Make it Monday- Two timing, time saving

Every Tuesday night I go to my Missional Community Group where we study the Bible and discuss last Sunday’s sermon. We also share dinner together, potluck style and talk about our lives and what happened on last weeks episode of Survivor. I love cooking for my group. I’m known as the salad girl and I try to make something vegetarian as there are a few vegos in our group and I know I would want as many options as possible to choose from if I was a vegetarian. I also love playing with vegetables and introducing my friends to vegetables they’ve never even heard of before, let alone tried! So, normally every Monday night after gym, I put together a dish to nourish and feed my friends.

I also love making my own granola and I had some left over aquafaba (the juice from the chickpea can) which was getting close to needing to be used YESTERDAY. But when would I find the time to use it?

Ah. Time to double time it.

I prepped the salad first, popped the vegetables into roast and while that was happening, mixed together my granola. Then, at the end of the veg roasting, I added the rye bread (as I was making a panzanella) and also slid my granola into the hot oven.

While the veg and bread finished off, my granola got nice and toasty and clumpy. When I removed the veg, I turned off the oven and left the granola in there to finish off.

Easy done!

Cooking is all about using your time economically. This also saved on power- instead of turning the oven on twice- it was just used once. Woo!

These recipes are both super yummy and super healthy so give them a go!

Fennel and Beetroot Panzanella16388247_10154611670798101_952221201630006392_n

2 beetroots, chopped roughly
2 fennel bulbs, chopped roughly, fronds reserved
TBSP of Italian Herb mix (I buy mine from Oasis Bakery)
Spray EVOO
Splash of lemon juice
1 apple
1/2 a bunch of parsley
Salt and pepper
Stale rye sourdough
Herb infused Apple Cider Vinegar
Mixed leaves

Place the beetroot and fennel on a baking paper lined tray, spray with EVOO and sprinkle on the herbs and lemon juice. Season.

Roast for 30mins at 200C

While this is happening, chop/tear your bread into bite sized pieces and sprinkle the ACV over it. Once the 30 is up, add your bread to the baking tray and cook for another 10 minutes until the bread is nice and toasty. Remove from the oven, add the apple (you can roast the apple too if you want, but I like the contrast of textures and the apples I have at the mo are super yum) and parsley. Once the veg cools, mix through the mixed leaves.

You could also add some ricotta or feta, olives, sundried tomatoes, toasted sunflower seeds, etc. Be creative and taste as you go!

Apricot and Cardamom Granola 

16386942_10154611670868101_3310728964439771446_n

Handful each of:
Oats (x2)
Buckwheat groats
Steel cut oats
Pecans
Almonds
Dried Apricots soaked in a tea of your choice (I used T2 2 Stones Apricot and Plum Tea)
Puffed rice

TBSP of mixed spice
A few TSP of pure vanilla extract
A few TSP of ground cardamom
A few TSP of turmeric
Aquafaba as needed

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, adding the aquafaba as needed to moisten all ingredients and get it nice and clumpy.

Spread granola over a sprayed baking tray and cook for about 15mins in a 200C oven. I often turn the oven off and leave the granola in there to cool and crisp up completely. Add puffed rice and store in an air tight jar.

Granola is so versatile, add whatever flavourings and spices you want. Use whatever base you want, nuts, oats, other grains… Add dried fruits or not… Add sweeteners and oils if you want. I like mine pretty lean so I try not to use any sweetener apart from the fruit and spices. Aquafaba acts in place of oil to make it nice and clumpy but it’s not always crispy like an oil based covering. Do whatever you feel is best. 

I hope you can find your flow in the kitchen and that cooking becomes as much a joy for you as it is for those who you cook for.

5 Minute Friday- control

If you’re a regular reader, you know the drill. Friday is my day to take 5 minutes to do some free writing based on a prompt provided by the wonderful Kate Motaung and share it with the whole 5 minute Friday community. Today’s prompt is control.

Oh boy.

