I wanted to take this opportunity to wish all my readers and wonderful supporters, and everyone who celebrates something around this time of the year, a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays followed by an amazing New Year full of health, laughter, and love. I am absolutely exhilarated when I hear from you, whether it’s for the feedback and suggestions you provide, our sense of unity when we can relate to one another through our experiences, or just your outright words of encouragement. Thank you!
Here I have posted our humble little Christmas tree mainly decorated with trinkets and ornaments that the kids have made at school. To be honest, deciding on whether to celebrate Christmas was a bit of a cultural struggle for my husband and I initially. While we both love festive holidays, beautiful Christmas lights, the sight of Santa Claus with his white fluffy beard, and the feel of everything Christmas, we felt a bit hypocritical in celebrating it. It was almost like by giving into this celebration we may be losing a bit of our Persian identity. So we questioned ourselves, challenged one another, and eventually came to the conclusion that we would indeed be putting up a little tree to culturally connect us with the rest of America. However we were very clear to our children we did not celebrate Christmas as most others do. We were not going to be buying presents for one another. We often don’t have the luxury of visiting our parents and having a big feast with them at this time either. Instead, we will put up our festive tree, and spread the holiday cheer by donating toys to kids who didn’t have them. I feel like we have found our balance and SO FAR, we have had no complaints from the kids. We reserve the present giving and big fuss for our Persian New Year, Norooz, to make the kids extra excited about it.
It once came up during a cultural leadership seminar that I went to (specifically a PAAIA NexGen conference) , that for immigrants, it is natural to lose a part of their culture as they migrate to another country. If they didn’t, they would become a museum, rather than an integrated part of their new society. It’s true. As immigrants, we are morphed into something new, what can be a beautiful amalgam of two or more cultures. But the challenge remains; what aspects of our Persian culture do we want to leave behind, and what are essential in the keeping. Only YOU can answer this for yourself and decide what kind of amalgam you choose to be. But if we are representing the Persian culture abroad, and as we pick up new habits and traditions, I hope you will remember this for our future generation:
“He said that if culture is a house, then language was the key to the front door; to all the rooms inside. Without it, he said, you ended up wayward, without a proper home or a legitimate identity.” ― Khaled Hosseini, And the Mountains Echoed
Teaching your children about child abuse can prevent it. It is an uncomfortable talk for both parents and children to have as no one likes to think about these issues. But it is our duty as parents to bring it up to our children and at a very young age. I came across this video and think it can help teach parents how to discuss it with their children. I suggest you share all or parts of the cartoon with them (depending on your comfort level) or perhaps putting in your own words to make the chid understand. So please do your children a favor and talk to them about this no matter how uncomfortable it makes you and/or them.
I have also provided the Persian version as well below.
Thanksgiving is such a special time of the year. A time to sit around family and friends, eat and drink in abundance, wash down the delicious meal with decadent desserts and to bask in the glory of all your blessings. And often our children are reminded and taught through school how and why this feast became an annual celebration.
However for an immigrant new to the country, or a foreign student forced to leave the dorms for Thanksgiving, it can be a very lonely time of year. It is often a time that makes us long for our homes, our parents’ embrace, our mother’s home cooked meal, and the warmth of a friendly embrace. So, this Thanksgiving amongst giving thanks for our blessings, appreciating all that we have, I invite you to think of those people as well and perhaps make it a tradition to open up your home to such friends as well. I always remember my friends’ parents who welcomed us to their Thanksgiving feast knowing that we were miles away from our own families and for that I am always grateful.
With this small note, here are a few gobbly fun treats to make and enjoy.
While Halloween and healthy snacks are usually not synonymous, if you’re a bit overwhelmed about the sugar overload in your household, here are some healthy snacks and treats (all gathered from different sites) you can offer your kiddos and guests.
Have a happy, healthy, and safe Halloween!
Cheese and olive skewers
Clementines as pumpkins and Jack o’ Lanterns
apple slice mouths with almond teeth and PB or jelly filling
a monster watermelon
carrot witch fingers dipped in hummus with almond nails stuck on with hummus
I am beyond thrilled to bring you this helpful and constructive article written by Yalda Modabber, Golestan’s Executive Director, upon my request (and perhaps pestering) on how we can help our children learn their mother tongue, and do it before it’s too late. It’s not easy, but it can be done and Yalda and her sons are proof of that. Through her persistence and accepting the sacrifices it takes, she has empowered her own children to speak Persian, despite them being a multicultural family. I admire Yalda, not only for succeeding in her own personal mission, but her willingness to always help others with theirs. Thank you for being such a gem in our community!
I wanted to emphasize a few points from the article that really stood out to me, but honestly ALL the recommendations are on point! I hope you found it useful, and if so, please share with your friends.
