Monday, October 15, 2012

It's Better To Give ...

In Crunk news, Vegan Mofo is doing a Cookin' Crunk giveaway! Get over there and get your name in that hat, kids. And it just so happens to fall on my birthday!!

Yep, by the time most of you are reading this, it will be my 32nd birthday (October 16th). And that seems like an appropriate time to talk about my favorite kind of gifts — food gifts!! I mean, don't get me wrong. I like Vitamixes and iPads and wafflemakers (hint, hint), but there's something extra special about receiving a gift that was made with love (not that Vitamixes aren't made with love ... I'm sure they are).

Anyway, all this is leading into a review of my favorite new cookbook — Vegan Food Gifts by Joni Marie Newman:


I've been eagerly awaiting this one for so long. Every year, as we head into Xmas season, I have to get all creative and figure out what to make my friends. And this book makes that decision a piece of cake — literally. Or a muffin or brownie mix.

There are chapters for every kind of food gift — baked goods, those cute little jars of layered cake or cookie mixes, gift baskets, jams and jellies, and, my personal fave, homemade booze and booze accessories. I can't give away too many favorites because my friends might be reading this, and I don't want to spoil the surprise. But I'll just say that if anyone wants to make me the following for Xmas, I'd be a happy girl: Bloody Mary Mix, Gramma Nan's Homemade Kalua, Infused Olive Oils, Lavender Lemon Curd, Spicy Popcorn Nacho Topper, or Instant Macaroni & Cheese Mix. Oh, and let's not forget Classic Lime Margarita Mix and Lime Salt.

Oh, and that crafty Joni even includes a chapter with patterns for making your own gift boxes, bags, and labels. Cuteness!

But Xmas is still two months away. Thank goddess. Of course, most of these gifts would work anytime of year, for birthdays and other such celebrations. My friend Autumn's birthday was this past weekend, so I took the opportunity to make the very October-ish Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Loaf:


Lucky for me, this recipe makes two loaves. So I kept one as my own personal tester. And it is amazing, y'all. My picky eater partner Paul even liked it! He's eaten more than half the loaf in two days! The bread is moist and pumpkin-y in all the right places. And the chocolate chips are so perfect in this. Pumpkin and chocolate just might have PB and chocolate beat for best dessert combo. There. I said it.

I wrapped Autumn's loaf in a cellophane gift bag and made a color copy of one of the labels Joni provides. Cuteness, huh?


Anyway, get this book now. If you start early, you'll have plenty of time to plan and make gifts for the holidays. And who wants a stress-free holiday? Yep, thought so.

On another note, Cookin' Crunk and yours truly are featured in the latest issue of Global Looking Glass Magazine! It's a new e-zine with a ton of great articles. There's also one on Dynise Balcavage of Urban Vegan and another on the Bake & Destroy lady. Plus, there are lots of recipes (including one from me!). It's free! Check it out.


21 comments:

k said...

Happy Birthday! I am really looking forward to your book. Congratulations!

Caitlin said...

happy birthday, lady! i seriously want that book..

vturn7 said...

Happy Birthday fellow Libra!

Kirsten Lindquist said...

happy birthday! The book looks amazing! Congrats!

vegan.in.brighton said...

Happy Birthday! I'm gonna have to buy that book now aren't I?!

urban vegan said...

Isn't it a fabulously craft book. I LOVE it.

urban vegan said...

PS: Happy birthday!

Chef Amber Shea said...

I have been anxiously awaiting my review copy of this book! I can't wait to get crafty this winter too!

Amey said...

yay!!! Happy Birthday to You Bianca!
Yeah, I did a tiny bit of testing for that book, and I look forward to getting a copy for myself. It's a really great idea, and I love all the wrapping and tags and such that she included.

Candy Beans said...

I've been on the fence about this, because I love the idea, but I do wonder if I'll really use it. However you may have swayed me.

Happy birthday!

KellyC said...

Happy Birthday!!!

Allysia said...

Good god, it seems everyone I know (myself included) had a birthday, or is having a birthday right away. Libras everywhere, taking over the world! Happy birthday!

xvavaveganx said...

Happy birthday!!! Thanks so much for the review, I've been wanting this book since I first heard about it :)

Rachel from The Vegan Mishmash said...

Happy Birthday!

I'm very close to buying that book. My boyfriend and I always make homemade gifts for people for Christmas (jar of cookie mix, box of homemade chocolates, that sort of thing) so this book will be perfect for us.

Jess said...

Happy Birthday!!

John Ward said...

Sweet inspiration…My favorite delights of summer come together here.

Subaru Auto Glass

Stephen@HappyHeart said...

Book sounds fantastic! Happy Belated Birthday!!!

Note di cucina said...

Hi! We're Stefano and Flavia, a couple of Italian vegan foodbloggers. We've just discovered your blog and... Wow! Great recipes and great photos! Thank you for sharing such good ideas :-).

Jenny said...

I have been eyeing that book. Happy belated birthday!

moonsword said...

Just read GLG...supercool mag!
I would so love to be on the sun-drenched seas right now...it's a chiller here today! BTW what in the world are you drinking out of those giant smiley bowls? :)

Nicole said...

Happy birthday!