Local Love – Nature’s Oasis

Today’s Local Love is highlighting one of our latest go-to spots for an easy breakfast or late lunch on the weekend – and lately a few impromptu dinners!  With a full menu of options, Nature’s Oasis is the one-stop shop for any meal, delicious (hot or iced) coffee or a fresh made to order smoothie.
Local Love - Nature's Oasis - the bee life
Our go-to food orders are any number of the toast options like the Avocado toast, Energy-Boosting Breakfast toast or the Hummus toast… YUM!! There are also wraps, salads, other breakfast favorites and even carrot hot dogs, with any given number of monthly specials! All options are or can be vegan friendly, dairy free and are locally sourced. My favorite smoothie is the Oasis smoothie, it’s fresh, delicious, light but filling! All of the food portions are generous and filling.

Not only is the food delicious but the environment is welcoming and relaxed you’ll usually see someone working, friends catching up, families grabbing an order to-go or couples hanging out! Occasionally there are live performers on the weekends, plus there is a market too with hundreds of local products, including gifts featuring local made goodies, from candles, to mugs, cards and soaps.  Whether you shop or dine at Nature’s Oasis you’re supporting local business.

In case you couldn’t tell B and I, love Nature’s Oasis! The staff is friendly and it’s just a place you just like to go, that happens to serve delicious healthy eats that are local and good for you!

3-Recipes I’m Dying to Try

Since we’ve been in #weddingdiet mode, we’ve been trying to be a bit more conscious with our dinner choices, on top of some recent dietary restrictions I’ve been faced with, the options become extremely limited.  So we’ve had to try a few more options and stick solely to the basics; meat and veggies.  But with this comes prep time and planning which are two crucial items when trying to eat right!
Three Recipes - the bee life
The goal for me, is finding recipes that can easily be tailored to fit within my dietary restrictions, which pretty much means, no cheese and nothing too spicy, among other things that I’ve just learned to stay away from – and even just in general the more plain the food is, sadly the safer it is for me! So although these recipes I’m dying to try will need to be altered – it doesn’t mean you all have to suffer too!

Beef Taco Salad Pizza: This looks so delicious, and very few ingredients too, which makes pulling this one together affordable!  I would have to ditch the cheese and sour cream, but the seasoning and avocado will make up for any lost taste!

Black Bean Quinoa Burger: This plump looking burger calls for some spicy mayo, this would definitely need to be substituted out in addition to the cumin and cayenne called for in the actual burger.  I love the idea of mango and avocado topping this quinoa black bean burger – mouth officially watering.

Greek Grilled Eggplant: This recipe again is super easy and low cost, making it a perfect busy-day dinner!  Ingredients are probably all housed beyond maybe picking up a fresh eggplant to slice up and grill. I think you could probably guess by now, no feta for me! But some fresh basil would be a great topper.

Have any great, easy recipes? Leave a comment below and share them with me!

Weekend Recap – CVNP Topography

B and I had the honor of being guests at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s Topography event, Saturday night.

Not knowing what to expect, I was quickly blown away by the array of food, all supplied and catered by Spice Kitchen & Bar and the interactive cocktail experience while enjoying the trail system, leading us to an open field of beautifully dressed tables set for 200. A seated dinner was served at 8:15, it started with a salad and then family style dishes for the main meal. The food and service was exceptional.
Topography 2017 - the bee life
We were lucky to be accompanied by a great group of friends for this incredibly unique dining experience. After dinner we were able to sit around camp fires, sipping cocktails and enjoying the perfect summer night. A band played in the distance, while various tents were set up with bars or desserts!

The event supports and raises money for Trails Forever, with helps protect and preserve the CVNP trails.   B and I will definitely be heading back to check out the park in the future to enjoy some hikes.  If you have a chance, keep this event on your radar for next year, especially if you want to enjoy an unforgettable evening at a beautiful, local, national park with the best local cuisine.

Weekend Recap – Now This Is Summer.

The weather this past weekend was quintessential summer; sunshine, cloudless skies with a mix of patio drinks, a summer festival and friends. Friday night was a late one, celebrating a much needed Cavs win in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. But we will leave it at that.

Saturday was spent doing things around the house, and then dinner and drinks on the impressively large patio at Collision Bend Brewery – the latest hot spot in CLE.  With a well known chef, like Zack Bruell behind the business, this place was bumping. We had a great spot outside, but under the awning, perfect views of the river and the warm night.  We ordered a mixture of food to share with the table, but the standouts were the roasted brussels sprouts, oven roasted mixed olives, and the salami and green olive pizza. They had a great selection of beers and cocktails, although I opted for some Rose.  We will definitely be going back to soak in more drinks and the fabulous patio.

