Dear Summer, Where Did You Go?

Hello friends!

I can’t believe it’s almost the end of August already! Every summer, I usually count down excitedly to August because of my birthday, but once the first of August passes by, the rest of August is usually a countdown to back to school. But even though I’m not going back to school this year, my brothers are, and so it still feels like a countdown to enjoy time with them before they both get busy with school again.

This year it also feels like a countdown to Fall. It’s gotten drastically colder here in the GTA this past week and it definitely feels like summer is quickly coming to an end! Gone are the days when it’s 20+ degrees at 9 in the morning. Now it’s barely 15, if anything, and then the temperature slowly rises in the day, only to plummet back again by evening. It’s such a drastic change this year that it’s making me dread the impending winter already!

This week I got the best surprise ever: my best friend, who now lives in NYC, whom I haven’t seen since April when I went to visit her, flew in on Tuesday! I knew she was waiting for some documents before she could come, so I wasn’t expecting her. I was hanging out with my cousin and nephew when she called me and asked me to come open my front door. I don’t think I’ve ever screamed louder!

And even though summer technically is coming to an end, I can’t wait to spend time with her and do all the things I’ve wanted to do all summer, but have had no one to do them with! On my long list: the drive-in (I’ve never been!) and a chocolate lounge near lakeshore. Can’t wait!

I haven’t really been reading anything new these days; I got a gift card from work and bought 2 new books, but they’re still sitting in the Chapters bag by my bed. Currently, I’ve been rereading Harry Potter and am currently on book 5, Order of the Phoenix! I know this doesn’t count as much coming from a longtime fan as me, but they are STILL so good! It’s been a few years since I’ve done a whole series reread; I used to do it once every year but since discovering Goodreads a few years ago, I haven’t had a chance since I’m always trying to keep up with my yearly goal. But I’ve kind of (temporarily) abandoned it in favour of rereading my favourite books and I have to say, I’m highly enjoying it. People often ask my how I can reread books when I already know what’s going to happen, but there are lots of reasons! You can read more about them here.

I was supposed to begin writing my fourth book this summer, but alas, that still hasn’t happened! I haven’t really written much this summer, unfortunately. I have written some poetry lately, and so I try to write in whatever form I can, just to keep practising. I’m still sending queries out for my third novel in hopes that someone somewhere out there likes it (inshAllah!) so keep your fingers crossed!

In some ways, this feels like the summer of incomplete projects (writing and baking projects), but alhamdulilah, it’s been a summer of even more exciting things. Usually, with the end of summer there’s a feeling of melancholy in the air, but for the first time, I’m more excited about the months to come and the changes they will bring.

But until then, I plan on enjoying the last few weeks of summer with my family and friends. :)

Hope you’ve all had a good summer!

Thanks for reading,

Ikhas

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Chocolate Chip Sprinkle Blondies

chocolate chip sprinkle blondies

It’s been more than a week since Eid, but I still haven’t caught up with all my work yet. Whenever Eid happens in the week, it takes about a week for the excitement to finish, because there’s just so many family parties and gatherings going on that seem to last forever!

I became super lazy this Ramadan, and my bout of laziness has yet to leave me. I know I have so much to do, but after a day at work, I want nothing to do than lie on the couch and watch movies, which I usually don’t even get around to, and instead just spend the hours on Pinterest (must…get…off…Pinterest -_-).

chocolate chip sprinkle blondies

My Summer Food Bucket List plan has also gone out the window, especially since I seem to be getting a lot more shifts at work and don’t really feel like experimenting in the kitchen. On Eid though, I decided to deviate from my traditional Eid fare (inside out chocolate chip cookies, find the recipe below!) and make these blondies. (How’s that for experimenting? lol)

Have I mentioned before how much I love bars/squares? If not, let me tell you now: as much as I love cookies, I absolutely love the no-fuss part of making bars. Throw all the ingredients in a bowl, mix, and then toss in a pan. No chilling, no scooping, and very little clean up! How can you go wrong?

chocolate chip sprinkle blondies

The longest part of the whole process is baking, and that doesn’t take too long either. These Chocolate Chip Sprinkle Blondies come together in under 30 minutes, and with lots of sprinkles, are perfect for birthdays, other festive occasions, or just everyday! Have a look! :)

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Friday Things

Hello friends!

So it feels like it’s been awhile since I’ve done a Friday Things post so I figured it’s time to catch up with you all :)

It was Eid this past Monday, and so I’m still recovering from all the excitement and joy that comes from the holiday. Every year, it takes me a few days to get used to Ramadan being over and this year is no exception.

It’s always a physical and a spiritual adjustment. Physical because your stomach naturally shrinks and it’s weird to eat in the daytime again. Everytime I get hungry in the day now, I have to remind myself that I can eat. How weird! It’s a spiritual adjustment because there are so many blessings in Ramadan and as soon as Eid is over, the days feel so different. I have no way of explaining or describing it, but no matter how excited I get every year that it’s almost Eid, once Eid passes I find myself feeling sad that it’s over.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get much work done this Ramadan and so find myself behind on a lot of my personal projects. I was supposed to begin working on my fourth manuscript this summer, but something huge happened right before Ramadan that made me super distracted and excited so that I still haven’t started it yet. Now that Ramadan finished a few days ago, I still find myself distracted and unable to focus. I barely kept up with blogging here and really had to push myself for my other blog as well!

