Honey Lime Glazed Yams and Beets

I made this recipe for Thanksgiving and it was so delicious. Often people get carried away with really sweet sides when making a turkey dinner ie. Candied Yams, Maple Glazed Squash so on and so forth. I actually had a turkey dinner this year that felt like I was eating dessert. Don't get me wrong; I love those sides, I love sweet stuff; but I think that when you are hosting a big dinner you need to be mindful of creating a balance. So I took a cue from that dinner and made sure to keep my dinner in check. Just enough sweet and just enough savory; especially with a rich meal like this where people often go back for seconds and generally eat way more then a regular meal.

And really isn't that when you know you've done a good job? When you look around and see all of those full faces, you know the ones, not really comfortable anymore because you had to eat that last bite - and then a little more.

This side I loved because it was so balanced. Yams and Beets are quite sweet on their own and with a couple of brushes of a Honey Lime vinaigrette they were transformed from regular vegetables to 'super hero' veggies out to add color and taste to your holiday table!

Alright before I get carried away here is the recipe:

2 large yams
4 medium beets

Juice of 2 limes
1 good squeeze of honey - about 1 1/2 to 2 tbsp
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
salt & pepper

Begin with the Veggies, ideally you will want to boil the yams until tender in salted water and boil the beets until tender in unsalted water. I did do this when I made the recipe for a crowd because I needed to do two big pots of each, and because I did a lot of the prep the day before. Which is a great tip when making a large dinner: Do as much as you can the day or days before, this means that there will be less stress the day of and you will be able to socialize with your gusts. When I made them at home though for just the two of us I just threw then all in regular water and boiled until tender. Set aside to cool. Whenever you feel like it; you can mix up the glaze, which really is just a regular old vinaigrette, juice the lime, add the honey and mustard, a little salt & pep and drizzle in the olive oil. Taste and season to your liking.
This is so easy, and makes a great salad dressing. It would probably even be good on chicken, or fish. I'll have to try that.
I like to make this as long before I use it as I can. If that's only a few minutes, good, if I do it while the veggies are boiling and it ends up being more like 20 - 30 minutes, even better. The longer that it gets to hang out the more the flavors mingle and become one.
Once the veggies have cooled; you can peel the skins off; I left them on because I'm just that kind of girl. Then slice them into 1 - 2 cm rounds and arrange them on a baking sheet. I like to arrange them in stripes, purple - orange, purple - orange and so one. Brush them with the glaze and pop the whole thing into a 350 degree oven until they have soaked in the glaze and get a little caramelized. I like to glaze them once or twice before taking them out.
That's it. The great thing to is that they truly are beautiful and colorful. The contrasting colors; taste and texture are sure to liven up any table.

Bacon Jalepeno Poppers

These tasty little buggers are pretty much the best thing goin' Not only did they melt in my mouth but they burnt in my eye! P.S. Wear gloves when dealing with hot peppers!

You only need 3 ingredients:

Clean out the Jalapenos, remember that by removing the seeds and ribs you remove a lot of the heat. And they certainly are pretty!

After that, use a spoon to fill them in with cream cheese, this is easiest if you let the cheese come to room temperature. Then Wrap them up with bacon and secure with a toothpick. I recommend the thick ones as it can be hard to get through the jalapeno. Arrange evenly on a backing sheet and pop them into a 350 degree oven.

Let them roast until the bacon is crisp and the peppers are soft. If you do this more slowly the peppers will get sweeter, if you choose to roast at a higher temperature they will cook faster and be spicier. Remove the toothpicks and enjoy!

And honestly PLEASE remember to use gloves, I made up a whole bunch of these and my hands were burning for 24 hours. I rubbed my eye accidentally several times, and a guy friend who was helping went to the bathroom right after. Trust me neither of us were happy campers!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful to be able to make dinner for 35 people who are all very important to me. I'm thankful that we were able to save the gravy - a certain someone will not be in charge of gravy again, no names mentioned, I'm thankful that this year I didn't have to carve the turkey - that just seems like it should be left to a man, and I'm thankful that this isn't my house because you should have seen the mess afterward!

