Category Archives: Gastronomy

The art of good halal eating

A&U Cook | Br{EGG}fast Square

Happy Saturday!

Puff pasty egg breakfastI love the weekends–who doesn’t? But I especially enjoy the quality time with my husband.  On Friday’s we usually have date nights, on Saturday mornings we have brunch where the husband makes his delicious spicy omelet, and on Sunday’s I usually wipe up something yummy for us to eat.  A few Sunday’s ago for brunch I wanted to make something special with puff pastry sheet that I had sitting in the freezer– it was the same day I made these yummy chocolate banana muffins.  I usually use puff pastry sheet to make samosas/meat filled pastry during Ramadan and not much else. So I started looking up recipes and then went straight to the Pepperidge Farm site to see what ideas they had and came across this recipe. I’m also thinking of trying a few other versions of this recipe for example this, and this.

puff pastry sheetI changed up a few things, by adding habanero cheese I found at the local Farmer’s Market, made it a veggie version by adding tomatoes instead of the meat, and desified it (aka spiced it up) by sprinkling some chaat masala on top.  Overall, the flavors meshed really well together, and definitely made it a fancy brunch idea that requires little effort, is filling and healthy.

pastry tomatoe habanero cheeseAs you can see I baked the pastry for about 10 minutes, made an indentation with a spoon in the middle of the pastry, then added my cheese, a few slices of tomatoes, and added the egg right in the middle.  This will seem messy at first as the egg might spill over but don’t worry! Gently place the baking sheet in the oven and let it bake for a few more minutes until the egg’s set.

Breakfast egg square tartBaked egg tarthealthy spicy baked egg recipeBon appetite! Do let me know if you try this out.  What are some of your favorite brunch recipes?

Umair’s Sweetheart,
Ayesha

A&U Cook | Chocolate Banana Muffins

Hi all!

chocolate banana muffinI made these delicious muffins a few Sunday’s ago for brunch at home with my husband.  I missed cooking up new recipes the past few months since I had fractured my arm and was unable to do any chores or cooking.  I thoroughly enjoyed making these chocolate banana muffins since they are a version of banana bread–which I have made several times at home.

banana bread muffinThis recipe was easy to make since most of the items I had on hand–ripe bananas, chocolate chips, walnuts/pecans and flour.  I used the recipe found on Taste of Home, though changed up a few things such as using honey instead of sugar (we hardly buy sugar) in the same quantity as the recipe states, and 2 tablespoon of baking powder instead of baking soda.

breakfast muffinsThese chocolate banana muffins came out soft and just the perfect consistency for a muffin. The husband wanted to eat them all in one sitting, but I tempted him with the other brunch items I cooked up that day.  I’m always happy to find recipes that work and come out as stated because then I can share them with everyone and save them as my favorites to use in the future.

Chocolate banana muffinsThe recipe said it would yield 2 dozen muffins, however I used my cupcake pan that holds 1 dozen at a time, and I wanted my muffins to rise completely so I used all the batter in the cupcake pan filling up each cup about 3/4 full.  It made 12 perfectly delicious muffins for the husband and I to enjoy.  Remember to let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes before placing them on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes and bon appetite!

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What are some of your favorite breakfast or muffin recipes?

Umair’s Sweetheart,
Ayesha

A&U Cook | Bread Pudding Pancakes

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Happy Saturday everyone!

bread pudding pancakes

After trying yummy bread pudding pancakes at Meli Cafe for my birthday brunch, the husband and I were craving bread pudding pancakes a few day’s ago. While it would have been quite easy to stroll on over to Meli and order up a stack I decided to look up a recipe and try my hand at it.

I used this recipe, which had great reviews, however I halved the recipe to have enough just for two. A few other modifications, I used my own batter mix (I believe any will work), I added a ripe banana as a substitute for egg (you can’t taste the banana), and I added some chocolate chips to my last batch of cakes for experimentation which turned out extra delicious.

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Next time you are craving pancakes forgo the traditional chocolate chip/blueberry/etc. and try bread pudding pancakes, they are quite easy to make and a yummy brunch idea.

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Thank you for visiting and have a great weekend!

A&U Cook | Best Boxed Chocolate Cake Ever!

Hello everyone!!!

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Hope you all are doing great! Today I want to share with everyone one of the best boxed cakes the husband and I have ever tried. While most bloggers will only share “from scratch” homemade desserts, I feel for the quick dessert fix or just to have the “semi-homemade” feel a boxed cake does the trick.

