One of those days…

So today was the big interview. Many things were prepared in order for things to work out with that. Some things didn’t work in our favor today, but in general things went very well and the kids had a great day too. I was going to stay at my friends house and have a mom’s night in with a group of other moms. The kids were exhausted after all the activities from today and we did everything possible to keep them awake until sleep time, which ended up being around 7pm. 

Both kids were asleep by 7:15 and I snuck downstairs to start cleaning up the mess/toys from the day. Forty-five minutes later both kids were awake and my son had a complete emotional overload. He wanted to go home and refused to go back to sleep. This also resulted in his sister waking up. I tried talking to him about staying, but I was very obvious that he wasn’t going to go back to sleep and that he wanted to be home. I decided to listen to his request. This was one of those decisions that I deeply believe are key to trust being developed with my children, that if there is something they truly feel needs to happen then I listen to them. I will never force them to do something they aren’t comfortable doing. 

Now we’re home and MMC is now making me feel even worse about the decision to come home and that we should’ve stayed, because he suffers from anxiety and he’s convinced that forcing our son to “deal” with it, rather than respect his request, is the way to help him get over it. I seriously can’t win with MMC most days lately.

Tonight I just can’t…

A little background: Tomorrow I have an interview for a part-time work-from-home financial position. The work would give us some extra income and it’s working for a not-for-profit organization I believe in (and run by moms too!). I have to physically interview for the position, so a friend of mine, who actually recommended me for the position, will be watching both kids. After the interview I’ll meet back at her house, where we’re having dinner and then a mom’s night in. I have to be in the neighborhood (with her) anyway the following day, so we’re all spending the night. 

Now for the story. I told MMC about the interview, he’s thrilled, and I told him about spending the night, he seems to think I’m weird. Tonight he came home at a semi-decent hour, and he was sitting at the dining room table eating my “scraped-together-at-the-last-minute-meal”, when he asked me the details of tomorrow. I told him that my friend will watch the kids and take them on an outing with her kids. He immediately rolled his eyes. I asked him what the eye roll was for. To which he responded “I can’t tell you because then you’ll tell the other people you talk to”. Okay… Stop the gosh darn truck! What the fuck is that supposed to mean?!  So now I’ve told my friend about this and I’m posting it here, because what he said is ducking stupid and it pisses me off that he can’t just tell me what he takes issue with. 

I don’t have any pretty picture to post with this (and to be honest, I think the words will be good enough). But seriously?! Does anyone else’s husband do this? 

Overnight oats – gingerbread Apple Raisin

My second attempt at my own recipe for overnight oats was, in my own opinion, very delicious. I made it again (it’s in the fridge right now and will be ready to eat tomorrow morning).

I love the taste of apples and cinnamon, but I love gingerbread even more. So… Why not combine the two? 

I’m not going to spend any more time talking about it and just post my recipe. Try it and let me know what you think.

The Recipe:
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon raisins

Instructions:

Add all ingredients into a mason jar and shake until well combined. Place in fridge overnight and enjoy in the morning.


Overnight oats – Latte Coconut

I’m a little late to the overnight oats game, but I’ve found a new obsession that actually makes my life a zillion times easier. I never seem to find time, in the morning to both make and eat my breakfast. I love making hot oatmeal with cooked finely diced apples, cinnamon, and a dollop of my homemade Greek yogurt. But I either forget to make it in time or by the time I’ve made it I’ve run out of time to eat it… Overnight oats have simplified this and it’s ready when I want it.

My first attempt was a simple oats, yogurt, milk, applesauce, and cinnamon. I didn’t have any almond milk, so I used my 1% dairy milk.

The standard ratio for oats is 1/2 cup dry to 1 cup wet, so keeping that ratio in mind it’s pretty simple to come up with your own recipes. I searched Pinterest for some different recipes and couldn’t really find exactly what I wanted, so I made up my own.

My second attempted recipe was a chocolate fudge one, which I immediately adjusted. I used espresso powder and chia seeds, which adds a nice texture and great nutrition (fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids to name a few).

The Recipe:
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup yogurt (Greek if preferred)
1/2 cup coffee
1/4 cup milk (to account for thicker yogurt)
1 Tablespoon coconut flakes (sweetened, if desired)
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1 Tablespoon chia seeds
1 Tablespoon chocolate powder 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:
Place all ingredients into a mason jar (or bowl you can easily cover) and shake (stir) until fully combines. Place in fridge overnight and enjoy the next morning.

