Tag: Christmas

Christmas Cranberry and Orange Loaf [vegan]

Is it me or is Christmas getting earlier each year? Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas, but just not in November. I’m about to contradict myself majorly because this loaf cake is PERFECT for Christmas, and technically we’re not quite in December territory yet…my bad!

I’m not a massive fan of dense fruit cakes, although I’ve got a great Christmas cake recipe if that’s what you’re looking for, but I think this is perfect if you’re looking for a lighter alternative! This recipe is pretty low in sugar, just using dates, a little maple syrup and a tad of caster sugar for your orange drizzle. That’s right, it’s got an orange drizzle running through it to make it super (apologies for using this word) moist! 

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Cranberry and Orange Loaf

100g rice flour
100g buckwheat flour
50g spelt flour
150g fresh cranberries
Zest of two oranges
1 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp baking powder
100g dates
125ml vegetable oil
300ml oat milk
2 tbsp maple syrup
50g caster sugar
Juice of two oranges

  • Grease a 2lb loaf tin with margarine or oil
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the flours along with the xantham gum and baking powder
  • Add the fresh cranberries and coat in the flour, along with the zest of the oranges
  • Finely chop the dates and stir through. Gradually add the vegetable oil, oat milk and maple syrup and mix thoroughly until everything is mixed together
  • Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and spread evenly
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean
  • Pierce with a skewer all over 
  • In a bowl mix the caster sugar with the juice of the oranges, pour over the cake and leave to cool in the tin
  • Once cooled, store in an air tight container

Enjoy

Veronica x

 

Gingerbread Granola Bars

It’s nearly Christmas!!!! Woohoo! I’m mainly excited about the time off work – not having a routine, going for dog walks and watching loads of films. I know my motto most Christmasses has been to eat, drink and be merry, but that does nothing for my tummy and I end up in agony and feeling pretty unmerry. I’m running the London marathon again next year so I’ll be starting my training over the festive period, which will mean I won’t just be feasting in front of the telly. 

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve started a 5k to Couch training programme at my work, in the hope of raising a bit of money to go towards my fundraising target and to help get people moving. After all, anyone can run you just need to start and it’s always a bit more fun in a group! I think it will definitely get a bit more popular in the new year, but there is no reason to put it off until then especially when you’re loafing around the house over Christmas. These tasty gingerbread granola bars are perfect to fuel your runs, and I’ll be eating them at work to fuel my 5k to couch sessions.

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Gingerbread Granola Bars

100g Rolled oats
20g Pumpkin seeds
20g Sunflower seeds
50g Almonds
2 tsp Ground ginger
1 tsp Ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground cloves
1/4 tsp Ground nutmeg
150g Almond butter
1 tbsp Ground flax seeds
3tbsp Water
2 tbsp Coconut oil
2 tbsp Maple syrup

  • Whilst the ground flax seeds and water together in a cup and set aside.
  • Roughly chop the almonds and mix together with the rest of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  • Gently heat the almond butter, maple syrup and coconut oil together in a saucepan on a low heat until well combined.
  • Remover from the heat and stir in the flax seed mixture.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together well.
  • Spoon the mixture out onto a lined baking tray and press down firmly.
  • Bake for 20 mins in a pre-heated oven at 180C.
  • Remove from the oven, cut into bars whilst still warm and leave in the tray to cool.  

Enjoy a fabulous Christmas!

Veronica x

Vegan Peanut & Ginger Cookies

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Christmas is coming and you need to check out these vegan peanut and ginger cookies. Here at Wrapped in Newspaper we are big fans of all things festive; mulled wine, decking the halls and family fun times. Now we have our feet well and truly in December we can get cracking with the festivities! This year I plan on having a bit more of a subdued Christmas in the food and drink stakes, as I’m stepping up my marathon training and very much feel like I’m starting from scratch! I will decline some of those Gin and Tonics that are offered to me, but these ginger nutty molasses biscuits are a little treat I will be eating! Soft and chewy with a hint of ginger and lovely nuttiness from the peanut butter, these are a great alternative to sugar laden gingerbread biscuits/houses. Also, these take minutes to make and minutes to bake. Enjoy the merriment December brings.

