*AMBER512   207,013
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Quinoa, Salads, and Green Monsters, Oh My!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Thank you so much for the recipes youíve shared! I have been searching through Spark Recipes recipes.sparkpeople.com/home.asp as well. While Iím still feeling the desire to stick to the foods I know I love, I have tried a few new meals.

Actually the first is a meal Iíve tried before. My blog on Sante Fe Quinoa: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo

But I wanted to make it with the changes I had talked about. And let me tell you, the changes made an okay recipe AMAZING!

I cooked the quinoa by itself before adding the other ingredients. On top of the quinoa I dumped the olive oil, salsa, black beans, red and green bell pepper, cumin, and green onion.

Mixed up all together the taste was out of this world. Iím so glad I added the salsa AFTER cooking this time and scrapped the corn altogether. The bell pepper gives it not only a better flavor, but an awesome texture.

I ate about a fourth of it with a big salad on the side.

Oh! Speaking of salad, I have been making the best lately. I used to think it was crazy when people said they had a salad for lunch. Iíd think, ďWhat do you mean a salad? Thatís it???Ē I mean, I donít eat meat so I didnít think a salad could be filling. But, it is actually so simple I donít know why I had never tried it.

Technically I guess I have, since thatís what I always get at Sweet Tomatoes. Then again, I usually have something on the side there as well.

So the first one I tried had black beans, sunflower seeds, egg whites and cheese for fat and protein.

With my homemade ranch dressing and green onions on top.

The only part I didnít like was the cheese. The flavor got totally lost in there! I donít like the typical cheeses people throw in salads, so I have just been leaving it out.

The next time I made one it had egg whites, black beans, sunflower seeds and sliced almonds.

It was pretty tasty as well. Although, I have to admit, I have been lazy lately. I havenít taken the time to hard boil any eggs to add. So I have just been using black beans for the protein source. Although I did add avocado instead of the almonds and while the flavor isnít much to me, I do like spreading out my source of fats. The thing with avocado is that it just doesnít taste like anything to me. The texture is a fantastic addition to my salad though, so Iím liking it!

Iím actually imagining avocado, hummus, and red bell pepper on a sandwich. I havenít tried it yet, but I keep thinking about it!

I did realize that I am still me, so I canít just eat one big bowl of salad and be satisfied. I must have SOMETHING on the side. So I did what I do at Sweet Tomatoes and had veggies on the side.

With a bit more of my homemade ranch dressing to dip them into. Yum!

I have still been having a green monster pretty much daily, but I havenít been having different variations. Again, I have been sticking to just the same recipe again and again. Hey, I know I like it! I did make one change though that was definitely, DEFINITELY, definitely for the better.

Dark. Chocolate. Peanut. Butter.

If you have never had chocolate with a nut butter before you are missing out!

I threw all of this in my magic bullet.

And made the best tasting green smoothie to date! I have been adding it every single time now! I sometimes throw the chocolate Amazing Meal in there too.

Talk about the best cure for a chocolate craving!

Ok, that is totally what I'm going to have as soon as I get back from the gym. It is decided! Yummmmm.

That is all I have for now! But I have to ask, have you ever had a green smoothie? Have I convinced you to try it?

What is your favorite smoothie recipe, green or otherwise?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JANICEMC 2/15/2011 1:53PM

    Amber: Can you post your homemade Ranch Dressing recipe? Sounds so good. Hope I'm not pestering you too much. But I love the pics and recipes. I just now am starting to take a few pics of my creations. Mostly soups and stews so far, but it's fun. Maybe I'll actually get around to posting a few.

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ALOHAEV1 7/8/2010 12:39PM

    Have you seen Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa powder! Hint, use less than the tbsp they suggest.

And, I just saw your broccoli slaw piece, will try it as a taco. I use it all the time, on pork or chicken sammies this past week.

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AUBREYINGMAN 6/18/2010 11:29PM

    MMM that salad looks tasty.

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DENI_ZEN 6/14/2010 9:05PM

    You are a phenomenally great "healthy food" cook, Amber! The salads are all to die for...and don't you love sunflower seeds in a salad? I always have them on hand! I've never tried quinoa...and I've never had a green smoothie. But they are definitely going on my "to-do" list! Well DONE!! - Sandi emoticon

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GRANDMAAMIE 6/14/2010 1:10PM


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JANLEEW 6/14/2010 12:52PM

    Wow thanks for the tweak on the quinoa dish! I will have to try that. Happy Monday!

