Friday, June 12, 2020

Kitchen Makeover Diaries

⚙️πŸ› ♨️ Kitchen Makeover Diaries ••• 9 years I’ve frolicked this space cooking, cleaning, & biting my nails in panic over home management issues. There are signs of wear that need to be addressed now without breaking the bank πŸ’° ••• I’m redoing the granite (chipping & cracking) (minus the center island, found a close match!), getting a new kitchen sink, garbage disposal, faucet (nearing breakage), stove hood, and ovens, changing the backsplash (current one has a bathroom feel), and redoing flooring! Phew! Samples have been finalized, stuff ordered, we start tomorrow, InshaAllah

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Soft Chicken & Cheese Bread Rolls

Note: This is a YouTube tutorial recipe from Ruby Ka Kitchen. I have made some minor technique / ingredients changes. Typed out for convenience.

Chicken Filling (goes in the bread rolls)

You can make any filling of your choice! This one came with the original recipe.

Ingredients for filling:

1 chicken breast boneless

Ginger and garlic paste



¼ cup fine chopped onions

4 tablespoons fine chopped red and green bell peppers

½ teaspoon each of black pepper powder, garlic powder, onion powder, crushed peppers, oregano, and cumin powder

2 tablespoons chili sauce of your choice (I used a mix of Sriracha and Frank’s)

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 cup milk

Making the Filling

Boil the chicken breast in 1 teaspoon ginger and garlic paste and ¼ teaspoon salt.

Shred the chicken either by hand or using a mixer. Set aside.

In a cooking pan, add 1 tablespoon oil and ¼ cup fine chopped onions.

Saute onions to soften them for a couple of minutes.

Add shredded chicken, 1 teaspoon ginger and garlic paste, and ½ teaspoon each of black pepper powder, garlic powder, onion powder, crushed peppers, oregano, cumin powder.

Mix well, and cook the chicken for a good half minute.

Add 1 tablespoon Sriracha and 1 tablespoon Frank’s hot sauce (sold at Costco).

Toss in green and red bell peppers 4 tablespoons total

Saute for a good half minute and then add 2 tablespoons all purpose flour and then roast it well for a good minute.

Add 1 cup milk to the filling, mix, and cook until thick and liquid dries.

Ingredients for Chicken and Cheese Bread Rolls

Chicken filling of choice (recipe above)

Shredded cheeses (your choice - I used Mozzarella and Cheddar)

2 cups all purpose flour

Instant yeast 1.5 teaspoon

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 egg (room temperature)

3 tablespoons oil (canola used)

Making Chicken and Cheese Bread Rolls

Sift 2 cups all purpose flour, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a mixing bowl. I used the Kitchenaid mixer so my bowl was the mixer’s bowl. Add 1.5 teaspoon instant dry yeast and mix with a spatula.

Add 1 egg and 3 tablespoons oil to the dry ingredients and begin mixing. Add room temperature milk. Ideally, take ½ cup milk and pour in slowly while mixing. You may need less than ½ cup milk. It depends on the all purpose flour at different times. Add 1 tablespoon oil finally and mix at high speed (or faster and thorough, if doing by hand).

The consistency of dough should be like chapati dough.

Grease a glass dish with a few drops of oil and take out dough in it. Turn over once or twice to coat dough with oil. Cover and put in a warm place (a non-use oven, or a cabinet) for 1 hour

After an hour …

Dust surface with flour and dish out the dough.

Make about 10 pieces of the dough. If you want bigger rolls, make 8 pieces.

Roll each piece into a flat, thin oval.

Add chicken filling at one end, add cheese on top of the filling, and fold like a spring roll

Take a baking pan (I used 13” x 9”). Butter it and put parchment paper on. Set the rolls on it with little space to allow them to rise.

Brush the rolls with egg wash (an egg beaten with a tablespoon of water) and sprinkle sesame seeds on the rolls.

Cover with a cling wrap and set aside until oven preheats at 350 F.

Bake for 20 minutes (may take some more time 22 minutes instead). Look out for browning of the rolls. Lift a roll gently and check for browning on the underside. If brown underneath, it’s done

Rotate the baking pan if needed midway, for even color (browning of rolls).

Rub butter on the rolls when out of the oven and set aside, covered with parchment paper for two minutes.


Habshi Halwa (Baked)

Original recipe is by a lady called Zubia Shahid. Variation of ingredient quantities is by a friend. 

