Pasta w Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

A Simple and Delicious Sun Dried Tomato Pesto w Toasted Walnuts

Frantic. That is the word that comes to mind most evenings when I am trying to cook, feed the girls, bathe them, change them and put them to bed. I always think of things I would like to cook the night before, elaborate things, yummy looking things – things that would take more than 15 minutes, but when it is crunch time those dishes hardly ever make an appearance. Fortunately for me – and you – there are many yummy from scratch dishes out there that can come together pretty quick. The fact that I have made this particular one three times in the last week speaks for itself.
Pasta w Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

I like the ‘usual’ basil/parm/pinenuts pesto, but the price of pine nuts and the amount you usually need keeps me at bay. This sun dried tomato pesto with it’s more humble composition of pantry staples packs an even more delicious punch of flavour and is as versatile as it’s greener counterpart. Add it to your grilled cheese, smear it onto your chicken and bake, or just keep mixing it into your pasta over and over again like I do :)

The recipe for this pesto comes from the beautiful blog Simply Scratch. It is intended to feed two people and that makes it perfect for me and my girls (daddy is a desi food kinda guy). Because it makes such a small amount you are best off using a mini blender like the Magic Bullet. If you are to double it and make it ahead then I suggest using only 1 garlic clove not two as the raw garlic flavour tends to get stronger over time.

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Go To Noodle Salad

Thai Noodle Salad – A Guest Post at Aharam

There are some bloggers whose frequent and delicious looking posts lead me to believe that if I were to drop in unannounced any day of the week they would offer up the kind of food I make for guests. Aruna at Aharam is one of them. Not only is she always whipping up something amazing, but she also has a knack of seamlessly relaying some really interesting information about different traditions and the provenance of many foods.

When she asked me if I was interested in writing a guest post for her blog the answer was a resounding yes and while I was tempted to share something sweet – you know, largely because I wanted to eat it – I instead chose to go with this lovely noodle salad that has big bold flavors, incredible freshness, but with the comfort of noodles. My friend Marium introduced me to this salad and suggested the addition of the jalapeno, but the original recipe is from the beautiful blog Noni’s Place.

To read more hop on over to Aharam and do check out Aruna’s other posts. Happy reading!

 

3thingsfinal

Three Things Thursday

Hello folks – and Happy Thursday :) I didn’t think I would make it to this weeks TTT, but the kids are asleep, it is quiet and I can actually hear myself think. Aaaah. Bliss.

I have some TTT catching up to do and this week it’s all about birthdays – mine specifically :) I know, three things, all about me, pretty narcissistic!

Thing One: Wicked

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I remember being in college and walking around New York looking at the big signs for the musical Wicked and feeling like it was so out of reach. My college student self couldn’t imagine a world in which I could afford to watch it. Many many years later (yes yes I am old now), my husband surprised me by getting tickets to see it as a birthday present and it was AMAZING. We have seen several of the big name shows, but this was hands down my favourite. Also a huge plus – actually spending some time with him without the kids (who I love very much, but y’know).

Thing Two: Friends

I am not sure how it started, but in our circle of friends we make it a point to get together and celebrate each others birthdays usually without kids or spouses. As you can imagine there is a lot of laughter and given that we’re all desi it does get a little loud some times, but I am so profoundly grateful for it. I am an immigrant and it took me a long time to settle here. Moving from the city to the ‘burbs added another element of disruption to my life, but now when I look at the friends I have made and the joy that they bring I would not have it any other way.

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They also have excellent taste in cakes, but that’s just an added bonus ;)

Thing Three: Cookbooks

We’ve talked about my cookbook collection before and thanks to my friends I have two new additions to my shelves. Cannot wait to make and share things from here with you!

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Thanks for putting up with my birthday babble this week and for coming by when you do. It is simultaneously humbling and uplifting and makes me happy in a way that I cannot adequately describe. Please go visit the lovely ladies that host this get together at Pink Chai Living, The Write Balance, and Love Laugh Mirch.

