July 31, 2011

Creamy Rice Pudding

I posted this recipe about two years ago but am reviving it because it's one of my favorite desserts to have during Ramadan. This one is especially light, but tastes just as good. The garnishes are optional. Without them it's more of a generic rice pudding while adding them gives that Middle Eastern kick. 

Now you have a decision to make because there are a couple ways of eating this. Once you've reached a creamy consistency, you can bake the pudding and broil it so that its got a tougher consistency with a slightly burn layer on top. Or you can just broil the top layer. Or you can eat it nice and creamy right off the stove. Store it in the refrigerator and heat it up if you want it warm with a more liquid consistency. It's so yummy and oh so comforting :)

Music: Just Like Heaven - Katie Melua
Mood: you've got the time and are ready for non-stop stirring action


¾ cup Egyptian rice (any short grain rice, Egyptian is just very starchy so it absorbs well)
2 cups water
5 cups low fat milk (works well with soy milk as well)
¼ cup Acacia Honey
¼  tsp salt
1 cinnamon stick
1 Tbs Orange Blossom Water

Optional garnishes:

crushed pistachios
extra sweet drizzle
ground cinnamon
ground cardamom

Pre-heat the oven to 400°F or 205°C if you intend to bake. Bring the rice and water to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes. You want the rice al dente so that it absorbs the milk as well. Add the milk, honey, cinnamon stick and salt, then raise the heat to medium high. Stir constantly so that the milk does not burn. Bring the heat to medium low after around 40 minutes. Keep stirring until the mixture reaches your desired consistency. I usually stop at around 40 minutes if I plan on putting it in the oven or 1 hour if I'm eating it directly from the stove. Take the mixture off the heat and add the vanilla and orange blossom water. Pour the pudding directly into ramekins and bake/broil until the top becomes golden brown, around 10 minutes. Or just enjoy it au naturale. If you care for a sweeter taste, add the extra sweet drizzle (recipe below). Servings: 4 - 6. 

Extra Sweet Drizzle:

1 Tbs light condensed milk
¼ cup water
In a saucepan over medium high heat, combine the condensed milk and water for around 3 minutes.

This is after I broiled it for 15 minutes.

The inside is still creamy. If you like it creamier, just stir for less time. Baking it of course will cook it even more so a lot of the creamy moisture isn't there especially when it cools down. 

Check it out: 30 Mosques 30 States !!

30 Mosques / 30 days - Kickstarter from Aman & Bassam on Vimeo.

This video explains it all, it follows two very enthusiastic Muslims traveling by car around the USA during Ramadan. They did it for the first time last year and are going to continue this year. They were able to meet so many people and experience such an amazing adventure....

"Last year we came up with an impulsive and half-baked idea that changed our lives forever. During Ramadan 2010, Islam’s holy month of fasting and reflection, we hopped in a car and drove across America and broke our fast at a different mosque in a different state each night. We prayed in the infamous “Ground Zero Mosque,” got pulled over by a cop in Mississipi and stumbled upon one of the first mosques ever built in the United States when our car broke down. Our journey explored what it means to be Muslim in America today and served as a powerful counter-narrative to the media’s image of a monolithic Islam. This year marks 10-years since 9/11 and unfortunately Muslims are still being tokenized and marginalized for what role they play in this country. It’s reasons like this among a myriad of others as to why this project is one of the only true and authentic portrayals of Muslims in this country." Click to read more

Ramadan News & Recipe Guides

The thought of Ramadan brings me back to so many great childhood memories especially of my favorite dessert Umm Ali :) Ramadan to me is a month when my family and family friends would join nearly every day for Iftar and continue the night with loads of sweet mint tea onto suhoor in tents and fun gatherings. There's nothing I enjoy more with food than to share it with others, especially during Ramadan when you learn not to take food for granted. 

It was such a peaceful yet fun month; despite the painful stomaches during the day, we had such a wonderful time at night, with delicious food and great company. Always breaking our fast with a couple juicy dates and a small glass of qamardeen (dried apricot juice). The fattoush was always so fresh and my favorite soup to follow would be lentil. The meals always differed but were relatively similar and absolutely delicious. Then again, not much would taste bad after a days of fast so all of these offerings did spoil us! 

I have always loved to cook, mainly when I'm surrounded by people who eat a lot and who enjoy cooking as well. The one recipe book I would not be able to live without for the Middle Eastern dishes I love is The Arab Table by My Bsisu. You will find ALL the treasured recipes for foods, savory and sweet, you love and will not be able to put it down this month. There are 3 copies in my immediate family and we all refer to it religiously. If you don't have time to order the book but want any specific recipes just let me know and I'll forward them to you!

