August 2014 Recap

August was a month full of fun dining experiences and outings an less about actual cooking. I find readership being very lopsided in the dead of summer. I think September will bring a good variety…I already have seafood, a twist on pizza, more grilled foods, and I even have a giveaway planned!

I had the best breakfast sandwich…of. my. life. On our trip to NH. They crossed a bagel with a croissant. It doesn’t get much better than that.

In other adventures, I tried Barcelona Wine Bar and loved everything we ordered. I met up with other bloggers for a fun afternoon of walking, salads, and cupcakes. I wasn’t into the salad I got but loved the cupcakes.

The best thing I cooked all month were these Steakhouse Flatbread Pizzas. Mine had buttery mushrooms and Mr. J’s had grilled steak. They were really good and so quick to prep by using naan bread. I loved these and would eat it again in a second.
Steakhouse Flatbread Pizza - The Three Bite Rule
I did a roasted beet, sweet potato, and potato side dish that was really good, but more time consuming than I usually spend on sides.
Roasted Beets & Potatoes - The Three Bite Rule
I decided a Greek Pita Pizza deserved a re-do and it was a good excuse to unload some zucchini onto.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Pita Pizza
Bump Update:
In the last month the baby has grown to the size of a turnip, a sweet potato, a mango, and a banana. My hunger has evened out a bit. I was introduced to donut peaches from the CSA delivered to work and they’re so amazing. Whenever I’ve gotten a whiff of my nectarines or somebody’s peaches at work I’m all about it. It is getting a bit harder to get up after being on all fours talking to the pups and harder to go from laying to sitting. I’m feeling it a bit more and I’ve officially popped. Getting dressed requires a bit more creativity with the few maternity items and whatever I find that I fit into.

Enjoy labor day & a long weekend and see ya in September!

Caprese Mac & Cheese

This will be a light week here on The Three Bite Rule until after labor day. I feel like everyone really has the mentality that there’s only a short time to make the most of the end of summer. Summer food isn’t over but September is fast approaching!

I have been looooving the 70-degree days we’ve been having here in New England. I like being able to turn the oven on occasionally. I made some Caprese Mac & Cheese with the plethora of cherry tomatoes from the garden.

The Three Bite Rule - Caprese Mac & Cheese

Ingredients:

1/2 pound penne rigate
4 tbs butter, and another 2 tbs for topping
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup gruyere cheese
1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1 1/2 – 2 cups cherry tomatoes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dijon mustard (optional)
salt & pepper
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 tsp dried basil
2 tbs parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta to al dente.
In a medium sauce pan melt 4 tbs butter over medium heat, then add the flour and whisk together cooking for about 5 minutes.
Add in the milk and cream and stir well over medium low heat until combined.
Drop the tomatoes onto a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Up the oven temp to a broil and cook them for 5 minutes being careful not to let them burn.
The Three Bite Rule - Caprese Mac & Cheese
Slowly add in 3/4 of the cheese and stir.
The Three Bite Rule - Caprese Mac & Cheese
Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and mustard.
Mix in the pasta to the cheese sauce.
The Three Bite Rule - Caprese Mac & Cheese
Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray and spoon in 1/2 the mac & cheese.
Sprinkle 1/2 the basil and 1/2 the tomatoes and 1/2 the remaining cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Caprese Mac & Cheese
Repeat another layer on top of pasta, basil, tomatoes, and cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Caprese Mac & Cheese
Melt the remaining 2 tbs of butter and mix with breadcrumbs, parmesan, and dried basil.
Sprinkle on top and bake for 40 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Caprese Mac & Cheese
I liked the light flavored cheeses allowing the tomatoes and basil to pop. It felt summery even if mac & cheese isn’t truly a summer dish. I also was proud that the tomatoes and basil were home-grown.
The Three Bite Rule - Caprese Mac & Cheese

What I Ate: NH Getaway

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.

