Mother’s Day

This morning, a co-worker gave me such beautiful flowers for Mother’s Day [that is this weekend]. I love flowers! The best part about these particular flowers? They are to be planted… and I can’t wait to see them bloom.

Happy (early) Mother’s Day to all the Mama’s!

I hope we Mama’s use this day to reflect on and celebrate our child(ren) that made us Mama’s. My Arham is the biggest blessing/gift from Allah, and it’s just not possible to put into words… but something that I reflect on a lot.

A few weeks after Arham was born, when I posted his first picture on social media [from his aqeeqa], I wrote my feelings of how Arham “... gave me the proudest title: I became a mama. Each day since you have brought more smiles and joy to me than I could have ever imagined.”… and it is something that my Arham has proven to be true an infinite times over. I have never been more proud, and he brings such an indescribable joy that leaves me in awe. 

As I mentioned previously, while I never imagined working outside of the home when he was at such a fundamental age… what I have learned is this: being a mother is the hardest, but yet the most rewarding role I have ever had in my life. It makes me who I am, and it’s what I am most proud of.

So many people say don’t let becoming a mother change or define your identity. I understand they mean it in a positive way, but if you think about it … how can it not? Arham has changed my life, making it infinitely better, and so fulfilling alhumdulillah.

It was right around Mother’s Day in my pregnancy that I had the scare, and wondered if I would even get to hold Arham in my arms. I can’t begin to describe what the uncertainty felt like, but if anything–  all the time since has been a constant reminder to not take even a moment for granted.

I pray Allah SWT protects my Arham and guides him to be the very best version of himself.

Feedback on Hajj Posts

Three and a half years after I wrote about my hajj experience in 2013, it is still one of the most popular topics that brings people from all across the world to my blog. If not THE most popular topic that gets the most hits on my site.

Especially my post on packing for hajj specifically.

I still get random emails asking me questions, or for suggestions, or sharing tidbits. I get emails thanking me — that by reading about my experience, they were better prepared for their own hajj. Or a certain experience during their hajj experience reminded them of what I had written.

It’s an amazing feeling to not only get these questions, but even more so when I am told how helpful reading my posts were for them. The whole reason I wrote about my hajj experience back in 2013 was because when I was preparing to go for hajj, I was unable to find answers to my questions… and I was unable to hear/read personalized tidbits with specific details.

I pray Allah SWT invites us all for the remarkable experience that hajj is — not just for the religious and spiritual aspect, but on a personal and individual level too.

Take Arham to Work Day

Growing up, one of the things I loved was going to work with my Abu for “Take Your Child to Work Today”.

The tables turned today when I got to take Arham to work with me. While I never imagined working away from home when he was so young, life happens and for my Arham I can do anything.

While I was in work-related training for the better part of the day, I did get to bring in Arham for a little while later in the afternoon. He loved exploring my office. He was a natural sitting in my chair typing away while pretending my calculator was a cell phone. Ironically enough, he didn’t realize my office phone was a telephone considering he has only seen cell phones for the most part. He loved the treats the office had arranged for the kids.

I didn’t imagine this would be one of the traditions I would carry forward, but I am so blessed and thankful for this opportunity too.

What’s for Dinner: Strawberry Trifle 

This dessert couldn’t be easier to assemble. And it is absolutely delicious. Like can’t stop eating it until it’s done and you still want more delicious. 

What you need:

  • Pound cake, diced
  • Strawberries, sliced or diced
  • Cool whip
  • Instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 cups of cold milk

How I made it:

  1. Make your vanilla pudding — basically blend your vanilla pudding mix with the two cups of cold milk for about a minute or two. Let it set for just  a few minutes and you will have your pudding.
  2. Fold into your cool whip.
  3. Now it’s basically just assembling your layers.
  4. Layer the bottom of your trifle platter with the pudding/cool whip mixture. Add a layer of cake, followed by strawberries. Continue the layers.
  5. Add a top layer of cool whip/pudding. Decorate the top of your trifle with a layer of strawberries. Maybe a dollop of whipped cream in the center to give it a finished look?

