Celiac Guest Post and Crockpot Jambalaya

A few weeks ago, I shared my delight with you all at receiving my first two blog awards. Today, I am tickled to share that the lovely Anali invited me to write a guest post on celiac for her terrific blog, Anali’s First Amendment. It’s up now—you can check it out here. It was a challenging assignment and I could have written a lot more, but you all know me, isn’t that always the case? LOL As those of us in the gluten-free community know though, celiac is a serious subject. It doesn’t quite fit into “the box” as neatly as we’d all like, and it’s a topic that merits thorough discussions. At least 3 million people have celiac disease and about 97% of them remain undiagnosed. Please read the post and share it with anyone who may find it helpful. Thanks so much, and my sincere thanks to Anali for giving me the opportunity to reach more readers who may be impacted by celiac disease in some way.

Now … jambalaya. Jambalaya, jambalaya. Don’t you just love saying that word? I know I do. That particular combination of consonants and vowels with the emphasis on the third syllable is just right. Say the word and immediately, you’re not only thinking of the fabulous dish with all its flavors, but also the heat and smells of bayou country and hearing the sweet sounds of Zydeco music. If you’re lucky, you’ve actually listened to some great Zydeco music. My absolute favorite Zydeco musician is Terrance Simien. Terrance hails from Mallet, LA and was featured with the Mallet Playboys (his band at the time) in the movie, The Big Easy. For years, he used to play in our area every few months. We, and many of our friends, packed into a local nightclub—standing room only and a hot and sweaty experience, but it was entirely worth it. Zydeco music has an energy and sound all its own and Terrance is a sweetheart of a guy and an incredibly talented musician. Now, Terrance’s group is more aptly named The Zydeco Experience. If you haven’t already, you absolutely must hear him live one day. An intimate venue would be ideal because not only does their sound and passion come through better, but you might just luck out and get called up on stage to play the frottoir (think washboard-type instrument worn like body armor—don’t worry … no domestic duties required). By the way, Terrance and his band won a Grammy for best Zydeco or Cajun music album last year–very well deserved. Jambalaya. Both the word and the dish are just fun and, sometimes, even sexy—thinking of Terrance or perhaps Ellen Barkin (and The Big Easy, back in the day). But, I digress a bit.

Jambalaya … the dish itself is as great to eat as the word is fun to say. Wikipedia says that jambalaya is a Louisiana Creole dish—“the New World Version of the Old World dish, paella.” Creole cooking is known to blend various influences, such as French, Mediterranean, Spanish, African, and American. Sometimes jambalaya is called Cajun, and while it seems there were once major differences between Creole and Cajun cooking, now the labels are used fairly synonymously for dishes. I was surprised to learn there are three versions of jambalaya—red, brown, and white.

I visited my wonderful and beautiful friend, Linda, last spring. She doesn’t live in Louisiana, but close enough. She lives in Fairhope, Alabama, on Mobile Bay. She relocated there from my neighborhood and has absolutely loved the vitality and beauty of Fairhope. It has a thriving arts community with warm, friendly people. In addition, it’s incredibly charming and picturesque, often being featured in Southern Living magazine. Linda picked me up at the airport and then drove us around the area briefly showing me some of the highlights of her every day life. When we finally opened the door to her new home, a fabulous aroma greeted us. She looked at me, smiled, and said, “jambalaya, crockpot.” I do love that word … and the dish.

Linda, who is also gluten free, modified a recipe she’d found in Better Homes and Gardens. When I made it on my own once back at home, I adjusted it a bit more. The original recipe was naturally gluten free, so no modifications needed to be made in that regard. But, I often modify this dish to whatever I have on hand. The beauty of jambalaya is that it’s such a versatile dish. It readily adapts to different meats, seafood, and vegetables. You can even make a vegetarian version, if you like. This recipe calls for smoked sausage and shrimp, so I am submitting it for the Friday Foodie Fix to Diane of The W.H.O.L.E. Gang blog. As Diane mentioned in her post, she and I are both huge shrimp fans. I love how Diane writes up the nutritional merits of the special ingredient each week. I love my shrimp for the fabulous flavor, but thanks to Diane, now I feel more virtuous eating it! :-)

Incidentally, another great point about shrimp is that shrimp dishes are often served gluten free easily (gfe!). Steamed shrimp (just be sure they are not steamed in beer—yes, it does happen) and shrimp Norfolk are two of favorite options for dining out. (Usually any Norfolk dish is just seafood that has been broiled in butter with safe seasonings, but always check on seasonings, and sometimes (but, rarely), bread crumbs are added.) Shrimp and Crab Norfolk was my meal when we dined at our favorite local waterfront restaurant on Mother’s Day. (By the way, my dessert was crème brulee— another gfe option when prepared safely … yum.)


