The greatest gits are not wrapped in paper… but in love
Happy Monday everyone! It is less than a week now until Christmas – I am SO excited! There are so many amazing Christmas trees up in Abu Dhabi – look at this beautiful tree in Abu Dhabi mall!
As part of mine & Stephi’s Zero Waste December initiative, this week I have made these cute little vegan hot chocolates in mason jars. These gorgeous little gifts are a great way to ensure you limit your waste this Christmas.
I absolutely love Christmas & the festive period. I love travelling home & spending time with my friends & family, Christmas trees & good Christmas food – roll on Thursday night!
However, Christmas comes at a high price in environmental terms. In the UK, around 83 square kilometres of wrapping paper will also be thrown out or burnt…you can also add to that 125,000 tons of plastic packaging.
Here are some more facts about our unsustainable Christmas activities;
- More than a billion Christmas cards – 17 for every man, woman and child – will be delivered this year. That’s enough to stretch around the world five times.
- 52 square miles of wrapping paper – enough to gift-wrap Jersey – will be ripped off by Boxing Day.
- Six million trees have been bought but only 1.2 million will be recycled. The rest will be left to rot or be thrown away.
- Shops sell 16 million turkeys and 830 million sprouts. Up to 40 per cent of festive food is wasted.
- Within three months, 41 per cent of the toys children receive will be broken. Most will go to the tip.
- Many will get the latest mobile phone but only 10 to 15 per cent are recycled.
Source – Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor
“We all look forward to Christmas and enjoy being with friends and family, but we do end up creating more waste – in fact an additional three quarters of a million tonnes of it. If this waste were recycled it would save 352,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gases per year – equivalent to taking 111,000 cars of the road for a year.
“The good news is that there are easy ways to help cut our waste-lines and help tackle climate change. Many people either forget or don’t realise that festive items such as Christmas cards, empty tins of sweets and biscuits, and jars of pickles can all be easily recycled and will help our bins shed those extra kilos.”
Source – Fridey Cordingley, Recycle Now
So if your like me & love Christmas & giving gifts – what can we do?
There are many small steps you can take this year to try to cut back on your Christmas gift waste. Here are some of my fav tips & ideas;
- Send E-cards instead of paper Christmas cards – or make sure the cards you sent are recycled/recyclable
- Gift someone with an Ebook as opposed to a paper book
- Send gift vouchers
- Be creative with re-usable wrapping paper. Why not wrap your gifts in some re-usable material like a scarf or mason jars (like my hot chocolates!)
- Store your Christmas decorations away safely & e=re-use them the following year
- Bake Christmas treats as a gift
My little Christmas vegan hot chocolates are the perfect festive gift. You can buy the items quite cheaply & in bulk & they don’t require a lot of effort at all. I simply added the cocoa powder, some candy canes broken into small pieces & some lovely vegan marshmallows. Once the lid was fastened, I just used a small piece of string around the top for a cute but simple final touch.
My mason jars were quite big, so from these gifts, my friends will get a ridiculous amount of delicious servings of vegan hot chocolate. 2 tbsp. from 1 of these jars mixed in with your fav dairy free milk (almond, soya, coconut whatever) gives you the best mug of Christmas comfort EVER.
I hope you all have a fab week in the run up to Christmas. I have had a lovely weekend here in Abu Dhabi, on Friday I had a Christmas Jumper Brunch with my friends from work (I got a Vegan Casserole cookbook in the secret santa – get ready for vegan casserole spam next year lol) & on Saturday me & Stephi hosted a vegan meet up at her place. One reason I love blogging is the amazing like-minded people I get to meet. It ‘s so inspiring to see there are so many people who have the same beliefs, interests & values as you. Not to mention, the amazing vegan food that comes with it! If you are a vegan in Abu Dhabi – be sure to join the Abu Dhabi Vegan Group for details of more meet ups & vegan advice for the UAE.
Also, if you are looking for some vegan Christmas recipes, check out my Vegan Gingerbread Men, Vegan Cranberry & Lemon Sprouts (sprouts that actually taste nice) & my Vegan Dark Chocolate & Coconut Christmas Pudding Cakes!
If everyone pledged to reduce waste this Christmas & spread the word, I really believe we can make a big difference. I wish you all a Merry Christmas & thank you all for your support this year – it really has been overwhelming! Lots of love & festive cheer from myself, Nala & Zara. xxx
Dairy Free, Delicious Gingerbread Cookies
Merry Christmas Eve! I hope everyone is enjoying the festives as much as I am. I have had a lovely time with friends and family (even though I have been freezing) and cannot wait for tomorrow 🙂
This afternoon me and my littler sisters bake and decorated Vegan Ginger Bread Men. The recipe was extremely easy and they only took around 20 minutes to bake.
- 2 cups of self raising flour
- 3 tbsp. of ground ginger
- 2 tbsp. of cinnamon
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1/2 cup of almond milk
- 1 tbsp. of coconut oil
- 2 tbsp. of maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp. of baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. of bicarbonate of soda
- Icing and raisins to decorate (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees
- In a large bowl, sift all of the dry ingredients
- Mix in the coconut oil, syrup and almond milk with your hands until you have a dough like mix
- Lightly cover a surface and a rolling pin in flour and transfer your dough onto it for rolling
- Roll the mixture out until consistent and flat, before cutting ginger bread men
- Line trays (we used 3 small ones) with baking paper before transferring your ginger bread men on them
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before decoration (optional but recommended!)
