Today's post is all about gift-giving! (and this post is as long as Santa's list!)
I've started making making my famous Sublime Chocolate Bark to give as little gifts for friends. Go check out last year's post on this bark as well. This is tradition for me, I love making it, and have a VERY hard time not eating it (even harder for hubby). Here is a quick rundown of the process, but also check out the link from last year for more detail.
I start with these big baking bars from Bernard Callebaut. Incredibly rich and smooth and the best tasting dark chocolate you can imagine. If you're buying chocolate, be sure to check out these liquor chocolates (posted here). Expensive, yes - but liquor chocolate heaven - you won't go back to other liquor chocolates.
Here are this years' pics of melting the chocolate:
adding the almonds, cranberries and crystallized ginger to the melted chocolate:
pouring onto a lined baking sheet:
and then breaking up the bark once cooled.
IMPORTANT STEP: (while bark is cooling, you must scrape out all the leftover chocolate from the bowl and lick the spatula clean)!!!
As a little gift to you all, I am posting the recipe for my Sublime Chocolate Bark again this year on my recipes page.
Are you still looking for gift ideas for a special vegan foodie on your list. You know, one of those people (like me) that gets excited to walk through the aisles of a whole foods or specialty store?! Well, here's a few ideas for a giftie that I think he/she (me!) would love:
- quality oils, such as flavored and/or organic olive oils
- seasoned vinegars, such as herbed or fruited vinegars. Look for ones without sulfites.
- jars of vegan antipastos, chutneys, mustards, or other spreads for crackers/breads
- "pasta night" basket, with an organic tomato sauce, uncommon pasta (ex: soba or kamut), jar of olives or capers or bottle of olive oil. Pop them all in a colander as a gift!
- "sweets" bag or basket, with a few goodies like dark chocolate, vegan hot chocolate packs, vegan cookies
- "savory" bag or basket, with specialty crackers, seasoned nuts, chips, or seasoned cereal/cracker mixes (like the trail mixes, but with rice crackers and/or cereals - check if vegan when buying).
-"baking" basket, with bag of dark chocolate chips, vanilla extract or vanilla BEANS!, small bottle of agave nectar or maple syrup, small bag of spelt or barley flour, or a vegan cookie/brownie mix. Wrap in a large tea towel, or include measuring spoons as part of the gift!
- seasonings and spice jars. I like to use some of those jars of spices combined with rock sea salt that you can grind over your foods like soups or sandwiches. Different varieties out there with blends of spices, they're lovely
- selection of teas and vegan hot chocolate, along with some sweetener like agave or stevia, maybe add a beatiful mug as a gift.
- Chocolate Bark! Haven't I convinced you already?
I want to mention gift-wrap. Last year, I decided to ban the purchase of Christmas wrap. Why? Because it's wasteful (torn in minutes and tossed), tears easily when wrapping, a nuisance to buy and schlep home, & expensive and unnecessary when we have other 'reusing' options. I know. This may be crunchy of me, and I'm not always the best 'reduce, reuse, recycle' candidate. But, I try where I can, and this is one area. Try these ideas:
1) Check out last year's post. I use the inside of printed paper bags from grocery stores and shopping stores. Or, if the bag is pretty enough, use the outside. I'm not much of a crafty person, so this year I had our older girl color pictures on that blank inside of our bags. I know her grandparents and other friends and relatives will love to see their gifts wrapped in her artwork. (Plus, it gives me an excuse for not being able to more lavishly paint or decorate the paper!!)
2) Wrap in newspaper - comics or other sections of newspapers that you might like (ex: lifestyles or entertainment). Paint or color if you like.
3) Reuse gift bags, and they don't have to be holiday gift bags. Buy plain white, red, or yellow gift bags that can be reused by your recipients ANY time of the year.
4) Flyers! How many flyers are we getting this time of year? Use ones from hardware stores for men, toy stores for kids, etc.
5) Empty food boxes. I know this may seem weird, but some of these boxes are very cute and attractive - and sturdy. Like chocolate and cookie boxes.
You guys have other gift-wrapping ideas? Add them in the comments!
if you hung around long enough to read through this lengthy post... ho, ho, ho!
You have the chance to win a cookbook!! My Christmas gift to you.
I am giving away 2 cookbooks - one for a US resident, and one for a Canadian resident. I won't be able to ship until after Christmas. I need a break! So, a little belated gift for you or a loved one. The winners will also receive some of those Soy Delicious coupons! Not sure how I'll pick the winner, not sure when I'll announce, but you can enter through the comments - here are the rules. Ooooh, you can make cookies from my book and then make ice-cream sandwiches - the joy, the bliss!
Merry Christmas!! Ho, Ho, Ho!
Oh, and finally, finally - thank you to those of you that reviewed my books on amazon. Holiday ((hugs)) to you! :)
Now if you'll excuse me I have some chocolate to eat... and I really need a holiday break!