August 31, 2010

A bite of sweetness to tide you over

As the days of fasting continue, I find myself having chocolate cravings- Snickers, Twix, Crunchie. Oh so yummy, but oh so bad for the waistline. I've been holding back, but last night was just too unbearable.  I had to have a chocolate fix right then and there.  I quickly scoured my kitchen cupboards to find something and I came across a bar of Lindt's 70% Cocoa Dark Chocolate bar. Perfect!  I also came across a box of Baker's Secret Semi Sweet baking chocolate. Even better! I wanted to have some texture to my chocolate fix, so I threw together a dash of this, a handfull of that and came up with bite sized crunchy chocolately goodness.

Crunch Chocolatey Bites

1 Weetabix biscuit, crushed
2 Tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tsp almond slivers
4 squares of Lindt's 70% Cocoa Dark Chocolate bar (should be about an ounce)
2 ounces of semi-sweet baking chocolate

Crush the Weetabix biscuit in a bowl and mix in the coconut flakes and almond slivers. Set aside.  On the stove, create a double boiler- put a small pot on the stove with some (don't fill it up all the way because you do not want the water to touch the chocolate) water and let it simmer. In a small steel bowl, break the chocolate into pieces and place on top of the small pot. Stir until the chocolate has melted.  Pour the melted chocolate into the Weetabix, coconut and almond mixture. Stir well.  Using a round 1/4 tsp measuring spoon, scoop out the mixture onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Set aside to firm up. Once firm to the touch, put the tray in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

August 18, 2010

Sisters Who Blog Magazine

I forgot to mention in my two previous posts that I'm doing a Ramadan series for Sisterswhoblog Magazine.  It's a great site to check out. You can connect with sisters from around the world, do a little shopping and reading interesting stuff. Do stop by and check it out.

Lebanese Tabbouleh with a twist

Slowly but surely all of us are getting used to the Ramadan routine.  This year, the fast day is longer and the time between iftar and suhoor is much shorter.  I don't know about you, but I find myself feeling very full when I wake up to eat my suhoor because it's only been like 4-5 hours since iftar and dinner.  Keeping this in mind, I thought I would take a recipe Nutrition Unplugged posted and change it up a bit. It's a light dish that's chock full of healthy benefits.  Feast your eyes on a a not so traditional Lebanese Tabbouleh.  Instead of bulgur, I've used red quinoa. Quinoa is a seed that is protein rich and contains all 9 amino acids that our bodies need.  Try this for iftar or as a side with your dinner, I'm sure you'll enjoy it!

Lebanese Tabbouleh with a Twist

1/2 cup of cooked red quinoa (see note below)
juice of 3 limes
1 bunch of parsley, washed thoroughly and diced finely
handful of mint leaves, washed and diced finely
2 medium tomatoes, diced into cubes
3 scallions (green onions), sliced thinly
1 Tbsp good olive oil
salt to taste

Quinoa note: Take a 1/4 measuring cup and pour in dry quinoa until the cup is just half full and give it a good rinse. Put it into a pot with 1/2 cup of water. Boil and then reduce heat to a low simmer until quinoa is cooked. Cool before adding to the rest of the ingredients.

Another Quinoa note:  If you can't find red quinoa, switch it up with any other variety.

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

August 14, 2010

A simple suhoor/sehri (early breakfast) for Ramadan

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims worldwide wake up before sunrise to eat their suhoor/sehri/early breakfast.  Depending on the region of the world, this meal can be comprised of porridge, curries, eggs, sandwiches, rotis (plain or stuffed), juices, tea, milk, water, or in my case, plain old cereal out of a box.  I find that if I eat too much in the morning, it does not agree with me the entire day, so my routine since childhood has been to eat cereal for sehri.  This Ramadan, however, I have decided to try something different- fresh muesli (pronounced moose-ley), cereal that doesn't come out of a box! Muesli is a Swiss breakfast cereal made up of uncooked rolled oats, either soaked in water or juice, fruit and nuts. It was created in the 1900s by a Swiss physician and was given to his patients who were on a diet of fruit and vegetables.

My recipe includes fruit yogurt and 1% milk.  If you want to try something light, yet filling, try some muesli!


1/2 cup of raw slivered or sliced almonds
1 cup of 1% milk
2 small strawberry fruit yogurt cups, Balkan style
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
a drizzle of honey
1 cup of mixed berries, fresh or frozen ( I used frozen black berries, blue berries and strawberries)

Toast the almonds in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, until golden in colour.
In a bowl, mix together milk, yogurt, oats, honey and fruit. Stir in the almonds.
Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.  The muesli will keep for 3 days

August 10, 2010


God Willing, Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting will begin in the next day or two.  Many people believe that abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset is what this month is all about.  But there is much more to this holy month than that.  It is a time to reflect on one's relationship with God and how one can achieve closeness to the Creator.  It is also a time to gain patience, perfect good manners, practice charity (not only monetary), and improve one's character.

During this month, I might not be as active on the blog. For one, I can't taste anything during the daylight hours so I won't be cooking that much. Also, I will be busy trying to achieve all the things listed above. 

Take care readers,

Ramadan Mubarak!

