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Food

Three Ingredient Strawberry Ice-Cream

Sheena Virmani

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Warm summer days to me means a trip to one of my favourite ice-cream shops to indulge in a scoop or two of my favourite strawberry flavor on a waffle cone.

So creamy and delicious, it actually tastes like summer.    

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I’ve always been fascinated with making my own ice-cream, but not to the extent that I invest in an ice-cream maker. I started seeing these recipes online for basically three-ingredient no churn ice-cream and decided to try it out for myself over the weekend.

It was incredibly good, and the best part is it was super easy to make.

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This is by no means a healthy recipe. Recipes like this generally don’t get made in my house, but once in while it’s nice to just indulge and not worry about the fat content or calories.

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I used this recipe: Here

The recipe is for strawberry ice-cream, but you could easily adapt the base – which is whipped cream and condensed milk for any flavor you wish to make.

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Roasted Cauliflower and Carrot Soup

Sheena Virmani

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A few weeks ago it was a cold and snowy Saturday, one of those days where you can’t be bothered to leave the house for anything. When I went to whip us up something for lunch I realized there wasn’t very much in our fridge to work with. All I had was some leftover carrots and cauliflower. I quickly typed these two veggies into Google along with the word “recipes” and came across the recipe for this Spiced Cauliflower Carrot Soup.

I had all the ingredients handy, so I was on my way to making a delicious lunch without having to leave the house to pick up any groceries – SUCCESS!

The only difference in my version was that I actually roasted the veggies before adding them to the soup (30 mins at 350 degrees F). It makes a really big difference in flavor; it adds a smoky flavor to the dish, which is delicious! And the other difference was I blended the mixture in my Vitamix instead of using a hand blender.

It was a really great lunch! We were thoroughly satisfied and it allowed us to get back to what Saturdays are for - NETFLIX. 

Lots of Love, 

- S

How to Host the Perfect Girls Brunch

Sheena Virmani

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Okay I know Galentine's day was last week so I am a little late jumping on the Girly Brunch train, but I always need an excuse to host a Girls Brunch no matter what the occasion is. This weekend we hosted this particular brunch for our girlfriend’s birthday. Honestly, it doesn’t have to be super complicated, but I can guarantee you spending an afternoon with girlfriends is always a good time.

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Our brunch was spa-themed. We set out some spa goodies to play around with and of course some gossip magazines and nail polish. We got a bunch of products from Rocky Mountain Soap Company to pamper ourselves– we loved them all, here is what we tried:

Hydrating Face Mask

Face Polish

Calming Toner

The Calming Toner spray was my personal favourite, it was so refreshing and relaxing. The best part about Rocky Mountain Soap Company is that all their products are made from natural products and are chemical free, something that is very important to me, it allowed us to pamper ourselves guilt-free.

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For food, we set-up a waffle bar. I made the waffles using my mini-waffle maker (so cute, I die every time I use it) from Urban Outfitters. It works really well, and I am super happy with it. I followed this recipe for the waffles:

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Basic Waffle Recipe

I divided this recipe into three parts:

·  I kept one part plain

·  I added ¼ cup of chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder to the second part for chocolate waffles

· I added ¼ cup of funfetti sprinkles for the third part for birthday cake waffles (the waffle cake pictured below)  

For the Waffle Bar toppings I set out:

  • Assorted berries
  • Whipped cream
  • Pistachios
  • Sprinkles
  • Chocolate chips

I also whipped up some deviled eggs using this recipe:

How to Make Deviled Eggs

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For drinks we had mimosas and strawberry smoothies in shot glasses.

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It's not hard to host a fun girls brunch with these simple recipes and ideas, you just have to be organized. It was so much fun and the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

 

Lots of Love

-S

Salted Dark Chocolate Popcorn

Sheena Virmani

I love making holiday treats for my friends and family to use for both entertaining and gifting. It is one of my favourite parts of the season. I also really love popcorn, it is my preferred snack to indulge in. This year I started experimenting with making my own popcorn at home on the stove and playing around with different flavours. I can guarantee you once you start making your own popcorn, that microwave stuff just won't cut it for you anymore. I can't believe I didn't start doing this sooner. This Salted Dark Chocolate popcorn was just to die for, anybody you have on your gift list who loves the salty-sweet combo will just love it. 

