Grating butter

I recently read somewhere that the easiest way to make pastry that involves cutting butter into the flour was to grate it with a grater.

The inner Michelle ears perked up. Grating butter. Why haven’t I thought of that.

The whole reason why I fave been leary about pastry and making my own pie dough was the butter part. It seems frustrating and tedious. I could see myself screaming, cut damn you, cut.

That and using knives seemed pointless.

A week ago, I found a recipe that only used rice flour to make a gluten free pie crust.

I was leary.

And then I remembered to grate the butter.

So I tried it.

It WORKS!!!!!!!!

And you use less butter by grating it.

1/2 cup butter becomes 1/2 a stick. Cutting fat is always a plus.

Now no pastry is too hard to make and I can make homemade pie crusts.

Amazing. Absolutely amazing.

Grating butter, a life hack every Susie homemaker baker needs in her arsenal.

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Reindeer Chow (Peanut Butter and Nutella Muddy Buddies)

When I found this recipe last year, Family Christmas had already come and gone. Don’t get me wrong, the Hot Cocoa Ornaments were amazing and everyone loved them. But since two of Bryan’s siblings live 5 hours away, I really wanted to prepare a little snack for them for the ride home.

But that’s okay, because I didn’t know about the gift wrapped pringles can until this year.

Before I made these, Mumika told me something that boiled my blood for two days straight. I couldn’t focus on Christmas Eve and Christmas Dinner, I was so pissed. I mean, who does that and I had showed her what I was making. But when the time came, it was no where to be found.

As it turned out, my mother in law was making a different chex mix for the kids to munch on. A more savory version and forgot to put it out. When she said she had added Worcestershire sauce to hers, I automatically knew which version she was making. Mumika must have misunderstood her or something.

By the time I had made these little mx of awesomeness, I didn’t care that much. Why? Because they came out awesome.

Originally I was going to make two completely different batches and mix them together before putting them in the canisters. But then I realized, that was too much of a hassle and ended up making something completely different.

I made peanut butter and nutella muddy buddies. It was pure and utter genius.

reindeer chow

Reindeer Chow(Peanut Butter and Nutella Muddy Buddies)

10 cups chex mix (corn or rice or a combo)
10 ounces of dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup Nutella
1/2 cup peanut butter
5 tablespoons butter
12 ounces green and red M&Ms
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Directions

Melt the peanut butter, nutella, and butter in a microwave safe dish.

Microwave in 15 second intervals until butter is melted. Stir each time

Add the chocolate and continue 15 second intervals of microwaving until all is melted into the mix.

Continue stirring at each interval.

Add the vanilla and stir together.

In a large bowl add the cereal and pour chocolate peanut butter nutella mixture over it.

Mix with a spoon.

In a large paper bag, place the powdered sugar.

Pour the chex mixture into the paper bag.

Close the bag and shake it until the powdered sugar has coated the chex mix evenly.

Add the M&Ms and shake it..

Makes 20 servings. Or Four Canisters. Per serving/canister.

OMG, it tastes amazing. It’s really interesting because when you take your first bite, you taste the nutella and as you keep chewing the peanut butter comes out.

Also I reduced pretty much everything – the powdered sugar, the chex, the chocolate.

By keeping the peanut butter, you get some protein in there.

One of my sister in laws called it crack. Which it is. She would give one of her sons a few pieces as she ate the chex mix. When he popped the first square she gave him, his head moved back in pure euphoria and he said “mmmmm” and demanded more.

Adults and children alike will love this. Both kid and mom tested and approved.

My mother in law later told me everyone loved the gift, which made me happy. Bryan and I don’t have a lot of money to spend on our seven nephews, so I figured food would be the best bet. Just watching that one nephew’s reaction made me feel like I did enough even though he got a BB gun, toys, candy, books, and a skateboard from the rest of the family.

But then again, you’re talking to a girl that went all EEEE! when Mumika gave her a huge box of walker shortbread for Christmas one year.

It really is the little things.

Bellini

Bellini’s were created around the 1940’s at Harry’s Bar in Venice.

Now you find them everywhere. Part of Brunch, a special cocktail at a party, New Year’s Eve, baby showers, everywhere.

