Thursday, 15 December 2011

Crochet Project



This is my new Crochet Project. Any guesses as to what it may be..?

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Recipe: Courgette & Yellow Pepper Soup

Courgette and Yellow Pepper Soup

I found this recipe in a book I borrowed from my local library – I photocopied quite a lot of recipes from it, but this is the one that I make again and again and again (at least once a fortnight!) It’s such a simple recipe, and the resulting soup is delish.

I’ve included photos in this blog – I’ve also pretty much quadrupled the recipe as my local shop had reduced peppers, so I bought them all, and now have to use them. Some of this soup I’ll keep, the rest I’ll give away to my friends & family.

Also, I’ve used green courgettes – the original recipe calls for yellow courgettes, and they give such a rich yellow colour to the soup, but they can be hard to find. The only yellow courgettes I’ve ever seen are those I grow on my allotment. Green courgettes are fine for this recipe.

A bit of ‘health’ background information now..

Yellow peppers are good sources of potassium, betacarotene, folic acid and vitamin C. They can help to regulate blood pressure and are good for circulation. And they look bright and cheery!

Courgettes, especially those grown on your own plot with no pesticides, offer the above, but may also help fight/prevent cancer, and are good for lowering cholesterol. Which is probably why I like this soup so much!

The garlic you will add provides calcium, potassium & vitamin C, and is antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic and also good for lowering cholesterol.

So, onto the recipe!


Ingredients (for a 4 person serving)

1 yellow pepper

1 large yellow/green courgette (or 2 smaller ones)

2 garlic cloves

Thyme leaves ( I use mixed dried herbs)

Chicken stock (I use veg oxo or knorr jelly things)

4 tablespoons low fat cream cheese

Salt & pepper


Recipe

Core, de-seed and chop the yellow pepper, add to pan


Top & tail courgettes, slice, add to pan

Crush garlic, add to pan

Add herbs (I never measure this, I just shake the packet..)

Add stock cubes/knorr jelly/chicken stock (not shown)

Simmer for 10 mins on medium heat

Blend soup in food processor – I’ve got a funky hand held thing that I put in the pan and whizz. BE CAREFUL. If the liquid is boiling, it’s got more chance of splattering you and hurting when it does!

Add the cream cheese, and blend again – note the colour change! Oooohh

Season with salt & pepper

Return to heat

Serve soup in warm bowls, with thyme to garnish, and lovelylovely homemade bread!

Voila!


Further info from my recipe says thus:

108 kcals

8g carbs

7.5g fat

2.7g protein

65mg vit C

480mcg carotene

Instead of using cream cheese, you can use ground arrowroot mixed in a small amount of water to create a jelly.

For a 4 person soup, I use 2 oxo cubes or 1 knorr jelly thing.

When you add water to the pan (if using oxo/knorr), use enough water to just cover the veg & put a lid on the pan while it simmers!

If you have little people, or fussy eaters, in your family, this could be the perfect way to get them to eat peppers! I personally hate peppers, and can only eat small amounts of yellow pepper in one go – since I’ve been making this soup, I loooooovvveee them! Same story with courgettes – I’d never eaten one in my life until I made this soup!


Enjoy!

L x

Today I went to the shop..

...and I bought.. lots!

bananas, grapes, cauliflower, brocolli, clemantines, green beans, baby corn, a potato, a bag of 6 yellow peppers and 4 courgettes! and then some pineapple juice, orange juice and a tropical mixed juice.. ooooh. healthy laura is go!

i've just made a supersized batch of courgette & pepper soup (recipe to follow!) and tonight i'll make some pasta sauce. tomorrow i'm making beef burgers. the day after will be chicken & veg day..

Monday, 24 October 2011

My Little Shop

Has been restocked!
Visit:
www.geologyshop.folksy.com

More stuff to be added soon!

L x

Monday, 3 October 2011

Mushroom ID Help!



