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Quick and healthy breakfast bites packed with tons of flavor. Photos by Mieshia Petersen.

Short on time in the morning? Need a healthy snack? These healthy breakfast bites will save you time and money in the morning! I know for me, I don’t have time every morning to make a bowl of oatmeal. Sure I could make it ahead of time and I do sometimes but I enjoy switching things up from time to time. I used oatmeal and banana in this recipe. Both filling and versatile so it makes the perfect morning or on the go snack to keep you from lashing out at someone because you’re hangry and your morning meeting went over (we’ve all been there).

This recipe has both soluble and insoluble fiber and protein so it will helps stabilize your cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Oatmeal is great for your intestinal health because the fiber keeps you regular and helps prevent constipation. Lastly, oatmeal is rich in magnesium so it’s going to give you the energy you need to start the day.

Ingredients: Nutella, Oatmeal, Bananas, Honey, Chocolate Chips, Vanilla Extract, Cinnamon

The thing I love about oatmeal is that it is malleable. You can add it to most things or add things to it. The Mix-in possibilities are endless and you can use anything from shredded coconut or quinoa to dried fruit or crushed cookies. I added mini chocolate chips for sweetness and chia seeds for added fiber, iron and calcium. Different mix-ins will affect the mixture so you’ll need to add more of something wet or dry depending on your mixture.

Oatmeal Breakfast Bites

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 cup of dry oatmeal
  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 2 tbsp of chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • a splash vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of Nutella
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, I mashed the banana with a potato masher and then added the honey and Nutella to that bowl. In another bowl, I mixed the oatmeal, cinnamon, chia seeds, salt and vanilla extract together.
  2. Combine bowls into one.
  3. Wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes.
  4. Use a spoon to scoop about a tablespoon of the mixture into a ball with your hand. Repeat with remaining mixture. The mixtures makes about 12 breakfast bites.
  5. Baking is optional, but if you’re wanting warm, gooey bites, pop them in the over for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
  6. Once cooled, store in the refrigerator for one week.

Oatmeal Breakfast Bites

 

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Broccoli and Pineapple Smoothie

Broccoli and Pineapple Smoothie
Photos by Mieshia Petersen.
How many of us set health goals and decide to switch up our diets or make gym time more of a priority with each new year? I’m not one for new year resolutions, but I personally plan to challenge myself to eat more raw foods. I know people promise to be healthier and eat better, but many of us may struggle with consistency, which leads to us making the same resolution yet again the next new year.
My suggestion: let’s take baby steps together. Since I’m a juicer and smoothie aficionado, I want to hook you up a quick start to your day that will make your health goals easily attainable. Breakfast is the most important part of the day, but the majority of us skip it in a hurry to get to work or get the kids to school. Smoothies are an excellent way to get some nutrients in on the go especially when you keep the ingredients simple. This quick broccoli and pineapple coconut smoothie recipe will keep you on track throughout the year. Read on for the benefits of the ingredients and view the recipe below.  

Broccoli and Pineapple Smoothie

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, low in calories but packed with vitamin A, C, K and dietary fiber. Cruciferous vegetables have been known to aid in fighting cancer and also help to improve heart health and assist in weight loss. Broccoli can even increase your metabolism, eye health and slow aging! Who doesn’t want those benefits?
Pineapple is rich in Vitamin C and high in fiber. It reduces inflammation and can lower your risk of colorectal cancer. It can also lower your blood glucose levels and promote regularity. Pineapple also helps to improve fertility and prevent asthma. In addition to it simply tasting amazing, it produces and adds to our happy hormones which means it fights depression and anxiety. Lastly, it aids in digestion and can ease the systems of acid reflux.
Bananas. I personally do not care for bananas, but I who can turn down health benefits? Besides, they’re something you can grab on the go for a fast snack. They’re a great pick-me-up snack because they boost energy so if you work out in the morning then you’ll want a banana in your smoothie before or after. They give your body the energy it needs to build muscle and strength. Bananas are rich in potassium and act as an electrolyte, helping to manage hydration levels within the body. They’re also a good source of dietary fiber, preventing constipation and regulating bowel functions. If you’re looking for a way to feel fuller longer then these are what you want.
Coconut Water is also potassium and it’s a high electrolyte. If you like the flavor then you’ll receive the other benefits like lowered cholesterol and blood pressure. Hemp seeds help those with diabetes, skin allergies, heart disease and arthritis. They feed the probiotics in your stomach to keep your immune system in check. You’ll find hemp seeds in hair, skin, and nail products because they promote healthy cell growth and combat skin disorders, such as psoriasis and dermatitis.

