Monday, October 18, 2010

Cream Cheese Cauliflower Soup

This recipe is delicious and good for you too. I just made this soup last weekend and it was so tasty we finished it up quickly!


Serves 4

1 large head cauliflower, chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 pieces or 4 tbsp cream cheese
1 square piece Maggi's chicken stock or 2 cups chicken stock
salt to taste

Put your cauliflower into a pot with a pinch of salt, and barely cover it with water. Bring to boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft. Turn off the heat and let it cool.

Strain the cauliflower, but leave one cup of water to add to the blender. This water contains nutrients. Blend the cauliflower up with the cup of water from the pot, the cream cheese, and crumbled chicken stock. Put the mixture back into the pot, add the parsley and heat it gently. Add a little more salt and pepper. Enjoy. Goes well with bread on the side.

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Craft Creations

See what I've been crocheting lately.

For some reason two slideshows won't show up on the same page, so if it doesn't load just click on 'view all images' below. Gallery view is bigger and you can click on the pictures you want to have a good look at. Enjoy the show. B)

Pics of Marrakesh

The pictures of Marrakesh I promised I will post up. The battery on my phone was low, and it was a bit cloudy sometimes but you will still get the picture. :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Vegetable Tajine: Moroccan Cooking

I'm cooking a vegetable tajine for lunch today. If you're not into vegetables, you might just start liking them in a tajine if you try it! The spices add flavor to the plainest veges, and when eaten with some Moroccan bread it's just the perfect meal for lunch.

Vegetable Tajine Recipe

Serves 4

1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3 tomatoes (Cut 2 into halves and leave the 3rd)
4 potatoes, cut into quarters
2 turnips, cut into quarters or halves(optional)
2 carrots cut into quarters
1 small eggplant, chopped into 1 inch pieces(optional)
2 small green pumpkins (peel half skin off in strips), cut into halves
2 zucchinis (peel half skin off in strips), cut into halves
2 green peppers, cut into quarters
2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp yellow food coloring (optional)
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp tomato paste
salt to taste

Place your onions in the pot with the oil. Grate the garlic finely in. Cut the centers out of the tomatoes and grate the pulp into the pot. Add all the spices and parsley, and heat gently, stirring until the onions are soft.

Now add the turnips and carrot. Cover with water, close the pot and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. Now, add the potatoes, eggplant, zuccini, and pumpkin. Barely cover with water and cook another 10 minutes. Lastly, slice the last tomato over it, and add the green pepper, laying them over the top with the skins facing up.  Mix the tsp tomato paste with a little water and add it. Don't cover with water this time, just add a little if the water is low. Sprinkle a little more salt and pepper over the top if you like. Cook another 10 minutes on low heat and serve. Goes well with Moroccan bread.

*If you're fortunate enough to own a tajine that cooks over the stove, add everything at one time, in the same order as the instructions (onions first etc.) then fill the tajine nearly to the rim with water and place the top over it. Cook on low heat about 40 minutes (check regularly and add a little water if it's drying up) until all the vegetables are cooked.

*Add a little cayenne pepper with the ginger if you want your tajine spicy.
*Sprinkle some oregano or extra chopped parsley over the vegetables if you like herbs.
*A bowl of peas or chopped green beans can be added with the carrots. Tajine is very flexible, you can add and take out vegetables according to what you like, and what's available.
*Add slices of lemon with the sliced tomato for a little tangy flavor.

Friday, October 1, 2010

7 Natural Beauty Secrets of Muslim Women

There are seven ancient Islamic traditions, that the Natural Muslim woman uses to enhance her beauty.

1- Kohl natural eyeliner. I've been asked by many women what eyeliner I use. This perfect eyeliner that hardly smudges and is good for the eyes, is called kohl. The natural Muslim woman uses it daily, and applies extra when she's at home with her husband for a sultry effect.

Modern kohl is made from soot and ghee, whereas the traditional preparation sometimes contained lead, so when one buys kohl they should make sure the manufacturer states it is lead free.

