August 2016 Recap

I’m never sad for August to be over. I really love September so I’m ready, bring it on. I really had a lot of favorites this month so it was a good month in the kitchen while still keeping most meals quick, flavorful, and fresh. The babe is so active and the bewitching hours are 6-7:30 so dinner is sometimes a scramble right now.

Some of my sangrias have been hit or miss in the past but this insta-sangria really was awesome with barely any time required! I think my Quick Sangria white cranberry strawberry juice was the right sweetness with a touch of tart to then pair nicely with white wine.
The Three Bite Rule - Quick White Sangria
I try to bring out the panini press during the hot nights that I want something quick without heating up the whole house. I made a ham & havarti melt that was perfect and just a touch more special than the average ham & cheese.

Pair that sangria with a burrata bar and poof, instant party.
The Three Bite Rule - Buratta Bar
Yum. I’d be happy eating grilled bread, burrata, tomato, and basil daily. Daily. Day-ly.
The Three Bite Rule - Buratta Bar
Then I tried a new grain and I’m so glad I did. I made Cracked Wheat with Greek Flavors Topped with  Grilled Chicken.  It was awesome and I’ve already made more since then. It cooks quickly, similar to rice but with much more nutrients. Cracked wheat is a wheat berry “cracked” into smaller pieces for quicker cooking, bulger is the next step being par-cooked.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Grain Salad

The Little Man:
This guy. I can’t believe how big he is. He’s crawling and standing. Craziness. Where’d my little baby go? This month more than ever I feel like he’s a little person instead of a baby. The monthly photos might go by the wayside. This one took 2 days of outtakes. He just wants to move. He’ll be on his back for .5 seconds and then he’s rolling over and up to crawl away.
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He loves swimming and crawling. He’s so proud when he pulls up to standing. He eats anything we give him and is 4th tooth is on the way! Thomas LOVES straps: the adjustable straps on his highchair, his backpack for daycare, on our totebags, anywhere. He sleeps like a champ at home and less so at daycare.

Progress on this year’s goals: 

The Year of the Earring:  Yup! Got ‘em in August with an instagram discount code 

make more salad dressings: Yes! Make honey mustard and you can thank me later.

factor more time into how long every-day tasks/trips will take: 
I’m doing OK. Getting things ready in advance is becoming more of a habit.

recreate restaurant menu items: 
ehh. not this month I guess.

be more adventurous with my reading selections: 
I was a bit over eager for the beach and loaded up 3. Well, with the baby at the beach I didn’t quite read much. I read Mrs. Hemingway and looooved it. Now I’m into Flight Behavior which is turning out to be captivating after a slowish start. 

use the crockpot more:
Nope. I do have my next plan though! 

seafood once a month: 
I made some lobster cakes that were really good. The breading is only on the outside so the inside is all lobster!

Lobster Cakes

I made some lobster cakes as a play on a crab cake. They were so good and though I plopped mine onto a salad, they would be great as an appetizer too!

The Three Bite Rule - Lobster Cakes

Ingredients:

1 cup lobster meat, chopped
2 tbs mayo
1 tbs grainy mustard
1 tsp minced garlic
4 chive sprigs minced
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

Directions:

Mix together the lobster meat, mayo, mustard, and garlic gently to not pulverize the lobster.
The Three Bite Rule - Lobster Cakes
Add in the chives and green onion stirring gently.
The Three Bite Rule - Lobster Cakes
Heat a large skillet with vegetable oil to medium heat.
Form the mixture into 2-3 patties and roll them in the mixed breadcrumbs.
The Three Bite Rule - Lobster Cakes
To check the oil temperature, drop a few breadcrumbs into the oil and see if they sizzle immediately. If they do, then add the patties in to cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Try to let them really crisp on the bottom before flipping so you only have to flip it once.
The Three Bite Rule - Lobster Cakes
Remove from the oil and let them drain on paper towel to get rid of the excess oil.
The Three Bite Rule - Lobster Cakes
Serve on their own or on top of salad! Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Lobster Cakes
This is the best lazy-man’s lobster. It gets crunchy on the outside but is all lobster on the inside. There really isn’t much filler in these bad boys. I ended up adding a 2nd to my plate. I couldn’t resist!

