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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.


Tenth in a series of articles


Now I knows there's lotsa folks that turn up they noses when I talk 'bout beans. Shure, I knows they's not fancy food. It's the livin' truth that beans is downright dirt cheap home cookin' food fer real folks that don't need ta impress nobody. Real folk been gittin' by on beans fer centuries an' truth is they's more'n a tad healthier than them kings n' queens that been chompin' down on a heap o' meat dishes. It's the truth!

I done come up with a real nice tastin' barbecue sauce that's got a little spice ta put some zip in yer step. It might not be a whole lot cheaper than the store-bought kind, but you kin shure save money by stayin' outta the store where you might be tempted ta buy stuff y'all don't need.

Some folk worry they cain't git 'nuff protein without meat. Well, they kin stop their frettin' 'cause beans got a heap o' protein an' a heap o' good soluble fiber besides! An' beans is a good way ta lower yer high cholesterol in a natural way 'cause they's got soluble fiber that does the trick. Folks that eat beans 'stead o' meat don't need ta take them pills fer cholesterol 'cause beans don't hardly have any fat in 'em at all! Now don't go takin' my word fer it.

Here's some numbers what them nice folks at the USDA tole me 'bout beans:

Kidney beans, 1 cup's worth
Protein - 13.36g - you kin see that's a heap!
Fiber - 13.6g - plenty o' fiber in just one cup!
Iron - 3 mg
Potassium - 607 mg
Zinc - 1.18 mg
Vitamin K - 10.5 mcg
Calcium - 87 mg - My! My! Even calcium!
Total Fat - 1.54g - why, that's hardly any fat at all!

Pinto beans, 10 Ounces worth
Protein - 26.44g - Lordy! That's mighty plentiful!
Fiber - 24.4g - looks like protein an' fiber is almost matchin' up!
Iron - 7.70 mg
Potassium - 1835 mg
Zinc - 1.96 mg
Calcium - 148 mg - Mmm, that's mighty good fer them bones.
Total Fat - 1.36g - Just 'nuff fat ta keep yer engine goin'!

Now, darlin's, y'all kin put yer faith in beans with all that natural goodness long as ya don't go cookin' 'em up in a heap o' fat. You'll be surprised that this here dish kin be so deeelicious without a single teaspoon o' added fat like cookin' oil that turns up in practically everythin'. But you'll see purty quick that y'all jes don't need that oil or anythin' else with a heap o' fat in it ta put a mighty fine tastin' dish on the table.

If'n y'all serve up yer beans with a whoppin' big tossed salad an' some good ole whole grain bread that you kin have fun dunkin' inter the barbecue sauce, why you'll have one o' the finest suppers y'all ever et. It's the truth!


Yield: about 4 to 5 servings

    Barbecue Sauce
    1 cup (240 ml) tomato paste
    1/2 cup (120 ml) water
    3 tablespoons molasses
    1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar or distilled vinegar
    1 tablespoon maple syrup
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    2 teaspoons chili powder
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
    2 pinches cayenne

    1 15-ounce can (425g) pinto beans, rinsed and drained or 1 1/2 cups homemade beans
    1 15-ounce can (425g) cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed & drained or 1 1/2 cups homemade beans
    1 green bell pepper, chopped
    2/3 cup (160 ml) chopped onions
    1/4 cup (60 ml) water
    2 cloves garlic, crushed

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the tomato paste, water, molasses, vinegar, maple syrup, lemon juice, chili powder, salt, soy sauce, and cayenne and mix thoroughly. Set aside and prepare beans.
  2. Combine the pinto beans, cannellini beans, green bell pepper, onions, water, and garlic in a 3-quart (3 liter) saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately reduce the heat to medium and simmer gently for about 5 to 7 minutes, adding small amounts of water as needed to prevent burning.
  3. Add 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup (120 ml to 160 ml) of the barbecue sauce and mix well. Warm gently and serve with extra barbecue sauce on the side.

Note: The barbecue sauce makes about 2 cups (480 ml) that can be used to top tofu or tempeh steaks, casseroles, sloppy Joes, or veggie meatball sandwiches.

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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