Friday, February 29, 2008

Mosque Goer Noses Might Need Stronger Stuff!

Today was officially the first try out of my green recipes, for the 51st street mosque.
The result...ummm a failure, well not really. Alright, just read on!

For the past weeks the mosque has been using a carpet scent that I made. They haven't been too ecstatic about the not too strong scent, in comparison with the chemical stuff...well da!
Sorry ( here's me trying to be nicer and more understanding: "Nermine"( As my thinking more reasonable brain calls me) "they're used to the strong chemical scents, give them a chance, you needed some time to adjust when you first stopped using the scented laundry fabric softener a couple of years ago".. Angry me: "well, alright if you put it that way ( meaning super smart and witty) I'll be more patient..grrr")

So today I gave the people that are in charge of cleaning the mosque these home made products:
Scented vinegar rinse spray
Scented Baking soda shaker
Air freshener spray for the toilet, along with a note explaining how to make each and every recipe and how to clean with it.
I arrived today a little before everyone at the Friday Khutba ( sermon). My nose at once started burning from the smell of the chemical stuff mixed with a faint residue of some vinegar scent.
Hmm.... I walked in and saw the person in charge of cleaning, spraying away with the chemical stuff.
I felt a bit frustrated. After all the effort I put into explaining the hazards and making the products! I guess the main reason was my ego( whats not to like? then I remembered my conversation with my self earlier).

What happened was the cleaning person decided the smell was too vinegary and wanted to cover the smell up by using the "good old strong stuff".

I am sharing this experience with you guys so we can all learn from it( specially those of you who are trying to switch their mosques).
What I'll try to do next time is:

1.Post on the mosque wall (in large print) a list of all the hazardous effects from cleaning with this stuff. ( people forget and won't believe it unless they see it with their own eyes. Also a reliable source helps!)
2. Modify my recipes by using stronger scents for mosque goer noses.
3. have more patience.
4. stop talking to myself publicly.

Make du'a:)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Not Chatty

I was about to write a list of never ending Hazardous ingredients found store bought unnatural cleaners and their effects, But then I came across this web site and saved my self hours of typing.
Today I'm not in a very chatty mood so I'm leaving you with the top link, also this link for a halal organic meat Business here in Chicago IL called Taqwa Eco-Food, and last but not least a smile.

Have a good day.

Monday, February 25, 2008

So long..Farewell

The month of February is about to bid us farewell. This year February felt like the longest month of the year. How is it the shortest month on the calendar? Remind me please. Well I guess time is relative after all. Its a creation like the rest of us. So this year February decided to be long and cccc..cold.
I have to admit it. It was a challenging month for me.

So in honor of this month I am dedicating this post to February. Thank you February for everything that you are.

Here's a list of things that I am grateful for this month:* The many sunless days reminding us to appreciate sunlight.
* The Sunny days that come after those gloomy days.
* Walks to the park with the sun blinding my eyes, and my baby digging her face in my back trying to hide from the sun( I carry her on my back these days, she's getting heavy masha Allah).
*Stepping on hollow ice and breaking it into tiny little pieces like broken glass.
*Baking something hot for the cold.
*The smell of this baked something filling the air.
*Hot chocolate.
*Little peanuts ducky feet fleece slippers.( Thank you Grand ma).
*Little peanuts golden streaks glowing in the sunlight gracing us through the window.
* Snow on the trees.
* Mountains of yucky slushy scarped snow.
* Cruising along lake shore drive.
*Icicles on rooftops, and on the outside of our living room windows.
*Bare trees. Frozen lakes. The sound of branches against our glass windows.
The sound of flying geese passing by, and of course Squirrels ( I love them every month of the year):)
*My favorite one is My baby's waking up sounds" tsss..tsss..laughter, more tsss..tsss... and finally bye ya baba" (bye dad in Arabic).

( This post is inspired by a fellow blogger)

It's a good reminder for us all. Be Grateful for your blessings. Alhamdulilah for February:)

What are you Grateful for this month? Feel free to share.

