Friday, August 18, 2017

Five Friday Favourites

I have managed to survive Winter without a cold until now, it's not uncommon for me to get at least one major cold a season (plus being an asthmatic it can mean once it goes to my chest it never leaves!) and I was so hopeful that I would escape the sickness trap but it wasn't meant to be. Colds are never fun but on the bright side it means I can spend all my time watching Netflix and not feel too guilty.

Still quiet on the job hunt front but praying that will change soon, though on Monday I was at the R U Ok day convoy representing ReachOut which was interesting. I had no idea what to expect but I think I did ok and had some fun chatting to people about mental health and why you should ask R U Ok.
I am also giving a presentation on Exam Stress at a mental health expo on behalf of ReachOut in a few weeks. I am busy writing that and trying not to stress too much about it myself. I actually enjoy public speaking and doing oral presentations at school was an assignment was something I could do and always got top marks in. I am so thankful that ReachOut has a load of awesome resources regarding Exam Stress so it means writing the talk isn't too hard and it will be a fun experience (I hope!).
The week after the presentation I have a ReachOut stall at a local school which will be fun. I love school events as they are more laidback and it's nice to chat to the students about mental health and any issues they are facing.
I sometimes joke that ReachOut is my job during this time of unemployment and recently I feel that it is true but no complaints as I love every minute of it :)

Moving on to Five Friday Favourites:

Pumpkin, Spinach, Feta and Pine Nut Quiche - I made this last Monday and I am still thinking about it! It does take a while to make but if you spread it over a day or two its not too hard to make. The cheese in the pastry really makes it for me as does how deep the actual quiche is so you get a good pastry to filling ratio which can be off in some quiches.

ATypical - I watched this last weekend on Netflix and really enjoyed it. It's about Sam (Keir Gilchrist who played Craig in It's Kind of a Funny Story) as an 18 year old high functioning autisic boy who decides he should get a girlfriend and what happens along the way. I loved how it gave you a look into his mind and his daily struggles along with how it affects his family and friends. I liked the touch of Sam's friend Zahid who didn't see him as an autisic person just his friend who is struggling with getting a girlfriend and it was great to show that people with autism can have normal friendships. I highly recommend this series if you are after something a bit different and will get you to think.

Papyrus Cards - I needed an anniversary card for my parents and could not find anything I liked. I was close to giving up when I found one, of course it cost a small fortune but it was a lovely card (I can't find it on the website to link) and very them. I love Papyrus cards and while I do find it hard to justify spending a heap on a card when it's for a special occaision or event I do feel that it's worth it. I could've spent ages looking at all the different designs and styles and they are really beautiful cards.

Diary of a Teenage Jewel Thief by Rosie Somers - this was my latest read and it was a fun read. It reminded me a bit of Ally Carter's books and while it wasn't up to her standard it was still an enjoyable read. It did take me a while to get going and was a lot slower paced that I expected but Mari was a great character it was great to see her come to life in the pages.
The blurb reads:
Most sixteen-year-olds shouldn’t know where museums keep their rarest jewels (the basement) and they really shouldn’t know that vans make the worst getaway cars. But for Marisol Flores, a life of jewel thievery is a birthright handed down from generation to generation, even if she didn’t ask for it. So when a rival thief targets Mari and her mother, Mari’s more than happy to flee to the anonymity of bustling New York City.
Blending in is a dream come true for Mari, but keeping her former thieving ways a secret gets way more complicated when handsome Will Campbell sets his sights on her. She can’t help but like his terrible puns and charming grin...but when her past catches up with her, it’s not only her life—and her anonymity—that’s at stake.
Will could be the next target

If you like Ally Carter's books then you will like Diary of a Teenage Jewel Thief which is out now.

