THE BEST HUMMUS EVER! El Momma’s Classic Lebanese hummus recipe

El Momma’s Best Hummus Ever

Traditional Lebanese Hummus

Ingredients

  • 2 (15-oz.) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained (save the juice from the can for later)
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • [1] tsp salt 
  • [1/2] cup fresh lemon juice
  • [1/2] tsp Citric acid (optional)
  • [1] cup tahini paste
  • 4 TB. extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Rinse, drain and remove some of the skins of the chickpeas by boiling them in water for 10 minutes. See video here for how to reduce your amount of chickpea skin in a couple of easy steps!

In a food processor fitted with a chopping blade, blend chickpeas, garlic, salt, lemon juice, (and optional citric acid), tahini and extra virgin olive oil for 2 minutes or until smooth. 

If not creamy enough, you can add some of the reserved juice from the chick pea can. Blend for 1 minute or until creamy and well combined.

I know how annoying it can be, when you just want a recipe and the blogger goes on and on….so, I was super nice and gave you the recipe at the top.

Now, for the video…..where I talk a lot. And, Baby Jimmie screams.

Easy Steps : How To Make the Best Hummus Ever!

Celebrating my sister in heaven

On Wednesday night we celebrated my older sister’s 51st birthday. It was her first birthday since she went to heaven. My momma, brother, and all of our families gathered in the front yard and had a “socially distanced” gathering with 🎈,🍕 and 🎂 as we talked about our Melinda. It’s really hard to lose a sibling. We talked about this with our families that night. Your sister/ whom you’ve known and loved your entire life. Your family. Your first best friend. Your biggest fan. Your everything. Your comedic relief. Your demanding sidekick. Your love.  It’s hard. We know she’s happy and she’s with so many loved ones. I never met another soul who would tell you they wanted to go to heaven more than Melinda. She had some of her favorite people go before her. I sometimes wonder about the effects of losing my dad 11 months before she died. They were so close. And her grief was deep. It took her a long time to admit that my dad had gone to heaven. But, she finally did and I know she wanted to go and be with him. On Valentine’s Day, after having a stroke, Melinda went to heaven 💗💗 she was literally surrounded by some of the people on earth that she loved most 💗💗 And, she went to be with Jesus. It was Incredibly peaceful. We know know know that she is in a better place. BUT, it sure is hard to be without her here.

Baby Jimmie Josiah

A story of our rainbow baby’s birth in 2019

*warning*this post does discuss loss and contains photos of birth

On the evening of May 21st, 2019, we headed to the hospital to begin the induction of labor for our 6th baby- our rainbow baby boy, Jimmie. I was 38 weeks pregnant.This is Jimmie’s birth story.

After we experienced a second trimester stillbirth with our fifth baby- our daughter, Mary-Linda less than 2 years earlier, I was considered high risk. On top of that, I was already 41 years old (which is seriously old lady time aka geriatric for a pregnant mama!). We decided with both of our doctors, that we would induce labor, if necessary and deliver Jimmie at 38 weeks. What should have been a quick labor- since I had already birthed 4 full term babies, and 2 of them without an epidural, was not a quick labor at all. But, (SPOILER ALERT) this birth story does end well!

Almost a year after Mary-Linda died, we learned that I had an antibody in my blood that was detected early in my pregnancy with her and could cause harm to a baby. Since the cause of Mary-Linda’s death was determined to be fetal maternal hemorrhage, we had something to watch for throughout our entire pregnancy with Jimmie. Every ultrasound was always completed with a check for any sign of anemia in the baby. M-L’s anemia went undetected and therefore untreated. We were going to do everything we could do to get this baby here and in our arms, alive. We started the induction shortly after arriving to the hospital on that May Tuesday evening. Our village of friends and family caring for our older Els and making sure they would be at the hospital the next day.

We were told that it was possible I could have the baby very quickly OR we would add induction methods in the morning. We wanted our older children to be present, so I was hopeful that we wouldn’t have Jimmie until the next morning. I labored ALL NIGHT LONG. It was impossible to sleep. I thought I must have made some progress and by morning time, my cervix had changed and opened a little. We were hopeful that starting pitocin would mean that baby Jimmie would be here before lunch time. My doctor even said “the baby will be here around lunchtime.” I remember, because my other children kept reciting this quote as the day continued on into the night!

