Victoria’s new kinder rating scheme delivers a tick to some, a kick to others


Victorian Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt said the initiative would make it easier for parents to find a good quality kindergarten program.

“Victorian families can simply look for the kinder tick to find a teacher-led kindergarten program that supports their child’s learning and development and suits their needs,” Ms Stitt said.

An estimated 2600 childcare centres will receive the tick, including sessional kindergartens and long day care centres that offer 25 hours of integrated kindergarten.

The tick is unrelated to the established national quality standard for childcare and early learning services, which is run by the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority.

Early Learning and Care Council of Australia chief executive Elizabeth Death said a tick system for Victoria would provide clarity on which childcare centres also offer kindergarten programs with a tertiary-qualified teacher.

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“It cuts through some of the myths that currently exist, that you need to move your child from a quality early learning centre into a stand-alone kinder to gain access to a kinder program,” Ms Death said.

Ms Death said centres that fell short of the state government’s new standards risked losing enrolments if they didn’t improve the quality of their kindergarten service.

“They need to lift their game,” she said.

Merri Community Child Care Centre director Helen Evdokimou said the centre, which offers all-day childcare with an integrated kinder program, would display the tick to give its families added confidence.

“We do OK with enrolments, we have been a centre of choice for many families, so I think it will probably reinforce it for some,” Ms Evdokimou said.

“Ultimately, the tick is a great thing to promote kinder.”

But some centres will be not get the tick of approval, despite meeting or even exceeding national quality standards, because they do not qualify for the government’s free kinder program.

Brookville Kindergarten is a not-for-profit, community-run kindergarten in Toorak, which exceeds the national quality standard for childcare but also charges annual fees of more than $2122 per child, making it ineligible for the free kinder program.

“Our costs are higher because we run longer day programs, hire high-quality staff and have healthy child-to-teacher ratios,” Brookville president Shona Brady said.

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The kindergarten is surveying its parents about whether they are prepared to make a donation to cover the gap between their fees and the government’s cap for accessing free kinder.

If all parents agree, Brookville will sign up to the free kinder program, saving parents about $2000 in fees and enabling it to use the tick.

The government has capped the kinder subsidy at $2122 per child, and stipulated that any centre that charges higher fees will not be able to charge parents a gap fee to cover the difference.

This leaves up to 9 per cent of sessional kindergartens ineligible to access free kindergarten, the Department of Education and Training has estimated.

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From kick serve to drop shot, what makes Ash Barty so special?


You’ve probably seen the moment already but look below. View it again. The return of serve went wide, and all of Australia beamed, and of course Ash Barty did too, before smashing the ball skyward. She had done it. Won her 12th straight match. Won the Birmingham Classic. Achieved the No. 1 ranking in the world. When she beat her doubles partner, Julia Goerges (6-3, 7-5), on Sunday, June 23, 2019, she became only the second Australian woman to achieve the ranking, after Indigenous champion and mentor Evonne Goolagong Cawley, who completed the feat all the way back in 1976.

Chris Evert, 18-time grand slam champion, said at the time that Barty, the sublimely skilled Queenslander, is “living proof that variety and finesse have a place in modern tennis, alongside power”. Indeed that stunning result – on the back of her maiden Grand Slam victory in the French Open that same year – saw Barty ascend to a lofty perch that she has held now for almost two years, as a perrenial threat and top seeded talent in any tournament she enters. She has shown as much again this month, in the Australian Open, and her coach, Craig Tyzzer, says she has the game to keep her at the top for a long time. But what is it – exactly – that makes her so special?

It starts with her kick serve. Also known as “the hopper”, the idea is to get the ball to bounce up and out of an opponent’s hitting zone (and comfort zone). “Most players like to get the ball at hip height but when you do a kick serve you’re basically putting more rotations on the ball, so it jumps quickly off the court and often changes direction,” says Tyzzer. “Not a lot of girls hit kick serves, so it’s a definite point of difference.”

