Musician, Pianist, Composer, Vocalist, Artist

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Welcome! ‘Infinite Bounty’, my 7th album is now released! The album includes collaborations with six outstanding musicians from around the globe. Click here to watch the promotional video. I’ve also released a piano instrumental CD entitled ‘Glimmerings’. Welcome to browse my music page to listen to other releases.

Infinite Bounty Cover
Instrumental piano album Glimmerings

Join the mailing list on the right side of the page for free song downloads.

 

Recent Blog Posts

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Ayyam-i-Ha Star Nutella Cake

All around the world Baha’is are celebrating the festival of Ayyam-i-Ha which is a time of bringing cheer to others, visiting the poor and needy and giving gifts.  One of the ways I like to celebrate is by giving home-made baked gifts for Ayyam-i-Ha to show my love for friends and family.

I recently found this nutella bread recipe and thought I’d try it out today in addition to making home-made strawberry jam and banana bread as gifts for friends and neighbours.  They didn’t include a home-made dough recipe so I looked for one that would be relatively easy to make.  See below for the parts that I used for the nutella star bread but for the full recipe for making brioche bread you can refer to the original recipe by sophistimom. 

Star Nutella Bread

1/4 cup warm milk
1 package (or 1 tablespoon) instant dry yeast
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces
4 eggs, cold from the refrigerator, plus one for egg wash

1.  Dissolve yeast in the milk. Fit the food processor with the dough blade (This is usually the one with shorter, blunter blades). Place 1 cup of the flour, the yeast and milk mixture, salt, sugar, and butter into the food processor. Pulse a few times until it looks mostly incorporated, and it looks like a crumble topping for a pie.

2. With the processor on, use the feed tube to add the remaining flour and each of the eggs, one at a time. Process the mixture until the dough starts to come together and pull away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the power off, and let the dough rise in the food processor for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size. Pulse the dough a time or two to “punch it down.”

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

4. Follow the rest of this recipe by Dave Hax on youtube (link to making the nutella star bread (it’s a little too complicated to explain in writing as it’s very visual).

5. Brush lightly with egg wash (1 egg beaten with a teaspoon of water). Bake for 15-20 minutes. Place pan on its side for cooling, and remove when you feel like you’ve waited long enough, about 3-4 minutes. Serve warm.

Nutella Star cake before being baked

Nutella Star cake before being baked

Nutella Star Cake after being baked!

Nutella Star Cake after being baked!


Glimmerings featured in a movie!

One of my goals has been to have my music featured in a film and tomorrow that dream will be realised!  I am thrilled that my piece ‘Glimmerings’ (from my piano instrumental album, ‘Glimmerings’) will be featured in an independent movie called ‘Grace.’ and will be available on DVD and streaming on Feb 24 in the US.  This is a film about hope and redemption.  Starring Annika Marks, Sharon Lawrence and Cindy Goggins (among others), this film tells the story of a young woman who must deal with the consequences of her alcoholism.  The movie examines alcohol addiction and the way Alcoholics Anonymous helps the afflicted towards recovery and sobriety. The movie tries to express a sense of hope and healing through the process of recovery.  Here is a link to the website for more information about how to view the movie.

I haven’t watched the full movie yet but have viewed the portions where my music will be played so I’m excited to see the movie in its entirety.  I have always wanted my music to be a healing balm and was so honoured when the producer wrote to me personally and shared how my music has helped her through difficult times.

The movie was filmed on New Smyrna Beach.  Here is a link about the filming site as well as a link to the Facebook page.  Do let me know if you get a chance to watch it. Enjoy!

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 4.27.17 PM


100 Tips for a Happy and Healthy Marriage

Happy Valentines Day!

I am delighted that so many of you have shared insightful comments on a previous post about what makes a marriage/relationship successful.  Many thanks to those of you who took the time to post your comments especially to the couples who have been together for many, many years who shared their insights!   Congratulations goes to Lorna Murday Doomun for winning the lucky draw!

