IT WAS ALL GOOD JUST A WEEK AGO

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wasn’t it?

it’s been quiet here on the blog for a bit, but not quiet in my head. not quiet at all. as I type this I’m so full of frustration with what is going in the world today. abroad, and so close to home too. bad news, then more bad news and then even more.

it seems when it rains it pours.

and these things are not directly affecting me. only indirectly so, but man, I’m sad.

and I don’t feel like blogging about a recipe or what I did today. I feel guilty. and blessed. and thankful, but angry. I’m a big ball of emotion these days. and I can’t seem to concentrate and keep it all together.

blogs are typically so bright, full of life, pretty things and happy times. but it doesn’t feel right to use this forum for only that.

so I just took a pause.

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and remembered why I started.

to dream big. love hard. and fight for what’s right.

fighting for what’s right is crucial now more than ever. the world is in a dark place. and what is currently going on in palestine has never been right, but now more than ever it’s grossly, unjustifiably, inhumanely wrong.

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you only need to go on facebook for a minute to see the loss of life and destruction. can you imagine what that might do to a persons mind? seeing it first hand? living it?

and I’m a mother. of two little babies. if we lived (if you can call what they do living) in palestine right now we would likely be dead. this is not a joke. or taking things too far. this is real. and those lives are real. and i just want to say that out loud because some don’t seem to think so. and that completely boggles my mind.

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I’m sitting at the park right now with niyya so close while we wait to pick up daaniya from camp. and there is laughter, kids running around, playing carelessly in the splash pad. as they should. kids still played in palestine, as they should, but their games end not in going home to rest, but in death and critical injury.

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I pray for these families, for these mothers, fathers and children, these people, and think to myself what can I do to help? how can I play my part in all of this? because at this point I am consumed. I cannot unsee what I’ve seen or unfeel how I feel. I pray on this. hard. because even though I’m far away, I have a role somehow. right? don’t we all?

so what I’ve concluded right now is that I have to keep talking. to use my voice, however quiet it may be, to bring about awareness. for myself and for others too. knowledge is power, right?

and I have to fight, however i can, for the rights of people around the world who are being mentally broken, stolen from, killed, attacked, made to leave their homes out of fear.

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as an artist/designer/maker I can only do what I know at this time. so, my shop is taking a slight shift to reflect this new goal of mine. most items will now have a cause that portions of the profits are going to go towards. for example, the i heart Allah tee proceeds will go towards the children of iraq who have been made to flee their homes due to the terror caused by isis. (that’s a whole other story) and the peace is universal tee will be back on for pre-order to aid the people of palestine during this nightmarish time. insha’allah, we can each do little and collectively do a lot.

and i have to keep on keeping on. life does go on. i have those two babies to raise. with good, happy, tolerant, loving and kind hearts, so that they can share their goodness with the world. i have to get out, but not too far away,  from under the cloud in order to do this.

tonight is another night of powerful prayer. insha’allah our prayers for patience and faith will get to those oppressed the most.

be well.

 

 

 

SALAD EXCHANGE

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ok everyone! i’m having a salad exchange! well, my friend, zehra and i are hosting one together and we want you to come. this all came about a few months back when i had a few of my friends over for a soup exchange. the soups were all so good and the company was even better. i thought to myself then that i really wanted to do something like it again and what better way to do so than to share salads in the summer.

so here i am inviting you to come and exchange salads with zehra and i. the exchange is going to be held on friday august 1st in richmond hill in the evening. so mark your calendars ladies. yes, sorry this is for the ladies only!

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what on earth is a salad exchange, you ask? well basically each person brings jars full of salad to exchange with the others at the party. you’re only making 4 jars so it’s not a huge commitment. you make 4 jars of the same salad and you will be taking home four different jars. so you come with one type and leave with a variety to try out for the week!

salad in a jar, you ask? yes! if you layer your salad into a jar with the heartiest and wettest parts on the bottom and the lightest and dryest parts on the top you will have a salad that stays fresh and crisp for days in the fridge. it’s genius i tell you!

SALAD IN A JAR INFOGRAPHIC

this infographic has been making the rounds on pinterest for a long while now (sadly, i don’t know who it belongs to..) and i have some friends who prepare their salads for the week this way.  so don’t fret. it’s tried and true. follow these guidelines for your typical leafy salad and you’ll be good to go, er… share!

i get my mason jars at canadian tire. they always have a good stock. and the size you’ll need for this are the 1L jars. they come in a case, so i plan to split mine with some friends, but can i tell you something? mason jars are so rad, you’ll find uses for your case for sure.

