Friday, October 28, 2011

Michigan fall and apple pies!

Winter is around the corner and I love fall and I love being outdoors enjoying the cool weather and color changes of the leaves. Right now most of the color is gone and all the trees are standing naked and reminding us how close we are to the first fall of snow. So, I have been mostly indoors, keeping warm and dry and cooking.

I made my first pie so I am excited I can't wait for it to cool, so I can taste it! I am hoping it is good because I love pies and if this comes out right I will try to make other types of pies.

To make the best apple pie you need to have the best apples in this case I used the Honeycrisp Apples from Michigan of course and it is really tart and sweet and my friend Mary makes some of the best pies using this types of apples.

The dough was not that hard to make; I used butter, sugar and ice cold water.

I will tell you all about how it turned out, hopefully it tastes good!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Oh time, where have you gone!?

Sorry I have not been making posts everyday like I promised. I have just been too lazy to keep up with the blog and I have pretty much gotten comfortable been in Minneapolis that I no longer feel like tourist. My cousin told the first week was going to be interesting with alot of new expereiences and the second week nothing will shock because the assimilation will be very complete and I guess that pretty much describes my present mood.

I visited some of the sorrounding suburban towns like Eden Prairie  and Chyrstal mn and they remind so much of home. Eden Praire especailly was awarded by Money Magazine as the best place to live a few years back and it has really cool clean vibe.

Most of you know that I have been dealing with a lot children mostly of the my nieces, nephews and cousins and there's a lot hilarity that comes with being around children and for someone who has been around adults for a long time, this was been an interesting experience. Masha'Allah I gotta give it up to moms everywhere who continue to enrich the lives of children and kiss every booboo and love them unconditionally at all ours of the day. I truly appreciate my hooyo who was endlessly enduring when was a difficult challenging crazy child. I see her struggles with eyes of an adult and I love her for all she went through. My Allah reward all moms of the world for all they have given us and for all they sacrificed for us. There is no way we can even give them half of what they have given us.

With that said I will highlight the top ten no-no and some of the things to expect when you are around kids. most of them are common sense to those who are around kids and pretty much new to me

10. Do not make false promises. Do not say 'inshallah will see' because kids are too smart for that and they have figured out the word 'insha'allah' and they have created their own meaning. When I asked my niece what inshallah means she quickly answered "Inshallah means maybe yes maybe no"

9. Do not take kids problem solving skills for granted. If they can't reach your laptop that you placed in high shelf today, do not assume that it will be safe there tomorrow.

8. Do not use bad language around kids and if you do, don't be surprised at how quickly they pick it up and how often they use that language.

7. Expect kids to be very chatty and be ready when they carry on conversation with random strangers at malls or anywhere else that you could be at. One word you will always hear is why. On positive note kids will make you very outgoing and you will always meet new people

6. Expect kids to have more energy then you can ever possibly have but the minute they get low on energy and get tired be ready for the meltdown.

5. If you do not give kids something to keep them busy with, they will get busy with you. So give them someway to burn all that energy.

4. Do not forget about them even for a minute you have to always be watching them. Because they tend to get into the most trouble when you are not looking

3. Do not ignore them when they are talking to you, you would be surprised  by the neat things they tell you

2. Do not wear white clothing around them, kids have a way of loving you even when their hands are dirty

1. Do not tell them scary stories! NEVER EVER EVER DO THAT! Their perception of reality is a bit different so if you make the story vivid enough for them they will believe it to be true.

                                           Will be back to Michigan soon insha'Allah lol

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Coasters and Camel Burgers!

I have been very daring lately... Taking big risks with myself. You know the saying, "relax, go wild you're on Vacation!" It doesn't really apply to Muslims, because our deeds are always being written down for us and we are accountable for all of them. Anyway, I have been going places; I have been exploring the city and walking on the wild side with limitations of course. When you are on vacation, it is always good to do things that you would normally not do because you are taking a break from the normal everyday things.

