Bites of My Life

Week 1 down, week 2 commence. Last week was great. I got in my mojo with work, working out, cooking, eating out etc. Then trotted up to OKC for the night and then back for a weekend in Dallas. The transition has been easy, and considering I have the same job has made things that much easier. The biggest difference has just been the energy and rhythm of the city. It’s fast paced and there are so many more opportunities of things to do during the week. And I love that.

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-Monday night bachelorette night that included the worst episode ever, but a delicious and easy meal that was on repeat all last week.
-Beverly’s: place I’d been dying to try since I decided to move. Lived up to my hype!
-Easy weekday lunch to throw together with fridge staples. Mix of salami and prosciutto, fruit of choice, hummus and veggies (I’m hooked jicama right now)
-I normally wear a solid color t-shirt and jeans to work everyday. For some reason I moved and haven’t put on a pair of pants yet. That sounded weird, but it’s been dresses and skirts all day everyday.
-Checked out a really really cute spot on Thursday that is a coffee shop and non-toxic nail salon hybrid. I met up with my friend Molly who inspired me to write this post.
-Quick trip back up to OKC Friday to celebrate one of my oldest and closest friends getting engaged!
-The visit lined up perfectly with dad’s 61st birthday. Loved getting to make him a birthday breakfast. On the menu - Texas Breakfast Tacos. Naturally. It is all Texas everything these days.
-It’s a toss up on who will get more use out of dad’s putting game.
-Back in Dallas Saturday night and crossed off a highly recommended tex-mex spot, E Bar.
-The Defined Dish reposted about this asian-inspired chicken salad the other day and I immediately saved it to make for future meals. I made the full recipe to prep for lunches this week.
-Christened the Dallas kitchen with it’s first batch of Perfect CCCs. I also updated the photos on the recipe post, so give them a look-see!
-New city, new blonder hair?? I have only professionally colored my hair once, but my blonde is getting duller and duller and I miss the brightness it used to have. I stumbled into finding an angel of a hairdresser who did my hair in her apartment Sunday evening. She ended up balayaging my hair and I love the way it turned out. This picture is obviously the before not the after.

Annie

Did you see the top 5 places I went my first week in Dallas?

Samoa Popcorn

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Girl Scout cookies, you can’t, not, love them. My top three are Samoas, Thin Mints and Trefoils. Yours?

With it being peak Girl Scout cookie season, I wanted to repurpose the coveted cookies. I’m taking the flavors of Samoas, and actual Samoa pieces and turning it into a decorated popcorn recipe. With the Oscars this Sunday, it will be the perfect snack at my watch party!

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My sister, Kathleen and our two best friends Jillian and Taylor get together for almost all award shows (and pageants), especially the Oscars. I never do as well as I set out to, when it comes to actually seeing Oscar nominated movies, but you can bet I’ll be in front of the TV Sunday evening filling out my ballot and snacking on all the appropriate snacks. Exhibit A, this Samoa Popcorn.

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Are you watching the Oscars this Sunday? Hit up your local scout before the big show, so you too, can make this popcorn for your viewing and tastebud pleasure!

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Samoa Popcorn
yields 6-8 cups

Ingredients:
6-8 cups air popped popcorn (I used 1/2 cup kernels and 1 tbsp. coconut oil, prepared in my Lekue popcorn maker)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips*
2 tsps. coconut oil
1/2 cup sweetened coconut
5 Samoas, roughly chopped

Directions:
Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil. Pop your popcorn and evenly distribute on your prepared cookie sheet.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt your semi-sweet chocolate chips with 1 tsp. of coconut oil in 30 second intervals. Stirring well between each interval to keep the chips from burning. Once melted, set aside. I did 30 seconds, another 30 seconds and then about 10 seconds at the end. In another microwave safe bowl, do the same with the butterscotch chips and 1 tsp. of coconut oil, then set aside.

Toast your coconut in a small sauté pan, over medium heat. Stirring often, until light brown. Don’t take your eyes off of it, this happens fast. Once light brown, take off the heat and set aside.