Can you believe I fried them? I never fry things! They’d be good in the oven, if it isn’t too hot to have your oven on. ;)

I served it with honey mustard dressing that is just so easy and worth making yourself:
2 tbs honey
2 tbs dijon mustard
tiniest dab of butter (tiny as in 1/2 teaspoon – this makes all the difference)
shake it up and enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Lobster Cakes
Make your own honey mustard dressing. It is perfect to make a tiny bit for one or two servings or double/triple/quadruple this and have enough for a while.

Greek Grain Salad

This dinner is one to make immediately. I was inspired by all the different grains that are served at work. I chose cracked wheat because a) it is such a healthy grain b) it was much cheaper than some others c) it cooks just like rice. To keep it summery, I didn’t try to serve it really warm. The cracked wheat cooks quickly while the chicken was grilling and while I chopped everything else.

The Three Bite Rule - Greek Grain Salad

Ingredients:

3-4 chicken thighs marinated in Italian dressing.
1 cup cracked wheat
2 cups tomatoes
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup fresh oregano & mint
3 tbs olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dried oregano
cracked pepper

Directions:

Marinate the chicken at room temperature while the grill preheats.
Cook cracked wheat according to package. Mine said 40 minutes but was definitely tender when I fluffed with a fork at 25 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Grain Salad
Chop tomato, feta, and fresh herbs. Add into a bowl with the cracked wheat.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Grain Salad
Grill the chicken until fully cooked through, at least 165 degrees.
Shake together the dressing in a jar – olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, dried oregano, garlic, and pepper.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Grain Salad
Mix the cracked wheat and everything together with the dressing.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Grain Salad
Serve the chicken on top of a bed of the grain salad.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Grain SaladEnjoy!

I loved this. We had plenty of tomatoes, oregano, and mint so I was thinking I should do something Mediterranean. The cracked wheat was awesome! It has more of a nutty flavor and I loved knowing it was a better choice than rice or couscous. I forgot that I had some zucchini which would have been good in this, or raw cucumber.

This was so easy and had great flavor. We both loved it and I’m glad we tried something new with flavors that are sure to be a hit.

Burrata Bar & Crostini

My August event is a lovely Garden Party. I wanted the burrata bar but got out voted for a raw bar. Bahh. That isn’t my thing but I couldn’t get the burrata bar out of my head! I was all too happy to bring home a little buratta-ball-baby to become the star of dinner.

The Three Bite Rule - Buratta Bar
I could have gone on and on with toppings but decided it needed to be somewhat reasonable. This would be so fun for easy prep for happy hour party.

Crostini Components:

Buratta
Herbed butter
Prosciutto wrapped melon
sundried tomatoes
balsamic reduction
African blue basil
tomato
Prosciutto

Mr. J lightly grilled the bread and it was go-time.
The Three Bite Rule - Buratta Bar

Besides the buratta being amazing on its own, I absolutely loved buratta with tomato, basil, and balsamic.
The Three Bite Rule - Buratta Bar
The melon with the prosciutto didn’t really need to go on crostini but the salty and sweet and crunch is so lovely with a schmear of herbed butter.
The Three Bite Rule - Buratta Bar
I mixed butter, garlic, fresh oregano, and fresh thyme. This is also perfect for garlic bread or to jazz up the outside of a grilled cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Buratta Bar

Almond Joy Smoothie

I haven’t made a fun smoothie is such a long time. This was so different than my other smoothies purely because I didn’t use fruit in this one! I went light on the coconut and chocolate and moreso focused on the almond/oaty flavors. The mini chocolate chips were the perfect ending fitting nicely with my aluminum straws.

The Three Bite Rule - Almond Joy Smoothie
I put in a bunch of grains and ice…it worked out really well! I used coconut yogurt but it’d be so great with coconut almond milk. I only used chocolate as a tiny touch but it was all the smoothie needed to also function as breakfast.

Ingredients:
5.3 oz coconut Greek yogurt
1 cup ice
3 tbs oatmeal
3 tbs almonds
1 tbs flax seed (optional)
1 cup milk
1 tsp mini chocolate chips

Directions:
In a blender, add in the yogurt, ice, oatmeal, almonds, and flaxseed.
The Three Bite Rule - Almond Joy Smoothie
Add in the milk and blend until smooth.
Top with mini chocolate chips (or a swirl of chocolate sauce).
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Almond Joy Smoothie
I wonder what my 75-year old neighbor things when I’m outside on the deck photographing a smoothie on a random weekday morning. Ohh well, this one was worth it.