(Btw, Some of the pics are from last years February in Wisconsin, My first love)


Friday, February 22, 2008

Historic Friends

I was hanging out with two of my girlfriends and our little ones tonight. What fun. A nice treat to hang out and catch up. One of them is a relatively new mom and a PhD student, so you can only imagine how often I see her( not much). Anywho, it was getting late so she decided to put her little peanut (who, by the way, is sooo adorable) into her pj's. She had these super cute fleece pj's with little yellow chicks, and a big fat hole in the material.
"What happened?" Was my natural inquiry.
She had no idea, she said she just found it that way one day. I carefully studied the hole, and it hit me. "Could it be from a mouse?"
Her eyes lit with realization and disgust. "Yes, we actually do have a mouse in our apartment." She mentioned how she hears its scurrying at night.
Here's the thing: I know I'm supposed to be nature loving, and appreciate all forms of life. But ask my husband what I do when I see an insect crawling in the house. Now imagine a mouse! My theory is: appreciate them, but from far far...far away.
I live in an historic building, found in an historic neighborhood, located in an historic city (as historic as an American city can get, I suppose). Great, but with all these historic elements comes our good ol' historic rodent friends, who find ways in these historic pipes and walls to pop up and leave their remains behind. "Yuck." Not a very hygienic thing for a 14 month old to play with. I don't think she can appreciate history yet, and hopefully not in this form.
I woke up my husband last summer with a glass breaking shriek. The reason: I met our historic friend. EWWWW.

I shared the recipe I'm about to post with my friend after it worked with me last summer. I found it in one of the books I posted earlier.

Mouse repellent recipe:

What you'll need:
Fresh mint leaves.
Your vinegar rinse scented with mint essential oil.

We all learned from movies (unfortunately) that vampires resent the smell of garlic, well mint is our rodent friends garlic. They hate it. Just leave some mint leaves around areas with a vent or a hole. (My mouse came from the stove wall opening, so I left the leaves on and around the stove) and spray the vinegar mint rinse in the same places. Your friend shouldn't come again. If he does you can always buy one of those mouse traps (the one that only traps the mouse and doesn't kill it). Make sure to set the trap on a high surface, away from those cute little hands.
Enjoy your historic, toxin free, mouse free house.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Do Schools Kill Creativity?

Here's what I have for you today. I came across this amazing talk by Sir Ken Robinson, about education titled "Do Schools kill Creativity?". Have we turned against our nature even in educating our youngsters?
Feel free to post your thoughts regarding this talk.

For those of you wondering about Project Green Clean Mosque updates. I'll be posting some photos and comments from the congregation soon inshaAllah.
Meanwhile I'll be working some more on the blogs final look, and posting some thoughts, and interesting things I come across as I go by.
Don't forget to update me on your Mosques.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Assignement

Today's been a long day. I was almost discouraged from writing todays post, but I made a vow, and if I slack once, well it wouldn't be good for my "nafs" ( inferior self) I know I would just keep making excuses. So today's post is more of a challenge and self discipline for me than anything else. This doesn't mean that I won't give all you lovely people something to do.
Here's a little assignment for you guys, We can do the self disciplining together...WHAAHAAA.. Evil huh!
You'll thank me later hopefully ( right now I'm displaying a puppy face with a whimpering sound, you can't resist that face, can you?)

OK don't worry its not a difficult assignment, nothing you guys can't handle. All you have to do is listen to this awesome talk by Imam Zaid Shakir. I was listening to this talk called Redefining Muslim Families in the Modern Times about a week ago on my i pod during one of my many sleepless nights.
I realized how this talk gives a great history of the breakdown of the traditional family. How the introduction of industry, mass production, materialism threw us out of sync with the natural order of things. The problems that came with industrialization brought about specific trades, and the need for modern unnatural education and schools. Instead of having wholesome education we had to go to modern schools learn how to work in factories, and specify in one field of study.
The talk goes on and branches out, but I think even if its unintended for this blogs main topic. It hits home with many problems of our unsustainable lifestyle. It gives prospective to the bigger picture.

The Assignment:

Find one point in the talk and discuss it in a greener manner. I'll be checking on your comments. There's no deadline. There's just a girl behind a screen waiting for some feedback.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Poll far!

Salaam readers, Alhamdulilah I'm all refreshed and ready to rumble:)

10 People took the poll so far, its not a big number, but neither is my audience. I am pleased people are responding though. I also hope more Muslims get involved soon inshaAllah.
So what I'm doing now is breaking down the votes, and For new voters, just read this post to know what you need to do according to your category.

Yes voters:
Should have everything down, so all they need to do now is follow the recipes and update me on their green clean mosques.