But, Jimmie wasn’t here by lunchtime and by lunchtime there wasn’t much progress. In fact, we began increasing pitocin and things were getting unbearable. I bounced on the ball. I walked the halls. I moved around. But, it was so painful and not enough was happening. After more than 24 hours of labor, with the last few being extremely intense, I asked for an epidural. I felt broken. Defeated. I had experienced two full-term labors with no epidurals. I knew my body could do this. Neither of those labors needed pitocin. Why couldn’t I relax and allow my body to progress and birth this baby? I was a failure. After more than thirty minutes, (and likely a transition to the next stage of labor) the anesthesiologist arrived. It felt like forever. My contractions were INTENSE at this time and were coming 3 minutes apart with little break in between. But, again, the work without progress feels futile. My mom and children and husband left the room for the epidural to be administered. The rest of the labor story felt familiar. Things began to progress and my pain was gone. I also couldn’t feel my legs, but that was okay! My children became so comfortable as the day went on. Fighting over what we were watching on the television. As the baby’s heartrate began to show signs of distress and I needed to change positions, my older children seemed focused on other things. They seemed honestly shocked when my doctor announced it was time for Jimmie to be born.
And, with one push, Jimmie was out. As my doctor turned him to face me, he immediately began to pee as he cried loudly. The kids were over the moon and the rest of us were completely overwhelmed and grateful that this miracle baby was here, earthside. 
This birth experience, although not perfect, ended in the most perfect way imaginable. 
May 23, 2019 I wrote this: “Yesterday we experienced a glimpse of heaven on earth. Our miracle, prayed for, hoped for, dreamed of, little boy joined our family in dramatic style. He came when he was ready. Momma and baby are both doing well. And all the Els are over the moon for their baby brother. I know Mary-Linda and grandfather are together in heaven rejoicing for us.
 Introducing Jimmie Josiah El-Hakam. Born May 22, 2019. 9:33pm. 7 lbs 5 oz 20 1/4 in long  We love you so much, Jimmie 💙💙”

For Mary-Linda’s birth story, click here (Mary-Linda was born sleeping in 2017)
For Leeland’s birth story, click here (Leeland was born in 2010)

For Trinity’s birth story, click here (Trinity was born in 2008)
For Bakri and Maddux’s birth story, click ….just kidding. I started blogging in 2008. Some day I will sit down and transfer their stories from their baby books. 

No AC…a Houston Summer gone wrong

Does my hydrangea look hot and droopy?
Well, that’s because she is hot and droopy.
I am also hot and droopy because at this point we have been without AC for one night, going on two. 
In Houston.
In the middle of July.
What in the world!
Count your blessings, Rebekah.
You can afford to have a hot and droopy hydrangea. (Although there is often a debate on whether or not you buy yourself too many flowers)
You have a house. (A hot house, but a house)
You have a house full of children. (hot children, but children that aren’t even cranky)
You have a room with a wall unit with floor space for 4-5 people. (that’s almost your whole family!)
Tonight, I will sleep on the floor and that is a blessing.
I have a floor in a cool room to sleep on and I will go to sleep praying that the AC repairman will return tomorrow (Saturday) able to fix my AC.
Until then, I will count my blessings and get out of this (blessed) house as early as possible tomorrow.

Surviving the Storms. Think on This.


Over Memorial Day weekend, Texas was hit hard with storms. There were families literally swept away inside river homes in Wimberley. Precious lives lost. 
Many Houston families’ homes were flooded with inches to 2 feet of water. Neighbors and friends of ours were awakened to rising waters inside their homes and they are still out of their houses.
Only five days later we were hit with another storm with less rainfall, but more lightning and a funnel cloud. We lost shingles on our roof and our ceiling leaked in our bedroom. We had trees on our street ripped up.  The transformer in our backyard went crazy, sparking and sounding like it was blowing. It was minor compared to all that others were going through and are still going through.
But, nonetheless, it was traumatic for our kids.
I saw that last night.
Huddled up on the kitchen floor during yesterday’s thunder and lightning storm and flash flood warning.
We prayed.
And prayed.
And we made butterflies with our legs and pretended to fly while singing a newly made up song:

“fly little butterfly fly
fly little butterfly fly
with your wings up and down
up and down
up and down
fly little butterfly fly”

We sang.
And we giggled. 

But, something has changed. 
I know that my kids are anxious.
I don’t believe that they are naturally anxious beings.
I believe these particular circumstances all within a short period of time have made them anxious.
My job as a parent is to not leave them in that anxious place.
That place that will shape them into someone who is anxious with every lightning strike, every thunder roar, every rain storm or flood watch.
It is okay to be cautious. To be aware. To know where there are dangers and to avoid them.
But, in Philippians 4:4-9 God’s Word tells us:  
<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29430G" data-link="(G)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29431H" data-link="(H)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29432J" data-link="(J)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>but in everything by prayer and supplication <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29432K" data-link="(K)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29433L" data-link="(L)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>the peace of God, <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29433M" data-link="(M)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29435N" data-link="(N)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>received and heard and seen <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29435O" data-link="(O)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>in me—practice these things, and <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29435P" data-link="(P)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>the God of peace will be with you.”


