Last Minute Vegan Gift Ideas

The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value. – Charles Dudley Warner

Sparkly Silver Wrapped Gift

Hello bunnies! Happy holidays, whatever you celebrate (if at all!)!!!

My beautiful vegan gal pals and I just had our annual holiday party & gift exchange, where we dress up, eat vegan cheese and desserts, and have a White Elephant/Yankee Swap gift exchange of all of our favorite vegan things. The exchange is always wonderful, full of amazing gifts for around $20. It occurred to me this might be helpful to anyone looking to buy a last minute gift for the passionate vegan in their life!

Last Minute Vegan Gift Ideas

1. Cookbooks (natch)
Cookbooks are always a good route with a vegan, or anyone who likes cooking. The top two books for us this year were the Oh She Glows Cookbook and the Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*uck cookbook.

Oh She Glows and Thug Kitchen Cookbooks

Oh She Glows is a gorgeous, feminine compilation of over 100 healthy easy recipes. Thug Kitchen is a hilarious, naughty compilation of over 100 easy recipes. Both have coffee table appeal and are well loved by my group.

2. Local Gifts
Being the conscientious little vegans we are, there were a ton of gifts from local artists/vendors/shops. We are fortunate to have some cool stores in San Diego, but I think almost every town has some kind of shop that features local goods.

JaxKelly Jewelry Collage

Some highlights were earrings made from pyrite and an adorable little herb garden in a wooden holder.

3. Gift Cards!
Who doesn’t love a good gift card?! Top choices for us are Lush, Veggie Grill, Native Foods and Whole Foods.

Lush Gift Card

(If you would like to buy a gift at Lush instead, read my top 5 best vegan Lush products review).

Cards to local restaurants and stores are even better, if you have one that you love (for us, it’s Plumeria Vegetarian Restaurant in San Diego and the Ocean Beach People’s Coop).

4. Jars/Bottles/Bags
It may sound silly, but us vegans love our reusable containers! Mason jars are a big hit in our group, as are glass water bottles and reusable bags and totes. A lot of vegans are aware of the environmental impact of our choices, and because of this, long-lasting, non-plastic gifts are great. Plus, we need somewhere to store all our nutritional yeast!

Envirosax Anastasia Bag

One company I love to recommend is Envirosax Resuable Bags. They are a San Diego based company that is committed to helping the world reduce it’s dependency on disposable plastic. Their bags are GORGEOUS (check this Envirosax Anastasia 5-pack, the designs are stunning) and extremely comfortable to use – I own several and keep them in my purse because I refuse to shop without them. My ex loved them as well, we’d keep them in the car so we wouldn’t forget them. Great for guys, gals and every one in-between/outside! Envirosax also offers water bottles and wine bottle carriers.

5. Portable Food Prep
Vegans need healthy food on the go, since we often have to bring our own food to everything. Anything that can help us transport food and/or prepare it on the fly is much appreciated. This includes things like a Magic Bullet Blender for making smoothies at work, cool lunch boxes (Bento Boxes are all the rage), or reusable sandwich bags.

Le Creuset Mini Bean Pot

One of the cutest and most unexpected gifts of the night was this Le Creust Stoneare 20-Ounce Mini Bean Pot, a ceramic pot that can withstand freezing to extremely high heat. This pot is great for transporting and heating up individual servings of stew, beans, soups, etc. It can be microwaved or baked. Also cute for condiments or seasonings.

Summary

I hope some of these ideas help you out in your mad-dash to find the perfect gift for the vegan in your life. At the end of the day, buying for a vegan isn’t as hard as it might seem. Just try to think of what will make their life a little easier, or what will represent their values. Think local, think reusable/eco-friendly, and think practical.

Happy holidays everyone!

Little black heart

Miyoko’s Creamery Cheese Review

Miyoko’s Kitchen was kind and generous enough to send me a huge package of their artisanal vegan cheeses to try and review:

Miyoko's Creamery Cheeses

My girls and I threw a big cheese party to try them all out, which was hella fun but I realized ruined my chances for decent pictures! I nabbed some pics from Miyoko’s site, and for really amazing shots, check out my friend Melissa’s Miyoko cheese review over on Vegenista.com.

For those of you not familiar, Miyoko Schinner made a name for herself with her amazing book, Artisan Vegan Cheese, which details how to make stunning vegan cheeses from scratch. I’m lucky enough that I have a few friends who have mastered the art of vegan cheesery, and am summarily spoiled every time we have a potluck.

So, Miyoko was a big name in our group and when we heard she was coming out with her own line of artisanal vegan cheeses, we done ’bout lost our minds.

Miyoko’s Creamery Vegan Cheese Review

I’m happy to report, Miyoko did not disappoint. These three were my favorites:

Miyoko Creamery Double Cream Chive Cheese

Double Cream Chive was by far the crowd favorite, that one didn’t make it past our little cheese night. It tastes like an cream-cheesy chive spread. It was the one cheese that I would want to purchase again to actually cook with – I’ve been told it’s amazing to mix into mashed potatoes, makes for great stuffed mushrooms, and I’d love to spread it on a wrap or bagel with a ton of fresh or roasted veggies. I think this is the most versatile cheese.

Miyoko Creamery Fresh Loire Valley Cheese

The Fresh Loire Valley In A Fig Leaf was an amazingly mild cheese wrapped in an edible (delicious) fig leaf. This one was good on salads, but was the one that I took the most joy out of eating plain, by itself. Excellent with fruit and crackers, I’d be tempted to try this with an actual fig or maybe stuff into some dates. The presentation of this wheel is absolutely gorgeous, it’s a show stopper.

Miyoko Creamery Herbs De Provence Cheese

The Herbs De Provence was probably my overall favorite. I loved the flavor and texture. It was stunning on crackers, and went well with salad. I could see it being a nice addition to certain sandwiches or wraps as well. This is one I would personally buy for hosting a party, it’s beautiful and highly addictive!

Summary

All of the cheeses were a hit, there wasn’t a single one we didn’t like. I would recommend purchasing based on your taste with cheeses. So, if you like soft, herby cheeses, get the Double Cream Chive. If you like smokey, get the Aged English Smoked Farmhouse. If you like mild whites, get the Fresh Loire Valley or the Herbs De Provence.

The prices are quite reasonable given the quality – the cheeses average $10-11 per wheel, plus $9-30 for shipping and handling. The cheeses come via 2-Day FedEx in a Styrofoam container packed with dry ice.

The only downside is that you have to buy the cheeses in a bundle, so you can’t go in and pick and choose what you want (for right now, at least). This is fine if you find a bundle you like, but can be frustrating if you wanted to buy multiples of one or just choose a few unrelated cheeses. I’m hoping at some point they will be able to offer more flexibility around purchases.

Miyoko's Creamery Cheeses Stack

Resources
List of available Miyoko Creamery Cheeses
Miyoko’s Creamery Vegan Cheese Packages
Where to buy Miyoko’s Cheese (northern California only)

Have you tried Miyoko’s cheese? What did you think? Which was your favorite?

Little black heart

Sunday Funny: Get Enough Protein?

Do Gorillas Get Enough Protein?

Ah, the dreaded protein question. For those of you who are concerned about protein because you work out, think about the fact that the biggest and most jacked animals are all vegan or close to it: elephants, gorillas, giraffes, most whales. The biggest dinosaurs were vegan. It’s hard to believe any human, no matter how fit, needs more protein than a badass gorilla!

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