Seattle Arab Cultural Camp {Resource}

I have decided to create an Arab Cultural Camp for children in Washington.

 

After spending years working at various children’s camps around the Puget Sound, starting with StarTalk in Seattle and recently at Girl Scout Rainbow Camp on the Eastside, I wanted to create a camp that would specifically focus on the culture and heritage of the Arab world.

 

I have used the resources from A Crafty Arab, combined with my eleven year’s experience as an art docent at my daughters’ school, to create eight, fun, educational, camp stations.  These art lesson stations include themes about Arab hospitality, Arab countries, Arab literature, Arab traditional instruments, Arab spices, etc.

 

It will be held August 6-10 in my artist studio in Redmond and August 20-24 at Salaam Cultural Museum in Seattle.

 

Since this is our inaugural year, the camp will be limited to 15 participants on a first come, first served basis.  I will be taking children enterting grades K-6 from 8:30am to 3:30pm Monday through Friday, with a special outing and gallery show planned for our final day. Camp will be $200 a week to cover materials and visiting artists fees. There will be an open house for interested parents, to check out the studio and experience a sample art stations, on July 28th.

 

Arab Cultural Camp Sample Day

Our Arab Cultural Camp day will start with a Arabic story time/ song/ reading activity. My studio library includes hundreds of crafts and Arab children books. The children will be able to check out any of the books at the end of the day for enjoyment at home with siblings or other family members.

 

The children will then be separated for age appropriate stations. These included painting, cooking, calligraphy, dabke, etc before a break for lunch.

 

The children will enjoy a lunch from home, or a nutritious option can be provided for an additional fee paid that morning, before beginning a second set of stations.

 

Our day will finish with another story time / song / reading activity before the children are picked up.  If daycare hours are needed, please let me know.

 

We will have one day when a local Arab musician will come to teach the children how to play the darbuka for an all camp singalong, I am still working the details on which day. Our Friday will also be a little different as it will include an art outing, followed by a gallery show of all the children’s artwork.

 

Yalla, let’s do this, I’m in!

If you are interested in learning more about the Arab Cultural Camp, either contact me or fill out an Arab Cultural Camp Application.

 

If this year’s Arab Cultural Camp is a success, I have also submitted a City of Seattle Youth Arts grant to offer it for free to refugee children next year. If you would like to be involved in that endeavor, please let me know as I hope to make it a much larger scale project and will be grateful for a few helping hands.

Ramadan Man’ousheh Mini Bites {Recipe}

Ramadan is a good time to adjust the quantities of the different foods one consumes. I remember in Libya, we would start our iftarإفطار in Arabic, with a warm soup, add salads, proteins and very few carbs. Iftar is the evening meal with which Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset.

 

For our carbs, we used to have quartered pita bread, but after we moved to America, my mother substituted crescent rolls to our meals. They were small and were excellent in soaking up the last of the soup juices.

 

While visiting Egypt a few years ago, I was introduced to man’ousheh, مناقيش  in Arabic, a dough dish that had spices and sometimes cheese added.  The spices were called za’atar, زعتر in Arabic, and the cheese varied in type, depending on the region.

 

I have loved the dish ever since and have found a local restaurant that does a good job of duplicating it. Lucky for my, they are not close to my house or I would eat there every day.

 

I wanted to introduce this dish to my daughters. I thought it might be fun to combine my mom’s love of crescent rolls with my new love of man’ousheh for either a supplement to an iftar meal or even to have on hand for a suhur quick bite. Suhur, سحور‎ in Arabic, is the meal consumed early in the morning by Muslims before fasting.

 

Supplies

Cheese (I used akawi)
Crescent rolls
Za’atar
Olive Oil

Lay out a crescent roll single triangle on a plate and cover it generously with the olive oil.  Sprinkle the za’atar and add a strip of cheese at the end.

Roll the crescent roll, just as instructed on the of the package.

However, you’ll notice that you are not able to create the crescent shape due to the cheese.  If you have your heart set on the Ramadan crescent moon shape, just cut up your cheese into smaller pieces.  But whether you keep the cheese one piece or many, make sure to seal the sides to hold it in.

