Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Recipe Review! Spicy Linguine with Clams and Mussels by Giada

Salam Ladies,

Sorry for the lengthy absence... I have no "good" excuse I suppose, just life going on as usual. Since I last wrote, my husband has graduated mashaAllah tabarak Allah :-)

Yesterday we stopped by Whole Foods and found mussels for about $5 per pound, so we picked up a pound and I made mussels today! Of the whole pound we lost four mussels (out of around 30) before cooking.

I decided to use a Spicy Linguine with Clams and Mussels recipe from foodnetwork by Giada De Laurentiis. MashaAllah it is a very simple and delicious recipe which I did tweak a bit for myself to make it healthier. You can find the original recipe at the link above and I will include my version below.

There are Shrimp because the dude was worried he wouldn't like the mussels :-P

Spicy Whole Wheat Vermicelli with Mussels
Serves 2
~400-450 Calories per serving

2 servings (4oz) of Whole Wheat Vermicelli or Thin Spaghetti (or your pasta of choice)
2 tsp butter
1/4 c parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

For Sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
salt, pepper to taste
1 tbsp garlic paste (or 2-3 cloves garlic, minced)
2 c vegetable broth
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 small tomato, chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper
24 mussels
2 tsp cream

1. Boil pasta in salted water until al dente, drain, toss in butter, parsley, and salt/pepper to taste. Set aside.
2. For the sauce: Heat oil and saute onion until soft, season with salt/pepper. Add garlic and saute for another 30 seconds. Add 1 cup of broth plus the lemon juice and simmer on medium heat until reduced by half. Add the rest of the broth, plus the red pepper and tomato, simmer 1 minute. Add mussels and cover tightly with a lid. Let simmer for 5-8 minutes until the mussels open (throw away any that don't open).
3. Use tongs to remove mussels from the pot. Whisk the cream into the remaining sauce and simmer 1 minute until slightly thicker.
4. Pour sauce onto reserved pasta and season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Arrange mussel shells on top of pasta and serve :-)

I love the recipe, it was very quick and easy and looks so rich and fancy when you are done with all the beautiful open shells on top of your pasta. Next time I get my hands on some mollusks I will probably attempt this again inshaAllah!
The Aftermath :-) Alhamdulillah

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Putting Together a Budget: Part I

Salam 3alaikum sisters,

I had a request to show how I put together the budget for our house. A budget is definitely an ongoing process and needs to be adjusted each month. This first post is going to cover how I first developed the budget.

Step 1: I bought a ledger book to keep track of our finances. I bout the one called "columnar pad" from Wal-Mart. It is not available online but you should be able to find something similar in most stores that carry office supplies.

Step 2: Write down how much I THINK we spend on each category. My categories included:

  • Rent: monthly for our apartment 
  • Electric: our only utility payment, but you may also have water and gas 
  • Comcast: internet bill
  • Insurance: car insurance is required
  • Phone: our cell phone bill
  • Car Gas: gasoline, monthly average, you may have a car payment as well
  • Food: include groceries and eating out, I keep note of restaurant amount as well
  • Fun: like travel, movies, etc
  • Netflix: monthly fee
  • Gym: monthly fee
  • Clothes: new clothes budget
  • Laundry: detergent, dryer sheets, and coins for machine
  • Heath and Beauty: medicines, make up, shampoo, conditioner, etc.
  • House Items: organizational, decorative
  • Savings: we are trying to save a certain amount each month
I put the name of the category in the first column then the amount I thought we would spend in the second column. You may have more or less categories than this.

Step 3: Track actual spending for a month. I keep all of our receipts together and every few days I update out budget. I separate each receipt into categories and keep a running total for each category. At the end of the week I check the bank statement online to make sure I didn't miss any receipts.
At the end of the month I will toss out all the receipts except those that I might need for warranty or return purposes. 

Step 4: At the end of the month, add up all your spending totals and compare to the predictions at the beginning of the month. This will give you a better idea of how you are actually spending your money versus how you think you are spending it. For example, we estimated the first month that we would spend $300 on food and we actually spent closer to $400. That is a big difference... 

Step 5: Use your actual spending to estimate your next months budget. Where can you add and where can you take away? For example the next month we set our food budget at $350 and made an effort to eat out less often. 

Note: Don't forget to add one time expenses into your monthly budget. For example you may know that this month you will need to change the car oil, maybe your husband needs a new pair of dress shoes, or you need to pay your zakat. Go ahead and add that into the budget at the beginning of the month so you can be prepared for the expense.

In part two, inshaAllah I will talk about some other budget options that may work better different situations.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Home Management Binder

Salam 3alaikum girls,

I am in the middle of putting together a "home management binder" to help me organize all of the papers and schedules and information floating around my house.

Right now, I am just putting together things from around my house (free, yay!) to create a makeshift binder until I figure out how much use I will get out of these binders before investing more permanently.

So far I have 2 plastic brad folders and one normal plastic folder.

The brad folders look like this:

One brad folder holds our receipts, budget, goals, account info, travel plans, and calendars (school, cleaning schedule, tv shows lol). It is green, like money O_o
The second brad folder holds online shopping account info, meal ideas, coupons, recipes, the grocery list and store ad flyers. It is orange... like an orange. Yes I'm so creative.
The normal folder holds our apartment info, lease agreement, and documented contact with the landlord/maintenance staff, and emergency information like family addresses, phone numbers, doctors names and numbers, etc. It is purple. Because I had a purple folder.

Along with normal notebook paper I am using a few plastic page protectors and some binder clips to hold lists and receipts and such I also have some tabs for the sections. Coupons, grocery lists, and calendars are stored in plastic pages. I have some plastic pages also to store any recipes I come across in magazines or online. I can just clip or print them and shove them in the book for later.