This year was our 5th year anniversary of having a 'family' thanksgiving with all of my close friends. I am really lucky to have such great friendships, having grown up in a small town the people around me became more like family then just a friend.

Every year I make an amazing dinner - not to toot my own horn or anything - toot toot!! But I do this at someone else's house, that way I don't have to clean up the aftermath. Two full days of cooking can look amazing but you let a bunch of hungry people near it and within 1/2 an hour it looks like a bomb went off. I always end up helping with the clean up the next day but at least I don't have to deal with it being at my house. Making dinner somewhere else does present some challenges, I was often jumping in the car to borrow this and that from another friend, but it is always so worth it. It is so rare to have so many people that I love in one place. And to be able to cook and share a great meal with those people is even better.

In front of me there is stuffing, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots and gravy, behind me is the amazing apple cider brined turkey, lime and honey glazed yams and beets, my cheesy brussel sprouts, brussel slaw and home made cranberry sauce. Over the next while I will be sharing these recipes on a smaller scale but for today. Tomorrow I will show you the jalapeno popper appy that was off the platter faster then a prom dress!

Day 3

Well Day 3 is over. I am actually on day 4 and haven't eaten solids yet; I am enjoying a big green smoothie so there is fibre but no solids. Anyways back to Day 3. Day 3 was hard. I would say Day 1 and 3 were harder and Day 2 was easy peasy. Day 1 was just getting used of it, and Day 3 was hard knowing that all I had was one more day. I struggled with the thoughts of 'well there is only one day, does it really matter' Its so funny how we do that to ourselves; self sabotage. I really had to realise that I was doing this for my own good and that really only you guys know so I would only be letting myself down. I felt good though, energetic, clear headed. I was more prepared knowing how much juice I would need to keep me going at work and I have a busy evening so I was extra thankful that I didn't have to make dinner.
Over the next few days I am going to be careful introducing new foods back to my body. I encourage you to do the same if you've been following any kind of cleanse or detox. Be aware of how your body reacts to some foods, and which ones make you feel good and which ones bring about a more negative affect. When your body is clean it is more sensitive and your body knows what is the best for it; often we become numb to what our body is telling us so this is a good time to take advantage of its sensitivity.
In general I try to eat quite healthfully so my symptoms of cleansing were quite mild; I would like to do this again on a longer term. Maybe a week of Juice and then a longer period of a healthy eating plan. I'll have to look into it. Last year I did a great cleanse that was actually through Martha Stewarts Body & Soul magazine and it was so thorough; lasting a month and beginning with a eating plan then going on a media cleanse, developing time to yourself, regular exercise habits and journaling as you go along.
I believe heavily in journaling. Especially when doing a cleanse or any sort of healing. It really helps to clear out your mind and brings clarity and focus. Sometimes when I start writing it is about one thing and by the end I realize where the root of the issue is. A journal is also a great tool because you can look back on it and see not only patterns but also how far you've come. It really helps to show personal growth on every level of your being. And its great to take that time to actually reconnect with yourself. That is probably the greatest benefit, is taking a few minutes a day to focus on yourself.

Green Juice and the completion of Day 2

I think I am back to the empty feeling. It is actually becoming very normal and I don't mind it. Today when I got home from work I had so much energy that I could hardly sit down. Normally I look forward to sitting on the couch for as long as possible but today I was just go go go because I wanted to be. Yeah that's right, because I wanted to be not because I had to. I even re composted my plants. Who does that after work? Crazy Juicers I tell you!

Here is my green juice:

2 bunches of celery
2 cucumbers
1 head of lettuce
1 finer ginger
1/2 lemon
1 bag of apples

Juice and enjoy! Again this will make roughly 1/2 a big jug of juice. If you can make fresh smaller amounts on a more frequent basis that will be good but I am juicing in bulk and storing in an airtight container in the fridge and seem to be reaping major benefits so don't beat yourself up if you have to go this route too. Juicing is so beneficial because of its direct surge of nutrients as well as giving your digestive system a break.

