Spiced chia seed and almond milk pudding


Yes, another vegan chia seed pudding recipe. I love them. They’re so quick, so easy and so damn versatile. So if it’s alright with you, I’m going to be repeating them, time after time!


  • 1 cup of chia seeds
  • 2 and ½ cup of almond or coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger
  • Any type of fruit or nuts for topping



Cooking Instructions:

  • In a container, throw all the ingredients together and mix well.
  • Close container and place in fridge overnight.
  • In the morning, pour mixture into bowl and top with whatever you like!


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Easy and quick soba noodle tuna salad


‘Tis the middle of the week and I neither have the desire, nor the stamina to drive all the way to the grocery store and buy provisions to keep me from dying of the hunger. A little rummage here, a chop there, a can opener in the middle and I’ve got this lovely soba noodle tuna salad. I’m slurping. I’m happy. I’m no longer withering away from hunger. Life is grand.

It’s so ridiculously easy to put together and you can add or remove any ingredient that you’d like basically. It’s one of my go-to recipes when I’m completely out of food inspo!



  • 1 pack of soba noodles
  • 1 chopped spring onion
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 2 cans of tuna (canned in water is best)
  • A handful of broccoli florets (frozen works perfectly)
  • Chopped coriander
  • ¼ cup of sesame seeds
  • A handful of crunchy mixed greens


Salad Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 grated clove of garlic
  • The juice of 1 orange (or lemon)
  • Ginger powder

Cooking Instructions:

  • In the large bowl, put together all the dressing ingredients, mix well and leave in bowl.
  • Bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the soba noodles according to the instructions. Usually 7 minutes is enough. (Do not overcook the noodles)
  • Add the broccoli florets to the boiling water and cook for 4 minutes.
  • Once the noodles are cooked, rinse them in cold water to stop the cooking process and drain well.
  • Throw the cooled noodles and broccoli into the bowl with the dressing.
  • Grate in the carrot and add the rest of the salad ingredients.
  • Mix noodles into dressing and enjoy!

Since you’re here, why not head off to my wee little Instagram page–I’d love to have ya!

Easy, healthy, vegan banana and oat bread


It’s for some settling down, I reckon. I’ve been traveling and jumping from one event to the next like a headless chicken–all the while keeping my precious startup afloat and running.

I can with all the confidence in the world say that quitting my 9-6 was the best jump into oblivion I’ve ever made. I can also say with all the confidence in the world that it is NOT easy. Some days are gloriously productive and you feel like every inch in this beautiful Universe is mustering up the absolute energy to help you shine indefinitely…other days, I don’t have time to brush my teeth, the gas on my cooker finishes right in the middle of a shoot and my clients just aren’t happy with the copy they’ve gotten.

At the moment, I’m trying my best to harvest all my energy into making those seemingly ‘crappy days’ tolerable. I try to remind myself that they’re but inevitable snags in an otherwise tight-knit sweater with all the trimmings that I’ve ever wanted.

I’m not quite sure if my verbal diarrhea makes any sense to anyone that is not inside my head, but what I’m trying to get at is that I’m trying desperately to teach myself that life isn’t only about waiting and anticipating to experience one cool thing and then desperately wait for the next, it’s about taking in that exciting new trip, harvesting it, letting it soak in, letting it change you in some profound way and then channeling that energy, that change into something that translates and permeates your life so that the days of mundanity are also glorious.

At this point, you’re probably thinking, what a bunch of bull crap, where’s the recipe for the banana bread I was promised…and to that I say, hold your horses, it’s coming right up. It’s simple, quick, vegan and healthy. It’s full of fiber, no added processed sugar. From start to finish, in an hour you’ll have gloriously spiced banana bread–but more importantly, the most pivotal ingredient in this recipe is that you need overly ripe bananas. So essentially, you need something you thought you didn’t. Something that’s shelf life you thought was over. Something you no longer found importance in.

Just like everything you’ve ever had part of your life, not everything you no longer see importance in is garbage. Let’s you and I, work together, to find out what it is in our beautiful selves that is worth keeping, worth growing, and worth discarding.


