Category Archives: Inspiration

Picture of the Week – The Fruits (er, veggies) of my Labour


A little while ago I told you about my tomato plant.  Update: we have tomatoes and I’m thrilled!

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Picture of the Week: Fall is upon us!


Happy Monday dear readers! This week I dug out one of my favorite fall shots taken a few years ago in the Byward Market in Ottawa.  I’ve really been enjoying this season over the past couple of years and though I haven’t been out to take many fall pictures this year, I thought that this one captured the beauty of the season.

What are you up to this week? I think that one of my favorite things about this time of year is that by now most of us have settled in nicely into our daily routines.  I am continuously amazed by how uneasy I am with lack of routine.  It brings me comfort to now have a regular daily and weekly pattern to follow.  Halifax is starting to become more and more of a home for us as we get to know the city and the surroundings  a bit better. We’ve also been blessed to have met some wonderful people here which has also made this place more homey for us.

Hope you all have a great day – and just so you know, this week on B&B I’ll be reviewing an album by an artist I was recently introduced to named Duane Forrest.  He is my favorite type of artist: a musician with a mission. More on that later!

Pass the pomodoro!


Ever since I started growing (and obsessing over) tomatoes on my back porch, few things make me as happy as the perfect tomato.  Doesn’t this one look amazing?

Unfortunately, I cannot take credit for this one, but it does provide me with some inspiration for my little plant.  My favorite thing about tomatoes is that there is so much you can do with them.  I picked these ones up at the market a few days ago and had so much fun roasting them in the oven.  They look so fresh!

In order to roast them, here’s what I did.  Cut them in half and line them up on a cookie pan (I used parchment paper) as shown above.  Drizzle some olive oil and add a few unpeeled garlic cloves (about 3-4) like so:

You then put them in the oven at 200 degrees F for 2.5 to 3 hours.

When you take them out, they should look like this:

From there, you can enjoy them on their own or throw them into your favorite pasta or onto your favorite pizza!  Here’s what I did with them:

The little tomato tree that could


We made it through our first week back to reality! So far I am really liking my new job and loving working from home.  J also had a great time at orientation meeting new people and getting to do fun Halifax stuff like kayaking and partying on Citadel Hill.

A while back when we were still in Ottawa, I went out for a jog and on my way back I picked up a little tomato plant that one of the neighbours was giving away.  I’ve never really done much (read: any) gardening, but I thought that having a little tomato plant could be fun.  It would be even more fun if we actually got some tomatoes!  This is how she looked when I picked her up:

As she started to grow, I had to give her a bigger home because she was getting to big for the one she came in.  Here she is after the move to Halifax.  She’s a bit hunched over because the truck ride to Halifax was a bit rough on her.  In fact, people told me I should probably throw her out and give up, but I just couldn’t. I was told that in order to get tomatoes, one would have to start earlier in the spring (I only picked her up in June).  I still wanted to try though just to see what would happen.

Lo and behold, a few weeks after we got to Halifax I noticed a tomato! For someone who has no kids, this would probably be the closest thing to my pride and joy:

Each day I would go and examine my one little tomato to see if it had grown, and to my absolute delight, one day I discovered that not only had it grown, but that “it” was in fact “two”!

A few days later, I noticed 3 more beginning to bloom.  They are a little harder to see because they are still young and are sort of hidden by the leaves above them, but if you look closely, you can see them.  You can also see how much their older siblings have been growing.

Here are the two most recent pictures that I have. It is now past labour day so I am just hoping that there will be enough warmth left for these little guys to reach their full potential.   I’ll keep you posted, and if you have any tips, feel free to share them. Thanks for reading!


Last burger of the summer?


Happy Tuesday everyone!

Our summer vacation has officially ended and today J started law school and I started my new job.  For the next few months I’ll be working from home which I think will be a nice treat.  We’ve set up a little home office for me and I am really looking forward to spending my days at home and being able to take advantage of the flexibility that comes along with that.  I know that I’ll miss the people interaction but hopefully the convenience of the arrangement will outweigh that.

Remember when I told you about those pomegranate molasses I bought at the Middle East grocer and how I promised greatness? Well, I’ve concocted this recipe for pomegranate-feta burgers that I think you might like.  Hopefully you will have some time to squeeze in a few more bbq dinners before the fall officially hits.

Pomegranate-Feta Burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup  crumbled feta cheese (ideally Macedonian feta)
  • 6 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 envelope dry onion soup mix
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat a grill for high heat.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, onion, cheese, soy sauce, pomegranate molasses, egg, onion soup mix, garlic, garlic powder, parsley, basil, oregano, rosemary, salt, and pepper.
  3. Form into patties.
  4. Grill patties for 5 minutes per side on the hot grill, or until well done.

Picture of the Week – Lobster Traps in Cape Breton


This is one of my favorite shots taken on our trip to Cape Breton.   These lobster traps were all over the place in the tiny fishing villages that we drove through.  As a born and bred city girl, I had never seen these before and though I am really not a lobster eater, I liked what they added to the landscape.  I think that the locals thought I was kind of silly for taking so many pictures of lobster traps, but they were new to me and they caught my eye so I thought you might like them too.  Happy Friday!