Instant dry milk powder ( I used Giant store brand), 4 cups
Butter, 3 sticks (1 1/2 cup)
Milk, 3 cups
Walnuts, fine chopped, 1 cup (Nusrat Api used 3 cups)
Sugar, 2 1/2 cups
Cardamom powder, 4 pinches (Nusrat Api used a pinch)
Pinch of nutmeg powder (optional, I did not use)

Special equipment:
Large aluminum foil pan, preferably deep one (size: 20.5" x 3.3" x 13")
Note: Using a smaller pan or pyrex dish will cause spilling as ingredients boil
  1. Preheat oven at 350 F.
    Note: The original recipe, and Nusrat Api's recipe both work on a 2 1/2 hour cooking time. For me, the time was around 1 hour 40 minutes. So, it depends on the oven's heating capacity. 
  2. All ingredients are added in a large aluminum foil pan according to the original, and Nusrat Api's recipe. I did the layering in the following sequence: First evenly spread 4 cups instant dry milk powder, next evenly spread 2 1/2 cups sugar, set 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) butter evenly spaced out on top of the sugar layer, spread out 1 cup fine chopped walnuts between the butter sticks. Randomly sprinkle 4 pinches of cardamom powder. Check video tutorial. Next, add 3 cups milk all over. Add (optional) pinch of nutmeg (I did not use). 
  3. Place the pan in the oven to cook. Cooking procedure for baked habshi halwa is all about stirring and mixing well at intervals until halwa is done! That easy! When you stir, make sure you scrape the pan's edges and turn over everything thoroughly.
  4. Check in about 20 minutes, butter sticks will have started to melt. Give the ingredients a stir. 
  5. Check back in another 20 minutes, give another good stir. Butter sticks will have fully melted, and milk will start to curdle. Boiling will be seen. 
  6. Check back in 20 minutes, browning will have started (depends on oven's heating capacity, may not brown yet for you). You will see the contents boiling.
  7. Check back in shorter intervals when contents turn to a chocolate brown color. Like, every 10 minutes. Later, even 5 minutes. Oil will separate, halwa like appearance will be there by now! Stir strong at this point.
  8. Halwa will be done when no white milk granules are visible, the color is a strong chocolate brown, and a taste test tells you it is AWESOME!
  9. Line a serving dish of your choice with parchment paper. Keep the paper a bit larger so it forms handles for you to lift the set halwa out from the dish. If you want thin pieces, take a flatter dish, if you want thick blocks take a deep dish like I did! 
  10. Scoop out and spread the hot halwa in the parchment lined dish. You may garnish with chopped walnuts, and/or edible silver paper (silver leaf) (Chandi ka Vark).
  11. Allow the halwa to cool and set before you lift the parchment out and cut pieces! 
This is good for a week if stored outside at room temperature. And longer shelf life in a fridge.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Ramadan Diaries: A 30 Day Magic Carpet Ride Day 11 - 15

πŸŽ¬πŸŒ™✨Ramadan Diaries: Day 11 ••• Sehri time’s always difficult because I am to stuff myself like a Turkey πŸ¦ƒ The Power Paratha is quite a load ••• “Which favors of your Lord will you deny?” Goes the Quranic verse ••• There are places where feeling weakness from hunger is not a Ramadan experiment, but a lifestyle ••• Makes you want to cry ••• Being sensitive, empathetic, sentimental, and weak from emotion is a good thing and it should translate into kind acts! ••• Don’t forget to donate this month! Money πŸ’° I ended up teaming with Sara to calculate and pay out our Zakat (annual alms due) and we both felt the happiness and relief sink in ••• I did some cooking later on (sugar free Sooji halwa, peas pulao) and defrosted Sara’s Chicken Shinwari ••• Twix was the treat of the day! ••• and the divine chocolate cake (also by Sara) with a sheen, rich chocolate glaze was for dessert hour with the nieces ❤️ ••• A much needed Chai ☕️ followed! “Ek Garam Chai Ki Piyali” is the post-Iftar mantra! But a tiny serving of Fruit Chaat comes before that because in the words of Mom “Issmein Vitamins hotay hain” ••• 
πŸŽ¬πŸŒ™✨Ramadan Diaries: Day 14, 15 ••• A beautiful full moon πŸŒ• (last Supermoon of 2020) greeted us as Ramadan halved! ••• Sara’s baking is at an all time high! The Brookie (Cookie Brownie hybrid) contributed to the killer carb count and stunned our senses with a fantabulous taste explosion! ••• I am working on getting the recipes for you all ••• I took to the mid-Ramadan cleanup session (vac n mop) and made everyone some Karachi Chicken Biryani (recipe in Albums) ••• 🍷 Rooh Afza, Fruit Chat and Chai continue to be our Ramadan Baes!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Ramadan Diaries: A 30 Day Magic Carpet Ride Day 5 -10

πŸŽ¬πŸŒ™✨Ramadan Diaries: Day 05 ••• Had to make an “essential” trip to the pharmacy for mom’s painkill pickup! Sara and I played the Hijabi Heist to make things fun! I was Romeo! πŸ˜† Sara and I continue to humor ourselves with the Social Aunty special appearance dialogues! πŸ˜† I decided Laajo Jee and Friend from Kal Ho Na Ho are fit for these voiceovers! ••• Dahi Baray had to be refilled upon my return and so the Meera Besan Devdas sequence ••• Mannee and Chunky are enjoying the Iftar time treat bag countdown SO much! Mannee actually makes a guest appearance midway through her dinner when the clock ⏰ ticks Iftar πŸ˜† ••• 🍫 Snickers was treat of the day!

