Visiting Taichung and Taipei

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Taiwan always topped my favourite countries list. With it’s amazing street food and friendly locals, I looked forward to visiting Taiwan and this time round, my third. I have included Taichung into my itinerary, as my family and I have never been there before and we heard so much about Feng Jia Night Market – one of the biggest night markets in Taiwan. I can say the shopping  in Taichung is so much better as compared to Taipei! Got most of my loots from Yi Zhong Street and Feng Jia Night Market.

Did I also share that I got my air tickets at a steal? REAL STEAL! SIN – TPE with luggage was $80 only! Why? – Cause I got an eDM from Jetstar on it’s Friday Frenzy Deal and there was no time for consideration whilst booking these tickets, it was at $0! Dates plugged in and paid immediately!

I will be sharing my itinerary on how I plan and where I go during this 7 days in Taichung and Taipei;

Singapore to Taichung, Day 1

We made our way to Taichung via the High-Speed Rail (HSR) which took about an hour and so. There were many other bus and train transfers however it was the fastest route southwards. We stayed at Plaza Hotel, it was highly recommended by a friend who was a frequent Taiwan traveler, it is centrally located and very convenient! 

Miyaharu (Gong Yuan Yan Ke)Love the interior of Miyaharu, it’s very vintage-looking with many wooden structures. It is well-known for their pineapple tarts and other pastries in pretty boxes. We tried their ice-cream too, in my opinion I thought it was mediocre. Worth visiting for photo-taking and souvenir shopping.

Yi Zhong Street (Shopping Street)13346740_10153794782167746_1153649137424133019_n

It’s just like Orchard Road but in Taichung version! This street suits the young, funky crowd and they have many Korean-looking outfits in very good quality. Me like!

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I cannot stop raving about the street food in Feng Jia Night Market! They are so good, unique and fresh! Those prawns and squid are fantastic, I have never tasted anything like that in Singapore or Malaysia. We eventually found the highly-raved water pudding too! Noms. Felt that Feng Jia Night Market has the widest range of shopping varieties, from sneakers to clothing to accessories. I spend most of my money here though, heh!

Taichung Day 2

Rainbow Village
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The story of Taichung’s Rainbow Village and its famous creator Mr. Huang Yong-Fu has become quite well known throughout the country and is a fitting example of how a battle resist having his home torn down. Vibrant and lovely place for photo-taking!

Cing Jing Farm (Green Green Grassland)13432160_10153814553217746_815753679064023869_n

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Cingjing Farm is best known for it’s green pasture and fresh air. I think anyone visiting Taichung should come here! The downpour cleared up as soon as we reached the peak, thankfully. It’s scenic wild greenery and cloud mountainous view was breath-taking.

The Old England

Puli Winery 

We dropped by Puli Winery along the way, they are known for their Shao Xing wine. Personally, I thought we could skip this place of attraction as it’s really small and we can’t appreciate Chinese wine.

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At last, dinner was authentic local mee sua with oysters. I really enjoy Taiwanese mee sua as compared to conventional local mee sua in soup. Their broth is thick and very flavourful. I’m totally blown away with this mee sua our driver drove us to, he said if it’s not good, we don’t have to pay for it! I guess, he’s right. Too good we wanted nothing but more. Off to Yizhong street for more night market shopping! 🙂

Taichung, Day 3 –

921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan

921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan is dedicated to the 7.3 earthquake that struck the center of Taiwan at 01:47:12.6 TST on Tuesday, 21 September 1999. They preserve some of the remaining from the earthquake to serve as reminders to the public for them to be prepared in the future if such event happens again. Visiting this museum arouse many insights for me, especially fortunate Singaporeans. How natural disasters can be so close to us and how blessed it is to live in a safe country.

Sun Moon Lake 13343101_10153799211657746_4647591481646140727_n

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Sun Moon Lake is the largest lake in Taiwan with it’s scenic clear sparkling blue water set against a picturesque mountain backdrop. I am mesmerized with it’s beauty, that’s no wonder its amongst one of Taiwan’s top tourist destinations. We went with the boat tour and I tasted one of the best tea braised egg (金门阿么茶叶蛋) – at Xuan Guang Si pier.

Sun Moon Lake Wen Wu Temple (文武廟)

Along the way, we stopped by a temple namely Wen Wu Temple – on the Northern bank of the lake. The exterior was magnificent and we were in awe despite the rainy evening.

Transport in Taichung:

We booked a vehicle for Day 2 and 3 transport and 张师傅 is really kind and friendly, he brought us to many additional places out of our itinerary and was very fast to react on our requests. He is highly recommended and you can reach him via Whatsapp or Line at (+886) 919-037251.

Taichung to Taipei, Day 413394029_10153816161907746_255355654415959277_n

Time for Taipei! ❤

We departed Taichung to Taipei via High-Speed Rail (HSR) and Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) with a traveling time of approximately 1 hr 45 mins with all the waiting and transferring which is very much comparable to buses which takes about 2.5 hours with smooth traffic. One-way HSR from Taichung to Taipei costs SGD29, not that cheap thou. So I would advise anyone traveling to check on the traffic conditions before deciding which option to take.

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A definite must-go place in Taipei. The day and night crowd buzzing and the main point is our favourite must-eat  Ah Zong Mian Xian (阿宗麵線)! We did most of our masks shopping in XMD as there were many big brands here! Shopping in Taipei is as cheap as compared to many years back, but relatively still affordable as compared to Singapore.

