Wednesday, September 21, 2016

My Latest Articles on Masalamommas

As many of you know, I have been doing a regular intercultural series on Masalamommas online magazine, which has been an amazing opportunity for me to have a larger platform for our cross-cultural community.

Even though I got behind on my blog this Summer, I made sure to continue writing for Masalamommas. Over the Summer, I published two new articles that I'd like to share with you guys:

Excerpt: "Picking a name for your child is arguably the first of many things that you’ll have to compromise on as parents and find a happy medium. Some couples try to honor both cultures, while some stick to the dominant culture or the culture of residence..."

Excerpt: "As soon as I started dating my husband, I had a feeling that his mother was going to play a big part in our relationship. He was the eldest son, and they have such a close connection to each other. My husband has always taken care of his mother emotionally and they are both equally protective of each other. Their relationship as a mother and son is sacred. Now where did that leave me, as a wife? As the unexpected Firangi Bahu?"

Don't forget to share & comment if you like it!

P.S. My article 9 Benefits of Being in an Intercultural Marriage is one of Masalamomma's all-time top reads!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Our Summer in Pictures

By now it's Fall season in full swing, with the weather cooling down and the leaves falling off the trees - my favorite season. The kids are settled back into their school routine, and Summer feels long gone.

This Summer was fun for us because my in-law's were both here and got to enjoy it with us. I usually do a lot in the Summer, but this year I didn't feel like doing too much because the heat was too hard for me to handle and it made me very tired (Thank God I didn't go to that India trip in May!). We also had the little munchkin off school for 2 months and I took off work for the whole Summer - essentially becoming a stay-at-home mum again - which probably added to my tiredness. We spent a lot of time at home, having frequent barbecue dinners, swimming, playing soccer, and venturing out to the beach. It was a pretty relaxed and calm Summer. It was great to take off of work and spend time with my daughter and family.

Maya had a lot of big milestones this Summer - she got her first ever hair cut - 6 inches off! I also signed her up for a soccer class which she absolutely loved. She was the only girl in the class and she was fierce - she definitely gave the boys a run for their money! Husband-ji also took Maya to her first-ever movie in the big theater - they saw "Finding Dory" and she absolutely loved it. We also had a big birthday party for Maya in June and she invited 25 of her friends - total social butterfly!

Here is our Summer in pictures:


Dear readers, how was your Summer?
Was it busy or relaxed? How did you guys spend it?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Our Joint-Family Vacation to the Okanagan

Earlier this Summer we did a fabulous road trip up to the Okanagan, which is known as B.C.'s "Napa Valley" because of it's beautiful rolling hills, wineries, and fresh fruits. I really wanted our first trip after my in-law's getting their PR to be a Canadian one - and especially in B.C. - so that they could explore their new province.

We have been to the Okanagan many times because my auntie has a house up there and she is always inviting us up to visit. Her house is set on 8 acres of land and she grows apples, peaches, plums and apricots that you can pick right off the tree. Their house overlooks the beautiful Lake Okanagan and it has a wonderful view. They just finished a 2 year home renovation where they added a swimming pool and an extra house of the property. The last time we visited was 2 years ago, which was right before they started their renovation.

My auntie lives in the hills between Penticton and Naramata, on the East side of Lake Okanagan. There is not much to do up there, other than visiting the wineries (but we don't drink). So for us, it was a full relaxation trip where we just spent the time swimming, and exploring my auntie's apple orchard. The one outing we did was visit the famous Penticton Farmer's Market where I found the best cinnamon buns that I have ever tasted in my entire life!

The highlight of the trip was definitely when my mother-in-law dressed up my auntie in a saree - she looked so amazing and elegant!

Staying at my aunt's place also gave my in-law's a chance to experience having a Mediterranean diet for 4 days - grilled vegetables, salads, hummus, etc. They were surprised that they could feel full without eating rice!

Maya had a wonderful time running around the orchard, collecting plums in a basket, and feeding the donkeys next door. She has never had that large a space to explore, so she went totally wild!

It was a great trip for my in-law's because they got to see a completely different part of B.C. and a new landscape - the interior of our province is completely different than the coastal towns - where we reside.

Doing a Summer road trip together was so much fun. Last year, we did a road trip to Yellowstone National Park and this year, it was the Okanagan. It' the second year in a row that we've done a road trip and I think this is something that we can do every year! I just love traveling all together.


Dear readers, did you do any Summer road trips this year?
Have you ever been to the Okanagan?

Monday, September 5, 2016

Bibi's Labaniah (Saudi Milk and Pistachio Candy)

Hi, I'm Bibi and I'm honored to do a recipe guest post on Alex's blog today! 
If you'd like to learn more about me please check out my interview here or visit my blog Keep Calm & Curry On.

From Saudi Arabia comes this sweet treat. Indian Muslims on Hajj brought milky mithai with them on their pilgrimage to Mecca. The Saudis liked the traditional Indian sweets so much they made their own version! Humble milk powder is transformed into delectable morsels with the rich flavors of saffron, cardamom, and pistachios in this recipe.

When I first tasted labaniah as a gift from a friend who had visited Saudi Arabia I thought they tasted a lot like doodh peda or kalakand (the traditional Indian fudge like milk sweets.) A little research proved I was right! Labaniah was most certainly inspired by milk sweets brought by Indian Hajj pilgrims on their visit to Mecca. I found the original recipe for this candy on Nestle's Saudi Arabian website. I thought it was a bit too sweet so I halved the sugar. I also wanted to make it a bit luxe and a tad more Indian so I added some Kashmiri saffron. The result was scrumptious! So simple to make but elegant enough to serve with afternoon tea, as dessert at a posh dinner party, or for Eid al-Adha this month.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp lemon/nimbu juice
Seeds of 5 green cardamoms/elaichi, ground finely
8 to 10 strands of saffron (optional)
1/4 cup pistachio nuts, chopped finely
4 cups full cream milk powder (I used Verka)
Extra whole pistachios for garnishing

Here's what to do:
1) Place sugar, water, lemon juice, cardamom, and saffron in a medium saucepan. Stir and bring to a simmer over medium heat low heat for 4 minutes or until it turns into a thick syrup. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

2) Add 2 cups of milk powder and chopped pistachios to cooled syrup and stir until well combined. (I used an electric stand mixer).

3) Gradually add the rest of the milk powder and stir until a stiff dough forms. Add more milk powder if necessary.

4) Form the dough into small smooth balls. (I used a tablespoon sized scoop as you can see in the photo to get uniform amounts of dough.) Garnish by pressing one whole shelled pistachio into each ball. Keeps well in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer for up to one week.

Helpful Hints:
Labaniah tastes like doodh peda but has a slight chewy texture, not fudgy like kalakand or malai burfi. 

To make the labaniah taste even more Indian and add a bit of intrigue - try wetting your hands with a few drops of kewra or rose water when rolling the dough.

And here's me all glammed up Arabian style! I think Alex and I could pass for sisters. What do you think? Ya Habbibi!

I hope you enjoy this recipe and do come visit me at Keep Calm & Curry On for more culinary fun!

Calmly currying on,

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