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

News and noteworthy moments from this past week. My company moved office spaces, I ate a lot of quinoa again and pretended like it was Annie's diet circa 2015, RIP my daily entertainment, The Morning Breath (I can't and I shant), I completed my third book this year (I haven't read more than 3 books in the past 3 years), all of my best friends were together this weekend and I hit a personal best in Cyclebar despite being exhausted and thinking I was just going to "take it slow."

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-Week 3 of Arbonne's 30 Days to Healthy Living means included the 7-day cleanse into my daily routine. I'll be honest, I'm not sold on the program yet (yes-yikes) but I still have a week left and will give more details as I have them.
-New views coming soon for The Social Order Dining Collective.
-A riff on last week's meal post, twisted with a greek spin! Lite bite recipe post is now up!
-Whole Foods lunch with my Lex girl, too much girl talk, not enough time. 
-Book 3 of 2018 done! Second time reading this amazing book by Shauna Niequist and it's still just as great. I'm currently using it as a guide for a bible study I'm in and I love discussing it in a group setting to compare other perspectives and opinions on Shauna's writing. 
-First Friday with the best happy hour partners.
-Brandless is one of my favorite new discoveries. Everything on their site is only $3, often organic and fair trade. For every purchase made they donate a meal to Feeding America. I got to partner with them for 3.3 day and just placed another order for dish soap, parchment paper, popcorn and agave. All $3 each. 
-@moprivy and I back under one roof where we belong. MISS YOU!
-The cutest spread and shower for #KatieFoundHerMattch. I loved offering my house for the morning, gave me a major bug to host more upcoming events.
-All my gals together two weekends in a row!!
-Mom and I love popping into open houses together. Sunday's house was particularly eye catching. 
-"No one legitimately eats rice cakes," says my best Margaret. Ughhhh I love rice cakes TBH. And I love hours of Oscar Red Carpet footage.

Annie 

Lite Bite: Greek Chicken Quinoa Bowl w/ Crispy Chickpeas

OPA! It's all greek to me with this dairy free healthy greek quinoa bowl that I am still eating on a week later. 

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Greek Chicken Quinoa Bowl w/ Crispy Chickpeas
yields 4-6 servings

Ingredients:
1 cup dry quinoa
1 can chickpeas, divided, rinsed and drained
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 red onion, diced
1 Persian cucumber, divided
salt and pepper
Trader Joe's Zhoug Sauce*

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Pat dry 1/2 the can of chickpeas then place on a roasting sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, pepper and sumac and any other greek spices (oregano, dill, thyme, garlic powder). Roast for 20-30 minutes.

Cook your quinoa according to package directions. In a large bowl toss together the quinoa, 1/2 the can of chickpeas, halved tomatoes, diced onion, 1/2 of the cucumber, sliced and quartered. Drizzle with a 1-2 tablespoons of zhoug sauce and season with salt and pepper. 

Portion out mixture and top with another small spoonful of zhoug sauce (it's spicy), a few slices of cucumber, a few cherry tomatoes and crispy chickpeas.

*If meal prepping this dish to eat throughout the week.. mix the quinoa mixture then store in the fridge. Portion out each night, re-heat for about 30 seconds. Top with sauce and crispy chickpeas.

**Tzatziki or hummus would be great to garnish this dish with.

Annie

Bites of My Life

A few snow (ice) days kept us trapped at home last week, followed by pouring rain as we ventured down to Dallas for best friend and pre-wedding celebrations, followed by gorgeous 60 degree weather. Oklahoma you keep us on our toes, but I don't mind!

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-Protein shakes aside, the mascara, face primer and CC cream from Arbonne's makeup and skincare line are gold. 
-My favorite shake to keep me full and satisfied. Vanilla Almond amped up with a little almond extract!
-New Lite Bite post is up! Crushing on this meal from last week!
-Sneaking in greens on our "snow day" despite really wanting s'mores, popcorn, chili and all the treats.
-So far I have finished 2, almost 3 books in 2018 and it's only February. I don't even know who I am anymore. #TeamDoesn'tRead.
-The most delicious eats and drinks at José to kick off our 24 hour stint in Dallas. Highly highly recommend this spot next time your are in Dallas. 
-Weekend 1 of celebrating #KatieFoundHerMattch, can't wait for round 2 this weekend.
-Tea and Food Network in bed. How every Sunday should start.
-Quinoa has come back for vengeance recently and I'm loving it. Working on getting this greek quinoa bowl posted this week!

Annie

Lite Bite: BBQ Chicken Quinoa Bowl

I've seen this recipe on What's Gaby Cooking's site many times. I've bookmarked it, screenshotted and pinned it many times too. After letting it hang out in cyber space I finally cooked up Gaby's very popular BBQ Chicken Quinoa Bowls. I love BBQ sauce, so this was a home run for me. Keep reading for the deats and hopefully this convinces you to make it this week. 

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BBQ Chicken Quinoa Bowl adapted from What's Gaby Cooking
yields 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 cup dry quinoa
1  cup Trader Joe's Fire Roasted frozen corn, thawed
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 avocado
shredded cheese of your choice, I used this almond milk cheese found at Whole Foods
BBQ sauce
scallions, chopped
salt and pepper

Directions:
Cook your quinoa according to package directions. In a large bowl toss together the quinoa corn, black beans and chicken. Drizzle with a 1-2 tablespoons of BBQ sauce and season with salt and pepper. 

Portion out mixture and top with another drizzle of BBQ sauce and a sprinkle of shredded cheese, scallions and chopped avocado. More cracked pepper too!

*If meal prepping this dish to eat throughout the week.. mix the quinoa mixture then store in the fridge. Portion out each night, re-heat for 1.5 minutes in the microwave (or eat cold). Top with BBQ sauce, cheese and avocado!

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Annie