Thank you

Alhumdulillah what an amazing fun-filled extended weekend full of family and friends.

 

First and foremost, I couldn’t start this off without thanking everyone, far and near, that partook in the “pre-wedding celebration” on Sunday and all of the weekend’s celebrations. From the wonderful surprise bridal shower on Friday, the dholki/dinner event Javed Chachoo, Chotti Anna and Imran hosted on Saturday for me, and the absolutely amazing “Pre-Wedding Celebration” Sunday night to start off the festivities… it was the most amazing weekend full of so many memories. I appreciate it, more than I could ever articulate. Anyone and everyone who knows me know how much I cherish family time. And what a basket-case of emotions I am.

I have always said how much I absolutely love how close-knit our family is, alhumdulillah, but this year especially you all have made me feel loved and cared for in immeasurable ways. Your concern and duas got me through the toughest of the days. But your heartfelt joy in celebrating the good days with me have been just as strong.

I can’t believe in such a short time, alhumdulillah, I’ll be married [inshAllah].



To Abu and Ami: Thank you.

For always pushing me to do my best.
For letting me do things at my pace.
For giving me the space I need.
For always believing in me.
For never expecting anything less than my best.
For teaching us good morals from day one and the difference between what is right and wrong. And of course: what is right vs. what is easy.
For always asking why we got that one question wrong on a test in school. It might have driven me crazy over the years why a 98% wasn’t good enough, but it pushed me to always try that much harder.


For all the moments that count and matter, I never doubted that you were proud of us.
Thank you for being wonderful role models — as individuals, as a married couple, and as parents.


Ayaz and Faraz:
From the endless ridiculous quarrels to the countless memories: I am not sure how the time flew by so fast and the first of us three is [already] getting married soon. It seems like it wasn’t too long ago Faraz and I were building forts with chairs, cushions and blankets and using my toy cutlery set for picnics underneath the forts.

It seems like it was just yesterday Ayaz was shaking his head at something Faraz or I had said or done. Wait, scratch that, odds are that probably was just yesterday. [just kidding Ayaz... but we all know he is shaking his head reading this!]

You both have been my biggest bully but my biggest supporter all in one. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And I couldn’t end this before addressing the young ones–

To my younger cousins:
I have loved being your built-in editor, proof-reader, and problem solver. I have loved that you have always trusted me enough to come to me for advice or ask me for my opinion. I have loved the fact that you knew your secrets were safe with me. I have loved [and will always love] being your older sister. For years growing up, I used to always say to myself that I wished I had a younger sibling. I didn’t realize until much later Allah SWT gave me many younger siblings in all of you crazies.

While Australia may be [literally] on the other end of the world, always know this: I am still never going to be more than just a phone call, text message, email, what’s app message, Facebook message, [etc.] away. You get the picture. Some things change, but others never have to.

Don’t Reverse Car in the Middle of the Road

Is that really something people need to be told or reminded?

Earlier today, my brother Ayaz and I were running a few errands when in the middle of the road, some guy decides to REVERSE his car in the middle of a busy intersection right by our house. On a jug handle.

This guy was driving a BMW so hopefully he at least values his car if not valued the lives involved when he decided to do something as stupid as REVERSE his car.

He hit our car but, alhumdulillah, no one was injured. In our car or his.

He had been driving annoyingly for a while leading up to the accident, but that was just annoying. It’s when annoying becomes moronic and stupid that I have issues with.

He told us he was trying to switch lanes and that he didn’t see us. I wanted to tell him ‘of course you didn’t see, you were busy being stupid and reversing your car in the middle of the road’!

It just doesn’t make sense to me. Just to save a few seconds, people risk their own lives and the lives of innocent bystanders.

We are all fine, but there could have been injuries. There could have been children in the car. There could have been so many other possibilities. Is it really worth causing an accident to save a few moments of your time? Why are people always looking for shortcuts?

Even the police was dumbfounded when we told him what had happened. When the other driver told him the same, the police officer essentially told the guy “yeah, you can’t do that”.

Apparently that’s not common sense.

Moral of the story: don’t reverse your car in the middle of the road. I thought that was a given, but obviously not …

A week from today [September 26]  marks eight years since Ayaz and I had the horrible car accident where our car was totaled :( … can’t believe it’s been that long.

What’s for Dinner: Chicken Burrito Bowl

On Tuesday, for my dad’s birthday, I made homemade Chicken Burrito Bowls for dinner. It was flavorful and delicious. One of the best part of this meal was that it was all cooked in one pot!

