Category Archives: Snack

Fruit Juice

…and you thought that my next post would be about limes (so did I but I’m still trying to figure them out).

I can’t be sure without first asking my parents, but I am almost positive that my love of fruit juice started the day I was born. My sister and I were definitely the kids on the street with the lemonade stand (Koolaid too I will admit), I would beg my mom for jugo de manzana (apple juice-> yes I spoke Spanish… too bad I forgot everything until college-> it would be really helpful these days), I had a phase with fresh-squeezed orange juice (until I drank so much my tongue hurt), and though I will drink tea and the occasional soda, I would give them up in a heartbeat to save my precious fruit juices. So imagine my surprise when I get to Ecuador and find a variety of juices that I hadn’t even considered before. During almuerzo (lunch) restaurants here have pre-fixed menus (which is a bummer since it’s normally the meal I eat out) but each menu includes a daily juice (which is not a bummer at all). I’ve tried grapefruit, naranjilla (different than naranja which is orange juice), cherimoya, apple, orange (gotta have the normal ones), peach, raspberry, guava, oat (it was actually good), papaya, and my personal favorite cantaloupe.

Here’s the thing about cantaloupe… I love it. It’s refreshing and yummy and if you have a lot of it it doesn’t burn your tongue. When I was little, I’d eat around it and honeydew and head straight for the watermelon in melon dishes. These days, I still pick around the honeydew (solely because I don’t think it has much flavor), but I dive right for the cantaloupe. And here in Ecuador, it’s warm enough year round for local cantaloupe. But despite my love of cantaloupe, I’ve never considered having it in juice before. I’m sure it happens in the U.S. as well, but it’s just nothing I’d ever really thought about. And once I’d had it once, I was addicted. I had to get my hands on jugo de melón (cantaloupe juice).

I headed to the grocery store and beelined for the juice aisle but no matter where I looked in the shelves, I could only find orange, apple, and peach juice. It didn’t make sense! I’d had jugo de melón in friends’ houses, restaurants, it was everywhere! So of course I had to ask where to find it. I’m pretty sure the grocery worker was close to peeing his pants. He was trying to keep a straight face but kept breaking into a huge grin and finally called a coworker over to ask whether they carried jugo de melón. I’m pretty sure he just wanted to share the joke. They informed me that they did not carry cantaloupe juice and I was embarrassed for whatever joke I was not getting so I quickly headed out.

When I met some Americans working for the Peace Corps the next day, I asked them about this encounter. They all started laughing before informing me that here, they make all of the juices that they drink. I am still a little shocked that I had not thought of this possibility  but I’m from America. The land of the waste and prepackaged goods. When I want cranberry juice, I don’t squeeze cranberries… I head to the store.

Not to give in easily, I decided to learn how to make cantaloupe juice (since I assumed you couldn’t just squeeze the juice out of it). It turns out the process is quite simple:

Jugo de Melón

  1. 1/4 Cantaloupe, cubed
  2. 5 Ice Cubes
  3. A dash of water
  4. Sugar, to taste (they like to add a lot here but I kept it minimal so the flavors really popped).
Blend all of the ingredients together. Strain out the pulp. Enjoy. Makes 1 cup.
Like I said. Really simple. But not to be had, I decided to make the juice even better. Here are my additions:
  • In lieu of sugar, ice, and water, heat 1/4 cup water with 1/4 cup sugar until the sugar melts. While still over low heat, add fresh mint and muddle for a minute. Let reach room temperature and then mix with other ingredients and 1 ice cube. May need extra cantaloupe. 
And yes. It is better. It’s refreshing with an air of superiority. So ha grocery man. And see if I help you find the juice aisle when you visit my grocery store.

Straight home from the Red Cross. Gross but so stoked on my Cantaloupe/Mint Juice.

