MarocMama

eat well, travel often, dream big!

I hope you’re all having an amazing summer. I’ve been busy readjusting to life here in the United States while we’re visiting. The weather is much cooler and my boys are loving lots of open green space to run and play. We’ve had plenty of bike accidents already and K even got to visit a friends house and help out with their chickens! He came home full of stories about how he got the eggs and the families Amish neighbors and their horses. I keep thinking how wonderful it is that my kids will know so many different ways that people live from a young age. Really I am so happy I’m able to give them this life.

As we’re away from Morocco, Ramadan has gotten away from us. I’ve had a coming to terms with my feelings about the holiday. I wrote about them on Multicultural Kid Blogs today. It took me a long time and a lot of courage to share my feelings, but I’ve also learned I’m not alone.

To celebrate the end of Ramadan and upcoming Eid I’ve decided to do a big Eid giveaway. I haven’t done any in a while and since we’re having such a good time I thought I’d share a few of my favorite things. There’s something in this giveaway for the family, something for the kids, and something for mom!

Eid Giveaway MarocMama

Let’s start with the kids 

I don’t know about you but I always struggled to find great books for my kids about Islam, Morocco, and Islamic holidays. Our libraries were lacking and what I found online was just poorly done. Thankfully this is changing. I had the opportunity to review the book Ilyas and Duck Search for Allah a few weeks ago. The book is really well illustrated and written in clear, easy to relate to English. Yes, this sounds like it should be obvious but I’ve been disappointed in plenty of books for this reason.

Ilyas and Duck Search for Allah

My kids were a little old for this book, though my youngest was interested. It’s a great read for kids in the 2-6 year old range. Really one of the best picture books I’ve seen when it comes to Islamic topics. So one lucky winner of this giveaway will get their own copy of the book! If you want to follow as new books are released be sure to like Ilyas and Duck on Facebook and Twitter.

For the Family

If you’ve been here for awhile you’ll know about my continuing partnership with Saffron Road Foods. They’re one of my favorite food companies and I’ve been a fan since their line launched. I always have dry things like their simmer sauces and chickpeas in my suitcase to restock my kitchen. I was thrilled to find a box of their newest frozen entrees on the porch shortly after I arrived in the US.

Saffron Road Korean Tacos

The first thing I tried were the Korean Style Tacos. Don’t you love the food truck packaging? I loved the detail of the founder Adnan as the bus driver! I usually think anything heated in the microwave is subpar but was really happy with how good these were. You know it’s good when your 10 year old is asking for his own!

Ingredient Lists

 

Even though these products are convenience food they’re made without chemicals and “food” items that can’t be pronounced. Just to show you an example I snapped a picture of the ingredient list (it’s the top image) and then dug through my mom’s freezer to find something else with a label to compare. Now you’re wondering what’s that other label for? Bread. It’s for flatbreads. Crazy isn’t it?

So to share my love of Saffron Road I’m giving you a basket to make dinner time with your family more enjoyable!

Saffron Road Gift Basket

 

What’s in the basket?

  • coupons to pick out your own entrees at stores around the country that carry Saffron Road
  • Lamb Broth
  • a package of Falafel Crunchy Chickpeas and Chipotle Crunchy Chickpeas
  • 6 assorted Simmer Sauces
  • an apron and;
  • wooden cooking utensils

Awesome right? Visit the Saffron Road Facebook page and Pinterest page for lots of mealtime inspiration.

For You

This is a gift from me to you. Over the last year I’ve heard a lot about Stitch Fix. If you haven’t it’s basically a mail order personal shopper. As frequently as you’d like (as much as every 3 weeks) a personal stylist selects 5 pieces of clothing or accessories based off a profile you fill out. You get the box, try everything on, and choose what you’d like to keep. What you don’t want you mail back in a prepaid envelope. What you do want you simply pay for. If you don’t want anything, no problem – mail it all back. Each shipment has a $20 styling fee that is automatically applied to any purchase you make.  If you decide you want to keep everything in the box, you get the $20 credit plus 25% off your total.