My entire visit with Linda was a treat last year, but walking into the smell of jambalaya was the best possible welcome. I’ve made my version many times since. It’s now a favorite of my support group, too. And, because it’s another crockpot dish, it makes life just a bit simpler, and more economical. I heard today in a cost-saving segment on TV that you can operate your crockpot for 8 hours for 10 cents! Impressive savings, huh? The part I like just as much though is the negligible heat in the kitchen. That pesky air conditioner had to be run for a while today, and I just don’t like it. Crockpot meals (and grilling, of course) can help tremendously by not adding to the heat this time of year.

We are headed to our mountain property in the morning–our favorite retreat, with less heat and humidity. Hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! Let’s remember those we’ve lost in service to our country and spend special time with our family and friends—always the best way to spend any holiday, I think.

Jambalaya … what do you like to add in your version?

Not just gf, but gfe!


Crockpot Jambalaya
(Click here for a printable version of this recipe.)

Part 1

1 large onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped (1 cup)
8 oz smoked sausage, sliced (I used Hillshire Farms)
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes in juice, not drained (or one 14-oz can diced tomatoes and one 14-oz can of V-8—for extra zestiness)
2/3 cup wine (any kind) or chicken broth
6 cloves garlic, chopped (or equivalent minced)
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional, or dried, 2 tsp)

Part 2

1 cup uncooked Minute brown rice (or 1 ½ cups cooked full-grain brown rice) (Note: Quinoa should work as a substitution, and would make the recipe grain free. I’ll report back when I, or one of my readers, have tried it.)
1 lb peeled, deveined raw or cooked medium-sized or larger shrimp


1. Mix all ingredients EXCEPT shrimp, parsley, and rice in a 3 1/2-qt or larger crockpot. Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours until vegetables are tender. The mixture will still look a bit soupy, but will thicken once you complete the next step.

2. Stir in rice; cover and cook 15 minutes or until done.  Then stir in parsley and shrimp (uncooked shrimp will cook in about 5 minutes).

Adapted from a Better Homes and Gardens recipe.

Shirley’s Additional Notes: While Minute rice clearly doesn’t have the nutritional value of cooked full-grain brown rice, I still have issues with some whole grain products, so it works better for me. If I will be cooking the jambalaya while I am at work and will be gone longer than 8 hours, I prepare everything in the crock pot the night before, so I don’t have to rush in the morning (and so it is not overcooked by the time I get home from work). The cold ingredients guarantee a slower start. I follow this approach even with my crockpot that switches from cooking to warming to avoid overcooking. When I am making this dish for a crowd, I cut the sausage slices in half and cut the shrmp into smaller pieces to ensure that they get distributed properly in all servings. If you’d like a bread to accompany your jambalaya, either gfe cornbread or popovers work well.

Update: This post is linked to What can I eat that’s gluten free? and Crockpot Wednesday.

Full Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post may contain one or more affiliate links. If you purchase through them, your cost will always be the same, but I will receive a small commission. Thanks for the support! Read the full disclaimer here.


46 Responses to “Celiac Guest Post and Crockpot Jambalaya”

  1. Cindi on May 24th, 2009 12:37 pm

    OMG I hadn’t thought about Terrance Simien in years! Those were some fun times at the Brigade!! And Linda . . . she’s such a sweet person and I haven’t talked to her in so, so long. Gosh, you’ve brought back lots of wonderful memories with this post! I love Jambalaya and so does Don – shrimp is one of the few forms of “seafood” that he’ll eat. (How did I end up falling in love with someone who doesn’t eat crabmeat??) Love, Cindi

    • Shirley on May 24th, 2009 10:11 pm

      Hi, Cindi–Isn’t it great to know Terrance is doing so well still? Just writing the post made me remember those times and how much fun they were. I even looked at Terrance’s schedule. The closest place he’ll be is in Norfolk, but at an outdoor park. The Brigade really was a fabulous place to see him. The Brigade has been re-invented as two more restaurants/nightclubs since then and the last iteration just closed.

