Broccoli Chicken Casserole

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It snowed just a little bit here in Michigan yesterday, and a little more today, and potentially more tomorrow, so in honor of the colder weather I made some comfort food.

Broccoli Chicken Casserole

1 cup Rice (cooked according to the package)

1 lb Chicken cubed (I used organic chicken tenderloins)

3 tbsp Butter

3 tbsp Flour

2 1/2 cups Milk (I used whole)

1/2 tsp Nutmeg

salt & pepper

1 cup White Cheddar (shredded)

1/2 cup Sharp Yellow Cheddar (shredded)

1 head Broccoli chopped

Bread Crumbs: Use store bought or follow my homemade version

3 slices Whole Wheat Bread (use the heel of the bread if you have it)

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1/2 tbsp minced Garlic

Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray.

Cook your rice in a pot large enough to pour all the ingredients into later on (you can combine all the ingredients in a separate bowl, but this will save from another dirty dish). While the rice cooks, brown your cubed chicken in a pan over medium heat. Depending on your pan you can use a little olive oil if you need. Salt and pepper the chicken while it cooks.

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Turn the chicken to low to finish cooking and melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium low heat. Once the butter is melted add the flour one table spoon at a time while you stir.

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Once it is thick allow to cook about 3 minutes, and stir the whole time. Slowly add the milk, while continuing to stir.

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Once all the milk has been combined, add the nutmeg, salt, and pepper to the milk. This will need to simmer over low heat while it thickens, about 5-7 minutes.

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I know it feels like a lot is going on in a bunch of different pans, but if your chicken is done cooking or close just turn it off, it will continue to cook in the oven.

Add your shredded cheese to the milk.

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You are now ready to combine all your ingredients!

To my rice pot I added the chicken, cheese sauce, and broccoli.

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Pour the casserole into your casserole dish.

For the Bread Crumbs. I ripped up three slices of bread and put them in my food processor.

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I added a little olive oil and minced garlic to my now empty chicken pan and heated to medium, once the garlic is fragrant add the bread crumbs.

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You want the heat to be high enough for the bread to toast, while they cook add italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Toast bread crumbs about 4 minutes.

Distribute the bread crumbs across the top of the casserole.

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Bake for 25-30 minutes.

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Enjoy!

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Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Black Bean Veggie Burgers

1 Zucchini

1/2 Medium Yellow Onion

1 can Black Beans (15.5 oz Drained and Rinsed)

1/2 tsp Cumin, Chili powder, salt, and pepper

1/2 tbl minced Garlic

1 egg

1/2 cup Bread Crumbs (I like whole wheat Panko)

1/4 cup ground Flax Seed

Buns (your preference, I used the sandwich skinnys)

I have a very tiny food processor, I had a large old school one at one point, but it stopped working. I tell you this because I had to food process each veggie separately, but you may be able to do the zucchini, onion, and beans at once, and if you don’t have a good processor a blender will work also.

Chop up the zucchini into large chunks and food process.

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Empty into a bowl, and chop and food process the onion. Then empty the onion and then blend the beans.

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Now all your blended items should be in one bowl.

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(as a side note, here is my cute fall spatula)

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To your blended items add the spices, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, and flax seed.

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If you don’t have flax seed just add more bread crumbs.

Refridgerate until you are ready to cook, at least 10 minutes.

Heat skillet over medium high heat, once the pan is hot add 1/2 tbl olive oil and cook each burger for about 4 minutes on each side.

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My kids topped theirs with ketchup and pickles. My favorite toppings are hummus, feta cheese, and banana peppers.

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You could also add corn to the patty’s and go with a little mayo-siracha combo. The possibilities are endless.

Turkey Zucchini Lasagna

Turkey Zucchini Lasagna

We had a little ‘Make your own Pizza’ night for Halloween and I had 2 left over jars of sauce, one Garlic Basil and a Vodka sauce, I haven’t made lasagna in about a year so I decided why not? This is the first time I made a lasagna and it wasn’t all soupy and runny, and I have figured out the secret to lasagna…Don’t add so much freaking sauce. Also it helps to mix your meat into the sauce, again making it less saucy.