Broccoli and Pineapple Smoothie

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of broccoli
  • 1 cup of pineapples
  • 1 1/3 cup green apples (about two apples)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp of hemp seeds
  • 1 cup of coconut water
Directions
  1. Throw all ingredients in a blender and let the machine go to work for you until it reaches a smooth consistency.
  2. Top with chia seeds, flax seeds or whatever you like. I topped mine with shredded coconut.
  3. Drink up and you’re one step closer to reaching your health goals for the day!

Note:

I added a full dropper of golden Echinacea to mine because it’s still flu and cold season. It provides you with additional immune support to fight off bugs others may be passing around.

Broccoli and Pineapple Smoothie

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New Orleans
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New OrleansThe Big Easy! A city filled with delicious eats, great music and loving people. Photo by Photo by William Recinos via Unplash.

The vibrant city of New Orleans is rich with culture, music, and good eats! The cuisine is a fusion of soul food, Cajun and Creole flavors. The city’s vivacious energy attracts millions of tourists each year, two of New Orleans’ most popular times to visit are during the annual Mardi Gras Carnival in February and The Essence Festival in July. However, anytime is a good time to visit The Big Easy!

Breakfast/Brunch

Brennan’s Restaurant, 417 Royal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
Price: $$$
Brennan’s is a NOLA original that has been serving the city since 1946. Its menu blends the taste of the city’s French and Spanish ancestry to create mouth watering dishes. Coupled with the great eats is the ambiance of the restaurant which creates an old charm elegance that is specific only to New Orleans.

Brennan's NOLA
The traditional French decor will make you feel extra fancy when dining at Brennan’s. Photo by Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group.

The Ruby Slipper Café, 200 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Price: $
The Ruby Slipper Café has been providing its patrons with fresh authentic New Orleans cuisine for almost a decade. All of their dishes have that New Orleans flair! If you’re not in the area, but still want to give The Ruby Slipper a taste, you still can! They’ve expanded to five locations in Louisiana and a forthcoming location in Mobile, Alabama.

Lunch

Compère Lapin, 553 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130
Price: $$$

Compère Lapin is French for “brother rabbit” and the name of a popular character in traditional Caribbean and Creole folktales. The adorably quirky name suits the restaurant helmed by St. Lucian Chef Nina Compton as its dishes are a perfectly cultivated blend of Caribbean and Creole flavors. The traditional Caribbean dish of curried goat seems to be a hit amongst patrons.

Peche Seafood Grille, 800 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
Price: $$$
Peche specializes in NOLA’s most popular export, seafood! The seafood dishes combine the cooking of South America, Spain, and the Gulf Coast. The fresh oysters are a menu delight!

Peche Seafood Grille
Ordering seafood is must at Peche, especially the oysters! Photo by Peche Seafood Grille.

Dinner

Coquette, 2800 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70115
Price: $$$

Coquette offers contemporary southern cuisine with an emphasis on locally sourced products but with an international inspiration. The establishment is a neighborhood spot for locals and a great choice for celebrating your special occasion.

Shaya, 4213 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70115
Price: $$
Shaya restaurant marries Israeli cuisine with the deep-rooted Southern cuisine of New Orleans to create a unique blend of flavors for each plate. Their contemporary menu also draws influence from North America, the Middle East, eastern Europe, Turkey, and Greece. Shaya serves New Orleans famous King Cake year round, although it is largely associated with Mardi Gras.

Shaya NOLA
Whether you’re feeling traditional humus and toasted pita bread or matzo ball soup, there’s plenty of international cuisine to indulge in at Shaya. Photo by Shaya.

Those are my must eat restaurants when visiting NOLA, but I know there are many more. If you’ve enjoyed a meal at any of the restaurants above, or somewhere else, let me know what you deem as must have menu item!

