Crispy Roast Duck with Habanero Honey Glaze

Crispy Roast Duck with Habanero Honey Glaze

 

rsz_duck5

I’ve decided that wine makes me a better person.

On days when I don’t care that my toddler just climbed on top of the phone desk.

These white winter days have a way of zapping the gusto right out from under you.

Making binge watching of inspirational TED talks totally acceptable.

Feeble attempts to embrace the cool crisp air, get out there and make some snow angels or at least walk for more than 30 seconds without the little having a tantrum.

He hates winter just as much as I do. 

How can such a simple thing just throw you over the edge.

Why can’t you just have one of those 700$ super mom all terrain strollers and you wouldn’t have to pull the baby on a cheap plastic sled? Why can’t he just like sleds! 

Breathe in, breathe out. Eat this fatty tender delicious duck. Sit back, chill out, drink wine and wish that you smoked cigarettes again.

 

rsz_duck1

Crispy Roast Duck with Habanero Honey Glaze

Ingredients

    Duck
  • 1 whole duck (approx. 2kg)
  • sea salt and pepper
  • Habanero Honey Glaze
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 habanero pepper, seeds removed for less spice, minced
  • 1/2 C honey
  • 1/4 C rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs tamari ( gluten free soya sauce) or coconut aminos

Instructions

  1. Prepare duck by thoroughly drying the skin and coating with sea salt and pepper. Place on a wire rack above your roasting pan. Preheat oven to 300F.
  2. Cook duck for 3.5 hours, turning over every hour.
  3. Remove duck from the oven and increase the heat to 400F, brush the duck all over with about half the glaze and return to the oven for 10 minutes to get nice and crispy.
  4. Allow duck to rest a few minutes before serving. You can shred the meat nicely with two forks or slice it thinly with a bit of extra sauce on top. Enjoy!
  5. Habanero honey glaze
  6. Heat oil in a small sauce pan or skillet and add garlic and habanero, allow to become fragrant and turn slightly golden before adding the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes, allowing the mixture to become slightly thicker.
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roast duck

 

Spaghetti Squash Pesto Shrimp Breakfast Bowls

Spaghetti Squash Pesto Shrimp Breakfast Bowls

spaghetti squash breakfast bowl

I eat weird things for breakfast. Mostly I’ll just put an egg on just about anything and call it breakfast, case in point, spaghetti squash pesto shrimp breakfast bowls. Yep, I ate this baby for breakfast, but it would be equally suitable for any other meal of the day. My mom likes to reminisce about the origin of names and spaghetti squash confounded her. ‘Its called spaghetti squash but wouldn’t it have existed before spaghetti, maybe they named spaghetti after the squash and not the other way around’. Maybe mom, maybe.

spaghetti squash breakfast bowl

The healthiest way to start the day isn’t cereal or God help us, oats (there’s nothing more loathed in my books that a big sloppy pile of oatmeal). If you want lasting energy without needing a triple shot americano at 10AM then load up on the veggies, fats and protein for breakfast. A nutrient dense breakfast just sets you up for success. No blood sugar crashes or succumbing to the stack of sticky doughnuts in the break room, nope, just pure energy to conquer the world. So while to some my shrimp laden squash bowl might look like an odd thing to have for breakfast, its actually ideal, healthy and damn delicious. Make the squash the night before and this whips up in a pinch. Want to know the easiest way to cook squash? You guessed it, slow cooker!

