Friday Things

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Hello friends!

So it’s been awhile sine I’ve done a proper update and I kind of feel bad. There’s been a lot going on, and I haven’t really been able to blog about it. Things have just been so crazy! But I’m hoping to get back into a routine soon so that I can get back to sharing yummy recipes with you all :) I miss cooking and baking so much!

Speaking of baking, I recently enrolled in a baking program at college and can’t wait to start! It’s more of an academic program, instead of a Wilton type class, and is taught on more of a professional level. I even need to buy a uniform! I’m not sure how the chef’s hat is going to look with my hijab, but let’s see… Lol.

I’ve enrolled in my classes already and they sound like fun. It’ll be interesting going back to school after a year of being out, even though it’s more of a practical, hands-on program. I love academics, but I also love baking, so let’s see how I fare!

I’ve been wanting to improve my baking skills for ages and this is why I choose this program. I really do want to take my baking to the next level, and sometimes you can do it yourself but sometimes it’s good to have someone to guide you.

I tend to stick to the same type of desserts and usually avoid anything with yeast so I’m so excited to finally be taken out of my comfort zone and expand my knowledge and experience.

Speaking of growing, it’s my birthday tomorrow and I’m officially going to be in my mid to late twenties. -_- Ugh!

I still remember the excitement I felt of turning twenties and the feeling that my twenties were going to last forever. But they’re not! I’m officially 4 years closer to 30. I know age is just a number, etc. but I still feel old. There’s so much I still haven’t accomplished and the years just keep passing me by!

It’s one thing to feel like a teenager when you’re 21 or 22, but it’s another to feel like a teenager when you’re 26. >_> But I do! I still feel like a kid sometimes. And then I’ll suddenly realise that I’ve got responsibilities and have left my parents’ care and home. Then I’ll realise that being an adult is not as fun as I imagined it would be when I was a kid!

But alhamdulilah for everything. In this past year I’ve accomplished so much that I need to be grateful for everything.

As some of you know, I run another blog and it’s been getting some media coverage lately in the past few months. First I was contacted by a writer for the Today.com website who wanted to interview me for some modest styling tips in the summer. It was such an honour! You can check out the article here.

Around the same time, I was contacted by a journalist in India, who writes from MINT, a journal which is part of the Hindustan Times, the second largest English newspaper in India, for a feature on hijabi fashion. This piece was more around the world of hijabi fashion bloggers and had a more serious tone. The writer featured me in the article, and also interviewed me separately about mainstreaming the other.

Lastly, I was recently asked to write a few fun list type posts for Metro UK, a site very similar to Buzfeed in its list-based approach. I’ve written 2 posts for them so far, one on Eid and the other on the struggles of hijabis.

It’s been quite a busy month!

It’s been so busy that I neglected blogging. This blog has been suffering for some time, but that blog also began to suffer, especially as major changes in my personal life took its toll on my desire to blog.

Despite all of these things, lately I’ve been feeling a bit uninspired about the other blog. I’ve gone more than a week without posting and sometimes feel like I should give up. But then I get emails. Not the emails asking to interview me or whatever, but emails from regular girls asking me for advice. Some of these emails are quite serious as these girls share their mistakes, their hopes, their desires, and their fears with a virtual stranger. It makes my shoulders droop a bit with the responsibility of it all, but then I remember to be grateful to Allah for giving me this opportunity to help people. I’m not perfect and nor do I always know what to say to these girls. But I try my very best to guide them and help them.

When I get their replies, as well as comments on posts about having faith or being grateful from people telling me they needed that reminder or thanking me for writing that particular post, I feel like what I’m doing might actually be helpful to people. I might not be a doctor saving lives or an engineer building bridges or a celebrity being famous, but I’m doing what I can. And what greater joy can there be in doing what you love and helping people along the way?

It’s quite a lovely thought to realise on the eve of your birthday :)

Alhamdulilah.

Whew! This has turned into a long, heavy post. Sorry! There’s just been so much to catch up on though. Hopefully I won’t go as long without posting :)

Hope you enjoy your weekend, wherever you are and whatever you do!

As always, thanks for reading,

Ikhlas

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Baking Cheat Sheets

As someone who loves to bake, I’m a big fan of little tips and tricks that make it even easier. Unlike cooking, baking is an exact art and you will most likely notice if you put one teaspoon or two teaspoons of baking soda or sugar, etc. into a recipe.

That’s why I love baking cheat sheets or infographics, which make baking even easier! These are especially helpful when you’re trying to modify a recipe, substitute ingredients, or just figure out which pan you can use to bake your recipe.

So have a look below at these helpful cheat sheets that’ll instantly make your life easier!

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Recipe: Easy Naan Pizza

Easy Naan Pizza

Hello friends!

So I don’t exactly have anything ground breaking new recipe to share with you guys today. Instead, it’s a simple and easy recipe that’s been a go-to favourite in my family for years. I’ve taken numerous instagram pics of my favourite naan pizzas, and I decided to finally share it with you guys today.

These easy naan pizzas are a family favourite for a reason. They are incredibly easy to make and are basically individual pan pizzas. You can top them however you like. Even if you’ve got hardly anything in your fridge, as long as you’ve got sauce, a naan, and cheese, you’re golden. The rest is up to your imagination!