The 10 colored tab pages, 16 plastic page protectors, and 8 binder clips of varying size were $3 total at the Dollar Tree, so it really wasn't a big splurge to get this party started. Everything else I had laying around the house.

When I get a good system going inshaAllah I plan on adding more "official" printables instead of drawing all over notebook paper. Also I may buy a real binder.

Would you all be interested in my sharing the printables here? I know homemaking binders are becoming more common.

I think the first one I will make will be for my cleaning schedule inshaAllah. Right now I have it all written on scrap pieces of paper and stuck in the binder which isn't very helpful.

Do any of you use a homemaking binder to keep organized? Do you use some other method? I would love to hear about it inshaAllah!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Upcoming Projects

Salam 3alaikum girls,

While I was away from the blog, a lot of things changed up here! We are just getting settled into a new apartment in a new town mashaAllah. We are implementing a new budget to save up for "after graduation limbo" time. I am having to learn some new skills while we are adapting to our new environment, and I am striving to get more organized so that our little home runs more smoothly inshaAllah.

I am planning on putting together some new posts related to:

  • home organization
  • home management
  • food/recipes
  • my inspiration
  • DIY projects
  • beauty posts
  • health and fitness
I have come to realize that I am a homemaker/ housewife that doesn't really know how to make a home! I love the idea of taking care of my house and my family, but I don't really know how to give myself some structure so that I really take my job seriously.

Right now I just do housework and such whenever it becomes absolutely necessary, like when the sink is full of dishes or we have no clean clothes to wear. I sit around a lot and put things off. I want people to have respect for homemakers, but I am not being very respectful toward my position. If I was on a "real" job outside, I think I would have been fired a long time ago. MashaAllah my husband is very patient with me, and very understanding, but it is not right for me to take advantage of that. 

So for a little while inshaAllah my posts will be pretty "home" related as I try to teach myself to be a better housewife.

What do you think??


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Quick Update

Salam 3alaikum ya akhwaaty,

We are just getting settled into a new apartment alhamdulillah and getting into the swing of school again. I feel like we have been running around like chickens with our heads cut off for weeks now but inshaAllah ya rabb hopefully things will slow down soon.

We finally have an internet connection and everything so inshaAllah I will return to more regular posting soon.

Hope all of you are doing well inshaAllah!!!


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Affordable Beauty Tips #4

Salam 3alaikum ya banaat!

see what you can do with that stuff piling up in your medicine cabinet or laundry room!

Beauty in the Laundry Room/Medicine Cabinet!

Ivory Bar Soap:
 Cheaper than liquid body washes and also great for hand washing delicates. Before you go out gardening, scratch your nails across your bar soap to build up a coat under your nails, put on your gardening glove, then when you get done just rinse out the soap. It will save you time having to dig all the dirt from your nails later inshaAllah.

Bounce Sheets: Rub a bounce sheet on the bottom of your dress/pants/abaya to avoid static cling. Keep bounce sheets in your clothes drawer to keep that "just washed" smell. Bounce sheets are also great to smooth out fly-away hairs!

Aspirin: Crunch up aspirin, mix with a little water and use on skin to reduce puffiness and prevent razor burn after you shave. If you apply a paste to a pimple it will also reduce redness and pain and help shrink it up quickly.

Baking Soda: I use it for everything! You can use it to exfoliate your scalp (just add to your shampoo or conditioner) to deodorize your shoes, add to bleach and make a scrub for the bathroom and kitchen, exfoliate your lips by mixing it will oil or vaseline and gently wiping away with a warm wet cloth. Add baking soda to your toothpaste for extra cleaning power and toss some in the wash to help whiten whites.

Epsom Salts: Great for adding to oil for an exfoliating scrub. Good for tossing in the bath instead of those pricey bath salts. Just add some body wash/essential oils/leftover perfume in the bottom of the bottle for a great smell.

Witch Hazel: This is another great antiseptic/astringent. It does amazing things for ingrown hairs and razor burn. Just put some on a cotton ball and swipe over the area. Follow up with olive oil/vitamin e/ coconut oil or your favorite moisturizer! Witch hazel is really cheap but I would spend the extra couple dollars to get one that doesn't have such a strong smell to it, because the smell is quite definitely an acquired taste... You can also try adding an essential oil to cover the smell, but shake the bottle each time before use. Witch hazel also helps heal bruising and sun burns.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Affordable Beauty Tips #3

Salam 3alaikum girls!

In continuation with the "affordable beauty" series, here are some tips for using what you have in your home office or at work!

Beauty in the Office!

Elmer's Glue: Use kids white school glue as a peeling face mask. Apply to skin, wait to dry, and peel off.

Liquid Paper: Use this white correcting fluid to fix a chip in your french manicure instead of going to get a fill in. It also works to cover up black scuffs on white shoes in a pinch!

Scotch Tape: Removes powdered eye make up really quickly if you want a change or if you get extra powder all over the place. Just press the piece against the make up you want to remove and it will lift away!

Magnetic Paper Clip Holder: Holds all your bobby pins in one easy to access place.

Post-It Notes: Use small ones under your eyes to catch any loose falling eyeshadow, fold in quarters with the sticky side facing out and use to clean under your nails. The sticky catches the dirt.

Paper Clips: Use an unfolded paper clip to make polka dots with your nail polish.

Circle Paper Hole Reinforcements: Use to make a clean curve with your nail polish during manicures, like the "half moon" manicure and french manicure. You can also use cut up strips of blue painters tape to make straight lines!