Now it’s time to put it all together. Using a small spatula or spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the popcorn. Repeat with the melted butterscotch. Sprinkle the toasted coconut over the popcorn. Finish by evenly distributing the Samoa cookie pieces. Let sit until the chocolate is hardened, about an hour. Break up the big chunks of popcorn and serve!

*you can use melted caramel instead of butterscotch chips, but I just really love butterscotch and prefer the way it hardens on the popcorn.

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Annie

My Oscar Ballot is from Studio DIY!

Bites of My Life

This post combines the past two weeks into one big bite. I got home from vacation late last Wednesday and quickly had to jump right back in to work and social life as I knew it. A big work event, busy playing catch up, a besties birthday and a personal to-go list that is becoming miles long has me typing as fast as I can to get through this post to continue tackling the others. A full round up of our trip to Aspen is in the works! It was too good of a trip not to devote a post to. Catch a glimpse in the snapshots below and stay tuned for the whole shebang!

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-Channeling “back to school” vibes with my new work bag/backpack - that I can’t get enough of!
-Aunts do Aspen! And Elle does Aspen really well. #gimmethosemoccasins
-We were lucky to get to stay in a big house on our trip. We played to our strengths and cooked a few meals at home. After some delicious nights out, we all agreed our dinners at home were the best!
-The reason that brought us to Aspen, Pop’s 60th birthday! His birthday was actually in June, but there are many reasons to celebrate 3 months later!
-The whole fam damily! Not often does the whole crew get to be together, but I sure love when we do!
-I went on a kale salad kick while in Aspen. It seemed that just about every menu had their own rendition, so I took it upon myself to test them out. Like this kale caesar from Ajax Tavern
-I’ll follow up my kale salad note by mentioning that I washed down my healthy salad with fries at pretty much every meal. It’s called vacation! The infamous truffle fries from Ajax Tavern could not go without ordering.
-Just like one of the beautiful trees around me! We had a successful hike through the Maroon Bells.
-Book 12 out of my 12 in a year goal. Went out with a bang with this one. Can’t recommend it enough.
-The best breakfast casserole returns. Might I add, this is always a crowd pleaser. I brought it to a morning tailgate were it was aside donuts and bagels and many people reached for the casserole over the other options.
-Played cowgirl for the day to celebrate our favorite OSU Cowboy’s birthday in Stillwater!
-After a the kale salad craze on vacation, I knew I was inspired to recreate one at home. This kale quinoa goodness is coming your way later this week.

Annie

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

Bites of My Life

My favorite part of early fall is when the afternoon stays warm, but the mornings and evenings are slightly chilly. Perfect early morning walking weather, preferably with a cup of coffee in hand. A walk a day keeps the doctor away!

Last week/weekend was spent snuggling with my niece, embracing football games and food ;), unapologetically getting my first pumpkin spice latte (almond milk + 1 pump PS), seeing Home Again (HIGHLY recommend) and then followed by a Miss America watch party. 

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-Officially Pumpkin Green Smoothie time! One of my favorite smoothie recipes ever. 
-A version of my go to "loaded salad." Apple, rotisserie chicken, roasted sweet potato, red onion, mix of lettuce and homemade balsamic dressing. 
-Still working on my spaghetti squash 4-ways post. This week was shrimp scampi spaghetti squash!
-One with the weights and a new personal record!
-Gabe and I still aren't besties but we are pretty good at taking pictures together!
-Mom and dad's equals unlimited homemade lattes with their Nespresso and my new favorite Milkadamia nut milk. 
-A Mexican spread for the OU vs. Ohio State game. Made a big batch of my Crock-Pot Carnitas with all the fixings and tons of chips and dips. 
-Sister Sunday at Midtown's Commonplace Books
-A throw whatever is in the fridge into a bowl kind of lunch. Results = leftover cold spaghetti squash, cherry tomatoes, roasted red pepper, parsley, red onion, capers and a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper!

Annie

p.s. don't miss last week's recipe post for my Double Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Cookies