      Yes, I am shocked about Don not being a seafood lover, but at least he’s a musician and singer! That helps make up for the other. ;-)

      Linda will be back in the area for a few days in July … staying at Janice’s. Maybe we can all get together!! Girls’ night out—watch out!!! LOL


  2. Anali on May 24th, 2009 9:12 pm

    Thanks again for the wonderful post! It was a pleasure to have you over to my blog!

    I have a crockpot that I never use. This recipe might be a good excuse to break it out. : )

    • Shirley on May 24th, 2009 10:16 pm

      Anali–Hey, there! You’re welcome, but I am the most grateful one—for getting the opportunity to speak to a new audience, your terrific readers! :-)

      Break out the crockpot, but invite some friends when making this recipe. You’ll want to share and it makes more than you’ll be able to eat alone, but it’s yummy for sure.

      Enjoy the rest of your weekend! It’s been a lovely one for us. Thanks,

  3. Diane-thewholegang on May 25th, 2009 10:04 am

    That looks so good I can smell it. I really miss this dish since I can’t eat rice anymore. I wonder what it would taste like with quinoa? Hmmm. People in Louisiana just cried out in pain. I love how this dish fills the house with it’s amazing aroma. I’m glad you liked all the fun facts about shrimp. Thank you for sharing this on Friday Foodie Fix.

    • Shirley on May 25th, 2009 11:24 am

      Diane–I’m so glad you asked about quinoa. I meant to mention that in my post and completely forgot. I’ll add that as a substitution. I googled quinoa jambalaya and found quite a few recipes using quinoa vs rice. :-) If you use red quinoa, you’ll really have a red version of this dish, huh? ;-) Please report back if you try it and I’ll do the same. :-) Hey, I just remembered quinoa is the ingredient for your Friday Foodie Fix … maybe you should give the quinoa version of jambalaya a test run now! I already have a quinoa recipe in mind (well, two actually … I”ll have to decide LOL) for my entry.

      I should have sufficient time today to look at all the Friday Foodie Fix shrimp dishes for this week. I am always amazed at the variety of the entries and how fantastic they all are. It’s so great of you to host this event to make our dinner (desserts, etc.) planning so much easier. Thanks also to everyone who takes the time to submit such great recipes. It makes the weekends even more fun to look forward to!


  4. Brian on May 25th, 2009 1:16 pm

    Looks delicious. I love jambalaya.

    • Shirley on May 25th, 2009 2:48 pm

      Brian–Thanks. :-) Do you make a red version also? I’ll be interested to hear from anyone who makes/prefers a brown or white version. ;-) I didn’t even know about those variations until I read about them on Wiki.


  5. Diane-thewholegang on May 25th, 2009 1:59 pm

    I’m glad you’re enjoying Fridays on The WHOLE Gang. I have too. People share great ideas and I’m also enjoying finding out the facts behind the secret ingredient. You’re welcome to post as many recipes on each ingredient as you like. It gives people more options. I don’t care if they’re old. It’s not about getting myself mentioned on tons of blogs, however that is a nice benefit. My goal was to build up lists or data bases for each ingredient. So when I have have shrimp and I’m tired of creating my own recipes I can find some really great ideas and make one of those. Abundance theory! You know, you’re the same way.

    • Shirley on May 25th, 2009 2:53 pm

      Diane–”Abundance theory”—love it!! Yes, I do espouse that theory. The gluten-free life is one of abundance once we set aside all the gluten-free processed foods and focus on real food. The FFF recipes really embrace that … simple, flavorful ingredients. Your blog will be a great resource when one of us gets the, “oh my goodness, I can’t think of anything to do with this ingredient” blues. Seriously. It happens to all of us from time to time. ;-)


  6. V-Grrrl on May 25th, 2009 2:17 pm

    I’ve gone to hear Terrance Simien play too and have one of his CDs. Great music and great times.