Today is August 15th…


…and I am celebrating the birthday of a very special lady – my mom! Happy birthday Mama!


The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree


So we have been here for about a week – and I have already found a place to buy candied chickpeas!

Lucky for us, there is a Middle Eastern grocer about 5 minutes away from our home and, though it’s relatively small, it carries everything I would have wanted to find. Besides the candied chickpeas, I was hoping to find some Pomegranate molasses (and I did!). The Lebanese use this a lot in their cooking and I’ve been meaning to try it out because the few times that I have tried it, it was just so good. My mother in law makes particularly good use of this stuff and I’m hoping to follow in her footsteps. Once I’ve had a chance to try a few recipes with this little secret weapon, I will report back.  Expect greatness.

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J and I found ourselves feeling particularly at home in this shop and as a result we bought a lot of items simply because they were comfort foods, and not because we had any particular craving for them (though they will not be going to waste, I can tell you that). Its amazing how just having certain items in your fridge can make your little abode feel like that much more of a home. Here is a list of what we came back with:

  • Labneh: a soft Lebanese cheese made by straining yogurt
  • Pickled turnips (or in Arabic “lift”): you might have had these in a shawarma sandwich
  • Macedonian feta cheese: this is what my dad always has in the fridge at home.  J and I are hoping that the kind we bought will be just as good
  • Za’atar: a mixture made up of thyme, sesame seeds and sumac.  It can be used as a seasoning or can also be eaten with lebneh.
  • Mango juice: reminds me so much of my visits to Egypt
  • Halawa: a sweet crumbly spread usually eaten with bread at breakfast time but it can be eaten in a variety of ways any time of the day
  • Candied chickpeas: these were not freshly made in-store as they are in the roastery in Ottawa and as a result they are quite expensive here!

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The funniest part about this list is that the majority of these items are not ones we are accustomed to buying.  They are tastes and flavours which we are usually fed when visiting family, or which our parents will just pick up for us when they go to the Middle Eastern grocery store. In fact, save for the chick peas, this is probably the first time I have ever purchased any of these items for myself.

The outing was special to us though.  Though the Middle Eastern grocery store is not a regular stop for us in Ottawa, we naturally gravitated towards it here.  I think it might be because we both have an unspoken desire and need to preserve our cultures and  to integrate them into our new home.  When we live close to family, we really don’t need to put any effort into this.  Now that we are further away, it seems to have happened organically.

Picture of the week – My Halifax identity thus far


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I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet on this blog that the reason J and I moved out here is because J will be starting law school here in September. We heard that Dal is a great school and that Halifax is a great city and so we figured this was our chance to see what living on the East Coast would be like. So here we are.

A few days ago, we attended J’s first law school function – a welcome BBQ. As is often done at such events, name tags were handed out in order to facilitate mingling. People were asked to indicate what year of law school they were about to enter by putting down “1L”, “2L” or “3L”. I fit into none of these categories and instead indicated that my place at this party was as the “wife of Jad”.

Though this comes as nothing new, I smiled to myself as I put on my label. There is a little part of me that always gets a thrill out of being in a new place where no one knows anything about me except what I tell them. In this day and age where the Internet makes it so easy to find out so much about someone just by conducting a basic search, I find peace in those moments where you are still in control of what people know about you.

In this particular case, I liked simply being “wife of Jad”. At a time in my life where I could potentially define myself in so many different ways, I found this particular definition to be simple and comforting.

We made it!


Since my last post we left Ottawa, drove through 4 provinces, and made it to Halifax – our new home.

Our trip over was long but a lot of fun.   For a long time I’ve felt like it was almost wrong to have seen so little of my own country.  Making the drive fulfilled that desire to see what the rest of Canada looked like.  Though you can’t really get much of a taste for how the rest of the country lives by quickly driving through the cities and towns, I still feel as though I’ve gotten a little sampling of what’s out there.  Sort of like flipping through a magazine before going back to read the content. I hope to get to see more soon.

Another major highlight of the trip was that I got to drive a UHAUL truck for the very first time.  I absolutely loved it. I felt like I was queen of the road!

For J and I, this move is a big one.  It is our first time moving away to a new and strange new place by ourselves and it is also our first time being home owners.  To add to this, we sort of kind of bought our place without having actually seen it in person (we did our due diligence, but still).  You can imagine the build up to finally getting to see it in person when we arrived.  Thankfully, we absolutely love our new place and are so excited for the life we are going to build here.  I’ll post pictures once everything is up and ready.

Our first few nights in Halifax were met with much rain.  In fact, within only a few hours of being here we took out the rain jackets that we were advised to buy before coming out here.   Here we are in our new snazzy matching jackets.

We experienced what was apparently one of the biggest rain/thunderstorms that Halifax has ever gotten.  We’re finding that the weather here is very different from what we know coming from Toronto/Ottawa.  The weather here generally just seems to be more temperate – which is fine for us.  We are told to expect a little less heat in the summers and a little less cold in the winters.  Sounds good to me.  They are forecasting lots of sunshine for tomorrow – so we plan on taking advantage of that and enjoying our very first Saturday in Halifax!  Happy week-end all – wherever you may be!