Although many view this as a champagne cocktail, it’s actually a sparkling wine cocktail. Two completely different forms of alcohol. Yes, both have bubbles, but the type of grape used is different.

Bellini’s are typically made of pureed white peaches with prosecco wine. At least, in Italy, that is how they are made. Here in the states, any sort of peach and bubbly stuff = bellini. Got to love America, not only are we a cultural melting pot, but we like to bastardize every cuisine out there and make it our own.

I didn’t have peaches, or white peaches. I cheated. I used peach nectar. I still got that beautiful pinkish hue, Bellini’s are known for. Supposedly Bellini’s are named after some artist in Italy that painted with a very complex hue of pink.

Some places cheat even more with this hue adding some sort of juice to it. I did not do such a thing. Why? Because it wouldn’t be considered a Bellini! You want authenticity people!

bellini

Bellini

2 ounces peach nectar
5 ounces prosecco wine

Directions

In a champagne flute pour peach nectar.

Fill the rest of the flute with prosecco wine.

Top with a peach slice.

Makes 1.

Ummmm…..yeah. So not into this.

It’s super dry. Which makes sense since the sparkling wine literally can be translated to dry. Add the peach to it, and I still wasn’t thrilled with it.

I’ve come to the conclusion we are more of a mimosa family.

 

Brisket

If you ask Bryan, I forced him to make a brisket this year. And he didn’t want to do it. And I better stay up with him while he smokes it.

Which I did.

We went to bed at 4:30AM Christmas morning.

I asked my father in law for his recipe to marinade the brisket. My father in law cooks the most amazing BBQ ever created. If he had a BBQ place, he would be sold out every day. Every. Single. Day.

His ribs are my favorite though.

He gave me a not exact recipe because he eyeballs it. It was pretty close to a bulgogi recipe but without the meat tenderizer or the sesame oil. Seemed easy.

He also told me to start the marinade two days ahead and that the meat might turn black.

Don’t ask me how to smoke brisket. It took Bryan about 11 hours, constantly checking it. As long as it stayed around 250 the whole time, the brisket comes out juicy. We ended up using pecan wood chunks and pecan wood chips. Always use pecan when you can. If possible, use walnut.

Of course, this whole smoking brisket thing didn’t go as planned, and there was heated discussion about it. Add the fact that there was some confusion about what the brisket was for because family Christmas is two days after Christmas, it became more of a hassle. Which made the whole thing rather frustrating.

For some odd reason, I don’t know how and I don’t really care who decided it, the family was under the impression that the brisket Bryan was smoking was for family Christmas instead of our personal Christmas. I must admit, this misunderstanding was a rather frustrating one because no one called us to confirm what our brisket was being used for. So that when this mysterious fog cleared, confusion had slipped in. We never said we were bringing the protein to family Christmas. Hell, I didn’t even know it was going to be pretty much a potluck until Mumika came into town. But somehow, someone decided that was what was going to happen.

This assumption was not only improper but also impolite. Someone should have picked up a phone and talked to one of us. A five minute conversation of “Hey, is that brisket I know your making for us or for you?” Instead of a, “Well, I thought you were making that brisket for the family.”

I just don’t get it. I just don’t know. It feels like some sort of scheme. Like someone put it into someone else’s head and everyone just ran with it assuming we would bring some of the leftovers. I mean, it was an 11 pound brisket and other than Mumika, there is only two people eating it. Why would two people need an 11 pound brisket?

Well, I have plans for it. Brisket tamales, brisket enchiladas, brisket shepard’s pie. That’s at least 6 days of food I don’t really have to worry about. With a rather hectic schedule from school, internships, work, probably two jobs, and what have you, I need to be able to have meals in the freezer that only needs to be popped into the oven at whatever temp and baked for so long and *boom* dinner’s ready.

But I digress
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Brisket Marinade

3/4 cup sugar
1 onion sliced
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil
a few dashes of garlic power
some salt.

Directions

Get a huge sturdy plastic container that can fit the brisket.

Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl.

Salt the brisket.

Pour some of the marinade at the bottom of the plastic container.

Place the brisket into the plastic container.

Pour marinade over brisket.

