Homemade Roasted Veggie Pizza

There is something quite magical about pizza. Whether it be a thin or thick crust, classic mozzarella or extravagant goat cheese, veggies or pepperoni, these ingredients create an irresistible combination.

I’m a firm believer that pizza shops don’t need any kind of marketing because the aroma that comes across as you walk by is promotion enough. Home-made pizza accentuates all the awesomenss of this typically fast-food item.

Plus, not gonna lie, rolling out the dough is a great time. This pizza creation has loads of veggie goodness complete with caramelized onions and mushrooms, fire-roasted red peppers and roasted broccoli and eggplant.

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Ingredients 

  • Store bought pizza dough
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Roasted red peppers
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 1 Chinese eggplant
  • 10 button mushrooms
  • 1 onion
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Directions 

Topping: 1)Slice eggplant and broccoli and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. 2) Bake the eggplant and broccoli at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes. 3) Grate/slice the mozzarella and set aside.

Sauce:  1) Slice the onions and mushrooms and saute in a pan with olive oil. 2) Once the onions are translucent/golden, add the tomato sauce, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Dough: 1) Flour your work space, hands and rolling pin and start rolling out the dough ( this prevents sticking). 2) Once rolled out to your desired thickness place onto a floured baking tray. 3) Bake the dough for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Assembly: 1) Pour the sauce evenly over the pizza dough, top with cheese and roasted peppers, broccoli and eggplant. 2) Bake at 425 for 20 minutes or until the cheese looks bubbly and delicious!

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Mini Oreo Cheesecakes

I’m sure many of you have seen (and become addicted to) the Tasty videos that are taking over Facebook. Learning how to make a dish in one minute or less is pretty cool. After watching one of their videos for Mini Oreo Cheesecakes I knew I had to try it.

So simple to make, these mini cheesecakes are a perfect bite of decadence. Combining the tried and true Oreo cookie that pretty much everyone on earth loves into a cheesecake all in one cute small bite is basically best the idea since the invention of the spiralizer. This is a great dessert to make for a crowd and will sure to be devoured by all.

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Ingredients

  • 16 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 Oreo cookies
  • Crushed Oreo’s for topping
  • 16 oz cream cheese, softened

Directions

  1. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and place a whole Oreo cookie at the bottom of each.
  2. Combine cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, vanilla, and eggs with a mixerll combined. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  3. Top the Oreo with the cheesecake mixture and crumble pieces of Oreo on top.
  4. Bake at 275°F for 22 min. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours ( I found that overnight works best because the longer it sits the Oreo becomes part of the cheesecake).
  5. Remove the cheesecakes from the muffin tin right before serving.

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Annona Restaurant

What I love about Winterlicious is that it’s a chance to try new restaurants across the city that you might never otherwise had the opportunity to.  Dining through a custom three course meal makes you feel like a king… a king that’s getting great value!

This year I headed to the Park-Hyatt’s Annona, for a meal that almost looked too pretty to eat – the key word being almost. We started off at the hotel’s rooftop bar with breathtaking views of the city and moved down to the restaurant for a delicious meal.

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Here is the run down:

Appetizer

FullSizeRender (9)Grilled Crab Cake

While crab cakes aren’t usually my go-to, this one set the bar pretty high for any others I consume in the future. It had a super crispy outside filled with loads of succulent crab meat, balanced with a fresh slaw and sweet-acidy balsamic.

 

 

 

 

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Grilled Arctic Char

So pretty much whenever I see this fish on a menu, I feel like I need to get it. It has an undeniably moist and buttery texture, complimented by perfectly crispy skin.  This fish was accompanied by a parsnip puree and curry cream sauce along with steamed white asparagus and roasted beets.

 

 

FullSizeRender (11)Surf & Turf

I would almost describe this main as decadent. With rich, bold flavours, it was truly a treat to eat. A grilled  beef medallion, golden shrimp, and seared scallops topped with a peppercorn jus, red pepper beurre blanc and a side of lobster mash and roasted vegetables.

 

 

 

 

Dessert 

FullSizeRender (12)Warm Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

No meal is complete without a sweet ending. There is just something about warm chocolate oozing out of a moist cake.  This, combined with a caramelized hazelnut ice cream to cool it all off.

I had to get in one more picture of the melting chocolate because that’s just a thing of beauty.

