION: It’s safer to get onto all fours, so you’ll need enough space under your desk to do that. Once you've dropped under your desk for cover, hold onto your head.

    3.      Stay in the Building until the Shaking Stops.  If you’re told to evacuate after the quake, use the stairs and not the elevator.

    The Great Utah Shakeout: Practicing an Earthquake Drill

    Our assembly staff, evacuating the building post-quake.

    4.      Teach your family and friends what you’ve learned about earthquake safety so they can be prepared, too. You can read up on earthquake safety by checking our Insight Articles for what to do before, during, and after an earthquake.

    If you practice the drop, cover, and hold on technique now, you’ll know exactly what to do to keep yourself safe in an earthquake. If you live in Utah, you can begin preparing for an earthquake by joining us as we participate in the Utah Shakeout this year.

    Come in to one of our stores on April 17th at 10:15 a.m. and participate in the drill there. We’ll have free samples of our food storage items, a “readiness rally” where you can practice your prepping skills and get a chance to win a prize!

    Happy Prepping!

    ~Angela and Steph

    Sources

    http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/earthquake

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Emergency plan, natural disaster, Earthquakes

  • 3 Easy Food Storage Dinner Parties

     

    Hi, friends. Urban Girl, here.

    We’ve been experimenting with food storage more and more here in the Emergency Essentials Test Kitchen, and we hope you’ve been enjoying the recipes coming through in our emails (if you aren’t signed up for those, click on the blue button near the top of the blog to sign up!).

    I’ve been thinking about having a dinner party in the next couple of weeks, and I decided I want to kill two birds with one stone and have a food storage dinner party. So I’ve been looking through the recipes on BePrepared.com and I’ve come up with three dinner parties I could pull together. Here’s what I’m thinking (click each image to see the recipe):

     

    Mexican

    Appetizer: 7-layer Dip 

    Food storage 7 Layer Bean Dip

     

    Entrée: Beef Brisket Taco

    Mexican Food storage Dinner Party: Beef Brisket Taco

     

    Dessert: Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Crisps

     Food Storage Dinner Party Dessert: Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Crisps

     

    Italian

    Appetizer: Creamy Tuscan Tomato Soup

    Creamy Tuscan Tomato Soup

     

    Entrée: Linguini Chicken with Vegetables

    Linguini Chicken and Vegetables

     

    Dessert: Peach "Shortcake" with Strawberry Basil Sauce 

    Peach Shortcake with Strawberry Basil Sauce

     

     

     

    Southern-inspired

    Appetizer: Zucchini Corn Fritters

    Zucchini Corn Fritters

     

    Entrée: Cajun Chicken and Pasta

    Cajun Chicken and Pasta

     

    Dessert: Strawberry-Banana-Peach Cobbler

    Strawberry-Banana-Peach Cobbler

     

     

    And for drinks, I’ll make one of the delicious food storage mocktails we whipped up in the Test Kitchen. Yum!

     

    I’ve tried all these recipes, and I love every single one. So now I just have to decide which menu to use. I’m leaning toward the Southern-inspired dinner, but man… I really love 7-Layer Dip.

    Which of these dinner parties would you throw? Or would you go a different route for a food storage dinner party?

     

    Bon appetit!

     

    P.S. Need to get more familiar with food storage? Try some of these recipes out, or check out our Recipes page for other options. (We’ve also got a photo contest going on with our recipes… we’ve got a lot of recipes that need photos and we’d love to see what you come up with…Winning pictures will be featured and credited on our site, and if your photo is chosen you get to pick a free MyChoice can of food storage! Click here for the contest details.)

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, Urban Girl, recipes, party

  • Do you feel like you’ve run out of room to store all your food storage?

    If so, we’ve got another Do It Yourself solution for you. For your next DIY project, consider making a canned food organizer. Now, I know you’ve probably seen a lot b of different DIY shelf organizers on the web that range from flipping wire shelves upside down in a closet to putting Lazy Susan shelves into a traditional pantry.

    So what makes this canned food organizer different than all the rest? It’s a shelf that slides out from the space between your fridge and the wall. It makes great use of wasted space.

    Instead of taking up extra space in your cabinets and cupboards, this shelf creates a totally new space to store your food and other supplies in. We found a tutorial from Mallory at classyclutter.net that shows you a step-by-step process for making a canned food organizer.

