Cauliflower Soup (Whole 30)

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Hello soup season! This time of year, if it’s served in a bowl, I’m game. Some of my favorite soups include this one, this one and this one. This cauliflower soup is simple, but real good. It resembles potato soup, but a little healthier for you. Not to mention whole 30 compliant and vegan depending what type of broth you use!

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Ingredients:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 heads of cauliflower, cut into florets
32 oz cups of chicken, veggie or brone broth (TJ’s is now selling this and I love it)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
*½ cup coconut cream from coconut milk (the thick stuff from the top of the coconut milk can - do not shake!)
chopped green onions, cayenne and olive oil for garnish

Directions:
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Sauté until the onions are cooked down and translucent. 

Add the cauliflower florets to the pot and pour in the broth. Turn the heat to medium and cover the pot. Let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. It’s done when the cauliflower is fork tender. Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree the soup until very smooth. An immersion blender is ideal, but if you are using a food processor, puree in 2 to 3 batches to avoid an extreme mess. (I know this because I do not have an immersion blender, and while the processor worked, it was messy).

After pureed, pour back into your soup pot unless you used an immersion blender. Whisk in the coconut cream. Add a pinch more of salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is too thick you can add a bit more broth. 

Serve with a garnish of chopped green onions, a pinch of cayenne and a fancy drizzle of olive oil. A little cheddar cheese or crispy bacon bits would be great too to resemble potato soup! Great by itself but would also be great with a piece of crusty bread or a kale salad on the side. 

*Grocery stores sell "coconut cream," DON'T buy that. Buy regular coconut milk in a can. 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. 

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Annie

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meat Sauce

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I've officially eaten this meal three weeks in a row. Obsessed yes, overboard yes, but delicious enough to eat week after week. 

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Over the past few months I've loved getting plugged into a new community group through my church. They found out I had a food blog and quickly decided that a cooking class was a must. I easily obliged. We finished our study going over this book (which I love, have read twice now, and highly recommend) two weeks ago. We used last week's meeting as a time to have fellowship over food and conversation instead of our regular study. 

Sticking to what I know, I led a them through how to make this beloved new dish of mine, and paired it with Perfect CCCs of course!

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Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meat Sauce
yields 6 servings

Ingredients:
2 - 3 spaghetti squash, halved
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium zucchini, shredded
2 medium carrots, shredded
1 (15 ounces) can tomato sauce, no sugar added
1 (28 ounces) can diced tomatoes
2 cups raw spinach, tightly packed
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Dairy free or regular shredded mozzarella

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Microwave each spaghetti squash for 5 minutes (this makes it easier to cut in half). Take out of the microwave and slice in half. Scoop out the seeds. Arrange spaghetti squash halves on a roasting sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 25-30 minutes.

While your squash is cooking, in a large pan over medium heat, cook the turkey in the 1 tbsp. of olive oil until almost completely cooked. When just a little bit of pink is left add the zucchini, carrots, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, spinach and spices. Stir to combine and let cook until the spinach has wilted. Turn to low, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. 

Once your spaghetti squash is done, use a fork to scrape the insides and create the “spaghetti noodles.” Layer a spoonful of sauce, draining some of the liquid of the sauce and using more of the meatiness, over the top of each squash. Turn on your broiler. Sprinkle the top of each squash with some cheese. Place under your broiler for 2 minutes to melt the cheese. Fresh cracked black pepper over the top and you are ready to serve!

*The sauce makes a ton. I like to pile on the sauce, but any leftovers store well in the fridge or freezer. When cooking for myself I prep one squash at a time and keep the sauce in the fridge. I take a cooked squash and the sauce and heat in the microwave. Then repeat the broiler step for a fresh hot meal each night. 

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The meal went over well with the group and the cookies scored a win. Hope you love it as much as I do! 

