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 Gluten Free Baking Week

National Gluten Free Baking Week According to National Day Calendar, December 13th thru the 19th, it’s “Gluten Free (GF) Baking Week.

Gluten is a complex protein found in wheat, rye and barley and for some people that spells trouble.

Why Gluten Free Baking?

Gluten Free Blueberry Lemon Bread

Gluten Free Blueberry Lemon Bread – Click Image For Recipe

GF baking is one that excludes any type of flour that has gluten, which is a particular protein composite found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale.

Without becoming too technical or medical, wheat, rye and barley wreaks havoc on some, if not many individuals their digestive tract.

Gluten free baking doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite traditional desserts. It just means modifying your desserts by using gluten free flour choices.

Gluten Free Flour Options For Baking

Creative minds have discovered ways to bake with GF flours, and such flours can be found at your local market. Let’s examine in short what some of your choices are.

Bean Flours

Including garbanzo bean flour and romano bean flour, these flours are typically high in protein and have a distinct flavor. They are better suited for heartier recipes, such as breads.

Brown Rice Flour

This is a supplementary flour, and works great when blended with teff, buckwheat or sorghum flours. It is great for baking those sweet desserts.

Millet Flour

This is a light in color and a drier flour than most other gluten free flours. It is best when mixed with heartier flours, like Teff, Hemp, or almond flours.

Gluten Free Carrot Cake with a Cream Cheese Frosting

Gluten Free Carrot Cake with a Cream Cheese Frosting – Click Image For Recipe

 

Buckwheat Flour

Yes, it has wheat in the title, but this flour is related not to wheat but to the rhubarb plant. It has a distinct taste, which makes it best when combined with other, more bland flours.

This flour alternative for use in muffins, cakes and pancakes. In order to work well with the dough, adding a starch would help, like arrowroot, tapioca, or a nongmo cornstarch.

Sorghum Flour 

Made from sorghum, which is a relative of sugarcane. It’s tender and adds a mild sweetness, but is rarely used alone.

Coconut Flour

This flour lends a pleasant flavor to baked goods. Since coconut flour absorbs moisture more than other flours, it is suggested for recipes that have at least as much liquid as flour required in a recipe. Because this can be a tricky art, it’s suggested that as a beginner, you use recipes specifically designed for coconut flour.

Almond Flour

This is a great choice for baking. Using almond flour to a dessert recipe will add moistness, binding, a light almond flavor, and a good amount of density to cupcakes, muffins, brownies, cookies, breads, and cake recipes.

Keep in mind that any nut flour cannot be substituted in equal quantities for flour, because nut flours are more dense and very high in protein. They can be used to replace a portion of other GF flours, such as Oat Flour, being used in the recipe.

Buying Commercial Gluten Free Flour Choices

Gluten Free Zucchini Cranberry Bread

Gluten Free Zucchini Cranberry Bread – Click Image For Recipe

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free is a fine blend using as its base garbanzo beans, potato starch, and tapioca, to name a few of the ingredients. See Bob speaking here about his flour choices, along with nutritional information, reviews, and GF recipes.

King Arthur Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour

King Arthur Flour is a blend of white rice and whole grain brown rice flours, along with tapioca and potato starch. What’s great about this product is that ‘it’s multi-purpose’ and can therefore be used for both baking and cooking, cup-for-cup, the same as any gluten flour product.

Tips For Beginners Of Gluten-Free Baking

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake – Click Image For Recipe

Experiment, experiment and experiment. There is a learning curve when you first start with Gluten free baking, but once you get some practice and experience you will become an expert about what works and what dosen’t.

Stay with it and don’t get discouraged. There will be failed recipes because you have to learn which flour combinations work best, but it just takes practice and testing. It’s best to get guidance from recipe books or online guides when first trying your hand at gluten free baking.

Begin with simple baking recipes and learn the basics.

Try some of our gluten free dessert recipes by clicking on the images above that are accompanying this article, or by clicking the links below.

Gluten Free Tropical Carrot Cake

Gluten-Free Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

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National Cocoa Day With A Chocolate Tiramisu

National Cocoa DayA hot cup of cocoa is the same as a hot cup of chocolate. Today December 13th according to National Day Calendar, it is National  Cocoa Day. What a great month to have such a day, as the day are getting colder, and a cup of hot cocoa seems the hot beverage to recognize. Even more so, that it is a wintry windy and rainy morning outside at the moment.