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vegan cookies

vegan ginger and peanut cookies

Vegan peanut and ginger cookies
Recipe

Makes 12
130g Peanut butter
1 tbsp Molasses
2 tsp chia seed mixed with 2 tbsp water
A generous thumb sized piece of ginger
50g Xylitol
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp mixed spice
100g oats
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of Himalayan salt

1. In a bowl mix the peanut butter and molasses together. (I just used a spoon, no need to get the fancy equipment out).

2. Grate the ginger and add to the bowl. In a glass add the chia seeds ( I used milled ones) and the water and stir together, add to the peanut butter mixture. Add the xylitol and oats and mix through.

3. Add all the spices, baking powder and salt and stir thoroughly.

4. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, and spoon the mixture on to the tray leaving an inch or so between them. Pop in a preheated oven (180C) for 10-12 minutes. Leave to cool on the tray.

These have a subtle ginger flavour, which means you can taste the peanuts too. Add more ginger if you want them super fiery!

Enjoy!

Veronica x

 

 

 

Wrapped in Newspaper’s 12 days of Christmas: Vegan Mince Pies

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Christmas is nearly here. Despite looking organised with our 12 days of Christmas series I’m far from it – I still have presents to buy! I’ve had a bit of mental block this year coming up with ideas of what to get people and have traipsed around the shops on several occasions with no clue on what to get and feeling far from Christmassy. I’m not really a fan of mince pies, but Amy insisted I make them and the smell of this mincemeat has got me feeling slightly more festive, and a jar of mincemeat or a batch of these pies makes an ideal gift.

Vegan Mince Pies

For the pastry:
225g Plain Flour
25g Ground Almonds
25g Caster Sugar
125g Margarine
60ml Water

For the mincemeat:
300g Currants
200g Raisins
100ml Brandy
100g Dried Apricots
225g Suet
50g Blanched Almonds
225g Brown Sugar
1 Apple
1 Lemon (Juice & Zest)
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Mixed Spice
1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg

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Rub the margarine into the flour until resembling breadcrumbs. Add the ground almonds and sugar and stir through. Add the water gradually until it comes together, cool in the fridge for an hour.

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Soak the currants and raisins in the brandy for about an hour. Chop up the apricots and almonds nice and small. Slice and chop the apple, add  along with the suet, lemon, sugar and spices to the soaked currants and raisins.

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The mincemeat can be stored in sterilised jars for up to 6 months.

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Roll the pastry out fairly thin, cut out your circles using a pastry cutter.

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Line your tray with the pastry and spoon the filling in, be careful not to overfill. Using a slightly smaller pastry cutter or star shaped one cut out your lids. Moisten with almond milk or water and seal your pies.

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Bake for 20-25 minutes at 180C until golden brown. Once cooled dust with icing sugar, serve with brandy butter.

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Wrapped in Newspaper’s 12 days of Christmas: Vegan Yule Log

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Christmas day in our house is a day full of food and drink.  We get on the booze about 11am, get cracking with dinner, eat about 2pm, clean up, have a cup of tea and then give our gifts to each other. Then we have a few games, have a couple of G&T’s and then it is time for more food! Yes, even after a massive Christmas dinner there is always room for a little more food. Perhaps a leftover sandwich, some nibbley bits and a bit of Christmas cake or a slice of this bad boy. Yes, Yule Log or Buche de Noel (its french name), is one of the highlights I think of the Christmas food fest and here is a Vegan Yule Log to try.

Recipe

For the sponge
100g caster sugar
40g cocoa
50g dark chocolate (melted)
60g self-raising flour
Egg replacer for 4 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp soya single cream
2 tbsp vegetable oil

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Mix the egg replacer with water, and gradually beat in the sugar with a mixer until thick, frothy and meringue like.

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Sieve the flour and cocoa into the mixure, folding in carefully. Be warned, the mixture starts to go a bit weird here and you may think it is all going wrong. Add the oil, baking powder, melted chocolate and soya cream stirring carefully until smooth.

