Tropical Twist Smoothie Bowl

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I got a lot of comments on the last smoothie bowl post: “aesthetic” isn’t a verb (eye roll), spinach for breakfast huh, and my favorite, what is the point of a smoothie bowl? I used to be a skeptic (s/o @mikekaravolias) until I experienced the pain (u all kno what i mean)  from inhaling 15 grams of fiber through a straw. The beauty of a smoothie bowl is that you can enjoy a thicker blend in a reasonable amount of time. (Sorry for the least convincing argument for smoothie bowls :/ ) Anyways, if you still think they’re cool, I have another recipe.

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This smoothie bowl base is similar to the last one, but with a twist. There’s basil in it. The combination of mango and basil is underrated. People often have mint with fruit, but I think basil works better a lot of the time. Lmk what you think. Btw udairy has mango basil ice cream if you’re too lazy to make this bowl.

Makes: 1 bowl (next time I’ll measure how much 1 bowl is lol)

Ingredients:
1 frozen banana
2 cups frozen mango
1/2 cup fresh pineapple
1/3 cup almond milk
Basil leaves (based on your taste, start with a few, add more if needed)

Blend and eat!!!

 

Zesty Green Smoothie Bowl

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Lol two years since last post. Much is different. I spent an hour looking over my old posts and all I can say is tybg for the past two years. I learned a lot more about health, the environment, and food systems. (I also think I’m funnier, hmu if I’m wrong though) I rarely ever eat meat, dairy, and eggs anymore for health, ethical, and environmental reasons. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve contemplated deleting my old posts, but then all I’d have to show for myself is this baby food smoothie bowl 😦

So, hopefully this is a start to a new style of blog. I say hopefully because I’m lazy and even if this is the only thing I have to do all day, there’s a high possibility I won’t do it. I’m aiming for once a week. Also, since smoothie bowls are so aesthetic and require minimal recipe testing, you know I’m gonna upload a ton of these. Starting with this one.

Zesty is a shit word, but I couldn’t think of anything better to describe the whole lime in this smoothie bowl, so bear with me. This isn’t just a regular green smoothie thing, because those sometimes taste (and look) like vom. This is yummy ^.^ It combines lots of acid and creamy sweetness to offset the bitter greens.

Makes: 1 smoothie bowl

1.5 cup kale
1 frozen banana
1.5 cup frozen mango
1 cup fresh pineapple
1 quarter small lime (peel and all)
1/3 cup almond milk (adjust based on how crud ur blender is)

Blend and eat

Haha! That’s it! My boyfriend told me to tell you this recipe will give you superpowers! Bye!

 

Orange Cream Biscotti

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I could biscotti every day. Yeah, I just used biscotti as a verb. You can verb any word. See what I did there. But, in my humble opinion, the best words to verb are food words.

“Yo, guacamole dat.”
“Pizza me.”

I think you get the point. Food is always the best choice. Anyways, back to biscotti teehee.

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As I wrote in a previous blog post, biscotti are the perfect sweet snack because there’s very little added fat. Plus, they’re super crispy and perfect for dunking and i luv dunkin. These biscotti are citrus flavored, clementine-y to be exact. (Tbt to when you accidentally eat all the oranges for breakfast and throw away the peels and then are forced to use clementines for the recipe). They’re called orange cream because of the vanilla. The vanilla and orange create a flavor like those orange creamsicles you used to eat.

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Recipe: (Makes 12 mini biscotti)

1 egg
1 vanilla bean
1/4 tsp orange extract
1 tsp clementine or orange zest
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup packed vanilla sugar*
2/3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt

  1. Preheat oven to 300F
  2. Whisk egg, inside of 1 vanilla bean, orange extract, and zest  in a small bowl
  3. Mix together flour, vanilla sugar, baking powder, and kosher salt in a large bowl
  4. Add egg mixture to dry mixture and mix until uniform (don’t overmix!)
  5. Form the dough into a flat loaf shape (3 inches wide and about 1/2 inch high)
  6. Bake for 30 minutes at 300F
  7. Then reduce oven temperature to 275 and bake for 10 min
  8. Lastly, increase the oven temperature to 325 and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden-brown
  9. Transfer to a wire rack
  10. Biscotti will crisp up when cool!