Maybe voters:
Need to learn more, please post your questions on the comment section or email me and I'll be more than pleased to answer your questions.

No voters:
I understand some mosques have politics that are tricky to penetrate. Here's what you can do. Post the green recipes on the wall, and maybe someone will pick them up. Middle eastern Mosques are even trickier coz they're watched by the government and it could cause the person involved problems. My suggestion: Abort mission! Just follow the recipes yourself and pass it along to friends and family.

Here's another project I support, find the time to look at it, you wont be disappointed. You can also visit it's website if you click on the Ad on the side bar.

On a totally irrelevant topic, here's a photo from this weekends family outings. The Photo shows a paintings below zero exhibit at the millennium park. The artist(Gordan Halloran) uses portable refrigerators with vertical metal plates covered in painted ice. Its totally out of this world. Chicago residents should check it out. The exhibit lasts till February 29th.
You can click on both images to view the full size and more details.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Time off

Hey people.
For those of you checking this blog on daily basis. I'll be out for the coming few days. I have family visiting, and we'll be busy doing fun stuff:P
This is a good chance for you people to get cracking on Project Green Clean Mosque. For those of you who still didn't take the poll, what are you waiting for?
Check on me again Monday night.
Over and out.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Project Green Clean Mosque Recipes

Here are the three main recipes you'll need to know to start your Green Clean Mosque Project:

1. Carpet Deodorizer:

Ingredients: Baking Soda, essential oil (I like to use lemon scent), a plastic shaker, and a vacuum cleaner or a good old-fashioned carpet sweeper.

Fill half a shaker with baking soda, add 15 drops of an essential oil, fill it to the top with some more baking soda, mix it up and you're ready to go.

Sprinkle the scented baking soda on any area of the carpet that needs deodorizing( sprinkle very lightly, and make sure the rug is completely dry before sprinkling. You don't want a paste on your carpet. I did that before, and boy did it take me a long time to get the paste off!).
Let sit for a couple of hours or overnight. Then vacuum clean. Finish up with scented Vinegar rinse( it'll take care of any powder residue). Then put some old towels down and stomp on them to soak it up. The carpet will smell fresh and clean.

2. Scented Vinegar Rinse:

Ingredients: White Vinegar. Water( if you have hard water use distilled water). An essential oil( Lemon, mint or lavender are good choices). hard plastic 30 oz spray bottle( I like to use the kind with the recycled plastic, its more durable), and a funnel.

Fill half of the spray bottle with water, the other half with vinegar, then add 30 drops of essential oil( add more if it smells too vinegary) shake well and you're all set.

This rinse is an all purpose cleaner, it can work as a rinse after you use soap or baking soda, or it can work alone to clean any surface( tiles, mirrors, floors, walls, toilet bowl, carpets..etc). I sometimes add a drop of tea tree oil to the vinegar rinse for its disinfecting qualities.

3. Soapy all purpose cleaner:

Ingredients: 2 tablespoons castile soap, or Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds. Water( use distilled if you have hard water). A 30 oz spray bottle( use hard plastic bottles they're more durable). An essential oil of your choice. You don't need to use the oil scent if you're using Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds. It already comes with a pine scent.

Fill spray bottle with water. Add 2 tbsp castile soap. Add 15 drops essential oil( or skip this step if you don't want a scented cleaner. Mix. ( Another all purpose cleaner, use it on floors, bathrooms, kitchen counters, you can even squirt a couple of squirts on hand washing delicates.) finish up with Vinegar rinse to avoid soapy sticky surfaces.
To clean a carpet you'll need to add 2 tbsp to a warm bucket of water, make a lather and spread the lather on the carpet, wipe with a mop, then rinse with vinegar rinse. Dry the carpet with towels.

These recipes are copied from Clean house clean planet by Karen Logan. I use all these homemade products for cleaning and I am very pleased with the results.

You'll need to buy a lot of the ingredients in bulk in the beginning. It can get pricey at first.( don't get discouraged). You'll use so little portions that the ingredients will last you forever. It actually costs less than your store bought products. You can buy only one essentail oil scent at first ( since these are the most expensive). Then work your collection through time. It won't feel too heavy on your pocket that way.
You can use the money used for the store bought products, to buy the natural alternatives. That's what We agreed on in the mosque I go to.