National Day Calendar notes that in their research on this day, they were unable to find the creator of National Cocoa Day.

But hey, what a great excuse to make a Chocolate Tiramisu, while enjoying a cup of hot chocolate or hot cocoa. If you enjoy the traditional tiramisu prepared with espresso, you’ll excite your taste buds with a chocolate tiramisu!

Here is what you will need to prepare your own Chocolate Tiramisu, while enjoying a nice cup of hot chocolate.

Chocolate Tiramisu

1¾ cup heavy cream, divided

1  cup coconut sugar or granulated sugar

16 ounces mascarpone cheese

¼ tsp. Himalayan salt

2 tsp. vanilla extract

6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped

24-30 lady fingers

2 cups prepared hot chocolate, strong, cooled to room temperature

With an electric mixer, beat whipping cream with sugar on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.

Mix in salt, vanilla, and mascarpone cheese until combined.

Using a pastry bag, pipe a small amount of the cream mixture into the bottoms of 6 – 10 to 12 ounce dessert glasses.

Break lady fingers into pieces first, so they fit, then dip in hot chocolate and place in a single layer over cream mixture. Pipe in some more cream mixture, repeating layers, ending with the cream mixture.

Top with a dusting of unsweetened cocoa powder, and top with shaved dark chocolate or real chocolate sprinkles.

Enjoy at room temperature or chilled.

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Gluten Free Blueberry Lemon Bread

Gluten Free  Blueberry Lemon BreadGluten intolerance is experienced by not few, but many individuals. In the USA  gluten sensitive affects 6% of the population, or about 18 million people.  Around 3 million Americans, or about 1% of the US population have Celiac disease, and must also avoid gluten.

Magazine DigestionA recently published study (May 2015) in the journal “Digestion” found that 86% of individuals who believed they were gluten sensitive could tolerate it (Resource).

Stefano Guandalini, MD, director of the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, says that gluten sensitivity, a condition that doctors once dismissed but now is recognized as legitimate complaint from patients (WebMD).

The most common symptom to gluten intolerance is bloating right after eating any flour product, like bread, that contains gluten.

This is why the author of Splendid Recipes and More eats gluten free as much as possible. The only gluten free products we buy prepackaged, are pastas make with a legume flour, quinoa or brown rice flour.

Sourdough Bread on Cutting BoardAlso sourdough bread has only about 3% max gluten after the fermentation process. We prefer this bread over any other, as we do not bloat after eating it.

You might think, what is wrong with bloating some for a bit, as it will go away? This maybe true, but bloating is a symptom of digestive issues as well as inflaming the digestive tract.

Also if you find yourself wanting to fall asleep after eating gluten containing foods, that is a symptom that your digestive tract is having difficulty digesting the food.

We have a Blueberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding, that will put me to sleep while it is digesting. But if I make the dessert with sourdough bread or a gluten free loaf of bread, that doesn’t happen.

All I know is after cutting gluten from my diet, I feel much better. No bloating, and some weight loss, as much as 22 pounds. Though going gluten free was not done so as to lose weight.

Now for our featured recipe – Gluten Free Blueberry Lemon Bread – and here is what you will need.

1 1/2 cups almond flour

1/4 cup coconut flour, sifted

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. Himalayan salt

4 eggs

1/2 cup coconut oil or clarified butter, melted

bowl of fresh blueberries1/3 cup honey or maple syrup

3 tbsp. lemon juice

zest from 2 lemons

1 1/2 cups blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Grease a glass loaf pan and cut a piece of parchment paper to line the bottom.

Combine the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.  Set aside.

Whisk together eggs, coconut oil, honey or maple syrup, lemon juice, and lemon zest until well combined.

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until well incorporated.

Spread one third of the batter onto bottom of prepared pan.  Sprinkle 1/3 of the blueberries on top.  Spread another third of the batter and another third of the blueberries.  Repeat one more time with the remaining batter and berries.

If you wish not to do this step, just mix the berries into the batter.

