December 23 2014 – Graedon Parker
Christmas is coming, and so is the unnecessary spending and often poorly received gifts. I like to think I am easy to buy for, but apparently not... So I thought what do you get the naturally minded, specifically concerned about fair trade, sustainability and food quality person in your life?
Here my top five picks - luckily for you they can also be given to non-fussy people as well.
1. The chocolate lover.
Oh dear. We all know this person. The self proclaimed expert on things cacao. I'm one of these annoying people so I can talk with authority on this one. Here are my options (all have been taste tested for quality assurance).
I'm loving their 77% chocolate that is, wait for it, sugar free!!! It is sweetened with stevia but don't freak out, it has none of that stevia after taste. I had to try a few blocks just be absolutely certain. They also do a mean horopito leaf and kawakawa berry one. NZ natives and chocolate = best Christmas ever.
Or you could make the chocolate; like I did last year for myself... I mean, my family!
1 cup cacao butter (225gm solid)
7 tbsp cacao powder
3-4 tbsp maple/rice syrup or coconut sugar
½ tsp rock salt
¼ tsp vanilla powder or essence
Bring a saucepan of water (1/4 full) to boil and then turn the heat down to simmering. Add cacao butter to a heatproof bowl and place over the water in the saucepan. Once cacao butter is melted, add cacao powder, vanilla, coconut sugar and whisk together until all dissolved. Add salt, whisk until smooth. Pour into small chocolate moulds.
You can add in:
Freeze dried fruit, nuts, chilli, rock salt, cacao nibs, homemade hokey pokey.
2. The baker.
Ok so this person puts cake with everything. Not that I am complaining. They are super cooks, and for once you would like to give them a taste of their own medicine but unfortunately your baking skills do not rival Martha Stewart's or theirs for that matter. How about a cake kit? Vegan, gluten free and NZ made by the very cool The caker. Just add Ceres organics coconut milk and coconut oil and ta da bestest cake!!!
3. The ReaderYou could go all hi tech and get them a kindle voucher or for the princely sum of $23.50 a year’s subscription to the nz mag green ideas. Cool wee magazine with everything greeny and some nice ideas that even the craft challenged like me can attempt.
4. The Bath Enthusiast
Nothing beats a good hot bath. But how about increasing the relaxation and therapeutic actions of this ancient past time with home made bath salts?
2 cups Epsom salts
1 cup baking soda
1/2 cup Sea salt
Essential oil of choice
Package into a cool jar - easy as present. Bonus is that if you use lavender oil it is relaxing and can help with sleep, and Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate so they can be absorbed into the skin and double up on the relaxation.
5. The very busy person who never eats
I have never been so busy I couldn't eat; I've worked with a few people like that though. While they are toiling away non-eating, I'm in the corner quietly snacking while they can't see me. Eating is my life so when people say they don't have time for breakfast/snacks/second dinners it perplexes me.
So here are some ideas:
You can pre make and freeze a few meals for them like good old spaghetti, but maybe fire in some lentils in the mix for more plant protein and fibre, or a nice buckwheat risotto (sounds weird tastes amazing) or you could make them a jar of muesli that they could, if they had to, have for breakfast lunch or dinner. Recipe for my muesli is on my website.
The thing with Christmas is that the presents, all that stuff, it just doesn’t matter. It isn’t what counts, it’s the company, the fun and the cocktails – I mean the conversations!
Have an awesome time with your chosen family this year, and try to enjoy all the small stuff too, it is what makes life memorable. That and your brother making you watch ‘It’s a wonderful life’ every fricken year.
By Skye Macfarlane