Unfortunately the battle between stay-at-home moms (SAHMs) and working moms is a real thing. Whether it’s an internal conflict of having to choose one over the other or having someone say something insensitive to you, it’s a true struggle for many. Here’s my 2 cents and some posts of a few things you should not say to a working mom or a stay-at-home mom.
We should all learn to respect each others’ choices. Does that mean I will always agree with someone’s choice? No! But it’s not mine to agree with. If they ASK my opinion, then as a friend I will share it. But if you haven’t been asked, do yourself the liberty of keeping your opinion to yourself if it’s not something nice.
For me the whole “work-life balance” term is misleading. The balance does not come from being able to do everything and necessarily balancing everything. It’s definitely more a juggling act than balancing. Because you can’t be at two places at one time. When you’re working, you are spending less hours with your children, and when you’re at home with the kids you are spending less hours building your career. The balance comes from being HAPPY and CONTENT with your choice and making the most of it. Be happy with your decision and the balance will come as a result.
Would love to hear from all your mommas out there on your personal experiences!
Yesterday was a rainy, windy autumn day. And the only thing it was missing was some warm yummy ash (herb soup) to complement it. So I gathered my ingredients and made me some wheat bulgur soup with a twist, a pomegranate twist that is! I’m calling this aash (soup) Persian Momma’s because it really is a made up version of a few soups together. I hope you like it.
1 cup of mixed legumes (usually kidney beans, lentils, and chickpeas)
I use the 13-bean mix and add more lentils to the mix
1 cup dried Aash herbs
Instead of using fresh herbs (which would involve buying, washing, and de-stemming Leek Chives, Cilantro, Dill, Parsley, Spinach) I just buy a bag of ready-to-use spinach and use a cup of dried herbs specifically packaged for Aash. You can buy these at Persian grocery stores.
1 cup of Wheat Bulgur
I use the Trader Joe’s quick-cook kind. *If you are using the regular kind, you will want to add it at the beginning with the legumes.
1/2 cup of Pomegranate paste
1/4 cup of rinsed quinoa (optional)
1 small bag of fresh spinach – chopped
1-2 Tablespoons Turmeric
Salt and Pepper (I add a dash of Cayenne pepper for a bit of kick)
Optional: 2 tablespoons of gharreh ghoroot (this is fermented yogurt and you would have to buy it from a Persian Grocery)
Fried Dried Mint (Na’na Daagh) نعنا داغ
Put legumes, water, spices (turmeric, garlic powder, salt, pepper) and half of your fried onions in the slow cooker and cook on high until the beans are almost fully cooked (this took about 4 hours for me). Then add the dried herbs, chopped spinach, and half your whey and cook for another hour. Add your wheat bulgur and quinoa to the crockpot. Add half the fried dried mint and let it cook on high for 1/2 hour on high or an hour on low and voila, you’ve got Aash anar. Noosheh jaan konid.
Once you are ready to serve your Aash, you can garnish it with the remaining piaaz dagh, na’na daagh, kashk, and pomegranate paste. I like to also add some walnuts for crunch and garnish. Share it with a friend and/or neighbor and it will bring you even more delight!
Thanks to one of my fellow momma friends, Beyoona D. from California, for sharing her amazing recipe. Beyoona is a beautiful momma to 2 handsome boys and married to her Persian husband. This impressive and intelligent momma is always conjuring up delicious and nutritious dishes for her family and has me oohing and aahing over the internet. Here’s is a recipe she has kindly shared:
Chicken Parmesan with Eggplant
chicken tender or chicken fillet
1 cup of flour
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
Salt and Pepper
Italian herbs (sold in a spice container at Ralph’s or any grocery)
Mozzarella cheese (shredded) or balls
A jar of marinara sauce
Bread the chicken by, dipping it in flour first (add salt, pepper and Italian herbs in the flour), then in egg mixture (mix the eggs together in a bowl) then in bread crumbs.
After your done, fry them in shallow vegetable oil.
Cut the egg plants half circles fry them too.
In a oven safe plate put marinara sauce at the bottom. ( I like the RAO sauce brand) they sell it in whole foods or Ralph’s)
I lay down the chicken and egg plants. I shred basil leaves, top it with parmissian and mozzarella cheese.
In the over for half an hour to 40 min Max. 350 F
It’s good to prepare it a head of time. And place it in oven half an hour before serving. Serve with rice, pasta or salad on the side.
Looking for a tasty gluten-free Persian dessert for your kids and family? Well fereny is the perfect treat!
2/3 cup rice flour
4 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup rose water
cinnamon for topping
Place the rice flour and milk in a pot and stir over medium-low heat. Add the sugar. Continually stir until the mixture is smooth and the milk starts to thicken. It is very important to keep stirring to avoid clumping. Once you have reached the desired consistency, add your rose water and turn the heat off while still stirring. Pour your ferenny into a bowl and sprinkle some cinnamon on top.