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Summer Squash Soup

I’m a huge fan of a hearty bowl of soup. I love to select, chop and see the change in texture of fresh, seasonal vegetables as I take them from market to my favorite Dutch oven. I love the smells that permeate my home from the dried or fresh herbs I’ve added. I love that soup can feed many people just by adding a little water and a few more herbs, a pinch of salt. There’s indeed much blessing in that.

Not everyone shares  my same passion for soup. There are a few around here that simply want a cup, not a bowl, of soup. They want to save room for meat, rice, pasta or anything else but all that hot liquid. Especially in the very hot summer.

During Ramadan, however, I get my way.

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The Importance of Suhoor & a Recipe for Parmesan-Feta Quiche

Everyone is talking about this year’s daily fasts in Ramadan being so long because sunset (the time when the fast is broken) will come a little after 8pm here in Chicago. It’s also a hot summer season. Very hot.

Fasting isn’t meant to be perfectly easy or else how could we savor the reward of building self-discipline? It’s also not meant to harm us, either. We have to do it right so that we can experience it with enough energy to get through the day, do our work and take care of other responsibilities.

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Tabbouleh (Parlsey & Bulghur Salad)

Tabbouleh, or Parsley Salad, is one of those dishes just packed with nutrition: high fiber bulghur (semi-cooked and dried whole wheat), fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and parsley, beautiful golden olive oil and the best sea salt you can find. Fresh lemon juice finishes it off, giving you a side dish that’s light enough for a late iftar or an early-morning suhoor if you are one to incorporate salads into those meals.

 It may or may not be traditional to make tabbouleh in the way I describe below, so if you’re a tabbouleh traditionalist, I’m curious to know how you simply must have yours. I’m mostly focused on the high-quality, fresh and hydrating ingredients in this dish because they help me get through a long fast when paired with protein, fruits and other healthy things.

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4 Tips to Organize Your Ramadan Cooking

Ramadan is such a great time to get your home organized. Actually, for me all the organization happens way before the month of Ramadan when I begin planning how to plan it all out. Last year, much of what I did to prepare for Ramadan actually lasted for most of the year (i.e. drying citrus peels and saving herbs).

First, I plan the planning. I know Allah swt is the Best of Planners. He also likes us to be organized, clean and efficient, which involves being as prepared as we can and leaving the rest up to Him.

Here’s what I mean:

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Clean Your Kitchen Green- My New Book is Coming Soon!

I’m so excited to be able to talk about my new pocket-size book on green cleaning! After numerous edits and an incredibly patient and talented designer, it’s finally at the printer doing its first run in print format. For those of you who purchased my Spring Cleaning E-book in the past, this is a much more … Read more

Green Deen Book Giveaway!

If you haven’t heard of Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet or the book’s author, Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, you may want to pay close attention. He’s one of the first Muslims in recent history to call people to live a more eco-friendly existence, all within the practical and sensible teachings of Islam. His book also serves as … Read more

Free Subscription to Halal Consumer Magazine

Ever wonder what or who is involved in the halal-certification process for foods, vitamins and other consumer products? Want to know the latest products that are being made and stamped with a halal seal of approval? IFANCA (Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America) is in the business of doing just that, just for you, the … Read more

Brown Basmati Rice with Ghee & Saffron

I love the smell of basmati rice. There isn’t any other rice quite like it. When you walk into the home of someone cooking it, you can usually look forward to something interesting, a one-pot dish paired with meat, like biryani made with chicken, dried plums, exotic spices and of course, fragrant basmati rice.

Now available at stores like Trader Joe’s is a brown basmati rice, a healthier version of the more commonly consumed white rice. It’s healthier because it has more fiber. White basmati, like other most other white rices, have been removed of their husk during processing, which strips it of many essential nutrients and the all-important fiber. Between white and brown basmati, I really don’t taste any huge difference in flavor. Essentially,  you can just make your recipe the way you would normally.  You may even need to eat less of the brown rice because it’s more filling due to the higher fiber content.

Brown basmati is just one of the two great ingredients used to make the recipe for Brown Basmati Rice with Saffron & Ghee.

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Food Styling for a Halal Ad Campaign by IFANCA

I can’t tell you all how excited I am to finally be able to talk about this- my first time professionally styling food for a TV commercial! It was many months ago that I prepped the food and made it look pretty for the camera, but our lips were sealed until IFANCA, the Islamic Food & Nutrition Council of America, was ready to unveil a 30-second public service announcement for their halal-certification organization.

It took a lot of time to develop a menu that was camera-friendly, shop for ingredients with vibrant color, and of course, to put it all together in an absolutely perfect way.

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Chocolate Mousse Cups | ‘Eid Bazaar Baking

I had the great fortune of being able to do a little baking for a local school bazaar this past weekend. Teachers were raising money to fund the children’s Hajj re-enactment program where the kids learn how to properly perform the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca. You see, it’s Hajj ‘season’, meaning that most piligrims from all over the world have left their homes for Mecca, Saudia Arabia, to fulfill one of the pillars of Islam: the once in a life trip to one of the holiest cities for Muslims. If one can so afford to do it after other worldy obligations are cared for, he or she should go and spend 10 days to perform the rites and rituals asked by God of every Muslim.

I decided on some of my family favorites as well as baked goods I thought every mom and every kid would want to enjoy at the bazaar:

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