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Pour the mixture into a lined baking tin and smooth it out until evenly spread.

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Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes at 200C or until cooked. Stick a fork or skewer in it and it should come out clean.

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Now comes the tricky bit, and when photographing the process became pretty much impossible. I got a little stressed and I threw a few things but it did work in the end. Using a tea towel and a piece of grease proof paper, as soon as the sponge comes out of the oven, gently take it out of the tin and put it on the tea towel. Using the grease proof paper roll the sponge slowly and carefully, it may start to crack at this point but if you go slow you should be ok.

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Leave it to cool completely and mix up your filling and frosting.

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For the filling
75g vegetable fat (trex)
100g icing sugar
20ml single soya cream

Mix the vegetable fat in with the icing sugar until creamy, add the soya cream until smooth. Once the sponge has cooled, carefully unroll it and spread the filling over it. (I was battling fading light so didn’t get any pictures). Re-roll the sponge.

For the frosting
130g vegetable fat
150g icing sugar
50g cocoa
15g dark chocolate melted
20ml single soya cream

The frosting is pretty much the same as above, just add some cocoa and melted chocolate. Pipe the frosting on using a piping bag and a large nozzle or you can spread it on and then use a fork to give the ‘bark’ look. Sprinkle with a dusting of icing sugar.

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Perfect for your Christmas tea, or for Christmas dinner for those people that don’t like Christmas Pudding.

Enjoy your Vegan Yule Log!

Veronica x

Vegan Sage and Onion Stuffing

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My favourite part of christmas dinner has always been the pigs in blankets (sausage meat wrapped in bacon), obviously this was before I was vegan. Now that this is no longer a contender in what will be our delicious christmas dinner, I thought I have to up the game in the stuffing stakes. We normally buy a shop bought mix, that you just add water to, sometimes we get a fancy one, I never think to make my own. We don’t usually ‘stuff the bird’, we make some balls that get thrown in the oven about 15 minutes before everything and yes it tastes good, but now I have discovered what stuffing really should taste like and it just doesn’t compare. I adapted this recipe from BBC Good Food .

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Recipe
2 onions (1 red & 1 white)
1 leek
1 stick of celery
A couple of slices of bread blitzed to breadcrumbs
2 tbsp sage (fresh or dried)
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
A pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
Apple sauce ( I made it using 2 small apples)
Olive oil

Finely chop the onions, leek and celery. Cook in a pan with a little olive oil for about 10-15 mins until soft.

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Peel a couple of apples, and finely chop, put in another pan with a little water and sugar until stewed.

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Take the onion mixture of the heat, add the breadcrumbs, sage, salt & pepper, chilli flakes, nutritional yeast and mix together. Add a glug of olive oil and the apple sauce. Taste it to check you have enough salt and pepper. Let it cool slightly until you are able to handle it.

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Make into balls, and grease the tray or grease a dish and spread the mixture out.

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Cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 180C, until crisp.

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I plan on making these before Christmas Day and heating them up in the oven just before we are ready to serve. You can also pop these in the freezer, if you want to be super organised. These are definitely worth that little extra effort and will add some delicious flavours to your dinner.

Wrapped in Newspaper’s 12 days of Christmas: Wrapping gifts

This time last year I was wrapping up my Christmas presents with newspaper and the idea of this blog slowly began forming in my mind. One year later, a leap into veganism and the death of all our four rescue hens (who we are very much missing), the blog has come to fruition and we have been getting some lovely feedback from you lot -thanks guys! So today I’d like to share my gift wrapping for this years Christmas presents, which are of course, wrapped in newspaper! This year I’ve gone crazy and decided to lino print my own gift tags as well.

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To wrap up your gifts without expensive wrapping paper and minimising waste but with plenty of beauty you will need:

Newspaper
Pretty ribbon and or string
Scissors

I always have a stash of old ribbon, some rescued from last years Christmas and some new which I will try and save from the bin once used this year.

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Wrap your gift up as usual but place something or borrow someones finger to hold the paper in place whilst you fold up the edges.

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Cut your ribbon to size and slip it underneath the gift, keeping the middle held down, then pull the ribbon together and cross it over and twist 90 degrees.