I believe this to be true. 
So, as we were praying and flapping our butterfly leg-wings and making up silly songs, we were living out Philippians 4. 
Focusing on loveliness, goodness, truth…and God gave us His peace.


#elmomma31



We Change, but He doesn’t. Thankful for that…

It’s happening. Change. Lots of change. And, transition. I’m transitioning. My family is transitioning. We are all in a state of transition. And, it’s not the change that really bothers me. It’s the leaving. The “leaving” part of this change is the hard part.

The going. The arriving. The being. The working. Being welcomed in ALL of that. It is wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. It’s encouraging. It’s affirming. It’s right.

You see, I’m changing jobs. And, by changing jobs, we’re changing churches. It’s a BIG change. I’ve been working as a full time mom for the last six years. Meanwhile, I’ve been a part time worship leader at our church (2 weeks on 2 weeks off) also for six years. I’ve been the Youth Praise Band leader, also part time. Currently, I am the preschool music teacher, part time. And, volunteer lots at my kiddos’ schools. I also put out my first album during this stretch of time and spend a little time promoting that where I can. It may sound like a hodgepodge of jobs that don’t amount to much, but to me it’s been my life. I’ve been happy, but perhaps a little overworked. And then, I get offered this amazing FULL TIME job at a church plant in the heights. What is a church plant? It’s basically a brand new church that is being planted. Planted means that it isn’t affiliated by another church, but starting from the ground up. Ours is an Anglican Church called Church of the Apostles. We became  involved just as the church launch team was ready to officially launch the church- meaning “invite people to visit” last Sunday. We’re off and running and it’s a beautiful thing. There is hardly a moment of rest to take in the meaning of leaving and how that feels, because we are so busy with the planting.

As part of our transition, we were able to take part in a special “Ten Years of Service” church service honoring the pastor of St. Andrew’s and his family. That was our last Sunday with St. Andrew’s and during that service our family was commissioned and prayed over alongside new members. It was beautiful to see the church welcoming in and sending out at the same time. We have been truly blessed to be part of this church family and we are blessed to be sent out and welcomed in to another church family.

So, as we transition, we feel thankful. Thankful for the last few years and thankful for how God is providing for our family. It is hard to leave, but our hearts know that we are part of the big Church. God’s people. It’s not restricted to a building or a denomination. We are God’s people and we are part of His Church. Thank you, God, that although we experience change, You Never Change! You are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Reflecting on the beautiful chaos of VBS, posted today from my RebekahMe.WordPress.com blog

Loved last week so very much…leading and teaching Children an expression of worship through music, movement and fist pumping was a true joy at my home church, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. I remember learning these same lessons as a young girl in musicals at my church growing up, Champion Forest Baptist Church. My hope and prayer is that, like me, this is just the beginning for our VBS campers. Worshiping the One true God can become a lifestyle and change your everything always. This is my prayer for you, children of God. That you will take the music and the movements and the scriptures and the songs and all of the God messages and that they will find their way deep into your soul becoming a part of you. Becoming your everything.  ‪#‎thisismyprayer‬ ‪#‎worship‬

Reflecting on the beautiful chaos of VBS

Loved last week so very much…leading and teaching Children an expression of worship through music, movement and fist pumping was a true joy at my home church, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. I remember learning these same lessons as a young girl in musicals at my church growing up, Champion Forest Baptist Church. My hope and prayer is that, like me, this is just the beginning for our VBS campers. Worshiping the One true God can become a lifestyle and change your everything always. This is my prayer for you, children of God. That you will take the music and the movements and the scriptures and the songs and all of the God messages and that they will find their way deep into your soul becoming a part of you. Becoming your everything.  ‪#‎thisismyprayer‬ ‪#‎worship‬

Home, next steps, family time and naming the record!