Shi Da Night MarketImage Credits: Google.com

Shida (師大) night market is named after the nearby university of the same name, the crowd is definitely geared to the younger adults. That also brings out the shopping bug in us as there were many trendy and inexpensive shopping choices. As it is relatively smaller than other night markets, there were lesser food choices around however we did tried the best Polo Bun ever! It’s so crunchy on the outside on a soft bun! (The one with the longest queue, should be easy to find!)

Taipei, Day 5 –

Jiu Fen
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One of the attractions that I stay truly fond of is Jiu Fen. I enjoy strolling through alleys of shops with many eateries and they were all selling my favourite handmade taro balls dessert! Yums! Along the way, we tried out the famous shaved peanut ice-cream and rice cake too!

Golden Waterfall & YingYang Sea

As we are heading to our next destination, we dropped by Golden Waterfall and Ying Yang Sea – it was indeed a splendid sight for us! The origin of the name was attributed to the contrasting colours of blue and yellow of the sea.

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13315712_10153816161967746_2904193033596215466_nThe most well-known place for sky lanterns in Taiwan is definitely, Shi Fen. Along this railway track, you can find many shops selling food, souvenirs and mainly lanterns. Soaking up the sky lantern atmosphere and joining the fun was so easy. Most shop owners even offer free photo-taking services too!

Shenkeng Old Street

Shenkeng Old Street is best known as Tofu street! It was my first time visiting and we could all smell stinky tofu from afar! I really thought this is a less touristy place and nice to explore! They have really special tofu food you can never find them elsewhere! I had the most delicious tofu mochi ever!! Too yummy we bought a few back home!

Wu Fen Pu Shopping Street

I was utterly disappointed with the shopping at WFP, unlike 4 years back. Things were cheap and there were many quality clothing! But why?! There were literally nothing to buy as the service and clothing quality was bad, really bad! All the prices were jacked up and shopping at night markets were so much a better experience and enjoyment!

Rou He Night Market  

One of my favourite night market in Taipei! They have the yummiest and freshest barbecue seafood such as prawns, oysters and clams! Not forgetting grilled abalones, scallops, mushrooms and the most delicious long-queue pepper bun! Love the filling! Noms.

Taipei, Day 6 –

Addiction Aquatic Development 上引水產13427798_10153816161832746_3669107607295211465_n

13417671_10153816161822746_509451355340316437_nHeard so much about this large Japanese-style supermarket with it’s fresh seafood and aquamarine products and many restaurants and kiosks! We just had to see what’s in deal for us! We waited for our turn at the Seafood bar and literally drooled over this huge plate of Uni that cost less than SGD50! There’s no seats at all for Seafood & Sushi bar and the crowd management could have been better I thought.

Best advice: Avoid public holidays and weekends!

Shi Lin Night MarketOne of the most renowned night market in Taipei, it’s indoor food area seems very much like Singapore’s food court. Shilin is the longest and largest standing night market! Oh and that’s the popular street food called the 棺材板 – Coffin Toast Bread!

Get ready to spent about 2-3 hours shopping and eating here!

Taipei to Singapore, Day 7 – 

Exploring Taipei on foot was really easy with our pocket wifi router, we even had our morning run around town! But I must say the air in Taiwan isn’t as clean as compared to Singapore and it could be the amount of motorcycles on road or the petrol they used. Therefore we concluded Taiwanese always had masks on them! With lesser greens around, their air quality is really not too good. So, before heading out for a jog – think again okay!

13419172_10153809222492746_1501789821421692354_nHappen to chance upon Pablo Taiwan near Taipei Main Station and we packed 1 back! This cheese tart is so huge and 4 of us struggle to finish it off! It was soft and delectable but I prefer savory cheese dessert! Boo 😦

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Traveling seems to be my best stress reliever and being happy is so easy. I truly enjoy traveling with my loved ones, it’s nothing but blissful. Traveling need not be expensive and the truth is – it can be really cheap if everything is well-planned and budgeted for!

*Top tips for budget traveling

  1. Sign up for airlines eDM (Electronic Direct Mailer) and grab the promotional deals soon as possible! Return from Taiwan at $80, trust me! Plus, don’t miss out without calling respective tourism bureau to check if there’s any travel freebies up for grab! For Taiwan, you can reach Taiwan Visitors Association via phone 6223 6546 or visit this blog for more information!*
  2. Do as much research as possible! Know which route to take before heading out aimlessly. By having a plan, you will be able to tell which is the cheapest route to your destination!
  3. Wifi router is so important for free and easy travelers! Always check for the best deal on renting or the cheapest SIM card that provides sufficient data roaming while traveling. Having a wifi router allows you to search and navigate like a local! Uber VS Exorbitant taxi fares! We saved quite a bit on this too! (Changi Recommends offer great discounts on certain travel location and we got UNLIMITED WIFI for $5 per day only!)

xoxo ♥

Oats Affair: How to make tasty oats meal every day?

Oats, my favourite breakfast food. Ironically now, everything with oats – I will love it!

I was often told about how oats were boring, plain and tasteless food. But I bet to differ that! Oats is one of the most versatile food in the world. From soften overnight oats, oat milk, oat cookies, oat loaf, granola, oat smoothie bowl, baked oat cake and the list goes on! I will be sharing some of my favourite recipes and show how to make tasty oats breakfast everyday!

