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

Sweet Potachos

I ate the whole pan. I thought I would just throw that out there at the beginning to give you a pre-cursor for how amaze these are. I'll also let you know that I thought these would be a huge fail, but they blew my expectations out of the water. Step aside tortilla chips, sweet potatoes just upped you.

Veggie chips can be a little tricky so I did my research to give you the best tips! Cutting your sweet potatoes super thin is key to get them to crisp up and hold all of your toppings. A mandoline makes it so easy, but if you don't have one just do your best to cut them as thin as possible. I'm slightly obsessed with my new mandoline (I got this one from Kuhn Rikon), and it is the main reason I came up with this dish.   I've been looking for any kind of veggie I can slice up thin. I'm weird. 

Tips:
-slice super thin
-bake on foil lined baking sheets
-coat the foil with oil, toss the sweet potatoes in oil too
-wait to salt until they are done baking
-let them finishing crisping with the oven door propped open and the oven turned off
-if some burn a little, that's even better (in my opinion)!!

Sweet Potato Nachos
serves 1-2 depending on how hungry you are

Ingredients:
1 medium sized sweet potato, thinly sliced
olive oil
sea salt
1/2 cup Mexican blend cheese
1/2 avocado, diced
1/2 cup leftover carnitas meat ;)
red onion, cilantro, plain greek yogurt, salsa

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line 2-3 baking sheets with foil. Pour about 1-2 Tbsp. of olive oil on to each foil lined sheet. Use your hands to spread it around and cover the whole surface.

Using a mandoline or a really sharp knife, thinly slice your sweet potato. Place in a bowl and toss with another tablespoon of oil. Place each piece of sweet potato on a cookie sheet. Make sure they don't overlap or touch. Place all of the cookie sheets in the oven on separate shelves. Bake for 15 minutes, rotating which pan is on top after 8 minutes. Cook the last 7 minutes. Pull the sheets out and flip over all of your sweet potato chips. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt then place back in the oven. Turn off the oven and crack open the door. Let the chips dry out for about 20 minutes. 

Once your chips are crispy, pull them out and load onto a small baking sheet. I used my toaster oven because it is small and perfect for one batch of nachos. Layer the chips in an even layer, then sprinkle on half of the cheese. Top with the carnitas meat and then the rest of the cheese. Broil for about 5-10 minutes until your cheese is melting. Pull out and top with diced red onion, cilantro, avocado, salsa and plain greek yogurt as a sour cream replacement. 

Snap pictures of these to your friends and make them really jealous. 

My roommate took one bite, and said "ya, you need to make those a lot." I have another sweet potato in my pantry just waiting to be mandolined and made into sweet potatchos. 

Annie

Bites of My Life

I only feel a little bad when my bites posts are only full of food. I promise I have a life with un-edible things too. Although, this week was all about the noms. I stayed kind of on track, but it's time to grind out the fourth and final week of the Barre 3 challenge. Lord knows I need it coming off this food filled week. Coming for you strong B3. 

Things you miss from the picture below are; the first sights of sun in what seems like weeks (hallelujiah), a throwback 90s concert, trips to the Asian market, Mexican supermarket & Whole Foods #diverse, and quality bonding time with my puppy niece while her mom and dad are away.    

-Ultimate leftover shrimp fried rice. The perfect pairing for bachelor Ben viewing.
-Mason jar oatmeal is on repeat for an on-the-go breakfast during these freezing mornings.
-All my favorite healthy work snacks. Can't quite make it through the workday without some. 
-Added a little zest to your hump day with the recipe for Zesty Chicken Salad (It's like really stinking good).
-Not your average brownie, coming this week!
-Hands in the air for this Maple Pecan Crusted Salmon for our B3 meal of the week. 
-I woke up for breakfast, my friends woke up for brunch, but we didn't get out of the house until lunch. So Saturday's "breakfast" turned into veggie chili from The Red Cup
-The pregame snack to my favorite brunch. 
-You know that show The Best Thing I Ever Ate, on Food Network. If I was on it, this would be my bit. The Green Eggs and Ham from Stella just get me. Creamy herb baked eggs with prosciutto. It doesn't get better. 

Annie

Guest Post: Keen for Quinoa

I'm handing the ropes over to my foodie friend and sorority sister Noel today! She is a foodgrammer, loves to cook and like myself, obsesses over food. She makes me drool at everything she posts on her Instagram, so I asked her to come up with a recipe to share on Take A Bite! 

Hey guys, Noel here. I am a simple food lover. When I go to bed at night, I plan my breakfast. When I eat my breakfast, I plan my afternoon snack/ lunch. But I am thinking about my dinner ALL day. While I currently have no food blog, I have a daily struggle on whether to start one. You can, however, find me on Instagram--->@food_onmy_mind

I am 100%, without a doubt, keen for quinoa! I try to incorporate it into every meal, breakfast, lunch or dinner.  When Annie asked me to do a guest post, I had no clue what recipe I would give her.  But obviously I wanted to do something quinoa! However, a typical quinoa meal for me consists of cooking the quinoa separately and topping it with something or other.  So I wanted to make something where the quinoa and whatever else I added to it was one, single entity.  Annie and I tossed around ideas and we settled on Quinoa Avocado Black Bean Burgers!

