I’m back and with a Toronto Winter City Guide

Happy 2016 Homies!

It has been a very long time since I posted an entry on my blog.
I must admit 2015 was a busy year for me and I did lose motivation and interest.
What motivated me to return and write this entry was some of my friends and followers asking me what happened to my blog and why I stopped posting. The interest from others inspired me to get back at it, but more recently Eventbrite (the largest self-service ticketing platform in the world that helps people find and plan events) reached out to me asking me to post an entry about what a visitor may do in my hometown in the winter in a 24 hour period.
I felt this was a sign to return to the world of blogging and was up for a challenge. Why not start off 2016 right!
So let’s get to it- a Winter City Guide on what to see, do and eat in Toronto also known as Hogtown, the t.dot, the 6, …

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As many of you may be aware, Toronto is a fairly large city consisting of several neighbourhoods. I decided to condense it down a bit and mainly focus on the “downtown” core and a couple of the surrounding neighbourhoods with an emphasis on independent shops and restaurants.

As for the events I tried to select activities/events only offered in the winter, but know there are many other attractions that Toronto and the surrounding area have to offer that are worth visiting.

Below are a few of my favourites which Toronto has to offer:

Events/Attractions
Nathan Philip Square skating rink – located in front of City Hall in the centre of the city this is toronto’s events landmark- skate at the famous ice rink – rentals available on site)
Winterlicious – during January 29 to February 11- Toronto offers the opportunity to discover delicious cuisine at prix-fixe prices at more than 200 restaurants and also offers unique culinary events.
TIFF- Canada’s Top 10 Films -for $10 see any of the top ten Canadian films during January 8 and 17, 2016
Distillery District Christmas Market – for a short period the distillery turns into a traditional Christmas market with outdoor beer gardens and markets.

Eats/Drinks
Salt -offers a variety of share plates & wine from Portugal & Spain
The Saint Tavern – upscale tavern/Gastropub
Boralia -offering Canadian fare with a historical backstory. Presentation and food equally pleasing and unique)
Bang Bang Ice Cream -offering a unique selection of desserts, ice-cram and frozen yogurt
Furlough -bistro style food with a extensive selection of classic and modern cocktails
Carmen -serving tasty Spanish tapas check out the market adjacent to the restaurant
Bar Chef – a dark and intimate spot to enjoy some extremely unique cocktails. They have a selection of over 5000 house made bitters
Pai – serving authentic northern thai cuisine and everything and anything on the menu is equally tasty.
Sweet Jesus – a espresso and soft served ice cream cone shop! Offering plain, dipped and pimped out cones! I recommend any of the pimped up cones- they are decorated to the nines! And despite the cold temperatures you may experience in Toronto in the winter it will be worth the taste!

Shops/Boutiques
Crywolf Clothing – a shop which offers one of a kind creations from artisans
I couldn’t resist snatching a few adorable finds such as the two pins and the cheeky mousepad

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BYOB Cocktail Emporium
Old Faithful Shop– not only do I love all the products that are offered in this shop but the sales associated who served me was super sweet and genuinely welcomed each customer into the shop.

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Brika Shop – this shop offers a large selection of the work of authentic makers, artisans and designers. You can leave with some one of a kind Toronto souvenirs from this place.
Paper Place – some fun 2016 finds..

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Type Books – (an independent bookstore for serious book lovers)
Cure Apothecary – (an organic all-natural beauty and skincare shop for men and women)

Trust me if you attend to a handful of the above noted you will be truly pleased and satisfied with this cultural city – as it has a great food scene and wide variety of young entrepreneurs, artisans and artists.

Let me know if you tried any of the above-noted recommendations and which ones were your favourite.

And thanks again to Eventbrite for connecting with me. Should you be interested in using Eventbrite’s services check out their Event Management page. where you can select tools to assist you in planning, promoting and advertising your next event.

Cheers!

Tea Time

They were out of the maple bacon cappuccino – so I opted for the vanilla rooibos latte. Perhaps it’s for the best they were out of bacon fat. :s
I will be back soon with my request for the maple bacon coffee drink…as I need to taste this interesting creation. I need to know whether or not it’s amazing or disgusting. Thoughts?

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Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I love me some lettuce wraps. The lettuce is a healthier alternative to the taco shell.
I highly recommend you make this for your next lunch or dinner gathering as this recipe can feed a small crowd – or just two very hungry people 🙂 don’t judge! Creating this post is making me want to make lettuce wraps again. Easy and tasty!

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I start off my assembling my toppings and washing my boston lettuce.
You can shred, chop whatever veggies you want. I used the following:
Shredded carrots, cabbage, sprouts, green onion. You can also add some cucumber, tomatoes, mango etc.

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Ingredients:
1lb ground chicken breast
5 chopped cremini mushrooms
1 chopped red bell pepper
1/2 onion, minced
salt & pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 thumb sized amount of ginger, peeled & diced
3 Tablespoons tamari
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 Tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 Tablespoon water
1 Tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon ketchup or tomato paste
2 teaspoons sriracha sauce (optional – high spice heat factor)
dash of pepper

Directions:
1. Add olive oil and heat a large, non-stick skillet on high. Add garlic and ginger and let sauté for less than a minute.

