Eat: 5 quick Iftar Go-Tos

With the last ten days of the holy month upon us (that’s right!), it’s crucial to spend your time catching up your prayers, reading the Quran, and still making time to prepare for Eid. All while continuing on with the regular day-to-day stuff. 

I don’t know about you guys, but my busiest time of the day is right before Iftar. It’s also the one time in the day we should be the most focused on reflecting and praying. With so much packed into the final days of Ramadan, it’s a good idea to try and prep ahead of time for the rest of your Iftar meals. But, as amazing as that sounds, sometimes it’s just not realistic. That’s exactly why I am sharing my favourite go-to quick fixes for a fast and delicious iftar meal. Hopefully, this can let you focus on all the other more important tasks at hand.

 

1. Order-in:

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This is the first and most obvious choice for me. When ordering is as simple as an app and endless all the possibility of choice, it’s really my first go-to. I’ve been using Foodora this Ramadan and have gotten a delicious Iftar exactly on time – no work required! This makes it so easy to focus on prayers without having to worry about going back into the kitchen to check on the food. Because participating restaurants also give you two bottles of Happy Water and Masa Dates, it’s a direct living room to dining room situation. Skip the kitchen!  The best thing I ordered this month was Jerk Chicken with rice, two beef patties, and a Jerk Chicken kebab. I tossed in two drinks and my iftar was good to go! All I had to do was place everything on the table (& really, you could forego the plates!). The app is so easy to use and you can filter by attribute so you’re only seeing halal options.  With so many choices – it’s a no-brainer. Why not give it a shot tonight? Click here so that you can get $10 off your first order! 

 

2. Use a pre-made sauce with pasta

Quick and easy pasta for iftar

Call me plain-Jane but sometimes I love the simplicity of some quick and easy pasta. Although for me pasta is a bit of a treat, something I save for eating out, it’s the easiest go-to when I have skipped grocery shopping to go to the movies instead 🙈 🙈 🙈. It’s super quick and is as simple as boiling your favourite pasta (white or brown), tossing in some pre-made pasta sauce and giving it a good mix. I usually add in some chilies or chili flakes and salami or even garlic for more flavour. This can be as easy or complicated as you want. 

 

3. Have a soup or a salad 

Soup for iftar

This is super easy, especially if you already have canned soup on hand. It’s also a good choice if you want to go with something lighter than a pasta. If you have some veggies on hand, toss together a quick salad with your soup so that you have something a bit more substantial. Add high-fat veggies to your salad such as avocado or even some nuts to keep you full until your post-Taraweeh snack (don’t kid yourself, we all do it!)

 

4. Pre-marinated fish

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I love this option since it’s a healthy one! I always keep some marinated salmon in the freezer for those nights I really don’t want to cook. It’s a good way to avoid tossing a handful samosas into the fryer instead of eating well! You can find some great options at your local grocery store and all you’ve got to do is pop it into the oven!

5. Make a leftovers sandwich

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During the month of giving, there will be days you’ve cooked up a storm when someone shows up at your door with full iftar. I usually freeze one of them since there is no way I can even eat that much after all that fasting. This would be the time to recall what you’ve got in your freezer and make use of it! Grab two slices of some really good bread, add some toppings, sauces, cheese and a protein in between and you’re good to go!

What are some of your go-to quick fixes during Ramadan? Let me know in the comments below!

See what I’m cooking up on my Instagram stories or follow me on Twitter and Facebook to stay up-to-date with the blog!

Happy eating + praying!

5 QUICK IFTAR GO-TOS

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Eat: Experience Ramadan with Iftar Host

If you’ve been on Facebook recently, you may have seen a link circulating from Iftar Host (now referred to as Experience Ramadan). As soon as I saw it, I signed up right away with no hesitation. The concept seemed simple and intriguing – be a host or attend an Iftar. It’s your choice and people of all backgrounds are welcome.

This simple concept of breaking bread together is the best way to get to know new people, encourage friendships and share your cultures with one another. I couldn’t wait to open my door and let my new friends Experience Ramadan.

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The Table is set!

I was so excited when I got the email that I was matched! Iftar Host asks to fill in a form with a few things that can help them match you to the right people. We put in our ages, opted to host two people and that was it! I believe the form is a little more robust now as many more people are likely signing up and matching can be more accurate with more info. We were introduced via email and then took it from there to discuss timings, dates and share the location. Both parties were equally as excited to be a part of this.

