Homestead Gingerbread

Here’s a recipe for a less-sweet gingerbread with bare-bones spices and minimal dishes to wash. Add whatever nuts, chocolate chips, or fruit toppings you fancy.
I’ve tried: Cranberries studded on top, chopped walnuts, peanuts (strong flavor; walnuts are better), and chocolate chips.
I didn’t include allspice or nutmeg, typically in gingerbread recipes, as I don’t find those necessary.

Yield: About 8 slices, from a 9-inch round pan


  • 200g flour (all-purpose or whole wheat OK)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2.5 teaspoon ground ginger (add more if you like spicy)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • half stick (or 55g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 55g sugar
  • 120mL molasses, dark unsulfured
  • 160mL boiling water
  • 2 eggs
  • Toppings: chocolate chips, chopped walnuts, fruit


Mix Sweet + Wet ingredients First, then add in Dry.

  1. Pour 55g sugar and 120mL molasses into mixing boil.
  2. Boil water
  3. Melt butter in a microwave-safe cup for about 20 seconds
  4. Pour butter into mixing boil, then pour boiling water into the cup to clean it out.
  5. Whisk items in bowl. When warm (cooled down), add eggs and whisk.
  6. Whisk 200g flour, 1 teasp baking soda, 1/2 teasp salt, 2.5 teasp ginger, 1 teasp cinnamon into the wet ingredients.
  7. Add semi-sweet chocolate chips and any toppings. Whisk till combined, no lumps.
  8. Bake at 350’F for 25-30 minutes.

About Me & Nest Café

About this site:

Welcome to Nest Café ~ Café Nido, where I share about my life of homesteading and learning data analysis/coding. Different aspects forge who I am. I’m happy to share my thoughts with you through this blog, as if we were enjoying conversation at a favorite café.

About me:

Korean Chicken Tender.
Small Farmer.
Efficient Optimizer.
Data Analyzer and Presenter.
Bridge-Builder between technical concepts and non-technical audiences.
Logic Lover.
Language Learner.
Nature Observer.


Have a question? Interested in discussing something you read here? Feel free to contact me!

Lettuce Rest

Lately I’ve been working on hard projects and this leaves me exhausted. Mentally exhausted from thinking about career and what aspects of lifestyle I desire. Consuming sustainability and gardening tutorials through books and YouTube videos contributes to the chatter in my mind. It’s all in my head, but it makes me tired.

What I’ve found to be helpful is:

  • Rest – sleep enough hours, or even an hour or two more than usual. Go to bed around the same time, take naps when needed.
  • Eat healthy – an occasional main or side salad harvested from the garden, a colorful vegan meal, homemade baking even if the muffins sink in the middle and look funny.
  • Exercise – go on walks, even just for a few blocks. You won’t get that wet if it’s raining a little.
  • Decompress – talk to someone who is a good listener, or write about the chatter in a journal. Getting it out helps. Being able to pen down a looming worry onto a few lines on paper shows that it’s not too big to be written about, and therefore can be managed bit by bit.

Here’s to working towards big goals and resting along the way!

Tip: This photo is of some “living lettuce” I bought at the grocery store and replanted. These come with the roots intact and last longer in the fridge. Enjoy most of the leaves, save the core of innermost leaves and roots intact, and plant in soil. It’s a similar cost to buying seedlings (about $3 for 3 lettuce plants), plus you get to enjoy more harvest before planting!


Look for where your privilege intersects with somebody’s oppression.

That is the piece of the system that you have the power to help destroy.

-Ijeoma Oluo

I’m starting to see that being passive, going with the flow, and pretending everything is alright does not help in combating racism. Combating racism requires taking an active stance against problematic behavior and statements. It requires being deliberate and actively working to build diverse communities, full of color and culture. It applies not only to others, but also to myself.

Most of the time, we do not recognize our own privilege. We do not realize the things which we have grown so used to. How many breaths have I inhaled in the last 2 minutes? What are my feet doing right now? Do I sleep in a safe environment at night?

I want to find where my privilege intersects with somebody’s oppression, and work to help break the oppression and lift everyone up.

Time versus Distance

Earn your pomodoro (tomato)!

