BIG Bites of My Life

I blame the holidays for this, but I’m combing three bites posts in one. Lot’s to read, so I won’t bore you here. If you are willing to take an extra big bite, carry on, if you give up before the end I understand.

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Week leading up to Christmas…

-Easily one of my favorite recipes, and I love that it is many of y’alls too. This Crock-Pot Verde Turkey Chili is best in the winter and can be made Whole 30.
-Trying ashwaganda for the first time. I’ve been hearing of it’s many benefits to combat stress, but hadn’t tried it until recently. It tastes pretty earthy and I am still looking for the best way to mask that, but I will let you know when I do. Picked up this golden milk mix before the holidays too. The perfect drink to wind down with during the chaotic season.
-Worked/ing on eating more veggie friendly breakfasts instead of oatmeal and smoothies during the sugar filled holidays. Hooked on a version of this sweet potato hash inspired by my friend Lauren.
-Collagen hot cocoa swept insta before Christmas and I happily jumped on the train. Posted my recipe here.
-2nd Annual Cookie Decorating Party! A fun new tradition my best girls and I started last year.
-Sucker for a good snack spread. Hummus and cucumbers, salami and olives and baked brie for my girlfriends to counteract all the icing and cookies we ate…
-If you know you know. And if you’re night ends here, you know it was a good one.
-Here we go a wassailinggggg! Mom’s wassail is a staple at the holidays!
-Christmas Eve Eve traditions run deep with this group!

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Christmas Week…

-More cookie decorating because that’s what you do at the holidays. Used my Signature Sugar Cookie recipe which is the OG recipe Santa asks for every year.
-Dad and I always on the puzzle grind come the holiday season.
-As our family grows, it also get’s small in some instances. Just me, mom and dad this Christmas Eve, but celebrated the night with church, spaghetti and meatballs (we used this recipe for the sauce and it was perfect) and a late night walk through the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights, just the three of us!
-Tucker tradition of OJ/mimosas with raspberries on Christmas morning. Served along side our traditional sausage crescents and new tradition of this cranberry orange bread.
-Our littlest family member was so sick, but powered through Christmas. And loved her kitchen gadgets gift from Aunt Annie :) Toast and coffee anyone?
-It’s a GRIL!! We found out back in September that Kathleen and John were pregnant with their second baby. We anxiously had to wait until Christmas to find out the sex. Best news ever that Elle is getting a little sister.
-CopperBoom! Never taking this sweatshirt off. Thank you Kathleen!
-I love for Tucker holiday meals. Beef tenderloin, twice bakes, glazed carrots and our family Christmas salad.
-Remember that golden milk mix I mentioned earlier? I used it to flavor this smoothie bowl and I highly recommend. Frozen cauliflower, some ice, vanilla Arbonne protein powder, oat milk, little almond butter, topped with chia seeds, cacao nibs and pecans.
-2018 was the year of reading. And I blogged about it.
-My London girl is back in the USA, better yet Fort Worth (for now, but hopefully for longer coming soon)!!
-We’ve been coming to Fort Worth for OU weekends since our freshman year of college thanks to The Felton’s! Glad that some things never change!

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First week of 2019…

-Balloons ready to DROP for NYE at The Jones.
-Who else has to eat black eyes on New Year’s Day? BEP or no luck for the year!
-All the groceries to get back in the swing of things post holidays.
-Celery juice trend ain't stopping anytime soon. Clear skin, smooth skin, look and feel of hair, reduced eczema, less bloat it helps it all!
-S N O W. We got about 3 inches unexpectedly this week. And funny thing about this picture is I took it at about 10pm, but it looks so bright from all the white!
-Snow day lunch at home consisting of my Spicy Red Pepper and Tomato soup, gala apple and rosemary Flackers (my new obsession).
-The Defined Dish’s Hibachi Chicken with Magic Mustard sauce lived up to the hype~~
-My favorite part of my job is when I get to taste all the fun concoctions our bartenders and chefs come up with. Exhibit A, this Oreo inspired beer cocktail.
-Always love a quick Dallas trip.

Annie

How I Turned Into A Reader

I’ve never been a reader. I used to read growing up, but more because I had to for school, not because I wanted to. The idea of reading made me bored just thinking about it. I would look at the pages, but instead of getting lost in the words, my mind would run wild.

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I’ve made the resolution the past few years to kick the whole “non-reader” tagline I put on myself. But how most resolutions go, I would crash and burn before I even picked up a book.

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Then comes January 2018 and I did not make a resolution to read more. It just sort of happened. I adore Jenna Bush Hager on the Today Show and I had put Sisters First, on my imaginary “must read” list ever since it came out. I purchased it and let it sit on my shelf for a few weeks (months).

