Vanilla Frozen Yogurt

Guess what goes in frozen yogurt?

Yogurt, sugar, vanilla extract. That’s it. I would have found that hard to believe too, but when I read this recipe in the Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz I thought it was worth a shot.

It blew my mind when I discovered that FroYo made from those three simple ingredients could be so delicious and pure tasting at the same time. Now mind you this is a far cry from the mall version of FroYo, but that makes it infinitely better. Freshly churned with some bright tart fruit it just screams summer. Or you could just throw some colored sugar on top – whatever floats your boat.

Today we kept it red and white in honor of Canada Day – July 1st. Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians!


It takes minutes to whisk this fro yo together which makes it perfect for when you have company. It does taste best freshly churned and there is something very impressive sounding about freshly churned homemade frozen yogurt.

As a quick note, hanging regular yogurt in a muslin cloth will drain away a lot of the water and reduce the iciness of the end product. Since I use 2/3 Greek Yogurt I don’t have that issue, just loads of lovely creaminess.

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Three Things Thursday – XIII

Last week was a wordy kind of Three Things Thursday – this week I will let the pictures do the talking. Happy Thursday everyone!

Thing One: Mama goes to the Museum 




Thing Two: Prairie Girl Cupcakes 




Thing Three: A MUST Read



Now please hop on over to my lovely hosts – Pink Chai Living, The Write Balance, and Love Laugh Mirch.


Green Peppercorn Mayo

Is it just me or does store bought mayo have a really unpleasant twang? Not to mention the odd mouth feel – really good mayo should be both clean tasting and luscious and I must say nothing beats homemade. Since I rarely use mayo I rarely feel the urge to make it, but today the urge to bite into a sandwich where the mayo added flavour and complexity was too great and I caved. 10 minutes after said caving I was done.


This mayo has a really interesting flavour profile because the main ingredient is a heaped tablespoon (or more) of smashed green peppercorns. What are green peppercorns you may ask? Well, they are actually the younger sibling of black peppercorn. They are picked early and often packed in brine. The resulting peppercorn is tangy and spicy at the same time, which makes them the perfect addition to mayo. I first tried this recipe of Emerils many years ago with his blue cheese stuffed burgers, but as much as I loved it, I couldn’t really taste it over the blue cheese. This summer though I have big big plans for it, stay tuned for recurring appearances 🙂

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Nutella Swirl Banana Bread Muffins

These muffins are a bad influence on me. The other day I was at a friends house storing some homemade ice cream I had brought over and I saw about half a dozen bananas in the freezer. I wanted them. So bad. Just so I could come home and make these muffins.

All I have left in my freezer is one shrivelled up little banana and there are no bananas in the house right now let alone over ripe ones. Don’t worry guys I resisted. Only because it’s a gluten free household and I couldn’t have offered her a few muffins in exchange for the bananas – yes, I did think of that.

I was about to wax lyrical about these muffins, but really – with a name like Nutella Swirl Banana Bread Muffins is a sales pitch really needed? You kinda get the picture right?

Nutella Swirl Banana Bread Muffins

Yes, I said get the picture and then inserted a picture below that. I am so not corny.

Okay so here are my favorite parts about this muffin – the chocolatey swirl, the caramelly undertone of the browned butter (only 1/4 cup!), and that it has half a cup of brown sugar making it less sweet, but perfect for a breakfast that feels more indulgent than it is. Win win I say, win win.

A big ol’ thank you to Jess over at On Sugar Mountain for sharing these!

Now if only I had more bananas….

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Eggplant, Mushroom, and Spinach Saute

If you asked me a few years ago I would have told you that I categorically do not like eggplants. The usual desi eggplant dishes – baingan ka bharta, bagharay baingan, etc. do not do it for me at all. But then, then something happened. I discovered that you actually  do not have to cook it to soft mushy pulpiness. You can cook it until just tender – a magical point where eggplant pieces retain their ‘skin’ and shape and yield a creamy softness. That friends is my happy point.

This dish meets several of my requirements for something I would make again – it is quick, easy, can be made spicy, and between the eggplant and spinach it is quite healthy for you too. Today’s version was topped with some nice bright feta, but I imagine it would be delicious with some toasted pine nuts strewn on top or even some crispy fried onions.


The recipe, only mildly tweaked, is from Pretty Delicious by Candice Kumai. I have tried a few of the recipes in this book with mixed results (probably due to my own errors), but I love the premise of the book. Unlike books which tend to be low-fat or low-carb this one takes a FWB (Food With Benefits) approach to food. In a nutshell what we put in our body should nourish it. Sometimes ‘healthy’ cooking tends to focus on minimizing foods impact on us, this book tries to maximize its impact in the best way possible.

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Three Things Thursday – XII

Have you guys seen the TED Talk by Mark Cutts on Trying Something New for 30 Days? If you haven’t then check it out – it will only take a grand total of 3 minutes and 27 seconds of your time. I saw it recently and I began to think about what I would like to try for 30 days and came up with the three below. These are small things – I highly doubt I will write a book over 30 days (he does) – but I thought that this week I would share them with you.

What would you try for 30 days?

