Tuesday, March 10, 2015

New Recipes Resolution: Chicken Stir Fry with Veri Veri Teriyaki from Soy Vay

It's been awhile since I've posted a new recipe. Not that I haven't been cooking; I have! I just haven't been documenting as well as I should be or as eagerly as I was at the beginning of the year. 

Isn't that how it goes? The new year burst of energy runs its course around springtime? 

Nevertheless, I still am partially sticking to my resolution of trying new recipes, just not as often as I aimed for. Progress, not perfection, my friend says. 

Klout has gifted me with quite a few goodies in recent months and the latest Klout Perk I received from them was the Veri Veri Teriyaki from Soy Vay. The perk came with a full bottle of sauce to try and recipe cards. However, I knew immediately that I wanted to make a stir fry. 

Why? Because it's really tough to screw up stir fry. 

I guess you can't really count this as a new recipe since I've made stir fry before, more like a new product. It's really quite simple, all you need to do is: 
  1. Buy cut up chicken (or cut it up yourself) and cook in a skillet with a little bit of olive oil; pepper your chicken, but do not salt if you're using this sauce!
  2. After the chicken is cooked, add in your stir fry veggies: snow peas, broccoli, carrots, bamboo shoots. You can buy a mixture at the store. Fresh or frozen, it's your choice, make sure you cook them long enough so they're not raw, but also so they don't become limp either. 
  3. Add the Soy Vay sauce to the pan. I would use a little more than half of the bottle. 
  4. Served with steamed rice. 
The Soy Vay sauce was tasty, but a bit on the salty side, so do not add any extra salt to your dish. I added a few shakes of chili flakes and then Sriracha sauce to my individual portion. I like things spicy!

Next time I am going to marinate the meat in the sauce first and the cook it. I'm a fan of their product, especially after reading their adorable About Us story from their site. Too cute.

Anyway, here is my humble offering from one of the many resolutions I have set for 2015. Any recipe ideas, feel free to send my way! Comment below or send me a tweet to @mscourtneybeth. 

Klout sent this product for free as part of their influencer program. All opinions remain my own.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Product Review: Peppermint & Lemon Essential Oils from InstaNatural

I've never used essential oils before, but I do know it's all the rage, especially for people devoted to Pinterest. There are a limitless amount of ideas and recipes for creating your own bath products, including lotions, bath salts, and scrubs. Honestly, I wasn't sure how I wanted to use my samples at first, but found two fantastic uses for each of the oils I received. 

Note: Due to unavailability, I did not receive the Lavender Essential Oil, which would've been great to rub into my temples before bed or take with me to yoga. 

The InstaNatural Lemon Essential Oil is highly fragrant and I could smell it before even unpacking the shipping box. Its strong scent was citrusy and fresh-smelling and turned out to be perfect for cleaning my stove. 

Cooking can get messy and leave behind food and grease stains that can be hard to get off. I use cleaning supplies from the store, but they always leave behind that unappealing chemical smell. This time to clean up, I decided to apply the Lemon Essential Oil directly to the stove and wiped down with a cloth. While it didn't get every single spot, it still did a better job of cleaning my stove than the products I had, while also leaving behind a nice smell. 

I took the InstaNatural Peppermint Essential Oil to the bathroom. Until recently, we've been having a bit cooler weather and at night, nothing is better than taking a hot shower to relax before bed. I added two droppers of the Peppermint Essential Oil directly to my shower to create an invigorating scent that helped clear up my sinuses and make my shower feel more luxurious. Though lavender is a more calming scent, the peppermint actually helped both me and my guy feel more relaxed before bed. He commented that it reminded him of when he gets a shave at the barbershop and how good it makes him feel.

There are so many ways you can use essential oils and these are just two of the ways I've tried so far. InstaNatural products use all organic ingredients and come in easy-to-use bottles perfect for mixing up your own concoctions.

How have you used essential oils before? Have any "recipe" recommendations for me?

This is a sponsored post by BrandBacker. All opinions remain my own.

Monday, March 2, 2015

50/50 Challenge: Books and Movies Update

image from Pinterest

Currently, I'm reading another John Green book. He's the author that wrote The Fault in Our Stars. I'm a fan of his writing style and how he seems to capture the voice of young adults. 

The book was turned into a movie and I just read that screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber are adapting another one of his books to hit the screen this summer and more recently acquired Looking for Alaska. The writers are also working on screenplays for two other book club reads: Where'd You Go, Bernadette? and one my favorites Me Before You

On the list of movies I've seen since my last update was another book-to-screen adaptation. "Still Alice" was an emotional book and the movie (which Julianne Moore won Best Actress for) made me teary-eyed as well. 

"Whiplash" was one of my favorite movies that I've seen recently. I was very happy to see J.K. Simmons win the Oscar for his performance and "Birdman" was not nearly as weird as I had heard it would be. I rather enjoyed it.

"Shall We Dance?" is a movie I've been meaning to see for awhile because, I mean, Richard Gere. It's a fun, rainy day, flipping through cable kind of movie, and I love how in this movie they didn't follow a bad cliche of a man struggling in his marriage having an affair. Yay for Richard Gere's character putting the romance (and dance) back into his marriage!

#15 - Shall We Dance?
#16 - Kingsman: The Secret Service
#17 - Whiplash
#18 - Birdman
#19 - Still Alice
I've only read two more books:

#7 - It Was Me All Along - Andie Mitchell
#8 - Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness - Susannah Cahalan
Both of these books were interesting because they were based on real events of the authors. The one by Andie Mitchell follows her weight-loss journey in a sincere and inspiring way. Her honesty was refreshing. I received that book complimentary of Blogging for Books.
The book by Susannah Cahalan is fascinating. At times it can be too clinical because it discusses a lot of her medical records, but an interesting read nonetheless. I like the parts discussing her work life at The New York Post.
At the beginning of the year, I had thought I would update my review and book lists on Goodreads. If you couldn't tell, I have failed at this resolution. However, I am still dutifully keeping track and at this rate I predict having my movies covered by June and my books covered late December, per the usual.
Share any books or movies that you think I should put on my list!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Beauty Review: Pura d'or Hair & Body Care

It's always great when I have the opportunity to try new products. Recently, I had the chance to try three separate beauty products (all full-size) from the Pura d'or Hair & Body Care line. I received the: 

  • Premium Organic Argan Oil Based Hair Loss Prevention Shampoo
  • Premium Organic Argan Oil Based Conditioner, Lavender Vanilla
  • Pure and Organic Argan Oil

My hair is thick and long, which made the first product inapplicable to me. This product has a stronger scent, more clinical than soothing, and it seemed drying to my hair. But again, I am not the ideal candidate for this type of product. It just came as part of the complete package. I may send it to my mom who may benefit from it better than I will since she has always had thin hair. 

The second product, the conditioner, had a calming smell of lavender. Since I shower before bed, the aromatherapy kind of helps set my mind to relaxation mode. I worked this product mostly into the ends of my hair. I did feel like I had to use more than I typically do for conditioner, but the smell and product itself worked nicely on my hair. 

I use the Argan Oil following my shower, also on the ends of my hair, to further aid in conditioning, especially since my hair becomes drier during the colder month. Sometimes I will rub some of the oil between my palms and apply to my hair in the morning to tame flyaways. 

Many beauty lovers like using products that are all organic. One fantastic perk of using these products is that you can do so knowing that you are using 100% natural ingredients with no harsh chemicals. Everything is organic and the company is animal cruelty free. 

Have you tried Pura d'or products before? 

This is a sponsored post by BrandBacker. All opinions remain my own.