Monday, October 29, 2007

Boston Red Sox Won World Series 2007

Go Red Sox! Yeah ...
Congratulations on winning the World Series 2007!
Mike Lowell ... MVP !!!

We know you can do it, Red Sox, awesome!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

My husband will take me and the kids to see the Red Sox parade in Boston. Yay ... thank you Gus!

I am so excited, because we might go check Penang Malaysian cuisine in Boston. I will tell you how it goes next time.

Friday, October 26, 2007

"Happy Halloween!"

I took the kids to halloween party at Benny's school today. Benny became Transformer Optimus Prime, Thia became Minie Mouse, and I became a witch. It was a fun party with a lot of singing and dancing.

For the first time in 3 years, I made treats for Benny's school halloween party. I made 27 eyeball cupcakes. I forgot that everyone always bring cupcakes too. Next time I will make something simple like my friend Laura's witch hat cookies. She didn't even bake them. And it was a big hit!

If you would like to see my halloween treat recipe ideas including my friend, Laura's witch hat recipe, you can check them at you know where ... hehehe ... yup, AnnaMaddenCooking

Thursday, October 25, 2007

What's wrong with me today?

I forgot to remind Benny to bring something for "show and tell" class at his school today. Thia supposed to wear custom for halloween theme today in her gym class. Aaaaa ... what's wrong with me today? Snif ... snif ...

Too much cooking, baking and blogging ... I guess ... :(

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Boston Red Sox

Right before the World Series between the Rockies and Red Sox first game, I just want to say: "Go Sox!" Wooo hoooo ....

Gus and Clem, are you guys warm enough? Hopefully it won't be pouring tonight. Have fun guys ,but don't loose your voice again! ;)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Anna Madden Cooking

Hi guys, I would like to introduce my new cooking blog:

And check out my story:

When I lived in Indonesia, I never cooked. Our helpers did the cooking for us or we bought food. But, when I came to the US, I had to do everything by myself, including cooking. My question was: how do I feed my family?

Many thanks to my mother-in-law, Cynthia, who patiently taught me how to cook. That is why most of my recipes are American and Italian food. Since then, I became interested in cooking. From "I had to cook" to "I love to cook." Cooking is fun !

Trying new recipes is my hobby. Sometimes I challenge myself to make a delicious dish (for me at least haahaa ...) by mixing some good recipes and adding a little more stuff. And voila ... it's a good one! It is satisfying to cook good food!

I still don't know how to cook Indonesian food. Well, I know just a little about it. I have been asking suggestions to my mother how to cook it. Thank you so much Ibu! Hopefully, my indonesian food label will have a lot of posts someday. :)

I am a very busy mother, so some of my recipes are semi-homemade. It means that sometimes I use store-bought food for my cooking. But don't worry, I still post the recipes from scratch, especially for you. ;)

I made a cooking blog because I want to share my recipes and my five years of cooking experiences with everyone. But five years experience is not enough to be called a good cook. Of course I still have to learn a lot about it.

Please help me by giving critiques, comments, and suggestions from all of you, my friends, so my cooking can be better. Thank you! I hope this blog is useful for everyone. Enjoy! :)

Friday, October 19, 2007

My Idul Fitri Weekend

Friday, October 12, 2007:
I baked all day long. I made two cheesecakes: one for my dear friend Anneke, and the other one was for my family. I also made a flourless chocolate cake for Benny's birthday, and Rugelach cookies. I prepared turkey bacon wrapped scallops too.

Idul Fitri, October 13, 2007:
My family and I went to sholat Idul Fitri at a local university. After sholat, my friends and I were sad, we thought we wouldn't have an Idul Fitri party because it was difficult to find time.
But Anneke's husband suggested that we have a party on Sunday afternoon, and the husbands could watch the Patriot's game. Better than nothing! :) We were so excited ... finally we would have an Idul Fitri party at my friend, Mbak Watty's house ... yay ... thank you Mbak Watty and also thanks to Denny!

