With Frozen Stir Fry Vegetables You Can Make a Meal in Minutes

Many varieties of frozen stir fry vegetables are available: Japanese, Teriyaki, Lo Mein (with noodles), Singapore, Oriental, and Szechuan. Last night I fixed chicken stir fry with broccoli, sugar snap peas, green beans, carrots, celery, water chestnuts, onions and red peppers. When you use frozen stir fry vegetables you have to be careful not to overcook them.

The pan should be heated until it is almost smoking and you cook the vegetables for five to seven minutes. No more, or you will have a gloppy mess. The vegetables will taste boiled, rather than stir fried.

Stir frying is a quick and healthy technique, detailed in the article, “What is Stir Fry?” Posted on the Wise Geek website, the article says you need to think smaller when you think stir fry. The ingredients should be cut into small, uniform pieces to ensure uniform cooking. “Thumb-size for the chunks is a good way to remember the ideal size,” the article notes.

The Family Wok website has posted “Basic Stir-Fry Instruction” and photos on its website. The wok or frying pan (I use a cast iron skillet) needs to be heated until it is smoking hot. Ingredients that take the most time to cook are added first. If liquid forms on the bottom of the pan, it is not hot enough or you have too much in the pan. Vegetables should be cooked until they are “crisp tender.”

As with all stir fry, you need to complete your prep work before you start cooking. Though I used Top Ramen noodles, I did not use the seasoning packet to cut down on salt. Thickening with corn starch can be a bit tricky, so watch the pan carefully. Your goal is a slightly thickened stir fry, not vegetable pudding. Short on time? Try Stir Fried Chicken and Vegetables tonight.

Ingredients

1 scallion, white and green parts, diced
2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
2 tablespoons minced ginger (fresh or from a jar)
2 cloves garlic, minced (fresh or from a jar)
1 1/2 cups cubed chicken breast
1-pound bag frozen stir fry vegetables
2 cups lower salt chicken stock
2 tablespoons lower sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar-free apricot jam
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3-ounce package Top Ramen noodles, chicken flavor
2-3 tablespoons corn starch

Method

Dice scallion and set aside. Cut chicken into 3/4″ cubes. Rinse Ramen noodles under running water and set aside. Pour oil into wok or skillet and heat until almost smoking. Add ginger and garlic. Fry for a few seconds and add chicken. Cook chicken until it starts to brown, remove and set aside. Pour a little more oil into the pan. Add frozen vegetables and stir fry for about two minutes. Return chicken to pan and add chicken stock, soy sauce, jam, and red pepper flakes. Add Ramen noodles and break them up. Cover pan and cook for another minute. Thin corn starch with cold water, add to pan and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Plate stir fry, garnish with scallions, and serve with white or brown rice.

Copyright 2010 by Harriet Hodgson

Great Migration Photo Safari In Kenya

Every year, between June and August, over a million wildebeests, zebras and gazelles cross over from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to Kenya’s Masai Mara Game Reserve in search of fresh pasture.

The dramatic event, which is thought to be the world’s biggest wildlife show, offers visitors numerous opportunities to photograph the great animal parade.

The Masai Mara Game Reserve is the main focus of a great migration photo safari. It is in this reserve that the animals cross over the crocodile-invested Mara River – a dangerous affair that leaves thousands of wildebeests and zebras dead. On arrival at the Mara River, the wildebeests are initially reluctant to swim across and it is only after a brave animal takes the first plunge into water that the rest follow suit.

Wildebeest, zebras and gazelles in their thousands do not make it to the other side and their carcasses nourish the crocodile and hippos for weeks. The lucky animals get into plains of the Masai Mara where they mate and feed on the fresh foliage until early December when they return to the Serengeti to give birth to a new generation of wildlife. The wildebeest migration does not follow a time-line since the event is instinctive – triggered by the depletion of grass in the Serengeti National Park. Nevertheless, those who visit the Masai Mara Game Reserve between June and August have a higher chance of catching the event.

Kenya tours and safaris are not limited to migration expeditions. The country also offers numerous activities such as game viewing safaris, hot-air balloon safaris and beach holidays among others. The country is endowed with more than 50 wildlife sanctuaries, spectacular landscapes and unspoiled beaches that make for great tours and safaris.

Some of Kenya’s top wildlife parks include Masai Mara, Amboseli, Tsavo, Lake Nakuru, Mount Kenya and Aberdares among others. For those seeking to enjoy beach holidays at the Kenyan coast, Mombasa, Lamu and Malindi offer some of the most rewarding beach vacations in East Africa. The coastal region enjoys sunshine throughout the year, with average temperatures of 27°C.

The area experiences two rainy seasons: April to June and November to December. However, the rains tend to fall during the nights thus enabling visitors to enjoy their holiday even during the rainy season. Kenya is generally an all year round travel destination – thanks to the country’s favourable weather. However, the dry season – usually December to early March and July through October – is the best time to go on a game viewing safari in the country. During the dry season, the vegetation is typically thin and animals tend to assemble around waterholes – allowing better views of the wildlife.