*You can substitute regular sugar for the vanilla sugar (but to make vanilla sugar, stick the leftover bean after scraping out the seeds in a jar with granulated sugar)

Hope you guys love this recipe 🙂
Xo Navika

Fig and Almond Energy Balls

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Ball shaped things are underrated. I’ll leave you with this sentence and the next picture. Then we will continue.

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These snacks are called Fig Almond Energy Balls. They’re great to supplement a quick breakfast or for a sweet afternoon bite. I call them energy balls because they have lots of nutrients and natural sugars from the fruits, nuts, and seeds that give you a jolt of energy. #dontevenneedcoffee. The best part is you can make a bunch ahead of time and just store them in the fridge until ready to eat. Plus, they’re customizable and who doesn’t love customizable stuff forreal.

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The best part of this recipe is the seeds of the fig and chia seeds that add a slight poppy crunch to the smooth dried fruit bite and the almonds that add a creamy, crispy nuttiness to the sweetness. Yooooo gimme.

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I wrap them in plastic wrap when storing them in the refrigerator, so it’s easy to grab one and go. But you could totally store it in an airtight container in the fridge, as well.

Recipe (Makes 10 balls)
3 oz. almonds (about 24 almonds)
1- 1/3 cup of dried figs
1/2 cup of dried dates
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup dried cranberries
2 tbsp hemp seeds (optional)

  1. In a food processor, pulse the 3 oz of almonds until each almonds seeds broken up at least into quarters. Place in a large bowl
  2. In the same food processor add dried figs and dates and pulse until a smooth paste forms. Add to almonds
  3. Then process the dried cranberries, chia seeds, and cinnamon just until the dried cranberries are slightly broken up
  4. Place into large bowl and mix until all ingredients are evenly combined
    Roll into balls to make 10 even sized bites
  5. Optional step: Roll each ball into hemp seeds to cover them (I did this once and they turned out nice! It also eliminated the slight stickiness of the balls)

To customize: switch out almonds for a different type of nuts (hazelnuts, pistachios, etc.) or switch out the cranberries for some other dried fruits (chopped up dried mango, apricots)

Now you’re done! Get yo energy balls to go.

xo Navika

Banana Granola

IMG_0411Banana granola originally came about because of how our household works. We always have way too many bananas. I’m not complaining, but there’s 5 people living here, only 2 of them eat really bananas, and there will be literally (I use this legitimately) 2 dozen in the fruit bowl. There’s only so much banana bread and smoothies one can make. That’s how this granola recipe materialized! Plus, using ripe bananas cuts down on the added sugar and fat in this recipe. hmu w granola is what you’re thinking. Read on below.

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The other awesome thing about this recipe (idk if I even wrote the first awesome thing about this recipe…anyways) is that there’s a base and a multitude of options to make it to your taste! Also, you can double, triple, etc. this recipe.

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Lol more pics.

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Recipe: (Makes about 4 cups)
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup dried fruit (cranberries work the best–other dried fruits seem to release moisture and possibly soften granola. If you use other dried fruit, chop into the size of dried cranberries!)
1/2 cup quinoa
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1 tsp. orange zest
2 medium bananas
1/2 heaping tsp. cinnamon
4 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla paste or extract
1/3 cup cacao nibs or dried coconut (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
1. Mix together oats, fruit, quinoa, chia, hemp, and zest in a large bowl
2. In a blender/food processor blend bananas, cinnamon, syrup, oil, and vanilla until smooth
3. Add liquid blend into the oats mix and combine completely
4. Bake on parchment paper on baking sheets in the middle rack of the oven for 15 minutes
5. After 15 minutes, flip the granola so that the bottom pieces are now on top
6. Bake another 15 minutes
7. Decrease oven temperature to 350F, add optional cacao nibs or dried coconut, and bake for 5 minutes

Now you have a yummy, fun, cool, awesome, healthy snack! YAY

Xo Navika

Lavender and Vanilla Bean Biscotti

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Wow, it’s literally been 4 months since I last posted. Dang, now that I think about it, a lot has changed in these four months! I finished my first year at college, started a research position at my school, and learned that cleansing is so not the way to go (see last blog post jaja). One thing that has not changed, though, is food heh. Still cooking, still eating.

