Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Healthy Dessert?

I have many cookbooks, but I hardly use any recipes from them. I had a little time to sort out a few yesterday and discovered a recipe that is aimed for kids. After I finished making the desert and put away the book, I managed to read at the back of the book, claiming that the recipes are healthy ones. That, completely puzzled me. The bottom layer of this dessert, the shortbread, used 1 cup of butter. The second layer, the caramel, asked for 1 cup of butter, but I took the liberty to cut the amount down to 3/4 cup and reduce the amount of sugar too, but it turned out that the butter was still too much. You don't want to know what's on the top layer.... I have to tell anyway. Surprise, surprise, .... more butter.

No wonder this chocolate caramel shortbread turned out really wicked. It's really rich and supposed to be served in small pieces. However, who could stop at one small piece? Aside from DH? No-one! Exactly! They are really scrumptious.............. We desperately need strong will and self control here.


I woke up this morning only to find out that Dow Jones went down by 777 points, no thanks to US lawmakers that did not approve the $700 billion bailout plan. Consequently, Asian markets fell all over the place and that's how the last day of September went in the financial market. Gloomy, chaotic, uncertain, worried. Nobody knows what to do for certain.

So .... 30 days went poof.... and it is the end of September. That's really really super fast. Six weeks of school have gone by and we will have a little break after the 8th week. A break that is truly needed considering that first term is really the longest one of all. If I were a student, I would certainly look forward to it. As a mother of three students, I look forward to it too. I am getting tired of dealing with exhausted, grouchy and suddenly IamsmarterthanyouIcouldntbebotheredwithwhatyousay kids around the house. I am very aware that having them around the house will be another set of challenge too. Yes, this time we are not going anywhere. Two of the three need some studying done during the break. So the break won't be a pure break. I hope it'll be okay.... It still a change, a tone down of rhythm.

Baked macaroni and cheese reminds me of those days when the kids were younger and still had the love to go down to the pool downstairs and swim and play and had fun, - with me. I miss those days, I miss the time when I was still able to go with all the three and just did something, together. We hardly have that anymore for many various reasons. I don't think that's what my kids thought of when they had mac & cheese last night for dinner. They simply saw something they liked for they hungry stomach after spending nearly the whole day at school. Nevertheless, I am happy that they seemed to enjoy the meal.

Monday, September 29, 2008

She Made Me Do It!

My evil twin sister kept on pushing me to satisfy my craving. Say goodbye to my diet, I am weak....... I stumbled upon the picture of martabak when was surfing the net yesterday and of course, I wanted to have some. Almost instantly I ran to the kitchen to get everything I need out of the fridge and the freezer. Which was not much. Ground beef, onion, curry powder, green onion and eggs for the filling. Salt and pepper to my liking. Spring roll skins for the pastry. That's it. Swing the magic wand, and I got my egg martabak. Yum.......

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Afternoon Oatmeal Cookies

Suddenly, Little Miss Baker had the urge to bake some oatmeal cookies yesterday afternoon, with chocolate chips too. I, who had plan to bake another Swiss Roll with strawberry jam to satisfy DH's likeness, decided not to go on with it. It was probably a good idea, since DH was truly intimidated by the fact that my Swiss Roll has 6-7 egg yolks.

Her oatmeal cookies, by the way, were snapped up rather quickly! I am still going to keep her. wink

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Just Another Saturday Morning....

Saturday morning.
Cheese bread sticks!!!!

Yummy Gummy .....Bears

Somewhere in some cities in the USA, I bought a container of these baby gummy bears and brought them back here. That was in July. Only a couple of days ago, I opened them and left them on the coffee table in the living room for everyone to grab. And boy, they are so yummy.... it's so hard to stop eating after I start. It doesn't matter which color or what flavor, they all are good. I didn't know that before.

It is quite interesting to find out that they are produced in Indonesia, for sale in the USA and we brought them back here to the vicinity of South East Asia again. I am assigning DH to search the supermarket in Indonesia when he goes there, to find something similar. The girls also like them so much that only so little are left as of this evening.

