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5 Tropics-Inspired Breakfast Recipes

Breakfast doesn’t have to equal boring. Switch out the toast and try these 5 delicious tropical breakfast recipes to jump-start your day. These delightful breakfast dishes are uncommonly tasty; and as a bonus, they are incredibly healthy too!

 

Breakfast Chilaquiles – Mexico

When thinking of Mexican food and breakfast, you may have visions of a yummy breakfast burrito. While breakfast burritos are delicious, and a favorite of many, the dish was actually created in the United States. There are endless options of tasty breakfast recipes from Mexico, but a time-honored favorite are breakfast chilaquiles.

Breakfast Chilaquiles
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon oil of your choice (vegetable, olive, rapeseed etc.)
  • 4 (6 inch) corn or flour tortillas (torn into strips)
  • 1 diced small onion
  • ½ tomato - diced
  • 3 chili peppers - diced
  • 2 eggs
  • add salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, and fry the tortillas until lightly browned and crisp.
  2. Mix the onion, tomato, and serrano chile peppers into the skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook and stir until onions are tender.
  3. Fry eggs to desired consistency (over easy, sunny-side up, etc). Place on top of tortillas and veggies.
 

Enkulal Tibs, Breakfast recipes, breakfast, tropics, eggs, ethiopia,

Enqulal (Enkulal) Tibs – Ethiopia

An omelette-like dish with a kick, these enqulal tibs are sall on cooking time and big on flavor. This is one of Ethiopa’s breakfast recipes that can be served traditionally (spicy) for a unique breakfast experience or toned down for those who prefer a more mild version.

Enqulal (Enkulal) Tibs
 
Ingredients
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1 Chili pepper
  • 1 onion - diced
  • ½ of a tomato
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt
  • Ethiopian butter (niter kibbeh)
  • Berbere (optional: Berbere is a blend of spices commonly used in Ethiopian dishes. The seasoning can be ordered online, or at African markets, restaurants and specialty food stores.)
Instructions
  1. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a hot frying pan or griddle
  2. Add the onion to the hot oil and cook on medium/high heat
  3. Sprinkle a large pinch of salt onto the onion and stir
  4. Add the diced tomato, stir, cover and reduce heat to medium temp.
  5. Beat eggs with a whisk and add to frying pan - increase to high heat
  6. Add chili peppers and scramble to liking
  7. Serve hot with fresh sliced tomato
 

Gallo Pinto – Costa Rica

Gallo pinto is the national dish of Costa Rica and can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Traditionally gallo pinto that is served for breakfast includes the universal breakfast item – you guessed it –eggs! Although made with simple ingredients, gallo pinto is a breakfast dish from the tropics that is sure to bring warmth to your morning.

Gallo Pinto
 
Ingredients
  • 8 eggs - scrambled or over easy
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cooked black beans in ¾ cup reserved cooking liquid
  • ¼ cup Salsa Lizano
  • Link to a delicious Lizano recipe - http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-lizano-style-costa-rican-salsa-176299
  • 3 cups cooked rice, preferably, day-old and refrigerated
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Sauté chopped bell pepper and onions until peppers are soft and onions are translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.
  2. Add black beans, reserved cooking liquid, and Salsa Lizano, stirring to combine.
  3. Simmer for 5 minutes, until slightly thickened and little bit of the liquid is evaporated.
  4. Gently stir in cooked rice and cook until heated through and most of the liquid is absorbed, but not dry, about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Stir in chopped cilantro.
  6. Season to taste with additional Salsa Lizano (we added about a tablespoon extra).
 

Labouyi Bannann – Haiti

A healthy way to start your day is with labouyi banann which can be served either hot or cold. It is essentially bananna and plaintain porridge and it is as nutritious as it is delicious. This is a great breakfast dish to serve to a large family or group of guests as a little goes a long way in satisfying hunger.

Labouyi Bannann
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Green Plantain (Washed)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 Star Anise
  • ½ cup of Evaporated Milk
  • ½ cup of Coconut Milk
  • ½ tsp cinnamon Powder of 1 stick
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
Instructions
  1. Peel the skin of the plantain and cut into small 4-8 small pieces. It is ok to leave some of the skin for extra nutrients.
  2. In a blender, puree the plantain and 2 cups of water.
  3. In a 1 quart saucepan, add 1 cup of water, evaporated milk, coconut milk, cinnamon, star anise and bring to boil.
  4. Once the pot is boiling, add the plantain puree to the pot and bring to a boil while stirring continuously for 5 min. The porridge will thicken slightly.
  5. Add the salt, sugar, vanilla and keep stirring for 10 min.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium and keep stirring for another 10 min while tasting porridge to ensure the plantain is thoroughly cooked. The porridge is ready when the texture is creamy.
  7. Serve warm with some Haitian Bread.

Egg Paratha – India

This dish lives a double life. It is known as a common street food in India, but is recognized equally as a breakfast must-eat. Egg paratha has all the qualities of an ideal breakfast meal: delicious, nutritious, fast and easy, but it packs in enough substance and flavor to be eaten any time of day.

