Rosey Lime Tea

I bet you never thought about combing rose or lime, little on in tea. It may sound off but this is a perfect match. Try something new and have fun with your tea, the same things get boring after awhile. 4 cups water (cold) 4 tablespoons black loose leaf tea 1 teaspoon lime juice 1 tablespoon rose water sugar to taste 1. Add water, lime juice and rose water to a tea kettle and boil.Add water mixture to tea, let steep for 5 minutes. Add sugar to taste. Yields: 4 servings

Tomato Sauce

This sauce is fantastic and can be ate alone with pasta or you can add meat or vegetables to it for a heavier meal. Not only can you refrigerate this but you can also jar and freeze it for those days your in a hurry. 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 onion, diced 3 teaspoons sugar 1 bay leaf 2 tablespoons oregano 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning 1 (15 ounce) can of diced tomatoes 1 (14 ounce) can of tomato sauce 2 tablespoons garlic, diced 1. In a saute pan add oil, onion garlic, oregano and Italian seasoning. Cook for a few minutes or until onion is tender. Add tomatoes and sauce, then sugar. Cook on low covered for 10-15 minutes.

White Bread

I love everything about making bread from the feeling of dough between my hands to the smell arising in my house as it bakes. This easy to make bread is perfect for sandwiches you know the everyday type of bread we want around the house. 1-1/2 cups water 4-1/4 cups bread flour 3 tablespoons sugar 1 tablespoon dry milk 1-1/2 teaspoons salt 2 tablespoons sunflower oil 2 teaspoons active dry yeast 1. In bread pan add water, flour, sugar, milk, salt and oil. Add a small hole with your finger at the top and add yeast. Place pan into machine and put on basic setting, 2 pound loaf and medium crust. 2. After bread is done let cool for an hour then dust top with flour

Vegetable Curry

2 large potatoes 1 can (15 ounce) kidney beans, rinsed and drained 1 cup peas 1 teaspoon cumin seeds salt and pepper to taste 1/2 cup yogurt 1/2 cup water 2 tablespoons curry powder 1/2 onion, diced 1 tablespoon garlic, diced 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, diced 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1. In a 4-quart sauté pan add vegetable oil and fry onion and garlic until tender. Add potatoes, beans, garlic and peas. Mixing well add water and yogurt. Add cumin seeds curry and cilantro mix well. 2. Cook on low covered for 15 minutes or until potatoes are done. Mixing in between so the potatoes do not stick. Yields: 4 servings

Baharat Chicken

2 Cornish hens 2 tablespoons baharat spice 1 tablespoon garlic, diced 1/2 cup olive oil sea salt 1. In a small bowl add oil, spices and garlic, mix well. Take hens and slit cuts around the thigh area and breast then stuff garlic into slits. Rib spice all over hens. Place hens in a roasting pan, then sprinkle top with sea salt. Cook on 350 F for 45 minutes covered. 2. Remove lid and turn broiler on until dark and crispy.

Cupcake Cones

My grandmother used to make these for me when I was a kid and I thought they were the best things ever. No matter how old you are they are just perfect to give you a great pick me up. And if you have kids they will go crazy. You can use your favorite cake mix of frosting and decorate any way you like. 1 box of strawberry cake mix 1 can of strawberry frosting 1 cup frosting(see recipe below) walnuts, strawberries and sprinkles for deco (optional) 1 box of ice cream cones 1. Make cake mix per box directions. Then very gently fill the cone up, leaving about an inch from the top do it has room to rise. After you have done this CAREFULLY place in a pie pan or other dish with high sides. 2. Bake for about 20-30 minutes. You must watch because the time will be longer then usual since the cake is higher. Check with a toothpick to make sure it is clean (if not it needs to bake longer). Allow to cool. frosting: 1/2 cup cream cheese 1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature 2 tablespoons powdered sugar 1. In a large bowl add cream cheese, sugar and butter. Mix until creamy with peaks. 2. With a decorating bag or plastic bag carefully pipe frosting onto cupcake tops.

Million Dollar Brownies

I originally got this recipe a few years ago from the Hershey's website. The only thing I changed was adding the walnuts. I like brownies that are not so much cake like but thick and chewy and they must have walnuts. This truly is the best brownie recipe I have ever tried and let me tell you I have tried a lot. 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 eggs 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1/3 cup  cocoa powder 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional) 1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9-inch square baking pan. In a large mixing bowl add butter, sugar and vanilla, mix well. Add eggs; beat well with spoon. In a another large mixing bowl add flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually add to egg mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in nuts, if desired. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan, add walnuts on top. 2. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Prepare frosting; spread over brownies. Cut into squares.  Yields: 16 brownies  Brownie Frosting: 3 tablespoons butter , softened 3 tablespoons cocoa 1 teaspoon light corn syrup or honey 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 C powdered sugar 1 to 2 tablespoons milk 1. In a large mixing bowl add butter, cocoa, corn syrup and vanilla,  mix until blended. Add powdered sugar and milk; beat to spreading consistency.  Yields: 1 cup

Butter & Sour Cream Cake

This is my great grandmothers recipe. Every year when a holiday would roll around all of my family would meet up at my great grandmothers house. I was always excited because I knew she would make her famous coconut cake. Finally last year when I was pregnant I was craving this and got the recipe (made it and it was as fabulous as ever) and now here it is for you. I hope this becomes a family recipe for you as well. Enjoy!