Turkey Zucchini Lasagna

3 cups of your favorite jar sauce (or in my case 1/2 of each opened jar in your fridge)

1 tbl minced Garlic

1 lb ground Turkey

Salt & Pepper

1/2 medium Yellow Onion

1 Zucchini shredded

15 oz Ricotta Cheese

1 tsp Italian Seasoning

8 oz Fresh Mozzarella

5 oz Parmesan (Freshly shredded)

I’ve made the lasagna before where you use the zucchini as the noodles and it was really good, but incredibly watery even after pre-baking the zucchini to sweat out the water.  I decided to keep this one a little more traditional and shredded the zucchini and added it to the sauce.

First things first, preheat oven to 375, then pour the sauce in sauce pan to simmer with minced garlic.

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Put sauce on low heat and get out a pan to brown the turkey with salt and pepper. Once its brown add the onion and zucchini to the turkey. Cook until the onions are translucent.

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Combine turkey pan into your sauce pan.

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While these simmer together place the ricotta cheese in a bowl and mix in the Italian seasoning and a little salt & pepper. Slice your mozzarella so its ready also.

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You are now ready to layer! Your first layer will be sauce, then noodle. I buy the oven ready lasagna noodles so I don’t have to cook them first. You can break them to fit your pan size. I used an 10×14 pan.

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I buy the oven ready lasagna noodles so I don’t have to cook them first. You can break them to fit your pan size. I used an 10×14 pan.

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Now we smear 1/2 the ricotta on top of the noodles, again this works better with noodles that are not cooked.

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On top of this layer I add half the sliced mozzarella and half the Parmesan cheese.

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Sauce

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Noodle, remaining ricotta, sauce, then top with the second half of the mozzarella and parm cheeses.

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You’ll notice the sauce is thick enough its not running down and filling the sides, it’s pretty much staying where I put it. This is ideal. You’re lasagna is going to taste amazing regardless, so don’t be too concerned.

Cover with tin foil and bake for an hour.

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Here is the lasagna after an hour when I removed the foil. Now bake for an additional 15 minutes sans foil.

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There she is in all her glory. It was delicious! Lulu said it was the best I ever cooked.

Enjoy! Don’t forget to vote!!

Kind of a Chicken Pot Pie with Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

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It’s sort of like a chicken pot pie, but with Parmesan mashed potatoes. Mmmmmmm….

1 lb Chicken (I get our chicken from Doorganics, and the tenderloins are WAY cheaper)

1 tbl Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

4 large Carrots

2 cups Chopped Green Beans

1 tbl Minced Garlic

1/2 tsp Thyme

1/2 tsp Rosemary

4-5 shakes Coriander

3 tbl Butter

1/4 cup Flour (I use whole wheat flour)

2 cups Chicken Broth

3/4 cup Milk (I use whole, but you could use cream)

Potatoes:

1/2 lb Potatoes (I used small red potatoes)

1 tbl Butter

2 tsp Montreal Steak Seasoning

1/4 cup Milk

3 tbl Parmesan Cheese

I LOVE cast iron skillets, If you don’t have on I suppose you’ll live, but you should go check out TJMaxx they have them all the time and they are amazing and worth it. Just saying.

Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken. Heat olive oil over medium heat and brown the chicken. While it browns start the water for the potatoes.

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Add carrots to the chicken pan and continue to cook.

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Once the chicken has cooked through, about 8 minutes, remove from the pan and chop into bite sized pieces, then add back to the pan.

To the carrots and chicken add, green beans, minced garlic, thyme, rosemary, and coriander.

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Add 3 tablespoons butter to the chicken pan and melt.

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once it has melted add flour, this is how we are going to create the gravy sauce.

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The flour will coat everything in the pan. Allow the flour to cook for a few minutes to absorb all the flavors. Then add chicken broth.

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Increase the heat to medium high and allow the broth to simmer until it thickens. If it looks really thick its okay, we’re going to add milk to the sauce too. 5-7 minutes simmering should be perfect. Add the milk and simmer 3-4 minutes more.

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While the sauce thickens, drain the water from the potatoes and then add all the ingredients into the potato pot.

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I like my potatoes skin on and kind of lumpy, but you can mash them to your preference. The Montreal Steak seasoning is my husbands secret ingredient, and it sounds kind of crazy, but its delicious.

Now that your potatoes are done the chicken pot pie part should look like this:

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Place a scoop of potatoes in a bowl and top with chicken pot pie

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Enjoy!

Stuffed Cabbage Soup

Well life kind of got away from me yesterday, so this is a day late, but here it is!

