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#SundaySupper Middle Eastern Foods Preview

Middle Eastern SundaySupper


I’m so excited to be hosting this weekend’s #SundaySupper! I have been wanting to do a post sharing all kinds of delicious Middle Eastern food and now it’s here!  We’re defining Middle East as the countries of North Africa, the Gulf States, the Levant or region traditionally thought of as the Middle East, and we’re also including Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.  There are a lot of different foods and cultures represented in this vast region. Some have chosen to tackle traditional recipes while others have created their own interpretation of classics.  One things for sure -it’s all delicious!


Won’t you join me and the other #SundaySupper bloggers on Sunday for some amazing dishes? We’d love to share some Middle Eastern hospitality with you! Here’s a preview of what the team is preparing;

Mezze {Appetizers}

Salata {Salads and Sides}


Halwa {Desserts}

Come back on Sunday for my recipe and links to these delicious dishes!

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Eating Desserts in Jars {Recap}

This past weekend my mom and I took a ride to Burlington, WI for the opening weekend of Fried Green Tomatoes Farm presented by Desserts in Jars. We were a little worried about how the weather would be, as we’ve been having nearly constant thunderstorms, but everything turned out well and we didn’t get rained on!

Desserts in Jars at FGT

The farm is my kind of farm.  Of course there’s animals and produce but it’s also not the “don’t-forget-your-mucking-boots” kind of place.  It’s clean, cute, and just enough country – but not too much. We walked into the big red barn, that serves as a shop for the artwork of Dan DiPaolo, and the location to purchase produce.  Right inside the door, there was a small room that had walls lined with desserts in jars, and dozens of Shauna Olmanson’s books. I was instantly greeted by Naomi, the event, hostess and felt immediately welcome and ready to dig in.

Mom and I grabbed a dessert each, and began wandering around the barn. You need to know this barn is my mom completely. It’s 100% her style and she was totally loving it! I’ll admit  there were a few things that caught my eye and if we were not preparing to move, there’s a good chance several things would have came home with me. We nibbled our desserts, shopped, and then walked around the farm.  It was a really nice afternoon and I was so glad I brought my mom, and not MaocBaba!  (Don’t get me wrong I love to have him around but this was totally not his thing).  

Naomi packed us up with our own cookbook to bring home, and several more almond poppyseed cakes – just in case we needed something to munch in the car. I grabbed a flourless chocolate cake too, I couldn’t come back empty handed! I took plenty of pictures and I hope this video will give you a little glimpse into our day.

On the ride home we read through all the recipes in Desserts in Jars, deciding which we wanted to make first. I think the real problem was there weren’t any we didn’t want to try! This is a great book for anyone, even those that are a bit baking challenged (like me).  There are no bake desserts in jars too! It would be a great graduation gift, wedding gift, or birthday present (you could even make a recipe from the book and include it with the gift) – who wouldn’t want a book and a treat?

Desserts in Jars: Shauna Olmanson

PS There are plans for more Desserts in Jars events throughout the country.  Follow Isabel at Family Foodie for updates and events near you.

This event was brought to you by Swift Bell Media, the company that connects live events with social media reach.

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Desserts in Jars at Fried Green Tomatoes Farm

Next weekend I’ve been invited to attend an event in Burlington, WI to celebrate the opening of the Fried Green Tomatoes Farm.  They’ve teamed up with the publishers of the fabulous cookbook Dessert in Jars by Shaina Olmanson.  Take a sneak peak of the cookbook;


Desserts in Jars Cookbook Promo Trailer from Ingman Photography on Vimeo.

The Fried Green Tomatoes farm is really a destination in and of itself.  The artwork and creations of Dan DiPaolo are on display in the barn. Not only do I get to go, but I’m bringing a guest.  American Grandma will be with.  Every year she buys one of Dan’s calendars and is so excited to visit the farm with me!  We’ll be tweeting and instagramming our way to Burlington and of course the events of the day.

Want to join us?

Tickets are available for this event.  The details; Saturday June 1st from 1-3.

Tickets are $20 and include a copy of the cookbook, food, and drinks.

Find out more and purchase via Eventbrite.

Watch for a follow-up post after the event.