To  those of you celebrating it I wish you a very Happy Diwali :)

http://sarahmir.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/caramel-cardamom-eclairs-with-coffee-cream/

Apple Fritter Rings w Cinnamon Sugar & a Salted Caramel Sauce

Helloooooo apple season a.k.a Fall. I figured for my first Fall recipe nothing is more appropriate than these deliciously easy apple ring fritters sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and drizzled with salted caramel for a little extra flair. You could skip the salted caramel entirely, but I think it is a Fact that salted caramel makes everything yummier. I used the same recipe I used here, omitted the cardamom and added a smidge more salt. It does make tons of caramel, but I solved that `problem` by halving the recipe and putting dollops of leftover caramel onto brownie batter and then let it bake into delicious goodness. What can I say, I am thrifty like that.

Apple Fritter Rings w Salted Caramel Sauce

Before I made these the only apple fritters I had had were the chain cafes/shops kind – chunks of apple in a sweet dough with a sugary glaze. For this version I have my friend Karen to thank (hello Karen!). She had them at a local cafe that shut down and when she described them to me and asked me if I could make them I think (hope) I said a more polite version of “hell yeah!”

Apple Fritter Rings w Cinnamon Sugar and Salted Caramel

While we are on the subject Karen rocks. Really. We have known each other casually for a few years yet I can think of more than a few times where she has helped me out – with ideas, parenting advice, and all sorts of other things. Even before I knew her I used to tell people that I truly love how much she loves her kids. There is something incredible about her mompowers (which is how I think of them) and I was more than happy to have her be my guinea pig for these and can only hope that it was the first of many times :)

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A Fairy Party

A Tinkerbell Inspired Fairy Party

Guess what I did for my birthday this year?

I threw my daughter a Tinkerbell inspired Fairy Party…sorry I meant Fairy Gymnastics Party. In case you’re scratching your heads and wondering why I would do that, the answer is kinda boring – that’s just what was available at The Little Gym. Btw for those of you in the ‘hood I highly recommend these guys. All the girls had an awesome time and Mama was immensely grateful for the much needed help from their staff. Wonderful wonderful wonderful.

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Anyway, back to the party. Zara wanted a Tinkerbell Fairy Party for her birthday, but since I am not a huge fan of a lot of the premade Tinkerbell things I tried to keep a balance between overtly Disney things and handmade things. The birthday girl loved it all and I am so happy with how things turned out – minus the things that I forgot to put up *head thwack*.

Get ready for a fairly long post (mostly pictures).

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Invites: These were born of panic, my friends reminded me I needed to get cracking so I scoured my craft box and made these. I do like how they turned out and they were pretty easy to do as well.

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Wands: This was a pretty and inexpensive craft. The purple tissue used in the flowers, the dowels for the wand, and the stars on the ribbons are from the dollar floor. The ribbons are from that real fancy place called Wal Mart. I roughly measured (in handspans) how much ribbon I wanted and then cut 16 sets out in my 3 party colors – green, pink, purple. I stitched the three ribbons together with a thread and needle and then taped them on to the wand. Then on top went my purple paper flowers which were secured onto the wands with the same purple ribbon I used to make the paper flowers (tutorial here). Where it wasn’t as tight as I liked I added a little clear tape. And done.

IMG_6142_zpsfef92661Flower pots: I had scraps of green leftover from green buntings (which somehow didn’t get put up) so I held them in the center and wrapped the pink/purple streamers around them in such a way that the base was tighter and the top fuller. They aren’t fancy flowers, but they do the trick.

IMG_6148_zps3f03fbdc (1)Candy Napkin Rings: I first saw these here and they are so quick and easy!

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Food: The cake and wands merit another post (or so I would like to think), but in terms of food here is what I ended up with:
• Vanilla Cake (6-inch, 4 layers, 4 colours)
• Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
• Marshmallow Wands
• Tink on a Tea Cup Berries (All credit to the husband and pinterest ;) )
• PIZZA – so clichéd, but the birthday girl loves it
• Sausage Rolls
• Chicken Sandwiches – Boiled Shredded Chicken with my homemade Peppercorn Mayo
• Jam Swirls
• Veggie Sticks
• Pretzels
• Homemade Butterfly Crackers

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 For the food labels I downloaded something from the internet and tweaked it to suit my purposes – all done in Word, nothing fancy. I am happy to pass them on to anyone who wants them.