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Banana Pumpkin Bread

Let me start off by saying that a colleague of mine made this banana pumpkin bread and brought it to the office and it was immediately devoured by everyone who could get their hands on a piece. While Starbucks has brainwashed us into thinking that the flavours of pumpkin are only good between the months of September and November, pumpkin recipes are scrumptious no matter what time of year. Plus, with the weather out there feeling like fall, I though this recipe was a great choice.

I always seem to struggle when it comes to loaves and determining when they’re done. One minute the toothpick you stuck in is gooey, the next it’s beyond dry. What I’ve learned is that a slightly under baked loaf is 100 times better than an over baked one. Cooking it until the batter is still just a bit wet makes for an extremely moist bread.

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Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/3 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9X5 inch loaf pans
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the mashed bananas, eggs, oil, pumpkin, honey and sugar
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and stir into the banana mixture until just combined
  4. Divide the batter into the two prepared pans. ( I like to sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top so people know what they’re about to eat!)
  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

Whether science based or not we pretty much all know that chocolate makes us feel better about the world.  To follow up on that there’s nothing quite like biting into a warm chocolate chip cookie- it’s the comfort food, sweet-tooth satisfying snack that we all know and love.

What if you were to combine luscious dark chocolate with everyone’s guilty pleasure-  cookie dough?! ….. Drum roll please… I give you chocolate chip cookie dough truffles. There is no hiding the fact that these are one decadent bite but definitely a guaranteed fan favourite.

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup  brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate morsels
  • 1 1/2 pounds dark chocolate chips

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped Oreos
  • Sprinkles

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar and add in vanilla
  2. Gradually add in flour and the condensed milk
  3. Stir in mini-chocolate chips and form into 1 inch balls
  4. Chill for one hour
  5. Melt the dark chocolate and using two forks ( key techique that I learn after trying to use my fingers) dip cookie balls into the chocolate
  6. Place on wax paper and top with almonds, Oreo peices or sprinkles… or whatever other fun toppings you can think of!
  7. Chill for at least and hour ( or overnight if you can)

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Star Wars Food Art From A Galaxy Far, Far Away (And By Galaxy We Mean Toronto)

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As soon as you see those words on the big screen, you’re instantly hit with a wave of nostalgia for one of the biggest entertainment franchise in history. Unless you’ve been living in a cave on Tatooine, you know exactly what we’re talking about.

It’s here; the biggest day of the year is here! Star Wars: The Force Awakens officially came out today!

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By now many of you might have already seen it (which makes me really jealous since my tickets are for tomorrow.)

Not only is it the most anticipated film of the year, it’s already been getting rave reviews from critics. On top of that, Subway Restaurants in partnership with local artists are bringing us Star Wars inspired sandwich art to life to celebrate the release of the crazy-anticipated film.

Star Wars and sandwiches, a match made possible by the force.

Disclaimer: There will be more Star Wars references that you can shake a lightsaber at.

At the Eaton’s Center food court, Subway Restaurants in partnership with local artists displayed some pretty amazing artwork using only Subway ingredients. The pieces display were three different characters, done by three very unique artists.

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First was Alexandra Johnston who created an amazing Chewbacca using only breads, sliced deli meats like turkey breast and roast beef, and finished it off using black olives and mayonnaise.

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“I love Chewbacca just because of the texture of his face, he’s so hairy and he has a lot of depth to him. So I knew that would work well with the deli meats if they were cut really thin. The black olives were purely to add shading and depth.”

I asked her about the process behind making her piece, and for her, it definitely wasn’t a regular piece of work.

“It was challenging because the food needs to stay fresh when you’re working with it… It’s not like I work with deli meats on a regular basis so it was defiantly a new challenge for me to work with this brand new medium…”

Bringing the new generation of characters into the food art world was Emily May Rose, with her piece on the adorable new droid companion, BB-8.

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“I wanted to do BB-8 mostly because I love robots so I wanted to do a robot for sure. I kinda chose it thinking it was a simple character….it’s two circles with some more circles on it. It ended up being the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to make.”

Even with the difficulty behind it, she ended up making an incredibly detailed piece.

“I separated it off by color and chose ingredients that way. I used onion for the white part, which ended up being way more ambitions than I intended it to be. Then banana peppers for the orange, using the wood grain of the surface to make a background and adding bread in for the hills and the crashed destroyer.”

