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Trust the reliable butcher

Whenever I make meatballs or burger patties from scratch, an ingredient that I always use is ground chuck.

Ground chuck is not the typical ground beef you can easily find at any major grocery store—it can only be found at butcher shops.

It has a higher fat content and a much beefier flavour; a secret ingredient among chefs you could say.

My regular favourite butcher is about 10km away from my house.

Recently however, I needed ground chuck and I was in a bit of a hurry, so I decided to go to a closer, unfamiliar butcher shop instead.

My famous sausage, fennel pasta recipe

As a cookbook author and culinary instructor, I write a lot of recipes.

Probably the most favorite pasta recipe of the masses would by my famous sausage and fennel pasta.

This recipe is in my most recent “best of" cookbook, called "The Best In Your Kitchen.”

How it became “famous” is that I have made it for years for family gatherings and everyone always asks for the recipe.

My response was always “I don't have it written down-it's just in my head!” So finally I put it to paper.

The best guacamole for Cinco de Mayo

I love experiencing the tastes of different cuisines and I use any excuse I can find to switch things up a bit at the dinner table.

Celebratory dates from around the globe are perfect for this and May fifth marks Cinco de Mayo—a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.

A common misconception is that Cinco de Mayois Mexico's Independence Day, which is actually on Sept. 16. Cinco de Mayois simply Spanish for Fifth of Mayand is a regional holiday that commemorates Mexico's defeat of the French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

Butter is just better

When it comes to cooking, baking, and mealtime, butter has a definite role in the kitchen and at the dinner table. I know that even mentioning the comparison of butter to margarine is going to stir up a lot of opinions, but I am going to express my view anyway.

We use butter in our home on a daily basis for cooking, baking and serving and I cannot even remember the last time margarine made its way into my refrigerator. In my opinion nothing is better for flavour, richness, melt ability, texture, and in moderation, health benefits.

April Fool's Day prank

More and more companies every year seem to be getting on the bandwagon of pulling April Fool's Day pranks on April 1st.

WestJet has been doing this for a number of years now, and I especially enjoyed the one from Honda Canada this year with the “polite horn” for Canadians. If you haven't seen these yet, they are a search away on the internet.

This year I decided to join in the fun.

My top 10 'secret' ingredients to transform recipes

We all have them: our secret ingredients that transform recipes into one-of-a-kind creations that are to die for. This is what keeps food exciting at the dinner table and makes it unique to us.

Although these top 10 of mine officially won't be a “secret” anymore, I am happy to share them with you:

  • Blueberry jam

Beef or other red meats such as lamb or various game meats always will benefit from a little something bold and sweet. Blueberry jam is my “go to” ingredient for burger patties, chili, stews, etc.

Gourmet picnic ideas for summer

How many people are tired of the same old picnics items? Do memories of bland potato salads and boring sandwiches persuade you to buy fast food or, worse yet, keep you locked indoors?

Whether it's a romantic picnic for two or a family outing, easy-to-prepare gourmet ideas will liven up your picnic basket for this holiday long weekend.

Camping under the stars

Submitted by, the Stewardship, Youth Rangers

Week 4 of the Fort Frances Stewardship Youth Ranger-Ogimaa Binesiiyog Partnership Program has the rangers keeping busy around town, and then off to Caliper Lake Provincial Park for more clearing, cleaning, camping and canoeing.

In town, the SYR Team Leads took the Rangers to the Fort Frances Lookout Tower at Point Park and then on to the Sorting Gap Marina for a tour of the historical “Hallett.”

Committed to advancing reconciliation

Back in April, I had the honour of attending the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City, alongside several of my colleagues.

This was the 16th-annual conference at the UN dedicated exclusively to discussing the issues facing the world’s indigenous populations.

The forum brought the world together on the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, or UNDRIP.

Youth engagement crucial to our future

As we embark on a new year, it’s important to take time to focus on what the future holds for our communities in the Thunder Bay-Rainy River riding and our country as a whole.

When we consider the future, our youth always must be a priority as they will inherit the outcome of any decisions our current leadership makes.

The youth of today are engaged in a way we’ve never seen before. According to a study by Abacus Data and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, youth turnout jumped by 12 percentage points between the 2011 and 2015 elections.