National Popcorn Day 2016

Mint cup full of popcorn -  National Popcorn Day 2016Popcorn is an amazingly versatile grain. With a little imagination and some common household ingredients, you can make tasty and original snacks in no time at all.

Popcorn Nutritional Information Infographic

Infographic Shows Using Canola Oil – Here at Splendid Recipes and More we suggest Coconut oil or Olive oil – Read More: Could Canola Oil Be Effecting Your Health

Here are some great reason’s to enjoy popcorn as a healthy snack.

  • Air-popped popcorn has only 30 calories per cup; oil-popped popcorn has only 35 calories per cup
  • When lightly buttered, popcorn contains about 80 calories per cup
  • Popcorn is a whole grain, making it a good-for-you food
  • Popcorn provides energy-producing complex carbohydrates
  • Popcorn contains fiber, providing roughage the body needs in the daily diet
  • Popcorn is naturally low in fat and calories
  • Popcorn has no artificial additives or preservatives, and is sugar-free
  • Popcorn is ideal for between meal snacking since it satisfies and doesn’t spoil the appetite
  • 3 cups of popcorn equal one serving from the grain group
  • Here are some great recipes to try with popcorn

Celebrate National Popcorn Day

Celebrations are a huge part of Mexico’s vibrant and colorful culture. Do a Google search for – Mexican holidays – and you will find fiestas abound throughout Mexico taking place throughout the year.

Here’s a spicy popcorn snack with peanuts and a kicking smoky adobe coating.

Adobo and Roasted Peanut Popcorn

bowl of fresh made Adobo and Roasted Peanut Popcorn on a table4 quarts popcorn, no butter or salt, air popped or see here the perfect way to make popcorn Organic Coconut Popcorn

1/4 cup peanuts

1 egg white

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from one 7-ounce can chipotle chilies in adobo sauce; reserve chilies for other use) or optional to use 1 tablespoon chipotle pepper sauce

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Spread popcorn and peanuts onto prepared baking sheet.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg white, sugar, adobo sauce and salt until foamy.  Pour over popcorn and toss to coat evenly.

Bake 20 minutes, stirring once midway through baking time.  Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

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Popcorn happens to be one American’s oldest foods whose roots reach back thousands of years. Some of the oldest ears of popcorn were found in 1948 in west central New Mexico. These ears were proven to be about 4,000 years old.

Early American settlers learned from the natives how to make popcorn. They threw the kernels directly into a fire or heated sand. Once the corn was popped it was pounded into a fine, powdery meal and later mixed with water for eating.

a bowl of Tex Mex Mix PopcornTex Mex Mix Popcorn

2 quarts popcorn popped in oil

2 teaspoons ground chili powder

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 cup cubed Monterey Jack cheese (about 1/4 inch cubes)

Keep popped popcorn warm. Mix seasonings together and toss with popcorn.

Add cheese and mix thoroughly.

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Here’s a great way to have a healthy snack.

Power Packed Popcorn Cookies with a glass of milk in the back ground on a tablePower Packed Popcorn Cookies

1/4 cup whole wheat or all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup toasted wheat germ

1/2 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup flaked coconut

3 cups popped popcorn

1 cup raisins, dried cranberries or other dried fruit, chopped

1/2 cup sunflower seeds or chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Lightly spray baking sheets with cooking spray and set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, soda and salt; set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together and add egg and vanilla, and mix well. Stir in flour mixture and wheat germ and oatmeal until well blended.

Next add coconut, popcorn, raisins and sunflower seeds, if desired, and mix until well blended.

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto baking sheet, allowing 2 inches between cookies to allow for spreading.

Bake 7–8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Allow cookies to cool on pan 5 minutes before removing to racks to cool completely. Recipe yields 4 dozen cookies.

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READ MORE: Smart Snacking For Better Health

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Here’s one for the kids to enjoy.

a dinner plate of Popcorn Crusted Macaroni and CheesePopcorn Crusted Macaroni and Cheese

8 ounces elbow macaroni

4 tablespoons butter, divided

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 cups milk

1-8 oz. (2 cups) package shredded sharp cheddar cheese

5 cups popped popcorn

1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Butter an 8×8-inch baking pan with 1 tablespoon butter; set aside.

Cook and drain macaroni according to package directions; set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Whisk in flour, mustard, salt and pepper; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Whisk in milk and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens; about 10 minutes.

Stir in cheese until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.

Stir macaroni into sauce; pour macaroni mixture into prepared pan.

Melt remaining tablespoon of butter and toss with popcorn and parsley flakes.

Spread popcorn over macaroni and bake 10 minutes.