Hold.

the clock counts down
and
i
can’t
stop
it
no matter how hard i try to hold the hands it trickles
down like/

sand
of old into nothing and everything
all at once.

reminders of tick tocking, mark docking rulers of old life
and future strife
and i strive to not become one of those
stealers of the most precious

value of a second when it’s paused/

3, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1…

/is infinite but elusive and your fiction is my fate and now all i

must

do is wait and revel in my lack of watches and the constant waves

i feel- for that is all that matters now fact is stagnant- the swelling sense of

no time not on time no direction nor any protection and no way to escape the inevitable breaking of

/barriers long stacked up and backed up/

and it’s obvious what’s being done but i

still

just want to wind up holding//

 

maybe You can hold my hand instead?

If I were you… Starting Year 12 well

This is likely the last Friday before you head back to school and as such, I thought it fitting to discuss not a specific aspect of the year 12 course or a particular text but instead, hand over some general advice on how to start year 12 well and in a way that establishes a pattern of success.

I’m taking my inspiration from my own experiences as a student and what I have observed as a teacher. I hope you’ll find these helpful as you come into this new year.

  1. Get to know your teachers
    So, for the last 11 years you’ve thought teachers were The. Worst. You thought they planned the assignments to fall in the busiest times of the year, that they wrote deliberately confusing instructions, that they delighted in giving you detention and that the only thing that bought them more pleasure than a full coffee cup was a full page of notes for you to copy down. While I don’t deny that at times assessments do seem to all fall in the one spot, I promise you that this is a) unintentional and b) we actively try to avoid it. (It’s even in the staff manual at my old school to try not to assign too much work all at once!). I’m going to let you in on a little secret:
    Your teachers are there to help you.
    Honest.
    And we want to know our students. There’s a reason I ask my students to introduce themselves to me in one way or another at the start of the year. I love reading about your lives and I genuinely want to connect with you as a person. If I know you as a person as opposed to just another student, I’m able to help you more. I’m able to suggest things to help you that you already have a natural interest in. I’m able to honestly give you advice on your skills and abilities. I’m able to suggest other networks which you can go to for help- but only if I know what networks you have.
    I’m not suggesting you become besties with your teacher, but I heavily recommend getting to know them, telling them a bit about yourself, letting them know where you excel and where you struggle. Ask them about their classroom and homework protocols. When and where is a good time and place to find them if you need help through the day or after school. Ask them if it’s ok to email them after hours.
    This is not only good advice for year 12 but it’s actually the BEST piece of advice I have for uni. Get to know your lecturers and tutors. In a world where you are a number out of 300, just knowing your name and face could make the difference between a lecturer caring about your personal crisis and give you an extension and a lecturer ignoring or deleting your email.
  2. Use your diary/planner
    …for more than your friend’s birthdays and curriculum days. Those things are important, yes, but if you keep track of when things are due or SACs are on the horizon, it will be a lot more manageable when it seems like all your teachers have it in for you (see above- we don’t!). Actually track how long you have to do different assignments and consider when you have time to study for/complete them. If you actually keep count of the days and know when you’re going to tackle these pieces, you’ll be in a much better place. I’m not necessarily suggesting a strict study timetable (ie. from 5-6 Monday I’ll study English) though these can be useful- especially in the lead up to exams, more just being actively aware of your schedule so you never get to school only to see all your friends cramming for the Further SAC you thought was next Tuesday.
  3. Don’t give up on your passions
    Year 12 is important but so is having a life. Please don’t become a recluse whose idea of a fun day out is spending an hour at Officeworks printing out your HHD notes. (That said, Officeworks is life.) Continue playing sport, keep going to youth, maintain your part time job, go to your friend’s 18ths, keep up your regular gym routine, don’t neglect having dinner with your family, don’t neglect the latest netflix gem. Just keep it in balance.
    Obviously, if you have 10 SACs coming up in the next two weeks, you may need to cut back a bit. But cut back, not cut out: perhaps it’s an idea to save the next three episodes of PLL for when you finish that Literature analysis or to go to your friend’s party but leaving after speeches instead of partying until 3. Maybe you do a 20 min tabata workout instead of a 2 hour weights/flexing selfie session. You could negotiate with your brother for him to do your chores after family dinner this week in return for doing his chores when you’re next a bit free-er.
    You should not see your year 12 from behind a stack of books, rather they should frame your life- provide the outline which you keep in mind when making decisions- but not the dominating view. Year 12 was one of the best years of my schooling life. It wouldn’t have been the case if I had studied 24/7
  4. Participate in school events
    As a year 12, you have the best of both worlds- the younger students look up to you and take their cue from you and you are unlikely to ever see anyone who will judge you ever again! Therefore, do the things!! Go to and participate the sporting events, dress up for Book Week, get involved in the fundraisers, go on school trips… whatever! Just do it! You’ll make memories, get loads of likes on your instagram and get to reminisce in 3 or 4 years when you’re catching up in the year of 21sts!  Only thing is- if you’re missing class, please check what you’re missing and how you can catch up. This is where step 1 comes into play. If your teacher knows this music trip is important to you they’ll be way more likely to help you out than if the only thing they know about you is your name.
  5. Develop a strong support network.
    This could include your friends, teachers (step 1), parents, doctors, pastors, grandparents, trainers, hairdressers, pets… whoever. Find people who have your best interests at heart- in lots of different areas. Find people who are going to tell you what you need to hear. You need people who are going to tell you that you need to work harder. You need people who are going to tell you that it might be time to take a break. BUT also have people in your life who are going to tell you what you want to hear at times. Sometimes you just want someone to tell you that you’re ok and on the right track and if someone tells you something else than you’re just going to break down and cry. You’re not going to want to go to your parents for everything, nor are your friends going to always be the right people to go to.
    Also, be a part of someone else’s support network. Listen as much as you talk, hold as much as you need to be held, pray as much as you request prayer. Be there for others. Nurture your relationships, they’re more important (OMG) than an arbitary number.
  6. Finally, make goals and keep them visible… but in perspective
    Actually writing down SMART* goals and keeping them in view is really helpful when you’re deciding between reading the English text and reading the latest Buzzfeed article. Suddenly finding out the 20 things you DEFINITELY remember if you’re a true 90s kid will seem less important if you keep your goal of achieving a study score of 25 or above in English in plain sight.
    That said, I don’t recommend specific number based goals because you actually don’t have much control over those. The numbers you get texted to you three days before the official date (oops) are decided by so many different factors that all you can do is your best. Consider making goals which you can control, like “I want to write chapter/scene summaries for all my English texts as I read them” or “I want to complete 5 practice Specialist Maths exams each month”. That way, you have some agency in if they are completed or not.
    However, keep these in perspective. Your mental health is vastly more important than if you read and analyse the Opinion Pages at least 3 times a week. Prioritise your goals and decide which ones should take up your time and headspace and when you’re feeling under pressure- focus on that one. Also consider making non- academic goals such as fitness, friendship, saving, work and faith related goals. This will help you keep the other goals in perspective because let’s be honest- year 12 is for one year, your faith is for eternity and your finances will decide how much smashed avo you can buy and still afford a house.

