Chunky Monkey Pancakes

Bananas are so deceiving. I mean the skin can be such a faker. Sometimes it loooooks like it is getting squishy and then you peel it and find a pretty fresh banana. I had bananas that looked like they weren’t going to make it another day so I planned to add them to some weekend pancakes. The skin was all speckled with brown spots. I peel the banana to find that it is pretty hard. What a fake-out!

Well, I decided to see what would happen if I warmed them up a bit with a few seconds in the microwave. Voila! Instantly overripe bananas. Problem solved.

Ingredients:

1-2 bananas
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chocolate chunks (or chips)
pancake mix
ground cinnamon
vanilla extract

Directions:

If the banana isn’t somewhat soft and overripe, microwave for 30 seconds.
The Three Bite Rule - Chunky Monkey Pancakes
Mix up the pancake batter. Add a touch of vanilla extract and a pinch of cinnamon.
The Three Bite Rule - Chunky Monkey Pancakes
Preheat a grill pan or flat skillet to medium heat. Spray with non-stick spray.
Prep or chop the nuts, bananas, and chocolate.
The Three Bite Rule - Chunky Monkey Pancakes
Ladle pancake batter onto the hot pan and evenly sprinkle banana, walnut, and chocolate chunks onto the pancakes. Wait for them to bubble and then flip.
The Three Bite Rule - Chunky Monkey Pancakes
Flip once.
The Three Bite Rule - Chunky Monkey Pancakes
Sprinkle with remaining nuts & banana chunks. Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Chunky Monkey Pancakes
These were great. The nuts were definitely the best touch. I think the crunch was what made these so good. I added the nuts, chocolate, and bananas in after it was on the griddle because I wanted them to be evenly distributed. I figured in the batter it might come out uneven. The chocolate gets messy when it melts, but wiping the spatula solved that.

This would be great as waffles too. I add the cinnamon and vanilla to ensure the boxed mix tastes like the opposite of a box.

P.S. Is it amusing that the CHUNKY monkey pancakes are following a book about French women not getting FAT?

French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano

I was intrigued by the title. I know not to judge a book by it’s cover but this one was too cute to pass by.

The Three Bite Rule - Book: French Women Don't Get Fat

I honestly thought this book was going to be a bit more about culture and eating while being less about not-eating and recipes. I guess it was more about food and lifestyle but the recipes didn’t interest me at all and I skimmed past them. I was shocked that she reccomends some crazy-sounding detox of Magic Leek Soup. Apparently French ladies swear by it, but it sounds just like what she’s trying to go against: fad diets.

The author is French, but mainly lives in NYC now, so her credibility is intact of growing up in France but definitely knowing what Americans eat. It starts with tales of her upbringing, her foreign exchange to Massachusetts, and returning to France overweight and then getting more overweight when she moved away to Paris for college. This was when she learned to consider food, exercise, and habits.

The Three Bite Rule - Book: French Women Don't Get Fat

Her suggestions are common sense based (minus the detox of leek soup). She suggests writing down everything you eat for 3 weeks. Lots of diets suggest this. There are apps galore and it definitely sounds like it would be helpful to some people skipping snacks to avoid having to write it down. She wants the dieter to be able to focus on when you’re eating and what you’re eating. She then goes all-in on this 48-hour diuretic of leek soup. I cannot get behind the 2-day detoxing of eating one thing. I am doubtful any dietician would suggest this either.

I do think it makes a ton of sense that she breaks the new ways of thinking about food into 3-month periods. That seems like a justifiable time to change, adopt new habits, and makes it not a crash diet. Her tips are normal, like decreasing some “demons” so that you aren’t cutting them out completely and being more focused on eating more different foods, appropriate portions, eating more fruits/veggies, focusing on seasonal foods, moving more, and drinking more water. All these things make sense, and none would shock anyone wanting to be healthier.

The water is a big one. She writes a ton about water. I’ll pause to sip my water because this really resonated with me.

gulp.

I don’t normally have any water when I wake up, especially before coffee. I also don’t tend to drink much after dinner. I think I drink a lot during the rest of the day, but these were easy times to drink more.

