Delicious Vegan Stocking Fillers Omnivores Will Love

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Have you done most of your Christmas shopping, but there’s maybe a few little extra things you need to get for your family and friends?

This totally applies to me this year.

I did a lot of my Christmas shopping online on Black Friday. Win-win right? Ridiculous savings and you don’t have to trawl around crowded shops that blast out obnoxious Christmas ‘music.’ I was trying desperately not to be a consumer on that day, in protest at our greedy capitalist society, but once I saw the savings to be had I went a little…er…crazy (ok, a lot crazy) and decided I’ll have higher principles when I’m rich and can afford to be revolutionary! 🙂

What I’m trying to say is, as a result of my savings, a lot of the gifts I bought came in under-budget, so I feel like I want to top these up with an extra little treat for the intended recipients.

If this is you too, then here you’ll find a few ideas for deliciously decadent, vegan, chocolatey, truffley, praliney stocking stuffers.

Because hello? What says love at Christmas more than chocolatey goodness?

NOTHING, that’s what!

Please consider these gifts ESPECIALLY for non-vegans. Good food is good food right? You can’t argue with scrummy chocolate. The idea is that it will help them see that vegans do not deprive themselves and can easily enjoy decadent treats.

As we know, good food talks!

If you are worried that dark chocolate may taste bitter, avoid any product with over 70% cocoa. Good dark chocolate however, should NOT taste bitter.

You also need to know that I am not getting paid by any of these companies. Although quite frankly I really should be considering the amount I’ve spent on some of their yummy products! 🙂

I have 3 top ideas for my UK friends and 3 for my Northern American pals:

Here are my UK suggestions:

Booja Booja

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Oooh, What would I do without Booja Booja? It is an all-vegan company, and their small boxes of truffles make the sweetest little stocking fillers, which come in a range of flavours. They are £3.99 each. If you want to splash out a little more, they have bigger boxes for £9.99, or super fancy boxes for £12.95

Available at: Holland & Barrett, Whole Foods, Ocado, Booja Booja online.

I recommend: The hazelnut truffles are scrumptious, as are the champagne, and the almond and sea salt caramel flavours.

Hotel Chocolat

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Hotel Chocolat isn’t fully vegan, but they have a ton of vegan products – see full vegan selection here. Usually (though not always), the staff can point you in the direction of the vegan chocolates if you are in store.

The vegan products ARE marked ‘vegan,’ so if the staff are a little clueless, just check the packaging.

They have quite a few cute stocking-filler size gifts around the £3-5 pound mark.

Available at: Hotel Chocolat outlets are in most UK cities, or shop online.

I recommend: Gianduja Bombe Selector (hazelnut pralines).

Montezuma

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Again, Montezuma are not an all-vegan company, but very vegan-friendly, see their vegan selection here.

Again, several great options at stocking-filler prices.

Available at: Some supermarkets stock Montezuma products, otherwise Whole Foods, Holland & Barrett, Ocado, or online.

I recommend: The chocolate buttons!!!!

 

And if North America is the continent you call home:

Whole Foods chocolate truffles

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You may have seen these at the artisanal chocolate counter in Whole Foods. I’m pretty sure most Whole Foods have these – though it’s possible the smaller ones don’t.

They have several flavours that are vegan, so it’s easy to make up a small bag of the vegan choices. You really don’t need to buy many, they are very rich and decadent, so don’t think you need to fill the bag.

Don’t worry if your local Whole Foods doesn’t sell these single truffles at the chocolate counter – they should also carry these boxes of organic chocolate truffles. When I last checked, these were $6.99/box.

Available at: uh…Whole Foods.

I recommend: Everything. Yup, everything.

Hooray Truffles

Courtesy of Hooray Truffles
Courtesy of Hooray Truffles

This Canadian online company is all vegan. They have 3 types of truffle; some made with different flavoured balsamic vinegars such as raspberry and blackberry, some with essential oils (I’ve been drooling over the peppermint one); and some gold ol,’ plain ol’ chocolate truffles.

These are a little pricier, but you can pick up a stocking filler size bag for C$10.99

Available at: Hooray Truffles

I recommend: I haven’t tried these, so I can’t recommend any in particular, but a safe bet would be the plain (Simply Naked) chocolate truffles.

Lagusta’s Luscious

Courtesy of Lagusta's Luscious
Courtesy of Lagusta’s Luscious

Oh man, did I have fun browsing these goodies! Lagusta’s Luscious is an all-vegan artisanal chocolatier, with several outlets across the states – but they ship everywhere too.

From Selma’s Peppermint Patties, to Furious Vulvas (yes, you read that right!), to Cardamom Caramel Bars, to Fig & Caramelised Fennel Bark, just about everything sounds delicious.

For more moderately priced gifts, see the bars and barks.

Available at: Here is a list of the outlets, otherwise online at Lagusta’s Luscious

I recommend: Again, I haven’t tried these, but I’d definitely be willing to try every single product given the opportunity!
For a safe and sure bet stick to more classic flavours, otherwise take a risk on a Furious Vulva!

