Shopping for Vegan Yogis on Your List

So, you are shopping for a vegan, or a yogi, or a vegan yogi, and you are at a loss. I’ve got a few ideas that might help. I tried to list things from various price ranges, and only listed things that I personally own. I’ll attempt to pop back in and add more as I think of them. Items that were sent to me to review are so noted, but most of these were purchased at list price.

Yogi Surprise Boxes

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This company sent me their surprise boxes to review and I was impressed with how adorable they are, and what good selections were included. There are two options for the box. One contains more beauty, food, wellness, and yoga items. The other is jewelry. These would be great for someone you had no idea how to pick a gift for, but would likely not be appropriate for the male yogi in your life, as some of the beauty items seem to be slanted to women.

Right now, the Yogi Surprise boxes are 10% off. This makes the lifestyle box $39.46 and the jewelry box $22.49. The plan is monthly, but you can cancel at any time.

My Best Friend is a Bag Lindsey Bag

IMG_4005a IMG_4006a IMG_4011aIn the fall, I realized that I needed a black briefcase that was vegan friendly, laptop compatible, and looked professional. That’s not as easy as it sounds. Of course, I also wanted it to be pretty. After quite a bit of searching, I came across a company called My Best Friend is a Bag. While they are located in Australia, one of their bags, in two colors, is available on Amazon.com. So, I thought I should try it out!

The Lindsay bag is very pretty, easy to use, spacious enough for every day, and feels like a bag that will last. I took the tassel off of mine because the cats kept pulling over the bag and it was a little big for me. Upon first use, the side magnets didn’t want to hold things closed with the pockets full, but as I’ve used it more and the magnet flaps have loosened, it’s all good!

Not only is the bag pretty and functional, the customer service of MBFiaB is wonderful! I contacted the company because I lost the snap on key fob on my first business trip after receipt (I turned it in with my rental car, DOH!), to see if I could purchase another one. While they didn’t have any to sell, the owner assured me that, when they had a bag return, she would have the key fob sent to me for now charge. Sure enough, she did, and I got it just this week. Very nice! I’m thinking I may also need the red one!

Borsa Bella Bags

I have told you about Borsa Bella Bags before, but let me do it again! This company makes the most adorable fabric bags of all sizes and types. I have a particular weakness for the phone bags and the Catch All bags. If you look at the image taken above of the Lindsay bag, you will see a long zip phone bag and a catch all bag tucked inside!

At the moment, there is even a special going on for the Catch All bags. You need to get some for you and your friends and family for makeup, gadgets, and general stuff!

 

 

 

 

 

Crazy Rumors Lip Balm

It can be a little challenging to find vegan lip balm, but Crazy Rumors has you covered, even for funky flavors and tinted balms. They have some fun flavors/scents for the holidays, as well.

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Thug Kitchen

Like food? Like the earth? Like your health? Like funny? Not afraid of a little (or a bunch of) profanity? This might be the cookbook for you!

Thug Kitchen is one of the few cookbooks that have ever made me laugh out loud, and I spent an afternoon following my spouse around the house reading him selections. He was thrilled, or… something. The recipes aren’t all super simple, but they don’t involve particularly weird ingredients and those I have tried have been quite good.

Woodstock Farm Sanctuary

No,  you can’t buy the farm as a gift, but you could give a donation in someone’s name and help support the really important work that gets done at the farm. From now until the end of the month, all donations are matched dollar for dollar! Just head over to the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary website and make a donation. You should also look at all the pictures, while you are there, because pigs!

Queen Helene Bath Salts

Who doesn’t like a nice relaxing bath? Some lavender and patchouli bath salts add to the relaxation potential. These Queen Helene salts are vegan friendly and inexpensive. They would make a very nice little stocking stuffer gift!

Delicious Peanut Butters!!!

Peanut Butter & Company has some really delicious peanut butters that any peanut loving vegan would snarf right up. The Dark Chocolate Dreams version is so crazy good that I may (did) eat it with a spoon right out of the container. Oh my! You can check out all of their options at ilovepeanutbutter.com. Not all of the version are totally vegan (some have honey), so do read ingredients before purchasing.

 

Vegan Holiday Recipes – The 2012 Version

This year. I did not have to cook much for Thanksgiving, as it was hosted by my wonderful brothers-in-law. But, I have a standard list of recipes that I typically use, and a couple of new ones, that I will certainly be preparing for one meal or another over the next few weeks (though probably not all at one time, because Thanksgiving is really about the only time I would serve that many carbs in one meal). I hope these recipes come in useful for your holidays, this year and beyond.