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Turn the gift over, keeping the ribbon taut and tie a pretty bow.

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This is so simple and your gifts look beautiful and unique. Not using sellotape is great, it’s unnecessary and means all you paper can go straight into the recycling bin. It is also great if you are using recycled wrapping paper as it means it doesn’t get torn so you can reuse it.

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Now to make your gift tags. This is slightly more involved and does require some specialist crafty tools. You will need:

A piece of soft crafting lino
Lino cutter and varying sized blades
Lino roller
A piece of glass (I didn’t have any glass lying around so used a scrap piece of card)
Cutting matt
Craft knife
Steel ruler
Plain gift tags (or even better cut out your own from scrap paper)
Lino printing paint (I didn’t have any so I used acrylic paint)
A pencil
Some tracing or layout paper
Tailors chalk
A spoon
A cutting block (this isn’t essential but helps prevent slipping and cutting your finger. I borrowed my Dad’s which he made himself by screwing two bits of wood onto a piece of MDF)

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Cut your lino to size with the size of your gift tag in mind.

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Draw your design onto the tracing or layout paper using the tailors chalk. This is my first ever time lino printing so I went for a really simple design which I embellished slightly freehand whilst carving.

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Place your design face down onto the lino block and rub the back of the paper with a hard pencil.

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Place the lino onto your block and start carving using the biggest blade.

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I wanted to keep some texture to my background so didn’t carve it away completely.

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Switch to a smaller blade once you get to the more intricate part of your design.

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Squeeze some paint out onto the glass (or in my case card), roll it out so as to evenly coat your lino roller. Roll the paint onto your lino block.

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I started with a test print and found my background was too heavy so wiped my block clean and carved away a bit more. To print the design onto your gift tag, place the tag face down on the block, carefully hold in place and rub with the back of a spoon.

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Carefully peel the gift tag away and leave to dry.

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To be honest I wasn’t really sure what to expect and this isn’t quite what I’d pictured in my mind but I love them!!

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Once your set up you can repeat your print over and over and all of the sudden you’ve got a full set of unique gift tags.

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Undo your bow, slip the tag onto the ribbon and tie your bow back up again.

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I think this is such a good way to up-cycle old newspapers and with a bit of extra effort spent on ribbon and gift tags, your gifts still look extra special.

Wrapped in Newspaper’s 12 days of Christmas: Homemade Christmas Crackers

Here at Wrapped in Newspaper we try to avoid the trappings of a consumerist, commercialised Christmas. We don’t want stuff for the sake of stuff that will only get thrown away once its novelty has worn off. Christmas crackers are a excellent example of this. The shop bought ones can be a pretty table decoration and lets be honest Christmas day wouldn’t be the same without pulling a cracker over dinner. But inside the crackers are full of weird plastic toys or tiny packs of cards that we leave lying around for a few days before they meet their inevitable fate of the rubbish bin.

However, taking the moral high ground over our throw away culture does not mean missing out on the fun! (It just requires a bit more work.) So book yourself a day off, call in sick or get someone else to clean the house and cook you dinner this weekend, and make your own Christmas crackers from rubbish! (Well mostly.)

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For me, I want five things from a Christmas cracker:
a pretty table decoration
a good snap-bang when you pull them
a really bad joke
a party hat
and a toy.

This is what you will need to get your ethical Christmas cracker fix:

For the bad jokes:
Any old scrap paper (I had just got my first Christmas card through the door so decided to use the red envelope it came in)
A really good knowledge of bad jokes / Google

For the paper hats:
A few sheets of a newspaper

For the origami toy:
Old envelopes (Envelopes from bank statements or bills are great as they have pretty blue patterns inside, perfect for origami paper)
An unrivalled knowledge of simple origami / an origami book / Google

For the cracker itself:
Old toilet rolls (you will need 2 more than the number of crackers you want to make)
Thick paper (this could be an old magazine, last years reclaimed wrapping paper or any thick scrap paper, I didn’t have any lying around so bought 3 sheets of recycled wrapping paper from Mulk)
Cracker snaps (you can find these in craft shops or on ebay)
Ribbon or string (this is perfect for old scraps of ribbon, I used some of the ribbon I’d bought for wrapping presents with the view that I can reuse it for crackers year after year)

In general:
Scissors
Craft knife, cutting matt and steel ruler
Glue, tape or stickers
A pen and pencil

To be honest with you whilst the origami toys are probably my favourite part of these crackers, they by far took the most time to make. I had thought about putting a pine cone or some sweets in the crackers which would have been much easier but I couldn’t resist trying out my idea of envelope origami.

