Today's hot dog lunch with zucchini chips

On Friday, I got beautiful organic vegetables from the YUM Farm in Cipanas, and I had specifically asked for tomatoes, beetroots, cucumbers and zucchini. However, I was feeling a bit tired of the usual ratatouille, zucchini au gratin and sauteed zucchini so I started browsing..... until I found this interesting recipe for Zucchini Oven Chips. It looked really easy so I thought ok I'll try them out and hopefully Amal will like them.... And he did!! He even said: "Mama you should open a restaurant. We'll call it ROM...Restaurant Of Mama!" :)

The recipe is quite simple.



1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoon milk
2 1/2 cups sliced zucchini (about 2 small or 1 medium)
Cooking spray


Preheat the oven to 220 degrees celcius.
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place milk in a shallow bowl. Dip zucchini slices in milk, and dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place coated slices on an overproof wire rack coated with cooking spray; place rack on a baking sheet. Bake a 220 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until browned and crisp. Serve immediately. Best eaten hot.


If you, like me, have a little boy who's crazy about robots or maybe you are, you have to try this new app on iPhone and iPad! It's called Lovebots and I think it costs $0.99 on iTunes. Loads of fun fun fun! Amal has made more than 20 so far, and I even tried to make one myself (pink background, of course!)...



I want a glass of this like right now!


I love stories and I love hearing people have a fun conversation. What I don't love is traffic and spending an hour in my car to go to and from the office to the house. That's why I love podcasts. I don't think many people in Jakarta actually download and listen to podcasts but these are what gets me through the traffic. And honestly, I'm sure I've had people looking at me when I drive because when I listen to the stories and conversations I could just suddenly burst into tears or laugh out loud.

So I'm going to share with you my secret to getting through Jakarta traffic. First of all, get iTunes on your computer. You don't need to have an account. Go to "Podcasts" and search for my favorite podcasts:

The concept is simple: everyday raconteurs or storytellers get together for an event and each have about 15 minutes to tell their story. The event usually has a theme, but the stories are all different. I truly can't say I've ever heard a boring or uninteresting story. A few that I remember well is a father telling the story of his son who is into girl toys and clothing and asks for a pink bike, another one where Kimya Dawson talks about her experience working in a carnival and scaring Mariah Carey, and a really touching story told by DMC of Run DMC.

This podcast is for mostly female and a parent, but honestly you would also enjoy it if you were male and non-married. The host are Lynette and Stephanie and they talk about everything from their daily lives to what's happening in the news (mostly in the States). They just have a really relaxed feeling to their podcast and you feel like you're there next to them, just looking at them talk to each other.

Ok so from the title you can already imagine that the podcast is mostly for women and mothers. But what I like about this is that the two hosts, Erin and Kristin, talk about managing work and motherhood, which I'm very familiar with. Again, it's like listening to your good friends just ramble and make you feel like you're not the only one in the world who feels frustrated when it comes to balancing work and motherhood.

There's nothing more to say except that these talks have literally changed my life. They've taught me so many things, that I couldn't have even imagined learning on my own.

Now that you've found the podcasts, click on "Subscribe" and download a few episodes. Put these into you iPod and voila, you're ready to beat the traffic :)



(photo by Design Sponge)

I can't compare Jakarta's monsoon season with wintertime in Europe, but there's the same kind of feeling where you want to cozy up in bed with a nice hot drink, and when I saw this recipe for homemade chai tea, I wanted to make it straight away! Unfortunately I haven't bought the ingredients, but I thought I'd share the recipe since I've always been curious how you make chai tea :)

A Perfect Mug of Chai
  • 4 c. cold water
  • 4–6 cardamom pods* (depending how intense you like your chai)
  • 4–6 cloves (per above)
  • 4–6 black peppercorns (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, chopped (optional)
  • 4 tsp. black tea (I use Darjeeling. You can also use three tea bags.)
  • 4–6 tsp. raw honey (to your preference)
  • 1/4 c. milk
*You’ll need to bruise your cardamom pods before adding them to the water, in order to expose the seeds inside. I do this by hitting them with the back of a spoon. Once cracked open, place the whole thing into the pot — pod, seeds and all!

1. Add water and spices to a medium-sized stainless-steel pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.
2. Reduce heat to low, place tea in a tea strainer and add to a pot along with honey and milk. Simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Remove from heat, cover and steep for 5 minutes longer.
4. Remove and compost tea, and pour chai in two large mugs. I like to leave the spices in, but you can discard them if you prefer.
5. Sip and smile!