I had also planned to bake a lot more, to explore a lot of the deserts that I’ve been itching to make for years but never have, but also never got around to those. I’d like to think that I’ll start getting to them again soon, but my mom has other plans for me. She’s on a mission to teach me Pakistani cooking this summer! While I love to cook, I’m not a big fan of Pakistani cuisine (except a few notable dishes), so I’ve never really taken much of an interest in learning to cook it. But my mom wants me to learn the staple dishes and so I have a feeling I know what the rest of my summer is going to look like…

I also happen to turn a quarter of a century today. I’ve been having my quarter-life crisis for a few years now, so this year doesn’t really feel too much different. But 30 seems a lot closer now than it did when I was 21, which is when my quarter life crisis began lol.

When I was a kid, turning 25 seemed so glamorous. I still remember turning 15 and thinking to myself where I would be in 10 years, thinking that I would be so much more accomplished and put together, thinking I would have it all figured out. And while a (large) part of keeps thinking about all the things I still haven’t accomplished yet, I still try to remind myself of all the ways I’ve changed in the past 10 years, and even in the past 5 years.

I definitely don’t have it all figured out but I feel like I’m a lot closer. I’ve realised that I don’t need to follow society’s expectations of being a woman or following a traditional career path. I’ve realised that I’d rather work my hardest over the things I love and that make me happy than on things that other people think I should do. I’ve realised that all I can do is try my hardest; things won’t always work out or happen the way and when I want them to do. But all I can do is try.

Ever since finishing school at the end of May, I felt like I had the whole summer stretching out until September. But September, which has always signified the beginning of a new routine for me, always feels a lot closer on my birthday. As someone who’s always been forward looking, it’s always been difficult for me to live in the moment and enjoy the present. I’m usually always regretting the past or thinking wistfully about the future. But this year I plan on changing that, inshAllah.

Today, I plan on being thankful for all the things I have right now and who I am. I don’t want to drown myself in the good memories of the past and thinking about how things used to be. I don’t want to lose myself in thoughts about all the things I have yet to accomplish in the future and all the things I want to be. I just want to be.

Sorry if this got overly cheesy/sentimental! I’m currently listening to Ed Sheeran’s new album (which I LOVE) and it’s very wistful and romantic.

Anyways, a belated Eid Mubarak to all of you who celebrated! For those of you who didn’t, a happy August to you all. Hope you’re enjoying the summer! :)

As always, thanks for reading,

Ikhlas

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Recipe: Brownie Chocolate Chip Cookies and Eid Eats

brownie chocolate chip cookies

Hello friends!

Today I’m participating in an online Eid party, hosted by the lovely Sarah at Flour and Spice and Asiya at Chocolate and Chillies. Several weeks ago Sarah emailed me to ask if I would like to join in the virtual Eid party she was hosting online, and I said yes right away!

Ever since I joined the blogging world, I have seen so many Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Valentine’s Day, etc. virtual parties, but nothing about Ramadan or Eid in the blogging world. So when I got the email from Sarah about her Eid Eats party, I was pretty stoked!

final-eid-eats

Growing up, Eid ul-Fitr was my favourite day of the whole year. Even more than my birthday (not a fan of being the centre of attention -_-), I loved the feeling of Eid and the excitement in the last few days of Ramadan that led up to it.

When I was a kid, my mom had this tradition that she would do every Eid and it makes me so nostalgic just thinking about it. Every Eid, my mom would go shopping for us, and buy us little bits and bobs like chocolate, board games, clothes, gift cards, etc. The night before Eid, she would wrap them up and put the gift bag at the foot of our bed. I have so many wonderful memories waking up at the crack of dawn, excitedly, to see the gift bag at the foot of my bed, and running to my brothers’ rooms to see what they got.

brownie chocolate chip cookies

And even though it’s been several years since my mom’s done this for my brothers and I, I still get that same sense of excitement waking up the morning of Eid, even though there are no presents at the foot of my bed. :P Now it’s more about the feeling of blessings and reward that comes from fasting all month long and celebrating all that you have accomplished all month.

Every year, my mom makes these certain cookies that are only made on Eid. That’s her tradition. My tradition is to make reverse chocolate chip cookies, or it has been for the past few years, and I love the fact that it’s become an Eid tradition for me.

brownie chocolate chip cookies

I made these cookies about a month ago now but the memory of them still makes my mouth water (especially since i’m fasting!). I’ve made reverse inside-out chocolate chip cookies before, but the chocolate flavour on these cookies is quite extreme. They’re so rich they taste like brownies- in cookie form!

These cookies take a bit of time to prepare, especially because of the chilling of the dough, but it’s so worth it! They’re perfect for a special occasion, like Eid! Have a look! (more…)

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Dreamer, not Doer

There is a problem, you see
With having too many dreams

The sky is alight with birds and planes
But you are down below, with too many thoughts in your brain

They are boulders in your pockets, birds in your head
They weigh you down, and never let you get ahead

One was enough, two is more than many
But three or four or more become too heavy

You spend your days asking yourself
Where should I begin, and doing nothing else

Your to-do lists have to-do lists
They begin, but cease to finish

You begin one, and then another
For you are a dreamer, not a doer

There is a problem, you see
With having too many dreams

They buzz and crowd around your eyes
Blinding the road ahead, like wasps and flies

So all you see are fanciful, whimsical what-ifs
As the world passes you by, ever so quick

You could turn those wishes true
If you choose not to dream, but do

But the fear holds those wishes
Holds them until they diminish

Until those lofty birds turn into tiny fireflies
As their light flickers and dies

And you find that life was not an adventure
Because you were a dreamer, and not a doer

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