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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.


Thirtieth in a series of articles


Howdy there darlins',

Been gittin' some mighty chilly nights last few days an' I kin see we're headin' fer dern cold weather with winter a short ways down the road. An' that means it's time ta keep the soup kettle steamin' on the stovetop. Wintertime soup jes make ya feel good through an' through, don't it?

Well, darlins' I visited the farmstand t'other day an' when I noticed celery was on sale fer dirt cheap, I bought 3 bunches an' spent the afternoon choppin' an' mixin' an' out come a mighty tasty soup. It was light as a feather an' so soft an' creamy it was like eatin' spoonfuls o' satin clouds. It was mighty fillin' too.

If'n y'all start yer meal with a nice salad with some good greens an' plenty o' chunky vegetables, why all's you need fer a good meal that don't rob yer whole paycheck is a nice bowl o' Cream o' Celery Soup. Put some nice whole grain bread on the table an' you got all the fancy food ya need.

An if'n y'all come ta the table feelin' a little down in the dumps, why jes spoon up a bowlful o' this nice soup an' finish it ta the last drop. Purty soon you'll be gittin' up from the table feelin' mighty chipper. Stay warm, now, darlins'

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

Cream of Celery Soup

Yield: 4 servings

    4 cups (1 liter) chopped celery
    1 medium onion
    1 small carrot

    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 cup water

    4 cups (1liter) regular or unsweetened soymilk
    1/2 pound (225g) potatoes, unpeeled, diced
    2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
    1 bay leaf
    1 teaspoon sea salt
    Dash nutmeg

    1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    2 tablespoons finely minced parsley

  1. Put the celery in the food processor and pulse until the celery is finely minced. Transfer to a 6-quart (1.5 liter) pot.
  2. Put the onion and carrot in the processor and pulse to mince them finely. Add them to the pot and add the garlic and water. Water-sauté over high heat for about 15 to 20 minutes until the vegetables are softened. Add small amounts of water as needed to prevent burning.
  3. Add the soymilk, potatoes, nutritional yeast, bay leaf, sea salt, and nutmeg and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are very soft.
  4. In batches, transfer the soup to the blender and process until smooth and creamy, or use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot. After blending the soup, add the maple syrup, salt, and cinnamon. Warm through and garnish with finely minced 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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