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In the world of Therapy, cooking and having a positive entourage have always been recommended to boost serotonin levels and increase relaxation and happiness. Over time, I have found that baking cakes have the superpower of calming me down, bringing me to impressive levels of serenity – something I didn’t know I was capable of, being the anxious person I am.

cooking in group | breadonbutter

In the past year, I was lucky to make new friends who love cooking and food as much as I do. Since I’m prone to sharing my recipes and not greedily keep them in a secret notebook, I’ve engaged in a new venture: gathering people around our stove. I find it so much fun and gratifying to have friends over with their favorite ingredients and recipes to cook all together and learn from each other. Laughs are also guaranteed!

cooking in group | breadonbutter

Based on these good times and on the atmosphere of family meals and children wandering around the cook in the kitchen to learn and get a taste of what’s cooking, we had our first cook-off not long ago. Hisham from Cookin5m2, Sarah who owns Dulce n’ Banana, Maya who writes Playing With Fashion, Betty who’s the great photographer behind BetKet Photography, Sleiman who’s the one behind K-frame, and of course my husband and favorite Chef Jean, were all here to lend a hand in a meal we all had together. Hisham made a delicious chicken pot pie, Sarah made a special apple crumble and we all worked to concoct entrees of all flavors and genres.

cooking in group | breadonbutter

Food has a lot of meaning. Whether it’s culturally, ethnically, or religiously, it brings people together. Baking, cooking a meal, shopping for the food and certainly sitting down together and socializing is a pure pleasure of life.

Cook-offs are not only meant to give a chance to meet new people, but also to discover food and ingredients that people might not have come across before. Also, everyone can leave with leftovers and a new recipe.

In the future, I’d love to bring experienced winemakers, brewers, bakers, butchers, etc. to teach others tricks and techniques.

The main focus of cooking in group is on socializing, learning to cook and to cook together, learning about new ingredients and types of food, maybe even how to shop for food before learning how to cook it.

The cook-off affected all of our moods positively. Having this meal gave us greater satisfaction because we cooked it together.

Cooking has therapeutic value physically, cognitively, socially and intrapersonally. Physically, cooking requires good movement in shoulders, fingers, wrists, elbow, neck, as well as good overall balance. Adequate muscle strength is needed in upper limbs for lifting, mixing, cutting and chopping. Furthermore, sensory awareness is important in considering safety while dealing with hot and sharp objects.

This is the therapeutic value noted by the University of Alberta.

Here are more photos of our cook-off if you’d like to see. There will be other cook-offs organized so if you wish to participate, all you have to do is send an email to: breadonbutterblog@gmail.com ! 🙂

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Photos were all taken by the great Betty from BetKet Photography.

Dining table and chairs from Dfouny Technotel  – available for rent

cooking in group | breadonbutter

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As you grow older, get married and start having responsibilities, your lifestyle slowly changes. For example, when you have kids like some of our friends do, you go out less and have to make do with staying at home more often. You then start honing some of your skills, like cooking and DIY projects, and when you’re lucky enough to find friends who share the same passions and hobbies, you hone those skills and experiment together. Instead of going out for pizza or crazy wings night, you go ahead and buy that bread-maker and start having your own “crazy” pizza nights at home.

That’s exactly what we did last week over at Khater and Lea’s house (you can check Khater’s previous guest recipes for fig jam and brie crispy shells on this link and for lemony chicken on this link). Using a Moulinex bread-maker, Khater made the pizza dough (ingredients below) and we had fun with different toppings. So here are some toppings ideas, with a twist, for your pizza night.

First, make the dough.

Pizza Toppings Ideas

What you’ll need:

  • 800 g flour (20% of which can be corn flour as it gives the dough a crunch)
  • 450 ml water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar (for the browning of the crust)
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tsp yeast

First steps:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Flatten parts of the dough with a rolling pin to the size you prefer and prepare it for toppings.

If you’re not using a bread-maker, you can refer to this post to read about making a dough from scratch. 

Pizza toppings ideas:

Pizza Toppings Ideas

1) Vegetarian

vegetarian

Top one pizza with tomato sauce, green pepper, black olives, corn, mushrooms and block mozzarella cheese. Place in the oven until the crust is lightly golden and the cheese has melted.

2) Brie and Rosemary leaves

Pizza Toppings Ideas

Top the dough with brie cheese and rosemary leaves. Top with olive oil and salt then place in the oven until the crust is lightly golden and the cheese has melted.

3) Zaatar (thyme) and Feta Cheese with pepper

Pizza Toppings Ideas

Top the pizza dough with fresh thyme leaves, feta cheese and black pepper. Place in the oven until the crust is lightly golden and the cheese has melted.

4) Eggs and chorizo

Pizza Toppings Ideas

Before topping the dough with the ingredients, fold its corners to prevent the eggs from overflowing.

In a bowl, break 3 eggs and whip them with a fork. Place the chorizo on the dough and top it with the eggs.

Place it in the oven until the crust is lightly golden and the eggs are cooked.

5) Proscuitto (parma ham), mozzarella and pesto sauce

Pizza Toppings Ideas

Top the pizza dough with all of the ingredients and bake in the oven until the crust is lightly golden and the cheese has melted.

And there you have it! A trouble-free and fun pizza night! Thank you Khater! 🙂

Pizza Toppings Ideas Pizza Toppings Ideas Pizza Toppings Ideas

Any other toppings suggestion?

 Click HERE to follow our foodie and travel journey on INSTAGRAM @breadonbutter_

and HERE to get your daily Breadonbutter news on FACEBOOK

Don’t forget to tag us if you try our recipes and tips: #breadonbutter