Chicken and eggplant stew

This is simple, delicious comfort food.

Packed with veggies and flavour. We love this dinner because we both leave it thick and chunky for the adults, and also put some through a quick spin in the food processor to give a ‘chicken bolognese style sauce’ for the less, ah, amenable kiddos!

It’s a pretty forgiving and flexible dish so the quantities are pretty rough!

  • 5-6 Chicken boneless thighs, skin removed
  • 1 tbsp garlic flavoured olive oil
  • 1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
  • Fresh thyme, basil and rosemary, finely chopped (or about 2 tsp dried Italian Style herbs)
  • 1/2 tsp dried chill flakes (optional)
  • 1 large eggplant (about 800g), diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12-15 button mushrooms, or 6-8 larger field mushrooms, diced
  • 1 cup passata
  • 1 heaped tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 large handfuls of fresh spinach
  • ground black pepper to taste

Start with the eggplant – it needs some time to draw out the moisture to stop it going rubbery when you cook it.

Dice the eggplant, and place it in a draining sieve. Sprinkle it with the salt and leave to sit for 30 minutes. You will see lots of moisture on the surface and dripping down into the sink. Pat dry with a paper towel.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add in the onion and cook over medium heat until it starts to brown. Add in the diced chicken, sprinkle with herbs and chilli then cook over a medium heat until the chicken starts to brown.

Add in the eggplant and stir well to combine.

Now add in the mushroom and stir them through. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes until the eggplant and mushrooms cook down.

Now add in the passata and paste, stir well and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. Then add in the spinach and stir well to combine.

You only need to cook down the spinach for another 2 minutes before you’re ready to serve.

Serve the stew on its own, over pasta or zucchini noodles. Our kids eat this best when we pop in in the food processor and roughly process it so it is less chunky and more of a sauce. They enjoy it with pasta and little bit of grated cheese.

Makes about 6 adult serves. It freezes and defrosts fairly well, but also keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days for left over lunches.

Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken and Mushrooms

Super simple, speedy comfort food.ย  That cooks in bulk and while I am at work – winning!

  • 900g-1kg skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 4 large carrots (about 350g) chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small brown onion (about 140g), diced
  • 1/2 tsp garlic flakes
  • 150g button mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 cup hot chicken stock
  • 2 large handfuls of chopped green beans
  • 100g cream cheese (dairy, soy or cashew based) OR 2tbsp coconut cream if you’d prefer

Roughly chop the carrots and place them in the bottom of the slow cooker.

In a frying pan, heat the olive oil then add in the onion and cook gently until translucent. Add in the garlic, thyme and mushrooms and cook for 1 further minute, stirring well to coat the mushrooms.

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Place the chicken thighs in to the slow cooker on top of the carrots.

Add the stock to the frying pan with onions and mushrooms, stir and then scrape into the slow cooker on top of the chicken.

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Place lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 7 hours (or high for 3.5).

Remove lid, add in the green beans, stir and replace lid for a further hour on low (or 30 mins on high). Broccoli florets also work well here.

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Remove lid and use 2 forks to shred the chicken, as fine as you’d like, then add in the cream cheese and mix well until it is dissolved and evenly distributed.

Makes 8 serves.

Serve on a bed of mash (potato or cauliflower) or with noodles (pasta or zucchini)

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If macros are important to you, here they are for 1 serve (that is 1/8th of the total meal), based on the dairy cream cheese:

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Broccoli and Cream Cheese soup

Very simple, inexpensive, easily sourced ingredients. Amazingly good at feeding your super gut bugs. Quick to make, cooks in bulk and freezes well for weekday lunches. Allergy friendly ….. AND YUMMY!!!

  • 400g Broccoli (1 medium size), roughly chopped
  • 600g Cauliflower (1 large), roughly chopped
  • 1 small brown onion (about 120g), diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp veggie stock paste
  • 8 cups boiling water
  • 150g cream cheese (*dairy, soy or nut based – you can even use a light silken tofu here)

If you don’t have stock paste you can use 2 cups liquid stock and then only 6 cups water.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan then add in the onion and cook, stirring, until it is soft and golden.

