October 19, 2014

It's The Little Things That Matter

Ever noticed this?

Anyone can make instant hot chocolate, but it's the cream on top which shows that you went out to a coffee shop to get it. 

I had ballet shoes for years, but it was when I got ribbons on them (about 8 years in) I felt like I did ballet. 

I love watching how many page views I get- but it's the comments that make me smile.

The way Fun's We are Young reminds me of sitting on the hill at high school in a PE lesson with my friends, not doing PE.

The way that I KNOW I have written a book- but that when I open my wardrobe each morning, I see the dress that I bought the week I finished it, and it remind me again.

It's tumbling your pyjamas before you put them on so that they are all warm.

It's REAL cornflakes (the one with the rooster on the box) not the basics brand ones.

It's getting the A on your homework.

Its talking to your friends on your phone the minute you get in, even if you spent all day talking to them at school.

It's doing all your homework the night before so you can binge watch your favourite TV show.

It's the little toy in the cereal box.

Its the badge tab on my Guides uniform.


It's when you get that damn highlight of your photo, right where you don't want it to be. 

I have had my uniform top (and cap) for a while now. It shows everyone that I am proud to be a member of Girlguiding UK, and WAGGGS. It shows people that once a week I go and help out at Rainbows. It shows you that I am committed enough to invest in my uniform. It also shows you that I don't look horrendous in blue. 

I got my Promise badge shortly after. That shows you that I have pledged to uphold a certain set of values. It shows you that I promise to do my best in everything that I do. It shows you that I promise to think about my beliefs, and if that means I don't want to be Catholic any more, then that's fine. It shows that I promise serve the Queen and my Community- that I will try at all times to do what I can for those who share my world, and those who support me. It shows that I promise to help other people, even if that means I can't have what I want. 

It shows that I have promised, and when I wear it, it shows that I continue to promise Every. Single. Day. 

It shows you that I promise to keep the Guide Law. 

It shows you that I don't panic when I can't save my blog post. 

It shows you that you can trust me- because I am (trying really hard to be) honest and reliable. It shows that I try to be helpful, and to use my time and abilities wisely. It shows you that I am ready to face challenges, and to learn from experience. It shows you that I am committed to being a good friend and a sister to all guides. It shows you that I do my best to be polite and considerate. It shows you that I respect all living things as much as I can; whether they be plant, animal or human (the human one can be hard). It shows you that I try to take care of the world around me. 

But the badge tab? The badge tab shows you that I CAN DO MORE. 

It shows you that I have the ability to BE MORE. 

It shows you that Girlguiding will allow me to ACHIEVE MORE. 

That badge tab shows that I am confident that, at some point in the future, I will have more badges to go on there. 

I am going to get my Leaders Qualification. That shows that I am grown up, responsible, and trained to look after 5 to 7 year old girls, and to provide them with the Rainbow's program. That I know how to run a Rainbow's unit. 

If I get DofE- it shows that I am committed, that I have the dedication to go through with what I started. 

If I get a 5 year (or other time period) Service Badge? I have volunteered with Girlguiding actively for a long time. I didn't just do it for 6 months, or a year to get some qualification. I did it for more than that. It shows you that I love doing it. 

So that totally awesome utterly amazingly fantastical badge tab? It's a little thing- it is essentially a ribbon attached to a safety pin. But it matters- it matters because it shows that I have the potential for more. And as long as I'm in Girlguiding- and as I've been trying to explain to my Rainbows, you can be part of Girlguiding for as long as you want; and if you never want to quit, you never have to; just look at this 106 year old- there will be the opportunity for me to be more than I am now. I will always be able to do more.

And you know what? That matters. 

Even more than real cornflakes.  

October 11, 2014

In Other, Less Interesting News # 5

Sorry about the break guys. I was having some sort of post-MoFo hibernation. Plus, I don't want to post another thing until I know that I am going to post something that is actually worth posting. 

And until that day, what about a little look-see into what I've been up to?

Yeah, even I can hear the yawns you're making. Yes, dear friend, even I who can't hear African choirs when we were in the library. 

1. I have surpassed 2000 page views.

2. I have still not managed to work out how to put links for my Facebook and Instagram pages on to my blog. One day people.... One day. You can always search for me and have a peak anyway! (Ana's Rocket Ship Blog and A_R_S_15 respectively).

3. I got a new peeler. My hands are two small for Mom and Dad's peeler, so I had to get my own. Look how cool it is!


4. I have officially lost the pictures for my dinosaur bento. And it was so brilliant too!

5. I've finished treatment. Trust me- this is a good thing!

6. I've started writing my books again. I still haven't got word on my laptop (don't ask), but I've got another decent word processor so it's okay!

7. I bought Frozen on DVD!!! (I do love the Disney 2 for 1 deals!) And I have watched Frozen on DVD! I'm sorry people, but Frozen is just way more important than you guys! (Not really if you're actually my friend and not just some poor reader who has stumbled across here accidentally). I also have the Frozen songs to play on piano! (Girl happy- can't really play them yet, but girl happy).