Images and Recipes Adapted From: Popcorn.org giving all people ways and reasons to enjoy popcorn.

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National Eggnog Day

National Eggnog Day

The origins of eggnog and the components (ingredients) of the concoction are still debated. Some say it was invented during the medieval times.  The “nog” part of the beverages name is said to have stemmed from the word noggin, a term that meant a small, wooden mug used to serve alcohol. It was also referred to as a Egg Flip, which was the practice of rapidly flipping the mixture between two pitchers to mix it.

In England eggnog was considered the trademark drink of the upper class. James Humes an author and historian writes that the average Londoner rarely saw a glass of milk.

It is also said that eggnog descended from a hot British drink called posset, which consisted of eggs, milk, with the addition of an ale (beer) or wine.

With the addition of alcohol, the eggnog was aged for several weeks, maybe even months. Yes raw eggs were used, but remember, booze or alcohol can both be a preservative and sterilizer. Very few bacteria, including salmonella, are not able to survive in the presence of alcohol, as has been proven in lab experiments at Rockefeller University.

Whatever the origins may be, a great beverage was invented 100’s of years ago, which has became a traditional beverage throughout Canada and the United States this time of year, that is starting in November and being available in the market through the first of January.

Let’s get to “Egg Flipping.” But before we can do that, let’s make some eggnog, and here is what you will need.

6 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 to 1 1/2 cup bourbon or rum, optional
Nutmeg and cinnamon stick, to serve

Separate the eggs, putting the yolks in one bowl and the whites in another. Cover the egg whites and refrigerate until needed.

Combine the yolks and the sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Next, add the milk, cream, and liquor (if using) with the egg mixture and mix until combined.

Cover the bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. The more liquor you add, the longer it will keep. If you are making non-alcoholic eggnog, store it in a sealed glass container. The beverage should be consumed within a day.

Before serving a glass of eggnog, whisk the reserved egg whites in a mixer on high speed until the whites form stiff peaks, then fold the beaten egg whites into the prepared eggnog and gently stir the whites into the base (this step is optional. You do not have to add the egg whites).

Adding the whipped egg whites will give the eggnog an extra-creamy texture.

Eggnog with nutmeg and a cinnamon stick Serve in individual glasses topped with nutmeg, and a cinnamon stick.

You can also enjoy eggnog with coconut milk, by exchanging out the dairy milk.

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Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding

Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding - Top View

Our pudding is referred to as “Toasted Coconut,” because it has that appearance of being toasted as we used coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is like brown sugar in appearance, but doesn’t have the same effect on blood glucose in the blood stream. In other words, it does not spike your sugar levels.

The Glycemic Index of coconut sugar is 35 as reported by the Philippine Coconut Authority, the largest supplier of coconut sugar along with Indonesia. 35 is classified as a low glycemic food.

Coconut sugar has many natural occurring nutrients, including magnessium, potassium, zinc, iron, B vitamins, and amino acids. Because it is unprocessed, the nutrient content is intact, unlike refined white table sugar.

Coconut sugar is actually more sustainable than sugar cane. The coconut palm tree produces up to 75% more sugar per acre than cane sugar, while only using 20% of the resources.

Now for the featured recipe: Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding, and here is what you will need.

1/2 cup organic coconut sugar

1/3 cup organic arrowroot starch

1/2 teaspoon organic Himalayan salt

3 cups silk Coconut milk (or your preferred organic brand)

3 tablespoons organic coconut butter

1 teaspon organic vanilla extract

About 30 to 40 organic vanilla wafers

3 ripe organic bananas

Toasted organic coconut for garnish (optional)

Organic heavy cream, whipped for topping (optional)

mixing ingredients in sauce pan to make Toased Coconut Banana Pudding

Whisk together coconut sugar, starch and salt in a medium saucepan.

Slowly whisk in coconut milk, oil, and vanilla. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly.

Lower heat and simmer whisking occasionally until mixture thickens, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

layering sliced bananas and vanilla cookiesTo assemble spread a layer of vanilla wafers in a 9 X 9 inch square baking dish, or a 9-inch round baking dish (your choice) top with half of the banana slices and half of the pudding.

Continue with another layer of vanilla wafers followed by remaining bananas and ending with remaining pudding, spreading to cover all banana slices.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 to 5 hours or overnight.

Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding - Side ViewTo serve, line a dessert glass or small dessert bowl with some vanilla cookies, and top with fresh organic whipped cream and toasted coconut.

This is a gluten free and all organic dessert. Enjoy!!

