Older Kids


S made suoer quick cinnamon rolls for breakfast one morning because it was grocery day and we were out of breakfast ‘material’. This was made without eggs or yeast and was pretty much ready in about 10-15 min max.


I asked H to make me a desk for my spot in my room after salah, and he made me this desk, with a slot for our Tafseer and Arabic With Husna notebooks. This has made it so much easier for me than having all my things lying about on the floor.


We have a problem with the Mac wire being worn out because of its position when we use it o the couch, so H made a ‘Mac Dock’ where the wire is allowed to curve such that there are no sharp curves that would shorten its lifespan.


This is the part that is the most troublesome.

Categories: Baking, Cardboard | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Z’s Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

We’re going on a road trip, and as usual, I have to make a whole bunch of food for Z, mostly snacks on top of protein meals. I was short on time. ALhamdulillah I found 2 small ziplocs of frozen muffins in the chest freezer, and 1 small ziploc of chocolate cookies of his, so I decided to just make one type of cookies and that’s it. So I made the Chocolate Crinkle Cookies by Elizabeth Gordon. Z asked to help so I let him roll the scooped balls of cookie dough in the powdered sugar. Alhamdulillah. It’s not often that he gets to participate in baking with me because of his allergies. He’s been asking to help a lot recently, so that’s good alhamdulillah. I was getting worried that he would develop an aversion to working in the kitchen. I don’t want to raise a man who expects his mother or wife to do everything for him.

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Categories: Allergies, Baking, Living Islam | Leave a comment

Quran Party

Well, I don’t know what else to call it. And come to think of it, it is centered around the Quran in terms of what we’re celebrating. S is starting Taleem Quran, and because I didn’t want Z feeling left out, I made him a cake and so I had to come up with an occasion for his cake and I thought I’d make it Quran-ish too. So, I made it a celebration of his Quranic Arabic reading. I piped a few words from his IQRA book too.

We made the Laksa Penang, quite easily, except S overcooked the Laksa so we had a pretty mushy laksa. Z had Nasi Goreng for lunch while we ate the Laksa but we gave him a little bit just to see if he could take sardine. So far, no reactions, so I’m hoping he’s ok with fish! inshaAllah! He didn’t really like it though.

Lai fen – the noodles for Laksa Penang

The sardine from the Asian grocery store. The ones in the western supermarket are horribly bland.


Not too great a shot, but we were hungry and I was tired from finishing up decorating Z’s cake, and the Laksa noodles were overcooked so it wouldn’t have made a great food photo anyway. Laksa Penang is I think my best noodle dish, since I always manage to make the other soupy noodle dish too bland. But with Laksa Penang, it’s hard for me to make it bland unless I put too much water when making the soup/broth.



It was quite a moment when we cut him his cake. He was so shy that it was difficult to take his picture. But we got it eventually. He initially went for the frosting but after a while claimed,

“I don’t like the white stuff.”

He ate his cake but didn’t finish it, and finished it much much later. I did cut him quite a big piece, so…


Today, he had cake too and I cut him a thin piece ane he ate it all minus the ‘white stuff’. I don’t blame him for not liking the frosting.

As for the rest of us, we ended up sitting back in our chair and laughing at how fatty the frosting truly is. I don’t need to reiterate what I said about frosting in the previous post. We can’t take too much frosting. Period.

We had Z read the words I had piped on his cake, though with a lot of help. He initially didn’t want to read them. But I said I won’t cut the cake until he did, so we helped him read them.

So, S started her Taleem Quran course today. The party yesterday was just perfect because now it’s back to work and fasting our make ups and Shawwal 6. May Allah bless this journey for all involved for our dunya and akhirah. Ameen!

Categories: Al Huda Institute, Allergies, Baking, Family, Quran | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taleem Quran Cake

Yesterday, we made red velvet cakes, two of them, one for Z (allergen-free) and one for us (the regular one). When I asked S what kind of cake she wants for her TQ party, she picked red velvet, so red velvet it is. We didn’t really have enough red food coloring, so we didn’t use as much as directed in the recipe. I didn’t feel too good about using the coloring, and we had gone to the co-op to look for natural red food coloring after tennis. They didn’t have any. We went to Toucan. They didn’t have any either. So we made our red velvet red with whatever red food coloring we had, and for Z, I kept his cake chocolate. I’m guessing that if I want the natural red food coloring, I’d have to buy it online.

