A greener guide to gift-giving and holiday get-togethers

A greener guide to gift-giving and holiday get-togethers
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A greener outlook to the holiday season doesn’t boil down to who brings salad to the pot luck. As a matter of fact, with a fast-growing market of vegetarians and vegan food consumers throughout the country, meals designed around plates that will contain plant-based dishes aren’t as rare as they were during celebrations past. Whether at grandma’s table with the fine china or dining out before toasting as the clock strikes midnight, it’s perhaps more likely than ever that the seat nearby is occupied by someone who picks veggies over meat.

From office parties to family feasts, the calendar days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve are filled with activities that often revolve around food and fellowship: The local bakery is busier, the neighborhood deli serves more snack trays, and shoppers buy treats decorated in colorful tins.

But, for many, what’s missing from those memorable meals enjoyed during Hanukkah or Kwanzaa karamu feasts is a little earth-grown, nutritious variety. As an increasing number of vegans and vegetarians sharing holidays with their friends and families already know, a great time at the dinner table doesn’t always depend on a platter of meat. Truth be told, there’s no better time of year to start feeding hungry mouths with a broader selection of goodies that include vegan and vegetarian products, dairy-free beverages, or other plant-based delectables.

For your gift card considerations, homemade basket ideas, or even additions to the comfort food in your kitchen, here’s a list of nature-friendly companies and products that support a season of greener giving:

SNACKS FOR THE SEASON (OR ALL YEAR LONG)

Jay-Z and Beyoncé. Photo courtesy 22 Days Nutrition

22 Days Nutrition. From workout supplements meant to boost the body to between-meal nourishment, a quick bite can serve as a stocking-stuffer or gift basket-builder for the plant-food consumer in your life.

Bars with flavors like salted caramel, fudge brownie, chunky peanut butter, and peanut butter chocolate chip make up soy-free, protein-packed products are among the favorites of Beyoncé and Jay-Z, who back the line.

22 Days also offers direct-to-door meal delivery featuring fresh meals that are 100 percent vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free and USDA organic.

Their products can be purchased on their website and Amazon. For more information visit 22 Days Nutrition website.

Charma’s Green Chips Featuring “knutty” with macadamia nuts, spicy, and “cheesy” varieties, these kale chips are a hit right out of the bag.

Charma’s Chips are available at Whole Food Stores.

For more information visit Charma’s Green Chips facebook page or call them at 810-610-5815.

Eat Your Coffee – Dates, oats, nut butter are among the hearty and healthy ingredients that combine with caffeine for pre-workout booster snacks or anytime treats that claim to boost mental clarity and energy. Flavors inspired by the steaming cups you enjoy at your local café are packaged small enough for a pocket, lunch box, or chimney stocking.

Eat Your Coffee products are available on Amazon and at retail locations including: Big Y,  Busch’s, Coburns, Cost Plus World Market, Dash In, HEB , Hannaford, Hy Vee, New Seasons, Publix, Shaws and Woodman’s. For more info visit Eat Your Coffee’s website.

Happy Family Organics – From snacks designed to benefit breastfeeding moms to cereals complete with pro-biotics and even healthy oatmeal for infants, these products keep the tiniest non-meat consumers in mind. If you have a little one in your household, are expecting a young visitor or are filling a family gift basket, look no further.

Individual products and monthly product bundles (hint: great gift idea) are available on their site. For more information visit Happy Family Organics website.

Pan’s Mushroom Jerky – Gluten-free and organic, mushroom-lovers can enjoy a variety of flavors in the form of this unique treat, which originate from a family recipe.

Pan’s Mushroom Jerky is available on their website and at retailers including: Sierra Trading Post, Mom’s Organic Market, Food Bazar, and GNC

Pan’s offers free shipping on all U.S. orders. For more information visit Pan’s Mushroom Jerky’s website

Outstanding Foods – Bacon-inspired and flavorful, Pig Out Chip varieties are available in original, chipotle, cheddar and barbecue flavors. They’re plant-based so there’s none of the guilt or grease you’d find on your fingers after polishing off a bag of pork rinds.

Save an animal and your taste buds. Order Pig Out Chips online here. In 2019, customers can look out for chips at Kroger’s, Wegmans,  Whole Foods, and independent stores around the country. For more information visit Outstanding Foods website

 FREEZER-FILLERS AND COMFORT FOODS

Between holiday shopping, events and the kids’ school break, it can be hard to get a home-cooked meal on the table every day. For those occasions, here are  vegan and vegetarian ideas for hearty dishes to enjoy between seasonal activities.

Beer “Cheese Burger” with Caramelized Onions & Whole Grain Mustard on Pretzel Buns

 The Abbot’s Butcher – Dozens of Artisan dishes, sandwiches and appetizers from various cultures and cuisines are available – from chorizo to pastrami, all from scratch out of whole, plant-based ingredients.