I normally don't go to the malls but now I have been going everyday. I normally don't eat out a lot because there is always something made to eat at the house. I am somewhat adventurous and more likely to try new foods than any of my close friends, but I do not eat anything weird. So of course, since  I am doing things out of the norm I tried a camel burger, and before you say ewww and click out of the page, let me just say it tastes just like beef! Like a really good  lean cut beef burger patti and it was made by my friends at Safari Express so you know it gotta be at least decent in taste. It was topped with  grilled pineapple and its own version of special sauce that was spicy, savory and really tasty. I am glad a tried it, but I am not sure I would be eating the camel burger everyday because I would not like my lunch turn into major discussion any time I was asked what I ate for lunch. Besides camel burger is not an everyday kinda meal just like any  exotic dish out there. And since I do not live here, I doubt that I would find it any where else in America.

Camel Burger

I went to Mall of America today and it is ridiculous how huge this place is. The shopping sucked for me  just because of the distance between my favorite stores and I didn't feel like going to new stores because I had a few hours to see and experience the whole place and I have been shopping plenty all week.  So we ended up going to amusement park inside the mall and that was a lot of fun. I am normally too much of a chicken to even attempt roller coasters but like I said I was a daring version of myself.  Of course the first coaster I rode was really fast and it scared the crap out me and afterwords there were several more rides and I was not all that scared anymore. I had a blast!!! I am so so so glad that I didn't shop too much. This was highlight of my week so far, tomorrow I am going to a wedding and so the party is not over but I am pretty sure today is going to be up there in the ranking as the most fun day of my time in Minnesota.

                                      ~Team fun~ these cuffs allowed us to go on unlimited rides!

Friday, October 7, 2011

All about food

If you are in Minneapolis and you are not dining from the Somali restaurants you are missing out big time! so far I have eaten the food from the three different Somali restaurants and I am not disappointed by the food both the quality and the quantity. Let me start by saying that I am a big foodie; I love everything about food: cooking, learning about new and interesting foods and definitely eating food. I even dream about new recipes while sleeping, down to the measurements. So of course I have done my research ahead of time (before I arrived) about places to eat and foods to try.  I come to town seriously excited about chowing down on some of the best Somali cuisine Minneapolis has to offer and let me tell ya this city delivered.

First place I tried was Qoraxlow restaurant and this place must be a new fad in the city because I have seen more Qoraxlow restaurants than I have seen McD's and Wendy's and my cousin Ifrah tells me that they all popped up all over the place recently. she says the owner is woman with a true rags to riches achieving the American dream tale. The food is good but insha'Allah I plan to explore it some more because I was not really wowed as I was with other restaurants. It was decent Somali food but there is craze over this place and I plan to get to the bottom of it. So many people most be obsessed with  these restaurants because the company seem to be expanding rapidly.

The second place I went I have been planning to go since 2008. Crazy I know! I was looking for recipes for Somali dishes on YouTube and I came across Somali chef who has name I can't recall and he was on morning news show and he was demonstrating how to make this dish he called Chicken Fanstatik, so I wrote the recipe and lost it later on, but I remembered the place he cooked at was called Safari Restaurant and it was in Minneapolis,  that's all knew and I have been waiting to come here and eat this dish since that year. Yesterday, FINALLY! I had tasted it and my goodness it was worth the wait. It was incredible, this dish is unlike anything I have ever tried... it is more Italian than Somali  but it still  has Somali'ish vibe. It was an absolutely delicious meal and I swear I imagined many times how it would taste but is was totally different than anything my imagination came up with. let me describe to you a little the ingredients; it is shredded zucchini, onions, carrots and chicken with a creamy, herb-y sauce over a bed of the some really yummy Somali rice.  I am not the only person who raving about this amazing invention I was reading the all the awards this place has received over the years. Even the mayor of the city comes around and dines there, and the restaurant is also involved in the community which is a bonus for me. And by the way the service was really really great; not to mention I met a white guy named Jeff who speaks Somali really well and we have had few minutes discussion in afSomali and we agreed how difficult it is learn this language... I was surprised how well he spoke it given the hardship of learning this language. Better than some of my friends! I wanted badly to  get a picture with him but I was too shy to ask.

Fantastik chicken Fantastik 

Did I mention that there is camel burger for adventurous folks to try?

