Tasmania: Hobart (day 1-2)

Hi all, a bit over a month ago I went on holiday to Tasmania with my little family. This was the first time any of us had been to the tiny island state of Australia. We did an 8-day road trip to celebrate my Babymoon and O’s new start to the school year.

For this trip, I designed a road trip, which began and ended in Hobart. This took us to Queenstown, Cradle Mountain, Devonport, Launceston, Campbell Town, Oatlands, Richmond and Port Arthur. We stayed in different accommodations every night and saw a variety of different landscapes. Although this is only a snapshot of what Tasmania has to offer, this itinerary gave us a pretty good overview in a short time with a child in tow.

I really didn’t know much about Tasmania before planning this trip. I didn’t know what the landscape would look like or what the climate would feel like. We were travelling in January during the hottest time of the year in Australia. But I had heard from others that it can get pretty cold here. So we just packed everything.

Our first stop was Hobart, which is the capital city and the most populous place in Tasmania. It was founded in 1804 as a British Penal colony and is the second oldest capital city in Australia. We arrive at the tiny Hobart airport just after midday. After picking up our rental car and we made our way into Hobart. This was our first impression of Tasmania. It looked quite rural and relatively flat. The climate was quite a bit cooler than where we came from and very windy.

It took about 20 minutes to get to our accommodation, located in the suburb of Lindisfarne on Hobart’s Eastern Shore. It’s only about 6 km from the centre of the city, but you do need a car to travel across the water. This suburb didn’t seem very affluent, as the homes were quite small but they did have amazing views of the River Derwent.

We stayed in the Honeymoon Suite at the Possums Spa Apartments. It was quite private and relatively clean. For the price and it was quite reasonable, but it was a little dated. The bed was extremely comfortable, so I can’t complain too much.

We were eager to drive across to the centre of Hobart to see as much as we could before everything closed. We parked on Franklin Wharf car park, just adjacent to Elizabeth Street Pier. There are quite a few dining options here. We had a little look but then decided to keep walking towards the Salamanca Markets. We did duck into the Brooke Street Pier building. Inside there are a few small stalls selling Tasmanian produce and tourism operators. If you are wanting to go to MONA Art Gallery on the Berriedale peninsula, you can buy your tickets for the ferry from here. The ferry itself is highly recommended on Trip Adviser. However, the tickets for the ferry and the museum weren’t cheap, so we decided to give it a miss on this trip.

On our way to the markets, we crossed through the Parliament House Gardens. It overlooks the Parliament House of Tasmania, which is still used today and offers public tours on non-sitting days. The park itself is quite plush green space. Unfortunately, it didn’t have a playground, which would have been ideal for us. Between the gardens and the Salamanca Place, you can find the Tasman Memorial and Fountain (1988). It was designed by local sculpture, Stephen Walker and features a plinth of white rock with the Southern Cross overlooking a white concrete fountain with three bronze ships and a bronze sculpture of Abel Janszoon Tasman (1603 – 1659). Tasman was a Dutch seafarer, explorer, merchant and first known European explorer to reach Tasmania and New Zealand.

The Salamanca Market is located at Salamanca Place and operates on Saturdays between 8:30 am-3 pm. It is Tasmania’s most visited tourist attractions and features over 300 stalls of local Tasmanian fresh food and produce, handmade arts and crafts, clothing, antiques, beauty products, souvenirs and more. We didn’t have much time until closing, so we had a quite look around for some lunch. If you’re after something in particular you can see the Market map. We didn’t end up eating here today, but we did return for our lunch on our last day, which you will see in a few more posts.

Salamanca Place a precinct of Hobart and features a row of picturesque three and four-storey sandstone buildings and a square. These buildings were previously warehouses for the port of Hobart, but today it is home to a variety of restaurants, bars, shops, the Spacebar Gallery, Salamanca Arts Centre and the Peacock Theatre.

For lunch, I had planned to visit Daci & Daci Bakers, which is where we headed next. It is only a few minutes walk from Salamanca market. They have an amazing array of sweet and savoury pastries, cakes, bread, etc. Most of the menu is on display in the glass cabinets, including the breakfast and lunch dishes. Since I was pregnant I wasn’t about to order any of those. So instead I order the Seasonal soup, which was Black bean and vegetable soup and it came with house bread and farmhouse butter. Marco and Octavia shared a Croque Monsieur. After a bit of a wait due to some mix up, we finally got our meals. They were both pretty nice. My soup was exactly what my body needed and a good healthy start to this holiday.

Next, we wanted to visit Hobart’s inner-city laneways, which have been transformed into works of art. They were an initiative by the city council, called Love our Laneways. Many of these laneways are short cuts, which allow people a more scenic route, as they cut across town.

The first laneway we found was Harrington Lane. When we first arrived we didn’t see anything there, but once we walked around the corner a bit we came to this amazing Batman mural. Besides that there was a brightly coloured bird-inspired piece. These artworks were done by Tasmanian street artist and UTAS alum Jamin. He has produced murals across Tasmania, Australia and Internationally and won countless awards.

On our journey, we came across the little cafe Pilgrim Pies. This little slice of heaven offers pies, doughnuts and coffee 24-hour a day. We weren’t too hungry so Marco and I shared an Apple pie and O got a Strawberry glazed doughnut. Since the cafe was full, we went around the back to sit In the Hanging Garden. This area amazing little block is a beer garden with outdoor dining, bar and live music. There are two little restaurants offering Malaysian and Basque-inspired food.