I hope you find this helpful and I pray that your year will be an unforgettable and productive time. Let me know, as always, if there’s anything specific you want me to cover!

Workout Wednesday! That Sally Song…

There are some workouts that I love to hate and yet, love going back to.

They’re generally super challenging, short in length, able to be added to a longer workout as a finisher and/or super fun.

One of these workouts was introduced to me during the HIIT sessions at my fantastic gym, Pinnacle Health Club. It was introduced as a song based workout which lasts for 3:30secs. I was skeptical to begin with but soon my fears were allayed- this would be hard. If you’ve never encountered the “Sally” challenge… well. You’re about to.

The song in question is “Flower” by Moby. It’s very repetitive and the lyrics are basically the instructions for your workout which makes it a lot easier than other song based workouts in which you have to remember what to do when which just is NOT one of my skill sets.

The lyrics you have to pay attention to are:

Bring Sally Up
Bring Sally Down
Lift and squat, gotta tear the ground

In the most common form of the workout, you squat down (with or without weight depending on your level) when it says bring Sally down and stand up when it says bring Sally up. During the bridge, stay holding the squat or perform pulses. Simple! (Until the burn kicks in!) But you can be comforted by the fact it only lasts for 3:30.

There are also other exercises you can sub in for squats, such a lunges, bench press, plank to push ups, TRX rows, overhead press, push ups, sit ups, glute bridges… So many options! Just ensure that whenever you’re told to bring Sally down that this movement is the part of the exercise which is the challenge which may mean you’re going up when it says to go down (think TRX rows or glute bridges. If you go down in a glute bridge it means that the holding time during the bridge will be when you’re just lying on the ground.) I know. It’s confusing but you’ll get it. Don’t worry.

