Bites of My Life

Thanksgiving week is hereeeeee! Mentally and physically preparing myself for all of the "bites" that are about to happen this week. Thanksgiving is hands down the best holiday, who else agrees? Spending my Thanksgiving a leetle different this year do to my growing family, but as the baby of the fam I've gotten pretty good at adapting to traditions. Except when it comes to real vs. fake Christmas trees. I won't even get into it because I've already exhausted my parents on the situation and to my dismay lost the battle. Anyway, I'm eager to get to Thursday to spend the day around a full table and end the day with a full belly. 

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-Gingerbread protein shake on the go, but first a picture to prove it. P.S. mules are from Target, my best kept secret that now every single one of you know... 
-So if you haven't noticed I've been making protein shakes like crazy. Well my sweet friend Madison got me hooked on Arbonne's vanilla protein powder and I'm having so much fun coming up with creative shake recipes. I've always been on the lookout for a protein powder to add to my morning smoothies and this one is ittttttt! 
-Another day another shake. Peppermint mocha shake to be exact. 
-Showed up to bible study to see my cookie pizza there! Not made by me. SO COOL when people make your recipes, thanks Paige!
-Do yourself a favor and try the new maple rosemary matcha latte at The Jones. I can't get enough, and I loved getting to introduce Annie #2 to her first matcha with this one!
-Blogging tips and tricks workshop with a side of black coffee and pastries. 
-Behind the scenes of the most epic and easy holiday cheese board. One of my contributions to friendsgiving thanks to the help from Hickory Farms!
-When Friday goes from work, to a glass of wine, to a salmon board, to a basket of chips and salsa, to a margarita, to an early bedtime!
-If you know me, you know how happy this little drink makes me. 
-Making my food as festive as possible is a guilt pleasure of mine. Exhibit A. Pumpkin protein shake recipe here
-Perfect homemade pie crust was prepped yesterday and being stored in the freezer until it gets baked into pumpkin and pecan pie on Thursday. Recipe is here and here
-Loaves on loaves on loaves of pumpkin bread for our Jones Assembly staff Thanksgiving lunch today! P.S. pumpkin bread is the perfect t-giving breakfast w/ some AB spread on a slice and bananas layered on top. Perfect fuel for cooking all morning!  

Annie 

Easy Holiday Cheese Board

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So I was annoyingly stressed out these past two weeks thinking about all the holiday events coming up and all the things going on at work to get prepared for the holiday season that I didn't even want to do Friendsgiving. GASP! Friendsgiving is one of my favorite traditions of the past couple years. First headache was gone when my sweet friend Lexy said she would host. Second headache was gone when I decided to bring the easiest cheese board thanks to Hickory Farms

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Quick story time. Me and Hickory Farms go way back. Every year growing up, one of my dad's co-workers would gift his fellow employees with a Hickory Farms gift box. My sister's and I would anxiously await the evening when my dad would come home with the coveted Hickory Farms gift box. We would rip open the box, fight over who got to eat the little strawberry hard candies and then start sampling every meat, cheese and spicy mustard, completely ruining our dinner. 

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I'm often asked what my favorite food is, and struggle to muster up an answer. I could never answer that question with just one thing, but recently I've really been trying to nail down at least my top five favorite foods. So far chili has been put on my list, and after making this epic holiday meat and cheese board for Friendsgiving, it became apparent that cheese boards are also in my top five favorite foods. 

Not only do I love eating meat and cheese boards, I also love making them. But, I will admit going to the store and wandering the cheese aisle can be super daunting. With a million options, textures, colors, names etc. it's overwhelming deciding what cheese and meats to pair. With Hickory Farms Signature Party Planning Gift Box  the stress is gone. Cue the "easy" part of this holiday cheese board.

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Hickory Farms perfectly curates their boxes to make for a perfect holiday cheese board. The Signature Party Planning box consists of four cheeses, three meats and assorted mixed nuts. Exactly what I would purchase if going at it by myself at the store. These amounts will serve about 12 people. Or 10 hungry 20-something girls at Friendsgiving...oops!

My cheese board assembly tips:
-Cut each cheese a different way. Cubes, triangles, slices, crumbles...
-Bring in different textures such as mixed nuts, fruit, crackers, olives or pickles
-Be colorful. Use cheese and meats of different color to keep it visually pleasing.
-Get your greens in. Some kind of fresh herb to contrast all the orange and cream. I used bay leaves because they were on hand. 
-Include some kind of mustard, jam or spread

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Take a slight bit of the holiday stress off buy purchasing a Hickory Farms gift box for your next holiday gathering. Wow your friends and fam with this easy (and epic) cheese board when you show up for Thanksgiving. P.S. If you are last minute and don't have time to order something, and you are local to the OKC area, I know for a fact there is a Hickory Farms kiosk set up right now in Penn Square Mall. It is stocked with tons of meats, cheeses, mustards and pre-selected gift boxes. Cough Thanksgiving is in less than a week cough cough.

