I am thankful for my... Beloved hubby who always supports me in many ways...
Who wakes up with me in the middle of the night...
Who takes cares of our baby so I can have "me time"...
Who gets up early in the morning so I can have clean kitchen and tidy house...
I am thankful for my... Beloved parents, sisters, brother-in-laws, nieces, and nephew...
Who always pray for me...
and cry with me...
also laugh with me...
I am thankful for my... Loving friends who always lend helping hands even when I didn't know I would need those...
and for becoming my family in this land...
I am especially thankful for my... Dearest baby boy, Owen...
Who teaches me about love and care...
Who makes me feel special...
and accepts me the way I am...
I am thankful for God's guidance this past 3 months...
and for many many many more years to come...
Among many kinds of pie, pumpkin pie is my favorite. I may be bias about the taste though since I can't separate the pie from many things I love about Fall. Yes, pumpkin pie is also about colorful leaves, beautiful sky, joyful Thanksgiving, sweet cinnamon smell, warm apple cider, and tasty Brussels sprout!
I planned on making pumpkin pie for church potluck couple weeks ago, but then decided to make galette instead. Galette is much simpler and prettier I think. I used Dorie Greenspan's recipe for the crust and foodnetwork's recipe with some twists for the filling.
Ingredients: 1 canned puree pumpkin
5 Tbs sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolk
2 tsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger 1/4 tsp ground cloves
Pinch of ground cardamom
Pinch of salt
3 red apples
4 tsp fresh lemon juice
I was so excited to have mom with me on her birthday. I don't remember last time I celebrated her or any of my family or relatives' birthday other than hubby's. To celebrate her very day, I planned on making a birthday cake. The cake was an easy fondant covered three-layer cake with some gum paste flowers. I used the same flower color as one on my anniversary cake. As you can guess, I have very limited food colorings, ahem... only blue and peach!
Making such simple cake wasn't simple with a newborn around. It took me a day to finish the whole thing especially since little O didn't have a schedule yet at that time. I was so glad to have my mom and dad accompanied me finishing up the cake past midnight. The cake wasn't superb, but I could see that my parents were so proud of it.
Yes I am still here. My life has changed a lot since little O was born, which was expected. I haven't cooked much since then. God has sent his angels through great friends thus far. Our friends sent food until two weeks after we were discharged from hospital. I never knew that not worrying about what to eat was such a big thing. We had to adjust with a newborn's life while I was still recovering from surgery. Thing would have been much more difficult without our friends' helps. After that, we got help from my parents. We are on our own now, but things are much better. I am totally healed, and little O is getting bigger.
My mom and dad, being Indonesian-Chinese, still keep the tradition of celebrating 1-month birthday. Usually, parents of the baby send cake to relatives and friends who give present to the baby. Hubby and I didn't adopt that tradition. Being so happy for having a new grandson, my parents took over our "responsibility". They sent puddings and chiffon cakes for our relatives and their close friends. My dad told me that he and my mom were honored to do that because they were so thankful and proud for having a new addition to the family. They did the same thing too for my nephew four months earlier.
My sister kept telling me how great the chiffon cake was. Since I kept imagining the taste of the cake, I opened my recipe book, and made one when my mom was visiting us. I made cheese chiffon cake to mimic ones that were sent on baby O's 1-month birthday. According to my mom, the taste was as good, but mine had spreads of cheese holes instead of small cheese cubes. I guess I need to find cheese that doesn't melt to get that kind of texture.
I apparently don't have much time to update this blog as frequently as I thought. Time has been flying so fast this summer. I've been swamped with work, thesis, and baby preparation. I also had chance to go out of town and doing fun activities with hubby. So this summer has been a great summer. Last week we went to Atlanta and stayed at a very nice downtown hotel that I used as a case study for my structure class when I was in college. At that time, I never thought that I would had chance to go to the U.S., let alone staying in that hotel!
It's the end of July already and we are still not ready for the baby. We've been taking several baby prep classes, getting a lot of baby presents from our friends, and buying other stuffs that we still need. Our living room is currently full of clutters because hubby is working on assembling a dresser we got last week.
Now that I only have a little time, allow me to show pictures of sweets I made for 4th of July celebration I made for my sweet friends at church that have been so kind to us. It's a black forest cake with chocolate ganache.
There was a good Malaysian restaurant in town we loved to visit. The owner was a Malaysian and the food was great. Knowing that we were Indonesian, he talked to us in Malay and offered things that were not on the menu. Those were kind of food that would be too weird for most people here and wouldn't sell well. Unfortunately, the owner decided to merge his business with his brother's. The new restaurant is in a different location. Much bigger place, and offer more variety of food other than Malaysian. We tried his new restaurant once but it was so so. They might have different chef.