Any ideas what 'shroom this is? It's in my back garden, there's only one, it's about 4 inches across and quite close to the ground (maybe 2 inches total height). Quite flat & smooth on the top.

The soil/dirt has flowers in it but it's not in a shady or damp patch.

Any clue?


L x

Monday, 12 September 2011

Photos of Places I Like

Sometimes, I can be a tourist in my own City. There are some amazing buildings in the City Centre, the Law Courts are a good example, and I like to take photos. This blog has some pictures from places I've been recently, but I really need to go on a mini photo-adventure around town, and soon.


The Selly Oak New Road, with canal aqueduct & railway viaduct in the background. Taken after a torrential downpour. This photo is now my phones wallpaper :-)


Access to Main Campus from South Campus, at the University of Birmingham. These steps are new - only finished the other week - and have greatly improved the access and appeal of this part of campus. Love the brickwork too :-) The clocktower is Old Joe.



Bournbrook, in flood, after the torrential rain. Bournbrook flows just off campus, between South Campus & the Selly Oak New Road. I think it leads to the River Rea? I quite often see ducks and herons down here.

:-)

Saturday, 10 September 2011

University Results

As you may or may not know, I have recently finished my first year of University! I am studying Geology, and start my second year in about 3 weeks (which is quite scary!)

As part of my course, I take modules in different areas. For my first year I covered quite a broad spectrum of areas, and in the Summer, I had exams =| I'm not normally one to fret about exams, they normally just pass me by, but after the year I've had, and being so close to quitting University at Christmas, combined with my anxiety & stress related depressive disorder getting more and more intense... I wasn't looking forward to these exams, at all.

Anyhoo, I sat most of them, I had to sit in a separate room under medical supervision (in case I had a panic attack or a freak out and tried to kill myself..) and I got my results of these exams in August. One of my exams, I missed, as I did have a panic attack, and ended up on double dose medication & anti-anxiety tablets.

This exam was for my most favourite, and best, module - Introduction to Palaeontology. I LOVE Palaeo, it's the area I want to work in when I graduate in a few years. I missed the exam, and it was rescheduled for late August. So, I prepared and prepared and revised and cried and revised some more and panicked and chilled out and generally read my books A LOT. I also kept my old A-Level notes, so I used all of them too! Had 2 days off work - 1 to chill before my exam, and 1 for the actual exam - did it, my brain was well & truly frazzled by the end and my arm/hand were cramping and all I wanted was ice cold water.. but I did it. I just had that feeling that I'd conquered it, and all would be fine.

So yesterday I had an email, saying the results were online!! Not having a computer at home, I had to call my sister and she looked on her laptop for me - oh my god!! I got 68% on Palaeo! I only needed about 50% to make it worthwhile, so to get a very high 2.1 for that module is just amazing =D I'm well pleased with myself, really chuffed. All the cramming and crying and revision paid off, and all I need to find out now is how it's affected my overall mark for my first year. I was sitting on a Third, but now that I have this result, I'm probably up to a 2.1! =D

It reminds me of a song title, unfortunately by Fall Out Boy, and it's called 'Sophomore Slump or Comeback of the Year'. I most definitely think I've done the latter.

I'm so happy! I was nearly crying down the phone to my sister.. I thought she'd said 58! And then I phoned my mom at work.. again, nearly crying. Called dad.. the same. And then I called my Tutor, the lovely lovely superstar that is Dr Jason Hilton, the man who managed to talk some sense into me and make me realise that I want this degree, the man who sat with me while I cried my eyes out in Wales (several times..), the man who trusts me with his most prized fossils and a pneumatic pen.. I'm so grateful to him for just believing that I could do it, and for lending me the Levellers CD's...

So these are my first year results:
- Palaeo ... 68
- Structural ... 62 (which is still a shock!)
- Field Skills ... 44 (which isn't surprising..)
- Mapwork ... 43
- Earth Systems ... 53
- Topics (Report Writing) ... 48
- Strat ... 54
- Earth Materials ... 40 (which is surprising, I thought I'd done really well in that exam!)
- Chemistry ... 57

The pass mark for a module is 40, so I only just passed Earth Materials, but in hindsight I didn't make great notes for it, didn't really understand it, didn't really revise for it, and generally didn't try. But, I have got my 120 credits, so I can pass Go, and I can get onto Second Year! (no £200, but I do get loan, grant & bursary..)