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Breaking Out of My Food Rut

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I havenít been blogging as much as I used to, mostly because I havenít really been making anything new lately. Especially with Aubrey working so much, my food has gotten very repetitive. And it certainly isnít interesting to see the exact same meals and snacks all the time.

I finally decided I had to try some new things and did them all pretty much the same day.

The first thing I changed up was my breakfast. Ever since I figured out a way to enjoy oatmeal I have stuck with my same recipe the whole time.

1/2 cup (40 grams) of oats
1/2 cup water
1/2 (50 grams) banana
1 tbsp (5 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 scoop (8 grams) pea protein

I blend up the banana with the water, pour it over the oats and cook in the microwave. When it is done I add the protein and cocoa powders and mix in. Then I let it sit for a bit to harden up for a texture similar to a soft oatmeal cookie. I love topping it with some peanut butter!! I can eat a bite of oatmeal and then get a little peanut butter too. It is so good!

As you can see in the pictures, it is thick enough that I can break off a piece with my spoon. I could even pick it up with my fingers. My favorite part is when Iím all done and I eat the leftover peanut butter. I try and sneak just little nibbles the whole time so I can really savor a big hunk of peanut butter!

The first oatmeal switch idea I had was to make a strawberries and cream version. It turned out entirely too mushy for me.

It had 1/2 cup of oats, a few fresh strawberries, and 1/2 a tub of vanilla Greek yogurt. I think it was just too much yogurt for the amount of oats.

I did try again though! This time I just cut the strawberries in half, and had them on the side instead of mixed in. I still had the other half a tub of vanilla Greek yogurt, so I split that in half. I mixed half with 1/3 cup of oats and let it sit for 10 minutes (un-overnight oats!). I added a sprinkle of cinnamon in there as well. I kept the other half on the side.

What I hated about the last time I had un-overnight oats www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
is that it really made me crave yogurt. So I had to make sure I had some yogurt by itself. I would eat a strawberry half, take a bite of the un-overnight oats, and then a scoop of yogurt. Finally, the best part, a nibble of dark chocolate peanut butter.

This was an amazing mix of stuff and I can definitely do it again if I actually ever get sick of my usual oats routine.

For my snack I decided to try and clean up my bar obsession (you can see evidence hereÖ

And hereÖ)

Instead, I tried a Larabar.

I actually have tried one before, but I didnít find it to be filling at all. Especially with how many calories they are! The peanut butter cookie one has 220 calories. This time I had a green monster first.

This one had spinach, banana, mixed berries, cocoa powder, protein powder, dark chocolate peanut butter, and chocolate Amazing Meal. www.amazinggrass.com/amazing-meal-ch

Yum! Super chocolatey.

The BEST part of a Larabar? The ingredients list!

Look at that! I absolutely love that. I just wish I liked the texture better. (Donít mind the bite I took before the picture.)

While it tasted good, the texture was just too mushy for me. I liked the chunks of peanuts, but there just wasnít much to chew. The Kashi bars, the go lean rolls especially, are super chewy and I LOVE that! It helps the bar last longer, and I get something that I can easily travel with if need be.

Speaking of which, Iím going out of town soon for a family reunion (Iíll be meeting family Iíve never met before!). I have absolutely NO CLUE what my eats will consist of. We are packing a cooler for the trip with snacks and stuff, but as for the meals there, I have no idea what will be available. Weíll also be spending about half our day in the car, so Iím hoping I can find some healthy food and take some breaks to get out and get my blood pumping.

I have some other foods Iíve tried recently, but this blog is probably long enough! So I just have to ask. What have you been eating? I need new recipes!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AUBREYINGMAN 6/18/2010 11:21PM

    Now that I am gone all the time I don't get to try your yummy creations. They look pretty tasty.

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DNJEN471 6/13/2010 6:38PM

    The other night Jeff really wanted a white pasta sauce- he is going back to his Vegan ways- so that makes it a bit difficult. I have tried making it from scratch using silk, etc. but you end up using so much processed food to make it happen. So I found a recipe on the food network website- Rachael Ray made it. It was a whole wheat pasta with cauliflower sauce. Essentially the sauce is olive oil, 3 cloves garlic, 1 onion, 1 head of cauliflower, 1 cup vegetable broth and rosemary. I don't have all the directions in front of me to share- but I am sure you could find it. You basically mash the cauliflower so it ends up saucy- it was actually really good. The recipe called for cheese to be tossed in- which we skipped.

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CAMELA_55 6/11/2010 7:39AM

    Yummy stuff there! Thanks for sharing that!