If you’re still unsure, search “Sally challenge” or “Sally workout” on youtube. There are some excellent examples you can watch for ideas or um… eye candy.

You can use it as a finisher or you could add a few different Sally challenges together to make a full body sweat session.

Let me know what exercises you try it with!

Make it Monday- Back to school bikkies! [Vegan, refined sugar free, low gluten]

I love cooking. I love playing with flavours and adding a pinch of this or that. I’m not great at measuring. I’m not an excellent follower of recipes. I adapt and change and invariably add more vegetables and garlic than the recipe asks  for (because you can never have enough of either).

This makes me a pretty good cook, I have to say. I know how flavours match and meld and bounce off each other and play.

BUT.

It also makes me a pretty crap baker.

Especially as I like to tone down sugar, fat and traditional flours in my baking which has resulted in some pretty spectacular failures. However, there are some exceptions to this rule and when I was teaching I became quite popular amongst students because at least once a  term I would bake biscuits or brownies or something similar for them (and while I hope this is not the ONLY reason they liked me… bribery works, my friends). What follows are two of my never fail biscuits recipes which are much healthier than your average biscuit. And if I can’t mess them up, even with my aversion to recipes, than neither will you. Promise.

I’m going to write the recipes verbatim from the book I sourced them from (but I’ll also add in my experiments at the end:

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s River Cottage: Light and Easy 

I LOVE this book and highly recommend you get a copy, along with the other River Cottage cookbooks. Easy to follow recipes, fresh flavours and a real focus on produce. Sometimes they can be a bit Brit-heavy in terms of locality (the types of fish he recommends are always ones I would never buy due to the air miles involved and the fact we have our own local versions!) but it’s easy enough to adapt.

So, without further ado:

Spiced date and almond cookies

  • 200g pitted dates
  • 2cm knob or 15g ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 eggs (see after recipe for my vegan version)
  • 250g ground almonds
  • 1/4 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp of ground chinese 5 spice
  • optional: pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 170C

Place dates and ginger into a food processor and blitz until it’s a thick, smooth paste. Add eggs and other ingredients and blitz until a sticky dough forms.

Wet your hands and roll the dough into little balls- what ever size you would like and place on baking tray. Flatten with your fingers until they’re about 1cm thick.

Bake for about 20mins before removing to a wire rack and let them cool before eating. They should be golden in colour and firm around the edges. They’ll keep for ages in the fridge or several days inbaking an airtight container.

Experiments: These are great with a mixture of almond meal and buckwheat flour! I’ve also use my own ground almonds as a base and added coconut flour (beware with coconut flour- only add small amounts at a time as it is SUPER thirsty. I’ve also used a mix of dried fruit- my latest experiment (pictured) is apricots/dates. I also add ground ginger as well as fresh ginger which makes them kind of like a healthy gingerbread or a gingernut biscuit!

Vegan option: I used 3 tbsp of aquafaba (the juice from a can of chickpeas or other legume) for each egg (so 6tbsp for this recipe) and it worked perfectly!

baking2

Oaty, nutty, fruity cookies

  • 200g of natural, crunchy peanut butter
  • 75g runny honey 
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 tsp bicarb soda
  • 75g raisins
  • 50 g oats

Preheat oven to 170C

Place PB and honey in a mixing bowl and beat it together (you may need to melt it slightly first depending on the consistency of your PB and honey.
Add the egg and beat it in thoroughly. Add bicarb and combine. Add the dried fruit and oats. Your dough should be chunky and stiff.

Wet your hands and roll the dough into little balls- what ever size you would like and place on baking tray. Flatten with your fingers until they’re about 1cm thick.Leave some space between them because they will expand.

Bake for 10 mins and then cool on a wire rack. Best eaten within 2-3 days of baking.

Experiments: Yet again, I’ve played with this one a lot. I’ve used alternate nut butters, including a mix of tahini and pb (pictured).

I’ve also played with the sweetener. To make it vegan, try maple syrup or molasses (or obvs, you could use sugar). In the ones pictured, I used only 5ml of blackstrap molasses as I’m not a big sweet tooth. 