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NYC Restaurant Week
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Photo by Michael Browning on Unsplash

It’s that time of year again. It’s NYC Restaurant Week!

Twice a year, some of NYC’s most popular restaurants offer a specially priced menu: a 3-course meal for just $29 for lunch or $42 for dinner per person, plus beverages, tax and tip. It all started as a true week in 1992. NYC Restaurant Week has since expanded into a three-week opportunity to indulge in the finer things. This year’s dates are January 22 to February 9. With almost 400 restaurants participating, the options can be overwhelming. We’re always here to give you the rundown of our favorite spots. So, here are mine.

 

Photo by G. Crescoli on Unsplash

A few quick tips:

  • The great thing about the NYC Restaurant Week site is that you can search by type of cuisine and neighborhood to customize your search to your cravings.
  • If you’re like me, you might have a list of restaurants you’ve always wanted to try. See if any of those places are offering a Restaurant Week menu. Or ask your friends what places they have tried or have wanted to try.
  • If a place has multiple locations, confirm that the one you’re going to is offering the Restaurant Week menu; and when it is offered – some locations offer dinner only, while some offer on Sundays as well.
  • You can view the menu on the site to help with your decisions.
  • Make a reservation! I’d also recommend going earlier in the week to beat the crowd.
  • Try something new for at least one of the courses. This is the perfect opportunity for a culinary adventure.

Now that you’re equipped with the basics, here are my recommendations NYC’s 2018 Restaurant Week:

The Cecil (Dinner Only)
210 W 118th St., New York, NY 10026

Steakhouse, Harlem

Why I’m Recommending It: Because it’s in Harlem, duh! The Cecil recently reopened with a new swag. I’m curious about what they’re serving up these days.

What’s Calling My Name on the Menu: Ella & Louie Chicken. I can almost taste that white wine caper sauce and I want to know what it tastes like in real life.

Bonus: Other Uptown options include the ever popular Red Rooster or check out Sofrito on the Hudson.

Calle Ocho (Dinner Only)
45 W 8st St., New York, NY 10024

Cuban, Upper West Side

Why I’m Recommending It: Cuba has been such a popular destination. This is a great one for those who want a reminder of the food, the culture and the memories and also for those who haven’t gone and want to take their taste buds on a trip.

What’s Calling My Name on the Menu: Crema de Langosta (Lobster Biqsue)

Bonus: You may also want to indulge in Brazil’s Carnival season at Fogo de Chao Churrscaria Brazilian Steakhouse or experience Indian food and culture at Junoon or Tamarind.

The View
1535 Broadway, New York, NY 10036

American, Times Square

Why I’m Recommending It: Because it is one of those cool NYC experiences – a rotating restaurant on the 48th Floor of the Marriott Marquis right in the heart of Times Square. Whether you are new to the city or have lived here for years, it’s a way to view of the city from a different perspective. This experience will add two points to your NYC swag.

What’s Calling My Name on the Menu: Citrus Horseradish Cod with Creamy Parsley Risotto – which sounds like so many strong flavors that I can’t even imagine how they all come together. I feel like I have to try it to truly understand and appreciate it.

Bonus: You can have dinner where many of the Real Housewives reunions are filmed at the NYC classic Russian Tea Room.

La Loteria (brunch, lunch and dinner)
29 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014

Latin American, West Village

Why I’m Recommending It: Because brunch is life!

What’s Calling My Name on the Menu: Tacos de Fideo (spaghetti tacos) with tomato jalapeno cumin paste, avocado, cotija cheese AND the Churros for dessert.

Bonus: Other brunch options include Vinateria and David Burke Kitchen.

Legasea (Lunch, Sunday dinner)
485 7th Ave, New York, NY 10018

Seafood, Midtown

Why I’m Recommending It: Because it’s new.

What’s Calling My Name on the Menu: Even though they don’t have their Restaurant Week menu online, their regular menu made my mouth water. I’d be willing to go sight unseen and call it a wildcard adventure.

Bonus: Other (relatively) new kids on the block: Megu and Vandal  

Honorable Mentions:

Some of the popular favorites: Dos Caminos, Rosa Mexicano

NYC trendy hotspots: ABC Cocina, Catch, TAO, Zengo, Nobu, Zuma

Steakhouses: Morton’s, Smith & Wollensky, Michael Jordan The Steakhouse, STK Downtown, Capital Grille

Share your pics! Tag us @foodbeforelove and use the hashtag #yumcam so we can repost them. Our #yumcam can also help you decide where to go!