This blog post is on Lavender and Vanilla Bean Biscotti. This shows that you can eat dessert and live healthily. I think it’s really important to know what’s going in your food and avoid unnecessary additives. This recipe is so simple and contains so few ingredients that you know exactly what you’re getting! Also, the awesome thing about biscotti is that since you bake it twice (da definition of biscotti), you don’t needed added fat. Read on for summer yummies.

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Recipe: (Makes 12 mini biscotti)

1 egg
1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 level tsp. lavender buds, crushed*
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup packed vanilla sugar**
2/3 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

  1. Preheat oven to 300F
  2. Whisk egg, inside of 1/2 vanilla bean, and lavender buds in a small bowl
  3. Mix together flour, vanilla sugar, baking powder, and kosher salt in a large bowl
  4. Add egg mixture to dry mixture and mix until uniform (don’t overmix!)
  5. Form the dough into a flat loaf shape (3 inches wide and about 1/2 inch high)
  6. Bake for 30 minutes at 300F
  7. Then reduce oven temperature to 275 and bake for 10 min
  8. Lastly, increase the oven temperature to 325 and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden-brown
  9. Transfer to a wire rack and they will crisp up when cooled!

WEEEEEE! Hope you love these flavors and this sweet snack! Be healthy and happy 🙂

*Two things! One, lavender buds are hard to find at your regular grocery store so you might have to try a grocery store that has a gourmet products section (or a tea shop!) Two, make sure to crush lavender buds so that they are not overwhelmingly floral. To crush them, just chop them up with a large knife and crush with the flat side of the knife to break up even more.

**Vanilla sugar can be made by putting granulated sugar into a jar with empty vanilla bean pods. If you don’t have vanilla sugar, just mix granulated mixture with 1/2 tsp vanilla extract!

xo nav

Spice Cupcakes

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Lol, I fake hate seasonal recipes. Okay, so let me deconstruct that sentence. “Fake hate” means I love hating on something, but I truly don’t hate it…oftentimes I don’t even dislike it, so there’s that. Now, you know seasonal recipes. Like berry trifles during the summer, peppermint bark during the winter, citrus macarons in the spring, and spice cupcakes in the fall. So, my issue with seasonal recipes is that people feel that they can ONLY make/eat/crave them during that particular season. WRONG. I’m posting these spice cupcakes in January for all of you that missed the short period of time where people eat spice flavored things i.e. after Halloween to Thanksgiving.


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Okay, don’t hate me, but this recipe doesn’t include a recipe for the cinnamon frosting because I rarely use a real recipe for frosting. I just dump everything in a bowl, beat it with my hand mixer, and cross my fingers. For reference though, I used cream cheese, powdered sugar, cinnamon, a dash of vanilla, and some vegetable shortening.

So, anyways, these are a lightened version because they only use 1/3 cup of oil and absolutely no butter! This is because they use pumpkin puree in place of extra fat. Okay, I avoided calling these pumpkin cupcakes because you really can’t taste the pumpkin because of the spices. I can attest to this because my sister hates pumpkin. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin cake, pumpkin rolls, pumpkin spiced lattes… IT ALL. So, that’s why I just call these spice cupcakes 🙂

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Recipes: (Makes 12 cupcakes)

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a medium sized bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices
In a large bowl, mix together sugar and oil until combined, then add pumpkin puree, eggs, and vanilla until smooth
Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix until just combined (do not overmix!)
Transfer batter to lined or greased muffin tins
Bake for 23-25 minutes or until top springs back when you touch it

Cool, frost, and enjoy your timeless cupcake the light way xox

Honey Avocado Smoothie

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Blah, I’m back in school. Oddly enough, I thought I’d missed it much more than I really have. There’s still something really nice about waking up in your own room, opening up your own fridge, and lazy around looking REAL ugly. That’s not to say I’m not liking it right now. I actually love this winter semester (sometimes more than the regular fall semester eep). I mean, there’s about 75 percent less people here. So, my large research university of 16,000 undergrads now feels like a small, cozy 4,000 seater. The best part that no one tells you is that OK…the bathrooms are deserted. No more awkward small talk when you go in to do your business or to brush your teeth or to wash your face or fix your hair. I think I’ve mumbled a toothpaste-y: “Good, how are you?” way more times than I can count. Another thing, I’ve been in my room alone for 5+ hours today and I don’t feel the least bit bad about it. It’s nice being alone sometimes 🙂 (Especially if you need to catch up on the Bachelor *cough* Juan Pablo *cough cough cough times a million*).