Plant substitutions take on a meaty resemblance in each recipe, but all are guaranteed to be 100 percent plant-based, non-GMO and free of any preservatives or artificial ingredients.

The Abbot’s Butcher’s kitchen specializes in made from scratch “small batch” production of vacuum-sealed products, which can be frozen for up to 8 weeks.

For more information visit The Abbot’s Butcher website.

 Alpha Foods – Described as “convenient meals that keep you covered from breakfast to dinner,” Alpha Foods is best known for their frozen burritos and pot pies that can be enjoyed on-the-go or in lieu of the protein you’d typically have on your plate for an easy Meatless Monday or everyday plant-based dinner.

With their own proprietary meatless ‘meat’ blend and melty non-diary cheese, there is no sacrifice on taste and texture with these products!

Alpha Foods products are available at natural food stores like Fairway Market, New Seasons/New Leaf, Natural Grocers and Roots Market. You can also find them at Albertsons, Dillons, Kroger, Fred Meyer,  Fry’s, King Soopers, Publix, QFC, Ralph’s, Safeway, Shoprite, Walmart, Wegmans and other retailers. See their store locator to find a location near you. For more information visit Alpha Foods website.

Daiya Foods – With dairy-free items like “cheezecake,” “cheeze sticks,” “dessert bars” and other goodies that please the tummy, it’s no wonder these products are described as “comfort food that loves you back.” In addition to ready-to-eat items, Daiya also provides customers with great recipe tips like its Frozen Breakfast bar recipe. Simple ingredients like Daiya Greek Yogurt Alternative and North Coast Naturals plant-based vanilla protein powder help make holidays happier. See their store locator to find a location near you. For more information visit Daiya Foods’ website

Eden Foods Inc. – Ingredients like organic brown rice, soy beans and other plant-based foods are used to make a wide variety of snack packages, spices, spreads, seasonings, non-dairy beverages and other cupboard-fillers or stocking surprises.

Eden’s ‘Some Like It Hot Gift Tote’ is 30 percent off until Sunday, Dec. 9. The gift package includes a hand-packed sturdy canvas tote with Eden Brown Mustard, Wasabi Powder, Hot Pepper Sesame Oil and organic Spicy Pintos,  Chili Beans, Spicy Refried Black Beans,  Cajun Small Red Beans & Rice, and Spicy Berry Mix.

For recipe lovers, Eden offers more than 1,200 free Eden-created and kitchen tested recipes categorized by course, cuisine, diet considerations, ingredients, or keyword at edenfoods.com/app. See their store locator to find a retailer location near you. For more information visit Eden Foods website.

Gardein – Meatless meatballs, beefless burgers, crabless cakes, and fishless filets all help form an inspired variety of vegetarian snacks that can serve as meals or holiday holdovers for the day after the feast when cooking from scratch isn’t high on the priority list.

See their store locator to find a retailer near you. For more information visit Gardein’s website.

Good Catch Foods – It’s the taste of savory seafood that’s never been underwater. Made from legumes and seasoned to flavorfully mimic tuna, crab cakes, and other fish dishes, plant-based products make for easy snacks and meal options for the family, and without the fear of activating allergies.

All its products include the same base ingredients:  Proprietary 6-legume blend: peas, chickpeas, lentils, soy, fava beans, and navy beans, as well as algae oil for seafood flavor and omega-3 DHA. For more information visit Good Catch Foods website.

Hilary’s – Veggie burgers, veggie sausages, a variety of veggie bite flavors and salad dressings are among the selections.

Hilary’s ships direct to door through healthygoodness.com

It is also sold at Earth Fare, (The) Fresh Market, Kroger, Natural Grocers, New Seasons Market, PCC Natural Markets, Sprouts Farmers Market, Safeway, Stop n Shop, Wegmans and Whole Foods.

Hilary’s team also posts lots of tempting recipes, with a handy tool that allows visitors to locate recipes based upon diet preferences. For more information on store locations and other detail visit Hilary’s Eat Well website.

Lightlife Foods – Chia super-food, chickpeas, soy, quinoa and hempseed  are among the ingredients that form stir fry, pizza, breakfast burritos, tostadas and other items meant to satisfy snack cravings that can fill hungry spaces that linger between holiday meals.

If you are looking for great holiday recipes, check out their recipe page. You can find Lightlife products at Safeway, ShopRite, Target, Wegmans and Whole Foods . For additional locations and information see Lightlife’s store locator or website.

Miyoko’s Kitchen – Including vegan cheese wheels, non-dairy spreads, toppings, butters and other plant-based creamers, there’s nothing cheesy about the potential of holiday presents offered here. The 2018 products include Miyoko’s holiday gift box with exclusive cheese wheel flavors.