This one’s a favourite. Many women – and men – look for power and control by using only a double-handed backhand. But it means when they’re forced to stretch and play the shot one-handed, they often produce weak, pushing returns. Barty breaks with convention by favouring a single slice backhand, meaning she gets penetration, plus spin. Watch the ball land: it moves notably and unpredictably, changing the pace of the rally.

Next, there’s her forehand. No one succeeds in tennis without power across the body and Barty’s right is a definite weapon. She generates heavy topspin, and the ball moves with good pace through the court. She also doesn’t stand back like so many others, hitting only ropey, hydraulic forehands from the baseline. “Ash adapts to who she’s playing and moves the ball around – pinpointing her shots,” says Tyzzer. “It’s won her lots of her matches.”

A tool we’re seeing Barty deploy more and more successfully over the past year or so is one that delights all tennis fans: the drop shot. It’s bold, and risky, but has the potential to change the entire complexion of a point. Watch the example above – she caresses the ball from the back of the court, sending it just over the net, and it completely dies after the bounce. It takes confidence to attempt, but the result is almost unplayable.

Volleys are of course another potent weapon in the Barty arsenal. The thing is, she’s a strong and constant doubles player, which pays off in singles because of her willingness to come to the net. She has soft hands and quick reflexes, honed over a long time. “She comes in at any opportunity for a short ball,” says Tyzzer. “And it’s a real point of difference in all forms of tennis, because not many guys do it either.”

Putting all this together isn’t easy, but Barty has what’s called a complete “all court” game. She reacts fast, changes grip swiftly, and dwells on her footwork and proactive movement. She needs to. Her game was built on variety, pushed by junior coach Jim Joyce: “You force a chip-slice backhand, then a quick switch to a volley – forcing her to practise her transition – and she would nail it. You can try those things with all girls, but they can’t all do it.”

To be as good as Ashleigh Barty, of course, you need some X-factor, creativity and flair. And she does have tricks. Quite a few. Former world number eight Alicia Molik first saw Barty when she was 10, and now sees her manufacture something incredible – a spectacle, or two, or three – in almost every match and practice session. “If you haven’t watched Ash before, you need to go and buy a ticket,” she says. “I’m serious. You really need to see her play.”

The serve, the slice, the smash, the speed, the sense, the style – none of it means anything without grit. Barty is famous for her love of the challenge, the one-on-one – the search for the chink in the armour that will lance the girl at the other end of the court, remembering that it’s not over until she’s shaking hands at the net. “Every player in the world knows what my weapons are,” she says. “It’s about using them better than your opponent.”

Additional footage: WTA, Roland-Garros, Channel Nine, Tennis Australia.

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Billings backs Hill to kick on at Saints


Brad Hill experienced an up-and-down first AFL season at St Kilda but teammate Jack Billings has backed the winger to kick on in 2021.

Hill joined the Saints from Fremantle on a lucrative long-term contract at the end of 2019 but struggled to find his best form in 2020, averaging just 15.4 disposals.

Billings expected the return to longer quarters to suit the hard-running Hill and help him get back to his best.

“Obviously he came in last year with a lot of expectations on him but I guess you can only speak about what’s happening now and he’s in really good shape and out there today he was moving well,” Billings said on Wednesday.

“I think quarters going back to normal length this year is something that’s gonna help him.

“Sometimes it just takes a little bit of time for new players to sort of fit in – just get used to how guys around them play and how we play as a team. Sometimes that takes longer for other guys.

“He’s comfortable now, he’s 12 months in – so I’m looking forward to what he can do for us this year.”

The Saints snared Hill along with Dan Butler, Zak Jones, Paddy Ryder and Dougal Howard in a bumper 2019 trade period, with all five best 22 players in a team that reached a semi-final.

Billings expected all five players to continue to improve – especially off the back of the team’s bonding in their Queensland hub.

“Because we had all these new players come in, it takes time to create relationships and get to know each other and it was fast-tracked just because we were up in Queensland for all that time,” he said.

