Dec
27

In 1990, I was introduced to the Cheesecake Factory while visiting Washington. Since then, I’ve been to Cheesecake Factory in numerous other cities and I always (I mean ALWAYS) order the same thing: Crispy Avocado Egg Rolls. I just adore the combo of the crispy wrapper and the creamy avocado  inside plus the addictive sauce.

Naturally I was scrolling thru Pinterest and discovered a recipe for these delicious egg rolls. Within no time at all I was making these egg rolls!

Here’s the recipe. (original recipe can be found here – www.savorytooth.com)

Recipe: Avocado Egg Rolls with Sweet Chilli Sauce

Ingredients

10 egg roll wrappers
3 avocados, peeled and pitted
1 roma tomato, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
canola oil, for frying

For the sweet chili sauce:
4 tablespoons sriracha
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil

INSTRUCTIONS

1 Add avocados, tomato, salt, and pepper to a mixing bowl. Mash the avocados to a chunky consistency. This will become the egg roll filling. Pretty easy so far, right?

avocado-bowl
2. Lay out the egg roll wrappers and a small bowl of water. Distribute the egg roll filling among the wrappers, scooping them onto the bottom third of each wrapper. Once again, pretty easy!

avocado-stuff

3. Taking one wrapper at a time, use a finger to brush water along its four edges. Fold up a corner over the filling, then the sides, and then roll it up. Dab the last fold with more water to seal. Repeat for all other wrappers. (not hard at all)

eggrolls-wrapped-up
4.  Add canola oil to a large pot until the oil is about 2 inches deep. Turn the burner to medium heat. When the oil temperature reaches 350 F, add the egg rolls in batches. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. Slice each egg roll diagonally.

FINAL RESULT:

eggrolls-final

Now don’t forget to make the sauce! I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make this sauce and how freakin’ delicious it was.

eggroll-sauce

I really need to organize a dinner party soon! These egg rolls would be a hit.

By the way – here’s what I did with the rest of the wonton wrappers. I put them in a muffin pan and baked them at 375 degrees till golden brown. They are now in a sealed container in the (stuffed) freezer and will come in handy as an appetizer. Most likely I will fill them with roasted garlic, tomatoes and basil. However you never know what other ideas I might find on Pinterest!!

eggrolls-wonton-wrapper

Happy Cooking!

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Dec
22

Its that time of year where there’s a lot of entertaining going on. So I thought it might be useful to share two recipes for you.

The first recipe is ideal for breakfast or a brunch. I discovered it while flipping through a RICARDO magazine and thought “hmm..this sounds interesting AND easy”.  I tried it and it worked!! In the event you have never heard of Ricardo before, he is a well known media personality in Quebec who launched an English version of his magazine in 2014.

Basically all you need is some cheddar cheese (I used St.-Albert cheddar of course), Wonder Bread and a waffle maker (I used my beloved Breville Waffle Maker)

ricardo-cheese

Place one piece of buttered Wonderbread onto the waffle maker (buttered side facing down), place some cheese on top, place another piece of buttered Wonderbread on top (buttered side facing up)…close the waffle maker for a few minutes and bingo you have these delicious Cheese Waffle Sandwiches (with NO MESS).

ricardo-waffle

The second recipe is ideal for an appetizer for a party.

This Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Bread Dip Ring is once again super easy to make and delicious.

The entire recipe can be found on this video. 

But here’s a recap in case you don’t want to watch the video!!

Basically you take pizza dough and make golf sized balls. Place these balls in a greased, oven-proof dish. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

Mix in a bowl: sour cream, cream cheese, parmesan cheese, drained artichoke hearts, drained frozen spinach, garlic powder, salt and pepper

Place the spinach mixture into the centre of the oven-proof dish. Brush dough with an egg wash.

appetizer-ballsspinach

Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes. VOILA – delish appetizer

appetizer-final

Happy Holidays!

 

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Dec
20

Chanuka Ideas….


