Kale Quinoa Salad

While in Aspen, CO last week for our family trip, I found myself ordering kale salad after kale salad. Our dinners where indulgent, as they should be, so I tried to counteract them with a salad here and there for lunch. And I’d be lying if I said every time I ordered, said kale salad, it wasn’t also followed by a handful of french fries. The amount of kale salads and fries eaten on that trip…

Anyway, the kale salad hoopla was a must recreate situation the second I got home. 1. because I love some good travel inspiration for my meals and 2. because how better to slide back into healthy eating post vacay than with a kale salad? It has me being healthy and reminiscent!

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Kale Quinoa Salad
serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side

1 large bunch of lacinito kale
1 medium sweet potato
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
1/2 cup pecans
1/3 cup dried cranberries
olive oil
cinnamon

Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tbsp. grainy mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Chop your sweet potato into 1/2 inch cubes. Place on a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil, salt and cinnamon. I love love love roasting sweet potatoes with cinnamon, but you can omit. Toss together and roast for 25 minutes. Check halfway through and toss around if needed. *When 5 minutes are left on the sweet potatoes, place the pecans on a roasting sheet and roast for 5 minutes making sure to watch that they don’t burn. Take out at the same time as the sweet potatoes. Roughly chop the pecans and set aside.

Now to de-rib your kale. Rinse and pat dry your kale. To de-rib, run a knife alongside the stem to detach the leaves. You can get a visual here. Layer all the kale leaves on top of each other and chop the kale into small pieces. Place in a large bowl and set aside.

In a mason jar or small bowl, add all dressing ingredients. Shake or whisk to combine.

To the bowl of kale add the cooked quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes, cranberries, and pecans. Drizzle with a good portion of the dressing. Using a pair of tongs, give everything a really good toss until everything is coated in dressing. Kale is not a lettuce you can just pour dressing over the top. Your have to mix and toss and coat it with dressing.

Plate and serve with a bit of salt and pepper on top.

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Another favorite fall kale salad is my Fall Panzanella with Cornbread Croutons!

Annie

Bites of My Life

This post combines the past two weeks into one big bite. I got home from vacation late last Wednesday and quickly had to jump right back in to work and social life as I knew it. A big work event, busy playing catch up, a besties birthday and a personal to-go list that is becoming miles long has me typing as fast as I can to get through this post to continue tackling the others. A full round up of our trip to Aspen is in the works! It was too good of a trip not to devote a post to. Catch a glimpse in the snapshots below and stay tuned for the whole shebang!

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-Channeling “back to school” vibes with my new work bag/backpack - that I can’t get enough of!
-Aunts do Aspen! And Elle does Aspen really well. #gimmethosemoccasins
-We were lucky to get to stay in a big house on our trip. We played to our strengths and cooked a few meals at home. After some delicious nights out, we all agreed our dinners at home were the best!
-The reason that brought us to Aspen, Pop’s 60th birthday! His birthday was actually in June, but there are many reasons to celebrate 3 months later!
-The whole fam damily! Not often does the whole crew get to be together, but I sure love when we do!
-I went on a kale salad kick while in Aspen. It seemed that just about every menu had their own rendition, so I took it upon myself to test them out. Like this kale caesar from Ajax Tavern
-I’ll follow up my kale salad note by mentioning that I washed down my healthy salad with fries at pretty much every meal. It’s called vacation! The infamous truffle fries from Ajax Tavern could not go without ordering.
-Just like one of the beautiful trees around me! We had a successful hike through the Maroon Bells.
-Book 12 out of my 12 in a year goal. Went out with a bang with this one. Can’t recommend it enough.
-The best breakfast casserole returns. Might I add, this is always a crowd pleaser. I brought it to a morning tailgate were it was aside donuts and bagels and many people reached for the casserole over the other options.
-Played cowgirl for the day to celebrate our favorite OSU Cowboy’s birthday in Stillwater!
-After a the kale salad craze on vacation, I knew I was inspired to recreate one at home. This kale quinoa goodness is coming your way later this week.

Annie

Bites of My Life

Labor Day huh? Isn't that the day you are supposed to uh, not, labor. Ya I've been up since 7:30am. I worked out, worked Gospel Brunch brunch at The Jones Assembly, meal prepped, created content for Made By Maddie, posted social media for work, updated the fall newsletter and website for OKC Kappa alum and now I'm typing as fast as a I can to get this post done so I can go to bed. No complaints, just using this as my place to hash out my day. I don't really love doing nothing, so looking back on this productive day has me pretty happy actually. Life is a labor of love I guess. 