Next, we visited one of the most impressive laneways, Bidencopes Lane. It was previously a favourite place for street taggers but was transformed during the 2018 Vibrance Festival by over 20 different artists. Here you can find work by artists Jamin, Tom O’Hern, and Brain Foetus aka Laura McMahon, Tom Gerrard, Lukan Smith, Jonny Scholes, Seven, Sam Dobransky, Ling, Mimi, and Stormie Mills. This is probably the longest laneway I came across with the most work, so definitely one you should visit. I realized the following day that I hadn’t seen the entire lane when I came across the other end on Liverpool street. You can see the rest at the end of this post.

Finally, we found the city, but unfortunately, everything was just about to close. We did visit the Cat & Fiddle Arcade, which had a clock that plays an English melody when the clock strikes the hour. To be honest the city centre weren’t that interesting. The store fronts were quite dated and there wasn’t many interesting things to see. It did feel a bit like I had falling back in time when I consider how far Brisbane Queen Street Mall has come. We continued to walk as far as Franklin Square, but that was about it. I may have had a better experience if my daughter hadn’t been complaining the whole time that she wanted a Tasmanian devil, like the one she saw at the Salamanca markets. She was relentless and besides a cheap one I found in a tourist store on the mall, we didn’t come across another one. She would eventually get one a couple of days later after exhausting us.

Along Murray Street, we came across some mural in a between Micheal Hill Jewellers and Routley’s. The right side was commissioned to the local artists TOPSK by the Antarctic and South Ocean Coalition. It illustrates the marine animals of the Antarctic ocean ecosystem. TOPSK also painted the left side which, depicting the bees, wombat and Tasmanian devil. He is known as one of the godfathers of Hobart’s street art and has had his work regularly exhibited. Unfortunately, someone had taken a leak in here, so I couldn’t admire the works for too long.

Not far from Murray Street is another laneway, Mathers Lane. This laneway on a pocket park, which is also known as Mathers place. This work was also done by Hobart street artist and UTAS alum Tom O’Hern called Terraform. It was originally a black and white mural, but he later added colour.

After our big walk, we headed back to our accommodation to freshen up for dinner. I took these photos from Lindisfarne of Hobart’s Eastern Shore. It was so picturesque and much more beautiful in this light.

Our last stop for the night was dinner at Urban Greek. I did a bit of research before choosing this place and found that it was said to be one of the best if not the best restaurant in Hobart. We absolutely loved this place and would come back to Hobart just to eat here again. It was definitely the best meal we had on this trip.

We don’t normally order banquets at restaurants, but tonight Marco and I were eager to try everything. The waitress was very accommodating and made sure that all the dishes were pregnancy-friendly.

So we started off with Pita with Pantzari (beetroot & yogurt dip), Cretan Hommus and Fava (yellow split peas dip). Next, we had the Meze Plate of Dolmades and dill yogurt, Tirokroketes (cheese croquettes), and Kolokithokeftedes (zucchini croquettes). We already ate half this platter before I photographed it and all of the 3rd course which was the Saganaki Cheese served with homemade jam. After that, we were had the Soutzoukakia (Greek Meat Balls) and Cretan Village Salad, followed by the Cretan style Lamb & Chicken with Lemon Roast Potatoes. While we consumed all this delicious food, Octavia enjoyed her child meal of Cretan style Chicken lemon potatoes, pita and yogurt, as well as a few bits and pieces of our meal.

For dessert, our banquet came with Galaktoboureko (Greek Custard pie) and Octavia had some complimentary ice cream. The cake was amazing and a nice sweet end to the night.

The next day we woke up bright and early and ready for breakfast. There are so many amazing brunch spots in Hobart. A place that is known as one of the best brunches in Hobart is Criterion Street Cafe. It was also one of the most reasonably priced. They offer a variety of breakfast and lunch options, including eggs, waffles, salads and sandwiches. Although they didn’t have a kids menu, they did offer half-size portions for little people or smaller appetites.

I ordered Aunt Mabel’s Porridge, which had rhubarb compote and apple crumble and Orange juice; Marco had the French Toast (three cheese, dijon mustard, caramelized onion, pancetta, roasted tomato and rocket and a cappuccino; and O had eggs on toast. My porridge was amazing! It was so creamy and decadent. Marco’s french toast was also out of this world, well the tiny bit he let me try. Octavia was the only unsatisfied one. She was a bit upset that there was pepper on her egg and was just in a general mood about not having a Tasmanian devil.

On our way back to the car I spotted some more street art just off 162 Liverpool Street. This actually linked to Bidencopes Lane, which we had seen yesterday. At the beginning, it features the Trapdoor by Jade Pollard, which was inspired by the 1990s TV show. There is also murals by Ling, Mimi, Sam Dobransky, Pichu, Rebak mail, Kreamart, Kannina Langford and more.

It was now time to leaving Hobart. We had to travel to our next destination of Queenstown, which is where I will take you on my next post. Hope you enjoyed getting a snapshot of Hobart!

Broccoli Cheese Tater Tots

Hi all, I trialled a new recipe this past week for my daughter and I am happy to say it was a success. She loves broccoli, but you still never if she’s going to eat it if I’m not there. I tried them for afternoon tea and then again for her school lunch and she ate them no problem both times. Her dad also loved it, so I thought I better share this recipe.