Dairy and cruelty free and delicious! Happy Christmas Eve and Merry Christmas for tomorrow! – Jess x
Brussel Sprouts Which Actually Taste Nice
I had the most festive evening on Saturday night. Me and my boyfriend went to a local Christmas market which stunning and had our first Christmas dinner of year before we fly home to spend time with our families. I was treated to a full veggie Christmas dinner which was amazing. I am spoiled.
I did contribute a bit. I was desperate to come up with a delicious Brussel sprouts recipe suitable for vegans (no cream, honey etc.) and I am proud to say I succeeded 🙂
I don’t know a lot of people who love sprouts, I like them and will eat them, but until now I wouldn’t have said I enjoyed the taste. They definitely are quite over powering and, like tiny cabbages with 100x the taste. I think a lot of people would have hated them as children, and now would never try them again, even though their pallets probably have changed as they got older. Perhaps people have been scarred by childhood memories of being forced to eat your sprouts.
Anyway, to make them delicious I cooked them in coconut oil and agave syrup with lemon and cranberries, literally so good. Cranberries alone are a superfood, so with your sprouts you have one of the most nutritious dishes ever.
- 1 large pack of sprouts (to serve 4 people)
- 2 cups of fresh cranberries
- 2 tbsp. of coconut oil
- 3 tbsp. of agave syrup
- 1 large lemon
- Pre-heat the over to 180 degrees
- Wash and peel the first layer off your sprouts
- Grate your lemon until you have 2 tbsp. of lemon rind
- In a bowl, squeeze as much juice from lemon as possible
- Add the coconut oil and agave syrup to the lemon juice
- Mix in the sprouts with your hands until they are all covered in the oil, lemon and agave
- Transfer the sprouts to your roasting dish and season with black pepper
- Put the sprouts into the oven to roast
- After they have been roasting for 20 minutes, add the cranberries and lemon rind and return to the oven for another 20 minutes
- Serve immediately
Et voilà – agave and cranberry lemon sprouts, sprouts that you will actually enjoy eating. It is a shame they come with such a bad rep, because they are so good for you. They give you potassium, protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin A and B-6 and an amazing amount of vitamin C which we all need, especially this time of the year. Really low in fat too. If you are dreading your sprouts this Christmas, why not try these?
I am off work today, as I fly back home tonight – so excited! Better go do the rest of my packing and get my Christmas nails done – happy 8 sleeps till Christmas from sunny Abu Dhabi- Jess x
Rich, Dairy Free, Mini Christmas Pudding Bites
19 sleeps. I seriously have no idea where this year has gone, but I’m not complaining with Christmas round the corner. SO EXCITED, can you tell?
So if you read my festive oatmeal recipe yesterday you will know that I made some amazing dark chocolate and coconut mini Christmas pudding cakes. They are dairy free and really simple to make. Oh, and the main ingredient is a superfood, do I need to say anymore?
- 1 tbsp. of coconut oil
- 100g of dark chocolate (vegan)
- 1 ½ cups of coconut cream
- 1 cup of raisins
- 1 small handful of red currents (for topping)
- 4 cups of rice crispies
- 2 tbsp. of coconut flour
- Over boiling water or in the microwave, melt the dark chocolate with the coconut oil
- Once melted, in a large mixing bowl combine all the ingredients
- Using an ice cream scoop or a spoon, mold the chocolate crispy mix into the shape of a Christmas pudding, this recipe will make around 8
- Top with a few red currents for decoration and leave in the fridge for around 30 minutes
- Sprinkle with coconut flour before enjoying
Warning – these are ridiculously moreish. But, they are also package with anti-oxidants from the dark chocolate so all good. They look so cute and Christmassy, great for festive party, especially if you love dark chocolate. Enjoy! Jess x
Delicious Festive Oatmeal
Christmas is coming, only 12 sleeps until I fly home! We have had a very festive long weekend, the tree and decorations are up and I have managed to do most of the Christmas shopping, pretty productive if you ask me 🙂
These past few mornings I have had more time to make breakfasts as opposed to my smoothies and taking overnight oats into work. I have been experimenting with a few ingredients including strawberry, cinnamon and avocado – yum.
Yesterday afternoon I made vegan dark chocolate and coconut Christmas pudding cakes (which will be on the blog tomorrow) and with the left over ingredients I came up with a delicious festive oatmeal recipe this morning.
These oats are dairy free, using almond milk as a substitute which makes it a great low fat breakfast. I have also used a number of powerful superfoods such as cacao, coconut oil and red currants – this breakfast is packed with nutrition.
- 1/2 cup of oats
- 2/3 cup of almond milk
- 1 small handful of red currants
- 1 small handful of raisins
- 1.5 tbsp. of coconut powder
- 1 tbsp. of coconut oil
- 1 small handful of raw cacao nibs
- In a pan, heat the oats, 1 tbsp. of coconut powder, almond milk and coconut oil over a low heat until piping hot and cooked through
- Serve immediately in a bowl with the remaining ingredients sprinkled on top - enjoy!
Quick and wholesome, this vegan Christmas oats recipes proves once again that you don’t need dairy to make a hearty breakfast. Every single one of the ingredients in this bowl of plant based goodness is beneficial to your body and mind. Why not try these festive oats for breakfast during the holidays or on Christmas day itself? Enjoy! Jess x
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