December is here and as different as this holiday season is, it’s still time for my annual vegan holiday gift guide. Before I get to gift suggestions, some of which have discount codes, I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone well. May this holiday season and 2021 find you healthy, happy, and safe and able to be together in real life.
My vegan holiday gift guide is vegan-specific but is definitely suitable for everyone. I’ve included links to make it easier for you to check out the items. Remember, too, that DIY gifts, from edible ones to promises of virtual help and online get-togethers, are always welcome.
Please use the comments section to share your favorite gifts for giving and receiving, so we can find new favorites.
May there be healing, peace on earth and goodwill, acts of kindness by and towards all people, all sentient beings.
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2020 Vegan Holiday Gift Guide
Give and Save – Vegan Holiday Gift Guide
It’s always great to be able to save on gifts. Thanks to the generosity of the following folks, I can offer discounts on the following selection of items.
Founded in 2003 by a passionate vegan chef, Lagusta Yearwood, Lagusta’s Luscious artisanal chocolates combine a deep commitment to social justice, environmentalism, and animal rights with the love of bold flavor of a true foodie and the obsessive commitment to artisan techniques of a chocolatier. Use code ethicalchocolate at checkout for a 10% discount. (Offer excludes the Sweet Maresa’s items and large quantity orders.) The discount is good December 12 – 16, 2020.
Founder Robin offers a range of gorgeous colors in a non-toxic+10-free vegan nail polish that’s made without the following ingredients: Toluene, Formaldehyde, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Ethyl Tosylamide, Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, Xylene, Acetone, Triphenyl Phosphate (TPHP) as well as Parabens and Fragrance. 20% off all orders with code: Fran2020.
Co-owner and founder, Frances Gonzoles, is offering a special deal to my readers: Use the promo code VeganDelights at checkout to get $5.00 flat rate for shipping to over 40 states. Many wineries use animal products in the fining and fertilization processes of winemaking, egg whites, gelatin, fish bladders, and milk proteins to clarify the wine. Vegan Wines ensures their wines are animal-friendly from the soil up! Learn more about what makes wine vegan.
Award-winning tahini is brought to us by the three Soom Sisters of Philadelphia, Shelby, Jackie, and Amy. Star chefs and restaurateurs use Soom and you can too. Their newer product, date syrup, or Silan, is a healthy sweetener that tastes like a mild molasses or sorghum. Soom Chocolate Tahini Spread is a cult favorite, and it sells out fast.! Use code fran10 for 10% off at soomfoods.com until December 31, 2020, Remember, to check out Amy’s new cookbook, The Tahini Table.
VegNews is an award-winning magazine and website that provides the latest vegan news, recipes, travel information, products, and more. If it’s important to vegans, VegNews will share it. They are offering a special discount for my readers that is available now. Sign up and receive all four of their jam-packed issues of the world’s #1 plant-based magazine for only $18. Sign up now to get these incredible savings available to readers of FranCostigan.com.
Vote Mama’s mission to elect moms up and down the ballot and pass family-friendly legislation matters now more than ever. This auction features zooms with Patton Oswalt, Mayim Bialik, Emily Deschanel, and many other unique items. Bid until Dec 11.
Books Worth Reading – Vegan Holiday Gift Guide
This list includes some of the classics and newer books on my shelves or preordered.
The bean liquid we used to throw away turned into one of the most astonishing culinary discoveries of the decade. With its amazing egg-replacement abilities, miraculous “aquafaba” can be used as an egg replacer to make everything from French toast to lemon meringue pie and the meringue it makes is the stuff of dreams. Aquafaba is a boon to vegans, people with egg allergies, as well as anyone interested in innovative cooking with a magical new ingredient. Feeding the Hungry Ghost: Life, Faith, and What to Eat for Dinner – A Satisfying Diet for Unsatisfying Times
What do we turn to for both everyday sustenance and seasonal celebration? Food. Often, though, we’re like the hungry ghosts of Taoist lore, eating mindlessly, wandering aimlessly, and wanting more — more than the food itself can provide. Ellen Kanner believes that if we put in a little thought and preparation, every meal can feed not only our bodies but our souls and our communities as well.
The Homemade Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples
Studded with full-color photos, The Homemade Vegan Pantry celebrates beautiful, handcrafted foods. From ice cream and pizza dough to granola and breakfast sausage. Miyoko Schinner guides readers through the techniques for making roasted tomatoes, cheeses, sauces, pasta, and much more, and all without special equipment. Miyoko’s easy methods make “slow food” fast, and full of flavor.