Next place baking dish into the oven and bake 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Cover with foil if top begins to brown too much.  This is one draw back of gluten free baking, is the top of the cakes seem to brown fast.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Gluten free baking is really an art. How so? Will if you are use to baking with gluten containing flours, from a grain, and not flour from a nut, it can be caught difficult, if not to say stressful. We say stressful, because of all the effort and time you spent on preparing and baking, to only have a flop as they say, is stressful.

Slice of Gluten Free  Blueberry Lemon Bread topped with Organic ButterIf your first gluten free dessert doesn’t turn out perfect, just try again, like we did. Link here to view our very first gluten free dessert here at Splendid Recipes and More.

It was delicious, though the texture was not right. We kept trying and have come out with some good results.

Desserts made with almond flour and even coconut flour, taste really good with a good Italian or French roasted coffee, or even an Espresso.

Serve the dessert bread warm with a dab of organic butter or coconut butter.

Please leave us your thoughts on going gluten free.

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8 More Uses For Your Lemon

 There are many uses for a lemon, with the most common being used in culinary cooking and baking desserts. Oh and not to forget drinking lemon juice with warm water in the morning to get the digestion moving.

There are in fact 8 more uses for that lemon you have in your kitchen. Let’s see what they are.

Your Cutting Board

A combination of Himalayan salt and lemon juice is said to be the top cleaner for your cutting board.

lemon slice on a cutting board After using the board rinse it under running water. Next sprinkle the board with salt, and rub 1/2 a lemon (cut side down) over the surface of the cutting board .

After dubbing the intire surface, let the board sit for about 10-15 minutes, and rinse again with water. The two food items together remove orders, germs, and help prevent stains.

Harden Brown Sugar

What a drag when you go to reach for the brown sugar, and it has harden.

To soften it up, just add the peel of half a lemon to the packaged brown sugar, and allow to sit overnight. The sugar will absorb the moisture of the lemon peel, tuning that harden brown sugar soft and manageable once more.

Wilted Leafy Greens

leafy green lettuceDon’t you just hate it when you want to make a salad, and you find your leafy greens have wilted in you. No worries though.

Just add cold water to a large bowl. Next add the greens and juice from 1/2 a lemon, and place in your refrigerator for about an hour, then dry the greens thoroughly.

Smell Fresh Refrigerator

Who knew a cottonball with a few drops of lemon juice could remove food orders from your refrigerator.

Faucets That Sparkle

Hard water stains on faucets can be removed with a cloth that has been dampened with lemon juice. Just rub the hard water spots until they disappear.

There are still more uses for that lemon, such as for a sore throat. Just add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to 8 ounces of warm water, then gargle and swallow. Lemon juice is so strong that it kills germs and bacteria.

You can even soak your finger nails in lemon juice and warm water for 5 minutes, once a week to remove any stains from your nails.

Lastly, after you have juiced your lemon for the above uses or any way you use your lemon, do not through away the peel. Freeze it.

 Place the peel in a zip-lock baggy and place in the freezer. When making a dish or dessert that calls for lemon zest, and you rich for the lemon, but so sad it’s not there. Don’t fret, the frozen lemon peels to the rescue.

Just grate the frozen peel, and you have fresh lemony zest. You can also do this with lime and orange peels.

What other uses do you have for your lemon, besides cooking and baking?

Mexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat Sauce

Mexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat Sauce

All squash varieties are members of the Curcurbita family. They come in varying colors, textures, shapes, sizes, and a range of flavors.

The three main categories of the Curcurbita family are:
Curcurbita pepo– include but not limited too zucchini, summer squashes, acorn, and spaghetti squash
Curcurbita maxima– includes but not limited too: banana squash, and pumpkin
Curcurbita moschata– includes but not limited too: butternut squash, and calabaza

Squash is a low carbohydrate food, including a low glycemic index food, between 0 and 35. The low number indicates no spiking of insulin in the blood stream. Most squash have small amounts of vitamins A, C, E and K, and including the B-vitamins. They also contain trace minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and copper.

Squash is great for heart health and every muscle of the body. Magnesium is great to help the muscles relax, preventing what is called charlie-horse or cramping of the muscles.

As for potassium, one half cup serving of Grey Squash as an example has 603 mg, raw zucchini has 459 mg, cooked has 194 mg, and baked Butternut squash has 289 mg.