    And The Big Easy–loved that movie! Dennis Quaid was so hot and the soundtrack to that movie is in my collection as well.

    • Shirley on May 25th, 2009 2:59 pm

      Hey, Veronica!–I am truly honored that you are taking time from your fab return trip to Belgium to share a comment! Hope you continue to have a wonderful time catching up with your best girlfriends, like Di, and their SOs. :-)

      Do you think we were all enjoying Terrance at the same time at the Brigade and not crossing paths? How could that be? It’s such a small place, but granted once you got in there, you couldn’t easily move around too much. LOL

      I feel like watching The Big Easy again right now. I don’t have that soundtrack, but have some of Terrance’s CDs and they just don’t do him justice I think. Still they could take me back in time … often a good place to visit. ;-)


  7. glutenfreeforgood on May 26th, 2009 2:51 pm

    “Jambalaya, craw-fish pie, fillet gumbo. For tonight I’m gonna see my cher ami-oh. Son-of-a-gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou.” Or something like that.

    Thought I’d throw some Jimmy Buffet into your crockpot.


    I’ve been to Fairhope, AL! Yeah, beautiful country. And gooood food.

    Great post, Shirley. Now I’ll head over to Anali’s and see what you had to say as a guest blogger. I haven’t forgotten that I owe you a guest blog of testing and I’ll hop to it when I return from GIG.

    • Shirley on May 26th, 2009 6:10 pm

      Hey there, Melissa–LOL on the Jimmy rendition, but hey, you’re pretty good!! Did you realize that Jimmy’s sister, Lucy, has a great restaurant down the road from Fairhope at Gulf Shores? Lucy, is nicknamed Lulu, so her place is called Lulu’s. It’s quite a fun place with giant sand piles in a lovely enclosed area for the kids to play in. Always live music (Jimmy Buffet style, of course). Not my usual restaurant, but it is very enjoyable and the food is excellent.

      Thanks so much for your very positive feedback on this post and my guest post over at Anali’s. People are going to start thinking I am paying you for these endorsements! LOL Seriously, you’re very kind—thank you again. :-)

      Now as far as that guest post I asked you to write … I still would very much like you to do it! I addressed testing at a high level in my post to promote celiac awareness on Anali’s blog. I did not address specifics on the advantages and disadvantages of the different tests available today. You’ve addressed that briefly in a comment before and that’s what I’d love you to expound upon a bit, after the GIG conference if you still are willing. I think guest posts from other writers/speakers can provide a valuable service to readers … offering different expertise, perspective, etc. Being knowledgeable about testing and celiac, and its effects, is part of your “day job” as a nutrition therapist and exercise scientist. It’s my side job. ;-)

      Coconut meringues … you’ll only need one. They are not as rich as macaroons, but still substantial for light bites. :-)


  8. glutenfreeforgood on May 26th, 2009 3:03 pm


    Wonderful job on the guest post at Anali’s blog! You definitely don’t need my help with any guest blogging. That was a handful of good information. Very nicely done.

    I’ll stop by for some coconut meringues though.



  9. kelly on May 26th, 2009 4:23 pm

    I don’t usually miss Annapolis, but… ;-)

    • Shirley on May 26th, 2009 6:30 pm

      Hey Kelly–I just wrote this long comment to you and then lost it. On my own blog … now, that’s just cruel. LOL

      Take two … yes, Annapolis is great for seafood. We love visiting Annapolis every few years for the sailboat show. Hubby likes drooling over the. He has this fantasy that we’re going to charter one of the monster catamarans that are featured there, the ones you can charter in the BVIs. We’ve chartered yachts before in the reasonable vacation price ranges, but these huge yachts are insanely expensive to charter. He’s not playing the lottery so I guess those babies will remain a fantasy. ;-)

      Thanks for dropping by gfe! I am so excited about your new cookbook!! You guys must still be on cloud nine to see that endeavor come to fruition! :-)


  10. Tracie on June 25th, 2009 10:06 am

    I made this last night and it was incredibly delicious! Thanks for sharing!!!!

    • Shirley on June 25th, 2009 6:38 pm

      Hi, Tracie!–Welcome to gfe! I’m absolutely thrilled you enjoyed this recipe so much and really appreciate you letting us all know. :-) It’s very hot here, so a crockpot meal would have been a really smart choice today. I think I’ll get Mr. GFE to grill some burgers to keep the heat out of the kitchen. Then we can have a simple salad with them or some good old fries.

