Big Bites of My Life

Heyyyyy. It's been a minute since we took a bite, so not only are we double dipping we are triple dipping for a big bite to recap the past ocuple of weeks!

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-Meal prepped this stuffed acorn squash for lunches and dinners and really really liked it. The caramelized onions made it! 
-The Bon Appetit's subscriber bonus issue deserves to be framed.
-I strive to turn Elle into my mini me on a daily basis. Safe to say that it's working. #chachamatcha
-My friend Maddie and I had an idea for a Christmas cookie decorating party and it was more fun and cute than we could of thought. Easily becoming a tradition! 
-Love what I do, but love who I work with even more!
-Santa slid down the chimney at The Jones!
-Brunch at home with mom and dad! 
-Christmas bites and sips Pre-Christmas Eve service. 
-Tucker traditional Christmas morning breakfast of stuffed sausage crescents.

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-It's not Christmas without dad and I straining our backs hunched over a 1,000 piece puzzle. 
-I love my family of foodies and good eaters. Makes holidays that much more delicious!
-Two days after Christmas my parents and I left for Tennessee for my cousin's wedding. It was nice to get out of OKC for a couple days, and to visit some places I've been coveting. Like Pinewood Social. Great coffee, horrible waitress unfortunately. Which ruins it sometimes.
-Showed up to our hotel in Nashville to see a Caviar & Bananas next to our hotel. I fell in love with this specialty market when we went to Charleston. The turmeric milk overnight oats must be recreated! 
-LOL. 
-If only you could grasp how big the cookies were at C&B. I'm talking bigger than my face. 
-New Year's Eve at The Jones Assembly was just how I wanted to end such an amazing year!
-The night was worth the mess. 
-Black eyed peas for luck! Happy 2018!

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-Protein shakes are back starting with this Mint Chocolate Chip Protein Shake overflowing with goodness, literally and figuratively.  
-Cherry Vanilla Protein Shake shared in a lite bite recipe posted here
-Couldn't drink this anti-inflammatory smoothie fast enough. Recipe by my friend @veggiebellie
-Prettiest and tastiest Thai Chicken and Broccoli Curry, also last week's recipe post!
-Lot's of protein shakes and detox smoothies balanced by devouring a good portion of the most addicting popcorn ever. 
-Had to do a double take passing this pink beetle! NEED. 
-Birthday salads and huge catch up session with my Lex!
-The birthday diva herself who is too great not to celebrate!
-Elle Frances looking cute as always. 

Annie

Thai Chicken and Broccoli Curry (Whole 30)

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Let's take a walk down memory lane. My food photography is nowhere where I want it to be, but compared to this Thai Curry recipe from 2014, I'd say I've come along way. Now let's just keep that hidden in the archives and focus on this updated Thai Curry recipe. 

One of my roommates, Lindsay and I first made this curry during early fall and we were obsessed. Anything Tieghan from Half Baked Harvest makes is sure to be perfect. Thanks for the inspo HBH!!

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I couldn't decide how I wanted to prepare this dish so I took to y'alls opinion. I polled you all on my Instagram story the other night to see if you were still geeking out over crock-pots or if they are old news. Results were 84% "YAS CROCK-POTS," 16% "Crock-Pots are so 2017." Well...I used my trump card and decided we were going old school and using a good old regular stovetop pot for this recipe. From start to finish this recipe takes makes 45 minutes. You can do it people, step away from the Crock-Pot. 

BONUS, this recipe is Whole 30 compliant for all you January Whole 30ers. I mentioned on my Instagram the other day that I am not participating in Whole 30 this month. Whole 30, like Crock-Pots, is also “so 2017,” in my opinion. But, I do love cooking Whole 30 style dishes and plan on posting some to give you all inspiration. 

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Thai Chicken and Broccoli Curry (Whole 30)
yields 4-5 servings, adapted from Half Baked Harvest

Ingredients:
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs, shredded
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 cup Thai red curry paste
2 Tbsps. fish sauce
2, 14 ounce cans full fat coconut milk
1 bunch broccoli, chopped into small florets
1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
packaged cauliflower rice for serving
chopped cashews, pomegranate arils, basil and lime wedges for serving

Directions:
In a heavy bottomed pan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Place chicken in pan and cook on both sides until cooked through. Remove from pan. Add chopped onion, minced garlic and chopped ginger to pan with the remaining oil and browned bits from the chicken. Sauté until onions are translucent. Stir in curry paste, coconut milk and fish sauce. Turn heat up to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Shred chicken using two forks. Add shredded chicken and broccoli florets to curry. Simmer for 20 minutes until broccoli is softened and curry has thickened. Stir in chopped basil right before serving.