  • 3 ripe bananas
  • ¼ cup of organic maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cup of almond or coconut milk
  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1 cup of oat flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons of milled flaxseeds mixed with 6 tablespoons of warm water (set aside for 5 minutes)



Cooking Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C (approximately 300°F).
  2. In a large bowl mix together the oats, oat flour, cinnamon, sea salt and ginger.
  3. Add the mashed ripe bananas, maple syrup, flaxseed mix, milk and mix well.
  4. Add the baking powder and baking soda and mix just until incorporated.
  5. Let the mixture set for 5 minutes so the baking soda can start reacting with the mixture.
  6. Line a loaf tin with baking paper and pour the mixture into it.
  7. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until knife runs clear.
  8. Let cool and enjoy J

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The easiest soba noodle salad in just 15 minutes!


So I’m frantically packing for my last-minute trip to Jordan courtesy of Movenpick Dead Sea and Petra, but I need to fuel my body..I need to have lunch or else I won’t remember all the important things I need to pack, right?

With an almost empty fridge, I was left to rummage the cupboard to see what I could make to nourish my body and here’s what I came up with, an easy, quick and healthy soba noodle salad that I could even save in the fridge for lunch the next day!

20160726_140312-01 (1).jpeg



  • 1 pack of soba noodles
  • 1 spring onion, chopped
  • Chopped coriander
  • 1 cup of toasted cashews (in a pan with no oil)
  • 1/2 cup of toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 red chilis (depending on how hot you like it)
  • Almost 2 cups of chopped mushrooms (whatever kind you have), cooked in a pan with no oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic cooked in sesame oil till nice and golden and crispy


  • 1 large tablespoon of creamy peanut butter
  • 1 thumb of ginger, grated
  • Soy sauce to taste
  • The juice of 1 lime
  • Rice vinegar to taste
  • About 3 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • About 1/2 cup of warm water from the soba noodles (adding a little bit at a time)


Here’s how it’s done:

  1. First, you need to toast the cashews, sesame seeds, garlic and garlic in pans individually (do not put them together in one pan because you’re lazy, they can and will burn)
  2. Then boil a pan of water and when the water comes to a boil, cook the soba noodles for 5 minutes (or read pack) and then drain and wash with cold water
  3. In a large bowl, mix all the dressing ingredients. Add some of the hot water from the noodles a little bit at a time and keep mixing till the dressing is nice and creamy
  4. Add all the ingredients into the bowl and toss till the noodles are mixed with the dressing
  5. ENJOY!


Please give this recipe a shot, it’s even easier than it sounds, I promise. Plus it’s perfect for lunch the next day!

It’s healthy, quick and easy! Go Straight-up Bananas with me and give this recipe a shot. Also, please follow me on Instagram by clicking this link🙂



Vegan, healthy and quick pasta primavera

Primavera means spring in Latin. And a pasta primavera is quintessential for any Italian spread during the spring–filled with everything green and plenty of cream, it makes for the ultimate comfort food.

Fortunately for me, my newly-started vegan diet to atone for the food that I ate during the weekend, forced me to come up with my new plantbased spin on the famous Italian dish.

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring to you a foolproof, quick and easy vegan pasta primavera.




  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 chopped garlic
  • 1 grated zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of warm water
  • 2 sprigs of spring onions
  • The juice of 1 lime
  • Sea salt and pepper


  • Buckwheat pasta
  • 3 cloves of garlic, fried till golden in a pan
  • 1 handful of spinach roughly chopped
  • 1 handful of baby asparagus, grilled
  • Zucchini ribbons (you can make these by peeling off the skin of the large zucchini with a peeler)
  • Red chili flakes
  • Sea salt and black pepper


How to make it:

  • Make the sauce by mixing all it’s ingredients together and blending with a handmixer till smooth and creamy
  • Cook the buckwheat pasta according to the instructions
  • In a pan, sautee the asparagus first (because it needs more cooking time), then cook down the spinach for a minute.
  • Turn off the heat, and add the zucchini ribbons
  • Remove the veggies and cook the garlic until nice and golden brown
  • Once the pasta is cooked, add it to the pan along with the fried garlic and veggies
  • Turn off the heat, and add the pasta to a plate with the avocado sauce and mix well
  • If you allow the avocado sauce to touch the heat, it’s vibrant green color will fade
  • Enjoy!

Super simple and super good for you, this plant-based vegan avocado pasta primavera is packed with vitamins and is crazy easy to make. Also, it tastes AMAZEBALLS!

It’s really versatile as well . The beauty of this recipe is that you can use whatever green ingredients you have in your fridge on that day: peas, green string beans…

Go Straight-up Bananas with me and give this recipe a shot! And also, since you’re here, maybe check out my Instagram by clicking this link here? Thank you!