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i’m excited to be doing this with my friend. i love spending time with her and her kiddies. last week we got together and made a big salad for our fams dinner and it was just so nice to catch up, chat and laugh together in the kitchen. time goes by real fast with her around and all that chopping was interspersed with lots of talking. so come with a friend. prep your salads together. i mean, why not?

if you’re not into salads, that’s cool you can still come and hopefully someones concoction will make you a believer. salads are so so good. so fresh and healthy. and with the right dressing, sometimes i prefer my salad to my main! we will be serving a few feature salads made by some of our whiz-in-the-kitchen friends, so we won’t be eating your stash that night, but we will be sharing recipes. if you need some ideas for salads check out my salad pinboard. lots of colour, lots of tasty ones to try out there.

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you can make your salad however you want with whatever ingredients you want. fruits, nuts, greens, veggies, whatever. although, i will say, if you plan to use meat or chicken please make it halal! and no bacon. ok? sorry, but none of that stuff, ok? lol.

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i’m excited to be doing this with my friend. i love spending time with her and her kiddies. last week we got together and made a big salad for our fams dinner and it was just so nice to catch up, chat and laugh together in the kitchen. time goes by real fast with her around and all that chopping was interspersed with lots of talking. so come with a friend. prep your salads together. i mean, why not?

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the other part of this exchange as the idea of it all got rolling is that we wanted to use it as a vessel to raise some money and awareness for a group that we have been a part of for the last little bit. it’s called hands 2 hearts and it’s made up of a bunch of like- minded ladies who just want do something productive to give back. to the community locally and worldwide in whatever ways we can. with our hands, to someones hearts. charity and volunteering has been ingrained in us from such a young age, we just all felt this desire to start acting on it in a more organized way. currently we are working on various events to raise funds for the children of zanzibar, a non-profit working towards bettering the lives of zanzibarians through education, food, and health initiatives. for more information on this cause click here. the site is not super updated, as it is a one woman show and that one woman is working tirelessly to make change. we are only here to help her help them. we are planning a few other events in the near future, but this one is the first.

so if you are free and want to hang out, please click here to reserve your spot. and if you can’t make it, but still want to contribute to our cause you can still click on the link above to make a donation.

we are looking forward to it!

kiss.

 

 

 

TRADITION / EIDVENT CALENDAR

EIDVENT CALENDAR / starting ramadhan traditions for our kids / tahsin, the good

months before ramadhan started, like, last december, leading up to christmas-time, my pinterest feed was overloaded with the most lovely images of advent calendars. the creative community that i followed had cooked up sweet little packages for their little ones to open each day in anticipation of christmas day. it’s a way to make the holiday season fun for the kids and not just about the one day. and it really is a season. a season of giving, loving, sharing, and spending time with loved ones amongst many other things. and when i saw these pins i thought it would be so nice to do something similar for my kids during our big season of our holiest month, this month of ramadhan.

i am learning that with kids it’s so important to start traditions that appeal to them to involve them in our culture to ensure that it doesn’t get lost in the midst of all the other cultures they are exposed to. check out our milad un nabi tradition here and here. for me, ramadhan has always been about good food, going to the mosque, spending time with family and friends, giving charity, pariticipation, community, and of course, the spirit. connecting with Allah and reviving my relationship with Him.

so i made plans to prepare a calendar to kick off the month and incite cheer and fun in anticipation of eid. hence the name eidvent! then, we decided to go away on vacation and return two days prior to the beginning of ramadhan and it just didn’t get done. but that didn’t mean i didn’t still want to prepare something for the girls. so a week in (hope it’s going well for everyone so far!) i finally completed ours and put it up. never late is better, but better late than never. right?

i made a list of all the things and experiences i wanted to include. i didn’t really want our calendar to be about stuff so much as fun and experiences. I remember growing up the advent calendars sold in stores were filled with chocolates and i definitely didn’t want to do that for the girls on the daily. having it be only about food would defeat the purpose of this tradition as they grow up because eventually they will be fasting too. i could have also gone to the dollar store and picked up little trinkets and toys for each day, but we’ve got enough stuff hanging around.

