2020 has been a special year, one of the most unique yet! After 2 months of (mostly) isolation, life is slowly inching its way back to normalcy. The sun has definitely gone back to its usual desert summer mode with temps of 35C+. If you've been taking walks you definitely know it's summer time when you're sweaty after 5 minutes!

Food wise...

There's been a lot of home cooking, but a lot of food delivery too- I mean you can't cook everyday unless you REALLY have the time and discipline! I feel like winter meals in the UAE especiallyย having overlapped with the holy month of Ramadan are typically quite stodgy (i.e: heavy, filling, carby) and so I felt like extra summery flavors needed a little shout out this month as we enter that steamy UAE time of May to September.

Needless to say, itย doesn't hurt to cut a few inches after a few thousand less steps on the ol' sports/fitbit watch during the whole stay at home situation! Eating the best beef and lamb in town with light and bright combos can have an amazing impact on wellbeing.

Here are some awesome ways you can complement grilled steaks and slow cooked roasts:

1. Have beef or lamb on the menu less times a week, but buy the best.

Slow cook a good batch of brisket or short ribs, or invest in nicely marbled cuts for an awesome steak night a few times a month- all our steaks have good amounts of oleic acid in their marbling i.e. intramuscular fat mainly comprised of monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acids commonly found in avocados and table olives. Having a pescetarian or vegetarian menu on other days of the week makes for aย more balanced diet.

Photo Credit: Linda Pugliese; Styling: Kaitlyn Du Ross Walker fromย My Recipes

Check outย this recipeย forย Hamburger Steaks with Sweet Onion and Mushrooms

2. Always add a side salad or refreshing pickle to all your meals.

It could be some carrot ribbons, red onion and shredded cabbage drizzled with a little apple cider vinegar, sugar and salt. Or your choice of a handful of greens with whichever vegetables you have- we love a good greek combo of cucumbers, tomatoes, some feta cheese cubes and olives! Pickles are not only a great palate cleanser but are also beneficial for gut health. For more info on pickles and their health benefits, click here.

Photo credit: Jennifer Causey Styling: Claire Spollen fromย My Recipes

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3. Pack your meals with vegetables!

It might be a good time to check out your freezer if you have any longstanding frozen goodies in there, or items you need to move out! I for one have been adding frozen cubes squash and broccoli florets to my rice when steaming in the rice cooker, or simply adding as many veggies as possible to all dishes. Frozen veggies are wonderful options by the way, as they are picked in season and IQF (individually quick frozen).ย 

Photo credit: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Claire Spollen from My Recipes

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4. Portion control.

Do you ever feel like you put too much on your plate, or you cooked too much? I only found out a few years ago for example that pasta portions in Italy are actually only 100g per person- no wonder many Italians are so fit although they live on pasta and pizza! Try limiting your portions and planning ahead so you cook just enough for however many meals you want to eat the same meal for. Moreover, planning a lighter meal in the evenings will help you sleep better too!

Photo credit:ย Greg Dupree; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas from My Recipes

Check outย this recipeย forย Spiced Beef Kabobs with Herbed Cucumber and Tomato Salad