Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

This chocolate bread is amazing. It is exactly what I needed to pick me up during the first snow of the season. The first snow in MI didn't even stop at an inch or two. In fact, we got eight depressing inches of snow. I won't deny that the first snowfall is always beautiful but being locked up indoors because of the cold, and the muddy brown snow of the next few days is a pretty bad side affect that comes along with it. So of course I needed to make something yummy to cheer my mood up. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Pumpkin Parfaits

It's officially winter where I live in the midwest. A huge snowstorm with over 4 inches of snow brought in the first "real" cold of the season. So these pumpkin parfaits are a sore reminder of the beautiful sweater weather of the past few months. I made these pumpkin parfaits a few weeks back in honor of fall. Now that Thanksgiving is right around the corner I thought it would be the perfect time to share the recipe with y'all. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Coconut French Toast

I was on hiatus for one too many months. You've been asking where I have been. I moved homes, I started school, and life caught up with me. I really needed time to fall back into a routine in which I balanced school, family, and myself with all my wits around me. That meant cutting back on blogging. But I am back and for good!

I'll start us off with a little breakfast/brunch recipe that reminds me of a unicorn on an island in some far away land - it is that magical. This coconut french toast is a reminder of warmer days, beaches, and beautiful weather. I tried coconut french toast for the first time while vacationing with S in San Diego. Oh it was wonderful - crunchy, sweet, and tropical. I knew I had to recreate it. Now it had been months since that vacation, so I was nervous to recreate it but this recipe is just right!

Give it a try and good luck in the kitchen!

Coconut French Toast
(Makes 6-8 toast)

4 large eggs
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons sugar (to taste)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes (also called shredded sweetened coconut)
8 slices of french bread
Maple syrup, powdered sugar, whipped cream, strawberries for topping.

In a shallow dish or bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, vanilla extract, sugar, salt, and cinnamon until well combined. If you are using canned coconut milk (which I recommend), shake it well before opening for a smooth and creamy texture. Spread the coconut flakes on a plate. 

Preheat a flat pan (grill pan won't work for this one) on medium heat. Dip the french bread, one slice at a time, in the milk and egg mixture for 30 seconds to a minute on each side. Then dip both sides of the soaked bread into the shredded coconut. Pat the coconut in or drizzle a little more of the egg mixture on top if it isn't sticking. 

Cook the slices of bread for 3-4 minutes on each side or until nicely brown. Serve immediately or keep warm in an oven preheated to 250 degrees. 


Monday, July 6, 2015

Healthy Whole Wheat Parathas

This week, I'm sharing the recipe for these wonderful whole wheat parathas on a friend's blog. She is Mona, the wonderful author of the popular blog,! Here is what I wrote for her blog...

'Mothers are the best cooks, we all know that. This amazing paratha recipe is from my beautiful mom, Farhana. She’s a health nut and that is what is so special about these healthy whole wheat, fiber full parathas. With ingredients like flax seed, wheat germ, and oat bran, you may be put off from this recipe, but I will attest to their delicious flavor and amazing affects on my body! With benefits like being high in fiber, being heart healthy, lowering cholesterol and blood sugar, these parathas are really something else. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Mango Ice Cream

Almost a year ago, S bought an ice cream maker for me as an anniversary present. I had been waiting for the perfect opportunity to use it but thanks to the horrible Michigan weather, that moment never came around. I had put it in the back room in my mental palace when the other day, S was like remember that ice cream maker I bought you... Think you'll use it one of these days? I looked outside and lo and behold! It was sunny! Birds were chirping, kids were playing on the field. I decided, today I'll make some ice cream.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

NEW Painted Goose Eggs! Great Eid Gifts!

So I have exciting news! I have added a bunch of new products to my etsy shop, Eggs by Wardah. These eggs are hand painted with acrylic paints and varnished with a clear gloss finish. They have an Turkey skyline with the word "alhamdulillah" in the skyline. These would make the perfect Eid gifts!

The next two eggs are also goose eggs. They have a simple Arabic calligraphy design on the with glitter spots. These would be perfect for new moms or house warming presents.

You can find all of these eggs on my etsy page here! Enjoy!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Easy Watermelon Basket and Watermelon Coolers

Summer is here and if you're looking for a great summer party, potluck, or bbq appetizer, look no further! This easy watermelon basket is a great item to take any party and will definitely wow your guests. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

A Surprise Arabian-Themed Grad Party & A Giveaway!

Hey everyone. I've been a little MIA these past few weeks because I was busy vacationing it up in sunny CA! Surprisingly (and depressingly) enough, it was a lot more sunny back here in MI than it was for the week I was in CA. In fact, it actually drizzled a few times which is unheard of right now for drought ridden SoCal. My older sister and I were both visiting from the Midwest so we believe we brought the cold with us. -_- Oh well, that's not to say that we didn't have an amazing time, because we did! Nothing can beat family and friends and partaaays. (Scroll to the bottom for giveaway deets)

My baby sis, HajBaj, is graduating from UCLA in just a few weeks with a double major and all sorts of honors and extra curriculars. It's pretty obvious that the entire family is insanely proud of her. To honor her major accomplishments, mommy, older sis, and I decided to throw her a surprise party. We did some stealthy detective work and invited all of her closest friends from school and some from outside of school as well. Then we got busy planning all the details of this surprise Arabian themed party.

My majorly talented sister Mehwish, who also has her own blog at My Slice of Pizza, was the biggest asset to this event. Together, my mom, sister, and I made almost every decoration, food item, and dessert you see in the pictures. Here's a little breakdown of everything that made this party a success.

