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Choc chip muesli bars

It can be rally hard to find a healthy snack on the go. The first time I tired these I had found my new favourite snack! Perfect so those mid-morning munchies. I keep a container in the fridge to keep me going throughout the week.

Ingredients (makes 6 bars):

  • 1 cup of nuts, seeds and dried fruit (I use the nut & fruit mix from Aldi – Oh So Natural Wholefoods)
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp rice malt syrup
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup quick oats
  • Sprinkle of pink himalayan salt
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Place ingredients into a food processor and blend until combined.
  2. Line a loaf tin with baking paper and press the mixture firmly into the tin.
  3. Freeze for 1 hour (you can leave overnight).
  4. Remove from freezer, cut into 6 bars and place into airtight container.
  5. Store in the fridge.

Tip:

Lasts up to a week in the fridge.

Nut and fruit mix from Aldi contains almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, walnuts, sultanas, raisins, sunflower seeds and peptitas.

Turkey and Quinoa Cakes

A great alternative to fish cakes. These lean turkey and quinoa cakes are full of protein and are perfect for that weekday lunch dilemma! Serve with a salad, roast vegetables or use in a pita pocket or wrap.

Ingredients (makes 16):

  • 500g turkey mince
  • 1/3 cup quinoa
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Rosemary
  • Salt and peper

Method:

  1. Cook quinoa per packet instructions and leave to cool.
  2. Place all ingredients into a bowl and combine.
  3. Heat a large frying pan and spray with oil (I use coconut oil).
  4. Roll mixture into balls, place onto frying pan and press with spatula to flatten.
  5. Cook for 5-10 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
  6. Serve with your choice of side.

Tip:

Great option for meal prep. I take these to work in a container and reheat for an easy, healthy lunch!

 

Banana Blueberry Protein Smoothie

Looking for something quick and easy on those busy mornings? This smoothie will give you the energy you need to start your day the right way!

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp pea protein power
  • 2 cups almond & coconut milk
  • Shredded coconut (to serve)

Method:

  1. Place ingredients into a blender and blend until combined. Pour into 2 cups and serve with shredded coconut on top.

Tip:

Buy a large amount of banana’s and when they are ripe, peel and freeze them in zip lock bags. Perfect for smoothies, banana bread and vegan ice-cream.

Weekend in Melbourne

Long Weekend | Melbourne 

We only had 3 days in Melbourne and there is so much to do!  So here is what we did to make the most of our long weekend.

Saturday | Day 1

The most important part of the day….breakfast, or brunch in our case! While you may have to wait a little while for breakfast here, it is worth it! One of Melbourne’s most popular breakfast spots, Higher Ground, located on Little Bourke Street. Do try the delicious ricotta and blueberry hotcake (tip: you may not want lunch after – it’s HUGE).

After scoffing down our brunch at Higher Ground, we wandered over to the Melbourne Cricket Ground to watch a game of AFL. You can pick tickets up from just $25 (however, you may end up spending much more on food and drinks).

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The game finished around 5pm, with a quick outfit change back at the hotel and a few more layers added we walked to our dinner destination, SPQR Pizzeria.  Located on Liverpool Street, SPQR is a new wood fire pizza restaurant where you can dine in or just pop in and buy a slice of authentic Italian pizza. The wood fire oven was hand made by an Italian family in Thomastown! They also have a great selection of wine, which makes this place one to visit.

Conveniently there was a basement comedy show on at the European Bier Cafe the weekend we visited (and all through May). For $20 you can purchase a ticket to see five well-known comedians over one and a half hours. What makes this event even better is the bar located right next to the stage. Grab a beverage, sit back and be ready to laugh until your abs hurt.

Before arriving in Melbourne we had be told of a new dessert and cocktail bar, Om Nom. Reservations are recommended! This cocktail may have been $25, but let me tell you, it was SO worth it! What you are really paying for is the theatre around the cocktail. I had the salted caramel espresso, served with liquid nitrogen. Amazing!

Sunday | Day 2

Lazy Sunday morning. We started the day with a tram ride to Elsternwick…on the hunt for breakfast. We had found Penta Elsternwick cafe on instagram and it looked far too good to miss! The breakfast was incredible! A long walk was in need after so instead of catching the tram back to the city we walked through Elwood and along St Kilda beach. A quick change at the hotel and back out into the city!

