Ramadan Friendly Recipes Event @ the halal foodie blog

Hi All, send in your delicious entries to the Ramadan Friendly Recipes event hosted at my other food blog the halal foodie

Looking forward to your contributions :)


Interview with Fay Johnson - Founder of deliberateLIFE magazine

Recently I was introduced to the deliberateLife magazine by its founder Fay Johnson, who asked me to review it.

Fay was born in South Africa and emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area at a young age. She has lived and worked in Hungary, India, Ethiopia, Kenya, the United States and South Africa. She holds a B.A. from UCLA in International Development and a Master’s degree in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from Georgetown University.

The reason I had an instant connection with the magazine was the name "deliberateLife", after-all isn't that what we all are trying to do, make good choices for ourselves and our families - loved ones.

Well...so, of what I saw, the thing that appealed to me the most is the substance and simplicity of the magazine, the choice of content , it all conveys just one thing --- this is not just another new magazine, its  a resource for those seeking to live differently while balancing the normal demands of modern life, totally worth your time and money.

Fay was kind enough to answer few of my questions:

Hi Fay, How are you doing?

I’m well, thanks. I appreciate the opportunity to share a little about deliberateLIFE.

The pleasure is mine, So tell us about yourself and how did you come up with this magazine?

I have traveled to nearly 30 nations, and spent the last ten years working in the social change space, as a human rights campaigner, congressional staffer, humanitarian, and consultant. I am passionate about building a better tomorrow and have dedicated my life to finding solutions to challenges facing our global community. I’ve investigated human rights abuses, written and lobbied for better laws, and worked on the ground in crisis situations to get people basic things like food and water.

These varied experiences taught me one thing - change comes down to the choices of individuals. Whether they be politicians, soccer moms or business people, it has always been the choices of individuals (sometimes in chorus) that determine the outcome of a situation. I have spent much of my time focused on international poverty issues, but am equally interested in how I can make good choices in my daily life to have an impact. I have often wished that I had a list of ‘to-do’s’ curated by experts who did the research for me, that I could follow to have a positive (or at least not a negative) impact on the world. I have also longed to see the stories of amazingly deliberate people told to a wider audience.

Is this what the deliberateLIFE magazine does?

deliberateLIFE is a lifestyle publication built from the premise that there are busy people who care, and they will make a difference when given good information and practical choices. ‘Deliberate living’ is about recognizing the ripple effect that our lives have, and choosing to make thoughtful choices because of this reality. At the core of the magazine is the certainty that the choices we make matter in our own lives and the lives of many others, most of whom we may never see. We won’t try to convince readers to spend all day in a yoga studio, start an organic farm, or quit their day job to traverse the globe. It is our hope to inspire and challenge our readers with fun, practical ideas about making deliberate choices that positively impact our world.

So would you say that deliberateLIFE magazine is mostly educational?

No. deliberateLIFE is a lifestyle publication. It is true that we research products, places,and issues... to name some areas. But all of us are moved by stories. We capture the images, stories and sometimes live interviews with people who move us to action.

What was your inspiration behind the name of the magazine and what does your logo symbolize? 

When thinking of the name, I wanted to accurately convey the heart of the magazine. Deliberate means “done consciously and intentionally, to engage in long and careful consideration”. I believe in the benefits of being thoughtful about how we live our lives. We aren’t people seeking to be perfect, to somehow come to a point of knowing all the right things to do that would make us the perfect citizens, neighbors, parents, friends. We can’t be perfect but we can be thoughtful and deliberate about the choices that we make in our life.

The logo symbolizing what I hope this community will grow to be - interconnected, organic (the spokes are actually branches or twigs), and something that creates forward movement (like a wheel).

Thats amazing, tell us about your first issue?

The first issue is an introduction to the concept of deliberate living (as we see it) and to the magazine. In it readers will find our manifesto which talks about the world that we want to build, a statement of what “we the deliberate” believe. Articles cover how to determine what foods are in season, the end of time management, avoiding an ‘overstuffed’ life, and tips for getting hold of one's finances. Readers will also find articles about work. In this issue we look at the company GreenToys and how they are choosing to run their company. In each issue we will look at a global challenge and discuss it from a local and global perspective. In issue one we look at homelessness in the US, Jamaica and Kyrgyzstan. And for those with wanderlust souls, the travel section highlights Cape Town, South Africa. In the February/March issue readers will also find new sections: ‘Engage’ which will highlight ways for people to give back in-person, ‘Think’ is our review of books and movies, and our ‘Kids Corner’ has specific tips for parents. 