John Crist UberChristian - I have never used Uber ever in my life but maybe I would be more inclined to if they brought out a Christian version? This video is so funny and if you haven't checked out John Crist then you are missing out!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Pumpkin, Spinach, Feta and Pine Nut Quiche

Everyone has their own types of comfort foods, for some its carbs - hot chips, rice, bread and pasta,
others its sugar - chocolate, ice cream, lollies and sweet treats and for others something completely different (cheese? meat? a mix of everything?). I'm in the sugar camp for sure when it comes to comfort food and am always up for a baked treat. But if I want real comfort food then I make this quiche, which is no doubt a surprise to all. Maybe it's the story behind it or how many steps there are so it gives me something to focus or just how good it tastes.
Across from my psych's office there was this café/retro and vintage gift shop, I used to regularly visit it and eventually got in to a routine of buying this amazing quiche for lunch before my appointments. It was a place where I could relax and I loved chatting to the owner and looking around the shop. Unfortunately the café shut down 2 years ago when the owner was expecting her second child and couldn't do both.
A while ago I was craving this quiche and attempted to recreate it, and I believe after many tries I have successfully managed to recreate it, which was no easy challenge. I was making it from memory, but I knew it was made in a deep dish and a spring form tin seemed like the perfect tin (though I am sure you could make it in a typical quiche pan but you would only be able to do one layer and not use as much egg mix). I started with the base which I knew had cheese in it as it wasn't a typical pastry and had little luck finding a cheese pastry recipe until I found Donna Hay's recipe which I have adapted. The filling was thankfully a lot easier and found that layering the ingredients gave a great result. The original version didn't have onion in it and while I think its a nice addition, though I am told it tastes better without it, so its up to you if you add it or not.
It does take a while to make (roasting the pumpkin, blind baking the base and over 1 hours baking time) it but it is well worth it and is great for dinner and lunch served on its own or with a light salad. I even made it on Monday night and served it with crumbed chicken which was a great meal.
It tastes amazing warm out of the oven but still nice cold. I would make it the day you need it but you can make the pastry and roast the pumpkin (and onion) in advance.

Pumpkin, Spinach, Feta and Pine Nut Quiche

Filling:
1/2 a (medium sized) pumpkin, peeled and cut into cubes
Garlic granules
1/2 red onion slice thinly (optional) - Jocelyn says to leave it out
block of feta (approx. 150/200grms)
1/2 cup pine nuts
120 g baby spinach
8 eggs
1/2 cups milk
pepper

Cheese Pastry
150grm butter
2 cups of plain flour
3/4 cup grated cheese
1/4 cup parmesan
1/2 cup milk

  1. Grease a spring form tin with cooking spray.
  2. In food processor combine butter, flour and cheeses blitz until it resembles breadcrumbs and slowly add in milk until a ball of dough forms (you may need more or less milk). 
  3. Roll out between two sheets of baking paper adding more flour as needed to prevent it from getting sticky. You want it to be between 1-2cm thick.
  4. Place pastry in tin. You can either drape it over the tin and press in or cut around the tin and press in, before cutting strips of remaining dough to line the sides.You want it to overlap it the sides by a little bit to stay up while blind baking it
  5. Blind bake it for 30 minutes by placing a piece of baking paper over the dough and placing a smaller size dish in the tin (I used a glass bowl) and using rice to fill the gap or just using rice or beans. 
  6. Grease a tray and spread the pumpkin out evenly, sprinkle with garlic granules if using. Place in moderate oven for 45 minutes turning over half way through baking. If using onion 10 minutes before the pumpkin is finished baking spread onion over pumpkin to cook.
  7. Take out the base and remove baking paper.
  8. Cut  3/4s of the feta into smallish cubes setting aside to crumble on top for the final layer. How much you use depends on your preference.
  9. Layer the filling going: Pumpkin (and onion), feta, pine nuts and spinach repeat once more finishing with extra crumbed feta.
  10. Beat eggs, milk and pepper (I don't add salt as I find the feta is salty enough) and pour over the filling.
  11. Bake in a moderate oven for about 1 - 1.5 hours until its set (depending on the depth of the tin it may take longer)
  12. Serve warm or cold.
*You can make mini quiches just don't blind bake the base first and only bake for 30 minutes.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Five Friday Favourites

Another fortnight means its time for another Friday Favourites! Winter was in full swing this past week, with a strong weather warning on Monday resulting in storms, followed by the coldest minimum this year on Wednesday which meant ice on my car. I am thankful that we don't get snow here and our Winters aren't really bad compared to some parts of the world.

