Hello!

We are very pleased to share our new packaging!

We hope you like it. We think it reflects what we are all about – simple, no fuss, high quality snacking.

If you’d like to try the crackers or talk to us about placing an order get in touch at: contact@just-crackers.co.uk.

We’d love to hear from you!

Remember when you were at school, and you’d take pride in your lunchbox? Each term would be a competition to see who had the coolest one, whether it was Rainbow or Barbie or Action Man, we took pride in our lunch. Now as ‘grown ups’ were lucky if it makes its way into a Tupperware.

We’ve been hunting the web for some ideas on how to fancy up your lunchbox and add a bit of zest to the middle of your day

Perhaps you want a more interesting bag than the carrier that you current carry it in. Not On The High Street.com has some great ideas for lunch bags They have a range of Eco-friendly, hand printed bags are also

Sturdy and deceptively spacious, these little bags have soft, padded handles that are kind to hands and the insides are lined with hygenic, water resistant laminate making them easy to wipe clean.

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Maybe you’re happy with your Tupperware and your biggest problem is that pesky salad dressing making your fresh and crispy salad into a soggy wet mess by the time you come to eat it. Fear not! Lakeland have thought of everything with this Dressing Pot you’ll never have to worry again.

As the summer approaches, a lot of us will struggle to keep our lunch cool on our journey to work. Dot Com Gift Shop has a range of foil lined and fun lunch boxes like this one below starting at just £4.95

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Why make things complicated? For the traditional amongst us there’s an answer for you too from Urban Outfitters. It’s the return of the brown paper bag.

Then if course there’s the weekend lunch, when it’s time for sharing and what better than a picnic basket . Check out John Lewis for a range of picnic hampers as well as insulated backpacks. Prices start at around £35, the one below is £55 and has all you need for a two person picnic

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Hopefully this has inspired you to reinvent your lunchtime. Enjoy!

Sat at work? Tired? Hungry? Trying to talk yourself out of going to the gym? It’s probably 3pm.

Never fear, you don’t need to give in. Here are some top food tips that will get you over the hump.

Have some oats

Not only are oats high in B vitamins, they are a great source of many other nutrients including calcium, magnesium, selenium and manganese. On top of this, oats are a low GI food, meaning that they will help keep your blood sugar stable and release a slow, steady stream of energy.

Try a Pod Energy Smoothie contains passion fruit puree, banana, purple grape juice, organic muesli & organic soya milk. Add Guarana for an extra boost!

pod_smoothie

Have some chocolate

Amongst the many reported health benefits of chocolate (including its ability to lower heart disease risk, prevent wrinkles and boost the mood), the popular treat is also a great pick-me-up snack, which is great news for chocoholics. Chocolate is high in energy-boosting chemicals including theobromine (a stimulant found in many popular energy drinks) and caffeine.

Furthermore, chocolate is a great source of magnesium and chromium, which both play a role in energy production. To boost your energy while protecting your health, try snacking in moderation on dark chocolate, which is lower in saturated fats and higher in antioxidants than the milk or white varieties.

chocolate

Have some fruit

Fruit is also a good source of natural sugars to boost your energy. Fruit also contains a variety of energy-boosting vitamins and minerals including vitamin C (berries, kiwi fruit and citrus fruits), and B vitamins (bananas and avocado).

fruit

Have a green tea

Green tea can help regulate blood sugar levels, preventing energy spikes and crashes that can result in feeling tired. Green tea also generally contains caffeine which can help to give energy levels a boost.

Green Tea

We’ve had the wettest January on record, the excitement of Christmas has long gone, and spring still seems a long way away. Many of us reach for the snacks to comfort eat at this time of year. But how can we use this to our advantage and make those snacks lift our mood?

Oats

Oats release energy slowly, which helps beat that slump you get following sugary snacks. Have a handful of oat clusters from your favourite cereal or an oat rich flapjack to get you through.