Chanukah is just around the corner and I’m ready. (I think). I found my Chanuka decor thanks to my beloved new Brother Label Maker, and my tummy is ready too.

chanuka-decorations

Of course I spent some time on Pinterest and found a few ideas to get me in the holiday spirit. In particular, I found this recipe for Chanuka Gelt Cookies!  The other day I made them and they were a HUGE hit. I’m sure I will be making another batch soon. It took only one bowl, a few ingredients and about 30 minutes to make (start to finish).

Chanukah Gelt Cookies (original recipe from www.bakingandmistaking.com)

Ingredients:

2/3 cup (150g) butter or margarine, softened (I used butter …of course)
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 3/4 cups (220g) flour
1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Unwrap the chocolate coins. (not as easy as it looks but easier than unwrapping candy canes!!)

gelt2

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until well incorporated. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until the dough comes together. I then placed the dough into the fridge for an hour. (a tip I learned from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Roll the dough into a ball and flatten into a disc. Then place the disc, well spaced apart, on an ungreased baking sheet OR  put the dough into a muffin tin sprayed with Pam. This is a new kitchen hack that I learned that will prevent the dough from spreading too thin.muffin4I then pressed the gelt (chocolate coin) into the centre of the cookie and placed it into the oven at 350 F for exactly 9 minutes. The edges were slightly brown but the centre was pale and puffy (and perfect)

Let them cool before removing them from the tin.

chanuka-gelt-2

Other cool chanuka ideas (thanks Pinterest) that I’m going to attempt include these adorable Cheese Dreidels. How cute!! Loved this idea but something tells me I’m not going to be successful. Time will tell.

screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-9-25-03-pm

 

These cute napkin rings.

pinterst-chanuka

Wishing everyone who celebrates, a wonderful Chanuka. May light and peace fill these 8 days.

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Dec
18

I usually blog about recipes or restaurant suggestions, but this blog post will be dedicated to gift suggestions. Seeing as Chanuka and Christmas are both right around the corner, I think it’s a good time to share five great gift ideas for a foodie.

FIVE GREAT GIFT IDEAS FOR A FOODIE:

1. This practical (and pretty) muffin pan from Indigo. Just take your muffins directly out of the oven and place directly on the table. LOVE IT.

muffin-pan

2. A Gift Card to HelloFresh. This is the perfect gift for a) anyone who is busy b)anyone who hates grocery shopping or c) anyone who has entertained a lot over the holidays and is simply tired of thinking about what to make for dinner!!

hello-fresh-outside-fo-box

3. An electric spiralizer from Hamilton Beach. How cool? A growing trend these days is to make zucchini noodles (or sweet potato noodles) and this genius gadget will have you making healthy recipes with no effort at all. Not to mention it will grate and make ribbons too.

 

hamilton

 

4. A  subscription from Try the World. Once you subscribe, you will receive a curated selection of gourmet foods—including ingredients to cook with, drinks, and snacks—from a new country every month, plus a Culture Guide to help you create an authentic culinary experience at home. This is the perfect gift for a foodie!

try-the-world

5. In the event you know a food blogger, this portable studio from Staples would be the ideal gift. You have no idea how tough it is to take photos past sundown. Oh the problems I have when the sun starts to go down in the winter at 4 pm. #bloggerslife

studio

 

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season. Hope you find the perfect gifts and enjoy the holidays with family and friends.

Disclosure: Some products or services in this blog post were provided to me, however all opinions are my own

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Dec
15

There are time when I have a craving for something really specific. Here’s a list of restaurants where I satisfy certain food cravings.

a) Craving Chicken Wings? Head to The Wingery. TRUST ME..they have the biggest chicken wings you’ve ever seen. Click here to find a location near you.

cravings-wingery

b) Craving Chicken? Head to Jackpot Chicken Rice (318 Spadina Ave). Delicious. Delicious. Delicious.

jackpot-chicken

c) Craving Dim Sum? I’m a fan of Dim Sum King (421 Dundas St. W)….carts, a massive space, and it’s cheap ‘n cheerful.

d) Craving Matcha? Head to Tsjuri. You won’t be disappointed.

e) Craving Poke? Check out Cali Love   (367 Queen St. W) News Flash: They are just about to open a second location.