Place lid on top and shake a little. Put in the fridge for up to two days. Shake the container every so often.

 

 

Merry Christmas and Pernil

Merry Christmas from the Diabetic Kitchen. I hope you had a wonderful holiday with your family and ate amazing meals. The holidays are more about the food than the gifts, at least for me it is.

Pernil – the definition of pork yumminess that can only be called Puerto Rican.

A traditional Puerto Rican Christmas meal always has pernil at the table. Always. And you never mess with traditions. NEVER.

Growing up as a half breed, Mumika chose the English traditions over the Puerto RIcan ones. I have always understood her reasons behind this – Dad died, and she was making sure his traditions were a permanent part of my life. However, in the process, I didn’t know these yummy Puerto Rican traditions until I accepted myself as a Boriqua and researched.

Ironically, Mumika did try to make pernil once. It was 2011. The very pork that sent me to the hospital and nearly killed me. And here I am, making it myself, 3 years later.

The major different is, I got my pork shoulder butt at HEB where I know there meat are prime.

A few things about this Pernil:

I didn’t get the picnic pork shoulder because the HEB where I live didn’t have it. If I had waited until the next day, when I was at a different HEB, I would have found it. So essentially, any pork butt or shoulder or whatever, will do.

Because I didn’t get the picnic pork, there’s wasn’t any fat at the top that melts down into the meat itself creating a crispy skin. So if you don’t want that, don’t get the picnic cut. Some may say, “But you’re missing the best part.” You’re not.

I ended up wrapping the pork in plastic wrap after I put the marinade on there and let it sit in my fridge overnight. So do that. Let the flavors penetrate into the meat.

Also, don’t listen to your Mumika about how long to cook the pernil. She always ends up drying her meat out. As time progressed and we kept sampling the meat to see where we were at, she was adamant about the temp and time. Make sure you have a meat thermometer to poke the pernil with. When it gets to 180, it’s pretty much done.

One of the biggest things to keep in mind is that you are using a mortar and pestle to crush the garlic and combining it with the other ingredients to pretty much make a paste. If you don’t have it, just crush the garlic with the wide end of your knife until you hear a pop and chop it. I ended up crushing the garlic in the roast pan to make sure the garlic was at the bottom of the butt.
image

Pernil


6 pounds Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt
6 Cloves of Garlic, pressed
1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 1/4 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 1/4 tablespoon White Vinegar
4 teaspoon Salt

Combine garlic, pepper, oregano, olive oil, vinegar and salt.

Rub pork with garlic mixture all over pork.

Stab pork repeatedly (my favorite part, it lets me relieve any murderous ideas) and stuff the knife openings with the garlic.

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

TO COOK:

Put pork into a roasting pan.

Preheat oven at 400 and cook to pork at 400 for about 50 minutes.

After that, lower the temperature to 300 for the rest of the time.

This is where research gets tricky. Some people say cook for 20 minutes per pound, others say it’s 35 minutes per pound.

I say, check with a meat thermometer and cut a piece off every time you check it until its where you want it. When it gets all cooked and crispy like, it’s pretty much done.

Makes a lot.

It came out amazing. Tasted just like Puerto Rico.

I was actually quite impressed with the results. And it was nice and moist, and happiness.

And I have all sorts of ideas for it – Cuban sandwiches, pernil empanadas, pork buns.

It’s going to be amazing.

This is definitely going to be a new tradition in this house.
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Gift Wrapped Holiday Cans

I really hate getting cookies and in the transport, they get all broken up.

Bags are soo overrated. And ruins all the hard work you did making these amazing cookies.

Bags are also overrated when it comes to gifting snack mixed. Sure its easy, dump and close with ribbon,  but presentation wise is sophomoric. Unless your child in the intermediate school age or younger. Then by all means bag it up and call it a night.

I just tend to overdo everything or as Bryan puts it, “Makes simple things complicated.” I just think presentation is the key to everything. I blame all those years writing papers, doing power point presentations, and making posters for college for this overachieving make everything look as pretty as can be mentality. College, it breaks you. It really does. And graduate school is full of high expectations where if you don’t meet these expectations you fail. Then you get a career in your field, and those damn expectations don’t actually go away. They become part of your life, your everyday life.