Abbie Films πŸŽ¬πŸŒ™✨Ramadan Diaries: Days 8 & 9 ••• It’s supposed to pick up speed now πŸš€ Nope, feels slow! I’m starting to feel the dehydration now! πŸ‘ My eyes are drier, lips chapped, throat feels like I’ve swallowed cactuses 🌡 It’s beginning to take its toll on me so I need a battle plan ••• But before I can do something like trying a new recipe or something, the energy’s gone ••• Sara made some divine chocolate cake 🍰 followed by Snickerdoodles on my special request (I LOVE THOSE COOKIESSSSS) ••• The nieces have been jumping on the sofa that’s already breathing its last after ten years of service! ••• I’m laying so dead I go through Bubble Guppies and Paddington without complaining ••• My stash of readymade frozen goodies from the Desi Halal store’s my savior! I’m not the hardworker queen bee who makes her stuff from scratch, rather, I buy them because they’re there πŸ˜† ••• I do have making from scratch on my kitchen goals ••• I’ve been watch food shows! Current addiction was Migrationology! Nothing beats watching a man with table manners deficit (this is a foodie compliment!( and great love for food! ••• Another Ramadan responsibility us paying out Fidya (compensation money to feed the hungry for family members not fasting due to ill health) Got half of that done •••

πŸŽ¬πŸŒ™✨Ramadan Diaries: Day 10 ••• To me, Ramadan is about fighting my demons 🎡 Toss a coin to your Witcher! O! Valley of plenty, Oh O O! 🎡 ••• And they attack from all sides when the stomach is empty. There are all kinds of voids, empty spaces, and boo boos in the heart and soul that begin to tug at my sleeves ••• As usual! We’ll toss them under the big oriental rug ••• Anyhoo! I never got a chance to share the Ramadan Prep Bootcamp stories so that’s what I’m sharing ••• There was a meticulous Chapli Kabab making workshop (courtesy: Mom), and Sara was baking and decorating the most beautiful iconic Ramadan cookies in the world! She and I had also bulk cooked chicken curries and frozen them! ••• The Bootcamp’s simplified life so much! Now, in Zombie Mode, all we are doing is getting up and eating! ••• Hope your Ramadan is going swell?! InshaAllah

Monday, May 4, 2020

Ramadan Diaries: A 30 Day Magic Carpet Ride Begins Day 1, 2, 3 & 4

πŸŒ™✨RAMADAN DIARIES ••• This year’s Ramadan decorations Part 1 featuring @sarasbakedcreations Ramadan Cookies Bar. Cookies are the usual iconic Snickerdoodle and New Moon Cookie and some extra sprinkled sugar cookies baked for fun with Mannee and Chunky. For the decor I decided to go with my fireplace this year because of its brick wall. A second part of the decor is in the kitchen ok the usual countertop (post coming soon!) •••

Don't forget to watch Ramdan Diaries (Insta Movie) Part 1
Ramadan Diaries: Day 01 ••• The colors of Ramadan finally made it to Abbie’s Madhouse. It’s a Quarantine Ramadan this year! But the show must go on! Sara is a for fun, hobby baker and her iconic Ramadan cookies (New Moon sugar cookies and Snickerdoodles) are the most waited for treats ••• We put together Ramadan gift baskets for our nieces and the afternoon was spent decorating, gifting, and celebrating the coming of Ramadan was with these angels! ••• My energy levels started dropping after 4pm ••• Dead zombie 🧟‍♀️ mode by 6pm ••• Iftar time! Ahhhh the much needed Rooh Afza sharbat! ••• 🍷 ••• Day 01 chocolate treat was Milky Way! Good! Mannee wanted caramel she got caramel!