The job front has been quiet and on Thursday after a disappointing employment agency meeting I struggled to keep it together. Last year I thought I would surely have a job by my birthday this year (mind you I was thinking more March which has long gone) and with exactly 6 weeks until I turn 23 that's looking more and more less likely. I know God is in control but it's still hard to wait and trust in his timing.
I have applied to a couple of jobs recently and I am praying that one of those comes through with at least an interview, but again it's all in God's hands.

I am off to a Christian women's convention tomorrow which should be interesting, I haven't gone to one before though my Mum has been going since they first started and thinks it will be a great time. This coming week is a bit busy, with catching up friends and family along with psych and doctors appointments thrown in (#anxietylife). I like to have all my appointments booked in the same week if possible as it just makes things easier and I'm less likely to forget something at them as I'm in the correct head space.

Onto Friday Favourites:

Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason - I received this book to review and while I enjoyed it, it didn't quite live up to my expectations. I'm not a huge fan of crime fiction but I just found this book too busy and it had a lot of storylines which made it hard to focus on the main storyline. It was still an enjoyable read and Haley was a likeable main character, but it wasn't the book for me. I will say if you enjoy crime fiction with a strong female lead you will enjoy this book.
The blurb reads:
Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan may be in South Carolina, but when a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, her life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she’s made a career out of taking care of others. But after an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her–and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he’s not about to let Haley fight this battle alone.
In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories–and the depths of the heart–Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley’s past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won’t quit.

Chasing Secrets is out now

Backstage - I was after something to watch this past weekend that was fun and didn't require much attention and Backstage fit what I wanted perfectly. It's another Canadian show (are you really surprised?) and is like The Next Step meets Dance Academy meets iDream (if anyone remembers that show). There's 30 episodes and I am 2 thirds done and really enjoying it. If you are after something mindless to watch this show is it.

The Two of Us by Victoria Bylin - I really enjoyed this book and once I started I could not put it down. I loved the character of Mia and loved seeing her story play out throughout the book. Jake was someone who had clearly struggled and was questioning God with how his life was playing out. With both Jake and Mia they were convinced God wanted something completely different for them than what he had planned. The additions of Lucy and Sam were a nice touch and it was nice to see their story playout along side Jake and Mia's. I highly recommend reading this book if you love Christian fiction.
The blurb reads:
After two broken engagements, nurse practitioner Mia Robinson is done with dating. From now on, she only trusts herself and God, and she's focused on her eighteen-year-old sister, Lucy, and caring for patients. Just as she applies to work for an international aid organization, a phone call from Lucy, who's pregnant and running off to marry her twenty-one-year-old boyfriend, throws a wrench into all of Mia's plans.
Jake Tanner may have recovered from the physical injuries he sustained on the job as a police officer, but his heart has yet to heal from losing his former partner in the tragedy. He's poured himself into starting a camp for the sons of fallen officers and mentoring Sam, the adult son of his deceased partner, who's asked him to be his best man at his wedding.
Mia is expecting a mess when she arrives to sort out the situation with Lucy, but she wasn't expecting Jake. And Jake, who can't help envying Sam and Lucy, doubts he'll ever experience their happiness for himself. But maybe Jake's courage and Mia's caring spirit are just what they need to bring them a lifetime of healing and a forever kind of love. . . .

The Two of Us is out on the 8th August.

LOQI bags - there's been a lot of talk about banning the plastic bag and many of my friends were doing plastic free July. I am hopeless at taking my own bag so I decided as an incentive I should buy myself a reusable one I love and would actually use. I saw LOQI bags and knew that I had found my answer, not only are these cute they are practical, are able to hold 20kg and long lasting, they also weigh nothing which means in my bag where space is a premium I don't notice. There are many ways to fold it and roll it too (I like to fold it flat and stick it in the matching pouch provided) which means you don't need to have any origami skills to fold it. I got this cute one with cats on it but there are loads of designs, this one is fun and I would love to buy this one for my aunty who loves tulips.

You and Me - I watched Descendants 2 last week and really enjoyed it, I loved all the music numbers but my all time favourite was You and Me. It just looked so fun to shoot and I loved the song, which has been on repeat ever since!