Chronological Aging vs Photo Aging

Most people dread aging and try to prevent it at all costs. Unfortunately, it’s a natural process and there is no way to avoid it entirely. The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to lessen its effects. It’s important to understand the two different types of the aging process and how to lessen their effects. With the right diet and skin care routine, your skin can appear much younger that it actually is.

Chronological aging means the natural aging of the skin with the passing of time. As you become older, you will start noticing that your skin is not as firm and elastic as it used to be. These changes happen due to a combination of unavoidable internal factors. Your skin begins to lose moisture becoming thinner and dryer. Slower skin renewal results in loss of softness and smoothness. The dreaded wrinkles begin to appear due to loss of fat and collagen that are responsible for keeping skin plump and firm. Pigment cells don’t function as well as they used to and age spots begin to appear. The way your skin responds to chronological aging is largely predetermined by genes you’ve inherited from your parents.

Photo aging, on the other hand, can be caused by a number of external factors, many of which can be controlled. It is the result of damaged collagen and elastic fibers in your skin. Sun exposure, smoking, using products that contain harmful chemicals, and maintaining an unhealthy diet can all significantly damage your skin. Extended exposure to dangerous ultraviolet rays alone can directly contribute to wrinkles and facial lines. The effects of photo aging can be reduced by taking preventive measures every day such as using sunscreen.

Although there is no way to stop aging, you can make your skin appear brighter and tighter by following the right skin care routine regularly. Eat a healthy diet high in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, potassium, and calcium. This will help keep your blood pressure normal resulting in slowing down of arterial aging. Experts recommend that you eat five or six servings of vegetables and fruits every day. Eat fish three times a week as well as healthy fats found in foods like olive oil, avocados, and nuts.

Sit out in the sun for no more than twenty minutes to produce Vitamin D. Remember to wear sunscreen, and avoid overexposure. Keep your skin moist with anti-aging lotions that contain collagen. Sleep is very important to keeping your skin healthy, and you should get around seven hours of rest every night. Try to avoid other external factors that can damage your skin. Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke at all costs. Reduce stress by exercising regularly. Take care of your body and your skin will look healthier and younger.

Actively taking care of your skin will help you appear much younger. Maintain a healthy diet, and moisturize your skin regularly. Avoid overexposure to harmful ultraviolet rays, and toxic cigarette smoke. You don’t have to let your skin become a victim of aging. Take good care of it and you’ll be amazed at how much younger your skin will look.

How to Take Fun Wedding Photos

Although wedding vows by their sacred nature and ultimate purpose demand extreme sincerity and the utmost degree of seriousness, wedding photos do not. In fact, wedding photos which are considered cool or fun are preferred nowadays as they deviate from the triteness of traditional wedding photos. Instead of having serious photo shoots, you can ask your wedding photographer to take fun wedding photos. This can make your guests loosen up and enjoy the event even more. Wedding photos can be made more fun with the use of colorful backgrounds, silly expressions, and funny accessories and accessories.

Using Colorful Backgrounds

Many wedding photography services offer different kinds of backgrounds for their photo booths. Fun wedding photos often use colorful backgrounds or those with specific themes like a zoo, a circus, or other places of happiness like Disneyland and even different kinds of movies including animation and horror. Some backgrounds which are not funny in themselves may produce a funny effect in a blatant comical or even satirical sort of way like prison cells or mental institutions which are jokingly attached to the idea of marriage. Location shooting may also be an option like a photo shoot in a playground or in an amusement park where the bride and groom as well as the guests and the members of the entourage can actually have fun while their pictures are being taken.

Making Silly Expressions

Though considered quite tacky by some, making silly expressions through outlandish facial contortions is a more appropriate way of encouraging fun instead of merely smiling or laughing. These stir up excitement more than just sitting or standing and looking into the camera lens with a timid smile. They also encourage a comfortable atmosphere where people need not hide behind the screen of proper decorum at all times.

Using Funny Accessories

Using funny accessories is common for photo booths. A couple can actually have funny props on each table for the guests to wear, or play with, as the photographer roams the reception venue and takes snapshots of their silly antics. Funny accessories may range from small items such as a clown’s nose, bizarre eyeglasses, a long mustache or a crazy wig to large ones such as a mug shot placard similar to that of a prisoner’s, a “for sale” poster pointing to one’s spouse, a biohazard indicator, or even a “doomsday” sign depending on the type of humor the couple can accept or even endure.

Taking Candid Shots

Those who do not wish to be quite outlandish can opt for candid photos. The idea of fun is not entirely confined to being wacky. Just capturing the happy smiles and laughter of the guests during the even could be fun enough. Taken during unguarded moments, these candid shots are as real as they can get. It would be great to look at these photos later on and laugh at the lighter side of wedding: a piece of cake falling from the groom’s mouth, a piece of vegetable caught in between the bride’s teeth, a guest wiping cake icing off his nose, or accidentally stepping on his dance partner’s gown.

Fun wedding photos are great for reminiscing about this milestone in a couple’s relationship and how the people close to the couple shared this special time with them.