For decor, I painted these beautiful henna lanterns/ mason jars that my sister turned into beautiful floral arrangements. Additionally, we decorated the table with confetti and fake diamonds we had from previous parties. 

We pinned up a plain colored cloth backdrop and taped matching colored streamers and balloons on top to create the dessert table set up. 

On the menu was baba ghanoush, hummus, pita bread, zatar and cheese naan, olives and pickles, tabbouli, spanakopita, cheese and crackers, falafel, arabian meat and rice dish, roasted chicken and veggies, and alfredo pasta. Yummm. My mom, the chef, made all the food herself with a little help from us girls and her closest friends! 

For desserts, we decided to make all the dessert we loved most instead of following a theme. I supplied baklava from the most famous Middle Eastern bakery here in MI. 

My sister made this amazing watermelon fruit basket and to-die for smores cupcakes with graham cracker crust and marshmallow frosting. We also bought a few more desserts - cheesecake bites and cream puffs. 

Now on to the giveaway! I will be giving away one of these hand painted, henna lantern mason jars to two lucky winners. The giveaway will remain open until Friday, June 12th and I will announce the winners soon after on Facebook. 

To enter the giveaway..
- like my Facebook page here
- follow my Instagram account here @ bestofwardah
- comment below saying what color you would like (out of pink, blue, and purple) and that you've liked my FB page and followed the Instagram account.
- (optional) for additional entries - share the giveaway on Facebook and Instagram and tag Best of Wardah in your posts. Write a new comment with each new entry.

Don't worry, if you don't win, you can also buy them for an inexpensive price at my Etsy shop, Eggs by Wardah. Good luck!

I hope you've enjoyed this post and can take inspiration from it! :) 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Healthy, Guilt-free, and Baby Friendly Chocolate Date Balls

Date balls are the ultimate paleo dessert. With no added sugar, only natural sweetness, and full of protein, these date balls take the cake when it comes to a guilt-free dessert. These are the perfect alternative when you're craving a large slice of chocolate cake to stuff your face with. Granted, not the same thing, but the added cocoa powder adds a great fudge-y flavor. I made these date balls a week ago only to watch them be demolished by S and Baby in no time! 

The date balls are so customizable. By adding a tablespoon of cocoa powder, I instantly made these date balls chocoholic friendly. I filled them with a mix of nuts and rolled them in cocoa powder, pistachio nuts powder, and coconut flakes. You can decide what nuts you want to fill your date balls with and what to roll them in. Store them refrigerated in an air tight container for up to 1 week or so. I don't think the date balls go bad, but they will lose their freshness. 

My 16 month old son loved these too (probably my favorite thing about these balls)! These are the perfect treat for baby when he doesn't want to eat anything else but you want him to have that extra boost of energy and healthy fats. Don't feed these to babies under 1 years old!! For a toddler friendly alternative, chop the nuts extremely small or exclude them completely to reduce the risk of choking. Only use nuts that you have tested for allergic reactions. You might want to leave the cocoa powder out too. 

Chocolate Date Balls
(makes around 25 balls)

1 1/3 cup of washed and pitted dates
1/3 cup almonds
1/3 cup cashews
1/3 cup walnuts
1-2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
cocoa powder, powdered pistachio, and coconut flakes for topping

Throw all the ingredients into a food processor (except the toppings) and blend until well combined. I ended up chopping the nuts painstakingly by hand since my food processor sucks but this is supposed to be much easier than that. 

Shape the mixture into equal sized balls (I used a 1 tsp measuring spoon). 

Roll them in whatever topping you desire. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Mozzarella Cheese Stuffed Meat Balls

I'm moving this week and let me just get this out there, moving with a baby is hard!  It makes me grateful for loving family and amazing friends. It's stressful times like these, moving or exams or welcoming a baby, when having frozen food can be so helpful. Frozen food just eliminates the stress of having to cook food! And any stress gone is a good thing.

So as I sit in a coffee shop, writing this blog post, since I don't have internet at my new place yet, I am grateful for these yummy meat balls in my freezer. Here's how you can make them too!

Tip on how to wash ground beef thoroughly - Put the meat in a large bowl and fill it with water until all the meat is separated. Shake it around and loosen all the particles, make sure water gets everywhere. Line a colander with 3 or 4 sheets of paper towels and pour in the meat. Let it strain for a few minutes and gently squeeze the paper towels so all the water drains out. Repeat until you think the meat is clean enough to your liking (for me one good rinse and drain is enough). This method is long but it gets all the icky blood out without getting little meat pieces stuck in your strainer!

Mozzarella Cheese Stuffed Meat Balls
(Makes around 12-16)

1 lb ground beef
1 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tsp paprika
1 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 handful cilantro, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1-2 tbsp water (as needed)

2 Mozzarella sticks (string cheese)
3 tbs olive oil
1 jar pasta sauce
boiled pasta

Cut the mozzarella sticks into 8 pieces each.

Mix together the first set of ingredients until fully combined. Don't be afraid to use your hands! Add water only if necessary if the mixture is too dry to shape into balls.

Next is a sweet trick on making same sized meatballs and shaping them easily. Spread the mixture into a rectangular shape. Cut 12-16 squares out of it. Press a cheese piece into the mixture. Now just roll each square into a ball! (Here is when you can freeze the meatballs. To use them, just defrost in the fridge overnight and then continue on to the next steps). 

Heat oil in a large skillet and cook meatballs on each side until fully browned, around 10 minutes. Add in the pasta sauce and simmer while covered for an additional 15 minutes or until the meatballs are fully cooked through. Don't worry if some cheese leaks out at this point! It's not the end of the world if it does. :)

Serve over boiled pasta and enjoy!

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