Vegan veggie tortillas in 15 minutes


Last weekend was filled with yummy food and I’m not going to lie and say I held back. At all. I so did not. First I had a food review at LeTen, Dubai Mall then I had another at Fume, Pier7 Marina and the food was exceptional at both places and I ate like an absolute pig!

So now, I shall try to atone for my piggie sins and make amends with my Temple by nourishing it back to health.

For breakfast I made these wholewheat tacos that are filled with quite literally whatever I had in my fridge.


  • Brown beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Kidney beans
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini
  • Olive oil
  • Lime
  • Zucchini ribbons
  • Grilled beef tomatoes
  • 2 wholewheat tortillas
  • Spinach
  • Avocado
  • Baby asparagus
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sea salt and pepper


Here’s how to make them:

– Toast the tortillas
– Mix the brown beans, chickpeas, tahini and olive oil together and mash together
– Layer the bean mixture on the bottom of the tortillas so the rest of the ingredients stick
– Place the rest of the veggies whatever way you want
– Top with some sea salt and pepper and a squirt of lime
Crazy simple and very filling, these tortillas were just the thing I needed to help myself get back on track!
Go Straight-up Bananas with me and give this recipe a shot! And since you’re here, I think you should follow me on Instagram by clicking here🙂


10-minute coconut healthy ice cream


So I’m sure you’ve seen ‘nice cream’ photos plastered all around Instagram and were wondering what the heck it is. Well, it’s basically a healthy alternative to ice cream using frozen fruit and a plant-based milk. You can add whatever your heart desires, top with some fresh fruit, nuts or any super seed and you’re on your way to healthy body and a satisfied sweet tooth!

It couldn’t be simpler to make, the only prerequisite is ripe frozen bananas. And I know for a fact, you’ve thrown out black bananas because you thought they’re time was over. If you’ve got black and bruised mushy bananas lying around…ever…just stick them in ziploc bag and put them in the freezer and you’re one step closer to ice cream for breakfast.


Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 can (or a cup and a half) of organic coconut milk (almond or soy milk work as well)
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup ( date syrup or honey work just as well)
  • 1/2 cup of oats (to give it body, this is optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of milled flax seeds (also optional,  but a good boost of omega for your body in the morning)
  • 1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • 1 papaya (also optional)

So the concept for this tropical nice cream served in a fresh papaya boat is an ode to my Puerto Rican grandmother, Heidi–who always used to prepare papaya, cinnamon and coconut milk smoothies for us.

Here’s how it’s done:

  • Grab all the ingredients (except the papaya) and place in a food processor or blender and blend together till creamy.
  • Scoop out the seeds of the papaya with a spoon and place the nice cream inside the papaya.
  • Top with whatever you feel works that day. I added toasted coconut, goji berries, chia seeds.

I think it’s worth mentioning that the good base to ANY nice cream is frozen bananas, milk and a sweetener–the rest is alllllll you. Add whatever you want, the possibilities are endless: peanut butter, chocolate, strawberries, blueberries…

Go straight-up bananas with me and give this dead simple recipe a shot! I’d love to hear from you! Oh, and since you’re here…why don’t you follow me on Instagram by clicking this link.

Welcome to Morocco – اهلا بكم في المغرب

Moroccan breakfast


Prepare yourself for my most visually invigorating post yet–not because my photography skills have blossomed (they have not), but because Morocco promises beautiful pictures even if you were using a Nokia 3300.

I’ve been putting off writing my Morocco post for longer than I should’ve, only because I wanted to make sure it was as perfect as it could be and that it did the beautiful cities of Marrakesh, Chefchaouen, and Essaouira justice.

As a child, being a mixed kid always confused the heck out of me. I often wondered if I were more Arab than Hispanic, or vice versa. As an adult, I realized that being both was double the awesome–I wish I could’ve explained that to little 7-year-old Ahlam. I wish I could’ve told her that there would be a day you’d get to travel to Morocco and find city, upon city of people as vibrant, as culturally diverse and as authentic as you. With African, Arabic, Moorish, Spanish, Amazigh, Portuguese and French influence, Morocco stole my heart the second I landed in Casa Blanca.

A true feast for the senses–with sights, smells, flavors and various textiles caressing your being as you walk down the colorful alleyways of each city–Morocco needs to be on the top of travel bucket list, my friends.