Sunday we enjoyed some more local food at the Taste of Lakewood, an annual event that has transformed over the years, and is now a free event to the public offering tasty snacks at affordable prices to sample. We had VIP tickets, which for a toasty sunny day was the perfect way to enjoy the festival feel, without fighting the lines, sore feet and the glaring sun. With VIP we were in a private tent, with plenty of tables and able to order 2-different food vendors, that volunteers would run and cut the lines to collect! Not to mention, 2-drink tickets with our own private bar. Our neighbors joined us, so it was a nice little outing to break up our Sunday afternoon.

Beyond the summer cold, I’ve been fighting off it was a pretty great weekend with lots of sunshine, friends/family, and just enough nap time in between all of that!

Cheers to the first real summer weekend!

Travel: Myrtle Beach Eats

So one of the fun parts of traveling is trying new food spots! Although, Myrtle Beach is filled with chains, we tried to find some spots that weren’t native to our area, or were a one off, I think we did a pretty good job!

Sam Snead’s Oak Grill & Tavern
A golfer’s paradise, full of memorabilia and achievements by Sam Snead. The menu is cleverly named with golfing terms like; “Tee Off” for the appetizers, “Water Hazard” for the fish selections, and “In The Fairway” just to name a few. Since it was our first dinner out, the theme and selections were based around the idea of YOLO so I went with a Peach Lemonade Cocktail, Salad and Baby Back Ribs, B ordered the fish and chips.

Famous Toastery
This was a random find for a late brunch one afternoon, and it was an awesome pick! The menu was impressive, serving breakfast and lunch all day from 7AM – 3PM. Everything is made to order for easy customization for any dietary needs. Not to mention they have all your brunch beverage necessities from mimosas, to bloody mary’s and even beermosa’s. We stopped here twice for brunch and each time left impressed and wanting more!

Brother Shuckers Fish House
We ended up here for dinner, again looking for a place a bit off the beaten path with a nice atmosphere and yummy eats.  They did not disappoint, from the drinks to the entrees, everything was absolutely delicious. I ordered the speciality cocktail, a Raspberry Cosmo, I could’ve drank those all night. Then for my entree I ordered the Pecan Encrusted Salmon with green beans, perfection. B ordered the Peppertini (yum!) and Stuffed Tilapia, all the other dishes around the table looked amazing.  It also sounded like their cocktails changed often and the bartender made his own mixers and concoctions, so it was definitely a great spot for a good drink on top of good food!

We definitely ate and drank well over our trip to the beach! Have you been to Myrtle Beach recently? What’re your favorite spots for brunch, lunch or dinner? Comment below!

Cheers!

Travel: D.C. Eats

This past weekend, B surprised me with a trip to Washington D.C. to celebrate our dating anniversary! We always try and figure out places that are close-ish and within driving distance. This trip was just that. He booked this trip at the end of March, and didn’t tell me where we were headed until 5-days before!

The last time we were both in D.C. was for our 8th grade trips, so needless to say I am sure we didn’t appreciate a lot of it. Not to mention, going now, we were able to explore at our pace and more importantly find some good spots to eat and drink!

Cork Wine Bar
Cork was my surprise for B. I found a spot with the same name as our first date! It was a random find, located just North of Logan Circle. Cork’s atmosphere was cozy and intimate. They’re known for their old world wines, but we opted for bubbly and beer. They also recommend about 2-3 plates per person, so we ordered the full gamut! We started with the house-marinated olives and avocado. They were both pure heaven, and we hadn’t even gotten to the main course yet.  B ordered the grilled octopus salad, which was refreshing and light and a lot of great flavor. From there we enjoyed the crispy lemon and black pepper dusted calamari and rock shrimp, sauteed mushrooms and the lavender encrusted lamb chops. Everything was delicious, but the lamp chops were incredible, the taste and flavors beat any expectations.  We ordered the chocolate mousse to share and couldn’t stop gushing over everything we’d just ate.  Everything was phenomenal.

Astro Doughnuts
This was an Instagram find that happened to be walking distance from our hotel! So we popped over to Astro Doughnuts first thing Saturday AM with our coffee to get some sweet treats to kickoff the day.  We ordered the Maple Bacon, PB&J, and Almond Brittle. They were all delicious but the PB&J and Almond Brittle took the cake.  You can also order chicken or specialty sandwiches – but we stuck with the sweets.  It was on point!