And guess what, there’s nothing wrong with that.

So put those cellophane or whatever Christmas bags you found at Walmart or Hobby Lobby up. And find some pringles cans.

I’m about to blow your mind.

Ok, maybe not. I’m sure you’ve seen this already on facebook. Wrapping up pringles cans so that they look like Christmas presents. Actually I know you have. I can feel it. And if you haven’t, well then consider you mind blown.

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Gift Wrapped Holiday Cans

Pringle can (pringles already eaten)
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 10X10 inch square of wrapping paper
transparent tap
long ass piece of ribbon

Directions

After you have eaten the pringles (Bryan loves the salt and vingar obviously), put baking soda in the can. Shake it up and leave it for a week.

When you are ready to use the can, wash the inside of the can and dry it.

Take your 10X10 inch square and see where you need to cut to make it fit better. I line it up under the metal ring at the top, wrap the wrapping paper around the canister to make sure it overlaps. Then, using my thumbnail, I make an indent at the bottom ring of the canister so that I know where to cut.

Once you have trimmed the wrapping paper as needed and double checked that it fits accordingly, place tape vertically on where you want the wrapping paper to attach to the canister. Place a piece of tape at the bottom and at the top.

Wrap the wrapping paper around the canister, making sure that the wrapping paper is between the to metal rings.

Once the wrapping paper has overlapped, attach that side to the wrapping paper using a piece of tape. I use three pieces of tape, one at the top, middle, and bottom.

Flip the canister over and figure out where you want the ribbon to go. I put the ribbon where one side covers the overlap of the wrapping paper.

Make sure the ribbon is equal in length on both sides and attach it to the bottom of the canister with a piece of tape.

Run the ribbon up one side of the canister and attach it to the wrapping paper at the top of the can. Do the same to the other side. This way tying the ribbon into a bow at the top is easier. The ribbon won’t slide on you.

Fill the canister up with whatever yummy creation you have made to be gifted. Cover with lid and tie with a bow.

Makes 1 canister.

From the picture, the can on the left is the empty pringles can, the one in the middle is after what it looks like after the can has been wrapped and the can on the right is the finished product.

You can always stop at the wrapping and call it a day.

This can is great for gifting snacks, cookies, muffins and what have you.

I’m actually using them for the gifts I’m making the in laws.

One big thought – do not buy the smellier chips like onion, cheddar ones. The stinkier the chips, the longer it takes to get rig of the smell.

Other than that, wow everyone and save the cookies from being broken. And you could make them for pretty cheap and it comes with a snack.

$1.50 for the pringles can
$1 for tape
$0.50 for the wrapping paper – I got it from the dollar store on clearance.
$0.97 for the silver sparkly ribbon.

All of it for under 4. Hell, if you are a normal pringles eater or know someone who is, save the cans for future use.

And definitely buy the wrapping paper after Christmas.

It’s the cute little things that makes something mundane into something extraordinary.

Marshmallow Vodka

The big holiday is coming up.

I never know what to get my coworkers for Christmas. And I don’t feel like going out and buying a million different versions and colors of the same thing.

Mumika usually gives out coquito every year to coworkers. And I was going to do that, but then I realized some of my coworkers don’t drink, could have an allergy, and well, some I hardly ever see.

So asked two of the awesome ladies I work with if they wanted flavored vodka for Christmas and both ended up wanting Marshmallow Vodka.

Sounds easy. Might as well try it.

Originally I only put in three huge marshmallows and immediately knew I did it wrong. So here is the updated version.

But before you look, here’s a few things to know:

Marshmallows fully disintegrate in about 5 days.
As they break apart, you will notice the amount of fluid decreases.
You can either add more marshmallows or vodka when that happens.
It’s always good to shake the bottle once a day to make sure the vodka completely covers the marshmallow.
Use good vodka, not that handle for $9.99.

Looking at the picture it is obvious that there are still marshmallows in it. I wanted to give my coworkers a full bottle, so I crammed another marshmallow in it.
image

Marshmallow Vodka

Good vodka
A bottle ( I used a 12 ounce Gatorade bottle that I had washed and rinsed out)
A bag of normal sized marshmallow

Directions

Cram as many marshmallows into the bottle as possible.