2. Henna. A flowering plant that is crushed and powdered, then used to dye the skin, hair and nails. It is an ancient custom that was widely practiced by Muslims and many other cultures, and it never went out of style for the Muslim woman! Applying it is encouraged in Islam.

Henna is mixed to a paste and applied to her hair to achieve a rich red brown color. Henna artists adorn women's bodies with intricate, feminine patterns that turn dark red and can last for weeks. Intricate henna patterns are done for the bride in preparation for her wedding. On any average day, it is simply applied to the fingertips and the feet. As a Western woman may like to paint her nails, the Muslim woman likes to dye hers with henna.

Many of the products labelled as henna today, are not really natural henna. Manufacturers claim that there is henna that comes out black, orange or yellow but the reality is that real henna turns out a deep reddish brown. If one buys manufactured henna, it could contain harmful chemicals. Pure henna is not harmful and doesn't burn during application. It's popular today for henna to be darkened with turpentine and other chemicals, but traditionally it was darkened with natural products like lemon juice and tea.

3. Fresh Water. Even 1400 years ago in the Arabian deserts where water was scarce, the Prophet Mohamad peace upon him mandated bathing with fresh water regularly, and he disliked shabby appearances and foul smells.  Muslims wash their faces, arms up the elbows and feet meticulously in order to be in a state of cleanliness for the daily prayers. You can imagine how splashing the face regularly so many times a day improves skin complexion and gives her face a glow.

4. Olive oil. Known in Islam as a blessed tree, it is encouraged to be applied to the body and hair, and included in the Muslim diet. After bathing, it is used as a moisturizer for her face and body, and applied to her hair. Olive oil smoothens the skin and has powerful anti-aging properties. It strengthens the nails and conditions the hair. This Mediterannean fruit has miraculous dietary and cosmetic benefits.

5 The miswak. A twig from the Middle Eastern 'arak' tree, this was used by Muslims centuries before the advent of the toothbrush. She uses this to cleanse and freshen her teeth. Islam encourages all Muslims to cleanse their teeth with the miswak before every prayer. Those who put this into practice (and have a healthy diet and lifestyle) maintain strong, white teeth right into old age.

A 2003 scientific study comparing the use of miswak with ordinary toothbrushes concluded that the results clearly were in favor of the users who had been using the miswaak, provided they had been given proper instruction in how to brush using it.

6. Perfumes. The Prophet Mohamad peace upon him said, that the two most treasured things to him in this world are women, and perfume. Alluring scents are applied by the Muslim woman to attract her husband and revive the senses. Different kinds of perfumes is one thing she can never get enough of. Concentrated perfumes are very popular in the Muslim world because they are alcohol-free, and the scent lingers for longer. It is taboo for the practicing Muslim woman to wear perfume in front of strange men, who may feel that her scent is seductive. So she uses it when she is at home with her husband, closely related men (such as her son, uncle, or nephew)  and gatherings of women.

7. Healthy Diet and Lifestyle. Any Muslim, male or female is encouraged to consume healthy, beneficial food and products and forbidden to consume things that are detrimental to one's health. The Islamic diet is drug and alcohol free, and cigarettes, now proven to cause lung cancer and numerous ailments, is not halal (permissible). So the Muslim woman has less risk of cancer, miscarriages, heart problems, liver failure and all the other illnesses that humans risk when they take up these unhealthy habits. One would not wish to take poison, so similarly substance abuse is like slowly poisoning the body over time. "They ask thee what is lawful to them (as food). Say: lawful unto you are (all) things good and pure." (Quran 5:4)

Life for the Muslim woman, is more about quality than quantity. The best things in life are not 'things'. She knows that every thing she has been given, has it's right. She shows gratitude to her Creator by taking care of her body and mind, of which will be hers for only a time. Trying one's best, then leaving her destiny up to The One who gave her the precious gift of life gives her a sense of fulfillment and peace of mind. This in turn, makes her content and gives her inner beauty, which outshines the temporary physical beauty of the body.

~ The only lasting beauty is the beauty of the heart. ~