I do ask that you promise to wait until cantaloupe season in the states. Which is the same as watermelon season. And since I know you know watermelons come out in summer, let me tell you a little secret: if you’re over the age of 30 and you wonder why watermelons are no longer as tasty as during your childhood, it is because the season for watermelons is not summer. It is late summer. The overly waterey watermelons you’re getting right now are actually sent to you from places like Ecuador where it is hot enough for them to grow. And since you’re satisfying your watermelon craving now, you’re going to miss the brief period at the end of summer where the watermelons taste so much better.
So promise me that you’ll wait to make this juice. I promise it’s going to taste even fresher in just another month (plus you won’t have extra oil attached to its transportation).

A Bushel of Plantains

As a person who enjoys cooking, I’ve learned that you never know when creativity and inspiration will strike. Which also means that, like a writer, there can be periods of time where you’re just completely blocked (welcome to my last year). And during those times, it’s ok to follow the recipes you know and to think inside the box because you can’t choose the be inspired. What this has meant for me is that for awhile I haven’t been cooking with heart as much as out of a need for food to eat. And it’s been a little disheartening to say the least. But as I stated, you never know when creativity will hit you and for me it was when I was gifted the world’s largest papaya…. oh ya… and a tree of plantains and about 100 of the largest limes you’ve ever set your eyes on.

You may think I’m kidding about the papaya being the largest ever. But I’m pretty certain that if it’s not the largest, it’s definitely somewhere near the top. The thing was literally the size of my head. I did, however, over-exaggerate a tiny bit when I said a tree of plantains and 100 limes (there were probably 10 plantains and probably 20 limes). But regardless of the size of the papaya or the number of limes, it is important to note that I was overwhelmed.

You see, about a week ago, I set out for a two and a half month journey to Guayaquil, Ecuador where I will be working for the Red Cross for the vast majority of my summer. And though I have taken some Spanish courses and have tried to bone up on the language for my trip, nothing could have prepared me for the experience of entering a country where very few people speak the language. And maybe more importantly, nothing could prepare me for a country where people order food for you without asking your preferences (after five years I ate my first meat on my first day in the country->luckily it was steak…. mmmm… my favorite). But the thing about that is it also shows just how amazing the people here are. They may not realize I was a pescetarian for five years and a vegetarian for seven months,  but they’re the type of people who take you to lunch and want to show you the food of their culture. I have no regrets having eaten that steak nor the many others, chicken, and fish that have followed in the past week. I am here not only to work for the Red Cross, but also to fully experience the culture of this amazing country. And if that means eating some meat (and what seemed to be stomach-> I didn’t want to know) while I’m here, I have no qualms with that. Plus, the food is pretty darn good. Fried plantains left and right, bananas like you’ve never tasted before, cherimoyas, GIANT papaya (and I didn’t like papaya… but down here it really has flavor), fruit I’ve never seen before, yuca bread, cheesy everything, fresh-caught fish, and yes… rice and beans.

Like I said, the people here are also amazing. I came down here knowing no one and although I live in my own apartment, I feel like I’m a part of an Ecuadorian family. My friend (whose mom I work for) has a girlfriend whose aunt found me my apartment and it happens to be in the building where her mother and daughter and daughter’s adorable family live. I’ve been to two birthdays, multiple lunches, and I’ve really seen the city from the eyes of someone who lives here. My coworkers have taken me walking through beautiful parts of the city, make sure I get home safely every day, and have introduced me to exotic and crazy foods. And everyone here has made sure that I know how to stay safe.

I know this is a food blog, but I’m really in love with it here and it’s hard to stay on subject. Finding my inspiration. Going back quickly to how nice the people are here, yesterday my neighbor/landlord dropped by just to give me the world’s largest papaya, a tree of plantains (verde) and a giant bag of gigantic limes. I thanked him before heading back into my apartment wondering what the heck I was going to do will all of the limes (seriously I could’ve made ceviche for a 300 person party and would still have left-over limes). And I’ve loved the fried plantains I’ve been getting everywhere, but they’re normally breaded and I have very limited supplies in my little kitchen (and I keep forgetting to pick up pepper and salt and sugar when I’m at the store->though I do have my staples of cayenne and paprika). And like I said… I really didn’t think I liked papaya.