Since then, I often crave laksa. I've tried several different restaurants in town but haven't found any that suits my palate. My craving had made us walking 2 miles one way in the middle of the day with empty stomach when we were in Minneapolis just to get laksa from a great Malaysian restaurant. So one day, I made it my own.
The recipe? I didn't follow any recipe nor wrote down what I did because it was all spontaneity.
Ingredients: 1 lbs salmon, divide to 8 pieces
2 big potatoes
2 stalks lemon grass
7 red onion, chopped
5 garlic, chopped
1/2 can of coconut milk (fair, not the thick one)
Dried red pepper, finely chopped
It surely wasn't a Malaysian laksa nor any place's laksa, but it was good enough to satisfy my craving. Hm...now I am even wondering if I can call it laksa.
Summer is really here. On hot days like these days, I like to have dessert that is citrus-y, let it be cake or ice cream. So, I picked Dorie Greenspan's French Lemon Cream Tart recipe for a Sunday potluck. I went to a store to get some organic lemons. I needed the zest and the juice, and the skin is where pesticide stays, so I pick the safe ones. I got the zest and the juice out of 5 lemons. Then it came the first mixing part, which was using a bowl on top of boiling water. Since tiramisu has the same method as this one, and I'd made tiramisu several times, I was full of confident.
I was in the middle of mixing the lemon mixture when I heard loud cracking noise. It was the bowl I was using! It was so stupid of me for using mixing bowl as double-boiler bowl. All of the hard work was gone and I was sooo disappointed. Hubby offered me to buy more lemons, but it was too late at night. I didn't have much energy left to grate and squeeze the lemon; but the crusts were ready. I'd made them in the morning, and didn't want to waste them. Luckily, I bought two extra lemons. So I could still make egg custard with a hint of lemon.
Dorie Greenspan's French Lemon Cream Tart is still on my list.
Saturday morning is the time day hubby & I could sit down, relax, & have breakfast together. I would not emphasize on the relaxing part because we have routine on Saturday morning. Hubby picks up vegetables and cleans the house while wifey chats with her family back home (oh yeah, we have to keep it balanced). Still, we can still have more relaxing breakfast time on Saturday morning than any other day.
I made pancake that day because he'd been requesting it for a long time. The reason was simple: we had a bottle of maple syrup. I found a very simple recipe from the legendary Mennonite Cookbook. I only make half recipe, which was more than enough for two of us. It really is a great recipe especially for someone that is in a hurry. It took me about 30 minutes from gathering the ingredients, frying, and serving.
Everytime I ask hubby what I should cook for potluck, his answer is "something simple". What he calls simple food is food that has all its ingredient mixed at once in one cooking dish. Some examples are casserole, salad, and soup. In contrast, I like to make food that needs to be shaped individually. I enjoy making individual fruit tarts, shaping little pastries, and decorating cupcakes. I also like doing repetitive little thing such as tying ribbons for party favors and making sugar flowers for cake decoration.
For this month potluck though, I found an appetizer recipe that's easy, although it required shaping couple dozens of balls. It was a meatball recipe with "Asian (Chinese)" flavor. I didn't use the sauce recipe because I am not a fan of hoisin sauce. Hubby & I thought they tasted great. I was glad I found this recipe because I usually use boiling water to make meatballs, which was more complicated than just baking the whole meatballs together in one batch. I think I will make these again and save those in the freezer before the baby comes.
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a large bowl, combine meatball ingredients. Shape into balls (I got about 60 meatballs), arrange on a greased baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes, or until meatballs are golden on the outside and cooked through.
While the meatballs are baking, sautee the minced garlic and ginger until fragrant, then add the rest of the sauce ingredients except corn starch. Thicken the sauce with cornstarch that has been dissolved in water. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and stir gently to make sure they all get covered well.
Time flies when you are having fun. It's been 9 years since we got married. During those times, we have experienced many great joyful and sad teary moments. There were times when we faced huge obstacles in front of us. However, we've realized that God's ways have been far bigger and stronger than problems we faced. We often are still in awe of how we get to where we are! We continue praying for God's guidance and providence for our days to come, and hope that we, as individual and as a family can be blessing for people around us.
We didn't go out or have a special dinner because hubby isn't a big fan of celebrating "important" dates, but I baked a cake for our anniversary. The cakes were regular yellow and chocolate cakes. The flower was peony, similar to ones I made for our brother's wedding two years ago. Since the wedding, I never used the flower mold, so I thought I needed to use it again (and again) so it's worth the money I spent . For something like that, I wish I had some friends who had the same hobby as mine so we could lend each others baking stuffs. That way I won't feel guilty of buying baking tools since I knew someone else could use it . Anyway. I used fondant for the outer part of the cake, and butter cream icing to glue the fondant to the cake. The cream was leftover from my mother in law.
Just like our marriage, the cake also wasn't perfect. I was still not comfortable working with fondant althought I've watched a lot of cake decorating shows! Nonetheless, hubby said it was good! He's just too sweet