I like to find really big ones so that I can eat half with dinner and the other half for breakfast. Get creative, you can do this with any type of squash, the spaghetti just has that nice stringy texture.

spaghetti squash breakfast bowl

Spaghetti Squash Pesto Shrimp Breakfast Bowls

Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 a large spaghetti squash, seeds scooped out
  • 2 Tbs ghee or butter
  • 1 Tbs basil pesto, homemade or store-bought
  • 2-4 eggs
  • 1 Tbs vinegar (for poaching the eggs)
  • handful sliced bell pepper
  • handful sliced tomato
  • handful chopped green onion
  • handful arugula or spinach
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 6 wild raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Either cook your spaghetti squash in the oven at 400F for one hour or in the slow cooker for 2 1/2 hours.
  2. Start a small pot of water to boil, when its boiling add vinegar and drop the eggs for 3 minutes if you want soft poached, 4 minutes for medium and 5 for hard.
  3. Melt butter or ghee and basil pesto together in a skillet and pour half over the cooked spaghetti squash, leave the other half in your skillet and add shrimp to it. Cook for 1.5 minutes each side and remove from heat.
  4. To assemble the bowl simply scoop out the strands of spaghetti squash and push to one side, add greens and the other vegetables, top with poached eggs and shrimp and add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!
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spaghetti squash breakfast bowl

Preparing for a Successful Whole 30

Preparing for a Successful Whole 30

Successful

Tomorrow is the first day of my whole 30 full body reset. If I was a good little girl I would already have been scaling down my no-no foods but alas, I’m a rebel without a cause. Damn I’m gonna miss that chocolate almond milk.

Here’s my little guide to getting all your ducks in a row before doing a whole 30, hope its helpful. If there’s anything you want to add, hit me up in the comments!

 

Ready to jump in head first?  Check out the meal plans for week 1, week 2, week 3 and week 4

Condiments

Ok so the last time I did the whole 30, the main challenges were realizing that nearly everything has sugar or GMO’s or some weird ingredient that I want to avoid for the next 30 days. Ketchup for example (I actually HATE ketchup) packed with sugar, but if you like it, it’s pretty easy to make your own ketchup. As for other condiments like mustard, Worcestershire sauce and relish, it’s the same story so read on  how to make those condiments as well (if you’re like me and loathe ketchup).

ketchup

Mayonaaaaaaaaise, is another condiment that will make life ALOT happier on the whole 30. But conventional mayonnaise is loaded with GMO oils that aren’t good for you, nor are they particularly appetizing.

Story time: I used to cower in the face of mayo on a sandwich. I was literally scared of it. Thick weird eggy substance that isn’t refrigerated until you open it. I had the same feeling at Costco yesterday seeing their giant cases of chocolate milk just sitting there at room temperature. Anyways, making your own mayo is easy peasy, especially if you have a hand blender/immersion blender, but any blender will work. Here’s a great post on making mayo in 30 seconds.

 

Soy sauce or tamari is another flavour booster thats off limits. While soy sauce seems pretty harmless, its still soy, which is nearly 99% GMO and the whole point is to detox that shit from our diets for at least 30 days. Luckily the amazing coconut comes to the rescue with its on par flavour boosting magic. Coconut aminos can be found at most health food grocery stores or you can get it off amazon, check it out here.

 

Milks

As far as pre-made milks go, there’s not many that don’t have added careegan, guar gum and other thickeners/stabilizers/preservatives. Homemade nut milks are the way to go. All you need is a blender, a nut milk bag or cheesecloth and water. Here’s a great all around nut milk tutorial.

Coconut milk is our go to source for creamy rich goodness on the whole 30.  But even uber expensive organic brands of coconut milk have strange additives. So you can make your own coconut milk (it’s darn delicious) OR you can stick to the natural value or thai kitchen brands that don’t have any weird additives or preservatives.

 

Sweeteners

Much to my chagrin, even natural sweeteners like stevia are technically a no no on the whole 30. Because the whole point is to not make foods that aren’t naturally sweet, sweet. Like coffee. Now I have to learn to enjoy coffees naturally bitter taste…grrrrrrreat. But I can see the point. As far as satisfying our sweet teeth, fruits and their dehydrated counterparts become the go-to.

Date paste, dried figs, and dried mango do wonders for healthfully satisfying those sweet cravings.

Fats

The biggest take away from my last whole 30 was to never underestimate how important it is to get enough fat. If we skimp on the fat, its really hard to feel deeply satisfied. Remember, the point of this isn’t caloric restriction or to cause us suffering. It’s to improve our understanding of our bodies and their relationship to certain foods. Saturated fats stabilize our blood sugar and help heaps with cravings. They are also a vehicle for transporting essential vitamins and minerals.

