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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.


Sixty-second in a series of articles


Christmas Nut Treats Howdy there Darlin's,

Well, now, this time o' year is my fav'rite time o' year--I jes love all the fussin' and fixin', an' them bright holiday decorations an' packages wrapped in such purty colors--and, yes I do complain 'bout the weather a bit when it gits more'n a tad chilly. But when it comes right down to it, this time o' year is jes plain ole speshul an', well, I jes put up with the nasty weather. That's all.

This time o' year is when families gits together an' bumps elbows in the kitchen while they chops an' slices all sorts o' good things ta eat--an' not jes any ole fixin's--no siree--it's them mighty speshul dishes they only fix once a year an' can't hardly wait ta start chompin' on.

Now, I s'pose you're gonna think I done gone plum nuts! An' guess I have--plum nuts 'bout servin' up some mighty tasty nuts over this holiday season. Why, them nuts`` is heapin' with flaver from heaps of them nice holiday spices that makes the house smell so good. An', well, they jes plain ole taste good, too!

Spice dup nuts make real fine nibblin' an' y'all know there's a-plenty o' that goin' on. So here's two recipes-they's easy as pie and keeps fer days so you kin fix 'em early an' ferget about 'em.

Jes put the nuts in a purty dish an' they's ready ta serve. I surly hope y'all have a mighty fine holiday celebration.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

Chili Nuts


These are for spice enthusiasts who can't get enough of the lively heat that chiles dish out. The recipe's medium heat level makes the nuts quite tolerable even for the chile shy. Enjoy them as appetizers, serve them at dessert time, or have them available for delicious between-meal nibbling.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups (300 ml)

    1 cup (240 ml) mixed nuts (such as walnuts, pecans, and almonds)

    1/4 cup (60 ml) organic sugar
    2 tablespoons light corn syrup
    1 teaspoon cayenne
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon chili powder

  1. Combine the nuts in a small bowl and set them aside near the stove
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a 10-inch (25 cm) nonstick skillet. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, until the spices are well incorporated.
  3. Add the nuts and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes, until they are well coated and the mixture sticks to them.
  4. Transfer to a clean dish to cool. Separate the nuts when they are cool enough to handle. You can enjoy them while still quite warm, but the flavor will improve when they have cooled completely.

Maple Cinnamon Nuts


These little charmers combine the delightful tingle and warmth of cinnamon with the old-fashioned flavor of maple syrup.

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups (300 ml)

    1 cup (240 ml) mixed nuts (such as walnuts, pecans, and almonds)
    1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup
    1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  1. Combine the nuts in a small bowl and set them aside near the stove.
  2. Combine the maple syrup and cinnamon in a 10-inch (25 cm) nonstick skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. Heat and stir the mixture briefly, for about 30 seconds. Add the nuts and stir continuously for about 2 to 3 minutes to coat and toast them.
  3. Transfer the nuts to a clean dish to cool. Break the nuts apart when they are cool enough to handle. The cinnamon flavor will become more intense when the nuts have cooled completely.

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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