Do you have a place you’ve tried and would recommend? What restaurants are on your list? Let us know in the comments below! 

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New Year

The end of the year is almost here and it’s time to celebrate all you’ve accomplished with loved ones. Our Food Before Love Insiders gave use the details on where they plan to chow down before the new year is here and now they’re sharing the love.

If you can’t make it to these places before the new year, don’t fret, they’ll still be around in 2018. Just know, these places have the FBL stamp of approval!

Robin, NYC Insider

Why: I’ve had K Rico on my to-go list for a while now, because I’m always looking for new spots to add to my ever growing brunch list. K Rico offers a $27 boozy brunch option, which is something you won’t come across often in the midtown west area.
What to order: I’m definitely starting with the bottomless mimosas (duh!), and then the crab cake benedict has my name written all over it.

Simone Bradshaw, Miami Insider

Where: Lil Greenhouse Grill,1300 NW 3rd Ave, Miami, FL 33136
Why: Why not? It’s an awesome restaurant – great food, service with a smile, chill vibe, and lovely people.
What to Order: Mac and cheese, ribs, rib tips, half chicken, collard greens, baked beans, red velvet cheesecake.

Lil Greenhouse Grill
Lil Greenhouse Grill ribs. Photo by mmanrique1428.

Natasha Salter, NYC Insider

Where: Le Rivage, 340 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036 (between 8th and 9th Avenue)
Why: I’m always on the hunt for an amazing burger and I’ve been wanting to try this little French bistro’s infamous, signature French Onion Soup burger!

Le Rivage
Perfectly seasoned beef, cheese and caramelized onions, this is what dreams are made of. Photo by Le Rivage.

Where: Rice & Gold, 50 Bowery, New York, NY 10013 (between Canal and Bayard Street)
Why: I love Asian fusion cuisine and this is the newest hot spot everyone’s buzzing about. Savory comfort foods are what I crave for the holidays and they specialize in dim sum, dumplings, pho and shareable plates. The perfect place for groups to enjoy a holiday meal.
What to Order: I can’t wait to try the Pho Soup Dumplings, Lobster Fried Rice and the Jerk Roast Duck.

Ariel Ijaduola , NYC Insider 

Where: Dorlan’s Tavern & Oyster Bar,  213 Front St,, New York, NY 10038
Why: The seafood is very fresh at Dorlan’s and it’s in cool area right in the heart of the South Street Seaport.
What to get: Lobster mac and cheese is to die for!
Dorlan's Tavern
Every bite of these cheesy treat is filled with delicious crab meat! Photo by Dorlan’s Tavern.
Where: Nom Wah Tea Parlor, 13 Doyers St., New York, NY 10013
Why: It is the perfect place to satisfy an authentic dim sum craving. It’s cheap and incredibly filling.
What to get: Steamed Dim Sum Sampler so you can try a little bit of everything!

Lauren, ATL Insider 

Why: Most people haven’t heard of 101 Steak in Vinings and that’s a good thing, because it’s still a hidden gem. I’ve been plenty of times and the food is consistently amazing!
What to order: Order the Steak Benedict – 4oz filet, poached eggs, Béarnaise atop an English muffin and served with home fries. Treat yourself to an elevated experience and make that Benedict Oscar which adds jumbo lump crab meat and grilled asparagus (for an additional cost, but so worth it). It is so indulgent and delicious!
101 Steak
Steak and potatoes, a quintessential hearty meal. Get your fix at 101 Steak in ATL! Photo by 101 Steak.

Tameka Jo Pauldo, ATL Insider

Where: The BQE Restaurant & Lounge, Atlanta, 262 Edgewood Avenue, NE
Why: If you love southern cuisine with a modern twist, combined with a relaxed ambiance and jazz music, this is the perfect place.
What to order: I plan to order crispy fried green tomatoes as an appetizer, and red velvet chicken & waffles for my main entree.