Lets begin with the easiest bit, the bad jokes.

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Find some scrap paper and cut it up into small rectangles.

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I decided to write jokes on one side and fun facts on the other. So get googling ‘bad Christmas cracker jokes’.

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That’s it, all done. Set them aside and make a start on the origami toys. The idea behind these is that it each cracker has some patterned paper and a set of instructions to make an origami toy. Made from old envelopes there is no extra Christmas waste created but lots of fun.

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Cut old envelopes up into squares. Match the length of the square to your toilet roll as you want them to fit inside without folding them.

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I actually can’t believe how pretty they look! To think I normally put them straight into recycling! Some of these squares have writing on the back but I’m not too worried about that.

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I searched online for simple origami instructions and sketched them out myself. (This was the time consuming bit!!!) Set aside the patterned paper and instructions and get someone to bring you a cup of tea and a snack for all that hard work. Only the hats and crackers left, which are both pretty quick and easy.

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(Yes I made them all as I wrote the instructions… I couldn’t resist)

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Find your self a colourful sheet of newspaper. Keep the sheet folded in half and cut in half and half again. (Again keeping in mind that the hat should fit into the toilet roll.)

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Open each piece out and fold the two ends into the centre. Stick down with glue, tape or some colourful stickers.

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Fold each piece up. I varied folding them into quarters, fifths or sixths so that each hat would be a little bit different.

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Snip the top off at an angle, again I varied the angle to make them all slightly different.

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Open them out, try them on, or just set aside with the jokes and origami instructions.

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Now onto the crackers. I think its bets to get everything into the toilet roll before you start making the crackers. Divvy up your cracker fillers, hat, joke and origami, roll them up together and put inside the tube. If you are putting sweets or something larger in, leave this out for now.

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Next cut up your thick paper into approximately 30 cm x 20 cm pieces. I cut my wrapping paper sheets into four and this gave me about the right size and meant there was no waste. I used a craft knife, steel ruler and cutting matt for a nice straight edge but you could just use scissors.

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Next you you need to slightly weaken the cracker at each end. Position the toilet roll at the centre of the long edge of the paper. Make a pencil mark to each side of the tube, roughly where the ribbon will be tied.

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If you have a paper perforator, brilliant now is the time to use it and think, I knew this would come in handy one day! If not, lightly score down the width of the paper in a straight line from where you make the pencil marks.

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Now securely fix the cracker snap near to the top of the paper. This bit is very important because when you pull the cracker the snap will want to come unstuck and then it won’t go bang and that would be upsetting for everyone. So use some extra strength glue or super sticky tape and make sure your cracker snap isn’t going anywhere.

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Using the two extra toilet rolls to help keep the shape, roll up your cracker.

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I then tied some ribbon around it to hold it in place for now.

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Now tie the ends with ribbon or string. I found this bit really hard, maybe because my paper was quite thick or maybe because it hurt me inside to crumple up such pretty paper but pull at the ribbon firmly but carefully so as not to tear the paper. If you are putting sweets or bigger objects in, place them inside once you have tied up one end, then tie up the other.

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Remove the temporary ribbon and if yours looks like mine, stick the middle down with a bit of glue or a pretty sticker.

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Ta dah!!!!! Its so pretty my eyes hurt!

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I went for mix and match colours that are a little bit festive and a little bit cool!

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Everyone is going to think you are super amazing when you crack these lads out on Christmas Day. (Argh cracker pun!)

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So say good bye to expensive shop bought crackers, plastic tat and excess waste. Make your own Christmas crackers with rubbish, some recycled paper and a little bit of crafty magic!

