On the Menu

Cheese, Broccoli and Chicken Soup


  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5-1/2 cups water
  • 1-1/2 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 head fresh broccoli, cut into florets
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Directions

    1. In a 5-quart pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, stir until slightly browned.  Mix in flour, stirring constantly until a thick paste forms. Remove from pot, and set aside.
    2. In same pot, combine water, bouillon cubes, chicken, broccoli, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for 45 minutes.
    3. Stir in the flour mixture a little bit at a time until soup thickens. Simmer 5 minutes. Reduce heat, and stir in cream. Mix in cheese 1 cup at a time, and stir until melted.


    Honey! I’m running out for some groceries!

    Today I thought I’d show you our grocery store.  There are a few stores that we shop at, but Ada Baru (translation: It is New!) is the one we frequent most often.  It’s the closest thing we have to Walmart in that we can buy milk and lightbulbs in one store!  That’s about where the comparisons end….


    The sign right above Nathan’s head reads “Susu”; this means milk.  There are two choices of milk in Indonesia: powdered or UHT.   Neither of which compare to fresh cows milk.    I think there are some places where cow’s milk is available, but since we aren’t big milk drinkers, I haven’t really looked into it.  The sign far above Nathan’s head says “It is prohibited to bring food or drink into the store.”  You also are not allowed to carry any bags or purses into the store.  You have to check them at the door.


    Indonesia grows coffee.  Really yummy coffee.  So, it is a mystery to me why most Indonesian prefer instant coffee to the real thing!  Ada Baru doesn’t carry coffee beans.  I’ve been told of a store in town that does!  Score!  In the past we have bought our coffee in Semarang (a town about 1 1/2 hours from here).  You can also buy Kopi Luwak (a type of coffee) here in Indonesia.  I’ve tried it once and didn’t like it, but lots of people do!  It’s really expensive.  But even more expensive in the States.  I’ve been told it can cost up to $1,000/lb in Amerika!  Yikes!  Read what all the fuss is about here.


    If you’re not a coffee drinker, you can always try some of this green bean drink.  I’ve not been daring enough to try it yet, and I’m ok with that.


    And to go with your green bean drink, you can try Soft Shell Crab, Grilled Shrimp or Seaweed flavored Pringles!  I’ve not tried these either, although I am curious to know if the shrimp flavored ones really are pink.


    Fruits and Veggies!  Yum!  As a tropical climate, Indonesia always has an abundance of yummy fruits and veggies!  We don’t usually but them here though.  Our house helper buys them at the market where she can get a better price!  My favorite fruit so far is mangosteen (not pictured).  I can’t even compare it to anything I’ve ever had before…but it’s wonderful!  Nathan also loves the little oranges (I’m totally blanking on their name) that are in the top part of the picture.


    This is the little import section of Ada Baru.  You can probably spot some familiar thing (Prego!)  Indonesia also imports a lot of Korean food since there are a lot of Koreans here!  We don’t usually buy our imported food here though.  There are a few other stores in town that carry a bigger variety of things (peanut butter!).


    All ready to check out.  Today’s purchases: two bags of flour, 1 bottle of sambal (hot sauce) and 4 cans of Coke.  Itu saja (that’s it).  Oh and we pay for everything with cash here.  There are very few places that accept credit cards.  In fact, none that I know of in Salatiga. 

    Thanks for coming on this little trip to the grocery store with us!  Hope you enjoyed it!

    A Wedding

    Yesterday, one of our language school teachers, Pak (Mr.) Adi (this is his first name, not his last) got married.  He invited the whole school to his wedding!  It was really fun to go see an Indonesian wedding!  I believe they actually got married the day before, and what we attended was the reception.


    This is the entrance to the reception hall.  As we walked in we signed a guestbook, dropped our gift (an envelope of cash :) ) into a box and then shook a whole bunch of people’s hands.  In Javanese culture you usually shake someone’s hand and then touch your hand to your heart as a sign of respect.  You always shake with your right hand, never your left. 



    Once inside, we stood in line for awhile while we waited to meet the bride and groom.  They stand on this stage the ENTIRE reception (that’s them in the middle), smile and greet people.  I’m sure their cheeks are exhausted by the end from all of that smiling!  And look at those flowers!  Aren’t they gorgeous?  I cannot imagine what that would cost in the states, but here…pretty cheap (by our standards at least).



    Here’s a little better picture of the bride and groom that I caught in a very brief and rare break between greeting people (usually there were people standing in front of them)  This was about 45 minutes after the first picture.  Still standing, still smiling.



    Just like wedding receptions in the States, this one had food.  Lots and lots of food.  There were several little stands all over the reception hall offering different types of Indonesian food.  This particular one is serving Bakso, a type of soup with meatballs.  I dumped a little too much sambal (hot sauce) in mine and lit my mouth on fire, but it was still quite tasty!

