12 August 2011

Sesame Cookies

Talibiddeen Jr
When we were in Egypt (eons ago, it seems), I had come across a recipe for sesame cookies online and tried making them. They came out so awesome, alhamdulillah. One of the local bakeries sold them there and I had tried them once. However, these puppies came out so great that our joke was, these were as good as the bakery's except they (ours) weren't burnt.

Unfortunately, I no longer have the recipe (I think it was from a Jewish/kosher site) so I was surfing the web for recipes in hopes of recreating those little gems.

I came across this one, and finally made them. They were a hit, alhamdulillah.  Everyone (except my youngest, 3, loved them--I think they were too sesame-y for her) but they were good and "melted" in your mouth. 

Sesame Cookie Recipe
These Israeli sesame cookies are light buttery with a fresh, nutty flavor. Use freshly made tahini paste with a little bit of vanilla bean for the best results.


  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds


  1. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside
  2. Beat together the butter and sugar until just creamed, beat in the tahini and vanilla
  3. Slowly add in the flour mixture, stirring constantly until the dough is moist and crumbly
  4. Form the dough into a large ball and wrap in plastic, refrigerate for 1 hour
  5. Spread sesame seeds out on a plate, roll the chilled dough into small balls and coat in the sesame seeds
  6. Arrange the balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 15 minutes
  8. Allow the cookies to cool completely before moving, store in a covered container for up to a week.


Talibiddeen Jr
"Halva is a Turkish candy similar in consistency to fudge. Made from tahini, it has a nutty and sweet flavor."

I haven't tried making this yet, but it's been 11 days of Ramadan and I have not made one sweet, so this may be one to try.  Of course, alhamdulillah, living in a Muslim country, one can find all sorts of wonderful pre-made treats, such as this, that can be easily purchased.

  • 1-1/4 cups of sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups of tahini
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • Optional flavorings such as nuts, vanilla or chocolate
  1. Boil the sugar and water with any optional flavorings to 257 degrees Farenheit to form a thick syrup
  2. Pour the syrup into fresh tahini and beat well as it combines
  3. Continue beating until the mixture sets
  4. beat well as it combines
  5. Continue beating until the mixture sets
  6. Press the mixture into an oiled cake tin or plastic container
  7. Chill for 36 hours and cut into squares

Source: Suite101.com

10 August 2011

Creating Engaging Ramadan Writing Prompts using the RAFT Technique

Talibiddeen Jr
Creating Ramadan Writing Prompts using RAFT

I just finished reading a book called, "Writing Across the Curriculum," and it gave some neat tips for creating engaging writing prompts for writing, so I decided to try making up a few for Ramadan:

I started with some topics;

  • Hijri Calendar vs. Gregorian Calendar
  • Getting Ready for Ramadan/ It looks like Ramadan
  • Suhoor (merits; example of good Suhoor choice)
  • Ramadan Memories
  • Get in the Ramadan spirit

Basic writing topics, right? How do we turn them into creative writing prompts that kids may actually want to write to?

We can use the RAFT approach.

RAFT is an acronym for:

R - Role
A - Audience
F - Format
T - Topic

Instead of merely giving your student a topic, also set a role for them to get into (writer, historian, inventor, teacher), give them an "actual" audience to write to (activist, parent, animals) and establish a format (letter, brochure, editorial). Or, you can have your student come up with their own role, audience, and format.

"Toolbox of Ideas: The RAFT Technique" gives some great background information about this technique of writing. I have been using it for years with my kids and they will attest that using this method has often made writing more engaging (ok, maybe they won't use that word per say) but it has been a very good motivation technique, alhamdulillah.

Below are some sample RAFT writing prompts that can be used with the topics I supplied earlier:

You are a news reporter (role) for the Metro City Times newspaper. Ramadan is approaching and your paper will run a series of reports on the month. Most of the readers of the paper are non-Muslims (audience) and after the results of a poll run in the paper recently, it is concluded that most have little knowledge about the Islamic calendar. Write a newspaper article (format) that compares and contrasts the Hijri/Islamic calendar and the Gregorian calendars. (topic)

You are a copy writer for the city of Ramadania, a popular destination for Muslims during Ramadan because of its Ramadan Village . Write an advertisement in the form of a feature article to be published in a newspaper in a nearby city encouraging Muslims to come visit Ramadania during Ramadan. Describe the atmosphere of Ramadan Village during Ramadan, the decorations, exhibits and activities that will make Ramadan an unforgettable experience for visitors this Ramadan.