I used:

  • Diced/bite size pieces of boneless chicken breastsIMG_2733.JPG
  • Seasonings: black pepper, garlic powder, ginger powder, paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of diced yellow onion
  • 1 and 1/2 cup of uncooked [extra-long grain] rice
  • 1 [14.5 ounce] can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 [15 ounce] can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 1/2 cups of [low-sodium] chicken broth
  • 1 to 2 cups of monterey jack cheese
  • freshly diced tomatoes
  • diced green onions

What I did was:

  1. I took my bite size boneless chicken meat and seasoned it with black pepper, garlic powder, ginger powder, paprika, chili powder, and cayenne powder.
  2. In a pot, add in about two tablespoons of olive oil (approximately) and add in your diced onion. Saute your onions until they are softened.
  3. When your onions are softened, add in your chicken [over medium heat]. Let it cook until it starts to brown. When that happens, move it to the side of the pan.
  4. Next, add in about another tablespoon of olive oil and add in your [uncooked] rice. Saute your rice until it starts to brown [only a few minutes].
  5. At the point, add in your can of [drained] diced tomatoes, your can of [drained and rinsed] black beans, and your chicken broth. Let it come up to a simmer before you lower the heat to low.
  6. Cover the pan and let it cook over low heat for about 20 minutes [until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender].
  7. At this point, remove your pot from the heat. Add in the amount of cheese you want and recover your pan. This will help you melt the cheese. Remove the lid and mix everything.
  8. Serve warm, with garnishes of diced green onion and tomatoes.

Notes: for mine, I didn’t add cheese because I don’t like it– but I know my parents and brother add cheese when they get something similar from Chipotle.

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.

 

What’s for Dinner: Pull-Apart Garlic Bread

IMG_1535IMG_1535IMG_1535I did another twist on a pull-apart bread that was similar in technique to my Garlic-Parmesan Pull-Apart Bread that I made last week. What I did differently this time was that I used the flavors of garlic knots/garlic bread instead. I essentially used the flavors of my garlic knots recipe.

I used a little less butter this time around.

What I used:

  • 16 frozen dinner rolls
  • 3/4th of a stick of [unsalted] butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried parsley flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons of [grated] Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of [shredded] Parmesan cheese

How I made it:

  1. Take sixteen frozen dinner rolls and let it sit in room room temperature for about an hour. After about an hour, cut each of them in half.
  2. Combine your parsley, garlic powder, salt,oregano, and grated parmesan cheese. Mix with the melted butter before tossing it all together with the frozen dinner rolls.
  3. Add in a half cup of  your shredded Parmesan cheese and mix everything well. Make sure all pieces of the frozen dinner rolls are coated well with the butter, seasonings, and Parmesan cheese.
  4. Take a springform pan and line the bottom with all of your coated dinner roll pieces, covering the whole pan.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining half cup of Parmesan cheese on top.
  6. Season the top with more parsley, oregano and garlic powder.
  7. Next, let your bread rise. At least for an hour and a half to two hours.
  8. When you are ready to bake your pull-apart bread, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  9. Bake in your preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown [and the middle in completely cooked through].
  10. Serve warm!

It’s one of those things that need to be eaten fresh as soon as it comes out of the oven for the best results, so serve it warm and quickly!

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.

What’s for Dinner: Garlic Parmesan Pull-Apart Bread

IMG_1435-0IMG_1435-0What I used:IMG_1441.JPG

  • 16 frozen dinner rolls
  • 1 stick of [unsalted] butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon of parsley flakes
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 cup of [shredded] Parmesan cheese

What I did was:

  1. Take sixteen frozen dinner rolls and let it sit in room room temperature for about 45 minutes to an hour. After about an hour, cut each of them in half.
  2. Combine your parsley, garlic powder, salt, Italian seasoning, and onion powder. Mix with the melted one stick of butter before tossing it all together with the frozen dinner rolls.
  3. Add in a half cup of  your shredded Parmesan cheese and mix everything well. Make sure all pieces of the frozen dinner rolls are coated well with the butter, seasonings, and Parmesan cheese.
  4. Take a springform pan and line the bottom with all of your coated dinner roll pieces, covering the whole pan.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining half cup of Parmesan cheese on top.
  6. Next, let your bread rise. At least for an hour and a half to two hours.
  7. When you are ready to bake your pull-apart bread, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Bake in your preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown [and the middle in completely cooked through].
  9. Serve warm!

