Three reasons to go home in term 1 (before Christmas)

I was hoping to have ten reasons but in the end I realised three would be enough! 

  1. Free food. (This isn’t in order of priorities ok? It’s just the shortest one!) Enough said. 
  2. Your sanity. At some point, your flat mates are going to get on your nerves (if they haven’t already), the workload is going to get to you, the stress of being in a new environment fending for yourself a lot more is all going to come to a head. So before you scream and destroy your room and rip all of your hair out, go home. Seriously. Being somewhere familiar is going to preserve your sanity.
  3. Family. You have them. You have to go see them eventually. And besides, they make a good audience to tell all of your crazy uni Big World stories to. (Doesn’t matter if they already read it all on the blog – they shall be told it all in minute detail again!!). Plus, they know you and what you like and don’t like. You’re more relaxed around them (hopefully). And you get hugs too! My mum, for example, bought about 3 bunches of bananas for my homecoming. True love right there πŸ˜‰

It felt strange walking home through a familiar city from the train station though, not going to lie – like I was going on holiday to my own home. You’ll get me when you do it πŸ™‚ 

Oh and trust me – you will not be able to take everything home especially if you’re only going for a couple of days! I cut what I was taking by a lot as I needed to get back on the train! 

  
I went into town today with my lil sis (not so little anymore!) and got some essentials. Oh, and socks!

  
All of mine have holes in! πŸ™‚ 

My family is going to drive me back on Sunday and come to Grace Church with me so I’ll be able to pack a few things I forgot before. So yeah, back to my crazy (but much loved) hometown – I’m off in a few to change some bed sheets with my mum and grandma in preparation for the Crow Family Bonfire Night Gathering (an event worthy of capitals, trust me! (I have a big family. As in really BIG)).

Oh and we’re having fajitas tonight – family fave. Fajita Friday!

Peace out πŸ˜‰

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Reading Week

I’ve been working all day every day for the past 3 days to try and get my workload down! So far, so good. I have to submit an assessment online by Friday, and it’s almost done. The other one is for next week so I have a bit more time but that one’s almost done too. So feeling good right now! Just loads of reading to do (as usual) so I’m reading my pdfs on Evernote, which is this great app that lets you clip and save things from the internet and then annotate them afterwards. It’s pretty cool.

The flat is super quiet now there’s only 6 of us, four boys and two girls. I thought initially it would just be me and Rob, Trevor, Ted and Alec at first but then Bex came back today πŸ™‚

It’s kinda nice… But hey going home tomorrow wooo. It’s a 3 hour train journey, but still. Counting down πŸ˜‰


I finally remembered to turn the grill on yesterdayΒ and grill my grapefruit with some banana slices and cinnamon!

Thought I’d just share that.

Anyway…. I read a great article by Ella Woodward of Deliciously Ella recentlyΒ which I found really helpful.

Here it is – I recommend you read some if not all of it.

http://deliciouslyella.com/why-i-dont-like-labels/

It’s about finding the right balance for you and knowing what your body needs. I’m really interested in this stuff (as you can probably tell) – and what’s more interesting is that now people are starting to realize that not one “diet” fits all and actually we should all find our own personal mix. I heard a saying once, something along the lines of, healthy is a dress that fits everyone differently.

I think you should eat stuff you know is going to make you feel good. Personally this includes lots of fruit and veg, beans, eggs, fish and meat, with not a lot of sugar (I actually prefer bitter tastes anyway) and little to no refined food.

I am in no way placing this on anyone – what you eat is your decision. I just wanted to put that out there so people didn’t think I was promoting any particular “diet”. It’s about a healthy lifestyle. Diet doesn’t come into it.

Oh yeah… so I had my first shift at the Magdalen Chapter Hotel last night! It went well and I have another one tonight – only 5 hours for the moment as they want to break me in gently. I actually thought I was going to be there for 6 hours so this was a nice surprise! I needed my sleep. They are so much nicer there than at the Costa franchise were I worked over the summer. The pay is less though – minimum wage, which is about Β£5.30 an hour, but hey I need all the money I can get! Student…. hellooo πŸ™‚ But its quite a fancy hotel – 4 stars I’m told. It got quite stressful last night for the chefs – it was busy for a Tuesday I’m told. I think busy is better – the time goes quicker when you’re running around not thinking about it. Sometimes business is good.