Bake the rolls, according to the instructions on the package.

Once they came out, I was excited to see only one side popped open, but the rest looked really good. They smell even better.

I can’t wait till my kids crack one open and see the surprise, cheese filling.

If you enjoyed checking out this recipe, stop by these other yummy treats

Sandwich Swap Hummus {Recipe}

Eid Sprinkle Marshmallow Pops {Recipe}

 

Visit A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see more recipes.

Honey and Date Bee Cake {Recipe} plus Aishah Learns to Bake {Review}

I was recently sent the book Aishah Learns to Bake by author Latifah Peerbux,‎ and illustrator Nurul Ruqaiyah Ahmad Maliki, from Almaurid Books.

 

This adorable book is about a little girl name Aishah who helps her mum make a cake. They start to play a guessing game, where her mum gives her hints of ingredients they’ll need. She explains how Allah (God in Arabic) made each one, from the bees that give us honey to the dates we eat during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. Along the way, there are silly illustrations of a cow standing on top of a cake and clocks that move way, way toooooo slow across the page.

 

Once all the ingredients are mixed, Aishah learns how things are baked. When her father comes home, she is able to share with him all steps and reminded him to say Bismillah an Arabic phrase that means ‘in the name of God, before he tried a bite.  The book includes a recipe and instruction on making honey and date cupcakes.

 

We got all the ingredients together this weekend and tried our hand at turning the cupcakes into the cake that the cow is standing on. We had to go to two different stores to find caster sugar, as it’s not a common item in our local community, but everything else we had a home.  My middle daughter also wanted to try her hand at fondant, so she tried a bee outer shell. A full list of ingredients and measurements are in the book.

Since this book was written in the United Kingdom, some of the measurements were written in metric, so we had to figure out how many dates we needed to pit (3 ounces). We spent some time looking at metric conversion charts and the history of the metric system, which is very different than the customary units we use in the United States.

 

After we had gathered everything, we placed the pit less dates in the food processor for a few minutes.

We added the dates and 3 tablespoons of water in a pot and placed it on the stove, till boil.  This allowed it to become a paste before we set it aside to cool.

While the dates were cooling, we made the cake batter and the fondant mixture. Tip: We made them in separate bowls but at the same time because they shared a few dry ingredients. Just make sure to keep them apart!

We baked the cake batter into two pans. Tip: Inserting a toothpick when you pull it out tells you if the middle is baked.  If the toothpick is dry, the cake is done, if the toothpick is wet, place the cake back in the oven for a few more minutes.

While the cake was baking and cooling, we divided the fondant batter into two batches. We added the yellow food coloring to one and the black to the second. We used the same toothpick to help control how much to add. And have a few sillies of our own while baking.

To be honest, the black ended up more of a grey, but that’s okay. We set them aside to work on layering our cakes.

We added a layer of the date paste to the bottom cake but didn’t spread it to the edges, leaving an outer circle.

In a side bowl, we mixed the honey buttercream icing and added it to the outer circle before adding the second cake layer. We spread the extra around the edges before adding the fondant.

We flatten the two balls of fondant and laid the yellow over the whole cake. Tip: It is easier to place on the cake to cut, rather than try to cut it flat.  We then cut the black into strips.

We added a little extra black to fit around the edges. This is a great time to sneak in a lesson in math and angles.

My daughter rolled up a little extra ball, turned it into a cone shape and added it for a stinger.

The true test came in the taste and it got a thumbs up from all of us, even the little five year old boy my oldest happen to be babysitting.  He not only finished it all, he wanted to know if it was okay to have a second piece since “it healthy.” (I said no, but sent an extra piece with his mom when she came to pick him up)

 

I am so excited to try this book out at my next story time with the kids at the library since my own youngest enjoyed the story and the cake.

 

Be sure to check out the book Aishah Learns to Bake from Almaurid Books or ask for it a your local bookstore, library or Amazon. Stop by to visit the activity kit too!

 

 

Visit A Crafty Arab on Pinterest for more of our adventures in the kitchen or the Education Resource page for hundreds of books for Muslim children.