Beating My Sugar Addiction


Salaam readers! I have been away from my blog a few days because I have to make a confession: I put myself in rehab over an addiction I have had since my teen years: a sugar addiction.

I hadn’t realized it, but I was walking around a bulk of my day on a sugar high. Literally, I would start my morning off with a sugar laced latte, frosted granola bar, and cap off my day with desserts and sugary treats throughout the day.

I noticed I would literally twitch if I did not get my fix.

Then, I read this article in Women’s Health Magazine about the harmful effects of sugar and it made me realize how harmful I was being to my body.

In Islam, Muslims are commanded by God to take care of their bodies:

“But waste not by excess for God loves not the wasters” (Quran 7:31).

“Eat of the good things we have provided for your sustenance, but commit no excess therein, lest my wrath should justly descend on you, and those on whom descends my wrath do perish indeed” (Quran 20:81).

I was not following these commandments if I was stuffing my face with sugar! I knew I had to do something.

So I made a pact with my Hubster to literally stop my addiction in its tracks by going cold turkey. No more Starbucks, no more Godiva, no more home made cookies, no more extra sugar in my life.

All halal (permissible in Islam) foods are permitted in moderation, but I knew I needed a detox which is why I personally cut out sugar. In the WH article, doctors explain that like any other addiction, you need more and more sugar in order to maintain the same pleasurable rush you get when you eat sugar. So in order to get back my sensitivity to sugar, I have cut it out completely except in fruits.

Eating fruits gives you fiber and essential nutrients. It is also pointed out in the Quran:

“And from the fruits of date palm and grapes you get wholesome drink and nutrition: Behold in this is a sign for those who are wise” (Quran 16:67).

So for now, when I crave any thing sweet, I am reaching for an apple instead of chocolate. It’s been hard, but alhamdulillah, I feel more energy. Another bonus is weight loss since I am eating less calories in general.

So if you are like me and you crave sweets, try a piece of fruit and your body will thank you.

Quick and Easy Chicken Noodle Soup


It’s cold and flu season, which means lots of sore throats, queasy tummies, and stuffed noses.

Growing up, when I was sick, I used to WISH that my mom could just walk to our supermarket and buy a can of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup. Since I follow the zabiha meat opinion, this was definitely not an option for me. So my mom tried her best with curried ramen noodle soup (which is also delicious).

Now that I am a mom, I know that there are instances where curried soup is not ideal. Since my baby is not even 2 years old, she can’t handle the spice.

So for her, I make traditional American chicken noodle soup. It’s actually super easy and while it cooks, you can do other tasks nearby (like taking care of your sick ones).

I modified this recipe with what I had, but any root veggies work. You can throw in potatoes, celery, etc. This recipe is designed to be simple so that even beginners can make it.

Make sure your hubby learns this recipe so that when you get sick, he can make it for you so you can bounce back to being the super mom that you are!

Today, I woke up at 4 am to find my baby is ferverish and crying. She then proceeded to throw up all over me, herself and the bed. Us moms have all been there I am sure!

So today was definitely a chicken noodle soup day in our house.

Here is the base recipe:


2 leeks chopped

2 chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces

4 Maggi chicken bouillon cubes

1 carrot chopped

4 cloves of garlic minced

4 tbsp butter

10 1/2 cups of water

1/2 tsp pepper

1 bay leaf

1/2 of 16 oz pkg of spaghetti

1) Make sure you do your prep work. As I wrote above, the vegetables and chicken should be chopped and ready to be cooked.



2) In a large stockpot, slowly melt butter. Once it starts to simmer, and leeks and garlic. Add bouillon cubes and sauté till it becomes translucent (10-15 minutes).


3) Add chicken and sauté till chicken is fully cooked (15 minutes)

4) Add water, pepper, and carrots. Add bay leaf.

5) Take spaghetti and snap pasta into bite sized pieces (I do one thirds)

6) Bring soup to a roaring boil.

7) Add pasta and lower to regular boil for 45 minutes to an hour depending on vegetables’ consistency.

8) Garnish and serve.

Breakfast for Moms On the Go


As a mom who works during the workweek, it’s hard to think of easy halal breakfast recipes. We are always on the go!

I told you all how I am trying to stay fit and healthy, so I have to start making a habit of eating a good breakfast. I always skip breakfast which is so bad for you since it slows your metabolism down. Since I started eating breakfast, I noticed that I am more of a morning person now too Alh.

Since my daughter can touch the front range of my stove now, I like breakfasts that don’t require a stove. My reflexes in the morning are terrible, so anything I can do to avoid a mishap is welcome.

Here is my easy breakfast for you:

English Muffin with Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Pesto


English muffin
Ready made cream cheese pesto spread
Smoked salmon

1) Toast English muffin.
2) Take out of toaster and spread on cream cheese spread.
3) Top with smoked salmon
4) Enjoy!