This song has been playing on my iPod a lot lately. It cheers me up :)


I'm going to be very random and just post some things that I've been pinning on my Pinterest page. Somehow, running between my job at YUM, tutoring kids, gym and being home before Amal goes to sleep has not given me time to relax and update my blog. But that's fine; that's life and this is what I'll see when I look back on these past few months: a very hectic busy yet satisfying schedule :)

I thought this cat shaped pre-school in Germany was really, really cool...The kids must be ecstatic to be in a school like this.

My eyes keep coming back to this outfit on my Pinterest page.... love the orange skirt paired with that flowy grey top..

I wish Amal were still at an age where I could dress him up.... This is an outfit that would totally fit him!

What can I say more than what the quote says? :)



Jordan Ferney from Oh Happy Day has done it again... I can't believe she thought about these costumes and made them happen! These are really cute :)
I doubt Amal would want to dress as Andy Warhol for Halloween (actually, he said he wanted to be a box! Seriously...) but these could maybe inspire other moms out there...



The YUM Organic Farm got a fresh new coat of paint on their entrance gate, with the help of donated paint from the British International School (BIS). The talented Kang Bram finally got to color in the signage and vegetables he had crafted into the gate's walls. 
With the beautiful mural that the Year 9 BIS students made for the organic farm, this just makes the place even more amazing to visit :)


I recently discovered this new bakery from a friend, and then realized it belongs to someone I had met before, a close friend of my brother and sister-in-law. I also remember them telling me he used to make them pastries in Paris so without a doubt, this was gonna be good!
I couldn't decide what to try so I bought a little bit of everything: brioche (light buttery bread), baguette, walnut raisin sourdough bread, rye bread, croissants and raisin danish. 

The packaging is stunning and I don't know what to say about the pastries except that they're DELICIOUS!
If you're interested to try, call them at 02191511185, or email them: info@ouma-boulangerie.com or contact them via their twitter @oumaboulangerie



I HAVE to share this letter with you which really touched me, and I feel goosebumps each time I read it. It's written by an 18-year old girl named Erin who lived in the Cipanas YUM Village for the past 6 years, and recently she got accepted to a top Indonesian university free of charge. Unfortunately, her monthly costs of living (accommodations, food, clothing, etc) were not free of charge so at YUM we tried to find her some funding via GlobalGiving. We successfully, in a matter of 2 weeks, with the help of many friends, found funding for her first year of living costs. And here is a letter I received from her, that she wrote to all the people who donated *snif snif* :)

Erin at university

Dear Donors,

I hope this letter finds you well.  I am Erin and in this opportunity, I would like to thank you and everybody who help me through “Help Erin Get a University Education in Bandung” project, so I can continue my education at University. I wish God will bless you with lots of happiness and fortune.

I was born in Pemalang, Central Java on March 3rd, 1994.  I remember that when I was a little kid and studied at elementary school, my father did not have a fixed job.  He only worked when someone asked him for helps, so it was my mother who had to work hard to support our life.   I am very proud of her and I have a dream to change my family life condition and make my parents proud of me.  I am the fifth child with four sisters and two brothers.  Due to our financial condition all of my older siblings were only able to finish their education until Junior High School level.   

In this opportunity, I also would like to share with you about how I decided to move to Yayasan Usaha Mulia (YUM) in Cipanas, West Java. It was in 2006 when I just graduated from elementary school, my mother came to me and asked me if I would like to move to Cipanas to continue my study.  It is hard for me to decide but she convinced me that it would be the best way for me and my family.  She had great expectation that I could continue my education as high as possible.  So, I decided to leave my family and promised to myself that I would not disappoint my mother.  At the beginning, it was hard for me to live in Cipanas; I often missed my family back home.  I wanted to return to my family but I reconsidered again and thought that I had to do this for my family.  Here in Cipanas I was offered better education and facilities and one day I can improve my family life. 

In cipanas, YUM gave me an oppurtunity to go to study at the best Junior High School in that area called SMPNi 1 Sukaresmi.  Everyday I tried to adjust myself to local culture, language and new people. My grade for Sundanesse subject in first semester was not really good, since my hometown is in Pemalang, Central Java and YUM is in Cipanas, West Java, these two locations have different language. However, fortunately I got the first rank in my class! I was very happy with the result J.  At second class of junior high scholl, I was selected to represent my school in math competition among Junior High School students in District level and I got the third place. I graduated from Junior High School in 2009 and continue to Senior High School at my favorite school, SMAN 1 Sukaresmi.  At that time, like other students, I never thought that I would study at university since it would cost a lot and my family didn’t have a lot of money.  Finishing my high school was already a fortune for me and my family. However, I didn’t want to be hopeless and pry for a miracle.