Easy Naan Pizza

Being South Asian, we always have naan in our fridge or freezer, which means that if we don’t feel like cooking anything, we can always make these mini pizzas. But if you don’t have naan, you can also substitute it with Greek pita bread. It doesn’t have to be fancy naan or pita bread, just the regular grocery store variety will do.

The same goes for the pizza sauce. We always have a can in our pantry, which doesn’t go bad, which makes it easy to whip these up. You’re welcome to make your own sauce, but when you’re in the mood for pizza now (who isn’t?), it helps to have a jar (or two) tucked in the back of the pantry.

Easy Naan Pizza

And the rest is whatever you want! My favourite toppings are fresh spinach, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, a bit of garlic in the sauce, some jalapeños, and a lot of cheese! I’ve also recently started putting black olives on my pizza and have to say I absolutely love the tangy, salty taste! If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try sundried tomatoes or broccoli? Or some crumbled feta cheese to give it a twist? There’s so many options!

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Hello July

Hello friends!

First of all, apologies for the long delay in posting! It’s been almost a month since my last post…yikes! I have no idea how that happened, time just ran away with me. Sorry!

Life’s been quite hectic over the past few weeks that I barely had time to check my facebook or email, let alone update this blog! I wish I could say that I was up to something exciting, but that’s not the case unfortunately.

Ramadan (the Islamic month of fasting) is already half over and I can’t even remember when it began! Time is really flying.

Every Ramadan, I get so excited and make a bunch of new things for iftar every other day. It was last year in Ramadan that I discovered Jalapeno Popper Sandwiches and a few other (now beloved) dishes. But this year I haven’t experimented in the kitchen too much. The first half was quite busy, but I’m hoping that things slow down now I can get back in the kitchen to experiment.

Usually in Ramadan, my sweet tooth is usually still alive and well but this year that’s not the case. Throughout the day I crave more savoury dishes, and less sweet. Which means I’m not baking as much (or at all). Even my brothers’ requests are leaning towards the savoury side of food, rather than the sweet and I’m more than happy to comply! I get my sweet fix with chocolate or ice cream treats at the end of the night, if I’m not too stuffed already.

As a self-proclaimed foodie who is obsessed with Pinterest, it’s so hard not to think about food all day! There’s so many new dishes I’m planning on trying soon :)

I’ve been trying to get back into reading again, since I wasn’t really reading anything I loved for the past few months. I’ve been speeding through a whole bunch of books lately, some which I loved, and some not so much. Some of my recent reads are: The Royal We (started good, but started to drag), P,S- I Still Love You (not as cute as the first book, but still super cute), The Royal Wedding (Mia+Michael= <3 FOREVER), The Girl on the Train (gripping), and The Pocket Wife (meh). I recently began Longbourn, which I bought 2 years ago when it first came ago but only got around to reading now, but it reminded me so much of Pride and Prejudice that I just started reading it instead. Nothing beats the classic! My mom read it before me and told me it was rather slow, so let’s see if I manage to get back into it.

I’ve also been busy revamping my other website so I spent the better part of 2 days changing the theme and working out all the kinks (it’s a work in progress). It was due for a major overhaul but I kept putting it off. I haven’t been blogging there as much as I should, but I’m hoping that the new and updated look will help me get back into the swing of things. It’s been more than a year than I started it, and it’s grown quite a bit (alhamdulilah), but I’m hoping to take it to higher levels, inshAllah.

Other than that, I’m looking forward to the rest of Ramadan and Eid, of course, which will coincide with the end of July. How was June for you? Do you have any exciting plans for July?

And sorry for the lack of recipes lately! I hope to share some new stuff with you soon :)

Thanks for reading,

Ikhlas

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Introducing Sweet Story

Sweet Story Desserts

Hello friends!

So I’ve got something really exciting to share with you all today. I would like to introduce you to my little home bakery: Sweet Story!

As many of you on here know, I love baking, and naturally opening my own bakery has been on my mind for quite some time. Sweet Story was officially born a few months ago, when I finally thought of the name late one night, almost half asleep, but it took a few months to get it going.

So why Sweet Story? Given the fact that I love books and stories, I wanted to somehow incorporate that into the name. Plus, we all have our own stories. All of our lives are stories, with beginnings, middles, and ends. Sometimes are stories intersect with one another, and we’re able to share them with those around us. And what makes those stories sweeter? Dessert!

Food, especially dessert, always tastes better when you enjoy with the people around you, especially those you care about. So I wanted to somehow incorporate all that into the name, because through my treats, I hope to make your stories all a little sweeter.

A lot of the menu consists of things you’ve seen on here. There’s a selection of brownies and bars, cookies, cupcakes, and cakes.

I don’t have a website yet (working on it!), but I do have a Facebook page. Everything is made at home, by me, using fresh, quality halal ingredients.

I know there’s lots of cupcake and cake bakeries around, especially in the GTA, but I hope to differentiate myself from them. All my treats have a home made taste and look, reminiscent of the the cookies your mom made you after school or the bars you’d get at the school bake sale. Simple, sweet treats that are all about the flavour, and are all made with love.

So if you live in the area and want to support me, do check out my page! And if you want to order, shoot me a message there or at my new email (sweetstorydesserts@gmail.com). I hope to see some of you there :)

Thanks for reading,

Ikhlas

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