This year has been a little busier than usual. I thought having a 4.5 year old and a 1.5 year old would be easier than last year having a 3.5 year old and a 6 month old. But let me just tell you, I was wrong!! While my 4 year old is pretty good most of the time, Alhumdulillah, it’s my 1.5 year old that gave me a hard time this year. Between her staying up for 2-4 hours at night or her need to not be more than 2 feet away from me – or attached to my hip when out, to her tantrums and lack of eating it has been a little harder than I expected. They call it the terrible two’s but I’m starting to think they had it all wrong, this starts way before they even hit 2. However I’m grateful to have gotten through and I’m so glad to say with a full nights rest these last couple of days she has been an absolute delight, Alhumdulillah.
Rant aside, I wanted to be a part of Eid Eats this year, but when it came down to it, things got a little too crazy and I didn’t get a chance to make something specifically for the occasion. However I’ve had these Sweet & Salty Pecan Cheesecake Bars tucked away and now seemed like the perfect time to put it to good use. Wouldn’t it be great for Eid? My mum asked me to make these a while ago. She sent me a recipe but it turned out the recipe was American and had a lot of ingredients thats weren’t in my Aussie pantry, so I made my own version instead and it turned out wonderfully.
Prepare a 8 x 8-inch pan with baking paper and cooking spray. Preheat your oven to 170c. Crush your crackers until fine like breadcrumbs, don’t be concerned about bigger chunks among the crumbs. Add your melted butter and brown sugar. Mix well and press into prepared pan, place in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Beat cream cheese on a medium speed until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until combined. Add in eggs one at a time until combined. Spread over prepared base and place in the oven for 25 minutes.
Roughly chop pecans and add in brown sugar and butter. Mix well. After the cheesecake has baked for 20 minutes, remove and gently top with the pecan mixture. Spreading over gently, but firmly pressing into the cheesecake. By placing this on top after some baking time, it ensures the pecan mixture doesn’t settle to the bottom and doesn’t burn. Place back in the oven for 15 more minutes.
Allow to cool completely, then place in the fridge for a couple hours to chill. It is easiest to cut these when it is chilled. Remove and slice into squares. if you feel you may break the cheesecake when removing, then slice them first and remove one slice at a time. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.
Variation: For this recipe I used salty crackers and salted butter. You could use unsalted butter and biscuits instead if you don’t like salty sweet desserts. If using sweet biscuits, there’ll be no need for the brown sugar in the base.
Still looking for Eid Gift ideas? This year has been a little (very) crazy. I’ve had a 17 month old who would be up 2-4 hours at night, suffice to say I was exhausted during the day. I didn’t have a chance to get, make or even plan out my Eid gifts this year. An idea came to me, simple and easy yet yummy and handmade. I do like giving handmade gifts, last year I gave brownie mix jars hard to family and playdough to all my sons little friends.
This year I handed out almond, toffee, salted chocolate bark to our friends and family. I also made cute printables to go with them. Keep reading for the recipe and free printables.
The size of my bags were 13cm but I made the printables slightly bigger so they’d fit a snack size snap lock bag as well. You could use them as is on a bag or cut the edges to fit. I made them in green and black and there’s 3 on a page to save from excessive printing.
Click the green image for the green version or the black for the black labels. Enjoy!
Lay a piece of baking paper on a flat tray. Place your sugar into a flat pan on medium to high heat. Ensure your sugar is dvey spread onthe pan. When the sugar dissolves and begins to turn an amber colour, remove from the heat and pour into your baking paper and spread thin and evenly.
Chop your almonds and set aside in a bowl. Once your toffee (cooked sugar) has set, cut it with a knife. This will cause the toffee to crack and shatter into small shards. Set aside the shards in a bowl.
Lay baking paper on 3 flat trays. I melted my chocolate in 2 lots as it was easier to work with.
