Apr
29

When I saw this recipe on the internet, I knew I wanted to make it.  It looked stunning and it didn’t require a million ingredients. Plus I knew it would be the perfect side dish for my salmon.

Here’s the recipe for a Zucchini  Rose Tart (adapted from www.Buonappa.net)

Ingredients:
1 roll puff pastry

Filling:

1 cup ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
a lot of  fresh oregano, fresh rosemary or fresh thyme!

Decoration:
4 multi color carrots (purple, orange and yellow)
2 zucchini
tart - veggies

Instructions:

1. Roll out the puff pastry and place it in the bottom of a greased oven proof baking dish. However,  I was using this recipe for Passover so I covered the bottom of my serving dish with Matza.

If you are using puff pastry, bake in the oven (with weights) at 350 for 20 minutes. Lets cool

tart - matza

2. Mix together in a bowl: eggs, ricotta cheese, parmesan, mozzarella cheese, and fresh herbs (this made all the difference, I promise you).

tart - mixture

3. Spread the mixture over the puff pastry (or matzo in my case)

3. For the vegetables: peel the carrots and split in half. Then take your peeler and peel long ribbons. Do the same with the zucchini but don’t peel them. Then place all the ribbons in 2 cups of water and put them in the microwave for 5 minutes. DRAIN.

tart - ribbons

4. Now for the fun. Roll up each ribbon and then place into the filling (which will acts as a “cement). This take TIME. Make sure you have enough TIME and enough RIBBONS. It took more time and more ribbons than I thought but it was SO worth it.

5. Brush with olive oil (which I forgot to do. Oops)

5. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes

Full disclosure: I swore a few times while making this but I will make it again. It was really worth it.

FINAL

tart - final

I served this dish along with:

-Salmon with balsamic onions

-Roasted Cauliflower with a Tahini Glaze

– Beet salad with mint/feta cheese

-Spinach salad with blood orange and pecans

Happy Cooking!

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Apr
19

True Story: Back in June 2009, I found out on Chowhound that Poutinis was opening. Naturally I wanted to avoid line ups and got there as soon as the doors opened. Guess what? I was their second customer.

Fast forward to April 19th, 2016: I woke up and saw the following email in my inbox.

“Hi Vicky!

It looks like we’ll be opening our new location tomorrow evening, we’d love to see you if you felt like coming by! (You’re a good luck charm!!)

Sent by Katie

I wrote back to Katie, saying how kind she was to send this email to me and indeed I would drop by after work. By the way, she also found the first customer from 2009. How cool is that? It’s proof how much she cares about her customers. Don’t you think?

Naturally I ran down to their newest location (617 King St. W) and this time I was their FIRST customer. #hooray #happycustomer

I was given this awesome t-shirt and will wear it proudly!!

poutini - tshirt

As for the space, the King St West location has the same cool vibe as the Queen St. W location.

poutini - grid

As for the poutine: it’s perfect. It always is!!

Congratulations to the great team behind this brilliant concept. I only wish them all the best and continued success.

poutini - team2

For more information:

Website: www.poutinis.com

Address: 617 King St W or 1112 Queen St. West

Twitter ns Instagram: @poutini

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Poutini

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Apr
17

Attention Meat Lovers


At the recent Toronto Food + Drink Market, I stumbled across an exhibitor called TruLocal.

I started to chat wth them to find out more about their business and learned that they deliver clean, high-end meat products that are locally-sourced directly to the front door of their customers.

They know that it takes time to search for a certified butcher and no one has time, right? I am certainly a candidate for this service so I went on their website (which is beautiful by the way) and before you know it, I received the following box right to my door.

trulocal - box

In a nutshell, here’s how it works:

1. Choose a plan  (how many people – how often you want meat delivered)

2. Choose a package (i.e. what type of meat you would like)

3. They deliver right to your door.

Seeing as I work, I was a bit nervous to have a box of meat delivered when I wasnt home to receive it.  But I soon found out that I had NOTHING to worry about. The box that was delivered, was brilliantly packaged and my meat was rock, solid (i.e.very frozen) due to the amazing packaging and ice packs (which weren’t your typical ice packs).

trulocal - packaging

Under all the packaging, contained the locally sourced meat that I didn’t have to go source!!

trulocal - meat

Naturally I had to try the bacon first and it was indeed not-at-all like  the bacon you would get from a grocery store!

trulocal - bacon

I’m confident that this service is going to appeal to a lot of people who care about locally sourced meat and don’t have the time to find it. I’m definitely a candidate to become a regular customer.

