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.