Comments Off on About | March 6, 2012

I am passionate about many things: family, cooking, eating, personal development/lifetime learning, helping people, the environment, making the word a better place…

First off, I’m married to my best friend and someone I greatly admire as a human being, Naqeeb, whom I met while I was living in Pakistan. We spent almost a year on Skype while we waited for the immigration process to approve his visa to live here, but the wait was absolutely worth it! We are newly married, and have our little home base in Alexandria with our three little kitties, Gracie, Saffron and Mango.

I love food! My passion for food began as a small child when mom and dad encouraged both my brother and I to learn how to cook. And as I got older and participated in high-intensity sports where nutrition is a critical factor of high performance, right at the time when food on the market started including more and more chemicals, hormones, and less healthy ingredients. So I started getting serious about learning how to make my own, healthier meals. I delved into healthy eating and chemical-free living wherever possible, reading avidly and experimenting a lot. I consider myself a bit of an all-natural nut of sorts, but also know that moderation in everything is pretty much a necessity to living a long and healthy life. That said, I don’t like to sacrifice the taste. So I’ve learned that sometimes, switching in a healthier ingredient just isn’t worth the sacrifice of taste, and make sure that there’s a balance between the two.

At my house, there’s really no longer a reason to eat out, except that we don’t feel like cooking tonight. Many times when I eat out, I think “I think I could make this” and go try it out. And then I find the perfect recipe and we no longer have to go spend $40 on a $5 meal (yay!).

And my motto is, great food doesn’t have to take hours, nor does it have to be expensive to make. I’ve learned over the years how to economize the costs and to find healthy, wholesome ingredients at low cost.

I’ve basically spent the past 40 years searching for tasty global food. And this is where I’m going to share it so both of us can find it when we’re hungry, ok? I hope you enjoy the foods that I’ve collected from all over the world over the years. These are the recipes that I regularly make – including family traditions – and hope you love as much as I do.

Family is very important to me. I live all the way across the U.S. from my parents and brother’s family, and all the way across the world from Naqeeb’s family. We miss them. We spend most of our free time talking to them and/or planning time to go see them. Enough said. 🙂

I also love arts and crafts. I’m always interested in trying a new craft, be it pottery, painting, making Christmas ornaments, mosaic, you name it, I’m interested. LOL Mom got me started with crafts when I was young, and for years we picked a new craft to do for Christmas gifts every year. I’ve continued crafts whenever I can find free time to try them, so you’ll see my crazy attempts at “art” along the way.

I own a retail business called Khazana (which means “Treasure” in multiple languages) which provides items from across Asia (primarily antique carpets and wood carvings) and gives back to several conflict countries communities overseas. It’s important to me to improve the lives of others wherever possible, so Khazana returns a percentage of the profits to vetted organizations providing education and job skills training to women. Check it out! www.khazana-us.com

And of course, I work for the federal government as a career civilian. In over eight years with the Department of Defense, I have covered many really interesting and important topics in my time within government – IT, cyber, Pakistan, and now counterterrorism.

My time as a professional actress and singer are over, but I still love having connections to these industries and enjoy a good show wherever possible. If I had the time, I’d be auditioning for musicals and/or choirs, but alas, that’s a commitment I can’t work in right now.

I also very much miss my martial arts instructor and ice hockey days, but life has a way of telling your body it’s time to do something else less intense.