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Cure that chocolate craving! This is a one serving recipe for a delicious microwave hot chocolate!

blogmas button 2014I love one serving recipes! Sometimes you just get a craving for something and want to have it without making a huge batch.

Cure that chocolate craving! This is a one serving recipe for a delicious microwave hot chocolate!

Plus this recipe can be done entirely in the microwave, which means you could have this deliciousness in your mouth in approximately 3 minutes total! Of course you can do it on the stovetop if you prefer, and you can also multiply the recipe to make larger servings. It couldn’t be easier to make!

Cure that chocolate craving! This is a one serving recipe for a delicious microwave hot chocolate!

Nutella Hot Chocolate for One
 
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Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 c. milk of choice (I used soy milk)
  • 1 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 T. Nutella spread
  • ¼ t. vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 t. sugar (optional, you can leave it out or add more or less depending on your taste and what kind of milk you’re using)
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for one minute.
  2. Remove from microwave and whisk ingredients together to dissolve the cocoa powder and sugar.
  3. Return to the microwave to heat for an additional minute, or until the mixture is hot.
  4. Whisk again to make sure everything is dissolved, then pour into a mug.
  5. Top with whipped cream and drizzle with extra Nutella if desired!

Cure that chocolate craving! This is a one serving recipe for a delicious microwave hot chocolate!

So what are you waiting for, you’re 3 minutes away from pure bliss!

-Lauren

P.S.- There are TWO awesome giveaways going on right now! Have you entered? One is for delicious dairy-free chocolate chips and the other is for free jars of the best almond butter in the world!

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Citrus fruits and pomegranate seeds glazed in sweet honey!

blogmas button 2014

A lot of times it can feel hard to fruit up in the winter because so many beloved fruits (berries, peaches, etc.) are far out of season. But cold weather comes with some delicious fruits, too!

Citrus fruits and pomegranate seeds glazed in sweet honey!

This is a really simple salad but it’s so delicious and refreshing for this time of year. The honey really helps balance out the sweet and tart flavors in the citrus and pomegranate seeds, it’s perfect!

Honey Glazed Winter Fruit Salad
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 c. segmented ruby grapefruit
  • 1 c. segmented navel oranges
  • ½ c. pomegranate seeds
  • 2 t. raw honey
Instructions
  1. Gently stir the ingredients together until the honey is coating all of the fruit. Serve chilled and enjoy!

Citrus fruits and pomegranate seeds glazed in sweet honey!

I’m making this for Christmas breakfast this year! Super healthy and a great side to dishes that might be a little heavier. Plus isn’t it pretty?

Citrus fruits and pomegranate seeds glazed in sweet honey!

Speaking of things that are healthy and delicious, I’m excited to share the next GIVEAWAY with you all.

Barney Vector Logo Bug

 

Barney Butter (the best almond butter you will ever taste) has given me two vouchers for free nut butter to give to you all! Enter away! I’ll keep the giveaway open for 2 weeks to give everyone plenty of time!

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Another drink recipe coming tomorrow! It involves chocolate….
-Lauren

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Shortbread cookie made with brown butter and topped with melted chocolate and nuts--so dreamy.

blogmas button 2014

This post is a good 12-hours late, but in the spirit of the holidays I know you’ll cut me some slack. ;) Posting new recipes every day in a row for 12 days always proves to be quite the challenge! But this one is worth the wait, it’s probably my favorite Blogmas recipe so far!

Shortbread cookie made with brown butter and topped with melted chocolate and nuts--so dreamy.If you haven’t noticed, brown butter has become quite the food trend in the past few years (on par with salted caramel mania). And that’s because when browned correctly, there’s pretty much nothing that is equal to the richness and deep, toasty flavor of it. Brown butter takes these cookie bars from “Yum!” to “Holy crap, get me another one right now.”

Shortbread cookie made with brown butter and topped with melted chocolate and nuts--so dreamy.

