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fabulous fall meal

i made up this barley "stuffing" a couple weeks ago when i wanted to stuff an acorn squash. it was very good then and even better last night when i made it to be served with sweet potato pudding. all amounts are guesstimates cause i don't tend to measure things. change as you like. this feeds 2 hungry people with a salad.

1-2 cups cooked barley
1/4 cup dried cranberries or other dried fruit (last night i used mixed berries - crans, cherries, blues -  cause that's what was in the house)
some fresh or dried thyme and sage chopped up
2 italian sausages (i used veggie ones from lightlife, which are new and very good) cut in small pieces and fried til brown/ crispy (i did this in fake butter and it was delish)
couple tablespoons melted butter or fake butter
salt and pepper to taste
a tiny bit of broth or water just for a bit more moisture

combine all these things together and bake for 20 minutes or so in any pan you'd like, til the top is slightly crunchy. if you don't like barley too chewy/ crunchy, you don't have to bake it at all.


sweet potato pudding (can be pumpkin or squash as well)

1 14 oz. can sweet potato puree (or squash or pumpkin, or make your own from whole veggies)*
1/2 container silken tofu
2 eggs
some ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon - to your liking
1/4 cup or so of sugar (if you like it sweeter, go crazy)

combine til smooth (i used the immersion blender i got for $3 at the thrift store, which was perfect), pour into a pan of your choice, and bake at 425 for 15 minutes and then 350 for 25-40 minutes, depending on the size of your pan.
basically this is a lactose-free version of a pie filling, but not as sweet. it was delicious and went so well with the barley concoction.

these will become fall/ winter staples, which i am excited about!

*these organic purees in cans are on sale at whole foods right now at an excellent price of $1.25/ can, which is why i have 12 cans in my pantry; also, i don't work for whole foods or anything, i'm just an avid comparison pricer, and this is by far the best price in town right now.

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