Caution: Never re-use empty bottles from old chemical products. The stuff will react with the ingredients and release toxic fumes.

Ok people Update me as soon as you start.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Project Green Clean Mosque

I've been blog hopping around and came across some interesting green Muslim bloggers.
There are lots of efforts being done Alhamdulilah. It definitely makes me feel better than yesterdays down post.
I think I am officially ready to start my first project for this blog. Please take the poll shown to the side of this post.

The first project idea is Project Clean Green Mosque.

What you'll need to do:
Learn the making of natural non-toxic cleaning products( ridiculously cheap and easy).
Teach them to the person in charge of cleaning your mosque, or volunteer to make them in exchange for the price they would pay for regular toxic store bought products.

Why Join the project:
Many reasons, to name a few.
Cleaner air to smell.
Less trash( you'll re-use the spray bottles you're using by refilling them).
More connection to the earth ( Allah's creation).
A better place to pray. No headache from the chemical smelling carpet when prostrating.
And most importantly you'll ensure you're little one is breathing non-toxic scents.

If you're interested and don't know how to start. Keep reading the blog and I'll be posting "Project Clean Green Mosque" recipes. Also I'll update you on the first mosque that is joining Project Clean Green Mosque. The 51st street Mosque in the south of Chicago IL.
Don't forget the niyya ( intention) for preserving Allah's creation.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

In the shade of a tree

I'm feeling a little bit down these days. All the information about our massive gloomy impact on the environment got to me. I mean thats what these articles and books are supposed to do in order to change people, and they're doing a great job (obviously) .

There's one important thing I forgot though. Most of the material is written by people that aren't necessarily religious or even if they are, look at things differently than how we Muslims do. At the end of the day we rely on Allah. He sustains us, our creator, not the creation. The trees are a means for us to eat, breath clean air, warm ourselves and build shelter. But it's Allah who sustains the tree. Allah is the one we're supposed to observe not the tree. I came to realize that secular environmentalist don't have this important aspect in their picture, so when we take this important element out, we're left with helpless imperfect creatures like ourselves. So then things get a little out of hand and the most valued thing( nature) the thing that provides life for us becomes in a way the god we're working for.

Don't get me wrong, it is our duty as muslims to preserve this planet. All the things the environmentalist are teaching people to do, most people in traditional religious cultures already do, without being radical or rebellious. It's how people lived for hundreds of years until the introduction of mass communication instruments like TV.
It's praised in Islam to conserve.
Make things yourself. It's makruh (disliked) if not haram (forbidden) to waste. Plant trees ( we're told if you witness the end of time and you have a seed in your hand, plant it!) Think about others and do unto others what you like to be done unto to you.. I can go on forever.
Prophet's Mohammad's( peace be upon him) favorite color was green theres a message there to be learned, I don't think it's a mere coincidence.
If theres anyone who should be trying to be "green" and have a lighter footprint on the planet it should be Muslims. If all Muslims observed Islam properly, we wouldn't be known in the west as "the big shoppers".

The point of all what I'm writing is not to diss anyone, I respect all the efforts being made.
I am grateful for those radical environmentalists who are trying so hard to make a change. I am just sad for how we Muslims got so brain washed into switching from sustainability to consumerism. We forgot our duty and our purpose on this earth. We're supposed to be travelers on the path, and this earth is but a shade of a tree. We are not resting and taking refuge in the shade of a tree to continue our journey. We got comfortable, decided to stay and killed the tree!

Here's a good link that summons some of the points mentioned above and more in a scholarly manner:

This is a reminder for myself before anyone else. If anyone got offended from this post please forgive me.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I burnt my pot!

Here's how the story goes:

I decided to feed little miss sunshine some legumes today. I figured since we've been experimenting with eating meat only once a month (better for your health and sunna). I should introduce a different source of protein to our diet, hence the legumes.
I put about a cup of lentils in a stainless steel pot, covered it with water, lit the burner, and went about doing my business. The story is clear now..huh. Exactly..I forgot the pot on the stove, plain and simple. I got distracted reading this blog entry.

So about an hour later the smell fills my nostrils. I run to the kitchen and there it was, my lovely silver pot all black, Smokey and looks irreversibly damaged.
So I did the most common thing anyone could do. I freaked out. Trying to calm me, my husband suggested " using the strong stuff" . We all know what the strong stuff is. Yea the exact stuff I've been preaching against.
By this point I get determined to get the stuff off the natural way. (I was 99% sure it wasn't going to come off).