Rolling The Icing

Friday was just yesterday, but I can't really remember what I did and the day is gone. I remember that we had salmon for dinner, but everything else did not seem to register in my puny brain. I know also that I was finding a way to use the leftover of my red velvet icing that I made last week and I thought of making this Swiss Roll with butter cream and grated cheddar cheese. The final roll was not up to my expectation, in terms of look. It has been a long time since I made one, so I forgot the tricks needed. But in terms of taste, ....hmmmm, it was one delicious roll we love it!

Friday, September 26, 2008

First, The Dressing...

For a couple weeks, I have been fancying dendeng balado, the Indonesian dried beef with chili dressing. And for various reasons, I have not been able to put them together. After my appointment yesterday, I was in the vicinity of Carrefour and ended up with a bunch of things including the big red chilies that I needed for the dressing. It was my intention to make the dressing first then the dried beef another day when I have more time, and of course the beef.

The chili dressing is so simple to make, it's a mix of red chilies, tomatoes, onion, salt, sugar and a teaspoon of vinegar. Use a blender to chop them, upon which it will be stir-fried with a little bit of oil. The dressing can be used for chicken and fish too.

Talking about chilies, here's mine:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Recycling The Icing

My fridge was so full of leftovers. So obvious that aside from myself, none of the people that live here are into repeats, unless desperation calls for such action. Today just had to be the day, the cleaning up day. I still had a little bit of this and some of that of most of the things that I cooked over the past few days. They, who should not be named, needed to help clean the food up.

I also had around 1 1/2 cups of butter frosting that had been sitting for a while, which I took out and maneuvered into cookies, coated with icing sugar. They look quite attractive but the ugly truth is that I baked them a little too long. Somehow somewhere, I also did not make a good judgment on the proportion of the ingredients, which subsequently didn't help the taste as well. Too bad, one can only try..... They are still edible. wink But tough cookies indeed!

The Dark & The Red

This was shot from the window of my room 7:30 in the morning yesterday. It was really gloomy dark to start a day. It was a good thing that the children had a ride from DH to go to school. Within minutes, the rain started pouring.... and of course, by 9, the sky began to clear and by afternoon, it was a nice sunny day. Like nothing happened before. My day worked the opposite way, unfortunately and I am glad today is a another day.

Meanwhile, let me show more red chilies..... I can count them with my fingers no more....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pleasing Hungry Kids

Tuesday is a day for regular weekly cleaning mostly for my helper who comes here once a week and working for myself. It's the day when I try my very best to sort out paper work, do data input and organize work-related matters. Occasionally, I stumble upon some things that need to be solved but by accident DH put them away in the file. Tuesday is also a day when my allergy acts up, because someone does vacuuming around the house and the dust just could not resist tickling me.

We had spring rolls last week but apparently I did not make enough to satisfy everyone's appetite for them, I made probably around 14, four of which was packed for DH who was flying overseas that afternoon. My very hungry kids didn't think that I made enough. Since I had all the ingredients that I needed, I made them again yesterday, in fact this time, I doubled the recipe. My favorite mix for the filling consists of young bamboo shoots, julienned carrots, minced chicken, eggs, mushrooms and green onions with the usual chopped garlic, pepper, fish sauce and sugar to taste.

I realized by now, after everyone was content with what they ate, that I actually only need to make one batch for all of us, as we could not even finish a half of what I made today. The rest are nicely stored in the fridge or maybe freezer, for easy future use. It's still worth the effort.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More Red Ones....

I am seeing more and more red chilies although the the plants seem to be getting old and sadly it looks like they are moving towards resting in peace forever. I don't know that for sure, I am trying to find out left and right about these things. My head right now is full of things to sort out in some faraway countries where troubles are taking place. Issues and more issues....... But I am glad that the plants that I am looking after really produce. Something to be thankful of.......

Monday, September 22, 2008

I Like Monday Better Now....

Most of us hate Monday, I know that's a rather strong statement, but Monday......... That's hard to deal. DH might be okay with it, he is okay with lots of things, in fact. Weekend is supposed to help us recharge our energy, we are expected to come out fresh and to be as good as new on Mondays. But we want longer weekend, we like to laze around more, if that is possible. We don't like Mondays, unless the Monday we are talking about is a holiday, of course. Not the school-day or the work-day one. Arghhh.... we could only wish it's still Sunday.......

