Yeehaw! It’s time for December’s guest blogger and Cowgirls & Collard Greens’ final guest for 2013. Please give a big cowgirl welcome to Dianne Wenz of VeggieGirl! Dianne has offered to share her favorite vegan food gift items just in time for the holidays! She is a vegan lifestyle coach, blogger, plant-based Nutrition Specialist and the Editor-in-Chief of Chic Vegan. Dianne and I connected this past August while I was hitting up New York City tasting and trying all things vegan. I am excited to have her here sharing her vegan foodie expertise. Welcome Dianne!
I’m a big believer in activism through food. When people taste just how good vegan food is, they realize that veganism isn’t about deprivation. What better time to practice a little food activism (or foodivism) than at Christmas. When you give the gift of vegan food, you’re spreading the vegan love around, and isn’t there a saying about the best way to the heart being through the stomach?
Here are some ideas of great vegan food gifts for everyone on your Christmas list:
I’m a cookbook junkie and I love kitchen gadgets and gizmos, so I love getting either as a gift. What’s even better than receiving a cookbook or a gadget? A cookbook and a gadget! Here are some ideas for combing cookbooks and kitchen contraptions:
- Vegan Pizza by Julie Hasson with a pizza stone and a pizza cutter.
- Vegan Slow Cooking for Two by Kathy Hester with a small slow cooker.
- Vegan Chocolate by Fran Costigan with dark chocolate, a mixing bowl, a spatula or two and a cute oven mitt.
- Vegan à la Mode by Hannah Kaminsky with an ice cream maker.
- Pies and Tarts with Heart by Dynise Balcavage with a pie plate, a pie server and pie weights.
What better way to show someone you care than by putting together a basket of his or her favorite goodies? Here are some ideas for food baskets:
- For the tea lover – Assorted teas, a teapot and some vegan cookies.
- For the pasta lover – Gourmet pasta, jars of tomato sauce, vegan parmesan and infused olive oil all placed in a colander.
- For the breakfast lover – Assorted pancake mixes, dried fruit, maple syrup and assorted jams.
- For the Mexican food lover – Taco seasoning, taco shells, rice, beans, hot sauce and jars of salsa.
- For the wine lover – Bottles of vegan wines such as The Vegan Vine or Frey, vegan cheese such as Treeline or Dr. Cow, crackers and a cheeseboard with cheese spreaders.
- For the movie lover – Popcorn, flavored popcorn toppings, oils, and dark chocolate covered raisins and peanuts packaged in a popcorn bowl.
- For the soup lover – Soup mixes, crackers, spoons and soup bowls.
- For the chocolate lover – Assorted vegan chocolates, such as Rescue Chocolate, Lagusta’s Luscious and Chocolate Decadence.
Nothing says “I love you” like homemade treats! I took most of my Christmas gift ideas from Joni Marie Newman’s book Vegan Food Gifts last year, and I’ll be doing the same this year. If you’re like me and you enjoy spending some time in the kitchen, here are a few ideas to inspire your gift making:
- A treat box or tin full of cookies, fudge, truffles and candied nuts.
- Banana bread or chocolate chip pumpkin loaves in giftable baking tins wrapped in cellophane.
- Jars of beany soup mixes that just need water added.
- Jars of cookie or brownie mixes that just need added water, oil or non-dairy milk.
- Jars of homemade jams and preserves.
- Bottles of homemade hot sauces or barbecue sauces.
- Jars of homemade salsas.
- Bottles of infused olive oils.
Store Bought Treats
No time to bake or go shopping? No problem! The internet can help. Here are some food ideas from great vegan-run companies, and they can ship directly to your recipient:
- Vegan Cuts Snack Box– The Snack box is full of yummy treats and it’s delivered to your (or your lucky recipient’s) door once a month. Gift subscriptions are available for 3 or 6 months.
- Sweet and Sara– Most people don’t realize that marshmallows aren’t vegan, but Sweet And Sara’s are, and they’re really tasty. Their marshmallows come in creative flavors like toasted coconut and strawberry, and marshmallow treats like smores and rice crispy treats are also available.
- Allison’s Gourmet– Allison’s is an online bakery specializing in gourmet cookies, brownies, toffees and chocolates. In addition to one-time orders, Allison’s also offers Cookie of the Month, Brownie of the Month and Fudge of the Month subscriptions.
Whatever you decide to give as gifts this year, I hope you have a happy, healthy and tasty holiday season!
Dianne Wenz is a Holistic Health Counselor, Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Plant-Based Nutrition Specialist. Dianne coaches people from across the country to help them improve their health and wellbeing, and she helps people make the dietary and lifestyle changes needed to go vegan. Dianne lives in New Jersey, where she runs the busy MeetUp group Montclair Vegans. Through the group she hosts monthly potlucks, runs charity bake sales and organizes guest speaker events. An avid cook and baker, Dianne also teaches cooking classes to local clients. She just took over the roll of editor-in-chief for ChicVegan.com, a website where compassionate fashionistas and vegan vixens meet up to discuss how they can make the world a better place for people and animals alike. Dianne also writes the Meatless Monday column on New Jersey’s dining out website DevilGourmet.com. To learn more, visit Dianne’s website and blog at VeggieGirl.com.