Thing One: Ab Challenge

It seems that every other person I know is doing a 30-day fitness challenge and for that reason alone I wasn’t very interested in them. Sometimes fads can be a little off putting you know. Then I realized that although I doubt that the challenges will deliver dramatic results it still doesn’t hurt to have some kind of exercise in my daily routine because at this point an hour at the gym is just not seeming doable. I am now on Day 7 of the Abs Challenge and although my sit ups are pretty laughable – ‘hunch ups’ at best – I feel my core getting a little stronger. Here’s to keeping at it for the next 23 days!

Thing Two: Read Baby Read

As far back as I can remember I have loved reading, it made apartment living in Saudi Arabia much more pleasurable because it opened up so many different worlds for me. I don’t read anymore and I truly miss it. I have decided to read 40 pages a day at least and made a bit of a reading list for myself. So far I have the following and am very open to suggestions!

* The Glass Castle – Jeanette Walls
* The Principles of Uncertainty – Maira Kalman
* Age of Wonder – Richard Holmes
* Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris
* Ten Thousand Saints – Eleanor Henderson
*A Walk Across the Sun – Corban Addison
* The Devil all the Time – Donald Ray Pollock
* No God but God – Reza Aslan

Thing Three:  5 ‘Me’ Minutes a Day

I am notoriously  bad at taking care of myself – my hands and feet are always dry, the lotion I bought for my face will last for over a year (and it’s a small bottle), and I frequently forget to take make up off before I sleep. So for the next 30 days I am going to try to spend at least 5 minutes every day doing something along those lines. I am hoping the habit will stick. Fingers crossed.

Okay that’s all from me – don’t forget to check out the fabulous Three Things Thursday hosts Salma at The Write Balance, Raj at Pink Chai Living, and Nisha at Love Laugh Mirch.



Double Chocolate Brownie Bark

Think chocolatey chewiness, like the very edge of a pan of brownies, but a whole sheets worth. That my friends is brownie bark and when I saw this recipe by the talented Becky (just look at those pictures!) over at A Bite of Becky I knew this had to happen asap. Also ice cream season summer means that I always have egg whites to spare and this seemed like a far better use for them than my thousandth omelet. It is also very easy to whip up.

My first batch had the 2 tbsp of Cocoa powder that Becky recommended but my El Camino cocoa is clearly made of weaker stuff because I ended up with these.


At 3tbsp however magic happened – I am talking dense dark chocolatey magic, the kind that makes it difficult to eat just one piece even though rationally you know one piece ought to be enough. Add on a sprinkle of sea salt and resisting is just not an option.

Double Chocolate Brownie Bark

These are best the day they are made and keep well for an additional 2 days.

Double Chocolate Brownie Bark

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Three Things Thursday – XI

Who missed Three Things Thursday last week because they were too tired/frazzled/disorganized? My sheepish self that’s who.

Well I am back now for my favorite time of the week and want you to go check out my lovely Three Thing Thursday hosts Raj at Pink Chai Living, Salma at The Write Balance, and Nisha at Love Laugh Mirch.

Thing One: Splash Pads

With the weather getting nice and hot we have started going out to splash pads. When I see my little girl running among pirate ships and playing with fountain sprouting alligators I cannot help but compare it to my childhood where monsoon rains were the closest we got to splash pads. Inevitably rain meant the power would go out and we would have to change out of our heavy wet clothes by candlelight before biting into those hot pakoras that every desi mom seems to be so good at.


Here I just give my kid popsicles – homemade if she is (un)lucky heheh

Thing Two: Creamed Honey


Anjana at The Corner of Happy and Harried  recently wrote a post about her visit to a farm and mentioned honey cream. She describes it as ‘delightful’ and after trying this maple flavored spread I concur.

Thing Three: Sisters

My sister delayed her return to Karachi by a week and is now getting ready to leave. What is it about siblings that no matter how long they are around it doesn’t seem like enough. Unless you are young, then they are just freaking annoying 😉

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Missing you already MJ.


Bhindi ki Sabzi or Spicy Pakistani Style Okra

At the age of 12 I remember telling a family friend that I knew how to cook. When she asked what I could make I rattled off a list of things and when I said “bhindi” (okra) she stopped me and asked how I cook my Okra. I remember being nervous and subsequently relieved that I could ‘remember’ the recipe. My adult self realizes just how funny that was given that this dish has a grand total of 5 ingredients and that’s including the Okra.


This is one of my favorite ways to eat Okra and it is one of the things I make when I want to eat a dish that reminds me of home. It also cooks pretty quickly which is a huge plus in my book.

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Quick Tomato Tart

This past weekend I had my uncles and their families over for lunch. They were supposed to come around 1 and it was 1:15 when I realized that I had forgotten to make the tomato tart. 15 minutes later I was waiting for it to come out of the oven and despite the fact that I rushed the process a little it still turned out well.


The recipe is slightly adapted from Ten Dollar Dinners by Melissa D’Arabian and I have made it many times by now. It makes for an especially lovely summer lunch with a side of lightly dressed baby arugula and is equally good as a ‘snack’ on its own. I usually make it in a tart pan, but on one occasion when my tart pan had run away from home I put it out on a baking sheet and found that I quite like the effect.

You can switch the Parmesan out for goat cheese if you prefer. The mustard flavour is mild at best, my mustard hating sister (Yeah, I know, weirdo) enjoyed the tart and didn’t even know there was some Dijon action happening.

The tomatoes are clearly the star here so make sure you get the reddest most beautifully ripe tomatoes you can find!

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