I have been making a variation of this recipe every year for the Christmas holidays since it first appeared in Sunset magazine. I keep making them because they are delicious and easy to make. I always use the mix of spices. Sometimes I use the spinach. Sometimes I shred the cheese (usually Monterey Jack) and sometimes I cube it. There are only 4 things I haven't done. Because I live in California I can find real ground masa instead of dehydrated masa. While I like bell peppers, I have just opted to leave them out. If I am going to char & peel any chile it's going to be the green chiles (poblanos) that I mix into the masa. I don't use tomatoes and finally, I don't add any sugar. My family has made tamales for generations and never added sugar so I don't. The sugar in the corn is enough for me.