It’s a Shakshuka kinda morning.

September 10, 2013

photo-9I woke up the other day to a near empty fridge. It was the weekend and I was in the mood to make something yummy for breakfast. I put my creative hat on and skimmed the pantry for anything I could work with. I found some cans of diced tomatoes in the pantry and some peppers and eggs in the fridge. Then I remembered a recipe a friend posted on my Facebook page when I put up a status asking friends to share some yummy vegetarian dishes. She had posted a recipe for shakshuka. What’s shakshuka you ask? I myself had the same question. I had absolutely no idea what it could be or what ingredients it may have. It’s a dish of poached eggs in a tomato sauce which consists of onions, peppers, cumin, with some feta sprinkled on top (my favorite part). I love it because it consists of ingredients most people have on hand so it’s a great last minute meal you can whip up for really any time of the day. My family has had it straight up with just a fork or with a side of toast or flatbread.

Shakshuka [Eggs Poached in Spicy Tomato Sauce]

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Serves 4 to 6

1/4 cup olive oil
5 Anaheim chiles or 3 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped (I was nervous and only used 2 Anaheims; I would go for 3 or 4 next time for a more moderate but still gentle kick)
1 small yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed then sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
Kosher salt, to taste
6 eggs
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Warm pitas, for serving

Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add chiles and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and paprika, and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is soft, about 2 more minutes.

Put tomatoes and their liquid into a medium bowl and crush with your hands. Add crushed tomatoes and their liquid to skillet along with 1/2 cup water, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Season sauce with salt.

Crack eggs over sauce so that eggs are evenly distributed across sauce’s surface. Cover skillet and cook until yolks are just set, about 5 minutes. Using a spoon, baste the whites of the eggs with tomato mixture, being careful not to disturb the yolk. Sprinkle shakshuka with feta and parsley and serve with pitas, for dipping.

Deen, Travel

Hajj Series: Preparation Checklists

October 9, 2012

During Ramadan there were a handful of duas I consistently made. One of those duas was for my husband and I to perform Hajj this year and to make my heart as content as possible with leaving my little children behind to do so. Alhumdulilah that dua has been granted! Inshallah we will be leaving for Hajj in just one week!

Preparing for Hajj takes time and when you have three kids ages five and under that you will be leaving behind it takes a lil more planning to ensure the children are as comfortable as possible in your absence.

Organization is the key to making things run as smooth as possible while you are away.

I’ll be sharing all of my prep work, tips, and ideas for mothers who hope to do Hajj in the future inshallah.

I started all of my preparations about a month ago. Initially I was overwhelmed by the amount of things I needed to do. Writing down a checklist made things easier.

*Hajj Preparation Checklist*

Hajj Related

  • Prepare Will, get notarized
  • Make copies of passports
  • Shop for items needed
  • Call family and friends, post Facebook status
  • Pay all debts
  • Attend local Hajj prep lectures
  • Listen to lectures and read up on the rites of Hajj
  • Buy books: “Hajj & Umrah Made Easy” and “Hajj A-Z” to take along
  • Make dua list, include duas that people have requested for you to make
  • Exercise
  • Start making a mental shift in order to expect anything at Hajj and to be patient during those times
  • Write up a letter stating parents have the authority to make decisions regarding my children on my behalf while I am away, get it notarized.

Kids School 

  • Notify teacher
  • Setup phone meeting with teacher
  • Inform teacher of parents and sister in laws contact information
  • Make a go to list of breakfast and lunch ideas
  • Get teacher’s personal phone number

Home Management 

  • Create “While we’re away” tab in home management binder
  • Detail clean house
  • Notify Leasing office
  • Stock groceries, diapers, etc.
  • Find Housekeeper to come clean a few times
  • Leave money for expenses
  • Make calendar of Isra’s school schedule and activities to do with kids
  • Plan a lesson about Hajj for kids, do lesson plan prior to leaving


  • Buy kids Eid clothes
  • Decorate home
  • Pack gifts for kids, parents and sister in law
  • Leave note reminding them to buy kids Eid balloons


  • Make sure to think of things that would make parents and sister in law’s two week stay as comfortable as possible.
  • Talk to friends that have gone to Hajj to get additional tips


So far the checklist has been helpful in keeping me on task. Still have plenty to do. More posts to come on how to ensure your home runs smoothly while you’re away for Hajj.

 Keeping things visible & written out serve as a great reminder system: Color coded calendar and Morning Routine


Stumbling through Parenting

April 27, 2012

Dear Daughter,

It seems that you woke up deciding you didn’t want to listen to anything I had to say.  Neither of us budged and stuck to our grounds.  You didn’t want to listen and I was persistent in wanting you to listen.  As frustrated as I was with you, I realize it’s ok for you to act the way you did.  You are five years old and are testing your limits, your boundaries.  You want to see what rules you can break and get away with.  And that is absolutely fine.  My job as a mother is to realize that you are not intentionally trying make me upset but rather acknowledge that you are learning what you can and cannot do.

It was a hard day. I may have raised my voice out of frustration when instead I should have just stepped away.  You being my first child, I too am learning.  You too one day will have children of your own so remember days like this will occur, so just keep your cool.  Remember Allah and all you have to be grateful for and before you know it tranquility will occur

As the day came to an end, I Iooked forward to lay in bed and before I knew it tears rolled down my cheeks.  I blamed myself for the imbalance in the day. I was upset and worried why you didn’t listen to me that day and again thought to myself that maybe I had done something wrong.  Was it my parenting that made you act the way you did?  Of course it was not, but emotion took me over and I couldn’t help but feel an ache in my heart.  Subhanallah, Allah has put so much mercy in a mother’s heart that even though I felt hurt from your disobedience the last thing that came out of my mouth was a precious dua for my little sweetheart.

Love you forever,