Add in the cauliflower and broccoli plus the stock paste and stir well. Cook down for about 3 minutes then add in the boiling water.

Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the veggies are very soft. *If you need a quicker cooking time you can give them veggies a quick blitz in your food processor first.

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Remove from the heat and add in the cream cheese.

Use an immersion blender to blend until the soup is very smooth. If you are using a blender/thermo cooker/bullet machine to blend – BE VERY CAREFUL! Allow it to cool quite a bit first and then do small batches.

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Serves 8.

If Macros are important to you, here they are for 1 serve.

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Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Eggplant Lasagne (with killer cauliflower ‘cheese’ sauce!)

I did not grow up in a family that ate lasagne much – but my husband did! It was my lovely mother-in-law’s go to dish!

He has missed it since we were married, so I’ve worked hard at making a dish that we both enjoy AND fits all of our dietary needs. This one is also a winner with the kids – and the left overs taste even better the next day!

Heads up – this is in no way a traditional lasagne, I’m not event pretending it is … in fact I have had friends tell me that I am not allowed to call it lasagne if it doesn’t have either pasta or cheese … sorry … I’m going do it anyway!!

**Check out below the main recipe to see how I make this one completely plant based**

This is a meal that takes a little more time and fiddling in the kitchen than I normally like, but the end result is worth it and it does make 10 large and very filling servings, so I’ll allow it!

  • 1 tbsp garlic olive oil
  • 1 small brown onion, diced (about 125g)
  • OPTIONAL: 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1kg beef mince
  • 400g tin brown lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium zucchini (about 1.5 cups chopped)
  • 150g fresh spinach
  • 200g button mushrooms
  • 400g tin red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 70g tomato paste,
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • salt to taste
  • Large egg plant (about 1kg)
  • spray olive oil
  • 125g grated cheese (dairy or vegan)

For the Sauce:

  • 1 large cauliflower (approx 900g-1kg), roughly cut up
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried onion flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried garlic flakes
  • 1 cup high protein almond milk (or soy or dairy milk if they suit you)
  • 1 cup hot veggie stock
  • 3 heaped tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Salt to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add in the onion and garlic flakes. (Steam Temp, speed 1, set for 15 minutes)

Then add in the cauliflower and stir well to coat in the oil. (Turn up to speed 2)

Add in the milk and stock and cover, allowing to come to a gently simmer. (Leave in Steam temp, speed 2 with the m/c off)

Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft and you can easily pierce it with a fork.

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Add in the nutritional yeast and then use an immersion blender to mix until smooth – you can transfer to a blender if you need to but be VERY careful! (Start by turning off the temperature function and gradually build to speed 8 until very smooth).

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Taste the sauce and add a little salt to taste (dairy cheese is quite salty and when you remove it you need to add in a little salt to help with flavour). Set the sauce aside.

Onto the meat mix:

Start by creating the veggie mix you’ll stir in to the meat.

In your food processor or thermo cooker, add in the zucchini, spinach, mushrooms, kidney beans and tomato paste, then blitz until quite fine. (Speed 6, 8 seconds, scrape down and repeat until you get your desired consistency). Set aside.

In a large frying pan heat the olive oil then add in the diced onion and cook, stirring until translucent.

Add in the beef mince and herbs/spices. Break it up well and when it has roughly browned, add in the lentils and mix well.

Now add in the whole processed veggie mix to the meat mix and stir very well.

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Bring to a gentle simmer for about 15 minutes.

Now the egg plant while the meat is simmering:

Slice finely. Lay on a baking tray, spray with a little olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt and place under the grill in your oven.

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Once the top side is golden brown (it only takes a few minutes), turn over and cook the other side.

