This is not how I originally set out to write this post, but high hopes are set as we head into the new year! It is a time to reflect on the ups and downs of its predecessor. Take with you the life lessons you learned with positive thoughts and bring them forth into a whole new adventure.
I can safely say that the past year had most definitely held it’s share of highs and lows both in relation to the blog and also personally. The first 15 days of last year our family went through what most families luckily don’t in years. New Years was filled with family and friends celebrating at our home. New Years day I woke up to find my eye was swollen and sore. Within another 24 hours it was so swollen I could not open it.
Out of no where it seemed that one of the main things we have New Years wishes for “health” was an immediate priority to take care of.
Off to the emergency room and immediate antibiotics via intravenous was in order. The following week was daily visits to the ER for medication followed by a rushed appointment to the plastic surgeon. 8 weeks of recovery and being off work, managing the household and most importantly getting better for myself and my family was for most in my mind.
During the 1st 15 days we also learned of the closing of the retail store my husband worked for. There was inclines before hand, but it was now confirmed. Which lead to “wealth”, another New Years wish many have.
With a notice of about 3 months our household income would be cut in half. With recent health issues still being dealt with for myself , the extra expensive of now replacing the motor in our only vehicle topped things off. We were lucky enough to be able to walk to work and decided earlier the year before to reduce our household expenses by selling the second vehicle we had. We found that we only drove it about once a week, so it didn’t make sense to have 2 vehicles that were hardly used.
So with health and wealth being at risk, the focus for myself was happiness.
I was able to take the opportunity to form a stronger relationship with my husband and support his new job opportunity by caring for my daughter while he was training in another city. Being forced to slow down and focus on getting better really does put things in prospective/what really mattered. The 21 days my husband was away, my daughter and I formed a stronger bond than we ever had before.
Self focus can be a good thing, not necessarily a selfish thing. It gave me the voice that I have and can share with you. The confidence to reacquaint myself by taking chances with a national food contest audition, hosting the secret garden tour and also a radio interview.
After all that happened, nothing is too much of a challenge for me or my family. Our family and friends are supportive and step up to assist without asking. Nothing is impossible.
So on the Eve of a New Year and a new start, we are excited for what it has in store. We celebrated with some friends by hosting a dinner party. The night was great and the mandarin orange duck tagine was the star of the meal. A good time was had by all and it is those times where you realize how lucky you really are.
The night of New Years Day though, we spent the night in the ER again as my rambunctious daughter fell and ended up with a cut above her eye. Yes I see the irony in the timing of all this.
The lesson I take is that we wish for health, wealth and happiness. The true success of all those is not having it all but a balance of them all. At one moment in time, when one is lacking, work towards building it up again, but remember the other ones will always compensate.
Wishing you a truly balanced New Year.
A medley of orange and spiced duck.
- 1 whole duck, portioned and trimmed
- 12 pearl onions, peeled
- 4 mandarin onions, peeled and halved
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 oranges, zested and juiced
- 1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Section and cut the duck to make 2 breasts, 2 leg and 2 wing portions. Trim the excess fat from the cut portions.
- In a large frying pan, heat and place duck portions fat side down. Fry and sear for about 3 minutes on each side. Remove from duck from the pan and place in the bottom of the tagine, keeping the fat from the duck in the pan.
- Reduce heat, add the pearl onions and fry lightly for 5 minutes. Add the mandarin orange halves and spices and cook for about 2 more minutes. Pour in the orange and lemon zest and juices along with the vegetable stock. Stir in the honey.
- Pour the mixture over the duck portions. Place the tagine lid on the base. Place in the oven to cook for 1 and 1/2 hours.
If you have a new tagine make sure to properly season it for first time use by soaking it in water for an hour. Prep the inside by wiping olive oil in the interior. Place in an oven at 350 temperature for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and let cool in the oven until room temperature. If you haven't use our tagine in a while, repeat the soak step before using.