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I was then at the gym one morning doing my routine 30 minute warm up on the elliptical or treadmill where I would watch the news and scroll social media. However, I was falling victim of the worst headaches from being on my phone for 30 straight minutes first thing in the morning. It was the worst way to start my day.

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The next day I declared to myself that I would not get on my phone until after my workout. I’m a multi-tasker by choice and I knew I would need something to do in addition to my machine workout to make the time pass. So I picked up my copy of Sisters First and head to the gym. I flew through the chapters. Next thing I knew I was flying through whole books.

The multitasking of doing something with my legs makes me focus more on what I’m reading because I have to concentrate more. It’s kind of like listening to music while you study or work. It doesn’t work for everyone, but I always found that it made me focus more because I was having to work harder to grasp what I was studying. Just me?

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Yes, I will often get stares from other gym-goers or remarks from those who love to make the comment “how do you do that while you’re working out?” Or even better “whatcha reading?” While they cock their neck to get a view of the cover of my book. Can’t a girl read and get her cardio in, in peace??

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I’m not saying you need to start working out to become a reader, but I’m also saying you should try it. Besides a plane ride or lying on the beach, there are not many other places besides the gym I can turn so many pages in a book. I’m working on the whole lay on the couch, do nothing and just read thing, but it’s a work in progress. #cantsitstill

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Now that you know walking on the treadmill was my gateway to reading (ha), let’s talk about everything I read in 2018. Disclosure: my taste in books is similar to my taste in movies. Rom coms with a few sprinkles of “based on a true story.” Think It’s Complicated, Father of the Bride and You’ve Got Mail, with Spotlight and The Social Network added in. Some may say I lend toward young adult reads, but I love an easy read with a cute story. Like I said, I’m still easing in to becoming a reader. So without further ado, my 2018 bookshelf…

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  1. The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert

  2. Sisters First by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara bush

  3. Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

  4. Love the One You’re With by Emily Griffin

  5. The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert

  6. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by mindy Kaling

  7. Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

  8. Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

  9. DC Trip by Sara Benincasa

  10. Dirty Rush by Taylor Bell

  11. Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close

  12. When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger

  13. Read Bottom Up by Neel Shah

  14. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

  15. Everybody Always by Bob Goff

  16. The Lipstick Gospel by Stephanie Wilson

  17. Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist

  18. Hey Girls by Michell Markowitz, Caroline Moss (still reading)

  19. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

  20. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (currently reading)

  21. Boom Town by Sam Anderson (still reading )

Purchase these books here.

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After I finished about 3 books, I set a goal to read 12 in 12. Twelve books in 12 months. Eight months went by and I was already at my goal. So then my goal became 20 in 12. I’m currently reading my 20th book of the year and have about 4 days left of the year. Think I can do it?

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Let me be clear. I’m reading my 20th book, but I’m still reading my 18th and 19th too. Like I said I’m a multi-tasker. Pro-tip, don’t read more than one book at a time.

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My favorite places to buy books are Amazon (follow me), Commonplace Books (the dreamiest book store in OKC) and Half Price Books. New books are about $5 off the retail price and used books are likely as the name suggests, half off the sticker price. Half Price Books also let’s you resell. I plan to take in a bunch of my read books to sell and then use that money to buy more!

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In my year of reading, I re-read two of my favorite books. I read every page, so it’s not cheating. Both of these books are by the same author, my favorite, Shauna Niequist. Shauna loves Jesus, loves food and loves people. She writes in a format similar to blog posts. Short chapters with a story in each chapter. Nothing is drawn out. I love that. If you ask me for a book recommendation or better yet my favorite book, I’ll tell you it’s Bread & Wine. You can’t not like it.

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And for the biggest win of my 2018 reading saga, is when my sister texted me for a book recommendation. Yes me, not the other way around. No better compliment.

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Here’s to 2019 and more steps taken and more pages turned!

Annie

**For my ratings and reviews, and the books on my 2019 reading list, friend me on Goodreads. Feel free to DM or email me too for more recommendations.

Big Bites of My Life

Heyyyyy. It's been a minute since we took a bite, so not only are we double dipping we are triple dipping for a big bite to recap the past ocuple of weeks!

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-Meal prepped this stuffed acorn squash for lunches and dinners and really really liked it. The caramelized onions made it! 
-The Bon Appetit's subscriber bonus issue deserves to be framed.
-I strive to turn Elle into my mini me on a daily basis. Safe to say that it's working. #chachamatcha
-My friend Maddie and I had an idea for a Christmas cookie decorating party and it was more fun and cute than we could of thought. Easily becoming a tradition! 
-Love what I do, but love who I work with even more!
-Santa slid down the chimney at The Jones!
-Brunch at home with mom and dad! 
-Christmas bites and sips Pre-Christmas Eve service. 
-Tucker traditional Christmas morning breakfast of stuffed sausage crescents.