This year I found out that my favorite, Wholefoods Market, is going to be preparing Iftar this month, offering all the traditional types of food that are found during Ramadan. It will be the first chain in the USA to celebrate Ramadan. Check out the article "Wholefoods Celebrates, Monetizes Ramadan." Not only will they make a lot of people happy, but they'll be gaining big bucks. The most important point to note is all of their food will be halal. This just makes me love WFs even more as they are really making a difference. Eating there makes me extremely happy generally, and to be able to eat the meals I love during Ramadan there would make me feel like I'm home away from home. 

This article by Yvonne Maffei is a great way for anyone who is preparing Ramadan and getting ready to cook for their family and friends. I enjoyed looking at her blog, my halal kitchen, especially sinc she is collaborating with WholeFoods during this month. It's quite impressive for a Sicilian/Puerto Rican to be so knowledgable and able to cook all these meals I'm used to here in the Middle East. Check out my halal kitchen and her 5 simple steps for preparing Ramadan Meals. 


Dear All, I hope that this time not only purifies you on all levels, but gives you perspective. I hope you enjoy and appreciate every single meal you eat and that you find the time to share your favorite dishes with the less fortunate. 


Ramadan Kareem

Wishing you and your family the blessings of Ramadan xx

Good Morning DXB

I hope you had a great weekend! This one was a bit crazier for a lot of people here seeing as it was the last weekend to party before Ramadan. I know I know parting from booze is not an easy thought to many. Anyway, I was getting over a strange cold that kept playing a disappearing act on me only to pop up at the most inconvenient of times. That just meant a lot of movies for me. My favorite was happythankyoumoreplease. If you haven't seen it already it's a great feel good movie. I knew I'd like it once I saw Buster from Arrested Development in it - his story was my fave. Take a look at the trailer and get your hands on the movie soon xx

July 29, 2011


Thank God it's the Weekend!

Have a great one and eat lots of candy xx

July 28, 2011

Spiritual Thought of the Day

The world is crying out and many souls are in distress. Every waste or weak thought I have about myself or anyone else adds to the distress and judgment in the world and stops people from coming closer to peace. At this time I need to become mature spiritually and establish a firm NO WASTE policy. Today I will not allow thoughts of judgment to add to the distress in the world, my focus is peace.

*Thank you mama*

July 27, 2011

How to spoil your iPhone

The last thing I want are more reasons I should switch to an iPhone. Despite my undying love for my Blackberry, I can't deny my wandering eye. I found this sort of interesting. And then I changed my mind.

Made from solid walnut wood with an aluminum or glossy face plate, the C/Dock can serve a couple purposes with its slick modern design. With your iPhone snug inside, it can be used as:

- a fancy dock for you to charge your phone in (oh excuse me, does the white wire look bad against your mahogany wood?)

- a photo frame (probably a good idea if you have no one to talk to)

- an alarm clock by your nightstand (God forbid you just lay it on the table)

- a mini flat screen (calm down)

Please be Grateful

for the constant food you have at your fingertips. The people of Somalia have been experiencing the worst drought for decades and that's just one country.  

This makes me feel selfish on so many levels. 

There are countless ways you can help, even just by making the smallest donation locally wherever you live. It's no coincidence that I bring this up a week before Ramadan, it just so happened I was struck with the above photo now. It definitely is an eye opener, and if anyone can guide me where to make local donations I'd really appreciate that. 

Otherwise, there are many websites we can donate to. We can start at the UN World Food Programme.

[via BBC News]

Mispronunciation Alert

Just in case you were excited John Boehner's name was pronounced differently.
I wasn't at all.....

Good Morning DXB

Nothing like starting off the morning with a good walk! Hope you have a great day xx

July 26, 2011

On Chesil Beach.. My Thoughts..

On Chesil Beach is a great way to prove how lack of communication in general and pride will screw anything up. There were moments that left me so frustrated while reading. Why  do people have to be so proud? Is it necessary with someone you absolutely love? If it means losing them forever and potentially ending up with no one, I think not. That's exactly how Edward Mayhew felt when he was older and certainly much wiser, realizing his true love was the one woman he let walk away. Missed the train on that one buddy!

Of course I initially felt his pain when his WIFE ran out of the hotel room after he got too excited before actually consummating their marriage..... (talk about keeping your disappointment on the dl). But he knew she was inexperienced and prude, couldn't he find it in him to forgive her? Clearly not when his manhood was threatened. When will you boys realize it's just a body part, it's not what makes you who you are! Fine, I skipped the part where she mentioned she'd rather he cheat on her than have sex with him. But seriously, are you doubting your seducing abilities? She is human after all.