What I Ate: Grilled Sausages on Pretzel Rolls

What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.

My grocery store started carrying pretzel rolls back in April and I was so excited! I got some when I was making Smokehouse Burgers with caramelized onions, smokey aoli, mustard, and havarti cheese. Yum. That’s a repeater, for sure.
The Three Bite Rule - Smokehouse Burgers
The bakery still had had long shaped ones that I hadn’t gotten yet! I thought were just calling out for hot dogs, then I decided maybe they were too hefty for dogs so I went for grilled sausages. They were perfect!
The Three Bite Rule - Grilled Sausages on Pretzels
Sausage, peppers, and onions with dijon screams summer-baseball park-easy dinner to me. This isn’t rocket science, just a reminder that some things (i.e. rolls) need further thinking for the best fit (i.e. sausages versus hot dogs).

Ham & Havarti Melt

As much as most dinners at the Three Bite Rule are grilled in the summer, I’m still always striving for them to be varied and unique. Paninis are definitely a go-to category for me when I want to be sure I’m planning some quick ones that don’t heat the whole house up. I was proud this was so quick, especially now that the little one is so active and squirming all around during dinner/dinner prep time! I meant to use some raspberry jam but forgot to add it to the grocery list. I substituted Lingonberry jam, courtesy of Ikea, as my fruity spread.

The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Havardi Melt

Ingredients: (per sandwich)

2 slices of sourdough bread
1-2 tbs dijon mustard
2-3 slices of honey ham
2-3 slices of havarti cheese
2 tbs jam: raspberry/strawberry/cranberry/etc

Directions:

Preheat a panini press, grill plan, or flat skillet to medium high heat.
Spread some mustard on the inside of one slice of bread. Then top with ham then cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Havardi Melt
Spread jam onto the inside of the other slice of bread and close up the sandwich.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Havarti Melt
Brush the bread lightly with olive oil, then flip the sandwich cooking that side down. Brush the top slice with olive oil and close the panini press.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Havarti Melt
Grill or fry until crisp and melted. Flip regularly to avoid burning!
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Havardi Melt
I loved this. The Lingonberry jam is my jam. Pardon the pun. It has a tartness that is so perfect with salty ham and gooey cheese. Uhh I could eat this all the time. There’s something about it that says breakfast to me as well. Maybe that’s the not-wanting-morning-sweets in me. Anyway you look at it, this sandwich is good. Reallll good.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Havardi Melt
You could make a ton of these and keep them warm in the oven if you have a crowd to feed. Or make just one and you don’t have crazy ingredients hanging around. I think the jam and the sharp mustard are really necessary here…don’t skip ‘em!

I served this melted masterpiece with some Cape Cod Chips and some cherry tomatoes in balsamic dressing. It was my such a great summer dinner. Mr. J tolerated not grilling dinner one night. Maybe the oozing cheese had something to do with it?

Honey Chipotle Baked Beans

Mr. J had BIG grilling plans so I felt like I needed to at least make something. He bought ribs and cooked them very low and slow for a few hours with rub he got from a Kansas City vendor he worked with for a few days. It was a feast, and absolutely unbelievably ahh-mazing. My honey chipotle beans were less than amazing unless you have a serious tolerance for heat.

My instant sangria was a really great addition to go with the best ribs I’ve ever had and the spiciest beans I’ve ever had. Wooo-eee. They were spicy. I alllllmost diluted them by half, but sometimes you just have to call it quits. If I kept adding to the spicy beans it might have made them better, but it also would have doubled the quantity. If it didn’t fix the spice level, then we’d just have tons of mediocre beans. See what I mean? I would have mellowed them out if I had guests, but we just dealt and ended up not finishing them. It was fine.

The Three Bite Rule - Honey Chipotle Baked Beans

Ingredients:

1 shallot
1/2 onion
1 can white navy beans
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo (maybe just use 1?)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup tomato sauce

Directions:

Dice shallot and onion. Add to a heavy pot over medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Cook a few minutes, until translucent (about 5 minutes).
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Chipotle Baked Beans
In a blender or food processor, mix chipotle peppers, honey, molasses, and vinegar.
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Chipotle Baked Beans
Add in the beans, undrained, and the chipotle sauce mixture with 1/4 cup of water.
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Chipotle Baked Beans
Bring to a low boil for 10-15 minutes, then reduce heat to low for 30 minutes.
Serve & enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Chipotle Baked Beans

Quick White Cranberry Sangria

I saw a video on instagram for white sangria and knew exactly what to do with an opened bottle of white wine hanging out in my fridge. It was a sweet Reisling and it wasn’t my favorite. Perfect for sangria! Most often when I make sangria it has to hang out so long that it isn’t amazing but the day after I serve it, voila! It is amazing and it’s just me with the leftovers. This sangria is quick and really only needed to chill together for 2 hours or so.