Nasi Goreng

One of my all time favorite recipes is an Indonesian style stir fry rice called Nasi Goreng. Because my background is Dutch there is a strong connection with Indonesian cuisine. After visiting Indonesia (almost a decade ago now) I discovered that the connection to the Dutch as well (not going into the history, as there are many factors of this that weren’t so wonderful). 

I make this recipe about twice per month and it gives me leftovers for several meals (I love hearing it and carrying it with me on cold outdoor trips with the kids).


The ingredients are pretty simple, but the key ingredient is something that cannot easily be substituted (but can be made from scratch). It’s a sweet soy sauce called Ketjap Manis. I order mine through Amazon and I keep it in the fridge (though it can be store in the pantry). 

You’ll need to cook rice (about 2 cups dry) beforehand (long enough to cool off a little). I usually make the rice in the early-mid-afternoon. 

You’ll also need some “scrambled” eggs (5-6 eggs with some salt and pepper) more crumbly than solid, which you’ll add to the chicken before the rice. Whisk the eggs together in a bowl, add salt and pepper to taste, heat a skillet at medium-medium-high, pour in the mixture and stir pan until crumbles form and are fully cooked.

The recipe

2 cups uncooked rice, cooked to directions
5-6 eggs scrambled with some salt and pepper
2-3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 1/2 pounds diced chicken
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 onion diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups cooked rice
3-4 tablespoon Ketchap Manis

1. Cook rice, roughly 2 cups uncooked, according to package instructions

2. Scramble 5-6 eggs with some salt and pepper

3. Heat wok on high and add in sesame oil (I used to make this with peanut oil, but my son is allergic to peanuts, so we don’t use it anymore)

4. Meanwhile dice chicken and then transfer to the wok. Generously sprinkle with the curry powder and add salt and pepper to taste. Cook until it starts to brown. 

5. Add in onions and cook for a few minutes (until they start to get glassy) before adding in the minced garlic (don’t want it to burn). Cook for another minute or two.

6. Add in the eggs and continue to stir

7. Add in all the rice and stir thoroughly

8. Add in the Ketchap Manis, I do this by sight. Start with the smaller quantity, stir in, then taste rice to make sure it’s not too salty/sweet.

9. Serve with some cucumbers as a side 🙂

Sourdough starter

I’ve recently learned how to use sourdough starter to make waffles and bread. Several months ago I started making bread, with yeast, you know…. The “normal” way. Then my father told me I was doing it wrong, that using a sourdough starter was a much better way to go. Well, I have to admit that he was right. I’ve now had my own sourdough starter, from my parents, for almost a month. I’ve made several batches of waffles and 4 different loaves of sourdough bread. I’ve even shared my starter with a friend and she’s now making waffles and bread too (AND she just found a recipe for blueberries sourdough muffins, which I plan on trying tomorrow!). The cool thing is that now my friend is posting about it too and she’s going to share her starter with friends too. That’s such an awesome thing, it makes my tummy all giggly with delight.

Anyway, back to my starter and bread and stuff. I made my first sourdough following Jacob Burton’s step by step video, with Stella Culinary, on YouTube, last weekend. I wanted to make the bread on Friday and instead found out that 1) I didn’t have enough starter (called my dad on how to actually “properly” grow it) and that 2) my starter didn’t pass the float test. That latter step was a little intimidating at first, because I didn’t know my starter that well yet. However, I then did a lot of reading, online, on what to do and how to do it. The best way to find out when your starter is ready for bread (float test, or dropping a dollop of starter in room temp water, if it floats it’s ready to be used to make bread, if it sinks it’s either not ready or it’s too far gone and needs to be fed) is to test the “float” status of your starter every hour, starting with the first hour after the most recent feed. I discovered that my starter is excellent at around the 2-3 hour mark. So on Saturday I woke up early, fed my starter, and then set the timer for about 2 hours. 

My starter passed the float test (room temp water, drop dollop of starter, if it floats make bread, if it sinks wait a little longer)

Now you can make bread, which I’ll do in a separate post. I think, for bread recipes, you need a fed starter; for waffles and muffins (a recipe to be tried today) you can have a fed or unfed starter.

Feeding your starter is very simple and there are two ways to maintain a starter: in the fridge (feed weekly) or on your counter (feed every 12 hours). 