I'm sure McEwan had a lot of points to make through his story, but the underlying message I was left with is that a couple should explore their relationship sexually before tying the knot... just to avoid any nasty surprises on the wedding night. 

"This is how the entire course of life can be changed – by doing nothing. On Chesil beach he could have called out to Florence, he could have gone after her. He did not know, or would not have cared to know, that as she ran away from him, certain in her distress that she was about to lose him, she had never loved him more, or more hopelessly, and that the sound of his voice would have been a deliverance, and she would have turned back. Instead, he stood in cold and righteous silence in the summer’s dusk, watching her hurry along the shore, the sound of her difficult progress lost to the breaking of small waves, until she was blurred, receding against the immense straight road of shingle gleaming in the pallid light." 

Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach

Movie to look out for!

Obviously this is directed to people in DXB where movies take slightly longer to reach :)

i ♥ ryan gosling

To the "Eco-Terrorist"

Introducing Flower Grenades. Finally! A fun way to beautify your garden or any landscape. I've always wanted to throw one of these suckers and now I won't feel bad doing it. 

"Each clay grenade is filled with soil, poppy, rye grass and buttercup seeds and the clay shell is totally biodegradable."

Unfortunately, I'd stay clear of these in the UAE, I think there's already enough water wasted. 

You can order them off Amazon for $16 (you know that means $15.99...)

Unconventional Couture

Who said clothes had to be made out of cloth? [via VIRGINE]

July 25, 2011

Good Morning DXB

Just a familiar tune to start your day, hope it's a good one xx

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth Visually

Jesse & Joy- "Chocolate" from Carlos Lopez Estrada on Vimeo.

This video was made with "M&M candies, eggs and a whole ton of baking supplies." I have such a strong sweet tooth, this makes me happy :)

Fiona Apple - Paper Bag

Dedicated by Rasool xx

Spiritual Thought of the Day

If you wanted and did not get, maybe you did not need. I may want many things from life, from others, from myself. However, when I look at my life I discover that I receive everything I need. Today let me turn my attention away from all the “wants” and appreciate the ways in which I receive what I need.

*Thank you mama*

July 24, 2011

Some Like it Big

Imagine you could spot your name on earth from space.

I stumbled upon this photo in the article, "Man Etches Name in Sand, Visible from Space" by Ian O'Neill. It's 1,000 meters high and 2 miles wide, etched onto the island Al Futaisi off the coast of Abu Dhabi in honor of Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, a member of the ruling family. 

It only took two weeks to complete. I actually think it looks quite cool. How much of a necessity it is though, is something else.

Apparently he built a pyramid to house 200 of his cars; so I'm assuming he likes things just slightly larger in scale.

Your Daily Green Shot!

We all know about wheat grass shots by now, but how many of you have one regularly? 

After my friend Lamya read me nearly every benefit I was not going to say no to walking over to Pulp, the juice bar at the mall for a shot. 

My last memory of wheat grass is vague, I just remember hating the taste - I'd much rather eat a kilo worth of vegetables in a salad with some tasty dressing. 

Anyway, I'm not sure they do this everywhere, but at Pulp they serve you the shots with a side of pineapple to chase the shot with. It was like a tequila shot without the disfigured facial expression at the end. I definitely don't get my necessary intake of vegetables every day, so if I manage to have a shot a day I should be fine. 

Just a recap of the benefits of wheat grass: 

  • Wheatgrass is high in oxygen like all green plants that contain chlorophyll.  The brain and all body tissues function at an optimal level in a highly-oxygenated environment.
  • It only takes minutes to digest wheatgrass juice and uses up very little body energy.
  • Chlorophyll (wheatgrass) rebuilds the bloodstream.
  • Liquid chlorophyll washes drug deposits from the body (not that there are drugs in Dubai....)
  • Chlorophyll neutralizes toxins in the body (refers to those of you with a close relationship to booze).
  • Chlorophyll improves blood sugar problems.
  • A small amount owheatgrass juice in the human diet helps prevents tooth decay. (Wheatgrass juice held in the mouth for 5 minutes will help eliminate toothaches.  It pulls poisons from the gums).
  • Wheat grass Juice keeps the hair from graying.
  • Wheat grass juice can dissolve the scars that are formed in the lungs from breathing acid gasses.  
  • Improves digestion and maintains regular bowels due to the high magnesium content.
  • Other benefits include helping skin disorders, fatigue, hair loss, cancer, bone disorders, asthma, arthritis and colitis.
I got a bit carried away there, there are so many more, but I found these ones rather convincing. Make sure the next time you're at any mall or JBR to stop by one of the fruit bars to boost your immune system, it can't hurt. 

