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A bit of hockey heaven in your own living room

Finding a place to sit on a patio on Sunday will probably be quite the feat, given that it's when the two top men's Olympic hockey teams face off in the gold medal game.

Sure, Team Canada suffered a brutal loss against USA, but we're not out of it yet! And while I certainly don't want to jinx our boys by assuming they'll be battling it out for the glory in the finals, hockey is our national sport and many avid Canadian hockey fans will be eager to catch the action, whether Team Canada makes the final or not.

Rather than wait an eternity for a table at your favourite pub or bar - or have to show up at the crack of dawn to snag a seat - you might want to consider checking out some of the higher-end haunts in the Upper Village, like the Fairmont Chateau Whistler's Mallard Lounge. They're hosting hockey nights on Feb. 23, 24 and 26, and again on Sunday, Feb. 28 for the gold medal game. Between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., beef dips are just $10 and beer is only $5; sounds like a recipe for success to me. Throw in some prizes and live entertainment by resident musician Colin Bullock and it sounds like it would be worth the short stroll up from the village.

Or, if you're feeling a little ambitious, why not invite a few friends over to catch the game in the comfort of your own home? Make a deal with the buds: if they bring plenty of the necessary icy beverages you'll provide the snacks. And no, Doritos don't really count. Instead, dust off your stove and whip up a few pub-style snacks to sate your appetite.

Here are a few relatively quick and painless suggestions that will definitely impress your friends:

 

Veggies and hummus

Don't be fooled by their fancier French name, "crudités" - these are just raw vegetables cut into strips and served with a dip. I suggest serving carrots, celery, red pepper and broccoli and making some fresh hummus (though store-bought will serve in a pinch) to offer a healthier, but still delicious, snacking option to your guests:

Ingredients: 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, two oz. fresh diced jalapeno pepper, 1/2 tsp. ground cumin, four tbsp. lemon juice, three cloves minced garlic.

Instructions: in a blender or food processor, combine garbanzo beans, jalapeno, cumin, lemon juice and garlic and blend until smooth. (Tip: if you don't have a blender or food processor, simply boil beans first and mush with a fork.) Then blend in the rest of the ingredients thoroughly by hand. Serve with fresh veggies.

Nacho dip

This one is a family favourite, and it's incredibly easy to make, though definitely not as healthy as the veggies and hummus:

Ingredients: 1 1/4 cup ground beef, package taco seasoning, bottle of taco sauce, one diced onion, one diced green pepper, one diced tomato, one small container sour cream, 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese.

Instructions: cook the beef with diced onion in a skillet until beef is completely browned and onion is softened. Add in seasoning and sauce; heat until bubbly. Pour meat mixture into pie plate, top with sour cream, diced green pepper, tomato and cheddar. Bake in 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes (until melted and bubbly) and serve with tortilla chips.

Baked brie

Also known as bedroom brie, this cheesy dish is to-die-for:

Ingredients: eight-ounce wheel of brie, package of refrigerated crescent roll dough, one cup honey, one cup pecan pieces, baguette and/or apple slices.

Instructions: preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Unroll the crescent roll dough and wrap it around the brie, pressing seams together to keep the cheese inside. Place in a disposable pie plate (trust me, its a mess to clean up). Sprinkle pecans over the top and drizzle with honey. Bake for 30 minutes or until its golden brown and the cheese is melted. Serve with baguette or slices of apple.

Mini-pita pizzas

Remember pizza bagels? Yeah, these are the healthier, grown-up version of your favourite childhood after school snack:

Ingredients: bag of bite-sized pitas, one bottle pizza sauce, one bottle oil-packed artichokes (chopped), one diced red pepper, one cup crumbled feta cheese, one cup shredded mozzarella.

Instructions: place pitas on baking sheets, then top with one tbsp. of sauce, veggies and cheese. Bake in 350-degree oven until cheese is completely melted (about 8 minutes.)

 

 

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