I also used a mix of raisins and dried apricots in the pictured batch and I added cinnamon, pure vanilla extract and mixed spice to the mixture too.

Unfortunately I totally forgot about adding bicarb so this batch didn’t rise as much as the last batch I made did, but they still taste fantastic- just a little denser. 

Vegan option: apart from playing with the sweetener, aquafaba is a God send here. 3 tbsp subbed in for the egg. 

Give them a try and let me know how it all goes!! ❤

Happy baking! xx

 

 

5 Minute Friday

Just like last week, I’m participating in 5 minute Friday; a writing challenge hosted by Kate Motaung. We have a prompt, a timer and total freedom from structure, editing and over thinking. Come and play!

Refine

silver threads through

my

veins as I yearn
for a structural
change as I yearn
for a featured
page to turn in
my teacher-ed
range of skills which
JUST pay my bills and
this silver which lines
my personal clouds obscures
my vision as it tarnishes my perception of

pain.

I know that the pain is fire
and the burn is cleansing
and the seared dreams are mending
to become stronger than the lies I once spoke against what

my

silver ever could would or should be but

damn it hurts and I sometimes wish I could say
I don’t want my silver to be purified and I don’t want those linings and

I don’t want the pain

without the guilt of knowing that the faultlines are
the refined tracings of new

paths

ways

passions

plays

 

If I were you… How to structure your oral presentation. [Year 12 English]

Last week, we discussed how one chooses the issue they are intending to develop their persuasive oral around. Today, it’s all about putting it together. This is generalised advice, so please take it with a grain of salt. Consider your own skills and utilise these to your best ability. Some people are naturally hilarious and can deliver a humorous speech effortlessly, shifting between that jovial tone to a more serious persuasive appeal in a way that compels and unsettles an audience effectively. But not everyone can.

In the same way, not everyone is able to deliver a highly specialised and technical speech with lots of stats and figures in a way that is actually engaging. The key to writing a good speech is to find out what works for you and exploit that in your writing. This isn’t the time to test out if you are in fact destined to be a stand up comedian. This is the time to put to use all the skills you’ve been honing over years of oral presentations.

That being said, there are a couple of major no nos when it comes to delivering an oral- at any level.

Do not, under any circumstance, start with

“Hi, my name is Amy and I’m going to be talking about whaling.”

Firstly, your audience (remember how these guys are your focus point- you’re trying to persuade this specific audience) knows your name. You don’t need to introduce yourself. Obviously, this may be different if you’re doing your orals in front of an audience of parents and friends- but even then, this is not the way to introduce yourself. We’ll cover that later.
Secondly, “whaling” is not an issue. There are many issues covered under the broad umbrella term of whaling but whaling in and of itself is not an issue. Nor is gay marriage. Or euthanasia. Or Donald Trump (I mean, he has issues but he’s not an issue). If you must label your issue in the first sentence of your speech (and I do not recommend you do), at least be specific— your issue might be “how Australia should respond to the claims from Sea Shepherd that a Japanese whaling fleet entered Australian waters”. But that sentence is still dull. Don’t start your speech that way.

Do not finish with “and… yeah!”

I don’t think I need to go into why not. It’s not effective. It makes you sound like a 13 year old girl talking about which 1D member is her fave. Which is fine if that’s what you’re talking about but it’s not and it’s not fine in your year 12 oral.

The way you start and finish your speech is vitally important because that is what people remember. They may not remember all the statistics and facts you’ve laid out but if you bore them, they’ll remember that.

So, if that’s what NOT to do, what then should you do??

Well, there are a few guide lines which I like to use. These can be summed up in the form of a very simple acronym that anyone can remember!

HICCUP.

The key to a good speech is HICCUP.

That is:

Hook
This is where you grab your audience’s attention. Where you stand up and reveal something to your audience that they don’t know or haven’t heard before. Where you make them care about what you’re talking about and want to know more.

One way I recommend starting your speech is with an anecdote. A story about someone directly affected by the issue you’ll be highlighting. This could be a true story. It could be funny. It could be devastating. It could be personal or it could be global. You might ask the audience to place themselves in that person’s shoes— although, this has been done a lot and can be done poorly.