Like my recipes? Click the below link to purchase my cookbook “What’s for Dinner”:

P.S. This post is a part of my “What’s for Dinner” series, where I share what I’ve been cooking and my recipes. Grab and share my button:


#TeamPapa

It’s been a year, today, since our beloved Papa left us for a better place and it hasn’t gotten easier. I don’t know if it ever will.

A year ago, when I saw him at the funeral home after his death, one of the first thoughts that entered my mind and remains to this day was how tall he was. All my life, because of his age, he was always hunched over a little and I didn’t even realize how tall he truly was.

I could go on and on about my Papa and I love anytime anyone brings up Papa in conversation.

He loved reading. The Qu’ran especially. And did so daily without fail. 

Even when dementia overtook him, subhanAllah, even just hearing the words of the Qu’ran calmed him and brought peace to his mind.

He loved Kit Kats.

He loved Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. Don’t ever disturb him from 7 PM to 8 PM. Without a doubt, it’s how my family and I started watching and still watch to this day. Arham, too, is already a fan.

He loved spending time with us just as much as we loved spending time with him. His presence brought a joy that I can’t describe. I loved loved loved spending any time I could with him and cherished the moments. My NJ cousins knew that if my Papa was over, all my other plans would be cancelled.

He loved us all unconditionally. I have never met anyone more genuine than my Papa, and I don’t say that in a biased granddaughter way. I created the #TeamPapa hashtag several years ago, and it’s stuck within our family. My cousin made us matching shirts with it as well.

When I was pregnant with Arham, because of his dementia we didn’t tell Papa but, subhanAllah, he would ask on the phone about the baby. When I went to visit him while pregnant, he asked where was the baby, why is the baby crying in the other room. Even with his dementia overtaking him, he still had an intuition somehow.

Although Arham got to meet him, I wish he got to grow up around Papa and see for himself who Papa was. Or why I am so fond of him. Why he brought me such joy and why his memories still bring me joy, why the memories are so strong and always positive toned.

He brought so much joy in my life, I can’t even describe it. It’s just not possible to put into words who he is for me and how much I miss his presence.

I pray Allah SWT grants him the highest place in jannat. I pray I can carry his legacy forward by being the best version of myself and make him proud. I pray I raise Arham to be the kind of person that Papa was.

 

What’s for Dinner: Pizza Ring

So a few days ago, on Monday, I made this Pizza Ring.

It was very easy to make, took very few ingredients, and was a quick meal.

What I used:

  • 2 cans of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • Garlic Powder
  • Oregano

How I made it:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line your baking day with parchment paper… so the pizza ring doesn’t stick and it’s easy cleanup!
  2. Unroll the crescent rolls, and keeping the two triangle pairs in tact… separate the rectangle pairs. Using two boxes, you should have 8 pairs.
  3. Line 4 of the rectangle pairs across one another so it creates a + sign… leaving a square gap in the middle. Add the remaining four rectangles to make a ring shape, overlapping the crescent rectangles.
  4. Add marinara sauce and Mozarella cheese to the dough near the middle. Add garlic powder and oregano.
  5. Fold over your crescents to create a folded ring.
  6. Add garlic powder and oregano on top.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes in your preheated oven. Serve warm!

Like my recipes? Click the below link to purchase my cookbook “What’s for Dinner”:

P.S. This post is a part of my “What’s for Dinner” series, where I share what I’ve been cooking and my recipes. Grab and share my button:


What’s for Dinner: Spicy Chicken Tenders

It was a snowy and cold day today, so for dinner today: I made spicy chicken tenders.  Easy, delicious, warm and comforting! They are kid friendly, but let’s be honest — who doesn’t like chicken tenders when they look and taste something like this??