cravings-calil

f) Craving something sweet? Cant help you. LOL.

g) Craving something totally different? Head to Junked Food Co. (1256 Dundas st. West)

junked-food

h) Craving Soup? Mother’s Dumplings (421 Spadina Ave) has you covered. Best use of $5.15.

i)  Craving Pizza? Za Pizzeria.( 402 Bloor St. W) This place is a gem. Please check it out.

j) Craving deep fried pickles? Just go directly to Leslieville Pumps. (929 Queen St East)  Seriously.

i) Craving a salad? Aroma Espresso Bar has numerous salad options to satisfy any craving.

photo credit; Loren Lieberman

photo credit; Loren Lieberman

 

 

j) Craving something healthy? Yam Chops (705 College St) has no shortage of options.

K) Craving Pierogis? Have you tried The Saucy Pierogi (1282 Dundas St. W) Handmade pierogis. I swear.

craving-pierogi

L) Craving to Cook at Home? Head right over to HelloFresh. I’m loving this service (which is now available throughout Canada) Stay tuned for a dedicated blog post about using this service for two weeks.

cravings-hellofresh

L) Craving Indian? You MUST go to Ji. (760 St. Clair Ave W). This place has won my heart for Indian Gastropub type of food.

cravings-ji

M) Craving Crispy Squid? Head to Jamie’s Italian (Yorkdale Shopping Centre). I loved this dish so much that I ordered another serving.

cravings-jamie

N) Craving Cheesesteak? Check out Philthy Philly’s. (multiple locations). No other word to describe this other than the word: YUM

craving-philthy

I’m sure I missed a lot more categories but I don’t want to bore you. Perhaps one day I will finish off the list (O to Z). LOL

Happy Cravings!!

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Dec
13

Ready For Winter


For a change, I’m ready for winter. I will be honest, winter is not my favourite season so I have no idea why I’m smiling in this photo! However I have winter tires on my car, a brand new hat to keep me warm ,a new scarf, a new Uniqlo jacket, new Kombi mitts, and new Olang boots. I’m completely prepared!

winter-vicky

 

Specifically I want to share my love for these Olang boots. Not only are they warm but they are lightweight and comfortable too. (insert applause).

winter-olang

These boots have a unique folding ice cleat at the bottom which I know will make me feel more secure on those slippery wintery days. Pretty cool feature, non?

olang-clips

Olang offers fashionable winter boots for men, women and kids too. If you click here, you can enter your postal code to find out the nearest location to you that carries these incredible boots.

My new winter Kombi mitts are going to help me out this winter too. As a sales rep I spend a lot of time driving and this year I can drive with warm hands (and warm feet). winter-mitts

Their specially engineered membrane allows sweat to escape and prevents water from penetrating.  I have no doubt that these mitts will keep me warm, dry and comfortable for the next few months (unless I lose one…arghh).

I’m convinced that warm feet and warm hands will make this winter a little more bearable for me.

Wishing everyone a warm winter!! (that doesn’t involve a lot of snow shovelling)

For more information:

Boots: www.olangcanada.com

Mitts: www.kombicanada.com

Jacket: www.uniqlocanada.com

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Dec
11

Time for Cocktails


It’s that time of year to bring out the cocktail accessories and enjoy a bit of cheer during these long winter nights.

coctail-stuff

I recently attended an event that featured some pretty lovely cocktails. The one on the right was my favourite.

cocktail-mrs

Its’ called The Mrs.!
To a flute glass, add:
• 1.5 oz SKYY Vodka
• .75 oz freshly squeezed lemon
• .75 oz simple syrup
• 4–5 mint leaves
Top with Prosecco and garnish with a mint sprig.

I love the story behind SKYY Vodka. It all started with the motivation by one mans’ search for a better martini. The solution was simple: Start with a better vodka. He was not only an entrepreneur but an engineer as well, who set out to create a superior tasting vodka with fewer impurities and unmatched quality.

Another cocktail I enjoyed was this:

cocktail-pretty

Here’s the recipe for this cocktail!