“We look at that as a real positive and benefit for our footy club.

“We’ve already noticed coming back here – the first few days back – everyone knows each other a lot better than, say, if we didn’t (go in the hub).”

Billings was impressed by new recruits Brad Crouch and Jack Higgins, while he noted Dan Hannebery – plagued by soft-tissue injuries in his first two seasons at St Kilda – was “flying”.

Meanwhile former Kangaroo Mason Wood is training with the Saints in the hope of securing an AFL lifeline and Billings said the athletic forward had made a good initial impression.



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The promising young Swan who is a top five kick in the AFL: Dal Santo


Nick Dal Santo is a big fan of young Sydney defender Jordan Dawson.

The 23-year-old played 16 games in 2020, averaging 16 disposals per game and has shown the ability to play across half back, through the midfield or half forward if required.

Dal Santo rates Dawson as one of the best kicks in the entire AFL.

“Jordan Dawson needs to be given the ball at every opportunity,” he told SEN Breakfast.

“They’ve got Jake Lloyd already who does that, but Jordan Dawson is arguably in the top five field kicks in the competition.

“He is that good … and by coincidence he is a left footer and left footers are better at kicking the footy, that’s a fact,” Dal Santo added, tongue in cheek.

“Jordan Dawson needs to be given the ball more than he currently has and be put in position to show why he is so elite in this game. That is how good he is.”

Dawson has played 41 career games since being drafted with pick 56 in the 2015 National Draft out of Sturt.







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Labor calls on Coalition to do more for hard hit areas of Australian economy as jobkeeper cuts kick in | Welfare


The Morrison government faces new calls to offer targeted support to businesses in the hardest hit parts of the Australian economy as the Coalition presses ahead with cuts to emergency wage subsidies from Monday.

Labor has accused the government of withdrawing critical support from the economy at a time when Covid-19 outbreaks in New South Wales and Victoria have sparked the return of tight domestic border rules and curbs on business activities.

The opposition said the cuts – which are worth up to $200 a fortnight for each worker receiving jobkeeper – “ignore the increased stress on many businesses over the holiday period, particularly in parts of Sydney and surrounding tourist regions”.

From Monday, the jobkeeper payment will be paid at the rate of $1,000 a fortnight – down from $1,200 – for eligible workers who normally worked at least 20 hours a week.

Recipients who normally worked less than 20 hours a week will receive $650 a fortnight, a reduction of $100.

About 1.6 million individuals were receiving jobkeeper in the December quarter, down from the peak of 3.6 million in the first phase, when all recipients were paid at the flat rate of $1,500 a fortnight.

Jobkeeper payments will cease entirely at the end of March, as part of the “tapering” of what the government argues was always meant to be a temporary program but ended up being extended beyond its original cutoff date.

The latest cuts come a few days after the 1 January reduction in the rate of the coronavirus supplement, which topped up several welfare payments including the jobseeker unemployment benefits.

Labor’s finance spokesperson, Katy Gallagher, said the cuts would hurt small businesses, regional communities and vulnerable Australians at a time of heightened uncertainty.

“Many business owners are seeing holiday bookings cancelled or empty tables in their cafes and restaurants at what is usually their busiest time of the year,” she said.

“This is the second time in three months that the Morrison government has cut jobkeeper without a proper plan for jobs, despite the fact that 2.2 million Australians are looking for work or more work and the government expects another 90,000 will join the jobless queues by March.”

Gallagher said the Labor party believed financial support needed to be tailored to the prevailing economic conditions.

She called on the government to “urgently consider options to provide targeted support to hard hit parts of the economy and ensure those who need financial support continue to receive it”.

Handing down a budget update last month, the government said the economy was doing better than expected and that was why the jobkeeper program was now expected to cost $90bn – down more than $11bn since October.

The treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, argued then that Australia’s economic recovery was “well under way” and more businesses were “graduating off jobkeeper”.

