Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Recipe: Bacon, Onion, and Cheese Scones (Gluten Free)

I've been bragging about these on Facebook, so I thought I would share.

To make 18 scones:

Two to Three rashers of smoky bacon, diced
one small onion, finely diced
Grated Cheese (I use Mature or Extra Mature Cheddar, but any other strong flavour would be interesting)
Four cups of Self Raising Flour (I use Dove's Farm Gluten and Wheat Free)
a pinch or two of salt
two round tablespoons of margarine
enough milk to draw it into a dough (I used whole goats milk)

In a skillet or frying pan, fry up the bacon, and when it's almost done, add in the onions. Cook until the onions start to go soft and the bacon crispy. Turn the heat off and set to the side.

Preheat the oven and baking sheet to Gas Mark 7/230C/425F.

In a large mixing bowl, add the flour and salt, give it a bit of a mix with your fingers. Add in the margarine, and rub in to the flour until it's mixed. Add in the grated cheese, give a bit of a toss, then add in the bacon and onion and toss with your fingers until evenly mixed. Gradually add milk until it draws in to a dough, but don't over do it.

Tip out on to a flour-dusted surface, and lightly knead it (but keep a light touch and don't over work it). Use your hands to press out the dough to about a 2cm thickness. Cut out in rounds with a cookie cutter or pint glass.

Pull the baking sheet out of the oven, and layer with nine of the rounds. Brush the tops with melted margarine and top with grated cheese. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes.

This is a recipe that I have modified from the Jamie Oliver forum

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Abnormal Psychology

As part of my college Access course, I am required to take Psychology. The unit that we started a fortnight ago is "Abnormal Psychology", and I'm finding it to be just as interesting as I found "Early Social Development".  One of the tasks that the instructor wanted us to do was to go out in public and do something out of character, and what would be seen as weird in our society. I had a few giggles, because some of the things that she suggested, I've already done.

  • Walk down the road singing songs from "The Wizard of Oz". Been there, done that. I did a 5 mile charity walk around downtown Indianapolis with a couple of friends. For the last half mile, we linked arms and skipped to the finish line singing "We're Off To See the Wizard" at the top of our lungs.
  • Walk around town barefoot. Again, that same charity walk. It was bucketing down with rain, and I don't like squidgy shoes. I took my shoes off after the first half mile, and walked 4 1/2 miles around downtown Indianapolis, barefoot, happy as a lark. I have a barefoot preference, anyway. I've also gone to collect by boys from the village school barefoot. My neighbours were mortified. My shoes were dry and intact, and my feet dried quicker than a pair of shoes would have.
  • Sing out loud. I regularly catch myself doing this, along with dancing, because I forget myself when I'm listening to my headphone, and find myself singing whilst walking through the college refectory, or dancing in the queue waiting for the bus.
Add in that I made the choice to take an alternative path of faith to the majority of the population, I don't understand the point of some modern fashions, I wore Sophie in a sling rather than putting her in a pushchair, and many other things, and I'm probably classified as being a few bricks short. I wonder what labels would be ticked for me in the psychiatric manuals? But, there's actually nothing wrong with me. I'm not harming anybody and I'm not harming myself. I find it to be a pointless task to try to be like everybody else in society, and boring. What's the point of it? People need to open their minds up and find that it's so much more fun to be weird. 

I embrace my individuality, and I enjoy being weird and abnormal. Sometimes, the things that I do or say actually gets other people to stop, question themselves, and why they do the things they do, and the point to it all. Maybe that's what my intended role in our society is...to be one of the ones that comes across as safe and innocuous, but once in a while I shake up the people that need to be dragged out of their rut, kicking and screaming.  For me, it breaks the monotony of routine, and gives me a much needed laugh at myself, and can bring a bit of levity to the monotony of other peoples' lives.

I admit that I'm weird, and I'm proud of it. Are you?

Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Mask and the Mirror

One of the things that I regularly think about is about the masks that people regularly wear. I don't mean a physical and visible mask, although I love the Venetian ones. I mean the ones that we use to hide our true feelings and thoughts from other people. I admit to having multiple masks because they're my protection from the outside world. Strength, when I actually feel weak. Confidence, when I actually feel like I have absolutely no chance. Shyness, to hide the lack of confidence.

To those closest to me, they know me behind those masks. They know that I can be ultra-sensitive, I have a rather dry sense of humour, and I tend to lack some tact, meaning that I don't always mince my words. The running joke when anybody visits my house is that your tact button gets checked in at the door. To keep myself grounded, I regularly pull out the mirror. I think that it is very important to reveal to yourself what and who you really are. I can get quite caught up with things in life...going to college, being a mum, and having to live and abide in general society. I may not have much, but I will bend over backwards to the best of my ability to help people. In today's society, not everybody understands that somebody can be quite happy to lend a helping hand. One of the problems that I have is stepping back and remembering myself, which ends up to the detriment of my physical and mental health. I regularly forget that there are people that will help if I ask...basically, I forget to ask.

Unfortunately, there are people in this world that forget to drop their masks and forget to look at who they really are in the mirror. They don't see the ugliness in which they show people. It's not the beautiful Venetian masks that they show, it's the mask of a gargoyle. They forget to temper the mask with the mirror, and lose themselves to the outside. They hurt those around them with jealousy, greed, arrogance, and superiority complexes that have no justification. They're hiding their true selves by beating those around them down with nastiness, misplaced judgement, and ignorance.

Sometimes, though it is a difficult thing, you just have to step away from people like that and let them get on with it. When the time comes, their mask will fall off, and the damage that they have done will be glaring back in the mirror, revealing that they have lost people that actually cared for them. For me, there are people that have irrevocably burned their bridges with me. I won't retaliate...karma will catch up with them. But there are a couple that I still care dearly for, but I have decided that it's just time to let them get on with it. They can dish out advice, but can't take it themselves and turn it into claiming that I'm being nasty when I'm not capable of it.

It's taken a fair bit of soul searching for me, but I'm currently in a place where my life just keeps getting better every day. That makes a change, as I have hit some pretty low places, but I'm going to run with the positivity and just ignore the negative. If those people need me, I will still be here, but I will no longer be offering what I have to give unless it's specifically asked for.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Facebook Page

I've finally decided to build a Facebook page to try to get more interaction and ideas.  Feel free to join me over there!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy 2012!

As per when I hit my college restart, it's been a while since I've last posted. It's just been so busy for us for the holidays, which turned out to be some of the best that I've had, barring the fact that I'm still trying to dig my house and kitchen out. I'd much rather spend time with my family and friends, as we all would. I have tomorrow to do it before starting the new term at college. I thought today, being a new start, I should use this space to recap the year, and to put down some pseudo-resolutions.

Recap of 2011

This has probably been the year that I have seen the most positivity that I can ever think of having. I've experienced the strengthening of friendships, renewal of old friendships, and the gaining of new friendships. This is the year that I've finally gotten brave enough to truly put myself out there, and starting this blog has made the biggest difference to me. For those that are interested in going back to my start, just follow this link.

After the downer of having to drop my college Access course in March, I restarted it again in September. It was a bit of a struggle to fit in with the new group to start with, but now I can say that I've got friends amongst them that I plan on keeping for a lifetime. I'm extremely pleased and surprised with my progress on the course. They started with a new awarding body, which makes things a little more complicated, but I feel that I'm doing a lot better than I was last year, and it feels more like I'm getting somewhere than I was last year.

I've seen a lot of changes with the Imp. We were struggling with our relationship at the beginning of the year, but she then started at an excellent nursery in May, and us having our separate time has made the hugest difference to the both of us. I have my own identity back, and my life is no longer revolving around her every move, and her personality and skills have taken dramatic leaps and grow with each day. She started there with being six months behind in her speech, and after a fortnight there, the switch finally flicked and she was speaking in complete and clear sentences. She skipped a few steps. She now makes her opinion clear, and, most of the time, when her emotions aren't getting in the way, let's me know what she wants and needs. She's become very independent, and it makes it a lot easier for us to be equals within our little family unit.