In less than a week I'll be Colorado bound with my whole family for some serious R&R. Let's see if I can actually relax...stay tuned.

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-Daily nighttime routine of Arbonne detox tea and digestion plus (pre and probiotic). Just keeping things regular, ya know. 
-This meal WINS. After a stronnnnggg craving for Chinese I cured it with The Defined Dish's Whole30 Orange Chicken recipe. The whole house loved it. Can't wait to try this and this too! 
-Post-dinner snack/dessert/sweet tooth hack = snack size pack of Lesser Evil popcorn, melted cashew butter to dip popcorn into and detox tea.
-Incredibly ideal Thursday night. Favorite new jeans, furry slippers, great dinner, great wine and 27 Dresses.
-Taqueria Tour with Dad stop 2 at Tacos Don Nacho!
-First OU gameday at Seven47 with no one other than.
-Was craving a green smoothie bowl after a gameday full of Frozen Red Bull Vodkas, nachos, chips and queso, chinese takeout and a cinnamon roll. Oh gosh, I'm craving another one just reading all of that...
-Summer feast with mom and dad to send summer out the door. Cajun Roasted Okra from The Defined Dish, skirt steak (not pictured) and chimichurri, roasted tomato caprese, fruit salad.
-Behind the scenes with Made by Maddie. You are looking at MBM's newest social media consultant, so do us a favor and give us a follow

Annie

Did you catch My Top 5 post last week?

My Top 5

The go-to conversation starter in my inner circle as of late is what are your top 5. Top 5 movies first, which then leads into TV Shows. But, I also love to find out peoples generic top 5 things in life.  Here are mine.

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Movies: 
1.  Father of the Bride Part II (The part 2 part is very important. I love the first one but the second one reigns supreme)
2.  It’s Complicated
3.  You’ve Got Mail
4.  That Thing You Do
5.  Remember the Titans

TV Shows:
1.  Gilmore Girls
2.  Barefoot Contessa
3.  The Hills/Laguna Beach
4.  Parenthood
5.  Friday Night Lights

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In General: 
1.  Mornings (I sleep with my blinds open because I love being woken up by the sun. I’ve been an early riser my whole life. I used to get annoyed I couldn’t sleep in and now I love it. I love mornings so much I even wrote whole posts on them you can read here and here.
2.  Washington D.C.  My love for this city will never die. 
3.  Watching Food Network (especially on Saturday mornings in bed with a cup of coffee or tea)
4.  Cooking/Baking (duh)
5.  That feeling when you slip between the covers and lay your head on your pillow after a long day. 

Your turn. Let me here it in the comments below! 

Annie

Bites of My Life

August 2018: fasted month ever? Y or N? Anyone else feel like we hopped, skipped and jumped right over August. I can't believe September starts this weekend. In preparation for a very busy fall, I spent this weekend laying low aka in bed by 9pm Friday and Saturday night. Despite the early bed times, I didn't skip on the eeeeeats. Take a bite below. 

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-Crock-pot dinner win! I put 2 chicken thighs with seasonings and 3/4 cup water in my crock-pot Monday morning. Wrapped 3 sweet potatoes in foil and placed them right on top of the chicken. Put it on low while I was at work all day. Came home and shredded the chicken then topped it with guac, salsa, red onion, jalapeño all on the perfectly cooked sweet potatoes. A similar meal found here.
-Breakfast for dinner! The go-to when I don't have any other food in the fridge.
-Blender Bombs, who's heard of them? Excited to start using them today!
-May the #TacoTour commence! Dad and I have instilled a new Friday lunch tradition scoping out all the best taqueria's in OKC. Full round up to come after we add more to our list. First stop was at Taco San Pedro.
-Popcorn dipped in sriracha/mustard. A snack hack that started because of my roommates senior year of college. I still love this odd combination.
-Pool party board! All goods are from TJ's and were eaten at our Saturday pool party in less than 5 minutes. Along with all the other dips, hot dogs, etc. #FriendsWhoEat.
-Post photoshoot at our restaurant on OU's Campus Corner, pre Arbonne Healthy Happy in Norman, had me caught enjoying lunch on campus! 
-Healthy Happy with two girls I'm lucky I get to work alongside.
-Taste testing macarons Sunday night. See why in my post here.

Annie