Top Gift Ideas for the Vegan on your List

Top Gift Ideas for the Vegan on your List

Christmas is coming up fast, and you’re almost done your shopping. But then…you’ve got that person on your list that you dread buying for. A vegan! What do you even buy a vegan for Christmas??

Just relax…and breathe. I’ve compiled a list of some great gift ideas for that veggie on your list. Say goodbye to stress and endless, unsuccessful trips to the mall and happy shopping!

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Festive Gluten-free & Vegan Cookies

Well, it's that time of year...time for baking and icing and filling your face (and your family & friends faces) with all matter of cookie goodness!  But now that I'm staying away from dairy and eggs, I've had to adjust my baking repertoire accordingly.  So I've rounded up a few super yummy gluten-free and vegan Christmas cookies that you can add to your recipe box. Enjoy!

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Chai Spice Snowball Cookies from Cafe Johnsonia

What are you baking this year?  Got an awesome recipe?  How about sharing a link?!  I'm always on the look out for great cookies!

Foodie Friday: Loving those Leftovers


The big dinner is done, your belly is full and your fridge is packed with food.  If you're like me you completely overestimated your guests appetites and are left with a ridiculous amount of leftovers.  Now don't get me wrong, I love turkey as much as the next guy.  But after a day or two of nothing but turkey I really get sick of it.  I thought it would be nice to share a couple of my favourite leftover turkey ideas that might be a little different from the usual.  Hope you enjoy some of these wonderful takes on turkey!

Turkey Cobb Salad - Martha Stewart Recipes
Turkey Cobb Salad


Turkey Shepherd's Pie Casserole with Garlic-Parmesan Cauliflower Topping from Kalyn's Kitchen (Thanks to Yummly for including my Shepherd's Pie in a great round-up of leftover turkey ideas!)
Turkey Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Topping


Turkey and Mushroom Risotto-turkey leftover idea
Turkey & Mushroom Risotto
Curried Turkey and Israeli Couscous Salad with Dried Cranberries-turkey leftover ideas
Curried Turkey and Israeli Couscous Salad with Dried Cranberries
Roast Turkey Cuban Sandwich
Roast Turkey Cuban Sandwich

Crispy Turkey Tostadas. #Thanksgivingleftovers http://www.ivillage.com/thanksgiving-leftover-ideas/3-b-56104#496654
Crispy Turkey Tostadas


What's your favourite way to eat your turkey leftovers?  Chili, Turkey Pot Pies, Sandwiches?  Share your best leftover recipes!

Cheers,

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Foodie Friday: Gluten-Free & Vegan Holiday Treats

Better late than never I say.  After construction workers cut our phone and Internet yesterday I've been scrambling to try and get some work done.  So I guess this is more like Sweet Saturday.  Here's a few fantastic holiday treats to put a smile on your face.  You don't need to go without just because you don't eat wheat or animal products.  Check out some of these festive favourites:

 5 Gluten-free Vegan Holiday Treats

1. Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Men courtesy of Inhabitots
 2.  Frosted Chocolate Peppermint Cookies


Sarah Bakes shares this delicious recipe!



3.  Sugar Cookies with Vegan Buttercream Icing

Goodies from Our Good Food Life!



 4.  Cardamom Christmas Cookies

Courtesy of the Community Food Co-op

5.  Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

Red Velvet1
These beauties from The Sweet Life

 What's your favourite Christmas cookie? I LOVE the classic Sugar cookies and Shortbread.  Mmmm....

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How I Survived Thanksgiving & had my Vegan, Gluten-Free Pie too!

This past weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving.  A lovely long weekend filled with family, friends and food.  I usually look forward to filling my belly with delicious dishes and my spirit with laughter and good times.  But this year I was more than a little hesitant.

This year I was hoping to avoid the tables of tantalizing foods and sidestep those awkward conversations about my eating habits.  You may remember a few short weeks ago I learned that I'm allergic to eggs and dairy and few other select foods.  Needless to say, having multiple feasts to attend was not my idea of a good time. But I realized that heading into the weekend, dreading what was going to be served, was really not the best mindset to have. So I decided to buck-up and take on the dinners like the gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free carnivore I am!

So here's what I learned and how I survived Thanksgiving:

1.  Don't be ashamed of who you are - too often I find myself avoiding conversations or situations where I will have to defend my food choices. I would say my friends and family are tolerant of my food restrictions, but they don't fully comprehend the choices I have made. So I decided to stand up and be proud of the fact that I made a choice for a healthier lifestyle and that means I don't eat certain things.  It also means I'm on the right path to feeling better physically and mentally. So whether you're Vegan, Vegetarian, Paleo or whatever, don't be ashamed; be proud of who you are and what you eat.  Don't be all high and mighty, but be confident that your decision is the right one for you.  And that's all that really matters.