Yes, she even had a freakin star destroyer in her piece.

Even with the challenge behind making such a complex piece, it was worth it since it involved a great character.

“I love him as a character, in all the trailers I squeal every time he goes across the screen. It’s super cute…I’ve seen the toys of him rolling around, they’re adorable I want one so bad!”

Lastly, Andre Kan brought his skills and introduced to the world, the mysterious First Order soldier, Captain Phasma (Most badass name ever? Probably.)

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His piece is made up entirely of sliced up cucumbers in a linear pattern, and ham as it’s main details and olives to wrap it up.

“It was completely, COMPLETELY different from what I usually do. I didn’t know your hands could burn so much from cutting and from chopping a bunch of little ingredients.”

All three of these artists created some truly amazing works, but what makes them even better is the passion behind it.

For Emily, the movies were the biggest parts of her life, so much that she can’t even pick a favourite movie.

“Every time I bring it up with a friend, we argue about it”

On top of being HUGE fan of The Phantom Menace, Andre’s love for the series was strengthened with the great N64 game, Star Wars: Pod Racer.

Calling Star Wars an international phenomenon doesn’t even begin to describe the love and passion fans have for the series, a love that is universal for fans new and old.

“Most people grew up with it and started watching it as a child. I think it’s the lifelong aspect that most people have with Star Wars, it kinda gets passed down generations.” – Amy May Rose.

“The initial movie had a really inspiring connection to the audience, so much that it kinda just stayed with them.” – Andre Kan.

What I saw at the Subway booth, was a trio of artists expressing their love for Star Wars through a very unique medium of art. It’s not everyday that a Wookie made out of bread made me hungry, that’s for sure.

If you want to check out the incredible artwork, (and believe me you have to see them to believe it) head on over to the Eaton’s Centre food court where the display will be available till the end of this Saturday.

Make sure you vote for your favorite, but I wouldn’t blame you if you had trouble picking just one, all three of them are fantastic. On top of that, your voting could potentially earn you a $500 SUBWAY Cash Card and a print of the winning artwork.

That means you get a pretty wicked cool piece of art AND enough Subway sandwiches to last you till Star Wars: Rogue One hits theatres next year.

So much Star Wars goodness over the next few years.

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Make sure you check out the contest on Facebook, and vote for your favorite artist!

To see more from these artists, make sure you follow them on Twitter/Instagram.

Emily May Rose

Andre Kan 

Alexandra Johnston 

Check out the rest of the images from the showcase!

 

7 Numbers

FullSizeRender (61)There are lots of places out there that claim to be authentically Italian. But how many places do you know where there is literally an Italian nonna cooking your meal for you. I’m definitely not an expert in authentically Italian cuisine, but without sounding too much like Guy Fieri, 7 Numbers was “The Real Deal”.

Walking into their Eglinton location, you are greeted to an open style kitchen with chef Rosa front and centre cooking up a delicious Italian storm. The space is small and cozy but still with a distinctly elegant feel.  The menu changes daily, so you know that the ingredients are fresh.

Appetizer

Calamari 

Battered and fried for a savory crispy bite.

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Arugula and Goat Cheese Salad With Roasted Red Peppers 

When you treat ingredients with integrity, there’s really no reason to fuss with them. Peppery arugula dressed with olive oil and crumbled fresh goat cheese over a whole slice of charred red pepper. This salad let the ingredients speak for themselves.

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Main

A lot of restaurants make it seem like in order for a dish to be outstanding it must therefore be insanely expensive. Not here. For the amount of food and flavour we got, the price was definitely right.

Veal Lasanga 

This reminded me of the lasagna my grandma makes- there was something about it that made it feel homey and comforting. You can tell the veal had been cooking in the sauce for hours to develop a rich meaty, tomatoy flavour.

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Lamb Shank 

So I’m just putting this out there- I could never be a vegetarian. There’s just something about eating a piece of meat right off that bone that is an experience in it of itself. This lamb literally fell right off the bone with a touch of a fork. The meat was incredibly tender and packed with hours of slow roasted goodness.

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Dessert 

Espresso Panna Cotta with Chocolate Gansch 

In my opinion, no meal is complete until you have desert. This velvety and creamy panna cotta topped with a thin layer of rich chocolate ganash and a crisp biscotti for dipping was the perfect sweet way to end an amazing meal.

