Walking through the Plateau in Montreal on a friday night is always a new adventure. I love to immerse myself in the hubbub - which exists in large part thanks to the plethora of ethnic restaurants, trendy cafes and re-vapmed dive bars that line the streets. Whichever side of the world you're from, you're guaranteed to find a restaurant in this city that has what you're looking for. And, if you're in the mood to try new things, you will never be short on options.

Many people have voiced to me in the past their discontent with my vegetarianism (whether directly or indirectly) as it is an "inconvenience" to have to cater to my needs. To that sentiment I say, "Ha!" Being a vegetarian should never be viewed as limiting - it should instead be viewed as exciting: an excuse to get creative and try new food! I was quite excited when a friend suggested that we check out this funky looking place on Duluth, Khyber Pass, an Afghan restaurant with a number of  appealing meat-free menu items.

The food itself was similar to many of the middle-eastern dishes that I've tried before - looking around, I spotted many different rices and stews, I noted the common use of onions, tomatoes and legumes. What stood out to me however was the combination of spices and flavours. I immediately recognized the unique taste of cardamom in my main dish - and I absolutely loved it. I've only ever used cardamom in teas or in desserts before, never in anything savory. What a fantastic spice! The flavour complimented the sweet earthy squash, balanced out with the acidity of tomato, and softened with a hint of yogourt. I just HAD to re-create this dish at home. And I did - with great simplicity and success.

Spring is in the air, and I've decided that there is no better time than now to do some spring-cleaning-of-my-body. I'll be doing this not by dieting, but by incorporating more healthy, nutrient-packed meals and snacks. I decided to start this off by taking a dive into my vegetable bin... which is when I discovered some vegetables and fruits that were looking a little less than savoury edible. Carrots growing roots, apples so wilted they could go undercover as prunes, and some oranges that resembled a fat old lady's butt cheeks much more so than any citrus fruit I've ever seen. Thing is, I absolutely despise wasting food. Brilliant-idea-alert: Now is the perfect time to dust off my trusty juicer and get juicing!

Here is what I came up with:

revitalizing carrot, ginger and orange

 invigorating beet, apple and lime

Carrot-Ginger-Orange: Two oranges, peeled. 5 Carrots. 1 inch cube ginger.
Apple-Beet-Lime: 4 apples. 2 medium beets. 1 lime.

Juicing for more? Click the following link to see my past juice post with tons more recipes and inspiration. Enjoy!


January, 1998.
A monday morning I'll never forget. Seated at the breakfast table next to my brother, sleep in our eyes and tangles in our hair, well-rested, but groggy and grumpy, as most children who are returning to school from a two-week break might be. Our cheerful mother sliding scrambled eggs onto our plates, humming along to the radio commercial song, "it's the most wonderful time of the year."
Wonderful it would be, about 2 minutes later.

"7 O'clock CJAD News time
The PSBGM has announced the closure of the following schools..."

Our eyes suddenly opened wide, as my brother and I jumped from our seats, shoving each other out of the way to attempt to push our ears as close as humanly possible to the speaker.

"Cross your fingers!"
"Wasting your time, your school never closes!"
"Shhhh! Maybe today!"
"Eat your eggs!"

my backyard, this morning

We glanced outside at the glistening tree branches covered in ice. Maybe today. I cross my fingers as hard as I can behind my back, pressing them into my spine, and close my eyes tightly. Riverdale, say Riverdale! We turn our attention back to the radio.

"...Cartier Adult Ed Centre, Hudson High School, Westpark Element..."

"Sucker! I'm off!" My brother jumps as high as if he were about to slam dunk a basketball. The list goes on, and then abruptly ends. They didn't say my school's name. Of course. I slowly drag myself back to the table, an exaggerated sour look on my face. Disheartened, I scoop the rest of my eggs into my mouth, my pout growing bigger with each bite.

As I scraped the remaniants of my plate into the trash, I listened haphazardly to the news."A few more schools to add to our list." The ice outside began to grow seemingly thicker as the pellets clanged down on our window.

The next five words out of the radio announcer's mouth came to me as a complete shock. "Riverdale High School in Pierrefonds."

This is the story of the first and the last time that I ever got to experience the joy of a snow day. That snow day ended up lasting 2 weeks, and was dubbed Ice Storm '98. Shortly after this excited morning, our power went out. For the next few days, we crammed into my grandmother's two-bedroom apartment along with my 6 other cousins. We buried our meat in the snow to preserve it, and we lit more candles than the St Joseph's Oratory. All in all, this storm taught me that there really had to be a MASSIVE amount of bad weather and power outages to truly merit a Snow Day.

And then, today happened. 
And it was the most joyous wake-up call I've ever received. 

Because this time, I'm getting paid for it.

An unexpected day off is the perfect time to make a breakfast reminiscent of my childhood: devilled eggs.

As of late, I've been wondering why it is that in the spring, I am more compelled to clean house and re-arrange my life. Maybe it's the sense of re-generation, offered by the budding trees, that pushes a need to re-arrange my furniture. Maybe it's got something to do with the extra boost of energy, provided by the extra sunlight hours, that makes me feel as though 6:00am is the perfect time to thoroughly dust my (bookless) bookshelf.

Or, maybe it's got nothing really to do with the coming of spring, but more to do with the end of winter - a cause for celebration. But what's a girl to do when it's time to celebrate, but her friends all live in the suburbs and don't like coming downtown? Well, celebration then comes in the form of a solitary glass of wine, accompanied by some housecleaning. And some baking. Ok, lots of baking. Because, well, I'm in my 20s, and I've got to live it up while I can!

While cleaning, I noticed a few pints of blueberries in my fridge that had seen better days. They hadn't reached that inexplicable mouldy-immediately-after-purchase stage, but were looking a little sad. If blueberries could frown, well, they were definitely doing that. Though I was really feeling like blueberry pie, I was also really not feeling like rolling out any dough. So I got to thinking. Maybe I should just make date squares, and toss the berries. You see, I've been on a date-square binge the past few weeks, and though I like to try and pull myself out of these baking ruts that I get into, date squares are just SO good, I couldn't bare to NOT make them again.

And then, it hit me. This was the moment in my life when my brain made the most beautiful of all food babies:

Blueberry. Pie. Squares.

Imagine this: date-square-meets-blueberry-pie-plus-brown-sugar. Melt-in-your-mouth-warm-your-heart-goodness. Oh. My. Goodness.

Oh, and yes, they are as tasty as they sound.