8. I have started going to Senior Section meetings! I have been wanting to do this for like, forever! (Well, since I became to old to be a Guide any way) but it is finally happening now!

9. I can get not very far without any crutches at all. But not in front of people. That would just be inviting people to laugh at me, and we try very hard not to do that people.

10. Pretty much all my friends are now at uni. This ones a biggie. I'm kinda lonely.

11. I had noodles in a box. They were horrid. But I had noodles in a box.


12. I got an A on my first math test in a long time. But we don't ever talk about UCAS. Seriously. Not ever.

13. I have organised the Hama needs into colours. We won't talk about the ones in the jar.



14. I went on holiday. Look at the sand. And the string pictures!




15. I got to try a load of different types of Nakd bar.



16. I finally opened the sparkly coconut body butter. I brought this for prom. Over two years ago now.


17. I am all ready to get back on the bento bandwagon (cause I've noticed I've been in bento quicksand lately). Look- plan is on the calendar.  (they're the post it notes I've stuck on)


18. I made a toastie. On my own. Know I know why we have a toastie maker. 


So... Know, back to writing a decent blog post! 

September 30, 2014

Vegan MoFo 2014 - Sink or Swim?

I'm gonna flatter myself and decide swim. Barely. Lets say treading water. 

I BARELY got my 20 MoFo labelled posts in. 

My posts were of horrifically not brilliant quality. 

My pictures weren't always of a quality I'm happy with. Some got lost. 

My laptop and phone (my main photo taking source) both broke in MoFo month. 

I was ill- a lot of cooking opportunities were missed. 

We've been keeping my college timetable as light as possible- I needed less packed lunches than anticipated (and the ones that I did have weren't always post able). Fine, except my theme was lunch boxes. 

I have a bank of posts that were supposed to be posted this month but didn't happen. 

HOWEVER

I have posted the required 20 posts

I am proud of (admittedly a very few) of my posts

Some of my pictures I was happy with. 

I got a new, working laptop and my phone is being fixed

I still did some cooking

I still needed some lunches- some were post able

I now have a load of posts for you guys that you can enjoy in the coming months. 

SO

I didn't do perfectly, but I did enough. 

Perfect is overrated. 

Yeah, this was my first Vegan MoFo, and I wanted it to go a lot better than it did. 

BUT this was my first MoFo, and it could of gone worse. 

And I am 18- I have been blogging for 1 year. I go to college. 

I have not much life/food experience. I have not much blogging experience. I am not a professional full time blogger. 

AND I DIDN'T FAIL. 

I did it. 

Yes there is room for improvement, but if there wasn't, next year would be a bit boring? No?

THIS WAS A BIG STEP FOR ME

I shouldn't, by any means, have signed up for MoFo. I wasn't ready. I'm not really good enough at blogging to. I'm not that good at cooking to. It's for professional bloggers. Its for full time vegans. It's for people who can dedicate more time. People aren't interested in what I have to say. 

There are so many reasons why I should not have signed up. 

BUT I DID. 

Why? Well, for a start, and an end, I'm bat crazy. 

And because I wanted to have a go. I wanted to push myself. I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to see what I could do. And cause it looked fun. Stressful, but fun. 

And I wanted to learn.

(Boy, have I learnt.)

I've learnt that a load of stuff you wouldn't think are vegan are vegan.
I've learnt that a load of things that should be vegan aren't. 
I've learnt that I should learn to back up my pictures better.
I've learnt to be more prepared.
I've learnt that I should not forget my water bottle. 
I learnt that I need to speed up with typing.
I've learnt that I have a lot more to learn
I've learnt that there are more vegan bloggers in the UK than I thought
I've learnt that I don't have to read every post by every blogger I follow- cause in MoFo you can get a lot
I've learnt that I like listening to music again
I've learnt that even though I didn't do so well this year, it's okay

I've learnt that I can do better- and that's okay. Because I can do better. 

Because I've learnt that I want to do this again next year

A different year, a different theme, and a more experienced me 

Because this has been fun- and I want to join in again, cause vegans are apparently a friendly bunch who like making new friends. 

People who don't know me have commented on my blog. That's practically unheard of. I have almost doubled my all time page views this month- and although it really shouldn't matter, it's fun to see just how many people have read something that I've written. 

So thank you to anybody who's commented on my blog- and thank you to everybody who's read my blog. 

See you again next year?

The Pumpkin Pasty: Sweet or Savoury?



A pasty is savoury. Full. Stop. 

No arguments. A pasty is savoury. It is pastry shell filled with a savoury filling.

Everybody got that? 

Good. 

Just in case you haven't, I'll go over it one more time. A pasty is a savoury thing. 

Actually, just once more. Pasties have savoury fillings. 

That is pasties have a filling which is not sweet. 