Nuts

Brazil nuts are high in Selenium. Studies have shown that low levels of Selenium can lead to irritability, anxiety and even depression. Just three nuts a day will provide you with your daily recommended intake.

Brazil nuts

Vitamin B9 (Folic acid)

Low levels of this can hinder production of Seratonin – the ‘feel good’ chemical in the brain. To keep your levels topped up in the colder months, lunch on a salad of baby spinach, cos or romaine lettuce, and beetroot or avocado; all are rich in folic acid. Or slice a mango or orange for your snack; both of these are also rich in folic acid.

spinach

Eggs

Eggs are a great source of the nutrient choline. This helps energy levels and mood. For an uplifting lunch, try adding some quail’s eggs to a hearty salad.

Quail's egg salad

Fish

Salmon and other oily fish are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. A recent study has shown these could be mood stabilisers. As our brains are about 30% omega 3 we know that oily fish is a great brain food, keeping our cells and neurotransmitters active. Try some smoked salmon trimmings on an oatcake for a double boost of feel good nutrition.

Posh cuts

What are your top tips for ‘feel good’ snacking this month?  Let us know in the comments below, or on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

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Time for something a little different as the festive period draws close. What seasonal snacking ideas can we think up for our crisp crackers?

Chilli jelly

Very definitely in-vogue now. The jewel-like colours and hint of spice make it perfect for this time of year. Add a sliver of cheese for a heavenly taste.

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If you fancy giving it a go yourself, this is my mother’s recipe, as adapted from her grandmothers crab apple jelly recipe. Share and enjoy!

  1. Take a couple of large cooking apples – or some crabapples if you can get them – chop roughly (skin, core and all), cover with water, bring to boil and simmer to mush – about 20-30 minutes. Strain through a jelly bag.
  2. You will find that you need a lot of chillies to get any effect. It varies according to the variety and ripeness. [Ma’s note: I think I had around two dozen]
  3. Strip out the chilli seeds, cover them with water and boil 15-20 minutes. Strain and reserve the liquid.
  4. Roughly chop the flesh of the chillies and boil it up with some of the apple juice to make it tender (this doesn’t take long) then blend to required texture: this could be smooth jelly, or with shreds in.
  5. Mix the apple juice with the liquid from chilli seeds and chopped flesh.
  6. Add sugar: about 800g per litre of liquid.
  7. Heat slowly until the sugar has dissolved, bring to a rolling boil and boil to set – this takes about 10 minutes.
  8. Decant carefully into sterilized glass jars and seal.  Will keep for several months in the cupboard.  Refrigerate once open.

This is addictive stuff teamed with any of the Just Crackers range!

Pickled walnut chutney

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The spices in this give it a very definite Christmassy taste, being distinctly reminiscent of those in mince pies. We think this is great with the added heat in our Sea Salt & Black Pepper crackers.

Lemon goat-cheese dip

From countryliving.com

Whip up a batch of this easy dip for a quick snacking treat when friends drop round to wish you the best for the season. Super fast to make in a blender – try the yoghurt version for a healthier party snack. (From Country Living)

Cranberry jelly

Just the right side of sweet, cranberry jelly goes well with our Onion and Poppy Seed crackers. We think it must be akin to the flavour combination you get when you have it in the more traditional style, with stuffing.

Smoked Venison Pate

Via waitrose.com

A taste of the season from Waitrose. This smoked venison and venison liver pâté comes topped with a redcurrant and port sauce.  It’s really good with any of our crackers.

Pick up your Just Crackers from  any of our stockists and tell us what festive combos you’re enjoying at the moment: what tastes evoke the time of year for you? Let us know in the comments below, or on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

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We all love a gadget. From the ingenious ‘can’t live without it’ to the ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time’, everyone has a few. So what lovely gadgets are there available this festive season?

Cake pop maker

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Cake pops and cupcakes are the thing to be making right now.  If your baking skills need a little help than look no further than this cake pop maker. Try substituting a little of the flour for wholemeal and some of the sugar for honey, for a healthier treat.

