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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 vegetarian 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, .

Dear Aunt Nettie,

I grew up on the farm and Mom made the best Meat Loaf. Cold or hot, it was good (that was before I knew what I know now.) But, would you have a receipt for Vegan Meat loaf, with onions, bread crumbs and all the rest. My dad was a butcher, and I can tell you TRUE stories, for I saw it myself. I am always looking for lunch meat that is firm and not mushy when you are eating it. If you can, please help me out on this also.

Gary in Iowa.

Howdy there Gary in Iowa,

I kin see yer missin' yer deer Mom's cookin' an yer needin' a recipe fer some ole fashion tasty meatloaf. I knows what comfort food is, alright. Well darlin', I come up with an easy meatloaf you kin count on fer plain ole eatin' pleasure time after time after time, an' I do mean that.

Now, child, you take this recipe an' git yerself right on over ta the kitchen an' start the fixin's goin'. I gots ta warn ya, though, it's a messy heap o' fixin's 'cause ya have to mix 'em up with yer hands to git everthin' really flavored up right. But when it's done an' all baked up, you'll say, "Why, I didn't mind that a'tall." 'Fore ya know it, yer lickin' yer ten l'il fingers 'cause it's soooo good ya fergit yer manners.

Now you serve it up with some mashed 'taters 'n gravy an' you got yerself some kinda speshul meal.

That lunch meat yer hankerin' fer is right there in one o' them natural food markets in the deli secshun. They's made by Yves Veggie Cuisine or Lightlife an' there's a heap o' different ones to pick out. Why, there's salami, an' turkey, baloney, ham, Canadian bacon, an' pepperoni. Without any trubble 'tall you kin fix yerself a nice fit 'n sassy sandwich.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie


    1 1/2 to 2 pieces of whole grain bread, toasted
    1/3 to 1/2 C. (80 to 120 ml) soymilk
    1 T. Tamari
    1 14 oz. (397 g) Lightlife Gimme Lean Ground Beef Style*
    2/3 C. (160 ml) sweet onion, finely chopped
    1 t. salt
    1/2 t. garlic powder
    1/4 t. ground black pepper
    1 or 2 pinches cayenne pepper or to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. (Gas Mark 5). Break toasted bread into small pieces and put into a large mixing bowl. Pour soymilk over and toss with hands to thoroughly wet all bread.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to soaked bread and mix with the hands to incorporate all ingredients completely.
  3. Pack mixture into a lightly oiled 9-inch x 5-inch (23 x 12.5 cm) metal loaf pan. Cover pan with aluminum foil, shiny side down, and bake at 375 F. (Gas Mark 5) for 30 minutes. Remove foil, and bake another 12 minutes. Cool 5 to 10 minutes and cut into serving slices. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

*Meat analog made from soy and wheat gluten.

For Italian style add 2 T. chopped fresh basil and 1/4 C. (60 ml) vegan Parmesan cheese to mixture and spoon spaghetti sauce over top before baking.

For barbecue flavor add 1/2 t. liquid smoke to meatloaf and spoon barbecue sauce over top before baking.

For Tex Mex flavor, add 2 T. diced mild canned green chiles, 1/2 C. (120 ml) shredded vegan cheddar cheese, 1/2 t. ground cumin, and 1 to 3 t. chili powder to meatloaf. Spoon chili sauce or enchilada sauce over top before baking.

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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