So when in Harry Potter they talk about Pumpkin Pasties on the Hogwart's Express, I don't think that they are talking about some sort of handheld pumpkin pie. Its a pasty. It is not a pie. 

However, I saw a post on line (can't remember where, sorry) that said that it is commonly assumed that the pumpkin pasty is sweet. WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? There are soooooo not sweet. I mean really, what? Sweet? Nada. Apparently something to do with it almost being a pumpkin pie, and also the fact that it being sold on a trolley which seems to be predominately sweets...

Nah... Sorry, ain't buying it. You get a load of sweets on the trolley on real trains (of course, I'm not saying that the Hogwart's Express isn't real...) but you also get sandwiches and crisps. So, I am making an executive discussion (okay, I have no authority to make such a decision, but...) that they are SAVOURY. I mean, there a pasty for goodness sake. 

So I decided that I would just have to make my own, most definitely savoury pumpkin pasties. This has nothing to do with the fact that there is a can of pumpkin that is sitting in the cupboard calling my name for well over a year now. I was too ill last year to use said can of pumpkin. Plus, me and my Mom couldn't find a recipe that we both liked for pumpkin pie. So... I am opening the can!



I have never used canned pumpkin before. Neither can I remember anyone using canned pumpkin before. But all my favourite bloggers love canned pumpkin, and I have been itching to open it and delve into the world of orange delight. 

Plus, it's either do something with the canned pumpkin, or I do something with my butternut squash, but I just look and think... I'm too tired. 

So, back to pumpkin pasties. And how to make it a definitely savoury pasty. Apart from anything else, I'm not that big on really salty stuff, so, how to make it savoury?

Well, for a start, I am banning all pumpkin pie spice. And cinnamon. And ginger. Yes, I'm even banning the fresh ginger that normally goes into savoury recipes. And anything that is going to add any sweetness or bring out the sweetness in the, to be honest, very sweet pumpkin. 

So... what ads savoury notes? Well.... how about some fresh, green taste from some herbs. Fresh herbs taste too strong for me at the moment, so we will have a look at the herb rack... Basil? Nah, I don't want an Italian pasty. Oregano... May-be (I am unconvinced) Parsley? Well... to be honest I have run out of options now, so we'll use parsley. Parsley's kinda a universal herb right? So we'll role. 

Now, I don't want a garlicky pasty; especially if you take them in your lunchbox. So... what else can we use if we aren't using garlic? Now, I appreciate that you are all much better cooks then I am, so my ramblings are no doubt annoying. So ignore me... but I do find that onion adds a very savoury note. I've never heard of onion ice cream for example... 

So we have onion and parsley. Now... I want to add a bit of a kick... No, I don't want to turn this into a spicy pasty, I just want it to have a bit of hot to counteract the sweetness. So, lets add some black pepper and some smoked paprika- and lets hope that creates a smokey peppery note not a hot one. 

One of the surprisingly vegan supermarket finds almost everyone knows about is puff pastry sheets. Now, I am all for homemade, but quite frankly, they wouldn't be anywhere near as good if the pastry was homemade. So.... it's not. (Surprise surprise).

Mini pastries are good to put in a lunchbox for an occasional treat. For a start, theres no crusts to be left when the box comes home (well, there kind of is but let's ignore that fact). They are a make the night before ordeal. They can be frozen and taken out as needed. You can make bigger ones for bigger appetites and smaller ones for smaller appetites. 

And if you really must, you can make a sweet pumpkin pasty. 

Pumpkin Pasties (I made 5)
  • 1 package puff pastry sheet
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 unbelievably small onion- basically a shallot- or half a onion (less than that for a large onion)
  • Several grinds pepper
  • 1/2 t Smoked Paprika
  • 1t Parsley
  • 1/2 t savoury seasoning of choice (i.e. vegan Worcester sauce)
  • Preheat the oven to 200C. 
  • Measure out the pumpkin into a jug
  • Chop the onion into a very small dice
  • Saute the onion until cooked. I didn't do this step- however, that left my pasty tasting of raw onion- so I'm going to have to leave the logistics of this step to you!

  • Add the COOKED onion to the jug and mix in

  • Add the seasonings and mix together well

  • Roll out the pastry. Yes, I know it comes pre rolled, but if- like me- you're making small pasties, you don't want the puff to puffy. 

  • Cut circles about 4-6 inches diameter. Place a 'blob' (yes, so technical) of filling in the centre of each circle. Fold over or bring both sides up to join, then seal the edges- either by crimping or edging with a fork.

  • Place on a baking sheet and cook for about 20-30 mins. It all depends on your pastry and the size of your pasties. They should be mostly a golden brown colour, and probably have dark edges

Note

You don't have to make individual pasties if you aren't packing these in a lunchbox. If you want a larger pie, spread the filling in the bottom of a ovenproof dish (you quite probably will want to double the filling) and lay the pastry across the top in one sheet. (Or cut out shapes and have them floating in the pumpkin).