Here's what I did.

Sprinkle a very thick layer of baking soda on the pot.
Spray it with the all purpose vinegar product you made earlier.
repeat these steps once or twice, depending on how scary the pot looks!
Let it sit for about 4 hours or more.
Scrape the pot with a spoon.
wash it.
And.. Viola:)

I wish I had a before and after picture, I only thought to take the picture when the recipe worked.

Here's a pic after scraping the baking soda off the pot:

Natural products rock! Yay:)

Sunday, February 10, 2008


I'm trying to write an entry a day until my blog fills up a little and looks a bit respectable. For the few people reading my blog at the moment. I'll be changing templates a lot and adding some stuff and editing some stuff. I'm learning as I go by, so bear with me for now. The blog is still relatively under construction.

I got a lot of suggestions about interesting things to add or use in my blog. I'll be adding a poll to have some feedback for what you guys would like to see on my blog. So don't slack, I'll be needing your precious input.
Meanwhile here are some links to ponder on. Try to find the time to read them, they will hopefully make you hop aboard the green train. The last link is very interesting. The world's first green city is getting built in Muslim lands.

Five things that are worse than global warming
The story of stuff
The world's first green city

These are enough for now so you actually read them.

Let me know what you think.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Homemade Yogurt

Last night was a pretty rough night. My little munchkin had a pretty bad cold. She was literally shooting snot from her nose all day like bazookas ( Sorry for the graphic description) As soon as she laid down, all her snot froze making her unable to breath. I tired holding her upright to release her nose, but to no avail. She was up all night crying and breaking my heart. So finally I gave her a pain killer. At around 5 or 6 in the morning we all passed out.

Since I was still recovering from last night, I decided to make vanilla flavored, homemade, goat milk yogurt!
Why? well two reasons; I didn't feel like house work, I can't go out with a snotty baby , and I had a box of goat milk that was about to go bad. ( Ok three reasons)

Apparently Goat milk acquires some sophisticated taste buds, that I still didn't develop, I'm working on it though. . So I figured hide the taste in flavored yogurt. The result hopefully would be not wasting the milk, and a nutritious delicious yogurt for baby, me, and maybe hubby if he fancies some( I never saw him eat yogurt, so we'll see).
BTW Goat milk is easier on the stomach, and better digested than regular cows milk plus its sunna( Prophet Mohammad peace and blessings be on him used to drink goat milk).

Here's a short list of benefits for making your own yogurt:

Its cheaper.
Has no packaging ( Hence no trash produced).
Fresher, more nutritious, you know exactly what's in it.
Its praised in Islam to make things yourself, and not rely on others.
And its a good excuse whenever you don't feel like house work, After all you're making yogurt!!
Oh wait a minute maybe this is considered as house work too, oh well:$

How to make homemade flavored yogurt

What you'll need:

A quart of milk
A store bought yogurt can with live cultures( For a starter)
Vanilla extract and sugar( For flavor)
A food thermometer, a pot, an old well washed glass mayo jar or any big glass jar, a nursing cloth pad( or any small towel), an incubating warm place( A conventional oven, or a warm water half filled water cooler ), and last but not least a long boring day.
For all of you Chicago residents. Tomorrow would be the perfect day, the temperature is supposed to be I dunno negative 1000 or something ridiculous like that. Brrrrrr.

Pour milk in the glass jar, put the jar in the pot and fill the pot with water until it reaches half of the jar. Now place your nursing cloth pad( or towel) under the jar. It helps avoid noisy clinking when the water boils and the jar starts dancing around. If you're one of those people who fancy a jar dance, dance along as you wait for your milk to warm up, why not!

Ok had fun dancing the jar dance, good:) now stick the thermometer in the milk( not the water) it should read 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Take the jar out and let it cool in the fridge for about 40 minutes or less depending on how "cool" your fridge is.. ha ha ha( get it? Yea not my best joke!) then stir in the starter.

Meanwhile start warming up your oven, it shouldn't be hotter than 110 degrees, if its hotter it'll kill your yogurt, and you don't want milk on your hands do you?( No, still not funny? C'mon gimme a break!)