Although, I didn’t know who would pay my expenses in university, when I graduated from Senior High School, I tried to enter university thru an invitation. But i failed, so I tried again thru national selection.   I was accepted in Animal Science Faculty of Padjdjaran University.   I  think it will be easier for me to get a  job after I graduate.  I learn that there are many people graduated from animal science faculty become a success person.  Sometimes I feel upset when people don’t understand about this faculty.  They think that after graduation, I only can work as an animal shepherd.  It encourages me to prove it that what they say is not true and I will be success. 

After graduate from university, I want to work in a company to earn money, so when I have a lot of money, I will use it to establish a restaurant providing all animal products.  The money will also give me an opportunity to continue my study to master degree so I can become a lecturer in university.  However, my first goal is to run a restaurant business.

Since I study at university, I gain a lot of benefits and my parents are very proud of myself.  I also can motivate my younger brother and sister to keep stay at school and study as high as possible.  

That is all I can tell about myself and all I can do now is to thank you and your friends for your help. 

Thank you!!!

I'm so happy for Erin and so proud of her achievements. Not only that, but she is showing all those who know her back home that if you work hard, no dream is too big! :)



I'm a huge fan of beetroots; I love their texture, their taste, but I especially love their color. It just so happens that the YUM Organic Farm has plenty of it so each time I go there, I bring back at least 2 kilos of beets.

I've been wanting to make Beet Cake ever since I saw this video, but never got the time to do it until this weekend. It was actually also a bit of a dare because everyone at the YUM office would look down on beets and I was trying to prove a point - that beets are yummy and can make a really nice cake :)

As you can see from the photo above, the cake turned out great: crispy on the outside and super moist in the inside. My only disappointment was that we couldn't taste the beets (which is probably a good thing!) but I guess the point of them being in the cake recipe was for the moistness...

So here's the recipe I used based on the video:


2 cups of beets, cooked and pureed/grated (this is about 2-3 medium sized beets)
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
115 gr semisweet/dark chocolate, melted
2 tsp baking soda 
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
220 gr butter, unsalted, at room temperature
3 eggs

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees celcius.
Mix the butter and sugar with a mixer at medium. Gradually add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together: flour, baking soda and salt. It would be best to sift so you don't get lumps of baking soda which happens.
Add the dry ingredients to the first mixture, then add the melted chocolate and the pureed/grated beets.

Put everything in a square or round baking tray and bake for approximately 45 minutes.



Amal is currently learning about family and family history at school, and one of his homework was to write in his daily journal, answering the question: "Do you love your family? Why? What family means to you?"
I just thought I'd post his answer here so I can keep it forever and come back to read it whenever I want :)

" I love my family because they buy me books food and other stuff. My family is great because they already go to meany countrys like argentina, norway, france, amerika and other places. My family is awsome because my Granpa was the ambasador in  norway. My family is realy helpfuel you know because my mom and my grandma help the poor kids in a place called yum. My family means to me is that they always look after me."

* written exactly how Amal wrote it in his daily journal



One of my favorite bloggers, Cannelle & Vanille, has recently published a book and to promote it, she's made a video with the help of Ryan Marshall, from The Panic Room who makes beautiful videos. I've shared two of his videos in two previous posts: here and here.

The Cannelle & Vanille blog is not only full of incredibly tasty recipes, but it's a feast for the eyes. Aran Goyoaga is a trained pastry chef, who is known for cooking gluten-free recipes, and also a food photographer; no wonder the food images are sublime. See this article on Whole Living magazine where she talks about what to stock up with if you want to make gluten-free recipes.



printable schedule found from this website

Though my son is really good kid, like any other boy in his class, doing his homework and any other daily activity where he has to practice something academic would never be done if I didn't have a hand in it.
Last year, I kind of let it flow, I didn't feel that at his age I should be nagging him about homework. Though I encouraged him to do what was asked, I also didn't want him to feel pressured. However, this year, I feel like it's time to kind of step it up, time for Amal to focus a bit more on his school work and learn to organize himself better.