Mr. J’s bday present was a little getaway to New Hampshire. I’m so thankful not to travel for work anymore and I’m loving being home all summer. It is amazing. Being home has actually involved a few trips to Maine, a few days to Cape Cod, and possibly one more jaunt. I wasn’t sure NH was going to fit in. I bought it for Mr. J’s bday in June then didn’t schedule it for-ev-er. We explored nature and ate lots of good stuff.

We stayed in Jackson, NH which is a little town near North Conway, but without the insane traffic. The inn was cute and had a phenomenal porch.
Inn at Thorn Hill
On our way up to New Hampsire we figured we stop somewhere for lunch and it just so happened we’d pass one of the many locations of Portland Pie Company. My favorite pizza! Though, their service is pretty terrible, all the time the pizza was really good. We got one of their seasonal pies: chicken caesar salad pizza!
nh_pizza
After checking in and poking around the inn, we explored the town and the area.
nh_river
We got dinner at the Red Fox Pub. We were really tired by then and were very hungry. I got lobster mac & cheese. There was an impressive amount of lobster and I couldn’t come close to finishing it! Mr. J had wood grilled meatloaf so he was as happy as can be. That was only Friday!
nh_lobstermac
Saturday we enjoyed breakfast on the porch of the inn and then checked out a tented art show, then we did a mini hike to some falls. It was breathtaking…also getting back up to the parking left me winded, so literally breathtaking. Mr. J adventured to some insane spots all in the name of photography. Luckily he didn’t end up in the drink!
nh_falls
We also popped into the LL Bean Outlet there where we found upright adirondack chairs. On sale. With an extra 30% off. Also using several LL Bean credits from our credit card. Scoooooore! We got two for less than the price of 1 normally. It was so meant to be! We didn’t have the pups so we got our new chairs into the car all assembled and never looked back. Just wait till I show you our beautiful yard projects with these snazzy new chairs by the firepit.

Dinner was part of our package to each have 3 courses at the inn. I started with clam chowder since it was 60-something degrees that day! For my entree, I chose duck over mushroom risotto with a chambord glaze. The duck and sauce were so good. The glaze was pretty sweet to it paired nicely with the salty risotto.
nh_duck
I didn’t exactly have room for dessert, but when on vacay! I had a chocolate hazelnut tart that was just amazing.
nh_dessert
Sunday morning we decided to venture out for bagels. We had passed a little bagel joint the day before with a sign boasting home of the boissant croissant/bagel hybrid. Hands down, best breakfast sandwich I’ve ever had. I wish I brought boissants home. I was thinking it would be more like a bagel or more like a croissant, but I love both so I figured I’d bet set. It was such a wonderful mix of the two.
nh_broissant
It was a nice little getaway. We wished it was warm enough to swim since the pool at the inn was cute but I’m still thankful for cool days. They were nice for walking around a lot. I hadn’t known if there’d be a lot for us to see/do but we had a great time wandering and not being at full pace.

Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie

I grabbed a few stocks of rhubarb at the farmer’s market and I was thinking of a smoothie since I never use cooked fruit in a smoothie. I think the rhubarb cost me all of $1 buck. It was good for some true summer flavors.

Ingredients:

4 stocks of rhubarb
3 tbs sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup strawberries, chopped and frozen
1 cup strawberry yogurt
splash of water/milk/juice

Directions:

Chop rhubarb into small pieces and cook over medium heat with sugar and water.
Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie - The Three Bite Rule
Cook 3-5 minutes until rhubarb is soft and cooked down.
Remove from the heat and let cool.
Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie - The Three Bite Rule
Blend together rhubarb, strawberries, yogurt, and a splash of water.
Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie - The Three Bite Rule
Add more water/milk/juice if it is too thick.
Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie - The Three Bite Rule

I liked this one. It was more work than my usual smoothie, but it was so good. It reminded me of dessert! I cooked the rhubarb the night before so it really wasn’t a ton of work the morning-of.

