5 Ways to Wrap a Gift with Brown Paper Bags

At Totsy, we love to do our part to help the environment. That means recycling everyday, using a water filter to reduce plastic bottle waste, cutting down on printing and planting a tree for every first purchase.  So this year, we decided to forego wrapping paper and reuse paper shopping bags instead to do a small part to help our planet.  Here are some fun ideas we came across on the web when wrapping for the holiday season.  You can use brown paper shopping bags from grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Simply cut them flat, remove the handles and make sure the printed side is facing towards the gift when wrapping.

1.  Glitter Ribbon. Simple and pretty, we love how glitter works beautifully with the brown paper bag. Learn to tie this pretty bow.

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2.  Snowflake overlay. Cutting paper snowflakes is a craft we used to do as kids.  We’re sure your kids will enjoy doing them as well!  Use colored computer paper and supervise as they get creative. Then overlay them to the wrapped gift and tie with simple white string.

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3.  Typographic gift wrap. This is very clean looking and makes the recipient’s name stand out. Read the full post on how to create this simple and crafty gift wrap.

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4. Winter  green.  Sometimes a simple arrangement can go a long way. We love the acorns and touch of sprigs. Find instructions on arrangement here.

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5. DIY printed wrapping paper. Finally, if you’re looking for something with more oomph, try this easy DIY project for patterned wrapping paper. The kids would love this! Get creative!

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Tell us, will you be getting creative this year when wrapping your gifts? Share in the comments below!

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Spicy, Salty and Crunchy – Addictive Crackers

Browsing Pinterest, these little beauties caught our eyes. Sometimes you crave a crunchy, salty, spicy snack and this recipe did all that for us. The best part is that it’s very easy to make and chances are, you already have the ingredients in your kitchen.  Thank you to SweetTeethGoodies.com for this addictive snack!

[Image: sweetteethgoodies.com]

You’ll Need:

  • 1 ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 packet of Ranch dressing mix
  • 2-3 tablespoons of red pepper flakes
  • 4 sleeves of Saltine crackers
  • Large bowl
  • Tongs, large spoon – something to mix with

Step-by-Step:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl – make sure to do this thoroughly so that all the oil mixture coats the crackers.
  2. Lay crackers on a cookie sheet and drizzle the remainder of the oil from the bowl.
  3. Bake at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes – stir them around half way through.
  4. Allow them to cool and store them in an air tight container or Ziploc bags for travel.

OH and since football season is right around the corner, they make a great game day snack!

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Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Admittedly…these are not very West Coast/health-conscious of me, but I’m a firm believer in “moderation in all things” – including indulgence. The combination of spicy peppers with gooey cream cheese, lime zest and crisp bacon, is undeniably delicious. What a perfect appetizer for your Labor Day barbecue menu. Paired with a delicious cold microbrew… maybe Fat Tire? You have a winning duo that will send your Summer out with a bang. Bless up and enjoy these bad boys with a smile.


Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 fresh Jalapeno Pepper (OR small green Poblano Pepper for less heat)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese – whipped
  • 2 strips of thick-cut Applewood Smoked Bacon – cut in half
  • Zest of one (1) lime
  • ½ lime – juiced
  • 2 Tbsps. chopped fresh cilantro
  • Garlic Salt & Chili Powder – to taste

Directions:

  1. USING RUBBER GLOVES* – make a small slice ¾ way up each pepper, from tip to the stem edge, and remove and discard all seeds. DO NOT cut completely in half, leave the stem intact as it will hold your cream cheese in during barbecue. *I’m not joking about the rubber gloves, the oil from these seeds can be extremely painful to your hands, eyes, or any skin/membrane surface that it comes in contact with. Use caution and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. Our lungs were actually burning! Oh, but …it was worth it.
  2. In a small bowl, add cream cheese and stir in lime zest, lime juice, cilantro, chili powder and garlic salt to taste. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Fill each pepper with cream cheese mixture.
  4. Wrap each pepper with a piece of bacon, making sure to not overlap as this will make bacon thickness and cooking times inconsistent. Bacon should be wrapped snugly and pepper should be as “closed” as possible. Insert a toothpick through center of pepper to hold bacon in place.
  5. Barbecue over low-medium heat for roughly 20 minutes, turning every few minutes to prevent burning.
  6. Once peppers look soft and bacon is cooked, remove from grill and let stand for several minutes to cool. With respect for the erratic heat each pepper may offer…take caution and ENJOY.

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