Serve each bowl with a helping of cauliflower rice*, a lime wedge, chopped cashews, pomegranate arils and a sprig of fresh basil.

*I let the heat of the curry soften the cauliflower rice. If you prefer to soften it before, just place in a microwave safe bowl with a splash of water, and steam in the microwave for 30 seconds to a 1 minute. 

P.S. I firmly believe the prettier your food is the better it tastes! All those toppings aren’t just for the gram. They help, but they also enhance the dish as a whole! So, invest in the pomegranate, cashew and lime toppings. #worthit

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Disclosure: If you are in a loving relationship with your crock-pot, follow Tieghan's cooking method to prepare this dish.

  Annie

Bites of My Life

Last week was really nice. Days were productive, but not overly busy, despite missing three days of work the previous week. I was able to enjoy the amazing fall weather we have been graced with and even better got to enjoy some much needed fall baking. Need as in needed for my sanity. I get off my tracks a bit if I go too long without baking. 

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-I was in post-wedding depression the better half of last week so I opted to drink my morning smoothie out of the commemorative "Elmgreen" bar glass that was handed out at as a favor from Claire's wedding!
-Brought back this Fall Panzanella Salad with Cornbread Croutons from last year to have for lunches last week!
-Perfected the best baked salmon. Perfectly seared then baked to perfection!
-Stopped by my parents to pick up a few things on Tuesday and found this stew on the stove. I quickly invited myself for dinner. Mom used this recipe, but subbed quinoa for rice. 
-All the best recipes hide in this book. I love when I get to use it! I gathered all of our family favorite recipes and compiled them into a cookbook to gift each family member last year for Christmas. 
-See all these things... get ready for the end result, coming in recipe form later this week!
-Chili is my favorite food. Hence my love for the event mentioned next. Pictured here is a sampling I had of duck chili with creme fraiche and green onion topping. But nothing beats my momma's chili
-A local marketing company puts on a Chili Cook-Off downtown every October. I've attended as a patron the past 3 years, but was so excited to help represent The Jones Assembly as a contender this year!
-I love rice cakes, anyone else? They kind of taste like Styrofoam but are also kind of delicious. Smothered in almond butter and paired with turmeric scrambled eggs leads to a delicious weekend breakfast. 
-Trader Joe's Multi-Grain O's on top or bottom of my smoothies all last week. It is that extra little umph my smoothies were needing and satisfies the "crunch" amongst all the sips!
-After spending Friday night in Tulsa for Octoberfest, I had the most relaxing Saturday. AKA laid on the couch all day (which I never do so it felt amazing). Got up once to go to the store after Lindsay and I settled on making this for dinner. Having the leftovers for dinner tonight and I'm eager to get home to heat them up because it was SO GOOD!
-Did a step-by-step video on my instagram story yesterday on how I store my fresh ginger that I use in my daily smoothies. Not that anyone should care, but hope some of you saw and it found it helpful! If you have questions on how I do this, shoot me a message!

Annie

Crock-Pot Chicken Curry over Cauliflower Rice

I did a little poll to see what kind of recipes you all were wanting. What I got back were things like easy, crock-pot, one dish, dinner, healthy, Super Bowl and Valentine's recipes. Minus the Super Bowl and Valentine's treats, I think I was able to combine all the other wants and needs into one dish! I mean you could totally make this and eat it during the Super Bowl or with your lovie on Vday, but we will come up with more "themed" recipes for those later.. 

With some inspo from The Food Charlaltan, I bring you my version of Crock-Pot Chicken Curry over Cauliflower Rice. It's comforting but still healthy and even Whole 30 approved. This was also my first time to make cauliflower rice, and I'm sold. I used this method.

You can definitely buy the pre-packaged cauliflower rice they sell in the stores, but the size and shape and look of it kind of weirds me out, so I made my own. You get a ton more and it's a lot cheaper to make your own. Hint, I use a box grater to achieve the rice look! But again, here is the how-to.

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Do you guys ever use those crock-pot liners? If you don't, you're welcome for informing you. My good friend Sarah Beth showed them to me when we lived together our senior year of college. They are basically a big ziploc baggy that fits your crock-pot, but has magical powers to withstand the heat and not melt during the cooking process. So once your crock-pot has done all the work, and you get to enjoy a delicious meal, you simply lift the bag out of the pot and there is legit no clean up. Because how many times have you scraped and soaked and scraped and soaked crusted on velveta queso off your crock-pot?? Buy them and you'll never not line your crock-pot again. 

Crock-Pot Chicken Curry over Cauliflower Rice adapted from The Food Charlatan
makes 3-4 servings

1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
salt and pepper
1 tsp. oil
1 (13.5 ounce) cans coconut milk (full fat or light will work)
1 Tbsp. dried basil leaves
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. yellow curry powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 red onion (large, or 1 small), chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 Tbsp. cornstarch (almond meal, coconut flour, tapioca starch & arrowroot powder will work to make it Whole 30 approved)
1 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated or minced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
*4 cups homemade or store bought cauliflower rice

Toppings:
chopped cilantro, red onion, cashews

Directions:
Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil. Salt and pepper your chicken thighs.

When the oil is hot, add your chicken thighs. Don't put them too close together. Depending on the size of your pan you may have to sear them in batches.

Cook for about 3 minutes until just browned on the bottom. Then flip the chicken over to brown the other side for about 2-3 minutes. You are not cooking them completely, you just want to get a good sear on them. They will finish cooking in the crock-pot. Remove the chicken to a plate.

In your crock-pot combine coconut milk, basil, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, yellow curry, and chili powder. Stir to combine. Add the chopped red onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Place the browned chicken into the curry mixture. 

Place the lid on and set your crock-pot to high for 4-5 hours, or on low for 6-8 hours.

Remove the chicken from the crock-pot and place on a cutting board. Using two forks, shred the chicken, it should be falling apart and so yummy.

Add the ginger to the slow cooker. Then a small bowl, combine cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Stir until it's not lumpy. Add this to the crock pot and stir. This will help thicken the curry. You may need to add more for your desired thickness, but give the cornstarch a little bit of time, it won't thicken immediately but will with time. 

Add the shredded chicken back to the crock-pot. Return the lid and cook for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in the cilantro.

For each serving I steam about 3/4 cup of homemade cauliflower rice in the microwave for a 1 minute and sprinkle a little bit of salt over it. Then spoon a generous amount of curry over the rice and top with more cilantro, red onion and my fav-chopped cashews! (This would be great with plain white or jasmine rice and some naan bread).

*If you have questions about making the cauliflower rice, comment below and I'd love to help you out!

Annie

Pumpkin Curry

I warned you about all the pumpkin posts that were going to happen this week. Pumpkin soup yesterday, pumpkin curry today, and more pumpkin tomorrow. Halloween is three days away for goodness sake! Y'all know me and holidays, they must be celebrated to the fullest.

This curry is amazing.  Like really really amazing. Kathleen back me up here (she had the luxury of joining me for dinner).  I'm a huge curry advocate. Throw the word pumpkin into the recipe and I'm sold. What I love about this recipe is how thick the pumpkin makes it. My past experience with making curry has always left me with a really soupy consistency. I can never get it as thick and creamy as the restaurants, until now. 

One of my friends from work showed me this recipe. We are both equally pumpkin obsessed and love coming in to work to show each other what we made for dinner the night before. I added chicken to mine but you could easily swap out for veggies or tofu. Serve over basmati rice and garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds and lots of cilantro. I recently purchased a rice cooker and it is kind of the best thing ever. I'm looking for any excuse to use it. For $20 you can get perfect sticky rice, fluffy quinoa and you can even use it like a slow cooker.

Pumpkin Curry adapted from
A Beautiful Mess
serves 2-3

Ingredients:
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 leek, halved and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups shredded chicken, tofu or veggies (broccoli, red or green bell pepper, baby corn, pumpkin etc.)
1 cup basmati rice
cilantro and pumpkin seeds (pepitas) to serve

Directions:
Cook the rice according to the packaged instructions. Easy rule of thumb is one cup rice to one cup water. 
Mince the garlic, finely chop the onion and thinly slice the leek. Heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the garlic, onion and leek until soft and fragrant. About 3-4 minutes. Add the coconut milk, pumpkin puree and all the spices except the salt and pepper. Whisk together and cook over medium heat until everything is warmed through and thick. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add more of any of the spices if you wish. It's up to your taste buds. Once you get the flavor you like, stir in the shredded chicken. Serve the curry with rice and topped with pepitas and chopped cilantro. 

Annie