Vegan Mother's Day
I have been dropping "hints" that I want an Air Fryer for Mother's Day so unsubtly, that my husband finally said, "It's okay, Sweetie, you don't have to worry about the Air Fryer. Stop worrying." So I'm all set, but what about you?
A reader named Jan reached out to me and asked for this post, pointing out that 59% of vegetarians (per Vegetarian Times) and 79% of vegans (per Huffington Post) identify as women, so many of those women are likely mothers whose children would love some ideas for a vegan Mother's Day gifts. I agree!
As a vegan mom myself, I've been treated to some great gifts, and I want to share the wealth.
Pretty common in the Mother's Day regular gift giving is chocolates. When I was a kid, my grandma and mom liked See's candies, and I knew just what flavors, and my family knows just what I like too.
Rose City Chocolatier has my favorite chocolates I've ever had, hands down- vegan or dairy. They are just so silky and delicious. They do big towers and assortment boxes, and both are delicious and offer a great variety- but I'm someone who knows what I like, and what I like/love/dream about is their hazelnut and marzipan collections. If you ever loved a chocolate hazelnut combo, they do it on another level. Just perfection. The marzipan is everything I want from life. I am a marzipan fan always thought, so if you aren't into a strong almond flavor, this may not be for you. They have other collections as well, and I just don't think they make a bad chocolate, so you are good no matter what you get. The only thing to keep in mind is that they also have non-vegan options, so make sure you go to their vegan selection page to order from. For me, these are just the ultimate.
For other sweets, a really decadent and special treat for mom that's becoming more and more available are vegan macarons. I've ordered from Feel Good Deserts a few times and they always come in perfect condition and tasting like clouds of perfection.
A couple years ago I was surprised with a box of Miyokos Creamery artisan cheeses for Mother's Day and it was better than any box of chocolates I ever dreamed of. Vegan cheeses run a gamut of tastes and textures, and I like to think there's a lid for every pot and each one appeals to certain people. So often you hear one person say they love one and you hate it, or vise versa. I think that Miyokos is pretty universally admired, though. She's just got such an amazing product. I have her Artisan Cheese cookbook, and I have still been nervous about using the recipes.
Herbivorous Butcher is one I can't give a review of because I haven't tried it yet, but their products are producing tons and buzz and really do look amazing!
Flowers, Plants, and Saving Lives
My mom always wanted plants for her garden for Mother's Day, and I'm no different. I bet lots of vegan mamas love both animals and plants. I also love growing my own vegetables and fruits, so starting/building upon a garden is a great gift.
Saving lives is a great way to honor mamas on Mother's Day, by donating to animal rescue groups. The biggest impact you can make is to look for local sanctuaries and rescue groups to donate to in your mom's name. You could alternately choose to donate to a larger sanctuary, which allows you to visit with the animals for donors.
I really hope these tips help you! Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas out there!
Vegan Easter Basket
When I was a kid, I loved Easter. We were not religious and didn't really play up a magical bunny, but it was fun to have a special celebration in Spring. I would join my friend's family and we would go out to Folsom Lake and picnic, fly kites, and swim if the water wasn't too cold. It was the best.
I was never much for an Easter ham, but I do like to make Deviled Potatoes in place of deviled eggs this time of year, and we eat things that are fresh and light like fruit and fresh salad, or a cold pasta salad as the weather gets warmer and warmer.
I got some great craft eggs to decorate this year, that the kids decoupage and colored with markers, and in the past we've painted wooden eggs (that have since gone missing, but are ideally reused each year). We also, of course, use typical plastic eggs filled with candies, stickers, temporary tattoos, and small toys. Eggs are a symbol of new life and as gardeners and nature-lovers, this symbol doesn't need to be tied up with animal exploitation.
In the Basket
This year's basket is so fun, so I decided to share what I've done with it, rather than a whole, "You could do all these things" I'm just focusing on what I did. I hope this gives you some ideas!
My kids go through shoes faster than they go through candy, so this was my first order of business. To make sure they don't have leather, look for ALL MAN MADE MATERIALS on the label. I found these Eddie Bauer candles inexpensively priced and perfect for Spring fun (and heat).
My kids 5 and 7, and they have been asking about evolution a lot lately, so I found this beautiful book calledOur Family Tree that has gorgeous pictures and makes the information accessible to younger kids. It fits in perfectly with the way we celebrate Easter as a time for new life and growth. Obviously, some people are celebrating Easter as a faith-based holiday, or may be including books about Passover in their Easter baskets- this is just what we've got going on. If you don't already have it, Ruby Roth's Help Yourself kids cookbook would be adorable in an Easter basket!
I love getting melt and pour soap and hiding little toys in them, so for Easter I used a silicone egg mold and made dinosaur eggs (again, we like dinos in this house). You simply heat up the soap (must be melt and pour soap) in a pan until is liquid and pour into molds. You can add things like oatmeal or citrus peels, but I decided to go unscented this time. These are a great motivator for kids who aren't so keen on washing their hands or bath time, because the more you use it, the closer you get to the toy inside!