Anyways this is a smoothie recipe that I love because the avocado makes it so creamy that you don’t need any dairy! It makes you feel clean and refreshed. Plus, it’s super simple so if you are in a college dorm I’m sure you can whip up one, granted you haven’t just prepared a new bowl of ramen…for the 5th day in a row hehe.

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Serves 2

1 avocado
1 frozen banana
1.5 cups of water
1.5 cups of spinach
1 tbsp honey

Add all the ingredients into a blender and mix well!
Yup, that’s really it.
{Side note: If you don’t have frozen bananas, put a regular banana in and about 1/2 – 1 cup of crushed ice. Does the trick}

Have a lovely, healthy, and happy New Year 🙂

Lovely Sour Cream Lemon Bars

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I’m on a challenge. It’s slightly self-issued and slightly mandated by my mother. It’s a challenge to finish up our food storages before I go to college. Because, really, after that, who else will? Okay, so here are a few things you should understand about our food storage. We have not only 1 fridge and freezer, but two. The insides of the freezer are stocked with various frozen fruits, cheeses (yeah, you can freeze them!), and sauces. So, I must deplete those stores. But, oh wait, I forgot to mention the TWO pantries full of dry ingredients. So, yeah, I admit I have a problem when I go to the grocery store. I buy stuff… a lot of it….and it goes in storage. There are pastas, different types of grains, cookies, and much more. One of my “worst” purchases is a bulk box of graham crackers. Like the 6 pack of graham cracker boxes from Costco. I really don’t know what I was thinking….6 boxes of graham crackers. OTHER THAN SMORES FOR EVERY MEAL WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THAT. Well, using up graham crackers was my mission today and I made a nonconventional graham cracker crust to go with these lovely lemon bars. And they were delicioso. Mission accomplished. Anyways….

It’s not often recipes go straight from the oven to the computer. These lovely lemon bars have hit that mark.

“Oh, these are good,” is a direct quote from my sister who rarely compliments a dish unless it’s up to her super high standards. So, I like to think this hits the bar. Also, my mother took nagging to a new level when she nagged my little brother to actually eat dessert. Go figure. Anyways, these are not your average lemon bars; they are lovely lemon bars. What makes them so lovely, you ask? They’re THICK, unlike most basic bars, and FLUFFY, unlike most basic bars. But even while being thick and fluffy, they’re still gelatinous and totally reminiscent of those thin lemon bars you are thinking of. Except for the graham cracker crust!

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Yum, look at that full shot. These are so soft and fluffy, cutting while warm becomes really tricky. (Day 2 observation, cutting while cold is soo much easier and yields clean lines YESSS)

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I took two bites out of that piece. They were delicious. But look at that ratio of lemony goodness to crispy crust….perfection!


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This shot is so you can see the fluffiness. I’m *not* ashamed of posting four pictures of these hehe.

Recipe: (1 8×8 or 9×9 pan)

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tbsp sugar

1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
Zest of 2 lemons
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp lemon extract
5 tbsp all purpose flour
7 tbsp low-fat sour cream
3 eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
In a food processor or in a large bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar
Pack into the bottom of a parchment paper lined dish
Bake crust for 15 minutes or until edges are browned
While crust is baking, in a large bowl add the next ingredients in the order listed. So, add the sugar, then lemon zest, then lemon juice, etc. (I find that adding eggs and lemons and letting them sit “cooks” the eggs because of the acid and makes them smell funky, so that’s why I put eggs in at the last possible moment)
Mix well until everything is combined
When crust comes out of the oven, pour the mixture onto the hot crust
Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes
Lower oven to 325 for about another 20 minutes
It will be done when the edges turn brown/the mixture is set and not liquidy/a toothpick hits a relatively set center

So, I just typed let cool before cutting, but let’s be real…we’re all going to dig right into this 🙂 Enjoy!