So today, after the jelly debacle of 2011, I was forced to call into work and tell them I could not make it. Since they don’t need my help with patients until tomorrow (I do desk work too), it went over smoothly and I went back to cleaning up the mess (since those of you who read this are my family or friends I assume you already know about the jelly debacle of 2011). This clean-up inspired me to clean my whole apartment and soon I was facing the giant bag of limes and the question of what the hell I was supposed to do with them. So I started to google. Key lime pie, key lime pie ice cream, fish tacos, ginger lime salad dressing, cilantro lime mayonnaise, etc. Well, since my oven is not working yet and I don’t have an ice cream maker… and I don’t have fish or ginger or cilantro or mayonnaise…. maybe I’d look into plantains. Fried plantains, sweet fried plantains, breaded fried plantains, coconut shrimp and fried plantains, plantain chips, etc. Alright then, looks like I’ll fry some plantains. But once again a lot of the recipes called for a flour coating and I don’t have flour. And at the very least they call for salt. So I decided to brave my limited resources and throw the recipes out the window for the first time in almost a year. What I came up with was a hodge podge of different options for plantains, all fried (I’m going to try to mash them up later) and all in need of a little salt or sugar (next time I go to the store I won’t forget). They’re not the best things I’ve ever made, but I’m happy to say my block has finally lifted. Up next, finding a way to use a thousand limes.

Fried Plantains

It is important to makes sure the oil is steaming before you put the plantains in. You don’t want them to be oily when you go to eat them. On that note, remember to put them on a paper towel when you take them out of the oil to get any excess oil off of them.

Option 1

Sprinkle cayenne pepper on one side of the plantain slices (to taste). When the oil (I used olive but I think vegetable would work as well or better) is smoking hot, drop them in cayenne side down and wait until a light golden. Flip them over until lightly golden on both sides. Serve with hot sauce (I like Cholula) and cheese (dairy eliminates the spice factor plus added the salt I didn’t have myself).

Option 2

Mix lime juice, cayenne, and paprika and coat the plantains. Fry (but be careful-> the water in the lime juice and oil do not mix well) until golden brown on both sides. Less cayenne will stick to these, so just add salt.

Option 3

This was my favorite decision because it allowed me to do so much with the plantains. Fry the plantain slices in oil until golden brown on both sides. Serve with fruit for a delicious fruit salad (I ate it with part of my papaya grande), a light white cheese for an Ecuadorian favorite, the lime/paprika/cayenne sauce from the previous option, or anything you have lying around. But don’t forget the salt :).

Option 4

I did not get to make them this way, but I will as soon as I get to the store and I’ll update you all on how they tasted: rub the plantain slices with cinnamon and sugar and fry until golden brown for platano dulce mmmm.


I’ll admit that in the states, plantains are not going to be grown locally and will have some long food miles attached to them. I could get off saying that at least you’re not eating fish or meat and therefore you’re being more sustainable, but I’ve used that a number of times and each time I do I feel a cringe of guilt for leading you to believe that food miles don’t count as much. Plus, this is a side dish and I can promise it’d taste good with a macadamia nut crusted halibut with a papaya salsa. So instead, I’m just going to tell you this: one of the great things about traveling is that you get the chance to try exotic foods like plantains, cherimoyas, and damn good papayas. And as in the case with the papaya and the banana (and all fruits and vegetables), they taste better when they’re locally grown and in season because they are not picked early so they can be shipped, they’re fresher, they’re juicier, and they’re just freaking amazing. So maybe instead of trying to recreate this dish, which is only really sustainable where I am, you’ll be inspired to go check out some of your local fruits and vegetables and find a couple of new options for how you can cook them and really enjoy them the way and at the time they’re meant to be enjoyed. Plus, when you’re on vacation, you’ll really appreciate the produce that comes from the location you’re visiting. It will be another experience of your trip instead of just a side note. I’ve been reading a boo,, Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, who speaks to this. Americans have lost their love of food because we can have whatever we want whenever we want it. Our grocery stores are stocked with fruits and vegetables from around the world and though we get them at any time of the year, we’re not really experiencing them because they’re don’t taste up to par with the flavor they could have if we would wait until the right season.