Hosting a dinner is really fun for me. I loved being able to choose a meaningful menu, setting the table for the iftar dinner and meeting new people! Below I’ve shared a run-down of the evening and what you can expect if you decide to host!

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Our new friends Sam & Mike!

I signed up on Sunday night and was matched early on Monday. After exchanging a few emails, we agreed to an 8 p.m. arrival on a Friday. We clarified that iftar time was closer to 9 p.m. just to make sure they were not surprised by the late dinner.

We chose to go with 8 p.m. since this would give us enough time to get to know them before Iftar time without having too much time without any food to keep us going! On the day of the dinner, as the clock moved closer to 8 p.m., I started to get a little nervous on whether or not they would show up. I had just prepared all this food and only texted to confirm an hour before they were meant to arrive. Both V and I were nervous and excited – this was going to be a unique night.

When our guests arrived, they so kindly brought with them a beautiful bouquet of flowers which was such a pleasant gesture. We were off to a good start! We asked how they found out about the program and were given a story similar to our own. The conversation started to flow right away and before we knew it, we were headed to the dining table.

One thing I always make sure to do when hosting a dinner party is to have everything ready to go and laid out. I prepared all the food in advance and placed it in the oven at the perfect time. The table was set earlier and all the dishes I would be using throughout dinner were placed on my counter ready to go for the next dish.

We started by explaining to them how sacred the time before the Iftar is, a time we used to reflect and make Du’a. They asked how we knew what time to open our fast and we shared that date are based on the lunar calendar and prayer times surround dusk and sunset. Once it was time to eat we offered them dates, sharing that this was the way fasts were open, followed by water.

After this, we started eating and of course, talking – a lot. It was so great to be matched with another couple who we could speak so easily with. Conversation ranged from travel to politics, gardening to rock climbing and of course, food!

Our menu for this Iftar dinner included Dates, Haleem, Falooda, Savory Pastries, and a main dish of a Baked Pasta. For dessert, we had some flourless dark chocolate cake with ice cream. Each dish was chosen strategically and we shared why these items were generally on iftar menus in our culture – especially the Haleem and Falooda.

After dinner, we moved to the living room and found ourselves connecting on everything under the sun. When guests leave as late as 1 a.m., you know it’s been a great time!

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Dates, Falooda and some delicious pasta! for Iftar

This was one of the most unique experiences I’ve had. We will be joining our new friends soon for another dinner and likely a session or two of rock climbing! We would definitely do it again and hope more people can Experience Ramadan.

Is this something you would try out? Want to hear more about it? Read my husband’s review of Experience Ramadan? Head on over to his blog!

I hope this post was helpful! I am happy to answer any questions anyone might have either in the comments below or on my social channels. You can find me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Look out for my next Ramadan post later this week Inshallah! Hint – It’s food based!

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We recently hosted another couple via Experience Ramadan and Iftar Host for Ramadan 2017

Ramadan is Here! (+ a free printable!)

Ramadan Mubarak everyone!

I hope your fasts are going well! We’ve got only a few hours left before we can eat and I’m happy to say I haven’t really felt too hungry today! I am sure everyone can agree that a Saturday start was such a blessing.

I will be doing a series of posts during this month to highlight different Ramadan things all leading up to Eid prep and more so be sure to stay tuned.

To help with keeping your Salah times in check, I have shared a handy printable of Toronto Salah times (and eating times of course!) for the month of Ramadan. Use this in your cubicle at work, locker at school or in your home. It’s also a great thing to screenshot onto your phone for handy access! This beautiful Ramadan calendar was created by my brother to share on this blog. Please enjoy and keep us in your Duas!

Download free printable Ramadan calendar here.

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Ramadan 2017 prayer times for Toronto

 

 

Iftaar & Eid Dinner Inspiration

I always like hosting dinner parties – it’s just something I always get really excited about, so long as I have a small group of people to entertain. Having a smaller group of friends or family at a time means I can pay more attention to the details, offer better food and also enjoy myself.
A few weeks ago I hosted my friends to a dinner party for Iftaar and had a blast setting everything up, paying attention to the little details and getting really festive. I got some great ideas from a new blog I came across called Hello Holy Days. I discovered the blog when they followed me on Twitter and I am so glad they did! It’s a great resource to get DIY ideas for Muslim holidays like Ramadan, Eid and Hajj while offering wonderful free printables on the site. 
I used the free lantern printable which was originally for this great lantern streamer DIY  and did a little Photoshop magic to use the template to create my menu cards instead. I also used this cute place card idea to make my own version. I will definitely be using some of these fab ideas for fun and creative Eid dinner or Eid party decor.
I served my guests a creamy tomato Basil Soup, home made Crudites bread with brie and chipotle goat cheese, quiche and ended with watermelon slices and a cookie butter mousse in chocolate cups for dessert. I’ve shared a few recipes for the iftaar below the images.
What do you like to eat during Ramadan, Iftaar or Eid? Follow me on on Instagram or Twitter for more fun Eid decorating ideas! 