Hmm let’s see what else …. oh right…

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• The Happy Birthday Banner was courtesy of my super awesome friend Vaish – you should get one of those… just not mine, I keep her busy ;)

IMG_6360_zpsecccbe2aWings – Another dollar store find, I was very worried that there would be some fighting over wings, but fortunately the girls didn’t get into it and a quick taping onto the back of standard plastic chairs really upped the prettiness.

IMG_2355Loot bags – I wanted something simple and whimsical and here is what I came up with. Inside the lootbags I put Disney Fairies watches, stickers, Nerds, a mini Crunch bar and a lollipop. The girls also got to take their wings and wands home.

• Not pictured, but used were this Tinkerbell Scene setter and Tinkerbell balloons.

So there you have it a Fairy party with a whole lot of Fairy and a little bit of Tinkerbell. Hope this gives you some good ideas for your own party – or at least the confidence that if I can do it so can you :) Happy birthdaying!

 

3thingsfinal

Three Things Thursday

Happy Thursday! As many of you know Three Things Thursday is hosted by the uber awesome bloggers at The Write Balance, Pink Chai Living, and Love Laugh Mirch. Do hop over to see what they and other bloggers are up to this week!

So here are my Three Things for the week – or rather for the past few weeks …Ooops :)

Thing One: Coke Studio

Coke Studio Pakistan is now on it’s 7th Season and while I love the concept – live studio recorded songs that ‘update’ the original in varying degrees – I haven’t really watched that much of it.

I do follow them on facebook though and saw that they recently brought a mash up of two classic songs. I really enjoy both, but one i.e. “Gaadi ko chalana babu” by The Benjamin Sisters had stuck with me over the years. I mean I only know 4 lines of it – as do my daughters – but I do really enjoy them. Here’s to hoping that the song gets a few more fans :)

Thing Two: Sandwich it up

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Hey Canadian friends – I don’t know if you guys have see it or not, but President’s Choice has had a sandwich bread (thin, long, crustless) out for a while that I am such a fan of. I have used it for traditional tea sandwiches, for ‘pinwheel’ sandwiches for school lunches, as regular toast and sliced, toasted, and dipped into lentils for my 10 month old and it works so well.

Thing Three: Family Pictures

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This year we decided to do our family pictures while it was still warm. Masuma Bandukwala and Sherwin Agwinaldo at Blue Pepper Photography were our photographers and despite baby number 2 not being her usual sunny self and a day that was extraordinarily sunny they managed to give us many beautiful photos that we will treasure for a long time.

(Daddy Jafri stop squinting at the screen, I will send them to you soon!)

 

Hara Masala Chicken

Haray Masalay ki Murghi – Chicken in a Spicy Cilantro Sauce

Because I am happppyyyyy…clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth…

Why the unnatural cheer you may ask?

Especially since this be a savory dish and I am clearly not on a sugar high – well, it’s thanks to this little round up of Pakistani foodies on instagram featuring yours truly along with some of her personal heroes. A HUGE thanks to Sadaf the talent behind Siddy Says for doing this!

Pssst you aren’t already following me on instagram then I am @sarahjmir.

Anyway, on to the dish of the day (yes, yes still singing “Happy” as I type this)…

Cilantro/Coriander is my favorite fresh herb. Although I love the flavors of basil, oregano and thyme the desi in me would not survive without cilantro. It brightens up every dish from a cool raita to a spicy daal. If I like hints of this stuff so much then, well, a dish that relies on cilantro and green chilies for it’s flavorful savory base has got me hook line and sinker.

Hara Masala Chicken

This folks is what I like to think of as my one blender version. The chicken gets cubed, the onion chopped and the rest of the ingredients get ground into a paste in the blender. Saute some onion, stir fry some chicken, throw in the paste and cook on. It’s pretty straightforward and as long as you have the cilantro, green chilies and garlic in there you can play around with the other ingredients to suit your fancy.

A quick note on the spice level – 4 green chillies may seem like a lot, but a lot of the spiciness will actually cook out so if you want it to be seriously spicy then add at least 2 more. I wouldn’t drop below 3 though. Just sayin’

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