Category Archives: cooking

Recipes this week – and Indonesian food!

I know you are all dying to know what I cooked this week. And so rather than keep you in suspense any longer, I will go ahead and disappoint you. I did not get to all four new recipes this week. (Sad face) I only got to three. We had so many leftovers from all the yummy food this week that I decided that we had absolutely NO more room in our fridge, and that consequently we must eat a dent into the leftovers before I cook any more food.

The first new recipe I tried was a delicious Creamy Carrot Soup that my friend Meagan emailed to me. It was absolutely delicious. And easy. And quick. Did I say it was delicious already? Matt kept going on about it and Elizabeth was very excited that we were eating Carrot Stew just like the Tawny Scrawny Lion! Because Meagan emailed it to me, I can’t link you to where she got it from, but if you would like the recipe, comment or email me and I can find out where the original source was. I did serve this soup with grilled cheese because I am never sure about soup with two little ones – will they eat it or will they not? Turns out they both loved it.

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The second new recipe was also a winner. For ease and for taste. It was really really really easy. I made this Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken. The only thing I would say about it was that it was really really sweet. Next time I might try cutting back on the honey just a tad. And possibly add a bit of soy sauce? I didn’t have any chicken thighs like the recipe calls for, so I made it with chicken breasts, but it was still nice and moist. I can see how the thighs would probably have absorbed more of the marinade/sauce in the cooking process, though. All those nooks and crannies. Oh well, next time!

The final new recipe this week was also quite tasty. But LABOR INTENSIVE. Especially since I didn’t make the tortillas the day before. I spent an hour and a half making 24 tortillas in the morning, and then another hour and a half cooking everything else in the afternoon. But now I have 12 tortillas in the freezer waiting for next time – yay! Oh yes, the recipe: Baked Chicken and Spinach Flautas. I was tired by the time this meal got on the table. So tired, in fact, that I forgot to take a picture. Sorry! They were still really good, despite the fact that I dumped the entire tray of freshly rolled flautas on the floor while attempting to keep a crying Charlotte away from the 450-degree oven as I put them in. That was a low point. But rather than eat nothing, I salvaged what I could from the floor and they were still quite edible. And we are still enjoying the leftovers! Hopefully with no more dumping on the floor.

Now, I want to show you a bit of the yummy Indonesian food that we eat. My helper gets all the credit for this. She is a wonderful cook. I will try to share the recipe as best as I can. I don’t think it’s written down anywhere (in any language), so I’m going to approximate and hope for the best!

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Coconut and Tomato Basil Shrimp (I’m inventing the name on the spot!)

2 T. vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, smashed
4 small red onions, smashed
2 stalks of lemongrass
4-5 lime leaves
4-5 candlenuts, ground into a paste
2 lbs. shrimp (peeled, or whole in shells)
2 T. water
1 1/2 c. chopped tomatoes
1/2 c. – 3/4 c. coconut milk
small handful Thai lemon basil
1/2  green onion, thinly sliced

Heat oil over high heat in a large wok. Add the garlic and onions and cook until fragrant. Add the lemongrass, lime leaves. and candlenut paste and cook for about 1-2 mins.

Add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp are pink/red and begin to curl. While the shrimp cook add the water to the wok to prevent the spices from sticking and to help the shrimp steam a little bit. Add tomatoes.

When the tomatoes begin to soften add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. The amount of coconut milk that you add depends on how much yummy sauce you want to be able to pour over your rice. Add the basil and green onion and cook for 1 – 2 mins., until the leaves begin to wilt. Serve immediately with rice.

Hope you enjoy this little taste of one of our favorite meals here in Sulawesi!

This is Matt’s recommended drink with this meal. Coconut water with chunks of coconut. Fresh. He loves it. I hate it.

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Recipes!

Last week I began to feel settled enough to start back into the routine of cooking here in Indonesia. Cooking Western food, I mean. Which means my list of things I need to make (from scratch) so that I can cook said Western food includes:

  • Chicken stock – done!
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Pizza Dough
  • Yogurt – done!
  • Bread
  • Granola
  • Tortillas
  • Muffins – I made these, but they’re already gone. Yummy!

Tomato sauce is on the schedule for tomorrow, and I have to make tortillas before Thursday to use them in a new recipe so I had better get busy! I actually really enjoy making this stuff myself, but it’s just challenging that it ALWAYS has to be made from scratch and when I’m tired or the girls are cranky I can’t just whip out the box (or whatever) I have in the pantry from the grocery store.

Thanks to Pinterest, the newest apparent source of endless inspiration, I have come across some recipes that were pretty easy to come up with all the ingredients. So… I have tried some new recipes this past week. Three in fact! With some mixed results.