You are a copy writer working for the Great Grains manufacturing company (they manufacture bread and other grain products). The company is trying to reach out to the Muslim community to promote Great Grains’ products as great candidates for Suhoor (pre-dawn meal for fasters). Create a brochure for the general Muslim public that explains the benefits of taking Suhoor, describes the components of a healthy Suhoor and non-healthy Suhoor and how they affect the fast, and then persuades them to buy products from The Great Grains company for Suhoor by showing how they compare to what is recommended for a healthy Suhoor.

 You are an elderly Muslim. A local Islamic newspaper has asked you to write a memoir of a past Ramadan (when you were a child) to be published in a special Ramadan edition of the paper.

 Ramadan is here and the excitement of Ramadan is not felt very much in your Muslim community. The fast of most of your peers doesn’t reach much beyond abstaining from eating and drinking. You decide to write a letter to the editor to call your Muslim brothers and sisters to do more this Ramadan.

These are just a few ideas to get the juices flowing. Can you and your students come up with interesting Ramadan themed writing prompts to write to using the RAFT Technique?

Moroccan Tagine Chicken

Talibiddeen Jr
This was posted on one of my homeschooling groups. I haven't tried it yet, but I am thinking my family would enjoy it so I hope to try it this Ramadan, in sha Allah.

Morrocan Tagine chicken

1 whole chicken cut into 10-12 pieces
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground ginger or  1/2 tsp of fresh ginger
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tablespoons of cilantro
1 large sweet onion sliced or chopped
3-4 garlic cloves
1/8 cayenne pepper
1 pinch of saffron (I've made it w/ or without)

1 chicken bullion cube
2 cups of water

Raisin sauce

1/2 cup of raisins (golden or regular) You can mix both if you'd like
1/2 cup of suger
2 cups of water
cinnamon stick
Add all ingredients together and boil medium-low until it becomes thick (about 30 mins) May need to add water a little at a time if it boils down.

Add 2 tbs of olive oil to pan, cook onions and garlic for 1 min add chicken and spices, only 1 tbs of cilantro, cook for 15 mins or chicken is golden brown. Add two cups of water and chicken bullion cube. Let simmer for 20 mins cover pan.

After 20 mins add raisin sauce and the other 1tbs of cilantro to chicken and let it simmer another 10 min on medium.

(You can omit this part if you want but I like my chicken crispy so this adds a nice texture before serving) Remove chicken from pot, add a little butter on top of chicken and put in oven on high or broil for 5 min until browned. And let sauce on the stove continue to cook during this process, you want the sauce to be a thick.  When chicken is brown add back to pan and turn off pot and let it rest for 5 mins before serving.

05 August 2011

Kid's Ramadan Organizer Ideas

Talibiddeen Jr
After we put together our Ramadan journals for this year, and as I was giving my kids their fasting trackers and other Ramadan papers, I realized that it would be handy to have everything in one convenient spot, so I decided to combine the papers and their journal into one book.

I made a list of things to include. Most of the items in the list are currently available here at TJ Ramadan (I''ll relink soon, inshaa Allah) 

Kids’ Ramadan Organizer and Journal Ideas

• Ramadan goals

• Fasting tracker

• Qiyaamul Layl tracker

• Islamic calendar reference sheet (can be found in adult's organizer, in sha Allah)

• Moon phase reference chart(can be found in adult's organizer, in sha Allah)
• Ramadan calendar

• Duaas (breaking fast, upon seeing crescent moon, laylatul qadr) (can be found in adult's organizer, in sha Allah)

• Things that break the fast (can be found in adult's organizer, in sha Allah)

• Journal pages

• Ayaat/Surah text to be memorized

• Certificate showing number of days fasted 

03 August 2011

Ramadan Sight Words/Vocabulary Resources

Talibiddeen Jr

I made a set of Ramadan flashcards for my little guy some years back.

Ramadan Vocabulary/Sight Words

(Set of 15 cards)

Also, my bud, Umm Abdul Basir, made a cute Ramadan word wall set for our collaborative Islamic Bulletin Boards blog.
Ramadan Word Wall

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