Summary

Get inspired to do some baking and share a little kindness with your neighbors.

Baking is usually considered a means to an end: you’re making treats for yourself and others. But the means — the very process of baking — is a gift to you. Here are some of the things that baking does for you:

It’s a Form of Mindfulness

Baking is a bit of a science that requires focus and precision. Between all the measuring (especially if you’re doubling or tripling a recipe) and monitoring (don’t burn the cookies!), you must slow down and pay attention. When you practice mindfulness in this way, you reap many benefits, including better emotion regulation, decreased reactivity, greater relationship satisfaction, increased immune function, and increased attention span. Here’s to baking being a great stress buster for the often busy and overstimulating holiday season.

It’s a Productive Creative Process

Baking is an art. From selecting recipes to choosing ingredients to decorating cookies to packaging the baked goods, there’s plenty of creativity and self-expression involved. Similar to the benefits of mindfulness, creative processes like baking can reduce anxiety, depression, and stress. Even your physical health and immune function are positively impacted. Regarding baking as a form of self-expression, this is a great boon to anyone who’s shy or struggles to express themselves in words; you can say it with holiday baking instead.

It Puts You in Control of the Ingredients

When you do your own holiday baking, you get to decide which ingredients to emphasize and which ones to avoid. 

We’re here to help you in the effort. Every tip and recipe in this post is gluten-free, dairy-free, and low in added sweeteners. Kick conventional holiday baking to the curb; try these healthy suggestions and recipes instead. Not only is it healthier for you (because you are going to keep some of the baked goods for yourself, right?), but when you share the fruits of your labor with neighbors, it’s a toast to their good health and well-being.

Get To Know Your Neighbors

Sharing your baked goods with friends and neighbors is certainly kind, but what if you don’t know your neighbors? 

We’ve all been there: you pass the same few people in your building almost every day, but you don’t know their names. You give a friendly wave to your neighbors as you haul your recycling bin to the curb, but you don’t know their names. Or maybe the rhythms of parking in your attached garage and enjoying your privacy-fenced backyard means you don’t see your neighbors much at all. 

Sharing the fruits of your holiday baking with your neighbors is not only kind, but it’s a great first step toward learning (and remembering!) each other’s names. Yes, it may be a little awkward to deliver baked goods to people when you don’t know their names. But what would the holidays be without awkwardness? Just go with it. You can address the gifts to: “Our Lovely Neighbor.” If you want to go full throttle with the awkwardness, add something like: “I promise to introduce myself and work on remembering your name next time I see you!”

To help your neighbor remember your name, sign the package of holiday baking with not just your name, but also your address and a few descriptors like: “the tall guy with the black lab mix” or “the mom with the twin toddler boys.” Over time, you’ll get to know names and ideally a lot more about the people on your block.

Festive Plant-Based Flavors 

Fall and winter baking wouldn’t be complete without festive flavors, like sweet potatoes, warming spices, and of course, chocolate. They also happen to be a nutritious addition to any treat. So be sure to incorporate them into the baked goods you share with neighbors.

A few of our favorite baked-goods recipes:

  • Okinawan Sweet Potato Bars are one of the most popular snacks on our menu It calls for purple sweet potatoes (we source ours from Mininger Foods), but orange varieties work just as well. Make them your neighbors’ new favorite! 
  • Holiday Spice Cake is a delicious treat that uses many of the warming spices, like cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. It’s sweetened with dried cranberries and dried cherries.  
  • Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls are super fun to give as gifts because the recipient can eat them as is, or pop them into the oven for some fresh-baked cookies. 
  • Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies for those who love the classic combo of chocolate and peanut butter. The secret ingredient is black beans! 
  • Black Forest Truffles are almost too beautiful to eat! You’ll definitely want to make extras so you can enjoy some yourself.
  • Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Pie is deliciously decadent and oh-so simple to make.

Wrap It Up

Whichever sweet treats you deliver to your neighbors this holiday season, stylish and earth-friendly (reusable is best!) packaging adds a special touch.

To begin, instead of buying materials, try using what you have. For a super simple option that’s classic and minimalist, wrap your holiday baking in wax or parchment paper and secure it with baker’s twine or reusable ribbon. Cardboard bakery boxes and brown kraft paper also look great. If you have any glass jars or tins, use those to package the goodies. You can even use your leftover Thistle containers!

Whatever packaging you use, be sure to include an ingredients label. Helping neighbors avoid allergens and abide by any dietary restrictions during the holiday season is an important act of kindness and consideration.


Get meals delivered to your door
We believe eating delicious is crucial to a healthy diet. Each week, our team of chefs design a new menu for what's in season, fresh and flavorful.
TRY THISTLE
Posted 
Nov 19, 2021
 in 
Recipes + Meal Hacks
 category.
Summary

Get inspired to do some baking and share a little kindness with your neighbors.