Brown Butter Toffee Bars (Blogmas Day 8)
 
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Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • ½ c. brown butter (if you don’t know how to make it, Allrecipes has a great tutorial), cooled to room temp
  • ½ c. light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • ¼ t. salt
  • 1 c. semisweet or milk chocolate chips
  • ⅓ c. toasted pecans, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix the butter, brown sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla on medium-high speed with an electric mixer until the ingredients are creamy.
  3. Add in the flour and salt and mix on low just until everything is combined.
  4. Press the dough into an even layer in the bottom of a parchment lined 9×9 baking pan.
  5. Bake this crust for about 25 minutes, or until it turns golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and immediately top with chocolate chips. Set the pan aside for 5 mins.
  7. With a spatula or knife, spread out the now melted chocolate chips to coat the crust in a later of chocolate.
  8. Sprinkle pecans evenly over melted chocolate. Set aside at room temperature until the chocolate hardens completely (at least an hour).
  9. Cut into squares and enjoy!

The recipe is super easy and because the crust is shortbread, these will also last several days in an airtight container. Which makes them great for gifts! Or great for hoarding all to yourself.

Shortbread cookie made with brown butter and topped with melted chocolate and nuts--so dreamy. My next post contains the next GIVEAWAY of the series! Excited to share it with you!

-Lauren

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Parmesan mashed potato in a crispy fried crust, makes an awesome appetizer or side dish!

blogmas button 2014

Those of you who are regular readers probably remember that Jason and I usually spend Christmas up north with Jason’s family.  Now that we live in Georgia we started spending Christmas down here, but I have very fond memories of spending holiday there! His family is Italian on both sides and they have introduced me to a plethora of foods that I had never tried before.

Along with the seafood spread that they serve for Christmas Eve dinner, Jason’s uncle and aunt bring delicious Italian goodies from Brooklyn including proscuitto bread, rice balls, and potato croquettes. The croquettes are essentially little logs of mashed potatoes that are breaded and fried. So delicious! So last year we decided to try and recreate the traditional meal and I tried making the croquettes for the first time.

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Surprisingly they were pretty easy to make and they were SO good! And now I’m finally getting around to sharing the recipe. :)

Parmesan mashed potato in a crispy fried crust, makes an awesome appetizer or side dish!

Italian Potato Croquettes (Blogmas Day 7)
 
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Serves: 12 croquettes
Ingredients
For filling
  • 3 lbs. russet potatoes (skins on), washed thoroughly
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 T. all-purpose flour
  • salt and pepper
For breading
  • 1 c. seasoned breadcrumbs (we like 4C brand)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 T. milk
Instructions
  1. Steam the potatoes with their skins on until they are tender enough that a knife can very easily pierce each potato.
  2. Remove the potatoes from the heat and set aside until they are cool enough to handle. Peel the potatoes, roughly mash them and set them aside to cool completely and dry out a little.
  3. Once the potatoes are cool, put them in the bowl of a mixer and mix them with the 4 eggs, cheese, and flour until the mixture becomes dough like. If your dough is really wet like a batter, add flour 1 T. at a time until it thickens up a little. Salt and pepper to taste and set the dough aside.
  4. Pour the breadcrumbs in a shallow dish and whisk together the eggs and milk together in another.
  5. Preheat a deep skillet or saucepan of oil to 375 degrees.
  6. Take a handful of the potato mixture at a time and form it into a log shape. Dip into the egg mixture first then coat with breadcrumbs. Continue until the potato mixture is gone.
  7. Fry each croquette in the hot oil until they are brown on both sides. Remove to a paper towel to drain. Enjoy!

You should join us in the holiday tradition by making these this year!

Parmesan mashed potato in a crispy fried crust, makes an awesome appetizer or side dish!

 

See you tomorrow with another dessert!

-Lauren

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Delicious biscotti filled with chunks of buttered pecans and dipped in white chocolate!

blogmas button 2014

When I was a kid I really didn’t understand biscotti. Why would someone want a cookie that’s as hard as a dog biscuit?! But since then I’ve gotten older and wiser and I drink lots of coffee. I now know the joy of biscotti, a delicious toasted cookie that is not actually supposed to be so hard that you chip a tooth on it. When they’re homemade with love they are amazing.

Delicious biscotti filled with chunks of buttered pecans and dipped in white chocolate!

