Merry Christmas Everyone!

I know ‘Happy Holidays’ is more accessible, but I just find it way too American. So Merry Christmas it is! This isn’t a proper blog post, it’s just a quick message to wish you a great few days of holiday cheer and a reminder to spend it with your loved ones – they’re the most precious things!

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Meat Free Monday: ‘Meat’balls

Last year I used to have meatballs pretty much every week; they’re relatively cheap and I thought they tasted great with a tomato sauce and pasta/rice. Now, the thought of them kind of grosses me out… I haven’t had red meat for a while and I don’t think I’m going to eat it again!

Anyway, I thought I’d try to recreate a meat free version of them. I found this recipe on the Thug Kitchen.

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Now, mine don’t look like the pictures from Thug Kitchen! But they tasted amazing, and really filled me up. I don’t think I let the mixture cool down enough, as I was too impatient. So that could be why the texture was off. Also, I think it’d help if the lentils were blended after being boiled – they were definitely the biggest bits that kept falling apart.

Another thing is that this seemed to take a while… However, because this makes enough for 5/6 people, you can always freeze the remaining meatballs and reheat them for a much quicker meal!

I served it with rice, chopped tomatoes and green beans this time. However, I’m sure it’d be amazing with pasta.

Overall, this hasn’t replaced traditional meatballs for me, but with a couple of adjustments it’ll be there!

Easy Metallic Vegan Cookies

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Hello! One thing that’s the same every year for me is the food at Christmas. There’s a lot of it! Sometimes I scare myself by looking at the sugar content of it all, so if you make your own then you know exactly what you’re eating. It’s also really quick and easy so definitely worth it!

I used this recipe which requires:

  • Flour
  • Baking powder
  • Sugar (I used coconut sugar)
  • Vanilla extract
  • Milk (I used rice milk)
  • Butter-like spread (I used Trex)
  • Optional: cookie cutters, gold edible confetti, silver edible spray

I wouldn’t go so far as to call these healthy, but they’re simple food that’s a lot better than not knowing what you’re putting in your body!

Tip: make sure to leave these to cool in the fridge for a while; I got impatient and got them out while they were still cooling. It’s not a disaster, but I think the texture would have been a bit better!

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I’d say to make these even more Christmas-y, you could add some cinnamon to the recipe.

Leave me your favourite Christmas recipes below – I’d love to try some more this year!

Meat Free Monday: Veggie Dumpling Stew

I feel like my photos don’t do this justice!

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This is a tasty stew – it’s vegan, filling and perfect for winter evenings!

I used this recipe which is basically a load of veg, some herbs, stock and then the dumplings themselves. I love dumplings so I really wanted to see if I could make my own taste good! They do – but I did add a little more flour than the recipe says as they looked a little sticky when everything was mixed. This could have been because of my poor measuring though – I don’t understand cups!

Anyway, this is great and perfect for nights in with family/friends, it also isn’t too salty which I was worried about!

Christmas Gift Guide

Hello! It’s that time of the year when everyone goes Christmas crazy. I do love Christmas but I think all the adverts taint it… Remember spending money isn’t the same as love! Having said that, here’s a gift guide because giving presents is fun 🙂

It wouldn’t be a gift guide without a bit of Lush! So here’s my favourite of their gift boxes – Merry Christmas £19.95:

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It contains a few of my favourite Winter Exclusives – Peeping Santa, Golden Wonder, Lord of Misrule, Cinders and Dashing Santa. It’s a great spicy and fruity mix that I think most people would like. This is ALL bath stuff, so make sure your recipient has a bath before getting them this 🙂

Divine chocolate is my favourite brand – I just think they’re super yummy and super ethical, as the farmers partially run the company. They’ve released a Baking Hamper this year – £30:

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As you can see it contains all you would need to create heavenly chocolate bakes! And it even comes with a tote bag – handy since the plastic bag charge has come to England. I made some brownies using Divine chocolate for a friend and they were pretty amazing, so I think everyone should experience this.

I think getting vouchers is a bit of a cop out most of the time… It just looks better than giving cash, but it’s often less useful! However, it is easy to get hold of and I can understand the thinking behind it… A thoughtful type of voucher is a National Book Token because reading is much more fun than clothes/make up/jewellery etc.

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I borrow most books from the library, but there are a couple that I’d like to get a hard copy of myself, or I just can’t find in my local library! One of them is ‘To Die For: is fashion wearing out the world?’ another is ‘I Am Malala’.

I’ve really gotten into house plants this year… Which is a weird statement! But I think it’s nice to think that you’re keeping something else alive. So, to pass that feeling along I’m recommending a house plant as a great gift.

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I think Christmas is quite a good time because it’ll flourish (hopefully) in spring so they don’t have too long to wait. There are obviously so many options, but I love the thought of a bonsai tree – so cute and long lasting, and there are loads of gift sets. This one is from Not on the High Street – £24.99.

Finally, I also wanted to include a ‘luxury’ candle. I personally wince at spending anything over £10 on a candle so I’m considering this a luxury!

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It’s £24 from Not on the High Street – it’s made in the UK, made with soy wax and it has a double wick which I always think is better! There’s a choice of scents and I think cucumber and mint would be lovely and fresh for a New Year scent.

I created three gift guides last year and one was about making things, while another was about ‘experience gifts’ – these are still relevant so check them out for more ideas.

Now having written this, I really need to get on and get some presents for my family and friends! Are you already planned, or a bit last minute?

Meat Free Monday: Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta

Just in case you’re not sick of the sight/smell/taste of pumpkin, I have a recipe for spiced pumpkin pasta! I thought it’d be a nice change from tomato, and seasonally appropriate.

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I used this recipe which is nice and simple! I think using coconut milk really brings out the flavours of the herbs and the pumpkin.

Side note: Why don’t supermarkets in the UK sell pumpkin purée??! I had to order some online because I couldn’t find it anywhere.

Anyway, as you can see I served it with some greens – spinach would also work really well with the flavours in this!

November Favourites

I have a few things I’ve been loving this month – both products, and other stuff too 🙂

Earlier this month I watched Emma Watson interviewing Malala Yousafzai – these are two of my favourite people and I loved it! I think they both come across as intelligent, perfect role models. WordPress won’t let me embed the youtube video but it’s here.

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Then there’s this book which I read because Emma Watson has said that she loved it! It’s the first fiction book in a while that has really gripped me and I finished it quite quickly.

Another form of media that I’ve enjoyed this month has been the new marvel series – Jessica Jones. It was released on Netflix so the whole series was available at once = binge watching! I think it was really well done and easy to get into.

Now onto products – there’s only a couple and both have been featured on the blog before! First is Golden Wonder – a bath bomb by Lush that’s in my Lush Winter Haul. It’s such a shame that this is a Christmas exclusive product because I think it has a year round scent – lovely and fresh, and it makes the bath so pretty!

The second one hasn’t left my bag/desk – it’s the Fair Squared Lip Balm in Spearmint flavour. It’s just perfect! It leaves my lips feeling moisturised for a good couple of hours and I love the flavour. I think this may be the first tube of lip balm that I actually finish (as long as I don’t lose it!). I got this in the October Love Lula Beauty Box and I’ve been using it ever since.

Finally, I have to mention the climate march! It was brilliant; super cold and it took me ages to get there because of a bus replacement service, but worth it. There were an estimated 50 000 of us in London alone (the largest climate protest in the UK) and over 300 000 globally. It felt amazing. I only hope this spills over into the Paris talks…

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