I adapted this recipe from Baked Cheddar Broccoli Tots by Sabrina of Dinner then Dessert. I never intended on altering the recipe but made a few minor changes to suit my family and my style of cooking. Firstly, I blanched the vegetables instead of microwaving them. I don’t have a microwave in my kitchen. I don’t like using them at all. We do actually have one, but my partner has to go into the garage to use it on occasion. I prefer to use my stove or a small oven. I also added fresh grated carrot, red onion and Nutritional yeast. My family are more accustom to these ingredients and the Nutritional yeast gives a nice cheesy taste with extra health benefits. I also preferred to use my homemade breadcrumbs, since the panko crumbs and other breadcrumbs in general from the supermarket, are full of nasty ingredients. My homemade breadcrumbs are so quick and easy to make and they really do makes a difference the flavour of anything I add them too. They are also not so dry, so I don’t need to add spray oil to whatever I coat them in. Lastly, I had to add a little olive oil, as my batch of tots were way too crumbly. The oil made them lovely and moist and probably helped brown better when baking.

These tater tots are delicious on their own, but they also pair well with a good quality tomato sauce. They are perfect for lunchboxes, kids meal, appetiser or as party food. They also freeze well. If serving them re-warmed, I recommend placing them in the oven or air-fryer for a few minutes. This will keep them crisp, opposed to the microwave, which seems to make things soggy.

Broccoli Cheese Tater Tots

(nut free, gluten free option)

Ingredients:

2 cups of broccoli florets, don’t include hard stems

1/4 cup finely grated carrots

sea salt

1/4 cup red onion, diced

1 cup good quality store-bought or homemade bread crumbs (sourdough, garlic, lemon zest, sea salt), or use gluten free breadcrumbs if you prefer.

1/2 cup organic shredded cheddar cheese or other shredded/grated cheese

2 organic free-range eggs, lightly beaten.

1-2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and prepare a baking tray with parchment paper
  2. Place broccoli in a small pan with a tiny bit of water. Cook for 2 minutes, add a pinch of sea salt and add carrot and cook for 2 more minutes. The broccoli should be tender and bright green in colour.
  3. Strain the broccoli and carrot in a fine mesh strainer and press lightly to remove any excess water and allow to cool a little.
  4. Place the broccoli and carrot mixture on a chopping board and mince, so that the broccoli is in smaller pieces. Then add to a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add red onion, bread crumbs, cheese, eggs, nutritional yeast and olive oil. Mix until combined
  6. Take about 1 tbsp size of the mixture into your hand and squeeze into a tater tot shaped ball and place the baking tray.
  7. Bake for 7 minutes. Remove from the oven, turn the tater tots. Return to the oven and bake for a further 7 minutes.

*Makes about 26 tater tots

*If freezing, wrap in small batches in an airtight bag or container and defrost overnight. If you want to serve them hot, reheat in an air-fryer or small oven. Serve immediately or place in a thermos.

One-pot baked beans stew

Hi all, I hope you’ve had a good start to the week. Today I have a recipe inspired by another that I really wanted to cook, but lacked the main ingredients. This happens to me all the time because I’m not great at planning when I’m food shopping. I have a standing order for fresh fruit and veg that is delivered weekly. So when I go to the supermarket I don’t think about recipes to try or create. I just want to get in and out of there.

More recently, my favourite book is Dinner: Changing the Game by New York Times food editor, Melissa Clark. This book is fantastic to elevate your usually diner fare. Most recipes don’t require too many ingredients and more often then not, I have the same or similar ingredients on-hand. So the recipe I was inspired by was Tomato-braised White beans with Chorizo. Since I had no white beans, chorizo, fresh herbs or canned tomatoes, I tried to elevate a couple of cans of baked beans. I love baked beans, but the healthier, BPA free ones are often really flavourless. I end up having to add more salt, sugar or maple syrup when I cook them for breakfast or I get complains that they don’t taste like Heinz. I have been curious for a while what I could add to my baked beans to make them a more complete meal. So what eventuated tonight was a delicious stewed, with a few more simple ingredients and a lot of flavour. It went perfectly with the Skillet Brown-Butter Cornbread, also from the same book. Luckily I had everything ready to go for that recipe.

For this recipe, you can alter the vegetables for what you have on hand. You can also make it vegetarian by omitting the ham for a vegan ham or just leave it out completely. You can also add more sweet smoked paprika if you like that smokey flavour. Cornbread goes really well with this, but keep it more savoury because this stew is quite sweet. Alternatively, you could have it with crusty bread or mash potatoes. My partner loved this recipe for the sweet and savoury flavour of the stew and the buttery cornbread. My daughter wasn’t so sold, because she likes her dinner completely savoury and her ‘cake’ sweet. My child does not like sweet potatoes, peas, carrots or any other sweet vegetable or sauce. I think her biggest gripe was that the cornbread was not a sweet cake and contained corn. However, I know three other young cousins who love sweet vegetables and cornbread. So this may be a better dish to make for them when they visit.