I got 4 Thirds, 3 2.2's and 2 2.1's! Which isn't bad for a first year, when all you need is 40% and 120 credits...

And I also did an evening course in Level 1 Arabic, basic communication skills, and I got 69 in that! Which is 1% off a First! =D

Next Saturday, I'm off on my first field trip of Second Year - we're going to Scotland! The 'real' Scotland, the rugged hills and no civilisation and Northern Lights and rain, sleet, snow & then sun! And midges. OH! And ticks. Can't wait. Bring it on! We're based just outside Ullapool, at a place called Ardmair Point. It looks absolutely stunning! This is it - http://ardmair.com/ - I hope you're all jealous ;)

Love x

Monday, 5 September 2011

Allotment

It's been 2 years since I got my allotment, and since I've moved out, I can only get to it maybe once a week. Today was one of those 'once-a-week' moments.

I harvested quite a lot - there's a lot of produce there, I'm just waiting for some to finish ripening, or to fully grow. Lots of loose leaves (lettuce, chard, cabbage leaves, salad) to pick. Runner & Borlotto Beans just starting to get long enough. Courgettes are still heavily cropping - have had LOADS this year, probably a bonus of having 12 plants - but some have been on the ground for a while and are starting to show slug damage. Cut them off, and cut back some leaves, as new female flowers are starting to grow!! Which means more courgettes for meeeee :-) I'm particularly proud of my courgettes this year - they were badly affected by the late frosts and I was certain they'd died and would never recover. As it is, it's been an amazing year for them.

I have trusty little trug, I *LOVE* my trug, he is happiness trug-ified. He is painted blue, and is called Arnold. He's so useful, but alas, he is just too small. He's okay if I don't harvest a lot, if I've just got a few courgettes or beans to bring home, but today, I had to construct an Arnold usurper. Enter... The Box.

The Box is a box, from Homebase, one of two that my ex bought me for my 21st birthday (woohoo!). One is shallow and the other is deep. Lovely pine they are. They live in my Awesome Shed. Today, shallow box recieved a handle, in the form of cable ties & garden wire. This is because Arnold Trug is just too small, and I'd harvested quite a lot today!! I got.. 2 leeks, some yellow tomatoes, peas, runner beans, borlotto beans, 4 small yellow courgettes, 1 marrow sized green courgette, 3 sweetcorns, 3 carrots, loose leaves and yellow raspberries (but I ate them before they made it to Arnold..) and picked more broad beans to dry in my shed for sowing next year. Quite a successful haul!

Here be photos:

hurhurhur


And this is Arnold Trug:


I love Arnold.

:-)

That be all! I'm off back to the land of no computer. I don't miss it. Although, for some reason I can't blog from my phone :-(

Love x

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Crochet

A few things I've made as I'm teaching myself to crochet! I tend to make something as an excuse for practicing my stitches.. I don't make a swatch but instead make a 'something'! :-)


This was meant to become a hat, but the yarn was too thick/stiff, so I fashioned it into table placemat for my Nan. The yarn was given to me by my Aunt when my other Nan died a few years ago. Recycling!


Pretty evident I should hope! My crochet hook holder, made with 3 yarns held as 1 (red, white & blue!) and a 9mm hook.


My first ever granny square! Made with a ball of yarn from Wilkos, and then a bit of scrap to finish off the edge (dark blue on left).


A pear! Well, not really. It's a head, for a cuddly teddy/stuffed dog, called Pepper. I'm using a pattern from Inside Crochet magazine - you can see it here: http://insidecrochet.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/pepper-puppy-by-claire-sibley/ - I'm planning on making one for my niece and one for my nephew, but I started about 3 weeks ago and only have one head....