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Check them out for yourself!

www.sevennumbers.com/

@7_Numbers

Chocolate Spiders

What’s the one time of year when it’s actually acceptable to gorge ourselves with chocolate and candy?! I’m talking about the sugar lover’s favourite holiday, Halloween! We love getting dressed up and seeing the totally ridiculous costumes that everyone comes up with but more than that, we love the treats that come along with it.

This year, our office had a costume and baking contest so I couldn’t not contribute with a hauntedly delicious creation. These chocolate spiders are the perfect spooky bite… and even though they’re not the most beautiful looking, they definitely taste good and are so incredibly simple to make.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup Spanish salted peanuts
  • 1 cup Chinese noodles ( I know it sounds weird, but they add the perfect crunch!)
    1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips

Directions

  1. Over a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butterscotch chips
  2. Once completely melted, add in the Chinese noodles and peanuts and stir until coated
  3. Using two spoons, scoop out mixture into clusters and place onto a lined baking sheet
  4. Cool in the fridge overnight

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Alsoo, fun fact- this was the first Halloween ever that I carved a pumpkin! My goal was for it to be the new Raptors logo but I think for a first ever attempt it turned out pretty good!

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Hope everyone had a spooktacular Halloween!

K & B Sushi, All The Dumplings Were Eaten (All of Them)

Every once in a while, I get this almost animalistic urge to go rampaging through a sushi buffet. Since this is a blog and you might not know me personally, here’s a fun fact: I have a love/hate/more love relationship with sushi. Soon as someone even recommends that we get sushi, I’m already half way there in stretchy pants.

And the sushi? It always has to be all you can eat, it’s the best way to go. I’ve been to an insane amount of all you can eat sushi places around the city, but not many of them have been as fancy as K+B Sushi.

Note: They do have an all you can eat menu, but are also a fancy restaurant with individual pricing.

My background is not in architecture, but god damn that is one beautifully designed building. It looks like a venue that the crew of the Normandy from Mass Effect would go to for space sushi (vague video game reference ftw). Even when you walk inside you can tell that the design of this restaurant is definitely a priority.

After being seated, we were given the now standard iPad menu system to order from which as a tech nut, I always get a little giddy over. The menu itself is pretty comprehensive with a little something for everyone. But then it happened, I saw those two words that brought a manly tear to my eyes: “Dumpling Menu”. We all know about my love affair with dumplings, I even made my own and talked about it a while back.

After pressing all the buttons on the iPad menu, we awaited the arrival of all our food, and it was well worth the wait.

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The quality of the food was top notch, the presentation was clean and beautiful and again, the dumplings. So many dumplings, I’m pretty sure I ate my body weight in dumplings.

I was pretty damn happy about the sushi and the service here, and so were my friends. If you’re in Etobicoke or Oakville, or possess the ability to get there, check them out.

For more on their menu, check them out on their main website.

 

 

Apple Crumble

It wouldn’t be fall without quintessential flavours like pumpkin spice and of course, everything apple! After going apple picking and coming home with pounds of these delicious  fruits I decided to make use of them in any way I could- eating my fare share straight from the tree, creating a rustic crumble, oh and experimenting with apple cinnamon french toast ( which was quite mind blowing in case you were wondering).  I think I’ve had my quota for the month!

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Apples take on a whole new life when you cook them down with a little bit of cinnamon and sugar- they get soft, sweet and almost have a melt in your mouth texture, still with just enough bite. The crumble mixture on top adds just enough crunch to make for one… or more amazing bite.

Apple Crumble 


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Ingredients

Filling:

  • 3 Macintosh apples
  • 2 royal gala apples
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 lemon ( juiced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

Topping

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick of cold butter ( cut into 8 pieces)

Directions 

  1. Peel, core and slice apples. In a large bowl, combine apples with sugar, lemon juice, flour and cinnamon.  Grease baking dish and pour in apple mixture.
  2. In another large bowl, mix together flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Gently work in the cold butter until the mixture forms pea-size chunks.
  3. Place topping over apples and bake for 45 minutes- or until the top is brown and apples are bubbly.

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Another fun apple creation: Apple Cinnamon French Toast!

Slice up an apples, saute it in a pan with butter and cinnamon, then fill the apple  between two pieces of challah, dip in some egg wash and cook on both sides. Voila!

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