Today is day number thirty of Vegan Month of Food 2016, our last day for this year. Our prompt today is something like holiday gift giving, vegan food style.... do we or don't we? Here, we do.
Every year for the last few years I have baked and shipped countless vegan food holiday orders around the world. This year I am not. I will be handling things only local (lower Keys), sorry peeps. I will be giving family and some friends a few surprises in the mail, and I'm so happy to show you more of the homespun things I love to do.
I save pretty much any size wide mouth jars for repurposing. These are great for home gift giving. Inspiration lurks everywhere, you can put pretty much anything in a jar and make it look pretty. Popcorn (movie night... Netflix gift certificate, a jar of unpopped popcorn with some tiny bags of nooch and a small of Bragg's or any other topping you'd like to give... perfect!) Unbaked cookies in jar, with directions attached. Bath salts, teas, infused oils, the list is endless (thanks to Pinterest and such). Packaging is what makes the beautiful final touch, your gifts are worth the effort of packaging, and you can still be kind to the environment. I use biodegradable heat seal bags, they will compost in home composters. They look like plastic, but are a wood pulp, a far more Earth friendly choice. I use "Kraft" brown colored food service boxes, which are available to the home cook/baker too. The ones I use are 100% recycled content. I use tulle instead of thin ribbons, which most people will reuse too.... thin ribbon is horrible for the environment. All my swing tags are 100% recycled content, even my heat seal food service bags are recycled content bags. I like the "Kraft" choice because it can be customized for any occasion at all from weddings to graduations to holidays and so forth, plus it's the easiest for recycled content, and also the most budget friendly.
Today I'm showing you what I'm doing in jars this year, along with a few tips. Scroll past the video, you'll find the recipe for the chai hot chocolate and the cornstarch ornaments. Here we go, last MoFo for 2016 video:
CORNSTARCH ORNAMENTS - GLUTEN FREE
(this recipe is readily available on many sites, so there is no credit)
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup baking soda
3/4 cup water
combine all ingredients in a large pot. Over medium heat, stir until it thickens, about 3 minutes. When it becomes a smooth texture, remove from heat, form into a ball, cover with a damp cloth, and allow to cool to a temperature you can work with (do not cool completely).
Preheat your oven to 175 degrees (reduce heat by 25 for convection)
Place dough on a rolling mat and knead a little bit. Add more cornstarch if it seems too sticky to roll.
Roll the dough on a board dusted with cornstarch to about 1/4".
Use a cookie cutter to cut out your decoration, stamp with lettering, designs, handprints, pawprints or whatever else you want. Poke a small hole at the top of each ornament.
Place gently on parchment covered baking sheet, bake from 30-45 minutes depending on your oven, turning the sheet half way through to get even baking. Keep an eye on your ornaments, they should NOT brown at all. If the edges curl up at all (mine never do) tap back til flat.
Cool, and paint/decorate as desired.
Take note: for anyone who is giving gifts for gluten free people, these ornaments are great, as people with gluten allergies should not even touch gluten. They will love you all the more for thinking of this.
CHAI HOT CHOCOLATE - Adapted from a recipe published by Frontier Natural Foods
2.5 cups powdered non-dairy milk (I used Native Forest Powdered Coconut Milk)
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (sift before placing into your jar!)
1.5 cups plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (sift before placing into your jar!)
3.5 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp ginger
2 tsp cardamom
1.5 tsp allspice
pinch sea salt
Either layer your ingredients in a jar, or sift everything together and place in a jar. Wrap and tag with directions.
To use: Combine 1/3-1/2 cup mixture into a cup with 1 cup boiling water, stir until well combined. Serve with choice of vegan whipped cream, if desired.
It's been a fun run in 2016 for VeganMoFo. I've enjoyed finding and following many new writers and video people, and we still have so many to go through.
We wish everyone a peaceful holiday season, vegan style.
Peace begins on our plate. Go vegan.