Is anyone else ~*sLiGhTLy nErVoUs*~ about their Thanksgiving dinner? My family is a hodgepodge of staunch conservatives and diehard liberals – a recipe for very interesting conversations around the table. I usually try to take on the role of peacemaker; I really try to see all sides to an issue, so I don’t begrudge anyone their opinion (with some limits – some things are just plain wrong). My game plan is to nip any and all political conversation in the bud – it just can’t lead to anything good. And OF COURSE there’s always room for advocacy in life, but sometimes you have to pick the time and place. So that’s my two cents on the matter.
Then, of course, we have the great American celebration of Black Friday coming up. No matter where you stand on Black Friday, there ARE opportunities to do good on that day, especially if you support small business or charity. And while I’ll be posting the Well + Full Holiday Gift Guide soon, I wanted to share some of my personalized picks for gift-giving to have in your back pocket:
This cookbook won’t come out until after Christmas, but you should buy it because Laura is an amazing person and her work is sublime.
2 // Naturally Nourished
Sarah Britton’s much-anticipated second cookbook is sure to be amazing. It hasn’t come out yet, but it’s definitely worth the pre-order.
The perfect gift for your little ones who love animals. This book gently explains why eating animals is wrong, and provides fun and colorful recipes that the whole family can partake in. I personally have this cookbook in my kitchen and I highly recommend it.
4 // Blissful Basil
This book hasn’t come out yet either (I know, I know) but it promises to be great. I’ve seen a little sneak peek and I can tell you that the recipes are health-oriented and charming. Also, Ashley is awesome.
5 // Whole Bowls
Another book by a food blogger that inspires me. And this one is actually out!! In my opinion, this cookbook has not gotten the recognition it deserves. I really recommend checking it out!
1 // Pack Leaders Rescue
This is the organization where I rescued my pup, Ivy. Although they are Connecticut-based, they are a very worthy organization that helps hundreds of animals. Consider adopting or donating!
One of the top-rated animal rights charities on Charity Watch. 76% of the money that comes in is actually allocated to helping animals (with 24% going to overhead). Right now, they have a Holiday Matching Gift Challenge going on, where every dollar you donate will be matched one for one. This is the time to give!!
3 // The Trevor Project
This amazing organization provides a 24-hour suicide hotline for LGBTQ+ youth. While America is slowly becoming more tolerant, there are still so many ways we could improve as a country. Please share this organization on Facebook, Twitter, wherever, to spread awareness for this cause – you may save a life.
4 // Rainforest Alliance
The rainforest is such a valuable resource for our planet, holding a vast wealth of biodiversity in flora and fauna. But over 2,000 trees per minute are cut down in the Amazonian Rainforest – a horrifying rate of destruction. The Rainforest Alliance is a top-rated charity on Charity Watch and is worthy of your donation.
I hope you and your families and friends have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!
Love and light,
P.S. I know it might seem counterintuitive to post a Christmas Cookie recipe the day before Thanksgiving, but in case any of you are super excited for cookie swaps (like I am!!), these cookies are ready for you!!
Spiced Vegan Christmas Cookies w/ Vanilla Almond Cream
- 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil melted
- 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
- 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 Tbs Ground Flaxseed
- 2 Tbs Water
- 1 1/4 Cups Spelt Flour
- 1/4 Cup Coconut Sugar
- 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 Tsp Salt
- 1 Tsp Ginger
- 1 Tsp Cinnamon
- 1/8 Tsp Cloves
- 1/8 Tsp Nutmeg
- Pinch Cardamom
Vanilla Almond Cream
- 1 Cup SLIVERED Almonds soaked overnight
- 2/3 Cup Almond Milk
- 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 Tbs Coconut Oil not melted
- 2 Tbs Maple Syrup
Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small bowl, combine the flax mixture ingredients - 1 tbs ground flaxseed, 2 tbs water. Mix well and let sit for 5 minutes, so that the flax can "gellify".
Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine wet ingredients - melted coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract - and mix until fully combined.
Then, add dry ingredients to a bowl and mix well, until all the spices are evenly incorporated into the flour.
Fold the flax mixture into the wet mixture and mix well. Then, pour the whole wet mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing well until everything is evenly combined, making sure there aren't any clumps of flour.
Then, form the dough into little 1 - 1 1/2 inch balls. Then, flatten the balls into little disks - you should have about 8.
On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cook cookies in the oven for 12 minutes. When done, remove and let cool.
Prep the slivered almonds by soaking them overnight. It's very important you use slivered almonds - whole almonds will be too hard for most blenders to work with.
While the cookies are baking, combine soaked almonds, almond milk, vanilla, coconut oil, and maple syrup into a high-speed blender. Blend on high until a smooth cream is formed. Take a little taste with a spoon - if the cream is grainy at all (which can happen with almonds), keep blending. Note that if you do not have a high speed blender, this may take a few minutes.
Once the almond cream is creamy enough, put it in the fridge and let it sit for about 20 minutes. This will help it become thicker.
Putting it All Together
Take the COOLED cookies and drizzle the CHILLED almond cream on top of them. Top with a little cinnamon or nutmeg as desired.
Recipe NotesA few notes on this recipe - the yield is about 8 cookies, perfect for small gatherings. But the recipe can easily be doubled if needed.
The texture of this cookie is something between a cake and a bread-like cookie. If that's not your style, this recipe may not be for you. But I would definitely recommend giving it a try! :)
Also, the almond cream loses its white color after time - that's because there aren't any preservatives or weird ingredients in it. I would recommend chilling the almond cream until serving time, then ice the cookies right before giving them away!