Life's like that!

November 30, 2009

My poor sister...

My poor sister is sick.

She just got back from visiting her friend in Massachusetts and caught a fever and sore throat.

Wish I could got to Ohio to take care of her, but I can't. Although I feel bad for her, I feel worse for my niece and nephew who have to munch on bread and other dry food since my sister will not be able to cook until she gets better.

Allah SWT willing hope my sister will get better soon.


Names for the Chickens

I have been thinking of giving names to the ladies, and have come up with several possible candidates:

1. Lulu
2. Mimi
3. Qiqi
4. Kiki
5. Lily

I will have to observe each hen's personality further to decide on the name.


November 27, 2009

Eid al-Adha "The Festival of Sacrifice"

Today is the Muslims' celebration in remembrance of the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham), peace be upon him, who was willing to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to Allah SWT.

We went to the Dar Al Huda Mosque for the morning prayer. Daughter was woken up at 6:30am so she was quite tired and cranky for the rest of the morning.

We were invited for lunch at Sr. Nor's place where we had chicken and beef briyani. I brought grapes and organic marshmallow (made with fish gelatin) for the kids to share. I am so glad that I bought the marshmallow from Whole Foods Market because it tasted really good, compared to the halal marshmallow.

Yesterday Sr. Anita was so kind to send some dry chicken curry (ayam rendang) to us for dinner. Husband and I gobbled it up with delicious Malay rice cake.

Tonight we are having dinner at Sr. Irina's place, Allah willing.

All praise be to Allah SWT for the opportunities to sample delicious cuisines. Can't wait to get some delicious Indonesian food!


Happy Chickens!

The weather on these past few days have been kind of wacky.

The temperature dipped to high 30s to 40 degree F, then it would be as warm as mid 70s degree F in the afternoon.

While the ladies complain about the cold mornings, they were happy to take dust baths and sunbath in the hot afternoons.

I never know that chicken watching can be so fun!


November 18, 2009

Chicken Run for the Ladies

I am so glad that husband constructed a chicken run for the ladies over last weekend. It is a nicely fenced area for them to exercise, scratch for bugs and get some sunshine in the afternoon. Our next door neighbor has two cats that roam around our yard freely, so the fenced area provides protection from predators.
Since we covered the chicken house with this blue tarp for added warmth on cold days, the three ladies love to hang out in the chicken run.

See the three dented areas in the picture below? This is where the ladies take their dust bath in the chicken run. Apparently they need to do so to keep lice and mites in check. I have not seen them rolling in the dirt yet. But when I do, I will try to remember to take a picture.

While this lady was posing for me in the chicken run,

... the other two were busy helping themselves to breakfast.

The top light brown lady is smaller than the other two, so I guess she is ranked lowest in the pecking order. This means that she has to wait for her turn to eat and drink after the other two are done. Fortunately they stay together most of the time, so I am not worried about her being lonely.

I am really enjoying knowing more about keeping chickens from this blog.


Puppy in Chicken House!

Yesterday morning while checking on the chickens from a kitchen window, I saw a white small puppy standing in the chicken house. I was so surprised that for a few minutes I just stood there not knowing what to do. The chickens didn't look very happy with the dog blocking their way to food and water. In fact, the ladies looked kind of annoyed by the intruder!

I was not worried about the dog biting the chickens, but I called husband at his work place to tell him about it. He said to just open the chicken house door to let the dog get out.

I did just that, but the dog did not move an inch. I tried to use a bamboo stick to chase it out, but it growled at me! Well, I thought of using food to lure it out, so I ran to the kitchen, got a bare corn without the corn kennels, and held it close to the dog. Sure enough, the dog came towards the corn in my hand and out of the chicken house.

All praise be to Allah SWT, as soon as the dog got out, I closed the chicken house door and the ladies were happy to have their food and water without the annoying dog.

The dog had the corn between it's teeth and I let it out of the backyard, but it returned shortly with the corn still in it's mouth. I made sure that it couldn't get back in to the chicken house and just watched the dog walked around the yard.

Hopefully the chicken house is secured from any more intruders.


November 13, 2009

Video: Nike Angry Chicken


November 12, 2009

We have chickens!

All praise be to Allah SWT, yesterday we went to an animal farm in the City of Kennedale, the Red Barn Feed Store, to get some chickens. This farm raises and sells live goats, ducks, guineas (from Africa), rabbits, parakeets, parrots, roosters and hens.

We decided to get three beautiful brown feather hens that are one to one-and-half years old.

Husband has built a chicken house over the weekend, so the three ladies immediately settled down in their home.