Moroccan mint tea

Day 1

We landed in Casa Blanca, and hopped onto the airport train and straight to our hotel. We had lunch, slept at an Ibis hotel right next to the train station as we were heading early morning the next day to Chefchaouen. The hotel was clean, beds were rather comfortable and it was less than a 2-minute walk to the train station.

Day 2

The next morning we woke up at dawn to head to the beautiful blue-washed village of Chefchaouen. Located in the midst of the Kif mountains, painted from top to bottom in different blue hues and without a car in sight–it’s most definitely not a sight to be missed. We took a three-hour train ride to Tangier and then hired a petit taxi (a taxi cab) for an hour and a half to take us to Chefchaouen.

Then. We. Arrived.

I could try night and day to explain to you how beautiful this place really is, but I would never be able to do it justice. The people are kind, the breeze is gorgeous, the food and music and leather and..and…the list could go on for days!

ChefChaoun view

We commenced with the near hike through the steps, upon steps of blue that led us straight to the first hotel we’d be staying at, Dar Zambra. We were greeted warmly and taken to our beautifully decorated room. That photo above was the view from our window. The entire hotel only has 4 rooms, try to get the Green room–the room on the highest floor right next to the breakfast terrace. Put your stuff away so you don’t clutter the serenity of the room with every nook handmade to artisan perfection. Take a shower in the beautiful bathroom and just open the window and allow the golden Moroccan sun to warm you up as you lay in bed and feel the chill of the Kif mountain breeze and the sound of the adhan echoing through the air. It brings tears to my eyes just remembering. It was and is utter perfection.

The manager and his wife could arrange for a Morrocan cooking class in their quaint little kitchen.

Once the afternoon sun has subsided a bit, venture through the souks of leather bags, poufs and hand woven carpets and tapestries. Enjoy a conversation with the group of old men sitting on the ground, painting a masterpiece, conversing with friends and enjoying a drag of cigarette simultaneously.

street view morocco

Day 3

The next morning, wake up at dawn (trust me, do it) and enjoy the sun rise over the mountains. Enjoy the sun set over the mountains. Enjoy the moon emerge from behind the mountains. Enjoy the mountains.

Dar Zambra - StraightupBananas

Then head on out to the terrace and enjoy one the best breakfasts you’ve ever had.

Moroccan breakfast

We spent the rest of the day enjoying our room and scenery then once again, when the sun’s harsh rays subsided we walked through the alleys again. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch of Lahm wa Barkouk (a lamb tagine with prunes and almonds) at a restaurant called Ali Baba…and then we enjoyed that dish 4 times more before we left🙂


Then it was on to shopping for some leather, hand woven carpets and silver Amazighi jewelry.

Day 4

We checked out of Dar Zambra and in to Ryad Lina & Spa for a taste of a stay at a true Morrocan Riad and a Moroccan hamam.

The hotel was lovely, a bit more continental than Dar Zambra. The spa was absolutely lovely, but the staff didn’t add the personal touch that the folks at Dar Zambra did. The estate itself was lovely with a large terrace in front of your room where you could order room service.


Them it was time to take a taxi to the local bus station and head to Marrakesh. I warn you that you NEED to properly plan your trip. Geography-wise it’s not the best idea to head directly from Chefchaouen to Marrakesh it’s almost a 10 hour ride (and that’s if you ride the correct bus. We did not)

Word of advice, stick to the touristy CTM buses as they’re quick and they hardly make any stops. The bus that we got on, was a regular governmental bus that stopped every ten minutes. It almost took us 16 hours to get to Chefchaouen. Not the highlight of our trip.

Day 5

We arrived at Marrakesh at 3 o’clock in the morning which means we practically missed our first night there and were only left with one more night. Once we arrived at the bus stop in Marrakesh, we had no idea how to get to our hotel. Luckily for us, the riad manager, Desiree was an angel and when we called her in the middle of the night, she got out of bed and came to meet us on the street to take us to the hotel, Riad Farhan.

Day 6

Weary from the journey of the night before, we woke up without the slightest realization of the beauty of the space we were in. This riad is where you MUST stay if you’re in Marrakesh. YOU MUST STAY HERE! It is absolutely, jaw-droppingly beautiful! You won’t want to leave your room, I assure you!

It was like waking up in a dream. In a dream where you keep telling yourself that this could not possibly be real.