Chop 200g dark chocolate and 400g milk chocolate into small pieces. Melt your chocolate in a metal/glass bowl over a pot of simmering water, ensure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.
Melt the chocolate until almost all the pieces have become smooth and liquid.
Remove from the heat and stir until smooth and shiny. Pour 2 serving spoons of chocolate into each tray and spread to approximately 3mms. If the chocolate is too thin, it will snap easily.
Sprinkle your almonds, toffee shards and salt onto the chocolate.
I’ve had this idea for a while now. In fact I had planned to make this last year Ramadan, I just didn’t have the time last year.
This is by no means a new idea (although at the time I thought it was) Lail from With a Spin has a little Gingerbread Masjid and I recently saw the cutest DIY kits by Secubit Bakery (USA) on Facebook. Seeing those kits was part of my motivation for finally getting this Masjid made, the other part was being asked by my friend Razeena over at Read Little Muslims.
As you’ve probably noticed my version is made with chocolate cookies. Why chocolate cookie? Well, I’m not really a fan of gingerbread, plus gingerbread is synonymous with christmas so I thought it would be ideal to try something a little different and it’s chocolate, who doesn’t like chocolate?
I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel when it came to the recipes for these, and it is tricky enough to get a cookie recipe that doesn’t flatten or spread so I’ve adapted recipes from other sources and I used pre mix Royal Icing from Queen to make the whole job a little easier. You could try chocolate for the sticking and decoration but I avoided that because 1. I didn’t have any, and 2. I wanted something that would set hard without me having to worry too much. However, I might try chocolate next time.
I kept the template simple, a dome, minarats and square sides. I left windows out of the masjid so it would be less hassle, but I’ve included it as an option in the templates so you can cut them out if you wish. I used the window template to add the windows in with icing afterward. I also included a people template, but you could use a gingerbread cutter instead. I haven’t included the people in our masjid as we haven’t had a chance to decorate them, I’m waiting to do them with my son, I know he’ll enjoy it. A BIG BIG thank you to Penny Paperoni for transforming my drawings into this awesome template for all of you. Click the image below to download and print your template.
glasses or thin bottles to hold everything in place
Chocolate Sugar Cookie
In a mixer, cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla essence until combined. Sift 3 cups flour and cocoa powder and add to the mixture. Mix until dough starts to form, if dough isn’t forming add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time until dough forms.
Place dough into a piece of cling wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour.
Cutting the Cookies
While the dough is chilling print and cutout your templates. Don’t forget to cut out the door of the masjid. Cut baking paper pieces to fit your cookie trays. I used 2 cookie sheets (and reused 1 later on for the masjid people).
After dough has chilled remove from fridge and split into 2 lots, place 1 lot back into the fridge.
Roll the dough onto the cut piece of baking paper, I found this the easiest way to roll the dough, use flour if necessary. Roll the dough to ½cm thick. Place the templates (1 masjid/minaret piece with one square side fits well together on one sheet) onto the dough and cut it out as close to the edge with a sharp thin knife. Remove the excess dough by gently peeling it off the baking paper, being careful around the edges of the masjid cut outs. Place the excess dough in the fridge as well.
Carefully lift the baking paper and place it onto the tray then place in the fridge to chill for another hour.
Do the same with the other lot of dough, cutting out another square and another masjid/minaret side, place again in the fridge for an hour.
If you have another tray roll out the excess dough on another sheet of baking paper and use the people template to cut out as many people as you like, you could also use a gingerbread cookie cutter.
Pre heat oven to 175c after the cutouts have chilled for 45 minutes. Once heated, place the trays into the oven. The masjid and squares will take 13-17 minutes, keep an eye on it from the 10 minute mark. Your cookie will be done when the middle seems firm and is not wet looking. The people shapes will take from 5 – 8 minutes. I baked the people separately so they didn’t burn.
Cool completely before decorating.