I was hesitant to try this for a few reasons. First, I wear modest clothing. Surely to be fashionable they’d have no idea what I could or couldn’t wear. After filling out my profile and leaving detailed feedback (including a link to my Pinterest style board) I was absolutely thrilled to discover everything that was sent to me met my needs. So yes, if you wear hijab, they can send you cute, fashionable clothes. Second, how expensive was this going to be? I’ll be honest, I hate shopping. I tend to stick to the same things and since I’ve lost about 100 pounds I’m just unsure about what does or doesn’t work for me. I automatically gravitate to larger sizes that aren’t flattering because they’re just too big! So yes these clothes are more expensive than the Old Navy or Target clearance rack but they’re very well made and high quality. At this time in my life I’m more interested in investing in several pieces that are better quality than lots of cheap things.

So if you’re on the edge, here’s your chance. The winner of the giveaway will get a $20 Stitch Fix gift card to schedule your first fix! 

One optional entry (that actually gets you 5 entries!)  in the giveaway is to sign up and schedule your first fix – if you win you can use the gift card to cover your first purchase. If you already get Stitch Fix you can use the gift card for your styling fee or to purchase a piece.

There you have it. One lucky winner takes all!

Follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter entry form below to put your name in the drawing.  Wishing you lots of luck and a blessed final days of Ramadan!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: This giveaway is open to those with a US address. Signing up for Stitch Fix is done through an affiliate link. I’ll earn a small credit if you decide to sign up.

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Want to come to Marrakech and Hang Out with Us?

A few weeks ago I got an email titled “Hello from Tea Collection.” My heart skipped a beat, could it be THE Tea Collection? Whose clothes inspired by global destinations made me smile while browsing through. I mean as an expat I spend my fair share of time dreaming of all the online shopping (and delivery options) that are at my fingertips once I touchdown on US soil again. Then a day later my mom sent me a message and said, “Hey have you seen this Tea Collection? They have clothes that are about Morocco!” (You should know my mom is always on the look out now for “all the Moroccan things.”) Then I got to tell her, yes I have and guess what we’re going to be a part of their next BIG giveaway!

Here it is….

MoroccoSweeps_OfferpopHeader1

 

MoroccoSweeps_EmailBanner

Do you see that amazing grand prize?!?!

So you should go visit the entry page RIGHT NOW and get your name in the running! If you’re the winner not only will be take you on a food tour of Marrakech but you can get in touch with us ahead of your visit and we’ll help you plan your stay in Marrakech! That’s just an added bonus from me to you. The downside – you’ll have to be a US resident to enter the giveaway (but I promise to do an international giveaway soon!)

But that’s not all…

Multicultural Kid Blogs Travel Twitter Chat

If you want even more travel inspiration be sure to join in our Multicultural Kid Blogger Chat tomorrow (Tuesday) June 3rd at 2:30pm EST and 9:30pm EST. We’ll be sharing lots of travel insight and advice and giving away some great globally inspired prizes like a $50 Tea Collection Gift Card, Saffron Road Chickpeas and product coupons, as well as items from Be Bilingual, and Smart Tinker. You can RSVP here and then log on to Twitter and the designated times.

So much travel fun and so little time!

Where will your travels take you next?

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Chicken Korma Pizza

Chicken Korma Pizza

Cheese. I really miss delicious, melty, gooey, cheesy goodness. The kind that tops pizza or a casserole. Enough to get a big bite and taste the salty, creamy goodness. When you order a pizza in Morocco it’s got just barely enough cheese on top to be recognizable and a really good mozzerella is hard to come by. Cheese isn’t eaten that much here and who knew this girl from the Dairy State would miss cheese so much? You can find some varieties to be sure. It’s mostly imported from Europe. I’ve had brie, gouda, and Emmentaler cheese. Some good jibli, a traditional cheese from northern Morocco. Goat and sheep soft cheese can be found.

