Where to Eat in London

Last month, I went to London for the first time with my friends Amy and Vinny. It was a super quick trip. We took the red eye Wednesday night and came back Sunday. I honestly wish I could have stayed longer because I absolutely fell IN LOVE with London. I’m already plotting my next trip back. Before I went, everyone kept telling me that the food in London was not good. So I went in with low expectations. My expectations were wildly wrong because I found some AMAZING food spots in London that I want to share with you. These were my favorites from the trip – ones I would not only highly recommend but would go back again.

Sketch – Go to Sketch for Afternoon Tea. Sure, it’s pretty pricey but you get unlimited tea and refills on the sandwiches and treats. The decor at Sketch was honestly probably one of the best decorated restaurants I had ever been to. It was cool, sophisticated and so instagrammable.

Dishoom – London is well known for it’s Indian food and Dishoom is one of their popular spots. I’m a huge fan of Indian food but I find it not as popular here in the states. I was excited to go to Dishoom and see what all the hype was about. It did not disappoint. The food was so incredibly good. We tried to go again another night but the wait was too long. I would highly recommend making reservations for this place or you might end up waiting upwards of two hours.

Chiltern Firehouse – Shoutout to Jackie Schimmel of the Bitch Bible for talking about Chiltern Firehouse on her podcast. If it’s good enough for Jackie, it’s good enough for me. We went here for brunch. I obviously had to get the avocado toast (which not going to lie, I didn’t think looked very appetizing) but boy was I wrong. This was absolutely delish! Chiltern is a little on the pricey side but if you’re looking for a nice brunch or dinner option I would highly recommend.

Breakfast Club – This is a The Girls Who Brunch after all so I had to add some of my favorite brunch spots. Breakfast Club is a great little diner-esque spot that has an amazingly delicious brunch. Be prepared to wait on line because it’s a popular spot.

Granger & Co. – The cutest little spot in Notting Hill. I mean look at all these amazing drinks. From the coffee to the blood mary – this was a great place for brunch. I got the pancakes – which I would say I normally don’t ever order but they were delectable!

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get to London. I will definitely be making another trip (hopefully soon!). If you have ever been to London, let me know your favorite spots to eat so I can add them for my next trip!

Make Food Fun!

Do you ever go through ruts where you can’t think of what to eat, or you don’t really crave anything? Ever just eat the same thing over and over again? Especially after a long day of work, the last thing I want to do is think about what I’m going to cook – or even worse have to grocery shop for. I’m on a mission to enjoy the process of food again. Here are some tips I have to make food fun!

Make Dinnertime an Experience

The best place to start when it comes to falling in love with your food again is to do as much as possible to make dinnertime an experience. There are a lot of factors that you need to keep in mind when you are looking to achieve this, and it is important to embrace this. By turning dinnertime into an experience, you make it exciting and something to look forward to. A lot of people view preparing and making dinner as a chore, and a lot of this is to do with mindset. By viewing it as a complete experience, you can look at it as a more positive experience, and this will enhance your enjoyment. Turn on your favorite podcast or jam out to your favorite song while you cook.

Expand Your Culinary Skills

Expanding your culinary skills is another massive thing to think about when trying to rekindle your love for food. If you can learn and try out new recipes, you will be well-placed to improve your knowledge and understanding of culinary skills. You could even extend to baking as well, allowing you to make cakes and tasty treats. Visit Loaves and Dishes for some recipes that will help you with this, and get the process started right now. I love looking up new recipes on the weekends and try to plan out my what I’m going to cook for the week. Try to switch it up with something you’ve never tried before!

Treat Yourself by Eating Out

If you want to really have a great food experience, you need to treat yourself by eating out now and again (something I partake a little too much in haha!). There are a lot of factors that play a part in helping you find the perfect restaurant, and it really depends a lot on what you want to eat. I’ve written some blog posts that might help! Check out the top 5 brunch spots in LA for starters! Rewarding yourself by eating out is an excellent way of viewing food as a treat, and it removes some of the stress of having to cook yourself. 