The remove from the oven and set aside.

Now build the layers:

Lightly grease a large baking dish (I actually use 2 – awesome for freezing one too!)

Layer half of the meat mix into the bottom, then lay down half of the egg plant, then half of the cheese sauce and then repeat.

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Then sprinkle either dairy or vegan grated cheese over the top.

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Pop into the preheated 180C oven (fair warning …. you’re best to place it on a baking tray to catch any drips or bubbling sauce!) for about 30 minutes or until golden and bubbling – a quick minute under a grill at the end really helps to give you golden cheese, especially if you are using a plant based cheese.

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Slice and serve…. and Enjoy!

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**If you want to make this meal completely plant based: I use my lentil bolognese recipe but I omit the pasata (other wise there is too much liquid)**

*Of course, if you just want dairy free but you still love your pasta, then go ahead and use whichever lovely, fresh sheets suit you.

*And if you are not an eggplant fan but you still need a Gluten Free option, then I have used both of these Orgran and San Remo Lasagne sheets in the past.

 

If Macros are important to you here are the details for 1 serve – that is 1/10th of the meat based meal (I have kept the cauliflower ‘cheese’ sauce separate as I know people like to use it in other dishes!). You will just need to additionally factor in whichever cheese you use on top.

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ย 

 

Seriously Green Sauce

This is a super simple, super fast sauce.

ย Light but creamy it is delicious on pasta and zucchini noodles. Or you can drizzle it over chicken or salmon for an extra flavour boost.

  • 75g spinach
  • 15 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 medium avocado, very ripe
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 50ml fresh lemon juice
  • Good pinch salt

Pop all of the ingredients into a high powered blender/bullet and blitz until smooth.

If the sauce is too thick add in a splash of water to help it blend.

If you’re using a Thermomix/Bellini or any of their cousins, you’ll need to use speed 6 for 10 seconds, scrape down and repeat and then turn up to speed 10 for 6 seconds at a time, scrape down and repeat as required until smooth

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If macros are important to you, here’s the breakdown for a heaped tablespoon (about 1/5 of the recipe)

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We like to have ours with zucchini noodles.

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Use a spiralizer for the zucchini, then add the zoodles into a hot frying pan. Add in enough sauce to coat the zoodles and stir until warm.

Extra delicious if you top them with some grilled chicken, tomatoes and pine nuts!

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Enjoy ๐Ÿ˜Š

Simple Pumpkin Soup

Hooray for soup weather!

This is a soup-er simple meal, really inexpensive and delicious. A pretty mild soup, so it is very kid friendly too.

  • 400g Cauliflowerย  (1 medium size), roughly chopped
  • 1.2kg Butternut pumpkin roughly chopped
  • 1/2 small brown onion (about 60g), diced
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp garlic infused olive oil
  • 2 tbsp veggie stock paste
  • 10 cups boiling water
  • 225g cream cheese (*dairy, soy or nut based – you can even use a light silken tofu here)

If you don’t have stock paste you can use 3 cups liquid stock and then only 7 cups water.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan then add in the onion and cook, stirring, until it is soft and golden.

Add in the cauliflower and pumpkin plus the stock paste and stir well. Cook down for about 3 minutes then add in the boiling water.

Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the veggies are very soft. *If you need a quicker cooking time you can give the veggies a quick blitz in your food processor first.

Remove from the heat and add in the cream cheese. Use an immersion blender to blend until the soup is very smooth. If you are using a blender/thermo cooker/bullet machine to blend – BE VERY CAREFUL! Allow it to cool quite a bit first and then do small batches.

I love to serve mine topped with roasted pumpkin seeds and pine nuts (switch hemp seeds for nut free) …. Just pop the seeds in a hot, dry frying pan and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes until they are golden brown. Sprinkle on the soup and if you want a little extra kick … sprinkle on a little pinch of chilli flakes!

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Serves 12.