Wishing TruLocal all the best with their new business!

For more information:

Website: www.trulocal.ca

Twitter and Instagram: @trulocal

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/trulocal

Disclosure: My box was complimentary however all opinions are my own.

 

 

 

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Apr
14

The 2016 William Ashley Warehouse Sale is taking place April 15th to 20th and I swear this is one sale you don’t want to miss. How can you say no to 30.000 sqf of shopping? I know I can’t.

WA - sign

Prices and selection are nothing short of fabulous at this warehouse sale.. Therefore I was eager to grab my trolley and start shopping as I totally scored, the last time I went to this warehouse sale.

WA - trolley

There’s plenty of home decor, china, bedding, bathroom accessories, Mother’s Day gifts, Bridal Gifts, China (of course), kitchen stuff and more!!

WA - decor

More proof:

WA - crueset

In less than an hour I managed to buy two tablecloths, two napkins (of course), two sets of placements,  some serving bowls, stunning placemats and 6 gorgeous glasses. I totally scored. #LoveThisSale. Note: I really did want to buy more but I have limited storage space. (le sigh)

WA - my bucket

This is what you need to know:

William Ashley Warehouse – 111 Creditview (Hwy 400 and Langstaff) Vaughan, Ontario

Friday April 15 from 10 to 8

Saturday April 16 from 10 to 6

Sunday April 17 from 10 to 6

Monday April 18 from 10 to 8

Tuesday April 19 from 10 to 8

Wednesday April 20 from 10 to 8

Disclosure: I was provided with a gift card, however all opinions are my own.

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Apr
11

I’ve heard of a Man Cave before but I’ve never heard of a She-Shed till I attended the Lowes Spring/Summer Media Preview.

The concept of a She-Shed is nothing short of brilliant. A relaxing shed designed for women – complete with soothing colours, comfy pillows and magazines.

lowes - sheshed

It took me a nano second to jump into the she-shed and make myself comfortable.

lowes - vicky

At the preview I noticed a few other items that are now on my “dream-list”. For example, this rectangular fireplace caught my attention.

lowes - fireplace

Also, this fire pit which is perfect for making amores.  #want

lowes - smores

Not to mention this STUNNING cabana.

lowes - cabana

Patio trends for the 2016 season include: Nautical, Natural Beauty, Culture Trek and Recolonial. Please click on this link here to find out more about Patio Trends at Lowe’s.

Also feel free to follow them on social media!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lowes_Canada

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/lowes_canada/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LowesCanada/

Hashtag: #EscapetoLowes

 

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Apr
07

In Las Vegas. I keep returning to a restaurant called Hot ‘n Spicy Crawfish  as there’s nothing like it here in Toronto. Guess what? That’s changed. I don’t have to go all the way to Vegas as a similar concept opened right here in Toronto called The Boil Bar. I discovered them on Instagram a few weeks ago and before I knew it, I was invited to drop by for dinner.

When I walked in, I immediately started taking photos of the space as I think they did a great job at creating the “right” type of atmosphere.

boil - restaurant

Here’s how it works: Basically you pick your “catch”, then you select your flavour followed by the spiciness. Your meal then arrives to your table in a plastic bag…all steamy hot and flavourful.

Naturally there’s plastic bibs and plastic gloves and a big roll of paper towels on the table which YOU will really really need.. Here’s a photo of me all dressed up in the plastic bib and gloves ready to dig into my delicious crab.

boil - vicky

I also ordered the baked lobster which is not something I would normally order but was opening to trying something different. The lobster meat was perfect and the creamy sauce was exactly what it was suppose to be…um, creamy!!
boil - baked

I sucked back these fresh meaty oysters too. Oh man were these oysters good.

boil - oysters

Of course, I had to try the crawfish. However they aren’t my favourite as they have so little meat on them.

boil - crawfish

I also devoured some shrimp but for some reason I didn’t snap a photo of them. (forgive me?).

There is no doubt about it: I’m a seafood fan and this restaurant is ideal for people like me!!