Learning new recipes, cooking and baking more, and enjoying eating out on occasions is essential. Food is one of the best experiences we can have, and this is something that can really help enhance and enrich your life. 

I’m always looking for new restaurants or recipes to try out, so if you guys have any favorites let me know in the comments below!

5 Healthy Food Swaps for Weight Loss

Food Swaps

It’s the New Year, and you know what that means. Everyone including myself is trying to diet. What is it about the new year that makes us want to change our lives? LOL. Now I’m going to be honest here, I suck at dieting. The longest I’ve ever gone on any specific diet is about 21 days of Whole 30. Yup, couldn’t even make it to 30 days. Any other time I diet, I usually do a couple days and by day 3 I’ve probably given up. I love food. That is why when it comes to dieting, I think it’s easier to maintain healthy food swaps instead of eliminating things all together. So I’ve complied a list of items you can swap out for healthier alternatives.

Pasta = Zucchini or Spaghetti Squash

This is a pretty standard one if you want to go low carb. Spiralized zucchini or spaghetti squash are a great way to mimic the shape of pasta. They are a great base for any “pasta dish”. My favorite way to eat this is to make a type of bolognese with meat and a good tomato sauce and top it with cheese.

Bread or crackers = GG Crackers

If you follow the Skinny Confidential or the F Factor Diet, you definitely know about GG crackers. If not, GG Crackers are high fiber crackers that can be the base of any snack. I’ll be straight up with you the texture and taste do take a while to get used to, it kind of resembles cardboard. But hey, it’s good for you. It’s FULL of fiber which helps keep you full. I love to top my GG crackers with avocado and make an avocado “toast”. Top it with Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel seasoning and it’s a perfect snack or meal.

Soda = sparkling water

This is a simple switch. Soda is pretty terrible for you, but I still drink it occasionally. But I do try to limit my soda intake. If you are craving a soda, reach for a flavored sparking water instead. It will save you calories, is healthier for you and still hits the spot.

Cereal = Steel Cut or Quick Cooking Oats

Cereal is tasty, but it’s chocked full of sugar. To get a healthy dose of carbs in the morning that will keep you feeling full, swap out your morning cereal for some steel cut oats or quick cooking oats. I love to make steel cut oats and top it with cinnamon, fresh fruit, chia seeds and walnuts. You can experiment with the toppings and try different things, just make sure your toppings are healthy too. If you need it to be sweeter, I suggest sweetening it with a half a banana or a little bit of maple syrup.

Salad Dressing = Olive Oil and Vinegar

Packaged salad dressing might seem healthy because you’re eating a salad right? Wrong. A lot of times these salad dressings are packed with sugar. Make you own at home with some olive oil and vinegar (balsamic, red wine or white wine). You can even add things like lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar. Experiment and see what you like.

Those are some of my healthy food swaps that will make you healthier and help you lose weight! If you guys have any food swap ideas, let me know in the comments below!

Best Food in Oahu

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Romper: Blue Life // Tank: Brandy Melville // Necklace: Songbird Co. {similar here and here}

I just got back from Oahu a few days ago. Oahu (the island Honolulu is on) is absolutely stunning. The beaches were incredible. Definitely take a trip up to the North Shore if you are there, it has some of the most beautiful beaches around! As a self proclaimed foodie, I love to find authentic and delicious foods anytime I’m traveling. I did my due diligence and stumbled upon some real gems in Oahu. Here were my top three places you must visit!

The Dole Plantation (picture above) – Go. Seriously just go. It’s a tourist spot, but they have the best Dole Whip and roasted nuts. I wish I had gone back multiple times while on my trip. I’m seriously having major cravings for some Dole Whip right about now.