    To see more pictures from the wedding, and more from our ride to town the other day, please visit our Photo Album (see tab above, or click the link on the sidebar)

    There Are No Fur Coats or Magical Lands in Our Lemari!

    Living in the tropics is wonderful.  Great weather.  Clean air.  Beautiful flowers.  Year-round supply of yummy fruits.  Green everywhere you look.


    There are some downsides.

    This is a story of my lemari (wardrobe).


    See?  It’s a perfectly good lemari.  Drawers.  Mirror.  Shelves.  Places to hang things.  All good. 


    In the tropics, there is humidity.  And where there is humidty (and no air conditioning), there is mold.  See all of those spots??  They aren’t camera flares…it’s mold.  Lots and lots of mold!  And that’s just on the outside.  Imagine what’s lurking in the dark inside corners! 


    Mold.  Mold.   Mold.

    I took a lot of mold pictures.  But I’m sure you don’t want to see them all.

    And when there’s mold in the lemari, there’s mold on our clothes.  Yuck.

    What’s a girl to do?


    Bleach water!  HAH!  Take that mold!  You thought you were so tricky getting into all of the dark corners!

    However, I’ve cleaned our lemari before.  Inevitably, the mold comes back. 

    BUT!  We just installed a wonderful piece of technology to keep the mold away forever!  What is this wonder of mold fighting technology?


    Thank you Mr. Edison!

    The heat from one light bulb is enough to prevent the mold from growing. 

    This makes for a happy lemari.  And a happy wife!

    A Trip to Town

    Would you like to go on a little trip to town with us?  Yes?  Ok.  You’ll need your motorcycle,  motorcycle helmet, a backpack to carry home your goodies, and a handsome husband to drive the motorcycle!

    We're on our way!  Roads look pretty clear!

    We're on our way! Roads look pretty clear!

    Roads are still pretty empty!

    Oh.  There's the traffic.  (yes, we drive on the left)

    Oh. There's the traffic. (yes, we drive on the left)

    Turned a corner and got away from the scary trucks and buses!

    Turned a corner and got away from the scary trucks and buses!

    Now just a few other bikes and angkotas.

    Now just a few other bikes and angkotas.

    Waiting to turn onto the main downtown road.

    Waiting to turn onto the main downtown road.



    We made it!!

    We made it!!

    Some fun things we found at the electronics store.

    Some fun things we found at the electronics store.

    Going home.  Downtown again.

    Going home. Downtown again.

    Waiting to turn again.  Back where we came from.

    Waiting to turn again. Back where we came from.

    It's starting to rain!  We forgot our raincoats.

    It's starting to rain! We forgot our raincoats.

    Getting closer to home!

    Almost there!

    Almost there!

    Our street (the do not enter sign was up for a funeral)

    Our street (the do not enter sign was up for a funeral)

    Home Sweet Home!  Just before the rain began to pour!

    Home Sweet Home! Just before the rain began to pour!


    I’m sure by now you have all heard about the devastating earthquake that stuck Haiti.  MAF-US has 8 families serving in Haiti, all of whom have been accounted for and are safe.  All but 3 of the national staff have been accounted for.  1 is presumed dead and 2 are missing.  Please pray for the MAF Haiti families and for the people of Haiti.   I cannot imagine the devastation they are seeing all around them.

    To see MAF’s news releases click here and here.

    Also, here is a link to the Krul’s blog, one of the MAF families in Haiti.  We went through Orientation with them in Nampa.   


    A Little Adventure with Monkey Bread

    Today I was craving monkey bread, so I set out to make some.  Since refrigerated biscuit dough is not available here, I made it from scratch.  I sifted my flour and here is what I found:


    See those brown specks??  Need a closer look?



    In my flour. 

    A brand new, sealed bag of flour. 


    Since the little maggot guys didn’t get sifted out, I threw it all out :(

    Anyway, I still had another bag of bug-free flour so I still was able to make Monkey Bread and it was super yummy!

    Monkey Bread

  • 3 (12 ounce) packages refrigerated biscuit dough
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • Directions

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 9 or 10 inch tube/Bundt® pan.

    1. Mix white sugar and cinnamon in a plastic bag. Cut biscuits into quarters. Shake 6 to 8 biscuit pieces in the sugar cinnamon mix. Arrange pieces in the bottom of the prepared pan. Continue until all biscuits are coated and placed in pan. If using nuts and raisins, arrange them in and among the biscuit pieces as you go along.
    2. In a small saucepan, melt the margarine with the brown sugar over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute. Pour over the biscuits.
    3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35 minutes. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a plate. Do not cut! The bread just pulls apart.