The Wild Turkey Boulevardier
In a mixing glass, stir to chill:
• 1.5 oz Wild Turkey Bourbon
• .75 oz Campari
• .75 oz Cinzano Rosso
Pour over ice in a rocks glass or strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with orange zest

All you need is some friends, some cocktails and some appetizers! Go for it and enjoy the holiday season.

cocktails-board

Cheers!

For more information: 

Instagram/Twitter: @WildTurkeyCanada @SKYYCanada

Hashtag: #CampariCanada

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Dec
08

Natrel recently launched  a line of Lactose Free butter and an Organic butter too. I can’t tell you how happy I was when I received the press release which announced this news.

This is the first lactose free butter on the market*

butter-blog

There are only two ingredients in this butter: Lactose Free Cream and Sea Salt.

Other info you should know: at the moment it’s only available in a 250 gram package and I only saw “salted butter” on the shelves. The organic butter is only available in Ontario + Quebec, and the lactose free in Ontario, Quebec + the Atlantic provinces.

As someone who is lactose free, I can’t wait to bake some of my favourite recipes with this product without having to take a lactose free pill. I’m beyond excited.

I’m also excited to let you know about Natrel’s The Greatest Dessert Exchange which is currently underway! It’s a pretty cool ideal. Basically the concept is to Spread Joy this holiday season beginning with delicious Natrel products. Add a little love and the best ingredients to make your favourite dessert, and then offer it to someone you care about. Invite them to continue the dessert chain by doing the same for someone.

Feel free to visit Natrel’s Facebook page and share the official Natrel Greatest Dessert Exchange post. For each share, Natrel will donate 25¢ to Breakfast Club of Canada.

Here’s recap:

  1. Make a Natrel dessert 
  2. Offer it to a loved one
  3.  Invite them to do the same

Here’s a recipe for a Big, Soft Ginger Cookie thats perfect for this time of year. Of course I used Natrel lactose free butter for the recipe. The best part was that I could actually lick the beaters without having to take a lactose pill. Yes Im a 51 year old adult!!

Big, Soft Ginger Cookie (original recipe from www.tasteofhome.com)

Ingredients:
3/4 cup Natrel lactose free butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger…be generous!
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon…be generous!
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves…be generous!!
1/4 teaspoon salt
Additional sugar in a small bowl

natrel-ingredients

Yay lactose free cookies!

Directions
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well.

natrel-two-bowls

Roll into 1-1/2-in. balls, then roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. (they expanded more than I thought so don’ t overcrowd your sheet). Bake at 350° until puffy and lightly browned, 10-12 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.

Note: My first batch wasn’t as flavourful as I wanted them to be so I added more spice for the second batch and was MUCH happier.

I will definitely be offering these cookies to loved ones and participating in the #NatrelDessertExchange and I hope you will be participating too.

FINAL PRODUCT:

natrel-final

*Source: The first lactose free butter made with sea salt and lactose free cream available on the Canadian market )

Happy Baking!

For more information:

Website: www.natrel.ca

Twitter/Instagram: @NatrelMilk

Hashtag #NatrelDessertExchange

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

To learn more about the Greatest Exchange, please click here.

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

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Dec
06

Loblaws: Food Trends


I recently went to a Loblaws event that identified Canadian Food Trends for 2017. Here are five themes that they believe will impact Canadian kitchens in the upcoming year.

Drum roll please….

1) The New Home Chef: There’s no question that people want to cook at home but always feel like there’s no time.  Chef Mark Russell believes: “Canadians want to feed their family great tasting quality food and are now more than ever willing to ask for help through recipes, new kitchen gadgets and meal kits.” I agree with this statement. I really do.
loblaws-home

4. The New Conscious Consumer – Canadians are more interested than ever before about where their food comes from and how its’ grown. In 2017, Canadians will be “bugging” out as they increase consumption of alternative proteins, such as insects and plant-based proteins. I tried crickets at at event several years ago and found myself indulging in a hot dog laced with crickets this summer at the CNE. I’m all over this trend!!

