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Coffee Crusted Roast Beef

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One of my first dates with my boyfriend was to a Justin Bieber concert. Before the concert, he invited me over for one of the best roast beef dinners I’ve ever had. I remember thinking to myself “this guy likes Justin Bieber AND knows how to cook? Jackpot”.

As it turned out, he wasn’t actually a Belieber and doesn’t really cook, but the roast beef recipe is still one of the best. The secret is the addition of coffee to the rub. Just like red wine, coffee is acidic and acts like a spice to enhance the flavor of the meat. The combination is a match made in heaven.

This roast is a show-stopper, and perfect for whomever you’re looking to impress. It reminds us that we should be using our coffee beans in much more than our morning mug. It makes great leftovers too.

Cinnamon Flax Keto Muffins

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On the rare free Saturday night, my boyfriend and I will often go to Walmart. We like to go walk around, pick up some groceries, and get McDonald’s coffee. Don’t ask me why, it’s just something we like to do.

On one such Saturday night, as I stood in the aisle contemplating whether or not to buy McDonald’s Big Mac sauce for the house – it happened. My boyfriend had what I can only describe as a mid-life crisis.  “YOU’RE TRYING TO MAKE ME FAT!” he shouted, drawing attention from all of the other Saturday night Walmart patrons. The rant went on for the next minute or so, and then he took a deep breath and said “okay, so you want to grab some coffees?”

It goes without saying that I didn’t buy the Big Mac sauce that day. Determined to never let an episode like that happen again, I frantically grabbed any reasonably healthy-looking thing I could find on the shelf. The result was a mishmash of items that could not actually form a cohesive meal.

Some good eventually came out of the situation. We started eating healthier at home, trying new recipes. There is one recipe in particular that we make at least once a week – Flax Meal Muffins. Remember that mishmash of items I grabbed from Walmart? A large bag of flax meal was one of them, and on the package was a recipe for some sort of microwave mug muffin. Since we don’t have a microwave at home, I played around with the ratios of ingredients until I got a dozen delicious muffins. (Side note: for the life of me, I cannot remember the brand of flax meal and have not seen it in Walmart since, but if I do, I will be sure to give them the credit they deserve).

The muffins are low carb, no sugar, and low fat, BUT they are so delicious that you wouldn’t suspect it.

Feel Good Syrup

Long before Harry met Meghan, before they had a Lifetime movie, and before floral flavours became the biggest food trend of 2018 (thanks to the announcement of the royal couples’ lemon elderflower wedding cake), there was the humble elderberry.

Elderberries are full of antioxidants, as well as vitamins A, B and C. They are anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and have been used for thousands of years as folk medicine. In fact, when it comes to antioxidant power, elderberry is higher in flavonoids than blueberries, cranberries, goji berries and blackberries.

I’m all about immune boosting, especially living in Edmonton where the cold and flu season lasts about 10 months of the year. So, you can only imagine my excitement when I learned about Feel Good Syrup, elderberry syrup that is locally brewed. Their syrup is delicious, versatile, and I can’t quite imagine not having it in my fridge. You’ll see why.

Walter Craft Caesar Mix

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When my uncle returned from a recent trip to Mexico, his only complaint was “there were no Caesars.” He also complained about the lack of a blow dryer in his room, but that is neither here nor there. The Caesar thing should not have come as a surprise for a few reasons:

1) Caesars are the beloved drink of many Canadians, but this enthusiasm stops at the US border. The Caesar stubbornly remains a Canadian phenomenon.

2) As a result of the first point, if you go looking for a Caesar south of the border, you’ll end up with a Bloody Mary, which is less than ideal.

3) My uncle has been to Mexico a dozen times and knew all of this.

Tomato and Basil Bruschetta with Balsamic Reduction

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An old Italian proverb says: “Day-old bread, month-old oil, and year-old wine”. Although the speaker and context of the proverb are unknown, I am fairly certain they were eating bruschetta at the time. Bruschetta is a rustic dish, exuding the perfect balance of acidity, salinity, and herbaceousness.

From the verb “bruscare” (or “to toast”), bruschetta dates back to the Etruscan age, when farmers occupying the land between Rome and Tuscany began brushing bread with olive oil and garlic then baking it in the oven. The dish has since evolved with the addition of toppings such as meats, vegetables and all kinds of cheeses. Despite the endless variations, the basic concept of a bruschetta remains the same – simple, fresh, and flavorful ingredients.

The bruschetta recipe below was given to me by my friend Alyssa of Alyssa Cooks Catering. It is quick and easy, and when paired with a glass of wine, is the perfect way to start any evening.

Scrambled Eggs by Gordon Ramsay

There are probably 100 reasons to love or hate Gordon Ramsay. He’s relentless, foul-mouthed, demands perfection and is not afraid to unleash his vicious temper on anyone around him.  He is also a philanthropist, an incredible businessman, a huge proponent of responsible farming and animal husbandry (if you’ve never watched his documentary “Shark Bait”, you should). Most notably, he’s a seven-starred Michelin chef.