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.

FullSizeRender (1)

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!

FullSizeRender (3)

FullSizeRender (4)

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.

FullSizeRender (19)

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.

FullSizeRender (22)

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.

IMG_5350

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.

 

 

 

 

MainFullSizeRender (10)

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.

FullSizeRender (13)

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.

IMG_5228

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.

IMG_5226

 

FullSizeRender (8)

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.

FullSizeRender (70)

IMG_5043

FullSizeRender (71)

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)

IMG_5052

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.

FullSizeRender (63)

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.

FullSizeRender (64)

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.

FullSizeRender (67)

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.

FullSizeRender (66)

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.

FullSizeRender (69)

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.

IMG_4732

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

IMG_4741

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!

IMG_4749

Hope everyone had a spooktacular Halloween!

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!

IMG_4648

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 


IMG_4663

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.

IMG_4654

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!

FullSizeRender (59)

 

Chocolate Peanut Pretzel Squares

IMG_4298

Chocolate and peanut butter have always been known to be a match made in heaven. The sweet and salty combination makes anything incorporating these flavours irresistible. But what if one was to amp up this combo to the next level… Chocolate. Peanut. Pretzel.

These squares incorporate a simple cookie style base, with a chocolaty peanuty topping that includes pretzels for extra crunch and saltiness. These little bites of deliciousness are seriously to die for and will satisfy every sweet tooth craving you have ever had. Get ready to have self control go out the window, because you’ll want to keep going back for more of these.

Ingredients:

For the base:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup regular oats
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the topping:

  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1 cup pretzel pieces lightly crushed
  • 3/4 cup chopped peanuts

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 8 inch square pan and line with parchment paper.
  2. Cream butter with sugars until smooth and fluffy. Add egg yolks and vanilla
  3. In a separate stir the flour, oats, and salt to combine. Stir the dry ingreidents into the wet until blended and spread the batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
  5. For the topping, melt the chocolate in a double boiler ( in a metal or glass bowl over a pot with boiling water). Once melted, remove bowl from heat and stir in pretzel pieces and chopped peanuts.
  6. Pierce  with warm base with a paring knife and spread the chocolate mixture the top. Chill for at least 2 hours.

IMG_4301

 

IMG_4295

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookies are a wondrous thing. There are so many different varieties you can make with different combinations or opt for just sticking to the classics like a good old chocolate chip. I was recently motivated to bake a batch to make use of some ripe bananas in my kitchen- the result, banana oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Picture banana bread, but in cookie form.

The natural sweetness from the bananas,  combined with the texture and crunch from the oatmeal and pecans made these quite delicious and so simple to make!

IMG_4031

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 light packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large mashed ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Whisk together flour, salt and baking soda in a small bowl
  3. Cream together butter and sugars until pale and fluffy. Then add the egg and vanilla
  4. Add flour mixture, then stir in oats, chocolate, and pecans
  5. Bake for 12/13 minutes and then cool on a wire rack

FullSizeRender (7)

IMG_3998

IMG_3997

While mouthwatering when they come out of the oven, these cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days… but they won’t last that long.