One-pot baked bean stew

(gluten free, nut free, vegan option)

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil

150 g organic/free range leg ham (nitrate & gluten free) or vegan ham substitute (optional)

1 onion, diced

1 large carrot, diced

2 stalks of celery, diced

1 small red capsicum, diced

2 cloves of garlic diced

1 tbsp tomato paste

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground smoked sweet paprika

2 cans organic baked beans (BPA and gluten free, no added salt – I used Absolute Organic)

1 can-full of filtered water

1/2 tsp sea salt or more to taste

1 tbsp pure maple syrup

1-2 handfuls of baby spinach

Method:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot and place on medium heat. Then add ham and cook for a few minutes until it starts to brown. Removed the ham from the pot and place in a bowl to the side.
  2. Then add tomato paste, cumin, and smoked sweet paprika to the pot. Cook for a few minutes until it becomes fragrant and be careful not to burn it.
  3. Immediately add onion, carrots, celery, red capsicum and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften.
  4. Then add baked beans, a can full of water and salt. Bring the pot to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and add the ham and maple syrup. Cook for 25-30 minutes, to allow the stew to thicken.
  5. Take off the heat and stir through the baby spinach. Once it has wilted you may serve.

*Serves 4-6

Lunchbox Ham, Cheese and Veggie Quiche

Hi all, hope you had a wonderful summer holiday. Since my last post, we did our road trip in Tasmania and got through our first week of Prep. I have been so pumped up, getting up around 4-5 am. I’ve never been an early riser, but these pregnancy hormones are making me a bit of a Stepford wife. I don’t think I’ve ever been so productive in the home, but I have been getting a little burned out by the afternoon. So I’ve been a bit slow to get back to blogging and colouring. On the bright side, my fridge and freezer are loaded with healthy meal prep for everyone.

I spent most of last week preparing healthy homemade goods for my daughter and partners lunches. I’ve made chicken and veggie sausage rolls, baked chicken nuggets, spinach and feta scrolls, chicken and veggie meatballs and mini banana blueberry cupcakes. My little family really loved all of these homemade baked goods, but I didn’t think to photograph and take notes of my creations. However, I just prepare a healthy kid-friendly quiche that was also a hit with the family, so I took a few pictures before it was all gone, so I could share it with you all.

This quiche is really quick to prepare. It only took me about 10 minutes to put together before baking. It is perfect for a lunchbox, quick dinner or meal prepped breakfast. You can alter the vegetables depending on what you have on hand. I used broccoli and zucchini because they are my daughter’s favourite vegetables and they go well with eggs. However, steamed sliced potato or roasted pumpkin would also go really nicely. Ham is of course optional. I normally stay clear of deli meats, but my local organic butcher makes their leg ham. It is a good alternative treat for my ham-and-cheese loving child, as it doesn’t contain nitrate or preservatives. Since I try to keep dairy consumption low in my home I try to use alternatives that are more easy to digest. So I prefer to use natural sheep’s yogurt (Meredith Dairy), which will give the quiche a more creamy texture. As for cheese, you can go with what ever you like. I normally would go for freshly grated Pecorino Romano, which is made of sheep’s milk. But I found Barambah Organics Cheddar Cheese Shredded from the health food store, without preservatives and anti-caking. Although this quiche looks small, it is quite dense. It can cut into 4 serves or be halved again, as a protein snack. It is also unnecessary and not recommend reheating this quiche, simply because it’s not the healthy to reheat eggs. If you’re wondering why, see this article: 8 Foods You Shouldn’t Reheat (Because They Could Poison You).

Lunchbox Ham, Cheese and Veggie Quiche

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

4 slices of free range nitrate free leg ham, chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped broccoli florets

1/2 medium zucchini grated

5-6 organic free range eggs

2 tbsp organic natural sheep/cow yogurt

pinch of sea salt

1/4 cup organic shredded or grated cheedar/mozzarella/pecorino cheese

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Heat olive oil in a small pan, then add the ham. Saute for a few minutes until it’s cooked through.
  3. Add broccoli and zucchini and cook for a couple more minutes, until the broccoli is bright green and tender.
  4. Evenly spread out the ham and veggies into a prepared baking dish. I used 20cm x 24cm ceramic baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  5. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and yogurt and add a pinch of sea salt.
  6. Sprinkle half the cheese on top of the ham and veggies, then spread evenly with egg mixture and lastly top with leftover cheese.
  7. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.
  8. Remove from the baking tray and once cool enough, slice to serve or store.

8# Throwback Travel- New York: Grand Central, Central Park & 5th Ave (day 7)

Hi all! While I’m away on my babymoon to Tasmania, I thought I would continue sharing a couple of posts from my trip to America. These are from our last day in New York on day 7. There is just so much to see in New York, as you have seen from what we did. There is so much more I would like to do when I return one day. I am sure there will be many new attractions and delicious foods to try as well. On the last day we covered Grand Central Terminal, the MET, Central Park and made quite a few stops on 5th Avenue. We also dinned in a old-world Viennese cafe on the Upper East side and New York’s largest dinner.

So on my last day, Octavia and I began the day at the Piccolo Cafe, who are known for there authentic Italian fare and espresso. They have three locations, but I visited the little cafe is in Midtown on 238 Madison Ave. This location is quite tiny but was very popular in the early morning with locals. Their menu offers quite a range of pastries and panini with various fillings, pasta, gourmet eggs and salads. I ordered this delicious Salmon and Egg Sandwich, which was perfect to start the day.

