homemade muesli bars

When you have spare time over the weekend it’s always great to do a bit of baking to prepare yourself (and your meals) for the week ahead. This weekend we decided to bake a batch of homemade museli bars ready for some tasty and healthy snacking throughout the week. We found this recipe on “oh she glows” and it is delicious!
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Ingredients
3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats, ground into a flour
1 cup water
3/4 cup packed pitted Medjool dates
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
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Method
1. Preheat oven to 180C and line a square pan with baking paper.
2. Add rolled oats into a high-speed blender. Blend on highest speed until a fine flour forms. Add oat flour into a large bowl.
3. Add water and pitted dates into blender. (You may need to soak the oats a little to soften them if the blender is struggling). Blend the dates and water until smooth.
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4. Add all of the ingredients into the bowl with the oat flour and stir well until combined.
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5. Scoop the mixture into the pan and spread it out with a spatula as evenly as possible. You can use lightly wet hands to smooth it down if necessary.
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6. Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then lift it out and transfer onto cooling rack for another 5-10 minutes. Slice and enjoy!
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Shopping in Spain

We shopped a lot in Spain, especially in Barcelona. The shopping is incomparable to back home in Australia so why not? We didn’t focus on anything in particular, just the fact we wanted to come home with a completely new wardrobe. Here are some of the shops you cannot miss when in Spain.
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Zara – We got excited when Zara was opening in Australia but Spain is where it all began. This is the mothership. And don’t think you can go into one and not go into the other five. In each you will find most things the same but a lot of different items as well.
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Massimo Dutti – Our new favourite for men and women. Under the same umbrella group as Zara these clothes are a little more expensive but still at a reasonable price range. The clothes are gorgeous, and so are the shoes and accessories. Men can even get a tailored suit for half the cost of back home.
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Bimba y Lola – This is a Spanish based label, owned by two sisters. The brand stocks clothing, shoes and accessories with our favourite items being the fun and quirky patterned clutches.
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& Other Stories – This is a store you wouldn’t think came from under the H&M umbrella. Their range is stylish and there is sure to be something there for everyone. Their stock ranges from shoes, to clothing, to beauty, to accessories and everything in-between.
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American Vintage - A French brand spread across Europe and the UK, the founder re-designed the basic Tee and essentials of the wardrobe. The clothes here are stylish and super comfortable.
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Cos - Collection Of Style is also under the same umbrella as H&M but is a more high end fashion label at affordable prices. This is a shop for the more timeless office outfits at a great price.
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Tax Free Shopping: When traveling you see this everywhere and most people can never be bothered to do anything about it, but this time round we tried it out. If you are a non-European resident/citizen and you spend more than 90 euros on one receipt ask for the tax free receipt. You will be given an envelope. Collect these throughout your stay and you can either go to the tax free office in town on your last day to get the cash back and just have everything stamped at the office at the airport or you can stamp at the office and then collect the money once past customs. It sounds like a lengthy process but it takes about ten minutes total and you get money back which is the best part! We recommend you look into it the next time to head over the European way!

 

Adding to the list: Churches

As we have mentioned previously, churches are always brilliant structures. Whether you’re religious or not, these churches have once been the centre of the town and the community. After spending a few weeks in Spain, we are now adding to the list of these wonderful structures.
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
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Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia (Barcelona Cathedral)
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Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See (Seville Cathedral)
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Cathedral of the Incarnation (Granada Cathedral)
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Santiago Cathedral (Bilbao Cathedral)
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Jesus statue on Monte Urgull, San Sebastian
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Cathedral of the Good Shepherd (San Sebastian Cathedral)
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Time for a detox

We know we promote eating healthy while traveling but sometimes you can struggle a bit when you are in one of the most foodie areas of the world – Spain. We tried to resist but the wine, tapas, fresh bread, cheese, olives, chocolate, pastries, gelato and more was too good to pass up. Even though we were constantly walking and moving for 7+ hours every day we still feel the need for a major detox.
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There are many ways to detox, whether it’s cutting out a certain food (like sugar), doing a juice cleanse, reducing alcohol intake or doing all of the above plus more. Detoxing will rebalance your body and get all it’s chemical levels back to where they should be. Going through a detox is different for everyone so you need to make sure you look at the plan and adjust it to what will suit you.

The main things to remember are to avoid things such as alcohol, smoking, dairy, sugar and coffee, if only for three days, it will do wonders for your body. Look at your calendar, pick out a few days (at minimum, 7 days will be even better) where there are no functions or anything that will interrupt the detox plan. By the end of the last day we are hoping to be feeling healthier, have heightened energy levels and improved digestion. Here is our goal for the next week.

Start the day with a lemon juice. Squeeze half a lemon juice into warm water and drink before breakfast. It will kickstart the digestion.
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Breakfast. Stick to organic eggs, oats or museli (granola), yogurt or fruit.
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Snack throughout the day. This isn’t about starving yourself, just eat healthy (and raw foods are always better). Snack on nuts, carrot sticks, yogurt, a slice of wholegrain bread with peanut butter or some fruit. Portion size is key.

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Lunch. Stick to a salad, stir fry veggies, salad pita wrap. Try keep the veggies raw.
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Dinner. Vegetables with free range chicken breast or fish. Or just vegetables if you are a vegetarian/vegan. Try limit your meat intake to twice in the week.
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Drink. Try drink between 1-3L of water every day to help flush out the system. Drinking decaf tea (no milk or sugar) or herbal teas is also good.
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Exercise. Exercise properly (i.e. work up a sweat) for at least 1 hour every day.
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Sleep. Get at least 6-8 hours sleep every evening.