Fill bottle up with vodka.

As time goes by, either add more vodka or marshmallow if the liquid amount decreases.

Store in a dark area during the disintegration process.

Makes 12 one ounce shot.

The great thing about this is that you can actually control how marshmallow-y you want the vodka.

And it’s a great Christmas gift for anyone who likes flavored vodka.

Rice Cooker Banana Bread

You did read the title right. It says Rice Cooker, not slow cooker. But more of that later.

So Bryan took away my stove to tile. Which he still isn’t done yet because he just will not work on the house during the week. It’s driving me crazy. To make things worse, he’s taken the sink away too. And I will not wash dishes outside in 60 degree weather. Fuck that. So I can’t cook.

So it’s either tv dinners or eating out. My stomach is already screaming, “Why?!?!?!”

Which is also driving me crazy. He better get this shit done this week or I’m going to kill him.

As I was pursing the interwebs, I came across a website that claims you can make all sorts of things in the rice cooker. That’s right. The rice cooker is no longer just for rice, it’s for cabbage rolls and other things. In this case, banana bread.

I had bananas nearly black patiently waiting to be used. I was going to go to my mother in laws but I remembered she’s in Houston with her grandkids or something. So I can’t bake or anything. I want to stab things with plastic knives and snap the tops off. I need to bake or something. I had the longest week last week, I need to do something yummy and constructive with my time off.

Banana bread in the rice cooker it is.

image

Rice Cooker Banana Bread

3 bananas
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

In a medium bowl, mash bananas and mix with butter and sugar until roughly smooth.

Add vanilla and eggs until well combined.

In a small bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until thoroughly combined.

Add dry mixture to banana mixture and stir until well combined.

Grease the inside of the rice cooker with cooking spray or butter. Which ever tickles you fancy.

Pour baker into rice cooker and press cook.

Makes 14.

So using my rice cooker was a bitch. It popped off to warm a million times and I had to keep pressing cook every 5 minutes. It was supposed to take 90 minutes to cook using two cooking cycles. But that was obviously not the case with my rice cooker.

Meaning, if you want to check the damn thing every 5 minutes to turn press the lever to cook, then all means be my guess. If not, then DO NOT DO THIS.
JUST DON’T DO IT.

Also the batter is insanely thick. You’re going to look at it and think, “This is not right. This is definitely no where near being right”, but it is.

I was so hoping it would be an awesome life hack and in a way it is, but it’s not worth it.

The possibilities are endless in reality. The bread was actually good and moist and spongy. I was actually surprised. I might add a little more sugar if you want it to be sweeter.

All in all it was a welcomed cooking experiment. Would I do this recipe again, no. Will I try something different, sure why not. I mean, I’ve done a cheesecake in the bloody slow cooker. What will I try next.

Caramel Apple Cider

It’s been 3 years since my last hospitalization. Three! I think I might celebrate year 5 with cookie cake or something that says “5 Years Death-Free. Yay!” Because you really should celebrate these milestones. Give you goals and reasons to live and what have you.

I always tend to get pretty contemplative in the shower near this anniversary. So many things could have gone wrong from the start. And yet, here I am. I could be on dialysis permanently. I could be wheelchair bound. I could have had brain damage that reduced my quality of life as well as loss of facilities. I could have a speech impediment. I could be in a daycare for adults which in reality is rehab. I could be mute. Bryan would probably have to bathe and feed me and become a caretaker. My recovery could have been a lot slower. I could have reduced function in my extremities. I could be homebound due to consistent fatigue. There’s a lot of things that could have gone wrong.

But, for the most part, it didn’t. Although there are spelling mistakes and some sentences that don’t make any sense because my thought process is faster than my typing skills. But, I can always go back and edit that shit.

I remember when Bryan brought me home the second time, every time I wanted a shower, he had to stand in the shower with me to hold me up. I would get through half of the bathing process before exhaustion took over and he would finish where I left off while I hugged him. Hell, I didn’t shower for about 5 days in the hospital because of the catheter in my thigh. It was too much energy to get a nurse to get a plastic glove and duct tape to wrap the catheter to make sure no water got into it. This also made it heavier and it’s dangling from my inner thigh which was quite painful so I said fuck it, I’ll have a shower when we take this thing out of me. Too much hassle and I was exhausted just getting up and going to the bathroom. I ended up using baby wipes all over my body after my morning potty session. Also, dialysis does a number on you.