Egg Paratha
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup of wheat flour/atta
  • Warm water as needed
  • Oil as needed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 green chilli chopped (optional)
  • Large pinch of pepper powder
  • Tumeric as needed
  • salt to taste
  • add a few coriander leaves finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 tbsp. of finely chopped capsicum or carrot
Instructions
  1. Knead wheat flour with just enough warm water. Add a few drops of oil and knead again to make a soft pliable dough. Cover and set aside for 20 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle flour on clean preparation table, the roll and flatten paratha into a triangular shape.
  3. Heat a tawa or griddle on high heat. Place paratha in pan until golden brown spots appear on each side.
  4. Add Finely chopped vegetables, eggs, salt, pepper powder and tumeric to bowl. Beat the mixture until frothy.
  5. Heat tawa or griddle with oil on high. Pour the egg mixture and cook on a medium flame.
  6. When the egg is almost cooked, but still runny on top, place paratha on top and press gently.
  7. Flip and fry the paratha and egg.
  8. Serve egg paratha with chutney or vegetable salad.

Step-by-Step Guide to the Perfect Crockpot Red Curry

I love curry in all its glorious forms: from India to Japan. That being said, there’s something truly special about its Thai red curry incarnation that utilizes coconut milk, herbs, and aromatic leaves that makes such a great impression on my taste buds.

Traditionally, ingredients were chosen based on regional and seasonal availability like pork, chicken, fish, and shellfish and sometimes frogs, snakes, snails and wild boar. Some of the commonly used vegetables are eggplant, squash, and pumpkin. I share this because I believe it’s important to understand that anything is possible in cooking; that you have to experiment and find what you love to eat.

Naturally, I turn to my crockpot because slow cooking dishes like these brings out the best experience.

Follow this step-by-step guide and enjoy this non-traditional but awesomely delicious Thai red curry and spoiler alert: it’s even better the day after!

Red curry, crockpot, slow cooker, recipes, recipe, Thai

This is all you’ll need:

1 ½ pounds of small potatoes

1 yellow onion

1 red pepper

1 green pepper

1 can of full fat coconut milk

1 cup vegetable stock

¼ cup peanut butter

2 tbsp red curry paste

3 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp chopped garlic

1 tsp lemongrass

½ tsp ground ginger

1 lime

Freshly chopped cilantro

 

First, chop your onion.

Then chop up your potatoes into perfect bite sized pieces.

Mix the potatoes, onion, coconut milk, vegetable stock, peanut butter, curry paste, fish sauce, garlic, lemongrass, and ginger in the crock pot on low for 2 and ½ hours. A note about fish sauce: it smells awful but will make your curry taste amazing.

While that simmers, cut up both the green and red peppers and add them for 30 minutes. You want them to retain some of the texture.

When it’s finished, squeeze all the lime juice you can into that crock pot and garnish with some freshly chopped cilantro.

This red curry goes great with rice or noodles, but I wouldn’t hold it against you if you just jumped in with a spoon.

Oh, you noticed there’s no meat? I made this for my mother, who happens to be a vegetarian. If you like meat, all you have to do is chop up 1 lb of your preferred animal protein and throw it in the crock pot at the beginning and follow this exact recipe.

Cooking on the Trail: Tips from a Veteran Backpacker

Planning to backpack the world or hitting the road in your camper? There are a few things you should know about cooking good meals while camping. 

With a little time and a lot of imagination, you can create some truly amazing meals while camping. Combine a few basic dry ingredients with fresh produce you can buy on the road, and you can create a surprising array of tasty epicurean treats. Because cans of baked beans are fine occasionally, but your taste buds will demand variety when you’re out exploring the world.

I’ll give you a couple of camping cooking tips which I’ve learned along the way. For some easy-on-the-trail recipes, see my post with camping recipes.

Dehydrated meals have their time and place – There’s a very good reason dehydrated meals are popular with backpackers, campers, and hikers. They weigh next to nothing, need only a two-minute soak in boiling water to cook and are relatively filling. If you’re off on a multi-day hike in remote wilderness, dehydrated meals can be a (literal) lifesaver. However, unless you are that desperate for food and out in the wilderness on foot for many days on end, then forget dehydrated meals. There are plenty of healthier camping recipe options out there, which only require a few extra minutes to prepare.

backpack, backpacking, backpacker, camping, camping recipes, recipes, camping tips, travel, travel tips, TropicsGourmet

Keep it simple. 

My daily staple camper recipe includes one vegetable, be it an aubergine, a zucchini or a bunch of fresh spinach, one protein source (fresh meat, one piece of fish or a can of lentils or tuna) and one carbohydrate, which is usually one potato, a serve of pasta, half a cup of rice or one bread roll.

backpacking, backpacker, backpack, camping, camping recipes, camping tips, camper, travel tips, travel, TropicsGourmet

Go fresh as often as possible.

Shopping at wet markets for daily fresh ingredients is one of the things I love most about traveling the world. I discover weird and wonderful new produce, mingle with locals and ensure I load up on my daily dose of vitamins. Although you can carry a few days’ worth of fresh veggies, it is best if you can buy one a day, as it saves you space in your backpack and any squishing problems. When buying meat or fish, I prefer to buy them frozen in the morning (pack in 2 plastic bags) and by the time dinner comes around they’re perfectly defrosted and ready to be cooked.

spices, backpacker, backpack, backpacking, camping, camping recipes, camping trip, camping tips, travel, travel tips, TropicsGourmet

Spice up your life. 