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Recipe: 

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels 
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 cup melted dark chocolate 
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Preparation 

  • Find a large pot with a tight fitting lid
  • Heat the oil on medium and add in your popcorn kernels
  • When the oil sizzles add the salt and pop on the lid to your pot and allow the kernels to start popping 
  • Keep the lid on the pot until the popping slows down - should take about 4-5 minutes 
  • Remove from the heat and transfer the popcorn to a baking tray 
  • Drizzle popcorn with melted dark chocolate and cool at room temperature for 1 hour
  • Serve or transfer to a cute mason jar for gifting 
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I am curious to know your favourite popcorn flavours and recipes, let me know in the comments below! 

 

Lots of Love,

-S 

 

Sunday Morning Raspberry Muffins

Sheena Virmani

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Sunday mornings are my absolute fav! Why? Because I get to sleep-in and lounge around all day in my pj's and nothing beats that! During the weekdays I never have time to make a nice breakfast, it's just a quick smoothie before I am out the door. That's why on Sundays I like to make something extra special to celebrate the day.

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The recipe below makes 12 muffins:

Ingredients

  • 1 & 3/4 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Honey
  • 1 Banana Mashed
  • 1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Cup Raspberries
  • 1/4 Cup Almond Milk
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Method

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease your muffin tin with coconut oil.
  • In a mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In another mixing bowl, combine milk, oil, honey, the mashed banana, and the yogurt. Mix well.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently fold in the raspberries.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups. 
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes
  • Cool and Enjoy!
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Why We Eat Organic

Sheena Virmani

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Ever since K and I moved in together our grocery bill has increased significantly. And no… this is not because we became pigs and started eating a lot more, it’s because much of what we eat now is completely ORGANIC.

What is organic food?

Organic food is produced without chemicals, growth hormones, antibiotics, and is not genetically modified. Current conventional farming methods involve the use of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and other toxic chemicals that get laced in our food.

Here are some of the reasons we chose to eat organic:

Higher Nutrients

·         Research shows that organic food is higher in nutrients than traditional foods – I am talking vitamins and minerals. You get more vitamins and minerals per serving by eating the same amount of organic food versus non-organic.

Better Taste

·         I am not exaggerating when I say that when you switch to organic, you really can taste the difference. Organically grown food tastes so much better because it was cultivated without the use of toxic chemicals and pesticides.

Avoiding Hormones, Antibiotics, and Chemicals

·         Conventional dairy and poultry products contain hormones and antibiotics; where as much of these additives are banned from dairy and poultry outside of North America because they are unsafe. These hormones are linked to a whole host of health issues such as infertility and cancer just to name a few.

Safer For Our Environment  

·         Chemicals used in non-organic farming are not only harmful to our bodies; they are also harmful to the environment. They destroy the value of fertile farmland as they poison the soil.  Nothing new can be grown on the farmland after a single batch of GMO crops has been planted.

 

If you follow me on Snap Chat (@SheenaVirmani), sometimes I share my favourite organic products to buy at the grocery store. Grocery stores nowadays have a lot of options when it comes to organic products; you just have to shop at the right place and in the right aisle (the organic aisle, it’s a whole different world). Our personal favourites are Community Natural Foods and Save-On Foods here in Calgary. 

Eating organic can be expensive, and I understand that not everyone has the means to do it, but the way K and I see it, we make money to eat well and to be able to treat our body right. I suggest transitioning slowly to organic products and doing what you can with your grocery budget. There are certain items I absolutely will not compromise on and must be organic: dairy, poultry products, strawberries, apples, celery, grapes, spinach, tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumbers. 

I would love to hear your thoughts on the organic vs. non-organic debate. Leave your comments below!

Happy Monday Smoothie

Sheena Virmani

Let’s face it, Monday mornings are tough. After a weekend of over indulging in high calorie delicious meals, I usually wake up feeling sluggish and like I need something green and refreshing to start my week. This is my go-to smoothie on the weekdays, full of nutrients to boost your energy and great for digestion (for all that bad food on the weekend).

//bananas// - Bananas contain a fair amount of fiber, as well as several antioxidants. They are a great source of potassium and soothing to the digestive tract.

//pineapple// - A great source of Vitamin C. Contains anti-inflammatory properties to aid in digestion.