Happy Summer and I wish you all amazing travels and amazing food experiences.

My Gardening Project and Garlic Knots

So I told you all a while ago that I had an herb garden started to cut back on trips to the grocery store and to avoid huge transportation costs (I know my herbs and vegetables are locally grown 🙂 ). So here’s the update:

  • My mint keeps dying and I cut it back and then it dies again. It was doing very well for a while but it’s super water intensive and I went away for a couple of weekends in a row without getting someone to water it for me. I’m working on getting it back in shape but it’s taking a lot of work.
  • My tomato plant is successfully growing some tiny awesome looking tomatoes regardless of how cold it’s been in Santa Barbara recently.
  • My basil keeps getting eaten! Does anyone have any suggestions for how to keep the bugs away? It’s being devoured! 
  • My bell pepper plant hasn’t done much since I was forced to cut off its few leaves due to death. Any clues for this one?
  • My rosemary and thyme are doing well though it’s kinda hard to tell with these two whether they’re actually doing well or just look good.
  • And of course my succulent is thriving. They don’t need much work. Though the heavy rains we had a few weeks ago took away a lot of the soil covering the roots so I need to go out and get some more of that.

Ya. If anyone out there in internet land has a green thumb I’d love some thoughts and suggestions. I know I’ve always had a bit of a brown thumb unfortunately haha.

Keep up your good work on your own little gardens! The more things you can grow yourself, the less you have to depend on grocery stores and the less gas is being guzzled up to get the vegetables/herbs to you.

As for food, I had a huge craving for garlic knots a while ago, and stumbled upon this recipe from Food Mayhem

Garlic Knots

  • 3/4 cup +1 tablespoon Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/3 cup water at room temperature
  • 5 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, divided
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 packed tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Parmesan Cheese, to taste

Instructions –

1. Whisk together flour, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl. Whisk in salt last (preventing direct contact with yeast). Make a well in the center and pour in water. Stir together to moisten the flour, just until dough begins to form, about 20 seconds. The dough will look shaggy and bumpy, not smooth. If you do not want to make your own dough, ignore Steps 1 and 2, get Whole Wheat Pizza Dough, and continue with Step 3.

2. Pour 4 teaspoons oil in a 2-cup sized bowl or cup (bigger if you are increasing recipe size). Place dough in and turn to coat. Cover tightly and rest on the counter until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

3. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F at least 30 minutes before baking. Meanwhile, stir together 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, garlic, some parmesan, and kosher salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

4. When the dough is ready, place it on a board and gently press into a rectangle. There will be left-over oil in the cup/bowl that the dough was rising in. Spread that oil over a baking sheet. If using pizza dough, just drizzle a little oil onto a baking sheet as there will not be any extras.

5. Spread half of the garlic mixture across the rectangle dough. Cut into 3/4″ strips (6″ long).

6. Tie any type of knot and lay on baking sheet with about 2″ space in between. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden and crispy on the outside (it will be doughy in the middle still). Meanwhile, add the remaining teaspoon of olive oil and parsley to the garlic mixture. Stir.

7. When garlic knots are done baking, toss in the garlic, parmesan, and parsley mixture and serve immediately.

***My changes are in RED***


  1. Whole wheat flour goes through less processing than bleached white flour.
  2. Parsley is a great and useful herb to grow!
  3. You can find garlic and parsley organic at any grocery store year round! But definitely check for where they are coming from. Remember, organic is good because it means no pesticides getting into our waterways and diets, however, local is better if coming from very far due to the fossil fuels used to get the food to your plate.
  4. Most to all of these ingredients should already be in your pantry so you don’t need to use fossil fuels to go to the store to get a great garlic knot.