Tooforkey leftovers are yummy!

 

Home-made Tooforkey (Vegan)

Store bought tofu roasts can be a little pricey for their size.  This home recipe takes some time (in fact, I suggest cooking the day before and then heating so it doesn’t tie up your oven), but it’s delicious and big!  This recipe was adapted from one by Bryanna Clark Grogan, over a few years of use and switching out items or adjusting amounts.

2 c. vital wheat gluten
1/2 c. soy or chickpea flour
3/4 c. nutritional yeast flakes
1 t pepper
1 onion diced  finely
4 cloves garlic, minced finely
1 container of firm or extra firm tofu
3.5 c. water
3 t. vegetable broth powder (you can use the non-chicken chicken flavored type)
3 T. soy sauce
3 T. olive oil
1 t. liquid smoke
1 package vegan gravy, if desired

Blend tofu, 1 1/2 cups of water, 2 T soy sauce, liquid smoke, 1 T of the olive oil until smooth.  Once in a while, I will get a block of tofu that has been frozen at some point and it will not mix smoothly.  This is not preferable, but it’s not a tragedy.  Just do what you can. Add the finely chopped onion and 1/2 of the minced garlic.

Mix the gluten, flour, yeast, and pepper in a separate bowl.

Combine the two.  This will be much much easier if you have a dough hook and a stand mixer, but it can be done by hand.  If it is too wet to form a dough ball, add bits of soy or garbanzo flour until it is (this can happen if the tofu has more water in it due to prior freezing, if your measurements are a bit off, etc.).  Knead for about 10 minutes.  Cover the bowl with a warm towel and let it sit for about an hour.  It will rise some.  Knead again for about 10 more minutes.

Line a baking pan with parchment.  Shape the dough into a loaf, try to make it not too “deep” – 2-3 inches tall is preferable.  Mix the remaining water, veg broth powder, soy sauce, olive oil, and liquid smoke.  Pour this broth over the loaf and place in oven at 325*.  Bake for about 3.5 hours, turning it over half way through (I’ve forgotten to turn it and it wasn’t a problem).  Most of the broth will be gone when it’s done (if m0st of the broth has gone when you turn it, mix up and add another cup of broth).  Remove from oven and allow to “settle” for a while before serving.

I recommend cooking this ahead of time.  The next day, place the loaf back into a baking pan, mix your vegan gravy, and pour over it and cover with foil.  Put it back in the oven and heat at 325* until warmed through.

Vegan Mushroom Onion Gravy

3/4 cup white or portobello mushrooms, chopped finely
1 small sweet onion, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 cups broth – either vegetable or faux chicken
2 T soy sauce
1 t liquid smoke
salt and pepper to taste

Place 2 T. olive oil in frying pan and saute mushrooms and onions until the onions begin to carmelize.  Set aside.  Mix soy sauce and liquid smoke into broth and set aside.  In a large pan, add remaining oil and begin to heat.  Add flour and stir, forming a roux.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Begin adding broth mixture slowly, stirring constantly to prevent any lumping.  Once fully mixed, add mushrooms and onions.  Continue to stir gently while bringing gravy to a low boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and stir regularly until gravy thickens.  Salt/pepper to taste and serve over tofurkey or potatoes.

Vegan Dressing/Stuffing/Filling

Growing up in southern Indiana, we always had a bread based dish on Thanksgiving that we called “dressing.”  After I became an adult and was exposed to the horror of Stovetop stuffing, I discovered that some people cooked it inside of the bird (eww) and called it “stuffing.”  Then, I had friends whose families call it “filling.”  So, in my house, we now call it dressing-stuffing-filling.  Those of us who like it REALLY like it, and will eat it for days after, for any meal or snack.  I made the non-vegan version for years, but after I became vegetarian and then vegan, I came up with this one.