August 9, 2010

A healthy cake that I can eat on a regular basis!

I'm really excited about this cake. It's a healthy, hearty and absolutely delicious quinoa and carrot loaf cake!  The combination of ingredients is quite unique and may put people off from making it, but I do recommend trying it out once. If you like it, keep making it. If not, move along.  I tweaked Bakeaholic's recipe to suit my needs.  The only one thing I regret tweaking is the amount of sugar. I cut the amount of sugar from 1/3 cup to 1/4 cup and I found that there was some sweetness missing. If you don't want the cake to be sweet, use 1/4 cup of sugar. Otherwise, stick with 1/3 cup of the sweet stuff.

Quinoa Carrot Loaf Cake

2 cups of whole wheat flour
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup cooked red quinoa **(see note below)
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup low fat, plain yogurt
2 eggs
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened apple sauce (instead of oil)
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Quinoa note:  Take 1/4 cup of dry quinoa and give it a good rinse. Put it into a pot with 1/2 cup of water. Boil and then reduce heat to a low simmer until quinoa is cooked.  Cool before adding to wet ingredients.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, combine eggs, shredded carrots, yogurt, apple sauce, vanilla and cooked quinoa.  Pour wet mixture into dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

Pour mixture into a parchment paper lined loaf pan and bake for 40 minutes. Double check using the toothpick method.

Cool completely on a wire rack.

August 5, 2010

A fruit blend enjoyed on my balcony

What do you do when you have fruit that's over ripe and turning brown? Make a fruity juice blend.  If you have a Magic Bullet or a blender, you can whip this up in no time!  I dressed it up by pouring it into a lead crystal goblet and used a sprig of mint for garnish.

A Simple Fruit Blend

1/2 glass of mango juice
1 over ripe, very mushy banana
4 sprigs of current berries
splash of 1% milk

Throw in all of the ingredients above into your Magic Bullet or blender and whip it together.  Pour over ice in a glass and add a sprig of mint for garnish.

Tri-Pepper Beef

There are some days where you just want to make something simple to eat but not have to slave over the stove all day, especially when it's summer. This is a very quick and easy recipe that I'm sure you'll enjoy.  You can serve it with naan, roti, roll it into a wrap or eat it on its own.

Tri-Pepper Beef

1lb beef, cut into strips
handful of chives
1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
1 yellow pepper, seeded and sliced
1 cubano pepper, seeded and sliced
2 Tbsp fresh minced garlic
1 tsp paprika
red chili powder to taste
1 Tbsp ground coriander
salt to taste
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup of water

Wash the beef strips and drain away the water. In a bowl, combine beef, chives, tri-peppers, paprika and garlic. Mix well and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour. 

Heat up a wok and pour in the olive oil. Add in the meat mixture and begin to stir-fry.  As the meat begins to cook, add in the salt, coriander and red chili powder to taste. Continue to stir-fry.  To tenderize the meat, reduce the heat to medium-low, add a few tablespoons of water and cover the wok.  Continue to cook this way until the meat is tender.

August 3, 2010

What started off as a cookie recipe...

So I got inspired by a cookie recipe my cousin had posted up on Facebook. It was Alton Brown's The Chewy cookie recipe. I had some ideas on how to tweak the recipe and what resulted was a really nice chocolate cake- yes cake, not cookie recipe!

Chocolate Cake

1/3 cup of butter, melted
1 1/4 cups of almond flour or almond meal
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of cocoa powder
1 egg
2 tbsp 2% milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
Combine all ingredients and put into an 8.5" tart pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Enjoy on its own or with a scoop of frozen yogurt.

August 1, 2010

A Summery Salsa

A couple of weeks ago I flew back home to Toronto from LA to spend some time with family and friends and get my Umrah visa. God-Willing, my family and I will be going for Umrah during the 2nd half of Ramadan.  Since I've been back, I've been going to my old gym 5 days a week to continue my exercise routine.  My gym, Goodlife, is on the top floor of a grocery store, and because of that, I usually find myself browsing through the produce and Joe Fresh sections on a regular basis. Recently I discovered some organic berries and peaches there! I've recently made the transition from non-organic berries and peaches to their organic counterparts because I've read that because these fruits are very delicate and are eaten with their skins, the non-organic variety have the highest pesticide contamination. So..I was really excited to grab these peaches and take them home with me!
The peaches were juicy and delicious and I wanted to eat them all by themselves, but then I came across a post from Gina about an avocado and mango salsa.  Luckily I had both of those ingredients in my fridge and when I saw those glorious peaches sitting on my counter, I knew I had to add them into this recipe! 
This recipe is refreshing and can be eaten on it's own or with chips or Mebla toast rounds. Yum Yum!

Mango, Peach and Avocado Salsa

1 Pakistani mango, peeled and diced
1 ripe avocado, peeled and cubed
1 medium-to-large size organic peach, diced with peel on
1/2 Hot House tomato (should be on the large side), diced
1/4 cup of corriander/cilantro leaves, washed well and roughly chopped
1/2 lime, squeeze out the juice
1/2 medium sized onion, diced
salt and pepper to taste

After preparing the fruit, combine all ingredients. Refridgerate before serving.