I looove her suggestions about not cutting out the things you love. She adores dessert and french pastries. I think cutting anything out completely is going to make many people reallllly crave it. Her point is very clear for French women with chocolate and wine. They tend to love chocolate and eat it regularly, but eat high quality and small amounts. That makes it seem really do-able. They also keep in check by making up for one day on the next. Again, seems do-able.

It was interesting, easy to read, and a quick read. I don’t think it is life changing, but I’ll keep in mind the water tips and the focus on eating more different things rather than bigger portions of fewer things.

I’ll leave you with this video. I doubt any Paleo-dieters read my blog but this archeologist explains why the fad diet is really all made up, by people who don’t know about what people in the Paleolithic period ate, let alone how diets would have differed by area of the globe. It’s fascinating. Yes whole foods, and real foods are better for you. Nobody fights you on that. I just tire of people thinking that the’s a magic new approach to food.

some other books for foodies I recommend: Kitchen Confidential; Heat; French Kids Eat Everything; The American Way of Eating

any foodie inspired books you suggest for me?

Blueberry Pie Smoothie

I’ve been on a savory breakfast kick for awhile with quiche lorraine, and veggie strata, and quesadilla quevos rancheros but I figured it is time for seasonal smoothies again. I tried something different and added graham cracker to mimic the pie crust. Ohh wow. Such a fun addition.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup blueberries
5 oz blueberry Greek yogurt
1/2 apple or banana, frozen & chopped
1 graham cracker, crumbled

Directions:

Add blueberries, yogurt, frozen fruit, and graham cracker to a blender.
The Three Bite Rule - Blueberry Pie Smoothie
Blend and enjoy! Add a splash of milk if it is too thick.
The Three Bite Rule - Blueberry Pie Smoothie
The graham cracker in there was a new one for me. I loved how much it changed the smoothie. It totally reminded me of pie. I’ve seen smoothies with oatmeal. Maybe I’d try that next?

I used frozen green apple. Whenever I have fruit nearing it’s end or if I won’t get to it in time, I chop it up and freeze it for smoothies. I just add it to the same smoothie fruit container. The flavors don’t really mix that much and I usually use multiple fruits in my smoothies anyway.

Fruits that freeze well: apples, all berries, bananas, pears, grapes, cantaloupe. I wouldn’t freeze them and then defrost them, but they work well for smoothies.

Sausage and Pepper Calzone

Like most calzones, this could easily be a pizza but I was feelin’ a calzone. I also wanted to play around with using different cheeses so I went with Monterey Jack. Pepper Jack, cheddar, mozzarella, or a mix would work well with these flavors. This calzone feels very ballpark-ish which is appropriate right about now. A million years ago I made a sausage and pepper calzone but I didn’t really blog it. It was time to highlight the good stuff.

I went really heavy on the Italian Seasoning but would tone it down a bit for anyone who doesn’t like bold flavor. I used the color peppers that were on sale but really any would be good. I also think it’s an easy time to lighten up the calorie count with some chicken sausage or turkey smoked sausage. This is a crowd-pleaser that could easily be prepped in advance and baked for only 10 minutes. Then it can be refrigerated or frozen and baked for another 20-30 when it is time to eat.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & Peppers Calzone

Ingredients:

1 ball pizza dough
3 sausage links, scored with a few shallow slices
1/2 yellow pepper
1/2 red pepper
1/2 onion
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
a few drips of liquid smoke (optional)
8 oz Monterey Jack cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees (and pizza stone if using one).
In a medium skillet, over medium heat, cook the sausage until crisped and cooked through. Or grill them!
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & Peppers Calzone
Slice the peppers and onion into strips and then into chunks.
In a large pan, over medium heat, cook the onions in 1 tsp olive oil. After 3-4 minutes, add the peppers, garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, adding liquid smoke if desired.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & Peppers Calzone
Spread the pizza dough out, stretching it out evenly.
Spread it out onto the pizza stone/pan off center, so the filling gets added to what will become the bottom. The top will cover it and meet the bottom without having to move the calzone.
Layer cheese, sausage slices, peppers, and repeat. Spread all the filling out to the edges. Layer, layer, layer…it seems like less when it bakes.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & Peppers Calzone
Pull the top over and pinch it to close the seam.
Cut a few slices in the top of the calzone. Brush the top with eggwash or olive oil (optional).
Bake 30 minutes.
Let sit 5 minutes before slicing.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & Peppers Calzone
The calzone is a great way to reduce the meat and up the veggies. With just 3 links of sausage I had 4 servings of calzone. The ratio is off here, being heavy on the peppers and light on the sausage which I love. I think there was plenty of sausage (2 links might have been just fine) and I’d rather us filling it up with peppers and onions.