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Eating well doesn’t mean tasteless food, that is my philosophy. Thinking back, I wonder when I started enjoying oats so much. I guess it was the time when overnight oats are trending a few years back, pretty jars and oats photos are everywhere on the Internet. Being a recipe hunter – I sourced for many healthy, interesting and ‘look-yummy-kind’ of oats breakfast recipes and immediately, oats became my staple food for breakfast. A healthy and hearty breakfast within minutes, why not?

1. Overnight Oats

For overnight oats, I start with the 3 most basic ingredients;

  1. Rolled Oat Flakes
  2. Greek Yoghurt
  3. Unsweetened Soy Milk (or any milk of your choice)

First, place oat flakes in a glass container and pour in milk till the brim that covers. Then, mix in desired amount of yoghurt to thicken up texture – it depends on the amount of oat flakes used. Leave them in the fridge overnight or at least 4 hours to soften oats. That’s it! Before serving them, do add in your favourite toppings. I like adding chia seeds, flax seeds, coconut flakes, cocoa nibs, nuts, nut butters and fruits! Banana, blueberries, strawberries and kiwis are fruits most commonly used in my recipes. Depending on availability, it is wise to switch around fruits that are in season by doing so you will only get the freshest and they probably cost lesser.

10615574_10152810880117746_5676650958699878614_nAlmond Butter, Blackberries, Cocao Nibs and Mango

10407497_10152660419237746_8196944951805400051_nBlueberries, Strawberries and Peanut Butter

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Blueberries, Coconut flakes, Chia Seeds and Strawberries

The choices of ingredients used plays a huge role for a good breakfast. I use greek yoghurt and unsweetened soy milk for it’s high protein and low-fat content as compared to sweetened flavoured yoghurt/milk which contain added sugar. By doing so, I can reduce my sugar and calorie intake yet still enjoy the perfect oats breakfast with my favourite fruits and nuts! Do also note that overnight oats should be consumed within 3 days of making as to maintain freshness of oats, yoghurt and milk.

Read more on : Greek Yoghurt vs. Regular Yoghurt

This breakfast choice save me much time before the mad morning rush everyday. Digging in to a cold hearty breakfast packed with fiber, vitamins, proteins and nutrients which does not require cooking at all. How amazing is that! Also, have fun playing around with portion sizes as it took me a while on varying the amount of oats, milk and yoghurt to finally getting my favourite combination. Ahh…..My perfect post-workout fuel ♡

What else can you do with Oats?

2. Yoghurt Fruit Parfait – Layers and more layers! That’s how a parfait looks like. Using almost similar ingredients in the overnight oats recipe substracting the milk, parfait contain more fruits than oats! Good to go as a mid-afternoon snack, simply layer your favourite fruits, toppings, yoghurt, honey and oat flakes. Repeat steps. That’s it!

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3. Oat Milk Drink oats! Blending my own Oat Milk bring ease as it is free from added additives or preservatives. Naturally sweet and energy boosting, oat milk seems to be a great post-workout drink replenishing carbohydrates, minerals and protein lost during exercise. Moreover, it’s so simple to do!

(Recipe can be found on my previous post: Homemade Oat Milk)

10614324_10152438483532746_7140086137043875159_n4. Oat Smoothie Bowl – My “throw-in-everything and blend” breakfast! Days when I am too lazy to chew my food, oat smoothie bowl is my best friend. Place all the ingredients (usually fruits, milk, vegetables and oats) into the blender and blend it high for 30 to 60 seconds until smooth and top it with your choice of toppings.

(Recipes can be found on my previous post: Kale Smoothie Oat Bowl and Pumpkin and Banana Smoothie Oat Bowl)

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Pumpkin and Banana Oat Bowl topped with Banana Coins, Chia seeds and Dried Fruits

Green

Kale Smoothie Oat Bowl topped with Coconut Flakes and Chia Seeds

10676124_10152713938727746_7665932865345643370_nHoney Papaya & Banana Smoothie Oat Bowl with Persimmon, Coconut Flakes, Flax Seeds, Cocoa Nibs and Almonds

10423689_10152689503692746_5036815142955920960_nBlack Sesame Steel Cut Oatmeal with Cocoa Nibs and Raw Almonds

5. Cooked Oatmeal with Egg – When mum is not home and my fridge went into a famine. Protein loading is not impossible and all you need is oat flakes and an egg! Boil oat flakes for about 8 – 10 minutes and crack an egg and stir together. Optional, add extra honey or nut butter to it for a more flavourful taste! Simplicity is sometimes a good thing afterall as this is one of the most cost-friendly recipe around!

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6. Healthy Oatmeal Banana Bread – My favourite homemade bread in the world! With zero sugar and only natural ingredients, it’s absolutely healthy and filling! Homemade bread are chunkier comparing to conventional packaged bread which is not filling and contain many food colourings, preservatives and other addictives that I can’t even pronouce. Moreover, it is not that difficult afterall. Try it!

(Recipe can be found on: Stayfitandtravel: Healthy Oatmeal Banana Bread)

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Oatmeal Banana Bread with Almond and Cashew Butter with Banana and Cocoa Nibs

7. Baked Oats with Banana and Raisins – With it’s name, this is basically oats baked with fruits, dried fruits and egg! Baked oats tastes like oat pie, which is crispy on the outside, moist and chewy on the inside. Best served with honey or pair it with a cup of coffee during tea break!