My third stop was at Kaaha restaurant inside the 24 mall, (another Somali mall in this city) and I went there by myself and I was seated in women's area. Yes people, some Somali restaurants do have separation of men and women and in my experience I have also noticed in a few restaurants that have a "miscellaneous area" where men and women sit together; mostly family groups or Americans sit in this area. I am not sure if Kaaha has the same arrangement. I have asked for  a menu and the waiter laughed and later on told me that I  was the first person to ask him for a menu. why? because Somali food is always straight up the same at every restaurant you go, it is traditional, no surprises, the same great meals that we grew up with at home are available at this joints. Of course I would not know that because we have a shortage in Somali restaurants where I am from. like zero Somali restaurants! The service was great and it had a very comfortable  Somali family vibe and I loved it. Two thumbs up from me.
                                                   Chicken kutuleti (cutlets) with rice

                                     so much food and so delicious I took some home with me.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Damn Al shabab

I know I am on vacation and I promised that I would be writing about things related to my stay in Minneapolis so I am sorry if this is not what you expected from me. I am just truly saddened by what has happened in Somalia to the 70 dead  and many injured people in Tuesday's car bomb. so my thoughts are far from enjoying myself in this beautiful city. I can not express enough how much I abhor Alshabab and anyone who kills unsuspecting innocents in the name of Allah. I am not one to easily who hate any of Allah creation no matter how vile and horrible they are. But I have to tell you how truly deserving they are of my hate.. may they all perish and burn in deepest parts for hell for the fitna they cause in Somalia. Somalia has seen many tragedies in the last twenty years but this one gets to me the most because this cursed group not only enslave my people but they do in the name of my Religion and I cannot forgive or forget that easily.

I have never really appreciated how much Allah has blessed me with, especially my education. There are young students in some places in the world who study in dim candle light and they keep studying with out complaining and then they there those that are killed just because that trying to do something useful for their country. In the history of humanity, when one group wants to keep down   the  morale of another group or enslave them, the first thing they do is take away the power to think for themselves by immersing them in the darkness of ignorance. And this my dear friends and family is exactly what is deplorable group is doing. they are squishing the hope of the young ones before it blossoms and gives them the confidence they need to survive. The confidence they need to bring about positive change that is desperately needed in Somalia.

I wish them nothing but harm... I am tired of praying for them to change for better when all they do is  destroy the last ray of hope that this fragile country can cling to.

Dugsi (again)

I missed to make the last post. Oh well, it is not the end of the world; life goes on as usual. Yesterday was a loooong day subhana'Allah. We went mall cruising again.... so many cute hijabs I wanted to buy them all. Next time I will probably drive down to Minneapolis so I don't have to deal with Airport baggage requirements and  I can take everything I want. I don't understand how I can hate shopping back home and I want to spend all my days in the Somali malls here. I know for sure if I move here I will never save money because I will always be buying head scarfs.

I went to dugsi with the kids again and masha'Allah I love the place. If  the Somali of Minneapolis got one thing going for them is the quality of Islamic education. They excel at that here but the dugsi that my nieces and nephew go to is even better than the traditional dugsi because they help the kids with their homework and they have a collaboration with moms who seem to be spending just as much time at the school as their kids. This dugsi teaches math, English, science as well as the traditional Islamic studies and this great especialy since some of the Somali moms can't really help their kids with these subjects.

                           The kindergarten class... my niece calls it the baby class

My niece drew this picture of me... I was kinda freaked out because we lost the car keys and she really captured my stress, but I only wish my lashes were that long!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Heard on the street

Tonight I am very tired so tonight I will keep it short. I have been around a lot kids so I have some pretty hilarious statement and some really interesting questions. so this my version of kids say the darn-est things. Any one who spends time with children knows how incredibly inquisitive they are. They are really honest and they will call things as they see unless of course they ditching trouble and then the creative lying comes into play.

If you are around children you will learn how to get around their curiosity and their requests without  lying to them. And has no one has mastered this as well as my auntie. Masha'Allah she is a clever lady. I went shopping  with her  and the kids today.  Her son came up to her with a toy gun and he said "Hooyo (mom) can you buy this for me?" and she replays "ok, I will get it for you when you join the army!" A few minutes later her other son comes with a pair of NBA arm sleeves and says "Hooyo, can you buy me this?" To which she answers "ok hooyo, I will get it for you when you join the NBA!"