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Finding Morocco at the International Folk Festival

When I moved to our hometown it was mostly in haste and my mom’s comment that “we have a university here.”  She had just relocated after my high school graduation to get re-married and I had yet to visit the area. My college career sent me to lower Michigan (Michigan State) but when life stepped in I needed to be closer to family. My plan was to transfer for a single semester and then head back to East Lansing. I ended up staying the next two and a half years and walking away with my undergraduate degree. We’ve since lived in Washington DC but found our way back here because both MarocBaba and I knew what a nice community it was to raise our children. One of the comforts is that our university takes international experiences very seriously.  It helps that the community is largely supportive as well. Every fall they host an International Folk Festival where students and community members from around the world have tables showcasing their food, culture and traditions.  There are live dancing and musical presentations and much much more.  I was really looking forward to bring the kids this year because of our new friends who are students from Tunisia and Morocco.

There were more than forty countries represented but of course this was our favorite booth. It was even more exciting for me to see a roomful of people learning about Muslim countries (Pakistan was also in the room). They were eating food, asking questions and learning. What more can you really ask for? As a part of the Midwest Savvy Gourmet program I have been working on with Verizon I recently received an LG Intuition phone and this was a great opportunity to test it out.  The picture quality of the camera is awesome!  I’ve been using an iPhone for awhile now but I really love some of the apps for photo editing like Muzy and Pixlr-o-matic. I filtered the two images above with Muzy.

K wanted to see the China display and was sad that they didn’t have a panda on display. He was confused how they could possibly be from China and not have pandas somewhere – we convinced him the school wouldn’t allow pandas and that seemed to do the trick.  The boys also visited the Serbia booth and walked away with their names written in Serbian.  Our last stop was the Israel table.  We talked about how Hebrew is written in the same direction as Arabic and when they went to get their names written in Hebrew they were surprised when the young man wrote their names in both Arabic and Hebrew.  This led to a good conversation about Israel and Palestine and the people that make up this region of the world. My kids are very aware of the world, the people in it and their difference so this was  a very fun but educational experience for them.

  I couldn’t help but feel happiness when I saw small kids visiting the booths and trying new foods. It gave me so much hope that my children’s generation will grow up more tolerant, understanding and interested in the world.  One bite at a time.

Special thanks to my friend and fabulous photographer Fatima al -Qubaity for allowing me to use the first and last image.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post however I am a part of Verizon’s Midwest Savvy Gourmet program and am receiving complimentary product and services.

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Crunchy Chickpeas For Your Fall Party

Something about fall makes me want to throw a party! There’s something about football season, cool weather, boots and sweaters that make me excited to heat up the oven and make a great meal to share. My favorite trick for throwing a great party is mixing up great homemade food with some items that are already prepared. This helps me keep my kitchen time to a minimum while still serving fabulous dishes.  Who wants to be in the kitchen for the whole party?

Last week I got a package of these delicious chickpea snacks in the mail and couldn’t wait for my next gathering to break them out.  The opportunity presented itself soon as all of my family were over to try them out. With 6 adults and 5 kids to be my guinea pigs I ripped open the bags and let them dig in. Even my 75+ year old grandma was munching on falafel and bombay spice chickpeas! These were a hit, everyone thought they were a tasty and different kind of snack.  I’ve since caught them looking for the bags in my cupboards when they’re over to visit. In my book, that’s a successful snack!

I’m teaming up again with my friends at Saffron Road to host a Twitter chat all about these great new snack foods as well as their tempting hors d’ouevres. I hope you’ll join me for a virtual fall party!

You’re Invited!

What: A Virtual Fall Twitter Party** with Saffron Road Foods

When: Friday, September 28th 9pm EST

Where: Join us on Twitter using #FallPartyFood

Hosted by: Amanda of MarocMama (@marocmama) and Saffron Road Foods (@saffronroadfood)

Why: Share your favorite fall party foods, ideas, and snacks, win great prizes from Saffron Road Foods

Please leave a comment below to RSVP or show up on Friday night – there’s always room for more!

**Not sure how a Twitter party works?

If you’re not a Twitter user – sign up today!  It’s easy and a great tool for interacting with others.

If you are a user, pull up our hashtag #FallPartyFood and follow along.  I will be asking questions throughout the hour.  Questions are designated as Q1, Q2, etc.  When you respond use A1, A2 so that we can all follow along which question you’re answering.  At the end of your tweet be sure to use our hashtag #FallPartyFood.  Some people like to use services such as Tweetchat to follow the chat easily.

Just hop on the stream and use the hashtag so that everyone can see your posts.