(Recipe can be found on: Stayfitandtravel: Homemade Banana and Cranberry Baked Oats)10898121_10152698926042746_3721092541210432994_n

Oatmeals are never boring. All it takes is a little effort and preparation for a wholesome healthy breakfast. Anyhow better than a greasy buttery bun at the confectionary or the fried bee-hoon from the coffeshop. Studies shown that eating oats keeps you full longer as soluble fiber in oatmeal absorbs a considerable amount of water which significantly slows down your digestive process. Moreover, oatmeal contains a wide array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and is a good source of protein, complex carbohydrates and iron.

Treat your body better by starting your day with this nutritional superstar! Enjoy! ♥

SKIPPY® Natural Peanut Butter Spread + Giveaway

SPONSORED POST

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Hoola! I am so excited to share with you a whole new series of SKIPPY® Natural Peanut Butter Spread! I guess everyone at all ages loves peanut butter! Who doesn’t? Peanut Butter must be the best thing on Earth! Having SKIPPY® new range of products right in front of me simply spells out joy and happiness cause there will be more funky recipes for me to explore and include them in it! SKIPPY® spreads are so versatile in every recipe and delicious at the same time ♡

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Made with only the finest peanuts, the SKIPPY® Natural Peanut Butter Spread is free of preservatives and artificial flavors and colors, and uses palm oil in its natural state, without sacrificing the taste. In addition, its no-stir technology prevents oil separation making it easy and smooth to spread over everything and still has the classic peanutty taste of SKIPPY®. Providing seven grams of protein in each serving to fuel your day!

The SKIPPY® Natural peanut butter spread will be available in six different flavors. They are:

  • SKIPPY® Natural Creamy Peanut Butter Spread
  • SKIPPY® Natural Creamy Peanut Butter Spread with Honey
  • SKIPPY® Natural Super Chunky Peanut Butter Spread
  • SKIPPY® Natural Super Chunk Peanut Butter Spread with Honey
  • SKIPPY® Natural 1/3 Less Sodium and Sugar Peanut Butter Spread
  • SKIPPY® Natural Peanut Butter Spread with Dark Chocolate

SKIPPY® Natural Creamy Peanut Butter Spread

creamy

The Classic Creamy Spread: Made from only the freshest peanuts, this spread is smooth and creamy yet not too sweet. Perfect for daily spread over toast and as a topping on my overnight oats! I love this classic spread as it is most versatile, it can be mixed with almost everything especially useful for baking and cooking. I did pancake sauce (recipe below) with it too!

SKIPPY® Natural Creamy Peanut Butter Spread with Honey

Honey CreamyCreamy + Honey Spread: What do you get when sweet meets satisfying? SKIPPY® Natural Creamy Peanut Butter Spread with Honey is a match made in peanut-butter-honey-heaven. Yummy! The texture is nice, creamy and thick with a tinge of sweet honey taste! After all, what’s sweeter than the taste of real honey? The perfect option for kids!

SKIPPY® Natural Super Chunk Peanut Butter Spread

Super Chunk

Extra Crunchy Super Chunk Spread: My second favourite pick of all! I love peanut butter blended with real peanut pieces in it. Allowing the taste bud on a texture ride, they give a nice crunch in every bite plus the overflowing nutty taste. How could anyone resist it?

SKIPPY® Natural Super Chunk Peanut Butter Spread with Honey

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Crunchy + Honey Spread: Savor the sweet crunch of SKIPPY® Natural SUPER CHUNK® Peanut Butter Spread with Honey. It’s a satisfying spoonful with real peanut pieces and real honey added to the mix. Spread the great taste naturally with this crunchy and sweetly delicious peanut butter with real honey!

SKIPPY® Natural 1/3 Less Sodium and Sugar Peanut Butter Spread

Less sodium

1/3 Less Sodium and Sugar: This is the best pick for me! I am enjoying the creamy peanut butter goodness with 1/3 lesser of sodium and sugar. This lighter option has a milder taste yet nice and subtle. Retaining it’s creamy texture, my favourite would definitely be this!

SKIPPY® Natural Peanut Butter Spread with Dark Chocolate

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Chocoholics and peanut butter fans unite for a crazy good combination of peanut butter with dark chocolate that you’ll want to spread on whatever you can eat! I made Pancake Sauce by using SKIPPY® Natural Peanut Butter Spread with Dark Chocolate and served it with Banana Buckwheat Pancakes! Too good and delicious! It was not too sweet to my liking and tasted like the perfect combination of Dark Chocolate and Peanut blend.

Recipe

Pancake Sauce (serve 3 or more)

  • One teaspoon of coconut oil
  • One tablespoon of water
  • 2 tablespoons of SKIPPY® Natural Peanut Butter Spread with Dark Chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon of SKIPPY® Natural Creamy Peanut Butter Spread

Heat and stir them together, serve them with your favourite pancakes recipe!

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skippy-new-natural-range

PHOTO CREDITS: SKIPPYSG FACEBOOK

SKIPPY® Natural products have a retail price of approximately $6.00 per 425g jar and available at leading local supermarkets nationwide including Cold Storage, Isetan, Giant, Jasons, Mustafa, Meidi-Ya and Sheng Shiong.

Get more information on SKIPPY® Facebook Page 


So here is the fun part!

Here’s your chance to try all 6 flavours from ‪#‎SkippySG‬! To take part in this giveaway;

1. Like SKIPPY® Peanut Butter Singapore Facebook page 

2. Share this blog post on your Facebook and tag three friends!

3. Leave a comment below with your Facebook URL and email address.

2 winners will be picked randomly and giveaway will end on 31 March, Tuesday at 12am. Good luck everyone!