      Thanks again!

  11. Linda on October 28th, 2009 10:18 pm

    I have to try this some time without the green peppers and hot sauce. I know that would ruin it for some, but it would make it edible for us. Thanks for linking up.

    • Shirley on October 29th, 2009 7:36 am

      Hi, Linda–It would be easy to do without green pepper and hot sauce. Maybe substitute a sweet pepper and add some other seasonings. It’s a wonderful, easy-to-make dish, so I hope you will try it.

      I really like your What can I eat that’s gluten free?. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to join in in the fun. LOL There can’t be enough gatherings of great gf bloggers with their equally great recipes. ;-)


  12. Heather @CeliacFamily on October 28th, 2009 11:10 pm

    I haven’t made Jambalaya since going gluten free. And I love that it’s made in a slow-cooker. I’ll have to give this one a try.

    • Shirley on October 29th, 2009 7:41 am

      Hi, Heather!—Jambalaya is one of my favorite naturally gluten-free dishes (or should be—always check ingredients like sausage, of course)! Yes, the slow cooker method makes this recipe all the more appealing. This recipe easily feeds a family or a nice-sized gathering of folks. I’ll be starting mine in a bit so it will be ready at support group meeting time tonight. It’s a group favorite. :-)


  13. Judy on March 30th, 2010 2:12 pm

    How great is this!!!! Yum:) Come over for a visit, I am hosting an Anniversary Giveaway:)

    • Shirley on March 30th, 2010 6:51 pm

      Hi Judy!–Welcome to gfe! :-) Thank you … it’s a very pleasing dish … nice, hearty, and flavorful. Okay, I’m headed over to see what you have going on … anniversaries are great and who doesn’t enjoy a giveaway? ;-)


  14. Sarah on April 6th, 2010 6:52 pm

    Hi! I can’t believe I just stumbled across this – I love Jambalaya! Yours looks divine, how many servings did you get out of this?? I’m usually only cooking for one these days… Thanks!


    • Shirley on April 6th, 2010 7:27 pm

      Hi Sarah–Welcome to gfe! :-) I believe this recipe makes about 4 servings. The two of us usually enjoy it for two nights. If I’m making it for more folks, I double the recipe. You could make it and then freeze some to pull out later. What a treat that would be! ;-)


  15. Carrie on November 19th, 2010 12:26 pm

    Nathan’s makes a lovely Polish Kielbasa that’s wheat-free; they use soy flour. Yeast free, with pork & beef. Has a nice flavor the complements jambalaya. Don’t let lack of shrimp keep you from making this – it’s great with chicken, too.
    Thanks so much for sharing it!

    • Shirley on November 19th, 2010 12:59 pm

      Hi Carrie–Thanks so much for taking the time to share that info and your advice on jambalaya ingredients! I do find the recipe to be very flexible with its ingredients. I tend to make it with whatever I have on hand, but I do like using the smoked sausage. :-) I’m glad Nathan’s is doing better with gf products. I know their hot dogs were not gf for a long time, but I’d heard they are now.

      Thanks again! Hugs,

  16. Amber on January 24th, 2011 9:48 am

    How is this without the shrimp (since I don’t do seafood)? Do you add extra chicken?

    Thanks :)

    • Shirley on January 24th, 2011 11:28 am

      Hey Amber–Yes, I’d up the amount of chicken if not using shrimp, so you won’t have excess liquid. Hope you like the jambalaya! Please let us know. :-)


  17. Amber on February 3rd, 2011 12:50 pm

    Okay, I’m actually going to throw this in the crockpot now, but I’m wondering about the sausage. I bought fresh sweet sausage. Does it need to be cooked first?

    • Shirley on February 3rd, 2011 1:00 pm

      Hi Amber–If it’s not cooked at all, which I assume you mean by “fresh,” then I would cook it some in a skillet just to remove some of the grease. I usually use the already cooked smoked sausage, which doesn’t contribute any grease to the dish. Hope your jambalaya turns out well!


