Impress loved ones with these homemade foods for holiday gifts

December 5, 2019 by  
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Many eco-conscious people face a quandary over the holidays. In a consumer-driven society with too much waste and houses overcrowded with stuff, shouldn’t we axe the gift-giving tradition? Then again, our inner Santa-loving child may feel neglected, unloved or just ripped off by a giftless December. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution: the gift of food . Everybody has to eat, and a food gift doesn’t hang around forever, taking up space. To make food gifts more special — and to save lots of money — consider making your own. Here’s a roundup of some ideas for handmade food gifts. Baked goods Fruitcakes are probably the most traditional holiday food gift. This recipe by Gretchen Price features lots of dried fruit chopped up into impressively small bits, and the loaf is strongly spiced with grated ginger, cloves, anise, cinnamon, allspice and cardamom. Gretchen kindly suggests subbing apple juice for rum if you happen to operate an alcohol-free kitchen. However, while fruitcakes are traditional, many people find cookies more delicious. If you’re feeling extra creative, get out your cookie cutters and decorate with frosting, sprinkles and candies. Ellie of My Healthy Dessert offers a trendy spin on rolled cookies with her recipe for crispy matcha Christmas cookies . Scones, muffins and fruit breads also make good holiday gifts , but don’t make them too far ahead, because they’re best eaten within a couple of days of baking. Related: A guide to the best eco-friendly holiday gifts for foodies You could go a little healthier by making a fresh batch of granola for folks on your list. My basic recipe starts with preheating the oven to 450. Put about six cups of old fashioned oats in a baking pan, add a cup of raw seeds and a cup of raw nuts and mix them up. Then, combine about one-half to three-quarters of a cup of vegetable or coconut oil with the same amount of sweetener: brown sugar, coconut sugar, agave, maple syrup, molasses, etc. I might throw in ginger, cinnamon, unsweetened cocoa and/or a little cayenne pepper, too. Once that mixture melts, combine it in with the oats and nuts. Stick the pan in the oven for 8 minutes. Take it out, stir and bake for another 8 minutes. If you want it well done, continue cooking but be sure to check it every minute or two after that to prevent burning. Candy If your friends, family, office mates and other gift recipients have a sweet tooth, it’s fun to make candy for them. Peanut brittle is delicious and easy with this recipe from Loving it Vegan. Use up extra candy canes with this peppermint candy cane truffle recipe from Where Do You Get Your Protein. For friends with slightly more adventurous palates, Vegan Gastronomy offers a recipe for chocolate-covered dates stuffed with orange cream and topped with orange zest, sea salt and shredded coconut . Nutty gifts Freshly toasted and spiced nuts are simple to make and more nutritious than cookies. All you need are raw pecans, walnuts, cashews or any other nuts, some vegan butter or coconut oil, sugar and/or spices. For a sweet nut, add brown sugar and cinnamon to your skillet of nuts. For savory nuts, experiment with paprika, chili powder, cumin or turmeric. Trail mix is even easier to assemble. Just choose some nuts, seeds and dried fruits from the bulk section of a grocery store, and pour it all into an attractive, reusable jar. Tamales Native Americans ate a food similar to modern-day tamales as far back as 8,000 B.C.E. Corn was considered the substance of life, and consuming it could be a spiritual experience. The love of tamales has continued through the ages and is now tied to Christmas celebrations in Mexico and the American Southwest. Making tamales isn’t especially hard, but it takes a lot of time. Consider doing what the tamaleras , or tamale makers like to do: throw a tamalada, or tamale making party. You’ll need a tamale steamer, access to Hispanic foods like corn husks and masa and a gathering of loved ones who also want to give the gift of tamales. Check out 18 vegan tamale recipes from Dora’s Table, including red chile jackfruit, jalapeño and cactus, and sweet pineapple tamales. Coffee syrups It seems like every financial advice article highlights how much money you could save by making coffee at home. Help your friends break their high-cost habits by gifting them with homemade coffee syrups. This is an easy and unusual gift. All it takes is water, sugar, extracts, a saucepan and a stove. Check out these recipes from Royal Cup Coffee for flavors like vanilla, peppermint, blackberry and cinnamon brown sugar. Related: 10 recipes you can gift in jars Infused oils Infused oils are another easy-to-make food gift. Luci’s Morsels tells you how to infuse olive oil with lemon, garlic, chili or rosemary in less than an hour. Hot sauce For the friend who just cannot get enough spicy food, homemade chili pepper sauce is a thoughtful gift. From ghost pepper to scotch bonnets, Chili Pepper Madness answers questions about crafting hot sauce at home. You might want to have a dedicated blender or food processor for this, unless you like your smoothies spicy. Spice mixes Custom-blended spice mixes are one of the easiest handmade food gift ideas. Your friends who like to cook quick dishes will thank you when your homemade jerk seasoning blend perks up their tofu , or your barbecue seasoning breathes new life into their kale and chickpeas. Real Simple offers 10 simple spice mix ideas. Chocolate-dipped treats For those on your list who believe chocolate makes everything better, dip some snacks in chocolate and call it a gift. Strawberries, nuts, pretzels — this is easy, messy fun. Melt dairy-free dark chocolate chips for the vegans on your list, dip the snack and let it cool. Use your creative license. Have you ever wondered what ghost pepper potato chips dipped in dark chocolate would taste like? Packaging for your homemade food gifts Think about what you can reuse here. Do you have extra mason jars on hand? Bottles you can wash thoroughly and remove the commercial labels? Excess Tupperware? Scour your nearest thrift shops for secondhand festive cookie tins or pretty tea cups to fill with truffles. If you like making food gifts this year, start a collection of your old jars, bottles and garage sale finds for next year. Images via Shutterstock