How Baking Works: Exploring the Fundamentals of Baking Science
Paula I. Figoni
An up-to-date, comprehensive guide to understanding and applying food science to the bakeshop. Among other additions, How Baking Works, Third Edition includes an all-new chapter on baking for health and wellness, with detailed information on using whole grains, allergy-free baking, and reducing salt, sugar, and fat in a variety of baked goods.
More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally
This collection of recipes offers a wide variety of treats, all rich in wholesome, minimally processed ingredients and free of chemical additives and superfluous fat. Dessert lovers everywhere will be delighted with these sumptuous treats. Among my favorite recipes for the holidays, the Uncoffee Cake and Dark Moist Spice Cake, and Cranapple Maple Pie. An oldie but goodie!
The Pastry Chef’s Companion: A Comprehensive Resource Guide for the Baking and Pastry Professional
Glenn Rinsky and Laura Halpin Rinsky
With more than 4,800 terms and definitions from around the world plus ten appendices filled with helpful resources, The Pastry Chef’s Companion combines the best features of a dictionary and an encyclopedia. This one-stop resource is an essential tool for all culinary and baking & pastry students.
Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts
Fran Costigan, photos by Kate Lewis
Because chocolate always makes everything better I had to write this book! Anyone – from newbie to pro – can make irresistible chocolate desserts using the failproof recipes in Vegan Chocolate. . Gorgeous full-color photos by Kate Lewis, completes the book which many people tell me they keep on their coffeetable. (Friends outside of the United States, note that Vegan Chocolate has been published in German, French and Italian.)
To quote the author Karen Page, “If you master a single recipe, you’ll learn how to cook a single dish. If you master the dynamics of flavor, you can make anything taste better.” Emphasizing plant-based whole foods, including vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, the book provides an A-to-Z listing of hundreds of ingredients, cross-referenced with the herbs, spices, and other seasonings that best enhance their flavor, resulting in thousands of recommended pairings. I’m continually amazed at what I continue to learn from this book.
In Vegan Under Pressure, Jill shows how to use the pressure cookers easily, safely and effectively, while showing us the wide variety of vegan dishes that can be made quickly with the appliance. The book is worth the price for the cooking charts times alone, although Jill’s recipes work every time.
Available now for pre-order. In the fall of 1995, Dr. Saray Stancic was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. By 2003, she regularly walked with a cane, had given up virtually all unnecessary physical activity, and was on numerous medications, all with horrible side effects. After stumbling upon some studies that linked MS outcomes to diet and lifestyle, Dr. Stancic undertook a radically different approach to managing her illness. Within a relatively short time period, she was off all MS medications, walking normally, resumed dancing. In 2010 Dr. Stancic ran a marathon! Today she lives an active, symptom-free life and takes no medications for multiple sclerosis.
A comprehensive, easy-to-use guide, organized from A to Z, with thousands of alternatives, has helped me to quickly and easily solve on-the-spot cooking dilemmas. Whether a substitute for a key ingredient or utensil or simply how to create a different flavor or texture, there is a wealth of fresh and enjoyable ideas that will inspire confidence in the kitchen.
For Amy Zitelman, CEO and co-founder of Soom Foods, the leading purveyor of tahini and tahini products in the American market, the culinary potential of tahini goes far beyond hummus. In The Tahini Table: Go Beyond Hummus with 100 Recipes for Every Meal, tahini is introduced to home cooks as a new pantry staple that can be used in recipes from dips to desserts.
At her East Coast confectionery shops, Lagusta Yearwood takes vegan sweets to the next level, going beyond cookies, cupcakes, and pies. Sweet + Salty features over 100 luscious recipes for caramels, chocolates, bonbons, truffles, and more for anyone looking to make their own vegan confections at home. Sweet + Salty is a completely innovative introduction to vegan confections.
For both vegans and the veg-curious, The Vegucated Family Table answers the question, “What should I feed my child?” This book goes further, showing parents how to navigate the early years of childhood as a vegan, with recipes and nutritional advice and also tips for holidays, packed lunches, play dates, and more. The Vegucated Family Table is the first to focus on raising vegans “from scratch,” from five months through elementary school. (Tip-child-free homes can use these recipes too!)