  18. Amber on February 3rd, 2011 9:24 pm

    Okay, Shirley–another winner recipe! The hubby LOVED this! He kept saying, the whole meal, this is REALLY good, I mean really really good! He was so proud of me for branching out into something somewhat cultural. I’m quite the meat and potato, and fried chicken southern girl. Thanks so much for all your recipes. I’ve been cooking from your recipes for the last month and have felt the most confident cooking gluten-free. I’ve been attempting gluten-free for a year and it’s just now tasting good :)

    • Shirley on February 4th, 2011 8:07 am

      Yippeeeeee, Amber! I’m thrilled to hear about your success with this recipe and all the other gfe recipes this month! :-) Thanks for taking the time to let me know, too … it totally makes my day!

      Big hugs of thanks to you. Keep on cooking, gal ;-) … you’re doing great!

  19. Andy on March 5th, 2011 5:47 pm

    If I substitute quinoa for the rice, do I cook the quinoa first or do I leave it uncooked and throw it in earlier?

    • Shirley on March 5th, 2011 6:49 pm

      Hi Andy–Welcome to gfe! :-) Either way will work. It just depends on what approach you want to take. If you add the quinoa at the beginning, make sure you have enough liquid to cook it. A little extra (maybe 1/2 a cup or so) woudn’t hurt. Stephanie (A Year of Slow Cooking) cooks quinoa in her crockpot and the recipe requires twice as much liquid as quinoa. I don’t think you’d need to add that much here, but just FYI. (You can see Stephanie’s recipe here.) Another option is to use the Ancient Harvest Quinoa. That’s already been rinsed and it’s similar to quick-cook rice so it could be added the last half hour of cooking and should be perfectly done by the time the whole dish is finished cooking. Hope that helps! Please let us know how it turns out. :-)


  20. Misty Griffin on February 20th, 2012 12:58 pm

    I’m new to the GFE lifestyle. Have been having problems for a while now, but was in total denial. With tomorrow being Fat Tuesday, I am really going to miss my “Mardi Gras” foods! I am so excited to find your blog!
    I was wondering, I have been told to eat rice in moderation…but I saw a post from someone that said they can’t have rice at all…is this b/c of the GF diet? I was also told to eat quinoa in moderation (whatever that may be! lol)…
    What’s your thoughts.

    • Shirley on February 20th, 2012 1:51 pm

      Hi Misty–Welcome to gfe and thanks so much for the kind words, dear! I’m happy to have you here! :-) Please know that your feelings and experience are very common. You may want to read my post on Grieving Gluten and all the stages that we go through: http://glutenfreeeasily.com/five-stages-of-loss-of-gluten-plus-one/ The guidance on rice could be for a number of reasons. First, folks tend to go so crazy replacing regular flour and wheat-filled products with rice-based versions or rice itself (like rice stuffing vs traditional stuffing or rice instead of couscous) that some folks actually develop an intolerance to rice. You don’t want that for sure. Secondly, there’s the school of thought that too much of even gluten-free grains can do more harm than good. And while quinoa is not a grain, some grain-free advocates and paleo/primal followers say that it can do as much harm as grains. All that said, when making the transition to gluten free, I’d most likely recommend consuming some rice products. Just don’t go overboard. If you decided later that you definitely react adversely to rice, you can cut it out then, but it definitely makes the transition easier. Note that I am not a medical professional of any kind. I’m just sharing what I know from personal experience, my stint as a gluten-free support group leader, being an advocate of mostly grain-free eating, etc. So I’d say go ahead and make this recipe and enjoy it! Also, for transitioning to gluten free, be sure to click on the tab under my header, Getting Started with GFE, and print out the resource sheets there. They will make your transition much easier as they will get you thinking differently about all the foods you can have and focusing on naturally gluten-free foods, recipes, and products! :-) You can do this for sure, and it won’t be as hard as you imagined!


  21. Melaina from Rudi's Gluten Free Bakery on April 20th, 2012 12:17 pm

    Beautiful color and definitely filled with flavors! Your recipe seems easy to follow and the ingredients are easy to track down, thanks for another great recipe!

    • Shirley on April 29th, 2012 9:52 pm

      Hi Melaina–So sorry for the delayed reply. Thank you so much! And your last statement just described my gfe approach. ;-)


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