Brown Royal Icing
Measure out your half cup of royal icing mixture and place it into a bowl, add in water a few drops at a time. I used a syringe. It’s easy to get the mixture too wet, so be sure not to add too much.
You want your icing to be thick, a good guide is the 20 second rule. Run a spoon through the mix and count the time it takes for the streak to settle back, it should take at least 20 seconds.
Tint your icing brown to match the cookies and fill into a piping/ziplock bag.
Make another batch of royal icing as you did for the brown icing. This time colour it in various colours of your choice. Use candies, lollies, sprinkles and the like to decorate the sides of the masjid.
Decorate each side of your masjid with the icing and decorations and let it set for a few hours. Get a large flat plate, board or cake platter. To attach the masjid front to the plate, pipe a thick line of brown icing onto the flat surface, remembering to leave a gap for the doorway (use the masjid template cut outs to guide your lines). Hold the masjid front piece onto the icing for 15-30 seconds and place a glass or something firm at the front and back of the piece.
Do the sides next, by piping icing onto the inner side edge of the masjid front and pipe a 12cm line on the the plate. Hold the side in place for 15-30 seconds and place something on both sides of the piece to hold it in place. Repeat with the other side.
Finally the masjid back, pipe a line between the 2 sides and along the inner edge of the piece, hold the back piece in place for 30 seconds and place something firm on either side to hold it in place. Pipe more brown icing into any gaps. Use glass cups to keep everything in place while setting. Set for a few hours.
Once set, remove cups and clean out any access icing by gently cutting away with a sharp knife.
Put on display or serve with tea!
Storage The assembled cookie will last 1-2 weeks in cool weather, be sure to keep it covered with cling film to avoid dust, dirt and pests getting into it. If baking to assemble at a later date, store your pieces in an air tight container in the freezer. When ready to decorate and assemble, remove all your pieces and let them thaw separately, then decorate, set and assemble. If baking and decorating to assemble at a later date. Decorate your pieces and let them set. Wrap each piece in cling film and freeze. Before thawing, remove each piece from the cling film and allow to thaw separately. Assemble and enjoy!
It’s Ramadan and we’re all looking for ideas to keep the kids busy. Part of Ramadan falls in the Winter break here in Australia (and other Southern countries) and in the Summer break in the Northern Hemisphere, which means the kids will need something extra to keep themselves occupied. Sometimes you just need to have something on hand that is self guided, so you can get on with worship or housework or the laundry or whatever else needs doing and activity books are the perfect solution. They’re easy, you can just give them to your kids with some pencils and crayons and they’re on their way. I wrote a post on getting kids involved in Ramadan in which I share many ideas, one of them, of course includes activity books and sheets.
I recently received this Ramadan activity book from Shaheda of ShahedOPrints and it’s been included in our Ramadan book basket this year. It’s a little smaller than A4 making it easy for little hands and has a bright and fun cover. The layout is simple with an easy flow of activities
It is filled right to the end with 25 fun and varied activities. There’s the standard colouring in pages, as well as a maze (which kid doesn’t love those), word activities and more. I’m not sure what age range the book is designed for, although considering the word activities I’d say say it’s probably best for 6 years and over. My 4 year old would be able to do at least half of the activities in the book. In fact he’s been quite excited about it and has started working on some today.
Ramadan Fun is a cute activity book that will keep the kid(s) from getting bored this Ramadan, it’s a good resource to supplement other Ramadan learning and activities. Purchase from Shaheda O on etsy – shahedaoprints.etsy.com.
One question I’ve seen floating around on social media a lot is ‘How do I get my children involved in Ramadan?’, so I put together a post to answer this question. Involvement can mean a lot of things, it can mean creating, learning, doing, making or helping, it can also mean so much more. Essentially it is about including children and getting them to be and feel like they are a part of something and I think the ideas in this post will help you achieve that.