1 Box of butter cake mix
1 (12 oz) bag of coconut, shredded

1. Bake the cake as directed on box using 2 cake rounds. When finished spit each in half so that you have a total of 4 layers. You can use a cake splitter or even dental floss will work just as fine.

1 (8 oz) container of cool whip
1 cup sugar
1 (8 oz) sour cream

2. In a medium bowl add whip cream, sugar and sour cream, mix well. Chill covered for 30 minutes.

3. Frost cake then sprinkle with coconut on the top and sides. Now you can not eat this cake (sorry). You MUST leave it in the fridge for 3 days before serving it or eating. TRUST ME! After 3 days this cake is superb but not a minute before will it taste as good.

Yields: 8 servings


10-12 dried red chili peppers
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds (if you do not have these you can use dill seeds or cumin seeds)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1. Soak dried chilies in hot water for 30 minutes, drain. Remove stems and seeds.
In a food processor combine chili peppers, garlic, salt and olive oil. Blend.
Add remaining spices and blend to form a smooth paste.

2. Store in airtight container. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on top to keep fresh. Will keep for a month in the refrigerator.

recipe adapted from: Saad Fayed,Your Guide to Middle Eastern Food

Yields: 1 jar

Lemon Pepper Salmon

As you all know I am a avid salmon lover who is always on the look out for the next best recipe. Lemon compliments any seafood dish perfectly so this is a winning recipe for sure. This is great for those busy days when you do not have a lot of time as well. Pair it with rice for a nice meal. 4 salmon fillets juice of 1 lemon olive oil salt and pepper to taste 3 tablespoons garlic, diced 1 tbs lemon/pepper seasoning 1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. In a small bowl add lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and lemon pepper seasoning. Marinate fish in this mix for at least 30 minutes. Take enough aluminum foil (4 pieces) to be able to cover all of the fillets individually. Divide mixture into all the 4 foil packs, close and seal. Place wrapped fish in glass baking pan for about 15 minutes. Check to make sure fish is done. Yields: 4 servings

Chocolate covered strawberries

I have always loved strawberries but put some chocolate on them and OMG hand them over. This has always been why "The Melting Pot" is one of my favorite places to eat. But why go out and pay a lot of $$$$$ when you can make them at home, right? I adapted this recipe from the food network and I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 pound strawberries with stems (about 20), washed and dried very well

Put the semisweet chocolate into a heatproof medium bowl. Fill medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat; set the bowl of chocolate over the water to melt. Stir until smooth. (Alternatively, melt the chocolate in a microwave at half power, for 1 minute, stir and then heat for another minute or until melted.)
Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, remove from the heat. Line a sheet pan with parchment or waxed paper. Holding the strawberry by the stem, dip the fruit into the dark chocolate, lift and twist slightly, letting any excess chocolate fall back into the bowl. Set strawberries on the parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the strawberries.

Set the strawberries aside until the chocolate sets, about 30 minutes.

Arabic Shrimp

1-1/2 pound large shrimp in shells 3 cups water 1 tablespoon parsley 4 garlic cloves, chopped 1/2 cup celery, diced 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 onion, chopped 1 tablespoon cumin 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper salt and pepper to taste 3 tablespoons cilantro 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1. Peel shrimp and place shells in 2-quart saucepan with water covering the top. Bring to a full boil then simmer for 1 hour. When finished pour through a strainer and reserve the broth. 2. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium heat add parsley, garlic, pepper, celery, onion, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, cilantro and lemon juice. Mix well then add 1 cup shrimp broth. Bring to a fill boil then simmer for 15 minutes. Serve with white rice. Yields: 4 servings

Herb substitution's

People always are asking me what herb they can substitute for one they do not have. Let's face it we do not have every spice they make (wishful thinking). And especially when we are not from a certain culture. Good news though here is a herb substitution list.