Oh I am a happy hooker..

x

Woohooo!

So today.... is my sisters birthday; is the middle of my 3-day weekend; is 2 weeks before I go to Scotland and is 6 weeks until MY birthday!

I've had a good few weeks - since I've moved out I'm so much more chilled out, more relaxed, more at ease with myself. Life is good and it shows. I've lost weight (2 inches off my waist!), gone down a clothes size, gone up a cup size, met loads of awesome people, finally figured out how to crochet!! & and have fallen in love with making soup from scratch. I think I've also decided to become a vegetable.. I mean, a vegetarian. I don't think it'll be that hard, I don't eat much meat anyway. Rarely eat chicken or beef. Do eat a lot of tuna though.

The squat is doing great - we beat a court order, the garden is flourishing & the skate park is more concreted every time I go. It's become such a neat little place to go and spend a few hours. Yesterday I just sat in the peace and did some crochet. So nice.

Work is also good! Only got about 10 days left of the temp full time job. I finish on the 16th, I go to Scotland on the 17th, and I start back at uni on the 26th! I should also get my Palaeontology exam results this Thursday or Friday. I'm quietly confident - even if I only get 50% on the exam, it'll do SO much for my first year overall grade. I think I've done better than 50%, but I also know what my tutor is like, so I'm really not sure what kind of result I'm going to get. Fingers crossed its more than 50%!!

Generally, I'm just feeling so happy and so positive about life. I'm ready for uni and I'm ready for the challenge. I'm ready to prove everybody wrong and be the best I can be. I'm ganna work hard and earn every little bit of my First with Honours that I'll be awarded in 2 years time. I can't wait.

Also supposed to be going to Paris for a day or two in October. We shall see.

Love! xx

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Old Bracelets

a few bracelets i've made in the past -all for sale, just go to facebook.com/thegeologyshop, like me & then leave me a message with which one you want. theyre all £5 inc p&p :)











Monday, 11 April 2011

4, 5, and 6 now in!



An ammonite hairclip; a pair of nautiloid cufflinks, and a dinosaur photo holder.



Saturday, 9 April 2011

Friday, 8 April 2011

First Listing in The Geology Shop!!


Yey! The first item in The Geology Shop is now online and listed and ready for posting! It just needs someone to buy it..




:)

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Well hullo thar!


Helloooooo! Welcome to my new blog! I’m also the face behind www.dreadyderry.blogspot.com and www.lapsocblog.blogspot.com – hopefully I’ll actually keep on top of this one!



I’ve set up this new blog to coincide with the set up on my lovely new Folksy shop – www.geologyshop.folksy.com – and I intend to blog a bit about the undergrad course I’m currently doing at university (geology) and some of the field trips and fossil hunts we go on.



I do a bit of part time work as a fossil preparer, so I may also blog about that, with progress pictures of a particular item, or just fossils that I’ve found and think are pretty.



My new shop over at Folksy will feature handmade items that reflect my interest in geology, and particularly fossils. The majority of items featured will be one-offs, unique, never to be made again!, so you should grab them while you can. I’ll be doing jewellery, display pieces, storage pots, novelty items and all sorts. I also take commissions. Some of my items are made from actual fossils – I use them either to make moulds & casts or impressions in polymer clay – and in the future I want to start playing with resin, to encase some fossils in resin and turn into jewellery!



Some of the moulds for my fossily items have been made from actual fossils that were kindly lent to me from the Lapworth Museum of Geology at the University of Birmingham – you can have a shufti here: http://www.lapworth.bham.ac.uk



I also like these places:


http://geologymatters.org.uk


and


http://www.dudley.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/museums--galleries/dudley-museum--art-gallery



I can’t promise daily blogs here – I’ve got University and now 2 part time jobs to contend with – so it’ll be updated when I get chance. I’ll probably set up a new twitter account soon; I’ll probably update that more often…



www.geologyshop.folksy.com


theres nothing in it yet though.