Plenty of coconut oil, coconut butter, ghee, animal fats like lard, beef tallow, bacon fat and chicken fat are all great for cooking. When it comes to salads and mayo it’s better to use extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil.

how to make coconut butter

Omega-3 fatty acids are another part of the fat puzzle that so many of us are deficient in. I take a krill oil supplement to make sure I’m getting plenty of omegas alongside eating abundant amounts of wild fish. In the meal plans I’m going to aim for 2-3 servings of fish per week. It’s delicious aaaaand nutritious.

Carbs

Nobody can go from gorging themselves on pizza and croissants to cutting out all carbs. Unrealistic. Which is why I’ll be eating plenty of root vegetables like sweet potato and white potato especially in the first few days. Eventually the desire to nosh on carbs all day dissipates as our bodies adjust.

 

Bone Broth

Mmmm bone broth. I was trying to convince my friend to buy whole chickens so he could make bone broth and he did not seem impressed. Sometimes my little bubble bursts and I realize not everyone drinks hot boiled carcass for fun. But seriously, bone broth is the most amazing source of minerals, gelatine and collagen which helps us retain that youthful glow, keeps our joints happy, gives us a hearty dose of nourishing fats and I don’t know about you but there’s something about bone broth that’s just really comforting to me. Here’s a great tutorial on how to make bone broth.

 

Detoxifying Medicinals

My favourite part of this entire post, hooray for herbs! I don’t think they talk much about this component in the actual “It starts with food” book BUT I think these additions can just amp up all the benefits we experience from changing our diets.

As always, no two people are the same and not everyone will want to add medicinal herbs into their lifestyle. No worries. If you have concerns, talk to your local herbalist or naturopath, they can ensure that any herbal remedies won’t interfere with prescription drugs and so forth.

I tend to stick to the whole form of herbs instead of tinctures of supplements. These things are useful at times, but for simplicities sake just making teas from herbs is the easiest for anyone beginning their herbal journey. Also, there’s no alcohol on the whole 30 so tinctures are off limits anyway.

Liver Cleansing Herbs

burdock root

milk thistle

dandelion

barberry

-turmeric, fresh or powdered

rsz_dandelion

Adaptogenic Herbs

adaptogen: 1. (Medicine) any of various natural substances used in herbal medicine to normalize and regulate the systems of the body.

“In 1969 Brekhman and Dardymov defined the general pharmacological properties of adaptogenic substances. These include:
a.)    The substance is relatively non-toxic to the recipient.
b.)    An adaptogen has “non-specific” activity and acts by increasing resistance of the organism to a broad spectrum of adverse biological, chemical, and physical factors.
c.)    These substances tend to help regulate or normalize organ and system function within the organism.”

Adaptogens are great if your dealing with energy/hormonal issues.  These herbs are ‘intelligent’ in that they don’t do the same thing for each person. They work with your body and help to balance out your unique chemistry and hormones.

maca

rhodiola

ashwaganda

licorice root (especially good for sugar cravings) 

 

How to Optimize Gut Healing

The whole 30 is a great opportunity to balance our gut flora. Bad bacteria and yeasts thrive on sugar, so when we cut them off we give the good guys a chance to thrive! The research on our gut bacteria is clear. There is perhaps nothing more important and critical to good health in all aspects including mental and hormonal. Probiotics have been shown to go way beyond digestive health.

Fermented foods

If you’re new to making your own ferments, this is hands down the best way to replenish our guts with a hearty dose of probiotics. Don’t be intimidated! Sauerkraut is a good place to start, here’s a guide on a few variations and the benefits of homemade sauerkraut.

If you’re interested in trying some more adventurous ferments, this website fermented food lab is the absolute best! With everything from fermented hot sauce, watermelon shrubs, ketchup and way more it’s sure to inspire you to get chopping.

jalapeno-kraut-5_WEB

The Mental Stuff

Okay this post is a wee bit longer than I planned but OH well. Congrats to you if you’re still reading.