//avocado// - Loaded with soluble fiber which is known to feed friendly gut bacteria in our intestine.

//ginger// - Anti-inflammatory, immunity booster, and known to relieve gastrointestinal irritation

//mint//- Natural stimulant to get your brain functioning and aids in battling fatigue. Also promotes digestion. 

Ingredients

1 banana

1 cup pineapple chunks

1 ripe avocado

1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

¼ cup mint leaves

½ cup unsweetened almond milk

 

Directions

1.       Add all ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth. 

25th Birthday Bash

Sheena Virmani

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It's hard to believe, but I just celebrated my 25th birthday over the weekend. This year I just wanted to keep it really low-key, maybe I am getting old, or I am saving myself for the big party coming up in a couple of weeks (aka the wedding). I decided to have a few friends over for drinks and snacks out on the patio. These types of nights are some of my favourite nights, I love entertaining my friends at our place. Staying in can be a good change-up from the bar scene. 

In my opinion, if you are planning on staying in to celebrate a birthday or any other occasion you need two things: 

1. Good party snacks

2. An evening better party cocktail 

I wanted to keep it really simple, a no fuss set-up. Here are some of my tips and tricks: 

1. Party Snacks

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I absolutely love party snacks. They can either make or break a party, if your snacks suck, your party sucks. It doesn't have to be too complicated, I put out some of my favs: cheese and crackers with jalapeno mango jelly, gourmet popcorn in a variety of flavours, some deli meats, and my homemade guacamole...EASY BREEZY. We ended the night with a bonfire and made s'mores (there was some cake too). 

The guacamole was really the only thing I had to prep, and it was delicious! 

RECIPE: 

  • 3 ripe avocados mashed
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 of a diced onion 
  • 1 diced tomato 
  • 1 mango chopped in cubes
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil 
  • A handful of cilantro 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Simply add everything to a bowl, mix it all together, and serve. I recommend you make this right before your guests arrive as the avocados could turn brown if you wait too long to serve. 

 

2. Party Cocktail 

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I decided to have a signature cocktail for the night using Pinnacle Vodka. If you visit their website you can find a wide variety of cocktail recipes for every skill level, you can even watch tutorials for step by step instructions on how to make them. It was super helpful, as I am no cocktail connoisseur.  I created the Pinnacle Flirty Fizz, really simple, and very delicious! The only little extra thing I did was rimmed the glasses with some sprinkles for a cute birthday touch! 

Cheers to many great summer nights to come! 

 

Lots of love,

-S

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The Weekend Toast

Sheena Virmani

Weekday toast is a breakfast staple at my house - it's quick and easy when I am rushing out the door for work in the mornings. During the week I don't have time to get creative with my toppings, it usually consists of peanut butter and a drizzle of honey. 

However, on the weekends, you can get really fancy with your toast and mix it up with some gourmet toppings. It can be great to spice up your Sunday mornings, and it is especially fun when you are entertaining. I created all of these in less than half an hour - so it's super quick to make. The best part is, it doesn't require any special ingredients, just some great quality bread; and then it's simply a matter of playing around with what you already have in your kitchen. 

Avocado Toast: soft boiled eggs and chives 

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Nutella Toast: bananas and walnuts 

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Goat Cheese Toast: blackberries, honey, mint 

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Goat Cheese Toast: sauteed mushrooms, roasted garlic, arugula 

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Apple-Cinnamon Upside-Down Cake

Sheena Virmani

Yesterday I had a sweet craving for something warm and delicious. I found this recipe by Martha Stewart for an Apple-Cinnamon Upside-Down Cake. It seemed relatively easy to make and not very labour intensive- I was well on my way to satisfying my sweet-tooth. 

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This cake was a hit with my family, it was the perfect afternoon treat. It's not too sweet, but the apple and cinnamon combination really hits the spot. It's really nice straight out of the oven while it is still hot, accompanied by a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. DELISH! 