The meal finished off with some refreshing bubble tea from a kiosk that insides the restaurant. It was a perfect way to end this fun meal.

boil bar - bubble tea

I really hope you get a chance to check out this restaurant soon. You won’t be disappointed. Promise.

For more information:

Website: www.theboilbar.com
Scarborough Location: 633 Silver Star Blvd. #110 & 111
Phone: (416) 293-2666 Hours: Mon – Thur 4pm – 2am, Sat & Sun 12pm – 2am

Yonge Location: Opening Soon at 664 Yonge St.

Bloor Location: Opening Soon at 442 Bloor St. W

Instagram: @BoilBar

Facebook: www.facebook.com/theboilbar

Note: This meal was complimentary however all opinions are my own

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Apr
05

I’m not sure what the stats are but I know that many Canadians are lactose intolerant, gluten-free or have a peanut allergy. Myself included. I’ve been lactose free for about 8 years now and I carry around lactose pills with me everywhere (purse, kitchen, car, pockets) so that I can continue to enjoy dairy products (which I love).

Sometimes it can be hard to know where to shop and how to choose products and ingredients that have the quality and flavours you crave. For many Canadians, this means that meal-planning has become predictable, routine and, well, bland.

However, the President’s Choice® team is dedicated to helping all Canadians find freedom in “-free” products, by showing consumers they can explore new and unexpected flavours and embrace culinary trends, no matter their dietary needs.

I’m loving this initiative that President’s Choice® has launched and recently noticed this giant poster at Loblaws.

loblaws - poster

While grocery shopping, I picked up some PC® SKYR which is lactose free and has more protein in in than traditional greek yogurt. #fact.

loblaws - skyr

Then I went home and made a delicious French Yogurt Cake using the PC® SKYR. Guess what? I can enjoy this cake WITHOUT taking a lactose pill. HOORAY. HOORAY.

Here’s the recipe for French Yogurt Cake (courtesy of BonAppetit)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Coat pan with vegetable oil spray. Dust with flour; tap out excess.
2.Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and kosher salt in a medium bowl.
3. Using your fingers, rub sugar with lemon zest in a large bowl until sugar is moist. Add yogurt, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract; whisk to blend. Fold in dry ingredients just to blend.

loblaws - 2 bowls

ADORE recipes that only requires two bowls.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake until top of cake is golden brown and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 50–55 minutes.

loblaws - final

For more information;

Website: www.PresidentsChoice.ca

Hashtag: #CompromiseFree

Disclosure: I was compensated for this blog post however all opinions are my own  

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Apr
03

I like celebrating so I decided to celebrate my birthday the entire week.

Here’s how I celebrated:

Saturday: I went to Bruce Mill’s for one of my all time favourite activities that I have been attending since I was a child. Best pancake experience ever!

birthday - bruce

Sunday: I can’t remember. (this is what happens when you are about to turn 51)

Monday: Had some gal pals over for sushi. I used this 4 ft wooden serving board that I recently purchased at Farmhouse Artisan Cheese(345 Kerr St. Oakville). What a great purchase and what a fun night!

birthday - gals

Tuesday: Went out for dinner to a newly opened restaurant/lounge called Entice (1036 Queen St W). The decor was inviting, the food was flavourful and beautifully plated. I liked the whole vibe of this restaurant – especially the bar. I’ve never seen anything like it before and it really made an impression on me.

birthday - entice

Take a peek at this video which will give you an idea about the cool bar top.

Wednesday: Went to the Giant Tiger #SharetheSecret event and truly had a blast. This event thought of everything. Not to mention, I was able to go home with the cutest shoes.

birthday - giant

Thursday: Birthday drinks at Bar RavalMy friend knows me well!