For Z’s cake, the recipe calls for rice milk and cider vinegar


Z’s cake and frosting

The recipe I used for Z’s red velvet cake is from Cybele Pascal’s Allergen Free Baker’s Handbook.

I love her recipes, and this one was pretty easy to make too. And unlike many other allergen free recipes, her baked goods actually taste good! She even has the frosting recipe, which I have been finding hard to find for allergen free ones. I’m thinking of buying her book instead of checking it out of the library again and again. This is one book I can really use and refer to long term.

For our red velvet cake, I used the recipe from Joy of Baking though we didn’t use her frosting recipe because we didn’t have the heavy cream she specified. So S just made the cream cheese frosting from some other random recipe. We had discussed the design for this cake a while back. Inadvertently, I realized that I suddenly have the ability to do Arabic calligraphy, and so I tried it out on paper. It is pretty good if I do say so myself. I have tried before in the past to do Arabic calligraphy, but they never turned out. This time, I guess I have been looking at some for quite some time and the connections just sparked in my brain and subhanallah, I was able to come up with a decent calligraphic representation of Taleem Al Quran at least. It wasn’t done with calligraphy pen, but it was a start.


I had discussed with S the design for her cake, and so I started decorating the cake yesterday. The thing that made me the most nervous was the calligraphy part, because I have never done this before in cake icing. I practiced on the practice board, and subhanallah, it wasn’t too bad for starters. I thought I was going to do worse than that! Though I do think I did better on the practice board than on the cake. If it was a sheet cake it would have been somewhat easier.



The only thing that I wasn’t too happy about is the smoothness of the frosted cake. I could have done better, but we were short on frosting, so I had to make do. It was close to dinner time too, so there was rushing, and cleaning up to do. This is one thing I don’t like about cake decorating. I have to schedule it way in advance so it doesn’t run into lunch and dinner time. Anyway, we ended up with two frosted red velvet cakes yesterday. I have to make more frosting for Z’s cake in order to pipe some decorations on it, though I most probably will not color any of it. So it’ll be white, or at the most chocolate, from cocoa. For S’ cake, we need to add the royal icing flowers on it.

Z didn’t know we were making a cake for him. When I told him, he looked at me with the most joyous expression there is. His expressions have always been intense since he was a baby, especially since he has a speech delay. He conveys a lot through his expressions. A slow but sure smile literally grew on his face, and his eyes lit up, and you could just see the delight radiating from his expression. He kept on asking for the cake though after that and I had to tell him that it’s for tomorrow.

But since we’re celebrating S starting Taleem Quran, and since I am also making a cake for Z, I thought I’d make it an occasion for him too. I had wanted to make a cake for him when he graduated potty training, but now, I think, I’ll celebrate his Quran Arabic reading, so as to further motivate him, and to make it also in alignment with celebrating S’ Taleem Quran. I’m thinking of writing some Arabic words on his cake and maybe have him read them. That is today’s project, yet to be done.


Categories: Al Huda Institute, Allergies, Baking, Cake Decorating, Creative Arts, Family | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Ice Cream Cakes

On Eid

My attempts at making ice cream cakes were not very successful in the past, despite it being actually very straightforward and simple. I decided to try again on Eid. My problem with it was that I froze the assembled cake, thus resulting in a frozen cake that is difficult to cut. So, this time, I told the kids to google ice cream cake, to find out the method and science behind it. That’s one advantage of having older kids. You get a second chance at trying things you’ve failed at in the past with a new team of helpers.

The resulting ice cream cake

So I found out that the cake needn’t be frozen, and that only the ice cream needs to be frozen, and made separately from the cake. This way, the ice cream would be frozen and the cake is not, and so you accommodate both the cake part and the ice cream part. H and S made the ice cream part by laying out plastic wrap in the cake pan and packing softened ice cream in it so it takes the shape of the pan. While they were doing that, I repeatedly told them to smooth out the wrinkles in the plastic wrap and to have a lot of overhang because they were going to wrap the whole ice cream disc in it. They groaned and said I was being too ‘fancy’.

