November: Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Cold weather means hearty soups, warm bread and a mug of hot tea. Shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with minced lamb, but this delicious vegetarian version will be sure to please everyone! It’s similar to the vegetable pot pie that I made last year, but instead of biscuit dough on top that bakes into a crust in the oven, a shepherd’s pie is topped with mashed potatoes to keep all the moisture and flavor in.

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October: Smoked Almond Rice Pilaf

This hearty rice pilaf uses vitamin-rich wild rice, vegetables, herbs and chopped almonds to create a savory dish that goes with anything! The word “pilaf” comes from the Hindi word pulav, which translates into “dish of rice and meat.” The first known recipe for pilaf is from 10th century Persia, and variations can be found all over the world, especially in the region from Spain to Afghanistan.

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September: We Can Pickle That!

My boyfriend received a book for his birthday called “Wild Fermentation: the Flavor, Nutrition and Craft of Live-Culture Foods.” Since then, our house has transformed into pickle-making central! His first batch turned out better than expected, so we’re stepping it up a notch by buying pickling cucumbers and experimenting with types of brine, spiciness levels and chilled vs. pantry pickling.

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September: Zucchini Burgers

I have been given several monstrous zucchinis this summer from people who have overflowing gardens! These plants grow in most temperate climates, and are low-maintenance enough to easily grow huge zucchinis in your own backyard. I have been looking up tons of zucchini recipes to find a way to cook these enormous vegetables, because loaves of zucchini bread get tiresome after a while!

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August: Savory Scallion Pancakes

Scallion pancakes, or cong you bing in Chinese, are savory unleavened flatbreads that can be both an informal street food and a restaurant dish. It’s made with dough, which is drier than a traditional pancake batter, which makes it crispier than a breakfast pancake. Variations of scallion pancakes can be found in Vietnam, Japan, Cambodia and Korea.

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Trapped in a Holding Pattern

Jose Robles was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials last month after living in Gethsemane Lutheran Church for over a year, seeking sanctuary from deportation. He had moved to the United States almost 20 years ago, started a small business with his brother in Lakewood, WA and established ties in his community with his family. When he was assaulted at gunpoint during a violent crime last year, Jose came forward and gave his testimony to Lakewood police; in return for his help, Lakewood officials denied his application for a U-1 visa, which is reserved for victims of violent crimes – the same kind of violent crime that Jose had assisted the police in their investigations. So what comes next for Jose Robles and his family?

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