Friday: Weekend getaway to Niagara Falls! When I checked into my gorgeous room at the Sheraton on the Falls and looked at the view, I said to myself “why have I not done this before”. Believe it or not, I’ve never stayed overnight in Niagara Falls before, so this was a real treat. Plus the inner child in me, had a blast in their massive arcade.

birthday - view

I did some research on line before heading to Niagara Falls and Taps on Queen Brewhouse and Grill appealed to me. (4680 Queen St, Niagara Falls) Any menu that has deep fried pickles and vegetable curry poutine has my attention. Not to mention they serve beer and I’m a huge fan of that refreshment. I also liked this restaurant as they had vegan options and vegetarian options as well.

birthday - taps

Saturday: April 2nd is my official birthday and naturally my celebrations included a wonderful massage at the Chistienne Fallsview Spa in the hotel, a beautiful cheese plate at the Niagara Brewing Co. and dinner at IHOP. What a great combo of activities, don’t you think? By the way, my dinner at IHOP was really special for me as it brought back so many childhood memories. I didn’t hold back and ordered from the kids menu!

birthday - saturday

My birthday week is now behind me. Now I can relax. LOL

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Mar
31

The other day, I was in the mood to do some baking. Therefore I took a look at what was in the pantry and decided that I was going to make Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. Then I sat on the computer and googled “Oatmeal Raisin Cookies”. Naturally a whole bunch of recipes came up but one recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction caught my attention.

I’ve used recipes from this website before and I really trust Sally’s Baking Addictions’ knowledge and recipes.

She always seems to do something to the recipe that makes the end result “that much better”.

Once again – her recipe for Soft & Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies will now become my “go-to” recipe when I’m craving this cookie.

Recipe: Soft & Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookie (from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Ingredients

1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs 1
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract (yes, Tablespoon!)
1 Tablespoon molasses….(Um I didn’t have this in my pantry and the recipe still came out)
1 and 1/2 cups (190g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups (240g) old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup (140g) raisins
1/2 cup (64g) chopped toasted walnuts (optional)

Directions:

Cream the softened butter and both sugars together on medium speed in your mixer, until smooth. (about 2 minutes).

Add the eggs and mix on high until combined (about 1 minute). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and molasses and mix on high until combined. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, toss the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Add to the wet ingredients (this is important that you get this step right) and mix on low until combined.

Beat in the oats, raisins, and walnuts (if using) on low speed. Dough will be thick, yet very sticky. Chill the dough for 30-60 minutes in the refrigerator (do the full hour if you’re afraid that the cookies will spread too much) This is an important step!

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.

Roll balls of dough (about 1.5 tablespoons of dough per cookie) and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for exactly 10 minutes until very lightly browned on the sides. The center will look very soft and undone but that’s OK.

Remove from the oven and let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies will continue to “set” on the baking sheet during this time.

FINAL PRODUCT

oatmeal cookies

More tips from Sally’s Baking Addiction:

Room temperature eggs preferred. Good rule of thumb: always use room temperature eggs when using room temperature butter.
Soak your raisins in warm water for 10 minutes before using (blot very well to dry them) – this makes them nice and plump for your cookies. OR even try them with Raisinets!

Happy Baking!

 

 

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Mar
27

I first discovered NuPasta at a food show a few years ago, and I’m pleased to say that they keep growing and growing. i.e you can now find them at more and more retailers. This is what you need to know about NuPasta.

nupasta - packaging

-25 calories per package (210 grams)

-2% Fat, 2% Carbohydrate, Zero Cholesterol, Zero Sodium.

-Gluten Free, Kosher, Halal, Non-GMO and requires ZERO refrigeration.

Please welcome NuPasta and give them a huge round of applause.

Plus they are a Canadian company (more applause).

In no time at all, I made a beautiful, colourful dinner tonight (see recipe below).

nupasta - ingredients

Not to mention, it will agree with my stomach and not make me feel bloated or uncomfortable like regular pasta.

The key to their success is the fact that NuPasta is made with Konjac, which is a root vegetable native to East Asia and grown at 2,000 – 4,000 ft. above sea level.

Walnuts and Peas Pasta (recipe by Stephanie Joanne)

1 package of NuPasta (drained and rinsed)

2 cups frozen peas

1 large carrot, sliced and boiled

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/2 cup of toasted walnut halves

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

salt and pepper

parmesan (optional)

Instructions:

1. Drain and rinse NuPasta

2. Toast walnuts (on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes)

3, In a pot, add garlic to coconut oil on low heat. After 5 minutes, add carrots, peas, one package of NuPasta. Then add parsley, salt and pepper. Add walnuts when plating and parmesan (if desired)

Final

nupasta - final

Disclosure: I was compensated for this post, however all opinions are my own.

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