The holiday season may be over, but I’m still reveling in the merriment of it all. We still have our Christmas lights up, too – the yearly battle of getting J to agree that it’s time to take them down has yet to begin –, and despite my continuing health ups and downs, I have so much to be thankful for lately.
Note: This is not a sponsored post, but simply a sharing of my very favorite things of this month. If I ever feature a sponsored product, it will be clearly stated. Enjoy!
Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary:
My birthday wish was for family and friends to accompany me to an animal sanctuary. Well, I couldn’t get it organized in the summer, and our scheduled fall sanctuary visit fell through. Soon, the time was nearing for the sanctuaries around here to end tours for the winter. I was determined though, and found a sanctuary that was just over the PA/Ohio border that had some open dates on the last weekend of tour season. I wrote about my experience on the Main Street Vegan blog a couple weeks ago which you can find here.
I love wearing essential oils as natural perfume. I use them not only to smell nice but also for their therapeutic benefits. I usually switch to earthier and warmer scents in the fall and winter (think amber, vanilla, sandalwood, patchouli), but it was so darn warm through November and December that I was repeatedly drawn to my tahitian gardenia which is one of my favorite summer scents. Pacifica describes it as a “sweet, smooth and slightly citrusy aroma…reminiscent of Jasmine, Sweet Orange and Tea Leaves.”
My friends have thrown vegan friendsgivings before, but I’ve never had the opportunity to attend one on this scale – or one as a benefit no less! I did a full write-up of the event in which you can drool over the amazing food and cutely scrunch your nose up as you look at the adorable bunny, Juno.
Vegan calissons/My awesome brother:
I’m big on making edible gifts because I think a lot of us are at the point where we are tired of accumulating more stuff. Edible gifts are delicious, personalized, and won’t end up cluttering your house.
My brother and I were on the same wavelength for Christmas this year. We both had food and our fall Europe trip on our minds.
On our trip, we’d pass by vendors on the street who were making and selling intoxicatingly aromatic candied almonds. If my brother were a cartoon, his eyes would’ve turned into candied almonds every time he saw them. He somehow waited all the way until Croatia, which was at the end of our trip, to buy any. I thought I was being creative by remembering the experience and making it for him as a Christmas gift. Little did I know that he was doing something similar!
We spent an afternoon in Aix-en-Provence, France mid-trip, and the first shop we saw off the train was a calisson shop. Being a food nerd, I immediately recognized the town’s famed fruity almond confection. Though they are not vegan, I still got excited by the idea of this unique sighting. When my brother finally understood why I got so excited about these tiny almond shaped candies, he decided to buy some as a gift to my mother, a former French teacher and lover of all things sugary.
After a week and a half of carrying the calissons through Europe in the top compartment of my backpack and making it back to the U.S. with (most of) them perfectly intact, I was intrigued to see my mom eat them and tell me how they tasted. I’ve read the descriptions before, but hearing someone describe a new food experience is quite something else entirely. I figured someday in the future I’d make some vegan ones of my own, and it would be cool to hear someone I know describe it for me.
Well, my brother – not a cook or baker in the least – beat me to it and gifted me a big container of gorgeously made vegan calissons. The gift was so thoughtful not just because of what it represented, but also because, novice cook and nonvegan that he is, he made extra effort to insure that all the ingredients were vegan. He even made sure to get sugar that was specifically labeled vegan (he’d read somewhere about some sugars being processed with bone char) which is above and beyond any expectation I’d have! And they tasted heavenly. What more could a sister ask for?
That wraps up another month – or 2, rather – of my favorites. What were some of your favorites over the holidays?