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Koko Head Cafe

Koko Head Cafe is run by Chef Lee Ann Wong, who appeared on Top Chef. This cute little restaurant was packed with a long line when we went. But it was well worth the wait! Everything on their menu sounded absolutely delicious, I wish I could have tried more! I ended up getting the Vanilla Sea Salt Biscuit with their famous Koko Moco, which is their take on the Loco Moco, a traditional Hawaiian dish. Loco Mocos are seriously my new favorite dish. It’s basically rice with beef and gravy topped with an egg. Basically everything I love in the world in one dish. The Koko Moco was great because they used garlic rice which really amped up the flavor. I also love that they served this in a cast iron skillet because it really allows the rice to get crunchy. YUM.

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Moena Cafe

Another spot that I loved was Moena Cafe in Hawaii Kai. Located in a little strip mall, from the outside you wouldn’t think it was anything special, but the inside is incredibly charming. I got their Loco Moco (obviously) with brown rice. Their Loco Moco was quite different than Koko Head’s. This Loco Moco used a much more tender meat that literally just melted in your mouth. This dish was so delicious, I couldn’t get enough.

These were my top food spots in Oahu that I visited during my trip. If you make it out to the island of Oahu, definitely check these spots out! Also, if you’ve ever tried Loco Moco, let me know in the comments below!

My Top 5 Food Accounts to Follow on Instagram

Instagram is my favorite social media platform, hands down. Food, dogs and parody accounts are some of my favorite accounts to follow on IG. With that being said, I wanted to share with you my top 5 food accounts on Instagram. These will surely get you salivating.

local-haven

Who: Ashley Marti @localhaven
Why: Be prepared to drool. This IG account is seriously one of the most beautiful food Instagram accounts. The food styling is on point. Ashley never disappoints.

popeye-the-foodie

Who: Popeye @popeyethefoodie
Why: This dog is hands down my favorite on Insta (besides @mydogbaguette of course!). Popeye travels around LA, looking both stylish and posing with the most delicious looking food. I want the dog, and the food.

byron

Who: Byron Talbott @byrontalbott
Why: Byron is my favorite Youtuber. His recipes on YouTube are the bomb.com. I’ve tried a couple of them out, (including the zucchini salad above) and they were AMAZING. Go follow him on YouTube and Insta for delicious recipes you can recreate at home.

kitchy-kitchen

Who: Claire Thomas @kitchykitchen
Why: Claire is another Youtuber that I love! She makes super fun recipes which she showcases on her Instagram. She also posts pictures of different places she goes to eat, all of which look amazing.

infatuation-la

Who: @infatuation_la
Why: If you’re living in a major city, and not following a food account about it…what are you doing? Infatuation LA showcases some of the cities best restaurants. Every time they post a new gram, my list of restaurants I need to check out doubles.

What are some of your favorite foodie accounts?

Best Brunch Spots in LA

2Croque Madame and the Regular Breakfast from Republique

This post is long overdue. Brunch is my favorite meal, hands down. I love it so much that I named my blog after it. So it’s only fair that I write a post detailing my favorite brunch spots in Los Angeles. Now the reason it’s taken me so long to write this post is because I didn’t want to just throw together some random brunch list. I wanted to take my time and try a bunch of different places and really figure out which ones were my favorites. Now, there’s always room for improvement and I’m sure I will discover another amazing brunch spot after posting this. However, that being said, these are my top 5 brunch spots as of today.

1. Republique

Oh. My. God. Why did it take me so long to try Republique? I love everything about this place. The food is amazing, and the vibe and interior decor is on point. Everything on the menu is fresh, seasonal and incredibly delicious. The only downside to this place is there is always a wait, but for good reason. This spot is not only my favorite, but also my friends. All of their pastries not only look fabulous but they all taste amazing. Be sure to grab one before you sit down and wait for your meal. Everything I’ve had here is great. My favorite: Croque Madame 

2. Village Idiot

The Village Idiot has been my brunch spot of choice for the better part of last year. There usually isn’t a wait, which is great when you’re starving (or hungover) and in need of some quick, yet yummy breakfast. I have probably been to the Village Idiot a couple dozen times for brunch, and they never disappoint. Their fresh squeezed OJ is so refreshing. They also have the best breakfast sandwich in all of LA. Now I know that’s a very bold statement but I stand by it 100%. I like to sub out the sausage for bacon, and if you love bacon as much as I do I highly recommend it. My favorite: Breakfast Sandwich

The Bloody Royale from Franklin & Co. The Bloody Royale from Franklin & Co.

