Holiday Gifts for Vegans – A Curated Collection of Vegan Gift Ideas

vegan gift ideas vegan holiday gift guide

Show your support and love for your vegan friends with the perfect gift! Some of the gift ideas in this list are light-hearted and fun, while others are more practical. Herbivores are sure to adore any of these unique and thoughtful gifts!

While some people enjoy munching on caramel popcorn, toffee, and other holiday goodies, many vegans can be left out of the fun. The vegans on your holiday shopping list will definitely appreciate a homemade vegan treat! Try something like vegan pumpkin granola or granola nut clusters. ( Just be a bit cautious about any possible nut allergies).

vegan pupkin granola vegan gift ideas

granola nut clusters vegan gift ideas holiday homemade

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Roasted Pumpkin Seeds – A Revised & Improved Recipe

Roasted pumpkin seeds pepitas recipe vegan

It’s Halloween time again! Time for the kind of fun that returns us to childhood joys! Even if Halloween isn’t your deal, roasted pumpkin seeds are a absolutely delicious autumn treat, and you should make them. We previously shared a recipe for seed roasting, however, it has been revised and improved this year. Here’s our new recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds:

Roasted pumpkin seeds recipe pepitas recipe vegan

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:

1 Cup Pumpkin seeds

4 Cups Water for boiling, plus more for rinsing

1 tsp Olive oil

Salt to taste

Other seasonings as desired

Instructions:

  1. Separate seeds from pumpkin flesh as much as you can.
  2. Rinse seeds in cool water and place in a medium sized pot. Cover with water, add several shakes of salt, and bring to boil. Boil for about 10 minutes.
  3. Drain seeds and spread out on a baking sheet. Leave seeds out to dry most of the way, or leave out overnight before proceeding to the next step.
  4. Heat oven to 375°. For every cup of seeds, toss with 1 tsp olive oil, salt as desired, and any other seasonings that you prefer.
  5. Spread out in a thin layer on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
  6. Allow to cool completely before eating.

Seasoning options are unlimited! Try things like chili powder, seasoned salt, or a blend like sea salt, lemon, and rosemary.

Improvements from previous recipe:

When using butter, even vegan, the seeds brown far too quickly. The texture of the seeds doesn’t come out quite right, because they turn dark before they’re really fully roasted. Butter also leaves seeds with a greasy coating, even after cooking and cooling. This is probably because you can’t roast them for long enough to cook all of the butter off without them burning. This new recipe provides a better texture and flavor with perfectly roasted seeds!pepit

Holiday Gifts for Beer Lovers – A Curated Collection of Handmade Craft Beer Gifts

Gifts for Beer Lovers craft beer gift ideas beer cozy kozie

Finding just the right gifts for the right people can be so much fun! Since craft beer is such a popular thing at the moment, I decided to curate a list of handmade gifts that would be fabulous for beer lovers.

Visit again soon for more gift guides!

Our collection of beer gifts starts off with one of my personal favorites – a handmade wooden beer tote with an attached bottle opener! Great for taking a mixed collection of brews to a party or picnic! I have personally purchased from this Etsy shop before, and was extremely happy with my beer tote. Sold by Rocky Mountain Wood.

handmade wooden beer tote craft beer gift beer lovers_1

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The Grady Twins – A DIY Halloween Costume Experiment

The shining twins DIY halloween costume Grady twins handmade costume

The shining twins DIY halloween costume Grady twins handmade costume

Halloween is a perfect holiday for exploring creativity and for putting fun ideas to use! It’s because of this that I still enjoy Halloween just as much as I did as a kid. As a horror movie fanatic, I especially enjoy costumes that pay tribute to the films that were terrifyingly entertaining when I was younger. In previous years, I’ve gone as Tippi Hedren from The Birds, and Linda Blair from The Exorcist. These costumes were made from pieces accumulated from various second hand shops and online stores.

tippi hedren the birds halloween costume DIY the exorcist

 

The one Halloween costume that I always desperately wanted was not an option, because it required a second person that was equally excited about one of the classics – The Shining.

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Vegan Strawberry Layer Cake – A Birthday Experiment

Vegan birthday cake strawberry cake recipe easy vegan baking_1

Vegan birthday cake strawberry cake recipe easy vegan baking_1

I decided that my birthday was the perfect excuse to try making a vegan cake! I really wanted something delicious and different than the typical vanilla or chocolate cake. I found several different recipes online, and settled on this one from Baker Bettie. The ingredient list was reasonable, the directions seemed easy, and the pictures looked great! So, I set out to tackle my first real vegan baking adventure since the vegan Earl Grey cupcakes. Here’s how it went:

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Menu Planning, Grocery List Organizing, & Healthy Habits

Vegan Cookbooks easy healthy recipes beginner vegan

The Weekly Menu & Grocery List – My Method for Getting Organized

Menu planning can be a bit overwhelming at times. In an effort to remain motivated and organized, I have developed a system for menu planning and organizing my grocery list.

