As I sit down to write this recipe I am having the realization that these Maple Bourbon Glazed Chicken Wings in a nutshell are basically a food representation of my marriage and just 9 days before our 10 year wedding anniversary, at that. I would love to act as if this was 100% purposeful in it’s intent, but nope, kinda just a happy accident. But you guys, chicken wings inspired by the Kentucky Derby – it’s like Buffalo meets Louisville. I a Buffalo girl, my husband Mark from Louisville. Nifty. Totally planned (not really).
Tomorrow is the Kentucky Derby and while I could care less about horse racing, in fact I actually have some inherent issues with it from a moral and ethical standpoint, I do have a husband that grew up in Louisville, surrounded by the culture of this 2-minute long historic sport. They party for 2 weeks prior to the Derby in Louisville, there are boat races, fireworks, fancy hats and a plethora of foods and cocktails exclusively served for the Derby. They don’t mess around.
If you follow me on social media at all, you may know that I am currently in London. We have 10 days of travel between London, Paris, Leeds and back to London before we head back to LA. A for-real vacation, just the hubby and I.
So far, it’s been an adventurous trip. Unfortunately the adventures started off on a truly sad note for us. Here’s a strange and very somber story for you, it’s affected me greatly and it’s been weighing so heavy on my mind, even amidst this exciting time of international travel with my guy.
We had a direct flight from Los Angeles to London, on Thursday evening. It was meant to be approximately an 11 hour flight. A few hours in, somewhere over the middle of the country I drifted off to that strange, blurry-headed, plane-induced half-sleep, when there was a call over the loud speaker for any doctors or nurses. A short time later, another call.
Suddenly several hours later, with about 3.5 hours left of our 11 hour flight, the bright lights turned on, a jarring way to wake. We received the pre-recorded notice that we were close to our arrival and that we should prepare for landing. ‘Trays and seat backs to the upright positions.’ ‘Bags stowed.’ It didn’t make sense. The map showed we were in the middle of the Atlantic, somewhere near Greenland. In the fog of sleep and slight confusion and with the pull of an extremely abrupt direction change, I opened up the digital map on the glowing screen in front of me. The flight path showed a very abrupt u-turn in the middle of the blue sea. Mark said “we’re turning back around, we’re going back.” Our plane was headed back in the very direction we had just come from and the arrival time now showed as just over an hour.
At our core, we are all balance. It’s how we are meant to exist, it is necessary to our survival. It is how we choose to live our lives, in the most simplest of forms, that take this delicate rhythm away from it’s natural state. As I was creating this recipe, it struck me, like a huge truck in fact, I am truly the epitome of a libra and a middle child, through and through. I like when things are even and balanced, I like to see all sides, I like the middle and I love the way life feels when equanimity is at the forefront. The scales may flutter about, but ultimately I don’t feel right when my life is not in balance. I firmly believe that when life is imbalanced, this is when we suffer mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. When I am not in balance, I am not connected to the world. When I am not connected to the world, I get lost in myself and it never ends well.
This Spiced Rum Fig Kombucha Cocktail is just another example of how I truly embody the idea of balance, even in the most casual of moments in life. It’s something I crave even in the play time, I seek it and I am drawn to it, oftentimes in a completely subconscious manner. I’m sure, if you’ve been visiting this website for sometime, you see these very trends in my food. Many paleo recipes, yet lots of vegan, after many grain-free recipes will might find some grains, with a dozen vegan recipes, you’ll log on to find meatballs. There are sweets, but after too many, you won’t find them for a while. Many times I add a food to a recipe, just for a balance in color. I like to include ingredients that offer a compliment to balance another strong element. This is just how I live my life. Sometimes this need for balance will even show up in a dessert like a cake with some greens snuck into it or cookies with zucchini. It’s balance. My body craves it. The extremes, they just don’t work for me.
This time of year while most folks are looking for holiday cookies and sweets, I find myself seeking out comforting, healthy foods that I feel good about eating. Don’t get me wrong, I do indulge a little here and there, but generally speaking I find myself craving fresh fruits and vegetables and foods that will give me the energy I desperately need this time of year.
I had an abundance of fresh cranberries on hand from our Thanksgiving feast, so I thought a seasonally-inspired smoothie was the perfect way to use some of them. We have beautiful, juicy fresh oranges ready to be picked from our tree and I always have bananas and Medjool dates in the freezer ready for smoothie-making, so this sweet and tart, creamy, vegan, spiced Orange Cranberry Coconut Smoothie was born. Read the rest of this entry »