Bites of My Life

One week! One week until Christmas. I love the busyness of this time of year, yet also the calmness. Work is busy trying to wrap up last minute projects before everyone goes full on holiday mode, but it’s also slower than normal as everyone does indeed, already have Christmas on the brain. Socially I’m busy, but with all the good things. I’m glad I could kick my cold last week to gear up this week for Robert Earl Keen, a cookie decorating party, a Christmas friend dinner, two Christmas parties then the main event.

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-Finished Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine last week. Didn’t love it, has anyone else read it?
-The seasonal cold saga continues. Tried to kick it naturally with Elderberry Syrup, Zinc and Vitamin D. The trifecta according to my friends Powell.
-Low key the coolest new place to live in OKC. If you are in the market, check out West Village.
-The cutest Christmas cookies dressed up for our company holiday happy hour last week,
-Cornbread with a size of gumbo.
-Trendy healthy foodie vibes at Provision Kitchen.
-Hey OKC, have you been to Cafe Disco yet?
-Organic Squeeze pro tip: sub coconut water for your liquid and add maca. You still get a creamy taste like you would from almond milk, but with bigger health benefits.
-Made a batch of my favorite mix to portion out and give as gifts!

Annie

Extra bite: With 2019 just around the corner, read up on the projected wellness trends we should expect to see. I’m also working on two resolution posts. My 2018 resolution is to get said posts up before 2019 ;)

Best Breakfast Casserole

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With her permission, I’m so glad to be sharing the recipe for one of my best friend's family’s breakfast casserole. Madeline first introduced our group of friends to this casserole at our other great friend’s bachelorette trip in Austin back in May. It feeds a bunch (especially if you double it!!) and it is simply a crowd pleaser. I quickly asked for the recipe and have made it 4 times since.

We then made it for our big friend Memorial Day Lake trip, I made it again for a family trip to the lake, and then again for an early morning breakfast tailgate. And yet again this past weekend, for another early morning breakfast tailgate. It’s clearly great for all occasions. I must add that on the image of the recipe Madeline sent me, written above the recipe, the word Christmas is added to the title. “Christmas Breakfast Casserole.” Without a doubt this would make for the best holiday breakfast. Before the big meal on Thanksgiving or before the presents are opened on Christmas!

I’ve made just a few adaptations since making it multiple times now. I increased the egg count from 6 to 8 eggs. I feel like this fills the pan better. And I’ve taken the mushrooms down from 4 oz to 2 oz. I love mushrooms, but not everyone does, so just a few here and there are perfect. Do not omit the mustard powder, I swear it’s the secret ingredient. And add a pinch of pepper, because I never make eggs without pepper!

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Breakfast Casserole adapted from The O’Connors
serves 8

Ingredients:
1 lb. mild sausage
8 eggs*
2 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard powder
pinch of pepper
6 sliced bread, cut into cubes (white or wheat sandwich bread)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (Colby Jack, Mexican Blend or Cheddar will work, Pepper Jack would be great too!)
2 oz mushrooms, stalks removed and thinly sliced.

Directions:
In a pan over medium, cook the sausage until brown. Drain and set aside. Beat eggs and milk together. Add salt and mustard powder and beat again. Add bread into the wet ingredients and stir until bread is coated. Stir int cheese, mushrooms and sausage.

Pour into a greased 9x13 glass baking dish. Cover with foil and refrigerate over night. Bake at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.

Perfect with a cup of coffee and as the original recipe states, “good with hot biscuits and fresh fruit!”

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Annie

Bites of My Life

Thankful for my family, my friends, my job, my home, health, experiences, opportunities, the list goes on. 

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-A Very Jones Thanksgiving took place on Monday for lunch. Our chef team and managers all contributed dishes (pumpkin bread a la me!). I loved this retro honey glazed ham our chefs came up with!
-Thankful for these adorable cookies and thankful for my incredible work family. Monday celebrations continued from lunch into dinner. 
-Topped up with my favorite, as you all know, a brandy ice. Mentioned last week too!
-Cozied up in a house all to myself with Bon Appetit and Scandal on DVR.
-Monumental night hosting Willie Nelson at The Jones Assembly
-Singing along with my momma! "You were always on my mind."
-7:30am wake up call to get the pies going. 
-ThankFULL.
-No pies left behind.
-Post turkey, ham, dressing and pie detox.
-Detox smoothie followed by a plate of leftovers. 
-Holidays with a baby around really are the best. 

Annie

Annie

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.