Best of A Crafty Arab 2017 {Resource}

A Crafty Arab has had an active 2017, teaching children and adults about the Arab world.


In 2017, there were 99 Arab  posts written (100 if you count this one) and of those, 67 were DIY craft tutorials, 7 were free printables and 7 were food related.


The rest of the list is made up of 10 posts the included educational resources and the number I’m most proud of: 8 posts that were related to Arab or Muslim children’s books, either as reviews or book lists.


Here are the top 5 posts, with the most amount of traffic. for 2017.


Not surprising, the top post (almost double in traffic compared to the next post) was tied to the United States election.  Late last year, Americas elected a white supremacist sympathizer president and one of his despicable first acts was to ask for an immediate ban on all Muslims that enter America from seven countries.  I decided to use this opportunity to educate about Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen by compiling them in one post.

The second highest post was also a compilation post full of Arab and/or Islamic activities, this time listing all 30 DIY projects created for each day of Ramadan.  It’s excited to see that the 30 day Ramadan Crafts Challenge is now 7 years old and one of the most popular events on the blog.  Ramadan activities included an advent calendar, rewards, games, artwork and giving. Check out all 30 Ramadan crafts, downloads and recipes on this post.

The third highest post was a book review and a STEM tutorial about building mosque domes.  I was recently sent Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns by Hena Khan to review.  As a co-Host of the Multicultural Children’s Book Day, I’m always looking for books to add to our diverse shelf.  Be on the lookout in 2018 for another book plus tutorial because I was lucky enough to be sent more than one book. In the meantime, check out our Mosque Golden Domes post.

The fourth highest post was a free printable Eid banner.  We love to make banners here on the blog because they are so easy, take very little time to create and instantly makes any room festive.  Five years ago, I made an entire Eid party set and last year I asked my online community for color options (having already creating the banner in teal).  Salmon was a hit with everyone and now that download is free Happy Eid Salmon printable.

Rounding off the list is a tutorial that teaches about the five pillars of Islam.  To be honest, this was a surprise for me.  As a paper artist, I do tend to make more paper art with my kids and was sure a paper tutorial would make the list.  But instead craft sticks sneaked in as one of the top material of choose for my readers.  This super easy and quick craft is a wonderful way to teach the 5 pillars without a lot of supplies or mess and can be found here.


Other highlights of the year include becoming a Plaid Ambassador and being asked to teach, for the sixth year in a row, at a women’s retreat. Holidays celebrated included Persian Nowruz and Arab American Heritage Month. I introduced my readers to Mariam al-Astrulabi, plus 99 Arab American Women who they should know (and most already did).


InshaAllah (An Arabic term used by both Christians and Muslims that means ‘God willing’), my daughters and I look forward to 2018 being another great year. We hope to bring you more educational posts that you can use with your children or students.  As an teacher, nothing brings me greater joy then sharing my culture in a positive way.  Shurkan (Arabic for thank you) for following along on the journey.


Please make sure you sign up for the A Crafty Arab newsletter to find out when future posts are out. Stop by my Arabic, Perisan and Urdu handmade store to purchase a unique, one of a kind card, or add a fun Arabic educational poster to any child’s life.


Stop by these other Muslimah Bloggers to see which posts made their top 5 list:

Afreen’s Kitchen
By Shahira
Ilm Student Central
Ilma Education
Multicultural Motherhood
The Imperfect Muslimah
The Lady of the House
Umm Afraz Muhammed Blog


Visit A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see more.

Saudi Arabia Creamy Tomato and Chickpea Soup {Recipe}

I was sent the cookbook The Arabian Nights Cookbook: From Lamb Kebabs to Baba Ghanouj, Delicious Homestyle Middle Eastern Cooking by Habeeb Salloum from Tuttle Publishing.


It focuses primary on recipes in the Arab Gulf region and has to be one of the most beautiful cookbooks I’ve seen in a long time.


I was pressed for time this week to look for dinner options for our Mawlid al Nabi celebration tonight and took the cookbook with me on the bus to work. Mawlid al Nabi commemorates the birthplace of the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh), in Saudi Arabia. This annual Islamic holiday is celebrated by many Muslims around the world.}


On the bus, I caught my seat mate leaning in, reading over my shoulder. When we reached our destination, she had already asked where she can buy it.   The photos were so eye catching that she couldn’t resist.