The husband is a big fan of cake, so we always have a few “boxed” cakes at home which the husband reminds on a weekly basis to make for him. So a few weeks ago I surprised the husband with Duncan Hines Triple Chocolate cake and it was the. best. cake. ever! We really had to resist eating this cake in one sitting.

It was quite easy to make, as are most boxed cakes–so here it goes! First, here is a picture of the box so you can find it at your local grocery store.

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You will need the following:

Water, 3 large eggs, vegetable oil (or substitute apple sauce for less fat), one small mixing bowl, one large mixing bowl, cake/cupcake pan, and measuring spoons.

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First pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F, grease and flour the pan. Then follow the instructions on the back of the box which are in 3 easy steps.

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Stir contents of small pouch to make this fudgy mixture in a small bowl, and set aside.

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Then take the bigger bowl and mix in the rest of the dry ingredients.

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In the bigger bowl, mix in eggs, water, and oil. Mix everything together until it becomes a smooth mixture (you can easily hand mix the mixture).

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Pour the mixture in your desired pan, like so.

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Randomly, spread the fudgy mixture on top.

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Then spread it out, like marbling. But don’t overly spread it.IMG_1090

Put it to bake in your preheated oven. Baking time depends on the pan size you choose- about 30 minutes.

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Take it out, let it cool, put your favorite icing on top, and enjoy! IMG_1106

Believe us this is one of the best boxed chocolate cake, and you will enjoy every bite of it. Literally!

Thank you for visiting and have a great weekend!

Wear it Wednesday | Boyfriend Jeans at Halal Food Festival

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Happy Wednesday everyone!

A foodies heaven at Chicago’s 1st ever Halal Food Festival. Burgers, hot dogs, falooda, gyro’s, sweets, even music, henna booth, and snazzy Islamic clothing.

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As soon as we entered the indoor festival, the aroma, the full-house, the many booths was overwhelming so we took a quick tour to see everything before settling on this yummy Mediterranean lunch from Taza Café.
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Few minutes later we really wanted to try Mr. Broast so the husband quickly grabbed a few zinger burger’s from the booth because they were selling out like hot cakes burgers.IMG_1403IMG_1380
I had to take a picture of Max’s Chicago because they are my favorite for Chicago style hot dog’s. I’ve tried several items from their menu but their halal hot dog made me a hot dog aficionado.
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For dessert we settled for delicious pistachio kulfi for the husband and I from MMM’s Gourmet Ice Cream.
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Now to the main dish, my hijabi outfit of the day. I knew dressing comfortably would be key for this weekend event. I wore my new favorite boyfriend jeans that were perfect for the festival. Not only are they super comfy and non-restricting, but should definitely be a staple in a modest dressing fashionista’s closet. I’d been looking for a perfect pair of boyfriend jeans for several weeks now, and a lot of them were “fashionably” ripped – making them not modest or were not flattering for my body type or weren’t the type of wash I was looking for. Luckily I stopped at Old Navy, I haven’t shopped there for a long time since it’s usually a hit or miss type of store for me, and I found a vintage wash, fashionably-scuffed-up-but-not-ripped pair that fit me how I imagined boyfriend jeans should fit. I also found my “shine bright” statement tee from Old Navy plus a few other hit finds.
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Aside from the food booths, My Halal Kitchen was present with her recipe book, I wanted to take a picture with her but unfortunately she was quite busy when I stopped at her booth. IMG_1393
Lastly, the husband and I bought some Islamic Swag statement shirts. His is “I’m fly coz my imaan is high” and mine say’s “Islam – all the cool kids are doing it.” We love supporting Muslim business’ and who could resist awesome Islamic wear? Check this local Chicago store out online and as they say “Wear your imaan on your sleeve.”IMG_1409IMG_1412

After the halal food festival, we took a detour and hung out with MJ!

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Boyfriend jeans are great and I will keep my eye’s peeled for different styles and washes as I fade out the skinny jeans from my closet.

Have you found a great pair of boyfriend jean’s? or visited any fun events lately? I would love to know.

|HOOTD deets|

Hijab/Scarf- H&M | Trench- Express | Boyfriend Jeans & Shine Bright Shirt- Old Navy | Bag- Zara | Shoes- Prabal Gurung x Target

Remember- shine bright!

Until next time, have a great day!!!