Butter Pecan Biscotti
 
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Serves: 20 cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 c. coarsely chopped pecans
  • 2 T. butter
  • ½ t. salt
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • ¾ c. cornmeal
  • 1½ t. baking powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 12 oz. white chocolate (you can use chips but I love the Ghiardelli melting wafers)
Instructions
  1. In a skillet over medium heat, toast the pecans in a dry pan for a couple minutes. Add in the butter and ½ t. salt and cook a few more minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  3. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt
  4. In the bowl of a mixer beat together the eggs and sugar for a couple minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  5. Add in the vanilla and flour mixture and mix until it forms a smooth and sticky dough. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Fold the buttered pecans into the dough.
  7. Use a spatula to scoop the batter into two even mounds on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the dough starts to brown.
  9. Remove the pan from the oven (keep the oven on) and set it aside to cool for 5 minutes.
  10. When the mounds are cool enough for you to handle, cut slices from each with a sharp, serrated knife. Each mound should yield about 10 slices.
  11. Flip each slice so that they are cut-side down and return to the oven to toast for about 20 more minutes, or until they start to brown underneath.
  12. Remove from the oven to cool.
  13. When the cookies are cool to the touch, melt the white chocolate in the microwave in increments of 15 seconds, stirring between each increment until the chocolate is totally melted.
  14. Dip the top edge of each cookie in white chocolate (or you can dip half of the cookie in, or you can spread the melted chocolate on with a knife). Set them aside at room temperature until the chocolate hardens completely.
  15. Enjoy! Store at room temperature in an airtight container and these stay good for weeks.
Notes
adapted from a Food Network recipe

I actually got this recipe from my dear friend’s mom (HI ALICE!), who told me that she loved this biscotti recipe from Giada. I tried it and she was SO right, it’s delicious! Something about the cornmeal in the batter takes it over the top for me. So of course I had to put a little twist on it and thought buttered pecans would be so nice. It came out great! I’ve eaten about 10 of these already.

Delicious biscotti filled with chunks of buttered pecans and dipped in white chocolate!

In the time it took me to write this post I’ve eaten two more. Staring at these pics was making me hungry!

-Laurn

 

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Cucumber rounds topped with a savory greek yogurt vegetable dip, perfect for parties!

blogmas button 2014

The recipe I’m sharing today is simple and healthy! Even though I’m a sucker for cheese dips and chips and such, when it comes to a big holiday meal I feel like it’s always better to keep appetizers light and refreshing. You don’t want everyone in a food coma before they even have dinner! These little bites are the perfect thing to greet company with.

Cucumber rounds topped with a savory greek yogurt vegetable dip, perfect for parties!

Cucumber and Creamy Vegetable Bites
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 large english cucumber
  • ¼ c. carrots, diced
  • ¼ c. green onion, sliced
  • ½ t. salt
  • ¼ t. pepper
  • ½ t. garlic powder
  • 1 c. plain greek yogurt
  • ¼ c. roasted red pepper, thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. Cut off the ends of the cucumber and peel off strips, leaving some parts unpeeled to make a striped design on the outside.
  2. Slice thickly on a diagonal.
  3. Pulse the carrots, green onion, salt, pepper, and greek yogurt together until the vegetables are very small and everything is incorporated.
  4. Spoon about 1 T. of the creamy vegetable mixture over each cucumber round. Top with a piece of sliced red pepper.
  5. Enjoy!

Serve these with my pimento cheese puffs from the 3rd day of Blogmas and you’ve got yourself the beginning of a great party. :)

Cucumber rounds topped with a savory greek yogurt vegetable dip, perfect for parties!

-Lauren

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Sweetly spiced, buttery tasting sugar cookies made with coconut oil instead of butter!

blogmas button 2014

It’s time to add a vegan recipe to the mix! I’ve seen lots of eggnog flavored cookies on the internet and in magazines lately and thought this would be a really fun recipe to veganize. This recipe uses coconut oil in place of butter, which works so well! This by no means makes these “healthy” cookies, coconut oil is still a fat, but it’s a great alternative to using dairy products. And they are SO tasty.

Sweetly spiced, buttery tasting sugar cookies made with coconut oil instead of butter!