 

And on that note dear readers, Merry Christmas!!! May your year ahead be rollicking, and stay tuned for exciting, new, RIDICULOUSLY AFFORDABLE programs appearing here at Vegan Coach. I hope to bring you a weight-loss freebie, and a program based around ethnic vegan dishes. I can’t wait to share these with you all!

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How To Navigate Christmas As A New Vegan

A Safe,Happy and Prosperous New Year to All from Flickr via Wylio
© 2010 John Stratford, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Does it seem like it’s Christmas every frickin’ six weeks or is that just me?

It’s just such a lot of….well…bother!

Am I the Grinch?

*sigh* …Probably.

If this is your first (or one of your first) vegan Christmases; you may have a few concerns about how time spent with family and friends is going to pan out in light of your food choices.

It’s true that Christmas CAN sometimes present new vegans with a particular set of dilemmas.

I hope I’ve covered most of them here:

 

How do you navigate non-vegan family dinners?

I wrote a pretty comprehensive piece on this last year. Hope it helps!

 

As a vegan, should you even ATTEND non-vegan family dinners?

This is totally your call.

You are no less vegan if you do.

I get that it might be upsetting for some people, but it can also be an opportunity to wow the fam with some gorge food you made to bring and share.

A big obstacle to people going vegan is that they think the food will be boring and bland, so this can be an opportunity to prove to skeptical animal-munchers that the opposite is true.

 

If YOU are hosting Christmas, should you offer non-vegan food options?

In my opinion? Hell no. Your house = your prerogative. Why would you compromise your values?

However, you MUST offer lots of amazing plant-based food, to stop anyone whining about the fact that there’s no meat.

Look – you’re hosting – so you’re gonna be committed to a certain amount of kitchen time in any case. Try and find some extra-spesh, beautiful looking dishes that will excite the eyes and taste buds of even the grizzliest meat-eater.

Good food is good food. If it tastes great – they’ve got nothing to complain about!

I found some pretty cool ideas here and here.

 

What do you do if someone buys you a non-vegan gift?

Hmmmm. I have to say I think I would just be gracious about this.

It’s a gift. Their intention was good.

If you say you don’t want the gift and try to explain why...I mean…I just can’t see that turning out well.

If the gift is a leather or wool product, you can always make sure that you communicate effectively during the following year that your veganism includes not wearing animal products so that people get the message and it doesn’t happen again.

As for the gift? If it’s a leather, suede or wool product, I’d probably give it to a charity shop. It’s already been bought – and it can’t just dissolve or evaporate – so it may as well not go to waste.

If it’s a non-vegan food gift?

This one is difficult. Personally I couldn’t give it to some else – because I know how harmful animal products are health-wise and I couldn’t give to anyone else what I wouldn’t eat myself.

On the odd occasion when someone has unwittingly bought me non-vegan chocolate, it’s actually just stayed in my cupboard until its gone bad, such is my cluelessness about what to do in this situation.

Sorry!

 

How do you make vegan mince-pies

BLEEEEEEEEECCHHHH! I can help you go vegan and blow your mind with a ton of insights and inspiration to help you STAY vegan, but I cannot tell you how to make a vegan mince pie.

I always HATED those things and found them disGUSting. What even IS that mince shizzle made from?

I really don’t know.

I do not have the mince pie gene.

I found this recipe, if it helps, but I have not tried it and have no intention of doing so, so I can’t tell you if it’s good. Looks pretty legit though, if you like that sort of thing…

 

Is it ok to buy friends and family vegan cookbooks?

I say yes – if it’s a great quality cookbook. If it has lots of mouthwatering pics and engaging recipes, why not? Like I said in a previous point – good food is good food, and a good cookbook is a good cookbook, vegan or no.

 

What do you leave for Santa by the chimney/back door?

Um, a glass of almond or soy milk and some vegan cookies? We don’t want Santa to eat saturated fat and cholesterol and die of a heart attack or diabetes-related complications do we boys and girls?

And not meaning to fat-shame Santa, but he’s portly enough already if truth be told 🙂

 

I wish you all a relaxing and joyful holiday period, whatever you’re doing. And don’t forget, any rubbish presents – regift or repurpose 🙂

 

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So You’re The Only Vegan At The Holiday Table This Year? Don’t Sweat It!

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Is this year the first time you’re going to be the only plant-based type at family or friends festive* gatherings?

Don’t worry about a single goshdarned thing, I’ve got your back.

Follow this vegan protocol (I mean, it’s not official, I just made it up, but it is based on my experience and those of the gazillion vegan podcasters I’ve listened to over the years!) and you won’t go wrong. Or hungry.

Pick out whatever you think is appropriate from these ideas.

 

  • What can you do before the event?

Prevention is better than cure – in ANY context. So plan ahead.

Now you may be lucky and be going to eat with family and friends who have you covered and will be making vegan food options for you. If so; great. And what great people to have in your life.

If there is a chance you may not be catered for, then you need to sort this. It’s your Christmas too, and you don’t want to be hungry while others are filling their bellies with alacrity. And turkey.

