Monthly Archives: July 2011

Bye bye old home…


Bye bye old home! We are officially moved out – and ready to drive across the country (18 hours not including the overnight stop half-way) to our new home (boy this country is big)!

Here are some shots I took of our home before we started packing – as well as a shot of the canal – where I spent much of my time this year – walking, running, thinking, and even skating.  I have also loved living on top of the papery – a stationery store where I could spend hours upon hours just looking at all the pretty paper.

It has been one amazing year – full of challenges, growth and learning.  I have gotten to know some amazing people who I know are going to be permanent fixtures in my life no matter where we go.  I am sad to be leaving, but looking forward to what comes next.  More updates soon!

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Picture of the week – Parliament Sound and Light Show


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We are a day away from our much anticipated move to Halifax. For my last ‘Picture of the Week’ from Ottawa, I thought it would be fitting to share a picture taken at the Sound and Light show at Parliament. My parents were in town this week so we took them to check out this show and boy were we impressed. If you happen to be in Ottawa this summer you absolutely must make a point of attending. The show is every night at 10 pm and runs until September – AND it’s free! You really can’t go wrong!

Picture(s) of the week – More yoga



This week’s picture(s) of the week are a few more shots that I took at “Yoga on the hill”  yesterday (which, by the way happens every Wednesday at noon on Parliament Hill during the summer in Ottawa).  Despite the extreme heat – there was a big turnout!  I wrote a long (ish) post about this yesterday, so I will just leave you with these pictures for today.  The lovely lady basking in her chavasna at the bottom is none other than my friend Shani who is very special to B&B, and who I will miss dearly after we part ways next week, each moving to a different city, sigh.  Happy Friday everyone!

Yoga on the hill and some thoughts about freedom and rules..


One of my favourite activities from this summer has been Wednesday lunchtime yoga classes on Parliament Hill. This definitely needs to be added to the list of things that I will miss about Ottawa. Not only does it feel so awesome to be outside at lunchtime with a crowd of 500 odd people doing yoga on the grass (such a different feeling from a studio floor!), but the idea of being right in front of our nation’s parliament is so inspiring. I love being there because I feel like I am a part of something great. I also love that while we are taking part in our yoga class, others are on Parliament hill with placards protesting whatever the cause of that day might be. I have traveled to parts of the world where you could get arrested for just taking a walk in front of the country’s house of government, and as a result I have come to appreciate the freedoms in Canada that others may take for granted.

What I find most amazing though is that the very thing that allows our citizens to be so free is the very thing that restricts us: the rule of law. It is so interesting that, in the end, what creates order and freedom are rules.  If you think about a country in which there are no rules or laws, you will quickly realize that what that country’s citizens have is the very opposite of freedom. This is a widely recognized principle in politics, and yet it seems that so many of us have such a hard time recognizing this idea in our personal lives.

For instance, when I tell people that my faith is an important part of my life, I often get comments along the line of “that’s nice, but I don’t believe in following so many rules”. I find this ironic, because I believe that it is those very rules that have given me freedom in my personal life. In the same way that citizens of democratic and law abiding countries have been able to experience greater freedom than those under lawless regimes, the limits and boundaries created by the faith that I ascribe to are also what have allowed me to feel free. I think that so many of us are resistant to a deeper faith that requires some sort of commitment to rules because we don’t want to limit ourselves in this way. I would argue, however, that that the key to our liberation and emancipation as individuals might actually reside in allowing ourselves to be open to the boundaries and rules created by a higher order.

How about you? Do you feel as though the rules and laws in your life have actually helped to liberate you in a strange sort of way?

Fattoush!


So, in keeping with my ongoing fetish for Lebanese food and culture, I have recently developed a more specific fetish – for fattoush. Yes, that’s right, a fetish for fattoush.

What is fattoush you ask? It is a delicious salad made from greens and toasted or fried pita bread.  The special ingredient, which makes it taste different than other salads you may have had, is sumac – a spice used in the Middle East which adds a bit of a lemony taste. You will love it!

Since my little fetish has started to become an expensive one because I am constantly going to Lebanese restaurants for a quick fix, I recently decided that the time had come for me to make some homemade fattoush.   It is actually quite easy to make and the  only tip I have is to not overdo it with the sumac. Be  somewhat generous, just not overly generous. Contrary to what I had previously thought, it is possible to have too much sumac. 🙂

This recipe is adapted from one taken from one of my favorite Lebanese food blogs – Taste of Beirut.  Enjoy!

Fattoush:

  • a head of romaine lettuce chopped up
  • cucumbers
  • diced tomatoes
  • diced radishes
  • green onions, sliced
  • a handful of chopped Italian parsley and a handful of fresh mint
  • green pepper
  • 1 large pita

Dressing:

1. 2 small lemons, juiced

2. 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

3. 2  tablespoons of sumac

4.  2 or more cloves of garlic mashed in a dash of salt in a mortar

Method:

1.  Brush the pita bread with oil and sprinkle plenty of sumac on top

2.  Toast in a 325 F oven until the bread is crispy and golden – break into small pieces and set aside *Note – if you forget to brush with olive oil and sumac – you can just mix the bread in with the salad later and it will absorb the dressing and sumac*.

3.  Prepare all the salad ingredients; mix the dressing; when ready to serve, toss the salad with the dressing and mix in the pieces of pita bread.

Picture of the Week – Amato Pizza & Good Food in the T-dot


So I haven’t been that great with my blogging in the past couple of weeks – mostly due to a previously mentioned insane busy period at work. I am glad to report that that period is over! I am happy to be back to blogging and will have a few fun posts up this week – stay tuned for my first attempt at making fattoush!

I recently returned from a business + pleasure trip to Toronto and when I looked back at my pictures, I realised that a lot of them were of food.  Let’s face it, there’s some good food in Toronto.  This particular shot was taken at Amato Pizza, possibly one of the best pizza spots in the city.  Nothing fancy, just good pizza.

While we’re on the topic of food – another great spot that I visited during my trip was Fressen – definitely the best vegan restaurant that I have been to so far.  My cousin and I ordered this fabulous zucchini appetizer and I had the seitan and veggies for my main.  No regrets whatsoever.  For desert, we shared a chocolate avocado tartine.  Besides the food being delicious, we were both extremely impressed with the presentation of the food.

Two other blog-worthy restaurant visits in Toronto this week were Grazie and Tabule, both mid-town around Yonge and Eglinton.  Grazie has got to be my favorite Italian restaurant in TO.  I highly recommend the Penza (penne à la vodka).   Tabule is great if you are in the mood for really good Lebanese food.  I am glad this place opened up because Toronto doesn’t have a ton of Middle Eastern restaurants.  This one is definitely a good spot.

All in all, such an amazing and refreshing week in Toronto.  I am ready to be back home to J and to return to daily life in the O-town. Thanks for reading!