Most people don’t bother getting a job in their first year, its usually second, third and fourth years that go for them. So I’m an exception to the rule. Most rely on their parents’ support. I’m probably going to still need support judging by how much I’m going to be paid, but a little on the side will help things. It means I might actually be able to buy some clothes. I just discovered that my favorite pair of leggings has ripped down the seam slightly. Sad times πŸ˜₯

It also means I can pay for my ticket home at Christmas and for other holidays. Unfortunately we don’t get a reading week term 2, so we have to do the most we can this week and over Christmas!

Better get back to editing my submissions for my assessments. Fun stuff πŸ™‚

Meatballs and Cauliflower ‘rice’

So so good. I know I say this about most things I’ve made so far but this one hit the spot today! 

  
Meat balls and cauli rice:

For the Cauli Rice:

1 cauliflower

2-3 cloves garlic

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tsp ground ginger 

Salt and pepper

Method: 

  1. Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan on medium heat and add the crushed garlic.
  2. In your food processor or blender, blend the cauliflower florets until they look like rice!! (Or breadcrumbs) 
  3. Add to the pan and stir into coconut oil and garlic. 
  4. Turn up the heat and add the ginger, salt and pepper. Remove from heat when the cauliflower is steaming but not mushy. 
  5. Serve immediately or store in the fridge in an air tight container

For the sauce:

– 1 tin chopped tomatoes

– 1 tbsp basil

– 1/2 onion

– olive oil 

– 5-6 button mushrooms, sliced as desired!

– 2 garlic cloves or a tsp garlic powder

– salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the garlic and onion.
  2. Once the onion is translucent, add the mushrooms and tomatoes. Add water to the can and swill it round, and add this to the sauce before throwing away the can. 
  3. Turn down to simmer once it begins to boil. It’s now ready for the meatballs.

For the meatballs: 

– ground beef – I used about 250-300g of my red ruby beef from my pipers farm box.

– 1 large tablespoon coconut flour (almond meal can also be used)

– 1/4 tsp salt

–  1/4 tsp pepper

–  1/4 tsp garlic powder

–  1/4 tsp basil (ground)

– 1/8 cup water. 

– 1 egg

Method: 

  1. Combine flour, salt, pepper, and basil, then add the water and mix until it looks like breadcrumbs but isn’t clumped.
  2. Add the minced beef and garlic and mix in well until all of the bread crumbs are mixed in and add the egg. Mix it in well. 
  3. Using your hands, form the mixture into meat balls and place them in the sauce. They should be covered by the sauce, but if they aren’t just make sure to turn them over a few times so they cook all the way through.
  4. Cover the pan with a lid and allow them to cook on a medium low heat for 30 mins or until cooked through. 
  5. Devour! Serve over cauliflower rice or courgette noodles*!

*using a julienne peeler or spiralizer 

 

Apple sauce

Sorry it’s take me so long to post the recipe! I had the pictures ready I just never got round to it!

Ok, so – Apple sauce. Home made. No added sugar or preservatives. Absolute heaven in a jar.

Apple sauce

My advice is to keep any jam jars – even if they were once your flat mates. You can always fill them with this delicious apple sauce to dollop onto porridge or have as a snack.

So, the ingredients:

Apples, duh! Usually red ones, like braeburn or cox work best. Especially when they are getting a bit wrinkly and past it. That’s the perfect stage. But I’d imagine it can work with fresh ones too – it might be a bit more zingy.

The more apples you have, the more sauce you’ll get out of it.

My flat mate happened to have 4 left over at the perfect stage so she gave them to me and as usual I got creative.

Peel the apples. Then cut them in half and then quarters, and remove the core. Try not to cut too much of the apple out, just the thin bit of core and seeds and stalk etc. Cut the remaining chunks into smaller chunks.