Stuffed Cabbage Soup

1 medium Yellow Onion

1 tbl Olive Oil

1 tsp Salt

1 tbl Minced Garlic

1 small Butternut Squash (peeled and cubed)

1 lb Ground Beef

2 tbl Italian Seasoning

3 cups Cabbage/kale

1 can Tomato Sauce (28 oz)

2 cups Chicken Broth

1 cup Rice (Brown)

Heat the olive oil in the pot and add onion and salt. Allow to saute for a few minutes. Add the garlic and butternut squash, the squash is optional, but its a great way to get the kids to eat more veggies. It was Lulu’s favorite part of the soup, she thought they were potatoes. If you don’t have squash add some carrots instead.

Sqoosh all the veggies over and brown the meat on the other side of the pot.

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You could also substitute the beef for turkey.

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While the meat is browning add salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. When the meat has cooked through add the cabbage, I used cabbage and kale.

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Allow the cabbage to wilt only slightly before adding the tomato sauce and chicken broth.

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This is our favorite kind of tomato sauce, if you are going to use canned. A lot of canned sauces taste overly sweet and you have cook them even longer to reduce that sweet flavor.

If you are using instant rice go ahead and let it cook in the sauce, if you aren’t I recommend cooking the rice according to the package before adding it to the soup. Hard rice is sad rice.

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And there you have it, Stuffed Cabbage Soup. I like to add a bay leaf while it simmers.

Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffins

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I love all things pumpkin. Sunday after church we tried to go to Robinettes the local apple haus, our plan was to get apples for applesauce and a pumpkin pie for family dinner later that night. We got to Robinettes as they were opening and the line was already out through the parking lot…so we ate our picnic on one of their tables outside and went home to make our own pumpkin treat.

and so I introduce you to Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffins

1/3 cup Butter

1 cup Sugar (I used Sugar in the Raw)

1 cup Pumpkin Puree

2 Eggs

2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

1/4 tsp Salt

1 tsp Baking Soda

2 cups Flour (I used whole wheat)

1/4 cup Milk

8 oz Cream Cheese

1/2 cup Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. We used some muffin liners because we had some Halloween ones on hand.

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I had some extra helpers in the kitchen…

Mix butter, 1 cup sugar, and pumpkin

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Add in eggs, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda. Mix these items, then add half the flour, then the milk, then the remaining half of the flour. I use my 1/4 cup measuring cup with handle to scoop into the muffin trays, it keeps them consistently the same size and doesn’t over fill the tin.

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Here are my new measuring cups from World Market, and Brandon measuring the sugar, only $12!

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For the cream cheese fililng mix cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, and the vanilla. I put a tablespoon of the filling on each muffin and baked, but next time I am going to layer the filling. So a little batter, then a little filling, then a little more batter. Let me know which way you try.

Bake for 25 mins or until a tooth pick comes out clean.

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Cuddle your babies while you wait for the muffins to bake.

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Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken

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There is butter in Butter Chicken, but not much so don’t be alarmed.

Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken

3 tbl Butter

1 Medium Yellow Onion

1 tbl Minced Garlic

1 1/2 tsp Minced Ginger (or ground)

1 tsp Garam Masala (which is a blend of spices I didn’t have so I blended 1/4 tsp of each: black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg. Go heavy on the pepper)

1/4 tsp Cayenne (I went light on spice for my kiddos, feel free to add more)

1 tsp Salt

1 lb Chicken (I used organic chicken tenderloins via http://www.doorganicsgr.com)

1 can (14.5 oz) Fire Roasted Tomatoes

1 can (15oz) Tomato Sauce

1/3 cup Whole Milk (you can use cream if you prefer)

1 cup Peas (frozen works great)

Place butter, chopped onion, garlic, ginger, ‘garam masala’, cayenne, salt and chicken in crockpot.

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Go outside with a handsome little man and play.

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(If you are leaving the house and won’t be back until its time to eat just add everything into the Crock Pot except the cream and peas, add those just before serving and should only need a few minutes to cook).

When you come back from you’re play date the slower cooker should look like this:

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Add tomatoes and tomato sauce. When you are ready to serve add milk and peas, and allow to cook for a few minutes.

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I cooked some rice while the peas and milk simmered and served with store bought Naan.

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Family Reviews:

Brandon “We should eat this every night.”

Addy “It’s good, I like the bread.”

Lulu “I only like the bread.”

Wyatt (ate 2 bowls)

Happy Friday! Have an amazing weekend!

