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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, .

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 one of 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.

Sixth in a series of articles


When folks find out this ole gray-haired granny is vegan, why they's mighty surprised. An' when they find out I ain't et meat in decades, I often hear 'em say, "Oh, my! That's too hard!"

Well, I tell ya true, I been eatin' this way fer a mighty long time, matter of fact years an' years as fer back as I kin remember, an' I knows a big secret. IT AIN'T HARD, but lots o' folks thinks it's hard. An' they's been sufferin' terrible buyin' food that's much too expensive an' guaranteed ta make bitter hash outa the little money they's got fer gettin' by. Peanut Butter

I knows that it's mighty easy ta eat good healthy food that's dirt cheap. Been doin' it all the while. All's ya got ta do is find a market or farm stand with prices you kin afford an' keep an eye on them speshuls. Maybe y'all have ta go a little bit outa the way ta find them good prices, but it's worth it.

Most all year, cabbage, carrots, onions, an sweet potatoes is dirt cheap. Fresh tomaters in summer is purty good, but in winter, why you gotta buy the canned ta keep it affordable.

Most folks only consider peanut butter good fer the kids sandwiches, but don't turn yer nose up at peanut butter fer dinner at the big folks table--it's darned good fer ya an makes one heckof a tasty stew! A little peanut butter goes a long way, too--An' it's dirt cheap!

I cain't wait fer y'all ta sink you chompers inta this mighty fine stew. An' I'll betcha even the little ones are gonna enjoy it too! Just tell 'em it's got peanut butter in it an' they's already lickin' their chops.

Be sure ta cook up a good batch o' healthy whole grains like brown rice, barley, buckwheat, oat groats, or bulgur so's you kin pour a great big ladle o' Peanut Stew over the top. Nice thing 'bout this stew is it cooks up in one skillet or stockpot an' there's no messy clean up, cause it's not greasy. Didya notice? This stew is cooked without any added fat ta keep the calories from gettin' outta hand!

Well, darlin's, I'm headin' fer the peanut butter jar! How 'bout you comin' along, too?


Peanut Stew

Yield: 4 to 5 servings

    4 medium tomatoes, cut into 8 wedges or 1 28-ounce (795g) can diced tomatoes
    3 to 4 cups (720 to 960 ml) chopped green cabbage
    2 medium sweet potatoes or yams, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
    2 carrots, sliced
    1 large onion cut vertically into half-moon slices
    2 cloves garlic, minced

    4 cups (1 liter) vegetable broth, divided

    1 6-ounce can (170g) tomato paste
    1/3 cup (80 ml) raisins
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper

    3/4 cup (180 ml) natural unsalted peanut butter, smooth or crunchy

    Cooked whole grains of your choice

  1. In a large, deep skillet combine the tomatoes, cabbage, sweet potatoes, carrots, onion, and garlic.
  2. Pour in 3 cups (720 ml) of the vegetable broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, or until the carrots and sweet potatoes are fork tender.
  3. Add the remaining 1 cup of vegetable broth along with the tomato paste, raisins, salt, and pepper and stir well. Cook for 1 minute, then add the peanut butter and stir until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Serve the peanut stew hot and spoon over cooked grains.

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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