NB: I wouldn’t recommend using the “imagine you’re…” format if you’re talking about animals. It’s not particularly effective as it’s not very relatable to human experience and especially if you’re talking about something like animal testing, you don’t want people thinking about one of the alternatives to animal testing- testing on humans- in a negative light. It will not help your persuasive cause.

Another way of “hooking” your audience may be by shocking them with stats and facts. Another is by appealing to them on a personal level. All of these things point towards one main goal:

                CREATING A NEED.

If you create a need which your audience wants fulfilled, they will be invested in the rest of your speech. They will therefore listen to your speech in order to find out how they can     meet that need.

Introduction

The introduction is where you explain what your issue is. You need to show that you have a deep understanding of the topic and also an assured sense that what you’re persuading your audience of is right beyond doubt. This is the time to explain any background information behind your issue which your audience needs to be aware of. It’s the time to explain what a plebiscite is. It’s the time to explain that euthanasia has nothing to do with Singaporean teens. But please don’t just read out the Wikipedia article related to your topic- it’s boring. Keep it relevant and tight. You have a time limit.

The second part of the introduction is you establishing your argument. It relates to how you wrote your hook and how you intend to progress through the evidence and sub arguments. Are you going to focus on establishing your issue as a crisis of compassion or as pure logic? Are you going to be aggressive or gentle? What are you going to target in your specific audience- what will they care about and how will you use that to your advantage?

Content

At this point, all your work in setting up the need and your argument comes to the fore. This is where you outline your arguments and explain the reasons why you are correct and the only acceptable response from your audience is the one you are offering.

I would recommend having no more than 3 main points in your oral. Any more and it will be too long. Any less and it will seem like your argument is unsupported and will therefore be unconvincing. There are studies which I could go into about why the number 3 works but just trust me. It’s the best amount of arguments.

For each argument you must have evidence to support it. This can be concrete evidence like facts and stats, or it can be anecdotal evidence. Just remember who your audience is and which pieces of evidence will be the most effective for them. Ensure your evidence is supporting your argument, not the other way around. There’s nothing duller than a list of statistics and it will seem like you don’t really understand the issue, you’ve just read some information about it. By starting with an argument and backing it up with evidence, it ensures that you’re considering both aspects.

The key thing to consider here is have I met the need which I set up in the hook? If you told me a story about how sad it is that our young people can’t find jobs, have you told me what should be done to make sure “Sally” can now get meaningful work? If not, my need is left unmet and I am therefore unpersuaded by your speech.

Conclusion

Finally, it’s time to conclude. This is where you bring it back to your audience and what you want their response to be. Are you looking for personal active or passive agreeance? Do you want them to sign a petition? Change their own behaviour? OR, do you just want them to nod along? Agree with you? Shake their heads at the same things you do? Potentially change their vote at the next election? Either is fine but if it is the former, you need to tell them what to do and BRIEFLY, revisit why. Remind them of the consequences if they don’t. Similarly, remind them of the consequences if they don’t believe the way you want them to. Finish STRONG. Finish with a statement of fact that cannot be refuted. Finish the way you want your speech to remembered. Finish with something that will leave the audience thinking.

NB: Finishing by questioning the audience is sometimes effective but can be overdone and a bit predictable. Be careful and see how it sounds when you’re practising. 

Understanding

This is key. Know your issue back to front. I shouldn’t be able to learn more about your issue from an hour of casual googling. I should be able to ask you questions about stakeholders, key points, the historical background and the various opinions on it and you should be able to generally address these. Obviously, no one is expecting you to know everything but I certainly need you to be well versed in the issue you choose.

Presentation/Passion

Make sure you’re passionate about your issue, or at least make sure you can pretend that you’re passionate about it. Practice makes perfect and your use of voice, body language and eye contact is key to convincing me to care as much as you do about negative gearing. Good luck.

Hopefully this HICCUP structure will help your speech go off without one. It’s just a rough guide but I think it’s a good one. Just remember the cardinal rules of public speaking:

  • Fake it til you make it
  • Practise makes perfect
  • That audience in their underwear trick doesn’t work and it’s super weird if your audience are your teachers. Just… done.

Next week, we’ll look at the Statement of Intention and what you should include in it to make sure you get the maximum marks possible.

Happy Speaking!