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DENI_ZEN 6/10/2010 11:13PM

    I LOVE your chocolate-y, peanut butter-y creations here! They satisfy that desire for creamy, rich, peanut butter-y and chocolate-y nicely, I would think!You're very creative :) - Sandi

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Free Yogurt for $5

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Yesterday was a very, very long day. I woke up extra early for some reason. But it was finally beautiful in Oregon! We have had such crummy weather lately, I was wondering if we would ever see the sun again.

It was a fun day though which started out with me getting to play with my nieces and nephews. They may not be related to me by blood, but I LOVE those little ones!

Then, since Aubrey and I knew that the Cho-Mobile was going to be at the Portland Rose Festival, we knew we had to go! Hello, FREE YOGURT! Well technically not free, since we had to pay $5 a piece to get in the gates!

Last year we scored major swag when Kashi visited. We had no clue they werenít actually inside the gates though, so we paid to get in and basically walked through and then out to go to Kashiís set-up! (I really hope they do it again soon!!) That was a bummer, since really everything inside is not worth $5. Overpriced food, games, and rides? Not really our scene.

But lo and behold was the Cho-Mobile!

Chobani is my absolute favorite brand of greek yogurt and they were handing out samples for their line of greek yogurts geared towards kids called Chobani Champions.

I couldnít wait to dive in to the HoneyNana flavor. I didnít even remember that we hadnít taken a picture of it yet before I was diving in.

But I didnít even care, because I was SO ready!

Oh my gosh, the BEST tasting yogurt ever! And I give them extra points for the biodegradable spoons.

I canít even fully describe just amazingly smooth and creamy it was. I was disappointed when I looked at the ingredients though.

Boo!! ďNatural flavorĒ and ďturmeric (for color)Ē? I hate it when things are added to foods just for color. And I HATE the ambiguity of ďnatural flavors.Ē

So while I was bummed it wasnít clean; it was still very yummy. Then we tried the berry one Aubrey grabbed.

I am not a huge fan of berry flavored things. They are always super tart. And I did not like all of the chunks. (Did I mention how amazingly smooth and creamy the banana one was?)
While we tried our yogurts we listened to a high school band playing. I love having entertainment while I eat! It makes it seem more festive.

After we ate our free ($5) yogurts we walked around through the various booths of food. Just a sample of what I saw: curly fries, ribs, burgers, curly fries, cheesecake on a stick, cotton candy, more curly fries, ice cream, and waitÖdid I mention curly fries? They were everywhere! And the smell was fantastic, but I knew if I ate any I would be clutching my stomach in pain for hours. And sorry, that is just not worth it to me!

The rides were ridiculously expensive, not to even mention the games. I knew I didnít want to eat anything else there, and that was when we fully realized we paid $10 to try free yogurt. Oh well, live and learn I guess!

We did walk through their wild animal exhibit at the end (I walked directly PAST all of the creepy crawly, slithery slimy things.) But it was apparently naptime.

I was so confused by that sign on the tiger cage. Donít worry, Aubrey explained it to me. Oh what would I do without him?

We also saw a tortoise

and something elseÖI canít remember what they were called but to me they looked like a cross between a deer and a rabbit.

Then we left to go do some grocery shopping. It really doesnít sound like we did much now that Iím reading it back, but it just felt like the longest day in the world! I guess itíll feel that way when I wake up so early! Tomorrow is teaching and church and then Iíll hopefully get a chance to just kick back and relax.

The AMAZING news is that Aubrey got a job! He has been unemployed for four months and now he is back at work!! But it has been super hard. He has been working 10 hour days and the commute isnít the best. So he basically is home in time to eat something real fast and then head to bed.

We had been eating dinner between 5 and 6 while he was unemployed and for his first two days of work I was going crazy trying to wait and have dinner with him after 7. I definitely ate a bit more than I usually do to stave off the hunger. Weíre probably going to have to figure out a new system for this coming week! I donít want to always be eating extra snacks I donít need.

Do you get to eat meals with your significant other? Are your schedules compatible? Iím really curious as to what other people do!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BETHANYBOO 6/9/2010 3:16PM

    My bf and I always have dinner together. He usually has to have a snack before dinner to tide him over but we make it work.

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PAG2809 6/7/2010 11:11AM

    The yogurt sounds like fun and I am so glad that Aubrey has found work. I finally got a call for a temp job, so perhaps things are starting to look up for many of us! Hang in there - you'll figure it out.