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Living the good life (Somali style) in Minneapolis

Minnesota has a large Somali Population and the Majority of the Somalis in the state live in Minneapolis/St. Paul area and they have had major affects  on this area since they arrived in huge numbers after they came to the United States in the 90’s.  It has been a very interesting day here for me. My whole day was filled with many nostalgic moments and many hilarious moments; nostalgic when I took a tour inside a Dugsi (Islamic school for kids) because I was reminded of my childhood. Every Somali kid back home went to Dugsi in the weekends and I was reminded of studying my Arabic alphabets and memorizing chapters of the Quran and reciting to Macalins (teachers). This has been especially touching for me because since my settlement in this country my Islamic studies have gone solo and lonely, with no company but the internet and occasional Thursday lectures at the masjid.

Something that made me laugh was how really at home the Somalis have gotten in Minneapolis, I mean they marked the place with special quirky way that only Somalis can do. Many of the people who know me really well know my dislike for the big Curtains that you can only find in Somali households.  Every Somali I know covers the inside of their houses wall to wall with these special curtains. Sometimes when we give each other directions in Lansing we would say things like “you wouldn't miss it… it is the gray house with the blue curtains on the left of the street” They do come in many colors but the most favored colors are usually burgundy and gold and these things were everywhere today when I was driving around town and that really made my day and changed how felt about them!
                                        An office building with burgundy/gold curtains lolz :)

The reality is that the Somali population of Minnesota has found a place that they feel at home curtains and all and they have positive affects that changed the face of the state as well as the nation. They run businesses in the area, attend and send their kids to universities and they are consumers within the local economy. They are involved in politics and  had a big part in the campaign and election of the First Muslim U.S congressman Keith Ellison and that’s a fantastic achievement in my book! (Sheik-Abdi, 2006)

Driving by a grocery/bakery with a Somali name 

                        Inside Karmel Mall (the most Somali businesses I have seen outside Kenya)

Sheik-Abdi, S. (2006, November 15). Local Somali vote is hidden, yet powerful. In Hiiraan Online. Retrieved October 2, 2011, from,_yet_powerful.aspx

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Travel Dua (prayer)

In Islam we are taught to be in constant state of  remembrance (dhikr) of Allah. But you know life gets in the way and some Muslims, including myself, just get too preoccupied with whatever activities our day throws at us. So we forget. Traveling in itself is a stressful thing for most us and for people like myself, a home-buddy who likes the idea of traveling more than the reality of it the stress is more. Not mention the whole flying-while-Muslim bit which I have been hearing horror stories  left and right  from family members and friends and  no wonder I am even more stressed these... but insha'Allah I hope that non of that happens to me. 

It is more important now more than ever that Muslims make dua (prayer) before traveling so Allah can give us the strength to cope with all the stressful situations that we come across at the Airports. With that mind, I will go ahead and post this travel dua for myself and any of you  who are traveling anytime soon or in the distant future. 


Allah is the Most Great. Allah is the Most Great. Allah is the Most Great. Glory is to Him Who has provided this for us though we could never have had it by our efforts. Surely, unto our Lord we are returning. O Allah, we ask You on this our journey for goodness and piety, and for works that are pleasing to You . O Allah , lighten this journey for us and make its distance easy for us . O Allah, You are our Companion on the road and the One in Whose care we leave our family . O Allah , I seek refuge in You from this journey's hardships, and from the wicked sights in store and from finding our family and property in misfortune upon returning.

To see this dua and more information about Islam and Muslims go to

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hello World!

 I am very excited to be able to do this. I always wanted to keep a weblog. Wait a minute! Do people still call it that? Anyways, time to get to the important stuff. I have always been writing, I kept a diary from the time I was in the nineth grade and all through high school and college. But since I am all grown up now I call it a journal. What are there differences between diaries and journals you might be asking? Well for one, I don't begin my entries with the ever so corny "Dear diary".

Well the reason for the blog is to record my upcoming trip to Minneapolis MN. I will be there for sixteen days and so I plan to make an entry for each day insha'Allah, and who knows where life takes me after that?  I might turn this little blog into a travel blog or maybe not. There will be entries though... you can be sure whatever I end up doing after this trip I will keep writing inshal'Allah! So keep reading

Here is something pretty to look at until my next post. Hope you enjoy!