I had my 4 year old in mind when writing this, but there’s so many ideas in this post this could range from babies right up to children 10 years old. I’ve also included links to purchase items where relevant. So here they are, 49 Ways to get kids involved in Ramadan:
1. Let them help set the table for suhoor or iftar.
2. Make a Ramadan banner or poster.
I created a free printable bunting last year, get out the scissors and crayons for this one, there’s a lot of cutting and the kids can go wild decorating it
21. Get them involved in suhoor, if it’s too early for them wake up, let them have a ‘suhoor’ meal at breakfast time. Set the scene – do everything just as you would during suhoor so they can experience it and don’t forget to finish off with a date, some water and your intention to fast (just as a practise of course).
22. If your children are too young to fast, but are excited by the prospect of fasting, let them attempt a practise fast (this doesn’t have to be longer than a few hours, making sure you don’t force or push them to do so) . Offer praise for any attempt made, it will encourage them to fast when they are required to do so, in shaa Allah.
23. Ask them to help choose their eid clothes- try to purchase these before Ramadan, or if you’re using existing clothes or are purchasing them yourself, get them to try them on before Eid, and ask them to get accessories ready (socks, shoes, belt, headbands, hair ties etc).
24. Get/make a salaah tracker and offer rewards for completing salaahs.
30. Encourage your children to perform simple sunnahs – or they can compete with themselves by setting a Sunnah goal and trying to beat it each day. This can be a great one to work on as a parent as well.
31. Encourage good deeds or make good deed sticks.
We made these cute good deed sticks and placed them in a tin, ready to be picked
We also own all the Zaky DVDs – Let’s Learn Quran with Zaky and Friends was played over and over again last Ramadan, I think we all know the words off by heart. Purchase through Amazon or in the 1Islam store. We plan to buy part 2 very soon in shaa Allah.
34. Create an iftar box – I saw this idea on Amnah’s (Little Life of Mine) Instagram last year. If your kids have started fasting or even if they’re doing part fasts, start an iftar box with them, it’s a great motivator to get to iftar time so they can enjoy all the treats they’ve packed.
35. Take them to the mosque when you can. If they’re up and can manage, take them for Taraweeh prayers one night.
36. If you have special ramadan recipes, ask your kids to help you prepare them, be patient, it may take longer and be more messy than usual but they will enjoy the time with you.
37. If you’re having friends and family over for iftar, get the kids to help with the meal, to set up for the guests or help with the table.
38. Pack hampers for the disadvantaged/homeless and ask your kids to help you pack. Delegate tasks that will be simple and easy so they can be pleased with themselves and aspire to do more.
39. Eat together on the floor – give the dining table a rest (or the kitchen nook as the case may be), throw a mat on the floor and enjoy your iftar Sunnah style.
40. If you’re sharing Eid gifts, get your kids involved by getting them to help you make it if it’s homemade, or help you choose something of you’re making a purchase or they can help gift wrap and fill envelopes for you.
41. Start a Ramadan Journal or scrapbook. It’s a great way to for them to keep track of each Ramadan, see how far they’ve come, track new achievements and set better goals each time. You can keep it simple and use a good old fashioned notebook and pen or try some of the options below:
Hello everyone, I’ve decided to put together a free Ramadan meal planner for all of you. It has a simple layout and is easy to use. It has spaces for Suhoor, Iftar, Dinner and Snacks. I’ll be using the snack section to include lunch ideas for the cookie monster, can’t forgot our feasting kids.
Yes I know Ramadan isn’t about the food. For me personally I’ve found that being organised during Ramadan means I spend less time fumbling in the kitchen, less time thinking about what to cook and less time in the grocery store. This means more time spent on prayer and worship (for me anyway).
I’ll be using this meal planner during Ramadan and in shaa Allah it helps me to keep on track. If you need some organisation too, feel free to download the planner. Just click here and print. And don’t worry, yours won’t have modestmunchies.com splashed across the middle 😉
The above planner was from 2014 and 2015 is below.