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Orecchiette with Andouille Sausage and Pesto Chipotle Sauce

Orecchiette with Andouille Sausage and Pesto
Using Italian ingredients makes for a delectable meal, and pasta orecchiette is no exception. Orecchiette according to Recipes Wikia, is a pasta typical of the Apulia (Italian: Puglia) region of Southern Italy.
Orecchiette Pasta - uncooked

The shape of the pasta is what gives it, its name. The pasta resembles a small ear.

In Italian, the word “orecchio” means “ear”, and the suffix ‘etto’ means ‘small’. The pronunciation of Orecchiette is : ohr-ay-KYEHT-ee.

In another article we noted that Andouille Sausage is thanks to French cuisine. The sausage is double smoked pork, that is once the meat is prepared it is smoked, then put into a sausage casing and smoked again.

Our featured recipe is actually a mix of two pasta recipes, which are Pesto Orecchiette with Chicken Sausage and Gluten Free Creamy Pesto Fettuccine (click links to view recipes).

Now for our featured recipe Orecchiette with Andouille Sausage and Pesto Chipotle Sauce, and here is what you will need.

16 ounces of cooked orecchiette

2 Andouille sausage links, about ½ pound, sliced

3/4 cup fresh basil pesto (link here for recipe – History of Pesto Sauce)

2 teaspoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

15 symphony cherry tomatoes (about), sliced in half to measure 1 cup

1 pound green beans, trimmed, cut in half

Prepare basil pesto, and add the 2 teaspoons of adobe sauce to one cup of the pesto (get ingredients by following link above). Or if you are using your favorite store bought brand (preferably in a jar) remove one cup and mix in the adobe sauce. Set prepared pesto aside.

If you have any left over basil pesto sauce, store in a glass jar and pour a thin layer of olive oil over top of pesto to keep it from browning, and place a lid on jar and tighten. The pesto should keep in cooler for 7 to 10 days. Pesto sauce makes a great spread for sandwiches as well.

fresh green beans and cherry tomatoesPrepare green beans and symphony of cherry tomatoes and set aside.

adding greens beans to pot of  boiling water with Orecchiette pastaCook pasta according to package instructions. Last three minutes of cooking time for pasta, add prepared green beans.

cooked Orecchiette and green beansDrain, but do not rinse. Set aside.

adding Andouille to pastaSlice sausage into 1/2 inch slices. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil, add meat and move about until heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan.

In the same large skillet, add the pasta green bean mix, the cup of pesto, sausage, and mix until coated with pesto chipotle sauce.

Orecchiette with Andouille Sausage and Pesto

Plate and serve.

 

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Techniques for Cooking in the Kitchen

Techniques for Cooking in the KitchenMany that prepare food are orthodox cooks, or rather what we mean is they stick to the letter of the recipe, they follow it word for word, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Sometimes following a recipe without knowing why it calls for a certain ingredient including the amount, would leave out the possibilities of being able to enter change ingredients, either to improve on the recipe, or make it more to our liking.

eggs contain percentage of moistureOne such example would be the number of eggs, and the size. How so? A recipe that is for a cake as an example, needs a certain amount of moister, and egg yolks make up about 34 percent of the liquid weight of the egg, as well as the albumen or the egg white makes up about 66 percent of the liquid weight of the egg. The moister content depends on their size.

Therefore if the recipe calls for 3 small eggs, and you add large eggs, you will be adding more moisture to the recipe, offsetting the liquid content. If you did use large eggs, then you would have to add less milk or any other ingredient that would be considered a liquid.

Many of us that are regular chefs in our own kitchen have techniques for preparing recipes that we use regularly. If you are reading this article and are not a frequent cook in the kitchen, maybe you can share these tips with the person in your life who is the cook.

salted or unsalted butterSalted Butter vs. Unsalted Butter

Butter is available both with and without salt. The salt is added for extra flavor and to help preserve it so it has a longer shelf life. The problem is that sometimes the salt in butter can be more than a recipe needs.

Choosing unsalted butter gives you more control over how much salt your dish contains. If you only have salted butter, the best thing to do is omit approximately ¼ teaspoon of salt per ½ cup (one stick) of butter used in the recipe.

Kitchen Scissors

 

Use Kitchen Scissors

Right now you probably only use your kitchen scissors for opening packaging and bags of milk. But next time you’re trimming fat from a roast, opening pitas or cutting chicken into strips, consider using your scissors!

Chefs use them all the time for cutting meats and other food items. It’s probably best to have pair that is designated as food scissors only. Be sure you clean them very well after each use because they do have crevices where bacteria can hide.