Star-shaped ravioli cutter

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Fresh pasta is a real joy. Get in on the act and make your own festive shaped tasty parcels with this star shaped ravioli cutter. It does cookies too and will fit nicely in a stocking for that special someone.

Soup makers

soup-maker

Warming soup is a real winter winner and soup makers are appearing all over the place now. If we are in for an extra cold winter as the weathermen tell us, it could be worth finding a spot on your work surface for one of these. Pack it full of fresh veggies for a nourishing bowl full when you come in from the cold.

Doctor Who TARDIS chocolate mould

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One for the sci-fi fan in your life. The flexible silicone makes for easy removal of the chocolates. Try melting some chilli chocolate to use in it for an extra tingle of warmth after the Christmas feast.

Slow-Cooker

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The slow cooker revival shows no sign of abating and for good reason. So practical and retaining more of the vitamins than simmering a stew or casserole, they really do make life easy. Put in the ingredients before going out for the day, leave it on low and you’ll come home to a warm dinner waiting for you, and a house full of lovely cooking smells.

Christmas Jumper Mug

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Ok, I’m not totally sure this technically should be classed as a gadget but it’s an ideal stocking filler, sure to raise a smile and in keeping with this year’s trend for the Christmas jumper. It will also keep your drink warmer for longer, not a bad thing on those frosty mornings.

What’s your top gadget? What gadget are you hoping to see in your stocking this year? Let us know in the comments below, or on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

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just-crackers-stockists-montage

This Christmas you can find Just Crackers in more places than ever before. We’ve added a number of new stockists over the last few months – including The Grocery, St Helen’s Foodstore, Partridge’s, Provenance Village Butcher, Parson’s Nose, Bailey’s Deli, Black Truffle Deli, Urban Gourmet, Patchwork Traditional Food Company, ExCellar and Bon Goût.

You can see a full list on our stockists page.

Stay tuned for some seasonal serving suggestions – and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and ‘like’ us on Facebook.

We like snacking and although we try and keep it healthy the odd sugary treat sometimes sneaks in. But what about our global neighbours? Is the priority health, taste, an energy boost or a comforting treat? Who snacks on what, and how often?

According to The NPD Group, countries that traditionally eat their evening meal later on, say around 8pm, don’t tend to have a late evening snack and will more often have just two between-meal snack times in the day. Many other countries have three main snack times. India bucks the trend with a pre-breakfast snack.

Folks in the US will most often buy their snacks ready-made, whilst in China they’re likely to get them from a restaurant. A third of the snacks consumed between meals in Brazil contain at least some element that is homemade.

Many countries rate fruit as the top choice for between-meal snacking. Although it contains sugar at least it’s the natural sort and there’s all sorts of vitamins and ‘goodies’ in there too. In India, however, cookies and similar are the top treat.

Join us on a mini tour of some of the world’s favourite snacks…

Insects
Lots of Asian countries love a crunchy bug to snack on and with their nutritional value and environmentally friendly credentials they could be the next big thing.

via huffingtonpost.com from Lonely Planet's 'How to Land a Jumbo Jet'.
via huffingtonpost.com from Lonely Planet’s ‘How to Land a Jumbo Jet’.

Pocky
Japanese biscuit sticks available in seemingly endless varieties with coatings of chocolate, banana, chestnut, green tea or ‘Brazilian Pudding’ flavour to name a few. They have a correspondingly massive fanbase.

Via tofucute.com
via tofucute.com

Meat
Americans have smoked jerky and South Africans have dried biltong. In Britain we have pork scratchings which are probably the fattiest of the lot!

Yoghurt
A survey by Nielsen found yoghurt appears in top fives of healthy foods all over the world. Calcium rich and even better for you if you choose a low fat version – what’s not to love?