Seeing my mom, stepdad, and one of my three brothers back in May was a truly special time. I hadn't seen them since 2003, and being able to spend a fortnight with them and my now-10 year old niece that I met for the first time was amazing.

There has been the sadness, as well, with the loss of a yearmate in the beginning of the year, and the loss of friends' pets that meant a lot to me. I have had my down moments, but they've been a lot quicker to get out of than they have been in the past.

Pseudo Resolutions for 2012

I'm not in to making resolutions, because they're too easy to break. But there are a few goals that I truly want to put in place.  From the way that I'm looking at it, 2012 looks to be truly spectacular for me. It may not seem like much to some people, but that is the word that has been shouting at me, because I am truly looking forward with a lot of positivity.

  • Spend more time with my friends, aka My English Family
    • I've spent more time than ever with my friends this year, which has made a huge difference to me, but I think we need to do even more. My closest friends I have dubbed as my honorary siblings, so, if you look at it that way, as well as having three blood-related brothers, I also have four sisters, three brothers, the Imp's Grumpy, and the keeper of my heart. Hmm, because I'm likely to be blogging more about them, I should probably come up with alternative names for them all. You've already seen me regularly post about one, Witchy Kitty. She's changing to a new blog, but I think she can keep her same name with me :P I'll come up with names for everybody else as I go along.
  • Get out of Lincoln more often. 
    • I rarely leave the city. I think I can maybe think of three to five trips out for the day in the last year. I'm already planning a trip to Cardiff to visit Illustratedmum (Welshy sister), which I really should do more often.  More day trips are in the pipelines, as well as some potential weekends away.
  • Finish my Access course and start University
    • That's all dependent on me getting accepted to uni.  My UCAS will definitely be going out tomorrow, and I need to keep up on my course work. 
  • Keep up on my blogging.
    • This blog has made a huge difference to me, so I need to focus back down and post more often again. Maybe make a goal for at least once a week or fortnight, minimum, to get me back on track.
  • Read more books
    • I'm normally an avid reader, but I've just not had the mental focus to concentrate and read, so my stack is building up. I must try harder. 
  • Do more crafting.
    • I've put my cross stitch aside for the time being, because I really need to find a floor stand for my frame. I've opted for some smaller crochet projects that I can get the sense of accomplishment of actually finishing something. For holiday gifts, I managed to whip through and complete three scarves. That's a huge accomplishment for me, the way that things have been so busy. One of them was even finished in a day...that was only due to me reinjuring myself and having to force myself to actually sit down and stop. The other two took me a fair bit longer, but I still managed to finish one for Yule and one for Christmas, and I was quite pleased with myself.  One of my posts to look back on regarding projects would be this one. Another project that looks easy is from Kirsty Alsopp's program on Channel 4. She did a heart garland for across her mantle for Christmas, but it's inspired me to attempt to do something similar for each Sabbat to go across my shelf in the living room. I just need to find fabric that I fancy, and the time.
  • Concentrate more on my rituals and celebrations.
    • I don't mean doing anything fancy, but, as seemingly seems to be a repeating theme, I need to take more time to stop and celebrate. It's not that I don't celebrate with a thought or few every day, but I need to stop more. Nothing organised...we all know that I don't play all that well with others that try to be organised, but I feel the need to do some energy and spiritual work with others (just as long as it's not organised. Got to make that clear :P )
  • Project 365
    • I'm a rather snap-happy person with my mobile, so I've finally brought up the courage to start a Project365. Feel free to follow me, if you're interested, on silverswan365.blogspot.com
Again, those are just a few goals, but nothing is set in stone. I really can't call them resolutions for the year, because they're ongoing things in my life that I'm looking forward.

I hope that all of you will be having as spectacular of a 2012 as I anticipate mine to be. Feel free to share yours in the comments, because I love seeing what everybody is looking forward to.