I started jogging / running this year, and picked up a guide on training for Triathlons on my way home from an evening run. I skipped to the section on running advice for beginners, and one tip stuck out to me.

Run by time, not by distance. It’s easier to measure how many minutes you’ve run than it is by distance. For example, run 3 minutes, then walk 1 minute. Repeat 3-5 times, then call it a day.

Some days we run better, and some days the legs are just harder to move.

By setting goals by time rather than distance, we can still guarantee we got some jogging in, rather than getting hung up that we didn’t quite run the full mile we intended.

It also happens that my secondhand, 10-year old Garmin Forerunner watch takes many minutes to boot up the distance-tracking/GPS mode. Sometimes I’m halfway through my run by the time it’s booted up! The timer option doesn’t require booting up so I sometimes just go with that. I aim to run about 1 mile each time I go out, but when I measure by time, I don’t get so hung up on whether I met that distance or not. I feel physically good after running and mentally don’t look for reasons to lament that it ‘wasn’t enough’.

I’ve been applying this lately to work, too. There’s something called the Pomodoro Technique where you work in blocks of time, then take a dedicated break (you’ve earned your tomato!), and repeat. Even if the task isn’t completed during the block of time, there was still progress made. I think it’s key to experiment and find what block length keeps you motivated.

Currently, I find 30 minutes of work, then about 10-15 min of break works well. 30 minutes is bite-sized enough that I’m willing to get started, knowing the finish line is in sight. This has helped with self-disciplining my productivity while avoiding becoming burnt out, eyeballs glazed and back aching by the end of the day.

What are ways you make your goals more bite-sized and thus attainable?

Just Write

Tiny turkey-tail-like mushrooms growing on a tree,
Bellevue Botanical Garden parking lot

Have you ever noticed how rare it is to find a personal blog that lasts for several years, with new posts published regularly?

Many a time I have searched a topic on Google which led to a helpful blog post on the topic, say about a grammar rule, a specific restaurant, or exotic fruit. A memorable or funny post will have me browsing the archive to see what else the blog writer has published. Often, if the post is from 2005 or 2015, there will be no more posts after a year or two. I guess it’s hard to keep up a blog. It’s natural to get distracted or lose interest in maintaining it.

I recently came across one blog that is, stunningly, updated with a new post *every* day. It’s The Opportunity Machine, written by a wise and funny guy named Johnny Roccia. I first visited his blog on February 23 and saw there were (23) posts on the right-hand panel. What! Could that be right? And lo and behold, I discovered perhaps the most consistent blogger to grace WordPress. His posts are succinct and they don’t necessarily strive to deliver life-changing messages every time. I don’t know what motivates Johnny, but his consistency is admirable and inspiring. I suspect that he writes daily for his own sake rather than trying to satisfy an audience of followers.

In that spirit, I’ll be writing these next few weeks (hopefully months or even years) about different things that are floating through my mind. They may not appear to have a consistent theme, but that will naturally come as I figure out what topics are enjoyable to blog about. Thank you for reading, and welcome to Nest Cafe!

The Great French Press

If you enjoy using a french press to brew coffee, I’d like to suggest a veritable alternative to Bodum-brand French Press. Behold, the Ikea UPPHETTA French Press!

Traits to look for in a good french press:

  • Durable glass beaker than can withstand daily use, hand washing, and boiling hot water temperatures. Think Pyrex-glass, but more delicate. “Borosilicate” glass does the job well.
  • Separable metal filter/screen pieces that can be washed by hand. Cheaper models tend to have the pieces screwed or welded permanently together, so coffee granules can get trapped between the screen pieces and never fully removed.

Ikea French Press

Bodum makes a great 1L press, but they can cost upwards of $20-30.
While perusing kitchenwares  at Ikea, I found a $8 humble press that, lo and behold, bore the above traits and has been holding up exceptionally well with near-daily use these past few months!

The lid was taped shut against the carafe with a clear piece of tape. I wasn’t able to tell if the metal filter/screen pieces were separable, but discovered upon bringing the press home that they indeed were!

French presses are also great for brewing loose-leaf tea. The design allows the tea to swim around in the carafe and get maximum surface area exposure to the hot water.

I highly recommend Ikea’s UPPHETTA French Press if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative of good quality to Bodum presses.