He pointed to budget measures such as a youth hiring credit and personal income tax cuts as providing further economic support.

The federal government on Sunday gave its tick of approval to the way state governments were handling the latest Covid outbreaks.

The federal health minister, Greg Hunt, said there was “significant cause for hope in Australia”.

Speaking after a call with the chief medical officer, Prof Paul Kelly, Hunt acknowledged “the times are challenging” but said Australia’s cases numbers continued to be “astonishingly low” by global standards. Hunt said the results indicated “significant containment both within Victoria and NSW”.

“We are winning but we have not won,” Hunt said.

Despite the federal government being highly critical of the Victorian government’s contact-tracing capacity during the second wave last year, Hunt said he had confidence in the state government’s current response. He said the systems had “dramatically improved”.

Hunt also declined to criticise the NSW government for avoiding introducing a mask mandate until now, saying the state had been responding to its circumstances but had been encouraging people to wear masks even before taking the formal step.

“I think both NSW and Victoria are responding and responding well,” he said.

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Arrests reported at anti-government protest outside Netanyahu’s home, as Israelis kick off 2021 with weekly demo — RT World News



Israeli demonstrators began the new year where they ended 2020, flooding the streets outside Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s home in Jerusalem, accusing his government of corruption and botched coronavirus response.

Anti-corruption protesters in Israel extended their demonstrations into the new year, marching for a 28th straight week and clashing with police near Netanyahu’s official residence. Eleven protesters were detained by police outside Netanyahu’s home, while about 100 others were relocated to another street further away from his house on Saturday afternoon, Haaretz newspaper reported.

Thousands more people joined the protests in the evening in Jerusalem and other locations around the country, including Netanyahu’s private residence in Caesarea.

Police also arrested two teenagers, 14 and 15, who threw rocks at anti-corruption protesters in Yavne’el. Video footage shows protesters being dragged away by police one-by-one, including one man with a megaphone.

Journalist Ben Caspit posted a video of protesters marching to Balfour Street, where Netanyahu’s official residence is located. He said the number of participants has declined, given that it’s winter, but the protest movement is “alive and well.”

One of the protest organizers, the Movement for Quality Government in Israel, said it won’t allow the “corrupt” transitional government to ruin democracy or “squash any basic norms” as the country’s March 23 election — its fourth national election in just two years — approach. “We are not going to stop, not even in quarantine,” the group said. “We will not stop until we cleanse corruption from power.”

READ MORE: Netanyahu’s rival says Israeli PM ‘only working to save himself from trial’ as country might hold FOURTH election in 2 years

Netanyahu has also faced growing criticism for his government’s handling of the pandemic. Harsh coronavirus restrictions have dealt a heavy blow to the economy, which is struggling to recover, with the nation being under a third partial lockdown since the start of the outbreak.



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Israel to enter third national lockdown for at least two weeks as Covid-19 infections surge


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Wall Street to kick out Chinese telecom giants


The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) said it will delist three Chinese telecommunications firms based on claimed links with its military



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College football playoffs 2020: Tulsa vs Mississippi State brawl, fight, punch, kick


Tulsa and Mississippi State took the name of the Armed Forces Bowl a little too literally, engaging in a post-game battle that saw dozens of punches thrown, a player kicked while he was on the ground and another needing to be helped off the field.

There was tension from the outset at the end-of-season clash in Fort Worth, Texas, as players from both teams clashed before kick-off.

But that was just the entree as wild scenes followed Mississippi State’s 28-26 win.

Both squads had come together on the field when some push-and-shove turned violent.

Players began swinging wildly at each other, before one of the chief instigators was towel-whipped and kicked in the chest.

Mississippi State coach Mike Leach didn’t seem overly perturbed when asked what his message to his team would be after the fight.

“Don’t do it anymore. It’s just dumb,” he told ESPN.

“This is a football game so we’re not going to be tearing cloth over this deal; somebody went to a football game and somebody got hit.”