Later on, when it was time to assemble the cake, while they were unwrapping their ice cream dics, I had the last line. My mantra : easy now, difficult later proved true. Their wrapping of the ice cream discs was so unkempt that some bits of the plastic wrap was frozen and couldn’t be pried out. They somehow did manage to pry it out though Alhamdulillah.

This is the only time I allowed making cakes from a cake mix which was given to us by a friend recently. Usually, I don’t use cake mixes, as part of an effort to reduce consumption of processed food. Since the cake mix produces two cake layers, we made two ice cream discs. One of them, we assembled on Eid day, while our guests were eating. It was pretty easy, though we forgot to make the chocolate fudge, so the resulting cake was without any drizzle of chocolate fudge. I just sprinkled it with some chocolate shavings.


We used the comb to produce this effect on the sides of the cake


The second ice cream cake we attempted had a chocolate fudge. This was much later on a weekend. H made the chocolate fudge, and S whipped up the heavy cream. The resulting cake was more adorned, but we all agreed that the whipped cream was a little bit too sickly. Not that it was bad, just that eating a lot of it was a bit too buttery for us. Which is a good thing. I never did like cake frosting. The powdered sugar kind is too sweet, and the buttery one is too buttery. Rolled fondant is too … rubbery, gummy, and candy-ish, and iced fondant is too sweet. I have yet to find a frosting recipe that allows for elaborate decorating and pleasing to my palate. My only reason for wanting to use frosting is for aesthetic purposes.

The chocolate fudge had been sitting for a while and so when it was time to drizzle it over the cake, it wasn’t too cooperative. Oh well…


Anyway, we had our fill of ice cream cakes and probably won’t make it for a while.

Categories: Activities - Ages 10 and up, Baking, Family | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Eid Cookies

Chocolate Cashew Cookies – they took the recipe from my mother’s food blog, but they subbed pecans for the cashews since we didn’t have any cashews on hand then.


We had made this cookie before for our Ramadan Cookie project with the girls’ club, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember where I got the recipe from! Then I remembered (can’t remember how I remembered, but I was looking through the Malaysian cookbooks I have), and it was from this old dessert Malaysian cookbook my mother had given to me when I was 10. So the girls made these Sesame cookies but they used brown sugar in place of white sugar because we were out of white sugar because they had been making a lot of desserts the preceeding days.


Kuih Bangkit. The girls made 2 batches. The first batch, S didn’t want to roast the tapioca flour and of course it tasted somewhat blandish. So she made it a second time and it tastes wonderful! We had a Bangladeshi couple over recently and the husband LOVES these cookies! I do too! The recipe is also my mother’s, from her food blog.


H as usual, made brownies. The girls arranged them in these muffin cups and placed them in containers and jars. They look real pretty.


It was my idea. Usually, during Eid, Z is always ‘left out in the cold’ in terms of goodies, because of his allergies. So I had made cookies for him for Eid, before Ramadan and froze them. While we were getting ready for Eid days before, I told the girls to pack his cookies with the halal marshmallows we had bought the day before in those treat bags. They also made the tag with his name on. We hid it from him and brought these with us to the masjid, ready to give them to him when people get their food. That’s when he’s usually left out. Last year I brought his muffins. You should have seen the look of utter enjoyment on his face when he got to eat those muffins while everyone else was digging into whatever food was served at the masjid. Poor boy. This year, this was a surprise for him. He loved it, except for the marshmallows. He said he didn’t like them. I wish I had the energy to make more treats for him. It was only one type of cookie that I made for him.





Categories: Allergies, Baking, Eid, Family | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Teens in the Kitchen

H was the mastermind of making Sponge Cake with Fruit and Cream.

Because we were fasting, the kids had this desire to make food upon food upon food. Even when I told them to stop, because since we were fasting, we couldn’t eat much anyway. We only get to eat at Iftar, rush to the masjid for tarawih, come back home, go to bed, and eat at suhoor. At least for me, there wasn’t much time or space in my stomach to fit in dessert. It seems ironic that they are making a lot of food in Ramadan. Kind of defeating the purpose. I have a feeling they don’t really get the whole spirit of Ramadan, well they do, but they can get carried away with the food aspect of it. Many times I had to remind them of what Ramadan is all about.

It’s pretty frustrating because as they grow older, I expect them to be wiser but I guess everyone has to go through these phases. I just hope they go through it quickly and get back on track. Parenting teens is harder in this sense. This is where I feel lacking. A lot.