So I decided to make a daily schedule with him where all of his extra-curricular activities are written down as well as what he has to do once he gets home from these activities. At the beginning I thought I was too harsh, that I might just turn into a "Tiger Mom" all of the sudden. Then I realized that when I don't remind him to do his daily chores or give him a task, he has this urge to just jump on the sofa and turn the tv on. Now, when I'm home, that's not the case but half of the time, I only get home by 6.30pm so someone else is taking care of Amal, and he usually gets what he wants (whole other issue to talk about).
So far, the daily schedule has worked miraculously well! He doesn't even need to be reminded which is amazing. I made one that looks a bit like the one above. I thought I'd post that one because it's a printable schedule I found on Pinterest, in case you were looking for one.



There's something about fresh colourful vegetables that just makes me happy. Maybe I was a farmer in one of my past lives :)

I do admit I was surprised when I arrived at the Pasar Modern BSD and saw how neat and clean everything looked. This was not what I would call a normal pasar.
 I should really go to the market more often :)


This year's Idul Fitri celebrations were, let's say, different. First of all, my ex-husband decided to say his Idul Fitri prayers at the mosque where my family was going to, and secondly, he celebrated the occasion with my whole extended family.....which has not happened for the past 4 years!

Amal and his cousins

Some people might think we have a funny relationship... 
I, for one, haven't stopped going over to his family and spending a day (or sometimes even sleeping over) during the Idul Fitri holidays. I do this because I sincerely feel at home there, I consider them my family and I'm adamant that my son feels included and part of his father's family. 

So 4 years later, I believe we've actually "succeeded" in our divorce. We've succeeded in a way where most divorced couples have had difficulties: putting our child's interest in front of ours.

How long will this last? Hopefully as long as possible. It's easy now that we both have not moved on and married other people, but that will be another challenge, which I look forward to and hope to find a happy compromise when the time comes. 



Browsing through my Pinterest, I realized I had a few pics of various items with the rainbow theme so I thought I'd share with you:

This is a DIY of a simple white side table transformed by coloured japanese washi masking tape into a colourful one, made by Lady Croissant.

These kitchen utensils were given a new life by using different colours of non-toxic craft paint, made by Little Bit Funky.

I so want to sleep in these sheets (via The Company Store)

This is actually something I've always wanted to do in my own house, but it'll have to wait. When I browsed the blog of the one who posted this, I found it really cute and fun... check it out!

And of course.... the ultimate rainbow cake... though I've never actually tasted one that I really like (I did hear though that Convivium makes an awesome one!), this pic is mouth-watering!



I haven't made brownies in a really long time.  I think I was somehow traumatized (if one can be traumatized by making brownies) because I used to make the most excellent brownies when I was a teenager, and somehow I lost the recipe and I couldn't seem to make the same kind of brownies anymore. I remember trying several recipes, several weeks in a row, but none of them were good enough.
However, I was browsing the internet a couple of days ago and found a recipe on the Martha Stewart website and thought "hey why not?" so I made these brownies and they turned out really good!
No stress, no pressure.... I guess that's how cooking should be :)

Fudgy Brownies

225 grams dark chocolate, cut in small pieces
110 grams butter (Elle & Vire unsalted)
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
3/4 cup flour, sifted
1/2 tsp salt
handful of hazelnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Place the chocolate and the butter in a bowl and place over a pan of boiling water. Be careful that the bowl is not touching the water.Stir frequently until the chocolate and butter are melted. Remove bowl from heat and let cool for about 10-15 minutes.
Once cooled, stir the sugar in until well combined. With a whisk, add the 4 eggs one at a time, whisking until smooth (no need for mixer here). Add the vanilla essence, then gently fold (with a spatula) the flour and salt. Add the hazelnuts here if you want.

Take a square baking pan, smear a little bit of oil then cover with parchment paper.
Pour the brownie mixture in the baking pan and bake for around 60-65 minutes. The top part will be hard and crunchy but make sure that the inside is well cooked. Bake until a cake tester (toothpick or knife) comes out with only a few moist crumbs.




