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I used to bake constantly and with enormous passion. I yearned to understand how pastries work on an ingredient level. My pantry was filled with oversized bags of flour, sugar and baking soda. My friends and neighbors received a regular flow of trial cakes and muffins. It’s a strange thing when your body tells you very suddenly, “No.” Mine did this, first to gluten and then to dairy. I stopped baking when gluten left my life. How could anything stick or be soft or spongy or flavorful? There was no

During my undergraduate years at Indiana University, my husband and I were friends with a wonderful couple who had us over many times. First in their apartment, then in their house, Sadia and I would stand by her stove as she placed a stainless steel potbelly pan over a flame. She filled it with water, then began cutting green cardamom pods in half with scissors. I watched the pods drop into the water a half at a time, their black seeds spilling out. At my own apartment, and then my

In  conjunction with sharing a bit about my beloved Jido, here is a dish I had the pleasure of enjoying with him. This meal is soft and flavorful and pairs well with greens. This dish is naturally gluten-free. Rice with Meat and Chicken Serves: 8 Preparation time:30 min Cooking time: 90 min 1/2 lb Ground Beef 1 Whole Chicken, cleaned and separated 2 cups White Rice 1/8 cup Olive Oil 1 t Black Pepper 2 T Salt 1 t Allspice 1/2 t Cinnamon 1 Bay Leaf 1/2 cup Pine Nuts

In 2012 I suffered from multiple health problems. At the suggestion of my general care physician, I tried a gluten-free diet despite allergy panels coming back negative for all food allergies. The result was an improvement in health beyond my scifi-loving expectations. I will post many recipes here which include gluten ingredients. Like this one, many will also include dairy, another food I have found my body cannot tolerate. Since changing my diet, I have learned to make my favorite recipes with and without gluten and dairy substitutes, so I

In 2003, I spent two months in Lebanon. Our family home is built at the peak of a mountain. The drive is gated in black iron. There is an orchard running the length of the house and drive, and a balcony where I sat to drink tea and coffee with my grandparents while they still lived. Food is a highlight of Lebanese culture. I was invited into my youngest aunt, Ghada’s kitchen as she pinched dough and mixed fillings. She taught me to cook with my eyes and my nose.

You may not know this, but I used to keep a recipe blog that had many dedicated followers. Mostly, I shared recipes that fell from the many branches of my family’s cultural tree. However, I also made health-conscious adjustments to old Betty Crocker recipes. There was a lot of trial and error. Because I was on a budget with little kids, I became quite proficient in adjusting my recipes for slow cooking and savings. Right now, I’m supporting my partner in a #Paleo challenge he is doing with our #CrossFit

*This post was contributed by my sister-in-law, Cheryl Ainslie-Waldman, who now has a PhD in Nutrition from University of Minnesota, back in 2009. It appeared on a blog Jehanzeb Dar and I co-published called Islam on My Side (now someone else’s blog). I like to repost this every year because the information is important, especially during a summer fast! Cheryl recommends increasing your liquid intake this year as the days are hot and long. Pay attention to that third paragraph for some tips on caffeine and juice intake while fasting.

  I woke up wanting to tip my hat to tornado survivors today. I grew up in Tornado Alley. I remember standing on my porch as the wind whipped and changed and the sky turned green. When we lived in a house in the Ozarks, we would look left at the bull pasture, to see what the heifers had done. If they were gone, it was time to go inside. Once, we saw a small twister touch down in the field, bounce back into the sky, and puff into dust.

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