It’s cold outside. Cold and windy! There’s snow on the ground, ice on the roads, and it’s still coming down. Well, maybe not where I live, but winter comfort food is what we all tend to want this time of year. So this is what we had for dinner last night. We call this “Squilly”, short for Squash Chili. It’s a hearty, vegan, chili that is warm, filling and just makes you feel good!

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It’s flu season. Where I live, it isn’t really bad yet, but I saw a report on the news the other day that said it has hit some other areas pretty hard. While just about everyone gets the flu once in a while, the best way to get over it quickly is to make sure your immune system is in tip top shape! With that in mind, this is what we had for dinner last night.

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Thanksgiving 2012

This year is our first totally vegan Thanksgiving dinner! We actually made our dinner on Tuesday, so that we could share it with MIL. Here’s what we had. From left to right: Carrots cooked in a sauce of orange juice, vegan butter and parsley Pickled green beans (served hot) Foxbarrel Blackberry Pear Cider (to drink) Mushrooms and onions sauteed in olive oil, with white wine, rosemary, thyme, poultry seasoning and basalmic vinegar, then stir fried with temph Roasted potatoes, onions and yams with vegan sour creme and chives Kale, rainbow chard, spinach salad (with other veggies) and a home made vinaigrette For dessert, DH made apple cranberry pie with a pecan crunch top, which was served with sweet cashew creme.

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I love it when the weather cools off and I can have hot soups for lunch or dinner! This soup is quick and easy to make, once the veggies are prepped. You could do all of that the night before, or in the morning before heading off to work, then it’s quick to make at dinner. I used the block of tofu that I pressed for the review of the TofuExpress.

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I did it! I made pizza, from scratch! I had home made pizza for my Birthday Dinner! (Doing the happy dance!)

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I have been mostly without bread products of any kind for months. The problem is that most of the gluten free commercial bread products that I like are not vegan. They contain eggs. In particular, I like the Canyon Bakehouse. I’ve tried their Hamburger Buns and their Cinnamon Raisin Bread. Both are really good. I also like the Sprouted Corn Tortillas from Food For Life. They are vegan and I eat a lot of them, since they are pretty much the only bread-like thing around here.

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This is one of my favorite chili recipes because you can use it in tamales, as I’m doing this week, as a taco filling or even eaten with a salad as a main dish! The main protein source is lentils and kidney beans. The lentils are cooked down a bit to give it a creamy base and the chopped kidney beans add both nutrition an a ground meat texture.

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Even though I haven’t covered the fillings yet… Let’s take a look at how to assemble and steam traditional (wrapped in corn husk) tamales. It’s not difficult, and there are a lot of pictures here to guide you. Assembly To begin, you will need many dry corn husks, one for each tamale, plus a few extras, in case something goes awry. I buy mine in bags at the grocery store.

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Not everyone wants a corn masa for their tamales. In some part of South America, it isn’t even traditional to use corn for either the masa or the wrappers! A common alternative is to use chick peas. An alternative wrapper is banana leaves. I’ve given my version of chick pea masa an even different twist: I’ve sprouted the peas to boost the nutritional value and change the flavor profile!

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This week in our Bountiful Baskets we got Collard Greens. HUH? Collard Greens? I have no clue what to do with those! The only thing that comes to mind is that boiled, nasty, bitter Southern dish that usually also includes ham or bacon! DH says, “You said we need to eat lots of dark, leafy greens! You can probably treat it like Kale, like in quick stir fry or something.

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