My cousin, who started an arts management and event organizer company, is currently organizing an exhibition of sculptures by Noor Ibrahim, an artist from Yogyakarta. I went to see the exhibition a few days ago and really enjoyed his works. They're very unique, and I love the medium that he uses for his sculptures. Some people may say his sculptures are scary, but I rather think they're quite amusing.

some of his sculptures on the rooftop of the gallery 

the interior of the gallery

The exhibition is currently taking place at Kemang 58, Jl. Kemang Raya No. 58, Jakarta Selatan.
If you're interested, the exhibition will run until 29th July, and is open from 10 am to 5pm (sometimes later according to my cousin because the artist himself likes to hangout till late at night there).
I met the artist himself and from what I understood, the whole point of making these faces are not to demonstrate beauty but on the contrary, that people have many faces, many personalities, and this is what he's trying to portray.
Noor Ibrahim, I was told, has also been invited to expose his sculptures in Paris this September. 



My good friend Meda from high school has just released a single called "Kami Laskar Pelangi" which is part of the soundtrack to the upcoming Laskar Pelangi television series. It's a beautiful song, written by Andrea Hirata, the author of the tetralogy Laskar Pelangi, Sang Pemimpi, Edensor and Maryamah Karpov.
Check out Meda's facebook page here to get all her updates and you must listen to the song below :)



So my mom's in France right now and I received an email from my uncle this morning with a few pictures of an exhibition they went to yesterday. I am super jealous! It's like nothing I've seen before: the concept is paintings of Van Gogh and Gauguin, projected onto white rocks via multimedia and so as you'll see in the pictures below, you are surrounded by the painting from head to toe!

The exhibition is situated in the south of France in the area of Les Baux de Provence, where there is a quarry of white limestome called Carrieres du Val d'Enfer. This type of stone was apparently used to build castles. However, modern materials led to the closure of the quarry and since 1977, it has hosted many audio visual shows. This is what the Carrieres du Val d'Enfer actually looks like from the outside and inside when there's no exhibition:

If you're interested to know more about the exhibition and how it's done, check out the website, which also features a small video.



I'm a sucker for quotes, especially those that make me smile or just makes sense. Thanks to Pinterest, I've been able to collect some really nice quotes, and not only do I like the wording but the design around the quote is quite cute. Here are just some of those I have. You can view the entire collection here...



** doesn't this rainbow popsicle make you think of holidays? **

I might be late for some, because actually my son has been on holiday for the past 2,5 weeks now but the holidays aren't over yet and it might still be worth it to share some of the things I've heard were going on:

They have a whole set of programs for kids from 2 to 17 years old, from 5 day camps, to full on english language camps or drama camps, to afternoon sessions such as soccer, robotics, swimming, tennis, etc. 
Amal did the one week Soccer afternoon classes and was really happy about his lessons.
If you want to check out the information, go to their website.

I've enrolled Amal in the one situated in Gandaria City, It's a really great place for kids who need to let out some steam (active kids!) because everyday they offer around 6 different activities in dance, martial arts and aerobics. Amal of course is all into martial arts. It's not that expensive when you think that your child can actually come everyday for 3 sessions if he/she would like. 
Joining fee + Monthly fee is around Rp. 600,000. For more info, check out this website.

Yes, doing a little promotion here :) Our organic farm can be visited any time by a minimum of 10 participants. I would recommend this for kids above 13 years old. The program is around 2.5 hours and kids will learn to make compost, how to plant seeds correctly, make organic pesticide, open a "bed" to plant the seedlings and of course, harvest their own vegetables.
A full 2,5 hour program will cost you Rp. 120,000 and you will be bringing home a nice basket of organic vegetables! For more info, call (021) 7698505 or email jakarta@yumindonesia.org. Go to this website to see pictures and a video of the farm.

Daily classes where kids will cook, paint, draw, make arts & crafts and other fun activities. For ages 3 to 14 years old and situated in Pondok Indah area. Their Holiday Program goes on until mid July. Check out their Facebook page for photos and more info, or email: kutakatikartcraft@gmail.com or call 082113131132/08129231376.

Alun Alun at Grand Indonesia and Central Park are organizing activities for kids, making animal wayangs and cooking indonesian food. It will be in beginning of July, in the afternoons and costs around Rp. 120,00 to Rp. 150,000 per session. If you're interested, go to their website

Abrakadoodle focuses on art classes and they have one-week camps during the holidays which costs around Rp. 2,000,000 per week. Amal went there last summer holidays and really had a great time. This year was bad timing but maybe next year :)
To find more information about them, go to this website.

* A special website designed for holiday activities for kids: www.liburananak.com
* Family Guide To Jakarta which has a whole page dedicated to keeping your kids busy!
* Or if you're planning to spend some time in Bali for this summer holiday, you are super lucky because there are tons of summer camps there! Check out the Bali With Kids website.