Family Fun with the Els
Coming home has been amazing. I’ve loved every second I’ve spent with my family. Especially the chaotic ones that remind me why I love being a mother and a wife and make me appreciate those brief moments of bliss and peace.
The first week I was home my littlest El- Leeland, was so sweet and clingy. Constantly asking me to hold him. “Hold you, Momma?” How can I resist that? But, he is over thirty pounds, so holding him while doing everything else can be a bit challenging. Making dinner, for example is nearly impossible. But, we’ve figured it out. This week he has asked me to hold him less and I think is feeling more and more confident that I’m sticking around.
Our daughter, Trinity, seemed to grow up a little while I was away. She says things like “actually” when correcting me. And, “perhaps” when suggesting an alternative way of doing something. She is delightful and I am so happy to spend so much time with her.
Maddux, our second oldest had pneumonia before I left for the first week. He was better before I left town and was able to attend school the entire time I was gone. This week, however, he seemed to be ill again and we confirmed a pretty serious ear infection at his doctor’s office on Tuesday. So, he missed school. He is getting better now. But, we’ve had many breathing treatments and lots of prayers for our Maddux.
Bakri, our oldest, is doing great. He adjusted well to me being gone, but he loves having me home. He is really opinionated on which songs he likes best. Loving certain lyrics or guitar parts and wanting to hear them over and over. It’s fun. We had a field trip with his first grade class this week. He was awesome on his field trip. First graders are a little wild and kooky. What a fun and crazy age. His teacher promises me that they are not like that at school. Bakri was just happy to see the Birds and the California Sea Lions. He knows what he loves at the Houston Zoo.
Rebekah & Audrey
Being in Nashville and recording with my producer and friend, Marshall Altman afforded me so many amazing opportunities. One of those was the people I got to meet and the people I worked with. The musicians that played on the record are so unbelievably talented. I can’t wait to share with you more about each of them and let you hear the amazing work they did on this record. I am really blown away!
In addition to amazing musicians working on my album, one of my favorite artists- Audrey Assad came by the studio on one of her days off from touring. http://audreyassad.com/desktop/
She was refreshing, smart and talked with me about my “project” telling me she couldn’t wait to hear it as she headed out the door. Awesome. I became a fan of Audrey’s after finding her through Marshall. He produced her first album- House You’re Building and her most recent release- Heart. Both are amazing. Just listening to them would make any artist want Marshall Altman to produce their record. I’m just saying. 🙂 Oh, and, many of the musicians who played on “Heart” played on my record. Which, by the way, is still nameless. I think naming this record should be about the body of work as a whole. At least that’s how I am feeling at the moment. And, I think having that as a title of a track on the record is even better. It reinforces the direction and my hope for others as they listen and hopefully encourage others to listen too. I’ll get there soon. And, share it with you all.
Marshall Altman, Rebekah Maddux El-Hakam and Audrey Assad
Until then, keep looking up. And, keep knowing that I am eternally grateful to all of you who care about me and my family and this project that God has laid on my heart to share with many.
love,
Rebekah Maddux El-Hakam

My newest blogpost on Kickstarter, a momma’s love

Update #3 from my kickstarter page: Thank you to each of you! Please share my page with your friends!

Posted about 1 hour ago


Dear Friends and Beloved Backers,
We are half way to our kickstarter goal with just 11 days left. We would not be this far without you, the album backers. So, THANK YOU! Thank you to my family, my friends (old and new), friends of friends and lovers of great music.  Your generosity and support early on, is what makes this process, a bit daunting at times, possible. My hope is in the Lord. He has opened the door and I’m faithful He will provide.

Please take a moment to share my page with your Facebook friends, put the link on your walls and email your friends. If each one of you had one additional friend pre-order my album at any of the levels, we would meet our goal. So, please share with others and ask them to pre-order the album. Oh- and comment on my main kickstarter page, please! You are amazing. Thank you for your support and encouragement.

All things are possible with God!

At the suggestion of someone who I love dearly, I am sharing a little bit about my family of origin and particularly my mother.
My love of music:
I grew up in a family surrounded by music. This was, for the most part because of my Momma. My mom started playing the piano when she was a young girl. She quickly learned how to play by ear. As an adult, she taught herself how to play the guitar. She wrote many songs in the sixties and seventies. Her songs are folk songs; beautifully written stories of family, struggles, life experiences and the hope we find in the Lord. My brother and sister’s lives were both very inspirational to my mother’s songwriting, as well as her family, heartache of a dear friend, her nephew going to war, and her relationship with her father. My sister has down syndrome. She was born eight years before me, when our brother was five years old. My Momma wrote a powerful song called “Please Bring Her to Me” expressing her desire to hold her new baby girl and just love her completely after the hospital hesitated to bring her to her. This song still touches on something so powerful that so many parents can connect with, that desire to have your children close, to protect them and make everything okay just by loving them unconditionally.

By the time I came along, there was less songwriting, but still plenty of music being made around the house. She was busy raising us, my dad was working two jobs and our family did a lot of activities and therapy to help my sister. Momma often sat on the fireplace as we gathered around and we would sing. I’m sure this is how harmonies became second nature to me. It was just what we did. We sang together, often the original songs my momma had written.

One day when I was in college I had a song stuck in my head. I called her to ask if it was hers because I was sure I had heard it on the radio. It was, in fact, one of her songs.

Growing up, when I asked to take violin lessons, she made it happen. She put me in piano lessons too. So many of the skills that I rely on now, I learned as a young girl.

I’m thankful to my Momma. I’m thankful that she had a gift that she shared with her family. That when money was sparse, music was everywhere. It lived through us, in us, carrying us through some of the most challenging times. 

Thanks for the music, Momma. It lives on and on. I love you. -Bekah