I have read through all the inspiring submissions and have compiled 100 tips in bullet form below from all the comments you shared.  For the full posts, please see the previous blog.  Each person who submitted a comment will be receiving a gift by email.  Thanks again for sharing your thoughts…

100 Tips for a healthy, happy marriage

  1. Prayer and consultation are vital when it comes to solving difficulties
  2. Make prayer and service the center of your lives
  3. Agree not to discuss sensitive issues when one is angry or tired
  4. Have an attitude of loving-kindness when attempting to communicate something difficult
  5. Think more about the well-being of your partner than your own
  6. Don’t criticize the other person but rather encourage them to reach their goals
  7. Before marriage, eyes wide open. After marriage, eyes half shut
  8. Marriage flows best when we both act from a basis of self-respect with deep respect for each other
  9. Clear, open and honest communication is key to a healthy relationship and that includes listening as well as verbalizing
  10. Knowing when to admit you’re wrong and ask for forgiveness
  11. Before marriage, fully acquaint ourselves with each other’s character, cultural backgrounds and upbringing, while constantly trying to improve our communication styles and conflict resolution skills
  12. Get to know well the value system & life priorities of the other
  13. The realization that from the very beginning, it’s about abiding by the will of God collectively, and individually
  14. Before marriage, spend some time traveling or doing a service project together as a way of getting to know each other
  15. Consider their habits, hobbies and attitude to life to see if they complement your own
  16. Find a few minutes to talk every day to chat and catch up
  17. Laugh together and enjoy time together
  18. Have a united vision of what you want in life and a shared approach to raising children
  19. Refrain from having expectations
  20. Communication, honesty and respect are key factors in making a marriage successful
  21. Being on the same page and working as a team when raising children
  22. Know yourself and select a spouse of good character
  23. Loyalty and trustworthiness are the key virtues for a sustainable relationship
  24. Humor, affection, kindness, and response-ability nourish and add sweetness to the bonds
  25. Be flexible and have lots of overlaps in the household roles. Mutual support is key
  26. Learn to resolve differences fairly
  27. Be empathic towards each other
  28. Look at your relationship from a spiritual perspective
  29. Think of the relationship as two pebbles dropped into a pond, each growing outward in mutually overlapping, ever widening, but never wholly consuming concentric circles
  30. Appreciate that there are different “languages of love” such as touch, words, gifts, acts of service, and quality time
  31. Learn the wisdom of when to speak….and when it is kind to remain silent
  32. Forgiveness is key, as none of us is perfect and we all will make mistakes
  33. Practice constantly improving oneself to be a better, more spiritual and selfless person
  34. Appreciate the gifts each of you bring to your marriage
  35. Pray together, hug often, and consult about every topic that affects your lives
  36. Our commitment to truthfulness and integrity help us to trust that we will each do our best every day
  37. On days when we struggle, love and compassion for each other keeps us going and helps us re-balance for the next day
  38. Understand that everyone has shortcomings
  39. Loyalty is everything in a stable relationship, demonstrating your commitment to your partner before and after marriage
  40. Find activities that are enjoyable for both of you
  41. Our spiritual growth strengthens and protects our marriage
  42. Marital well-being requires compromise, sacrifice, letting go and giving up false pride
  43. Be of service together and work as a team on making the world a better place
  44. Marriage is a union of three entities: God, man and woman
  45. Eat dinner together as a family…. whoever does the cooking does not have to do dishes
  46. ALWAYS appreciate even little things and NEVER take each other for granted
