An update…

Hello Friends!  It’s been a while, huh?

I owe you an explanation for disappearing for so long, but before that I want to wish all those observing Ramadan a peaceful and fulfilling month.  May all of our prayers be accepted, and may we leave the month spiritually and mentally renewed.

In my last post I mentioned that I was going to visit California for my brother’s graduation.  Well, my brother graduated with a double major in Economics and Communications (we’re all so proud of you Ammu!), we celebrated Father’s Day with my dad and husband, and I was able to spend my birthday with my family.

We returned home on Tuesday, June 24th.  The following evening, Wednesday, June 25th, my father had a mild heart attack.  My husband, my son, and I traveled back to California the next day, Thursday, June 26th.  Everything since then has been a blur.

Praise be to God, my father is in stable condition now.  Things have been rocky, including my father needing dialysis at the moment and an extended hospital stay (thanks, but no thanks Insurance).  But through all of this I have nothing but gratitude.

When my father was initially admitted, things were going down really fast.  We weren’t being given much hope, and things looked very bleak.  My father’s recovery is nothing short of a miracle. And for that I have all of our well-wishers to thank.  Family, friends, and strangers all banded together to pray for Papa.  In the first 2 weeks of Papa being admitted, we had over 250 visitors come to see him and wish him well.  The show of support has been overwhelming, to say the least.

This time has also proven to me that the connections I’ve forged through the course of blogging have been invaluable.  Some of the friends I’ve made through blogging were literally the first ones I turned to to share my heartbreak and fears, to be the ones I was able to pour my heart out to.  I’ve had a number of bloggers reach out to privately to wish us well and to offer a shoulder to lean on.  You guys, I will forever be grateful.  Your show of support means so much to me, and I will never ever be able to show and tell you thankful I am.  The only thing I can say is that I pray that God rewards you for your goodwill and for being there for a friend.  God bless you, and may you be rewarded by the Almighty in this world and the next.

 

Now that things have calmed down a bit, I would love to get back to blogging regularly.  I’ve come to realize over the course of these past few weeks that blogging is very therapeutic for me.  It’s a window of time that I use to block out all my problems and be able to focus on something I truly enjoy.  Although it’s unlikely that I will be posting as often as I was before, I hope to post occasionally.  I also want to apologize to my friends whose blogs I’ve neglected (although I must admit that I have been reading your posts as I hang out at the hospital with my dad :) ).  InshAllah, God willing, it won’t be long before things are calmer and I’m back to my old self :)

Once again, thank you for all of your support.  My blogging buddies, my family, my old friends, my new friends, and all of our well-wishers, thank you.  I will never forget the support you gave to me and my family during these hard times.

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m going on vacation y’all! My dear younger brother is graduating from college and we are going to be celebrating! I should be back (God willing) by the end of the month, hopefully with lots of inspiration and fun recipes to share.

In the meantime, enjoy these delicious Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from here) and try not to miss me too much ;)

 

BrownedButterChocolateChipCookiesPic

 

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 1 ½ to 2 Dozen

Cookies

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Brown the butter by cooking it over medium heat in a stainless-steel saucepan. Whisk so that the butter melts evenly. As it cooks, the butter will begin to foam, so be sure to whisk frequently to check underneath the bubbly surface. Soon little browned bits will form at the bottom. As soon as they begin to form, remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until solidified.

Preheat oven to 375˚F and set aside an ungreased baking sheet.

In a medium bowl, combine all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat browned butter, brown sugar, and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and mix well.

Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Add chocolate chips and mix to combine.

Spoon the cookie dough by a tablespoon onto baking sheet. Leave at least 2-inches of space between each cookie. Cake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool completely.

Chili Mac and An Invitation!

My son is a big fan of chips and salsa, so I asked my husband to pick some up on his recent trip to Sam’s Club. He came home with 2 huge jars (though to his credit, they sell it packaged that way) of salsa. So in an effort to put a dent in our huge salsa supply, I searched online and stumbled upon this recipe for Chili Mac. I took a quick look at the recipe and realized that I had almost everything, and went ahead and gave it a whirl. People, try this! The name is totally misleading, and the meal itself is really healthy. For a meal that serves four, it only has ½ cup of cheese. Also, regular pasta can be swapped with whole wheat or even veggie pasta. It’s a healthy and delicious meal that comes together very quickly.

