It's the holiday season. Jane's busy trying to bake things. Gifts need to be wrapped and mailed to distant family members. Holiday greeting cards have yet to be written out. And it's already December 9th!!! We've received a few emails asking for ideas for gifts for vegans. This is what we've come up with...
This year, as like many of you, we're scaling back a bit, so we really want to make sure our gifts are "successful." We figure you might be in the same boat, so tonight's post is dedicated to the things we love and wouldn't want to live without, and the things we'd feel good about giving. Here they are, in no particular order.
Vegan Kitchen Essentials:
Last year, Jane's mom bought us a Soyabella Milk Maker for Christmas. This may be the single best thing that's come our way since going vegan. I have a cup of homemade almond milk every single morning in my breakfast smoothie. It has more than paid for itself by now (okay, we didn't pay for it, but you know what I mean).
Jane adores her KitchenAid Stand Mixer. She's had it for 12 years and it's still going strong. According to her, it 's the second best gift she's ever gotten. (Note: I didn't buy this. It's from the guy she was dating before she met me!) Her's is white, they didn't offer many options back then. Now you can get them in almost any shade from purple to teal to black to red. I've even seen decals to dress them up!
Another must have as far as Jane is concerned, is an Immersion Blender. This tool is essential for making any kind of "cream of" (pureed) soup. Instead of having to divide the soup in batches in order to puree it in the blender or food processor, you can simply bring the blender to the pot. It's so much easier! You can also use it to make small batches of shakes right in the glass you plan on using.
Two years ago, our food processor finally gave out. It happened to be right before Jane's birthday. She hinted that she'd like to upgrade to a KitchenAid Wide Mouth Food Processor. She wanted something with a wider feed tube so she wouldn't have to keep taking off the lid. She's very happy with this product.
Another must have for any baker is a Nonstick Baking Mat. Why bother with the mess of having to grease pans, or the waste of parchment paper...
Jane's been working more frequently with recipes which state quantities in grams as opposed to cup measurements. Rather than go online for conversions, she's been using a Salter Kitchen Scale. She feels the measurements are much more specific that way. After all, how often do you get an exact cup of flour... and if it's sifted you may get more or less; a weighted measure takes care of that problem. I've even gotten use out of the scale, measuring envelopes to ensure adequate postage!
Our favorite vegan cookbook isn't truly vegan, it's vegetarian. So there are recipes here which we won't be making. But at almost 1,000 pages, that's not really a problem! We love How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Not only does Mr. Bittman provides you with great recipes, he also teaches you about the ingredients he's using and gives you ideas for alternative pairings. It's an educational cookbook, but don't expect pretty pictures.
For our favorite desserts, we constantly go back to The Joy of Vegan Baking. Jane was going to go through each recipe, one a week until she got through the book. We've gotten stuck on the Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins and the Vegan Brownies. If you don't get anything else out of this cookbook, those recipes alone are worth the purchase price!
Becoming Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Plant-Based Diet. The title says it all. This book was very helpful to us.
Diet for a New America. Well written, and informative. This is a must-read for anyone who is concerned about their health and their diet.
The China Study. It's a little dry, but the in-depth discussion of how eating animal products impacts human health might be all you need to convince you to go vegan.
Vegan Essentials is offering a variety of holiday gift ideas for the vegan. They also have gift certificates so your favorite vegan can get something they want.
Don't forget to visit our advertisers (under "Are You Looking For" at the top right and left of this page) for other great gift ideas.
Philanthropic Gift Ideas:
Or here's another thought... If you exchange gifts, as we do, with people who don't really need or want anything, you can always go the civic minded route. There are many worthy charities out there. This year, they're getting fewer donations than in the past, so if you're among the fortunate ones who might have spare funds, this is a good way to go. Below are a few vegan-oriented charities.
Animal Acres is offering Holiday Gift Sponsorships for just $25/year (online sponsorship form).
Animal Aid (a United Kingdom based animal activist group) accepts donations and also has an online shop.