5 hours later check the milk. It should have firmed up by now, if not, leave it longer. Make sure your incubating place stays warm to let the culture work faster.

Place your yogurt in the fridge. Before serving stir in vanilla and maple syrup, or honey, or sugar to taste. For those of you who'll try this out, let me know how it turns out. I'll update you on my goat milk version tomorrow inshaAllah.
Don't worry if your first batch dies. Mine did:( you can always make chocolate milk with the dead yogurt. Name it dead chocolate milk. Appealing huh!

Two days later:
I had some of my goat milk yogurt today for breakfast. It wasn't as firm as I like it to be. I guess the yogurt I used for starter wasn't fresh enough so the cultures weren't very strong. The yogurt was still delicious though. I added maple syrup, vanilla and fresh blueberries,YUMMM...
No trace of the goat milk after taste.

Friday, February 8, 2008

The 51st street Mosque Rules!

One of the exciting things about living in a big city like Chicago is it has a lot to offer including a big number of Muslims from all walks of life.
Living in the south side of Chicago means a lot of African American Muslims, hence local black Imams.
Most mosques tend to have immigrant imams which is good Alhamdulilah, but having a local Imam makes the congregation more interesting and vibrant. Particularly at the 51st street mosque.
The Imam may Allah protect him is a giant pillar holding the mosque, he understands the community's needs and works so hard at addressing them.
Another great thing about this mosque is how loving and accepting everyone is. They have true love for this deen ( religion) and I think pure understanding. The mosque is located in one of the poorer parts of the city. Yet the congregation is one of the best congregations I attended in my short mosque visits in the U.S.
The Friday Khutbas flash images in my head of black church congregations interacting passionately to their priests firey sermons.
This was quick summary of the spirit navigating this mosque.
Why is this relevant to the topics on this blog? Here's the thing, the only thing that bothered me and almost stopped me from going there was how I reacted to the intense chemical carpet and air freshener they used. The smell stuck to everyones clothes. My baby girl coughed and sneezed intensely when she was exposed to these chemicals, and finally I went home with a clogged throat that stung when I tried to swallow.
Most of the people there are very conscientious about their health and diet. The Imam and his wife are Vegan, Raw foodists. So I thought to myself theres noway if they found out how bad this stuff is for them they would continue using it.
All I said was the stuff in these products is very poisonous and they didn't need no proof no nothing.
This friday they used a carpet natural scent that I made for them, and they even suggested that they pay for the products I make instead of buying the chemical stuff from the store. So InshaAllah the mosque is switching to all green cleaning products soon:) Becoming one of the first Eco-friendly mosques at least in the south of Chicago. ( Still working on the soup kitchen trash situation).

Here's my no funky feet carpet freshening recipe':

The biggest hard plastic spray bottle you can get( never re-use in any of my recipes old spray bottles from chemical products. They react and give out toxic fumes)

Your favorite essential oil( I use lemon scent)

Tea tree oil

Soft water or distilled if you have hard water.

Cloth wipe

Fill the bottle with water, add from 30 to 40 drops of lemon oil ( depending on how funky the carpet smells, the smell of feet tend to stick!) add one drop of tea tree oil for it antiseptic quality. Spray away and leave a vent open to air, or wipe with cloth while spraying.
This recipe is intended for stinky big area rugs. For spot cleaning use the all purpose cleaning recipe.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Patience+Baking soda=Success!

I have a confession to make, I'm a slacker. Especially when it comes to stove or oven cleaning.
Back in Egypt I had the cheapest, no let me correct myself, second cheapest (at the time) stove on the market. So to bake anything I had to set the timer to rotate the baking sheet, or pan every 5 to 10 minutes. If I didn't one side would be burnt and the other side would be uncooked, you get the picture right. But you know what that stove came with an amazing top cover. If I had guests over, all I had to do was cover the top of the stove with "wonder cover", and viola. A clean looking stove in a second. Except that one time a friend was so impressed with my cleanliness and checked the stove top. Not so clean after all huh!
Well the point of all this babbling is this, I hate cleaning stoves or ovens, so tonight was about time I cleaned my oven, Yuck.
Why was it time? good question. You know that nice baking smell that fills the apartment after you bake Yum. This smell was replaced by a smell of burning socks or something. Which could only lead to one thing. BINGO!

