Christmas 2007: The Gifts
I’m sorry for the delay in reporting, it’s been a hectic Christmas so far. Right now I am piecing together my life after the influx of material objects that is Christmas - and also contemplating new years resolutions. I thought I would report back first on the gift-giving experiment J and I attempted. I couldn’t talk about it until Christmas was over, in case any of my relatives reads this blog. Turns out my sister does! (I have a delightful sister named Ashley, very close to me in age, and one of my best friends).
This year Jason and I decided we wanted to get our Christmas shopping done early so we could have peace of mind. I had the idea to purchase individual t-shirts on Threadless.com, and conveniently Threadless has their $10 sale around the holidays. They have a huge variety of designed t-shirts that are always funny and creative. So we picked out a t-shirt for each of our closest family members that seemed to suit their interests and/or personality.
But that wasn’t enough - we wanted to add a personal touch to the gifts. So we purchased Christmas tins (that are obviously reusable) and set out to bake 4 different types of cookies to fill them with! For the gluten-free and low-sugar folk we made the delicious raw chocolate macaroons from Raw Food Real World, which go in the dehydrator. For the rest, we made:
- Nana’s Gingersnaps (recipe from my great friend Katie who supplies all of my knockout dessert recipes, it seems)
- Chocolate Chip Cookies from Vegan with a Vengeance (after getting a gift certificate to Chapters I picked up this cookbook in the nick of time! I am starting to accumulate a huge vegan cookbook collection!)
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Shells from Squirrel’s Vegan Kitchen website
- Oatmeal raisin cookies from Veganomicon
Here are the tins with only a few cookies filled in so far. The biggest hit of all seemed to be Nana’s Gingersnaps. We made a mini cookbook that held all of the recipes and a nice front page greeting from us (complete with: “Remember, cookies are a sometimes food!”). This was to alleviate all of the veganism-induced nervousness, such as “what creepy ingredients did Valerie add to replace all of the ‘normal’ ones?” With one glance they can see the tiny amounts of soy milk in some of the recipes, but otherwise our cookies have the regular ingredients one would expect from a sugary bit of Christmas treat.
We packaged the t-shirts along with the tins in reusable cloth shopping bags, so our gifts were as eco-friendly as possible. We included a note asking our relatives to kindly re-use the tins and bags on the mini cookbooks we produced (by the by these were created with simple text boxes and great fonts on J’s PC with the new Microsoft Word 2007 - oh, and a gluestick!). To fill in all of the many tins of cookies we had to make about two or three batches of each cookie recipe, putting in long hours in a warm and lovely smelling kitchen.
After asking my friend Katie for permission, we are going to present to you the recipe she inherited from her Nana and made vegan:
1 ½ cups vegan margarine or butter (we used Earth Balance brand)
2 cups white sugar (+ extra granulated for rolling)
2 egg-replacer eggs
½ cup molasses
4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground cloves
4 tsp ground ginger
Cream together margarine & sugar. Add molasses, then eggs; blend well. In another bowl, sift dry ingredients together. Add ½ of the dry mix to the wet mix; blend with a mixer. Add remaining dry ingredients; mix by hand. Chill dough for several hours in fridge, covered.
Make walnut-sized balls of dough. Roll in white sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 300° for 15 minutes. Cookies will flatten and crack on the top.
Katie’s Notes: I use Earth Balance non-hydrogenated margarine, and an egg-replacer (so they have no cholesterol). And you can make these into big flat cookies by making the dough thinner. Also, I baked for about 14 minutes instead of 15, but it depends on the oven. Also, I don’t use a mixer, I just use a big wooden spoon and it does the job. And I usually don’t bother to chill the dough and it still turns out fine. Basically, it’s hard to screw them up!
So what about the gifts I received? Lots of amazing things: a non-leather professional laptop case (gorgeous!), two pashmina scarves, a dresser (direly needed to hold all of my clothes better than my older dresser, and which now assembled is beautiful), mixing bowls, wooden mixing spoons, salad spinner, subscription to Art on Paper, better and snazzier portable phones for the apartment, etc! After having a spoiled Christmas with my family, J and I headed over to his family to complete the mind-numbing influx of gifts - I felt so spoiled! There’s lots more where that came from - stay tuned for information about all of the food J and I made for the different holiday gatherings, as well as other announcements pertaining to recent events.