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

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

Bites of My Life

Happy halloween! Are your tricking and treating yourself? I sure did over the past week. Delicious bites, new recipes, handfuls of candy, matcha lattes, loads of junk food and all the proper halloween snacks were indulged in over the past few days. I do believe the holiday season of eating is here!

Last week was quick and fun and this week is shaping up to be the same, but I'm wishing it away with the anticipation of our family trip to see Claire this weekend. We have an itinerary set and I have a list of to-dos, but please send any NYC musts my way!

-BOOM! Easiest butternut squash soup coming this week!
-Ombre pumpkin sugar cookies to get in the spirit!
-I found another matcha to add to my list! Take my word and go try the one at Okay Yeah
-The yummiest modern mexican joint opens it's doors tomorrow! I was lucky to sneak a bite early.
-Happiest wedding day for my dear Lexy! 
-Try it --> savory oatmeal seasoned with s&p, turmeric and a poached egg.
-My cookie loving instincts helped channeled my halloween costume this year.
-Got to go behind the mic & be featured on the local food podcast, OKC Over Easy! Listen to my episode on Soundcloud or iTunes.
-Love celebrating this mom on her birthday and everyday!

Annie

P.S. Don't miss last week's recipes including Gingersnap Cookie Pizza and Savory Granola!

Savory Granola

Granola, my favorite snack. If you know me well or have ever read this blog you know this about me. I've posted a handful of granola recipes over the years, but this one takes the cake. 

Kathleen is the one who really got me on the homemade granola bandwagon and it's her recipe that helped me finally perfect it. Last spring or so, one of our friends said she had used Kathleen's recipe to make savory granola. Baaaack up, savory granola? Yes, please, and thank you. 

You take a lot of the same components, but add fun things like Worcestershire sauce and chili powder. This savory recipe really taps into the snacking part of granola. Skeptical? Let me give you some uses.

Currently between the handfuls going straight to my mouth, I'm topping creamy butternut squash soup (coming next week) with this mix. It's great sprinkled in plain or honey yogurt. I think it could be an amazing addition to a salad or even subbed in for the cornbread croutons in my Fall Panzanella Salad. But simply, I love packing a snack bag to take to work.

Savory Granola

Ingredients:
2½ cups old fashioned oats
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
½ cup almonds, roughly chopped

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Line a roasting sheet with parchment paper (for easy clean up), and set aside. 

In a large bowl combine all ingredients stirring well until everything is evenly coated. Spread out on your rimmed roasting sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Stir after the first 20 minutes. Bake for 15 more minutes, check on it to see if it needs to go longer, being careful not to burn it. The mixture may still seem a bit wet and soft, but once you let it sit it will harden up. Let cool then break into chunks. Store in an airtight container or mason jar. 

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A few months ago I picked up these wasabi sesame seeds from the local Asian market. I love spicy and I love wasabi. I've been using them as a topping on salads or sprinkled over fried rice. I tossed some in my jar of granola and love the little kick it gave the granola. 

Are you a savory or sweet granola person? Give this recipe a try then tell me!

Annie

Gingersnap Cookie Pizza with Cookie Butter Glaze

You knew it was only a matter of time after our Oklahoma City Trader Joe's opened that I post a recipe with cookie butter. Cookie butter isn't new to me, but now it's at arms reach (DANGEROUS). See here and here where I've used cookie butter before!

Cookie butter is great. There is nothing not to love about cookies ground up into a sweet spreadable delicacy. My everyday use for this stuff is spreading it on graham crackers for a nighttime snack, but I really try to limit my intake because it's a deep black hole once you have one bite. It pulls you down this rabbit hole where one taste turns into four or five or more spoonfuls. I've found that baking it off into sweet treats is the best way to make the jar disappear.

I'm on a cookie pizza kick! After making my sugar cookie with strawberry icing and chocolate chip M&M cookie pizza, I had been plotting what my next cookie pizza would be. 

This combo is perfection. I took my mom's ginger cookie recipe and adapted it to turn into a cookie pizza. Cookie butter already has a gingerbread taste to it, so it only makes since to turn it into a glaze and lather it all over the top! 

One big soft ginger cookie smothered in cookie butter. All the heart eye emojis!! 

Gingersnap Cookie Pizza with Cookie Butter Glaze

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
3 Tbsp. molasses
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
extra sugar

Cookie Butter Glaze:
1/4 cup cookie butter or biscoff spread
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
3 Tbsp. milk

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a large mixing bowl or round object, about 10 inches in diameter, trace a circle on the parchment paper. Flip the parchment paper over so you don't get any pencil or pen marks when you spread out the dough.

Cream butter and sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and molasses and mix on low. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure the molasses is evenly distributed. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and ginger and mix on low until the dough comes together.

With clean hands spread the dough out on the parchment lined baking sheet. Spread the dough out, filling the circle shape you drew. Sprinkle the top with extra sugar. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Start on the low end. The key to yumminess in this cookie pizza is for it to be slightly underdone! I found 11 minutes to be perfect, but that is according to my oven. Let it cool completely.

Once the pizza is cool, make your glaze. In the electric mixer with the whisk attachment or using a handheld mixer, whisk powdered sugar, cookie butter and milk until fully mixed. It should be the consistency of thick glue. Using a spatula, spread the icing over the cookie pizza leaving about a half inch border around the edges. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon.

Cut with a pizza cutter and enjoy!

All hail Trader Joe's being in Oklahoma and all hail cookie butter! Huzzah! 

Annie