So here's what I call this recepie, a slackers recepie for success:
P.S: If you have one of those fancy new stoves that come with their own oven cleaners don't bother reading the rest, and you're one lucky person:)
If you don't, then keep reading.

What you'll need:
A box of baking soda
A plastic spray bottle filled with water.
Patience( always a virtue)

Sprinkle the bottom of the oven with baking soda to cover. Spray with water until very damp, and keep moist by spraying every few hours. Here comes the patience ingredient, let set overnight. In the morning simply scoop out the baking soda, all the grime will be loosened, and rinse the oven well. ( baking soda needs a lot of rinsing, its well worth it for it produces no toxic fumes)
This recepie is taken from Better Basics for the home by Annie Berthold.
In my humble opinion a must have book for any green household library, along with Clean house Clean planet by Karen Logan.
Lessons learned:
1. Don't wait to clean you oven until it smells like burnt socks.
2. Patience will never fail you. Ina Allah Ma'a Al sabereen( Allah is with the patient).

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Green Muslims

I received some encouraging emails from friends after advertising my blog. So as it turns out, there are some green Muslims out there! Hurray for all of you Muslims that are understanding the true meaning of our religion, and hurray for anyone whose trying to make a difference. May the force be with you:)
So inshaAllah I'll be linking some stuff and articles about Islam and the environment.

Here's a quick easy recepie for an all purpose cleaner you can use.
What you'll need:
A big spray bottle ( made from recycled plastic, or any hard spray plastic bottle)
White vinegar
Water or distilled water if you have hard water
Any scent you like of an essential oil( I use peppermint, it smells so fresh)
fill half the bottle with water and the other half with vinegar, Depending on how big the bottle is add from 15 to 20 drops of your favorite smelling essential oil. if it still smells so vinegary you can add more. You're now ready to start your non-toxic cleaning.
I use this product for about everything you can think of, from cleaning kitchen counters to spot cleaning carpet spills, I spray it on glass windows, bathroom tiles.. you name it, I also use it as a rinse after washing with soapy water which I'll include the recepie of some other time.
Meanwhile I am working on figuring out how to feed about 50 people every week without producing so much trash. The Imam at the mosque I go to started something like a soup kitchen for the neighborhood, so great ya :) The thing is we use those big tin foil plates and we pack the dinners in Styrofoam boxes plus we include plastic utensils. Ideas anyone?

Cold winters in warm countries

I just heard from a friend of mine that Egypt is going through this extreme weather change, it's raining everyday, the streets are flooded, the government is handing out blankets in the streets, and people just stopped going out at night trying to avoid the cold!
To all you Egyptians out there, hang on.
This makes me think of all the blessings we have here in the U.S., enough warm clothes, central heating, and streets equipped for the extreme weather.

My sister was also mentioning how its so cold in the U.A.E that people are starting to buy heaters( thats if they can find them in stores!) stores don't sell heaters there, they never needed to really!

Here are some tricks I learned by living in Midwestern weather to survive long harsh winters:

LONG UNDERWEAR ( aka fallootta in Arabic).
Long underwear is my winter friend, It's actually allot of peoples winter friend if not best friend in this part of the world.

You just pop 'em in the microwave for 5 minutes and they become your instant warm cuddly pet.

Best winter sleep mate ever! along with your significant other lying next too you:)

Back in Egypt our place would get so cold I just had to bake lots of banana bread to keep the place warm. The result: a toasty warm place and allot of banana bread to eat and share with loved ones. I'll be posting my famous banana bread recipe later inshaAllah.

So here's the thing everyone, our life choices affects all of us, not just ourselves and immediate family, global weather change is happening everywhere, partly because thats the cycle of nature but mainly because of all the yucky stuff we're producing in our soil, water and atmosphere.
At war time we are not supposed to kill a tree or harm an innocent animal let alone innocent people, and thats war time!
Why are we choosing to use toxins that pollute our water, soil and air. Killing millions of species and introducing new unheard of byproducts that are causing the chaos we're living in today.
I was browsing the web looking for some inspiration and I came across Crunchy chicken blog.
She has different challenges on her blog, the one that really caught my attention is intentionally freezing herself, and she's not alone there are lots of people out there that are doing the same. Why the madness?well to preserve energy.
The deal is she's intentionally lowering her thermostat through winter to preserve energy. How does she manage, well check out this challenge: