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San Diego Farmers Markets | My Halal Kitchen

Two San Diego Area Farmers Markets and Vintage Shops Nearby

During my trip to San Diego last May, I shared many of my culinary and shopping adventures by tweeting and posting updates to the MHK Facebook page . There was a great response and interest from readers and I was thrilled to know that many of you shop at farmers markets, many in California. What a great place for fresh, local and organic food.

I was also surprised to learn how many of you shared my love of vintage pieces, which I believe is a great way to have unique, inspiring pieces of home decor and furniture without being wasteful. One person’s junk can truly be someone else’s treasure, especially when one has a vision for old pieces recycled as new. Lots of older pieces are also incredibly sturdy and have character not often found in cookie-cutter items mass-manufactured with synthetic, perhaps toxic materials.

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Welcome, Ramadan!

Ramadan Mubarak! 

Yesterday was the first full day of fasting for us here in Chicago. We had a great suhoor (pre-dawn meal) of eggs with spinach, ground beef with Italian herbs and a side of black beans. For iftar (breaking of the fast) we had skirt steak with only four ingredients: olive oil, salt, black pepper and balsamic vinegar. Both were simple and quick to make, but very filling and nutritious. A lot of water and watermelon at the end of each helped so much to feel hydrated- something we’ll need all throughout the each day as we face a 16- hour fast.

There’s a lot going on around here and for those of you who haven’t subscribed to my newsletter, you may not know about the variety of upcoming events and ways you can chat or speak to me live throughout Ramadan to get tips on cooking, organizing the kitchen and just eating more healthy in general.

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Kitchen Efficiency During Ramadan

Being efficient is a skill that can always be improved upon. During Ramadan, however, it’s more important than ever to be incorporate efficiency into your life so that you spend less time in the kitchen and more time taking advantage of the opportunities for ibadat during this blessed month.

Check out these ten tips to get you in and out of the kitchen quickly and efficiently, insha’allah:

1. Have a Plan For the Daily Iftar Menu: If you didn’t prepare one ahead of time, it’s not too late. Check out my 5 Simple Steps for Planning Ramadan Meals to give you an idea on how get you started at any point during the month. You don’t have to follow the steps exact- just have a plan for what you’ll be cooking for most of the month.

2. Buy What You Can In Bulk: Aside from food bought in bulk, purchasing things like dish soap, sponges, kitchen towels, paper towels, cleansers and disposable eco-friendly dinnerware and cutlery will save you time running out to the store for the little things, all of which eat up precious time. Buying in bulk will not only help you keep meal-prep moving along smoothly for regular dinner nights, it will also help reduce stress when surprise guests or planned iftars pop up.

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Five of My Favorite Useful Things | My Halal Kitchen

5 of My New Favorite Things for the Kitchen

I’ve been gifted a few things recently that I love so much and really want to share with all of you. They make great gifts because not only are they cute and clever, they’re useful and beneficial, too.
Microfiber Dish Cloths. These no-name dish cloths are not only so incredibly cute in color and pattern, they’re awesome to use. They’re super absorbent, quick to dry and you can just throw them in the wash to reuse them over and over again. At four in a pack, each cloth is 12 in. x 12 in. (30 cm x 30 cm) in size. Available at various Marc’s Stores.

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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

How to Make a Hand-Crafted Serving Tray

Although I haven’t talked about it much on this blog, I really am a lover of home made crafts, especially those where I can re-purpose things I already have.

I’m not big on spending a lot of money at craft stores, either. I go for basics while I’m there, but I don’t buy much of the new things I can find on my kind of shopping hunts: tag sales, vintage shops, flea markets, thrift stores and estate sales. I’m even known to pick up a whole bunch of road-side items where I usually envision their use before I throw something into my back seat.

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Family Farmed Expo in Chicago

I have to admit, I’ve been really glued to the television and any news media outlet to catch updates on the situation in Japan.  It was hard for me to write about food or develop recipes when all I could think about was the hardship and suffering of the Japanese people and how the nuclear radiation could affect the entire world.  Currently, they are even running out of bottled water as radiation has leaked into the tap water as far away from the failed nuclear reactors as Tokyo.  Radiation has been detected in spinach and even in their milk supply.  I haven’t even heard about radiation levels in the fish and other marine life—I don’t want to think about it.  The first focus is on the people themselves—how will this affect the people of Japan, its neighbors and the rest of the world?

Last Friday and Saturday I had an incredible two days attending the Family Farmed Expo: Good Food, Good Know-How, Good Fun right here in Chicago at the UIC Forum. I needed the break in my daily routine and wanted to be surrounded by people who are doing something to change the tide of our national {and global} food crisis by providing alternatives to dependency on unsustainable farming and consumption habits. This was definitely the place to be for that.

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5 Simple Ways to Get Your Gardening Groove On

Here in the Midwest, much like other parts of the country we’re experiencing a complete and utter freeze. It’s incredibly hard to imagine colorful flowers, edible gardens, or even water that doesn’t freeze when poured right now, but this is the best time to think about your spring garden.

The Butchart Gardens Seeds- Vancouver, Canada

Yes, your spring garden. And summer garden. And fall garden.– it’s uplifting to consider the possibilities of seeing green, red, yellow, purple and all the other vibrant colors that flowers and vegetable, berries in your very own space, even if you have a small space. Do you have a small patio? A balcony? What about joining a community garden– perfect for apartment dwellers.

Here are some simple suggestions to get you in the mood and warm up to the idea of bringing some green into your life and your home:

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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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