1 large loaf of stale bread ripped into bite sized pieces**
1 large onion, diced small
4 stalks celery, sliced thin
2 cups soy milk
2 cups vegetable broth
4 T vegan butter, softened
2 T white vinegar
4 T flour or starch (soy, potato, chickpea, corn)
3 t sage
2 t thyme
2 t black pepper
1 t salt

** You can use white, wheat, or a combination of breads.  Bread can be “staled” by either leaving in oven for a day or two prior or baking on a low temp until dry

Place ripped bread in large mixing pan.  Add spices, onions, and celery, and flour and toss gently.  In a separate pan, mix softened butter with soy milk and vinegar.  It should take on the consistency of oily buttermilk (sorry).  Add vegetable broth and stir.  Add liquid to dry ingredients and fold in.  If you like your loaf to be really dense and not have bread pieces still visible, stir more briskly for longer to break up the bread more.  If you prefer the bread bits, fold in gently.  Spoon mix into shallow baking pan, cover with foil, and cook at 350* until warmed through.  If it gets too dry as you cook, add a little more veggie broth.  After thoroughly warm, remove foil and continue cooking until top browns, visible liquid evaporates, and stuffing “sets.”  Time depends on what else you have going in the oven.  I would expect at least 30 minutes covered and another 15-20 uncovered.

Roasted Vegetables (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

2 large potatoes
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
2 bunches broccoli
2 carrots
1 pepper (green, red, or orange)
2 onions
1 cup sundried tomatoes (optional but delicious)
1/3 cup olive oil
sea salt
peppercorn

Chop all veggies to bite sized (remove skin if desired).  You can add in others, like maybe asparagus or beets, if they are handy and sound good.  Mix in oil and seasoning.  Pour onto a large baking sheets (I like cooking this in a stone pans) and place in oven at 450* and cook for 45 minutes (turn veggies in pan every 10 minutes or so for even roasting).  If needed, add foil over pan and cook an additional 10 minutes or until done.

Irish Potato Colcannon

This old Irish recipe traditionally contains cabbage, but here kale is substituted and it’s extremely yummy.  This makes a great comfort food side dish with a little nutrition wrapped in!  Even my greens haters will eat it.

5 lb chopped potatoes (peeled or not)
5 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
4 T 0live oil
8 cups roughly chopped kale
3 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke
2 T nutritional yeast (optional)
4 T soy milk or creamer
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop potatoes (skins on or off) and put on to boil.  Put olive oil and garlic in a large pan and sauté the garlic until fragrant.  Add kale, soy sauce, and liquid smoke and toss to coat. Cook kale at medium high until tender.  When potatoes are tender, drain.  While potatoes are draining, add milk to kale mix to warm.  Then combine ingredients and mash by hand or with an electric mixer.  I leave these a little more solid than I would mashed potatoes, since the kale is in there.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Baking Soda Biscuits

My mother used to make these simple biscuits all the time – though not typically in a vegan fashion.  I’ve adapted them to my own use.  They are also excellent for some biscuit and gravy action!

4 c. sifted flour
1/2 c. vegan butter
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. soy milk
1.5  t vinegarWhisk vinegar into soy milk so that it slightly curdles (like buttermilk).  Mix together the dry ingredients.  Cut in the vegan butter until like coarse meal. Make well in center of flour mixture. Add the faux “buttermilk” and stir to create a dough.  Knead for a minute or so on a floured board.  Pat or roll out (aim for between 1/2 and 2/3 inches deep).  Cut with a cutter or a lightly buttered cup top.  Place on an unoiled baking pan and bake at 450* for 10-12 minutes or lightly brown.

Vegan Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

My friend Karla sent me this recipe. I adapted it a little to my family’s tastes and adjusted for pressure cooker preparation.  It’s quite rich and delicious.

1 large butternut squash (just over 2lbs), peeled, seeded, cubed
1 small-medium onion diced very small
1 inch ginger finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
3 cups faux chicken or vegetable broth
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 ½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp turmeric
2 T olive oil

Peel and chop as needed.  I find it easiest to slice the squash into rings and then peel.  Place olive oil, onion, garlic, and ginger in the bottom of the pressure cooker and cook on medium heat until soft and fragrant.  Add remaining ingredients, except lemon juice, and bring to high pressure.  Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes and allow to depressurize naturally.  Using an immersion blender, blend soup, add lemon juice, and serve.

Vegan Broccoli Salad (Gluten-Free)

3 cups chopped broccoli stems (throw in a few crowns if desired)
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 large carrots, shredded
1/2 cup vegan mayo
1 t apple cider vinegar
2 T raw sugar
1/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix, and chill.  If desired, add vegan bacon bits immediately before serving.