Tulsa’s Kendarin Ray appeared to suffer the most damage and was helped off the field by two support staff.

“I think he has probably some version of a concussion and we‘ll leave it at that,” Tulsa coach Phillip Montgomery said.

“The one thing I’ll say is our program, our guys, we’re a team that is going to stand up for each other and we’re going to battle,” Montgomery added. “We talk about faith, family and football – and family is going to take care of family. We’re a team that has battled all year long. We battled again today and from that standpoint our guys are going to continue to protect each other and go from there.”



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Macarthur FC beat Western Sydney Wanderers courtesy of free kick deflected off Mark Milligan


Benat was introduced off the bench in the 68th minute and nearly scored with his first touch, but his long-distance shot on goal was batted away by Wanderers custodian Daniel Margush.

Fringe Socceroos goalkeeper Adam Federici was busy all night at the other end, keeping the Bulls in the contest with a string of fantastic saves – the last one coming in injury time to foil Kwame Yeboah.

Ziggy Gordon battles with Matt Derbyshire.Credit:Getty

But the win was thoroughly deserved for Macarthur, whose positive attacking football and intriguing mix of experienced campaigners like Benat, and young stars like Hollman and Lachlan Rose already feels like the breath of fresh air the A-League desperately needed.

“First and foremost you’ve got to look at the owners who had a dream a couple of years ago to put together a new club in the competition,” Bulls coach Ante Milicic said.

“With all the things that happened throughout the world it made it very difficult, but in the end we got there and today was an important day for the club, for the club’s history, but also important for the game, and the A-League.

“We want to be competitive, we want to add value … it’s just the first game, it’s good to win, particularly against such a strong team like Western Sydney. We’ll be satisfied tonight but we know we’ll have to quickly recover and shift our focus to the Mariners on Sunday.”

There was no shame in the defeat for the Wanderers in their first match under coach Carl Robinson, who would be rightly pleased with how quickly his remodelled team has gelled, albeit with no end product to show for it.

“I knew the game would be tight, very close. In close games you’re hoping you get a little bit of luck. A few decisions here and there and it wasn’t to be,” Robinson said.

“Performance-wise, I can’t fault them. They applied themselves excellently, the way they approached the game was excellent, and obviously we conceded a goal through a free kick through a deflection which actually wasn’t a free kick.

“But you have to take it sometimes – we’ll learn from it and move on.”

A tension in the air – typical of a derby – was palpable from the outset, but Ziggy Gordon may not remember it well: his first minute in Wanderers colours ended with a ball straight to the head, courtesy of Loic Puyo’s thump on goal from metres away.

Ten minutes later came the controversy. Prized Western Sydney recruit Graham Dorrans unleashed a shot from well outside the box that caught Aleksandar Jovanovic in the stomach. Referee Kurt Ams whistled straight away for a handball penalty, but he rightly revised his decision after visiting the VAR screen on the sideline.

From then on, Macarthur had the ascendancy. Their most promising attacking outlet proved to be Moudi Najjar, the Young Socceroos striker on loan to the Bulls this season from Melbourne City.

Playing on the left wing, Najjar often drifted inside and found numerous opportunities lurking in the space opened up by Matt Derbyshire’s intelligent movement.

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Najjar got his head onto tasty crosses from Ivan Franjic and Denis Genreau but couldn’t hit the target with either, and had his best chance four minutes from the break, when he was picked out again by Rose, only to nod the ball fractionally wide of the right post.

The Wanderers responded with their best stretch of attacking football to that point, with a flurry of shots that tested Federici’s reflexes – all coming in the shadows of the first half.

Ibini had the last sight on goal for the first half, taking a swipe at a loose ball that fell his way which whizzed past the wrong side of the upright, before Federici was again forced to deny efforts from James Troisi and Keanu Baccus on the other side of the break.

