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!

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Snowshoeing Funday

Are you looking for ways to enjoy this winter season? Well, then I highly recommend that you bundle up in some warm gear and try snowshoeing.

20140119-230701.jpgToday my loved one and I ventured out to the Scenic Caves at Blue Mountain to try snowshoeing for the first time – now I understand why so many people enjoy it. Snowshoeing is super easy, fun and most importantly a great cardio workout. Not going to lie I felt the burn at times.

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There are a few trails to try out from easy to “ironman” difficulty. We did the majority of the
trails which were all easy to accomplish. There is even a trail that goes over the Suspension Bridge!

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I will go back again soon, and perhaps try out the cross-country skiing next time around. Might as well try to make the most of this winter season.

Bunner’s Vegan & Gluten-Free Treats

I’m keeping this post short and sweet just like the desserts at Bunner’s bakery. Bunner’s makes their treats daily, which means when they’re sold out then that’s it for the day! I managed to pick up two pumpkin cupcakes, two butter tarts and one blueberry tart, all equally delicious, completely vegan and gluten-free.

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Mini Apple Cashew Maple Cream Tarts

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Recently I went apple picking at Orchalaw Farms . I picked some great tasting Cortland and Macintosh apples.
The goal is to use the apples and make some dessert for Thanksgiving. After some thought, I figured since I’m going to be eating lots of turkey, why not have a healthier dessert to follow the heavy meal. I decided to make one of the recipes created by Joy McCarthy of Joyous Health
20131007-222043.jpgThe crust is made up of walnuts, dates and coconut flakes. I mixed these ingredients in a food processor and distributed them in five mini tart pans (or alternatively use one large tart pan).

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Then I layered the maple cream over the tart crusts. The cream is made up of cashews, maple syrup, and coconut milk. I blended it in my Vitamix blender, but one can also achieve the same creaminess in a food processor. Once the maple cream is ready, layer over the crust and set aside in the fridge.

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On a large frying pan, melt coconut oil and sauté thinly sliced apples until soft.

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20131007-223551.jpgSprinkle and coat cinnamon over the warm apples and drizzle the maple syrup.
Arrange over the maple cream tarts.
Serve warm or place in fridge until ready to serve.
Everyone will be sure to love this dessert!

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

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Now that fall is here all I’m thinking about is all the veggies and fruits that farmers harvest in Ontario. My favorites are butternut squash and apples. What better way to enjoy the two flavours than in a soup. Below is a super easy butternut squash and apple soup recipe to enjoy on a cool, crisp, autumn day.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp of olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
3 cups veggie broth
Pinch of nutmeg
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Chopped walnuts (optional)

Instructions:

In a large saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil, garlic and diced onions. Let onions cook and turn golden. Then add the butternut squash and chopped apple. Stir for 3 minutes. Then add all of the broth to the pot. Let simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes or until fork slides into the squash. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir and let simmer for additional 2 minutes.

Using a Vitamix blender or food processor, purée the soup in batches until smooth. Alternatively, use an immersion blender. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve garnished with the chopped walnuts.

Enjoy!