Greek Pita Pizza Redo

This Greek Pita pizza is one of the easiest dinners ever. I figured this uber old post circa 2011 deserved a re-do. I love the tapanade, spinach, and feta flavors. Making the pizza on pita bread means less than 15-minutes of cooking time. I added zucchini to it as well in case your farmer’s market finds or garden zuccs are out of control. This is a very veggie-centric meal  if you, like me, ate your weight in fun vacation-foods like pizza, and duck over mushroom risotto, and lobster mac & cheese, and blueberry ice cream…more on that later, now it is time for some veggies.

The Three Bite Rule - Greek Pita Pizza

Ingredients:

4 wheat pita breads
1 cup prepared tapanade
2 cups zucchini, sliced or chopped
2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup feta

Directions:

In a large skillet, cook the zucchini over medium-low heat with a drizzle of olive oil, for about 3-4 minutes.
Add chopped spinach and cook for another 2 minutes until the spinach begins to wilt, but doesn’t get over cooked.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Pita Pizza
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Spread the tapanade over the crusts.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Pita Pizza
Then add mozzarella, and the spinach & zucchini mixture to the top. Sprinkle with dried oregano.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Pita Pizza
Add feta on top and bake for 10-15 minutes. Cook for ~15 if eating it right away. If reheating another time for a different lunch or dinner, cook 10 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Pita Pizza
I love this one. The flavors are all really good and there aren’t many ingredients. One of the keys is the tapanade. I used a red pepper & artichoke tapanade, but any you find would work. I don’t like olives so I use this one or sundried tomato pesto for this pizza.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Pita Pizza
I don’t always add the zucchini so that can be optional. Fresh spinach is good or frozen spinach with all the water squeezed out. This one can be whipped up with mostly freezer/pantry ingredients!

Top Your Own Pasta Bar

For Dad’s bday we did a top-your-own pasta bar. It was really fun and I loooove customizing dinner with a group. Mom made everything and the rest of us just reaped the benefits.

We started with an antipasto which is actually Dad’s signature dish.
Antipasto - The Three Bite Rule
The pasta bar started with cheese tortellini in a light cream sauce. Then the toppings were all separate and allowed perfect customization.
The Three Bite Rule - Pasta Bar
We had grilled chicken tenders.
The Three Bite Rule - Pasta Bar
We had carrots, zucchini, and some tomatoes, onions, with a little pesto.
The Three Bite Rule - Pasta Bar
We also had peapods, artichokes, and capers.
The Three Bite Rule - Pasta Bar
It was really good. I had mine with zucchini, chicken, and onions with tomatoes. Topped with Parmesan.
The Three Bite Rule - Pasta Bar
The man of honor, had chicken, artichokes, capers, and some lemon.
The Three Bite Rule - Pasta Bar
We wrapped up with blueberry pie which was gone before I remembered to snap a pic.

Happy Birthday DAD!!

Walk, Salads & Cupcakes with Boston Brunchers

On Sunday I was lucky enough to get a spot with the Boston Brunchers for an afternoon at Chestnut Hill Square. I was so glad I went since I haven’t really been over there since it was all re-done. I was glad to meet a few new bloggers and this event was fun because we mixed a few categories of foodies, athletes, etc.

We started at True Runner and got to test out some New Balance sneaks for our hike and some techy tom toms. I declined the Tom Tom and stuck with my fitbit. I did take advantage of borrowing the sneakers. They were great, though I don’t know how much I’d have to love them to dish out $115 for them, since a) I’m not a runner and b) I’m 4.5 months pregnant so starting to run isn’t in my near future. How fun are those laces though?!
blog_salad_shoes_590_390
We walked a leisurely pace. I clarified that we weren’t running but I hope the pace wasn’t meant for me. I could have gone faster but it was beautiful out and the homes in those neighborhoods are so amazing.