Preparing for a successful whole 30 means preparing for the challenges of your mind. 

The mental piece of the puzzle is staring at our attachments dead on and telling them where to go. It’s knowing that we are stronger than our addictions and that inevitably we always have a choice. One of the most beneficial things about removing less than great foods from our diets is seeing our minds reaction. Seeing where we use food as a crutch or something to smother our deeper inner experiences in.

What helps me is deep breaths and water. And you  a know what, if you slip up, which is pretty much inevitable unless you’re a saint, it’s not the end of the world. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed and you should give up. Just brush it off and keep at it, cause guess what, you’re pretty awesome.

 

What are your tips for a successful whole 30?

 

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October 30 Day Detox Challenge

October 30 Day Detox Challenge

Yay for fall! It’s my favourite season and NOT because of pumpkin spice lattes and comfy sweaters. Though those things are nice. I like the way nature renews itself by shedding that which no longer serves a purpose. I love the smells of decay and the brisk air. The reflective feelings that naturally rise up when any season shifts, but particularly this one. The opportunity for renewal is ripe for the picking. Which I why I thought it was a great time to do a whole 30 full body reset.

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*Join the 30 day detox challenge Facebook group*

After a summer of plenty with treats and hearty glasses of wine to last the winter long, it’s time. I’ve been starting to feel sluggish and dependent on treats for a little burst of energy. And you know what, I just hate that feeling. Call me a control freak but its nice not to rely on anything for energy and that get up and go we all strive for.

But you guys, I really hate doing this stuff alone. It’s the worst and it makes fighting those urges to reach for dark chocolate and a glass of red all the more difficult. SO I’ve created a little Facebook group and I’ll be posting weekly Whole 30 approved meal plans and shopping lists, because thats the hard part. So if you’ve been contemplating treating yourself to a detoxifying elimination diet, if you’ve been struggling with poor digestion, a few pounds that don’t want to vacate, lack of energy or hormonal imbalance then maybe now is the time to give your body a break.

Join the 30 day detox challenge Facebook group HERE or if you don’t do Facebook then just keep an eye out on the blog for the weekly meal plans and shopping lists.

Hope to see you there!!

Sweet and Spicy Beef Stir Fry with Kimchi

Sweet and Spicy Beef Stir Fry with Kimchi

sweet and spicy beef stir fry with homemade kimchi

This Sweet and Spicy Beef Stir Fry was gobbled up so fast, it was hard to even wait and snap at least one shot. Home made kimchi was made for a dish like this, if you can get your hands on some, your tastebuds will cheer. As we unpack our house and kitchen, and attempt to organize and create a functional space, the nourishment is often a quick throw together. The result is often better than something slaved over for hours. This honey laden, zippy sauce would go great with grilled chicken or a vegetarian version of the stir fry.

I have a question, what does stir fry mean to you?  To me, growing up, stir fry was pretty meh, not very exciting, and often soggy. (I love you mom, your cooking has gotten so much better over the years. ) Nowadays stir fry is just a common term I use for a flavourful,colourful, sexy dish of pretty much whatever’s in the fridge, yo. For those days when you get carried away creating, focused and slightly flustered stir fry is my go to.  With whatever seasonal delicious vegetables and a few key flavour combinations you can create a simple and fantastic stir fry in a flash.

Oh yeah, purple carrots! Closest thing you’ll ever get to a tye-died vegetable, technicolor wonderment indeed. But all hippie kaleidoscope lingo aside, purple carrots are how carrots should be, or at least how they used to be, until those crazy Dutch lovers of all things orange came along. The first domesticated carrots were white and purple, they still grow wild in Afganistan and some of the locals use them to make a charming carrot alcohol brew. Personally, I prefer my purple carrots sliced lengthwise to show their inner beauty, stir friend, roasted, grilled or just as is. They are an heirloom that just seems way cooler than plain old orange carrots.

