notes from me

Ramadan Mubarak


InshAllah your first day of Ramadan was easy and full of blessings. I was really happy with how my day went and I hope to try to keep the entire month the same way. I prepped my food early and had it in the fridge ready to go so that I could get it on the stove and have it ready in time for Iftar. During this time I was able to clean up and have a lot of time instead of rushing around in the kitchen. I wanted to be able to make sure the last minutes of the day were used with me being able to talk to Allah alone by myself instead of getting ready for dinner. Because of the early prep I was able to do that, dinner was ready on time and I did not have a huge mess to clean up afterwards.

I used to get so caught up in iftar itself that I would make so much food, but the reality is that we eat just as much as any other day so making a lot of food is just useless. These days I just keep it simple, but I make sure to make all tradiontal foods during the Holy Month. I hate having my fridge stuffed with leftovers and no one wants to spend everyday eating the same thing. I like to make nice fresh food daily and I am able to since I keep everything at a normal size. While having good food during Ramadan is a must, it’s just is not what it is all about.

This morning for sahoor, I made jareesh soup and lamb samboosas. Of course we had vimto. For iftar I made mashi, rice and maakoud. I also had dates, laban, vimto and salad on the table. Later on we had caradmom tea and desserts that my husband broguht home. I will share those with you all later. What did you have?

MENA Cooking Club


Several years ago an Arabic cooking club called Walima was started by a Lebanese lady and many of us (myself included) were able to take part in it. I really loved all the challenges of cooking a new dish across the Arab world monthly, meeting all the foodies who love what I do and also seeing how we all interpreted a dish that was the same into something different. I do not know what happened to the club, but it just sort of stopped one day. I guess everyone got busy with life in general. Since then I have wanted to create another one myself, but have never really had time to start it up until now that is.

So without further ado, I am here to tell you all about a brand new Middle Eastern Cooking club that I hope you all take part in. You do not have to have a blog, live in the Middle East or even be Middle Eastern. You just have to love trying new things, spices and beautiful food. MENA stands for Middle East and North Africa and I really could not describe it better than just using the initials and keeping it short and sweet. Each month we will have a new country and a host. The host for the month will choose what dish we all make for the upcoming month.

Here is a list of the countries:
Algeria: hosted by Asmaa of Halal Home Cooking
Egypt: hosted by Amira of Arabian Mama
Iraq: hosted by Maryam of Maryam’s Culinary World
Palestine: hosted by Amani
Saudi Arabia: hosted by Noor of Ya Salam Cooking
Syria: hosted by Joumana of Taste of Beruit
United Arab Emirates: hosted by Tamar

If you’re interested in being part of the MENA Cooking Club then please select the country that you want to host and fill out this form. From there I will give you all the information you need to be part of the group and to host. If you want to be part of the cooking club you do not have to ever be a host, but you still need fill out the form to get the information.

Please hurry and get everything in so we can get started. We will also have buttons so you can add to your blog if you would like.


Lavender Simple Syrup


I’ve been lucky enough to make such nice friends that bring me back gifts when they travel and even some of you have mailed me things that you know I would like. My friend Ghada here who writes the blog LIVIN’G went to the South of France for vacation a few months ago and she brought me back lavender. She knew that I had been talking about it and could not find it and she also knew they had plenty in France. For years I have seen people bake with the flower and I really wanted to try it out. On Instagram a lady had mentioned how she had a lavender cappuccino and it was the best drink she ever tried. Needless to say it made me want it even more.

I decided to make a simple syrup using some of mine. It can be used in ice or hot tea, ice or hot coffee, lemonade, fruit drinks or even spritzer water. As you see it has a ton of uses and hey, I imagine you can even use it in baking as well and what about over pancakes or yogurt? Yum!

1 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon dried lavender

1. In a saute pan on high heat, add water, sugar and lavender. Bring to a full boil, then reduce to low for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to steep an additional 15 minutes.

2. Strain lavender buds out and transfer syrup to a glass bottle with a lid. Refrigerate for up to a month.