Little Miss MIA. :)

It seems like I have been gone forever, but I pray to soon start baking away and of course sharing my recipes with you all. For the past months I have noticed a visitor from "Mountain View" California visiting my page quite often, I promise the first recipe will be for you. :)


Milk does a body good...

This evening my husband called to see if I needed him to stop by the store to pick up some milk, I really don't understand why he bothers to call my children go through a gallon of milk a day it seems. Growing up the only way you could get me to drink milk was with my cereal or in my chocolate milk, the thought of it alone made me gag, but times have changed and now I find myself drinking just as much milk as my children.

Benefits: Milk is extremely beneficial drink for mankind. Some of the advantages of drinking this life-giving nectar are as follows:
  • Calcium: Milk is the best source of calcium supply to our body. Calcium protects the body from major chronic ailments such as cancerous chemicals, bone loss, arthritic condition, migraine headaches, pre-menstrual syndrome, and obesity in children and aids in losing unwanted fats.
  • Healthy Bones: As mentioned above, milk is rich in calcium, which is very essential for growth and proper development of strong bone structure. Bone disorders such as osteoporosis can be prevented with daily intake of adequate quantity of milk. Children deprived of cow milk have an increased chance of bone fractures when injured.
  • Healthy Teeth: Encouraging children and youngsters to drink milk would give them excellent dental health, as milk protects the enamel surface against acidic substances. Drinking milk for energy and health would dissuade children from consuming soft drinks, thus reducing the risk of decayed teeth and weak gums.
  • Rehydration: Fluids are an integral part of human body. The body needs to be replenished with liquids at regular intervals. It is very essential for growing children and they must drink at least six to eight glasses of fluid every day. Milk contains a good quantity of water molecules and is considered the best fluid for rehydration.
  •  Skin Care: Have you heard of Cleopatra, the Queen of Nile? She was considered one of the most beautiful women of all times. Well you will be surprised if I tell you that Cleopatra used to have a milk bath daily! She used to mix honey and milk and take a bath daily enabling her maintain soft and beautiful skin. Since thousands of years, milk is known to benefit our skin by helping us maintain a fair and smooth complextion. Hence, even today milk and milk products are used in a number of cosmetic preparations. Milk is also good for dry skin. If you have a dry skin apply milk on your face (and other body parts), leave it for about 15 minutes and then wash it. The milk solids nourish and smoothen your skin. The lactic acid present in milk is known to aid in removing the dead skin cells, thereby rejuvenating your skin.  
  • Improving Diet and Vitamin Intake: According to medical research, drinking milk considerably improves our intakes of vital minerals and vitamins. A man who consumes a carton of whole milk doubles his chances of fulfilling calcium requirement per day, whereas, another person consuming a can of fizzy or carbonated drink may in reality lower his calcium levels by one third percent.
  • Acidity Reduction: Consumption of milk products can also help in reducing acidity
  • Wholesome Food: It contains a whole lot of vitamins and minerals to keep you fit, healthy and strong. A glassful of milk contains vitamin A & B for good eyesight and increasing RBC count, carbohydrates for vitality and energy, potassium for proper nerve function, magnesium for muscular function, phosphorous for energy release, protein for body repair and growth.


Pumpkin muffins and everything nice.

I really went pumpkin happy with these giant Libys pumpkin puree cans I bought. My boys loved these muffing filled with tart dried cranberries and bittersweet chocolate morsels. I find that the best muffins (or quick breads) I have ever made take very little time to make, just like buttermilk pancakes you must not overwork the batter or you will end up with rubber like muffins.

1 cup plus 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon mace
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup castor sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate morsels
1/3 cup dried cranberries (chopped)
1/3 cup toasted chopped walnuts

Preheat your oven to 350* F. Line a muffin pan with liners and set aside. Sift all the dry ingredients in a large bowl, set aside. In a separate bowl whisk the pumpkin, eggs, oil, and vanilla until well combined. Add the buttermilk and whisk to combine. Pour in the dry ingredients and mix to combine (do not over mix the batter) toss the chocolate morsels, cranberries, and walnuts in a bowl with 1 teaspoon of flour and fold into your batter. Fill the prepared muffin pan and bake for approximately 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


Tortas de aceite...