Our first tourist stop for the day was the Grand Central Terminal, also commonly known as Grand Central Station. This iconic station is just stunning and a must-do if you visit New York. It was opened in 1913 and it’s retains its old-world nostalgia, due to its stunning Beaux-Arts architecture. Besides being a transport hub connecting Manhattan, it also offers shopping, dining, tours and other events.

After this, I visited The MET alone. Yes just right, I was by myself. I was not disturbed or rushed through my visit and I took photos of everything. I will do a separate post for this visit to show you all the amazing artwork that I saw.

Meanwhile, Marco, O and his mum visited Central Park. They took their time walking around and enjoying the gardens. I didn’t meet them until later and only got to see a fraction of what they saw. It was so hot this day and everyone wanted to leave. If we had more time I would have loved to do a tour of the gardens. This is probably not the best activity to do in the middle of summer.

For lunch, we stopped into a restaurant nearby on 5th avenue, within in the Neue Gallery. Café Sabarsky is an Austrian cafe, which was inspired by the turn-of-the-century Viennese cafes, which served as a hub for intellectual and artists. It’s headed by Michelin-star chef Kurt Gutenbrunner, who presents a menu with a modern take on Viennese traditional dishes. The dining room is relatively small but the interior is just stunning. The walls are flanked with dark wood, which is adorned with carved embellishments and there is a classic old-style bar. We each ordered a dish from the menu, including Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese, Bavarian Sausage with warm Pretzel & Sweet Mustard and Roasted Bratwurst with Riesling Sauerkraut, Roasted Potatoes & Dijon. The dishes were presently lovely and tasted very nice as well. They were rather small serves, but then for such a fancy place we probably should have ordered a bit more. Especially since I had to split my meal with my toddler.

After that, we took a walk from on 5th Avenue from the Upper Eastside to Midtown. This is a great walk to take in all the amazing architecture and high-end shopping scene. We made a few stops along the way. First, we stopped at the iconic Apple Fifth Avenue. To get to the store we had to go into a cube and down a spiral staircase. It was very crowded down there, just like every Apple store I suppose.

Next, we visited Trump Tower. Now, this was before the election, so I wasn’t so accustomed with the Trump name as we all are now. The interior is very grand, but also a little outdated. For me it’s reminiscent of the the grandeur of New York in the 1980s and 1990s. At the time we visited there weren’t any stores open. Since I had the pram, I had to take a lift to the first floor to get a view of the foyer. There was a doorman inside, who would only allow one customer or couple at a time. It was kind of nice to privately ascend up. While we were there we did get some ice cream from the Trump Ice Cream Parlor. It offers about 16 classic flavours. I believe I tried the Vanilla Honey Baklava, which I hadn’t come across before and it was pretty nice.

Next, we stopped at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This is the grand church we saw while in New York. This church is 140 years old and is the seat of the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. The architectural style is largely Neo-Gothic and is truly stunning both inside and out. It is massive in size and can hold 3000 parishes at once.

Not far from 5th Avenue in Midtown, we also made a stop at the famous Magnolia Bakery at the Rockefeller Centre. This New York bakery is various locations within the city across the US, as well as in Asia and the Middle East. The brand was made famous by the ‘Sex and the City’ series and for its cupcakes. Their menu offer a range of cupcakes as well as speciality weekly cupcake flavours. Additional they offer pies, cakes, mini cheesecakes, brownies, bars, cookies and sweet breakfast muffins, scones and loaves. This particular location is rather small and doesn’t offer seating, so we had to grab and go. For me the cheesecakes looked the most amazing, so we got the Blueberry and Caramel Pecan Cheesecake. Oh my goodness they were amazing. They were so soft, creamy and perfectly flavoured and sweetened. I was in cheesecake heaven. I also hadn’t eaten cheesecake in 6 years, but I promise you they are great.

Our last stop was the American Girl Place, near Rockefeller Plaza. We don’t have these dolls in Australia, but I had heard about them. This store is two levels and features the American Girl dolls, Bitty Babies, Wellie Wishers and merchandise. There is also now a cafe on the bottom level.

I hoped to buy a look-alike doll for my daughter. Unfortunately, she was not interested in American girls or Bitty Babies. Instead, she rather wanted to play in the little house, that is set up for small children. Since they are pretty pricey and would take up a big place in my suitcase I decided not to get one for myself.

For dinner, Marco really wanted to eat in a New York American diner. I reluctantly gave in, since I wasn’t expecting diner food to be that great or healthy. He chose the Tick Tock Diner. It is the largest diner in New York and has a bright classic diner interior. The menu offers fried starters and sides, soups, mac & cheese, burgers, tacos, burritos, pancakes, french toast, crepes, waffles, egg dishes, sandwiches, salad bowls, pasta, pizza and desserts.

Marco and I decided to go with burgers. He got the Cheese Burger and Fries and I got the Turkey Burger and Sweet Potato Fries. To be honest we were a bit underwhelmed by both the presentation and the taste.

Well that’s my last day in New York. My post on the MET will be out soon and then we will move onto Washington DC.

DIY Back to School Meal Plan Printables

Is your little one starting school this year? Or are you struggling plan what to give your kids for school? I may have a solution for you at or at least some inspiration.

My daughter is starting prep this year and I was a bit anxious about what I am going to give her for lunch. Until now she has spent most of the time with me and a couple of days at kindy, where all the kids are served the same kid-friendly meal. At home, she is pretty good at eating just about whatever I give her. However, when we eat out or she’s not with me, she’s very picky. So I thought we could create a meal plan for her, so she has a good breakfast in the morning and healthy meals throughout the school week. When I approached her with the idea she was really excited about it. Especially since she is excited to use her new Yumbox (bento lunch box) and Thermos lunch jar.

So one afternoon we sat down together and talking about foods she liked and what she is most likely to eat by herself at school. We browsed lots of pictures of lunchbox, kid-friendly foods and recipes. From that, we came up with a variety of breakfasts, lunches, sides and snacks that interested her. From there we looked for pictures that represented the foods and easy recipe that I could meal prep in advance. Next, I made up an A4 poster for breakfast and an A3 poster for lunch, as well as another document with a collection of pictures of the foods we planned to use. Lastly, I had my posters and food images professional printed and laminated.

So this is the template that I came up with:

And this is the result of our template. I attached the pictures to the poster, with velcro tap, but you could also use blue tack. My side dishes and snacks are missing from my poster currently. I will probably attach them next to the main dishes with blue tack since I didn’t want to add more velcro strips.

If this is something you would like to try out with your little people and would like a copy of my meal plan templates simply private message me on my Live Eat Colour Facebook page or my Instagram page and I will email you the documents directly. You can feel free to alter the colours, font and meal breaks for your child’s school. Just note that I will be on holidays until the 26th of January, so I may not be able to send them until after that date.

If you want some recommendations for non-toxic lunch bags, lunch boxes and accessories, please see my previous posts:

Happy New Year!..looking forward and back at 2019

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday celebration and start to the New Years. I can’t believe its already 2020, it seems like just yesterday 2000 upon us. When we think about the people we were and the world we lived in, it completely mind-blowing. I’m feeling pretty optimistic about 2020. Not just for the world but also for myself.

Whats coming in 2020

So before I look back at the past year this blog, I thought I would do an update on what’s coming up in this year.

So my baby boy is coming in late May. I am 20 weeks today! I just had my 2nd-trimester ultrasound, which went really well. It made me feel better seeing that he’s still alive in there because he either kicks me for hours or is completely still. He was quite well behaved for the sonographer and she was easily about to capture all his important bits. He is kicking quite a lot now and finally hard enough for my family to just feel him from the outside. I’ve had quite mixed feelings about this pregnancy because I know exactly what to expect in terms of birth and all the sleep recently gained is going to be clawed back off me. But I’m also excited about meeting the little guy and having lots of fun baby time. Things will also be so different now that I can drive, have a few more parenting hacks up my sleeve and more confidence as a mother.

Before the baby comes I wanted to do another little trip with my family. So in a couple of weeks, we are heading to Tasmania! I’ve never been before, so I’m super excited to see what’s it all about and taste all the fresh produce.

I’ve already put together the itinerary for our 7-day road trip. It will begin and end in Hobart. But every day we will stay in a different town and visit others along the way. Some of the stops include Queenstown, Cradle Mountain, East Devonport, Launceston, Campbell Town, Oatlands, Richmond and Port Arthur. So it’s going to be quiet a fast pace road trip, with plenty of sites to see and cafes and restaurants to try. I won’t be able to do any hiking as I had originally hoped. This second pregnancy is a bit more difficult and I can only do 2 hrs walks in an air-conditioned shopping centre at this stage. But who knows, my usual travel boost may power me up so I can go for longer. Normally when I travel I only sleep 4 hours a night and don’t feel like I’ve had a great day unless I’ve been walking for 10-14 hrs. But it’s a lot different carrying a baby in my belly then in a baby carrier or in a pram.

As for the rest of the year ahead, I have no idea what is going to happen. I intend on being focused on my family, doing lots of activities and outings for the kids and trying my hand at meal prepping and new recipes. I’ve already been trying many new recipes from my Christmas present, Dinner: Changing the Game, by Melissa Clarke. So far I’ve made Black Bean Skillet Dinner, Sesame Chicken with Cashews and Dates, Zucchini Corn Cakes with Mint Coriander Pesto, Pomegranate Quinoa with Crunchy Chickpeas, Stir-Fried Tofu with Summer Squash, Basil and Coconut, and Fusilli & Roasted Cauliflower with Capers. And yes, they all taste just as amazing as they sound. Many are similar recipes that I have put together before, but just have that extra kick of flavour. So far my family have been a huge fan of all the recipes. Especially the Sesame Chicken, which has been requested to return weekly. I also really loved the Black Beans Skillet, which is so easy to put together and really satisfying. I recommend this book for you or as a present for any of your foodie friends. Its definitely going to be my go-to gift for upcoming birthdays this year.

The last big thing for 2020 will be renovations. At the end of last year, we completely re-tiled downstairs and began renovations on the downstairs bathroom/laundry. It’s pretty much complete, except plaster from the top cupboards to the ceiling and finding a mirror. The toilet, shower and barn door are also done. Marco did quite a bit of work by himself for this renovation. He removed the existing attachments, walls and floor tiles, sprayed the bronze windows black and painted and attached barn door. His father also did the electrical, which also saved us a bit.

