‘Tis the Season: A Few Green & Healthy Gift Ideas

Still hungry for some great gift ideas? Maybe I can recommend a few healthy, happy and green-living gifts (mostly books) which you can feel good about giving (as well as receiving). By no means a complete list, just passing along some of my current favorites:

Cookbooks:

A kitchen is really not complete, without a copy of Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary Edition – 2006 Whether a beginner or advanced, small-time or big-time, all the time or just some of the time cook, you’re bound to have questions which The Joy can answer.

World Food Cafe is quite possibly my very favorite vegetarian cookbook. Whether you’re a seasoned veggie, experimenting with less meat, maybe just trying out a “Meatless Monday” here and there, and you’re looking for tasty dishes where you don’t miss the you-know-what, these restaurant-tested recipes are made to please.  In the event you already have this book, I just noticed there is a follow-up with even more fabulous internationally flavored vegetarian recipes (this one might have to go on my wish list): World Food Cafe 2: Easy Vegetarian Recipes from Around the Globe.

As a local, seasonal, and real foods type of foodie, this one remains one of my favorites: The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Classic Stories. Food and eating passages gleaned from the “Little House” books are enhanced with recipes – making the historic tales come alive.  A more recently-written gem on the joys and challenges of local, seasonal eating is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver.

If you’re looking for some easy-to-follow instruction in the kitchen, particularly for vegetarian cooking, Mollie Katzen should be your guide. With many fabulous cookbooks, from the Moosewood series to several created especially for children, she has fresh easy ideas to get eaters of all ages in the kitchen preparing something they can be proud of.

Great Food Reads:

If you haven’t already devoured it, I can’t recommend sitting down with Michael Pollan’s  The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals strongly enough. And, for all the under-age eaters on your list, there’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma for Kids: The Secrets Behind What You Eat.  Then, I have to suggest you read Nina Planck’s Real Food: What to Eat and Why, and if you like that, move on to Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon.

If you enjoyed Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously, the blog, the book and/or the movie, you’ll likely also eat up anything (and everything?) by the great JC herself, including any of Julia’s acclaimed cookbooks and her inspiring story described in My Life in France. I was curious about Julie Powell and gave her second book, Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession a try.  I finished it, but didn’t think it was as strong as Julie & Julia.  I did learn a lot about meat and butchering though, which was long overdue, so thank you, Julie, for that.

If you’re as intrigued by meat eating as I am (I don’t actually do it, but it fascinates me conceptually), then Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer would be a good choice.  Not always a pleasant read, but I’d say, required: if you’re going to eat it, read it.

For much lighter fare, particularly if you’ve eaten a bit too much recently and you’re resolving to lose some weight in the new year, consider one or more of the French Women Don’t Get Fat titles (complete with recipes) by Mireille Guiliano.

Currently, I am gobbling up Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal: War Stories From the Local Food Front by Joel Salatin, the poster child eco-farmer of “Food, Inc” fame, Recipe for America: Why Our Food System is Broken and What We Can Do to Fix It by Jill Richardson, the historical overview of food trends in the US engagingly told by David Kamp in The United States of Arugula: The Sun Dried, Cold Pressed, Dark Roasted, Extra Virgin Story of the American Food Revolution, another historical look at food and eating by Trudy Eden, The Early American Table: Food and Society in the New World, and on the top of the pile, Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture, which is much more than a food book, and really has me hooked.

Green Living Companions:

You don’t have to see a Health Coach to have heard the recommendation to drink more water. If you’re not hooked on tap water and spend a small fortune on seltzer in bottles or cans, here’s the answer: Sodastream Fountain Jet Soda Maker Starter Kit.  Skip the unnecessary cost and waste of store-bought seltzer and start making it at home from your own tap.  It couldn’t be easier and is a great tool to get to your 8 glasses a day.

With all the news recently about the dangers of storing food in plastic, I’ve switched to Glass Food Storage Containers.  In addition, I’ve stocked up on a few different sizes of Ball jars.  We use them as drinking glasses and for food storage, as well as for canning and making salad dressing and butter. I also use them to pack food to take along.

If you’d rather not tote your lunch around in a glass container, have a look at all of these options: insulated food or drink containers. An insulated food container allows you to make a warm lunch at home (or simply heat up last night’s left-overs) and pack them up for a great (and economical) lunch for yourself or your kids.

A Stainless Steel Water Bottle When I first started to move away from plastic, these were not only hard to find but very expensive. Neither is true anymore. Look for smaller sizes for children with colorful designs, and interchangeable tops. At their request, I recently bought my kids each a Sports Cap for their Klean Kanteen bottles.  It has just about eliminated all spillage and greatly increased hydration.

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None of these I sell.  All links lead you to Amazon.com or affiliated venders. When you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, I will receive a small commission for leading you there, which helps support this website.  As much as I would appreciate the financial support, I feel compelled to say that what I would really recommend is that you shop at your local independently-owned bookstore.  But, if Amazon is your place, then I greatly appreciate your entering through my links.  Thank you!

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