China town was next on the agenda! The hardest part…deciding on a restaurant for lunch! Dumplings, pork buns, Shanghai noodles were in need and thats exactly what we got.

With so much eating and walking it was time for some shopping. South Wharf DFO in Melbourne is full of outlet stores and not far away from an adorable bar on the river, Pony Fish Island, which is where we ended up after shopping…woops! Nothing better than mulled wine in autumn!

When the day isn’t over yet, just keep eating! Because Melbourne has so many delicious restaurants to try! Eat is what we did, Mexican for dinner at Bodega underground, Beer at Hofbräuhaus and dessert crepes at Chin Chin.

Monday | Day 3

When in Melbourne the most important thing to do (apart from eating) is walking through Hosier Lane and checking out the amazing graffiti artwork. We started the day with a quick run from Hosier Lane to Prahran to explore the neighbourhood and have breakfast of course!

Tall Timber cafe is the place to visit when in Prahran. Order the breakfast board and bircher muesli with poached pear, you will not be disappointed.

Our exploring continued…all the way to Fitzroy. With a cup of coffee in hand we walked the streets of Fitzroy and browsed the boutique shops and local supermarkets until we came across Ichi Ni Nana Izakaya Japanese and just had to sit down for lunch!

Our last stop before the airport was the ACMI Museum. The perfect way to end our long weekend in Melbourne.

 

 

Mari-CAR | Tokyo

If you are planing to visit Japan, this is the one activity you HAVE TO DO! MariCAR uses Tokyo City as a real life go-kart track, and you are dressed as cartoon characters…because, why not?

Before we left for our trip to Japan we sent an enquiry through to the company to arrange a booking. They replied with available times and sent a confirmation e-mail. No pre-payment required. You can book into a 90 minute, 2 hour or 3 hour course. The courses go around the centre of Tokyo and visit Rainbow Bridge, Odaiba, Tokyo Tower, Roppongi and Shibuya. However, these change based on which shop you leave from (they have 3 shops in Tokyo).

TIP: You need a valid Japanese Licence or international driving permit to participate. Make sure you get one before you go to Japan if you plant to do MariCAR.

On the day of our booking we turned up 15 minutes early to ensure enough time to pick our costumes, sign waver forms and most importantly, learn how to drive the go-karts.

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Dressed up as cartoon characters

Then we were off! Driving on the streets of Tokyo in a go-kart was exhilarating! Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought this was something you could do (and definitely isn’t in Australia). We drove around for our 90 minutes, stopping at iconic landmarks and when we lost half the group. Don’t stress, there are two guides that stay with you the whole time, one at the front and one at the back. They also take photos for you along the way and send them to your mobile when your finished. You feel like a celebrity the entire time! Everyone wants to take your photo and wave at you. We found it so funny and of course, we posed for photos and waved and gave thumbs up to people. Gotta make the most of it!

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A caution message from MariCAR “MariCar is healthy recreation service that provides our customers the opportunity to ride our custom go-cart on the street. Maricar is in no way a reflection of the game “Mario Kart”. Therefore, when riding the go-carts none of the following will be allowed. 1. No racing each other on the streets. 2. Do not throw banana peals or any other garbage on to the streets. 3. Do not throw red turtle shells or any other objects to each other. Maricar is a very exciting once in a life time experience tour you can enjoy in the streets of Japan. Safety is our top priority. We wish our customers to respect the safety of yourself and other while having fun. Thank you.”

Easy Oats

There is nothing better than a bowl of warm oats for breakfast. They are incredibly nutritious and have so many health benefits including: lowering blood sugar levels, assisting in the slow release of energy, weight loss and plenty more.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • Dash of vanilla essence

Method:

  1. Place ingredients into a bowl and place in the microwave for one minute. Stir, heat for another 20 seconds and you’re done!
  2. Add your toppings!

Tip:

I serve my oats with coconut sugar and shredded coconut sprinkled on top with some peanut butter and fruit (normally whatever I have in the fridge or 1/2 a banana.