Making of

Put the chunks into a saucepan and add about half an inch of water to the bottom. If there are more apples, add about an inch. Less than you think or the apple sauce will be too watery.

making of 2

Put them on a high heat and allow the water to boil around them. Keep boiling, for about 5 minutes, maybe a little more, and stir occasionally. The apple should begin to look more yellow and the edges will start to soften and go mushy. Once the chunks are evenly yellow and mushy in appearance, turn the hob off and remove the pan from the heat.

Then blend with a hand blender to the desired consistency. Sometimes I add a little ginger and cinnamon to the sauce, but that’s up to you. Once its cooled a bit, scoop it into a jar.

DSC05755

Simples πŸ˜‰

Almond Butter

This has to be the best thing ever. And I get a whole jar to myself. Hee hee πŸ˜‰
I promise myself I won’t eat it all in a week – but let’s be honest that’s almost impossible!

ALMOND BUTTER KILNER JAR

Almonds are probably the healthiest nut out there. They aren’t cheap, but I managed to get them into my budget last week and have waited for my moment to activate and blend them up!!

You activate almonds? Let me explain…. Body and Soul.com put it as

Activated nuts have been soaked in water and salt for a period of time, which starts off the germination or sprouting process, then dehydrated at a low temperature. Soaking increases the nutrient value of the nuts along with breaking down the problematic compounds that help enhance their digestibility.

Which explains it pretty well. The problematic compounds I believe are this thing called phytic acid… And it prohibits the absolute absorption of nutrients when you eat the inactivated nuts. It slows your diversion down, and can even give you a small tummy ache. The nuts seem heavier on your stomach.

I activated a load of almonds a while back and we tried them, my mum and I, and now there’s no going back. Not only do they taste better, they are crunchier and lighter on the stomach, a better experience all round!

Almonds are hard. So they have to be soaked for a minimum of 12 hours. I do mine overnight. Just wash them, and then add about a tsp salt to every cup of almonds used and add hot water first to dissolve the salt. Then add cold water until it covers the top of the almonds and they are all submerged. Leave like that.

The next morning, put your oven on a low temperature. Literally about 60 decrees C or gas 1. Then rise and drain the almonds and place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or tinfoil. Leave them in the oven to dry out for 12 hours. To know when they are ready, taste one. If it’s soft inside and kind of squidgy it’s not done. The slightest bit of damp can mean the almonds will go off! So make sure they are crunchy! They should have a lovely roasted flavor.

For the almond butter:

– 2 cups of (activated) almonds – normal ones will do it but you might want to roast them in a higher heat for 10 minutes so they are a bit softer.

– food processor. (Blenders can work I believe but you would probably need a high power one such as a Vitamix. I haven’t tried doing it in a Nutribullet yet.)

Put the almonds in the food processor and blend. It will be noisy! At first, the mixture will just look like powder. After a few more minutes, it will look like bread crumbs. You might need to stop the food processor and scrape the sides down a few times so all of the almonds get included.

A bit longer and the oils will begin to be released, and the mixture will begin to bind. At first it will be quite solid and dry. The longer you leave it in from this stage, the runnier and smoother it will become!

Please note **DO NOT AT ANY POINT ADD OIL OR WATER** you have to be patient with nut butters. If you add another liquid it might not become butter at all!

If you do like to add sugar/oil/etc add it at the end when you’ve reached the consistency you want.

I keep mine in a Kilner mason jar in my little student pantry (or in my room!) so keep hold of jam jars and things that you can reuse to store nut butters in.

You can make nut butter from any nut, and they can all be activated! I made Brazil nut butter the other week and it was yummy! Experiment! (Tell me how it goes too!)

Up early.

Guess who got up at 6 thinking it was 7 because her watch doesn’t automatically change?! Me. But I don’t mind!! I got to watch the sunrise as I took the bins out. They were overflowing again and way too heavy for me but I managed to get them out to the big bins. The sky was all pinky and orange πŸ™‚ I get an extra hour all to myself – I’m not going to complain! The only downside is I had my breakfast too early so now I’ll want lunch early too! 