What I used:

  • Boneless Chicken breasts
  • My standard seasoning mix: salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, and garlic powder.
  • [Whole] Milk
  • [Pete’s] hot sauce
  • Eggs
  • Flour
  • Oil, for frying

How I made it:

  1. I had several large pieces of thinned boneless chicken breast, so what I did was I cut them all to a chicken tender size. Long and thin pieces of meat.
  2. To your chicken, add your seasonings – salt, black pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper and garlic powder.
  3. Add in milk and eggs before adding in about one cup of hot sauce. I used this amount and you could taste the heat, but it was very tamed — so adjust based on your liking.
  4. In a ziploc bag [for easy clean up], add your flour. To your flour, add in the same seasonings as above – salt, black pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper and garlic powder. Shake well to combine.
  5. In batches, transfer your chicken batter into the ziploc bag with the seasoned flour. Shake well to combine.
  6. Fry your tenders, in batches, until they are golden brown.

Tip: I get asked a lot how I get the crispy and crunchy on the end product so perfectly, and my guess would be ziploc should get the credit for it… that technique coats really well — whether it be chicken, seafood, or whatever you are working with.

I have a few variations on french fries, that would work perfect with these chicken tenders, that you can find my clicking here and scrolling down close to the bottom under Side Dishes!

Like my recipes? Click the below link to purchase my cookbook “What’s for Dinner”:

P.S. This post is a part of my “What’s for Dinner” series, where I share what I’ve been cooking and my recipes. Grab and share my button:


What’s for Dinner: Toffee Cheesecake with Caramel

My brothers and I hosted a Superbowl party, yesterday, for some of our cousins.

For dessert? I made another variation of a cheesecake: this time, I made a Toffee Cheesecake. If there is any doubt I love cheesecakes, check the different variations I have made and posted the recipes of on here

What I used:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons of [unsalted] butter, melted
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 8 ounce bag of Toffee bits
  • 1 tablespoon of All-Purpose flour
  • Caramel

How I made it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Combine the butter and graham crackers. Press the mixture into the bottom [and across the lower sides if you would like] of your springform pan to form the crust.
  3. Next, in a large bowl, beat your cream cheese until it is smooth. Add in the condensed milk and beat the mixture well [until it is evenly incorporated].
  4. Next, add in the eggs and vanilla extract. Do not over beat the mixture, just enough until your mixture is smooth.
  5. Coat your toffee bits with the tablespoon of flour. Why you ask? Read my tip down below why I do this.
  6. Fold in about one cup of the toffee bits into the cheesecake batter.
  7. Pour your cheesecake batter over your graham cracker based crust.
  8. Sprinkle the top with the remaining toffee bits.
  9. Bake for 60-70 minutes.
  10. Let the cheesecake cool, and then either put the Caramel on top like I did… or drizzle on each individual piece as serving.

Tip: In order to make sure the toffee doesn’t sink to the bottom, coat your toffee with a little bit of All-Purpose flourTrust me, newbie me had chocolate chips sink to the bottom once… but I turned it into a positive thing by having an extra layer of chocolate… who doesn’t like chocolate!

Like my recipes? Click the below link to purchase my cookbook “What’s for Dinner”:

P.S. This post is a part of my “What’s for Dinner” series, where I share what I’ve been cooking and my recipes. Grab and share my button:


What’s for Dinner? The Book Edition

Getting a copy of my published recipe cook “What’s for Dinner? was an amazing feeling.

Ayaz and Faraz had been telling me for several years to publish it, and I actually had most of the work done and saved from a few years ago. So when I decided to go for it, the process was relatively quick and easy for me.

If you follow me on pretty much any social media, you will see that first and foremost I always describe myself as Arham’s Mama. It is who I am and it is what makes me most proud and happiest. This book is no different. It’s for him. I want Arham to know I’ll always be his number one fan in anything he wants to do [as long as it’s in good faith].

Have you picked up your copy of ‘What’s for Dinner?. I’d love to hear feedback. 

Have you tried any of the recipesLet me know what you think!

“What’s for Dinner” is Published

Published!

I’m happy to say that my [first] book of a series of recipes is published and can be found by clicking here.

It is also available directly from Amazon (click here for Amazon link).

The above links I mentioned all are physical copies of the book (paperback), but if you prefer digital books, it is also available as a digital book on the Kindle if you click here.

It is also available as a paperback Amazon Europe too (click here for the Amazon Europe link).

And click here for the Kindle version for Europe.

Thank you everyone for your words of encouragement and support thus far.