EIDVENT / its more about experiences than things / tahsin, the good

so i thought up fun things to include and talked to friends about some of the things they included and was able to come up with thirty unique “treats”. things like a love note and loose change to give for sadka, baking together for the bake sale at mosque, calling/face-timing someone of their choice, going to the splash pad. some had to do with the month and it’s values, some were just for fun and some were what daani would call treats. i mixed it up a bit.

now that i had my list, (planned out and coordinated to suit the days on our regular calendar) it was time to make it pretty! lol. i was inspired mainly by the minimalist advent calendars i saw and pinned a bunch of them here on my eidvent board. then i collected my materials (paper bags, paper, string, tape, markers) and the other day while daani was painting, i created my numbered tags by painting a sheet of paper, cutting them into circles, and painting the numbers on. once everything was ready to go, i assembled and hung it all up. the husband even helped!

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both girls seemed to be excited about it, (when daani an i opened the first one, niyya kept inching closer and closer) and now a few days in daani is longing to open the next bag. like i said before, with these traditions it’s all about making it fun for them and, i could be getting ahead of myself here, but, mission accomplished!

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did you make an eidvent calendar this year? or an advent calender at xmas? tell me about it. if you didn’t make one this month, and want to, you could just make it for the last ten nights! why not, right?!

x

FOOD / BANANA BREAD GRANOLA

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do you have a pin that you keep revisiting? or a recipe that you seem to be making every other week? well i for sure do. if pinterest had a tracking system, which i’m sure they do, they’d see that i am forever returning to what i now call my favourite pin aka “favorite granola”. it’s actually called banana bread granola and it’s by the minimalist baker. it’s soo. bloody. good. and addictive.

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i made a batch for daani’s teachers for the end of the school year a few weeks ago, and then a day later another batch for us (read: me) to snack on during our jaunt to mexico. and then, a few days ago made another few batches to give out to my friends as a small treat to welcome ramadhan.

i told you, it’s my favourite pin. my favourite granola.

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it’s pretty standard fare in my community to give out baked treats on eid, although i not really been active in this tradition other than receiving and eating the goodies. and since we all get so much at that time i thought it would be nice to usher in the month with something fun. so daani and i whipped up about four batches and packed them up in small mason jars. i used watercolour to paint some ramadhan kareem tags and just tucked them into the two piece lids. simple and no fuss!

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i had a few made for certain people, but the rest i gave out liberally to those i saw in the halls or during the toddler program. anyone i talked to that night got a jar before my stash was done.

true, there’s less chance in the day to eat this treat now that we are fasting, but it’s the perfect snack for pre-bedtime or suhoor. the oats and flax go a long way during our 19 hour fasts, and the nuts, cinnamon, vanilla and banana flavour taste so yummy. i love it by the handful (seriously I stuff my face with it) or with milk in a bowl. it makes the milk so yummy to drink after!

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so like I said before, this recipe isn’t mine, but you can find it here. you can also find some other really awesome recipes that are simple, quick to make and delicious to eat. that’s dana shultz‘s (aka the minimalist baker’s) m.o. ten ingredients or less, one bowl, and thirty minutes. a woman after my own heart (in the kitchen!) check out her blog and go, make this granola.

and if you wanna, share!

muah.

DRINK / AGUAS FRESCAS

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one of the best things about mexico for me was their fresh waters, or aguas frescas. every single meal we had out we ordered a few of these for the table to share, to hydrate after heating up in the sun. and the mexico sun in june is hot. simply put, they are fruit blended waters and they are so good. and these are not your typical pressed juices or fruit blended smoothies. they’re light, not too juice-y and overtly sweet, but fresh and so easy to gulp down.

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i know, it’s torturous reading about this while some of you my dears are fasting, but i’m telling you – whip up a batch today and enjoy it tonight after or with your iftaar. it’s a fun way to get in that water our bodies so desperately need this month.

at the restaurants and on the street they come in so many different flavours – watermelon, lemon, apple, pear, and one of my favourites, tamarindo! yes, that’s tamarind aka ambli! trust me it’s so good!

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when i came home at the end of last week i was a feeling a little trip-sick, yearning for the sights, sounds and tastes of mexico that i made a whole bunch of different flavours to stock in our fridge. i made watermelon, strawberry, apple and mango with what i had. i added some mint leaves and lime to amp up the flavours and chia seeds to give them an energy boost. i really love what happens to the chia seeds when in liquid. they form this slime-like coating around the seed and they are kind of like mini bubble tea bits! read up here on the benefits of adding in that chia. they are considered a superfood for a reason!