loblaws-conscious

3. The New Mindful Foodie– There’s no doubt that we Canadians have been placing  a greater emphasis on what we’re eating and how we’re eating it to improve our physical and mental health. The Loblaw Food Council also identified that Canadians will  also want to cook with simple ingredients to create great tasting food. See this photo? Well it’s not grated cheese. It’s …… grated cauliflower that Loblaws sells. BRILLIANT. I know multiple people personally who will be all over this product! (including myself).
loblaws-cauliflower

4.  The New Canadian Cuisine: International flavours and spices, such as Za’atar, Turmeric and Togarashi will make their way into Canadian homes. I don’t know about you but I’m already on the Tumeric and Za’atar trend. A few months ago I picked up fresh tumeric and have been grating it into boiling water. As for Za’atar – i not only like the smell of it but I like the look of it too!

loblaws-new-canadian-cuisine

5. The New Connected Shopper: Canadians will opt to shop at retailers that offer enhanced digital experiences layered with personalization to make their shopping seamless, accessible and efficient. I also agree with this trend. I’m using my smart phone more and more and I’m also using apps to help me with EVERYTHING. Plus those cooking videos are also inspiring me that seem to appear on my faceboook feed a lot!

Throughout the year, the Loblaw 2017 Food Trends will come to life in many different ways in-store, online and in kitchens across the country. As the hub of food innovation, the Loblaws® store at Maple Leaf Gardens* will feature the trends at various times throughout the year and provide opportunities for customers to taste, learn, and understand new food experiences like never before. Loblaw invites food lovers from across the country to unite and taste what’s new in food in 2017.

I’m excited about Food Trends. Are you? Feel free to share if you think one more trend should be added.

For more information:

Website: www.Loblaws.com

Loblaws at Maple Leaf Gardens 60 Carlton St, Toronto ON

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Dec
04

Need a Dessert?


I’m a big fan of making individual desserts. I truly believe if you serve a big cake to your guests everyone will say “I will pass”. But if you present them with their own dessert on a plate – they will accept it. Do you agree?

The dessert I served at a dinner party this past week was indeed “blog worthy” so here it is.

APPLE PIE BAKED APPLES (original recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction can be found here)

Ingredients:

1/2 recipe homemade pie crust (ok I cheated and bought ready made pie crust)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon  warm water
8 firm apples  (Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, Gala) – 2 apples will be used for the apple filling)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 teaspoon milk
homemade salted caramel sauce, for drizzling (optional)

Directions

Prepare the pie crust, including allowing it to chill for at least 2 hours. Or if you are short of time (story of my life) – take the pie crust out of the box and cut it into 1/4 inch wide strips.

Make the apple filling: In a very small bowl, mix the cornstarch and warm water together until smooth, creamy, and the cornstarch has disolved. Set aside. Peel and dice 1 apple. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook the apple pieces, cornstarch/water mixture, cinnamon, and sugar. Stir constantly for 5 minutes. Switch to low heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla, and allow to cool off for 20 minutes.

apple-filling

TWO APPLES GO A LONG WAY!

Assemble: Slice off the tops of the 4 remaining apples. Using a spoon (or melon baller), dig out the core. This takes some effort but its worth it.

apples-core

Spoon the prepared apple filling into the cored-out apples.

apples-fill

Lay 3-4 strips of the pie dough on top of the apple. Then, working with one new strip at a time, alternate weaving it over and under the dough strips already in place. Repeat until the top of the apple has been covered in this lattice style crust. Using a sharp paring knife, trim excess pie crust around the edges. Repeat with remaining apples and pie dough strips.

apple-before-oven

Bake:
Place apples into an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan or pie dish– really any size baking pan works. In a small dish, whisk the egg and milk together. Lightly brush the tops with egg wash. I sprinkled a little bit of cinnamon on top of the egg wash before going into the oven.  Bake for 25-30 minutes in a 375 degree oven or until the crust is browned and the filling is bubbly.
If desired, drizzle each with salted caramel. Serve with ice cream!!

FINAL PRODUCT:

apples-final

Happy Baking!!

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