I’ve got plenty of time before I need to go to Grace church so I can do some work and maybe some yoga or something. Maybe I’ll go for another run?! Nah too lazy this morning! Occasionally I do yoga because it’s great for core and arm strength. And stretching – I’m quite flexible so it helps me stretch completely and get rid of knots in my back. Oh and don’t worry – I would never make myself live through a breathy meditation-y video. I pick ones which are just focused on activity, not meditation. I’m just not into that stuff personally.

  
My beanie is my new joy πŸ™‚ I wear it a lot – it’s a slouch one! Because it’s been raining a bit recently it’s so useful. Especially as my hair becomes a serious health hazard when it meets humid or moist air. It just becomes a massive frizz-ball!

Still amazed at the convo I had with my flat mates last night. It was so bizarre. One of them, Rob, had been saying recently how you just never know if any moment could be your last. It’s possibly because he had this sudden (hernia) operation, and he’s actually waiting for another one for his knee which he busted playing football a while ago. His surgery has been delayed again, and he’s literally not allowed to do any exercise now – not even swimming. So I guess he’s in that kind of mood – you know, thinking about life and stuff. 

Maybe that’s why he initiated the conversation last night. It’s hard to explain it… I’m aware of how crazy it all must sound to someone who doesn’t believe… Three in one? God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are the same guy? Huh?!? One of them actually asked what the Holy Spirit was. I’m not perfect, and my answers felt so inadequate. I’ve no idea if God can use them to sow seeds… That’s in his hands now. 

God is teaching me a lot at the moment that’s for sure!

Short post guys – like I said I have some extra time! Happy Sunday πŸ˜‰ 

I’m going home!!

I bought my tickets today!!

I’m hopelessly bad at selfies – do forgive me! πŸ™‚

I’m officially going home next Thursday to see my family! It took me a full-on hour to walk to the station, get the tickets and walk back, but I managed to get them a lot cheaper than I thought I would. Β£15.70! I thought it would be anywhere upward of Β£25 – just for a single with a railcard!

Today I feel like I’ve been round the works and back – and all before lunch! Aldi trip obviously – with my new bike basket πŸ™‚ then into town for some bits and bobs which Aldi doesn’t do. It rained on the way back and all the time I was in town, but then cleared up in the afternoon into a pretty (but chilly) afternoon.

I made almond butter today! I had to do it in my room so that it wouldn’t disturb anyone – and I smothered my food processor with my hoodie and Christmas blanket to muffle the noise! The recipe will be posted shortly! I splashed some over banana slices for a small snack while I worked on some Russian exercises πŸ™‚

So delicious! I also made meatballs!!! First time ever and they tasted so good! Serious adventuring in the kitchen happening right now. Β I love it πŸ™‚

Half of my flat mates have gone home, so the flat is quite quiet. No competition for the hobs at mealtimes! Tonight I had an interesting discussion with the last remaining flat mates while we were all cooking tea together – they grilled me with questions about Jesus, what’s the trinity, why do I love Jesus, what denomination am I, what’s non-denominational…. To be honest I couldn’t answer them all that eloquently. No idea what God is doing at the moment to be honest. One guy said he had loads of questions about it all but he wouldn’t bombard me (because everyone else at that time was!) I wished they’d all been in in the text-a-toastie night a few weeks ago. Basically, my Christian Union hall group does this thing where you can text us at our base whether you want a chocolate or cheese toastie, and any question about Christianity and then we bring them the toastie and answer the question. I was out that night so I couldn’t take part, but they were too! One things for sure, it was weird to have to explain stuff about my faith that I’ve known my whole life and assumed that everyone knew – things like the story of Abraham and what the trinity is.

Good news… I’ve almost got through all of my homework sheets so now I can just focus on my assessments as intended. Fingers crossed and praying hard everything is in on time!

Oh…. And I got the job at the Magdaelen Chapter Hotel πŸ™‚ my trial shift was last night and it went well! They could see I’d done this kind of thing before so that felt good! We’ll see how it fits into my life but hey I now have a source of income other than my parents πŸ™‚