If Macros are important to you, here they are for 1 serve (roughly 2 ladles of soup) , worked out for the dairy based cream cheese – not including the seed topping.

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This will last several days in the fridge, or it freezes and defrosts well.

Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Chicken, Broccoli & Quinoa Patties

You already know that I like easy food!

Well, these are easy, have only a few ingredients, freeze well, pack in a heap of good stuff to stretch the meat further aaaaand… they’re delicious!

Plus I kind of feel like they’re a complete meal in one. Protein, veg and grain … All right there! Which means that if I’m in a hurry and grab a couple of these from the freezer, I’ve got everything I need for a balanced meal. Winning ๐Ÿ‘Œ

  • 4 medium chicken thighs (about 485g), skinless and boneless
  • 200g broccoli
  • 1/2 cup tricoloured quinoa (110g)
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1/4 cup (15g) Nutritional yeast
  • 1 birdseye chilli or 1/2 tsp chilli flakes (you can skip the chilli if you’re not a fan!)

Start by bringing a small saucepan of water to the boil and cooking the quinoa. Rinse it well first, then it should take about 15 mins. Drain it, rinse it again and set aside.

Wash the broccoli well and shake dry (too much water and your patties will be soggy). Break into chunks and add to your food processor. Process until fine (Speed 4, 8 seconds, scrape down then Speed 5 for 5 seconds).

Whilst still processing (speed 4), add the nutritional yeast and chicken through the top chute and process until it is finely chopped and well combined. (Up to Speed 5 for 8 seconds once it is all added)

Continue processing (Speed 4) and add in the chilli and coconut aminos.

Add add in the (very well drained) quinoa and process until it is evenly combined.

Scrape mixture into a bowl, cover and place in the fridge for 2 hours, or up to over night. I usually make the mix in the morning before work and then form the patties in the afternoon.

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Use tablespoons of mixture to form patties with slightly oiled hands and place them on a lined baking tray.

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So pretty!

Spray with a little olive oil, then place into a 200C oven for about 20 minutes, then flip and cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until cooked through (you can use a thermometer to check that the centre has reached 75C) and golden.

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Makes 12. These freeze and defrost well – use a little kitchen paper to absorb excess moisture when defrosting and reheating.

Serve warm with extra veggies, and an extra drizzle of coconut amino sauce – or use them the next time your build your own burgers!

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Enjoy

If macros are important to you – here are the details per patty (1 /12th of the recipe):

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Enjoy

Lamb Koftas

We don’t heat a huge amount of red meat, but a few months back, my biggest boy was reading and the characters in the book described the Lamb Koftas they were eating.

Will had never heard of them before so he asked me about them and then asked me to make them.

They were very simple to make and a winner of a meal with 6 empty plates, so they have been added to the menu and we hope you like them as much as we do!

  • 500g lamb mince
  • 100g chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small brown onion
  • 2-3 clove cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp dried paprika
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2-1 tsp dried chilli flakes (depending on the amount of bite you like)
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • good pinch salt

Optional: Dressing of Minted yoghurt (see below the recipe) and crunch of toasted pine nuts or pumpkin seeds

Into your food processor/thermo cooker, place the onion, garlic, chick peas, lemon, seeds, tahini and all of the herbs and spices.

Process until they are finely chopped (Speed 4, 8 seconds, scrape down and repeat)

While the machine is still processing, add in the lamb in through the top opening and process until the mixture is very well combined and quite smooth.

Place the mixture into a bowl, cover and place in the fridge for at least an hour (over night is fine). This will help the mixture to hold together without egg as a binder.

Divide the mixture into 12 and form in to small fat sausage shapes.

Slide on to skewers and cook over medium heat on an oiled bbq or griddle plate. If you’re using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for at least half an hour first and it’ll stop them burning on the heat.

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We like to serve ours with ribbons of carrot and cucumber.