Vegan Eggnog Sugar Cookies (Blogmas Day 4)
 
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Serves: 3 dozen
Ingredients
  • 1½ c. powdered sugar
  • ¼ t. salt
  • 1 c. room temperature coconut oil
  • ¼ c. nondairy nog (Silk makes a great soy one and So Delicious makes a coconut milk one)
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • 1½ t. baking powder
  • ¼ t. baking soda
  • ¼ t. ground nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Mix the powdered sugar, salt, coconut oil, nog, and vanilla together in the bowl of a mixer until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  2. Add in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg all at once and mix everything together well until it forms a dough.
  3. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 375.
  5. Divide the dough into four pieces. Roll each piece out onto a floured surface to about ¼” thickness and cut with cookie cutter of choice.
  6. Bake on a lined baking sheet for 8-10 minutes, or until the bottom edges just start to brown.
  7. Remove and let cook for a couple minutes on the pan, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. If you want your cookies iced, whisk together some sifted powdered sugar and a little nog to make an icing.
  9. Enjoy!

Since these are sugar cookies the options for decorating are endless! You can ice them with a simple mixture of powdered sugar and nog, you can sprinkle them with colored sugar or sprinkles before baking, or you can leave them plain!

Sweetly spiced, buttery tasting sugar cookies made with coconut oil instead of butter!

Today I’m also thrilled to announce the FIRST giveaway of Blogmas! If you are vegan/dairy-free and enjoy baking, Enjoy Life chocolate chips are probably your best friend in the kitchen. For those of you who might not be familiar, Enjoy Life is the #1 brand of allergy-friendly baking chocolate in the US. Their chocolate chips are dairy-free, soy-free, and nut-free and work perfectly for any recipe that calls for chocolate! They’ve generously offered to give away a package of these awesome chips away to one lucky winner. The winner will also receive Enjoy Life’s Plentils, their all-natural crunchy lentil chips. I’ve heard that the Plentils are actually good when chocolate-covered too, so maybe the winner can try that out! Enter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

We’re already a third of the way through Blogmas–how did that happen so fast? See you tomorrow!
-Lauren

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These fluffy cheese balls make a perfect party appetizer or anytime snack!

blogmas button 2014

This is one of those posts when the recipe title and the food kind of speaks for itself. These are soft, fluffy, crispy-on-the-outside puffs baked with pimento cheese. Aka gourgères (French cheese puffs) turned Southern.

These fluffy cheese balls make a perfect party appetizer or anytime snack!

I don’t buy pre-made pimento cheese, it tastes much better to make it yourself and it’s very easy (I’ll save my pimento cheese recipe for another day). In this recipe I actually used just cheddar cheese and diced pimentos to give that delicious flavor without all the other ingredients that the spread usually has (mayo, cream cheese, etc) interfering with the dough. The result is quite delicious!

Pimento Cheese Puffs
 
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Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • ½ c. butter
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • ¼ c. finely diced pimento peppers (they come jarred, look in your olive aisle)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Bring the butter, water, and salt to a boil over medium heat in a large saucepan.
  3. Once the mixture is boiling, add the flour and stir together with a wooden spoon.
  4. Continue to stir vigorously until the mixture forms a dough. Keep stirring the dough over the heat for a couple minutes.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and let the dough cool for a few minutes.
  6. When the dough has cooled to being just warm to the touch, vigorously stir in the eggs with the wooden spoon. The dough will become very smooth and creamy in consistency.
  7. Stir in the cheese and pimentos until well incorporated.
  8. Spoon the dough by the tablespoon onto a parchment or silicone mat lined baking sheet.
  9. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 and cook for another 20 minutes, or until the puffs are golden brown.
  10. Enjoy!
Notes

 

These would make great appetizers for your holiday get togethers and are very easy to make even though they seem a bit fancy.

These fluffy cheese balls make a perfect party appetizer or anytime snack!They’re best right out of the oven–DELISH!

These fluffy cheese balls make a perfect party appetizer or anytime snack!

See you tomorrow with the first COOKIE recipe of Blogmas!

-Lauren

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This hot, sweet spiced drink is a delicious treat on a cold night!

blogmas button 2014

You know this song, right? All together now!

Here we come a-wassailing
Among the leaves so green,
Here we come a-wand’ring
So fair to be seen.

I like to think this drink is so good that it has a hundreds year old Christmas carol written about it, but that’s not exactly the story. The word wassail actually means to wish others good health or good cheer, and it’s derived from the Old English greeting “wes þu hal” which means “Be of good health!” (my concentration in college was medieval English literature, can ya tell? oh…). It evolved into being a toast for festivities and eventually into the name for a hot spiced drink that is enjoyed at Christmas time. Bottom line: you must honor history by making this delicious drink.