My pitcher is dimpled, so it is wicked hard to photograph. Also, there were only 2 of us drinking it so I didn’t make a ton. :-)

The Three Bite Rule - Quick White Sangria
Thanks to Ocean Spray’s instagram video, I sought out the juice, but didn’t buy theirs, oops. I saw White Cranberry Peach and White Cranberry Strawberry. This one was pinkish so that’s what sold me. It is verrrry mild cranberry flavor – I would have liked more cranberry tartness.
The Three Bite Rule - Quick White Sangria

Ingredients:

1/2 – 2/3 bottle of sweet white wine
~4 cups White Cranberry Strawberry Juice
2 tbs fresh mint
splash of lime juice
1/2 peach or nectarine, sliced
splash of limoncello, lemon vodka, or ruby red vodka

Directions:

Add the wine into a pitcher and drop the mint in. Use a wooden spoon to muddle it a bit squishing it against the bottom and stirring the wine.
The Three Bite Rule - Quick White Sangria
Add in the same amount of juice for a 1:1 wine to juice ratio (or less juice than wine if you want it a bit stronger)
Slice a nectarine or peach and add that in as well with a splash of lime juice, or fresh limes.
The Three Bite Rule - Quick White Sangria
Refrigerate for 2+ hours or until serving. Give it a stir, and a splash of lemoncello, then serve over ice and enjoy!

The nectarine slices might not fare too well over night so if making it wayyy in advance, drop them in a little while before serving. It also could be served with a splash of club soda or swapping the wine for a sparkling wine, sparkling rose, or champagne would all be great!

The Three Bite Rule - Quick White Sangria
I loved this. There was some taste of the wine but the fruit and the mint plus the juice made it really easy to sip. I mean, really easy. We had this with dinner of BBQ but it also would a great day-drinking option since it isn’t the strongest drink. 1 glass is like 1/2 a glass of wine! #winning

Mmm. I want to drink this on a beach. I’m heading to the cape in a few weeks. Maybe I will!

Boston Public Market

The Boston Food scene is just so cool. The Boston Public Market just opened and I was psyched to get a tour a bit early. It is the ONLY market of this kind in the country…all local…all indoor…all year round. It is so bright, beautiful, chic, and welcoming inside. Each vendor really has a distinct feeling and I loved that. It is brimming with produce, yet I only brought home some donuts. Next time! The tour had some good info, but was suuuper rushed. Let’s see what I remember.

Boston Public Market Sign

The displays are breathtaking, especially the produce, and the bakeries. Yum!
The Three Bite Rule - Boston Public Market
Wolf Meadow Farm let us sample some ricotta with pepper jelly. Swoon. I know. How’d they know I loooove ricotta!? Their motto is import the cheese maker, not the cheese. They’ll advise you how to serve their cheese especially with other produce from the market!
The Three Bite Rule - Boston Public Market

We saw the programming space called the Kitchen. I feel as though the name is lacking, but it is just amazing! There are cameras in the ceiling for live feeds on tv screens which will be perfect for demos. The programs will be varied which also will help them strive for varied price points. Community Servings is one of the partners leading classes!
The Three Bite Rule - Boston Public Market
How fun is this, you can leave a cookbook and take a cookbook! There are book-plates for the inside to share your favorite item from it. I totally want to do this!
The Three Bite Rule - Boston Public Market

One of the few non-edible items…bowls made from fallen trees! Peterman’s Boards & Bowls
The Three Bite Rule - Boston Public Market
Lastly, one of the coolest things: a bee hive! That black glass paneled box is a beehive!
The Three Bite Rule - Boston Public Market
It is very cool and a great time for the local food scene in Boston. I loved the vibe and think it is just what we needed here. It sort of made me think of Reading Terminal in Philly, the Ferry Building in San Fran, Chelsea Market in NYC. So great!