Happy 2016!

I wasn’t planning on writing a “Happy New Year” post, but it felt a bit strange to just get on with my usual schedule without paying any attention to the fact that 2015 is over. Although, I have to say, I’m not as excited about the new year as I have been in the past. 2015 was a good year for me, so I simply want to keep doing what I’m doing.

However, this doesn’t mean that I don’t like to look back on everything I did in 2015! A year ago today I wrote a post in which I mostly looked forward on what was to come, and also included a few goals. I also wrote a post with some blogging resolutions at the end of December, so let’s take a look at the goals in both of those posts and see how I did…

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Happy New Year!

It’s officially 2015, everyone! I can’t believe it’s already been fifteen years since the new millennium… Anyway, enough with the old people talk (HA, I’m 21…). I’m here to talk about the future, not the past.

cool-happy-newyear-friend-funny-new-year-2015-wallpapers-pictures-pics-sms-messages-images…Okay, let’s talk about the past very briefly. 2014 was a great year for me! After having a rather tough year in 2013, I decided my only goal for 2014 would be to have fun and be happy. That worked out pretty well for me! Of course I had my ups and my downs, but when I look back on the past year, I mostly remember having loads and loads of fun. I made new friends and had great times with old ones. This was also the year that I decided not to care about what other people think of me or my passions and hobbies, like reading, or blogging. If people didn’t understand that, that was their problem, not mine. And, man, does it feel good to just be myself! It’s only made me more secure and comfortable in doing the things I love.

Now, onto 2015!

I have a feeling it’s going to be pretty good! If everything goes according to plan, I will have earned my Bachelor’s degree in English language and culture by the time the summer rolls around, and will have started my Master’s in writing, editing and mediating in September. Some pretty big things to look forward to, I’d say! It also means I will be writing my bachelor thesis in the next few months, which should be interesting.

This will also be my second full year of blogging and I am so looking forward to it! Unlike last year, I have set myself some goals, such as reading 50 books, and getting organised on Goodreads. I’m going to continue to post on Thursdays and Sundays, with the occasional Top Ten Tuesday on (you guessed it) Tuesdays. I’ve already been planning my posts for the next month in Google Calendar (which is a new thing I do, and am oddly excited about…). And then there’s this new thing I’ve decided to do as well: a monthly recap every last Saturday of the month. I’ve  been wanting to do that for a while now, and the new year seems like a great time to start!

I hope this year will be just as amazing as the previous one! My main goal is to get more organised (in general), and be more efficient with my time (less browsing around on the internet aimlessly…).

One more thing: thank you all for sticking around and reading my blog! I really appreciate it, and I hope to see you here again in 2015! May your 2015 be merry and bright (oh wait, that was Christmas…).

Ten Book Blogging Goals For 2015

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Holy moly, another year over! Well, almost over — there’s still time to finish one more book, I’d say. Before doing so, however, it’s time to write down some bookish resolutions for 2015! This year was my first full year of blogging here at Books Baking and Blogging, and I had so much fun with it. I can’t really imagine my life without my blog anymore, to be honest. But let’s not get emotional! There are still a lot of things I’d like to work on or do differently when it comes to book blogging and the organisational side of it. So… Here are some of my book blogging goals!

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Apple Turnovers

I thought apple turnovers were a Dutch delicacy, until I Googled them this morning. Turns out, they’re quite international! I didn’t do any extensive research on them or anything, but Wikipedia didn’t mention any specific origin, and Google gave lots of non-Dutch recipes, so that made things kinda clear.

The reason I thought they were specifically Dutch is because apple turnovers are a traditional snack for New Year’s Eve in the Netherlands (along with oliebollen, which actually are typically Dutch — and delicious). You can get apple turnovers throughout the entire year, but I think most Dutch people only eat them on New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day, probably.

On the 31st December my mother buys the oliebollen and apple turnovers at a stall in town. She has to do this in the morning, before work, because in the afternoon there’ll be an enormous queue in front of the stall. That’s the same every year — everyone needs to get some last minute oliebollen.