Then we returned and promptly went to Sweetgreen. They were very hospitable with blueberry basil lemonade ready at our reserved tables. I love that they focus on local foods, and that they compost everything. My only thought was that we were crammed into the patio. They made a bunch of salads for us to pick from but some of us were boxed in and got stuck with 2 remaining choices nobody really wanted. I think their menu looks fantastic and I’ll definitely be back…that being said, I wasn’t into my salad. I just can’t give a steller review for a salad I would never have chosen.
blog_salad_choices_590_390
I had the Spicy Sabzi. It was spinach and kale, with spicy quinoa, spicy broccoli, raw beets, carrots, sprouts, and tofu. Had I known what was really in it, I would have passed. It was just too spicy for me. Plus, I don’t like raw beets, and sprouts are a no-go during pregnancy annnnd certain squishy foods aren’t appealing to me these past 4 pregnant months. They were super smart to have stuff ready, but I wish I got to order. I’m glad we weren’t disrupting their usual customers though.
blog_salad_mine_590_390
The dressing was a chili vinaigrette and I skipped the sriracha. I ate some of it. It was just too spicy. A few salads were gone in a second ahmm:kale caesar, cough: chic p. I will go back because I like the prices, local ingredients, attention to detail, and the vibe. The santorini salad with feta, shrimp and cucumber basil yogurt dressing sounds amazing and the guacamole greens has my name written all over it. Who knew I’d be so picky for salad?

They gave us a taste of the seasonal gazpacho which was tomato peach. I loooved it.
blog_salad_gaz_590_390
Next up was Sweet Cupcakes to round out our day. I love Sweet and went to the downtown crossing location a few times. They’re just so clever to have shots of frosting. Those came in handy when work was just too much. The cupcakes are better than most others around.

blog_salad_allcupcakes
The shop and manager were just too cute. She told us about the seasonal flavors and how often they rotate. We had a few to try and then chose a few others to taste. We tried a Honey Blackberry cupcake which was the best dessert I’ve eaten in a months. The frosting was cinnamon-y and I loved it. I’d normally go towards peanut butter, chocolate,  or coconut. This made me change my tune.
blog_salad_cupcake
There are 6 Sweet locations and I’m glad they’re doing so well. They’ve opened one a year! Two other cupcake Boston area joints have closed. The Somerville one shall remain nameless, but I’m not surprised.

As an event planner I’m so impressed how well organized the whole day was. Three venues  and a group of more than 10 can definitely alter ideal timing but they had everything coordinated perfectly. We got some goodies from a few more of the stores and we had a delightful day.

Full 3 Bite Rule Disclosure: My invitation seat with the Boston Brunchers was completely complimentary but my thoughts, opinions, and words are entirely my own. 

Shrimp Tacos with Corn Lime Salsa

I love shrimp tacos and I wanted to mess with a different salsa. I didn’t go spicy and wanted the corn to be toasty and pop with each bite. I threw in some broccoli slaw for a crunch. The shrimp was fully cooked so the grill was for char and smokiness. This dinner took 15 minutes without turning the oven on. Perfect for summer!

Roasted Corn and Lime Salsa - The Three Bite Rule

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups corn
1 lime
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 cup red onion chopped
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tbs honey
6 jumbo shrimp
1 cup broccoli slaw
flour tortillas

Directions:

In a dry, hot pan, roast the corn until lightly browned, about 5 minutes on high heat. Then let cool to room temperature.
Roasted Corn and Lime Salsa - The Three Bite Rule
Mix together the tomato, lime juice, lime zest, onion, garlic, and honey.
Roasted Corn and Lime Salsa - The Three Bite Rule
Mix together and then let sit.
Skewer the shrimp, then brush with honey, lime juice, salt and pepper.
Roasted Corn and Lime Salsa - The Three Bite Rule
Grill the shrimp until lightly charred.
Toss the corn into the salsa.
Assemble tacos with tortilla, broccoli slaw, salsa, and shrimp.
Roasted Corn and Lime Salsa - The Three Bite Rule
The salsa was subtle. I liked the honey and lime flavors with the corn but I think I’d add more of kick next time. It was good and made dinner feel different, which is what I was going for. My grocery store never has cotija but had I found feta in the fridge I might have thrown that on there for more contrast.