They did do a good job of recording and documenting it though. Some of the shots they took are really nice. I’ll give them credit for that.

They’re at the stage where I can be napping, and when I wake up, food or dessert is ready. I told my mother what they were up to and she said, “Well, now that they can make their own food, they make what they want and eat what they want!” That’s one disadvantage if all they make is dessert! And pizza!

One of them took this shot. Pretty good. I took some too but when I was about to choose which photo to put up, I decided their shots had better lighting than mine.

But, I think it teaches them to plan ahead, especially when they are in need of ingredients that we didn’t have in our pantry. They know what day we usually grocery shop, so they would make the list, and then plan their baking/cooking. So it’s good life skills they are acquiring inshaAllah. I can leave these kids alone in a well equipped kitchen and they can feed themselves. As for it being healthy or not, well, they know what is healthy and what is not, and S adheres more to the healthy food than do N or H, and I still nag them with healthy eating, but I’m reaching a point where I may no longer have a dominating influence over them. They may have to get sick first, or be exposed to healthy-eating nag from other people they respect before they turn to healthy eating on their own. I’m reaching that point where I’m ready to hand them off to the world, and it’s a scary stage.

Because the sun was no longer sending its rays generously, as it was almost sunset, I took this shot outside to get the most of what light was left.

H complained about the folding that was required in making the sponge cake for this dessert. S had helped him and they claimed that they had followed the directions but it still fell flat when they added the butter. I had my own boo-boos with folding too when I first began baking. It’s a skill you just have to master through practice, I told him. But he waves it off with an air of aggravation. S made the top layer of this cake and H made the bottom. I took the shots. It feels nice to just take shots of ready-made food without having to go through the process of making it. This is one advantage of having kids who can make food. 🙂

They love making pizza too. H particularly does. They love to eat it too. I’m not much of a pizza fan. Once in a while, yes, but not too often. My taste buds are still pretty much Malaysian. I can’t take the cheese that much. Cheese to me is almost probably what Durians are to most Westerners.

I love this shot. One of the kids took it.

This is also a very nice and apt shot! Mashaallah. Again, one of them took it.

N’s sugar cookies


S made apple pie from the apples (organic and fresh) we bought from the Farmer’s market. They even found a worm in one of them.


It was a bit too watery when it was done, but it was still pretty good actually.


And for some reason, I am not able to upload the video they made of the apple worm.





Categories: Baking, Cooking, Family | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Ramadan 1433: Phillipines

Another one of those countries with minority Muslim population, so not much luck in finding Islamic architecture. This was the last one for Ramadan as we were close to the end, and they wanted to stop.

Their PPT presentation for Islam in Philippines.

they watched a video for how to make ensaymadas, though they didn’t really watched it thoroughly before starting to make it, so there were some mistakes




Categories: Activities - Ages 10 and up, Baking, Family, Powerpoint, Project, Ramadan | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Ramadan 1433: Indonesia

For Ramadan this year, we brainstormed, discussed, and agreed (before Ramadan of course) that they would pick 7 Muslim countries/countries that have Muslims and research them. They have 4 days per country and H is in charge of the architecture section, N and S are in charge of the food, clothing and they all have to come up with one Powerpoint presentation.

Indonesia PPT presentation

For Indonesia, these are what they came up with.

H made a model of one type of architectural form of the masjids in Indonesia. It reminds me of the lone masjid standing tall after that Tsunami hit Acheh in 2004, subhanallah.

H’s the cardboard expert

I’m actually impressed by this. I love it.

S made the Indonesian Flag

S and N made Bahulu, though my Bahulu mold is lost amidst the many hands of Malaysian students in Colz, so they had to make do with madeline molds. It turned out okay but some are not fully cooked or maybe because the batter involved folding, S suspected that maybe she didn’t fold it properly. The taste of bahulu is there, but I think using a bahulu mold would have produced better bahulus. Bahulu is also a Malaysian dessert, but as I told the kids, Malaysia and Indonesia are very similar. To me, it’s dumb that we even have the separation, all the negative outcomes of colonization.

S found the recipe for the bahulu from My Simple Food.

Categories: Baking, Cardboard, Powerpoint, Project, Ramadan, Sewing | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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