    DIY Food Storage Organizer

    Photo courtesy of ClassyClutter.net

     

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    9 – 1×4s cut to 29 1/2″ (top board, shelves, bottom board)

    2 – 1×4s, cut to 64″ (Side boards)

    1 – Thin board, cut to 31 1/2 x 64″ (Mallory used bead board/wainscoting board from Home Depot)

    4 – 1 ½-2″ Metal Casters that hold 50+ lbs (Mallory used 2″, 80lbs)

    7 – 7/16 dowels cut to 30″ long (lumber section of Home Depot)

    Handle or knob

    Paint and Brush, Roller, or Sprayer (if needed)

     

    Tools and Supplies:

    Drill

    7/16″ drill bit for drilling dowel holes

    Several wood screws (purchase a bulk-size bag or box to make sure you have enough)

    Several 2″ nails (purchase a bulk-size bag or box to make sure you have enough)

    Several finishing nails (purchase a bulk-size bag or box to make sure you have enough)

    Hammer

     

    Directions:

    Essentially you’re going to build a ladder-like structure and then put a back panel onto it so that all your food stays in place. Put the completed structure on wheels and put a handle on the side so that you can easily roll the shelving unit out.

    For step-by-step instructions and pictures, check out the article, “DIY Canned Food Organizer Tutorial—Build Your Own.” Or check out this “imgr” food storage shelf tutorial as an alternative technique for building this awesome shelf.

     

    Want more DIYs?

    Check out this list of 60+ DIY Kitchen Shelf projects from diyncrafts.com that can help you organize your cabinets, pots and pans, spices, and much more.

    If you’re looking for more “unconventional” places to store your emergency supplies, check out our “No Room for Supplies?” Pinterest Board and read our article, “Baby Steps: Make Room for your Food and Supply Storage.”

     

    Where do you store your store your food storage and emergency supplies?

     

    Sources

    http://www.classyclutter.net/2012/05/build-your-own-extra-storage-diy-canned-food-organizer.html (Tutorial)

    http://imgur.com/a/nqKrk (Tutorial)

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, DIY

  • As you sit beside your pool, take a break from weeding your flourishing garden, or set the table for a BBQ this summer, put your feet up and enjoy a refreshing breeze of flavor with these fruity mocktails—(non-alcoholic cocktails) every one of which can be made with food storage. Just click the name of the drink to get to the recipe. Enjoy!

    Mocktails--a Better Way to use Your Freeze-Dried Fruit

    Strawberry Peach Mocktail

    With only two ingredients, it’s easy to enjoy the refreshing, sweet flavor of peaches and strawberries combined into one delicious drink.

    Strawberry Mango Mocktail

    This delicious combination of mango, strawberry, orange, honey, and lime will give you a unique burst of flavor with every sip. Perfect for warm summer days.

    Berry-Lime Water

    A subtle blend of berries and lime add a sweet flavor to your average glass of water—refreshing and great for a quick-to-make, cool drink.

    Lemonade & Berry Blend

    This tart drink combines the revitalizing flavor of lemons with a variety of berries (blackberries, raspberries, strawberries) and sparkling water to give your drink a little extra kick.

    Summer Fruit Daiquiri

    Refreshingly tart and sweet, the summer fruit daiquiri is a great way to add some favorite fruits into your day. Peaches, strawberries, mangos, and the flavors of orange and lemons come together to give you a taste you’ll crave all summer.

    Pina Colada Smoothie

    A delicious combination of pineapple, banana, honey, and vanilla will sweep you away to a tropical island. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this sweet treat.

     

    What’s your favorite refreshing summer drink?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, recipes, food storage recipes

  • 5 Kid-Friendly Food Storage Favorites

    If you have kids, don’t wait for an emergency to break out your food storage supply. Try rotating freeze-dried and dehydrated foods into your regular family meals. That way when you use your food storage in an emergency there won’t be as many complaints about a change in diet or a new variety of food choices.

    The last thing you want to deal with in an emergency is a meltdown because your children refuse to eat that strange food you’ve been storing in the basement…

    Here are 5 kid-friendly food storage favorites that have been tried and tested by our customers and their kids. These foods have gotten thumbs-up approval from 10-month-olds all the way up to teenagers.

     

    5 Kid-Friendly Food Storage Favorites

    1. Mountain House (Just-Add-Water) Meals-The great thing about Mountain House meals is that they start out as a home cooked meal before going through the freeze drying process. They’re using fresh ingredients your kids will love. Here are a couple of kid favorites:

    • Mountain House Noodles and Chicken-“Out of all the Mountain House entrees, this is the one my 5-year-old will eat any time we make it. We use the pouches when we go out backpacking or snowshoeing, and this is one of the better dishes. Sort of like chicken noodle soup. I recommend it!” – Fred
    • Mountain House Sweet and Sour Pork-“This is amazing! The flavors blend perfectly and have a wonderful taste. My super picky teenage son had three helpings with our first taste test! Great dinner and purchased numerous cans”- Cynthia
    • Mountain House Beef Stew-“My 10-month-old and I think this stuff is fantastic. We have reduced the amount of waste materials with traditional baby food (no more jars, foil, or plastic containers). The size and texture of the beef and vegetables are perfect for her. And the broth adds just the right balance of flavor for her palate. I strongly recommend this to all my friends.”- Connie

