Easy Thanksgiving Banana Bread


Salaams my lovelies! It is the day before Thanksgiving and I am sure that you are all prepping for a wonderful dinner with your loved ones tomorrow. I know I am! I am planning to post a turkey and apple pie recipe inshallah (God willing) that I promise works every time (those are my mainstays and I mix things up with the sides). While everyone thinks of pumpkin pie as being synonymous with Thanksgiving dinner, I have a terrible confession to make: I hate pumpkin pie! I know, everyone loooooves those pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin pie. Well everyone but me! So when I prep for Thanksgiving dinner, my go to pie is apple pie. However, I also like to give my guests another dessert option. Since there were overly ripe bananas on my counter and cream cheese frosting (store bought) in my fridge, I decided to save myself from throwing anything away and made banana bread.

Especially around this time of year when it starts to get colder, I become mindful of giving thanks for the blessings in my life. So I make extra effort not to throw anything out in terms of food, clean out my closet of excess clothes to donate, and also try to get involved in food and toy drives. Since I am trying not to waste food, when I saw those super brown bananas, I knew I had to make banana bread versus throwing them away.

The best thing about banana bread to me is that you not only save fruit you would normally throw away, but you also have a nice warm dessert that you can share with a few special friends. PS: This is a recipe from the Food Network by Joanne Chang from the bakery Flour in Boston but I added the cream cheese frosting part to the recipe.

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
3 1/2 bananas, very ripe, mashed
2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 can of cream cheese frosting


Set oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Beat sugar and eggs with a whisk until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Drizzle in oil. Add mashed bananas, creme fraiche, and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients and nuts. Pour into a lined loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Allow pan to completely cool and then add cream cheese frosting.


Meet the Brand: Numi Tea

Reem from Numi Tea

Reem from Numi Tea enjoying her beverage of choice

Salaams my lovelies! It is my favorite season of all: Fall. Fall is a time where we all snuggle a little closer, enjoy sweater weather, and of course, sip tea. When I reach for tea, I invariably return again and again to my favorite tea brand of all, Numi Tea. Numi Tea is a local Bay area company that blends artisanal teas that are based on global tea flavors around the world. If you have not tried them, please take some time and try them out. I promise they will transport you to far flung places like Morocco, dusty plains of central Africa, or the lush verdant gardens of India without you having to even step out of your pjs. The power of tea is as transformative as it is nourishing to the soul.

Numi Tea is kosher certified as well as organic and offer consumers a sustainable way to enjoy tea.

Here is an interview I had with Reem Rahim, one of the co founders of Numi Tea:

Q: Let me start by saying I love your tea. What made you so passionate about tea that you wanted to start a tea company?

A:Thank you. I’m glad you enjoy our tea. Coming from Iraq, my family has always drunk tea as the hot beverage of choice. So I grew up with black tea all my life. We had also always drunk a Dry desert Lime called Numi Basrah. That was the inspiration for the starting the company. Ahmed had owned and operated teahouses in Prague. During that time, he was exposed to many varieties of tea – green, white, oolong, Pu-erh and many herbal teas. He taught me about all the varieties and nuances of teas and I have fallen in love with the beverage.

Q: Who serves as your main inspiration for new tea flavors? How do you go about product development?
A: This is developed though travelling and trying all sorts of new things. Keeping one’s ear to the ground in terms of trends and what’s new helps as well. Ahmed develops the new tea products and we work as a team to come up with the formulas and taste until they are finalized.

Q: If you have a great business idea, what is the first you need to do to get started?
A: Research the market to see what’s out there. Then refine your idea, who you’re marketing to, what is the problem, the need and the solution. Create a one-page synopsis of your concept.

Q: As a Muslim entrepreneur, what is the most important piece of advice would you give someone starting out?
A; Firstly, I don’t consider myself a Muslim entrepreneur. I am an entrepreneur and keep my religious practices personal and private. I wouldn’t recommend combining one’s religion with their professional life. That will only get in the way and cloud one’s work; and not allow you the freedom to pursue your capabilities. That said, one’s background and personal life always informs their beliefs, principles and ethics. Having grown up in an Arab, Muslim background, generosity, family, fairness and giving back has always been in our culture and is infused into our daily business practices.

Q: When you are not working on Numi Tea as a business what do you do for fun?
A: I spend time with my family – my husband and 5-year-old step-son. I like to be outside and work in the garden or go for walks. I also am an artist and paint when I can. I also love to travel.

Q: What do you hope resonates with consumers about the Numi tea brand?
A: I hope that people firstly taste the difference in quality of our teas and really enjoy those moments of tea sipping. We put a lot of care into making our teas and I hope that care is felt. I also hope that our brand sets an example of a new paradigm in business where you can sell a product and do good at the same time.

