Ramadan Recipes: Tomato Macaroni Beef Soup


Tomato Macaroni Beef Soup

Ingredients:
-1 tbsp olive oil
-1 cup of ground beef
-1 small onion [chopped]
-1 tomato chopped
-1 cup macaroni
-4 tbsp oats
-4 tbsp tomato paste
-2 tbsp Arabic mixed spice
-salt & pepper (to taste)
-1 tbsp chopped parsley/dried parsley
-8 cups of water

Method:
*{I use a multicooker to make my soups, but you can use a slow cooker or a  regular pot.}
1. Brown onion, tomato and beef with the olive oil (if you’re using a multicooker/slow cooker do this in a frying pan and then add it to your cooker — if you’re using a regular pot do this in the pot)
2. Add the rest of ingredients to your pot and cook (if stovetop put it on a low heat and check it now and again to make sure that you don’t need to add any water)
3. Leave it in your cooker/pot for about an hour. (Check and see if you want to add any more salt/pepper — If you are cooking stovetop you might want to add the macaroni after the first 30 mins if you don’t like them to be too soft)
4. Add the parsley and serve with lemon.

Enjoy!

الحمدلله
♥

S

Experiences with Breastfeeding: Part 2

It is such a relief once breastfeeding becomes “easy”. I guess a better word would be relaxed. Baby has become more efficient and I have become more comfortable. These days there isn’t much pain and leaking is minimal. Things are good.

At 4 months I had to go back to work, which meant that baby would go to daycare and I would pump in my office. The first two days were difficult for her, but since then she has been totally fine. I had trouble pumping enough for her in the beginning, but with a little patience and more frequent pumping sessions I was able to send her with enough milk without having to do any extra pumping outside of work. Thankfully, my experiences with pumping at work have been wonderful. I have my own office and I’m able to just close and lock my door when I need to. Also, there are other women here who have been in the same situation and so everyone is very understanding and supportive.

However, during that month we found out that baby seems to have a cows milk protein allergy. It was causing her to have a lot of mucus and sometimes blood in her diaper. The doctor asked me to put her on a special formula for a week, but to continue pumping. I guess the doctor felt that the formula would give us a faster answer, but it broke my heart to hear those words. Anyways, I listened to his advice and after two days passed and neither of us had slept very much, I gave up and I put her back to my chest. (A week before that I had stopped having any dairy myself. The doctor had told me to cut back, but I decided it would be easier for me to just avoid it as much as I could.) It took us three to four weeks, but we saw improvement. I have continued to avoid dairy and breastfeed and I’m happy with my decision to do that. I’m also grateful that the pediatrician was supportive of my decision as well. Continue reading

Ramadan Recipes: White Chicken & Oats Soup

 

White Chicken & Oats Soup


Ingredients:
-1 tbsp olive oil
-2 chicken breasts [cubed]
-1 small onion [chopped]
-1/3 cup lentils [rinsed]
-6 tbsp oats
-1 tbsp cumin
-salt & pepper (to taste)
-1 tbsp chopped parsley/dried parsley
-8 cups of water

Method:
*{I use a multicooker to make my soups, but you can use a slow cooker or a  regular pot.}
1. Brown onion and chicken with the olive oil (if you’re using a multicooker/slow cooker do this in a frying pan and then add it to your cooker — if you’re using a regular pot do this in the pot)
2. Add the rest of ingredients to your pot and cook (if stovetop put it on a low heat and check it now and again to make sure that you don’t need to add any water)
3. Leave it in your cooker/pot for about an hour. (Check and see if you want to add any more salt/pepper)
4. Add the parsley and serve with lemon.

Enjoy!

الحمدلله

S

A Short Rant 

I love chat, text, email, forums and I love this blog. I think it is pretty amazing how we can share things with people near and far. However, the Internet can also be a cruel place.

I place part of the blame on the anonymity that the Internet allows. People think that they can say whatever they like behind the mask of a username and profile picture. Since I started writing about my experiences in Saudi I have received numerous comments that made me think, what’s wrong with people? After I received my first *negative* comment I switched my settings to allow for moderated comments. That was a long while ago. Now anything that is submitted is reviewed and either accepted and made public or deleted. Just to clarify, when I say negative I don’t mean a comment with an opposing view. I am referring to comments that are meant to be hurtful. Also, let me mention that all but one of those comments that I have received were posted using a fake email. I am so tempted to actually share some of the awful words, استغفر الله, but I will refrain and just say may Allah guide us.

Before you comment on someone’s blog, social media account, YouTube video or whatever else, remind yourself that the person you’re writing to is a HUMAN BEING and they have feelings just like you. If your comment is not constructive, and could possibly be viewed as hurtful, don’t send it! Keep it to yourself and go on with life. There is no benefit in spreading hate and hurting others.