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

January is coming to an end and so is Whole 30. It has felt long, but also an extremely short 30 days. I'm ready for February. Another new beginning. I've grown up a traditionalist and liked things kept the same, but as I get older I always feel so refreshed with new weeks, new years, new months, new beginnings. Do you dread the start of a new week or month, or feel encouraged by the difference it brings?

-Made my first sweet potato toast and O.M.G. Jill Bauer said just this morning on the Today Show that it is the new avocado toast! Just thinly slice your raw sweet potato lengthwise, run it through the toaster twice, then top with desired toppings!
-I'm slightly obsessed with this recipe and want you all to make it. I posted this Crock-Pot Curry Chicken over Cauliflower Rice last week and you just haaaaave to have it. 
-I finally got some Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides after seeing it go viral on instagram. Collagen is essential in everyday health, but you can read more specifics here. VP powder dissolves into virtually anything. Put it in your morning coffee, tea, smoothie, soup etc.
-Banana and almond butter is my favorite Whole 30 breakfast. It tastes so indulgent to me for some reason. A pretty presentation helps to! Just split your banana lengthwise, spread with AB, sprinkle with cinnamon and an optional drizzle of tahini.
-Spicy Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup was lunch everyday last week. The recipe is posted so you can enjoy it too!
-I shared my step by step tips on how to make perfect fried eggs in a cast iron skillet in my insta stories on Thursday. Missed it? Leave a comment and I'll give you the run down. I then topped them with the goods: maldon salt, sumac and turmeric.
-Woke up Sunday to then enjoy the most delicious brunch at recently opened, The Pritchard. A full restaurant review will be coming later this week!
-StudioHop gives you access to a curated list of local fitness studios so you can enjoy one membership at multiple studios. They started in Dallas and are now coming to OKC! I'm so excited to help share the news! The fun starts 2/6, but sign up for their newsletter here (scroll to the bottom) so you can be the first to know more. Now #hoptoit!
-In this final weekend of Whole 30, my non W30 cravings were strong. I wanted pizza and chips and dips so hard. I attempted to fullfill the cravings with veggie chips and compliant salsa. Along with plantain chips and guacamole and copious amounts of cashew butter...

Annie

Spicy Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Sunday was a meal prep party for myself. My roommate Lindsay and I were shuffling back and forth, taking turns over the oven and in the stove, accidentally bumping into each other all afternoon. "Meal Prep" is such a muscle-y meat head sounding term to me and when I hear it I envision rows of tupperware lined up with boring chicken breasts and broccoli.  You know what I'm talking about...My meal prep is much different. It's really just about putting in a little time on Sunday, so I can then shovel food in my mouth the second I'm ready for lunch and dinner during the week. Cause I'm actually just lazy. 

On Whole 30 they preach meal prep. Simply trying to eat healthy is also about meal prep. Having healthy food prepared and ready at a moments notice saves you from caving on unhealthy options. This last week I prepped my Crock-Pot Curry Chicken and Cauliflower Rice for dinners and this Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup for lunches. I love soup for lunch. It's so much more fulfilling than a blah salad. The recipe is simple and comes together in under 30 minutes.

Spicy Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
yields 6 cups, about 4 servings

Ingredients:
1, 14-16 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained
1, 28 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp. oil
1/2 yellow onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. dried basil
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup water

Directions:
Heat a large stock pot with a tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant. Drain your red peppers and roughly chop them. Add to the pot with your diced tomatoes (not drained). Add salt, pepper, basil, thyme and red pepper flakes. Stir in water. Bring to a boil then reduce to low and let simmer for 10 minutes. 

If you have an immersion blender, put it straight into the pot and begin to puree the soup. If you don't, add the soup mixture into a food processor or blender. I like to keep my soup slightly chunky, but just blend until you get the consistency you like. You may have to do this in batches, depending on the size of your food processor. Once blended, add it back into the pot and continue to cook for about 5 minutes then serve!

Preferred method of serving is eating it out of a coffee mug! The perfect vessel to hold onto while you curl up and eat this soup on your couch:)

Annie