Bites of My Life

Full in more ways than one. Thankful for so much delicious food over the past few days, thankful for a few days off, thankful for the joy this time of year brings, and thankful for QT with my family and good friends.

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-Work Thanksgiving was a success! Fun afternoon getting our employees out of the restaurants and having our managers cook lunch for them. My sweet potatoes were on point, but apparently no one likes sweet potatoes but me…
-New traditions getting instilled and I love it. Sis and sister’s soon to be sis-in-law/our good friend Chloe and I all got together Wednesday to have a pie baking party.
-The Best Breakfast Casserole and our Tucker Thanksgiving and Christmas tradition of OJ with raspberries is how we started our turkey day. Not pictured: The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
-Our family does Thanksgiving as a late lunch around 2pm, so appetizers are v important.
-Chloe, our stand-in brunette sister, missed you Claire!
-The fruits of our pie baking labor. There may still be leftovers in the fridge, but 5 pies seemed necessary at the time. Chocolate, cherry, pecan, pumpkin and apple!
-L E F T O V E R S (with some celery on the side to try to be healthy. Don’t be fooled though, this was only 1 of 3 servings of leftovers).
-Take a bite of my 1am nachos. I did a poor job documenting my Friday and Saturday nights, but they involved some really good friends and really good times. Hence the late night nachos ;)
-My beautiful Gaga went to heaven Sunday morning. She instilled my love for dressing up and costumes and helped my sisters and I develop the best imagination. I hope I have half her beauty at her age, and her fashion sense!

Annie

Bite of encouragement: There has been an influx of bad news being spread in my little community. Deaths, illness, cancer, you name it. However, there is something about this time of year that puts it all in perspective. This time of year also lends to extra time with family and friends when you need them most.

Bites of My Life

“Now it’s your turn to say Happy Thanksgiving back.”

“Happy, Thanksgiving, back.”

anyone?

Thanksgiving week is here and I’m giddy. After a weekend of no plans (hallelujah), I’m feeling recharged and ready for the holiday week. We are having a big all-restaurant group Thanksgiving lunch tomorrow and made 3 lbs. of sweet potatoes yesterday to contribute. Hoping the first half of the week goes by quick, so we can skip to the big day!

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-Almond Nog > Regular Nog, especially this brand. Packaging on point too.
-Trying to step away from gray and black everyday this time of year, this hot pink sweater is helping!
-Tuesday started off stressful and uneasy. Did my best to take initiative of the day and opted out of going int the office (thankful I have this luxury, I know it’s rare) and working from a cute coffee shop instead. My stress levels have been a bit all over the place lately, but I’m working on managing them. I knew going into my office wouldn’t help, so I chose to work in a peaceful surrounding and with my favorite drink.
-Pie and dressing transporting to Friendsgiving in style. This piece from Scout is one of my favorites. I use mine all the time and I’ve gifted it 3 times!
-I used this recipe for the pie and this one for the dressing, would recommend both.
-Friendsgiving was a raging success. Bonus points to all my friends after tasting their cooking abilities.
-Oklahoma City people, OSO on Paseo is o so delicious! Order the taco salad.
-Welcome Sur la Table, welcome. Kathleen and I, bought our mom a cooking class for her birthday and I literally can’t wait.
-If you like peppermint bark you MUST go but this peppermint bark popcorn from Trader Joe’s ASAP.

Annie

Breakfast bite: Did you miss last week’s recipe post? It’s the perfect thing to make for your family to eat on for breakfast over the holiday. I am!

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.