Farmers & Distillers
Located in Chinatown, this spot is an urban twist on all types of cuisines, with their own stamp on the drink menu with their distilled alcohol.  This was your typical hot spot, it was bustling and loud.  The food was good, but it was so-so in comparison to our dinner at Cork. At Farmers & Distillers, we opted for the salad and pizza route. Our pizza picks were on point. We ordered the bacon & baby kale and the brie & tart apple, they were both delicious in their own way.  The food was good enough, but I wish we would’ve spent a little more timing finding a different spot with a cozier atmosphere.

We definitely ate well this past weekend in D.C. – and can’t wait to go back to try some new places and head back to a few favorites *cough Cork cough*

If you’ve got any D.C. must-eats, please comment below for our next trip there!

Bon Appetit!

Chocolate Mug Cake – The Recipe

Happy Friday! Ever craving an after dinner sweet, but don’t have anything baked or sweets to pull from? I’ve got a recipe that pulls from ingredients that are easy to store and have around the house, and perfect for those sweets cravings! Plus it has a low ‘bake’ time – since it’s all done in the microwave, yeap, it’s that easy… not to mention mouth-watering and delicious!Chocolate Cake Mug Recipe - the bee lifeWhat You’ll Need:
– 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
– 3 tablespoons sugar
– 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
– 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
– 3 tablespoons of almond milk
– 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
– 12 oz. microwave safe mug
– Splash of vanilla extract <optional>
– Pinch of salt <optional>
– 3 tablespoons of chocolate chips <optional>

Step-by-Step:
1.  First measure out the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into your mug, and blend together with a fork.
2. Next add the milk, vegetable oil and vanilla, blend together until smooth finish.  If you’re using chocolate chips, stir these in last!
3. Microwave on high for 90-seconds – let cool for 2-3 minutes before eating! Your cake should be moist and delicious!
4. Enjoy!
Chocolate Cake RecipeThis is a great option for a dinner party, for individual serving sizes for your guests, or even splitting one to share!  This would be great paired with raspberries, ice cream or whip cream as additional toppings, enjoy!

Breakfast Casserole – The Recipe

I’ve got the perfect recipe for an upcoming work week or a weekend brunch.  This breakfast casserole is super easy to make, low prep and super tasty!
breakfast-casserole

What You’ll Need:
– 12 oz. reduced-fat bulk pork sausage
– 1 medium sized onion, chopped
– 2 eggs
– 4 egg whites
– 2 cups fat-free milk (I used almond milk)
– 1.5 teaspoons of ground mustard
– 1 teaspoon salt & pepper
– 8 slices of white bread, cubed
– 2 cups (8oz) of shredded cheddar

Step-by-Step:
1. Cook the sausage and chopped onion in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Cook until sausage is no longer pink, drain and cool.
2. In large bowl, beat the eggs, egg whites, milk, mustard, salt and pepper together.  Stir in the cubed bread, cheese, sausage and onion mixture. Pour into 13 x 9-inch baking dish (coated with baking spray).
3. Cool and refrigerator (okay over night).
4. Remove from fridge for 30-minutes before baking.
5. Bake, uncovered at 350-degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes clean from the center.  Let stand for 5-minutes before cutting and enjoying.

If you want to make a veggie option; switch out the meat and add in some of your favorite veggies like mushrooms, tomatoes or spinach.  Just be careful to drain appropriately as it will get watered down a bit more so may want to bake a bit longer than the recommended pork version.  Whip up a Bloody Mary or mimosas and enjoy!

Enjoy!

Avocado Eggs – The Recipe

I’ve always seen the pictures on Pinterest of eggs cooked in avocados, and thought two things:

1. YUM
2. That looks like too much work

Well I was right about only one of those statements, YUM.  These guys are super easy to make so follow along and prepare to be amazed and so happy you tried something new.

What You’ll Need:
– Ripe Avocados (a little squishy)
– Eggs
– Muffin Pan
– Any other toppings; sriracha sauce, bacon bits, tomatoes,  onion… the options are endless.

Step-by-Step:

  1. Cut your avocado in half and remove the pit.  Next scope out more of the center to create a little nook for your egg.
  2. Place your eggs in the muffin pan so they rest and are secure, then crack an egg into each of your avocado halves. The egg will probably overflow a little bit, that’s OK.
  3. Add any seasonings or extra toppings, carefully, and then place carefully into the oven. You’ll want it at 450 and you’ll cook for at least 15 minutes.  Once 15-minutes is up check to see if it’s still gooey, if so, throw in for another 2-minutes, you might have to repeat this a few times – at least we have too.
  4. Let cool and then scoop out of the skin or eat from the skin and enjoy! It’s great by itself or enjoy on a salad like we often do for dinner.

We usually make these for dinner but these would be awesome with a side of bacon and some toast on a weekend morning and a warm cup of joe!

Enjoy!