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5 Tips to Help You Have A Healthy Ramadan

Today is the 4th day of Ramadan in the United States and the hottest Ramadan I’ve experienced – and I’m not fasting!  Unfortunately my surgeon would not clear me to fast, preferring me to wait at least a year after having gastric sleeve surgery to attempt fasting.  Truthfully I’m not sure I would be able to do it even if he were to allow me. We begin fasting at 3:15am and the fasting day ends around 9pm. I simply wouldn’t have the space or ability to eat enough food or drink enough water in 6 hours to be safe.  Right now, it takes me all day to eat 800-1000 calories and drink enough liquid not to dehydrate. There have been times when I have not eaten enough and it’s immediately apparent to MarocBaba.  He says the color drains out of me and my eyes start drooping. I can feel it, I get very tired, dizzy, and unresponsive, but I didn’t …

Amanda Mouttaki5 Tips to Help You Have A Healthy Ramadan
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Sesame Ginger Ghriba

For Ramadan this year I decided to re-make several traditional Moroccan pastries. Usually MarocBaba’s mom sends us a big box of Moroccan cookies.  The problem with that is they all have gluten. Between MarocBaba’s celiac disease and my difficulty eating gluten after gastric sleeve surgery we’re pretty much a non-wheat home. The only thing to do is to make all of our favorite sweets gluten-free.  I’ve shared my recipes for vanilla, almond, and preserved lemon ghriba and pistachio rosewater ghriba – they’re our favorites.  These are a little different. Ghriba are traditionally made a lot of different ways.  There are many different variations depending on region of the country, country (they’re made all over the Middle East and North Africa), and family.  That being said, I’ve never seen or heard of the variations I’ve created. With this cookie, I wanted to make something that incorporated ginger.  When I first started making Moroccan food I was very light-handed with ginger – …

Amanda MouttakiSesame Ginger Ghriba

Puppy Chow Rice Krispies for #TheLeftoversClub

When I was growing up my grandma and I spent a lot of time in her kitchen. She always let us make (and eat) gobs of cookie dough when we would come to visit, which was often because she only lived a few blocks away.  We made gnocchi, and pasta, cookies, and any number of other treats. My grandma was a teacher for most of her life, in the same elementary school I went to. But, as soon as I hit kindergarten she retired. This meant when we were sick, we often went to grandma’s house. She was the hands-on grandma.  She taught us how to crochet, and sew, how to cook, and do all kinds of other little domestic things.  We would walk to the grocery store from her house, go to the park, and in the summer go to the lake cottage for the day.  I never thought much about this until I was much older – probably …

Amanda MouttakiPuppy Chow Rice Krispies for #TheLeftoversClub
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Dear Ladies in the Booth Behind Us

Dear Ladies in the Booth Behind Us, I know you are just here with your friend to share an ice cream cone, but I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation you’ve having. I know there’s a lot of information that bombards you all day long, and I’ll be the first to admit that the Fox News channel the restaurant has on doesn’t provide the best “balance” of opinion. But, I still couldn’t help but cringe when I heard your comments. Those people, “over there“, those “Moooozlems” that are “hell-bent on Sharia…” Well, you’ve already got the story wrong. Your friend spoke up and said “Sharia?” to which you respond, “you know they don’t give the women any rights, those poor women.” “That’s why they’re protesting, they hate us, they hate us because they want to be like us.” “They do, they want what we have, but right now it’s all about Sharia. That’s why they want to get rid of …

Amanda MouttakiDear Ladies in the Booth Behind Us
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{Expat Guest Post} Marielle of Marielle Green

When we decided to become expats, I knew there were others like us out there – I just had to find them.  Once I started looking, I was amazed at just how many people have chosen an expatriate lifestyle. So many people tell me that they wish they could move to another country; I want to share the stories of those who have made the choice.  I hope that these stories might encourage others to take the plunge. Marielle Green is a young woman who overcame her doubts and ended up teaching and living in South Korea for over two years.  She learned to use chopsticks, became addicted to bibimbap, and even learned a little Korean as the Busan area became a second home.  She never had to give up traveling for school, as she is currently a graduate student and teacher in Hangzhou, China.  Marielle keeps a blog about her travels and experiences at    I spent my first …

Amanda Mouttaki{Expat Guest Post} Marielle of Marielle Green

4th of July Picnic Ideas

This Thursday is the 4th of July and if you’re like me, you’re looking for the perfect dishes to take to BBQ’s, camping, or picnics. It’s got to be easy and portable but most of all delicious. Here are a few ideas for your Independence Day Celebration.   Lentil Burgers We’re off to spend an extra long weekend with family, enjoying the outdoors, swimming, and saying good-bye’s as we enter the final weeks before our move to Morocco. I hope you’ll have a great holiday weekend – and let me know what’s on your menu!

Amanda Mouttaki4th of July Picnic Ideas