About Yvonne

yvonne social media button picI’m Yvonne Maffei, Founder & Publisher of this website. I was born and raised in small-town Ohio in the heartland of America. After studying at Ohio University (Athens, Ohio) I’ve lived all over the country and traveled the world, but northeast Ohio is where I will always call home. I had a wholesome upbringing in a place where the people were nice, the surrounding was safe and peaceful and the schools fantastic. It shaped everything about the person I am today because it was the launching pad I needed to go forward in life to set off satisfying all of my curiosities about the world- and I’m very curious. 

I was raised visiting farms on the outskirts of my small-town. Every Wednesday or Saturday my parents would visit the local flea market where we could directly interact with Amish farmers or other local producers about their farm stand produce and hand-crafted goods. School trips and family outings involved things like hay rides, visits to apple orchards, pumpkin patches and summer strawberry picking- memories I cherish deeply and one of the reasons why Fall and Spring are my absolute favorite seasons of the year.

What has made my life even more interesting is that I’m half Sicilian and half Puerto-Rican, which means that I grew up eating some really amazing food!  My Sicilian grandparents had Sunday suppers for the entire family- every week. Pasta with meatballs, lasagna, homemade sauce, homemade bread, homemade pizza- it was all a part of the culinary experience of my youth and something I thought was normal. On the Puerto Rican side, it was rice and beans, chicken, pasteles (banana-leaf wrapped tamales), and all sorts of Caribbean-style sweets made with guava, mango, coconut and pineapple.  It’s no wonder I grew up with a desire to hold on to the culinary traditions I grew up with when I saw so much of it disappearing into the marketplace of not-so-real food as I got older and began shopping for myself.

A trip to Sicily when I was 18 years old changed everything about how I viewed food, cooking and living. I experienced how to shop, select, cook and savor the freshest ingredients one could possibly put on the table. My aunt showed me around the markets of my family’s seaside home town in a small village outside of Catania and the rest of my family there showed me how to truly enjoy it all. I was never the same after returning. And never returned to yo-yo dieting or eating processed foods.

Coming back to the U.S., I entered college and began traveling abroad more and more- Mexico, the Caribbean, France, England, Switzerland, Morocco, Spain, Greece and all of Italy. I couldn’t get enough of learning about how people around the world cooked and lived and enjoyed the freshest and most local ingredients on hand. I talked to everyone I could about how to prepare food from scratch and why they used certain cooking methods over others. No culinary school could have given me that type of experience, although I really wanted to enter a prestigious culinary school at the time. Without regret, I graduated from Ohio University with a BA and an MA in International Studies and came out speaking a couple extra languages, meeting some incredibly interesting people and having the most amazing college experiences I hold deep in my heart.

Fast Forward

After college I was a Spanish and English Language and Literature teacher for nearly 10 years before deciding to pursue food writing and teaching the culinary arts within a halal context on a full-time basis. I’m passionate about wholesome foodnutritiongardening, homemaking and learning about fascinating culinary traditions of people all over the globe. I love real food and am concerned about the current state of our food industry and other factors that jeopardize our food freedom and fair and equal access to healthy food for everyoneIt helps that I love to cook, I love to be in my kitchen or garden, and I love to travel and cook and garden anywhere else in the world, too. I could literally cook and discuss food and everything that surrounds the topic all day long. Really, I could.

I  live just outside of Chicago always scoping out food and products that are natural, organic, pure, halal, raised humanely, sourced ethically and brought to market without poisonous toxins and chemicals. Unfortunately, that’s not always an easy thing to do, but it is getting easier as more great companies produce wonderful products I love to shout out to the world- that means so you can find out about them, too!

I hope you’ll find something of interest, inspiration and, of course, good to eat here.  If you’d like to contact me directly, please go here.

Yvonne | My Halal Kitchen


  1. Assalamualaikum wbt, Subhanallah, salam Ramadhan Al Mubarak. I am so glad reading your articles, recipes, living etc and anything in here are so informative and usefull. You are gifted by Allah for all this and wish you the best and may Allah granted you rahmah and barakah. I am from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and looking forward for all your new ideas for halal food and spreading the beauty of Islam to the world. Allah bless you always. Jazakallah Alkhair.
  2. Asalamoalaikum Yvonne! Thank you for this wonderful website! I am going to share it with my entire family inshAllah. You have opened up a resource to halal loving home chefs that I cannot possibly begin to thank you enough for! There are so many Italian, Puerto Rican and South American recipes that I have wanted to try, and with the knowledge you offer here I can finally begin to indulge in my love of cooking again. Wishing you and your family all the best, and may Allah (swt) fill your life with his Barakah. Shukran, Farheen
  3. Hi there! Do you know if they make any plugiuns to protect against hackers? I'm kinda paranoid about losing everything I've worked hard on. Any tips?
  4. I read a lot of interesting content here. Probably you spend a lot of time writing, i know how to save you a lot of work, there is an online tool that creates readable, google friendly articles in seconds, just search in google - laranitas free content source
  5. Assalamu alaykum Hope you are well ان شا ءالله. Any tips on baking wholesome healthy, different kinds of breads st home. Was hoping to open a small deli, cafe with these kind of breads and foods, any advise. Jazakalla Look forward to your valued advise.... Shukran Aadila
  6. Assalamualaikum wr. wb. Yvonne. Ahmad Rizudin, from Malaysia, HERE! :) Came across your site while searching for information about vinegar. More specifically, how to produce it. My actual aim is to figure out how to produce some mustard, without having to rely on wine to make it. Apparently, when it comes to making Dijon mustard, some element of alcohol is required, notably that of white wine. Do you happen to have a recipe for making such mustard that can be made relatively easily? I mean, I was thinking that I needed to produce the white wine vinegar first before I could even use it to make my mustard. Yes, the Internet has a tendency to over-complicate things for me. ^_^;; Would you also happen to have a recipe (or two) for making any basic condiments like mayonnaise or salad dressing, or the like? You know, the sort of stuff that goes into the more satisfying (and occasionally, the "I can't believe it's NOT fast food!" fast food, made at home) dishes? I'd really like to know, because here in Malaysia, prices have been going up lately, and if it's possible to learn how to make some basic items for future use, it would help me immensely. Thanks! Wassalam.
    • Mayonnaise is easy. Put egg yolks in a blender (or you can use whisk if you have lots of energy), turn it on, and SLOWLY drizzle olive oil while it's running. Continue until desired consistency is reached. Add salt & paprika to taste. Store refrigerated.
  7. Salam im randa 32 year sold iwent learn how cook different foods like middle east food and british foods ilook for ward to hear from you
  8. Yvonne, Tonight I made your Hearty Chicken and Zucchini soup. My family loved it. This recipe was fantastic! I posted it on Instagram, with your recipe and website link! @jesyka_rachel I used homegrown zucchini from my own garden. I had to make my own broth and base, but for the rest, it was fabulous. Thank you for your hard work in the kitchen. I have subscribed and I will continue to try your recipes to entertain the neighborhood. God Bless! - Jesyka Rachel

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