My entire camping recipe repertoire would cease to exist without my extensive array of exotic spices. From Moroccan to Italian, Indian, Mexican and Chinese All Spice, my ‘mobile spice rack’ is my ultimate cooking savior and creator. There’s not a dish in the world that can’t be improved with garlic salt, dried onion flakes and one exotic spice of sorts. Rotate daily and you can seriously eat the same meal everyday (chicken, vegetable, and couscous, for example) and feel like you’re enjoying a varied and exotic culinary itinerary.

Love thy cheese. 

Tasty, filling and a great source of both calcium and protein, cheese has become a staple in my backpack over the last few years. This is especially true of stinky cheeses, which keep well outside of the fridge and actually get better as the days pass. A good sprinkle of pecorino cheese or chunk of gruyere in your dinner stew and your taste buds will be jumping for joy.

 

Ready to fire up the camp stove? Here are a few fantastic camping recipes to try next time you hit the road.

Delicious Camping & Backpacking Recipes

Planning to backpack the world or hitting the road in your camper? Here are a few staple backpacking recipes you’ll love to make when you’re out enjoying the wilderness.

Beef Stroganoff

There are a few one-pot wonder meals I make on a regular basis and this beef stroganoff is one of them. Double the mushrooms and skip the beef for a scrumptious and filling vegetarian camping recipe option. I prefer to use dehydrated mushrooms because they keep so well in my backpack and cook a full pot which feeds two of us. If traveling alone, make sure you always have an empty Tupperware container for leftovers. This stroganoff makes for a wicked next-day lunch on the run.

Beef Stroganoff
 
Ingredients
  • 200gms (1/2 lb.) beef strips
  • 1 cup dehydrated mushrooms
  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 8 oz sour cream (1 tub)
  • 2 tbsp grated cheese
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 mushroom stock cube
  • 200gms (1/2 lb.) pasta spirals
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
Instructions
  1. Heat up the oil in your camping skillet and brown the onions and beef together, until onions have softened
  2. Add the mushrooms and fry for 2 minutes
  3. Add the water and stock cube and stir until cube has dissolved
  4. Bring the mix to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent sticking
  5. Add the pasta and cook for 7-8 minutes until it is al dente. Stir often to ensure that all noodles cook evenly
  6. Add the sour cream and simmer for an additional 2 minutes, stirring well. Salt and pepper to taste
  7. Turn your camp stove off and serve immediately!
 

camping, camping recipes, backpack, backpacking, recipes, travel, TropicsGourmet, breakfast, bacon, eggs

Smokey bacon & eggs

One of the best things about camping out in nature is waking up to a smokin’ hot serve of this scrumptious bacon and eggs. Make sure you have a pack of aluminum foil in your backpack – it’s a genius multitasking tool that acts as a pot lid, leftover container, and cooking pot – and your breakfast will cook splendidly over a roaring campfire.

Campfire Bacon & Eggs
 
Ingredients
  • Large square of aluminum foil
  • 2 fresh eggs
  • 3 bacon rashers
  • Garlic Salt and Pepper
Instructions
  1. Lay out three rashers of bacon on a generous square of aluminum foil, bending the sides in to create a pocket
  2. Crack 2 eggs on top of the bacon
  3. Wrap up the foil pocket up at the top, around a long wooden stick
  4. Hold your parcel of yumminess over a campfire and cook for approximately 5 minutes. It really doesn’t take long for this to cook over an open flame as foil is an excellent conductor
  5. Devour on its own or in a bread roll
 

orange blueberry muffin, blueberry muffin, backpack, backpacking, camping, camping recipes, travel, TropicsGourmet

Orange Blueberry Muffins

I came across this recipe on ApronStringsBlog a couple of years ago and although skeptical at first, thinking the muffins would turn out to be a hellish mess, they actually turned out stupendously well.

For those lazy camping days when a preparing a sweet treat over the campfire becomes the day’s main event, this camping recipe really hits the sweet spot.

Orange Blueberry Muffins
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pack blueberry muffin mix
  • 6 oranges
  • 18 Aluminum foil squares
Instructions
  1. Prepare the muffin mix as per packet instructions
  2. Cut up the oranges, scooping out the flesh and preserving in a container for straining and drinking later on
  3. Fill one half of every orange with one tablespoon of muffin mix, top with half an empty orange
  4. Wrap each orange in three aluminum squares
  5. Place directly on campfire and cook for 10 minutes, turning them over and moving them every minute or so
  6. Remove from fire, unwrap carefully and savor them up with a spoon
 

Tortilla Pizza

Along with eggs, whole-wheat flour tortillas are a staple which I carry all the time. They take up little space and are about as versatile a food item as you will find. Filled with savory or sweet treats, the trusted tortilla wrap works great at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Plus, they make for ideal pizza bases! If there’s one camping recipe that’s guarantee to top off a brilliant camping day, then pizza would definitely be it.

Tortilla Pizza
 
Ingredients
  • 4 tortillas
  • 1 small can tomato puree
  • ½ cup water
  • Italian mixed herbs
  • Grated cheese
  • Your toppings of choice (shredded ham, black olives, salami, diced peppers etc)
  • Aluminum foil
Instructions
  1. Prepare your pizza sauce by adding ½ cup of water to the tomato puree in a bowl, and sprinkle a good dose of Italian herbs
  2. Cut the aluminum foil into squares about twice the size of the tortillas
  3. Place one tortilla in the center of a foil square, spread one tablespoon of pizza sauce and sprinkle with your favorite toppings, finishing off with some grated cheese
  4. Wrap the foil around the tortilla, ensuring the top of the foil does not touch the pizza toppings at all
  5. Place the parcel on the edge of the campfire and allow to cook for about 7-8 minutes
  6. Carefully remove from fire, unwrap…and devour!
 

 

 

The Empanada: A Twist on Fast Food

Skip the takeout, skip the drive-thru, with just a little bit of a prep (and some freezer space) you can have a satisfying fast food with exotic flavors — the empanada. Prep some of these empanadas (it’s easy, we’ll show you), freeze, and then reheat anytime you want a snack or meal that’s great tasting, great for you, but just as easy as pizza rolls.

 There’s probably not a country in the world that doesn’t boast a version of the empanada, a Latin American dough-pocket which can be baked or fried and comes filled with a kaleidoscope of savory or sweet ingredients. So ubiquitous is this delicious treat the world over that its origins are still ambiguous. Some claim it was a Galician specialty imported to Latin America by the Spanish, others firmly attest to it being an Arabic treat and a few believe the humble empanada is nothing more than a Latino version of the Indian samosa. Whatever the case may be, or may have been, the modern empanada is a bona fide part of South American culture and one of the most revered treats by all who travel through the continent. Argentina, Chile and Peru claim top honors for the ‘best of the best’ empanadas and you’d be wise to agree – depending on whichever country you find yourself in, naturally – lest you start a cultural confrontation. Rest assured that wars in South America have started from far less.

The great thing about empanadas is that they are easy to replicate back home, especially when you adopt a couple of shortcuts. Sealing them with a creative twist of the dough is an art form, something which South Americans take much pride in. At home, of course, you can simply curl the edges together or even use a dessert fork to squeeze the dough. The only thing that matters is that the empanadas are sealed well, so as to prevent a filling lava flow in your oven or frying pan.  

If you’ve traveled extensively through Latin America, you will no doubt have tried different variations of empanadas. To help you bring the flavors of your journey home, here we offer a variety of filling options for you to try.

Empanadas, recipe, recipes, food, travel, tropicsgourmet

Empanada Dough

Empanada Dough
 
Ingredients
  • 500gm plain flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 150gms butter, chilled
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • Cold, filtered water
Instructions
  1. Combine the flour, baking powder and sea salt in a bowl
  2. Grate the butter and rub it into the flour mix using your hands, until mix resembles breadcrumbs
  3. Add enough cold water – a little at a time- until the dough comes together to form a smooth dough
  4. Wrap it in cling film and store in the fridge
  5. When ready to use, roll the dough on a floured surface and divide into 12-14 equal portions
  6. Thin each portion with rolling pin (but not too thin), and trim the edges to make even discs
  7. Place one tablespoon of your desired filling into the center of each disc, brush the edges with beaten egg and fold to close, pinching the edges to seal
 

Empanada Filling

As far as I’m concerned, there should be very few rules which pertain to empanada fillings. In South America, the argument over raisins (to include or not to include?) is a matter of extreme importance. In my mouth, however, it is not! Include what you have, what you love, or whatever is in your fridge or in season. When it comes to delectable empanadas…anything goes!

The following traditional beef empanada filling recipe is the ‘mother ship’ recipe, if you will. This is the most traditional version of the mouthwatering treat, from whence all other versions spawn. You will find these empanadas, baked rather than fried, served all over Argentina.

Empanada, recipe, recipes, food, travel, tropicsgourmet

Traditional Beef Empanadas

Traditional Beef Empanada
 
Ingredients
  • 250grm lean beef mince
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • Chopped black olives (only a few pieces to be used in each empanada)
  • Hard-boiled eggs cut into quarters (1 quarter per empanada)
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • Salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, paprika to desired taste
Instructions
  1. Brown the mince and set aside, draining the fat
  2. In a pan, brown the onions until translucent, add the spices and broth and cook for 2 minutes. Add the flour to thicken the sauce and cook on low heat for a further 3-4 minutes
  3. Allow mince mix to cool completely before using
  4. When ready to bake, spoon 1 tablespoon of beef mince mix in the center of each empanada discs, top with a quarter egg and black olive pieces
  5. Close and seal the empanadas, brush the top of each empanada with beaten egg and bake for 25-30 minutes if using real dough (20 mins for puff pastry), in an oven pre-heated to 375°F
 

Empanada Variations:

Chilean Empanadas: the delightful sweetness of Chilean empanadas comes from the addition of raisins, only 2 of which you should add right at the end, along with the olives.

Bolivian Empanadas: small yellow chillies are added to the beef, making Bolivian empanadas the spiciest of the lot. In Bolivia, empanadas are called salteñas and are usually fried rather than baked. They also usually include boiled potatoes and peas. Yes, it’s astonishing just how much food can fit into a dough-pocket the size of your palm! For this reason alone, salteñas are my go-to snack of choice when traveling through Bolivia on arduous long-haul bus rides. One can fill me up for hours.

Colombian Empanadas: Colombians take a little from both above mentioned recipes, mixing potatoes with onions.

Venezuelan Empanadas: For a true Venezuelan empanada, add black beans and fried plantains. Black beans and fresh cheese varieties are also very popular.

Ecuadorian Empanadas: Ecuador boasts perhaps the most varied collection of regional empanadas. Given that the country has such contrasting geographical attributes (from the high Andes to the coast and all the way to the Amazon) the filling options abound, depending on where you travel. My favorite Ecuadorian empanada is one filled with a generous chunk of pecorino cheese, fried, and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.

Empanadas, recipes, recipe, food, travel, tropicsgourmet

Sweet Empanadas

Sweet empanadas are the perfect dessert and can be eaten on the fly or enjoyed leisurely along with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. My favorite sweet empanada recipe comes from my dear friend Peggy Bright, exceptional cook and author of CookingOnPage32. I’ve borrowed this recipe from one of the many cookbooks which adorn her living room. I can’t wait to try and make these myself!

Peruvian Mini Apple Empanadas

Peruvian Mini Apple Empanadas
 
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 4 tart apples, such as Granny Smith
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp. grated nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 package puff pastry
  • 1 tsp. flour
  • Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Instructions
  1. Heat a saucepan and add butter and brown sugar, cooking until the sugar has melted.
  2. Add apples, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt, the lime zest and juice, stirring every few minutes.
  3. Close and seal the empanadas and bake for 25-30 minutes if using real dough (20 mins for puff pastry), in an oven pre-heated to 375°F. Don’t forget to sprinkle with sugar before baking, for a most deliciously glazed result.
 

Bonus Empanadas Tip

Empanadas freeze exceptionally well, although only if you freeze them uncooked and cook them straight from the freezer. Don’t thaw out to room temperature or you’ll end up with a soggy mess. Same can be said for empanadas which are cooked and then frozen. To freeze, simply lay unbaked empanadas on a tray lined with baking-paper and place in freezer until they’re solid. Once frozen, you can transfer them to a freezer bag and they won’t stick together.

4 Protein Bite Healthy Snacks for Travel

Lets face it, it is hard to find healthy snacks at a gas station or cost conscious eats at an airport. So, before setting off on your next big trip try making one of these super infused energy bites for your travels. These 4 recipes are easily modifiable, energy packed, and made with pantry-friendly ingredients that will keep well packed in your bag without refrigeration. The hardest part will be to ration them until you reach your destination!

Coconut Bites

1 C. Coconut Cashews

3 Tbs. Chia Seeds

1 C. Dried Dates

1/2 C. Natural Peanut Butter

1 C. Oatmeal (uncooked)

Optional Topping: Coconut Flakes and Honey

 

Directions: In a food processor add coconut cashews and chia seeds, blend till it is a fine rice consistency. Add dates, peanut butter, and oatmeal and blend until all ingredients are mixed and stick together. Roll into ball formation, dip top in honey, and then into coconut flakes. Refrigerate for at least an hour for balls to really solidify. Pack balls into a sealed plastic container to avoid squishing and you’re ready to fly! 

Will make ~16 Tbs bites.

1 Bite = 18g Carb/4g Pro/5g Fat

Cocoa Peanut Butter Bites

1 C. Almonds

3 Tbs. Chia Seeds

½ C. Oatmeal (uncooked)

2 Tbs. Cacao

½ C. PB2

½ C. Honey

Optional Topping: Cinnamon

 

Directions: In a food processor mix almonds and chia seeds until rice consistency. Add oatmeal, cacao, PB2, and honey until fully combined and mixture sticks together. Roll into ball formation and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Put bites into a sealable container and get hiking! 

Will make ~14 Tbs bites.

1 Bite = 7g Carb/18g Pro/6g Fat

 

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites

1 C. Oatmeal (uncooked)

½ C. Natural Peanut Butter

2 Tbs. Chia Seeds

2 Tbs. Honey

Dark Chocolate Chips as Desired

Directions: In bowl, combine all ingredients and stir until thick. Roll into ball formation. Refrigerate for a few hours for really solid balls. Then bites can be stored in a sealed container, unrefrigerated. 

Will make ~14 Tbs bites.

1 Bite = 8g Carb/4g Pro/12g Fat

Cranberry Peanut Butter Bites

½ C. Almonds

1 C Oatmeal (uncooked)

⅓ C. Natural Peanut Butter

⅓ C. Dried Dates

2 Tsp. Honey

½ C. Dried Cranberries or Other Dried Fruit

Directions: In food processor mix almonds until fine rice consistency. Add oatmeal, peanut butter, dates, and honey until mixture becomes thick. Add dried cranberries and pulse a few times until all is evenly combined. Roll into ball formation and enjoy. To travel, put in a sealed solid container. These will keep under almost any conditions. 

Will make ~16 Tbs bites.

1 Bite = 9g Carb/3g Pro/4g Fat

 

 

 

Best 5 Travel Destinations to Find Yourself

The Best Travel Destinations to Find Yourself – your guide to push you out of your comfort zone, disconnect from the world, and gain a new perspective on life.

Nowadays, heading off to explore the world in order to ‘find yourself’ has become a hot trend. Whilst some experienced travelers roll their eyes at the phrase, it’s undeniable that travels to far-off destinations have the potential to revolutionize the way one thinks and feels.

A life changing journey is usually taken to a part of the world that is drastically different to home. Experiencing different cultures, languages, and lives, in general, has a wonderful way of making you question and analyze everything about you. Traveling alone is also a must. When you are forced to rely only on your resourcefulness — you can really find yourself, take control of your life, and realize what it is that makes you happy.

If a life-changing journey appeals to you, here are some destinations to look.

  1. Sumatra, Indonesia

    Bali has become synonymous with inspirational and esoteric travels, the kind of place where you go to yoga, namaste and find yourself, with the help of a few exotic cocktails. The only problem with Bali is that it’s become so mainstream that, no matter where you go, you’ll undoubtedly come across approximately 3.1 million foreign tourists looking to do the same. This kind of crowd and popularity defeats the whole purpose, as far as I’m concerned. So go to Sumatra instead. This spectacular Indonesian island offers everything you need for an adventure that’ll blow your mind. The nature is resplendent, English is not widely spoken, tourists are few and far between and the internet connection, the rare times you find it, is simply woeful. This makes it the ideal destination if you want to disconnect from the world and have an introspective travel experience. Hike in search of elusive orangutans, climb the peak of stunning volcanoes and cast your eyes on startling sandy beaches with nary another surfer in sight. And when you need to regroup, head to Lake Toba for good wholesome food and a chat with just a few like-minded adventurous travelers. Perfection.

  2. Patagonia, South AmericaPatagonia, South America, travel, TropicsGourmet

    The southern tip of South America is usually referred to as ‘the end of the world’ and when you’re there it will certainly feel like it. The utterly mesmerizing nature is soul-reviving. In places like the Tierra del Fuego National Park, the colors of the landscape will have you rubbing your eyes in disbelief. Mother Nature boasts a color palette down here that’s simply incredible. Patagonia also happens to be one of the more remote and hard to reach destinations in the southern American continent, and a place where the rest of the world feels nonexistent. Hike the vertiginous peaks of Torres del Paine, explore every nook of the Lakes Region of Argentina and, as you stand on the harbor of Ushuaia, consider hopping on an expedition ship to Antarctica, the last truly unspoilt continent on earth. This is the best destination if you want to get off the grid, test yourself physically and feel like an old-world explorer.

  3. Costa Rica

    Costa Rica, travel, TropicsGourmet, sloth

    One of Central America’s most popular destinations is a wonderful compromise for those who wish to find somewhere close to home, safe, and offering an array of fun and adventurous travel experiences. One of the world’s most biodiverse nations, Costa Rica is an active traveler’s dream, with ziplining, whitewater rafting, mountain hiking and cycling and wildlife spotting part of everyday life. For adrenalin-pumping adventures far removed from the banality of everyday life at home, Costa Rica is a treasure. Plus, there’s no better place to find yourself than soaking up the therapeutic effects of a hot volcanic thermal pool.

  4. Spitzbergen, Norway

    From the balmy climate of the tropics to the brutal colds of the Arctic: you’ll be surprised what a colossal shock to the system will do for your wellbeing. The easiest Arctic destination to reach and a polar bear’s divine playground, Spitzbergen is that final frontier you’ll need to experience, when you wish to totally explode out of your comfort zone. Go in winter to marvel at the Northern Lights, or in summer to cruise the breathtaking fjords. No matter when you go, you’re bound to enter a white wonderland that’ll offer you the peace and quiet you need to find yourself. The climate is harsh at best, the infrastructure is minimal and adventures in the world’s craziest wilderness are plentiful. The ideal combination for an out-of-this-world travel experience.

  5. Kruger National Park, South Africa

    Although South Africans do speak English and the country is exceptionally modern, the largest wildlife reserve is big enough to enjoy some salutary aloneness in an animal world that is totally spellbinding. The best way to experience Kruger? Fly in, rent a fully kitted 4WD camper, buy a weeklong Kruger pass and get lost (and found again) in the most glorious animal kingdom on our planet. Next, wake up with a lion on your bonnet. When living in a reality where you are considered lunch, you simply can’t help but gain a new perspective on life. Africa is one of those places which offers life-changing experiences, and a week spent immersed in its most revered wildlife park is your express ticket to a new and enlightened you.