Although husband built three nesting boxes for them, all three roosted in one nest box during the night. We think that they are trying to stay close for warmth since night temperature now is in the 50s degree F.

We are surprised to see them eating grass and scooping around for bugs instead of just eating from the feeder. I guess their nature instinct tell them that its best to have a natural diet as much as possible. We will gradually reduce the feed amount and give them rice, soy beans and veggies later.

Daughter is really excited to 'talk' to the chickens everyday. Although the hens are really quiet and hardly crackle, just seeing them moving around gets her all excited. She wants to know what they are doing and how they sleep. I think I will have to keep daughter at a distance when I let the chickens run in the backyard for a short time to let them exercise their muscles over this weekend.

I am trying to resist giving them names because I don't want to get too emotionally attached to them. It will be harder for me when they go to chicken heaven. Although we want them primarily for their eggs, it is hard not to establish feelings for them since we see and 'talk' to them everyday. Allah SWT willing hope that we will do a good job of taking care of them.

Read more about raising chickens: My Pet Chickens


November 06, 2009

Recipe: Ang Ku Kueh

I have been craving for a Chinese dessert, Ang Ku Kueh, for several months.

Thanks so much to CrazyMommy for explaining the recipe to me this afternoon and forwarding the recipe's link to me.

Angkoo Kueh by Lily Anette


A small bowl of oil
30 small banana leaves squares

Mung Bean Filling:
300gm mung bean/yellow split beans
180gm sugar

1)Wash the beans. Drain and mix in the sugar.
2)Spread out in a large plate and steam for 45 mins till very soft. Mash up.
3)Let cool completely and roll into ball portions fitting the preferred angkoo size.

Peanut Filling:
300gm raw peanuts
150gm sugar
2 tbsp peanut butter
4 tbsp vegetable/peanut oil

1)Turn on the oven to 350F. Set the timer to 20 mins. Lay out the peanut on a flat baking tray and bake till brown, but not burnt. The peanuts will turn crunchy and fragrant.
2)Take out and let cool. Remove the outer layer husks of all the peanuts and discard.
3)Process the peanuts till fine.Remove to a bowl and stir in sugar and mix thorougly. Spoon in the peanut butter and vegetable oil to coat.
4)Shape into ball portions fitting the preferred angkoo size.

Skin Dough:
Part A :
50gm Rice Flour
225ml Water
2 tsp oil

1)Dissolve the rice flour in the water. Stir in the oil.
2)Bring this mixture to a boil on low heat, stirring continously. Once it starts to thick to a starchy stage remove from heat immediately. Do not let it get lumpy.

Part B:
300gm Glutinous Rice Flour
225ml Coconut milk
3 tsp oil
30gm sugar
Food coloring of your choice

1)Mix the flour, sugar and coconut milk and stir to combine. Stir in the oil till combined thoroughly.
2)Pour in the cooked mixture of Part A and stir to combine. A soft dough will form. Knead in drops of coloring of your choice. Divide and roll into ball portions slightly bigger than the balls for fillings.

Method in making the Kueh:
1)Oil the working hand with some cooking oil. Take one portion of the dough, gently press and flatten a bit out on your palm.
2)Place a ball of filling in the middle and wrap up and gently roll it on your palm.
3)Gently fit the dough into the angkoo mould and pat to the bottom. Using one finger, push in the edges towards the middle as to fit inside the mould completely.
4)Dislodge the angkoo by knocking gently over the corner of a table with your other palm holding the banana leaves square. The kueh will fall perfectly onto the leaf. Place at least 1/2 inch apart in the steamer and steam for 15 mins. Remove from steamer and let cool to room temperature before serving.

Makes : 1 skin dough recipe yields 24 to 26 small angkoos
One peanut or one mung bean filling recipes each yields 24 to 26 small angkoos


Dinosaur Valley State Park

Last month husband and I brought daughter to the Dinosaur Valley State Park which is located in the City of Glen Rose, about 1 hour 30 minutes away from our place. Daughter was really excited about visiting the park because she has been watching Dinosaur Train on PBS lately.

It only cost $10 for two adults and children under 13 years old enter the state park free-of-charge. This state park even has a campground for those who wish to stay overnight in the park.

In the main office there is a replica of the dinosaur footprints found on the nearby riverbed.

Just past the main office are two giant fiberglass models of dinosaurs. They look really life-like from a distance.

This is the riverbed where the footprints were found. During summer the water level will be low enough for children and adults to explore the riverbed.

After spending about 4 hours at the state park, we decided to head home as it seemed like it would rain.

Allah SWT willing I hope we will return to this state park during next spring and summer.