Stop Foods from Sticking to the Pan

To keep food from sticking to the bottom of your pans, and this applies if your using butter or oil in the pan, avoid putting cold foods into a hot pan.

Reduce Grease Splatters

Few things are messier than splattering grease. And if it gets on your skin it can be painful. Reduce grease splatters by sprinkling hot grease with salt prior to adding the food to be fried. If this is not completely effective, you can buy grease splatter shields at kitchen stores.

Peel Garlic Easily

Peeling garlic can be frustrating unless you know this little tip that the pros use. Lay a clove flat on a hard surface and then pressing down hard on it with the flat side of a large knife. Once you’ve pressed hard enough you’ll hear a “pop” that tells you the peel has separated. Even with this trick your fingers will undoubtedly smell like garlic. Get rid of that odor by washing them well with salt.

Keep Your Recipes Organized

Nothing is more frustrating when you’re ready to start cooking then not being able to find your recipe. Keep things organized by finding a system for filing your recipes that you can keep close at hand in the kitchen.

Smart Phone and dropboxWhat we do at “Splendid Recipes and More” is use our –Smart Phone– and -Drop Box-.

We have a free account with Drop Box and load all of our recipes to the Box.

When we shopping for ingredients for a certain recipe, we just open the Box with our Smart Phone (internet access needed, you can also use your Tablet, Laptop, and PC) and look up the recipe.

The same is done in the kitchen to follow the instructions or procedures of the recipe, either for preheating the oven or how many eggs to use etc. Here is the link to Drop Box: https://www.dropbox.com/ .

Stop Cheesecake from Cracking

Cheesecakes often crack on the top because they lose moisture while they cook. If you’re adding a topping it doesn’t matter, but if you’re serving the cake without anything on top it’s nice to have it looking perfect. Avoid cracking by putting a small dish of water on the rack beside your cake while it is cooking. This will keep it moist and crack-free!

These are just some techniques we use in our kitchen. What tips or techniques do you use? Let us know in the comments section. Thank You.

 

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Vegetables – Natures Perfect Food

Vegetables - Natures Perfect Food

“It’s bizarre that the produce manager is more important to my children’s health than the pediatrician.”  – Meryl Streep
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Eating an abundance of vegetables each and every day is critical for good health, nutrition, weight loss and long term weight management.

Low In Calories

Bell peppers - Vegetables - Natures Perfect FoodVegetables are very low in calories, in fact, many vegetable’s calorie content is insignificant, and so they can be eaten in in unlimited amounts.

Nutrient Rich

They also contain essential anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Antioxidants protect the body from various types of oxidant stress, cancers and diseases and also increases its capacity to fight against conditions because they increase the body’s immunity potential.

Fiber

peppers - Bell peppers - Vegetables - Natures Perfect FoodVegetables are also important sources of fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Fiber regulates digestion, and protects the body from conditions like hemorrhoids, colon cancer, chronic constipation, and rectal fissures.

Fiber is also essential in weight management as getting the recommended daily dose of keeps you full longer and keeps the body balanced.

Recommended Daily Intake

The United States Department of Agriculture vegetables- peppers - Bell peppers - Vegetables - Natures Perfect Foodrecommends that people eat a minimum of 3 to 5 servings of vegetables every day.

And, those seeking to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight will be glad to know that since vegetables, especially, green ones, are so low in calories that they can safely fill a plate in abundance, which, allows people to eat more while losing weight.

Frozen Versus Fresh Vegetables

Frozen vegetables are just as good and sometimes better than fresh, since, many varieties are available year round. Frozen vegetables also keep much longer and so can eliminate the need to go shopping more often for fresh. Of course, not all vegetables are available in frozen, but, those that are, such as broccoli, spinach, carrots, green beans, lima beans, stir fry mixes, etc., are all great options for healthy cooking.

Green Vegetables

Green vegetables are very low in calories and can be eaten in abundance for good health, energy, nutrients and weight artichokes- vegetables- peppers - Bell peppers - Vegetables - Natures Perfect Food loss.
They are also very low in carbs and so make a great food choice for those who have or are concerned with Diabetes and weight loss. Nutrients include, Fiber, vitamins, A, C, E and K, and also calcium, potassium and magnesium.

Choices

  • Asparagus
  • Green Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Swiss chard
  • Bok Choy
  • Spinach
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • broccoli- artichokes- vegetables- peppers - Bell peppers - Vegetables - Natures Perfect FoodCelery
  • Artichoke
  • Cucumber
  • Kale
  • Green Beans
  • Cilantro
  • Snow Peas
  • Sprouts

Green Leafy Vegetables

Dark green leafy vegetables offer the most nutrients calorie for calorie than any other food.