  47. Make time for one another so that when careers are set and children are grown we don’t end up strangers to each other
  48. Verbalize your thanks and acknowledge what you do for one another no matter how small
  49. Love of God and of each other was the glue that allowed us to ride the roller coaster of life
  50. Constantly make an effort to bring happiness to the family
  51. Use kind words and a gentle tone of voice
  52. Continually remind yourselves of your partner’s virtues and noble qualities
  53. In every challenge there are always golden lessons to be learned
  54. Each should be the biggest supporter of the other
  55. Intimacy, intimacy, intimacy – plan time together to preserve & maintain the relationship
  56. A few minutes each day to connect recharges us physically/emotionally/spiritually
  57. Giving some space for each other’s creativity
  58. Endeavour to improve the spiritual life of each other and together have higher spiritual aims
  59. Find activities that are enjoyable to both of you
  60. Work on the small problems while they are small. If they become big they are hard to deal with
  61. Listen to one’s mind, heart, and “gut” when deciding to get married
  62. Marriage is a commitment with a capital C
  63. Marriage is a practice of compassion, of compromise, of vulnerability, of raw honesty, of courage, all of which require one main ingredient, if not the only one, LOVE
  64. Marriage is not co-dependence. It is a constant growth towards inter-dependence
  65. You can with compassion and unconditional love allow each other to see the light within yourselves and let your spirit shine through
  66. Arise to serve and magic happens
  67. Consult honestly about the complexities of life and our service to humanity
  68. Reflect on your effectiveness and arise to serve again improving, little by little, day by day
  69. Continually nurture your union with service, courtesy, respect and loving kindness
  70. Lasting marriage comes down to humility, humor, patience (with yourself and others), respect and forgiveness
  71. It is vitally important to never go to sleep when you are upset with your spouse
  72. Falling in love without losing your identity or the need to be completed by your partner will bring lasting happiness
  73. The first and most important part of a lasting relationship must begin as friends
  74. Change and growth go hand in hand for a healthy relationship
  75. Healthy compromise is a two way street
  76. Think before you speak. Once spoken, words cannot be taken back
  77. When you have a disagreement, resolve it, move past it and leave it alone
  78. The commitment of marriage should be respected and worked on at all times
  79. Marriage is not a 50/50, but a 100/100 proposition
  80. Let go of your own ego and be concerned with the unity of the relationship
  81. Don’t react with fear, anger, or frustration…be loving in times of difficulties and never get into a “tit for tat!”
  82. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can change your partner
  83. “The imperfect eye beholds imperfection.” And so I have to turn my sight unto myself and realize it is me that needs “fixing,” and seeing with a fault-covering eye begins at home
  84. Master speaking with “words as mild as milk”
  85. When we place service at the top of our lives, a shared vision and harmony permeates our lives
  86. Lots of listening and sharing time
  87. Accept each other as we are, both physically and spiritually
  88. Practice generosity and gratitude and a gentleness of spirit
  89. Being present when you talk with each other and not being distracted by gadgets!
  90. Rather than disconnecting when having an argument, use humour
  91. Go on weekly dates to rekindle the relationship
  92. Accept that there are things you may not agree on and that’s ok
  93. When the raising the children, remember to make time for each other
  94. Think of something to do for your spouse each day that will bring them joy
  95. Put away your computer, iPad, phone
  96. Never talk negatively about each other
  97. Cuddle!
  98. Take a short trip together (leave the children with grandparents)
  99. “Willingness” is one of the most important traits to have in order to keep your marriage growing
  100. Tell your partner you love them often!