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Impress loved ones with these homemade foods for holiday gifts

Study shows how plant-based catering can greatly reduce events’ carbon footprints

December 5, 2019 by  
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A recent analysis published by the Center for Biological Diversity’s Catering to the Climate report finds that replacing meat with plant-based menu offerings at conferences, corporate gatherings and holiday parties can greatly reduce the impact of these events. Production of meat and dairy contributes to nearly 15 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, which play a drastic role in the planet’s current climate crisis . The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has repeatedly warned that reducing meat consumption and its accompanying emissions can help countries meet their climate goals. In the U.S. alone, half of all consumed water goes toward meat production. Did you know that 80 percent of agricultural land is set aside for raising animals and feed crops? As a result, there is a vital need to improve current agricultural, food and environmental practices. One such initiative is to address the catering sector. Related: IPCC landmark report warns about the state of the oceans, polar ice content and the climate crisis Last year, revenues for catering surpassed $11 billion, with industry growth in the past three years accelerating toward an annual 10 percent climb. By shifting the catering sector away from meat-dominant menus and toward more plant-based items, there’s likely to be a noticeable dent in accompanying emissions. “Avoiding meat-heavy menus at holiday parties and conferences can make a surprisingly big difference for our planet,” explained Jennifer Molidor, the Center for Biological Diversity’s senior food campaigner. “With Earth-friendly catering that focuses on low-carbon, plant-based choices, we can save wildlife habitats and avoid a lot of climate pollution.” Through plant-based catering, a 500-person event could minimize its carbon footprint by 10 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to the amount emitted by a car driving 22,000 miles. The move will also conserve 100,000 gallons of water from food processing and irrigation, save 5 acres of habitat from animal agriculture and prevent 17 tons of manure pollution . “Public demand for plant-based, low-carbon menus is growing quickly,” Molidor said. “Even small changes in purchasing, like replacing dairy with plant-based milks and cheeses, can bring substantial benefits to suppliers and their clients. When the event and catering industry serves plant-based menus, it’s an environmental and culinary success.” + Center for Biological Diversity Image via Pixabay

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Study shows how plant-based catering can greatly reduce events’ carbon footprints

6 Foods To DIY Instead Of Buy

October 17, 2016 by  
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Back in the old days, people made nearly every food they consumed from scratch. The grocery stores were very different back then, before snack bars, TV dinners and pancake mixes lined the aisles. If you are inspired by the idea of rolling up your…

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6 Foods To DIY Instead Of Buy

These Homemade Solar Lanterns Will Light Up Your Night!

August 2, 2014 by  
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Harness the power of the sun just like a superhero with this creative solar-powered craft project. Grab a used mason jar and an inexpensive solar lantern from your local hardware store to make a nightlight or decorative outdoor lighting for your patio. READ MORE> Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bedroom , craft , diy kids crafts , green family , green kids , how-to , kid friendly

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These Homemade Solar Lanterns Will Light Up Your Night!