      5 Kid Friendly Food Storage Meals: Mountain House Beef Stew

    2. Provident Pantry Instant NonFat Dry Milk-Dry This is not your traditional dry milk. It has a rich, creamy taste. One customer even said she ran out of milk and put this into her kid’s breakfast cereal instead; they couldn’t tell the difference. Here’s what another mom had to say:

    • We were absolutely amazed at how delicious this milk is! We are BIG milk drinkers in our home, so we were a little reluctant to order powdered milk, but I ordered the “MyChoice” size for a trial, and was ecstatic at the taste! I gave some to my husband (who is extremely picky) to try, and he loved it! My kids,who are also very picky, loved it as well! This is a definite must-have for your food storage”-Darcy

      5 Kid Friendly Food Storage Favorites: Instant Nonfat Dry Milk

    3. MRE Stuffed French Toast-Great for a quick meal on the go, this MRE has been praised by our employees and customers alike. Check out what these customers thought of them:

    • “I loved this and so did my children. They loved it so much they have asked if I can order some for breakfast on the go. We had these while camping and they will definitely go on the "to buy" list again!”- Suzanne
    • “My daughter and I loved these. They’re very filling, and the syrup is good to be artificial. I recommend these to anyone with kids” - Travis

      5 Kid Friendly Food Storage Favorites: MRE Stuffed French Toast

    4. Provident Pantry Freeze-Dried Strawberries -Great to eat straight out of the can or rehydrated, these strawberries are sweet and tangy. They’re excellent additions to desserts and cakes. Here’s how this grandma got her grandkids to try them:

    • “Purchased one #10 can to try. I put them in smaller containers for my grandchildren to snack on and I put them in their oatmeal. My little food critics loved them! I immediately ordered 12 more cans for my food storage. I rehydrated them in fruit juice, thickened it, and made fruit syrup for the pancakes. Lots of possibilities, want to try strawberry bread next.” - Linda

      5 Kid Friendly Food Storage Favorites: Freeze-Dried Strawberries

    5. Provident Pantry Scrambled Egg MixThis mom’s rendition of breakfast tortillas made her kids crazy about eating these scrambled eggs:

    • “Okay, so it’s not real scrambled eggs but my kids really like them. I bought it to try out and see if we could survive off of this and I think we will have no problem. My kids’ favorite way to eat these eggs is to combine it with freeze dried sausage and roll it up in a tortilla. I even served it to some friends this way to see if they could tell the difference and not one noticed. In fact, all the breakfast burritos were gone!” - Tammie

      5 Kid Friendly Food Storage Favorites: Scrambled Egg Mix

    Of course, not all kids will love every type of freeze-dried food, but check them out and find the ones perfect for your family. For more kid-friendly foods and snacks, check out our baking mixes, desserts and drinks, and meat, eggs, and dairy items.

    What types of food storage items do your kids love?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, kids

  • Often times, after you’ve devoured the contents of your favorite food storage cans, all that’s left in the bottom are small pieces and powder that comes from jostling the can over time. Compound butters are an easy way to add extra flavor to your favorite dishes and use up the little bit of extra powder you have left in your mostly-eaten food storage supply. Typically, compound butter is made from a mixture of butter with additional ingredients such as oils and herbs to give it a unique, tasty flavor.

    Check out these delicious, tried-and-tested, compound butters using your extra food storage (or come up with your own combinations):

    Blackberry Butter

    Food Storage Blackberry Butter Recipe

    Using Red Feather Butter, this sweet spread combines raspberries, blackberries, and honey into a delicious blend you’ll love. This butter is great on toast, cornbread, pancakes, waffles, or other dishes that need a hint of sweetness.

    Honey Cinnamon Butter

    Food Storage Honey Cinnamon Butter

    Honey and cinnamon come together to give you a sweet, mouthwatering flavor. Honey Cinnamon Butter is delicious on muffins, toast, bagels, cornbread, French toast, and more.

     

    Strawberry Honey Butter

    Food Storage Strawberry Honey Butter

    Using Provident Pantry Butter Powder, the flavors in this strawberry and honey butter will give you a sweet, refreshing taste of summertime and will add flair to your breakfasts, brunches, and desserts. It’s great to use on cornbread, toast, scones, biscuits, popovers, pancakes, and French toast.

     

    Basil Garlic Butter

    Food Storage Basil Garlic Butter

    Unlike the sweet butters above, this savory Basil Garlic Butter is perfect to eat for lunch or dinner. This appetizing blend of herbs and green onions helps you create a variety of unforgettable sides to go with any meal. Use it on French bread or homemade bread using Provident Pantry White Bread Roll and Scone Mix and serve with a salad or pasta.

     

    Do you use flavored butters? What other ways do you use the little bit of powder from the bottom of your food storage cans?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, recipes, food storage recipes

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