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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.

Eighth in a series of articles


There's some folks think you have ta spend a wad o' money an' buy fancy food in order ta eat well an' stay healthy, but that just ain't the truth, I tell ya.

Why, you probably know the story 'bout them kings an' queens that ate themselves to death on pounds an' pounds o' meat an' wild birds an' wild animals they paid hunters a pile o' money fer.

When them kings an' queens was settin' 'round the table busyin' themselves with nothin' but eatin' a heap o' meat an' gettin' mighty big in the belly, the rest o' the folks in the villages was workin' the land growin' an' eatin' common foods like oats n' beans, peas n' vegetables. They was so busy growin' an' cookin' they didn't have time fer settin' 'round an' gettin' fat. An' them common folks lived lots longer than the ones lived in the castles, too.

I guess I'm jes one o' them common folk that believe in my true heart that it's the exercise we get growin' an' cookin' the peas an' beans an' vegetables that keeps us hale an' hearty an' gives us a good long life.

I'm mighty convinced that even though money is gettiin' scarcer ta come by these days, why you kin still eat well an' stay strong an' healthy by puttin' yer dollars on the foods them fancy folks won't hardly look at--foods like them nice yeller split peas I'm a'cookin' on the stove right now while I'm a-writin'.

Yeller split peas, like them green ones, is mighty good fer ya 'cause they come packed with a heap o' good vitamins an' minerals. They's mighty low in fat so ya don't have ta spend yer time worryin' 'bout puttin' on extree weight. When they's all cooked up, you'll be mighty glad ta know one cup has only 227 calories an' not even one whole gram o' fat, so you kin jes eat hearty an' enjoy yer dinner.

Ta keep this mighty fine stew nice an' low in calories, there's not even a drop o' fat added to the recipe--no sir--this nice little stew is cooked with water an' plenty o' good spices ta make fer one fine tastin' dish.

I know folks is always worrin' 'bout protein, but they needn't bother 'bout that either 'cause them yeller split peas got plenty, an' then some, with 16.4 grams fer a cup o' cooked split peas.

Now, what is it makes them ready ta win a blue ribbon prize? Why, it's the high fiber in them little peas. I knows this is gonna surprise y'all ta learn theys got 16.3 grams o' fiber fer that cup. Now ain't that good news y'all like ta hear!

If'n yer wonderin' what else is so good 'bout them yeller split peas, I kin tell ya true they's got calcium, iron, zinc, copper, selenium, an' more potassium than you kin shake a stick at. If it's vitamins yer needin', why spoon up a giant servin' an you'll get plenty o' them B vitamins an' even vitamin K.

Now, I took them nice yeller split peas, an' cooked 'em together with a few fixin's like vegetables, a tad o' spices, an' a can o' chopped up tomaters, an out come a nice little stew that kin make 6 to 8 folks mighty happy fer less than five dollars.

Now don't go rushin' the cookin'--them yeller split peas has a nature all their own an' ya jes ta take plenty time a'cookin'--'bout an hour. An' while yer stew's a-cookin', you kin be takin' care o' lots o' other things that needs doin'.

Serve this nice curried stew with a heap o' salad fixin's an' a pot o' brown rice, an' you got yerself a mighty deee-licious dinner. Now, don't you go worryin' none 'bout leftovers. They keep jest fine fer 3 or 4 days in the fridge.

Curried Yellow Split Peas


Yield: 6 to 8 servings

    1 pound (450g) yellow split peas
    6 cups (1.5 liters) water

    2 medium onions, chopped
    1 stalk celery, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced

    2 medium yams, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
    3 medium tomatoes, chopped or 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon ground coriander
    1 teaspoon curry powder
    1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 bay leaf

    1/2 teaspoon salt
    Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon

  1. Combine the yellow split peas and water in a 6 to 8 quart (6 to 8 liter) stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add generous amounts of water as needed to keep the peas simmering in liquid.
  2. While the peas are cooking, combine the onions, celery, and garlic in a large, deep skillet. Add about 1/2 cup (120 ml) water and cook over medium high heat until the onions and celery are softened. Be sure to add more water as needed to prevent burning the vegetables.
  3. Add the sweet potatoes, tomatoes, cumin, coriander, curry powder, turmeric, cinnamon, and bay leaf to the peas, along with any additional water needed, and cook 20 to 30 minutes longer. Test the peas for doneness and cook 10 to 15 minutes longer, if needed.
  4. Season with salt and lemon juice, adjusting the quantities to taste.

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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