Happy holidays from my easy cheese board to yours!

Annie

Thank you to Hickory Farms for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.

Bites of My Life

It's the down hill slope to Thanksgiving and the holidays in general for that matter. I have something on the books for every night this week (Thursday being Friendsgiving!!). The rush of the season is here. The busyness helps me stay productive, but also sends little stress waves through me. Regardless, this really is the most wonderful time of the year! *Cue the Christmas music*

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-First Lite Bite post! Peppermint Mocha Protein Shake. 
-Fall breakfast quickly taken back inside since the mornings have been so chilly around here!
-Died a little inside when I heard of RX Bars new seasonal flavor Gingerbread, but after trying it, the excitement was gone. Gingerbread is a favorite flavor of mine but these lacked flavor completely.
-The StudioHop crew came to OKC on Tuesday for a Glow + Flow class at one of my favorite new studios. If you haven't checked out The Yoga Box, text me and let's go flow together. They also have a food bar inside and these little dark chocolate pomegranate bites they made are being recreated ASAP!
-New coffees and teas at work make for a caffeinated photoshoot!
-Really proud of my creativity on this. Took leftover spaghetti sauce, added some spices and cracked in two eggs for a version of shukshuka!
-Protein shake #2 of the week is this Gingerbread version. Vanilla protein, frozen cauliflower, almond milk, molasses, cinnamon, ginger and cloves!
-My kryptonite as of recently. It's like a not terrible for you cross between popcorn and Cheeto puffs. 
-My other current obsession is rice cakes. I mentioned them a couple weeks ago. Not sure what my craze is for eating something that resembles Styrofoam, but I think the fact that it's just another vessel to shovel almond butter into my mouth could be why...
-Game day, just like we were students again!
-Spent Sunday afternoon talking plants and healthy eating with my new friend Emma!
-Spicy Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup for Sunday dinner (and lunches the rest of the week). Forgot how good this recipe was...

Annie

Lite Bite: Peppermint Mocha Protein Shake

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I've been toying with the idea of doing these "lite bite" posts. "Lite" as in quick or easy. I often come up with recipes on the fly or by accident. These recipes don't get a full camera roll of pictures, or a length story filled blog post, but still deserve to be shared. I mean, let's be honest, no one really reads blog posts anymore anyway. We al just  skip to the section with the recipe listed out. Or is that just me?

I'm going to start posting more "lite bites" when these quicky recipes work out! Enjoy. 

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Peppermint Mocha Protein Shake
serves 1

Ingredients:
2 scoops Arbonne Vanilla Protein Powder
1 tsp. Arbonne Fiber Boost
1 tsp. cacao powder
1 tsp. coffee grounds
2 drops peppermint essential oils
shake of cinnamon
1/2-1 cup almond milk
handful of ice

Directions:
Blend items together. Serve in a mug just like you would sip your favorite coffee drink out of! 

Annie

Bites of My Life

Hi November! Hi daylight savings. Hi being dark at 5pm now....UGH. Love the fall so much, but nothing puts me in more of a cold weather slump then when it gets dark so early. I'll take it though since it means Thanksgiving, holiday parties, comfort food and cozy clothes. 

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-Last of the Healing Bowl leftovers. I see a lot of this recipe being made again in my future. So easy to make a little different each day. 
-I have a thing for dressing up like inanimate objects for Halloween. I've been a cup of hot chocolate, a present, a flower in a flower pot, and this year...a glass of The Jones infamous Frosé. Gummy bear and all! 
-"Woods comma Elle!" Elle channeled her inner Legally Blonde this Halloween and we couldn't be more obsessed. 
-Giving Arbonne's nutrition line a try. From everything I have read and from what I have tried so far, I am looooooooving it. 
-Chocolate coconut smoothies for two! Elle bell approved! If only she could try it...
-My fave chocolate mint smoothie, now with a protein boost. I don't eat a lot of meat so I'm loving the added protein in my morning smoothies. 
-Claire's wedding pictures came in. I. can't. even. Every single one captured the day perfectly. 
-Happy 7th to my first fitness love, Barre3! I took a pretty big barre break these past couple months, but with sis back teaching post-pregnancy, I've loved adding it back in. 
-Rollin' with my homies straight into Stillwater for a Bedlam victory.
-Easy like a Sunday morning. 
-Skinny Vanilla Lattes and Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Lattes used to be my drink freshman year in college. It wasn't a productive study sesh without one in hand. Threw it back to the GSCDL days for an extra pep on my walk today. And I'll admit, it was also an excuse to get a Christmas cup.
-The best darn homemade meatballs. Adapted the recipe from Bon Appetit to make them whole 30 compliant and gluten-free and paleo. Hoping to get the recipe up this week.

Annie