Braised Red Cabbage

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There are so many delicious parts to a Christmas dinner that its hard to pick out a favourite but braised red cabbage has to be up there. There’s something about the smell of Christmassy spices and the rich flavour of braised cabbage that tells all my senses, its Christmas! Plus, winter cabbages such as red cabbage are a food growers dream as they can be harvested throughout the coldest months and what better way to ease the winter blues with this flavour sensation recipe.

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I’ve been making braised red cabbage on Christmas day for years and over time I’ve honed my preferred combination of Christmassy spices; nutmeg, cinnamon, all spice and cloves. Feel free to add a bit more of your favourite Christmassy spice or leave out any you don’t like, you really can’t go wrong with this recipe.

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I used half a small red cabbage which will easily serve 4 – 5 as a side on Christmas day. Use half a large cabbage for 6 or more and if you’ve got the world coming round on Christmas day get yourself a massive saucepan or make sure you have space to have two pans on the go to fit a whole one in. So bear in mind that the recipe below is for half a small red cabbage and that you might want to increase the amount of the rest of the ingredients if you don’t want to lose any of the flavour.

Half a small red cabbage
Half a large onion
A large clove of garlic
One small apple
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of all spice
A good grating of nutmeg
A few cloves
2 tbsp cider vinegar (red or white wine vinegar will do if that’s all you have)
1 tsp soft brown sugar
A good glug of olive oil
1 cup of water

Finely chop up your onion and gentle fry in good sized saucepan until soft.
Meanwhile finely chop the cabbage and peel and finely dice the apple.
Add your crushed or chopped garlic and stir for a minute. Then add the cabbage, apple, spices and sugar and give it a good stir.
Add the cider vinegar followed by another good stir and finally add the water.

Gently cook this, covered on a low heat for at least 1 hour but anywhere up to 3 will only add to the flavour. Keep an eye on it, stirring every now and then and top up with a bit more water if its getting dry.  If in doubt about timings get it on early then take it off the heat and reheat it back on the hob 10mins before serving, this will only add to the flavour, see you really can’t go wrong.

This dish really is so easy to veganise by using a bit of oil instead of large amounts of butter usually called for in braised cabbage recipes. The flavours are so full on and delicious that you really don’t miss any flavour from the butter. Really its just senseless cruelty to animals and to the cabbage to use butter and not oil. Go on make sure at least your red cabbage is vegan this year : )

Amy x

Wrapped in Newspaper’s 12 days of Christmas: Homemade Wreath

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Ok, technically this isn’t a wreath as it isn’t ‘wreath’ shaped, who cares? I’m pretty pleased with how this turned out. Christmas wreaths are the ideal way to introduce a bit of a festive feel to your front door. Bought ones, I think, can look a bit tacky and crap unless you buy an expensive one – and who has an extra bit of money to spend on a pricey wreath?!
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I have made one for the last couple of years but this was a new technique I tried and uses things that you should have lying around already without having to purchase anything especially for it.

What you need:

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Foliage – I used holly, ivy and another plant that shall remain nameless (because I don’t have a clue what is is) but it has bright red berries on! These were all in our garden, but you could go to a local park or wood and see what you can collect.

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A potato (medium size), some foil and some string. You can involve some ribbon too if you have some lying around – I didn’t.

Yes, who knew a potato could be used in this way – apparently is helps to keep your wreath looking fresh because your stems can draw moisture from it.

Wrap the potato in the foil and tie the string around it, creating a loop which will enable you to hang your wreath.
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I used a skewer to pierce the potato, gradually build up your foliage on one side of the potato – it is best to wear gloves, holly hurts and my hands are now scratched to pieces!

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I wasn’t too worried about having an even symmetrical look and just kept going until I couldn’t see the foil anymore.

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This is what the back looks like – just to give you some idea.

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Using the loop I made with the string it was ready to hang. Honestly, this took me no longer than half an hour and nobody else will have the same!

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Why not make your own too? We would love to see your wreaths – follow us on Instagram or Twitter and share your wreaths with us!

Veronica x