It’s one of those things that need to be eaten fresh as soon as it comes out of the oven for the best results, so serve it warm and quickly!

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.

 

What’s for Dinner: Pizza Pockets

These pizza pockets are delicious and so easy to make!

You can use either a store bought pizza dough, or make your own. Click here to see my pizza dough r20140802-121720-44240578.jpgecipe.

Roll your pizza dough out to be a rectangular shape. Cut them into squares. On one half of each, add marinara sauce, cheese [and whatever other toppings you want inside]. Fold over, diagnonally, and seal the edges to enclose the filling.

Next, brush olive oil on top of each pizza pocket, followed by oregano and garlic powder.

In your preheated 400 degree oven, bake your pizza pockets for about 12-15 minutes [or until the top is golden brown].

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.

What’s for Dinner: Chicken Patties

To ground chicken [you could of course use ground meat instead if you want], add: salt, black pepper, garlic, ginger, and paprika.

Cook your chicken without adding any water or oil.20140710-214835-78515714.jpg

When it’s cooked through and any excess liquid dries up, then: add in fried onion, lemon juice, and mint.

Next, take [thawed] puff pastry sheets. Cut into squares [depending on the size you want], add some chicken filling to one half before folding over the other half of the sheet  to close it. Primp with  a fork to get nice edges if you want!

Finally, brush on egg wash on top.

We make these in batches and freeze them, so they are easy to just bake in the oven when needed.

In a preheated 350 degree oven, bake for about 25-30 minutes… or until the top is golden brown!

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: [Baked] Bang Bang Shrimp

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This past Tuesday, I did a baked version of my Bang Bang Shrimp. It was just as delicious, and I loved that it wasn’t fried!

  1. Make your sauce: combine the 1/2 cup of [low-fat] mayonnaise, 4 teaspoons of chili garlic sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar in a small bowl. I let mine chill in the fridge in the meantime. This helps the sauce stick to the shrimp.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line your baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup. Spray non-stick cooking spray on top of the foil.
  3. I seasoned shrimp with: black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, and cayenne powder.
  4. Next, I added in a [beated] egg to the marinated shrimp.
  5. Separately, in a ziploc bag [for easy cleanup], I add in flour and season it with black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, and cayenne powder. Next, add in the shrimp to the ziploc bag, seal… and shake to coat all of the shrimp.
  6. Transfer your coated shrimp on to the lined baking sheet. When all are transferred, spray another layer of non-stick cooking spray on top of all the shrimp.
  7. Bake the shrimp in your preheated oven for about 15 minutes.
  8. After a few minutes of letting the shrimp cool, transfer to a dish where you fold in the sauce with the shrimp before serving.

Like I mentioned in the original version, the ideal combination/process for a crispy breading [that doesn't fall off -- especially once you start to add the sauce]:

  1. Make the sauce first [and put it in the fridge to chill].
  2. Next, bread the shrimp [then put the shrimp in the fridge too].
  3. Wait to add the sauce to the shrimp until once the shrimp is a little cooler. Gently toss.

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: Cholay

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Cholay is another Pakistani dish that is served as a snack or appetizer… and I’m sharing it today as part of iftari food.

If you are working with dried chick peas, soak them in water [overnight].

When you are ready to make the cholay:

  1. To chana [chick peas], add salt, baking soda and enough water to cover all the chick peas to bring it up to a boil.  Keep your heat on high until it comes to a boil, then turn to extreme low heat for the rest of the cooking process.
  2. Add in [peeled and diced] potatoes to the chick peas half way through it’s cooking process [so it can just cook together]. You can remove liquid if there is an excess amount.
  3. Once it’s ready, add in diced tomatoes, one of the following [cumin or chaat masala, and imli [tamarind] chutney.
  4. When you are ready to serve, add in either mint or coriander leaves.

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.

What’s for Dinner: Mango, Mint and Strawberry Salsa

This one is pretty self explanatory [just by it's name]!

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I diced up mangoes. Same with strawberries [fresh from our backyard]! Added in some chopped mint [also from the backyard!]… and mixed everything together.

Today, when I made this, I served it over baked tilapia:

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I seasoned the tilapia with black pepper, paprika, garlic, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice. I baked it for about 25 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.

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: