Crispy Fish Rice Bowl

We don’t eat a whole lot of fish at our house, but I like it would like our preschooler seeing it more often. Variety is key! This was totally the easiest way to make that happen on a weeknight, in a format everyone likes! I used frozen breaded fish pieces that were super quick to cook up and serve as tacos or taco bowls. I went for a bowl and Mr. J and the little guy had the same as a taco. I liked it so much I made another one for a weekend lunch one day shortly after!

The Three Bite Rule - Crispy Fish Rice Bowl

Crispy Fish Rice Bowl

Ingredients (for 2)

2 cups brown rice
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
2-4 small pieces of breaded fish
2 cups shredded red cabbage
2 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 1/2 cups corn
1 avocado
2 tablespoons mayo
1/4 cup salsa

Directions:

Cook the rice and stir in the taco seasoning when cooked.
Bake the fish according to the package.
Toss together the cabbage, mayo, and vinegar (can be prepped the night before).
Cook the corn.
Assemble the bowls with rice, fish, slaw, corn, and avocado.
The Three Bite Rule - Crispy Fish Rice Bowl
Stir together the salsa and mayo and drizzle over the top.
The Three Bite Rule - Crispy Fish Rice Bowl
Enjoy!

I really love bowls and it was a fun variation for me outside of regular taco night. Try it with a little one or one who doesn’t love fish. This is such a gentle flavor of fish and when it is accompanied by other foods everyone has seen, it makes it easy. The crispy factor is also super appealing. I love this and will definitely make again!

Winter Vibes Salad with Shrimp, Arugula & Pear

Winter doesn’t scream salad because a) nothing locally is in season here in New England b) it isn’t warm & comforting like winter food and c) aren’t we wearing chunky knit sweaters for a reason? However, hitting a bunch of food groups in one dish makes me feel accomplished and there’s nothing more grown up for my lunch than arugula salad – compared to eating the crust of somebody’s pb & fluff sandwich while doing something else. This is a home lunch, or a dinner! I do not condone warming fish at the office. Nope. I bring you this salad with juicy shrimp, peppery arugula and pear to inch us towards the local produce that will be, once the seasons change and because we all deserve a restaurant-quality salad at home.

winter_arugula_dressing_590_390
Veg, fruit, nuts, and fish -all in one dish? Yesss! Plus, my dressing hack takes zero brainpower and is ohh-so-perfect!

Winter Salad with Shrimp, Arugula & Pear

Ingredients: (for 1)

~4 large shrimp (~4 per person depending on med/lg/jumbo or swap with salmon/etc)
1 tablespoon butter
1/8 cup walnuts
1 1/2 cups arugula
1/2 pear, chopped
1 tablespoon Italian Dressing
1 tablespoon Honey Mustard Dressing

Directions:

In a completely dry pan, toast the walnuts over medium-low heat, being careful not to let them burn – about 3-5 minutes.
Peal & de-vein the shrimp. Then heat a small pan to medium heat with the butter. Sear the shrimp for about 2 minutes on each side until pink and just cooked through. Remove promptly from the heat and set to the side.
Mix together the arugula, toasted walnuts, pear and shrimp.
The Three Bite Rule - Winter Salad with Arugula & Shrimp
In a small jar (or in a bowl with a whisk) shake together the two dressings.
Toss the salad in the dressing.
Serve and enjoy!
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I love the sweet pear with the peppery arugula. There is such great flavor here without becoming super complicated- which is how I normally like salads = all.the.stuff. The dressing is spot-on and would be that dressing at a restaurant you love that you can’t put your finger on what exactly it is. The Italian dressing decreases the sweetness of the honey mustard. The best Italian is this one – seriously, so perfect.

 

January 2019 Recap

January is fun for us, not the holiday-letdown that I hear others speak of. My little boy is 4! We celebrated with a family party for him & his cousin to jump at the trampoline park and pizza and cake at home. Another weekend we had a trip to Maine. Mr. J and I went out to dinner at a new-ish Mexican restaurant in our town and we looooved it. Now it is almost February!

