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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, .


Editor's Note: Instead of Aunt Nettie answering individual questions, she has decided to address a number of requests from people who want to save money on the food budget and still enjoy healthy dining. This is the second in a series of money-saving tips and recipes designed to stretch those slim dollars.

As an example of Aunt Nettie's impressive, penny-pinching ability to save, she still has some depression glass dishes and bowls in the cupboard--they're the real thing and she still treasures them.

In future issues of Vegetarians in Paradise, Aunt Nettie and her niece Zel will offer money-saving recipes for the most extreme skinflints along with suggestions to help bargain-hunter foodies seek out cheap fare that still brings good cheer to the table.


RECESSION GRUB: DIRT CHEAP SALAD DINNER
Second in a series of articles

BY AUNT NETTIE


Now, y'all knows that fresh veggies is mighty good fer ya and gives ya lots o' energy. Why, did you know vegetables has a heap o' them good things called antioxidants? Well, they do, they surely do.

So, darlin's, now's a mighty good time ta start puttin' more veggies on yer plate an' there's nothin' better 'n' a giant-size salad packed with a heap o' good fixin's. An' there's so many deeelicious choices, why, you won't never git bored while packin' in the good eats.

SALAD BAR
If'n yer family likes ta pick an' choose what goes into the salad, why jes make yer salad like a great big family salad bar--they's lots o' fun an' when everbody gits going on the passin' round, even the picky ones will try a tidbit o' this an' that they usually won't touch at other times.

Dirt Cheap Salad Dinner GREENS
My salad starts out with a nice heap o' lettuce an' other greens, 'cause them greens is good fer gittin' our calcium and them B vitamins an' somethin' called phytochemicals that's supposed ta be important to yer body.

Now there's times when a nice perky head o' lettuce costs near an arm an' a leg, but that's in winter when it's harder ta come by lettuce that's affordable. Now, lettuce prices is comin' down, an' with careful shoppin' you kin find lettuce fer 'bout a dollar a head--sometimes a tad less an' sometimes a tad more. I make sure I have at least two kinds o' lettuce in the fridge all the time.

CABBAGE AND ROOT VEGETABLES
An' cabbage is dirt cheap this time o' year an so's carrots an' kale, so all them go into the salad. Now if'n yer lucky 'nuff to live anywhere near a Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean, Hispanic, or Middle Eastern market that sells produce, you kin find mighty good prices on them fresh veggies an' fruits all the time.

Even tho' I'm not really much of a city woman, I discovered the city gives me plenty opportunities to find veggies anybody kin afford. Then I git out my best knife an' start a-choppin' any veggies I kin git my hands on.

BEANS AND LENTILS
Yer probably wonderin' how I kin make a hearty dinner outta nothin' but veggies! Well, my salad is a tad more 'n' jes veggies. Usually I have a pot o' beans or lentils all cooked up in the fridge, but when I don't, I do keep canned beans on hand. Beans is the fixin's what gives that salad its stick-to-the-ribs feelin'.

STEAMED & ROASTED VEGETABLES
An' sometimes, I have steamed veggies on hand--they goes inta the salad too. Sometimes I even roast up some veggies an' fresh corn on the cob, too. I do love them cooked veggies put together with a pile o' fresh greens an' plenty o' crunchy veggies.

TOFU
When I have some extra-firm tofu on hand, that goes right inter my salad. Here's how I make that tofu taste mighty fine: First, I cut the tofu inter little 1/2-inch cubes an' cook that up in a tablespoon or two o' soy sauce with couple tablespoons lemon juice in my nice deep skillet over a good hot fire til they's nice an brown. Now, mind, y'all have to stir an' stir that pot til them little tofu chunks is dry. Then keep yer stirrin' 'til they's a golden brown.

Dirt Cheap Salad Dinner NUTS
Awhile back I got ta likin' nuts a whole lot. Now, I knows them nuts is not thrifty, but when I got a little extra ta spare, I like ta buy a pound o' walnuts, or almonds, or pistachios, or hazelnuts. Here's how I make 'em go a long way: I take jes a handful an' roast 'em up in the oven at 350 degrees fer 'bout 8 to 10 minutes. Let 'em cool real good before puttin' 'em in the salad.

HERBS
Now, here's somethin' most folks never think 'bout--an' that's fresh herbs that gives the salad that l'il ole somethin' speshul. Why, they perks up that salad with nothin' more'n a handful.

GRAINS
When ya got them leftovers o' cooked up brown rice, barley, and what not, just bring 'em ta the table an' serve 'em up with the salad. There's plenty o' fiber in them good grains an' that's mighty important ta keep ya movin' good 'n' regular--if'n ya take my meanin'.

WHOLE GRAIN BREAD AND DRESSING
Ain't nothin' better 'n a nice healthy piece o' whole grain bread ta go with yer salad. Now, make sure yer bread is really whole grain. Why, it tells ya right on the label. Now, if the package says enriched wheat flour, why, that ain't no whole grain. It's got ta say the word whole. Pour a tad o' nice low-fat dressin' on yer salad, an' yer all set fer good eatiin' dirt cheap.

HERE'S A LISTIN' O MY FAVORITE SALAD FIXINS':

Raw Vegetables

    Anise
    Avocados (when they's affordable)
    Beets
    Bell peppers (red, yellow, green, orange)
    Bok choy cabbage
    Carrots
    Celery
    Collards
    Green cabbage
    Green onions (the white an' green part)
    Jicama
    Kale
    Mushrooms (when they's on sale)
    Mustard greens
    Radishes
    Red cabbage
    Red leaf lettuce'
    Red onions
    Romaine lettuce
    Rutabagas
    Tomatoes (when they's affordable)
    Turnips
    Watercress
Fresh Herbs
    Basil
    Cilantro
    Dill
    Marjoram
    Mint
    Oregano
    Parsley
    Tarragon
    Thyme
Roasted Veggie Fixin's
    Beets
    Bell peppers
    Carrots
    Eggplant
    Garlic
    Mushrooms
    Onions
    Potatoes
    Rutabagas
    Sweet Potatoes
    Turnips
    Winter squash
    Zucchini
Steamed Veggies
    Asparagus
    Broccoli
    Carrots
    Cauliflower
    String beans
    Zucchini
Beans
    Black beans
    Fava beans
    Garbanzos
    Kidney
    Lentils
    Limas
    Pinto
    White kidney
Cooked Grains
    Barley
    Brown Rice
    Buckwheat
    Oat Groats
    Quinoa
    Rye Berries
    Spelt Berries
    Whole Wheat
    Wild Rice


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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