2. Add chicken, onion, mushrooms, red peppers, dash of pepper, then cook until chicken is nearly done.

3. Add the tamari, peanut butter, water, honey, ketchup/tomato paste, and sriracha sauce and stir until well combined.

4. Add chopped peanuts and place in a serving bowl and serve with your toppings.

Toppings:
1 avocado mashed
4 shredded carrots
1 cup shredded purple cabbage
4 green onions, chopped
Chopped pea sprouts
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
12 large boston lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry

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Importanthow to assemble a lettuce wrap.
In order to avoid the chicken to break the lettuce wrap. I recommend adding a dollop of the guacamole first and then a spoonful of the peanut chicken mixture and then add your toppings.

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Double Chocolate Stout Mousse Cake covered with Neon Sprinkles

Put on your sunglasses because this cake is going to blind you with all the neon sprinkles.
My bro’s bday past recently and as always I bake him a cake. He always has the same request chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream. Same ol’, same ol’ – but of course I needed to spice up his request and make him happy at the same time.
So I opted for a Double Chocolate Stout Mousse Cake.

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The recipe is from Sprinkle Bakes. Trust me when I say this blog never disappoints.
For the recipe check it out here.

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Then when it came to decorating I just bathed this stout chocolate cake in two cups of neon sprinkles (picked up at Bulk Barn) and piped some more chocolate buttercream on top.
Finding sprinkles all over your kitchen is worth it when you show this cake off! Guaranteed everyone will love it.

Earl Grey Chocolate Cupcakes with Lavender Buttercream

Are you craving for a cupcake a little more eccentric? Than these earl grey and lavender cupcakes will be sure to satisfy your craving. You will be so relaxed after eating one of these cupcakes that you will be ready for a nap – move over chamomile tea.
The chocolate earl grey cupcake recipe came from Chic and Gorgeous . Then I got the lavender buttercream inspiration – just thought the two would be a great combo. Try it and you be the judge. I think the cupcake base was moist and rich with settle tones of earl grey. As for the buttercream- I warn you all now- if you’re not a fan of lavender that opt for a chocolate buttercream instead. As for me I love my lavender so I made sure each cupcake was piped with a overload of buttercream.

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Earl Grey Chocolate Cupcake ingredient
s:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup Earl Grey tea (2 packets of Earl Grey-makes 1 cup)
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, sift together cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and baking soda. Next add salt and sugar.

3. Using a handheld electric whisk, or with a paddle attachment attached to a stand mixer, beat in egg, earl grey tea, milk, pure vanilla extract and oil. Mix until well combined. Cake mixture will be runny.

4. Fill the batter evenly into each cupcake liner and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Lavender Buttercream Ingredients:
4 cups icing sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon lavender extract
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
Pinch of table salt
3 tablespoons of milk (optional)
Dried lavender buds (optional)

Directions:
1. Using a paddle attachment in a stand up mixer – Beat butter for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.

2. Gradually add the 4 cups of icing sugar. Beat until well combined.

3. Add the salt, lavender and vanilla extracts and beat for another minute.

If buttercream too dry add the milk to moisten the buttercream.

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Curry Cabbage + Chickpea Soup

If you been following my blog, you have realized I love me some soup -so filling and comforting. Plus, always super easy to make.
One of my detox meals include this Curry, Cabbage and Chickpea Soup.

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This soup is super nutritional. Check out the full recipe here

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This soup contains cabbage, chickpeas, sweet potato, curry, cilantro and I added coconut milk and chili flakes on top!!
Super flavorful!

Joyous 10 Day Detox

The holidays are over and I needed a way to kickstart 2014 feeling refreshed and energized. Plus, I think I gained an easy 10 pounds over Christmas – way too much food and wine!
So I decided to start a detox. You may be thinking that a detox is not for you, but trust me when I say this detox is good for everyone. There is still a lot of food you can eat, just be sure to avoid all the “bad” stuff: alcohol, coffee, refined sugar, red meat, wheat. (I use the term “bad” loosely because all of the above-noted taste super good but in reality they are not good to eat as they cause inflammation to our bodies, which then lead to many health concerns. These items also make us feel tired and lethargic.

I am currently on a Joyous 10 Day Detox. I ordered the detox plan online. (I encourage you all to participate in the detox). The materials emailed include a shopping list, recipes, lists of foods to avoid, tips etc.
Joy will also answer any questions you have about the detox.

I should mention, I did the detox last year and I felt great.

I will be showing you some of the recipes I have been making while on the detox.

I made this Curry Quinoa Lentil Loaf. I love that you can make one loaf and it’s good for a dinner and lunch. It’s gluten-free and has lots of fibre.

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Check out Joy’s blog for the full recipe.

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And let me know if you sign up for the detox!