To balance my recent ice cream making obsession (fresh coconut ice cream included) over the past two plus months, the healthier summer stir-fry setting felt right-on-time. The real key to any flavourful stir-fry dish is in the seasoning prep of our lean meats and a dash of succulence as we toss in our vegetables of choice. And personally, I prefer allowing my meats to marinate overnight in the refrigerator. My favourite go-to stir-fry sauce for decades is by Kikkoman and there are readily available gluten-free and soy-free sauces in our markets to handle any food allergies, so do go for it. We can step up the basic stir-fry by adding more favourite and complimentary ingredients including roasted nuts and dried fruit, and next month in our holiday line-up is another family stir-fry love. I hope you had a great week and here's to a restful weekend. ~xx
Ingredients: (Makes 8 - 10 servings to include leftovers for lunch the next day)
6 medium thick slices of beef eye round steak (the leaner the better)
1 large yellow onion (peeled and chopped into thin slices)
1 large red pepper (washed, inner seeds removed and cut into medium-thick slices)
1 large flowering head of broccoli (cut the florets from the thicker stalks, and then cut through the base of the head using a small knife to pull the florets apart). Rinse the smaller florets well and set aside in a large enough colander/ strainer to drain any excess water.
1 teaspoon Accent Flavor Enhancer
1. Wipe and pat dry the individual slices of steak with paper towels.
2. Using a pairing knife, remove any fatty excess from the sides of the steak and cut into desired cube-sized pieces or strips.
3. With the cubed beef now in a large bowl sprinkle half of the dry seasoning: salt, white pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and ground ginger onto the meat. Mix well bringing the bottom pieces to the top. Sprinkle the remaining dry seasoning onto the meat and mix well again.
5. Place saran wrap over the bowl and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.
6. Heat a skillet over medium to high heat and add 2 - 3 tablespoons of peanut oil.
7. Add beef (if needed in batches) to the hot skillet and cook until well-browned (8 - 12 minutes). Remove the cooked beef from the skillet and set aside.
8. Discard any liquid from the skillet and wipe clean with paper towels. Add the hot, cooked beef back to the clean skillet/ a dutch pot on medium to low heat.
9. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of stir-fry sauce to the beef and stir gently.
10. Add the sliced onions and toss for 3 minutes, followed by the sliced red peppers, tossing again for another 2 minutes. Top with the broccoli florets, sprinkle the Accent Flavor Enhancer, cover the skillet, and allow to steam for 5 to 6 minutes without any further tossing.
11. Serve warm as is or over steamed jasmine rice.
Oils during the summer? Yes! I was quite surprized myself when I experimented with these oils especially with having oily skin and now inundated with our sometimes 'pelting' sun rays. No complaints as we're naturally boosting our lifesaving Vitamin D levels and going for that loved no-tan-lines tropical glow. These are my current top three favourites and as always at a great price, giving us more bang for our buck...
- Revlon (401) 'Dreamer' Nail Enamel - This was a great find in my middle sister's (Jan) nail polish collection. I was ready for a beach-y blue that was just right... not too much of a bright spring colour and definitely nothing jeweled toned at this time of the year with the sun giving us all a seasonal shimmer. Revlon's 'Dreamer' felt perfect for daytime into evening wear with a sunny straw hat seaside vibe. Three coats plus a high quality top coat sealer does the trick. - $1.99
- Now Foods Grape Seed Oil - My niece Xena has been telling me about this amazing oil for a while now and it was on my list to take it for a test ride once our longer stretch of holidays hit. This face and body oil is a sure keeper and we are now onto our second bottle. What I love about this oil (especially with my oily skin) is that for one, there is no oily residue after applying, it doesn't clog pores which creates break outs, and you get a fully-absorbed light natural overall moisture which also nourishes with our salty water and beach air being more of a constant these days. After washing my face at nights and using this loved year-round toner, I apply two drops to my palm and then dot the middle of my forehead, chin, left and right cheek and gently massage in. And that's it... nothing else is needed. Expect smoother, softer and younger-looking skin overnight! - $7.52
- Palmer's Olive Oil Conditioning Spray - I'm always game for new hair products because I can quickly neutralize any undesirable situation within minutes using my proven go-to mane staples. With washing my thicker and wavy hair a lot more during our summer months it's easy to lose some of its natural oils leading to a drier and trashy feel especially around salty water and air. This olive oil conditioning spray gives my hair any needed extra moisture. Just three to four spritzes applied to wet, freshly shampooed or dry hair every three days give a healthy, frizz-free soft sheen and feel. - $8.72
Some weeks, all seem like a wild rat-rush, and others a time to slow down, reflect and rejuvenate the self, alone and with loved ones. This week felt very much like the latter in so many places. While our happy tomorrows are not promised but hoped for, we have today and especially right now, and the chance in the present to make a small positive impact on those going through the simplest to the most devastating and unimaginable challenges. Let's be good to each other, not just the select few, and contribute to creating a better world for us all moving forward. Wishing you a calm and soothing weekend. ~ xx
Being on 'Island time' is something we all look forward to during our longer holiday months and even for that quick two to three day mid-week or weekend getaway throughout the year. It simply means a much slower and sweeter pace filled with a carefree attitude away from any clock, quality time relaxing with family and close friends, away from even the slightest thought of a rat-race somewhere, and unwinding close to or on the water regrouping and refreshing our spirits and souls. And of course getting into our signature summer beverage: fresh all-natural coconut water. It's always a must have (clear to white-coloured jelly on the inside included) if enjoying right out of the actual green coconut itself, or a generously filled glass from a fresh and flowing dispenser.
In between those 'magical', yes magical tucked-away travels, we've been lucky to enjoy some really good quality coconut water brands over the years and these are our favourite top three family picks...
In addition to guzzling my glasses of water daily (especially during our hot, hotter, hottest summer days) from that very first room temperature cup first thing in the a.m. and being a lot more conscious of what I eat and drink with getting older, here are some fab health benefits that come with indulging in this seasonal sipper.
1/Maintains Hydration and Treats Dehydration... Coconut water contains the same electrolyte concentration as our blood filled with sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorous and is a great blood plasma substitute during any emergency situation.
2/Boosts Cardiovascular Health... The minerals and trace elements within coconut water are known to lower blood pressure and reduce hypertension improving our cardiovascular function.
3/A Natural Toxin Flusher... With being a good source of manganese, coconut water gives our metabolism a big boost with converting our daily carbohydrate and fat intake into energy and reducing the amount of crystals deposited in our kidneys. This lowers the occurrence and build up of kidney stones that can cause severe pain and further harm to our bodies. Lauric acid also contained in coconut water helps to fight bacteria, fungi and viruses.
4/Healthier Tissues and Skin... From the inside and out, creating that loved and coveted natural age-defying effect with contained antioxidants and cytokinins. As we age, our skin tends to become drier, thinner and less supple. Talk about an earthy 'power-fuel' for sun-flushed, moisture-balanced and glowing skin all year round.
5/Helps with Maintaining Weight and Weight-loss... One of my absolute loves with coconut water is the no-bloating effect (unlike our regular carbonated and diet sodas). Coconut water is fiber-rich creating a nourishing and full taste and feel in our bodies that lasts for hours after being enjoyed with some grilled lean protein, a light salad or steamed vegetables of choice. And I tend to be a more choose-y with what I eat during and after that solo serving of quality coconut water.
***Brands, labels and tastes may vary from one person to the next, but coconut water tasting and testing sounds like a great summer experience if you've yet to try it. Happy summer-sipping!