Some Good Stuff

Aka, a collection of ramblings and links to share. Also drool-worthy photos other bloggers are rockin’.

This is just too funny: The Nutella Debate. I’m on team-nutella, minus the fact I always want to spell it incorrectly differently. Please do not disagree…especially if you are somebody who pretends to not like chocolate. Be gone with you. Nutella goes with every.thing. Make my grilled nutella, pb & pear sandwich. You can thank me later.

nutella_sand_plate_590_390

Non-Chinese foods that (hopefully) we already know aren’t authentically Chinese…still are top choices regardless. Was somebody thinking these were authentic?

Boston(ish) foodie collaborative & shared rental spaces popping up all over.

How cool is NYC? They did a French Restaurant Week just before Bastille Day. Love it. Regular restaurant week is so tired, and they dumb down their menus, and their staff hate it. I’d love a super specialized restaurant week here and there….now that restaurant week happens all the time. Ok. I’m off my soapbox.

Hmmm. I want some really good polenta…like this amazing looking one by Half Baked Harvest. I should mess around with polenta more often. There was a good one at work but it was just too spicy for me.
Balsamic Fig Glazed Pork w-Blistered Cherry Tomatoes and Creamy Gorgonzola Polenta | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest
A House in the Hills made some honeydew basil spritzers which sounds lovely while there’s still some summer left. I’ll have to skip the wine in there, but I should make that happen, pronto.

I’ve been inspired by using weird methods for usual things…like hashbrowns I made the other night on the waffle iron. I was wayyyy too heavy handed with the cheese and they stuck miserably. I’ll try again, but by that point I just wanted to eat so it wasn’t blogged.

What else looks good out there?

Steakhouse Flatbread Pizzas

I was wanting to make his & hers pizzas. I don’t eat beef and Mr. J isn’t into mushrooms so this was the perfect time for individual pizzas. I was really into the idea of buttery mushrooms with a really good cheese. Being pregnant means only pasteurized cheeses and I had envisioned fontina but couldn’t find one labeled as such. I figure they are, but I’m not taking any chances. I found some asiago (labeled as pasteurized) and thought that would be good.

Steakhouse Flatbread Pizza - The Three Bite Rule
I had some naan pieces from Trader Joe’s which made really great individual pizzas.

Ingredients:

Pizza dough/flatbread/pita bread
1/4 red onion, chopped
3 tbs cream cheese
2 tbs milk
1 tbs garlic
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
3 oz shiitake or portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 cup mozzarella
1 cup asiago

Directions:

Saute chopped onions in olive oil over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until soft and lightly browned.
Steakhouse Flatbread Pizza - The Three Bite Rule
Mix up the cream cheese, milk, garlic, garlic powder, Parmesan, salt and pepper.
Steakhouse Flatbread Pizza - The Three Bite Rule
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat until it starts to foam. Add in the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes.
Steakhouse Flatbread Pizza - The Three Bite Rule
Spread the flatbreads with the cream cheese sauce, then mozzarella and asiago.
Add onions and mushrooms on top.
Steakhouse Flatbread Pizza - The Three Bite Rule
Sprinkle remaining asiago on top.
Bake 5-10 minutes at 350-degrees until toasted and the cheese melts.
Steakhouse Flatbread Pizza - The Three Bite Rule
Enjoy!

I loved this one. The mushrooms were buttery and paired perfectly with the asiago.
Steakhouse Flatbread Pizza - The Three Bite Rule
Mr. J grilled some marinated steak tips and sliced it for the pizza. His started with the same flatbread, cream cheese sauce, mozzarella and asiago cheese mixture, onions, then topped with sliced steak.
Steakhouse Flatbread Pizza - The Three Bite Rule
These individual pizzas were topped with what we each like. These are a great to really customize for separate preferences but would also be a great way to use small amounts of leftovers.