July 23, 2011


My deepest condolences go out to all the families who have suffered and lost in Norway's gruesome massacre. 

I curiously await Anders Behring Breivik's court hearing to find out exactly why his actions were "necessary." Whatever it may be, using the murder of anyone, especially children who most likely have nothing to do with the reason for his attack, is beyond abominable. Much to our chagrin, history can only prove that such sinister acts apparently are human. 

Napa Napa Napa

Missing my trip to Napa Valley in June. Not only was it one of the most beautiful landscapes I've ever seen, the food was spectacular and the wine hit the spot. I still stick to my favorite wines, red Zinfandel, and white Reisling (from Germany). Here are a few photos from the trip. Can't wait for my next wine tasting excursion! 

My very own winery (I wish)

July 21, 2011

Like a glove!

I used to watch Ace on repeat when I was younger. I can't WAIT to watch it again!

July '11 Playlist

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Create a playlist at MixPod.com

To the Leo in You

Letting Loose with Thom Yorke

*Meet My Tea Party*

I've made changes to my blog over the past couple of weeks all thanks to the wonderful and talented friend of mine, Mohammed Rahmo, who helped me out tremendously.  
Each member of my tea party has her own thoughts to share. 
I hope you enjoy it xx

July 20, 2011

Dearest Eyelash Extensions

You're starting to really get in the way. Just fall off.

Cleavage is Not Consent. So what makes a slut?

That Canadian policeman who told people to "avoid dressing like sluts" to stop being victimized did not expect the tsunami of wrath by women to hit! Slutwalks continue to take place with organizers chanting "blame the rapist not the victim, doesn't matter what I'm dressed in" and much more. It's really amusing that women are expected to look sexy but are supposed to symbolize chastity. I still wonder what makes a girl a slut. The term is so vague and relative to me.  

I completely agree with the protests; WHY would the victim get blamed for getting raped by some abuser with psychological/ insecurities/life issues? I found a statistic which stated that "In the United States, a woman is sexually assaulted or raped every six minutes. 85% of victims know their attacker and 84% of rapes will go unreported." There are a slew of reasons rape is said to take place, a lot of them revolve around the need to feel in control and powerful, and realease frustration more so than sexual pleasure. At this point the victim is usually viewed as an object rather than a human. 

Growing up between the Middle East and the US has definitely brought about a definition of confusion and contradiction. I'm not a fan of girls or boys who sleep around with anything that moves and it is hard not to judge them, but I make a conscious effort not to. It's not my place to, and if I think it I try my best to keep it to myself. There are just so many levels to sluts, and I've experienced the definition ranging from girls who wear a tight skirt to girls who sleep around with different guys regularly. 

I'm not a feminist, but I do think there should be a concrete definition of what a slut is so that a lot of puerile boys (and girls) can stop getting satisfaction by throwing the word around as a calumny. It's really something new generations should grow up with a clearer understanding of. More importantly, men should not try to justify their disgusting impetuous acts of rape on what a girl wears; blame your nasty uncontrollable and frustrated penile urges on yourself. If you're raping someone you have more of a mental problem to deal with. But you know that already. 

July 19, 2011

Spotting Junk Mail

This is the only time we'll see and live this event... unless you're a vampire. (It has to reel you in with a drastic comment like THE ONLY TIME)

July 2011








































Money bags 

This year, July has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. This happens  once every 823 years. This is called money bags. So, forward this to Your friends and money will arrive within 4 days. Based on Chinese Feng Shui. The one who does not forward.....will be without money (God forbid there's no threat)

This year we're going to experience four unusual dates. 

1/1/11, 1/11/11, 11/1/11, 11/11/11 and that's not all... (there's always more) 

Take the last two digits of the year in which you were born - now add  the age you will be this year, the results will be 111 for everyone in whole world. This is the year of the Money!!! (the far fetched infomercial line pops in eventually)

The proverb goes that if you send this to eight good friends money will  appear in next four days as it is explained in Chinese FENGSHUI. (nothing comes for free...)

Those who don't continue the chain won't receive. (The depressing let down after all the excitement for an extra push) 

Its a mystery, but its worth a try. Good luck. (Of course you're wishing me luck, you know the only way I'm going to get paid is through my employer, but thanks anyway)
Sorry mom, I know you sent this to me, I couldn't help it ♥ 

... and yet I actually went back to this email hours later and sent it to 8 people...