I try not to go overboard on the sweets, but for in plastic eggs I like the Surf Sweet Jelly Beans. I also found some of the new Amy's vegan candy bars. The Dreamy Bar is my favorite that I've tried. Dreamy. Just be careful as not all of them are vegan, but the vegan ones are clearly labeled VEGAN on the front (right now I think it's just the Sunny and the Dreamy that are vegan).
The kids also each got their new FAVORITE THING EVER, the Lenny and Larry Birthday Cake Cookie. I seriously did end up ordering a case on Amazon simply because they are so loved in our household (for us, this was a good deal, but I'm told they are only $1 a piece at Sprouts, so if you have one near you, check that out first). It's perfect for birthday parties too, when you don't want to make one cupcake to take. The taste is amazing, and with 16 grams of protein, it fills them up (no room to gorge on candy, oh well).
I threw in some Annie's Bernie's Farm cookies too, and I may grab a box of Annie's bunny snacks before Easter to add to this too. Fun bunny stuff that's also vegan is an easy add.
DIY Chocolate Eggs
These were so easy and to be honest I'm going to have to make more because the kids already ate my first batch. I used a small silicone egg mold (otherwise it's just too much chocolate), Dandies Mini Marshmallows, and Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips. So easy.
I put about half the bag of chocolate chips into a ziplock and set it in a bowl of boiling hot water until the chips melt. This method is awesome because you don't have to add anything or worry about burning your chocolate, and the ziplock makes for easy piping into the mold. I put some chocolate in each mold, then add two mini marshmallows and fill the rest of the way, making sure to cover the marshmallow. Chill until hardened and they are good to go (but best kept refrigerated until time to enjoy them).
Vegan Valentines Day
You are a vegan, or you love a vegan, or you like a vegan, or you have a friend going plant-based who you know is going to be alone for Valentines Day and you want to do something nice. Or some other reason.
The KGV is here to help!
Take Your Valentine Out
You are glad their won't be any terrifying lobster in pot expectations, but you are still too intimidated by the kitchen to make dinner. Want to head out for a vegan meal? Check out these websites to find restaurants in your area with vegan options. If you can't find anything on these, call around. A lot of nicer restaurants are happy to prepare something for you, especially with some advance notice (like when you make your reservation).
Personally, I haven't had much success with Yelp or Urban Spoon, and usually get lists of "Vegan Friendly" restaurants that are not at all vegan friendly.
There are also apps you can download to your phone. Search Vegan Restaurant Finder. I have had some success but ended up deleting them in favor of just searching Happy Cow when needed.
You want to do something romantic, so you decide you're going to make dinner for your special Valentine. What a treat! Everything tastes better with love!
Here's what you do: Make a pack of pasta (check out ingredients, but most don't contain milk or egg or other animal ingredients). Follow the directions on the pasta package. Open a jar of marinara (again, read ingredients) and after you strain the pasta, mix with the marinara in your serving bowl. My personal favorite jarred sauce is Victoria Vegan Vodka Sauce, but it's not available everywhere. Just make an informed choice on the level of garlic in your choice based on your plans. You know what I mean. Most grocery store French bread is vegan, just (again) double check the ingredients) and grab a bag of salad mix and a bottle of vegan salad dressing. I love Drew's which is pretty easy to find. If all else fails, I trust that you can mix vinegar and oil with salt and pepper. You can do this!
You are a bit more comfortable in the kitchen, let me throw some soft ball recipes at you and you can see what works.
How about Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Pasta?
You are ready for a romantic culinary challenge! Try these!
What's more romantic than risotto? I have no answer to that. Here's a HuffPo list of 13 Vegan Risottos
Looking for something lower carb? How about this gorgeous Caprese Salad with no vegan cheese needed!
Follow up that salad with some Cauliflower Steaks with Mushroom Gravy
Sweets for Your Sweet
No matter where you go, you don't want to skimp on the chocolate, berries, or decadence on Valentines Day.
15 Vegan Valentines Recipes from Simple Vegan Blog.
Vegan Meringues from Lazy Cat Kitchen
Rose City Chocolatier has a line of vegan chocolates that we've ordered several times and they are always amazing!
Sjaak's chocolates are completely decadent, the company is pretty ecologically-minded, and they are the first chocolates my husband got for me.
Sauce for Your Sweet
Not sure about what alcoholic beverages are vegan-friendly? No problem. Barnivore is a great resource to search for vegan booze and check what you have.
I wrote a children's book, How Our Vegan Family Celebrates, to help vegans and vegan allies know how to include vegans in their celebrations and give affirmation to vegan kids who may feel alone. The book goes through holidays throughout the year and has a section at the back with parent tips!
Order your copy here today!
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I love cooking and playing in the kitchen with my toys, so let me share that joy with you and your family to bring the FUN back into the kitchen!