Next, we will move onto my en suite and walk-in-robe, the second upstairs bathroom/toilet and lastly the kitchen. I’m most excited about getting a new kitchen, which I have been waiting for nearly 7 years. Since its the most expensive renovation and will have to outsource most of the labour, we may not do this until 2021. But I’m optimistic! We will use the same Carpentry business who did our laundry. They offer exactly the style that I wanted, use good quality materials and do an amazing job.

Look back at 2019

In 2019, I was a bit all over the place with blogging, especially towards the end of the year. The first half of the year was dedicated to my museum internship and the second half I was suffering 1st trimester morning/all day sickness. But I thought I would give you the highlights of all the major posts I wrote, in case you want to go back and check them out.

For the Live section of my blog, I continued writing about our Nordic trip. This 3-week trip took me nearly a year to write about in my off-time because we covered so much. I then began writing about my travels to the USA. It was a few years ago, but it is the only major trip that I hadn’t documented. I haven’t finished this, so I will continue writing about it this year. So far you can read about my first 6 days in New York and some of my older posts Eating through…each city, we well my Tips and guide for the Florida Disney parks and each Disney park in Pictures. Other things I covered this year was my Ancestry DNA results, which have since changed, so I intend to write about this in the future. And also O’s Unicorn Party.

For the Eat section of my blog, I mostly included posts from my travels and a few new recipes. I was pretty lazy in terms of recipe development in 2019. I found myself cooking a lot of the same old meals week to week. They were healthy but also familiar to my difficult child. Here are some of the recipes I did post:

For the Colour section of my blog, I was also quite slack this year. Although, I did spend a lot more time on the pages I coloured and I have improved a lot. Below are some of the book reviews I did with completed pictures and video flip through, as well as my special seasonal colour from a variety of my books.

9# Life update: Christmas and travel

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you had a wonderful day with your family and friends and got spoilt.

My Christmas was relatively quiet this year since most of my family are having an icy Christmas in Europe. Meanwhile, large parts of Australia has been burning. Luckily where I live there are no bush fires and the last couple of days have cooled down and been quite rainy. So I only had to set the table for five and food preparations were much less stressful for this pregnant mama. Despite the limited number of guests, our tree was taken over by large amounts of presents this year. Anything we needed for school for the new year or items we needed and found on sale went under the tree. So you can imagine for a 4 year old, opening all those gifts first thing on Christmas morning was very exciting.

I won’t shock you with how much stuff O ended up. When we lined everything up to take a photo with her I was kind of shocked how much she accumulated from her grandparents, aunts and uncles, us and Santa. But I will show you what I received. So everything was handpicked by me except for the Braun Multi Quick 9. I told Marco I wanted a stick blender so he researched the best one he could find. It was a nice surprise to get a model with some many different features.

There are still a couple of presents that are on their way. The first is the Seed & Sprout Eco Starter Kit which came as a free gift with the Braun Multi Quick 9. It includes 1 x Organic Cotton Pocket Tote, 5 x Organic Cotton Mesh Produce Bags, 6 x Reusable Stretch Lids, 1 x Plant Fibre Dish Brush with replaceable head, and 1 x Reusable Straw & Cleaner & Carry Pouch. I’m pretty excited about this since I don’t have of these reusable items, except for the straw.

The second thing is the e-book Erica Adler’s The Beginner’s Guide to Meal Prep, which is being released on the 2nd of January 2020. I recently discovered Fresh Erica on Youtube on the Goodful channel. She is a professional meal prepper in New York city. I just love watching her videos and seeing how she puts together the most delicious-looking dinners and lunch for her clients. I’ve never been into meal prep since I have plenty of time to make everything fresh, but I’m getting interested in this since I know I have another baby on the way, as well as school lunch to prepare for next year. I’m sure Marco will also be excited to have something more interesting for his work meals.

On Christmas Eve, O and I made some Scandinavian Christmas cookies. They were Pressed Butter Cookies from the Beatrice Ojakangas’s The Great Scandinavian Baking Book. I have never made pressed cookies, but I did buy some cookie presses. I didn’t expect the cookie dough to be so soft and sticky. After about the 8th cookie, O and I got into a good rhythm of dusting the cookie presses with lots of flour before filling them with dough and pressing out the cookies. They aren’t perfect but they were homemade.

This year Santa got one of our Pressed Butter Cookies, a glass of our favourite Vitasoy soy milk and one carrot for his reindeer. I figured we didn’t want to overfill him or his reindeers, since they would be eating something similar in every other house they would be visiting.

On Christmas day we started with these delicious Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Rolls (minus the raisins) from Chloe’s Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli. I have made her Pumpkin scrolls a long time ago, but this was the first time for this recipe. They were so delicious! All the evaporated cane sugar and cinnamon that I used in the filling caramelized inside and on the bottom of the scrolls, making them that much more decadent. I was able to make them the day before and bake them first thing in the morning. This is much easier and gave us time to open presents and make an early start on lunch prep.

My lunch menu was very simple this year. It was centred around a Pork Loin stuffed with apples, rosemary and sage that I bought from my local organic butcher. It was served with Thyme roasted vegetables of garlic, carrots, celery, and onions; Maple roasted brussels sprouts, Hassleback potatoes and sweet potato with homemade breadcrumbs and Pecorino; and simple cut salad. Everything turned out pretty good. My only issue was that my pork loin didn’t have any crackling. None of my knives were strong enough to break the skin, so I wasn’t able to score it. I really should have called my brother, who is a chef to ask him what to do. We spoke later that day and he gave me some tips for next time. Everyone was a huge fan of the hassleback potatoes and brussels sprouts, which is not something you would normally see on a Serbian dinner table.