Engineer Makes World’s First 3D-Printed Kayak for Just $500 with a Homemade 3D Printer

March 20, 2014 by  
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An engineer for leading 3D printer manufacturer 3D Systems, Jim Smith decided to build his own large scale 3D printer at home and then used it to produce the world’s first 3D-printed kayak. To print the kayak, which is made with 58 pounds of ABS plastic, he had to modify the 3D printer to print the parts inside a heated chamber so they wouldn’t warp or crack. The colorful result maintains its crucial shape and works like a charm. Read the rest of Engineer Makes World’s First 3D-Printed Kayak for Just $500 with a Homemade 3D Printer Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: $500 kayak , 3D kayak , 3d printer , 3D printing , 3d systems , ABS plastic , grass roots engineering , homemade 3D printer , jim smith        

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Engineer Makes World’s First 3D-Printed Kayak for Just $500 with a Homemade 3D Printer

Tiny Bamboo Shelters in Abandoned Factories May Provide Relief to Homeless in Hong Kong

March 20, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Tiny Bamboo Shelters in Abandoned Factories May Provide Relief to Homeless in Hong Kong Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: abandoned factories , affect-t , bamboo , bamboo architecture , bamboo homes , bamboo housing , bamboo shelter , homeless , Hong Kong , housing crisis , micro housing , modular , modular housing , temporary housing , temporary shelter , tiny houses        

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Tiny Bamboo Shelters in Abandoned Factories May Provide Relief to Homeless in Hong Kong

How to Make Homemade Soft Pretzels in 8 Easy Steps

June 22, 2013 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock Everyone loves soft pretzels . Sure, they’ll add a few inches to your waistline if you eat them regularly, but sometimes you need to treat yourself. Besides, homemade soft pretzels are guaranteed to be more healthful than the ones you might find at a baseball game or county fair, especially if you use organic ingredients. Making homemade soft pretzels is surprisingly simple; it’s basically like baking bread, with one added step — boiling them. Head on over to Inhabitots for the complete step-by-step recipe. READ MORE >   Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: DIY pretzels , homemade pretzels , organic pretzels , organic recipes , pretzel recipe , pretzels , recipes , soft pretzel recipe , Soft pretzels        

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Robot Builder Simon Burfield Creates a Fully Functional Wheelchair Made of LEGOs

August 2, 2012 by  
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Proving once again just how versatile LEGOs can be, robot builder Simon Burfield has created what he believes to be the world’s first working wheelchair made out of LEGO pieces . It may not be able to navigate the rugged outdoor world just yet, but the chair is perfectly capable of moving an adult weighing up to 198 pounds (90kg). The chair itself weighs in at 44 pounds, and is completely functional, with a joystick control and multi-directional wheels. Read the rest of Robot Builder Simon Burfield Creates a Fully Functional Wheelchair Made of LEGOs Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: electric transportation , homemade wheelchairs , Lego bricks , lego chair , lego projects , lego robots , LEGO wheelchair , Simon Buffield

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Robot Builder Simon Burfield Creates a Fully Functional Wheelchair Made of LEGOs

DIY: How To Make Easy Homemade Baked Apple Chips

February 26, 2012 by  
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Looking for a sweet, nutritious and tasty snack to munch on? Instead of stocking up on store-bought goodies, try your hand at baking a batch of some easy-to-make and scrumptious baked apple chips. All you need are some organic apples and some cinnamon and nutmeg (or any other spice). Then, after about two hours in the oven, they should reach the desired “apple chip” texture. Head over to Inhabitots for a more detailed recipe. READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: apple chips , apples , baking , cooking , DIY , fruit , green food , green snacks , healthy eating , Inhabitots , Organic , parenting , recipes

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DIY: How To Make Easy Homemade Baked Apple Chips

Fashion Writer Jenni Avins Trapped, Skinned, and Sewed Her Own Fox Fur Vest

February 26, 2012 by  
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Fashion writer  Jenni Avins made a splash at  New York Fashion Week this year with her a red fox-fur vest. The shocking part of the piece was that she had trapped, skinned, and sewed the vest all herself.  This got us thinking – is it more humane to wear fur if you actually do the hunting and killing?   Click ahead to read more about the controversial piece and let us know what you think about homemade fur! READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: diy fashion , eco-fashion , Ethical Fashion , faux fur , fox fur , fur , green fashion , Jenni Avins , slow fashion , Sustainable Fashion , sustainable style

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Fashion Writer Jenni Avins Trapped, Skinned, and Sewed Her Own Fox Fur Vest

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