This is "the" one snack I make frequently in my home but never quite measure my ingredients, sometimes I make them out of leftover pizza dough and other times I dedicate a dough entirely for them. I have been telling myself for a few yrs now that "I will" write down my recipe but sadly I haven't just yet. I've come across so many recipes online, all which stack the tortas O' so nicely in their pictures but the ones I've eaten all my life are never perfect in fact they're deliciously "ugly", so never be fooled by beautiful pictures when it comes to "Tortas de aceite".

The Torta de Aceite, is a light, crisp and flaky Sevillian sweet biscuit in the shape of a torta, the Spanish flatbread. Tortas de aceite have been made for over 100 years in the Seville region.
The main ingredients are wheat flour, olive oil, almonds, sugar, sesame seeds, anise seeds and anise flavor.

Moroccan kufta tagine

I made this amazing tagine the first week of Ramadan and I can't wait to make it again. I'm not a huge fan of eggs, so I added only two in the center but I must say they worked perfect with the sauce and meatballs. This dish is very popular with the Men working the souk (Moroccan farmers market) I seen it served to them while they worked many times. I guess it's pretty filling and quite a booster for these Men that work selling produce or what have you from the early morning till sunset.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie..

I can't remember when was the last time I had pumpkin pie but it's been a while and I had been craving it for years it seems. A few weeks back I finally found pumpkin puree at the grocery store and I couldn't wait to make a pie. The only thing that was holding me back was "homemade" pie crust, I've always been scared of making pie crust.  This crust recipe is very simple to make, the only tools you need is a metal (stainless steel) bowl, strong stainless steel whisk, and your two hands. The filling is my very own recipe one that I had to come up with in order to have enough filling to fill up a tart pan. Freshly grated ginger and cardamon whipped cream take this simple American dessert to another level.

2 1/3 cups pumpkin puree
2 large eggs plus 1 yolk
1 3/4 cup evaporated milk (full fat)
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon mace
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (note follows)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pie crust ingredients
1 1/2 cups self rising flour
110 grams unsalted butter
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Ice water to make a dough (approximately 1/4 cup)

Pie crust, Directions
Sift the flour, sugar salt in a large metal bowl and place in the freezer for 15 minutes along with your metal whisk. Cut the butter into 20 pieces and place in the freezer for 5 minutes. Remove the ingredients and tools from the freezer, toss the pieces of butter into your flour. With a large (cold) heavy duty whisk cut the butter into the flour by beating down on the butter cubes while turning the cold bowl at the same time. Continue to do so until it resembles course bread crumbs. Drizzle in 1 tablespoon of ice water and rake through mixture with fingers until just moistened. Drizzle in remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time and comb through mixture with fingers to moisten. It will go from being a shaggy mess to coming together. Dough is moist enough when it is moistened through but is not wet when pressed. (Do not overwork the dough or it will become tough.)
While rotating the bowl with 1 hand, push dough between other palm and side of bowl to gather into a ball. Turn dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, press it into a flat disk, then close in wrap. Place in coldest part of refrigerator for 1 hour before rolling out and forming into a crust.

Pumpkin filling, Directions 
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and mace in small bowl. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F.; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. (Do not freeze as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling.) 

Note, only the juice from the grated ginger will be used in this recipe. After grating the ginger strain it through a fine colander or sieve.


Last 10 days of Ramadan.

I can't believe the last 10 days of Ramadan are approaching it seems like just yesterday was the first day of our Holly month. This Ramadan has been a blessing from Allah in so many ways I pray that it has been for you all as well. Tonight my 5yr old and I worked on a few "Last 10 days of Ramadan" projects, we put up a homemade tree and cut up loads of Moons and stars, "not sure what we'll do with those just yet". The night was lovely, along with the lovely scent of bukhoor the smell of a freshly baked pumpkin pie also filled the home. It may not be fall or winter during our holidays this year but I can't help but to crave my old American holiday baked goodies.
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