There’s something special about a very large balloon floating up into the sky. Something very whimsical, which fills you up with hope, and never fails to put a smile on your face. The 6th Putrajaya Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Putrajaya is coming up pretty soon. Very soon in fact (27th to 30th March, 2014). If you’re heading over, are you 100% prepared?
Your hot air balloon fiesta checklist (10 items):
1. Sunscreen (you don’t wanna catch a sunburn yo!)
2. Water! (We’re sure they sell some too but why waste plastic when you can bring your own?)
3. Picnic mat or one of these cool foldable chairs so you can lounge like a boss.
4. Your camera (you want to relive the action over and over again + camwhore!)
5. Umbrella / Raincoat (in case it rains. You never know with Malaysian weather)
6. Some plastic bags (so you can dump the trash and not litter the earth)
7. Wet wipes (so you don’t walk around with a stain on your face!)
8. Bug spray (you’ll need protection on the grass)
9. Hand sanitizer, so you don’t give yourself food poisoning.
10. A yummy, healthy picnic basket (see four ideas below!)
We also heard that there’s going to be bean bags and a picnic area! So we’ve prepared a few picnic baskets you can take with you while you lounge on the bean bags (but go early to secure one). We specifically found recipes that’ll suit any palate. From the omnivore to the vegan, there’s something delicious for everyone.
Sandwich Sweetheart Basket (no cooking required!)
Curried Chicken Salad Sandwich with Apples
Either roast your own chicken (recipe here) or buy some ready roasted chicken at the supermarket, chop it up (use the breast), then mix together with a bit of low-fat mayo (or yogurt), curry powder, diced apples and celery, raisins, and a bit of salt to make a delightful curried chicken salad. This goes great on wholegrain bread with a few veggie leaves and still tastes yum hours after prepping. Sounds good? Grab the recipe.
Dice up some of your favourite fruits and toss in a bit of fresh orange juice (this will help keep the salad fresh). Make sure to mix up the textures of the fruits to add some excitement to the salad (we like some crisp apples, grapes, peaches, and strawberries).
Iced Lemon Tea
This is pretty self explanatory, but boil up some water, dunk your teabag in according to instructions. Cut up some lemon and adjust according to taste. Skip the sugar for maximum health points. Stick it in the fridge (with tea bag removed) and place it in a thermal flask with some ice on P-Day (Picnic Day).
Go Vegan! Basket (a tiny bit of cooking required)
Vegan Pasta Salad
Munching on pasta while watching the balloons fly about? Yes please. This recipe uses whole grain pasta, along with a colourful array of good veggies including red and yellow peppers, celery, and carrot, plus a good amount of herbs. Crunchy tastiness and nutrition in every bite.
Honey Lime Fruit Salad
Using honey to sweeten, plus a mixture of tart fruits including strawberries, blueberries, pineapples, apples etc, and a drizzle of lime juice, this fruit salad is a great dessert for a hot sunny afternoon picnic. Recipe here.
Pineapple Mint Infused Water
No sugar, but full of flavour. Very easy to prepare too! See the recipe.
Bento Basket (cooking required, but easy!)
Japanese Pumpkin Salad
This is a simple recipe using only six ingredients, three of which are only condiments! The outcome is a deliciously decadent pumpkin salad which also does your body some good. (Skip the bacon if you want to be extra healthy).
Grilled Miso Chicken
These chicken breasts (the healthiest bit of the chicken!) are spiced up with organic miso, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and chili paste (optional for chili-fearing peeps). Packed with flavour, they take less than 20 minutes to cook!
Steamed Brown Rice
More nutritious than refined white rice, this whole grain will be a delightful accompaniment to your grilled miso chicken and Japanese pumpkin salad. However, if you wanna lower your carb intake, you can skip this.
Iced Green Tea with Lime
Nothing picks you up like green tea with a spritz of lime. We like this recipe, but you can keep the sugar out.
Wrap It Up Basket (no cooking required!)
Roast Chicken and Mango Salsa Wrap
Pick up some roast chicken and some whole grain wraps at the grocery store. Cut the chicken breast into cubes and mix with this mango salsa recipe. Fill wraps. Patiently wait till picnic to devour. Trust us, this will taste so good you won’t even notice any balloons in the sky. What balloons?
Thai Cucumber Salad
Cucumber adds crunch to your meal, and the word “Thai” means it’ll come with a kick. Recipe here. We suggest to reduce the sugar amount or swap with a natural sugar substitute like stevia (naturally sourced sugar substitute).
Lemon, Mint-Infused Water
This is simple and refreshing. It’s basically pimped up water that anyone can whip up. See recipe here.
Not enough food in your picnic pack? Snack on these:
Just bring a huge bag of these, and another bag to dump the skins, and you (and your friends) are probably good for the day. You’ll fill up on fibre, vitamins C and A, along with some iron!
Carrot, celery, cucumber, asparagus sticks with hummus or yogurt dip
Don’t munch on potato chips. Although you’ll lick your fingers in satisfaction, you’ll feel blah later on. Chop up some vegetable sticks and pick up some hummus or yogurt at the supermarket, and you’ll have a nice fancy snack to graze on. If you’re feeling extra chef-fy, here’s a great hummus recipe so you can make your own and score some brag points.
Make them ahead!
All these picnic baskets can be made ahead, so there’s no blurry-eyed rush in the morning. To keep them snug and fresh, have them in an air-tight bag (we like Glad bags) or air-tight container so you don’t get any surprise spills in your bag. Thermal flasks will keep the drinks ice cold as well, so remember to dig those out of your top shelf. Bring along any of these picnic baskets, and you’ll have the entire field green of people green with envy over your scrumptious goodies.
We hope you have an amazing time at the fiesta but don’t get too carried away! (Pun intended. Ahem.)
Where’s your favourite picnic venue in Malaysia? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page!