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AUBREYINGMAN 6/7/2010 8:58AM

    That was really tasty yogurt. Sorry I'm not home to eat with you honey. I love you. emoticon

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DENI_ZEN 6/6/2010 5:24PM

    Thanks for sharing your day with us, Amber! I loved the pictures; those were some interesting critters you saw. Great to hear that Chobani, manufacturer of rich, creamy yogurt, has created berry and banana versions :) And congratulations to Aubrey on his new job! These are very tough times. All the best, Sandi

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JOKNOWS 6/6/2010 1:13PM

    Loved your blog -- the funny title and the great pics! Our family is lucky to get to eat together often. Hubby has a regular 9-5'er and some days he works in the field and arrives home early. Tuesday nites are a mandatory family nite for eating -- no exceptions. I think it's important and it's my rule. LOL

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ANITA012 6/6/2010 12:28PM

    Amber...My husband used to work 12 hour shifts, plus had about a 1 hour commute each way to work until recently. Because of some health issues, he is now in early retirement which is nice because we can enjoy our dinners together...and not eat so late.
What I used to do was fix dinner and eat mine around 6:00-6:30, and when my husband came home...around 8:30...I would heat his up and he would eat at that time.
What I might suggest is to have your meal at your regular scheduled time, and then set a little dessert to the side to enjoy later when your husband comes home and has his meal. That way you both can be at the table and be eating something together. It would also help keep you from snacking needlessly while waiting for him to come home.
Then savor your dinner times together over the weekends when he's not working.


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The Best Most Disgusting Thing Iíve Ever Eaten

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

So a recent trip to the coast got me thinking about really disgusting sounding foods that secretly taste great. Now, I am not one to be making fun of any foods, I tend to LOVE food. And unfortunately for me some foods just shouldn't be eaten! One of the ice cream shops was advertising that they now deep fry various things. I have read about such insanity online, but have never actually seen it in person.

They were deep frying cookies, candy bars, snack cakes and even funnel cakes! None of these items need to be made any unhealthier than they already are, but I was super intrigued. So my husband and I decided to try a deep-fried Snickers.

So, so, SO weird! And yetÖI have to admit. It was really tasty. I took exactly two bites. One thinking ďWHOA, what did I just put into my mouthĒ? And the second one thinking ďOk Iím done, I absolutely never need to eat such a thing again.Ē

On a fudgier noteÖis fudgier a word? Anyway, I absolutely adore the fudge shop. I know I have mentioned the Snickers fudge before (hmm is it possible I happen to love Snickers?) but I got some more to share with Aubrey.

I also got cookies & cream fudge, because if forced to declare my love for one particular flavor it would HAVE to be cookies & cream. I could probably eat twice my weight in it, although this would certainly be ill-advised. =P

I also had some great oatmeal the day after we got back from the beach.

I blended 1.5 ounces of frozen strawberries with 1/3 cup water and poured it over 1/3 cup oats. I heated it up in the microwave and then mixed in a scoop of protein powder and cocoa powder. On top are chia seeds and a scoop of dark chocolate peanut butter.

For lunch was a trip back to Sweet Tomatoes. If you read my birthday blog you know my love for this restaurant. Nothing says YUM more than getting to eat a huge fresh salad without having to do any chopping!!!

I have decided that they donít put the veggies in an order that allows me to make very pretty salads though. All of the prettiest veggies are hidden underneath. But you can sort of see some carrots peeking out!

I was craving a baked potato like crazy after we went last time, so I HAD to get one this time. I covered it with their fresh salsa, green onions and a dollop of sour cream. It was absolutely amazing.

Today, I had to figure out some eats to travel with. It seems easier to just eat snacks when I know weíll be going for a long car ride and just eat meals before and after. But sometimes, a real full meal is necessary! I definitely learned from last time and I kept the hummus and veggies separate. I even brought a tray along for me to eat on to make the whole process that much easier.

I definitely learned from my mistakes last time as you can read about by clicking the link below.


Even if you had to drive a long way to celebrate Memorial Day, I hope it was a good one. I have a lot of family members (and now with Aubrey even more) whom I visit and remember on this special day.

I feel utterly thankful and blessed many times in my life and Memorial Day is always one of those days. THANKS!!

How do you celebrate Memorial Day?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAS1990 6/22/2010 1:32PM

    Your blogs are very interesting to read - entertaining even! Thanks for sharing!!!!!

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DENI_ZEN 6/6/2010 11:04AM

    I would adore eating - and trying - ALL of these interesting foods and food combos! You're a true foodie, by my definition, and I think that's mega-cool! If I ever get a chance to try the deep-fried Snickers - or even a deep-fried Twinkie! - I won't pass it up. As long as I'm eating right 99% of the time, I make those allowances for the other 1%. Munch ON!