Vogue September Issue Brunch at Nellcote

Happy Tuesday everyone!

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This past weekend I caught up on fashion, and fancy brunching at Nellcote. I attended the event with Fatima from Lace, Pearls and Chocolate, whom I’ve been planning to meet for the past couple of months but couldn’t due to being out of town, Ramadan and Eid. The event was covered by Emma Arnold of Tres Awesome, where she captured the event in her signature street style photography.

Nellcote brunch invite

We flipped through the pages of gratis Vogue September issue, while we noshed, talked fashion and watched the fashion documentary The September issue.

House Granola

House Granola

Sunny side-up organic pizza and Lobster Hash

Sunny side-up organic pizza and Lobster Hash

I’m excited for Fall fashion, and these September issue’s are completely enabling the shopper in me. I have been able to browse through the 902 pages of the Vogue issue, and out of all the amazing fashion ad’s I was most ecstatic to see a 3.1 Phillip Lim x Target lookbook inside. Now you all know where I will be September 15.

The massive issue!

The massive issue!

Me at NellcoteTres Awesome Nellcote September issue eventMe photo Nellcote

|HOOTD deets|

Hijab/Scarf- gift | Dress- Express | Blazer- Alcala’s boutique (local) | Bracelet’s- random old and gifted

Thank you for visiting!

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© Ayesha and Umair and AnUblog, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material and pictures without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ayesha and Umair and www.AnUblog.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All opinions expressed are solely of Ayesha and Umair of www.AnUblog.com

Date Night at Geja’s Cafe

Hello everyone!

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It’s Monday again and I have lots to share in this week’s upcoming posts.
First off, the husband and I had a romantic dinner date on Friday. We headed out to Geja’s cafe in Lincoln Park. The restaurant is essentially a fondue spot similar to The Melting Pot. Geja’s cafe is more of the locally known and loved spot for fondue. We checked out the place especially since we had a great Groupon deal for the restaurant. The restaurant is nice and we would recommend it, however having been to The Melting Pot also we don’t think it’s better. What we don’t enjoy about these fondue places is when you order an entree of meat/fish/veggies/tofu you are basically spending time cooking your own food. We definitely prefer having only cheese and chocolate fondues at these types of restaurant’s.

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Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures in Geja’s cafe and even if we were allowed I doubt they would be stellar since it’s one of those intimate setting restaurants with very dim lighting.

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Nonetheless, it was a nice evening where we ordered the specialty dinners which came with a house salad, cheese fondue, main course veggie & tofu, dessert was chocolate fondue, and we ordered a latte to finish our meal.
After dinner we strolled a bit around the Lincoln Park zoo area but had to cut the date short once the husband was called into work. Thus, the lack of more detailed snaps of the day. These pics were mostly taken by the park.

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|HOOTD deets|
Hijab/Scarf- random gift | Top, Skirt, Clutch- Forever 21

Hope you enjoy the rest of your week!

Thank you for visiting!

Follow our blog with Bloglovin

© Ayesha and Umair and AnUblog, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material and pictures without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ayesha and Umair and www.AnUblog.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All opinions expressed are solely of Ayesha and Umair of www.AnUblog.com

HOOTD | Scarf Print Dress

Happy Monday everyone!

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Did you all check out the Nordstrom Anniversary sale?

Over the weekend I wore this beautiful scarf print dress that I recently purchased from Zara. I have been looking for a pretty printed dress with length that is passed my knees. I ordered it online and loved it as soon as I put it on. The fabric is silky and even has side pocket detail.

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Beautiful fountain and view of the dress from the back

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Full view of dress outside at night…sorry for the bad lighting.

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Close up of dress and details

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Coach cross-body bag

On the same day I had a mini Mac appointment to test out their new pressed pigments. Here is my finished look. My iPhone isn’t picking up on the beautiful color of the moth pressed pigment which was applied all over my lid. Moth had a beautiful shimmer to it which showed through when layered with embark eyeshadow on the crease and plumage on the inner corner.

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Mac moth pressed pigment all over lid, embark eye shadow on crease and plumage eye shadow on inner corner of lid.

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Mac embark, Mac plumage, and Mac pressed pigment in moth

There are 12 shades that are part of Mac’s pressed pigment Fall 2013 collection. I think any one who loves shimmer and glitter will love adding these to their makeup arsenal. The shades moth, pink pepper and damson stood out to me and I would recommend.