The book is broken up into the traditional chapters (salad, soup, chicken, seafood, drinks, desserts, etc) and includes an opening chapter on popular condiments and pickles.  The intro is a well written explanation of the diversity of modern Arab Gulf cooking, followed up with useful tools and essential ingredients. Reading the chapter on the spices, nuts and vegetables unique to the region made me long for the smells I experienced in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey.


The recipes include tips and notes on everything from how to stuff a lamb to which meals are best served family style. The stunning chapter introductions explain the dishes and their influences from surrounding regions. The resource guide includes Arab stores country wide, where tools and ingredients can be found.


I’d like to share the recipe for the Creamy Tomato and Chickpea Soup. But you don’t have to wait for the annual Mawlid al Nabi to enjoy this yummy delicious meal, you can make this anytime.


(Readers of the blog will note the similarities of this dish to the Egyptian Tomato and Chickpea Soup we made a few years ago.  This version includes a few differences. Most notably, the addition of fresh cilantro, an herb introduced historically by Western Asia to the area.)



4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 minced onions
4 cloves garlic, crushed to paste
2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
6 cups water
2 cups stewed tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Pinch of ground red pepper

Pour the oil into a large saucepan with a lid and place over medium heat. Add the coriander leaves and onion and saute for 10 minutes, uncovered.

Add the remaining ingredients, stir and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium heat for 25 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool, slightly.

Next, purée, then return to the saucepan, adding more water if desired. Reheat and serve.

We served our soup with a side of naan bread.

To enjoy more Arab food we have tried, please check out

Egyptian Ful Medames {Recipe}

Hot Algerian Lasagna {Recipe}

Lebanese Lentil Soup {Recipe}

Or stop by A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see out more recipes from the MENA (Middle East & North Africa) region.

Be sure to check out the book The Arabian Nights Cookbook: From Lamb Kebabs to Baba Ghanouj, Delicious Homestyle Middle Eastern Cooking by Habeeb Salloum from Tuttle Publishing or ask for it a your local bookstore, library or Amazon.

Eid Party Fruit Snack {Recipe}

How was your Eid Al Adha gathering this past weekend? I hope you had a fabulous time with family, friends and of course food!


We got together with friends after prayers for a potluck play date with a toy exchange and craft table, plus this cute station where the kids made fruit snacks in the shape of a palm tree with a sheep enjoying it’s shade.


We were inspired from creating them last year at girl scout camp. When we got home, we gathered all the ingredients so we can show you step by step how to make them.



Spreader knife
Banana (2)
Cheese stick
Clementines (2)

Since kids are doing this, we found spreader knives that were able to cut the fruit, but not each other!  First we had a quick lesson on knife safety.  Once the kids each had a knife, they were told to cut the grapes, lengthwise, to resemble the “grass” at the bottom of the plate. They also cut the banana lengthwise.

After placing the cut banana on the plate, nestled in the grass, the kids used the knives to create cuts in the tree trunk.

Once the banana looked like a palm tree “trunk”, the kids worked on the palm “leaves” by peeling the oranges and placing them in a fan shape on top.

Now that the grass and tree were done, the kids started working on the “sheep” by cutting the other banana into thin slices. They placed a few in a circle and added more on top to resemble “wool.”

Next came the “face” which is made from cutting the blueberries.

For the “eyes” the kids were given the cheese stick and told to cut out small circles.  They can cut as many as they need until they can get two small enough to fit on the face.  Then they used small left over parts of the blueberries for the final touch.

The final touch was writing EID in frosting. Some kids wrote their name, or added balloons and other shapes. You can also add a cup of slightly warmed peanut butter or Nutella for dipping the banana slices!

Here is our final version, which lasted for about two minutes before it was totally gobbled up! This snack is also fun to eat with toothpicks, but be conscious of the kids ages before you bring those out.

If you enjoyed making this fun snack, be sure to follow A Crafty Arab on Pinterest for other recipes, tutorials and downloads that teach about the Arab world.