Saturday, March 31, 2018

If You Don't Know What To Bake For Easter

Try "Babka", a Polish cake.

The recipe comes from a British book called Russian, Polish and German Cooking, which I found at a second hand store. As usual, I modified the original recipe.

I used:

2 1/2c normal white flour (+ extra for dusting the work surface)
ab. 1/2c flour mix (whole wheat, spelt, rye, buckwheat)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp  dry yeast
8 tbsp butter
2/3c milk
2 eggs
1c raisins
grated peel from ab. 1/2 lemon
4 tbsp honey

Combine the flours, salt, sugar and yeast in a bowl.  Warm the milk + butter, add together with eggs, raisins and the peel. Mix into a dough, turn onto a floured surface and knead till smooth and elastic, ab. 10 min. Place in a greased round baking tin. Cover. I had to go away so left the dough in the fridge, where it was rising slowly for several hours. I then took it out and let rise in a warm place for 1 more hour. Flatten the dough so that it fits the tin, more or less.

Bake at 190*C/375*F. The book says for 50 min, however, mine was already too brown (as you can see) after 30 min. Check with a skewer. When done, it will also give a hollow sound if you tap on it.

Let the cake cool for ab. 5 min, then warm the honey and brush all over. Cool completely and serve with butter. Tastes really good:)

Happy Easter!

Monday, March 26, 2018

What Happens When There Is Nobody In The Kitchen

40% of American adults are obese, a sharp increase from a decade earlier and a record high. according to federal health officials
A National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) sampling of 27,449 adults with a BMI between 30 and 40 found that among those aged 20 years and older, obesity went from 33.7% in 2007-2008 to 39.6% in 2015-2016. Severe obesity - those with a BMI above 40, jumped from 5.7% to 7.7% over the same period.

Now what could be the reason behind all this? Could it be the disappearance of home cooking?

While the latest survey data do not explain why Americans continue to get heavier, nutritionists and other experts cite lifestyle, genetics and, most importantly, a poor diet as factors. U.S. fast-food sales rose 22.7 percent from 2012-2017, according to Euromonitor, while packaged-food sales rose 8.8 percent. -Miami Herald

You decide!

Read the whole article at ZeroHedge

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Living On One Income

Can you live on one income? Can you buy a house on one income? Many people will tell you, no, that's not possible. Yet what about millions of single/divorced men and women? It's not like most of them are living with their parents, though some probably do. Most, however, can afford to buy or rent a house. The problem is, for many of them, this house won't be big.

I went to IKEA several times in the past few months because I was looking for new furniture for our bedroom. I'm not sure about other countries, but our IKEA has several show apartments which they use to demonstrate how their furniture fits into small living spaces. So far they have a 55, 35 and 25 sq.m. apartments.

 Now, of course, a 25 m2 apartment is tiny, so I'll leave it out. A 55m2 one they divided into one lounge and 2 bedrooms which should be basically enough for an average family since the average family only has 2 children who can share the bedroom, especially if they are either both boys or girls. (The strange thing is that just as families get smaller, the houses get bigger.) In fact, it was fairly normal in not-so-distant past. I know families like that and I'm not talking about 1930s, but rather late 1990s and even the present day so it isn't some "Dark Age" stuff.

A 35m2 apartment is a tricky one. It is small, but IKEA folks still divided it into a living and a bedroom. Guess what, the same store and many others sell convertible sofas, like that. So you still get you 2 bedrooms. Come to think of it, a convertible sofa can change a 2-bedroom one lounge apartment into a 3 bedroom one at night, which mean that you can live in a 55sq.m. house with 3 or even 4 kids!

Is it convenient? No, not really. Could it be done? Not only could, it's actually a reality for many people. This site offers a comparison chart between different countries. Notice how an average USA home is more than 2 times bigger than in most Euro countries.

I always chuckle when I read bloggers from the Right complaining how women are "forced" to work nowadays as opposed to the Golden Age of the 1950s, when everybody was incredibly wealthy. Except that that their houses used to be twice smaller (3 times in the case of the US).

As a couple, you can choose to work with both of you for your mortgage and bring your children to daycare/granny/nanny. Not only you are free to chose such a lifestyle, you'll be lauded for it by the media and your relatives will be able to brag about your material success. Just let's be honest about it, having a big house is a want not a need. It's a choice.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


I went out today and bought some millet. Apparently, millet is considered one of the world's healthiest foods. According to this site, millet will protect you against asthma, migraine, diabetes type 2, heart attack and cancer. It has a lot of folate, too.