Vegan Spinach Dip (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

1/2 cup vegan mayo
1 cup vegan sour cream
1 lb spinach, chopped (either fresh or use 1 10 oz package frozen spinach, thaw, and squeeze out water)
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 small can water chestnuts, diced (optional)
2 t dill
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 t turmeric

Mix and chill overnight. Serve with bread or pita points.

Vegan Hot Artichoke and Spinach Dip (Gluten-Free)

I seriously miss cheesy spinach artichoke dip, so I came up with this one last winter.  I won’t say it’s good for you, but it’s certainly good!

1 lb frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 can artichoke hearts
1 tub Tofutti sour cream
1 tub Tofutti cream cheese
1/2 cup vegan mayo
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
salt and pepper to taste
grated vegan parmesan (optional)

Pulse artichokes in food processor until diced but not pureed.  Place in large bowl.  Put spinach in strainer and remove by handfuls, squeezing out all water.  Add to bowl.  In separate bowl, blend vegan cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, and yeast.  Pour over spinach and artichoke and fold in.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Spoon mixture into baking pan (a pie pan does nicely).  Sprinkle with parmesan as desired.  Bake at 350* for 30 minutes (or until mixture is heated through and slightly browning on top).  Serve with crackers, crisps, celery sticks, or good bread.

Cranberry Relish (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

1 lb fresh cranberries
1 naval orange plus 1 T of orange zest
1/2 cup raw sugar

Place cranberries in a food processor and chop until fairly fine.  Add oranges and pulse until shredded and mixed.  Stir in sugar.  Chill and serve!

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups raw sugar
1 T baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t ginger
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins, walnuts, pecans, or other dried fruit
1 cup pureed pumpkin or canned pumpkin
1 T molasses
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
(or 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 1/4 cup applesauce)


Mix dry ingredients.  Mix wet ingredients.  Combine.  Fill muffin tins 2/3 to 3/4 full and bake at 400* for 20 minutes.  Keep an eye on them after 15 and test for doneness every couple of minutes.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

My mom taught me to make this cake and she most certainly was not a vegan, but the cake is!  My daughter (who is 11) often makes it for us now, because it is that easy.  She likes to make it in cupcake form.  The cake is so moist that it does not need icing, but a peanut butter / vegan cream cheese / vegan confectioners sugar mix does make a rocking icing for it as well.  So, here you go.

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon vinegar
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup cold water

In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, soda and salt. Make three wells in the flour mixture. In one put vanilla; in another the vinegar, and in the third the oil. Pour the cold water over the mixture and stir until moistened. Pour into 8 x 8-inch pan. Bake at 350°F. oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it springs back when touched lightly.

Vegan Pumpkin Brownie Pecan Pie

This recipe started at the Post Punk Kitchen, and was then adapted by Angela at Oh She Glows, and then by me. So so good. I don’t have a picture. It was too good and we ate it.

Pumpkin Brownie Layer:

1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup + 3 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
3/4 cup unbleached flour
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Pumpkin Pie Layer:
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp soy or almond milk
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Shaved dark chocolate, for garnish

Pecan Topping:
1/4 cup vegan margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
3/4 cups chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350F and prepare a pie pan.

For brownie layer: In a stand mixer or by hand, mix together the coconut oil, pumpkin, vanilla, and sugar until blended well. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking, soda, sea salt and mix until incorporated. Take the entire mixture and place in pie pan. Wet spatula and spread around evenly so it is smooth.

For pumpkin layer: In a large bowl mix together the pumpkin, vanilla, and milk. In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch, sugar, and spices. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well until all clumps are gone. Now add on top of brownie mixture. Garnish with grated chocolate.

For Pecan topping: Mix all ingredients until well combined and sprinkle on top of the pie.

Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350F. Remove from oven and cool for 20-30 minutes and then move to the fridge to chill for 1.5 hours.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

This recipe started out on The Vegan Spoonful and was very slightly adapted by me. I might have eaten it for three days straight at breakfast.

1 unbaked pie crust
2 cups pureed canned pumpkin
1 cup plain soy or coconut milk
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine pumpkin, non-dairy milk, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and spices in a large bowl, and mix very well with an electric mixer, food processor, or blender. Pour into unbaked pastry shell, and bake for about 60 minutes. The pie will still be jiggly when you take it out of the oven, but it will firm up as it cools. Cool completely on a cooling rack, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight before serving. Serve chilled and top with vegan whipped topping if desired.

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