10 Things I’ve Learned This Summer… and Grilled Watermelon Salad

This summer has been crazy! From visiting my mom in Nashville and road-tripping to New Orleans, researching/swimming with whale sharks which are the largest fish species and SO cool, and having a family reunion on a lake in Washington (which is one of my favorite states) to getting my wisdom teeth out and finding out I’m one of the lucky people who gets chronic migranes, there have been ups and downs and loop de loops galore. And I really wouldn’t change this summer for anything. I had a ball. I hung out with my friends, I cooked up a storm, I spent a lot of time bonding with my family, and I had some crazy cool adventures too. Here’s what this summer has taught me (or at least 10 of the things I’ve learned–> in no particular order):

  1. It’s way easier to write a blog when I’m procrastinating schoolwork then it is when I’m putting off hanging out with friends–> even though I’ve cooked more this summer than I do during the year.
  2. Sewing is not as easy as it looks (I made a faux fur jacket that looks super vintage but my goodness was it difficult!–>and my mom helped me finish it up).
  3. I definitely chose the right major in college and after my time with the whale sharks I’m super amped for heading back up to school (on Thursday!)
  4. The more time you spend doing something (in my case cooking), the more you realize you have a LOT to learn. (Graduating high school I thought I knew everything… college taught me this lesson too).
  5. Growing herbs inside is actually pretty darn easy (I have a nice little herb garden going–>plus tomatoes and bell peppers–>and they’re doing well despite the fact I’m known to have the opposite of a green thumb).
  6. There’s no one in your life like your family followed closely by your best friends. The people that are there for you year after year despite what dumb choices you made are really valuable. I owe these people so much.
  7. We will all face a broken heart someday. And we will all think that it will not mend. Broken hearts do eventually heal. And if you truly loved someone they can end up as one of your best friends later even though you may believe you’ll never get there.
  8. We need to practice what we preach. I write all about eco-friendly eating and I really do try to incorporate what I write into my own cooking. Obviously, I have days where I want something that isn’t super green, and that’s ok as long as I do my best. There are people, however, who talk so much about certain issues and then leave them to someone else to resolve. Your cause doesn’t have to be the environment. You don’t even need to have a cause. If you do, however, lead by example. Don’t be hypocritical about it if you really do care.
  9. Sometimes the little things are really what makes the world a wonderful place to be living. Enjoy them. Sit and watch a sunset, eat a chocolate bar, paint a picture (if it’s bad just call it abstract… that’s what I do), play board games, blow bubbles when you’re chewing gum, take a bubble bath, read a book, go surfing (even if you end up not catching a wave and basically being a buoy), go for a bike ride, etc. It doesn’t have to cost you a lot to have a good time.
  10. Every day is precious. We only have so long. Don’t wait until you’re retired to start doing what you want to. By then… it may be too late. Travel now before the ice caps melt, the coral reefs bleach, and more animal species go extinct (even if it’s an icky species it has a place in the ecosystem). See the world in all of its beauty. Change some of your less “green” practices now so your children might get to see the environment like you can now. Stay out too late. Get up too early. Do something you are afraid you’ll fail at. Enjoy every moment you have.

In Washington, I tried wake surfing. I've never done any lake sport before so I was worried...I had a blast!

Grilled Watermelon Salad

  • Watermelon, cut into squares of about 2 in. by 2 in.
  • Arugula
  • Goat Cheese, crumbled
  • Balsamic Vinegar, reduced
  • Tomato, chopped
  • EVOO

Rub the watermelon on both sides with EVOO. Place on grill for about 3-5 minutes a side. Place a bit of arugula on a plate. Top with goat cheese and tomato. Place one watermelon square on top of that then make another layer. Top with another watermelon square. Place more goat cheese on top and drizzle with the reduced balsamic vinegar.

MAKE THIS WHILE WATERMELON IS STILL IN SEASON!!! It is soooo delicious. I love how the watermelon almost looks like a seared piece of ahi tuna and it gets such a delicious savory flavor when it’s cooked. SO GOOD. And using local, organic produce is so good for you and it’s so sustainable.

Pumpkin Spiced Sweet Potato Puree

Oh comfort food. Since I get home from Baja today (though I’m writing this the night before I leave because I’m up all nervous and jittery anyways), I figure I’ll be about ready for some homemade macaroni or some other comfort food like that. Therefore, I’m giving you a recipe for one of my favorites: Sweet Potatoes. You can do so much with them: baking, boiling, broiling, grilling, etc. And they’re so versatile: going from sweet to savory so easily. This recipe, however, is seriously one of the best. I recommend it for a dessert even because of how sweet it is (and a healthy dessert at that!)