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We also used minted yoghurt as a dressing (you can used which ever kind of unflavoured yoghurt fits your dietary needs). About 4 tbsp mixed with 2 tsp of finely torn fresh mint.

Top with toasted pine nuts (or pumpkin seeds).

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If Macros are important to you here are the details. Each serve is 1 kofta (that is 1/12 of the mix)

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Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

Baked Veggie Omelette

A little while ago I posted my Salmon Tart and I have had a few requests for a vegetarian version.

So, here is a my baked veggie omelette – you’ll need a frying pan that can transfer from the stove top into an oven.

I tend to make tarts like these so I have them on hand work work lunches โ€“ delicious cold or warm . Or if youโ€™re in a rush, grab a couple of slices out of the fridge and steam some extra greens โ€“ speedy and filling dinner!

  • 8 medium eggs
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 12 swiss brown mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 250g spinach
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: 50g grated tasty cheese

Heat the oil in the frying pan, then slice the zucchini into rounds and place into the frying pan.

Fry for 1 minutes until the first side is golden, then flip over the zucchini before adding in the mushrooms to the pan. Cook, stirring for another minute until the mushrooms start to soften. Then add the spinach to the pan.

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it’s a LOT of spinach!

Add in the salt, pepper and nutritional yeast and stir through to make sure the veggies are evenly coated.

Whisk together the eggs and then pour evenly over the veggies.

Turn the frying pan to a gentle heat and allow to cook until the side of the omelette just start to pull away from the sides of the pan – the top of the omelette will still be very wet at this point.

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Sprinkle the top with cheese if you wish before popping it in a pre-heated 180C oven for about 10 minutes or until the top just stops wobbling … Remember that the eggs will keep cooking while it is warm so if you leave it in the oven for too long you’ll get a rubbery omelette.

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Let it cool and then slice into 6.

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Store it in the fridge for about 3 days.

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If macros are important to you here are the details (which includes the cheese) for 1 slice, which is 1/6thย  of the omelette:

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Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

Salmon Tart

I love a good veg tart.

So simple to make and I love the way that you can bulk them up with whatever you had on hand – so they’re budget friendly too!

I tend to make tarts like these so I have them on hand work work lunches – delicious cold (so I don’t stink out my office colleagues!) or warm (for those days I work at home). Or if you’re in a rush, grab a couple of slices out of the freezer and steam some extra greens – speedy and filling dinner!

  • 7 medium eggs
  • 130g (approx) salmon fillet*
  • 150g broccoli
  • 3 large celery sticks
  • 20g olive oil
  • 25g milk of choice (I mostly use unsweetened high protein almond milk)
  • 1 tsp freshly chopped dill
  • salt and pepper to taste

*If you don’t have a salmon fillet, just used plain tinned salmon, and skip the cooking part.

Start by pan cooking the salmon, so it is almost cooked – it will finish in the oven. Then break it in to small pieces.

Steam your broccoli – I did a couple of minutes in the microwave. And then use a knife to diced it evenly.

Finely dice your celery.

Place the broccoli, celery and salmon into a bowl.

In a separate bowl (I prefer a decent sized measuring jug because it pours well), break all of your eggs. Then add in the dill, salt and pepper, milk and oil and then whisk really well.

Pour the egg mix into the salmon and veg mix and then fold together until even.

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Pour into a lined baking dish (21cm x 21cm) and place into a preheated 180C oven.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until it is golden and the egg is mostly set …. as the egg is still hot it will continue to cook as it cools when you remove it from the oven.

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Allow to cool a little before slicing into 9 squares.

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You can gently reheat this one in a microwave from the fridge. Or if you are going to freeze it, lay it between 2 sheets of kitchen paper before you do, as this will help to absorb the ice crystals as it defrosts.

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If macros are important to you, here are the details for 1 slice (that is 1/9 of the total dish)

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If you want an easy switch to make this a vegetarian option, omit the salmon and replace with a few handfuls of sliced mushrooms – I like the swiss brown variety!

Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