Eating whole foods is transformative and mastering the art of cooking with whole foods is easy when you learn the proper techniques and strategies. In the 20 chapters of this visually stunning book (it won a 2020 James Beard Foundation award), Amy Chaplin encourages readers to seek out local and organic ingredients, stock their pantries with nutrient-rich whole food ingredients, prep ahead of time, and, most important, cook at home.
Food justice activist and author Bryant Terry breaks down the fundamentals of plant-based cooking in Vegetable Kingdom, showing you how to make delicious meals from popular vegetables, grains, and legumes. Recipes like Dirty Cauliflower, Barbecued Carrots with Slow-Cooked White Beans, Millet Roux Mushroom Gumbo, and Citrus & Garlic-Herb-Braised Fennel are enticing enough without meat substitutes, instead relying on fresh ingredients, vibrant spices, and clever techniques to build flavor and texture.
After being overlooked for too long in the culinary world, beans are emerging for what they truly are: a delicious, versatile, and environmentally friendly protein. In fact, with a little ingenuity, this nutritious and hearty staple is guaranteed to liven up your kitchen.
Kitchen Tools – Vegan Holiday Gift Guide
I buy my kitchen supplies from Fantes cookware shop in Philadelphia, but as most of you do not live in Philadelphia, I have included links to Amazon to help you find some of my most used tools.
How much chocolate did you chop? Is that cup of cashews really 5 ounces? Get a digital scale already. You won’t look back!
The Pocket Scale
This Pocket Scale allows you to weigh very small amounts: 100g and readabilities of 0.01g, to guarantee you an accurate and precise weighing session.
Norpro Stainless Steel 8 Piece Measuring Spoon Set
What makes these measuring spoons so awesome is their long necks, which makes scooping from small jars easy. You’ll appreciate the 1/8 tsp measure too. I have several sets.
Indispensible 1/4 cup Liquid Measuring Cups
I reach for these a few times a day.
Commercial Half and Quarter Sheet Pans
The hardest working pans in the kitchen, sheet pans are useful for toasting nuts, seeds, containing spillovers while pies bake, as cookie sheets, make sheet cakes, and more. I have some for cake making and others for vegetable roasting.
Parchment Paper to Line Sheet Pans
Buy the full sheet size (18x26inches) and cut for the half and quarter sheets.
Parchment Paper Rounds to line cake pans
Sure, you can cut parchment to fit your pans, but I find it handy having a stack of these pre-cut 8-9- and 10-inch rounds. Make sure you have some parchment sheets to line your baking pans too.
Because oven-baked goods have to be elevated to cool properly.
Strainer for sifting flour
I have multiples- so I can keep one dedicated to gluten-free flours.
I use mine for snipping dried fruit.
Nordic Ware Heritage Bundt Pan
Because my 10-year old grandson said of the cake I’d baked in the pan, “this is the most beautiful cake I have ever seen!” And so does everyone else.
Because even the newest ovens go off, check the temperature!
I like mini ones too. Get more than you think you need because you will need them!
Technically for icing cakes, but I use mine for other things too.
Heatproof Mixing Bowls
Mine are stainless steel; they seemingly last forever. I use this type of bowl to make a double-boiler, bain-marie to melt chocolate.
Flexible Cutting Boards
These make transferring chopped chocolate easy.
A torch is essential for working with meringue that’s aquafaba made!
An immersion or stick blender enables you to puree soaked fruits into pastes, as well as make soups, sauces, and much more directly in the pan or serving bowl. I use my immersion blender often and find it a breeze to clean, but the blades are sharp and the button is sensitive, so it is extremely important that you unplug the blender before cleaning.
Lemon and Lime Squeezer
Amazing little gadget gets all the juice out of lemons and limes, strains the seeds, fits into small places for storing.
Microplane Premium Zester/Grater
I used to avoid zesting until I found the Microplane. With razor-sharp teeth that allow for zesting in both directions, you can quickly zest citrus fruits, garlic, ginger and whole nutmeg–chocolate too!
Electric Spice-and-Nut Grinder
Spice and nut grinders are always useful and take so little space.
I was a holdout, even though pressure cooking expert, Jill Nussinow is one of my best friends. Well, I stand corrected. I used my set-it-and-forget-it 6-qt Instant Pot for steel cuts oats and grains and have even cooked a whole kabocha squash perfectly in 15 minutes. I continue to be blown away by the performance and ease of use and have sent one for each of my kids.