I have to come clean. I was going to sneak meatless tacos in one night but Mr. J unloaded the groceries. I was being secretive but Mr. J will try anything so I didn’t really need to be. They were a hit! I love tacos as a meatless option since it is so much faster to get ready (especially from frozen) and a meal where the flavor and texture is really fine. I fully recommend this beefless ground with some taco seasoning added in and a splash of salsa. Seriously, I bet you could fool anyone in a taco or nachos. This infographic blows my mind for environmental impact of eating meat. While we’re not going vegan over here, the water use, deforestation, and climate change all make me know I can do more.

Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad was a nice change for lunch.
The Three Bite Rule - Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
Just because it is January doesn’t mean we don’t need something sweet, right? Everything Cookie Brownie Bars to the rescue.
The Three Bite Rule - Everything Cookie Brownie Bars
Quick Ham & Cheddar Pizzas with a Mustard Drizzle hit the spot for a cool winter night.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheddar Pizza with Mustard Drizzle
For February, I’m excited for superbowl snacks and I have some really great posts to work on. I’ve been stumped on breakfasts so I need to get myself more creative & easy options. I never want winter smoothies, it is just too cold.

The Baby Girl:

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She’s doing so well yet I thought she’d weigh more at her last weigh-in, but she’s happy and healthy. She’s 12 pounds and super smiley. We’re now letting her sleep at night until she wakes hungry. Sometimes that has been the morning, other times it is a night-time feeding. She barrel rolls across the floor and can hold herself up with one hand while reaching with the other. Baby girl wants to move! We just set up the high chair and I think she’s enjoying being up to the table while we eat. Mostly, she just likes seeing exactly what her big brother is doing. We want to let her play with baby cereal but she naps 6pm-9:30 has a bottle, then sleeps. Maybe this weekend!!

The Little Boy:

He loved his birthday and then REALLY loved dancing to a DJ at his uncle’s birthday! I couldn’t get over my sometimes-shy-guy bustin’ a move on the dance floor. He had a fun Children’s Museum adventure with his Auntie and true to his nature, wasn’t sure he wanted to go when he really thought about it the morning-of. I knew he’d love it and he did. He’s currently obsessed with these new Cheerios. Our big guy wants his tacos regular sized (I used to cut a flour taco into mini triangles to be easier to hold) but he wants them in a taco stand and takes bites. The other night he ate 3 tacos!  We transitioned his crib to a toddler bed and he’s done great! He doesn’t get out until his sleep machine turns from red to green, and even comically announces “my light is green” and waits for us before getting up. It is too cute. He is loving that baby sister can hold toys now.

2019 goals:

Year of ___ decluttering/minimizing/organizing: I’m not all Marie Kondo but folding by drawer-clothes to see them all is so great! My closet is next.
Feeding Littles: I posted a few, this Peanut Sesame noodles & edamame and Meatless Tacos which are each crowd favorites around here. 
Work on advanced food prepping: ehh. I can do more.
What I’m reading: I read My Name is Lucy Barton which was lackluster. I read Today Will Be Different. Bookclub read The Power which I went back and forth on – definitely different than ones I pick myself. Mr. J is a reading fiend right now- like a book every few days!
What I’m watching: I’m behind on my favs A Million Little Things and This is Us. I might have to accept that I just don’t have the time for the Bachelor. Maybe I’ll jump in a few weeks from now when there are fewer contestants and I’m not 6 hours behind. We watched The Big Sick and loved it so much- I laughed, I cried, I’d watch it again. The big thing is we got rid of cable. Mr. Roku saved us a chunk and might mean we’re a bit more strategic too versus DVR feeling like a to-do list!