I’ve created two digital documents that I use for this process – a weekly menu sheet and a grocery list.

Menu planning tips organized grocery list_1

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Vegan Whole Wheat Waffles with Apple & Coconut Cream Topping

Vegan waffle recipe whole wheat apple topping coconut cream homemade_3

 

Vegan waffle recipe whole wheat apple topping coconut cream homemade_2

This latest recipes comes from Thrive Energy Cookbook by Brendan Brazier. This coobook is full of flavorful plant-based dishes, making it just a little bit easier to cook healthy meals at home. These waffles are filling and delicious, however, the waffles themselves are not very sweet. This is a plus in my book, because I feel that sweet breakfast dishes can be a bit heavy handed with the sugar. Add as much maple syrup and toppings as you wish to increase sweetness, or consider adding a sweetener to the batter if you prefer a sweeter waffle.

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Photography by Heather Shane

Heather Shane of Heather Shane Photography

Up next in our Creative Spotlight is Heather Shane of Heather Shane Photography! Heather is a photographer in southern California specializing in portraits, lifestyle, and craft photography. She is passionate about the beauty of humanity, and strives to promote love and happiness by delivering moving, meaningful images to all of her clients. We sat down with Heather and gained more insight on her creative process.Heather Shane Photography_4  Heather Shane Photography_3Heather Shane Photography_6  Heather Shane Photography_5  Heather Shane Phography_1

Heather Shane Photography_2

 

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Easy Homemade Snow Cones

homemade blue rapsberry snow cone recipe easy all natural

easy recipe snow cone syrup all natural blue raspberry

Who doesn’t like a good snow cone now and then? For some reason, it never occurred to me before that it is actually pretty simple to make them at home. I was brainstorming some fun summer desserts to make for the 4th of July when I had the delicious idea to attempt homemade snow cones.

Before we discuss syrup recipes, let’s talk about ice crushing options. I generally like to avoid buying unnecessary kitchen appliances, however, I figured out through trial and error that an ice shaver or snow cone machine would make the whole process so much easier. I attempted to simply crush ice in a blender, but the ice pieces wouldn’t get any smaller than medium-large pebbles. I read a tip online about adding water to the blender to help break up the chunks, however, the ice turned into a melty slush by the time enough water was added to really help the blending process. That was a disappointing result, to say the least. I was able to somewhat perfect the blender method by blending the ice in very small batches, but come on, ain’t nobody got time for that!

My options at that point where to 1) give up entirely, or 2) break down and purchase an appliance that would actually allow me to enjoy the snow cones that I was so craving. I went with option #2, and I bought this ridiculous looking snow cone maker. I’m not a fan of the cutesy carnival appearance, but my decision to go with this machine was because of features and reviews. First, it makes larger batches of snow than a lot of the other machines. Several of the ones that I looked at only made 2-3 servings at once, if that. Second, this snow cone maker doesn’t require any effort from the operator at all. Some of the shaved ice machines require pressure to be applied to the top, (even some of the electric versions require this). Third, the product reviews for this machine are excellent. Overall, I’m happy with my choice. The ice is definitely snow cone texture rather than a shaved ice texture. Operation is quick, easy, and consistent.

homemade snow cones tutorial recipe summer dessert

As for the syrup, I wanted to try a few different things. I bought a bottle of snow cone syrup from the store, just to try it. I also made a couple of flavors using a 3-ingredient recipe that uses Kool-Aid for flavoring. I also decided to try making an all natural version using real berries. All three were enjoyable to different degrees. With the store bought and the Kool-Aid syrups, there was that artificial, syrupy sweetness that we’re all so familiar with, which is pretty typical with snow cones. The homemade blue raspberry syrup tasted more like, and was cooked in a very similar fashion to, homemade jam. Enjoy the recipe below!

recipe snow cone syrup blueberry raspberry all natural

Happy 4th of July!

Blue Raspberry Snow Cone Syrup

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ Cups frozen raspberries, slightly thawed
  • 2 Cups blueberries, slightly thawed
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 Cup water

Other required items:

  • Shaved ice, (see above for tips)
  • A squeeze bottle like the ones used for ketchup and mustard. I found mine at a grocery store for less than $1 each
  • A funnel for pouring syrup into bottle
  • Small-medium sized pot
  • Bowls, cones, or cups for serving
  • Immersion blender, regular blender, or food processor

Instructions:

  • Add all ingredients to a medium-sized pot. Smash berries with a potato masher as best you can.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Blend with an immersion blender, or transfer syrup to a blender and process until smooth. Use caution when blending hot liquids! Syrup can also be cooled before blending, if desired.
  • Strain syrup through a fine mesh sieve. Discard solids, and cool syrup to room tempurature.
  • Use a funnel to pour syrup into a squeeze bottle. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

This syrup recipe is only one of many fun options! Liven up an adult party by making snow cone cocktails, or even use your favorite beer to make cubes in place of plain ice!