My fridge starter (her name is Abigail) before her weekly feed

Weekly fridge feed:

Take starter out of fridge. Open jar and stir contents (it may have separated a little, and have a golden-ish liquid on top, this is normal and does not mean your starter is dead). Allow to adjust to room temperature a little (anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours) by leaving it on the counter. The resting process is not necessary, if you are short on time, and I’ve tested out feeding a starter directly from the fridge with no issues. A slightly warmer starter seems to feed better, however, so that’s what I’ve been doing. 

Once the starter is ready remove about 1/4-1/2 a cup of starter, place in a bowl that can be covered. Add 100g (4oz) of lukewarm water and 100g (4oz) bread flour (or other wheat based flour), stir and let it rest (covered) on counter for several hours (6-12 hours). 

After the resting/feeding period stir the starter and put back in mason jar (pint sized is good). The starter you have left over can be tossed, used to make another counter starter, make another starter, or used in a recipe (like muffins or waffles).

For the counter starter:

Remove all but 1/4-1/2 cup starter, add 100g flour and 100g lukewarm water. Stir everything together and cover. This will need to be done every 12 hours (I do first feed around 8 or 9am and then the evening one around 8 or 9pm). I have accidentally skipped a feed and if that happens, feed your starter as soon as possible. Continue to feed as you normally would (if you remember 24 hours later, do next feed at 12 hours, if it’s a couple hours before the next feed, say it’s 4pm, you could do another small feed at 10pm and then again at 8am). You can use the discard to make waffles, muffins, another starter, or bread. You can also keep feeding and make the starter bigger, this will be needed when making most breads (which usually call for roughly 500g of starter).

This is my counter starter (his name is Fred)

If you want to make your own starter King Arthur has an excellent tutorial on their website. 

These are the waffles I make. It requires overnight resting (roughly 8-12 hours), so this is a great recipe for using up your “discard” starter at night or when you feed your fridge starter.

This recipe is excellent for making sourdough sandwich bread. But it definitely requires two bread baking pans (at least for my starter it has and my friend, who’s also made this, she found the recipe for me). As you can see in the picture below, it could not be contained.


Thankfully I caught it in time and was able to salvage it.


My favorite recipe (my father introduced me to this), which I’ll do a separate post on, is Jacob Burton’s from Stella Culinary. He has a YouTube video on the step by step process of making a simple sourdough bread. The first time I made it, it definitely didn’t feel simple, but after having made it three times now it seriously makes THE best sourdough bread I’ve ever tried.


So far I’ve really been enjoying the process and I look forward to making this part of my routine. It’s certainly pretty budget friendly, since the last recipe only requires flour, water, and kosher salt and you can easily make several loaves of bread with one bag. An artisan bread like this could easily cost $6-10, but even King Arthur flour only costs $4.99 for a 5-pound bag. I’d say that’s a win. 

Le Creuset Yogurt

I have a large stock pot/Dutch oven pot from Le Creuset. It’s purple. I love it. It was a Christmas gift (picked out by me) from Mr. Man Cold almost two years ago. I use it for everything, from pasta sauce, soups, and puddings to more recently using it for yogurt and sourdough bread. I’ve just ordered a proofing basket, for making sourdough bread (because a towel, secured with a rubber band, in a plastic mixing bowl wasn’t cutting it after three attempts), and I can’t wait to try it. I’ll do a separate post on my sourdough bread, because it’s so much fun!

Anyway… Back to my purple pot… Last week I ran out of time to start my yogurt in the crockpot, so I got the (very) bright idea to make the yogurt in my Le Creuset. 

I brought the milk (1 gallon organic whole) to 180+ degrees (my thermometer clips on to edge of pot, so I occasionally checked it). Then I moved the pot to the back of the stove and let it cool off to the 110 degrees (while this was cooling I turned on the oven to let it preheat to the lowest possible temp, 170, and then promptly turned it off). Take out 1 cup and add 2 tablespoons of yogurt (from last batch), then add this mixture back into the pot and swish gently with a whisk until mixed. Put top back on, place on top of thick towels and place in oven (with light on) for 10-14 hours. 

The yogurt was significantly thicker than when I did it in the crockpot. I believe this is because the Le Creuset is cast iron and retains the heat longer, which is ultimately the goal when wrapping it in towels and placing it in the oven. I will definitely be doing I like this going forward, because it was soooo delicious. 

2 Quarts of the gallon of yogurt