Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide!

The holiday season is upon us, and it's the perfect time to make/purchase gifts that are fun and animal-friendly. The following are some of my favorite gift-giving resources and ideas for the holidays.
Best of all, they're vegan-friendly! Christy is a talented artist based in Dallas, Texas. She creates beautiful jewelry - some include a vegan message and all are animal-friendly. I own two of her necklaces and just love them! You can purchase different types of memberships for this online, vegan cooking school. Members have access to cooking-class videos, regularly updated, and an archive of absolutely fabulous vegan recipes. I love this site! A great online store for all-things vegan. Perfect for big gifts and stocking-stuffers. Based in Pasadena, this site is great for finding lots of vegan clothing, shoes, and accessories. I just found this website. Another gem for your holiday shopping. My friend Kelly recently launched this site. Access Amazon and other major web retailers through this website and a percentage of your purchase will go to charity, including animal causes. Buying a subscription to VegNews Magazine is a great gift for you or anyone interested in animals and healthy living. Purchase a yearly subscription for the special holiday price of $15 (6 issues). This magazine is beautiful, full of interesting articles and plenty of recipes to keep you happy all year. (Click on the "Adopt A Farm Animal" link at the bottom of the homepage): Farm Sanctuary has locations throughout the United States. You can adopt a farm animal for someone you love, paying for a year or in installments. There are plenty of rescued animals to choose from, ranging in price from $10 to $35 per month. With each adoption, your loved one will receive an adoption certificate and glossy photo of the adopted animal. So much fun! Use this site to scout out vegan and veg-friendly restaurants in your area. Purchase gift certificates to your favorites. Even non-vegans will enjoy some of these great restaurant-finds.
Here are some of my favorite vegan books and videos for 2011. They make wonderful gifts!
Veganomican: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook by Terry Hope Romero
Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan: Everyday Vegan Recipes Worth Celebrating by Dreena Burton
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World by Terry Hope Romero
Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Vegan's Daily Companion: 365 Days of Inspiration for Cooking, Eating, and Living Compassionately  by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life by Brendan Brazier
Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis
The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone
Vegetarian Cooking With Compassionate Cooks DVD by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
Forks Over Knives DVD
Finally, here's a homemade gift that's easy to make and fun to receive:

Vegan Cookie-Mix-In-A-Jar Recipe:
"A mason jar full of cookie mix is a pretty traditional handmade Christmas gift. This project gives the idea a green face lift using a delicious vegan cookie recipe. Cutting back on eggs and dairy can help folks lower their carbon footprints by avoiding these animal products. The recipe in this project is based on my favorite chocolate chip cookies: Happy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies. These things are foolproof, and no one ever suspects that they’re vegan. It’s a great way to help folks see that vegan baking can have delicious results!"

Here’s what you need to make one gift jar:
  • quart-sized mason jar
  • 2c flour
  • 2t baking powder
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1t cinnamon
  • generous 1/2c dried cranberries
  • 1c sugar
  • generous 1/2c vegan dark chocolate chips
  • hole punch
  • gift tag big enough for the recipe and directions
  • yarn, ribbon, string, or twine
You’ll want to decorate the jar before you start, so that it stays pretty much upright after it’s packed. Too much jostling will mix up the dry ingredients and you’ll lose those pretty layers of ingredients! Decorate however you like – maybe wrap the jar with a handmade label.
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Pour this into the bottom of the mason jar and tap the jar on the counter until everything is level. It’s important to get things packed in nicely, so you maintain the colorful layers! Add the dried cranberries, pressing them gently. Pour in the sugar, using your wooden spoon to smooth the top out a bit. Top the jar off with chocolate chips. If there’s any extra room in the jar, you can add more chocolate chips. No one has ever complained about chocolate chip cookies being too chocolatey! Close off the top of the mason jar.
Make your recipe card. You get bonus points here for using reclaimed paper or cardboard. A paper grocery bag or old cereal box works great! Punch a hole in the corner, so you can tie it to the bag, and write on your recipe:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients from this jar in a large bowl, stirring well.
  3. In a small bowl, combine: 1/2c vegetable oil or applesauce, 1t vanilla extract, and 1/4c water.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix until there are no lumps remaining.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the tops of the cookies are golden brown.
  6. Yield: about 24 cookies
Use your ribbon, twine, or yarn to attach the recipe to the jar, and you’re ready to gift! If you’re trying to be a bit thriftier this year, you can even cut the recipe in half and make cute little pint-sized jars of mix!

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