Christmas is but a few short days away now and very, very unlike previous years, I am feeling almost ready. I’m feeling more organised this year because I have drastically cut down on the amount of gifts we give- simply agreeing not too with friends and family or opting for a secret santa. However, for those people you do need to buy gifts for, I wanted to champion experiences and disposable gifts.
Experiences have much more meaning than things, and don’t clutter up the receiver’s home. Our favourite things to give and receive have been memberships- gallery memberships or National Trust memberships, for example. For adults, Candy Pop has a brilliant list of experience gift ideas in her clutter-free gift guide. For kids, they probably don't need any more toys. We are really big fans of Simplicity Parenting which advocates a really simile approach to toys, screen time and kids routines that has really resonated with us. Lulastic has the most comprehensive list of non-toy gift ideas I’ve come across. Persoanl favourites are things like swimming lessons, a trip to the theatre and an afternoon of baking (childs choice!) I have included some of these ideas, plus some more that I’ve come up with in my Pinterest board, Non Toy gift ideas for kids.
Disposable gifts also don't add clutter to peoples homes (at least not for long) plus who doesn’t like receiving a really special bottle of spirits, olive oil or wine, or a really special cheese or box of chocolates? If you can make or customise them, then even better. I am personally partial to a good stack of biscuits. I came across the following recipe on Pinterest and ended up tweaking it as I was sent the wrong nut butter from an eBay seller. The resulting cookies ended up being so delicious I nearly cried, so I thought i’d share the recipe here. These cookies have the added benefit of being good for you - unusual at this time of year. These are grain, refined sugar and dairy free, made from just a few whole ingredients- nut butter, egg, maple syrup and dark chocolate chips, but they taste unbelievably chewy and delicious. I have been searching for the perfect healthy, chewy biscuit recipe, and this is it!
I also want to support the Grow Hope appeal, run by Tree Aid, an NGO working to raise awareness of the vital source of nutrients that are provided by trees in the drylands of Africa. They have challenged people to create a healthy recipe using tree foods to help spread the word. I have chosen to use Cashews in my recipe, which are a huge source of protein.
Chocolate Cashew Cookies:
This recipe has been adapted from Running With Spoons.
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup smooth cashew butter (I buy 1 kg tubs from eBay, but you can easily make your own)
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- ¾ cup dark chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 180C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- In a large mixing bowl or mixer, beat the egg until it is slightly frothy.
- Add cashew butter, maple syrup, baking soda, and salt, mixing until fully combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
- Using a tablespoon, or your hands, take 1.5 Tbsp. of dough, and dollop it on the cookie sheet. The dough is sticky but don’t worry- the sticky dough leads to chewy, gooey cookies.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until edges begin to turn golden brown, but be careful not to over bake, you want the cookies to be blonde in colour which ensures the gooey centre.
- Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. They will keep for 3-4 days- although you'll be lucky if they last longer than 5 minutes.
You can help families in Africa grow their own tree foods by supporting the Grow Hope appeal. TREE AID are asking people to support the appeal by fundraising or making a donation. To find out more and make a donation visit the TREE AID website. Read more here.