I think of those time. The times in the hospital, the waking up in the morning screaming and crying in pain, how a burning sensation like someone had lit me on fire coursed through my body the minute I set a foot on the floor in the morning, the terrible back spasms I had where the tranquilizers turned me into goo. Recovery hurts. Coming back from the brink of death hurts. And you have to have patience knowing that although you might never reach 100%, there will be a day where you may feel normal.

You can through me into a deep hole, cover me in shit, and I will still manage to get myself out of that hole squeaky clean. That and dictionaries are a lifesaver. I just tried to spell squeaky sweakie.

Not quite 100%, but this will do.

How do I know I’m recovering? I’m in graduate school getting A’s and understanding psychological theories, approaches, and concepts. I can see how these theories evolved, how they can come together, how to integrate them. After the first hospitalization, I was still in grad school working on my first masters and went back to class where for a week I could have sworn everything was spoken in pig latin. Theories flew out the window and I had to dedicate hours of studying to attempt to relearn what I already knew. You would think I would have scrambled my brain the second time, but I think it ended up righting itself. So here I am, back in school, making a dream come true.

From the fiery ashes, I am made anew.

But enough about that.

caramelapplespice

Caramel Apple Cider

2 teaspoons caramel
1 teaspoon cinnamon
8 oz Apple Cider
Whipped Cream and more caramel as garnish

Directions

Place caramel at bottom of coffee mug.

Pour in Apple Cider.

Stir in cinnamon.

Heat for 2 minutes. Be sure to stir at the 1 minute mark.

Drink as is, or top with whipped cream and caramel sauce.

Makes 1.

You could also heat the apple cider on the stove and stir in the caramel with the cinnamon. It’s up to you.

Even though this is not steamed, it still tastes like a Starbucks caramel apple spice. I would always drink those when fall and winter hit. ALWAYS.

But $3 is too much and I know they use cinnamon syrup along with the caramel sauce and that tends to be a wee bit too high in the sugar department. A grande is 74 grams of sugar.

This version, albeit not that diabetic friendly, does not use simple syrup and you can water it down to make a pint. And you don’t have to add the garnishes, although they are so tasty. But if you have to, and you know what I mean, I would totally put a tiny spray of whipped cream in it. You don’t have to go all out like the baristas do. Just enough to make it creamy.

 

Beer batter fried chicken

I hardly drink anymore. In fact, it’s more rare than usual. It’s not that I don’t like alcohol, it’s just not as fun in a non bar setting. I think that’s why Bryan wants to find a place similar to the bar we went to every single Sunday night when we lived in Houston. But we aren’t going to find the same thing, definitely not up here.
But when I do drink, it’s either cider or beer of some sort. Only problem is that I’m rarely in the mood for it. On top of that, some people left beer in our fridge that I don’t like. Now there’s beer in the fridge that I will never drink and I have no clue what to do with it.
Until a light bulb goes off.
Beer battered chicken. The recipe has been floating around the facebook recipe pages lately. Why not try it.
beerchicken
Beer Battered Fried Chicken
1 1/2 pounds of  boneless chicken breast, cut into strips, nugggets, or left as is
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup beer
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
oil for frying
Directions
In a medium bowl mix flour, baking powder, salt, beet, paprika, and black pepper together until well combined.
Place chicken in medium bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
Heat a skillet with oil and fry chicken until golden brown.
Makes a lot.
This actually makes tons of batter. So if you want to use the batter for something other than chicken, pour some of it into a different container. It can also last three days in the fridge.
The chicken was succulent. The batter was awesome. Definitely not your normal batter. I think I actually prefer this batter to normal or buttermilk batter. I think it’s that slight hoppy aftertaste that brings everything to a more heightened level.
This would also be great for pickles, onion rings, and anything else you feel like frying. Oh, zucchini fries or green beans or asparagus. I so need to try that next.