Along with all the nutrients offered by the other green vegetables, they are also a source of various phytonutrients, which include, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These protect the body’s leafy green vegetables - broccoli- artichokes- vegetables- peppers - Bell peppers - Vegetables - Natures Perfect Foodcells from damage and a lot more.

Dark green leaves also contain small amounts of Omega-3 fats, a lot of fiber, and since they are already low in carbs and so high in fiber they generally do not even count carb-wise at all.

Choices

  • Spinach
  • Mustard greens
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Collard Greens
  • Turnip greens
  • Swiss Chard
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Parsley
  • Watercress

Red, Yellow And Orange Vegetables

bell-peppers - leafy green vegetables - broccoli- artichokes- vegetables- peppers - Bell peppers - Vegetables - Natures Perfect FoodColor veggies are rich sources of iron, beta-carotene, vitamin B-complex, vitamin-C, vitamin A, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium and potassium.

Red tomatoes offer high concentrations of lycopene, which is an incredible antioxidant that helps to prevent various cancers.

The American Diabetes Association recommends squash, which, is available year round in both winter and summer varieties. It also provides a high amount of vitamins A and C, B vitamins, along with iron and calcium.

Choices

  • colored vegetables- bell-peppers - leafy green vegetables - broccoli- artichokes- vegetables- peppers - Bell peppers - Vegetables - Natures Perfect Food Carrots
  • Baby corn
  • Corn
  • Squash
  • Tomatoes (though a fruit, it is used like a vegetable)
  • Radishes
  • Peppers

White Vegetables

The University of California Cooperative Extension has reported that white vegetables help to reduce the risk of various health conditions, including, heart disease, cancer and some types of infections. They also help to lower cholesterol and regulate high blood pressure.

white vegetables- Vegetables: Natures Perfect Food Choices

  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  • Jicama
  • Water Chestnuts
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Leeks
  • Scallions

Purple Vegetables

Vegetables that have a deep purple color offer phytonutrients, and most importantly the essential antioxidant-rich purple vegetables- white vegetables- Vegetables: Natures Perfect Foodflavonoids.

Purple vegetables, such as, turnips are low in calories and are a good source of fiber, protein and B-vitamins.

Choices

  • Eggplant
  • Turnips
  • Purple Cabbage
  • Rutabaga

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High Protein Egg-Spinach Combo

 

High Protein Egg -Spinach Combo(2)Maybe your wondering why this would be a high protein breakfast combo? All you see is an egg, which everyone knows has protein. Of course the amount of protein depends on the size of the egg. A large egg has 6.29 grams of protein, a medium egg has 5.54 grams, and a small egg has 4.65 grams of protein. The protein is shared between the egg white and the yolk.

Single serve coffeeWhile we have the coffee going, let me explain more why this is a high protein breakfast. One cup of raw spinach has only 1 gram of protein, but when it’s cooked it has 7.6 grams. The protein in spinach though is not a complete protein, meaning it does not supply all 9 essential amino acids like as a complete source of protein would. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and there are more than 20 different amino acids.

So now that’s were the egg comes in. An egg with its protein provides all of the amino acids you need in your diet. Our bodies need  amino acids, as they are building blocks, making all the cells and tissues found inside of us.

But please don’t through your egg yolk out and only be content with an egg white omelet. The yolk contains 90% of the calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamins B-6 and B-12.

Our featured breakfast –High Protein Egg-Spinach Combo- has 9 grams of protein, which will carry you right up to lunch, with no snaking on junk food before. The spinach provides fiber and with its protein as well as the eggs, your digestion time is slowed and your blood glucose doesn’t spike, giving you energy for a longer period of time.

Now for our featured breakfast and here is what you will need.

1 large egg

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

8 baby spinach leaves

4 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1/4 cup jack cheese, shredded

preparing ingredients for High Protein egg-Spinach Combo

 

Heat a small frying pan with the olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute, 1 to 2 minutes. Next add the tomatoes and saute 1 minute more. Now add the spinach leaves, then crack open the egg over the other ingredients in the pan. Next top with the jack cheese, which adds a few grams more of protein.

cooking egg one minute with lid on

Now place a lid over the frying pan and cook for 1 minute.

High Protein Egg -Spinach Combo

Plate and enjoy with your fresh cup of brewed coffee (or your favorite morning beverage).

 

Those who skip breakfast eat more

Click to Enlarge for Better Viewing

Please don’t skip breakfast. Read our article –How Important is Breakfast for You– (FREE e-book provided).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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