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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-sixth in a series of articles


Howdy there darlin's,

I always say ya jes cain't go wrong with taters--they's so full o' goodness--an' even better is them nice yeller sweet taters. Why it's almost like eatin' a dish o' sunshine--imagine that! An' they's so easy ta cook it's hardly any work at all!

Now y'all probably already know that sweet taters is good fer ya 'cause they's got plenty vitamins an' minerals, but I'm bettin' my hootnanny knickers y'all didn't know that one l'il ole medium-size tater has a whole lot o' vitamin A-- 23767 IU o' vitamin A! Even I didn't know one tater could have so much vitamin A goodness.

I knows there's some folks that run away from taters 'cause they say taters makes 'em fat. I surely don't know how that kin be--why, did y'all know a medium tater that weighs jes a tad over 5 ounces has only 115 calories--now that ain't 'nuff ta scare anyone away.

If'n y'all need more convincin' 'bout the goodness o' sweet taters, jes look 'em up an' see fer yerself: https://www.google.com/#q=national+nutrient+database+for+standard+reference+release+26 . That's the U.S. government's list o' all kinds o' foods and them vitamins and minerals numbers. Some folks like ta see what's in ever'thing they eats--an' that's mighty fine.

As fer ole Aunt Nettie, why I growed up learnin' all them veggies that come from the ground is jes plain ole good fer ya. An' the reason is them veggies gets minerals from their roots in the ground an' vitamins when the sun shines down on the leaves. I always remember this 'cause it reminds me ta put plenty o' compost in the ground when I plant my veggie seeds in spring. I knows it's important ta keep that dirt healthy, too. Now I oughter remember it's not jes plain ole dirt--why it's soil--'cause it's got so much goodness in it.

Now it's time fer me ta mosey on inter the kitchen an' start a-peelin' them taters. I surely hope y'all enjoy that nice tater salad down yonder-- it's a mighty deeeelicious dish fer a spring dinner or supper.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

For many families, sweet potatoes only appear on the Thanksgiving table in a variety of casserole creations. But colorful varieties of sweet potatoes appear in the grocery throughout the year, making it easy to enjoy them in so many ways. In this recipe, sweet potatoes lend such enchanting flavor to a potato salad that usually features white potatoes. The ingredients are few and the recipe simple, yet together they bloom into a symphony of flavor.

Sweet Potato Salad


Yield: 4 to 5 servings

    1 1/2 pounds (680g) yellow sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces

    1 large or 2 medium broccoli crowns, cut into bite-size florets

    2 cups (480 ml) cooked pinto, kidney, or white beans, drained
    1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
    1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped fresh cilantro
    2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Pinch cayenne pepper optional)

    1 chopped green onion

  1. Put the sweet potatoes in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan with about 1/2-inch (1 cm) of water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and steam until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the potatoes to a large bowl.
  2. Fill a 3-quart saucepan (3 liter) 2/3 full with water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Plunge the broccoli into the boiling water in small batches and cook for 1 1/2 minutes, or until just tender. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the florets to a bowl to cool. Drain any excess water from the cooked broccoli and add to the sweet potatoes.
  3. Add the beans, tomato, cilantro, lemon juice, and olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. If desired, add a touch of spice with a pinch or two of cayenne pepper. To garnish, sprinkle the top with paprika and green onions.

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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