Yet apparently there has been a controversy regarding millet, since many paleo-leaning websites are quick to point out that it is goitrogenic and can interfere with your thyroid function. I did some research and found out that there are several varieties of millet, the most common one used in Africa is called pearl millet and can cause health problems if you consume too much of it while not getting enough iodine in your diet.

On the other hand, the sort available in European countries is called proso millet and is supposed to be quite harmless. I'm not sure which millet sort is most common in the US,  but if it's proso, you may want to give it a try. It can be eaten as porridge in the morning or as a substitute for rice during dinner.

Millet is mentioned in the Bible, and some guy on internet swore it helps against grey hair, too:) If you have any experience with millet, feel free to share!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Chive Quark Rolls

This is my variant of the recipe from LandLove March 2018 issue. The funny thing is that one of the modifications was using less flour, which happened accidentally since I was in a hurry and had to convert grams into cups:) I'm certain that it improved the original recipe since the rolls turned out very moist, and dare I say it? Cheesy!

So to make 12 you will need:

1.5 c white flour
1.5c wholewheat spelt flour
Some flour for the work surface (I used whole wheat)
2 tsp baking powder
Ab. 1 tbsp salt (I used slightly less)
250g quark
2 eggs
120 ml olive oil
Chives to taste
1-2 tbsp of milk, if necessary

Sesame seeds for the top

Combine flours, baking powder, salt and a bit of sugar, add the quark, eggs and oil and mix well, than turn onto a floured surface and knead till a soft dough forms. If necessary, add milk. Add the chives, chopped. Wrap the dough into a sheet of baking paper and place in the fridge for ab. 30 min.

Form the dough into a long cylinder, cut into 12 pieces. Shape the pieces into rolls and place on a lined baking tray. Slightly cut the top of each roll lengthwise and brush with water. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake at 220*C/425*F for ab. 20 minutes or until brown. Cool and serve. They taste great with butter and jam.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Atheism's New Frontier

I'll leave this without comment:

Controversial scientist, Richard Dawkins, suggests that eating human meat created in the lab may help overcome the 'taboo against cannibalism'. 
He envisions human flesh becoming a form of 'clean meat' - a product created using stem cells that could help feed the world without slaughtering any creatures.
The renowned atheist made the comments on Twitter after posting an article about the benefits of clean meat. 
The British biologist said creating human meat to eat could be an 'interesting test case' for 'consequentialist morality versus "yuck reaction" absolutism.'

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Christianity Is Not About Being Nice

I believe C. Lewis wrote about it in his book Mere Christianity, saying that Christianity isn't about becoming "nice people" but rather "new men".

Have you ever heard an old saying: "It's better to be kind than to be right" ? It sounds plausible enough, but is it really? Or rather, can something which is not right, be kind? Is it a kind thing really to assist an addict in his addiction, for instance? Is it a kind thing to refuse to confront a sinner in his sin?

Imagine if the society as a whole acted on this principle. We wouldn't be able to punish criminals because sending someone to prison isn't a kind thing to do. Police wouldn't be able to stop a terrorist because shooting someone is not nice. 

Being a Christian is not about feeling a certain way, it's about doing the right thing, whatever the cost. Sometimes it can even mean disturbing the peace ( Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.) Sometimes it means saying unpleasant things to those you love, to prevent them from making mistakes. Sometimes it means that people won't perceive you as "nice". I doubt Jesus thought about being "nice" when he kicked the moneychangers out of the Temple. John the Baptist wasn't being nice, either, when he confronted Herod about his sexual escapades. 

May be I'm just being spergy, but I don't understand how people can call themselves Christians and then turn around and in live in the same manner as unbelievers and even worse. The only sin left is "hurting someone's feelings." I think this comedy sketch I posted illustrates this approach perfectly. You couldn't run a kindergarten in this manner, let alone a country. May be, that's why our society is such a mess?

Friday, March 9, 2018

The Deficit Of Attention

No, I'm not talking about ADD here. The article I linked in my previous post has this interesting statement:

She argued that when working women return from work in the evenings they spend as little as 90 minutes with their babies before they put them to bed - and then find that they don't sleep through the night as they're craving attention. 

If you ever read new mothers boards, you've probably noticed how many of them complain that their young children don't sleep well. It's sounds like there is an epidemic of sleeplessness among babies and toddlers. Of course, all children are different and there could be many reasons for poor sleep, still the author hits on something very important in her story: babies crave attention. 

When the traditional female role gets discussed, folks come with all sorts of things to say, but much too often it all gets reduced to doing household chores and changing diapers. Yet there is more to the role of a woman within traditional family than that. Caregiver isn't only about caring for material needs, but for spiritual needs as well. We tend to forget it these days because our culture is so incredibly materialistic. 