Pasta Carbonara

I love pasta but try to limit it to quickie dinners or really good mac & cheese…otherwise I might want it nightly. I figured it was time to make some legit pasta. Carbonara is an easy one to whip up needing only eggs, cream, and bacon. Ohh, and lots of Parmesan. Don’t forget the Parmesan.

It is delightfully creamy but has a lightness to it. There are so few ingredients which is also awesome.

The Three Bite Rule - Pasta Carbonara

I used refrigerated pasta that makes a great impression for this dinner. I always can tell the difference but really, I don’t discriminate. Fresh obviously costs a bit more but when pricing out this dinner, you’ll see it was so cheap it didn’t really matter.

Ingredients:

9 oz package fresh fettucchini
4 slices of thick cut bacon
1/4 cup white onion, chopped finely
4 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
3 eggs
1/4 cup half and half (increase if making a pound of pasta)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper

Directions:

Bring plenty of salted water to a boil.
In a medium flat pan, fry the bacon until crisp. Then remove and drain on paper towels.
Leave 1 tsp of bacon fat in the pan to fry the onion. Add garlic after 2 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Pasta Carbonara
Add eggs, cream, Parmesan, garlic powder, and a sprinkle of salt & pepper to a large bowl.
The Three Bite Rule - Pasta Carbonara
Boil the pasta according to the directions (fresh pasta = about 3 minutes; dried pasta = about 12 minutes)
The Three Bite Rule - Pasta Carbonara
Whisk together the sauce mixture.
The Three Bite Rule - Pasta Carbonara
Put a bowl underneath a colander, or ladle out a few cups of the starchy water.
Drain the pasta shaking it well, but do not run water over it. Then start tossing with the creamy egg mixture.
Spoon in the onions, garlic, and bacon.
The Three Bite Rule - Pasta Carbonara
Toss well and let sit for 5 minutes to absorb the sauce. If it is too thick, spoon in a little of the reserved starchy water.

I like the simplicity of this dish. The fresh pasta is a huuuuge addition in this dish. The creamy sauce is light, the bacon is crisp, the Parmesan is salty. It is such a perfect combination. I love pasta carbonara and it doesn’t have to just be reserved for restaurants.
The Three Bite Rule - Pasta Carbonara
I didn’t add peas, because I don’t like ‘em. I had some flatleaf parsley for freshness but I forgot it. This is the perfect reminder that some of the best meals are really very easy. I really loved this in any way it sat before me.

Cost: 
fresh pasta: $3.29 (mine was 9oz, not a pound)
4 slices of bacon: approx. $2.66
3 eggs: approx. $0.70
half & half: $0.50
Parmesan: $0.80
total cost = $7.95 for 3 servings or just $2.63 per person

What I Ate: Bacon & Pear Flatbread

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.

This pizza-ish flatbread was inspired by a spur-of-the-moment trip to Sky to share some flatbreads. This is proof that pizza isn’t rocket science and you can make it yourself easily. I know dough can be a pain for some people so I’ve been making sure some of my pizzas use an alternative base. These were really quick and I rarely use other cheeses but the cheddar was a fun flavor for this one.

I used pita pocket-y things. They’re puffier than Mediterranean pitas and are a great quick pizza option. They are easier than dough annnnnd it is perfectly portion controlled.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon & Pear Flatbread

Ingredients:

2 flatbread pita pockets
1 pear
2 slices of bacon
1 cup cheddar, shredded

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Pan fry the bacon until crisp.
Top the pitas with cheese, chopped pear, and bacon.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon & Pear Flatbread

Bake 10-15 minutes, until cheese melts and pita gets gently toasted.
Top with chopped green onions.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon & Pear Flatbread
These were great. They are how to make dinner quickly…like 30-minutes quick. The cheddar with the pear, with the bacon is so great.