This year’s gift box includes two new limited edition Fireside Chai and Cranberry Port Alpine cheese wheel flavors, in addition to six of Miyoko’s most popular cheeses, locally sourced crackers and spreads, a cutting board, cheese knife and wine pairing guide.

Holiday and everyday recipes are available on their recipe page. For more information visit Miyoko’s website.

Morning Star Farms Freezer – From breakfast to veggie-style buffalo wings and almost everything in between, snacks and meals are meant to satisfy. Plant-based recipes are designed to satisfy a wide range of tastes reflected in an impressive number of pre-packaged dishes.

If you are looking for a holiday brunch or special occasion dish, check out their recipe page, which also has lots of options for everyday dishes you’ll love. For more information and store locations visit Morning Star’s website.

New Wave Foods – Shrimp is the specialty, whether “raw” or crispy – except it’s not caught in a net. Instead it’s made from plant-based ingredients that leave lots to the imagination when it comes to the possibilities of servings, sides and styles of preparation.

If you are looking for delicious shrimp-inspired dishes for holiday events, check out their recipe page for OMG good options. For more information visit New Wave’s website.

No Evil Foods – From soups, stews and sandwiches to sausage, casseroles and curry dishes, poultry becomes in after-thought to taste in this vegan line of recipes. With this choice of meal products, the bird at the center of your holiday table doesn’t have to come from a farm.

Of course, they have great recipes too. Discover them here. To find a retailer near you see their store locator. For more information or to buy online visit No Evil Foods website.

O, That’s Good! – Plant-based items that fit the vegetarian diet are a part of O, That’s Good! line. As one sign of the popularity of meat-free nutritional choices, the company’s pitch-woman and brand namesake is one of the world’s most recognizable celebrities, Oprah Winfrey.

Products can be found at Albertsons, Giant Food, Kings Food Markets, Safeway, Schnucks and Shaws. For more information visit O, That’s Good website.

Quorn – Fishless sticks, flesh-free chicken tenders and meatless patties are among the plant-based dishes offered. Pre-packed for simple meal-planning, there are options for serving throughout the day.

If you are in the hunt for great recipes your guests will love, make sure you check out their recipe page.

For more information visit Quorn’s website.

Sweet Earth Foods – Pizza, enchiladas, lasagna, ravioli and other traditionally cheese-based dishes lose no luster with these vegan recipes. Breakfast sandwiches and burritos with plant-based ingredients round out the product line.

And oh, do they ever post some great recipes! Find them here. To find a retailer near you see their store locator. 

For more information on Sweet Earth Foods visit their website.

Turtle Island Foods – Tofurky – Poultry-, pork-, and beef-inspired vegan roasts, glazed dishes and other items fill the appetites of this company, known for Tofurky. Dairy-free, chocolate-flavored cheesecake is also a featured menu item for those craving holiday sweets.

To get great recipes like this frittada with Tofurky sausage and spinach visit their recipe page.

You can Tofurky at: Kroger, Meijer,  Publix, Safeway. Sprouts and Wegmans. To find a regional retailer near you see their store locator. For more information on Turtle Island Foods visit their website.

DESSERT (WITHOUT THE DENIAL)

Rich and savory dishes can be made without the milk and eggs. When it’s time for that after-meal treat, plant-based recipes can still meet the sweetest of expectations.

Coconut Bliss – Dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free and certified organic, Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss is described as “The Evolution of Ice Cream.” Dark chocolate bars and cookie sandwiches can even be enjoyed while there’s an added winter chill outside.

To find retailers that carry Coconut Bliss, see their store locator.

For additional information about Coconut Bliss visit their website.

Fat Badger Bakery – Formerly known as Nomo, this small-batch cookie-delivery service specializes in kosher, non-GMO treats.

Named “Company of the Day,” by Prepared Foods Magazine, these bakers couldn’t find a vegan cookie recipe they liked, so they created their own. The rest is history.

To find a retail location near you visit their store locator. For additional information visit Fat Badger Bakery’s website.

Pure Batch – Low-glycemic, allergy-sensitive brownies, cookies, truffles and puddings are the signature of his mother-daughter vegan product line.

Dec. 11 is the deadline for placing any last-minute holiday orders.

To find a retail location near you, visit their store locator. For additional information visit the Pure Batch website.

Sirabella’s Vegan Cheesecake – Chocolate, strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry are among the lactose/egg/dairy-free flavors available for nationwide delivery to your dinner table. Gift cards make the dessert a treat that can be enjoyed during the holidays or anytime your family gets the craving.

Sirabella’s ships nationally and assures us that there is still time to get in your holiday order. For more information visit Sirabella’s website.

Editor’s Note: Of course there are a lot more green gift ideas, retailers and manufacturers out there. If you’d like to get listed, contact jackie@thehubdetroit.com.

Lead photo courtesy of the Brown Vegan

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