And I’ll leave you with a creative comment:

M ake allowances for the other’s weaknesses and shortcomings
A ccept your spouse with all his/her smooth and rough edges
R espond to the other’s needs with a heart full of love and compassion
R eason issues out 2gether and the day and night can only get better
I f the fire of love seems to be dimming out and you find that you cannot love him/her the way you used to
A t least try to be loveable and be present for the other in body, soul, heart and spirit
G ive, give and give more of yourself and also remember that God is the third being in that relationship. Finally, know that husband and wife should be as two helpmates, two intimate friends, who should be concerned about the welfare of
E ach other!

Also see my related post, ‘What to look for in a spouse’? which discusses how to prepare for a successful marriage by finding a suitable mate.

roses


Chocolate Lava Cake Recipe

This is one of the my favourite desserts – chocolate lava cake (or fondant/molten cake) which is the perfect treat for Valentines Day coming up. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 5 oz (141 grams or 1 1/2 bars) of dark chocolate
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 5 Tablespoons butter (2/3 of a bar of butter)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom (or cinnamon, chill pepper, vanilla extract, etc) (Optional)
  • 4 regular sized ramekins (ceramic baking dishes) or 8 smaller sized ramekins
  • Confectioners sugar for dusting
All the ingredients for chocolate lava cake

All the ingredients for chocolate lava cake

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C). Melt the chocolate and butter in a bain-marie (double boiler).  Once the chocolate and buttter are melted add the cardamom (or the spices/flavors of your choice – optional).
Melt butter and chocolate in a bain-marie

Melt butter and chocolate in a bain-marie

2. While the chocolate and butter are melting, use an egg beater and beat the eggs and sugar until you get an off-white mixture (around 5 minutes).

3. Slowly add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture while stirring constantly with a whisk or the eggs may cook.

Add chocolate mixture to the egg mixture while stirring constantly

Add chocolate mixture to the egg mixture while stirring constantly

4. Once the eggs and chocolate are mixed, incorporate the flour and stir.

5. Coat the ramekins with butter (you can additionally sprinkle sugar for a more crispy topping) and fill them with the chocolate batter about 3/4 full.

Fill the ramekins to about 3/4 of the cup

Fill the ramekins to about 3/4 of the cup

6. Bake the lava cake for 11 minutes for the regular size ramekins (or 9 1/2 minutes for the smaller ramekins). The baking time may change based on your oven. Make sure not to overcook the lava cake as it may seem uncooked if you put a toothpick in the cake to test it. The inside will be runny when it’s done (that’s why it’s called lava cake). :)

7. You can serve the lava cake within the ramekins or carefully flip them on a plate and lightly dust them with confectioners sugar. Let the lava cake cool for a few minutes before serving (best served with vanilla ice-cream).

And voila - the Chocolate Lava cake is ready for consumption!

And voila – the Chocolate Lava cake is ready for consumption!

Tips

If the centers are too cakelike in texture, bake a minute or two less the next time; if they’re too soft, bake a minute or two longer.

To make ahead, pour the batter into custard cups, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 24 hours. You may need to bake the cakes 1 to 2 minutes longer.


Seeking your Insights on Love and Marriage

I have often discussed with friends what makes a marriage successful and enjoy asking long time married couples any secrets they would like to share about their relationship.  In order to explore this topic further and to hear from your experiences, I am having a lucky draw!

In the comment section below, please write about what you think makes a marriage/relationship successful. You can share qualities you think are important, experiences you have had or pretty much anything you feel helps couples become closer and stronger. I hope this will be invaluable for friends who are single, those who are newly married and even for those couples who have been married for a very long time (as we can always strive to better our relationships). All submissions should be posted in the comments section below. I will be sharing the most insightful comments in a separate blog as well as announcing the winner of the lucky draw.

Everyone who submits a comment will receive a Valentines Day gift (to be announced later) and there will be a lucky draw for the grand prize (photos below) which consists of a limited edition Birds of Love gift set and my latest album, Infinite Bounty.

The deadline for the submissions is February 10th. Looking forward to reading your inspiring comments below.

One of the pages of the Birds of Love gift set

One of the pages of the Birds of Love gift set

Birds of Love white gold limited edition

Birds of Love gift set white gold – limited edition

Birds of Love gift set limited edition with handmade acrylic specialty card

Birds of Love gift set limited edition with handmade acrylic specialty card

Infinite Bounty book & CD

Infinite Bounty book & CD


Unite Video

To start the new year, I wanted to share this wonderful video called ‘Unite’ that my talented friend, Ali Youssefi produced. I’m so glad to have been a part of the project. Enjoy! Here is the link to download the song.