Hope to See You There!

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Eat The World – 2012 Food Olympics

Eat the World 2012 Food Olympics

I LOVE the Olympics.  Even when I was really young I can remember waiting to watch the opening ceremonies to see all of the country flags, outfits and teams. It was so exciting to see people from all over the world. I guess you could say I had a huge love of the world for all of my life.

I thought that it would be fun to see if I could get recipes from bloggers all over the world to share on Friday July 27th, the opening day of this years’ Olympics. Ideally the recipe you share is one from your own website however if you don’t have a blog but have a favorite recipe representing your country/culture (or even one of your favorite places) I’d love to include it!

Here’s how it works

– Send me the recipe using this form

– On Friday July 27th, I’ll create a post highlight all of the recipes sorted by country

– If there are too many submissions for one post (hopefully!) I’ll post a series of posts over that weekend so that all can be included.

– Be sure to visit, share, comment, and pin as many of the recipes as possible

This is meant to be fun and a great way to show your pride!  So start submitting recipes now!


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The Best Meal I’ve Eaten {Recently}

I’ve been so busy here getting ready for Ramadan that I almost forgot to share with you some exciting news.  At the end of June I went to Chicago for the day to meet with some other great Midwestern bloggers.  Verizon Wireless selected us to be a part of their Midwest Savvy Gourmets’ program for the next six months.  The program pairs food bloggers with the latest technology.  I’m pretty geeky when it comes to technology so I was excited to see what was in store.

Verizon Midwest Savvy Gourmets

Verizon put us up at the really awesome Hard Rock Hotel in downtown Chicago. (Travel bugs take note this is a great hotel!) Saturday we were in for a full day of activities. When we first arrived and went into the conference room I think all of us were surprised to see Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen sitting at the table.  I truly assumed that we would be equipped with a new device, shown how to use it and fed.  I didn’t know that we would be treated to some real insight from a great food blogger.  Jaden’s presentation was so informative and she was so candid and open when answering any and all of our questions.

After lunch we all waited in anticipation as the Verizon reps revealed the device we would be getting.

Motorola XYBoard

There it is!  New Motorola XYBoard’s for all of us! I have Motorola’s earlier Xoom tablet that worked pretty great but the XYBoard truly has a lot more capabilities. (Hello Netflix streaming!) I’ve been having a lot of fun with my tablet but there is one feature that I love more than anything else – tethering.  You’ve probably heard by now about Verizon’s Share Everything plan.  What that means is that I can access the internet through my XYBoard and set up my own wireless network, granting my cell phone or laptop access to the network.  I’m going to talk more about what this means for me in another post but you should all know – it’s awesome.

After we were all set with our devices, everyone was released until dinner.  It was a super secret surprise. We boarded a bus and were driven away from the hotel. I’m not going to lie we went to a non-descript neighborhood that didn’t look too promising. I was starting to feel a little let down.  We arrived at a run down building and were told to walk through the tall gate in front. Inside was a large green lawn and a building with a large open room. It looked like this;

Clandestino for Verizon

I was so surprised- just goes to show you can’t judge a book by it’s cover! We were being hosted in a building that once served as a convent, and then transitional housing for Lithuanian refugees, and currently as an event space. Our meal was prepared by Chef Efrain Cuevas of Clandestino.  His concept is an exploration of local food and culture.  Menus are inspired by the season using the freshest ingredients. Events materialize each month, that’s right there’s no restaurant locale, and dinner guests are given only 24-48 hours notice before the meal. If you’re in the Chicagoland area I highly recommend watching for upcoming events and getting in on one of these meals.

Raspberry Plant Centerpieces

Raspberry Plant Centerpieces

We were treated to some snacks beforehand including a cauliflower ceviche and Mexican style corn on the cob. When we sat down for dinner we were in for an even bigger treat.  The multi-course meal was paired with local beers (I passed on these and stuck with lemonade). Each course was beautifully plated and it was evident a lot of thought went into the menu planning. I only got a good picture of the first course because as the sun went down it was too hard to photograph.

Shrimp and Beets

The Menu went like this:

Course One: Grilled shrimp with jicama and striped beets

Course Two: Microgreen salad, grilled asparagus and four different local cheeses (love the cheese)

Course Three: Marinated hanger steak tacos with avocado

Course Four: The best Cornish Hen I’ve ever tasted with greens

Course Five: Mixed Berry Shortcake and vanilla ice cream

Seriously the best meal I’ve had in such a long time. I had a wonderful time at this event and meeting other Midwest food bloggers.  Watch for more posts in the coming months about how I use technology in my kitchen.

