Wednesday, September 26, 2012

“Za’atar pita bites”

“Za’atar pita bites” are a great healthy snack, which I eat regularly dipped in Labaneh (yogurt cheese) and with a nice hot mint tea. I usually cut my old pita bread for this (a great way to use a bit on the stale side pita). We make a big batch of this in my household as we love it. So here is how:

Pita bread cut into squares or triangles if you wish

Olive oil (I use a good splash to cover the pita and coat it will with Za’atar)

Za’atar (the kind we use for Mana’eesh, with sesame seeds and sumaq)


Toss all ingredients well to coat in a large non stick oven pan. Put in the oven at 180 degrees until it is toasty and smells like it. Make sure to stir occasionally as it toasts in the oven so it won’t burn. Enjoy!!!
 Before toasting

Sunday, September 16, 2012

"Haroon's" Baby Shower

Though I am posting this almost a month after the party, I still wanted to share some pictures of the party I had to welcome baby “Haroon”. It was during the holy month of Ramadan, so I decided to have a desserts buffet for my lady guests.
I have to admit that preparing for this party started when I was still pregnant. I knew I won’t have time once the baby is here so I bought many decoration needs and worked to prepare them ahead of time. My theme used the colors lime green and blue (picked by my daughter when we were at the supplies store). I prepared the door hanger, the pompoms, the cupcake thank you toppers and a sheer cloth to spread around the table. I also bought some lime green and blue chocolate almond candies to fill in glass pots for more pizzazz presentation.

Party favors

I bought boxes for favors which I decided going to be cupcakes yet when the party’s time approached, it was very difficult to think of making a big number of cupcakes, frosting and assembling them in the boxes in addition to wrapping with the little time I had on my hands. Additionally, the weather was very hot and there was no way that all boxes will fit in the fridge with the other dishes I made. So it was time to rethink my strategy again. So after thorough thinking I decided to make rice krispies cupcakes and use sugar dough to decorate them instead of cream frosting. Not only was I able to get them done in almost no time, they were all done a day ahead of the party. I was also able to store them in my guest room organized and ready for presentation. They tasted great. (Some of my guests still have them till this day and didn’t eat them. They look great)

Party menu
I knew I had no time at all to prepare fancy dishes, so I needed to carefully prepare my menu to make sure that all dishes won’t require slaving in the kitchen or last minute preparation. My menu had to include some Arabic desserts as it was Ramadan. Thankfully my Mom was a great helper as she made me:

-          The famous “Atayef”; homemade Asafeeri (small size) style. We filled these babies with nutella topped with toasted hazelnuts (yum!!) and Quista topped pistachios.
-           Kunafeh mini muffins filled with pistachios
-          Harrisa with almonds
-          Awameh (fried dough dipped in sugar syrup)
As for me, I prepared
-          Coconut Harrisa
-          Qishtaliah (a thick creamy pudding)
-          Date toffee cake
-          Strawberry Mousse glasses
-          Baby cake (the center piece and it was a biscuit cake, also easy prepare ahead of time method)
-          Ferrero Rocher Cheese Cake
-          Melons and Water melons
-          Dates filled with toasted almonds, dipped in chocolate, sprinkled with coconut and drizzled with white chocolate.
-          Dried apricots dipped in white chocolate and dipped in pistachios
-          Fried Ice cream cake
Drinks: Included assortment of juices and soft drinks, tea and coffee in addition to
-          Qamar Al deen rose drink
-          Sweet Southern Iced tea
We had a great time, Harron got lots of fantastic gifts and me too J Thanks everyone and a special thank you for Hiba Khammash for assembling the boxes for me so I can stuff and wrap them and for taking the photos :).


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Easy Sugar cookies

My life has changed completely after the birth of my baby "Haroon". He is such a sweet little boy...yet a very demanding one who wants his mommy with him 24/7. He is going to be three months at the end of this month and I hope that things will start to get easier and more systemized as he is getting older.
So being wrapped up with his needs like feedings, diaper changes, acting silly so he will laugh and play in addition to being busy in preparing for the back to school stuff for my other two children, all of which didn't leave me much time to go into the kitchen and enjoy my beloved hobby. I have been on the move and looking for short cuts where ever and whenever I can. So when kids craved cookies, the simplest recipe I had was too complicated with Haroon crying and demanding that I carry him. So I stopped by this great and super easy recipe for sugar cookies using vanilla cake mix.
Cake Mix Sugar cookies

1 package vanilla cake mix
1 tea spoon baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 Cup vegetable oil
1/2 tea spoon vanilla extract
1 Cup color sprinkles

Preheat oven to 175-180°. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix and baking powder. In a small bowl, mix together the eggs, oil and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the cake mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the sprinkles. Drop by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to cooling rack.