I know some readers may find this recipe sort of silly, but for breakfast newbies like me this quick fix was perfect! I just felt like sharing. What are some of your breakfast faves?

Eid Baklava Recipe


Eid ul Adha is a holiday where Muslims celebrate the Prophet Abraham’s (as) complete obedience to God by his readiness to sacrifice his most beloved: his own son Ishmael (as). Once God saw his intent, God replaced Ishmael with a ram, so Muslims celebrate this event by sacrificing an animal and distributing the meat to those who are needy and close of kin.

Muslims celebrate two Eids. The first is to celebrate the end of Ramadan (the month where Muslims fast) and this Eid as I have described above.

Both Eids are filled with lots of sweets. One of my favorite sweets is baklava which always looked intimidating as a dessert but is quite easy to make.

Here is my easy recipe:


1 16 oz package of phyllo dough

4 cups chopped nuts

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 cup honey

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toss chopped nuts (I chop mine using a food processor. I used walnuts.) with cinnamon and set aside.

2) Melt butter.

3) Unfold phyllo dough carefully. Looking at the pan you use, cut dough to size and set aside with a damp towel on top so dough doesn’t dry out. If the sheets are not perfect, or get a little torn, don’t worry. It will still come out nicely.

4) Start with one sheet of the dough and lay it on bottom of the pan. Stroke melted butter on top with pastry brush.

5) Repeat until you have done 6-8 layers.

6) Sprinkle chopped nuts on top of this last layer.

7) Add sheet then add nuts until you finish using all of the nuts. Make sure you brush butter on lightly each layer otherwise the baklava can get soggy.

8) Finish with 6-8 plain sheets with no nuts with just brushed on butter as a top layer.

9) Cut halfway through in diamond shapes and bake 30 minutes or until golden.

10) While that is baking, combine water and sugar in a saucepan with lemon juice. Boil mixture and let it simmer 20 minutes. I recommend cooling sauce in fridge.

11) Take baklava out of oven and then spoon sauce immediately over it and serve.

Fall Squash Curry


As a working mom, it’s easy to be too tired to fix a healthy meal for my family during the work week. So for those days, I turn to quickie easy recipes like this one.

Fall is the perfect time for foodies. From seasonal offerings at places like Starbucks, to farmer’s markets popping up everywhere, it’s easy to experiment with your recipes.

Fall is the time of year that squash like zucchini is abundant, so I just threw together this dish tonight for dinner. I promise that even if you never made a curry before in your life, this recipe will help you make an authentic one. Thanks Amma (my mom) for teaching me this easy basic in my early teens.

Make it and then curl up to snuggle with your family!

Minara’s Fall Squash Curry

1 med onion chopped
3 tbs EVOO
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red hot chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp chopped naga pepper (also known as ghost pepper. If you can’t find this, just replace with chopped Thai chilies)
3 med zucchini sliced thinly
1/4 lb jumbo shrimp, shelled, deveined and cut into bite sized pieces
3 tbs EVOO (or any oil you have on hand will do)

Total prep time: 15 minutes
Total cooking time: 28 minutes
Total time: 43 minutes

1) Heat a medium sauté pan and add EVOO
2) After 3 minutes, add chopped onion and sauté till onions turn translucent.

3) Add salt and sauté.
4) Add naga pepper and sauté.

5) Add spices and sauté for 7 minutes on medium heat.

6) Add bite sized shrimp and cook until pink.

7) Add zucchini and cook on 10 minutes medium heat.

8) Raise heat and cook for 8 minutes high heat or until zucchini turns translucent.

9) Serve with brown rice.


Mmmm Halal S’mores

It’s fall in San Francisco which means its still summer weather (80 degrees!). We all remember summer time is when other kids would get to go to camp and make s’mores. But Muslim kids had a tough time because marshmallows have gelatin (which is a pork product). So we would never get to sit at a campfire and toast s’mores!

Well there are better marshmallow options now! So I indulged my inner wannabe camp kid with this halal s’mores recipe.

I found a vegan marshmallow option at Whole Foods called Dandies. As a self proclaimed foodie, I decided to dress up s’mores by using Lindt milk chocolate and some regular graham crackers.

As you can tell by the photos below, the result was camp approved deliciousness that resulted in a melty gooey mess.









The recipe is fairly simple (adapted from Paula Deen’s recipe):

Prep Time: 7 minutes

6 whole graham crackers

1 bag mini marshmallows

2 Lindt Milk Chocolate bars, split into pieces of 3


Split graham cracker into 2 halves. On top of graham cracker squares place 4 mini-marshmallows.

Place under broiler for a few seconds until browned.

Remove and place 3 piece chunk of a Lindt bar on top of the toasted marshmallows.

The heat from the marshmallow will melt the chocolate.

Place other 1/2 of graham cracker on top. Press lightly to flatten marshmallows. Enjoy!