Mealthy Crisp Lid
Turn your instant pot into an air fryer with the Mealthy Crisp Lid. The new lid has a deeper basket and five dehydrator settings. I am very happy with mine.
Because high-speed blenders are pricy big-ticket items, technically, this is a nice to have instead of an essential tool. But, honestly, I can’t imagine not having my high-speed blender in the kitchen. It saves time and ultimately money too. I was tired of burning out standard blenders. I’ve had my 5200 Vitamix for 15 years now, and it still works a charm (and have the dry bowl too). If I were getting a newer one, I’d buy one of the Ascent series to use with attachments. Shop around for the best price.
I got myself a Nutribullet to use when I want to make some smaller quantities of purees, shakes, and salad dressings. My friend, Chef Char Nolan had recommended this to me.
Stand Mixer, Tilt head, 5 qt
Nice to have, especially if you are into working with aquafaba or making vegan buttercream. You can also use an Electric Hand Mixer and patience. This is now my go-to stand mixer.
Lift Bowl Stand Mixer: I love my red Kitchen Aid Lift bowl 7qt Stand Mixer, but they seem to be out of stock at this time everywhere. Get on the list. Consider a refurbished one. I heard they will be back in January.
Ice Cream Makers
Ice Cream Maker 2qt Freeze the inner bowl.
Ice Cream Maker, compressor-model
Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream and Gelato Maker, Silver, 1-1/2-Quart. If you have the room to keep this plug and go model, and you like ice cream–2 different paddles, and yay for a removable container!
Learning – Vegan Holiday Gift Guide
Now through December 25, you can save 30% off course fees for Rouxbe’s Essential Vegan Desserts Course and the Plant-Based Pro Certification Course. The discount will be applied automatically at checkout–no discount code is needed.
Essential Vegan Desserts – Transform traditional desserts with egg- and dairy-free alternatives by learning key techniques and recipes. I personally developed this course with Chad Sarno and the stellar Rouxbe team and am the lead instructor. I want to work with you! The next course starts on Jan 5th, but you can start as soon as you register.
Plant-Based Pro – Developed with world-renowned chef Chad Sarno, this is the most comprehensive plant-based course ever created. The next course starts on Jan 5, but you can start as soon as you register.
Rouxbe Culinary RX
This 30-day online instructional cooking and nutrition course, taught by leading chef educators and medical professionals, empowers students through their transition to a more health-supportive diet and lifestyle.
Main Street Vegan Academy
Take your vegan outreach to the professional level by training to be an MSVA-Certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach & Educator in this program led by the renowned vegan author and activist, Victoria Moran.
Charitable Giving – Vegan Holiday Gift Guide
The need for funds to help so many organizations and people is growing ever more critical. Please consider those that you feel are worthy. My suggestions follow:
Project Home The mission of the Project HOME community is to empower adults, children, and families to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty, to alleviate the underlying causes of poverty, and to enable all of us to attain our fullest potential as individuals and as members of the broader society. We strive to create a safe and respectful environment where we support each other in our struggles for self-esteem, recovery, and the confidence to move toward self-actualization.
World Central Kitchen WCK is working across America to safely distribute individually packaged, fresh meals in communities that need support – for children and families to pick up and take home, as well as delivery to seniors who cannot venture outside. To date, WCK has provided over 30 million meals in more than 400 cities.
American Civil Liberties Union For almost 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.
Kiva is a 501 non-profit organization that allows people to lend money via the Internet to low-income entrepreneurs and students in 77 countries. Kiva’s mission is “to expand financial access to help underserved communities thrive.”
Planned Parenthood Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., or Planned Parenthood, is a nonprofit organization that provides reproductive health care in the United States and globally.
Coalition for Healthy School Food The Coalition for Healthy School Food (CHSF) is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit that introduces plant-based foods and nutrition education in schools to educate the whole school community.
Southern Poverty Law Center The Southern Poverty Law Center is an American nonprofit legal advocacy organization specializing in civil rights and public interest litigation.
Animal Sanctuaries, several you might consider:
Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary
Catskill Animal Sanctuary
Indraloka Animal Sanctuary
Rancho Compasión Animal Sanctuary – owned and operated by vegan chef Miyoko Schinner, founder of Miyokos Creamery. (don’t forget to buy her butter and cheeses).
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