My friend, Mbak Riri, shared her 7 kinds of Idul Fitri cookies with everyone. She stacked them into five layers into colorful chinese goodie bags. It was beautiful and delicious. Thank you Mbak Riri!

Gus took Benny directly from the university to a soccer game at 9 am and then to a hockey game at 10:30 am. Crazy!!! Thia and I went back home to get ready for Benny's birthday dinner at our house.

At 3:30 pm, Gus's family started to arrive. We had turkey bacon wrapped scallops for an appetizer, with nuts and cheese and crackers. For dinner we had steaks with spicy kecap sauce, green salad from my sister in-law, Colleen, tater salad from Lindsey (Gus's sister), and Angela's rustic Italian bread from Cynthia and John, my parents in-law. Yay ... thanks everyone for bringing the food! It really helped because I didn't have time to make it. And it was delicious!

The flourless chocolate cake was a big hit, I guess ... he he he ... beside the cheesecake and the rugelach cookies ... he he he ... I am glad everyone loved it. Insya Allah, I will talk about the recipes next time. ;)

It was fun when Benny opened up the presents. We were watching Benny and waiting for his reaction after he opened each present. He was really excited, and would raise each present in the air like a trophy after he opened it.

Everyone left around 7 pm to watch the Red Sox game that started at 8pm, perfect timing! Some brought some of the cheesecake and some rugelach home. We were so happy. I was blessed to be with Gus's family to celebrate Idul Fitri 1st day.

Sunday, October 14, 2007:
Gus took Benny to another hockey game at 10 am (what a surprise! he he he ...). Thia and I attended to our friend's son's baptism party at 11:30 am. We went back home at 3 pm , and got ready for another party: Idul Fitri with friends ... yay ... Gus and I were exhausted. We were really sleepy, so Gus made black coffee for him and black tea for me ... zzz ... zzzz ...

The party was awesome. I felt like I was in Indonesia: eating a lot of Indonesian food and watching Liputan 6 on the internet in the background. I never knew that we could do that before. Good to know guys. I shared my Rugelach cookies with everyone. I put my cookies in colorful goodie bags. Insya Allah I will tell the recipe next time (again). Seriously! :)

We went back home around 8 pm. Gus and I were soooo tired. Happy, but tired. Even now I am still a little bit tired. That is why I have not updated my blog for almost one week. Thank you for stopping by to ask about how my Idul Fitri was.

Thank you to the Madden family and my friends who made my Idul Fitri day one of the bestdays ever! I always miss my family in Indonesia on Idul Fitri but I had a great time here this year.

Also thank you to everyone who wished my family and I "Happy Idul Fitri" and accepted our apologies. Hope you had a great Idul Fitri or great weekend too! God bless you!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

We would like to wish you and your family,

Happy Idul Fitri 1428 H

Please accept our apologies and welcome the new year with a fresh start. May Allah SWT forgive us, accept our fasting, zakat, and prayers, amen!
May Allah SWT bless you and your family, amen!

Anna, Angus, Benny and Thia Madden

I miss you so much, Bapak! I miss the time we were all together celebrating Idul Fitri and enjoying ketupat and opor ayam. Benny is big now and Thia is very pretty. My heart hurts every time I remember you. O ... Allah, please help Bapak to rest in peace, amen! I miss you Mbah Putri. Insya Allah, I will see you when I go to Indonesia next time, amen! I miss you Ibu, Mbak Lisa, Mas Joni, Jullian, Ferdian, Dik Iin, Dik Eko, Vania, the baby, and all of our relatives in Indonesia. I wish I was there to celebrate this greatest day with all of you.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Lailatul Qadr

It is the nights of Lailatul Qadr, guys! The night the first verses of Al Qur'an were sent down to Prophet Muhammad by the Angel Gabriel. It happens on the last ten days of Ramadan, and is believed to be in the odd nights. That means: 21st (Oct 3), 23rd (Oct 5), 25th (Oct 7), 27th (Oct 9), and 29th (Oct 11). But many people believe that the night of 27th is the exact night of Lailatul Qadr.