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-It's not Christmas without dad and I straining our backs hunched over a 1,000 piece puzzle. 
-I love my family of foodies and good eaters. Makes holidays that much more delicious!
-Two days after Christmas my parents and I left for Tennessee for my cousin's wedding. It was nice to get out of OKC for a couple days, and to visit some places I've been coveting. Like Pinewood Social. Great coffee, horrible waitress unfortunately. Which ruins it sometimes.
-Showed up to our hotel in Nashville to see a Caviar & Bananas next to our hotel. I fell in love with this specialty market when we went to Charleston. The turmeric milk overnight oats must be recreated! 
-LOL. 
-If only you could grasp how big the cookies were at C&B. I'm talking bigger than my face. 
-New Year's Eve at The Jones Assembly was just how I wanted to end such an amazing year!
-The night was worth the mess. 
-Black eyed peas for luck! Happy 2018!

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-Protein shakes are back starting with this Mint Chocolate Chip Protein Shake overflowing with goodness, literally and figuratively.  
-Cherry Vanilla Protein Shake shared in a lite bite recipe posted here
-Couldn't drink this anti-inflammatory smoothie fast enough. Recipe by my friend @veggiebellie
-Prettiest and tastiest Thai Chicken and Broccoli Curry, also last week's recipe post!
-Lot's of protein shakes and detox smoothies balanced by devouring a good portion of the most addicting popcorn ever. 
-Had to do a double take passing this pink beetle! NEED. 
-Birthday salads and huge catch up session with my Lex!
-The birthday diva herself who is too great not to celebrate!
-Elle Frances looking cute as always. 

Annie

Bites of My Life

Goodbye holidays hello long haul until our next break... The week between Christmas and New Years is a little draggy and sluggish. It's an awkward in between stage where you aren't quite ready to jump back in to reality and also an excuse not to. The past week I went to see La La Land (obsessed), cooked dinner for my parents, freshened up my house, hosted a New Years Eve party and bid farewell to 2016. 

Now with a new year and a new week it's time to shift gears back into productivity and accomplishing. I've written out my new year goals, made plans to keep the winter months exciting, and organized my calendar, closet, house and bathroom. I'm giddy for 2017 and feeling energized with the arrival of a new year! I'm kicking off the week with the start of #januarywhole30, crossing my fingers for an OU win in the Sugar Bowl tonight and flipping back and forth between it and The Bachelor. Cheers to 2k17.

-Little make up applied and a leggings only wardrobe last week. Jazzed about my new Outdoor Voices leggings. You need some in your life if you don't have any. 
-I'm typically make a smoothie or some kind of fruit with AB during the week, but I have been all about the eggs recently. I'm priding myself on mastering the best fluffy scrambled eggs and I just can't quit it!
-First whack at my spiralizer! Zoodles with mom's meat sauce and crispy brussels! Get ready for spiralized recipes to come!
-Thanks santa (mom) for hooking up this matcha loving girl!
-A bowl of cereal and a glass (plus some) of wine followed by more junk food to really end the year with a bang. I love being an adult and making my own choices. 
-Some balloon bubbly for a festive new years eve. 
-Coming for you January Whole 30.
-I love food traditions, including my mom's Hoppin' John she makes every year on New Years Day.
-Whole 30 day 1 involved all kinds of meal prepping. My favorite butternut squash soup is going to be lunch for the week. Crispy prosciutto instead of granola made it whole 30 compliant.

Annie

Barre3 Challenge

image via  @barre3

image via @barre3

This year I am striving to challenge myself more. Challenge myself in the kitchen, challenge myself at work and challenge myself in everyday life. Working out is a part of my everyday life. It's something I do almost everyday and honestly really enjoy. I didn't always like to work out until I discovered Barre3. Barre3 changed the way I look at working out. I crave it instead of dread it. Barre3 is often described as a combination of ballet, pilates and yoga. It is built on the three pillars of exercise, connection and nourishment.

Yesterday marked the first day of the Barre3 January challenge. In efforts to challenge myself more in 2016, I jumped on the bandwagon. The challenge is to commit to four in-studio classes, one 10-minute online workout and try out a new Barre3 recipe each week for the whole month of January.

Challenge accepted! My sister/instructor/barre3 buddy and I are living out the challenge by cooking our Barre3 recipes together each week. Up first is b3's Chicken Tikka Masala! Stay tuned.

We would all be lying if we didn't tell ourselves we were going to eat better and work out more in 2016. The foundation of a healthy lifestyle is what you feed yourself. Since this is a food blog I have rounded up a list of my most nourishing and b3 approved recipes! You can find more on the Barre3 website if you are a member and by purchasing the app

Anyone other Barre3ers out there doing the challenge? Never heard of Barre3? I challenge you to read into and try it out. The mind body connection is something you don't get anywhere else. If you are in the Oklahoma City area, grab me and we can take a class together!

Annie