Some of my other pizza-dough alternatives are:
French Bread Pizza
Bubble Up BBQ Pizza
Bruschetta Pizza on Naan

Parisian Burger

Ohh my goodness. This might have been one of my best burgers yet. Seriously. Mr. J agreed. This burger itself packs some seriously sophisticated flavor with dijon and rosemary, and then the toppings just perfect it with truffle mayo & egg yolk. I love the menu at Met Burger Bar so I adapted one of their burgers from the international section. I humbly think mine may rival theirs…or top it.

The Three Bite Rule - Parisian Burger

Ingredients (for 2 burgers):

3/4 pound ground beef/chicken
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 slices of swiss
2 rolls
2 eggs
2 tbs mayo
1/2 tsp truffle oil/truffle butter

Directions:

Preheat grill, or grill pan if cooking inside.
Mix together ground meat (I did chicken, Mr. J did beef), rosemary, garlic, and mustard.
The Three Bite Rule - Parisian Burger
Gently form into patties sprinkling with salt & pepper on each side.
The Three Bite Rule - Parisian Burger
Grill until chicken is cooked through, or beef is cooked to your liking. Top with cheese.
Mix together mayo, truffle oil, salt & pepper.
Heat a flat pan to medium high heat when the burgers are almost cooked.
Reduce pan to medium heat, and fry 2 eggs.
Cover the eggs with small pot lids to cook the white through, keeping the yolk intact, cooking for about 4 minutes.
Lay arugula onto the bottom bun, top with the burger, then add the fried egg, and spread truffle mayo onto the top bun.
The Three Bite Rule - Parisian Burger
Ooo la la. This was so good. The garlic and rosemary in the burger makes it really flavorful. I loooove peppery arugula. The yolk acts like a condiment. I almost did truffle ketchup which would also be good for some acidity. The decadence of this burger was not lost on us. Every flavor is rich, powerful, and spot-on.

My chicken burger was cooked per-fect-ly. That’s tough to do. One more minute and it would have been dry. It probably needs about 5-6 minutes per side. It really depends on the grill temperature, flame, etc. A meat thermometer is a good idea. Mr. J finds them to stick, since there isn’t as much fat as beef to keep it off the grill. The recent method has been spraying heavy duty aluminum foil to help it from crumbling.

This is one for the record books and one I’ll make again, for sure.
The Three Bite Rule - Parisian Burger

Some of my other favs include:
Nacho Burger
The Three Bite Rule - Nacho Burger
and the Rodeo Burger
rodeo_burg_plate_590_390
and of course stuffed burgers like the Greek Stuffed Burgers
stuffed_burg_greek_590_390

March Recap

We are so close to spring…I can totally feel it. I’m ready. I love not having to plan boots and shoes just to run outside. March was busy and awesome, because it was my birthday month!

Mr. J and I went to Quebec for my birthday. It was so darn cute. I couldn’t get over how picturesque it was. The food was amazing and I loved how charming Quebec is. It was pretty freezing, next time I’d love a few more degrees.
Quebec Getaway
Then of course the fam had “the cake” for me. It was awesome and I wouldn’t have it any other way. They themed my dinner as all things 3-ways. I got my March #yearoftheflower Also, I got a fitbit which I’m obsessed with. I love the stats. I also like the pressure of knowing if I got close to my goal etc.

fitbit

March was really a fun-filled month. I got to meet the newest B baby who is adorable. I brought them some no-bake energy bites which I think they’ve already recreated. I was really glad to catch up with these forever-roommates.
The Three Bite Rule - No Bake Energy Bites
Hmmm. What other fun activities happened? I saw Flashdance the Musical. Hands down, one of the most fun shows I’ve seen. I loved it and was in the 2nd row for half price. Bookclub finally reconvened…we’ve been on an unofficial sabbatical. Sis and I scoured the antique market for treasures and I left with a rockin’ yellow bird cage for a spring mantle-scape. I was really jazzed about a social media food photo challenge but apparently I was one of the only ones so I abandoned it #healthygbfb

I made an awesome loaded potato soup, which seemed quite weather appropriate.
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Soup with Loaded Toppings
Work is prettty crazy. I have an event coming up that I don’t feel 100% about. I wish it were bigger, stronger, better, etc. As Juan Pablo would say “it’s ok”. The next one follows quickly behind it. I’m loving how busy everyday is, yet I still feel accomplished. It feels doable whereas last year I felt like there was never enough time.