Special du'aa of Lailatul Qadr:
"O Allah! You are the Forgiver and You like forgiving so forgive me”

Don't forget to take advantage of this night by doing many prayers. It is better than a thousands months! My family and I hope we all "get" the Lailatul Qadr. May Allah SWT forgive and bless all of us, amen!

Sleep Apnea

Roar ... roar ... It was not sound of a lion or other wild animal, but it was Gus's snoring sound. hehehe ... I am a light sleeper, so I wake up every time I hear any noise.

It sounds normal, doesn't it? Gus snored while he was sleeping (so do many other people). But it was not normal! Gus was diagnosed with sleep apnea after he got checked out by a special doctor. It meant Gus would stop breathing repeatedly during his sleep. His sleep apnea also made him very tired during the day.

Here is a short description of sleep apnea according to Amerian Sleep Apnea Association:

The Greek word "apnea" literally means "without breath." There are three types of apnea: obstructive, central, and mixed; of the three, obstructive is the most common. Despite the difference in the root cause of each type, in all three, people with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night and often for a minute or longer.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep. In central sleep apnea, the airway is not blocked but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe. Mixed apnea, as the name implies, is a combination of the two. With each apnea event, the brain briefly arouses people with sleep apnea in order for them to resume breathing, but consequently sleep is extremely fragmented and of poor quality.

Sleep apnea is very common, as common as adult diabetes, and affects more than twelve million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health. Risk factors include being male, overweight, and over the age of forty, but sleep apnea can strike anyone at any age, even children. Yet still because of the lack of awareness by the public and healthcare professionals, the vast majority remain undiagnosed and therefore untreated, despite the fact that this serious disorder can have significant consequences.

Untreated, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease, memory problems, weight gain, impotency, and headaches. Moreover, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for job impairment and motor vehicle crashes. Fortunately, sleep apnea can be diagnosed and treated. Several treatment options exist, and research into additional options continues.

There are treatments for sleep apnea: surgery or using a CPAP machine.
After a lot of thought, Gus chose to use a CPAP machine. CPAP is short for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. It blows air at prescribed pressure.

His machine is great! It has been helping Gus to sleep really well at night. Gus didn't feel comfortable using it at first, but he kept using it. Now he doesn't have problem sleeping at all.

The good news is CPAP machine is covered by insurance! You can click here to find out more information about CPAP machine.

I hope this information is useful for you all. Because sleeping better can make your days better too! ;) Good luck guys!

Monday, October 1, 2007

My childhood

I got this homework assignment from Jeng Susie, to write about my childhood. Thanks dear! Okay, here we go:

I was born in Semarang. My childhood was happy and fun. My mother taught me how to be independent. I knew how to clean and took care of everything even though we had helpers. But there was one thing that my mother forgot to teach: cooking! And the weird thing is she was confused about why I couldn't cook. (She must not have realized ... hehehe). None of her daughters liked gardening. My mom likes gardening and has a beautiful garden. I didn't like caterpillars and worms, that was the reason (and still is). (See my old post: gardening).

When I was a little girl, I liked to sing and dance. My kindergarten teacher asked me to take a singing competition. I practiced, practiced and practiced. The song was "O Amelia." I had to sing two versions of that song. I had no problem singing the original version, but I had a difficult time memorizing the other version. The result ... yup, I forgot the lyrics of the other version when I was on the stage. I was sad and I felt bad with my teacher, Bu Yayuk. (I wonder how she is now). I smile every time I remember that moment. My "becak" driver, Pak Min, was very patient taking me to my school everyday. Every time I go back to Semarang, I see him driving around with his becak. Next time I see him, I will say hi and talk a little bit to him.

I was a little tomboy. My father always asked me, instead of my two other sisters, to help him to do stuff like climb the gutter to clean leaves, etc. (Bapak, I miss you so much! May Allah help you to rest in peace, amen!) There was a "jambu air" tree in my parents front yard. Almost everyday I climbed that tree. I loved to hang out in it. I sat down on one of the tree branches and I read a magazine, listened some trendy songs from the radio, ate jambus, and watched my kittens climb around in the tree. I thought: "Aaahhh ... life is so good!" In class, I was not a smart kid. My math was always bad, oops :) But at least I was good at Javanese dancing and playing the "gamelan". hehehe ...