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and we are not big juice people over here. i find the store-bought cartons and concentrates a little too sweet and i don’t want the girls getting hooked on that kind of sugar. so with these ready to go in the fridge, i feel good about giving them these juices. niyya downed a whole sippy of the mango this morning and daaniya, well, as you can see in these photos, she enjoys her an agua fresca too!

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they are really simple to make too. follow along with this recipe below.

watermelon agua fresca

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all you need is…

  • 1/4 small watermelon, cut into chunks
  • the leaves off a few sprigs of fresh mint
  • juice of half a lime
  • chia seeds, you can use as little or as much as you like. i just shake my bottle and sprinkle about a tbsp.
  • 1/2 litre coconut water
  • 1/4 litre water

and all you have to do is…

  • add all the ingredients into a blender
  • blend, taste and adjust flavours. i add in a bit more fruit or coconut water to taste. you may like it sweeter or less so.
  • drink!

seriously, that’s it!

swap in and out the ingredients for a variety of flavours. when i made the apple flavour i added a bit of honey to sweeten it a bit, and the mango flavour was simply mango, coconut water and water. anything goes, really! but you’re looking for flavoured water here, not full-on juice. it’s like the hint of fruit that you’re going to want to go for here.

store in mason jars in the fridge and it will keep for a few days. they need a shake up every so often while you’re drinking them, so keep your lid handy or drink with a straw and stir.

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so the next time you are in mexico make sure you get one, or two or three, of these. or blend a few up while the fruit is fresh this season.

besos.

 

RAMADHAN KAREEM

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it’s the first of ramadhan and all around the world muslims will be united. united in hunger and united in the knowledge that this month is the best of the best.

i took daaniya to the mosque yesterday evening (we rushed, we were having too much fun at khala’s in the sprinkler) for a toddler program that has been running for a few years. i’m sooo sad that it’s main teacher is not going to be there this year! for the past couple of years i have been busy with daani being so young, then niyya being so new i haven’t really been to the mosque during this month. and it doesn’t feel the same. i love the sense of community and togetherness i feel when i’m at the mosque during the evenings and nights in ramadhan. so you can imagine how excited i was to be there last night. and even though sister sana was mia, we made the program work, so the little ones could have fun and get a a sense of the month too.

daani was happy to be there as well. she loves going to the mosque, seeing her friends and wearing a “pitty dress”. and even though the program starts past her bedtime, we are making exceptions for this exceptional time.

i want to get the most out of ramadhan this year. deeds are multiplied many times over. and He is his most merciful and loving. doing good, smiling, being helpful, being kind, praying, playing with my kids, things i’d do regularly, yes, but this year insha’allah, i can do more. to better myself and insha’allah to set a good foundation for my girls about the importance of these things and this month.

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i’ll be tracking some of my “deeds” on instagram using the hashtag #bookofdeeds. a friend of mine is part of a project this month where the goal of 10 000 deeds are logged in through all sorts of social media. check it out here. simple enough, and the reward is plenty. so follow along, get inspired and join me in doing good, ok?

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the banquet has been laid out, it’s our chance to feast.

what will you be doing this month?

BACK TO REALITY

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the day after a trip is never fun. there’s always a whole lot of laundry to do, suitcases to unpack, a fridge to restock and real life to get back to. it’s a shock to the system really. you wake up in your own bed, which funny enough, you missed very little on your trip and wonder why you’re not in paradise anymore.

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we were so grateful to have been invited to a pool party yesterday so we could extend the vacay feel a bit. we swam every single day in mexico so being back in the water on our home turf was like a slow detox and not a cold turkey kind of ease back. i’m already wracking my brain for fun splash pads, swimmable beaches and outdoor pools nearby!

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today, the laundry is washed (i’ll get to the folding later,) the suitcases are empty (for the most part), and the fridge is stocked (save for some forgotten items on my non-existent list, anyone got maple syrup?!)

and after a lot of prep in the kitchen last night for ramadhan (yes, that’s life getting real, real fast, no pun intended) – dinners and energizers (kebabs, greek chicken burgers, fresh juices, granola) i’m being lazy, vacation-style, cuddling and reading like a gajillion curious george‘s with my girls in bed. i know it’s our last day to get out and “have fun” before ramadhan begins tomorrow, but for some reason, we are quite content here. and i already know with my two, the fun will not stop just because the food does.

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so here we’ll be – under the fan, kangas and each other in hand, daydreaming about distant lands.

hope you are all having a lovely saturday!

x

 

 

 

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