Where are we at for goals
? Funny you should ask. I’m crushin’ it!

year-of-the-monthly self-imposed cooking challenge: I did it. folks, I cooked with yeast. I made Rosemary Focaccia and it was great!
Rosemary Focaccia - The Three Bite Rule

my other goals are on a roll!
send more mail – check! found a great card to lift spirits and encourage…it seemed to do it’s job and had perfect timing.
make some Pinterest pins a reality – check! the energy bites were a pin!
cook with yeast (yikes!) – check!! I made rosemary focaccia
try a spin class not yet
make more cocktails – check! I made instant sangria
Buy myself flowers more often – check! birthday flowers

What I Ate: Pesto Chicken Panini

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.

Sandwiches are such a quick and easy dinner for me. I love paninis and and I’m continually surprised how versatile they are. This was going to be chicken breasts marinated and grilled in pesto then I decided to shred it. I figured that would definitely make this seem different than some of my other paninis annnnnd I wouldn’t have that whole take a bite and the whole chicken breast comes out.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Chicken Panini

Ingredients:
2-3 chicken tenders (or 2 chicken breasts)
1/3 cup prepared pesto
1 tbs grated parmesan
1 tomato
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, or sliced provolone, or fresh mozzarella
4 slices of bread

Directions:
Cook the chicken in simmering water until fully cooked, about 10 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Chicken Panini

Sprinkle in salt, pepper, and Parmesan, then add the pesto and shred with 2 forks pulling the chicken apart.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Chicken Panini
Heat a panini press/grill pan/large skillet to medium high heat.
Assemble the sandwiches with sliced tomato and pesto chicken mixture.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Chicken Panini

Top the sandwiches with cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Chicken Panini
Grill until toasty and melty on each side…about 3-5 minutes per side.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Chicken Panini
I love the flavors in this. The tomato is key for keeping the chicken moist. The pesto is a great use for a partial jar. I would normally have used sliced cheese but I had leftover shredded mozzarella and no plan for it, so this worked well.

Paninis need bread that can hold up to what goes inside. I think this nutty one works great. I think the Pesto Chicken Panini is kind of a nod to a lazy-man’s pizza…which makes great panini fillings.

Some of my other fav paninis are: fig and prosciutto panini, bacon & gouda panini with peach compote, and turkey cranberry & brie panini.

Instant Sangria

I’m no mixologist, but this on-the-spot sangria was excellent. I love sangria and have really only made it in big batches so I wanted to see about perfect my by-the-glass sangria.

I turned Mr. J onto sangria in Barcelona which also ended up being a gentle introduction to wine…
honeymoon_barc_sangria_390_590
My motivation for by the glass sangria was that it needed to be ready on the spot, without needing all day to mellow. I also figured it would be a great use for some open wine that I didn’t like. I started simply so it could be recreated. I didn’t know if I’d need to make tweaks for next time, but I liked this as-is.

Ingredients: (quantities per glass)

4 oz red wine
1/2 shot limoncello
1/2 shot triple sec
splash of orange juice
optional: ice cubes of orange juice & grenadine

Directions:

Optional: make some ice cubes of orange juice & grenadine.
The Three Bite Rule - Instant Sangria
Add wine, ice cubes, lemoncello, triple sec, and a shot of orange juice into a shaker.
The Three Bite Rule - Instant Sangria
Shake, shake, shake,
Serve & enjoy.
The Three Bite Rule - Instant Sangria
I do not like merlot. Merlot made me think I didn’t like red wine actually. Au contraire my friends. This huuuge bottle is making its way into lots of things I cook and then into this stellar sangria.

I loved this. I think the lemon liquor with the orange liquor with the orange juice was spot-on. It definitely had a kick so I let the cubes melt a touch and it was perfect. It sure made for a happy Sunday!

Some of my other favorite sangrias include:
apple cider sangria
Apple Cider Sangria

strawberry basil sangria
straw_basil_glass_590_390
mixed berry sangria
sangria_prepped_590_390

any sangria tips for me?