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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 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 an/or get her cooking advice, .

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.


Forty-eighth in a series of articles


Howdy there darlin's,

My, my, my, time does fly, by golly. I was jes reminiscin' 'bout how my Ask Aunt Nettie column got its start a'way back in 1999. Why, that's a heap o' years ago, but it feels 'most like yesterday.

A'way back then, folks was writin' to me with a heap o' questions. They was jes beginnin' ta learn 'bout good healthy vegan recipes. One o' them questions was 'bout how ta make oatmeal taste mighty good. I knows oatmeal is one o' them foods some folks jes cain't always reckon with--an', darlin's, I understand, I do.

But there's more'n one reason ta make oatmeal a breakfast reg'lar. O'course y'all knows it's got plenty fiber, vitamins, minerals, an' a heap o' antioxidants. But I'm also aimin' ta help ya feed a houseful o' family folk with wholesome fixin's without dryin' up the wallet by the end of the week. Oatmeal is dirt cheap, goes a long way, an' fills the belly with ole-fashioned goodness.

Well, I tell ya true, makin' oatmeal taste speshul is what I does best. I jes love oatmeal fer breakfast 'an there's no worries 'bout makin' it taste deeelicious.

Steel Cut Oats
First, start with the best choices o' oatmeal. If'n y'all have time in yer morning' fer cookin' up steel cut oats, why, them's the very best an' most wholesome. Here's my handy recipe:

    3 cups water
    1 cup steel cut oats
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  1. Put the water inter a 2-quart pot, cover it up, an start it boilin' over high heat.
  2. Add the oats an' cinnamon an' bring it back to boilin'.
  3. Then, turn the heat down ta slow simmer an' let it cook fer 'bout 25 ta 35 minutes. That oughter make a nice pot o' oatmeal fer 'bout 4 or 5 hungry folks.

Easy Steel Cut Oats
If'n yer a mighty good planner, you kin set up yer fixin's the night before. Here's how:

Put the water, oats, an' cinnamon in the pot, cover it up, an start it boilin'. Boil fer 'bout 1 minute. Then, turn off the heat an' ferget it till mornin' when all's ya do is warm it up.

Oatmeal Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
But, if'n yer time is mighty pinched in the mornin', why jes buy some old fashioned rolled oats --they takes only 5 minutes to cook up an' they's mighty good eatin'. There's easy directions right on the box or package, but here's my recipe:

    4 cups water
    2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  1. Put the water inter a 3-quart saucepan, cover it up, and bring it up ta boilin'.
  2. Take off the cover, add the oats an' cinnamon, an' turn the heat down ta medium. Let it simmer 'bout 3 minutes, then cover the pot, an' turn off the heat.
  3. Let it sit fer 'bout 3 or 4 minutes an' you got yer oatmeal all nice an' creamy. This makes a nice hearty breakfast fer 'bout 4 ta 5 hungry folk.

Flaxseed Meal
Now, fer what ta put on top o' yer cooked cereal, I likes ta start with a heapin' spoonful o' flaxseed meal 'cause then I start my day with a smidge o' them omega 3s that's mighty good fer ya.

Crunchy Nuts
Now, darlin's, if'n ya likes some crunch to yer oatmeal, you sprinkle on some raw nuts 'n seeds or you kin toast 'em up an' sprinkle 'em on top:

    Raw pumpkin seeds
    Raw sunflower seeds
    Chia seeds
    Chopped walnuts,
    Chopped pecans
    Chopped almonds
    Chopped hazelnuts
    Chopped cashews
    Roasted peanuts
    Uncooked millet

Oatmeal Additions Fresh Fruits
I prefer fresh fruit on top o' my cooked cereal, so I chop up a bowlful o' whatever fruits is in season. There's a heap o' choices o' nice sweet fresh fruits all year long.

In Summer here's my fav'rites:

    Sliced bananas
    Sliced strawberries
    Chopped peaches
    Chopped plums
    Chopped nectarines
    Chopped apricots
    Chopped kiwis
    Grapes (green, black, red flame)
    Chopped cantaloupe or honeydew
    Chopped papaya or mango
    Chopped pineapple

Here's my winter fav'rites:

    Sliced bananas
    Chopped apples (many varieties)
    Chopped pears (many varieties)
    Chopped tangerines

Dried Fruits
There's a heap o' dried fruits you kin chop up an' sprinkle over cereal. Jes look carefully at the ingredient label fer them that's unsweetened. Sometimes they's all sugared up an' you kin hardly taste the fruit fer all the sugar coating:

    Black raisins
    Golden raisins

Oatmeal with Fruits & Nuts Non-Dairy Milks
Now fer the icin' on the oatmeal:

    Nut milk (Homemade or store bought'n)
    Oat milk
    Hempseed milk

Well, darlin's, if toppin' yer cereal with fresh or dried fruits is jes not sweet e'nuf to yer likin', a tad o' maple syrup or date sugar oughter do the trick.

Here's 'nother delicious way ta sweeten up yer oatmeal: Chop up a few dried figs or dates an' put 'em in the pot with the oatmeal an' water. Cook 'em up together fer the best, sweetest cereal in the whole country.

Well, darlin's, these is some sure-fire fixin's ta make yer mornin' oatmeal mighty special. When I serve up my oatmeal at the table, why it's never jes plain ole oatmeal--it's practically a whoppin' big Sundae an' if'n I must say so myself, it looks so temptin' I kin hardly wait ta set myself down at the table fer breakfast!

Now, don't ferget ta put oatmeal on yer shoppin' list this week, ya hear?

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

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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