 

Step-by-Step Recipe to the Perfect Lomo Saltado

There’s a popular, traditional dish in Peru called lomo saltado that is a combination of sirloin, onions, tomatoes, and french fries, typically served with rice. While this simple family recipe is widely accepted as Peruvian, it actually comes from the chifa tradition, or rather the Chinese cuisine of Peru. As Peru worked to abolish slavery, Chinese workers came into the country to replace African labor and naturally assimilated into the Peruvian culture. Lomo saltado exists as an example of the fusion of Chinese immigration and the culinary customs of Peru and most importantly — it’s delicious.

You can make this simple family recipe tonight at home tonight for dinner and believe that your taste buds will thank you.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

16 oz sirloin steak

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 red onion

fresh cilantro

steak fries

canola oil

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup rice vinegar

1 tsp cumin

salt and pepper to taste

Steamed white rice

Directions

Cut the steak into long ¼ inch strips and season with salt and pepper.

 

Cut the onion into thin pieces.

Heat canola oil in a pan on medium-high heat and brown the meat and cook the onions. 

When the onions are starting to soften, add tomatoes, soy sauce, cumin, and rice vinegar and simmer for about 10 minutes.

 

I personally like to pan fry my steak fries, but if you like to deep fry or oven bake them: do you, express yourself.

Chop that cilantro. It’s better when it’s fresh.

Garnish and serve.

Your Travel Guide to Totally Unique Spring Break Adventures

Drinking to excess on sun-soaked beaches are wonderful — if that’s what you’re looking for. But if you’ve outgrown frat-boy parties and wet t-shirt contests, you may be searching for a more meaningful or impactful spring break (that you’ll actually remember!). Cruise our travel guide for some unique spring break adventures that could fit the bill.

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Get SCUBA certified on the Komodo Islands of Indonesia

The Indonesian hub of Bali is swiftly becoming popular with spring break travelers, and although we wouldn’t begrudge its appeal (from ankle-deep snow to tropical bliss in just a day!) there are certainly plenty more fish in the sea. Pardon the pun. Indonesia, in fact, has over 15,000 insanely enticing islands to explore, and the islands of the Komodo Marine National Park rate as some of the best. This superlative UNESCO-listed archipelago is home of the magnificent Komodo dragon, the largest lizard on our planet, and boasts one of the world’s richest marine biodiversity. SCUBA-certification trips to unspoilt coral reefs, meeting schools of tropical fish, the ever-elusive manta rays and reef sharks, is an out-of-this-world spring break experience. Although many people base themselves in Labuan Bajo on Flores Island and take day trips to various dive sites every day, we recommend you plan a liveaboard experience to make the most out of your spring break in Indonesia.

travel guide, spring break, komodo, komodo dragon

 

Explore the remote Amazon Jungle in Rurrenabaque, Bolivia

A multitude of nature lovers on spring break head to Costa Rica for a week of jungle experiences. Bona fide travel explorers and nature fanatics, however, choose to dive into the heart of the Amazon rainforest instead. In Bolivia’s Rurrenabaque, a remote and fascinating place about as far away from civilization as one could get, you’ll find your springboard to fantastic jungle experiences. From La Paz, the Bolivian capital, you must hop on a 6-seater plane, fly over the highest peak of the Andes Mountains, land on a strip of grass in the jungle basin and take a 4-hour SUV & canoe transfer to reach a smattering of incredible jungle lodges. These, by the way, are nothing more than simple cabanas on stilts. What a Bolivian Amazon experience lacks in comforts and luxury it more than makes up for in wilderness and wildlife perfection. Sloths, pink-bellied dolphins, caimans, howler monkeys and an infinite array of other creatures will be your daily companions, as you walk and canoe your way through impenetrable forests and ethereal waterways. This is one of the most remote – and expensive – places to visit in South America, but if you’re looking for a life-changing wilderness experience then it’s also one of the very best.

travel guide, spring break, rio, amazon

 

Take a historical tour de force in Colombia

The hit Netflix show, Narcos, may have caused a resurgence in interest in Colombia, a country which was – once upon a time – plagued by crime and drugs. Yet the country has actually been one of the most rewarding off-the-beaten-path spring break destinations for a number of years now, and recognized as one of the most culturally immersive places to visit in South America. The capital, Bogota, is only a 3-hour plane ride away from Florida and is the ideal base from where to explore the rest of the country. As vibrant and interesting as Bogota is, however, Cartagena is the city you really ought to spend most of your time discovering. This is one of the most revered destinations for US families wishing to experience a spring break vacation with a little more substance.

A UNESCO-listed architectural and historical gem, Cartagena boasts one of the best-preserved colonial Old Town Centers in all of the Americas. Stay in the heart of town for an added dash of old-school romance, or stay in Getsemani – a tried and tested backpacker haunt – and even the beach hood of Bocagrande, which is only a half-hour’s walk away from Old Town. Easter celebrations in Colombia are the largest and most important of the year, with the Good Friday procession a vibrant and culturally-enriched affair. Take a week or 10- day tour of Colombia and you’ll come home with a host of incredible experiences under your belt, as well as an enviable suntan.