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DNJEN471 6/3/2010 5:33PM

    Seriously- this is our favorite restaurant ever! Are you a member of thier club veg? They send you some really great coupons every week!

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STEELMAGNOLIA10 6/1/2010 12:11PM

    Wow sounds like a adventurous weekend. I get ill when I eat anything fried so that's probably a good thing. The fudge now that's another story. You did awesome balancing with something clean in the end of day. Glad you enjoyed and sharing with us. went shopping for a wedding dress and now have 2. One was free and I like but need to lose 20 to fit into and the other is too big so have to get altered. I love then both. So we'll see. Have a great week emoticon

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ACHAIR 6/1/2010 8:38AM

    Hi! I'm very "afraid" of deep fried things like that, lol 1. they sound so terribly bad for you and 2. most deep fried things make me sick! I did, however, try a deep fried pickle once and dipped in ranch, it wasn't too bad!

I'm not into a lot of sweets anyways, but the cookies and cream fudge sounded/looks good!! (: So did the oatmeal!

Anyhow... Memorial Day weekend, my hubby and I just stayed HOME! Well, we did have to go pick up our vehicle from the garage Saturday morning and we did some yard sale hopping, but other than that we just hung out together. My favorite time was hanging out Sunday afternoon after I had hung out some clothes on the line and we put out a blanket and played board/card games then laid back and watched the clouds. It was a very nice, 3-day weekend! (:

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Totally Random Eats

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hello everyone! I havenít blogged in a really long time again! I donít know whatís been going on with me, but I know that I am still having a rough patch. I donít really know why everything is affecting me SO much! And my food intake has been all over the place.

I have started eating oatmeal every morning since I decided I needed a more substantial start to my day. I really enjoyed mine today although I forgot to take pictures. It was 1/3 cup of oats, about two ounces of strawberries blended with 1/3 cup of water, cocoa powder, pea protein, and a little stevia. Then I topped it with some chia seeds and peanut butter.

I actually just started eating chia seeds. They are really high in omega-3ís and you donít have to grind them up to get the benefits like you have to do with flaxseeds. Check out this link for more of their benefits:


I have mixed them into the oatmeal before, but I prefer them on top. They get completely lost in the oatmeal and I love how crunchy they are when they are raw. It helps me deal with my oatmeal if it is a tad too mushy. I think I figured out the best way to describe how I like my oatmeal. You know these cookies?


I like my oatmeal to taste like these when they are fresh. Soft, chewy and thick! Not like mush. OhÖsounds good. I wish it were breakfast time again!

But like I said, my eats have been all over the place. I have been trying new foods, new snacks, just random things that sound good to me in the moment.

Just a random sample:

Greek Yogurt and Apple Chips

Strawberries and Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter

Green Monster followed by Ezekiel bread with peanut butter

I also tried an artichoke for the first time.

Personally, I found it to be much more work than necessary. It tasted alright, especially with the dip I made. But there just wasnít much substance to it.

I ate it with some multigrain FSTG chips (still sad they got rid of my potato & chive flavor, although I do concede that the sweet potato chips are great even though I hate sweet potatoes) and cucumber on the side.

And I dipped all of that into a mixture of salsa and Chobani.

And then yesterday I got some Amazing Grass products to try.

I decided to use the green super food one first and I threw it in a green monster.

I was actually a little disappointed with it. I could not taste the chocolate flavor at all and I had to add an extra stevia packet to help cover up its taste. Iíll try the protein powder in a couple of days and see how it is. It is pretty expensive stuff, but it has so many benefits!

On a happy note, since I started drinking my lemon water each morning (the juice of half a lemon with eight ounces of water upon waking) I have lost three pounds! I donít know if it has just been that, but Iíll take it!

If youíre curious about the benefits of lemon water check out this link:


So, how are all of my Spark friends? What eats have you been enjoying lately?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DNJEN471 5/26/2010 11:53PM

    I hear lemon water is very good for you. Unfortunately I can't stand the taste- guess I did the master cleanse one too many times :)

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AUBREYINGMAN 5/26/2010 11:43PM

    I agree that your bread looks like it has feet. I don't know if I believe it yet but I think the lemon thing might be working for me too.

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*AMBER512 5/26/2010 4:49PM

    LOL I didn't even notice that. My toast has Snoopy legs! =P

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MOM2ACAT 5/26/2010 4:41PM

    I tried an artichoke once and I feel the same way, not really worth the trouble.

I like how that bread with the peanut butter looks like it has feet!

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