Chocolate and Berry Pavlova

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Two days ago my mother came home from work and asked if I had “taken a break.” I had no idea what she meant, I had been on summer break for the last month and a half literally doing nothing. Then she glossed her arm across our dining table. Ahh, I had taken a break from cooking. So, I usually make either lunch, dinner, or dessert every day! However, the past two days I hadn’t made really anything. (Edit: I tested out a recipe for “small-batch cupcakes” yesterday which failed miserably so I like to not count those) But yeah, I hadn’t made anything! And I was craving dessert because last night the MasterChef pressure test was making eclairs (which I made before–check out the My Random Musings tab at the top!). So, that brings me to this lovely pavlova.

Behold a dessert that contains one of the best flavor combinations in the world of pastry: chocolate and berries. Okay, I’ll admit I wasn’t too hot on this flavor profile a few years ago. But my sister LOVES chocolate raspberry anything. So, if I’m making desserts, gotta make what the fam will eat and, alas, that is a chocolate berry combo. The super awesome aspect of this dessert is its lightness…in both senses of the word. It’s barely caloric (so, lightand it’s made with whipped egg whites leading it to weigh next to nothing (so, light). It also utilizes berries which make it a perfect summer dessert.

Traditional pavlovas are shrouded with a mountain of freshly whipped cream. My twist, instead of whipped cream, which is so caloric, is putting a lighter raspberry flavored pastry cream on it. This desert desssert OMG dessert (Sorry, I’m listening to Muse right now, their old stuff is so good!) is a gem in the sense that there’s perfect balance: not too sweet, tangy from the berries, creamy from the pasty cream, crispy on the edges, and melt-in-your mouth center. Plus, there’s like barely any hands on work. So, for all the lazy bakers, whip out that stand mixer and get ready for a beautiful pavlova 😉

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Pavlova Recipe:

6-7 oz egg whites (1 egg white is also an ounces, so this could read 6-7 egg whites, I just used my scale for a batch of egg whites I had in the freezer. SPEAKING OF. I should mention, egg whites freeze beautifully! Just put them in a freezer safe air tight container. To defrost sit the container in room temperature water. It will be defrosted in about 2 hours, or you can stick the container in the fridge overnight!) (Also, do not discard yolks! You’ll need 1 for the pastry cream below and you can always make extra pastry cream and freeze it. It freezes well in a ziploc baggie–double bagged. For the rest, store in the fridge in a container and in the next 2 days make a lemon/lime meringue pie…delish!)
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F
Trace an 8 inch round circle on parchment paper. Put trace side down on a baking sheet–this is the mold for the pavlova
In an electric mixer, whip the egg whites until frothy
Mix salt into sugar and then start adding sugar 1 tbsp at a time until done
Keep whipping until the egg whites become thick and stiff peaks form (Do not let them get dry though, that means a lot of the air has been sucked out!)
Once the egg whites are stiff, fold in cocoa powder, vinegar, and vanilla without deflating too much
Create a circle on the parchment paper. The circle should have raised edges with a slightly indented center for filling.
Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes
After 1 hr. and 10 min. turn the oven off and let the pavlova cool in the closed oven. This will take anywhere from 3-6 hours. After about an hour you can opt to leave the oven door a crack open at this point the cold air shouldn’t affect the rise of the pavlova.

Raspberry Pastry Cream Recipe:

1/2 cup fat-free milk
3 tbsp white sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp vanilla paste
Scant 2 tbsp raspberry jam

Mix together egg yolk, cornstarch, and 1 tbsp of sugar
Heat fat-free milk and 2 tbsp of sugar in a saucepan until it starts to simmer in a large, heatproof bowl
At this point, stream the milk mixture into the egg mixture whisking vigorously so the eggs do not cook (it will get all bubbly and frothy, that’s okay)
Once the milk is combined into the egg, add the milk/egg mixture back to the saucepan and bring to bubbles, stirring constantly and all around
As soon as it starts thickening a little bit add in the jam
Keep stirring until it is fully thick and then add in vanilla paste
Take of heat immediately and transfer to a dish.
Cover dish with plastic wrap, making sure the wrap touches the surface of the cream so that a film does not form

When the pavlova and cream have cooled, spread the cream onto the pastry, stopping about 1.5 inches from the edge (form a little pizza crust!). This keeps the edges crispy and chewy. Top the pastry cream with about 1/2 cup of BERRIES (I picked blueberries, which looked lovely in the color scheme and tasted amazing!)

Enjoy, dig in, and take pictures of your lovely dish!

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