Even Christians are guilty of this, that's why I find it rather sad when they trot out the famous Proverbs 31 Businesswoman person. They keep stressing her money-making activities as if the only value she has can be measured in dollars and cents she earns. It's almost like an average Westerner can't fathom any other reasons for human existence besides financial; that's how we came to the point when some people seriously discuss euthanising old folks since they aren't profitable for the economy any more.

Yet when you read old books, like the novels of Jane Austen, for instance, you see that though wealthy women didn't spend their time scrubbing the floors or participating in the cottage industry, they nevertheless contributed to their family well-being in other ways. Emma is especially interesting in this regard since it features a stay-at-home daughter who is reluctant to marry the man she loves because she can't abandon her elderly father who needs her constant attention. In one of Agatha Christie's stories, an old man becomes a victim of a gold-digger because his sister who is supposed to take care of him, gets involved with some outdoors activities and neglects him.
Another thing noblewomen of old did with their time was praying, in fact, old novels often describe how they could spend hours seeking God and meditating on His Word. It was considered a virtue for women to be so religious. I once read a contemporary Christian book for wives, which I'll leave unnamed, but I remember one piece of advice they gave to women is to serve dinner on the paper plates, and the time thus saved (since you wouldn't have to wash the dishes) could be used for...Not for prayer or a Bible study, of course, but for working on your Home Business!

As you see, our priorities are quite different.

Besides being a caregiver a woman plays another important role in relation to her husband or just men of her family in general. She is a cheerleader. Fascinating Womanhood states that a man needs attention and admiration, and it's true. He comes home from work and expects his wife to be thrilled to see him again and tell him he does a great job providing. But if she has taken upon herself the male role of bread-winning, she comes home and expects the same from him. Since most men are simply not wired this way, the marriage will sooner or later be on the rocks.

As a society, we neglect our young and our elderly and sacrifice our marriages to Mammon. Is this extra vacation or a bigger house really worth it?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Working Mothers Produce Mentally Ill Children

Before you start throwing stones, that's not me saying it, that's an article from Daily Mail:

A leading psychotherapist has warned that mothers who return to work too soon after having babies are damaging their children's mental health. 

Who would have thunk!

In a video for the New York Post, Erica Komisar revealed how she's seen an 'epidemic level of mental disorders in very young children', which she puts down to the 'devaluing of mothering in society'. 

The author of Being There, Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters explained that babies experience a rush of cortisol and a great deal of stress when they're away from their mothers.

It's almost like babies need their own mothers, what a radical concept...

'Our society tells women go back to work, do what you want, they (kids) 'll be ok,' she explained. 'But they're not OK... I was actually seeing an epidemic level of mental disorders in very young children who were being diagnosed and medicated at an earlier and earlier age. 

Well, at least someone makes money out of it which causes GDP growth. It's an ill wind and all that.

Referencing research on attachment that's been done since the '60s, she said the only thing that reduces stress for babies is when their mothers return. 

How unenlightened of them. More should be done to educate babies about Women's Rights!

'I still say daycare is my least favourite option,' she said. 'You're taking a very young baby and exposing them to a great deal of stimulation and a great deal of fear. 
'When you take them out of their immediate environment and put them in a group with a lot of stimulation and a lot of people that's not the natural environment for babies.'

The lady therapist has a lot of nerve to utter statements about what is natural and what is not in the current year. Heaven knows what she'll say next if given a chance. 
If you are away from your child during the day, Erica suggested two key strategies in the evening to try and offset some of the damage.  
She said that all distractions should be 'put in a basket', so that you don't look at phones, tablets or other gadgets while spending time with your child. 

Well, you see, now she's actually shaming women for using social media. How can they keep in touch with their 1000+ Facebook friends and follow the celebrity stories if forced to spend time with their babies in the evening???

Erica did not put the blame on women for feeling forced to return to work, arguing that the role of motherhood is not values by society. 

Because obviously full time mothers are shirking their duty to economy, banks and corporations. When they drop out of the workforce, GDP shrinks like 20% for each of them. It's practically High Treason what they are doing...

'When we give mothers the option of being home in the first three years we increase the emotional security and reduce mental disorders.

I remember that women once used to have this option. It was called One Income/Traditional Family but luckily we've progressed past all that.

'On a societal level we need to recognise mothers work is valuable work. We emphasise material success and professional achievement, but there is no more valuable or more important work.'
The one who dies with the most toys, wins, is a good summary of the priorities of an average modern Westerner. May be they should start getting buried/cremated with all their gadgets like the heathen kings of old?