Mexican Grey SquashThe squash we are using in our featured recipe is a hybrid of the zucchini squash, and is referred to in Mexico as the Mexican squash or the grey squash.

The grey squash has the same texture and flavor as the zucchini. Unlike the zucchini when harvested at a larger size, the grey squash tends to still have a tender skin.

Now for our featured recipe: Mexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat Sauce. The recipe is simple and easy, as it contains 3 ingredients as follows…

principle ingredients for Mexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat SauceYou can use any type of spaghetti sauce, but we chose to use a tomato base with cream and vodka included, 2 cups.

One pound of organic pork chorizo, which we purchased on sale at the Whole Foods Market, and 3 Mexican squash, which will make about 2 to 3 servings. Here we have a larger harvested Mexican squash given to us from a friends organic home garden.

makng squash pasta with a julienne peelerUsing a julienne peeler, run it from top to bottom all around the squash until you arrive to the seeds in the center. Set the squash pasta aside.

Pork ChorizoHeat a large ceramic coated skillet over medium heat, add a tablespoon of pastured unsalted butter, and when melted add the pork, and cook until done, about 10 minutes. remove from heat, and set aside.

cooking squash pasta in skillet In a large ceramic coated skillet over medium heat, add 4 tablespoons of olive oil. When heated, add the stringed squash and cook for about 5 minutes. You want the oil to cling to the squash strings. If the oil clings then in turn the spaghetti sauce will cling to the squash pasta. Do not over cook the squash, you want a little crunch, and at the same time you want a fork to twirl it, the same as is done with traditional pasta.

sauce and chorizoRemove skillet from heat and transfer squash past to a serving platter. Return the skillet to the heat and add the spaghetti sauce and cooked pork chorizo, and mix together. Allow the heat to warm the meat sauce.

Mexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat Sauce - 2

Remove meat sauce from heat and pour it over the squash pasta arranged on a serving platter. Serve with grated Italian cheese, and enjoy.

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Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

You may have heard of mascarpone as an Italian style cream cheese, but a softer texture, than the regular cream cheese, such as the brand name Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Mascarpone can be used in cheesecakes, and is also used to make Tiramisu. Because of its creamy texture, it makes a grand accompaniment with berries, like strawberries. The Italian style cream cheese is described in flavor as sweet, rich, and creamy-like with a mild buttery flavor.

Mascarpone was invented in southern Italy around the 16th century. It is made using the cream of cow’s milk. The name Mascarpone, pronounced  Mahs-kahr-po-nay, is thought to be related to the root word mascherare, an Italian verb meaning to “dress up” or “camouflage.”

This dressing up of the cow’s cream, relates to the way the cream cheese is made. It begins from mascarpa, which is a by-product that is extracted from the whey that is leftover from making stracchino, a semi-soft cheese made from whole cow’s milk, and once extracted from the whey, it is then coagulated with lemon juice and drained, and you have: Mascarpone.

Now for our featured recipe: Gluten Free Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce, and here is what you will need.

2/3 cup coconut flour

1 ripe medium banana

1 medium carrot finely grated, do not pat dry (should equal about 1 cup)

1/2 cup dried coconut, shredded and unsweetened

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons melted coconut butter

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

3 eggs

2 cups coconut milk (can also use buttermilk, milk, or almond milk)

The Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce to follow.

Ingredients for Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone SauceMix all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.

Carrot Cake Pancakes cooking in a skilletWarm a ceramic coated skillet over medium heat, and add a tablespoon of coconut butter. When butter is melted, add a ladle full of the pancake mix, and cook about 1 1/2 minutes on each side.

Before making the pancakes, in a separate small mixing bowl, make the Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce, as follows.

Ingredients for Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

 

1 – 8 oz. tub of mascarpone cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 zest of an orange

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon real maple syrup

1/8 teaspoon Himalayan salt

Mix all ingredients in a small mixing bowl, and set aside. If there is any leftover cream cheese sauce, save in a glass jar with a tight lid for up to 10 days in the refrigerator.

Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

 

When you have finished cooking the pancakes (makes about 6 large cakes), plate them and top with the Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce. You can also top the sauce with some grated carrot, and nuts, like pecans or walnuts. Enjoy!!

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