‘Where there is love’ – A new recording with my children

One of my birthday wishes this year was to record some songs with my children so that I could have a memory of us creating and jamming together.  Just a couple of days ago, we had the opportunity to record one of the songs called ‘Where there is love’.  The words are by Abdu’l-Baha and I used these beautiful lyrics to compose a song on my Birds of Love gift set released in 2009 (I also made a video to accompany the song) but I have always loved Andy Grammer’s version of the song as it is youthful and easy to sing.

Below is the song that my children and I recorded together in my studio.  My daughter starts off singing the song and I join in with the harmonies.  My son recorded the guitar.  Enjoy!

 


An Interview with Baha’i Blog

I am thrilled to share that Naysan Naraqi from Baha’i Blog interviewed me about my new album, ‘Infinite Bounty’. The interview discusses what’s unique about the album as well as what I hope friends will take away from hearing the music (among other questions).  Here’s the link to the interview.

I would appreciate if you could kindly spread the word about the interview with friends who may not know about ‘Infinite Bounty’. And please do add your voice to the comments section below the interview on Baha’i Blog.

Infinite Bounty cover


Immerse Yourselves – Music gift download

My most recent release, ‘Infinite Bounty’, begins with a more quiet song called ‘Immerse Yourselves’.  The piece starts with the sound of an ocean and the vocals come straight in with the music soon after.  I wanted the musical journey of the album to begin by delving straight into the vocals, just as the quotation of Baha’u'llah uses the symbol of diving into the ocean of His Revelation: “Immerse yourselves in the ocean of My words, that ye may unravel its secrets, and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths.”  The music aids us to meditate upon His words, enabling the waves of understanding to wash over our souls.

My producer and I were intrigued by the idea of the song having a sense of movement, rising and falling like the swells of an ocean.  The words ‘Immerse Yourselves’ is repeated and intertwines, symbolising the waves, just as the strings introduce themselves and expand and promptly flow away.  The whole song (and album) has this movement and a sense of building and then quieting down, carrying us along, lifted and buoyant on the ocean. 

This song is a gift download on the gifts page on my website so please feel free to download it and kindly spread the word (once you sign up on the mailing list, you’ll be guided to the download page which also has other gift downloads from previous albums).  Here is a link for the gift download of the song ‘Immerse Yourselves’.


Here is a link to listen to and purchase the whole album ‘Infinite Bounty’.

The photo of 'Immerse Yourselves' from the album 'Infinite Bounty'

One of the photos from the ‘Infinite Bounty’ CD/book

 


The Perfect Birthday Gift!

My new album ‘Infinite Bounty’ was delivered to my home just in time for my birthday!   The timing could not be more perfect! :)

I spent part of my birthday packaging the CDs and finishing up the specialty cards for the deluxe package orders.  I most enjoyed adding the wax seal on the envelopes and writing the recipient’s name in calligraphy on the gold card (photos below).

Yesterday I sent the first shipment of packages out and the mailman seeing all the CDs wanted a copy.  He has helped me in the last several years with many packages so I was glad to be able to give him my music as a thank you.  I thought he would take it home and listen to it later but he insisted on listening to it in the tiny mailroom on his speakers as we packaged everything together!   He was thrilled to have a photo together (see below).

Thanks again for all your support.  Please do share the news of my latest album with your friends and let them know that they can hear full songs of the whole album on my website.

Just after the new CDs were delivered to my home!

Just after the new CDs were delivered to my home!

Packaging a huge box with the help of the mailman.

Packaging a huge box with the help of the mailman.

Adding wax seal to the envelopes for 'Infinite Bounty Deluxe package' orders

Adding wax seal to the envelopes for ‘Infinite Bounty Deluxe package’ orders

Writing calligraphy of the name of the recipient on the gold envelope

Writing calligraphy of the name of the recipient on the gold envelope

Calligraphy written on the gold envelope for the deluxe edition wrapped in black chiffon

Calligraphy written on the gold envelope for the deluxe edition wrapped in black chiffon

One of the deluxe edition specialty cards

One of the deluxe edition specialty cards