Hi, Iโ€™m Ahlam! Lover of all things food, travel and a self-diagnosed food-recycling addict.

Thanks for stopping by ๐Ÿ™‚

When I was 8-years old, and living in a small town in San Antonio, Texas I discovered that I liked to cook. Of course at the age of 8, cooking consisted of me and my younger sister, whipping open some American sliced ‘cheese’, finely dicing it (with our hands) for no apparent reason, and melting it for 10 minutes in the microwave till it turned into a rubbery substance that we totally pretended was a gourmet meal for 2. We sat at the table, ooh-la-la cutlery in hand, fancy napkins and all and devoured the meal. My younger sister told me I was an amazing chef. I nodded my head in agreement. I really was an amazing chef — melted shit cheese was just a brilliant ‘chefy’ย idea.

Fast forward 20 years and Straight-up Bananas was born.

A few dozen cookbooks from my grandma, pins on my Pinterest board, and 2 burnt-to-the-ground kitchens later,ย  and I’m still trying out recipes on my husband Muhannad and cat Pedro.

Straight-up Bananas is my own little nook on the World Wide Web dedicated to sharingย my recipes with friends and family, focusing on straight-up easy, wholesome and mostly plant-based clean eats for the average lazy home cook that doesnโ€™t have 6 hours to baste a leg of lamb for dinner.

My Palestinian and Puerto Rican background means I grew up eating mofongo for lunch and mansaf for dinner. All resulting in my gluttonous love for travel, and fueling my drive to try different flavor combinations, cuisines and ingredients.

I’m generally quite a lazy person, and if I can do it, trust me — so can you.

For the past 4 years, I’ve been working towards ridding my life of processed foods and trying ever-so-desperately to live a wholesome life.

I am a very ‘woke’ consumer and I try as hard as I can to make sure that I purchase, use, or recommend products that I believe serve an ethical purpose. I am pro local products, I am pro products that do not service the big corporations, I am pro products that recognize the little guy. I am pro products that are not affiliated in any way or form with any political agendas that may service a racist or sexist cause. I am NOT pro products that treat humans, animals or our beautiful Mother Earth poorly.

I am 70% plant-based, which means my husband and I try to make conscious choices to limit our animal intake while maintaining a balanced life. I am not a vegan (yet), but I do believe that implementing a well-balanced lifestyle consisting of mostly plants, and a bit of ethically sourced meats will help me get there one sweet day.

Thanks so much for following me on this crazy journey.

And in case anyone hasn’t told you today, you’re pretty damn awesome.

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