I’d love to know – what’s the best meal you’ve eaten lately?

Disclaimer: I was provided with free products, this delicious meal and travel accommodations as a part of my participation with the Midwest Savvy Gourmet program.  All opinions are my own

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MarocMama, Saffron Road Food, and BlogHer Food 2012

BlogHer Food 12

This summer I will be traveling a LOT.  Just a few weeks ago I was in Washington D.C. for Eat, Write, Retreat and in a only a few days I’ll be in Seattle for BlogHer Food (coast to coast in under a month!) I have yet to attend a BlogHer event but am looking forward to connecting with other bloggers, gaining some education and I WILL be taking a walk to the Sound to scout for whales.  This is my 3rd visit to Seattle and all others I’ve come up empty handed in that department (if you’ve got secret tips for seeing whales leave me a comment!).

I am also really happy to let you know I will be attending this conference through the sponsorship and support of Saffron Road Food!  This is great news for other bloggers in attendance because I will have a stash of coupon products to pass around (at approved times and places of course). If you’re going and would like to find out more about Saffron Road and give their products a shot – find me and make sure to connect with me ahead of the conference if possible!

Saffron Road World Cuisine Logo

I hope you’re as excited as I am about this partnership — oh and when I get back, I’l be doing a special giveaway for my readers so get ready!  You’ll also get an extra entry for following me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and subscribing to my newsletter (you’ll also get a free cookbook for subscribing to that!).  The same goes for following Saffron Road on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest – get a head start and follow today!

I had the opportunity to speak with Saffron Road about their collaboration with me. Here’s what they had to say;

MarocMama (MM):  Why have you decided to partner with MarocMama to attend BlogHer Food?

Saffron Road Food (SRF): The desire to create authentic culinary experiences that are halal, all natural and sustainably farmed is just the start to the list of shared values between Saffron Road and MarocMama which made for a simple choice in blogger sponsorship for BlogHer Food. Both MarocMama and Saffron Road believe in cultivating an ethos which facilitates the coming together of families and friends at the dinner table to enjoy great World Cuisines, explore epicurean tastes, and foster multicultural exchanges and enlightening dialogues.

 MM: For someone who has never heard of Saffron Road Foods, what do you think is important for them to takeaway about the brand?

SRF: Saffron Road’s mission is to restore the sacredness of our food and its relationship to us and our mother earth. We aim to offer 100% natural Halal foods which are also holistic, sustainably farmed, either antibiotic free, not genetically modified, or organic. Our livestock are fed only 100% vegetarian feed, humanely treated and never fed antibiotics or growth hormones. We seek to bring our mission to a higher calling, embodying a socially conscious company ethic as well as being a dedicated green company. Our calling is to usher in a new culinary excellence in World Cuisines as well as be the healthier alternative in culinary excellence for all natural and gourmet ethnic food cuisines.

MM: MarocMama embodies the spirit sharing great food cross-culturally. How do you think Saffron Road fits into this mission?

SRF: Saffron Road celebrates ethnic diversity though our diligence for authentic tastes from around the world. This is well demonstrated by the range of products Saffron Road offers from Indian delights such as Chicken Tikka Masala and Lamb Saag to Middle Eastern favorites such as Lamb Koftis and Moroccan Stew and even American staples such as Chicken Nuggets and Macaroni & Cheese. Saffron Road is always scanning the globe to make the best of World Cuisines easily accessible.

MM: What makes Saffron Road standout among other brands who share a similar market space?

SRF: Saffron Road possesses more 3rd party verified claims than any other retail sold brand in the market: Certified Halal, Antibiotic Free, Gluten Free, Certified Humane®, and enrollment in Non GMO Project. We believe that we should always be at the cutting edge of innovation, purity, excellence and creativity in the natural food sector.

MM: Why is participation in an event such as BlogHer Food important to Saffron Road?

SRF: BlogHer Food provides an ideal forum for MarocMama to not only educate other bloggers about Saffron Road, but the event also lends itself to being an invaluable educational experience through bringing food bloggers together to learn, share, and inspire cooking, writing, and photography.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little more about this partnership and if you’ll be at BlogHer Food I’ll see you there!

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