For dessert, I made a Summer Berry Pie à la mode from Chloe’s Kitchen. I made the dough the day before and let it warm up prior to putting it together. I also defrosted and strained the frozen berries, since they are moist enough without added juices. My latticework was a bit rushed so it didn’t come out as pretty, but I don’t think anyone noticed. Everyone loved it, especially my borderline diabetic father-in-law and blackberry hating child. It wasn’t very sweet since I had used Evaporated cane sugar in the dough and none for the filling. But with a scope of vanilla ice cream, it was sweet enough.

So that was my quiet little Christmas. How was your Christmas this year? What did get? What did you eat?

Oh, I nearly forgot. I’m going on a trip in a few weeks to Tasmania! I’ve never been to Tasmania, so I’m super excited to explore this island state. I’ve heard the food is amazing and the scenery is gorgeous. We will do a seven-day road trip from Hobart, to Queenstown, Launceston, Port Arthur and back to Hobart. There will also be a few other stops in between of small towns. So excited to do my last trip before the baby comes.

Pumpkin Pikelets

I’ve got quite a stockpile of root vegetables in my pantry at the moment, and its way to hot to make soups and heavy starchy foods. I’m the only pumpkin fan in my house, so I thought I would infuse some of that pumpkin sweet flavour into our morning breakfast. Little O was really not interested, so I made these after taking her to kindy for Marco and I. We both really enjoyed them and they were a nice change to our mundane morning routine of avocado on bread. I did try them with the little one later, but she still wasn’t a fan. Unlike other children, she despises sweet vegetables, like sweet potato, corn and peas. Zucchini pancakes and broccoli frittata are much more welcome on her breakfast plate. Perhaps, next time I can sway her with some maple syrup, since she still loves sugary condiments. Anyway if you’re open to the deliciousness of sweet pumpkin, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed with these pikelets.

Pumpkin Pikelets

Ingredients:

1 small butternut pumpkin

Olive oil

sea salt

1 cup organic plain flour

1/2 cup plant milk, plus more

1 large egg

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/4-1/2 ground cinnamon or pumpkin spice

coconut oil, to cook

real maple syrup to serve

Method:

  1. First, you need to roast your butternut pumpkin, which should be done ahead of time. Just chop the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt. Roast in 180-degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the pumpkin flesh is soft. Then scope out, mash and allow to cool in the fridge, until your ready to use. You should have at least a 1 cup of mashed butternut pumpkin.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add mashed pumpkin, flour, milk, egg, coconut sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of sea salt. Whisk until combined and add more milk if the batter is too dry.
  3. Heat your hot plate or crepe pan on medium heat and drizzle with coconut oil. Once the oil is hot, drop the batter into a pan, using a 1/4 cup measuring cup and try to flatten it out a little. Cook on one side, until you start to see little holes appear on the top, or when the sides crisp up and then flip and cook on the other side. They only take a couple of minutes to cook in total. Continue until you have used all of the batter.
  4. Enjoy the pikelets with a drizzle of maple syrup.

Makes 10 pikelets.

Italian birthday feast (with recipes)

It was my Marco’s birthday today! The three of us had a little lunch out to celebrate and saw the new film, The Addams Family in the cinema. However, we celebrated with the family a couple of days ago at home. I wanted to make something special for his birthday lunch like I do every year. I was far too tired to do something as epic as my Feast of Seven Kingdoms, which I did a couple of years ago. And we only had a couple of extra guests. But since it was a special occasion, it was still a good excuse to get out my pasta machine and gnocchi board. I don’t make fresh pasta very often in my day-to-day life. I really should because it’s super easy. When I know I’m making a special meal though, I like to treat my guests (and myself) to some fresh pasta. Gnocchi I do make a bit more often whenever I have too many potatoes piling up in my pantry.

So on the menu today we had Sausage and Basil Lasagne, Gnocchi with bacon, mushrooms and sage, Panzanella salad and Sauteed Kale with raisins and almonds. I was inspired by Joy Behar’s famous Lasagne recipe, which was recently featured on an off-air video on The View. You can also find the find recipe here. My version was similar, but a little different. I made fresh pasta, some of the ingredients varied a little and I didn’t include ricotta and egg in for my cheese layer. To be honest, I totally forgot to include those ingredients when I was planning it out in my head. However, my lasagne turned out pretty good and very similar to my old Abruzzese neighbour’s version. Hers is also amazing and doesn’t include any bechamel or ricotta. As for the rest of the menu, it just evolved on the day, from ingredients I had on hand. I have included all the recipes below. Hope you like them!

Sausage and Basil Lasagne

For this lasagne, you can totally use store-bought lasagne sheets and pasta sauce. Just make sure you heat your sauce with some water added, before layering the lasagne. My lasagne was about 8 layers, but you don’t have to make yours as high. I just made a lot of pasta with 500g of tipo 00 flour and 4 eggs. I really recommend slicing your own fresh mozzarella and grating your own Pecorino or Parmesan, because it really makes a difference. It will taste better and it won’t have any anti-caking agents or preservatives.