Bites of My Life

I’ve kind of gotten back into running the past few weeks. I used to run all the time in college, but weak knees and getting burnt out, had me write it off completely. Until recently. While in Newport Beach a couple weeks ago, and seeing people out running along the beach and all through the city, I had a craving for it. I bought new running shoes and jumped on the treadmill (it’s still middle of winter here). I’m a short distance kind of girl only running 2 to 3 miles at a time, only a few times a week. However, it feels great. I have to be cautious of my knees because they don’t love it, but it feels so good to just take off and get the endorphins flowing. I had also been in a workout rut and running is helping pull me out of that.

It’s a nice balmy 26 degrees today…I’m one to enjoy all seasons, but winter you can go now. I would kill to go on a walk or run outside! Anyone else craaaaaaving spring?

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-Started the week with lunch with mom, featuring one of my favorite salads. No really, I named it my fave in my quest for the Best Salad in OKC.
-Got asked to teach a photography class for the bartenders at The Jones Assembly. So fun getting to share my trade secrets and to see them really absorb what I was saying. Here is me with my open mouth breathing-means business-serious picture-taking face.
-Saving this recipe for a little longer, but let the anticipation build for these Thin Mint Brownies!
-Valentine’s Day steaks with our favorite sauce and not pictured pound cake with strawberries and homemade whipped cream. BIL John was out of town, so mom, dad, Kat and Elle and I cherished our little Vday dinner together!
-Book 2 out of my 24 goal done. This one was great!
-Valentine flowers not from mom and dad ;)
-Dallas for the weekend to see Rainbow Kitten Surprise and other things…
-When you partake in an organized 500 person bar crawl you are bound to see a few people you know!
-A little health after a day of bar crawling. The Sunrise Bowl from True Food Kitchen did the trick.

Annie

Extra bite: Discovered Jess Ann Kirby after Ellen linked to Jessica’s post about body image. Jessica is a lifestyle blogger but goes beyond just fashion and food. She touches on so many topics pertinent to my life. I spent all morning going down a rabbit hole reading some of her recent posts.

Sound bite: can’t stop listening to Mt. Joy after they opened for RKS on Friday. Do yourself a favor and listen in. My favorites are I’m Your Wreck, Sheep and Dirty Love.

Bites of My Life

I hate/love the word galentine. But when you don't have a valentine but love Valentine's Day, I'm happy to celebrate with all my best gal pals. Galentine was apparently the theme of last week by the looks of this bites post. That and food, my real valentine if we are being honest. 

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-Salads, vino and a VIP Valentine event at Salata
-Galentine since '93.
-Fun fact: . When I was younger I wanted to grow up and be an artist. So much so, that my password for everything growing up was artistAFT. Brought out my inner Artist AFT at Tuesday's wine & palette event. 
-Chocolate Covered Strawberry protein shakes for a healthy but festive start to Valentine's day. 
-I <3 CCC's!
-Pictured: the delicious new Korean bowls at Gogi Go in Midtown, not pictured: the Benadryl and medicine induced nap I took after this meal. I'm finding out more than I would like that my love for ethnic and asian food means that I should always ask if peanuts are in a dish. Apparently peanuts are the OG nut of ethnic cuisine.
-Fight or flight? I'll choose flight every time, especially when we are talking about beer. If you haven't been to Twisted Spike Brewery in OKC, I highly recommend. 
-Belated breakfast for dinner galentine party called for everything to be in the shape of hearts. 
-Sweet treats and healthy treats at our galentine party!

Annie

Bites of My Life

As I'm writing this post, it is currently pouring down rain. I'm obsessed. The perfect sleep aid for me is a rain storm. After a weekend in Dallas reuniting with my best gals from college, I'm more than exhausted. I slept the majority of the afternoon and now I'm climbing in to bed hoping I didn't ruin it by napping.

The week started with lots of pink, red and treats in the form of candy, pop tarts and cheese boards. I worked it off by using my StudioHop membership trying out new yoga and bootcamp classes. A CycleBar just opened up in OKC and I am already hooked. If you are local they have free rides all this week for you to try! Aside from eating and working out it was a busy week with work, so I was more than excited to skip out of town to enjoy the weekend. 

-Homemade pop tarts for my galentines! One of my favorite TAB recipes!
-A little galentine's spread in addition to our usual Monday Bachelor nights!
-Real life captured.
-Themed breakfasts are a must on holidays. Sliced bananas in the shape of a heart drizzled with 88 Acres Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter (I'm obsessed) and cashew butter, topped with cinnamon and crushed freeze-dried raspberries.
-I love making bulletproof coffee in the morning and golden milk at night after dinner. I'm a sucker for a good food trend. That being said I combined the two by adding turmeric to my usual bulletproof recipe and it was way great. 
-Give me all the liquids in the morning. I love a good drink and find myself often walking out the door for the day with a water, a smoothie, a coffee or tea, sometimes a Le Croix too! The more the merrier I suppose. Friday morning post hot yoga was water, Jade Citrus Mint tea and a Spicy Thai smoothie from Organic Squeeze.
-It had been a hot minute since all of my best friends were in one place, luckily most of us are in driving distance of each other. Getting to be together and celebrate Katie and Matt's engagement made for the best weekend!
-Finally got to take one of my friend Shelby's Pilates Barre class. It was so hard, but I was obsessed. Anyone in Dallas take at The Pilates Barre? If so, I'm jealous!
-Gucci fresh ;)