Yes, all that goodness was put into one, single (vegetarian) entity.  I had made black bean burgers before, and had never been successful so I was nervous to test these babies out.  However, these particular BBB’s were made with special tender, love, and care (and I have since gained a food processor, which helped, A LOT).  

I invited a few friends to join me in taste testing and for the first time in my black bean burger career, I was successful.  I did learn that my original recipe was a bit spicy (I love spicy as much as I love quinoa), so the one you’ll find below has been modified to a lower spice level.

Now, I was really back and forth on what to put on my BBB.  So naturally, I made two combinations of toppings and ate half of each burger. 

Burger 1:  Dijon mustard, feta cheese, heirloom tomato, and alfalfa sprouts.

Burger 2:  Spicy mayonnaise (homemade), blue cheese, heirloom tomato, and spinach.

For those of you who are spice maniacs, like me, burger 2 is for you.  It was spicy let me tell you!  I will admit though, burger 1 was my favorite.  The combination of feta and alfalfa sprouts with the BBB was mouth watering.  I even made it into a salad the next night.

Black Bean Burgers
yields 6 burger patties

Ingredients:
2 cans black beans, rinsed
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 avocado, cubed
1 shallot, diced
2 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. cayenne
½ tsp. smoked Paprika
1 tsp. hot sauce of choice
1 egg white
zest and juice of lime
salt and pepper
*1/2 cup of cilantro would also be a great addition

Directions:
Reserve 1/2 cup black beans and set aside.

Add the remaining beans, shallot, spices, lime zest, juice and hot sauce into the bowl of a food processor, fit with a steel blade. Process until the mixture is the texture of a very chunky puree. Transfer this mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the remaining beans, avocado, cooked quinoa and egg white and stir together. (Turn so not to mush avocado) *If adding cilantro, do it at this step.

Shape the mixture into 6 patties and chill in the fridge for at least 1/2 an hour, or more.  Make sure patties are thin, so that they cook through. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the patties to the pan. Cook them until browned, about 3-5 minutes per side. Serve on salad, with a bun and toppings, or in lettuce wraps/pocket bread.

Recommended toppings:
Tomato
(Extra) avocado
Raw onion or sautéed white onion
Alfalfa sprouts
Arugula, spinach
Feta, blue cheese, Parmesan
Spicy mayonnaise
Dijon mustard
Salsa
Fried egg

Happy reading and happy eating!

Noel

Sisters and the City

My sisters and I grew up watching Father of the Bride and can probably agree it's our favorite movie. We always pictured our dad as George Banks and us as his little girls. When it came to one of us getting married I never really pictured it happening. It's one of those things you know eventually will but just can't picture it. Well the time has come. Kathleen got swept up and she's the first one to walk down the aisle. This whole Maid of Honor thing is new to Claire and I, but when Kat said she didn't want a conventional bachelorette party, we easily supported that. A trip up to New York (Claire's home) was the substitute bach party! 

Claire and I are six years apart, so until recently, we haven't really been on a similar page of life. Now that we are all technically "grown up" we could have fun grown up sister time! Nothing crazy here people, but having a drink at dinner changes things. We spent the weekend shopping, getting manicures and eating, typical Tucker sister things but double the fun when you're in New York. 

Our fancy dinner at ABC Kitchen may have been our favorite meal of the weekend. We went all out on crab toast, kombucha squash toast, roasted butternut squash with hazelnuts and goat cheese and the roasted carrot and avocado salad for apps. That was just the beginning. A variety of fish dishes and an amazing brussels sprout pizza with jalepenos and garlic for our mains then somehow stuffed in their famous salted caramel and popcorn sundae.  

Kathleen and I may be little Barre3 ballerinas, but Claire is an intense Soul Cycler. We all signed up for a class Monday morning before coming home and holy cow. Fifteen minutes into the class I hated it. Cursing under my breath about to give up then all of a sudden I loved it. A black room with candles burning, an insane/awesome instruct and a great playlist really gets you in the groove. I was a nasty sweaty mess afterward, but I'm already having withdrawals. 

Okay enough of the workout, back to the food. Hello beautiful brunch. Saturday at Prune and Sunday at Jack's Wife Freda. I couldn't pick a favorite. They are both equally tiny and have amazing menus. Kathleen and I both mentioned how there are few places at home we would wait an hour for brunch, but since the spaces are all so tiny in New York and the food knocks it out of the park I didn't mind at all. 
So at Prune we started with banana bread after having order envy with the table next to us. Then we got the huevos rancheros, pear dutch pancake (so dang fluffy) and the spicy stewed chickpeas with crispy battered egg. Unusual but spectacular. 
At Jack's Wife Freda I went in knowing I would get the avocado toast. I'm on a huge avo toast kick right now, but with their sweet cherry tomato jam on top it really kicked it up. Claire got the green shakshuka and the mediterranean breakfast for Kathleen. All a win. 

Lox and bagles and of course some soft serve from Milk Bar also made the food list. It was cold and rainy, but we didn't let much rain on our sister bachelorette weekend. Who knows if and when we will be able to do something like this again so I'm really cherishing it. Maybe when the next sister gets married...
Annie