Since it was date night the husband and I picked a new place to dine, Siena Tavern. From the reviews we read it sounded like a great restaurant to check out, however while I did take pictures of the food we ordered at the restaurant (and in pictures the food looks delicious) I will not be posting those on the blog because the husband and I were quite disappointed with what we ordered. I had heard the tiramisu was heavenly, while it was good we didn’t consider it great. The presentation was nice so here is a snap of the dessert.

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Tiramisu presentation at Siena Tavern

We will not be recommending this restaurant to halal foodies or vegetarians as the menu was quite limited and not worth the expensive price tag. However, if you are looking for a nice place to hangout with friends and aren’t a halal foodie you will enjoy this restaurant.

After dinner we strolled back home and enjoyed the weather and beautiful street art.

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Mosaic street art

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Picasso sculpture at Daley Plaza, and little me!

| HOOTD deets |

Hijab/Scarf- gift | Scarf print dress- Zara | Pants & Long sleeve tee- Forever 21 | Bag- Coach | Shoes- Prabal Gurung x Target | Earrings- vintage from India | Bangle- gift

Thank you for visiting and enjoy the rest of the week!

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© Ayesha and Umair and AnUblog, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material and pictures without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ayesha and Umair and www.AnUblog.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All opinions expressed are solely of Ayesha and Umair of www.AnUblog.com

Ramadan | AnU Host an Iftar Party

Happy Tuesday everyone!

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This past weekend the husband and I hosted our first iftar (breaking the fast) party at our house. We cooked traditional Pakistani iftari food and the quintessential Pakistani dinner.

I even got festive and found this free printable DIY banner online from an website called Sakina Design, they feature other cute printable for stars and beautiful Islamic art frames that I’m dying to get. The banner was a hit and gave me ideas to get more creative with the decor for future iftaries/parties.

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The menu for iftari consisted of fruit chaat, cholay, spinach pakoray, aloo pakoray, and per my husbands request finger pepper pakoray which weren’t spicy to our surprise.

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We also had dahi baray, chicken samosas (bought frozen from Tahoora), ordered some pizza for the kids, coriander chutney and homemade tamarind chutney.

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Of course we had some fresh watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, apple juice, and rooh afza, the summer drink of the east which every iftari has to have otherwise your thirst doesn’t feel quenched.

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Everyone was stuffed from the iftari but we still had dinner, spicy biryani made by the husband (the man can cook some yummy food Alhmd), and chicken tikka made by me. The main dinner was accompanied by salad and yogurt raita.

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And last but not least, the iftari party had a sweet ending with some light summer mango & pineapple dessert.

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We enjoyed hosting our 1st ever iftari party. While it was a lot of work, insha’Allah (God willing) we will host future parties with more family and friends. Until then I hope all my Muslim family and friends are having a blessed Ramadan and insha’Allah we can all make the most of the last ten days, and may our fasts & ibadah (supplications) be accepted ameen.

Have you hosted any parties? What are some traditional items you cook?

Thank you for visiting!

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© Ayesha and Umair and AnUblog, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material and pictures without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ayesha and Umair and www.AnUblog.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All opinions expressed are solely of Ayesha and Umair of www.AnUblog.com

Wear it Wednesday | High-Low Top

Hello everyone!

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Today I’m featuring a very hijabi friendly top. High-low tops, skirts and dresses are still all over the place and I think they will be for a while. What I love about high-low tops is the extra coverage you get for the back.

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Here is a picture you’ve seen if you follow me on Instagram. The husband and I went out for iftari at Reza’s, which is one of the few halal restaurants in the city that actually has yummy food. We were surprised to find a buffet set up for iftari that basically had everything from their regular menu and more. We, of course, opted for the buffet and indulged in everything from fresh fruits, lentil soup, chicken/lamb/beef kebabs, and dill/white/biryani rice.

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The following snap is of us after we were completely stuffed and all smiles!

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|HOOTD deets|

Hijab/Scarf- Pearl-daisy navy maxi hoojab | Top- Bar III | Long sleeve- Nordstrom rack | Jeans- The Limited | Bag- Rebecca Minkoff MAB (still on repeat) | Shoes- Target | Bracelets & rings- gift

Thank you for visiting!

Follow our blog with Bloglovin

© Ayesha and Umair and AnUblog, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material and pictures without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ayesha and Umair and www.AnUblog.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All opinions expressed are solely of Ayesha and Umair of www.AnUblog.com

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