Cinnamon; cassia; dash of nutmeg or mace; or dash of cloves

Fennel seed or a few drops anise extract


Chili Powder
Dash bottled hot pepper sauce plus a combination of oregano and cumin

Nutmeg or allspice (use only 1/4 of the amount)

Allspice; cinnamon; or nutmeg

Chili powder

Allspice; cinnamon; mace; or nutmeg

Allspice; cinnamon; ginger; or nutmeg

Cinnamon; ginger; or mace

Dash of turmeric (for color)

Oregano or thyme

Tarragon or parsley

Green onion; onion; or leek


Italian Seasoning
Blend of any of these: basil, oregano, rosemary, and ground red pepper

Basil; thyme; or savory

Basil; marjoram; or rosemary

Thyme or basil

Chervil or cilantro

Red Pepper
Dash bottled hot pepper sauce or black pepper

Thyme; tarragon; or savory

“Poultry” seasoning; savory; marjoram; or rosemary

Thyme; marjoram; or sage

Chervil; dash fennel seed; or dash aniseed

Basil; marjoram; oregano; or savory

Chocolate Drizzled Macaroons

Oh my I came across a macroon recipe and I just have to share it with you all! I first tried this cookie at Fudruckers (funny I know) when I was pregnant and it instantly became my all time favorite. Why I had never had one before is beyond me. This is now my all time favorite sweet in the world I think.

(recipe from Paula Deen)
3 C shredded sweetened coconut
1 tsp almond extract or vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
2/3 C sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp cream of tartar
2 egg whites beaten stiff
1/2 C chocolate chips melted for drizzling

1. Preheat oven to 350. Mix coconut, almond extract, salt, milk and cream of tarter in a large bowl until combined. Fold in egg whites. With a large cookie scoop, scoop onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Bake for 13-16 minutes or until edges and tops of cookies are golden brown. Let cool completely. Drizzle melted chocolate over cookies. I put the chocolate in a ziplock, snip the edge and drizzle it.

12-15 large cookies


This recipe always makes me laugh because I always remember my grandfather (may Allah bless his soul) saying "pass me those mashed cucumbers". Ahh don't you just love memories? 2 cups pressed yogurt 1 cucumber 4 cloves pressed garlic 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoons vinegar diced dill salt pepper 1. In a small bowl add yogurt, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and dill, mix well. 2. With a cheese shredder grate in cucumber, mix.


Mashi just means "to stuff" so anything can pretty much be mashi. I find anything I have in the fridge to do this when I have the time. It is such a great recipe that everyone always loves. I prefer to do potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini's, onions and cabbage myself but their is many other things you can use. This is time consuming so make sure you have a lot of time and hey if you can get someone to help you prep that will be even better. Today when I was in the kitchen my husband asked me "I wonder what country came up with mashi"? Really who knows? I need to try to look into this but I know that all the countries have their on version of mashi. He then went on to tell me whoever did is a genius. Wow a genius people really like mashi huh? lol! So there you have it and you see how much this recipe is loved. 2 tomatoes (should be able to stand up and firm) 2 large potatoes 1 large onion 2 large Zucchini's 2 tablespoons garlic 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce 2 cups basmati rice, cooked 1 pound lean ground beef or lamb 3 tablespoons mixed spice salt to taste pepper and tomatoes pieces for covers (optional) 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted 1. Hollow out  vegetables being very careful not to poke the sides or bottoms.  You can use a special tool or just a butter knife as I do. Cut Zucchini's (keep insides) and potatoes in half, then core. Make a slice in the bottom so they sit up when you stand them. Cut around tomato core so that you preserve a lid, core the insides (keep insides). Take onion and cut top and bottom. Make one slice in the side so that when  the onion is peeled you have large rolls of each piece. Set these layers in a plate and cook in the microwave for one minute. 2. In an 8-inch skillet on medium heat brown beef (I use lean bc its not greasy and you do not have to drain) with the spice's, garlic,pine nuts and onions. After this is done put into the food processor so that it is very fine then add to rice mixture in a large bowl. 3. Next, Take tomato sauce, zucchini and tomato insides and blend in the processor. Set aside. Preheat oven to 325 F.  Bake tomatoes in a small shallow baking dish because they do not need to cook as long as the rest. So you will need a small and a larger shallow baking dish. Pour some of sauce in the bottom of both. Fill all vegetables with meat and rice mix leaving room on top for the lids. Place pepper lids on potatoes for a great flavor and tomato lids on zucchinis. Place some of the mix in the onion leaves and roll. Place all vegetables into the baking dish (potatoes and tomatoes up and zucchinis and onions laying down) they go in. GENTLY pour remaining sauce in the pans. 4. Tomatoes should bake for 20 minutes and the rest for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Place remaining rice mix in a serving dish, add mashi on top. You can pour some sauce on the tops or place in a bowl for your guest to have as they want, your choice.

Brown sugar

many people do not know that you can make your own brown sugar at home. It is super easy and especially good when you do this from scratch like most things. This is good for those bakers out there that never seem to have enough since they only sell us small portions and half the time you get the box home and its stiff as a rock. This recipe is faulous. You can make it ahead of time and store it or just make it when its time to bake. Happy baking...

