On Monday, when I made pizza, my goal was to make it as much from scratch as possible. While the dough was a challenge, I already knew I could make pizza sauce easily! You can do this yourself, and don’t have to buy some Frankenfood brand in a jar or can. And best of all: you get to choose the seasoning! This is for a very basic sauce, lightly flavored with Italian spices.

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I recently picked up the October/November 2012 issue of Living Without magazine because it had information about making a Thanksgiving Feast that was wheat and dairy free. In particular, I’m trying to figure out a GF pie crust that works and tastes good. In addition, this issue has five recipes for GF crackers. Since we eat a lot of hummus, I’m always looking for something crunchy to go along with it.

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On Sunday, DH made pancakes! He’s not an experienced pancake maker to begin with, and this is the first attempt at vegan, gluten free pancakes. So he had a whole new learning experience! I cheated, and helped out a bit, even though he’s supposed to be making breakfast on Sunday mornings so I get a break. Equipment griddle (cast iron recommended) cookie sheet pancake turner silicon basting brush Ingredients 1⁄2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch

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You don’t have to make just savory tamales… You can also make sweet, dessert versions! The masa can be corn, chick pea, or whatever else you can dream up and stuffed with all kinds of fresh or dried fruits and nuts. When I was in Santa Fe during Christmas Week one year, someone told me about their particular family’s tradition of adding some brown sugar and cinnamon to the corn masa and stuffing them with a mixture of Granny Smith apples, raisins, butter and more brown sugar.

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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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It’s Tamale Week! At the beginning of fall, I start dreaming about tamales: green corn with chili, red chili, plain smothered in tamale sauce, even sweet tamales filled with nuts, dried and fresh fruit such as apples, pineapple and cinnamon. Yum! They are a traditional ethnic holiday food. So when the weather starts cooling off, I start planing for the holiday season. Tamales can be made ahead and frozen, then reheated before serving, so they are something I can make early… ahead of the holiday rush.

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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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I made a yummy concotion for dinner that we call Aztec Stew. It is a warm, comforting stew that’s good when you want something a bit richer for dinner. It ended up with that name because most of the ingredients originated in Central and South America, although not all of them. In addition to foods you are readily familiar with, this one contains something special: Nopalitos! Nopales are the prepared pads of the prickly pear cactus.

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