What was your biggest challenge and the biggest reward so far?

The reward has definitely been the response from readers around the world who have expressed their excitement about the magazine. Many have said that they’ve been looking for something like this for years. I created something I’d want to read, and their response affirms the need for a publication like this. The biggest challenge would definitely be the learning curve and time commitment. I don’t have a team of people helping me or a background in publishing (or app development for that matter). I decided to make this dream a reality and then had to teach myself how to do everything from app development and website coding, to design and layout. It’s been months of sleepless nights, but completely worth it. I am so excited to have something to share with with world.

It’s a digital magazine published 6 times a year and its for iPads, right , so how do people access it ? Do they have to install an App ?

That’s correct - deliberateLIFE is a magazine built specifically for tablets. At the moment it is only available on the iPad but we are looking to build for the Android market soon. If you have an iPad you can open the Newsstand app and look for it in the store, or you can open iTunes and download the app there (www.bit.ly/dLIFE). The deliberateLIFE app is free and each issue is $4.99. Folks can save 30% off the cover price by subscribing for a year -- 6 beautiful issues for the price of 5 cups of coffee? I think it’s worth it, but then again I’m biased. =)

Why did you choose to make it an online magazine and not print  ?

We chose the tablet format for three reasons - we want to reduce waste, be responsible with our finances, and build a global community of deliberate people. In the US alone, we throw away 2.5 million tons of magazines each year - that’s enough to fill 7 giant football stadiums with paper waste -- a YEAR! By publishing on a tablet we don’t need to feel bad about the size of our distribution - the more the merrier! This also allows us to produce the magazine with lower costs, and give a percentage of our profits to groups who are making a difference. And of course, tablets are sold around the world - deliberateLIFE has been download in 52 countries this month - it’s exciting to think about how we can start a global conversation about building a better tomorrow!

What is your favourite part of the magazine or a feature you are particularly excited about? 

I love creating something to share with others, and in return, I love hearing how people are applying the ideas in their daily life. One reader said that she and her fiance headed out to buy some direct trade coffee after reading the first issue. I am excited to see how the dL community grows, and how we can all share ideas about building a better tomorrow together.

Thanks for your time Fay and I wish you and your team of deliberators all the success.

So, thats Fay Johnson.

What are you waiting for, the app is free to download, check it out, I am sure you will be hooked.

You can also join the team , learn how .

*Disclaimer: This is not a paid review.


Ricotta Ras Malai


For the patties:

Ricotta Cheese - 15 oz
1/4 C sugar

For the milk mixture:

4-5 C Milk
2-3 tbsp. sweetened condensed milk

1 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 C Sugar  or more to suit your taste
few strands of Saffron/Zafran
1/2 tsp Kewra Water/ rose water

Sliced Almonds / Pistachios for garnish


In a heavy bottom vessel , heat milk on medium low heat, stirring occasionally, till it thickens or reduces to half . Add sugar, cardamom powder,condensed milk and saffron.Cook for a few mins.  Turn off the heat, let it cool slightly , now add kewra water.  Let it cool completely and refrigerate till ready to use. 

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the ingredients for patties ,ricotta cheese and sugar.  Mix well. Grease a 8X8 glass baking dish, pour the ricotta cheese mixture and bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until ricotta cheese looks pale yellow and has turned slightly golden at the edges. A way to test if ricotta is ready to take out of the oven , would be to insert a toothpick and see if it comes out clean. Let it cool completely.Now with a round cookie cutter, cut small round patties, you could also cut squares if you like.

Arrange the baked ricotta rounds in the serving dish, pour the cooled milk mixture and refrigerate for at least half an hour. Serve chilled.

Enjoy !


  • You could make the milk mixture and the ricotta rounds at least 3 days in advance. Remember to store them separately.
  • Mix them the day you would like to serve them, so they don't be too soggy or break apart.
  • You could also use half and half or evaporated milk or even add some heavy cream for added richness.
  • I used a glass baking dish, but you could use any, the baking time may vary in that case
  • Also if you want you patties thinner use a bigger baking dish, baking time may vary if you do.
  • Adjust the quantity of sugar and flavoring to suit your taste, you dont have to add the exact amount mentioned in the recipe, you could  make it more sweeter, use less /more of cardamom or kewra
Sending it to Jagrutis, Grand Festive Feasts event.