Butternut Squash Bisque

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I had some butternut squashes from our organic grocery delivery service, shout out to http://www.doorganicsgr.com, so I decided to make some butternut squash bisque to accompany the meatloaf my husband was making. After church on Sundays you would be hard pressed to get our family to leave the house. It’s our day to relax, and when we relax we generally are cooking.

Butternut Squash Bisque

2 butternut squashes

1 medium yellow onion

1 medium apple

3 carrots

2 tbls butter

1 clove garlic minced

1/2 tsp cayenne

salt & pepper

 vegetable broth

1 tsp nutmeg

whole milk (cream or 1/2 & 1/2 will work also)

Cut squash in half, drizzle some olive oil and season with salt & pepper, then roast at 425 for 45-60 minutes. While they roast chop the onion, apple and carrots.

or have your handsome assistant chop them for you.
or have your handsome assistant chop them for you.

Melt butter in a pot and add chopped items, garlic, and cayenne. Leave over medium heat covered, and stir often.

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Once the squash have cooled a bit, spoon out the squash from their peel and add to your pot with the apple and veggies.

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Add 2 cups vegetable broth or enough to cover the squash. Then I grate some fresh nutmeg into the soup.

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Aren’t hazelnuts pretty?

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I use an emulsion blender to combine my soup, you could use your food processor or regular blender as well.

Now is also a good time to see if you need a little more salt & pepper. When you are ready to serve the soup add the milk and mix it through.

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Here is the final product! We brought the bisque, meatloaf, and potatoes to our neighbors for Sunday football. I used the soup as a gravy on my 14 month old’s serving of meatloaf and he ate TWO bowls!!

24 Hours in Chicago

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I spent a glorious 24 hours in Chicago last week, kid free and husband free. Just me and my tour guide Kate, who happens to also be by sister in law. I was in Chicago Thursday night for a Stella & Dot party I was doing for one of the most amazing women I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, Randi if you read this, you are awesome 🙂

I spent the night at Kate’s and then we got to explore all day Friday before both of us heading back to Grand Rapids, MI.

Woke up and headed out to do real city girl work, ie using our computers at a coffee shop. (not prostituting, just to be clear)

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Kate took me to the Blue Door Farmstand http://www.bluedoorfarmstand.com, I highly recommend finding this place. The atmosphere is cozy and friendly, and the food is delicious. Kate and I both had the Sunrise BLT, it was served with greens and I have to say I’ve never had a salad for breakfast, but it was awesome. If you’ve ever had Garlic Expressions salad dressing (which is all we eat in our house) the Blue Door’s homemade salad dressing tastes amazingly similar! photo 1 (2)

I blogged, Kate actually worked, and we were just a super impressive power couple in the corner booth.

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After we finished up the necessities of the day and were well amp-ed up on coffee, we rented some bikes and headed down to the lake shore. I’m pretty sure I had permagrin all day from our touristy adventures. We took our bikes to the Magnificent Mile and hit up the American Girl store to bring home some goodies for my girls. We walked down to TJMaxx, because lets be serious, its my favorite and the Chicago store did not disappoint.

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so sparkly.

Our final stop in our day was Eataly http://www.eataly.com

An Italian market, like I’ve never seen before, probably because I’ve never been to Italy…regardless, it was beautiful. Every backdrop is white, and all the food jumps right out at you. We grabbed a cappuccino and walked around, I started drooling when I saw the Nutella bar.

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I was a good girl and just kept walking, but I was insanely jealous of the people enjoying their grilled croissants covered in nutella.

Then there was the desert case…

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I decided it was time to try out a new floor.

Upstairs were people sitting a little cafe tables, or standing a tall tables eating a variety of foods and drinking wine and beer. I saw quite a few delicious looking meat and cheese trays go by.

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Hanging cheese might be my new favorite thing.

There was a fish cooler, one for meat, one for pasta, and olives had their very own counter as well.

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The quarter of the second floor was wine, there was a market for fresh produce, and they were even brewing beer.

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Kate and I bought some jars of sauce, noodles, a sandwich to share, and I found Brandon, the hot sauce connoisseur, a new bottle to try.

We carted all our belongings to the ‘L’ and rode back to Kate’s apartment.

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Like I said, it was honestly a perfect 24 hours. Thank you Kate for showing me how awesome your city is and being super touristy with me. I loved every second.

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Kate the tour guide