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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,

I see Mother's Day is a-comin' an' what a mighty fine day that is fer all us mothers. I was mighty surprised to see that mother's day is now a celebration all over the world, an' that's a mighty good thing. Imagine that, havin' a celebration jes 'cause we become mothers.

Well, that means we got to start that day off with somethin' deeeelicious and good fer ya, too. An' I want ta share one o' my fav'rite breakfast treats with mothers across the entire world.

My niece, Zel, come up with muffins that's jes outta this world, so this recipe is all hers-not mine. I cain't take credit fer somethin' I simply didn't do, but I want ta share this wonderful muffin ta make Mother's Day somethin' speshul.

Because I likes 'em so much, I make' em ever' so often an' I knows y'all could fall in love with 'em after jes one bite-I jes knows it!!!!

Make 'em fer mom an' serve 'em up with plenty o' fresh fruit and maybe some vegan sausages an' you'll have a whoppin' big breakfast ta start her day nice an' speshul.

Now, y'all, let me know how ya like 'em!

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

Our favorite muffins, these moist, spicy, and nutty treats are an excellent choice to serve on Mother's Day or any day for brunch or even for breakfast on the run. Don't bother putting out the jams and jellies. These muffins are so fully flavored they stand on their own and need no toppings.

Because this recipe makes so many muffins, you'll have extras to put in the freezer for another day. To freeze the extras, put them in a heavy-duty plastic zipper-lock bag and tuck them into the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Put the muffins on a pan lined with parchment to prevent sticking. Warm the muffins for about 20 minutes and enjoy with your favorite fruits and a steaming hot cup of herbal tea.

Alternatively, cut the recipe in half for a smaller breakfast celebration.

Maple Dream Muffins


Yield: 18 muffins

    Prune Puree
    1 cup (240 ml) pitted prunes
    1/3 cup (180 ml) plus 1 tablespoon water

    1 1/2 cups (360 ml) walnut pieces

    1 1/3 cup (320 ml) maple syrup
    1 cup (240 ml) vanilla flavored soymilk
    1 teaspoon maple extract

    3/4 cup (180 ml) whole wheat flour
    3/4 cup (180 ml) whole wheat pastry flour
    1 1/2 cups (360 ml) old fashioned rolled oats
    1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1 cup (240 ml) chopped pitted dates

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (Gas Mark 4) and line muffin tins with paper baking cups or use 3 six-section silicone muffin pans and place them on one large and one small, rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Combine the prunes and water in a blender and process until puréed. Measure 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the prune puree for the recipe and set it aside for the recipe. Refrigerate the remaining prune purée for a future recipe or use as a spread on morning toast.
  3. Toast the walnuts in a non-stick skillet over high heat, tossing continuously with a wooden spoon until lightly browned, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove immediately to a dish to cool and set aside.
  4. Combine the 1/2 cup (120 ml) prune puree, maple syrup, soymilk, and maple extract in a small bowl.
  5. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, stirring with a wire whip to distribute evenly.
  6. Make a well in the center and add the maple syrup mixture. Add the pitted dates and 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) of the walnuts. Mix well.
  7. Fill the muffin pan and top each one with the remaining walnuts. Bake the muffins about 20 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Gluten-free Batter
Substitute the whole wheat pastry flour and panko with the same amount of almond flour and ground pumpkin seeds.

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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