Monday, March 31, 2008

Long time no posts!

Salaam everyone,

I know I've been gone for a while, but I have my reasons and I'll discuss them later when I'm ready. Right now I have a new post for you and hopefully I wont disappear longer than a couple of days inshaAllah.

Updates on the mosque: Right now they are using the green carpet deodorizer I make, I refill it for them when needed, but thats about it for now. I learned to be more patient and take it slowly, things don't change over night, so like my cleaning recipes I just need some patience.

Other than the Mosque situation I did make a yummy sweet potatoes soup from a cook book I had for ages. So I am sharing the recipe with you.

1 medium onion cut coarsely
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 medium sweet potatoes cut coarsely
2 medium potatoes cut coarsely
2 cups water
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup white grape juice, or apple juice ( the recipe calls for dry white wine) so for all of you non Muslims reading this you can use the original ingredient.
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup cream.
fresh rosemary leaves

Heat a medium sauce pan add butter, onions, garlic and stir until onions are soft. Add potatoes sweet potatoes with the white grape juice, let cook for 2 minutes, then add broth water and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
blend the vegetables in a blender or a hand blender then return to pot, reheat with rosemary leaves and cream.
The recipe can be altered for sensitive people. You can skip the garlic and the cream if desired.

Let me know what you think if you try it.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

A cocktail is in our drinking water

The following information was fwd to me earlier today, it's quite scary.

Drugs in Water: A cocktail is in our drinking water 13 March 2008
A cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs – including antibiotics, anti-convulsants and mood stabilizers – is in the public water supply in the USA and the UK. Up to 100 different drugs have been detected in our water supply, and in reservoirs, lakes and rivers.

While the amounts are very low, scientists are worried that they may still
have a detrimental effect. "These are chemicals that are designed to have very specific effects at very low concentrations. That's what pharmaceuticals do. So when they get out to the environment, it should not be a shock to people that they have effects," says zoologist John Sumpter at Brunel University in London.

The drugs are getting into the water supply from human waste and from people who are throwing away the drugs unused. Anabolic steroids, which are put into cattle to pump them up, are also getting into our drinking water.

Scientists are concerned that the drugs could be made more toxic by the
chlorine that is increasingly being introduced into the public water supply.

A new report in America has discovered that at least 41 million homes
throughout the States are regularly drinking water that is laced with a vast cocktail of drugs. The water supply in 24 metropolitan areas, including Southern California, Northern New Jersey, Detroit and Louisville, has been contaminated.

None of the existing filtration plants has been designed to eliminate drugs, and the same may also go for the standard home filter systems. Reverse osmosis is the only technology that can remove traces of pharmaceuticals, but it is too expensive for water companies to install for large-scale filtration.

(Source: Associated Press, March 9, 2008).

Saturday, March 8, 2008

A little thank you goes a long way

Today is international women's day, so in honor of this day I am dedicating this post to all you women out there, specially to all the women in my life. I love you girls. Hey men is there a day for you too?

I was thinking about something today. I was thinking about appreciation.
We tend to appreciate and thank people we never shared a roof with for more than a couple of days (maybe). But when it comes to our immediate family or our spouses, the appreciation goes down a notch, well maybe a couple of notches!( I am not saying everyone does that) but its definitely a human thing. We tend to forget the person closest to us the most. It's easy to be nice and make a good impression on someone we see a couple of hours a day, but when it comes to people we live with well it can be an annoyance.
How about we thank our spouse when he takes the trash out even when he forgets to take it out and the house stinks of trash for a couple of days. Maybe if we thank "the spouse" often enough he'll make an effort to remember to take it out next time as soon as he's asked. How about we thank our mother for preparing that not so tasty meal even though we didn't like it, even though it was emptied from a can, she still made an effort.
How about we thank our wife for keeping the house nice and clean, keeping a hot meal on the table, even if it was a couple of hours late.
And how about we thank our father for being over protective coz he cares, for giving you a hard time about your grades, he's loving you in his own way.
A little thank you goes along way, Lets say thank you whenever we can, it's always nice to hear, even if there's no need for it at all.
Thank you guys for listening.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Green Madrassas

I came across this very interesting article about green madrassas in Indonesia. I know Green Madrassa doesn't sound right when it hits the ears right? (Or in this case eyes!).
Thanks to the western media Madrassas are immediately associated with Muslim terrorists graduating from these evil madrassas.
A madrassa actually translates to school from the Arabic language. Hopefully it doesn't sound that scary when we understand what the word means. Madrassas are usually normal schools, the only thing is, in Muslim lands kids learn The Holy Quran and Arabic language in their Madrassas. Something I aspire to have my little girl learn at the right age inshaAllah.

So whats the deal with Indonesia's green madrassa. Here's a summary of the article.
The article is titled environment: Indonesia’s green madrassas. By Dr. Saleem H Ali.

The article opens with this paragraph: "In a remote part of Central Java, Indonesia’s most populous island, there is a rather unusual form of environmentalism taking root. Shadowed by the great Merapi volcano and surrounded by fertile fields of rice and sugarcane, a small school is graduating environmentalists whose commitment to the earth is not based on Western conservation texts but rather predicated in values derived from Islam. The head of the school, Nasruddin Anshari, frequently uses the refrain “one earth, for all”, just as much as he does the usual Islamic invocation of Allah-u Akbar (God is Great).

Children in this madrassa are learning to make the connection that preserving their environment is a vital part of observing their religion. The article also mentions numerous efforts Including a UN workshop on peace education in an Islamic context held also in Indonesia "Scholars from numerous Muslim countries gathered to consider various dimensions of peace education and to develop lesson plans for implementation in Islamic schools".

In Birmingham, UK. The Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Science, is developing numerous programmes for religious institutions in Muslim countries.
Even Iran is taking steps, in 2004 former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami stated during his tenure that “pollution poses an even greater threat than war and suggested that the fight to preserve the environment might be the most positive issue for bringing the Gulf neighbours together”.

Speaking of gulf countries "Abu Dhabi has committed itself to establish the world’s first carbon neutral city of 40,000 residents by 2012. Masdar city (which means the source in Arabic) will have at its core an educational institution and numerous environmental technology firms to support a sustainable economy."

Nevertheless Dr Saleem H Ali mentions in the article some challenges he faced when he was asked to develop ideas on how to use environmental issues within an Islamic context as an instrumental means of peace-building. You can check out the whole article, his challenges and how he plans to solve them here

On a lighter note, here's what we had for breakfast this morning

I got the baked Donut recipe from here. It were a great success:)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Crafting 101

I realized I like self taught stuff. When I was pregnant with my baby. I ordered the self taught hypno-babies program. I didn't think I'd commit, but to my surprise I did, it worked and I had my lovely drug free, pain free baby. (Btw highly recommended to any mommy to be reading this blog).
My second try at the self taught stuff is an embroidery kit that I ordered from here. I sent My husband to the children's museum with our tiny little one, so I could decipher this great mystery.
Turns out, it doesn't need deciphering!
Embroidering as it turns out is one of the simplest crafting hobbies one can ever embark on.
If you know how to use a needle and a thread, you'll know how to master this elegant skill.
So here's a picture of my first project.

I also bought one of those little girls or boys (what they're allowed!) sewing machines to try my luck. Will let you guys know how it turns out.
Who knows maybe one of these days I'll be able to dress pumpkin in stylish hand made dresses decorated with some fancy embroidery. InshaAllah:)