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

Double Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Cookies

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Forget September 22, the day after Labor Day marks the start of fall in mine and most people's minds. I was at Whole Foods the other night and pumpkins are already out, the PSL made it's seasonal debut, and I am unapologetically sharing my first pumpkin recipe of the fall!

This recipe doesn't scream pumpkin but it does scream fall. Pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate and the secret ingredient, paprika, makes for a kickin' cookie (I had to). I originally made these a few weeks ago and everyone who tried them deemed that they must be remade once cooler weather crept in. Hello cooler weather, hello double chocolate pumpkin seed cookies!

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Double Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Cookies
yields about 32 medium cookies or 18 large cookies, adapted from Bon Appetit

Ingredients:
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. paprika
1½ cups light brown sugar, packed
1⅓ cups granulated sugar
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 cup dark chocolate (you can use chips or buy a bar of dark chocolate and chop it up)
Maldon salt

Directions:
Place your pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and place on the upper rack of the oven. Then heat your oven to 350°. This is the best trick my mom taught me. Nuts and seeds brown perfectly in the same amount it takes for your oven to preheat. (About  8–10 minutes). Toss occasionally until golden. Let cool.

Meanwhile, whisk flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and paprika in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat brown sugar, granulated sugar, and butter in a large bowl until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend after each addition. Reduce speed to low; add dry ingredients a little at a time, mixing until well blended after each. Stir in chocolate and pumpkin seeds.

If you want medium cookies use a cookie scoop (about 2 Tbsp.) if you want large cookies use an ice cream scoop (about 1/4 cup). Large cookies will be more bakery style, but for portion control reasons I go medium size. You can see both sizes pictured below. Place large cookies 3" apart and medium cookies 2" apart. Sprinkle with flakey Maldon salt and bake, rotating pans halfway through. 17–20 minutes for large cookies, 9-11 minutes for medium cookies. 

Happy pumpkin baking!

Annie

Bites of My Life

I'm confused. Today is Thursday, but it feels like Tuesday to me. With being in two different time zones over the past week and daylight savings time happening, my internal clock is off.

Over the weekend my family flew up to New York to see oldest sis run the New York Marathon! It was an incredible weekend celebrating her run, eating delicious food, catching up with friends, the whole fam and exploring new parts of the city. We got home in time for all the election drama, but with a three day week for me, I'm still working on adjusting. 

-#barre3halloween.
-I'm a sucker for Starbucks specialty cups. Last week they distributed these green cups, but today red cups are LIVE! Don't worry, I already got mine this morning!
-Easy, creamy, healthy, delicious butternut squash soup with savory granola. A must make recipe for this fall. 
-Flavor of the month = turmeric. Picked up this golden milk drink for sipping when I'm not making a homemade turmeric latte at home!
-The power went out one evening in our neighborhood last week. I was quickly reminded how dependent on electricity I am. No TV, no wifi, no oven, microwave, no netflix. It was harddddd.
-Went to Target for a work errand and walked out with a crock-pot. Why Target why????
-A few months late, but I can check off "take a coffee/latte class" off my Spring TDL. Disclosure none of these latte pours were done by me, it is as hard as it looks. 
-From ages 8 to about 14 I was highly obsessed with Hello Kitty. I had Hello Kitty calendars, water bottles, earrings, t-shirts, blankets, iPod covers, it was a lot. My heart skipped a beat when this filter showed up on snapchat last week.
-Barre 3 OKC turned 6 last Friday and I loved getting to join in the celebrations with a DJ led class  taught under strung twinkle lights. 
-Arrived in New York on Saturday and got straight to eating. We assisted in Claire's "carb loading" with copious amounts of truffle cheese and pomodoro bucatini. 
-Long waits altered our breakfast plans, but for the better I think. We ended up at a little French Algerian cafe with the best avocado toast and a massive curbside view to the marathon runners going by.
-Team Slarrrrrrr! Sis finished the marathon in 3:53:46. Blasted so fast!
-Creamy overnight oats, blueberries, cashew cream and granola. If only my local Whole Foods had a breakfast parfait bar like the Brooklyn Whole Foods did. So obsessed we went twice. 
-Ended our trip with some bubbly and an incredible dinner at Bobby Flay's, Gato. 
-If you go to NYC you must make an appointment at Paintbox. It's becoming a sister tradition, to fancify our nails when together in the city!

Annie

Easy Butternut Squash Soup

I'd say I'm a soup person, but I've kind of taken it to the next level recently. Soup for dinner, soup for lunch, soup out to eat, making soup, buying soup, pinning soup recipes, give me ALL THE SOUP! Sausage Tortellini soup-duh, I just tried Trader Joe's veggie chili-highly recommend, and today I give you this butternut squash soup. 