This hot, sweet spiced drink is a delicious treat on a cold night!

5.0 from 1 reviews

Hot Cranberry Wassail
 
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Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 qt. cranberry juice
  • 1 qt. apple cider (apple juice will work too)
  • 1 c. pineapple juice
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 t. whole cloves
  • ½ T. chunk of fresh ginger root
  • ½ t. ground nutmeg
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced (optional for garnish)
Instructions
  1. Bring all the ingredients (except the orange) to a boil together in a large pot, covered.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. (Alternatively, put the ingredients in a crockpot and heat on high for 4 hours.)
  4. Serve hot with orange slices in each mug for garnish! Add a splash of rum to your serving if you please.
Notes
Use the good stuff for this recipe, 100% juices with no sugar added!

 

This hot, sweet spiced drink is a delicious treat on a cold night!

We’ve actually been making wassail in my family for quite a few years, it’s become another holiday tradition. It’s really good for company or holiday parties or any time when you want to fill your house with an incredible smell and warm up lots of cold people! A little rum inside makes it extra warming, but of course feel free to omit it for a family friendly drink. Either way it’s absolutely delicious!

This hot, sweet spiced drink is a delicious treat on a cold night!

Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too;
And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year
And God send you a Happy New Year.

See you tomorrow!

-Lauren

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Foolproof and delicious marbled chocolate bark for the holidays! Makes a fantastic gift!

WELCOME to the first day of Blogmas, friends!

blogmas button 2014If you’re new to the blog, I’ve been doing this series called Blogmas for the last couple years. Essentially it’s a holiday extravaganza where I share a NEW, awesome holiday recipe EVERY SINGLE DAY for the 12 days leading up to Christmas Eve. Not only will I be sharing new recipes every day, I’ll also be doing fun giveaways from some of my favorite brands and extra goodies like videos as surprises along the way! So without further ado, I present to you the first recipe of Blogmas!

Foolproof and delicious marbled chocolate bark for the holidays! Makes a fantastic gift!

Chocolate bark wins two prizes in my opinion. 1)It’s one of the easiest things you can possibly make. 2)It’s beautiful and makes awesome holiday gifts for friends, teachers, or co-workers. All you need is 5 minutes, good quality melting chocolate, and some toppings of your choice! I like to use nuts and dried fruit instead of candy as toppings because it keeps the sugar down and the artificial colors and things away. But by all means, use whatever you like!

Foolproof and delicious marbled chocolate bark for the holidays! Makes a fantastic gift!

I love doing pistachios with cranberries because they’re festive Christmas colors! But also the flavors really work with the mixture of chocolates. This recipe is seriously foolproof!

5.0 from 1 reviews

Marbled Christmas Bark (Blogmas Day 1)
 
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Serves: 24 pieces
Ingredients
  • 8 oz. good white melting chocolate*
  • 8 oz. good dark melting chocolate*
  • ⅓ c. pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ c. dried cranberries
Instructions
  1. Melt each of the chocolates in separate containers in the microwave (microwave for 20 seconds at a time, stir, and then return to microwave until the chocolate is completely melted).
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Pour half of the dark chocolate onto the parchment paper, roughly in the shape of a rectangle.
  4. Pour the white chocolate on top of that dark chocolate, then pour the remaining dark chocolate over that to finish.
  5. Use a toothpick or a knife to swirl the chocolates together until you are happy with the swirl pattern.
  6. Sprinkle nuts and cranberries over the chocolate.
  7. Set aside to cool for 2 hours at room temperature.
  8. Break apart into chunks and enjoy! Will keep at room temperature.
Notes
*I highly recommend Ghiardelli’s melting wafers, they have the best flavor and texture of any grocery store chocolate I’ve found.

 

Foolproof and delicious marbled chocolate bark for the holidays! Makes a fantastic gift!

This bark stays good at room temperature, which is one reason why it’s so perfect to wrap up and give away! And even though it’s so simple it’s seriously SO GOOD. I’ve eaten like almost half of the bark on my own…no regrets.

Foolproof and delicious marbled chocolate bark for the holidays! Makes a fantastic gift!

See you tomorrow with a festive beverage!

-Lauren

 

 

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