Pumpkin Spiced Sweet Potato Puree

Feeds 1 as a Meal, 2 as a Side

  • 1 Sweet Potato
  • Dash of Salt
  • A couple shakes each of: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger
  • 1 tbsp. Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp. Grapeseed Oil

Bake the sweet potato for ~45 minutes at 400 or until you can easily pierce through the potato with a fork. When it is no longer too hot to handle, take off the skin, place in the food processor with all other ingredients and blend until smooth. If you don’t like any chunks, you can push it through a wire mesh strainer. If you like it chunkier, just use a potato masher or a fork to mash it up. (I topped mine with vanilla greek yogurt more for the photographic quality than the flavor though it was very good).


  1. You can bake these at the same time you’re baking something else. If the other thing is baking at a different temperature, just change the cooking time accordingly. Yay for cutting back on energy use!
  2. Organic sweet potatoes and local can decrease transportation and pesticides!

Apricot BBQ Sauce

Sauces. They really do make or break a meal. That’s why a saucier is so important in commercial kitchens. But how to eco-up something that can have a ton of ingredients? Easy. Make sure the ingredients (as many as you may want) are as “green” as you can get.

Here’s a recipe for an apricot barbecue sauce. I think the sauce tastes absolutely great (I happened to eat it on fish) and I think it could be really good on chicken (organic and free-range of course), seitan, or tofu. You could also sub the apricots for other seasonal fruits such as peaches.

Apricot Barbecue Sauce

  • 1/2 small Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 3-4 Apricots, pitted and sliced
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable Broth
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Coriander
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1/8 cup Molasses
  • 1 tbsp. Maple Syrup
  • 3 tbsp. Tomato Sauce
  • 2 tbsp. Tamari Soy Sauce

Saute the onions until brown. Then add the garlic. Deglaze the pan with the veggie broth. Add the apricots, ginger, and coriander and bring to a boil. Cover and lower to a simmer for 10 minutes. Uncover and add the remaining ingredients. Cook for 10 more minutes and then transfer to a food processor. Blend until smooth. Top your chicken, tofu, seitan, or fish with it. Yum yum!


  1. Using seasonal, local produce (like the apricots) leads to tastier products that are better for the environment. Win win!
  2. Buying organic spices and vegetables helps to alleviate pesticides from poisoning our watersheds.
  3. Vegetable broth is a great alternative to chicken stock if you’re trying to avoid using so many animal products.
  4. The fruit salad I had on the side of the dish is a hodge podge. You can really make it with any fruit you’re trying to rid your refrigerator of.
  5. If you’re using fish, check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch List to know which fish are sustainable and which you should be avoiding due to overfishing.

Applesauce Oat Muffins

Nom nom nom for sure. I really wanted to have something to take while I was in the bus on the way down to our campsite in Baja so I came up with these little suckers. They’re vegan (again I know) but they’re really moist and delicious. I recommend not using instant oats (which was my problem) because they cook a little too much. But they were great anyways so tis’ up to you.

Applesauce Oat Muffins

Makes 12 Muffins

  • 3/4 cup Soy Milk
  • 1/2 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 3 tbsp. Canola Oil
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 3/4 cup Oats
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
  • Pinch of Salt
  • optional: Dried Fruit of some sort (I’m not really into it but I know some people are)

Oven to 350. Whisk together soy milk and apple cider vinegar. Wait a minute (to let it curdle). Add the applesauce, canola oil, and brown sugar.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. (If using dried fruit fold in now). Scoop the mix into muffin cups. Bake for ~30 minutes or until toothpick test comes out clean.


  1. Whole wheat flour instead of white flour has less processing involved.
  2. Vegan (although I know I said I’d do something different for awhile… I can’t help it! I’d already made them!)
  3. Organic, local applesauce is easy to find! At the very least, most supermarkets now carry organic applesauce.