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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 more 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.

Homestyle Cabbage and Potato Chowder

Nineteenth in a series of articles


Don't know 'bout you, but I git ta itchin' fer a big bowl o' nice hot soup right 'bout now when the weatherman decides ta give me them chills that makes me shiver in my very own bones. Cain't imagine that? Well, darlin', jes you wait 'nother month or two. Then you'll know what I'm a-talkin' 'bout.

An' yer gonna be ready as a raccoon with this mighty fine tastin' kettle o' fixin's. Why, they's not jes fixin's fer the soup pot. They's fer fixin' you right up an' makin' yer inerds feel right cozy.

Nice thing is, this here chowder's chock full o' goodness that's darned cheap grub. These days you got ta watch even yer pennies an' make 'em go a long way. Now, you watch fer them sales on 'taters an' cabbage when you go shoppin' an' when they's on sale, why you better buy plenty. You kin do lots with them 'taters. Not jes use 'em fer makin' soup like this one, but you kin make a real fine dinner from baked 'taters topped with Sloppy Joes. I kin almost taste that deeelicious dinner right now.

An' you'd be surprised at what you kin do with cabbage. Why, child, you kin stuff them cabbage leaves with tofu an' veggies all seasoned up an cook 'em in tomater sauce 'til they's nice an' soft.

You don't have ta spend dollars you don't have on meat what's not good fer ya. Why, good ole Mother Nature grows plenty o' healthy things you kin count on ta keep y'all fit an' healthy all winter long an' right on thru the year til next winter come.

Now y'all git yer soup spoon ready, 'cause I knows yer gonna want a second bowl o' this fine chowder. If'n y'all like ta bake, why you kin make up a nice whole grain bread ta mop up the soup left in the bottom o' that soup bowl o' yers. An' it's gonna put a smile on yer face. I jes know it. I do.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

Cabbage & Potato Chowder


Yield: 6 to 8 servings

    1 large onion, chopped
    3 ribs celery, chopped
    3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

    2 pounds (1 kilo) Russet potatoes, peeled, and cut into bite-size chunks
    1/2 medium head cabbage, chopped
    2 large carrots, sliced
    2 bay leaves
    2 teaspoons dried dill weed
    1 teaspoon dried marjoram
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    Freshly ground pepper
    6 cups (1.5 liters) water or vegetable broth

    2 cups (480 ml) unsweetened soymilk
    1 or 2 15-ounce (425g) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
    2 leaves bok choy cabbage, chopped
    3 to 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
    2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice

    3 tablespoons cornstarch
    3 tablespoons water

    1/2 cup (120 ml) chopped parsley

  1. Combine the onion, celery, and garlic in an 8 to 10-quart (8 to 10 liter) stockpot. Add water to cover the bottom of the pot and water-sauté over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onions are beginning to soften and turn transparent. Add small amounts of water if needed to prevent burning.
  2. Add the potatoes, cabbage, carrots, bay leaves, dill weed, marjoram, salt, garlic powder, pepper, and water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium or medium-high and simmer gently about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are fork tender.
  3. Add the soymilk, kidney beans, bok choy cabbage, nutritional yeast flakes, and lemon juice and return the soup to a gentle boil.
  4. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small cup or bowl and stir to form a thin paste. Add the paste to the gently bubbling soup and stir for 1 minute, or until the soup becomes lightly thickened. Adjust the seasonings and garnish each bowl with a sprinkle of parsley.

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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