πŸŒ™✨Ramadan Diaries: Day 02 ••• The day was a breeze, mostly because there was no migraine or body aches and pains! Did the 🍊 OJ and magnesium work? ••• Just so you know I take a powdered Magnesium supplement “Natural Calm” that helps with migraines, muscle aches and pains, and restless legs! It helps regulate πŸ’© bowel movement too! ••• On Day 02 I chilled out with the nieces and read them out their Ramadan story book from the gift basket 🧺 ••• They were enjoying Sara’s Ramadan cookies πŸͺ as well ••• We keep teasing them about how they’re fasting or not? ••• After 4pm, as my feet began to get cold I laid down in my Hogwarts blanket ••• Soon, it was time to make Iftar and well, Chunky had a tantrum because she wanted to eat the chicken filling of the patties SIL was making ••• Sara made fruit chaat and I mixed in the Chat Masala ••• Rooh Afza 🍷 was a must! ••• The Chocolate Walnut Bars finished today so Sara will be making some new dessert now ••• Chocolate treat of the day was Snickers! I love Snickers!

πŸŒ™✨Ramadan Diaries: Day 03 ••• Rain ☔️ seems to come with the Ramadan package, brings in the blues for me ••• Sara was baking since the dessert ran out after the Chocolate Walnut Bars finished. πŸ‹ Lemon Crumble Cheesecake Muffins she said ••• For me, it was time to refill the rice 🍚 so I made some simple Zeera rice and forgot salt! 🀦🏻‍♀️ I had to do a salty water hack later to save them ••• Then I made some more candy treat bags as this year due to panic and technical difficulties I couldn’t make em all at the same time ••• Iftar time came quick and Sara’s muffins were a cinch! ••• I am beginning to feel the post-Iftar hangover and caffeine withdrawals ☕️ ••• laziness is me!

πŸŒ™✨Ramadan Diaries: Day 04 ••• Each morning near 3:30am (the wee hours) I wake up, offer Tahajjud prayers and jog down in my night suit (Sara trailing behind me) to the kitchen to prep Sehri (the meal we eat before fasting begins) ••• Power Paratha, we like to call it! That’s one flaky flatbread that accompanies kababs or chicken curry and an egg 🍳 to make one hearty Sehri ••• the day is a blur with two darling nieces frolicking about ••• Day 4 was watching Moana and eating the usual Ramadan cookie treats from Sara’s cookie buffet ••• I usually fry some snacks for Iftar because for some reason our bellies are in no mood for serious eating after the Power Paratha in the wee hours ••• A Dessert Hour follows •••

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Zappy Hogwarts' Choir Performances

♪ The Most Magical Yule Ball of All ♪♪
♪♪ Something Wicked This Way Comes ♪
♪ Double, Double, Toil and Trouble ♪
Those are the magical, musical songs performed by 5 exceptionally talented Hogwarts students. I give you the Hogwarts Frog Choir. Their lively acapella performances are the perfect mix of vocals and beatboxing. Dressed in Hogwarts robes and winter wear (we are always visiting during the Holiday season), 5 of them walk out every now and then and take the performance stage in front of the Hogwarts castle. There's one from each house: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. And one conductor! Because we do not have Professor Flitwick on call *winks* 

The reason they're called the Frog Choir is because of the humongous toad (sometimes two) they bring on a royal red cushion with a golden tassel fringe. The frog keeps singing "Baaow Baaow" throughout the performance. This year I found a stuffed toy of these toads at Filch's Emporium! It's like a puppet so you can put your hand right in and make their jaw move. If you tap them on their head they croak! Perfect way to immortalize the memory of the Hogwarts Frog Choir! 
This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge 2020
My theme is Potterific A to Z
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Books, Movies, Parks, & Potter Universe!
✨ ••• All Heads Potterheads! No Head 🧠 Better Than A Potterhead❗️
Index is HERE
Read Sara's Potterific A to Z HERE

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Yucky Bertie Botts

Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans are the smooth criminals of the Wizarding candyland. Don't believe me? Wait till you taste a Vomit or Rotten Egg. You will NEVER attempt to taste them again! So, do not be fooled by their jolly, whimsical appearance. 
They didn't even spare Albus Dumbledore - the greatest wizard of all times. Then who are we to be safe from the horror of bad taste?! I brought it upon myself actually when I decided to go on a wild, adventurous tasting spree. It was fun and games, and mild distaste, until I ate a vomit flavored one. Death of my tastebuds and my senses.
What did they even put in there to make it taste like puke?! Yes, puke! The bitter bile that you taste during stomach flu! What have they been doing???
The tutti-fruity and marshmallow are the only flavors that can be ingested by humans. Those are the only ones that are worth putting in your mouth. And I do not understand what's wrong with Ron Weasley. He's seen eating them from the box very casually!
They truly are:
"A Risk In Every Mouthful"

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge 2020
My theme is Potterific A to Z
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Books, Movies, Parks, & Potter Universe!
✨ ••• All Heads Potterheads! No Head 🧠 Better Than A Potterhead❗️
Index is HERE
Read Sara's Potterific A to Z HERE