I used to dislike Monday so much back when I was working in Jakarta. In the mornings, we had to grab two sleepy girls from their bed and put them in the car with their clean clothes and food and drinks, to be transported to the day care. (The third one had not make her grand entry yet.) Traffic was particularly worse on Mondays too, the jam was simply horrible, it was a punishment for a tired mother, and father too, who tried to make a living. We normally had to spend 60-90 minutes on the road before we arrived at the office. I am astonished by the fact that I could endure such a living for many years there.

Without having to go to office to do the work, I am loving my Mondays better now. In fact, I kind of look forward to it. It's a weekly mini independence day for me when the little ducklings go to school and DH is out of the house after a hectic and crowded weekend. I don't quite do crazy dancing and jumping up and down, I just feel so at peace sometimes. Quietness!

Monday is a long day for the three who normally arrive back at home from school after 6:30 PM. Dinner tends something that everyone likes, like chicken, to well compensate their long day. This evening, we had Chicken Cordon Bleu, served with potatoes with basil and parmesan and sauteed spinach. Dessert? Pick what you like, we had anything from ice cream to cake to choose from, got a big fridge full of food. Very filling dinner! Off to homework now, for them. Computer time, for me!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

From The Garden....

Not mine, they are from the garden of my sister's. These are small chubby chillies, less than2-inches in length. I haven't tried them yet, but knowing my sister, I can be sure, they are smoking hot!!!!! And I thought they look adorable and cute too. She sent me some seeds to plant along with many other seeds to plant as well. I don't know where to start since I have a small balcony and a bit of soil. I have the pots, but definitely need more soil. Let me put that on my to-do list, hopefully I will be able to grow some in my backyard... oops...I wish..... balcony, soon!

The picture above is from her, she's got plenty of space in her new house. Land is abundant in her country. I am officially envious...... I am more envious of Kathy's house in Michigan though. Maybe, ............ just maybe, I could live in a landed house when I retire and start gardening, which I completely have no talent in, right now. Something to think about, really!

Thinking Of Us

It was a nice surprise to see a package of these chocolate nougat from my sister that was passed through DH who arrived last night. I used to see them and had some during my high schools years a zillion years ago back in Bandung, Indonesia. My sister, however, who also spent some years in Bandung during her college years, only stumbled upon them around a week ago, in Jakarta. I am doubtful if the brand is widely carried by many stores in the country, but then again, I could be wrong because it has been a while since I visited.

These chocolates are not very best in the industry, it was just so great to see something pleasant that remind me of those days. Younger years .... when most of the memories are as sweet as these chocolates......................... Sniff, sniff..... sad .... I need some Kleenex!

TJ, thought of my little friend here too, sending her a really pretty cellphone accessory. Cute! Thanks TJ, for thinking of us!

A New Family Member

Welcoming a new family member, a couple of weeks late, but it is better late than never. Yamaha guitar! Let's sing many happy songs!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Seeing Red

After waiting for many weeks, I saw a red chili for the first time this morning. Finally, my plants are showing what they are capable of..... producing red chili, indeed.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Gone, But Not Forgotten! Happy Birthday, Mom!

As planned, I got myself busy today with a little birthday remembrance for mom, who passed away in May, six years ago. I hope my sisters had as much fun as I did with theirs too. It's a day in which I dedicated more time thinking about her and the good times we all had with her.

I decided to go with Red Velvet Cupcakes for this mini celebration with fun frosting aimed mostly to please the three granddaughters of hers, living here, whom I expect to be consuming them the most. DH is away on business trip, as usual, maybe he can help when comes back this weekend.

For good old time's sake, we had fried noodles too!
Happy birthday mom, wherever you are!
Rest in peace and be happy! We miss you, always!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Found: New Carrot Cake Recipe

My kids actually like carrot cake, especially the one with frosting. My in-laws too. I don't mind baking them so much, but I have had many accidents with grating the carrots that has somewhat discouraged me from making many carrot cakes, 'til I was stuck with too many carrots in the fridge the other day.

I wanted a different type of carrot cake and I found this one, the one that uses buttermilk and coconut flakes. I omitted the walnut/peanut since nobody likes them and it turned out to be an accident-free carrot cake making. I think I like this recipe, I love the coconut in it, it enhances the flavor. It's nice even without frosting!!!