At this time it is also worth mentioning that it is also really great to dry brush your skin in the morning before showering. You can buy a brush at most health food stores. Begin brushing the feet in short upward strokes moving up each leg. Then brush the arms beginning at the hands in the same way. The idea is to make short brush stokes towards the heart. So upward on the arms and legs, but then be sure to brush downward on the torso. This helps to enliven the lymphatic system and exfoliate because not only is our skin our largest organ but it also takes care of a lot of elimination so we must make sure to slough off all of the dead skin and the waste that excretes along with it. I know not very pleasant sounding but we're adults so big whoop!

Half way through Day 2

Today has been a whole different ball game. Today I went to work, actually I'm there right now; and its strange how different it has been from spending the day at home. Yesterday I kept myself busy with chores and as I like to do when taking a personal day the food network. And watching cooking shows didn't really alter my hunger; however reading blogs today has really made me hungry. Also knowing that this is my lunch break and I'm not having any lunch is hard to wrap my head around. My body doesn't feel hungry but my brain wants to munch. It could also be that it is Day 2 and no food has entered my stomach, my teeth haven't chewed, nothing. That small rant being said; I am wide awake and oddly clear headed. Generally when I haven't eaten I am cranky and can't think very clearly but because of the juice that has not happened. It really has me feeling very stable.

When doing a cleanse it is very common to feel crappy. It is a time when toxins are releasing from your body, you might get a headache, you might smell funky symptoms really vary a lot but I have found that with the juice cleanse I am feeling pretty good. There was one small headache but being aware of your body and tuning in to yourself will really help you to feel if that negative side affect is leading to beneficial health results or if you should end the cleanse. For example I knew that it was just the release of toxins so I drank a big glass of water and let it ease away.

Remember that if you have any health concerns you should consult a doctor. Also always do what feels right for you; keeping in mind that sometimes the road to good health is not the easiest path; however once you are on course it is much easier to stay focused. I think that that is why a cleanse is so great. Its an excellent head start down the path of healthful-ness.

Carrot Ginger Juice and the completion of Day 1

I have noticed that my stomach feels very empty. Its not a bad empty, its just a different feeling. A feeling of lightness is the best way to describe it, its strange and different; and I haven't figured out if it is bad or good yet. I have had a moment where I was overwhelmed with hunger, but it was really my own fault and it wasn't a stomach hunger, it was that low blood sugar jittery feeling and with only a few sips of fresh pressed carrot and ginger juice, I was back to normal. The value of the juice really affects you instantly and fills you with an energy that is so light.

Below is the recipe for my Carrot Ginger Juice

1 whole big bag of Carrots
1/2 whole lemon
1 Finger sized piece of Ginger

Just throw this all through a juicer. You can add more or less ginger depending on what you like, the lemon really helps to bring this together and add a well rounded flavour, almost like you would add salt to a dish, you can add lemon when juicing. This will make quite a bit of juice so you will want to store some. I know that the benefits of juicing are the greatest when the juice is drank right after pressing; but in reality if you are busy and trying to do a juice cleanse it is important to have juice to drink. So that it is there when you need it, just like any other plan you must be prepared in order to be successful.

Juice Cleanse Day 1

I have decided to do a 3 day juice cleanse to give my body a quick break after many BBQ and Beer afternoon of the summer and before the holiday season arrives. I am half way through Day 1 of my 3 day juice cleanse and to be honest it really has been quite easy. I made a big jug of juice this morning so that I would have it for work and I feel quite energetic. I imagine that I would have more energy due to the quick delivery or nutrients in the juice but also because I am not taxing my body with foods that it needs to digest. Digestion really is a lot of work for your body. I know that for example right now it is almost 3 pm and normally at this time I would have eaten lunch and would be getting tired after eating. Most of us experience the 3 pm weariness and I think that most of us believe that it is because of the day but today I don't have that. I don't think that it is the day. I think that that tired-ness comes from digestion. I guess we will have to wait for tomorrow to see if it continues.

I have posted a few juice recipes on here and will update it with some new ones soon:
For now try these:

Refreshing Cucumber Melon Juice
Carrot Apple Juice