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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. Since 2009 Aunt Nettie has known people were struggling to stretch their dollars during the recession. So she focused her tasty recipes on low-cost ingredients that would still offer delicious, healthy, stick-to-the-ribs foods, yet were affordable.

With the economy improving and more people back at work, Aunt Nettie felt the time was right to ease up a bit on strict bargain-bin shopping and gussy up the menu with a few small splurges.

Aunt Nettie is still happy to answer questions that come her way, but what she loves most is offering seasonal fixin's that inspire her while shopping at the farm stand.

Howdy there darlin's,

Well, now, here come the holidays an' this year they's all gathered up together practically on the same day--now that's kinda unusual. In 2016 the first night o' Hanukkah is December 25th, on Christmas night--imagine that, an' Kwanzaa starts December 26 an' lasts for a whole week. Looks like there'll be lots o' celebratin' come end of this month.

I cain't think of a better way to celebrate than to blend up a whoppin' batch o' Santa's Christmas Nog and watch ever'one sip away 'til they's happy as a lark. An' you cain't miss 'em--no sir--you'll see 'em smilin' from ear ta ear after a couple sips.

Nice thing is y'all don't have ta work very hard ta make folks feel the holiday spirit--an' whether y'all serve it up with a tad o' brandy or not, a l'il ole cup o' nog is a mighty nice way to toast with holiday cheer. Folks can git mighty happy on this nog, mind you, and start toastin' all sorts o' things--Aunt Susie's chocolate brownies, yer Dad's new car, an' even babies that ain't been born yet.

But it don't matter a hoot--long as ever'one's having a mighty fine time. Now I want ta wish ever'one a wonderful season o' holiday happiness any which way y'all celebrate.

An' I do hopes y'all enjoy the holidays with a l'il ole cup o' this fine-tastin' nog. Raise a cup fer me, too, darlin's an' I'll do the same.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

Spirited holiday gatherings beg for celebratory nog with a spicy personality that measures up to the spirit of the season. The quantity of brandy in this nog is a gentle starting point. I often serve a tiny pitcher of extra brandy and set it beside the pitcher of nog so guests can crank up the holiday spirit a notch or two if they choose. You can also serve this tasty nog without the brandy and still enjoy a delightful, welcoming, and well-spiced festive beverage.

Christmas Nog


Yield: 6 (6-ounce/169g) servings

    2 cups (480 ml) vanilla soymilk
    1 cup (240 ml) cashews or almonds

    3/4 cup (180 ml) maple syrup
    1/2 cup (120 ml) apple juice
    1/4 cup (60 ml) brandy (optional)
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, plus more for garnish
    1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
    1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

    Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

    1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum, if needed to thicken the nog

  1. Put 1 cup (240 ml) of the soymilk and the cashews in the blender. Process on high speed for 1 full minute, or until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the remaining 1 cup (240 ml) of soymilk, maple syrup, apple juice, brandy (if using), vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves and process until thick and creamy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the blender jar. If the nog is too thin, add the xanthan gum and process for a full minute. If you have a high-speed blender, you can blend all the ingredients at once.
  3. To serve, pour the nog into glasses, sprinkle each with a pinch of nutmeg, and add a small sprig of mint.
  4. If preparing in advance, pour the nog into a 1 1/2-quart pitcher and refrigerate. Garnish just before serving.

Note: The nog will thicken slightly and tends to separate when refrigerated. Refresh with a brief whirl in the blender or whisk vigorously just before serving. If desired, put a cinnamon stick into each cup.

If You Haven't Met Aunt Nettie. . .

Our Aunt Nettie has a head like a hard disk. It's filled with megabytes 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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