My friend Aya makes amazing kimchi, she makes the best kimchi in all of the Kootenays, and she gave me a special korean chili powder so that I could make delicious kimchi like her. Fermented foods delight my inner child, they are magical, after all. Somehow, amidst delicious crunchy vegetables, lie invisible beneficial microbes who help to heal our beings on so many levels. You can read more about the magical and scientifically proven benefits of fermented foods here. I adapted my recipe from the one over at use real butter. Instead of water I wanted to add some extra umami by infusing kombu seaweed. Aya (kimchi specialist) informed me that no two Korean red pepper/chili powder are the same, I would make sure that their is no added MSG or pseudonyms, see this article for a list ingredients that have MSG. sweet  and spicy beef stir fry with kimchi

Sweet and Spicy Beef Stir Fry with Kimchi

Ingredients

    For the Sweet and Spicy Beef Stir Fry
  • 1-2 beef sirloin steaks
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 purple carrots or regular carrots, cut lenthwise into strips
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 head of napa cabbage or regular cabbage, cut into strips
  • a few kale leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbs coconut cream
  • 1 tsp chopped red hot chilis or hot sauce like sriracha
  • 1 Tbs tahini paste
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • black sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
  • green onion, for garnish (optional)
  • For the Kimchi
  • 5 lbs. napa cabbage, chopped into 1-inch portions
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup sweet rice flour or tapioca starch
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1-2 strips kombu seaweed
  • 2 tbsps coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, cut into medium chunks
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups korean coarse ground red pepper powder
  • 5 green onions, sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 cup leek, chopped (greens too)
  • 2 cups daikon radish, julienned
  • 1/4 cup carrot, julienned

Instructions

    For the Sweet and Spicy Beef Stir Fry
  1. Heat sesame oil in a wok or skillet. Add onion and garlic and cook on high just until they start to turn golden, add carrots, pepper, cabbage and kale and stir continuously until cabbage and kale start to wilt significantly.
  2. Add your rice wine vinegar followed by the coconut cream, chilis or hot sauce, tahini paste and sea salt. Stir until well combined and bubbling.
  3. Lower the heat and cover for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  4. Heat a separate cast iron skillet or a grill for your steak. Dry off the steak and sprinkle with salt and pepper. When the pan or grill is nice and hot add the steak, without any oil, sear for 3 minutes each side for a medium rare steak or 4-5 minutes for well done. If your steak is thicker than 1 inch, you can turn the broiler on in your oven and pop it in for a few minutes after searing. Allow steak to rest and cool for a few minutes before slicing into thin strips. Add to the stir fry.
  5. Finish with a drizzle of honey, black sesame seeds and green onion slices
  6. For the Kimchi
  7. Using a very large vessel (a roasting pan works perfectly) add to it the chopped napa cabbage along and cover with purified water and sprinkle with the salt, creating a brine. Turn cabbage every 30 minutes, for a total of 90 minutes. Rinse cabbage in clean pure water 3 times, drain and set aside.
  8. Boil the 1 1/2 C of water with the kombu for 10 minutes. Remove kombu and add rice flour, if you are using tapioca, allow the infusion to cool before mixing in tapioca so that it doesn't clump. Mix in the sugar and red pepper chili powder.
  9. In a food processor or blender add garlic, onion, ginger and fish sauce and make a paste. Combine with the starch and chili paste, mixing in the carrots leeks and green onions. Add cabbage and mix well, until everything is thoroughly coated. Use gloves for this as the chili powder can stain easily.
  10. Press kimchi into airtight glass jars (you may need a few, this recipe makes 1 Gallon) leaving about 1 inch of space and make sure the liquid covers the top. Place a towel or plates under your jars to soak up any spillage and leave to ferment for 2-5 days. Make sure to open the kimchi jars twice a day to relieve the build up of pressure in the jars and push the kimchi back down. When it's ready depends on your personal preference, taste daily to see if you like the flavour/texture that has developed. Store in the refrigerator
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