A week in Jordan

We are inspired to travel to destinations from all different ways whether it be through word of mouth, advertisements, TV shows, magazines, books or movies. Jordan may be a bit off the beaten track to some, but it has been on our hit list since we saw Indiana Jones: the Last Crusade (and this year was the 25th anniversary!). It may seem weird but the landscape, the outfits and the incredible history made us want to visit Petra and if there was a few extra places to see while there then why not? Here is our guide to a week in Jordan.
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Amman – the capital
Sites
Citadel
Roman Amphitheatre
Mosque
Day trip to Jerash – This is an entire town in ancient ruins. Make sure you have plenty of water when walking through the site as it can take a couple of hours to complete.
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Do
Shopping Malls (air conditioned) – like City Mall
Essentials Spa Amman – Offers massage, manicures, pedicures, hamman and many more options.
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Eat
Wild Jordan Cafe – go here for lunch, on top of a hill overlooking the city
Hasheem – go here for dinner – no menu, no meat, a cheap option
Fakhrel Din – go here for dinner – a fancier option with delicious food in a gorgeous old house
Wadi Musa – the City of Petra
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Sites
Petra – Go in early when the gates open so you aren’t spending the hottest part of the day in the sun. Make sure you wear good walking shoes and wear a hat. The Treasury is amazing but there is so much more to experience. Make sure you walk right to the very end and climb the 850 stairs to the Monastery – it is worth every single drop of sweat. Drink lots of water.
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Do
Petra by night – Only offered on certain days of the week. Walk along the candle lit pathway through siqs all the way down to the Treasury. If you can do this the night before going in to experience the entire site by day it will be even better.
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Eat
Three Steps Restaurant & Cafe – lunch or dinner – great local food with good service.
Red Cave – go for lunch – great sandwich wraps, we recommend the falafel wrap.
Reem Al-Wadi Restaurant – great for dinner – more of a local restaurant. Tasty food and cheap.
Drink
Cave Bar – Under the Crowne Plaza Resort a 2000 year old tomb has been converted into a bar.
Movenpick Rooftop Garden – Head to the top level of the Movenpick to a gorgeous rooftop bar and a view over Wadi Musa. They offer drinks, tea/coffee and ice-cream. More expensive.
Wadi Rum – the desert
Do an overnight trip into the desert and stay in a local camp hotel. All meals will be included while at the hotel.
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Do
A 4×4 Jeep safari in the desert – A 2-3hr ride in the desert will take you across sand dunes to show you different areas, markings and landscapes of the amazing Wadi Rum.
A camel safari – Wake up early (like 4:30am early) and do a sunrise camel trek. Don a camel and ride around to view the sun rise over the dunes while you enjoy a cup of tea.
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The Dead Sea area
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Do
Float in the Dead Sea – the Marriott Hotel has a 60JD entrance fee for the day which includes a 25JD food and drink coupon. Head here to have access to a pool, a private beach, lunch and more. If you would rather, you can go to the Amman Tourist Beach, which has a 20JD entrance fee and a buffet lunch on top of that.
Mujib Valley – Get a guide, buy some waterproof shoes and enter the valley. You will splash through water, climb over water falls and scurry over rocks but what you see along the way is totally worth it. This was one of our favourite parts out of the whole country and is a must do!

 

homemade dips

Dips are so easy to make and taste so good. They are a great way to start a dinner party, are easy to bring to a party and are a healthy snack. Here are some of our favourite dip recipes.
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Hummus
Ingredients:
- 1.5 cups/1 can cooked chickpeas, liquid reserved and set aside
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 2 small garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1.5 tablespoons reserved chickpea liquid (or water)
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- Paprika, for garnish
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Method:
1. Place all ingredients into a food processor (except the salt) and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed.
2. Now add in salt gradually, stopping to taste as you go.
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3. Scoop into a bowl and drizzle with a good quality olive oil and garnish with paprika.
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Lao Smokey Eggplant 
Ingredients:
1 large fresh firm eggplant
A handful of chopped coriander
1 garlic clove
1 chilli
1 teaspoon salt
1 spring onion, chopped
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Method:
1. Poke holes in the eggplant, chilli and garlic clove and char grill over a direct flame or roast in the oven until skin has blackened.
2. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then peel carefully.
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4. In a food processor blend warm eggplant, chilli (de-seeded and roughly chopped), peeled garlic, coriander and spring onion.
5. Add salt or if you want, fish sauce or soy sauce to taste.
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6. Once smooth with a good consistency scoop into a bowl and serve with warm pita bread
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Carrot and Cumin
Ingredients:
500g carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 garlic clove
Ground salt and pepper, to taste
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Method:
1. Cook the carrot in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 30 minutes or until tender then drain.
2. Place the carrot, oil, cumin and garlic in the bowl of a food processor, and process until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
3. Scoop to a bowl and serve with warm Turkish bread.
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The sun hat

For the last week we have been making our way around Jordan and the one thing we could not have gone without is a big hat. 20140704-083154-30714075.jpg With 40 degree plus heat every day, it was hot! A hat will not only protect you from the sun, as we have mentioned previously, it is a statement piece that can tie your whole outfit together! 20140704-082953-30593719.jpg