Also, on a totally different note, I have an invitation for you! My blogging buddy Sarah, of Flour and Spice, recently reached out to me with an idea. Sarah suggested that we team up and host a virtual Eid Party. The premise of the “party” is that those who choose to participate will post a recipe that is evocative of Eid for them, whether that be traditional or something new/innovative. So now my friends, is that I invite you to join us! If you think that you would be interested in participating, just leave me a comment saying that you would. We’ll be sending out emails later this week to everyone that we know, so be on the lookout :)

 

ChiliMacPic

 

 

Chili Mac

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound small shell pasta
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup picante sauce (regular salsa can be used as well, although additional liquid might need to be added)
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar or Mexican style cheese

Directions:

Cook the pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook ground beef until well browned and all liquid has evaporated. Stir in picante sauce, corn, chili powder, and tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes.

Stir in pasta and cheese. Cover and cook until the cheese has melted.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

My baby, who isn’t a baby anymore but a rambunctious toddler, turns 3 today.

When did this even happen? My son has gone from a clueless drooling baby to a curious and active toddler. Sometimes I catch myself wondering where the time has gone, but then I remember that it’s been spent trying to pottytrain, scrubbing stray crayon marks off of the walls, vacuuming up abandoned Cheerios, cuddling, talking and obsessing over fire trucks, taking trips to the park, going for evening walks, and so much more. And I wouldn’t have it any other way :)

Last weekend we celebrated Zuni’s birthday by inviting a few friends over. We ordered the main meal from a local restaurant, and I was responsible for dessert.   I wanted to make a spread that was representative of my son’s favorite foods, so I decided to make cupcakes (as opposed to a traditional cake) and an ice cream bar. The cupcakes (recipe coming soon!) were vanilla based, with half of them frosted with chocolate buttercream and the other half frosted with whipped vanilla buttercream. The ice cream bar consisted of vanilla bean ice cream (recipe courtesy of my new favorite cookbook, The Perfect Scoop), milk chocolate ice cream (recipe coming soon!), magic shell (recipe coming soon!), vanilla bean caramel sauce (recipe coming soon!), and all sorts of toppings. The cupcakes and ice cream bar were a huge hit, and I can’t wait to recreate it!

 

VanillaBeanIceCreamPic

 

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Yield: 1 Quart

Ingredients:

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Set aside a large ice bath and strainer for later use.

Lightly whisk egg yolks in a medium bowl and set aside.

Pour 1 cup of the heavy whipping cream in a large bowl and set aside.

Combine remaining 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, whole milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm and steaming. Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into the milk mixture, and add the bean as well. Cover, remove from heat, and allow to steep for 30 minutes.

Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks (tempering), while whisking constantly. Add warmed yolk and milk mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spatula (check for doneness by running your finger across the coated spatula. If your finger leaves a trail that doesn’t flow back together, the custard is done). Pour the custard through the strainer into the large bowl of cream. Add vanilla and put the vanilla bean into the custard, stir, and set the bowl over the ice bath and cool completely.

Once the custard has cooled, transfer to the refrigerator and chill for several hours. Remove vanilla bean and freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer instructions.

My Ninja Naan is 2! And a Giveaway!

Today marks 2 years since the birth of My Ninja Naan! My blogbaby has evolved from grainy pictures and no name, to a better sense of photography, a growing following, and a desire to continually share my love of cooking and baking. It has grown from a hobby to something I see myself pursuing professionally in the future. I’ve “met” people from all over the world through this blog, some who’ve I’ve grown very close to. And it’s you, my dear readers, whose constant support and kind words have kept me going. Thank you.

To celebrate My Ninja Naan’s 2nd Birthday, we’re giving away 2 Ninja Mugs!

 

Picture Courtesy of Amazon

Picture Courtesy of Amazon

 

Here are the guidelines:

(a)  Giveaway is open to residents of the 48 contiguous United States.  Sorry, no P.O. Boxes or APO addresses can be accepted.

(b)  Giveaway ends Friday, May 9th at 11:59 PM EST.

(c)   Each person is allowed a total of 3 entries (in 3 separate comments at the end of the post):

  • Like us Facebook, and leave a comment stating that you have.
  • Subscribe via email to receive regular posts, and leave a comment stating that you have.
  • Leave a comment below telling me know what you would like to see on My Ninja Naan in the coming future.

Winners will be picked at random and will be emailed by Sunday, May 11th at 11:59 PM EST.  Winners have 48 hours to respond.  If no response is received, a new winner will be picked.

 

Thank you my dear friends for your constant encouragement and support.  I am grateful for this journey and for meeting the amazing people that I have met through our mutual love for cooking and baking.  Happy cooking!