Recipe: Kale Smoothie Oat Bowl

Adding greens to my meals have never been so simple! Currently, I am increasing my greens intake by adding them in for breakfast – one of the easiest ways to kick-start a healthy day. Green juice, green smoothie and green oat bowl makes a perfect breakfast choice for me. I picked kale as my choice of green! Why?!

Kale is also known as “the queen of greens” and has a long list of benefits under its name. This nutritional powerhouse is low in calorie, high in fiber and has zero fat, at the same time delicious! Kale plays an awesome role by aiding in digestion and elimination with its great fiber content. Nutrient-dense, kale contains fiber and sulfur – both great for detoxifying and keeping our liver healthy. Moreover, you can mix and match kale with any kind of frozen fruits and transform distinctly different flavor profiles possible with it. How yummy!

For more kale benefits: Read here.

1. Kale Smoothie Oat Bowl

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup of Kale (4-5 leaves)
  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • 1/2 cup of Frozen Coconut flesh
  • 1/2 cup of Rolled Oats
  • 1/2 cup of Soy Milk (Unsweetened) / Any milk of your choice
  • A handful of chia seeds
  • Honey (Optional)

TOPPINGS

  • Strawberries Slices
  • Banana Slices
  • Blueberries

DIRECTIONS:

Place all the ingredients into the blender and blend it high for 30 to 60 seconds until smooth. Pour kale oat smoothie mix into a bowl and top it with your choice of toppings. My perfect breakfast choice anytime!

2. Kale Smoothie Drink

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup of Kale (4-5 leaves)
  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • 1/2 cup of Frozen Coconut flesh
  • 1 cup of Soy Milk (Unsweetened) / Can replace water for a lighter taste

DIRECTIONS:

Place all the ingredients into the blender and blend it high for 30 seconds until smooth and serve.


For breakfast, I prefer eating from a bowl as it feels more satisfying than drinking it in a glass. After 7-8 hours of sleep (hibernation), the body requires more energy to kick-start the day. Therefore, by adding in oats into our usual smoothie combination – makes it a perfect breakfast choice. As for the smoothie drink, I consume it during “snack-time” for an energy boost or as my dinner replacement if I am not feeling too hungry at night.

While smoothie bowls are trending, it is also important to take note of the calories consumed. By adding too much nut butters, sweetened yoghurt, raw nuts or granola – you can easily end up with several hundred more calories than you might suspect. Therefore, do keep portions in check and smoothie bowl definitely makes a nutritious and healthy meal.

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do! ♡

My favourite breakfast recipes

Who else agree that breakfast is the best meal of the day?! Well, I do! I love breakfast most and look forward to them every time I finish my morning workout session. I vary my breakfast choices from oatmeal, fruit/tofu/oat smoothies, eggs toast, and nut butter spread on whole-grains and fruits salad. Also, I get much inspiration from my Ig feeds from people like @stayfitandtravel@funkyfitnessfoods and many other health foodie gurus! It is always interesting to try out a new breakfast recipe and totally get hooked on it. By doing so, I expand my knowledge on healthy eating and learn to prepare healthy food for my subsequent meals as well.

            Do you know the benefits of eating breakfast?

1. Energy Boost to Start the Day

Everyone should start their day off right by eating as many vitamins and other nutrients as possible. The great thing about breakfast is there are so many common breakfast foods that can be considered super-foods because of their nutrition value:

  • Eggs: Including an egg or two for breakfast may require a few extra minutes of preparation time, but the potential health benefits make them worth cooking and eating. Not only are eggs packed with protein and amino acids, they are also one of the few, significant sources of vitamin D, which is important for absorbing calcium for stronger bones.
  • Whole grains: Whether you are taking them in the form of bread, cereal or oatmeal, breakfast is one of the best times to enjoy whole grains in your meal. This super-food is a great source of fiber, which is essential for a healthy heart and digestive tract, and can help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
  • Vitamin C: You can hit your daily intake of vitamin C in your very first meal of the day, whether it’s in the form of a juice or solid fruit. Oranges, grapefruits and apples are common fruits on the breakfast table.

2. Breakfast Helps Reduce Morning Crankiness

Imagine going without food for 8 to 12 hours during the day; you probably won’t be the most approachable person in the office or classroom. Do yourself, your classmates and your co-workers a favor by eating breakfast to help you deal with any morning moodiness and stress.

3. Metabolism Boost

When you sleep, your metabolism tends to slow down. The only way to jump start your metabolism for the day is to start off right with a healthy breakfast. This will allow your body to start burning through calories from the very beginning of the day, rather than in the middle of it after you’ve eaten lunch.

Read more on : Benefits of eating breakfast

My recent breakfast try-outs;

1. Pumpkin and Banana Smoothie Oat Bowl (Inspired from @stayfitandtravel)

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Slice of Pumpkin (Steamed and puree)
  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • 3/4 cup of Rolled Oats
  • 1 cup of Almond Milk

TOPPINGS

  • Chia Seeds
  • Banana Slices
  • Dried fruits

DIRECTIONS:

Place all the ingredients into the blender and blend it high for 30 to 60 seconds until smooth. Pour pumpkin smoothie mix into a bowl and top it with your choice of toppings. This must be one of my favourite recipes – it is really simple and easy to make!