3. Franklin & Co.

Franklin & Co. will always have a special place in my heart. It was where I discovered my love of Biscuits with Sausage Gravy. Not to mention their bacon is the bomb. Franklin & Co also happens to be known for their delicious Bloody Mary’s. This also happened to be where I discovered my love for Bloodies. All of their Bloody Mary’s are tasty, and if you’re adventurous enough to try their Bloody Royale…do it. My favorite: Biscuits with Sausage Gravy

IMG_6925Brunch Carbonara with a side of Crunchy French Toast at Blu Jam Cafe

4. Blu Jam Cafe

On the same block as the Village Idiot, is Blu Jam Cafe (they also have a location in the Valley). My friends and I have tried to go to Blu Jam numerous times, but there is always a long wait and we’re never prepared to wait that long. But finally, we planned and waited and got into Blu Jam. No wonder there is always a wait. This place is delicious. They have a couple brunch items that are not your typical brunch meals. I highly recommend you getting a plate of the Crunchy French Toast to share. It’s AMAZING. If you’re looking for something a little different, but extremely delicious go to Blu Jam. It’s well worth the wait. My favorite: Brunch Carbonara

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetChoco Acai Bowls from Kreation

5. Kreation 

If you’re in one of those rare “I want to be healthy” moods, Kreation is the perfect brunch spot for you. They have THE BEST Acai Bowls I have ever had. Their juices and smoothies are also great. My friends and I go to Kreation after we’ve had a very indulgent weekend. It’s the perfect place to hit the reset button and feel good about the food you are eating. Everything is organic and tastes incredible. My favorite: Choco Acai Bowl

What are some of your favorite brunch spots? Leave them in the comments below!

My Review: Blue Apron

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I’m going to be completely honest here. I’m lazy. Especially when it comes to grocery shopping, which is one of my least favorite tasks. But, on the opposite spectrum: I love cooking. See my dilemma here? That’s where Blue Apron comes in. Blue Apron is a delivery service where you get fresh, pre-portioned and pre-packaged ingredients sent to your door. You get three recipes a week and can decide if you want it for two people, or a family. I opted for the two person meals, obviously because I don’t have a family that I live with. For my first Blue Apron box, I chose the following 3 recipes: Fontina & Preserved Lemon Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Vegetable Bibimbap & Kimchi, and Roasted Butternut Squash with Stewed White Beans, Brussel Sprouts & Gremolata.

My favorite was the Fontina & Preserved Lemon Grilled Cheese Sandwich, with Endive Salad. OH MY GOD. This was seriously the bomb.com. If you’re a fan of grilled cheese, you have to make this recipe. This is definitely something that I will make again. As for the other two recipes, they were good but not my favorite. Being Korean, Bibimbap is one of my favorite dishes. This was a good recipe, but it wasn’t great. It also took a long time to make. The Butternut Squash recipe would be a good alternative for someone that doesn’t eat meat. This had a lot of different flavors and was very unique.

Overall, I really enjoyed using Blue Apron. I was able to cook both alone, and with friends, which made for a fun experience. I would definitely use Blue Apron again. It’s great for those weeks when you want to experiment with new recipes and are also feeling too lazy to go grocery shopping.

 

Chocolate Banana Overnight Oats

1Breakfast is a must have for me. If I don’t eat something by 10:30 I start to get very cranky. I’m also not a morning person so I love breakfasts that are easy to make. This is the perfect breakfast for those who are on the go in the morning because you can make it the night before and it’s ready to eat when you wake up. This is also a great recipe because you don’t really need to measure anything out, just eyeball it and you’ll be fine!