MarrakeshDSCN0408-01Dar Farhan - Marrakesh

In the afternoon, we ventured beyond the walls of the heavenly Riad Farhan to explore the city, with rows upon rows of souks of spices, leather, lanterns, mirrors and silver. We headed towards the famous Jamea Al Fana, an ancient square or plaza where the wonderful people of Marrakesh gather to perform acrobatic skits, theater, and music. With snake charmers scattered around, performing monkeys and horse-pulled chariots. With steamed snail stands, freshly prepared seafood stands with communal tables and walking vendors with fresh orange juice or fresh Morrocan tea strapped to their back. We realized we were light years away from peaceful Chefchaouen. Marrakesh was a different trip altogether–one not to be missed.

Day 7

Having had our short trip to Marrakesh be made even shorter by getting on the wrong bus, it was time to have one last lunch in Marrakesh and head off for a 2-hour bus ride to the coastal area of Essaouira.

Once invaded by the Portuguese, the dialect and food are totally different in Essaouira. The perfect place from some fresh seafood (especially sardines) and a good old-fashioned tan. We stayed at the lovely Le Medina Essaouira Thalasso and Spa. With a lovely sea view from accross the street and about a 3 minute walk to the city center, it was a good option in Essaouira.


Day 8 and 9

The rest of our trip was spent roaming the alleyways and fortresses and then enjoying some beautiful sunshine and beach time until we head back to Casa Blanca.


Day 10

We arrived in Casa Blanca, spent the night at the same ibis hotel and took the train back to the airport and back to Dubai😦


I loved Morocco, I loved every second of it. Marrakesh and Chefchaouen were my absolute favorites. What a beautiful country!

I put together a little video of my stay here.





Easy and healthy beetroot hummus

Easy beetroot hummus - Straight up bananas

Now he’s a recipe that’ll have your Arab grandmother pulling out her hair!

Like any other patriotic Palestinian, I heart hummus–unconditionally and eternally. If it were up to me, I’d probably have it on the table for breakfast, lunch and dinner. No joke. But alas, this crazy little thing called life doesn’t always go as planned *cue dramatic music

Sometimes, to trick myself and my husband into not realizing that we’re having hummus (yet again), I like to mess with the color and taste of it.

Ladies and gents, I give to you a two-dish, 15-minute beetroot and hummus recipe that is so good, you’ll be licking your fingers after it. Plus, it’s pretty as heck!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A can of chickpeas (preferably an organic brand)
  • Half a clove or garlic
  • The juice of one lime/lemon
  • 3 tablespoons of tahini sauce
  • Some olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Slices of pickled beetroot (until you get the pink that you like)

And here’s how to get it done, son:

  • Stick everything in the food processor and blitz till nice and creamy
  • Arrange nicely in a plate or bowl and top with some olive oil
  • Serve with some toasted pita bread and you’re good to go!


Now how simple was that?!

Give this recipe a shot, please. You won’t regret it.

Oh, and since you’re here…I reckon you should follow me on Instagram by clicking this here link…and maybe Snapchat (Ahlam.al1)  while you’re at it?

Super simple and healthy breakfast smoothie

Easy vegan strawberry breakfast smoothie - straightup bananas.jpeg

I’ve featured my super easy and healthy breakfast smoothies on the blog countless times and that’s because they are an absolute classic! No fuss, two dishes and they’ll give you that jump start you need for your day!

You could play this recipe however you like. If it’s chocolatey goodness you crave in the morning add cocoa, a banana and maybe some peanut butter? If it’s something fruity (like the picture above) add whatever berries you’ve got and whatever nuts you like! Easy peasy!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 ripe frozen bananas
  • 1 cup of frozen fruit (I used strawberries)
  • 2 tablespoons of grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons of flaxseeds
  • 1 cup and 1/2 of soy or almond milk
  • About 1/4 a cup of maple syrup, agave syrup or honey (whatever you’ve got on hand)
  • 1/3 cup of breakfast oats (this adds more body to the smoothie and will help fill you up. But, it’s absolutely optional)
  • A strong-ass blender!

How to get it done, son:

  • Ready? Grab all your ingredients and stick them in the blender. Blend the living daylights out of it until it’s nice and creamy with an ice cream-like consistency (nice cream, get it?)
  • Pour it in a bowl and top with whatever you want.

I topped yesterday’s with almond, chia seeds, strawberries and kiwi.

Remember, the smoothie can and will melt or discolor if you don’t eat (slurp) it immediately. I mean, it’s ice cream so I’m not quite sure what you were expecting…

Happy eating, ya’ll and go straight-up bananas with me and follow me on Instagram by clicking this here link and on SnapChat (Ahlam.al1).