As for bubbling, melting mozzerellas or cheddar – they’re just not the same. A waxy texture to the mozzerella and cheddar that crumbles in the hand instead of remaining firm just fails to impress. But, you have to make do with what you have, so I set out to make something cheesy that would satisfy my tastebuds. There are some creative pizza ideas here, like the shrimp pizza, or the seafood pizza, but that’s not my style. I’ve yet to see a chicken topped pizza so that’s just what I set out to create.

When my parents came in January my mom had brought more Saffron Road goodies to replenish my supply. Included was a Korma simmer sauce that I’ve been waiting to try. After thinking for sometime I decided to make a pizza. The sauce base was korma sauce while for the toppings I stuck to the basics, chicken and cheese. I imagined other toppings like sweet peas, sliced onions, and even potato cubes but I wanted to hold out and see if it passed the muster.

Chicken Korma Pizza Toppings

What I learned through this little experiment was that I need to make homemade pizza more often. Really, it’s simple and it tastes so good. Not to mention it’s the perfect solution for any get together. Everyone loves pizza and by making (or buying) some crusts and cutting up a bunch of different toppings you’re set! I used a really simple dough, just a mix of semolina and white flour, water, salt, olive oil and yeast. I don’t measure (check out Bobby Flay’s recipe if you’re unsure it’s very similar) but it’s about 3 cups of flour, 2 Tbsp yeast, 1 tsp salt, and enough water to bring everything together and be elastic after kneading for several minutes. Leave it out to rise a bit and roll it to desired thickness. You can buy pre-made shells, or use pita bread, naan, or even french bread for the base. I prebake my raw crust to give it a little extra crunch but for softer texture skip the prebake!

Slater on loads of korma simmer sauce and add the chicken and cheeses. This was a mix of ricotta on the base and mozzerella on top. Baked until all the cheese melted. I tasted it both hot and cold and really could be served either way (I preferred hot!)

Because this was so much fun I thought why not extend the idea? Join me in having a….

Saffron Road Pizza Party!

I’m giving away some simmer sauces and a new kitchen apron for one lucky winner. Just follow directions in the Rafflecopter giveaway form to enter.

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Even if you’re not interested in winning join the virtual party! Make a pizza at home using a simmer sauce or inspired by a simmer sauce (if you don’t have a store nearby) and upload a picture to the MarocMama Facebook page and include the hashtag #saffronroad. You can also tweet a picture (be sure to include @marocmama and #saffronroad so I can find it!), or write your own blogpost. I can’t wait to see your creations!

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What better way to celebrate love than by giving away money? We’re celebrating this year by doing a giveaway sponsored by some of the Multicultural Kid Bloggers from around the world. Because we have so many international members we wanted to do something that would allow anyone to win. So to show our love to you, our readers, we decided cash was the best gift.

VdayGiveaway

This Valentine’s Day, I’m happy to have a family that loves me, and the ability to spend time with them. I’m also happy everyday that my kids are getting the opportunity to develop their language skills. Although we’re a bit out of touch with American popular culture here, the Coca Cola ad that aired during the Superbowl certainly caused some stir. In response, my friend Stephanie of InCulture Parent gathered a bunch of multicultural kids who are all biligual (or more!) to share their pride in the languages they speak and that they’re American. You can read the post, then take a peek at the video!
 

 
If you would like to enter the giveaway, you just need to follow the directions on the Rafflecopter giveaway located below. The first and only required entry is to leave a blog post comment answer the question in the box. For additional entries, like the sponsoring bloggers pages on Facebook, follow on Twitter, or Pinterest. You’ll see specific instructions on the Rafflecopter form – plus easy ways to complete the entry.

Make sure to visit the sponsoring bloggers for great information about raising multicultural families!

 Good Luck!

Enter the giveaway!

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Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches

One of the first things I learned how to make was chocolate chip cookies.  My grandma would stand my sister and I up on chairs at her kitchen counter and we would mix in the ingredients one by one to make cookies.  I usually got to run the hand mixer because I was older but my sister got to crack the eggs. Then we’d take turns rolling long “dough snakes” that would be wrapped in plastic wrap and put in the freezer.  See, with my grandma we rarely, if ever baked the dough. We just sliced off a piece of frozen dough whenever we wanted. That’s right, I was raised a raw-dough-eating-rebel. Grandma never thought twice, and it wasn’t until I had kids and really started paying attention to ingredients that I even gave it a second thought. I started making (and baking) chocolate chip cookies for my kids long before I could cook a real meal. But once we started to shift to all gluten-free for MarocBaba I stopped baking so much and I never bought pre-made dough because it was almost impossible to find gluten-free.