I've made butternut squash soup before and I highly recommend the recipe. I called it velvet soup in my post, because it was just that. But this new recipe is the easiest darn thing to make and has about 4 main ingredients in it. It's also Whole30, vegan and dairy free for those who take note of those things. 

The most important part of the recipe in my opinion is the fresh rosemary. There are so few ingredients, I urge you to spring for the fresh rosemary. I roast the squash with it and garnish the finish product too. It give it serous flavor. Keep reading to get the recipe for this gem of a soup.

Pour yourself a bowl and top it with a hefty sprinkle of savory granola. The best accoutrement!! 

Butternut Squash Soup
yields about 4 cups, adapted from Emily Eats Real Food

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash
2-2½ cups unsweetened almond milk
*½ cup coconut cream (the thick stuff from the top of the coconut milk can-do not shake!)
fresh rosemary, chopped
salt & pepper
olive oil
Savory Granola, optional

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 450ºF. *Refrigerate your coconut cream while your prep the squash. Peel your butternut squash and slice in half. Place on a roasting sheet. Generously drizzle with olive oil, season with lots of salt, pepper and chopped rosemary. Roast for 1 hour. 

Let the squash cool until you can handle it. Scoop out the seeds if you haven't already then cube into big chunks. Carefully add the cooked squash, almond milk and coconut cream to a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. 

Into a large soup pot add the blended mixture and heat over medium heat. If you have an immersion blender you can skip the previous step and add the squash and creams straight to the pot and blend over the heat. Salt and pepper to taste, don't be shy!

Serve with chopped rosemary, a drizzle of olive oil and a garnish of savory granola!

*Grocery stores sell "coconut cream," DON'T buy that. Buy regular coconut milk. Do not shake the can of coconut milk. Open with a can opener and scoop out the thick cream from the top. Discard the rest. 

Annie

Sausage Tortellini Soup with Parmesan Crisps

I mentioned in yesterday's post how this time of year makes me nostalgic for family recipes. With the holidays coming up, I start longing for Kathleen and dad's Thanksgiving dressing, my Aunt Gina, Claire and I's apple pie, my mom's creamed corn...I could go on forever. Aside from holiday recipes there are a handful of family recipes I crave. Exhibit A, this Sausage Tortellini Soup. 

I remember growing up and this soup always showing up on that first really cold day. With the couple chilly days we've had, my taste buds immediately wanted this soup. Although, I actually made this soup on Monday when it was a near 90 degrees. Not quite soup weather... maybe my cooking will help Oklahoma get its fall weather act together!

Growing up we always had sausage tortellini soup with a big wedge of skillet cornbread. Not that I don't loooooooove my fam's cornbread, but I wanted to try something new. Raise your hand if you've had those parmesan crisps they sell at Whole Foods (hand raised high). Last week I was there and they had them out as a sample. I embarrassingly went by three times for another bite. They are just baked cheese but kind of get away as being a cracker. 

I did my best to recreate those coveted parmesan crisps so I didn't have to hand over nine bucks for a box of something I could make at home. I bought a cheap wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano at Trader Joe's then grated it on a box grater. I love the way they turned out and they pair perfect with this soup!

Sausage Tortellini Soup with Parmesan Crisps
yields 10 cups

Ingredients:
1 lb. Italian sausauge
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed
3 (14½ oz) cans beef broth
2 (14½ oz) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 cup dry red wine
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsps. dried Italian seasoning
2 small zucchini, sliced
1 (9 oz) pkg. refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
*Parmesan Crisps

Directions:
Discard sausage casings. Cook sausage, onion and garlic in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring until sausage crumbles and is no longer pink; drain and return to pan.

Sir in broth and next 6 ingredients, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer 30 minutes. Skim off fat. Stir in zucchini and tortellini, simmer 10 minutes. Serve each bowl with a parmesan crisp!

*Parmesan Crisps:
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Black pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.

Using a box grated, great your parmesan cheese. I used a combination of two sizes of grates. Drop heaping tablespoons of parmesan onto the lined baking sheet. Pat out into 2 1/2 inch circles. Sprinkle with black pepper. Bake for 10 minutes, but keep an eye on them, they may need less time. Let them sit on the baking sheet for a few minutes. Gently lift off, be careful they are delicate. 

Family recipes really are the best. I've been on a kick of remaking some of my favorites from growing up. What are some of your favorite family recipes?

Annie