Q: In your tea instructions, you add little tidbits like setting water to boil while humming. Who was the inspiration behind that?
A: I’m not sure who the inspiration was. This was something we came up with when we first started to make the experience of unwrapping our packaging fun. We wanted to take the customer through a story and a meaningful experience rather than just drinking tea.

Q: Thank you for taking the time out for answering questions for my Hijabi Life readers. Is there one special tea house you would recommend our readers to visit here in the Bay Area?
A: Samovar in the Castro!

Hijabi Obsession: Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter

Trader Joe's Cookie Butter

Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter is so delicious, there is a purchase limit of two per customer!

Salaams my lovelies! I hope you had a fabulous week inshallah. Okay, so if you are regular reader, you know I try to avoid refined sugar and sugar laden food products. One of my favorite healthy snacks is a slice of whole grain toast with peanut butter topped with blueberries (try it, its delicious). While I was shopping for peanut butter at Trader Joe’s, I happened to notice an item called Cookie Butter. I also noticed there was a mob of people around the display of all ages trying to get a jar. I don’t know about you, but when I see a mob of people, it makes me even MORE curious. Why were all of these people clamoring for this mysterious cookie butter?

I bought a jar and took it home. When it was time for my typically healthy snack, I replaced my usual peanut butter for cookie butter. WHOA. Cookie butter tastes like a spreadable version of the cookie known as biscoff. While I am sure that it is not as healthy as my peanut butter is, I have to tell you that I may have to eat this cookie butter as my “treat” item instead of my typical short salted caramel hot chocolate from Starbucks. The Hubster even said that he liked it better than Nutella! I don’t know if I personally like it better than Nutella, but its pretty darn good.

Next time you are in Trader Joe’s, make sure to try it and let me know what you think! PS: Expect some more foodie posts coming your way along with some exciting news inshallah!

Ramadan Recipes: Mango Lassi


As a working mom, sometimes you have to make a quick yet nutritious meal that doesn’t require too much effort; especially on a work night.

I have found this Ramadan to be especially squeezed for time with the later Iftar timing as well as late night tarawih plus an early suhoor time.

So last week, instead of making traditional items like pakoras and samosa, I decided to base our Iftar around one kitchen staple: Greek yogurt. You see, non fat plain Greek yogurt is amazingly versatile. You can replace sour cream with it (as evidenced by my taco night photo). It is also very soothing to eat after a whole day of fasting.

Greek yogurt sort of coats your grumbling tummy with a nice cooling sensation. It’s also delish! I used it to also make mango lassi. For those of you who have not tried mango lassi, it is almost like a rich, thick, mango smoothie. The richness in my lassi came from ripe mangoes and the Greek yogurt. It feels sinful like a milkshake, but it’s definitely much better for you!

Try it for Iftar and let me know what you think.

Mango Lassi Recipe

2 ripe, sweet mangos
1/2 cup of milk
1 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon (optional)
2 cups ice

1) Peel and dice the mango and puree in the blender.

2) Add the rest of the ingredients and puree until the ice is crushed and the drink is a smoothie consistency.

Hijabi Eats: The Cronut


The cronut is a delectable cross between a croissant and a doughnut.

Salaams my lovelies! I hope you are having an amazing week inshallah. So I know that I claim Hijabi Life is a Muslim lifestyle blog, but I feel like a bulk of my posts are very beauty/fashion/life driven and that I have not devoted nearly as much time to halal eats for you. So to remedy that, I wanted to introduce you to the latest dessert craze: the cronut. It sounds like a science fiction/Greek myth character, but I assure you that this pastry is a lot more delicious than the name. It is literally a hybrid of a croissant and a doughnut. You get the flaky layers of a croissant melded with the deep fried goodness of a doughnut. How can you not love this? As for me, I curse this invention because I was being so good with my sugar intake.

However, I do think that once you try one, it’s hard to binge on it. Plus, Ramadan is right around the corner, so I am sure that we will all be able to keep ourselves in check soon enough iA! Stay tuned for my own version of an at home cronut soon. I am in the process of trial and error, but once I get the recipe down pat, you will be the first to hear all about it!

Winter Comfort: Cream of Brussels Sprouts Soup


Salaam ladies! I hope you are doing well inshallah. I wanted to share a nice cozy recipe for those mid winter evenings that is not only rich and delicious, but easy to make.

We all know that kids (big and little) hate Brussels sprouts! But what if you could make a dish out of them that is super yummy? A win right?

Here is my secret recipe that will have everyone happy (just don’t tell them why the soup is green). I adapted the recipe from one I found online. Feel free to add in your own twist.