But, just recently I found out Pillsbury has a new line of gluten-free dough – including chocolate chip cookie dough! Could it be?

Cookie Dough

It’s almost too good to be true (make sure to notice the “don’t eat raw dough warning” – sorry grandma!) Now, if you’re gluten-free you’ve probably had your fair share of disappointment with gluten-free products.  They usually don’t taste quite as good, maybe they have a bad after taste or are too dry, or too dense. So the real test once this arrived was, would it pass the blind taste test?  While I keep things about 80% gluten-free I often do buy my kids treats that have gluten.  They especially like these mini chocolate chip cookies I get from our grocery store’s bakery.  Could I pass these off as them? There was only one way to find out…

Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches

The bake and taste test.

I rolled the dough into small balls, about half the size of a ping pong ball and then popped the pan in the freezer while the oven preheated. After baking for about 8 minutes I pulled them out and let the cookies cool.

Test #1 I gave a warm cookie to my youngest. He gobbled it up and made no comment.

Test #2 after the cookies cooled I put a teaspoon of chocolate ice cream in the middle of two cookies and rolled it in sprinkles.  This treat went to my oldest, my sidekick and recipe taste-tester, who said “Mom, these aren’t gluten-free are they?” Score!  Honestly, these taste just like chocolate chip cookies with gluten and passed the kid test twice!

But wait, there’s more!

Pillsbury has two other products, a gluten free pie dough, and a gluten free pizza dough available.  Watch for upcoming recipes here (like a gluten-free almond blueberry galette) using these new products.

Want to find out more about these products? Visit the Pillsbury website to find a store near you that is carrying these products, other recipes and ideas, and nutritional information

Want to win a baking set from Pillsbury and one of each of these new gluten-free products to try?  Enter my giveaway and I’ll select one winner from all comments to receive a prize pack.  Make sure to stop by the Pillsbury website to find out more about these products and follow the Rafflecopter directions to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pillsbury

 

This post is part of a sponsored campaign with Pillsbury®.  As always, all opinions are my own. 

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Shrimp Tacos with Peach Jalapeno Salsa

Goya Shrimp Tacos and Peach Salsa

 

Many times, when I’ve been traveling and staying with a family I’ve been asked to make an American meal. It’s always interesting for me to hear just what my host family considers “American” food.  It’s always a different answer. I think that the best part is that to me, there really is no definitive answer.  A lot of it is regional and even more food is transplanted from somewhere else and then adapted based on what’s available locally.

Recently I had the opportunity to try out some Goya products.  I’ve used Goya quite a bit and was no stranger to their products.  While MarocBaba refused to eat any ethnic food when he first move to the US, he’s since gotten very adventurous.  He loves Mexican/Latin food, Indo-Pakistani meals are as welcome, and he doesn’t even turn up his nose at tofu. I’m so proud! We really love Latin cuisine and so trying out Goya’s new cookbook and a few products seemed like a win-win situation for us (and you!).

In the mail I received a box with a Spanish/English Goya Latin food cookbook, a jar of peach halves, light Adobo seasoning, and green pickled jalapenos. I kind of felt like a contest on Chopped! In the cookbook there is a recipe for Grilled Fish Tacos with Peach Salsa – perfect.  I swapped the fish for shrimp and used corn tortillas to keep it gluten-free. Here’s how I made this meal.

Shrimp Tacos with Peach Jalapeno Salsa

15 minutes

15 minutes

30 minutes

6

2 tacos

Have a flavorful Latin meal on your table in 30 minutes or less with the help of Goya products.