‘Nammi’
Icelandic for sweets/candy. Icelanders love it and their favourite combo is liquorice and chocolate. Apparently it’s not so bad mixed with caramel too…

via umamimart.com
via umamimart.com

What weird, wonderful, unfamiliar, fabulous or downright curious snacks have you come across on your travels? Let us know in the comments below, or on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

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With our busy lifestyles, snacking is a way of life. We’re too busy to fitting things into our hectic schedule to make time for food at home, so often the only choice to eat on the go

Aside from the usual suspects, crisps and chocolate, we’ve been trying to come up with some more inventive ways to snack which are also healthy. Here’s a run down of our Top Snacks…

1.Wasabi Peas – THE trending snack right now. Hot and spicy and very moorish. Perfect with an ice cold beer on a Summer night…If you haven’t tried some, invest immediately!

2. Wraps – a no fuss lunch or snack option. Take a wrap with your filling of choice and cover in tin foil and this is an update on the sandwich that can still be eaten on the go. Some fresh ideas here on the BBC website. Chorizo and fried egg…yum!

3. Sushi- growing with popularity, to the point you can even pick it up at the lunch section of M&S, it’s super healthy and delicious. Even if you’re not a fan of fish you can go for a vegetable version. Plus; using chopsticks is super fun! If you’re feeling creative you can get some tips about making your own sushi here

4. Dried Fruit – somewhat traditional and maybe considered boring by some, dried fruit is a great way of getting towards your 5 a day. Try mango it’s gorgeous.

5. Cheese snacks – easy to get misled by the manufactured cheese snacks but cheese is a great source of calcium and protein. What about grating the cheese so you use less? Or cottage cheese? (add some pepper for a boost of flavour) Or a bite sized portion of your favourite to go. This website has some great ideas for some cheese based snacks that are still healthy meaning you don’t have to skimp on taste

6. Crackers – whole host of things available to you these days. From your traditional Jacob’s for cheese to of course Just Crackers for dips, spreads and chutneys. Easy peasy.

7. Old Faithful – The Sandwich – not exciting…or is it? You could branch out into the bagel world, how about a pitta or a flatbread? Check out this website to spice up even a standard wholemeal loaf

8. Nuts – Walnuts, Almonds, Pecans and Pistachios are all a healthy and easy snack choice (obviously not when covered in salt) but on their own they’re great at any time of day.

9.Cereal bars – growing in popularity are cereal and breakfast bars. Now available in a wide range of flavours from fruit, but to golden syrup- bug keep an eye on those sugar levels if you want to stay on the healthy side. Nigella has a great recipe for some home made ones if you fancy trying this at home

10. Olives – tasty and healthy. Great on their own or added to a salad or wrap, you can have them with sun dried tomatoes, stuffed or still with the wines in. So many options and so so tasty!

Hopefully this should keep you going! But worse case check out this link for some completely fresh ideas!

Image courtesy of flickr.com

When I was little I used to really look forward to Friday evenings. I had the whole weekend of playing out to look forward too, Blossom was on the tele and mum had prepared a Friday night snack of toasted pitta, hummus and taramasalata. Life didn’t get much better.

Fast forward 20 years and not much has really changed. That Friday excitement still remains. Blossom is still on the tele… in Big Bang theory (Dr Amy) I know, who knew! There is still the whole weekend to look forward too and there is always a Friday night snack.

Nowadays it may even be better because the choice of dips has improved dramatically and there are plenty more ranges and flavours to choose from. Here are some of our favourites:

Mackerelata

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If you fancy a change from taramasalata this mackerel dip is full of flavour and very light. Paired with our salt and pepper crackers make a winning combination. Be warned though, once you have one, its difficult to stop!

Lemon and Dill Humous

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For a summery picnic dip we love this lemon and dill humous. It’s bursting with taste and goes really well with our onion and poppy seed crackers. Teamed with a glass of white wine make the perfect Friday evening snack.

Sour cream and chive

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Finally as the weather is lovely you might be thinking of a Friday BBQ. What better than some cool sour cream and chive dip with crackers to snack on whilst you get your grill going. We like this one from Waitrose, which is not only super fresh but also half fat.