I made this Roasted Lemon Garlic Herb Shrimp. It tasted really good, but next time I’ll cut down on the oil a bit and not cook it quite so long. The shrimp that we can get here are actually REALLY REALLY fresh, but I overcooked them and they got a little rubbery. I’m still getting used to cooking in our smaller gas oven again. With Celsius… sigh. Here is a picture I got of the final dish. Will definitely be making this one again!

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I also made these Baked Chicken Fajitas ( I made a small batch of tortillas that afternoon just for this recipe). They were really good and easy (even easier if I had tortillas made already in the freezer). My spices are not the freshest (I really need to find replacements somewhere), and it would’ve been better still with chili powder that hasn’t sat in 90-degree humidity for 2 years. Keeping spices fresh (ones that I can’t get locally) is a real challenge for me here. More on that later. Will definitely be making this recipe again!!

Last new recipe this week was this Slow Cooker Rotisserie Chicken. Good, easy recipe, but again I overcooked it slightly. Chickens here are smaller than in America, so I think that it could’ve done with maybe an hour less cooking time. Also would’ve been better with fresher spices. But really, really easy!

Sorry I didn’t get pictures of the other two. It gets dark here at 6:00 every single day and that’s the same time that we eat (two very hungry little girls), so the camera is usually the last thing I’m thinking about until the food is completely gone.

On the menu for this week – 4 new recipes!! One of them was just sent to my by a friend from Houston. Making it tomorrow night, so Ill let you know!

It’s exciting to try new things here, but at the same time I am really trying to find recipes that are worth the amount of work that I put into them – i.e. they taste REALLY good.

That’s all for now from Indonesia! If you have suggestions of good recipes, comment or send me an email. Thanks!

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Pinkalicious!

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Every single night for the past two weeks, Elizabeth has chosen Pinkalicious as her bedtime story book for Daddy to read. So yesterday I decided that we should actually make Pinkalicioius cupcakes. We had fun! She mostly just eats the cherry and licks the icing off, but she actually ate more of the cupcake for breakfast this morning Smile. It’s so fun having girls!

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Barefoot, Pregnant, and Kneading Bread in the Kitchen

Pretty “suzie-home-maker”, huh? I know, sometimes I shock myself. One of the food items that we can’t get here in Sulawesi is good bread. We can get thin, white, squishy bread which is wonderful – if that’s what you like. Whole wheat bread is hard to come by, but available some places in a very light-wheat squishy variety. I have really really been craving good fresh, crusty bread. Fortunately for me…. MY MOM IS HERE!!!!!! YAY!

Now many of you may not know, but my mother has all sorts of hidden talents, many of which I am now exploiting :). So far she has given me a haircut (YAAAAY!), helped me gut chickens, and medicated my weird tropical skin issues. We’ve talked about getting a sewing machine (and her teaching me how to use it) and making yogurt from scratch, but I think those might be projects for another week. Our project now is bread making!

Again thanks to the internet, Mom found another great website that has lessons starting from the most simple bread and building from there. Mom used to make bread by hand all the time when she was growing up, so it’s great to have someone around that knows what they’re doing.

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The first lesson of bread making contains only four ingredients: flour, water, salt, and yeast. I learned all about kneading, rising, shaping, and baking. Here is a picture of me kneading my first loaf of bread, and a close-up to prove that I actually did it!

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This was the end result. It was really really yummy!

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Even the smallest member of the house approved!

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I felt so inspired by the success of this first bread-making adventure, that I decided I wanted to dive right in to another one. We made cinnamon rolls from scratch right after this loaf came out of the oven. Also very yummy, but maybe a little too much for one day for me, since with all the rising and kneading I wasn’t able to get my afternoon nap :(, something that has become a daily necessity now that I am pregnant. Next time, one new project a day. Here are the pictures from the cinnamon roll venture. Kneading again, and pressing out after it finished rising to put the yummy stuff in the middle.

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Rolling and laying out:

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After they rise one more time they bake and come out looking yummy yummy yummy!

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And finally, the icing on the rolls…

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I am so thankful that we have a real oven in our house here now. None of this would’ve been possible with our tiny little burner-top oven that we had in Bandung. I feel so spoiled! Thanks again to my Mom who gave me the guts and the courage to tackle what seemed like an impossible task by myself. Maybe I really can turn into a baker after all? Matt says that now that he knows I can make this stuff, he’ll never let me stop! I will admit, there really is something very yummy about homemade sweet rolls and coffee/tea for breakfast :).

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