2 tablespoon molasses
1 cup granulated sugar

Place sugar in a food processor then add molasses (double for dark brown sugar) and da da thats it...

My Favorite Spices

Spices are such a beautiful thing. And for anyone wanting to learn about all the amazing spices the world has to offer I would have to tell you to run out and buy "The Spice and herb bible" by: Robert Rose. This guide not only tells you what each one taste like and will pair well with but it also has the name of the spice in all languages, recipes, history and much much more. Worth the money you spend trust me. Now let me go on to tell you that I came from a mother who's idea of spices were salt and pepper so if I can learn everything that I know oh trust me you can as well. I have became slightly obsessed with spices and actually use cabinet's to store them. Yes, I did say cabinet's lol. Each country has their on main spices that they use but the spices that I use mainly are Middle Eastern, Indian and African. I will now list my top ten list for my spices and the list anyone who wants to pick up my recipes should have. 1. green cardamom pods 2. coriander 3. ground cardamom 4. cumin 5. curry powder 6. cinnamon 7. sumac 8. dried lemon 9. nutmeg 10. ginger Also, please see my spice mix ingredients to make your own spices for certain countries these are key and instead of adding several you can just make a jar and use what you need.

Grilled chicken wings

I was extremely lazy this past weekend since I was just getting over being sick so I thought what is better in a time like this then finger foods! One of the snacks that I made was this Lebanese version of wings. It was so great that I am going to try this method with a whole chicken in the near future.

12 wings
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic
1 lemon, juiced

1. In a large bowl add olive oil, garlic and lemon. Add wings rotating. Place lid on bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours.

2. Place wings on a foil lined baking sheet in a pre-heated oven on high broil. Flip several times while cooking until I the crispiness you want is achieved. Usually about 20 minutes.

Yields: 2 servings

How to season an iron skillet

This is a tip that all good cooks need to know. Every cook must have an iron skillet or two at least. I try to do this every six months or so to keep them in tip top shape.

Things You’ll Need:
Steel Wool
Vegetable Oils
Mild Soap
Paper Towels

Step 1:
Scrub a new skillet with steel wool to remove its protective coating, and wash with mild, soapy water. (If reseasoning an old skillet, just scrub with hot water and a brush.)

Step 2:
Use a paper towel to coat the skillet with vegetable oil.

Step 3:
Heat, uncovered, for 2 hours in an oven at 250 degrees F.

Step 4:
Let cool before use.

Pepper Steak

This meat was surprisingly flavorful and moist. I had some extra steak and really wanted to try it in the crockpot for a new and unique recipe. This dish is not hot or spicy and the flavors complement one another in a perfect way. You can pair this dish up with some rice or pasta, bread and a salad. 1 pound boneless beef round steak salt and pepper to taste 1 tablespoon oil 1 (14.5 ounce) can of stewed tomatoes, un-drained 3 tablespoons tomato paste 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1 of each chopped: green, yellow and Orange pepper 1. Trim the fat from meat if any. Cut into four pieces, sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a large skillet brown meat on both sides in hot oil. Transfer to crock pot. In a bowl mix tomatoes, paste, seasoning and Worcestershire sauce, pour over meat in crock pot. Top with peppers. Cover and cook on low for on low for 6 hours.

Somali Spiced Tea

When my family and I were living in Northern Virginia, I always looked forward to Ramadan every year because I knew it meant the Somalia women in the mosque would be making this recipe. They not only make this tea but also with coffee, which I love even more. 5 cups water 4 whole cardamoms, crushed 4 whole cloves 1 stick of cinnamon slice of ginger (optional) 4 teaspoon black tea (or 7 teabags tied together) 1 1/2 cups milk 1. In a stove top proof kettle, add the water, spices and ginger. When it comes to a boil, add the tea bags. Let boil 1 minute and add the milk. Reduce, add sugar and let it come to a boil again. Strain and serve.

Moroccan Lamb Shanks

This recipe is the first lamb recipe that I have ever made in the crock pot and let me tell you all from now on I will never cook lamb any other way. I placed this in the crock the night before and allowed it to simmer until lunch the next day. The meat was actually falling off the bone as if it was made from butter. I have never tasted such good lamb WOW. 2 lamb shanks 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon coriander 1 teaspoon cumin 1 cup chicken broth salt and pepper to taste 1 (15 ounce) can of chickpea handful of cherry tomatoes (more if you like) 1 onion, chopped 1. Place the onion on the bottom of the crock pot, add lamb shanks. Then add spices and the rest of the ingredients. If your broth does not cover the lamb then just add more water until the shanks are covered with liquid. Place on low and cook overnight or you can also do this in the morning and have them ready for dinner. The longer lamb slow cooks the better it will be though. Yields: 2 servings