Hakuba | Day 1 & 2

Day 1

December 24th 2016

So we arrived in Hakuba! A long journey but we finally made it. Waking up was beautiful. The snow outside the window, a cosy, warm bed…I honestly could have stayed there all day, but there was just so much exploring to do!

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Window view in Hakuba

Thankful for the coffee

With our inside slippers on, we made our way down to the dining room for breakfast. Not knowing what to expect on day 1 of Japan, we were pleasantly surprised to be welcomed with coffee and juice. Breakfast was served to the table (very similar every day). Basket of bread, eggs, 1 sausage, 1/2 hash brown, coleslaw or pasta salad, cheese square and 1/2 orange.

Breakfast

With our stomachs full of coffee and bread and 5 layers of clothing , we were ready for the snow!

Luckily many of the hotels in Hakuba have a shuttle bus to take you to the slopes – take advantage of this! We caught the shuttle bus to the entry of Hakuba 47 and stopped off at a ski hire shop across the road to collect our gear. After one hour of trying on boots, goggles and sizing up our skis, we were ready to go (or fall over, as some of us found out…).

TIP: Purchase lift passes from your hotel (if you can do so) and had a lanyard to keep them around your neck as you need them quite often to get up the ski lifts.

Stepping onto the snow was incredible! It had snowed the night before, luckily (Hakuba want had much snow in December until we arrived).

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Ski hire

We spent a good 3 hours on the slopes in the Toomi zone going up and down the beginner slope, trying to stay upright and avoid running into people! All that hard work really gave us an appetite. So up the gondola we went to Restaurant Apls 360. I decided in the spirit of our first day in Japan, I should try the chicken katsu curry. Not normally something I would order, however, the deep fried chicken and glutenous curry sauce with steamed rice was actually delicious, or maybe my brain just thought that because I needed carbs for energy to get down the slope.

After another hour of skiing we decided that we were in need of a glass (or bottle) of wine. Returned our ski gear to the lodge and walked the streets in search of a good bar. Due to it being Christmas Eve, we struggled and eventually found Bradbury’s Restaurant and Bar at the Aqua Alpine Hotel.

Drinks by the fireplace and dinner in the restaurant. It was perfect! Following a few too many wines and a delicious steak, we stumbled home and went to bed.

  

Day 2

December 25th 2016

Merry Christmas! Today we decided to treat ourselves and go our for breakfast and trust me, you would want to as well – This place is incredible! Make sure if you are visiting Hakuba that you go to ‘Sounds Like Cafe’ in Hakuba-mura. We caught a 15 minute cab ride to get there and it was totally worth it for a decent coffee.

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French toast, eggs Benedict and coffee! Feels like home.

 

Of course, we had to get a family photo for Christmas to send back to everyone in Australia.

With caffeine running through our blood it was safe to say we were ready for another day of skiing. Feeling more confident than the day before we tried the intermediate slope on the other side of the mountain on the Minamisawa peak.  The blue sky, fresh snow and beautiful scenery made skiing effortless (well…almost). I managed to have a big fall on the slopes, lose my ski and struggle to get it back on whilst on a hill, for a good 15 minutes. Luckily I didn’t break anything…just a few bruises.

We skied until 2pm until we realised what the time was and how hungry and tired we had all become. Spaghetti bolognese was on the menu at the Base Centre Escal Plaza, so thats where I was going! Needed a walk after the massive bowl of pasta and ended up back at the hotel.

We had been told by the manager that there is a free shuttle bus every night, going to the Hakuba Onsen Juro-no-yu and tonight was the night. The onsen costs 600 yen and is a very strange experience for those (like me) who have never been in one before. The natural hot spring have many health benefits and have been used by the Japanese culture for centuries. Women and men bathe separately. First of all, you remove all your clothing and place it into lockers, walk into the shower room and rinse your body with warm water and soap. When entering the onsen beware of the temperature! We found it extremely hot and difficult to stay in for a long period of time. 30 minutes was more than enough time! Make sure to purchase a bottle of water.

The shuttle bus picked us up and we returned to the hotel and spent the rest of the night drinking more wine, eating chocolate, playing celebrity heads and eating two minute noodles from the snack bar at reception. A very different, yet amazing Christmas day.