2. Overnight oats topped with Organic Almond Butter, Rock Melon and Cocoa Nibs

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INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup of Rolled Oats
  • 4 tablespoon of Greek Yoghurt
  • 1 cup of Oat Milk or any milk of your desired choice
  • Honey (Optional)

TOPPINGS

  • Homemade Almond Butter
  • Rock Melon, diced
  • Chia Seeds
  • Raw Unsweetened Cocoa Nibs

DIRECTIONS:

Place all the ingredients into a jar/bowl and mixed them thoroughly. Add in homemade almond butter (otherwise, any other nut butter), chia seeds and cocoa nibs together. Close lid and leave it in fridge overnight. Rolled oats should be soft after soaking in milk and yoghurt (at least for 4 hours). Topped the overnight oats with fresh fruits of your choices and enjoy!


I usually prepare oiaj – oats in a jar, the night before consuming them. As leaving them in the fridge overnight will soften oats further. This breakfast choice save me much time before the mad morning rush everyday. Do also play around with the portions, it took me a lot on varying the amount of oats, milk, yoghurt and fruits to finally getting my favourite combination. I also use Greek yoghurt for it’s high protein and low fat content as compared to sweetened flavoured yoghurts which is full of sugars. A cold yet hearty healthy breakfast packed with fiber, vitamins and nutrients in a jar which does not require cooking at all. How amazing!

*Do also note that overnight oats should be consumed within 3 days of making as to maintain freshness of oats and milk.*

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do! ♡

Recipe: Creamy Mushroom Soup


1463761_10152575528397746_6213817491388800005_nHealthy Creamy Mushroom Soup Recipe inspired by Limaran Augustina

Mushrooms MUST be my favourite food! I love them in my soups, salads, sandwiches, mains in any cooking method or even eaten raw! Since young, I always seems to be inseparable from mushroom soup, it was a MUST-ORDER food for me whenever it was available on restaurant’s menu. I simply love it. As I get more into healthy eating and cooking my own food, I explored more recipes which I could whipped at home instead of purchasing off-shelves mostly, heavily sodium and preservatives loaded. And I came across Limaran’s blog on her simple version of creamy mushroom soup, which I found easy to do and nutritious at the same time. This recipe is protein-loaded as it consist of yoghurt, cottage cheese and skim milk being the substitute of cream. Eliminate the use of cream as it is full of empty calories and fat. Moreover, this recipe requires little ingredients as those comparable online.

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Do you know that mushrooms have a long list of nutritional benefits?

Mushrooms are an excellent source of B vitamins, such as riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid, an excellent source of the essential minerals, selenium, copper, phosphorus and potassium. Plus, it contains low fat and carbohydrate with the absence of sodium. Perfect food for people who are conscious about their weight. Mushrooms are known to reduce cardiovascular diseases by lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and also boosts the body immune system with anti-inflammatory and strong antioxidant properties.

Read more on: Wikipedia (Mushrooms) and Health Benefits of Button Mushrooms.

10801509_10152575528902746_8492823829608245435_nI did a tweak to the amount of ingredients used as I brought 2 big baskets of mushrooms and increase the amount of milk/cottage cheese and greek yoghurt whilst trying out the texture of the soup. This is why I love cooking as I am free to customize the end product taste to my own liking! Heh.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Assorted mushrooms (Portobello, White and Brown button, Shitake, Brown Shimeji)
  • 5 – 6 tablespoon of Greek yogurt (To replace cream)
  • 3 tablespoon of Cottage cheese (To replace cream)
  • 1 litre of Skim Milk (Lower in fat and calories)
  • 5 – 6 garlic cloves (Too much, but I super like garlic!)
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 yellow onion
  • Sea Salt
  • Italian Parsley
  • Olive oil

EQUIPMENT:

  1. Blender
  2. Frying Pan

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Just 9 simple steps to follow & your creamy mushroom soup is on the way! ♡

Step 1: Soak all mushrooms and wash them thoroughly

Step 2: Chop assorted mushrooms into small pieces and mix them together.

Step 3: Prepare all other ingredients including onions, garlic and parsley leaves.

Step 4: Fry garlic, parsley and onions with a little bit of olive oil, until you can smell the fragrance.

Note: Do not fry them till brown.

Step 5: Add in all mushrooms and fry everything together.

Note: Do not fry them till brown.

Step 6: Before blending the ingredients, pick out some mushrooms to be added into the soup after boiling for a different texture and chunk.

 Step 7: Portion by portion, place all ingredients into a blender and add in skim milk slowly.

Step 8: Pour all the blended mixture together with the chunks of mushrooms into a pot and heat. Continue stirring till it boils and add in Greek Yoghurt and Cottage Cheese.

Step 9:  Add in few teaspoons of salt to season. Keep stirring until everything else blends and your creamy mushroom soup is ready to serve!

cream-of-mushroom-soupTopped it up with more parsley and black pepper for a more enhanced flavour. Slurps~ Simple, healthy and delicious! I will never go back to conventional mushroom can soup even though it is conveniently available, cheap and time-saving (preparation and cooking time). As, what I reap from that can soup is preservatives, sodium, fats and colouring. I would rather spend more money and time nourishing my body that has work so hard for me. Like what I mentioned on my previous post about 70/30 rule. Healthy food plays a crucial role in enhancing overall health and fitness. Way to go healthy eating!

A perfect weekend meal during the rainy season these days, enjoy ♡

Working out and eating well

I think I found my life passion and that is fitness. As I progressively work on my body, I have seen many positive changes and how I love being soaked in sweat after a tough workout. Pushing further though it seems impossible to do so, and achieving what I previously thought I wouldn’t at all. Lifting that dumbbell or dropping for another push up doesn’t seems as easy as it possibly would after some kick-ass resistance circuits. Seriously, the start was never easy.