Chocolate Banana Overnight Oats

What you need:

A mason jar, or mug
1 ripe banana
Rolled Oats
Unsweeted Cocoa Powder
Milk (I prefer Almond)

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1. Mash up the banana using a fork.

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2. Add the oats. Be sure to leave room for the milk at the end.

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3. Top everything off with some milk and a spoonful of cocoa powder.

4. Mix your oats and banana.

5. Refrigerate overnight. Enjoy!

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Easy Egg Bake

Hey guys its Catherine from Collective Passions! Today I’m going to be sharing a yummy recipe perfect for meal prepping for the week. This recipe is something I came up with when I was tired of making eggs every single day, why go through that trouble when you can just reheat an egg bake? An egg bake is extremely versatile so feel free to add your favorite veggies and cheeses.

I have experimented with different versions and found this combination works best.

Egg Bake Recipe
1 Carton of Egg Whites
4 Eggs
One medium Zucchini
Half a carton of mini portabella mushrooms
Half a carton of tomatoes (or more depending on your preference)

Optional:
Add any veggie you want: onions, spinach, peppers, etc.
Add cheese on top (highly suggested), I usually add Daiya cheese, but cheddar would taste great as well.

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375
  2. Get out a large bowl, add your egg white carton and four eggs to the bowl
    whisk together and place aside
  3. In the meantime, get our your veggies and start chopping! I suggest chopping the veggies into smaller pieces.1
  4. Add all the veggies with the eggs in the bowl and mix togetherVeggies and Eggs mixed together
  5. Spray a pan (I use olive oil spray, or coconut oil spray) I usually use a large rectangular glass Pyrex pan (about 4 quartz) and pour your bowl into the pan
  6. Spread everything over evenly and add your cheese to the topReady for the oven!
  7. Bake for 30 minutes (add or minus 5 minutes depending on your pan size)
  8. Cut into squares and cool completely before putting it in the refrigerator (to avoid condensation and the egg bake getting soggy)Out of the oven and ready to serve
  9. Enjoy!

This recipe is super easy to make, it’ll take less than 20 minutes to prepare, and is perfect for on the go. Have you ever made an egg bake or egg muffins before? Leave it in the comments.

xoxo Catherine

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Avocado Pesto Cream Pasta

Hey loves! It’s Catherine, today I am back to Guest blog and share another delicious and easy recipe perfect for summertime. I just recently moved to Raleigh, NC so I know first hand cooking in the heat is dreadful and turning on the oven is a huge no. This recipe is light, dairy free and can be modified with all different types of pasta and ingredients. 1Photo Cred: OhSheGlows

 Avocado Pesto Cream Sauce over Pasta
(Adapted from OhSheGlows)

  • 2 servings of pasta (could be regular, whole wheat, spelt, brown rice, quinoa)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves
  • Basil leaves (fresh about 5-6)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil with salt, so the pasta doesn’t stick, cook your pasta according to the directions on the package.
  • While your pasta is cooking, get out your food processor or blender/ Vitamix
  1. Add the basil and garlic to the food processor and pulse
  2. Cut your ripe avocado in half, remove the pit, and scoop out both sides into the food processor along with your lemon, olive oil, salt, and pepper
  3. Process all of the ingredients until the sauce is smooth and creamy, if it is took thick add some water or more olive oil
  4. Place your pasta in a bowl and place the avocado cream sauce on top

2Photo Cred: OhSheGlows

(Optional: add in spinach, mushrooms, chicken, broccoli, asparagus anything your heart desires)

  1. Serve and Enjoy!

This recipe is so flavorful and a staple for putting together a quick dinner in less than ten-fifteen minutes, I promise you will love it. Let me know if you try it out! Leave it in the comments, until next time.

Xoxo Catherine

Follow Catherine on Instagram @cmarchet

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