This year I told my mother she didn’t have to get any apple turnovers because I would make them myself. I’d never made them before, but they turned out really tasty, although I did tweak the recipe below a bit from the one I used. Apple turnovers are incredibly easy to make, so give it a go!

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You’ll need… (for 10 turnovers)

– 2 apples

– 75 g raisins

– 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

– 3 tablespoons of sugar

– 75 g almond paste, crumbled

– 0.5 tablespoon of lemon juice

Optional: – 1 tablespoon of amaretto (almond flavoured liquer)

– 10 leaves of puff pastry (in the Netherlands puff pastry comes in the right size for these turnovers if you buy them in the supermarket)

– 1 egg

– some extra sugar for sprinkling purposes

– baking tray

– parchment paper

– and an oven, of course! These turnovers need to be baked at 200 °C (don’t forget to preheat your oven!

So, let’s get baking!

1. Prepare the filling Like I said above, this is a very easy recipe with only a few simple steps! First off you need to peel and core the apples and then slice them into little cubes. Put them in a mixing bowl and add the raisins, cinnamon, sugar, almond paste, lemon juice and amaretto to it. Mix everything together with a spoon.

appleturnoversfillingonpastry2. Put the stuff in the stuff Now, it’s time to bring in the puff pastry. Put some of the filling on one half of the pastry, but leave a little room at the edges. Brush some of the egg on these edges (it works as glue, basically). Then fold the pastry closed diagonally, like the ones in the picture. Press the edges down a bit with a fork. Do this for all ten of the pastry leaves.

3. Brush egg on the turnovers and sprinkle sugar on them You’ve got ten turnovers now, but before you put them in the oven there’s one step left! Put all of the turnovers on your baking tray (which should be lined with parchment paper) if you hadn’t done so yet. You’ve now got to brush some more of the egg onto the top sides of the turnovers, so that they’re nicely covered. Then sprinkle some sugar onto the turnovers. It’ll make them nice and crispy!

4. Bake ’em! All that’s left to do now is to put the baking tray with your turnovers into the oven and bake them for 22-25 minutes!

Enjoy your delicious apple turnovers!

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My Plans for 2014

Sooo, it’s the 2nd of January, 2014… A new year, already! For me, 2014 feels a bit like a fresh start. 2013 was quite a tough year for me, but I’m looking forward to this one, and I’m feeling all energised and positive, which I hadn’t thought possible a few months back.

Part of my positivity has to do with this blog. I started Books Baking and Blogging a little over two months ago, and I’m having so much fun with it! I got really excited the other day when I realised I’d be entering my first full year of blogging in 2014. I intend to enjoy every single minute of it.

I don’t mean for this blog post to be filled with clichés and stuff, but I do want to talk a little about my plans for 2014 because that’s what’s been on my mind for the past few days.

negativemindpositivelife2I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions — I’m pretty sure they don’t work for me and will only hold me back. You see, I’m a worrier. I worry constantly about anything and everything, and if I had to take a couple of resolutions into account as well, that wouldn’t work. At all.

That’s why this year’s goal is just to have fun and be happy. That should be enough, right?

Sure, I want to do well in my studies, and perhaps exercise a bit more, but I don’t want to enter this year feeling like I’ve got a burden on my shoulders. I want to enter it feeling like it’s going to be a great year. I want to be positive by focussing on the good things, instead of negative by only paying attention to the things I need to improve about myself.

This year, I’m going to do fun stuff.

I’m going to bake delicious things in my tiny little kitchen, make beautiful pictures of those baked goodies and then I’m going to devour them, hopefully with my wonderful friends to help eat them. This year will also very much be about friendship because I’ve come to truly appreciate my friends over the past year.

I’m also going to read lots of books and give honest reviews about them on here. I specifically chose not to do any reading challenges (like the Goodreads one) because I don’t want to put any pressure on my reading experiences. I do think I’m going to set up a proper To Read list on here some time soon because that thing is getting longer and longer each day…

And, last but not least, I’m going to continue to blog every Thursday and Sunday because I absolutely love it.