Casandra Rosario, Food Before Love Editor-in-Chief

Where: Chef’s Club, 275 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012
Why: Chef JJ’s residency at the Chef’s Club is about to end and if you haven’t booked a reservation yet, this is your last chance to experience it. They’re even including two menu’s to choose from on New Year’s Eve, “99 problems” and “I’ve got 5 on it” for larger parties. How can you say no?
What to get: You might as well end the year with a bang and get everything but we’re loving the Tuna Tartare and the Udon Noodles for sure.

Tuna Tartare Chef's Club

Let us know when you try some of our favorites across the country! Tag us on Instagram and don’t forget to hashtag #FoodBeforeLove. Happy eating!

 

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Philadelphia is consistently evolving to be a power player in the culinary game. From Michael Solomonov to Rich Landau, there are many people that contribute to its evolution. During my two and a half years here I’ve seen a lot. I’ve seen restaurants open, close and sometimes even re-brand because their initial concept wasn’t working. It’s fascinating, especially being from New York because I’ve also seen some of my hometown favorites make a splash in this scene as well. Although there are many spots I love to grab a bite from in Philly, this time I’m focusing on the basics. Here are four of my favorite places that I think you should check out in Philadelphia.

Beiler's Doughnuts
Beiler’s Doughnuts is great for those with a sweet tooth. From Oreo Creme doughnuts to apple fritters, they’ve got something for everyone.

Beiler’s Doughnuts

I am a sucker for sweets. I love desserts. Honestly, if I could just eat sweets all day I would! However, everything should be consumed in moderation! (Do foodies really live by that rule though?) The brain child of Alvin Beiler, now run by his sons Kevin and Keith Beiler, is a classic food stop that people make when visiting Reading Terminal. Their Apple Fritters and Apple Cider doughnuts are a must. Also they have an assortment of doughnuts that will appeal to everyone’s palate. Reading Terminal is amazing in itself, but this is a must!

Wiz Kid

Vegetarians, vegans, plant-based lovers (or however else you choose to identify) this place is for you. Why? It’s tasty plant-based food that is budget friendly. This place is the fast food joint from the owners of Vedge and V Street, which are reputable vegan friendly restaurants. Vedge is more on the higher end, V Street is in the middle and Wiz Kid is on the lower end. The Korean Fried Tempeh, known as the KFT is one of the popular dishes served here. I’ve also tried the Wiz Kid Philly (seitan based), which is good too. The Rutabaga Wiz (vegan cheese) is pretty good and although I’m not a vegetarian, I found the food to be pretty yummy and the drinks refreshing. They do have a bar so you can add alcohol to their homemade drinks making it the perfect balance for happy hour!

 

Korean Fried Tempeh
The Korean Fried Tempeh also known as the KFT.

Spice 28

This place is one of my favorites because I’ve never had a bad meal here. One of my favorite meals to order when I go here is the Penang Curry with Chicken. The fried rice and the Asian greens are some of my go-to dishes as well. They have a phenomenal happy hour which features an assortment of foods ranging from Chicken Satay to Dumplings in Chili Oil. Drinks during happy hour run from $3-$6 which makes this a budget friendly spot. I’d also consider this a cute place for date night because the ambiance is casual, relaxed and dimmed lights are sprinkled throughout the restaurant.

The Penang Curry with Chicken is my go-to dish when visiting Spice 28.

Time Restaurant

Lovers of live jazz will fall in love with this place. Located on Sansom Street between 13th and Juniper, this venue is unique not only for the jazz, but for the dance party on Saturdays and their amazing whiskey bar. The shrimp and grits and wings are my favorites here, but the happy hour deals here are pretty good as well. This is a great place to visit any day of the week, whether you’re out with your friends or want grab a bite with bae. The vibes are good and you will leave here full and satisfied.

shrimp and grits from Time Restaurant.
Shrimp and grits from Time Restaurant.

This is just a sampling of what my city has to offer. But don’t worry, there’s more to come. If you plan to visit any of these places, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. And if there’s a restaurant we’ve just got to try tweet us. I look forward to continue to provide more places that are great and will make you fall in love with Philadelphia. Do not sleep on Philly!

 

For The Love of Ritas’ is a visual blog of Philly’s food and drink scene. Coley Cole is determined to show you places in Philadelphia that provide excellent experiences. You can find her on Instagram by clicking here

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