It’s a great idea to call the host a few days before the meal, to give them time to organise something. Tell them you weren’t sure if they were aware that you’re vegan, and that you don’t want anyone to go to any particular trouble, and that you will happily bring a dish or two to share.

One of two things will happen then:

  1. Your host may well insist that you don’t need to do this and assure you that they will furnish you with enough food and will enjoy rising to the challenge of creating some plant-based dishes. This is obviously the preferred outcome! And happily, it’s most likely the one you’ll get. Lots of people, while not vegan, are interested in health issues and have some kind of sensibility towards cooking with plant-based ingredients, and will have the will and ingenuity to create something tasty for you. I’d even bet this covers most people. I’m thinking of the times I’ve been to dinner with even my least vegan friends; they’ve ALWAYS stepped up and made a delicious meal for me. I’ve never gone hungry. I would say the chances are 90% that your host will respond thus. If they do, I know you’ll be gracious, and don’t forget to remind them that lots of Christmas sides (sprouts, roast potatoes and parsnips) are vegan anyway if they are not made with butter.
  2. Your host may be confused as to what vegan means and ask lots of questions and not seem confident on the subject. Explain as sweetly as you can what vegan entails. Again, remind them that lots of side dishes are vegan or easily veganised, and say you’ll bring a couple of dishes to share so they needn’t worry. Yes, I agree, it can be a pain having to make the dishes – and why the hell should you when nobody else has to? They can just go along and snarf whatever is put in front of them. It’s not fair, is it? However, being vegan, you are the lucky one. You are the one who possesses the ability to be a discerning, independent thinker. You are the one that was enlightened on the health and environmental benefits of this lifestyle, and it’s you that gets to live in alignment with your core values of compassion every day – it’s your duty to spread the light! So, suck it up, get online, find a couple of dishes, and get cracking. I know you can do it! If you’re not too confident a cook, just keep it simple. Don’t try and be showy if it’s not your thing just because it’s Christmas. Good, simple food is often the best.  I know that even in pre-vegan days, I actually never liked the rich and heavy nature of Christmas food; I’d have loved a bean salad or a tabbouleh. I’m sure lots of people are the same way. Here are a ton of ideas to inspire you.

You may well find that your dishes go down a storm and there’s not much left for you. Here comes another important tip:

Whether your host has said they’ll totally cater to your vegan needs, or if you’re bringing food yourself – ALWAYS have a couple of nut bars (or other pocket-size snacks) to hand.

Because..

Some folks seem to initially understand what vegan means, but don’t really, so you may get to your gathering and the host who seemed to get what you were talking about previously has, in fact, laced everything with butter, thinking you were just vegetarian.

And sometimes, the dishes you bring might be so popular you might not get much of a look in. This is great, you want to show that vegan food is just food – that everyone can enjoy it, but some omni’s (thankfully very few, most people are considerate) don’t get that these are the only dishes you’ll eat, while they are helping themselves to a whole heap of animal foods too.

So, keep something in your pocket or bag for emergencies. It’s really VERY unlikely you’ll need it, truly, but just in case.

 

  • What do you do if someone starts asking you questions at the table about why you’re vegan?

You will have to gauge this yourself by the dynamic at the table. It’s always great if there’s an opportunity to advocate and share the reasons why a person would want to choose compassion and health, and the Christmas table is no exception. Cruelty doesn’t doesn’t stop for Christmas, in fact it’s ramped up to overdrive with all the turkey, pigs and game that are killed specifically for the festivities. But you don’t want to talk about cruelty to turkeys while people are eating turkey. The idea is never to make people feel like instant total crap. You want to just plant a seed and get them to think for themselves.

Answer genuine questions truthfully but briefly. For example: you can just say that you’re vegan for all the ethical, health and environmental reasons and leave it at that. If a particular person is pressing you for more info, tell them you’d be more than willing to chat to them about it after dinner. Make sure you follow up on it. If they were genuinely interested at dinner, they’ll still be interested later. You never know what might come of this. You may inspire this person to consider the impact of their food choices, and next year there could be two vegans at the table!

 

  • What do you do when old uncle F***wit says ‘...but if God didn’t mean us to eat animals, why did he make them out of meat? Hahahahaha ‘ and everyone else laughs at how funny old uncle F***wit is?

Yes, this is annoying. But you know, if old uncle F***wit wasn’t having a dig at you, he’d be having a dig at someone else. It’s you this time because you’re the one at the table that’s different. And his name is old uncle F***wit for goodness sake, don’t even worry about him. And people laugh just to be polite when other people are trying to be funny.

So what do you do? Eyeroll by all means. You can even do an Oscar-worthy eyeroll. But do it with a smile and then move on. Console yourself with this fact – he’ll be the one with the rip-roaring indigestion later, not you 🙂

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Enjoy your holidays, whatever you’re doing, and always show how much you are enjoying the food (whether your hosts creations or your own). You never know whose curious mind might be working overtime and be interested in following your compassionate, healthy, planet-loving, plant-based lead!

 

* I realised I was a little late for Hanukkah so I wrote this post with Christmas in mind, but the advice is universal and absolutely applies to any holiday feast.

 

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