2.  Bring something you will eat - there's nothing worse than showing up for dinner and not being able to eat anything that's being served.  So bring a dish that you will enjoy.  Whether you are supposed to bring something or not, the host will be happy and so will you.  I brought a lovely vegan squash dish to Thanksgiving.  And I was pleased to see that it was almost gone by the end of dinner.  I didn't tell anyone it was vegan and made with almond milk and some Nooch.  But it was gratifying to see that everyone loved it and no one judged it.

3. You don't have to deprive yourself - regardless of what dietary needs you have, you don't have to miss out on great holiday foods.  I've spent a lot of time looking at what I can't eat instead of what I can.  Talk about counterproductive!  Switching my mindset has made a world of difference on how I view food and social situations.  So instead of standing beside the dessert table looking heartbroken, I brought my own dessert.  A Vegan, Gluten-free, Nut-Free Pumpkin Pie from Organic Works Bakery. Heaven!  And wow....I was shocked.  The pie looked and smelled fantastic!  You would never guess it was anything other than a good old fashioned Pumpkin Pie.  The crust was light and flaky and filled to the brim with delicious, perfectly spiced pumpkin.  My daughter who insisted she didn't like pumpkin pie finally decided to try some after seeing me enjoying a piece.  After her first bite she exclaimed that it was DELICIOUS and proceed to inhale the rest.  Upon cleaning her plate she promptly asked for more.  And that was the consensus from everyone who tried it.  I didn't advertise what it was made out of.  I just let them eat pie and decide for themselves.  If they asked what was in it I was happy tell them it wasn't your average pumpkin pie!

Now that Thanksgiving is done,  I'm happy to report I survived and even ended up with a pleasantly full belly and some great memories.  Now I'm looking forward to tackling the holiday parties over the next couple months.  And definitely looking forward to more pie!

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Disclaimer: I am a Brand Ambassador for Organic Works Bakery and  received this product free of charge for the purposes of this article.  The opinions expressed are my own. To see more from me go to www.suburbanhippiehomestead.com.

Surviving Your Family Vacation 101

We just returned from our family vacation and I thought it only fitting to share with you some very important things I learned over the past 5 days. And just for a little back story - for our holiday we decided to take a road trip to Ottawa, ON which is approximately 640 kms from our house with our 2 small children.

1.  Your hotel can make or break your trip.    Trying to get kids to fall a sleep in the same room is next to impossible and if you've shared a room with your kids you know that they are the loudest sleepers on the planet.  So after a little searching I found the Albert at Bay Hotel; essentially like little apartments. And all for the same or less than you would pay for a hotel room! We had a full kitchen, balcony and a living room/dining room and a separate bedroom.

2.  Calculate your travel time wisely.  So when we were younger we would take road trips all over.  And it was quite easy to drive for 10+ hrs without kids.  But this holiday was our first significant road trip with 2 kids in the car.  The girls have always been great in the car, but I was definitely nervous about the 6+ hrs of driving each way.  After over 1500 kms in the car I think it's fair to say that when travelling with small kids you need to add an extra 30% to your estimated driving time.  We stopped twice each way for approximately 45 mins to an hour to stretch, visit a washroom and get the wiggles out.  Use this handy equation to stay sane: Estimated travel time + 30% car-free time = happy travels.

3.  Schedule downtime.  This is a very important vacation must.  We all try to cram in as many sights and sounds and activities as humanly possible into our holidays and I'm no exception.  We were gone each day by about 9am and didn't get back to the hotel till past bedtime just about each night.  The girls were great and were happy to hop from one adventure to the next.  But by about day 2 or 3 I could tell they were tired and on the verge of a melt down. Instead of more sight-seeing we took a drive to the Gatineaus and had a picnic on the beach and spent the afternoon watching the kids play in the sand and splash in the water.  It's imperative the incorporate some chill time with the kids.  We were tired and they were tired and what better way to rejuvenate then with a little nature.

Mosaika at Parliament Hill
4. Skip the souvenirs and stock up on memories.   I've come to the realisation that 'things' don't make you happy.  And really they just take up space and its just more stuff to clean and organise.  So rather then spending money on some terribly over-priced, tacky knick-knack, why not take that money and use it for something you and your kids will really enjoy.  Or even better, save your money and find some really cool FREE events to check out and make some family memories instead. Check out the local tourism sites for local events and festivals and for great coupons!

5.  Enjoy each minute.  We can get wrapped up in schedules and time lines and agendas.  We went on our vacation with nothing scheduled other than our hotel and tickets to the Museum of Civilization.  Each day was a new adventure and we took our time and enjoyed each minute.  If we were having fun we stayed and played; if it wasn't our thing or the kids were not interested we moved on.  We kept it simple and fluid and relished each moment.

NOTE: we’ve added this post to the Sunday Traveler link up extravaganza. Check it out for other travel tales and inspiration.

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