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7 Celebrity Chef Share Recipe to Kick Start 2021


Adopting healthy Living in 2021 is a noble undertaking. Losing or gaining weight, or eating better requires some planning. So here we are to help you get ready and save these healthy recipes to kick off your 2021. We got in touch with the 7 Celebrity Chef to help us craft recipes idle to Kick Start 2021.

So here they are,

Suzi Gerber

A renowned vegan chef! She has worked with Whole Foods, Sysco, BGood, Pressed, Prestige Hospitality, Roots, Scotland Food and Beverage, the ACLU, and Divine Diets just to name a few. She has been seen on NBC 10 Boston, NBC Washington, Fox Denver, WFLA and in Today.com, Real Simple, Shape, WSJ, Girl’s Life, Men’s Fitness, Chowhound, Livestrong, Veg News, Edible Arrangements, Prepared Foods, QSR, Supply Chain, Restaurant Management, Eat This, Not That, and many more! She has also just released a stunning new cookbook Plant-Based Gourmet!

Savory Oatmeal

celebrity_chef 2021

Ingredients

  • 4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 cups organic rolled oats (gf preferred)
  • 1/2 diced yellow onion
  • 1 small/medium diced green bell pepper
  • 1 small diced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered (approximately 12-15)
  • 1/2 TBS garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbs Tahini
  • 1/2 tsp ACV
  • Oil, or more broth, to sauté
  • Optional Garnish- cilantro, cherry tomatoes, avocado

Instructions

  1. Put the broth and 1 cup of water and the oats into a saucepan and put it over medium heat, covered.
  2. While the broth-oats mixture heats, heat a pan with a small amount of oil or more broth, then sauté the onions until they start to brown.  Then add the peppers and sauté until tender.
  3. Add the tahini and ACV, and stir to coat, then add the spices.  Heat for 1 minute.
  4. Add the quartered tomatoes, using the juice from the tomatoes to scrape the bottom on the pan and mix the flavors together.
  5. Uncover the oats and stir in the savory sauté mixture and cook until the broth is completely absorbed into the oats and they are tender.

Suzi’s Recipe for 2021

Ditch the sugar and dig into a comfort classic reimagined in a savory bowl packed with superfoods. Warm and filling for the winter, the turmeric, cumin, and garlic have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that will ease the aches of winter and give the immune system the support it needs this season. Oatmeal is an amazing source of fiber and pre-biotics, and the combo of veggies, herbs and seasonings is packed with vitamins and minerals which will keep you at peak performance all day. Stay full, longer, and for less calories!

 Shalane Flanagan:  

celebrity_chef

She’s a four-time Olympic runner, has written two NYT best-selling cookbooks, and helps encourage everyday athletes to get out and exercise and enjoy good food and beer through the Dogfish Head Run Club.

Thai Quinoa Salad

celebrity_chef

This is the salad Shalane made on a near weekly basis while training for the 2017 NYC Marathon and 2018 Boston Marathon.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups grated carrots (about 2 large)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced purple cabbage
  • 3 green onions, white and green parts sliced
  • 1 cup packed mint leaves, chopped (cilantro works too)
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, seeds removed, minced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (2 to 3 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
  • Here is a fool proof method to cook quinoa. In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring to a boil 1 ½ cups water and the quinoa. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Transfer to a large salad bowl, fluff with a fork, and set aside to cool.
  • Meanwhile, put the olive oil, lime juice, soy sauce or tamari, honey, and fish sauce (if using) in a glass jar or bowl and stir to combine.
  • Once the quinoa is cool, and the carrots, cabbage, onion, mint, basil, and pepper (if using) to the bowl and toss to combine. Add the dressing and toss again. Taste and, if needed, add more fish sauce or soy sauce.
  • Top with the peanuts. Chill in the fridge for a least 1 hour or until ready to serve.
  • This salad will stay fresh in airtight glass containers in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Gluten-free / Vegan: omit the fish sauce.

Recipe sourced from Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow. Written by Shalane Flanagan and her co-author (and best friend!) Elyse Kopecky. 

Disclaimer
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.



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