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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-sixth in a series of articles


Howdy there Darlin's,

Well, wouldn't ya know spring finally did come ta visit. I daresay there was more 'n a few days o' doubts it were gonna git here at all, but here it is an' I'm jes lovin' them nice sunny days an' warmer weather that makes good things grow in the garden.

I like ta say a big welcome ta spring with a mighty nice l'il ole salad made outta watercress an' jes a few other veggies, so's not ta spoil the purty looks o' this special bunch o' greens.

Now, if'n y'all cain't find watercress at yer market, why arugula makes a fine salad, too. So, there's no need ta fret none. An' if''n there's no fresh arugula, why a nice Greenleaf lettuce all chopped up is jes fine, too.

Y'all probly know this already, but this is the sort of salad that don't keep at all, so best make it jes a short time before servin' an' enjoy them nice fresh flavors o' springtime--ain't nothin' like it, I say.

Now, y'all better let me know how ya likes it.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

Because spring weather varies in every locale, Aunt Nettie is just fine with watercress substitutions--she just wants to honor spring with some attractive fresh and robust greens she knows are so highly nutritious and packed with lots of antioxidants.


Watercress Salad Yield: 3 to 4 servings

    1 bunch fresh watercress, chopped
    1 Persian cucumber, diced
    1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
    6 radishes, sliced
    1/2 to 1 jalapeno pepper, finely minced

    1 medium to large avocado, well mashed
    Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
    Salt to taste
    Pinch sugar, or to taste
    Pinch cayenne, or to taste

    6 cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half, for garnish

  1. In a large bowl, combine the watercress, cucumber, bell pepper, radishes, and jalapeno and mix well. Transfer the salad to an attractive serving bowl or large platter.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the avocado and lemon juice and mix well. Season to taste with the salt, sugar, and cayenne. Spoon the avocado mixture into the center of the watercress salad or in clusters over the greens.
  3. To garnish, place 2 tomato halves into the center and form a border with the remaining tomatoes. After giving the watercress an opportunity to display its charming leaves, toss it well with tongs to incorporate the tasty avocado topping.

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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