Recipes

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

This one’s easy! Get a can of Campbell’s creamy tomato soup (I told you it was easy!), dried basil, chili flakes (I used whole chilies crushed for a better flavour), basil leaves, Havarti cheese and some garlic and olive oil. 
In a saucepan throw in some olive oil and chopped garlic and let the garlic brown, toss in your can (or two) of soup and let it heat for a while on M, add in your dried garlic and some chili flakes and let it sit for a few minutes to heat up. Once it is ready, ladle into a bowl to serve and use the fresh basil leaves to garnish. I served this with sliced multi-grain bread and small cubes of Havarti. I love tossing in small chunks of cheese into my soup!
Thyme & Sea Salt Crudite bread 

Another easy one. Go to your local grocery store with a bakery – my favourite is Longos. Get them to thinly slice your fresh loaf. Drizzle the pieces with olive oil generously and sprinkle on some sea salt and thyme. I get my Thyme fresh from the farmers market, dry it out and store it in a Ziploc bag to keep it flavourful. Place your pieces on a baking tray and pop into the oven for about 20 minutes on the highest rack of your oven at 350. They should be slightly browned and really crispy! 

Ramadan 2013: Slow it down

This post will be a little different then my usual ones. I hope that you enjoy reading it, and please comment if you have any questions or feedback! I wanted to give my thoughts on prayer which occurred to me while I was in the midst of my last prayer. I don’t know if I could call this advice, I just want to put this out there because I believe that at least even one person can relate. 


Photo Credit: Tavila Disha Haque. July 22, 2012




I hope this does not get any negative backlash, but I thought I would share something that I experienced today while praying Taraweeh Salah.

I usually pray quickly, as if it is a task on a to-do list, something that just has to be done because we were told. I have been doing that for a really long time, but today I prayed differently. I decided to clear my mind, pray with a little more consciousness, really get into the heart of actually praying and taking my time to do so. And let me tell you, it felt great at the end, very rewarding.

Whenever I finish a yoga session, I hear a lot of people saying that they feel so great and have this sense of a ‘rewarding feeling’ when they leave. I am definitely guilty of saying it myself,  I really do feel that way. Today, after praying, I felt that same way. I know that some people may not agree with my thought process on this one, but it’s worked for me so I know it will work for at least one other person out there.

I took what I am told at yoga and applied to to praying my last Salah of the day. I decided that today, even though I was a bit tired, I could take my time and pray. While starting to pray, I decided to clear my head and make myself understand that my list of things I have to do the next day will still be there when I am done. I prayed at my pace. What was I really rushing for anyway? All I planned on doing after praying was just playing games on my phone and really, that could wait.

I told myself I will focus on ensuring that I do three things. I will clear my head while praying, be in the present and not think about all the things I have to do later, those could be left aside and picked up once I was done. I also made sure to sit after praying and use that time to supplicate and make Dua. There have been countless times where I have prayed and then got up and finished. I didn’t even make any Dua after spending all that time praying. All I had to do is sit there and ask for anything I am in need of and be thankful for what I have. After I finished praying, I did just that, I got myself to sit for a while longer and appreciate what I have and supplicate. When you finish yoga, you are told to stay when it’s done, and try to push yourself to stay a little while longer. This last part lets you cool down and end in a relaxing way. I felt this same sensation of relaxation when I was done. I left the prayer mat feeling rewarded and very pleased with how I had spent my 45 minutes.

Now I understand that this is the way that we have been told to pray, but many of us forget that. We are all busy, have things to do and places to be. When I can take the time out to go commute to my yoga class, spend two hours there and commute back home, I am sure that I am not too busy to spend a little more time and effort into praying.

I know this post is a little different than usual, but I really felt like I should share it and possibly inspire at least one other person. I felt so good at the end and hope that others can feel this way after praying as well. Remember that you will never have time for anything if you don’t make it.

-Tasneem