Junior High:
I loooove to dance. My group of dancers and I competed in many dancing competitions. Sometime, we just dance on a stage for a special event. Thanks to my mom who insisted to my father that I should be allowed to dance. Matur nuwun, Ibu! I wasn't satisfied with just dance competitions. I liked to go to discos! There was a disco near my house which was open in the afternoon from 2-5 pm, perfect! This was what I did: I came, chitchatted a little bit with my friends and after that danced for 2 1/2 hours nonstop. Woohoo ... awesome! I looooooove it! But then they changed the time to night time: 11 pm - 2 am. Rats! I didn't have a choice, I snuck out and jumped over my house fence and went to the disco. Naughty, naughty, naughty! Hey, what can I say? I love to dance! (I hope my kids won't ever see this post ... hahaha).

High School:
I still remember, my mom reminded me to study hard. I listened to her. My grades were great. And what else? Hmm ... I was a heartbreaker! Sorry boys! Would you believe me if I told you that I never had boyfriends? My husband was my first and last one! I know ... he is a very lucky man! Hahaha.....
My parents were very strict. I don't blame them. They had 3 daughters! I don't know about you, but I agree with my mother that having casual boyfriends in high school is just wasting time! Yup, I was a weirdo! I thought, not having boyfriends was not the end of the world. :)

That is it, the story about my childhood. I was just an ordinary girl ;) hahaha ...

The next people to do the homework will be:
1. Anneke
2. Vina
3. Dyah
4. Sili
Thanks girls!

NB: karena keluarga suami sering baca blogku, aku sekarang banyak nulis pake inggris. itung2 belajar grammar sekalian, hehehe. semoga teman2 mengerti. ;)

Homemade cheese cake?

Last weekend, Anneke, her family, and I attented break fast in Northeastern University in Boston. Unfortunately Angus and the kids couldn't come because Benny had a hockey game that time. :( It was a potluck party, so everyone brought some food. Anneke brought delicious Soto Betawi and I brought two cheesecakes. I wanted to bring Indonesian food but I don't have confidence in my Indonesian dishes yet.

It is easy to make the crust, but I didn't have time to make it, so I got two of them at the grocery store. For the filling, I used cream cheese and mascarpone cheese. It was the first time I made these cakes decorated with fresh fruits. What do you think guys? Not bad huh?! Angus asked: "Do you want to make a cheesecake business, honey?"

My friends didn't believe that I made these cheesecakes. They thought I bought it at the grocery store. Well yeah but only the crust :) They loved it. Yay!!! I'm glad everyone enjoyed them.

Clik here for the recipe.

P.S. for Anneke: Insya Allah, I will make one for you and your family on Idul Fitri ;)

Happy Birthday Benny!

It is my son's birthday. I can't believe Benny is 6 years old now. I feel like he is still my baby (Benny doesn't like if I call him my baby. He prefers to be called a big boy).

Usually on his birthday, I would make cupcakes for his school friends. But because there is no school today (Columbus Day), I will make the cupcakes tonight, and Benny can bring them to his school tomorrow morning.

Besides that, usually I invite Gus's family over for Benny's birthday dinner. This year I am inviting them on Saturday. For some reason, we have never made a birthday party with a lot of Benny's friends. Maybe someday ;) But I remember mine when I was a little girl, we celebrated it only with my family, and I was so happy. Hopefully Benny will feel the same way.

Actually Benny is lucky he will celebrate his birthday 3 times: tonight with his family, tomorrow with his teacher and friends at school, and this Saturday with Gus's family.

My husband and I have promised Benny that we will go to Chuck E Cheeses soon. I also will take Benny today to get more Bionicles in the store before hockey practice.

Happy Birthday Benny! I hope you will have a wonderful and fun
year. Thank you for being a good boy. We are very proud of you. May Allah SWT always bless you and you will be "anak yg sholeh" amen!