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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, click on Aunt Nettie below:

Aunt Nettie

Dear Aunt Nettie,

I'm having a few friends over for a garden party and thought it would be fun to create a little something cooling to sip with the appetizers I plan to serve. Got any suggestions for something fruity?


Well Howdy there Thirsty,

Yer dern tootin' I got sumpthin' fruity fer ya, an' you kin take advantage of them wonderful l'il apricots in season now that the weather's nice n' hot. Now sometimes them apricots is sweet, an' sometimes they's not. So you kin adjust the sweetness to yer likin.' I hope y'all have a fine time at yer party an' enjoy some mighty sweet sippin.'

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

Summer fruits just beg to be noticed. Of course, you can simply pluck them off the tree and nibble away. Yet, when you yearn to turn those succulent globes into something with a creative edge, haul out the blender and turn on the inspiration. Quick and tasty, this apricot starter is the perfect make-ahead beverage for a summer party. Make it in the morning, let it chill out in the fridge all day, and serve it like a pro when the guests arrive.


    Yield: 4 to 5 servings

    1 pound (450g) ripe apricots (about 9), halved
    3/4 cup (180 ml) vanilla soymilk
    1/2 to 1 cup (120 to 240 ml) agave nectar
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Ice Cubes
    Sparkling water
    Sprigs of mint

  1. Combine the apricots, soymilk, agave nectar, cinnamon, and vanilla in a blender and process about 1 minute, or until smooth and creamy. Chill thoroughly.
  2. To serve, put 2 ice cubes into each tall glass and fill half way with the apricot mixture. Fill the glasses with sparkling water, leaving an inch or two for the bubbles to foam. Top with a sprig of mint, insert a straw, and enjoy.
Note: The apricot mixture makes about 4 cups (1 liter). Since apricots vary in the level of sweetness, adjust the sweetener to your taste.

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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