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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.


Seventy-first in a series of articles


Howdy there Darlin's,

Well y'all jes cain't imagine how much punkins I been a-lookin' at this month at the farmstand and even in the grocery store--why there's punkins of all shapes an' sizes an' colors. Why, there's even a punkin that's white as snow--imagine that!

Now some o' them punkins is purfect fer the young'uns to carve up an' make Jack o' Lanterns--and they's mighty good fun fer them little ones. But they's not good fer cookin'.

Then I see them l'il ole pie punkins. Now, they's mighty good fer actually makin' punkin pie. An' I'm a-plannin' ta make some punkin pie this month fer shure, but fer now I'm thinkin' 'bout some mighty good tastin' cookies with lots o' spice an' plenty o' punkin fer the little ones. I love ta see those big smiles when they pull a cookie off'n the plate.

Now I knows folks is mighty busy these days, so this here recipe is made from canned punkin. That's what makes it so much easier--not much fussin' ta git these fixin's mixed and baked up.

I hope y'all loves these punkin treats as much as I do. Now, y'all let me know how the young'uns liked 'em --ya hear.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

These delightful pumpkin cookies give the tongue a little tingle and make ideal treats for holiday gifting, too. To make them unique, I've added a bold flavor surprise from three ingredients seldom found in a cookie recipe. I've chosen to add pine nuts because they stand out in bright contrast to the pumpkin color, but you can add any nut of your choice. Coriander seeds and black pepper provide the tongue tingle. Because they keep so well, you can store the cookies at room temperature wrapped in plastic for up to 5 days.

If you're a long-range planner, make the cookies well ahead, place them on a parchment-lined metal tray with parchment between the layers, and freeze them until solid. Transfer them to a box lined with plastic-wrap or heavy-duty plastic bags and freeze them for up to three months.

Pumpkin Pine Nut Cookies is one of the delicious desserts featured in Vegan for the Holidays.

Pumpkin Pinenut Cookies


Yield: 2 1/2 dozen

    1/4 cup (60 ml) water
    2 tablespoons flaxseeds or ground flaxseeds

    1 1/2 cups (360 ml) whole-wheat pastry flour
    1 1/2 cups (360 ml) old fashioned rolled oats
    1 cup (240 ml) plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, firmly packed

    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 1/4 teaspoons whole coriander seeds, ground with mortar and pestle, or 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    3/4 teaspoon ground pepper
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne

    1/2 cup (120 ml) pine nuts

    1 1/4 cups (300 ml) cooked fresh pumpkin or canned pumpkin
    1/2 cup (120 ml) canola oil
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Put the water and flaxseeds in a small bowl and set aside to thicken. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (Gas Mark 4) and line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the pastry flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, coriander, nutmeg, pepper, baking soda, salt, and cayenne in a large bowl and mix well. Stir in the pine nuts and set aside.
  3. Combine the pumpkin, oil, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl and mix well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well to form a thick dough. Add the thickened flaxseed meal and mix well to distribute it through the batter.
  4. Place heaping tablespoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets, spreading with the back of the spoon to form 1 1/2-inch (3.8 cm) diameter cookies.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes. Switch the oven rack positions of the baking pans and bake 13 minutes for soft cookies, or about 17 minutes for crisp cookies. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack or plate and let cool 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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