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Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

-S 


Shake and Shimmer Holiday Cocktail

Sheena Virmani

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I recently got introduced to Viniq, which is a Premium Vodka and Moscato blend. The first thing I thought of when I saw it, is how perfect it would be for holiday cocktails because of its shimmer. I whipped up this cocktail which would be so great for entertaining this season. It will surely “wow” your guests with the sparkle factor and it tastes great too! It was also really easy to make- just shake and shimmer, simply follow the video tutorial below: 

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Easy As Pie Apple Pie

Sheena Virmani

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Nothing says Thanksgiving to me like the warm flavours of baked apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Warm apple pie is the ultimate comfort food for fall. If you are getting together with your family this weekend why not treat them to a delicious homemade apple pie (it's not as hard to make as you might think). We used this recipe here with French crumb topping, it is to die for and really is easy as pie! 

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Lunch Fit for a Queen (AKA mom!)

Sheena Virmani

One of my favourite things to do for my mom on Mother's Day is cook for her. When I think Mother's Day lunch I think of springtime- light and refreshing. For starters, I am going to serve toasted french bread with a homemade cilantro and agave butter. For the main course, I came up with the idea to serve these delicious crispy sweet potato coated chicken tenders accompanied with a mint and chive sauce. Serving a mixed greens and grapefruit salad with a honey mustard dressing alongside the tenders will compliment the flavours of the chicken really well. 

Now, I know what I just described above sounds very complex! Don't be scared. This complete meal took me about an hour to create from start to finish. Just follow my instructions below and you will be on your way to treating your mom with this delicious meal! 

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Sweet Cilantro Butter:

Recipe:

  • 1/2 Cup Butter Softened 
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Chopped Cilantro
  • 1 Tablespoon Organic Agave 
  • 2 Teaspoons Fresh Limejuice 
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste 

1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl until blended. 

2. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 20 mins to let it set before serving. 

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Crispy Sweet Potato Chicken Tenders:

Recipe:

  • 1 Pound Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Egg Beaten
  • 1 Cup of Sweet Potato Cracker Crumbs 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 

2. Place beaten egg in one bowl and place the sweet potato cracker crumbs in another bowl. 

3. Cut the chicken breast into bite sized pieces.

4. Dunk the chicken in the egg and then in the crumbs, shake off excess before placing in a greased pan. 

5. Bake for 15-20 mins and serve! 

Mint and Chive Dipping Sauce:

Recipe: 

  • 1 Tablespoon Store Bought Mint Chutney
  • 1 Tablespoon Mayonnaise 
  • 1 Tablespoon Chopped Chives 

1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl until blended. 

2. Serve alongside chicken tenders. 

Greens:

Recipe:

  • 1 Grapefruit segmented 
  • 1 Cup of Mixed Greens (your choice) 
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey Mustard 
  • Salt and Pepper to taste 

1. Combine the segmented grapefruit with the mixed greens in a bowl. 

2. Whisk together the honey mustard and olive oil with salt and pepper to taste. If you think the consistency is a little thick for your liking you can thin it out with a bit of water. 

3. Toss the honey mustard dressing with the greens right before you are ready to serve. 

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Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Tart

Sheena Virmani

It's been a couple weeks since Valentine's day and I still had a lot of leftover chocolate laying around. I came across this chocolate tart recipe and decided this would be a great way to re-purpose all that chocolate.  If you are a chocolate lover this is your dream dessert! Dark chocolate and sea salt are one of my favorite salty-sweet combinations. You would be surprised how the sea salt flakes really bring out the sweetness in the chocolate. 

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If you decide to use store bought pastry dough for the crust like I did, this recipe by Jamie Oliver becomes super simple to make. Great dessert for entertaining people! 

Get the recipe Here

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Sunday Dinner

Sheena Virmani

The holidays are the perfect time to serve up a family style dinner. For me, nothing beats a Sunday evening cooking and eating dinner with my family, especially when it's comfort food! 

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We made jalapeno mac & cheese (recipe Here

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And spicy grilled chicken (recipe Here

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We ended the night with some fruity martinis (recipe Here

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Sparkling Pomegranate Cocktail

Sheena Virmani

If you are hosting a holiday party this season you definitely need a festive cocktail on the menu. It doesn't have to be overly complicated, just adding a few simple touches can make all the difference. I just jazzed up some regular champagne by adding a few pomegranate seeds to the glass before pouring. You can also make this drink with sparkling apple juice to accommodate your guests who don't drink. Seeding the pomegranate is probably the hardest part about this, just YouTube a tutorial if you don't know how. 

I served up this drink in these festive metallic rimmed glasses from Indigo (Here). They have great holiday glassware for hosting and entertaining. 