Annie

Bites of My Life

We are about half way through February. How does this happen? Last week was busy which meant it flew by. This weekend was busy in a fun way, meaning it also flew by. I didn't have enough hours in the day today to get everything done to prep for this week. I'm typing as fast as I can, barely keeping my eyes open as I write this post with the Grammy's in the background, my computer at 13% and precisely 24 minutes past my bedtime (It's currently 9:24pm on Sunday night, yes I go to bed at 9pm like a grandma). 

So let's keep it brief since sister needs to get in bed. Last week was work, workout, eat repeat; per usual. This week looks the same, but I'm so excited to head down to Dallas on Friday for a little BFF reunion. I won't mind another speedy week!!

-Real life I love having time to make breakfast, but I secretly love protein and energy bars as much as homemade smoothies. Green tea and an almond butter Kize bar on the go!
-This brussels sprout salad was a treat last week. It had a brown butter vinaigrette which is being recreated so soon. 
-Smoothie bowl hack using a pre-made smoothie from Pure Food + Juice.
-Lunch last week and this week will look like this. Kale/romaine taco salad with turkey meat, avo, green onions, tomato, salsa and crushed plantain chips. So good and whole 30!
-Perfected these dense fudgey brownies. The recipe got posted last week so you can enjoy them too. P.S. these are a perfy chocolate treat for that holiday that happens on Tuesday.
-The best part of StudioHop is getting back into hot yoga. I have been pretty devoted to just Barre3 and cardio with some interval classes mixed in, but I've missed hot yoga. The flexibility of SH allows me to go to so many studios and classes with just one membership. Sign up before 3/6/17 and use my code 'anniehopokc' to get $20 off your first month!
-Beyond obsessed with Beyond Studios. Their 500 class is a butt kicker and I can't get enough. I've been dropping in their classes thanks to none other than, StudioHop.
-I was first introduced to 88 Acres by my friend Dana. She sent me some of there chocolate sunflower seed butter and it knock nutella out of the park. Dana got me hooked up with the company and now I'm hooked on their seed bars. They are a 100% nut free brand-kudos.
-It hit 90 degrees on Saturday in OKC. Hello taste of spring!
-With Valentine's/Galentine's/Single Awareness day on the horizon it means all the sweets and treats and pink things. After my timehop reminded me that I posted these Snickerdoodles a year ago I was craving them. I made them along with these for my gal pal celebration.
-This week's meal prep looks like this: roasted delicata squash (first timer!!) tossed with parsley, shallot, lime juice and red pepper flakes. 
-Squash to go with these crispy skillet turmeric chicken thighs. Comment if you want the recipe!

Annie

Perfect Fudge Brownies

If you've been reading my blog or following me on Instagram you probably remember last year when I set out on a quest to find my perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. I found it, and you can get the recipe here. Well now I have put it on myself to find my perfect brownie recipe. Like CCCs, people differ in how they like their brownies. My brother-in-law is a brownie connoisseur. He even had brownies and milk instead of a groom's cake he and my sister's wedding. 

I was excited and he was excited as I began my brownie recipe testing, only to find out we have very different opinions when it comes to brownies. I like mine dense, fudgy and super chocolatey. He likes his cakey and fluffy. I'm sorry John, but no. 

With my flavor and texture profile in mind, I did some research, developed a recipe, and to my excitement I found it on the first try! My cookie quest took four rounds of testing... This brownie recipe checked all of my required boxes. Dense, fudgy, strong chocolate flavor, and makes more than an 8x8 in pan. I know that is a funny requirement, but I always feel like 9 square brownies from an 8x8 is not enough. This recipe fills a whole 9x13 pan! 

I gave out lots of samples to gain feedback (completely ignoring my B-I-L's opinion). There was a "Stop testing, you found it" and my favorite compliment, "These remind me of 501's." Cafe 501 is a local restaurant that has my favorite brownies. I had them in mind the whole time I was developing this recipe. So, if you are like me and want your brownies, dense, fudgy and chocolatey, keep reading. 

Perfect Fudge Brownies
yields 9x13 pan, 18 brownies

Ingredients:
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
4 eggs
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. ground coffee (enhances the chocolate flavor)
2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan and set aside.

Melt the butter and chocolates in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments until fully melted. Stirring between each 30 seconds. Make sure to scrape the bottom to keep from burning. In a separate bowl, use a hand held mixer or a whisk to beat sugar, eggs, coffee and vanilla together. With a wooden spoon, stir in the melted chocolate mixture. Fold the flour and salt into the mix. Pour into your prepared pan and bake for 25 to 35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Annie