Ingredients

  • *recipe adapted from La Cocina Goya; Healthy, Tasty, Affordable Latin Cooking
  • *For the Fish
  • 1 lb raw shrimp deveined
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp Goya Adobo Light Seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • *For the Peach Jalapeno Salsa
  • 2 peach halves drained, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/4 onion chopped
  • 1 finely chopped Goya Jalapeno
  • 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

Instructions

  • If you would like to grill the shrimp, you can do so in a grill basket. I cooked mine on the stove.
  • Toss shrimp in adobo seasoning, olive oil, cumin, and pepper.
  • Heat a skillet to medium heat and add the shrimp.
  • Cook just until the shrimp have turned pink in color and remove from heat.
  • In a small bowl add the chopped peaches, jalapeno, cilantro, and onion.
  • Use a spoon to mix in lemon juice.
  • The salsa can be made ahead of time and refrigerated. Allowing it to sit for a little while will allow the flavors to combine.
  • To serve, warm tortillas and fill with shrimp. Top with salsa.
3.1
http://marocmama.com/2013/07/shrimp-tacos-with-peach-jalapeno-salsa.html

If you’d love to try more great recipes from Goya and some excellent products – you can.  Goya has offered to give a MarocMama reader the same package I received.  Follow the Rafflecopter instructions for your chance to win.

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I’ve raved many times about argan oil both as a cooking oil and it’s properties for skin care. I’ve struggled with sensitive and dry skin my entire life and there are only a small handful of products I can use safely.  Argan oil is one of them. Moroccans have long known about the properties of this oil but only in the last few years has it become a buzzword in the Western beauty industry. Today I’m sharing the love.  I’m giving away some argan because it’s one of my favorite things!

I’ve been fortunate that through blogging I have met some exceptional people.  Joél is one of them. She is the co-owner and co-founder of Saadia Organics.  Aside from her wonderful personality I know she is no snake oil doctor. There are a lot of people selling “pure” argan oil when in reality it’s watered down.  It happens all over Morocco too. But Joél gets her argan straight from the source, her mother-in-law in Essaouaira who grew up making raw argan oil.  How did the business begin? Here’s a backgrounder. But now onto the good stuff!!

Joél is providing a 50mL bottle of argan oil, a kiis and sample of beldi savon noir soap to one lucky MarocMama reader.  This is all you need to have a Moroccan hammam experience at home!  Another friend of mine, Mandy, who happens to live in Marrakech wrote this great article describing the Moroccan hammam experience. Take a read so you’ll know how to take advantage of these goodies if you’re the big winner!

 So are you ready to win?

Follow the directions in the rafflecopter widget to enter.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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You’re Getting A Car!

No sorry not really.  Do you remember the first year Oprah did a “favorite things” episode?  It was so amazing to see how excited her audience was. I think that giving a gift, or in Oprah’s case, many gifts to someone is exciting. Everyone likes to get gifts but I really do find joy in giving gifts as well. I’m so not Oprah but I still am going to giveaway my favorite things!  Over the next two weeks I’ll be sharing my favorite things from this past year and offering you a chance to win.  I’m kicking off the gifting today.  Up for grabs….

A Motorola Droid Razr HD + $50 Verizon Gift Card

If you’re not familiar with this device here are a few details to pique your interest.

  • Motorola’s most compact 4.7-inch smartphone with a full-screen and edge-to-edge display
  • An 8-megapixel camera and HD display that makes movies, photos, magazines and websites appear with vibrant clarity.
  • Circles Widget makes it easy to view battery life, text notifications, missed calls or weather updates, right on the home screen.
  • Near-field communications-enabled, so customers can use Android Beam to share contacts, documents and maps directly to compatible phones.
  • A battery that allows for up to 32 hours of normal use and double the internal storage (of older RAZR phones) to 32 GB
  • Runs over 4G LTE, combined with Chrome for Android, meaning customers can enjoy blazing fast speeds that make downloading documents or surfing the Web a breeze.
  • Device is Global Ready, so calling home or sending emails is possible from more than 205 countries around the world.

So if you need a new phone, an upgrade or just would love this new “toy” – enter!

Good Luck!

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