Baking is usually considered a means to an end: you’re making treats for yourself and others. But the means — the very process of baking — is a gift to you. Here are some of the things that baking does for you:

It’s a Form of Mindfulness

Baking is a bit of a science that requires focus and precision. Between all the measuring (especially if you’re doubling or tripling a recipe) and monitoring (don’t burn the cookies!), you must slow down and pay attention. When you practice mindfulness in this way, you reap many benefits, including better emotion regulation, decreased reactivity, greater relationship satisfaction, increased immune function, and increased attention span. Here’s to baking being a great stress buster for the often busy and overstimulating holiday season.

It’s a Productive Creative Process

Baking is an art. From selecting recipes to choosing ingredients to decorating cookies to packaging the baked goods, there’s plenty of creativity and self-expression involved. Similar to the benefits of mindfulness, creative processes like baking can reduce anxiety, depression, and stress. Even your physical health and immune function are positively impacted. Regarding baking as a form of self-expression, this is a great boon to anyone who’s shy or struggles to express themselves in words; you can say it with holiday baking instead.

It Puts You in Control of the Ingredients

When you do your own holiday baking, you get to decide which ingredients to emphasize and which ones to avoid. 

We’re here to help you in the effort. Every tip and recipe in this post is gluten-free, dairy-free, and low in added sweeteners. Kick conventional holiday baking to the curb; try these healthy suggestions and recipes instead. Not only is it healthier for you (because you are going to keep some of the baked goods for yourself, right?), but when you share the fruits of your labor with neighbors, it’s a toast to their good health and well-being.

Get To Know Your Neighbors

Sharing your baked goods with friends and neighbors is certainly kind, but what if you don’t know your neighbors? 

We’ve all been there: you pass the same few people in your building almost every day, but you don’t know their names. You give a friendly wave to your neighbors as you haul your recycling bin to the curb, but you don’t know their names. Or maybe the rhythms of parking in your attached garage and enjoying your privacy-fenced backyard means you don’t see your neighbors much at all. 

Sharing the fruits of your holiday baking with your neighbors is not only kind, but it’s a great first step toward learning (and remembering!) each other’s names. Yes, it may be a little awkward to deliver baked goods to people when you don’t know their names. But what would the holidays be without awkwardness? Just go with it. You can address the gifts to: “Our Lovely Neighbor.” If you want to go full throttle with the awkwardness, add something like: “I promise to introduce myself and work on remembering your name next time I see you!”

To help your neighbor remember your name, sign the package of holiday baking with not just your name, but also your address and a few descriptors like: “the tall guy with the black lab mix” or “the mom with the twin toddler boys.” Over time, you’ll get to know names and ideally a lot more about the people on your block.

Festive Plant-Based Flavors 

Fall and winter baking wouldn’t be complete without festive flavors, like sweet potatoes, warming spices, and of course, chocolate. They also happen to be a nutritious addition to any treat. So be sure to incorporate them into the baked goods you share with neighbors.

A few of our favorite baked-goods recipes:

  • Okinawan Sweet Potato Bars are one of the most popular snacks on our menu It calls for purple sweet potatoes (we source ours from Mininger Foods), but orange varieties work just as well. Make them your neighbors’ new favorite! 
  • Holiday Spice Cake is a delicious treat that uses many of the warming spices, like cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. It’s sweetened with dried cranberries and dried cherries.  
  • Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls are super fun to give as gifts because the recipient can eat them as is, or pop them into the oven for some fresh-baked cookies. 
  • Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies for those who love the classic combo of chocolate and peanut butter. The secret ingredient is black beans! 
  • Black Forest Truffles are almost too beautiful to eat! You’ll definitely want to make extras so you can enjoy some yourself.
  • Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Pie is deliciously decadent and oh-so simple to make.

Wrap It Up

Whichever sweet treats you deliver to your neighbors this holiday season, stylish and earth-friendly (reusable is best!) packaging adds a special touch.

To begin, instead of buying materials, try using what you have. For a super simple option that’s classic and minimalist, wrap your holiday baking in wax or parchment paper and secure it with baker’s twine or reusable ribbon. Cardboard bakery boxes and brown kraft paper also look great. If you have any glass jars or tins, use those to package the goodies. You can even use your leftover Thistle containers!

Whatever packaging you use, be sure to include an ingredients label. Helping neighbors avoid allergens and abide by any dietary restrictions during the holiday season is an important act of kindness and consideration.


Get meals delivered to your door
We believe eating delicious is crucial to a healthy diet. Each week, our team of chefs design a new menu for what's in season, fresh and flavorful.
TRY THISTLE
Posted 
Nov 19, 2021
 in 
Recipes + Meal Hacks
 category.