4 cups Brussels sprouts
3 cups of Saffron Road chicken stock
6 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp of chili powder

1) Trim tough outer leaves if sprouts and put and trim each stem. Drop sprouts into boiling chicken broth and simmer until tender, about 10-15 minutes.

2) Blend sprouts in a food processor. Save cooking liquid in a separate bowl for later.

3) Melt 3 Tbsp of the butter in a saucepan and stir in flour. Blend well.

4) Add reserved liquid, stir rapidly with a whisk, and simmer for about 5 minutes.

5) Add the pureed sprouts, milk, and nutmeg. Simmer 5 minutes.

6) Add cream and peppers. Heat to a simmer. Add in remaining butter.

7) Serve warm.

Mmmm Macarons!


Hello from NYC lovelies! I am here in the city that never sleeps for work and to see family. One of the things I love about New York is that you can always obtain what your heart desires at almost any time of day. Do you want a halal turkey sub at midnight? Eh fuggedaboutit, it’s easy!

One of my latest obsessions is macarons. Now readers, this is not the same as macaroons (equally delish coconut cookies). Macarons are a French dessert that is rich, chewy, yet air light. All in one elegant bite. They come in a range of flavors and are so beautiful to look at. I know I said I was on a sugar fast, but I broke that over a few macarons. Who can resist?

Have you tried macarons? I am dying to visit the Laduree shop here in NYC. I hope I have time!

No Fuss Cinnamon Buns


I hope all of my lovely readers had a wonderful New Year’s Day. I myself have been super lazy with blogging but I promised myself to share the best cinnamon bun recipe that I have ever tried. I made these over the holiday weekend and wish you all could have had some!

I always thought that cinnamon buns were complicated, but this recipe is really easy. That being said, it does take some time so prepare this well in advance or the night before.

My girlfriends got together at my place this past weekend and I know we all love to have something sweet with our chai (that is another recipe I have to share for another day). My good friend Sarah has a weakness for cinnamon buns, so I decided this recipe was the perfect match for our chai date.

I adapted my recipe from Paula Deen. Just as a note, for my Muslim sisters who avoid vanilla extract because of the alcohol, you can make your own or buy alcohol free vanilla extract.

As you can tell, the cinnamon buns were very tempting, so I made little baby ones as well as big fat ones.

Here is the adapted Paula Deen cinnamon bun recipe:

1/4-ounce package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup scalded milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter or shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for pan
3/4 cup sugar, plus more for pan
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins, walnuts, or pecans, optional

4 tablespoons butter
2 cups powdered sugar mixed with 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 teaspoon alcohol free vanilla extract
3 to 6 tablespoons hot water


Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside.

In a large bowl mix milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and egg.

Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth.

Add yeast mixture.

Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle.

Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes.

Place in well-greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

When doubled in size, punch down dough.

Roll out on a floured surface into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle.

Spread melted butter all over dough.

Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough.

Sprinkle with walnuts, pecans, or raisins if desired.

Cut into 12 to 15 slices.

Beginning at the 15-inch side, roll up dough and pinch edge together to seal.

Coat the bottom of baking pan with butter and sprinkle with sugar.

Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until nicely browned.

Meanwhile, mix butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla.

Add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches desired consistency.

Spread over slightly cooled rolls.

Easiest Mashed Potatoes Recipe

While I typically do my own recipes, I had to share this absolutely delicious mashed potato recipe that was written by Sarah, a fellow blogger who writes for the blog East 9th Street. Since Thanksgiving is coming up, you probably will be Googling for the tastiest, easiest mashed pototoes recipe. I mean Thanksgiving is about turkey yes, but mashed potatoes is like the icing on the cake! Well look no further for a mashed potato recipe! Here it is:

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
1 head garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 medium russet potatoes, peeled
3-4 tablespoons butter
1/4-1/2 cup milk or heavy cream (or more)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (or 3/4 teaspoon table salt)
1 teaspoon minced fresh chives

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Cut off the top 1/2-inch of the garlic off. Lay garlic on piece of tin foil, drizzle olive oil over garlic cloves and close tin foil. Roast for 45 minutes or until the garlic has softened completely and is very tender. Let cool and squeeze out the roasted garlic cloves. Coarsely chop.

2. In the meantime, place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water by 1 inch. Cover and bring to boil and cook for 20-25 minutes over medium heat, until you can easily pierce the potato with a fork with very little resistance. Drain potatoes.

3. In the pot, add 4 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 cup of heavy cream, salt and roasted garlic and turn the heat to low. Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes into the pot. Stir the potatoes. Do not over mix or the mashed potatoes will turn gummy. Taste and season with additional salt or milk if needed. Stir in chives.