I don’t know how to explain this feeling of mine but I thought the sense of achievement and empowerment from working out is not what money can bring about, but something stronger mentally. The mind is the trigger point of an empowered person, vice versa, a lazy person. People often say they have no time because they are busy with work/family/friends/self, but who’s not? We all need to prioritize what is most important to us. If health is, then why not work harder and eat better?

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Another point to note is that fitness is not just about working out but also eating well. Proper nourishment for the body is essential and in fact, more important than exercising.

                                     Do you know the 70/30 rule?

70% – Food and 30% – Exercise. This also means that no amount of exercise can ever make up for a poor diet. The truth is that no matter how many times in a week you have exercised, it will all count for absolutely nothing if you are not paying attention to your diet. The only way to lose flab is to reduce intake for fat, oil, salt and sugar. In return, to fuel our body with fresh vegetables, fruits and lean protein source. This is because you cannot convert fat into muscle or vice-versa. Therefore doing stomach exercises without changing your diet may well make your stomach look bigger as you could be building some muscles underneath the fat. (Read more)

Personally, I am reducing my frequency eating out and preparing my own meals as much as possible. Meal preparation is definitely not an easy task as it is time consuming and troublesome. But it will be worth it as I know what kind of food is going into my body – No MSG, Less or No Sodium, Less or No Oil lastly, Clean Produce (Washed Vegetables, Fresh Meat). Having control of the taste, cooking method and enjoying the process of nourishment. I love cooking too! Heh.

Step-by-Step for Meal Preparation (My kind of menu)

  1. Stock up on food source
  • Protein – Eggs, Tofu, Chicken Breast Meat, Lean Beef, Lean Pork, Fish (Salmon, Tuna, Cod, Threadfin), Seafood (Prawn)
  • Dairy/Non-Dairy – Oat/Soy/Rice Milk, Skim Milk, Chocolate Milk, Low Fat Yoghurt
  • Green Vegetables – Broccoli, Cauliflower, Lady Fingers, Spinach, any kind will do
  • Fruits – Tomato, Apples, Avocado, Berries, Banana, Grapes, Kiwi, Melons, Pineapple, Pears
  • Spices – Black Pepper, Sea Salt, Garlic, Onions (my favourite!)
  • Fats – Nuts (Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Macadamia), Nut Butter, Olive Oil, Canola Oil
  • Carbohydrates – Rolled Oats, Museli, Brown Rice, Red Rice, White Rice, Whole Grain Bread, Wholemeal Pasta, Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, Corn, Vermicelli, Mee Sua.

(Some of my breakfast photos)1924731_10152527708712746_3173290777297229456_n10464296_10152544185272746_4763243704541580535_n10624829_10152436106167746_5224175178760239460_n

Have a mixture of food source and study your portion size. I usually have a mix of everything in my meals. A typical day of breakfast – Overnight Oats with fruits or nuts topping/ Blended juice or smoothie, lunch will be vegetables fish noodle soup or tuna sandwiches, Dinner will be steamed salmon, stir fry vegetables and egg.

Snack-in-between: Handful of Nuts/ Fruit/ Cup of Milk

  1. Cooking Method:
  • Boiling
  • Steaming (My favourite method, hassle free and easy to clean!)
  • Stir-frying
  • Roasting

Decide on your favourite recipe and try them! Do reduce the usage of oil, salt, seasonings and sugar. Throw in some healthy spices instead of heavily sodium loaded seasonings, which better enhance the taste with added nutrition!

  1. Serve them! Otherwise, place them into a container and fridge them for tomorrow’s consumption.

Healthy food can taste great too! Banish that wrongful mindset about healthy food being bland and tasteless. By changing your mindset, you are allowing yourself to accept good food – leading to a better nourished body. Do you really need SO MUCH junk food? Really?

Great things never came from comfort zones, it will only come if you get up from that snooze alarm to work out, choose the right food, give it a 101% and be consistent. It will be a painstakingly journey but it is all going to be worth it! Do it for yourself, cause no one can ever do it for you. 

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                      “Without struggle there is no progress.”

My life with fitness

Starting Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide had brought me a lot of insights on fitness and health. I used to run more frequently in the past and neglected weights/resistance training in my fitness regime. Often thinking that cardio is the ‘one way’ to keep fit and lose weight in the quickest time, but I was wrong.

Cardiovascular workout indeed has a long list of benefits; it burn tons of calories (fats and muscles), increases stamina, build up a stronger body immune system, controls blood sugars and strengthens the heart. However, it is not suppose to be the only workout to be done if you want to achieve a toned, sculpted and fit-looking body. By doing only cardio, fat-burn process only happens during the workout session and nothing after that. You would not gain lean muscles just by doing cardio, whereas muscles are essential and crucial for fat burning process or torch out more calories while at rest.

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Incorporating weights/resistance (HIIT) training will allow you to gain essential muscles to achieving the lean physique. Moreover; it allows the body to burn fats during and up to 4 hours after workout! Wow. HIIT also know as High Intensity Interval Training are enhanced form of interval training exercise strategy alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods, which allows you to lose weight without losing muscles and boost metabolism. Benefits of HIIT workout: Read here

Our bodies are built just like a machine, if workout routine remains stagnant without any changes – the body will learn and develop muscle memory for those repeated movements. Therefore, it is important for us to keep adding resistance to our daily workout. Constantly switching and challenging our muscles to achieving more and bringing it up to another level! Other than just working out, we definitely need rest. All machine requires a “OFF” button as well. By resting, we give our muscles sufficient time to recuperate and recover, thereafter growing well with good food nourishment! We need to combine both cardio (to lose fats) with resistance training (to gain muscles) + ample rest (ideally 7 – 8 hours of sleep per day) for a complete routine.

