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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.


Fifty-first in a series of articles


Howdy there darlins',

Well now, the pumpkin carvin' is done and behind us, an' Halloween is past, too, but don't fret none! There's always speshul times ahead --an' that speshul time is one o' my very fav'rite holidays o' the whole year. Why, it's Thanksgivin' an' what a mighty grand time it is.

Before I knows it my family will be flyin' in from fur-away places so's we kin be together fer a mighty fine feast. Why, we even enjoy spendin' time in the kitchen cookin' up a heap o' tasty fixin's fer that speshul holiday dinner. An' would you believe--ain't no turkey on my table--no siree! We jes' cook up some o' the best food in the world without a scrap o' turkey in sight--nice thing is -- not a soul complains, 'cause it all tastes so dern good an' it don't have ta cost yer life savin's neither!

This is the nicest time o' year ta put them nice root vegetables ta work 'cause they's sellin' at purty good prices. I notice that often times folks jes' don't know what ta do with root vegetables. They ask --do I boil 'em, 'bake 'em, fry 'em, eat 'em raw? An' the answer is mighty simple--you kin do all of 'em. I like roastin' the root veggies 'cause it's less fussin' when yer busy with family enjoyment.

I done spent a good part o' my life in the kitchen, so you kin imagine all the recipes I done come up with. So, down yonder is one deeelicious side dish that puts them root vegetables together in such a nice dish I jes know yer gonna take to it after jes' one bite. You'll see--an' it's mighty purty, too.

An' my niece, Zel, liked this recipe so much, why, she put it right inter her Vegan for the Holidays cookbook--imagine that! Nice thing 'bout it is you kin make them fixin's a day or two ahead so's you don't have ta fuss with it while yer family's visitin'.

Now you be sure an' let me know how y'all likes this tasty root vegetable dish.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

Reminiscent of a fiery sunset, this stunning combination of roasted vegetables captures the hot colors of a dramatic autumn sunset at its peak. Give the eyes a few moments to feast; then, invite everyone to enjoy a hearty serving. Roasted butternut is a delicious squash on its own, but interwoven with carrots, beets, fresh cranberries, and a little kitchen magic, it becomes an extraordinary fusion of rich flavors and flaming colors. Because the squash medley has ample time to marinate, it's even better prepared ahead and briefly reheated at 350 degrees F. for about 15 minutes. This is one of the delicious recipes from Zel's cookbook VEGAN FOR THE HOLIDAYS.

Roasted Butternut Sunset


Yield: 8 servings

    1 large butternut squash, (2 1/2 to 3 pounds/1 to 1.4 kilos), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch (1.5 cm) pieces
    3 large carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
    2 small beets, peeled and diced
    3/4 cup (180 ml) fresh cranberries
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    1 teaspoon salt
    3/4 cup (180 ml) orange or tangerine juice
    1/4 cup (60 ml) plus 3 tablespoons maple syrup
    1/4 cup (60 ml) white miso
    1 teaspoon orange or tangerine zest
    1 green onion, diagonally sliced, or 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley, for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. (Gas Mark 4)
  2. Place the squash, carrots, beets, cranberries, olive oil, and salt in a large bowl and toss well to coat the vegetables. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a 17 1/2 x 12-1/2-inch (44.5 x 31.75 cm) rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the orange juice, maple syrup, miso, and orange zest in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Remove the vegetables from the oven and pour the orange juice mixture over them. Bake another 15 to 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Spoon the vegetables into a serving bowl or platter and garnish with the green onion slices if desired.

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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