Happy Entertaining!

-S

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Snow Day Grilled-Cheese & Tomato Soup

Sheena Virmani

Hi lovelies, I hope everyone in Calgary stayed warm this weekend!  All the snow plus the fact that Christmas is just around the corner has got me in the mood for comfort food. For lunch the other day I made these gourmet grilled-cheese sandwiches. They are so simple to make and taste so good. I love the combination of mozzarella cheese, basil, and tomatoes; it reminds me of my visit to Italy last summer. Obviously the fresher the ingredients the better it is going to taste – so be aware of that. Make sure you pick a good bread and cheese to use; it really can make all the difference. 

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Start by spreading a good amount of butter on the outside of each piece of bread (this will help make the bread crispy). Flip the bread over and add cheese, tomatoes, and basil before toasting on a hot pan. 

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I served my sandwiches with homemade tomato soup and croutons (YUM!).  Here is a link to a great recipe for that. 

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Try this on the next snowy day, it will warm you right up! 

Green Smoothie

Sheena Virmani

I was recently out to brunch and tried a delicious green smoothie. I used to find green smoothies unappealing, particularly because of the colour. If you are like me, give this recipe a shot. It tastes really good and it is really good for you. I have been having it in the mornings and I can actually feel the difference in my energy level.

Recipe (Serves 1):

·         ½ Cup Spinach

·         1 Pear (chopped and frozen)

·         1 Banana

·         1 teaspoon grated ginger

·         2 mint leaves

·         `1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds 

·          1 cup of coconut flavoured almond milk


Blend all the ingredients together and enjoy! 


Snow Cones

Sheena Virmani

I just love indulging in classic treats that make me feel like a kid again. I was feeling inspired by the summer weather and my recent trip to a local fair to recreate snow cones in my own kitchen – but with a little twist of course. The thing that takes this treat from a childhood classic to one more enjoyable for a refined palette is the flavour of the syrup. I found a recipe for a roasted blueberry and basil simple syrup Here and decided to test it out to top my snow cones. This recipe is for a margarita, but I just ignored that part and followed the instructions for the syrup only. I crushed 1 cup ice using a magic bullet (made 2 snow cones), and found it worked just fine. The ice was a good consistency for the snow cones. I placed the shaved ice in a cup and poured some of the syrup on top (to your liking). 

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It was a delicious and satisfying treat for a warm summer afternoon. 

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I will definitely try this again and experiment with different flavours. 

Pizza Night

Sheena Virmani

The summer months are always busy for entertaining family and friends. When a bunch of my family got together for an impromptu pizza night we decided to get a little creative instead of ordering in. Getting everyone involved and cooking together was what made the night even more enjoyable. We made two different gourmet pizzas that were both delicious. 

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BBQ Chicken Pizza: (serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Rotisserie Chicken (shredded)
  • 2 Multigrain Pizza Crusts (store bought)
  • 1/4 Cup BBQ Sauce 
  • 1/4 Cup Pizza Sauce
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Cup Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Mushrooms Chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Chilli Flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon Cilantro
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter

In a saucepan soften 1 thinly sliced onion in 1 tablespoon of butter. When the onion is translucent, turn off the heat and set aside. Spread the pizza sauce over the multigrain crust and sprinkle with chilli flakes. Add the mushrooms, sautéed onions and shredded chicken to the pizza, top with cheese, and drizzle with BBQ sauce. Bake in the oven for 15 mins at 400°F. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving. 

Veggie Pizza: (serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Multigrain Pizza Crusts (store bought)
  • 1/4 Cup Pizza Sauce
  • 1 Cup Red Pepper
  • 1 Cup Mushrooms
  • 1/2 Cup Goat Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Mozzarella Cheese 
  • 1 Cup Arugula or Mixed Greens
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice

Spread the sauce over the multigrain crust and add the mushrooms and red peppers. Top the pizza with goat cheese and mozzarella cheese before baking in the oven for 15 mins at 400°F. While the pizza is in the oven toss the arugula or mixed greens with the lemon juice and olive oil. Top the pizza with the greens before serving. 

 

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We served a sparkling lemonade cocktail to accompany the pizza. 

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The night ended with sharing lots of laughter and eating S'mores by the fire pit. 

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