The other issue is the fact that I feel written word is not complete communication in that there is difficulty with tone and emotion. What we mean when we write something is often misinterpreted. In my own experience this happens very infrequently when speaking with someone face to face. As a shy person, and someone who likes to write, this can be super frustrating. It has happened to me more than once and I really hope that it becomes a less frequent occurrence in my life.

Ive been writing here on this blog since 2013 and I feel really grateful that I have been able to share my experiences (even though my posts became less and less frequent over time). While sometimes I feel like it is not worth it to share parts of my life this publicly, I remember that with every hateful comment I receive a lot more lovely ones. 

So, for now, I will keep sharing some beautiful and POSITIVE aspects of my life, as a Muslim, a wife, an educator and a new mom. 

الحمدلله

S

Experiences with Breastfeeding – Part 1

I never really had a second thought about breastfeeding during my pregnancy. However, I was not 100% sure that I would be physically able. I just kept reading and as much as I read, the most support I felt. I didn’t really know how difficult it would be, but I felt prepared to face any challenges that might come my way.

I remember thinking about it a soon as my baby was put in my arms. I remember the first time that I put her to my chest and she latched, even though very briefly. I felt relieved.

Not long after I started having worries: is she getting enough milk? am I doing this right? is she latched correctly? am I holding her the best way?

The lactation consultant at the hospital was not much help, if I’m being honest. The only tip I really took away from speaking with her was that I could try to wake my baby by tickling her feet. One of my nurses on the other hand saw my concern and brought me a pump to use. She said at the least using it will help stimulate milk production and if any milk is expressed I could try feeding it to the baby if I was worried about how much she was getting while nursing. I think she was right, in that it did help me product milk and it also put my mind at ease, but I think that the shields of the hospital pump made my nipples sore and possibly even bruised.

I continued to try to nurse baby while at the hospital. I used lanolin constantly as my nipples were very tender. My right even had a purple bruise. I’m not sure if it was from baby or the pump. I left the hospital unsure, but hopeful.

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Echolac Bags 

I bought a diaper bag while I was pregnant and I like it, but I don’t find it convenient to pack or carry. Because Y and I travel quite often, I decided that a backpack style diaper bag would be much easier.

I stopped in a luggage store while taking a quick walk at the mall. I found a backpack that I liked and next to it was a little shoulder bag.

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Hospital Bag

From the beginning of my pregnancy I saw blogposts, YouTube videos and pins on Pinterest about packing a hospital bag for labor and delivery. I even received advice and suggestions from friends. However, I didn’t even start thinking about my own bag until about midway through the 35th week. One of my friends said, “You better get going on that.”

I took my overnight bag out from my closet and set it on the floor in the living room. It sat there for a couple of days staring at me before I began putting some items beside it.

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Postpartum in KSA – At the Hospital

*WARNING – THIS POST IS ABOUT MY EXPERIENCES AFTER LABOR & DELIVERY.

There I was on the hospital bed feeling all sorts of relief. My full and stretched belly was now strangely empty. The tiny kicks were no longer there. The pressure and pain I had been feeling for weeks was gone. But nearby was a tiny little baby.

There were all sorts of feels as I held her in my arms and she looked up at me with her precious eyes. I held her close and attempted to feed her for the first time. She latched and sucked, but for what only seemed like a few seconds. That made me nervous, but hopeful. I knew that breastfeeding was probably going to be difficult, but I felt determined.

Soon after the nurse came and told me that they would take the baby to the nursery. I said no, but she insisted. I tried again to say no, but in that situation I really think as a first time mom it is necessary to have someone to advocate for you. The nurse took her to clean her up and dress her in the nursery.

As I waited for a room to become available for me, I felt the sudden need to use the restroom. I called the nurse, who told me that she didn’t want me to get up as I might pass out. She handed me a bedpan and closed the curtain around my bed. 10 minutes later I called her back and told her I couldn’t manage this way and wanted to go to the restroom. She nervously dealt with my IV and walked with me across the room. I didn’t imagine how uncomfortable it would feel to get up and walk, but that wasn’t even half of it. Once in the bathroom, I did what I needed to do. Wiping was the most terrifying thing of the whole labor and delivery ordeal. How could I possible be this swollen? Is this normal? Am I going to be like this forever? The nurse helped me clean up with some cool water from the bidet sprayer. She then helped me into a pair of disposable underwear while inserting the biggest, thickest, longest pad I’ve ever seen. That was another terrifying thought. Blood, blood and more blood must be in my near future. I had seen the outcome of that on the pad that they had placed under me on the hospital bed, but I guess I assumed that was more from the delivery and not the aftermath.

Eventually, they came to take me to my new room. I would stay there for two days until I was ready to go home. They wheeled me down the hall, through a door and into a room. I moved from one bed to another and looked around…

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