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Aside from what I have experienced from BBG, I am still exploring and incorporating different series of exercise in my routine and learning at the same time. There is no right or wrong exercise routine, but definitely zooming down to your personal goals and how your body reacts to it. Personally, I felt that Kayla’s BBG is an awesome guide to achieving a toned physique not just that, it allows me to habitual exercise into my daily lifestyle. Now, I workout 6 – 7 days a week without finding it much a chore but enjoying the process very much. I believe in consistency and prioritizing fitness as a life-long goal. Let’s do it!

“I don’t find the time to exercise, I make the time to exercise.”

 

Kayla Itsines BBG: Week 5

Waves! A quick update on what I have been doing now. If you have been following me on my Instagram (@iammabeltan), you will realize that I have embarked on Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide Workout. And I am on Week 5 now! (7 more weeks to go!) I am really inspired by Kayla’s dedication and love for fitness. She is such an amazing lady of inspiration and is definitely one of the best fitness trainers around.

Here is some of my updates from Instagram during these 5 weeks;

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1796425_10152472392712746_2001952215291454452_n
10301516_10152473481407746_8398060122855211548_n“I exercise because somehow completely exhausting myself is the most relaxing part of my day.”

After trying out her BBG workout, you will realized that nothing is free in this world and everything is earned. To attain an ideal toned and fit body, you need to put in time and effort to stay consistent in BBG programme. Not just that, the dedication on how much you want to achieve it. Also, putting your body to a series of endurance and strength test as these resistance training isn’t easy-peasy anyway. Talking about it, I am already kind of fearful (in a good way though) for the upcoming weeks of workout, especially Week 9 – 12 with HIIT interval training sprints.10622934_10152485052697746_6762636187261311099_n

Being inspired by Kayla Itsines, I understand that fitness is not just a one-time thing. How could I ever be saying that I am passionate about fitness when I don’t even commit my time for it? Taking 30 to 45 minutes of your time daily for exercising is essential for weight maintenance, detoxing, strength and improving overall health. Power walk in a park or intensive resistance circuit training, it doesn’t matter as long as you are active.

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Don’t lose weight for an event, and stop fitness altogether. Fitness and health is life-long journey and your body is the one that will accompany you through life. I know it is not easy to fork out time in the midst of everyone’s busy schedule. But it is not about having time, but making time for fitness. The pain of getting up at wee hours working out, the pain of changing out to your exercise gears after a long tiring day at work. I know the soreness and aches across the whole body after 1 day of resistance training and continuing that, 3 times a week. I know the challenge to work out 7 days a week is tiring. But, pain is temporary. And I’m not giving up.

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“No pain, no gain.”

POSB PAssion Run for Kids 2014

10624853_683863025043558_8680549216182989858_nPhoto taken by: Run Society Facebook

This was the first time I joined in for POSB PAssion Run for Kids! The race route was great and it wasn’t too squeezy as the participants for the 10km Run (Male and Female) was limited. Unlike the usual marathons we went for with sweats drip body contact and slowing speed progression due to congested participants on road.

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The main focus was not on us definitely, but the kids’ dash and other activities held that morning. The funds rose over the marathon and donations goes to POSB PAssion Kids Fund, whose aim was to support children in the community through different programmes in Singapore. It is part of the People’s Association Community Development Fund (PACDF), a registered charity under the Charities Act.

Over the past 2 years, POSB PAssion Kids Fund has reached out to more than 70,000 children in 33 programmes in Singapore.

Some notable projects that POSB PAssion Kids Fund has supported include:

  • Project We Care Free Kicks Programme with Central CDC for underprivileged kids with talent in soccer to hone their skills and self confidence through training by Real Madrid Foundation
  • Young Savers Programme with North East CDC to inculcate the virtue of saving in children through workshops
  • KidzLearn with South West CDC to prepare underprivileged preschoolers academically and socially for Primary One education

10419541_10152435843247746_4140632187181960751_nIt was such a meaningful race for me as I was doing what I love most and at the same time contributing to the society. A perfect start to Sunday morning! In addition, the goodie bag given to us was awesome too! Heh. Runners are entitled to a shoe bag, plastic water bottle, lots of snacks and other sports related goodies!

POSB-PAssion-Run-for-Kids-2014-race-packPHOTO CREDITS: JUSTRUNLAH.COM

15411_10152436297512746_474279248497878178_nThat’s us after the completion of the race! Satisfied and awesome workout! I love joining marathons as it always allows me to reflect and push myself to the limit.
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As you harbor the intention of giving up also known as walking, you will realize that is giving up (unless your body condition doesn’t permit so). You will see runners picking up their paces, trying harder to jog instead of walking and making completion do-able! Marathons always taught me how to preserve on, no matter how tired those legs’ muscles were and how sweaty that tee-shirt is. Refreshing my mind on how fitness came about to me and how I started with running as my favourite activity.

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PHOTO CREDITS: JUSTRUNLAH.COM

The reward for running ain’t about medal, but the running satisfaction and determination for the race. One can always stop by and walk, but a runner will pull up all his/her effort to complete the race, running.

“You’re crazy” – A runner’s favourite compliment