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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise
Ask Aunt Nettie

We're delighted to share our Aunt Nettie with you. She's agreed to answer any questions you might ask about vegetarian food, its preparation, and even clean-up tips. But we have to prepare you. She just might want to come right over to your house and help you fix dinner.

To send any questions to Ask Aunt Nettie, .

Dear Aunt Nettie,

I like to keep bananas in the house for the kids, but when the bananas develop little black spots on them, the kids won't touch them. Usually, I end up with two or three speckled bananas I throw in the garbage. I hate to waste, but what on earth can I do with them?


Howdy there, Donna,

I kin see yer a person what don't like throwin' good food out, an' neither do I, fer that matter. All us folks that raised up youngun's experienced the same problems of kids fussin' over fruits with li'l ole spots or specks on 'em. First thing is to tell them youngun's that no one is purfect and neither is things that grow in nature. Eatin' a banana with a few specks ain't gonna kill 'em--an' you tell 'em Aunt Nettie said so, ya hear?

Now, I come up with a dern good tastin' banana bread recipe with extra good fer you Brazil nuts an' dried pineapple an' coconut that makes this the best eatin' you ever done. Nice thing is it uses up three o' them big ripe bananas. That oughter take care of that speckled banana problem right quick.

Be sure 'n' let me know how ya likes it!

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

Dotted with a generous measure of crunchy Brazil nuts, this quickbread is on a crusade to make you fall in love with it. You can almost feel the bossa nova in every Brazillian bite of this knock-your-socks-off deliciously original version of banana bread. If you enjoy sweet breads that are ultra moist and not overly sweet, this is the ultimate. Crazy for coconut? This bread's pumped up with plenty of it. Can't get enough pineapple? You'll adore the bracing tang of the embedded bits of fragrant pineapple. A slice or two of this tropical treat makes a darned good breakfast paired with a mixed fruit salad and a cup of herbal tea.


Yield: one 5 x 9-inch (23 x 13 cm) loaf and one 3 1/2 x 7 1/2-inch (8 x 19 cm) loaf

    2/3 cup (160 ml) bite-size pieces dried unsweetened pineapple
    3/4 cup (180 ml) boiling water

    3/4 cup (180 ml) raw Brazil nuts

    2 1/4 cups (540 ml) whole-wheat pastry flour
    2 tablespoons organic sugar
    1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda

    2/3 cup (160 ml) dried grated or shredded coconut

    3 large bananas, mashed
    3/4 cup (180 ml) brown rice syrup
    1/3 cup (80 ml) organic canola oil
    1/4 cup (60 ml) regular soymilk
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon coconut extract

    1/4 cup (60 ml) water
    1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer

  1. Lightly oil and flour one 5 x 9-inch (23 x 13 cm) loaf pan and one 3 1/2 x 7 1/2-inch (8 x 19 cm) loaf pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees (Gas Mark 4).
  2. Place the pineapple pieces into a small bowl. Pour the boiling water over them and set aside to soften.
  3. Put the Brazil nuts into a large zipper-lock plastic bag, seal, and place on a firm counter, cutting board, or the floor. Pound into coarse pieces with a hammer and set aside.
  4. Combine the flour, organic sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and baking soda into medium bowl. Add the grated coconut and mix thoroughly.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the bananas, brown rice syrup, canola oil, soymilk, vanilla extract, and coconut extract and mix well.
  6. Thoroughly drain the pineapple, reserving the soaking liquid for another purpose. Add to the banana mixture along with the Brazil nuts and stir well.
  7. Add the dry ingredients a little at a time until well incorporated. Combine the water and Ener-G Egg Replacer in a small bowl and beat with a fork until foamy. Add the egg replacer mixture to the batter and mix thoroughly to distribute all the ingredients evenly.
  8. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pans and bake. The smaller loaf should be done in 50 to 55 minutes. Bake the larger loaf for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the loaves completely in the pan before removing the breads.
  9. To store the breads, place each one into a separate zipper-lock plastic bag and refrigerate. Wrapped in heavy-duty plastic bags, they can be frozen for up to three months.

Note: If you cannot locate pineapple bits, use dried, unsweetened pineapple rings and cut them into bite-size pieces with kitchen scissors.

If You Haven't Met Aunt Nettie. . .

Our Aunt Nettie has a head like a hard disk. It's filled with gigabytes of information about food and cooking. And she's just itchin' to share her learnin' with city folk who live in mortal fear of the stovetop.

Aunt Nettie grew up on the farm. She did not eat out of a can or reach into the freezer. There was no microwave to pop her food into. Everything she made was from scratch. All the food she ate was natural, without pesticides. It was grown right there on the family farm, and she had to cook to survive. At eighty-three years young she still leaps and bounds around the kitchen and can shake, rattle, and roll those pots and pans with the best of them.

Nowadays, Aunt Nettie just shakes her head and complains, "Nobody cooks anymore. They have no idea about puttin' a meal together." She's on a mission. She wants to help those younguns eat better so they can grow up healthy like her own eight kids.

Click here for past Ask Aunt Nettie Columns

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