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Tackle an African safari on an overland expedition

Spring break adventures don’t come much better than on an African safari, yet if you think that driving around in a nondescript SUV, just one of two dozen vehicles looking out for a lion, then you obviously haven’t heard of overlanding adventure tours. With unique tour companies like Overlanding West Africa, you get to experience a side of Africa not many get to and have the chance to see off the beaten path attractions and have more in-depth cultural experiences with locals. On a tour, you get a professional and expert travel guide to take care of all the logistics and your own totally cool expedition truck to take you away from the hustle of tourist-ville. The Dakar to Marrakech tour stretches for a month starting from 17th April, which would require additional holiday time, yet know that there are at least a dozen other African overland companies running shorter tours throughout all of Africa. If your heart is set on endless savannah plains and roars of wild lions, then trust your travel agent to find you an available seat on an African adventure truck.

travel guide, spring break, West Africa, safari

So take your next school vacation up a notch and follow our travel guide to a totally AWESOME and unique spring break adventure.

5 Wedding Ideas Pulled from Southeast Asian Traditions

Finding wedding ideas can be a challenging and rewarding experience. A surefire way to throw an event to remember is to incorporate traditions from cultures outside your own. Steer clear of cliche ceremonies and take a peek into some Southeast Asian wedding traditions for some inspiration for your own nuptials. Each tradition is founded in history and heart — you’re sure to find something that speaks to your own love story. 

Wedding, Wedding Traditions, Wedding Ideas, Southeast Asia

 

Vietnam – Dam Hoi (Tea Ceremony)

A common tradition in Vietnamese weddings is the Dam Hoi ceremony. After the exchange of rings couples will pour wine or tea into the cups of attendees as a symbol of respect and sharing. The couple will serve their respective in-laws as a thanks for raising their children and to their new grandparents to show respect and to embrace of their new family. The family return congratulate the couple with jewelry and gifts. Some unique gifts are received among the Vietnamese couple such as nuts and betel leaves, these are to be chewed to symbolize dialogue between the couple and parents. Other more common gifts include wine, tea, fruits, pastries, a whole roasted pig, and sticky rice.

 

Laos – Baci Ceremony (Spirit Calling)

In Laos, betrothed couples prepare for the big day in a 30-60 minute ceremony held days before the actual wedding.The Baci Ceremony is meant to honor the spirits and reinforce harmony. Otherwise known as “spirit calling,” the Baci Ceremony gathers family and friends to prepare for the upcoming nuptials and to wish well upon the couple.

A handmade ‘pha khuan’ centerpiece made of marigolds, bamboo sticks, banana leaves, thread, and rice will hold folded banana leaves and candles placed within. Known as the ‘maak beng’, folded banana leaves will be the foundation of white string to be tied among the couple and guests. The pha khuan is placed on a white linen in the center of the room where the Baci Ceremony is held. The master of the ceremony will present a small amount of whisky and money wrapped in a banana leaf along with candles and flowers to the couple to invite wellbeing.

He then ties the white strings attached to the maak beng to connect all participants to form a continuous bonding of all attendees to the couple to offer blessings and wishes for the couple. Rice is thrown to represent the spirits and to wish good luck. Finally, as the procession finishes, an elder will make future predictions by looking at a formation of chicken wings and claws. This ceremony is then followed by the invitation to eat, drink, and dance in typical Laos fashion.

 

Cambodia – Hai Goan Gomloh (Groom’s Parade)

Traditionally, Cambodia is known for arranged marriages, the giving of dowry, and having weddings that last from one to three days. They hold multiple ceremonies to symbolically unite the couple and their families. One common tradition is the Hai Goan Gomloh, or “Groom’s Parade”. The Groom, along with friends and family bring silver and gold trays of fruit, desserts, and gifts to the house of the bride’s family. Gifts are then showcased throughout the house to show pride and richness brought from the Groom.

Another common Cambodian wedding ritual is the “Sien Doan Taa” or Tea Ceremony where families bow, burn incense, and offer tea to honor and call upon their ancestors to bestow good wishes and blessings upon the couple.

Malaysia – Berinai Ceremonies (Henna Staining)

Henna staining ceremonies called “Berinai” are very important in Malaysian culture. Henna is extracted from the henna leaf, regarded as a blessed item to cleanse and protect from evil, and is applied to represent unity in marriage. Typically henna is applied by close relatives, usually women and special friends of the couple, and takes place over three days. The first day is applied by close relatives called, “Berinai Curi.” On the second night, “Berinai Kecil,” henna is applied by neighbors and friends. Finally the most important henna ceremony “Berinai Besar” is held after the marriage ceremony. Family members on both sides take turns applying henna and  a mixture of rice and flour to the palms and foreheads of the couple as a blessing.

Thailand – Rod Nam Sang (Shell Ceremony)

Before the wedding ceremony in Thailand, many couples have white string draped between their heads to symbolize independence of each person and their destiny of becoming one. Afterwards, an elder fills a conch shell with holy water and guests —  starting with immediate family and ending with friends —  pour the holy water over the hands of the couple to symbolize unity. The ritual is known as ‘Rod Nam,’ meaning to soak with water. After the Shell Ceremony each guest places a gift into a basket, typically the gift is a symbol of social status, the higher the status the more wealth they give to the couple.