Game Day Snacks

I’m mostly into the Superbowl for the snacks and commercials so my home team playing is just a perk. I did watch to see who would go to the superbowl! If you haven’t planned your snacks, get on it! I have quite a list and need to narrow down a bit! We aren’t having a crowd so I’m still assessing what snack food we want to have. Our preschooler looooves when we have snacky dinner- as in, not a traditional meal. Maybe we’ll have something with him and then more when kiddos are asleep an hour into the game!

Nachos seem like a must-have so loaded waffle fries is a definite way to kick it up:
The Three Bite Rule - Loaded Waffle Fries

Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs will be gone before you know it, and are a good snack to make ahead of time or to bring since they don’t need reheating! Seriously, people chuckle when they see deviled eggs yet they’re always gone before I know it whenever I bring them somewhere. I’m sure I’ll make some since they are easy to just make a few of.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs
Skip the veggies with hummus and put this Greek Dip together- no cooking required! Layer hummus on the bottom, top with chopped cukes, tomato, feta, and Italian dressing and pita chips or wheat thins to dip. It is a crowd pleaser and couldn’t be easier. Packing tip: bring the hummus, chopped veggies & feta, and dressing all separate and assemble in 1 minute when you arrive at your viewing party.
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I’m thinking about pigs in blankets (after finding mini chicken sausages! score!) and a dip seems necessary. What else, well, only time will tell!

A whole bunch of flatbread-ish pizzas on naan are great for a crowd. Build-your-own anything is fun- build your own sandwich/panini would be a festive option. I’d love to do build your own nachos with queso in a crock pot if I were hosting a group! Happy snacking!

Ham & Cheddar Pizza with Mustard Drizzle

Fastest pizza/flatbread ever! I thought about a panini but then wanted it to be a pizza. Wheat naan make the fastest pizza crust ever and I love the individual servings. The really good quality cheddar cheese makes this, and of course the caramelized onions don’t hurt either.

The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheddar Pizza with Mustard Drizzle

Ham & Cheddar Pizza with a Mustard Drizzle

Ingredients: (for 4)

4 naan
1 small white onion, cut into slices
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
~2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar
2 slices spiral cut ham, diced
4 tablespoons honey mustard dressing

Directions:

Preheat the oven (and pizza stone if using one) to 400 degrees.
In a small pan, cook the onion in butter or olive oil over low heat for about 20 minutes, or until gently caramelized.
Mix together the “sauce” of cream cheese and dijon.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheddar Pizza with Mustard Drizzle
Spread it onto the naan.
Sprinkle cheese on top, then add the ham and onions.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheddar Pizza with Mustard Drizzle
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese melts and the naan starts to crisp. The naan stays mostly soft but the edges crisp a little.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheddar Pizza with Mustard Drizzle
Let cool for about 2 minutes out of the oven, then drizzle with honey mustard dressing.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Cheddar Pizza with Mustard Drizzle
I loved this! Outside the box pizza toppings are some of my favorites and this was the ideal leftover for some holiday ham slices that made their way into our freezer. Our pre-schooler is obsessed with honey mustard so it was my nod to him too. He ate about 1/3 of one, which I thought was a pretty solid quantity since he often likes his foods separate and meat isn’t always his go-to! It was a reminder too that 2 slices of ham went a very far way when chopped up to become 4 individualized pizzas!

This could be a fun brunch one too since topping it with a fried egg also sounds delicious!

The Everything Cookie Brownie Bars

Today I bring you a dessert I made during the holidays but thought it was a good choice for the day my little man turns 4! Woah! He’s just as sweet as these chocolate chip cookie + oreo + brownies.

The Three Bite Rule - Everything Cookie Brownie Bars

Everything Cookie Brownie Bars

Ingredients:

1 roll of chocolate chip cookie dough (brought to room temperature)
2/3 package of Oreos
1 box brownie mix, prepared as instructed

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Spread the cookie dough into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish, sprayed with non-stick spray.
The Three Bite Rule - Everything Cookie Brownie Bars
Then line up Oreos across the cookie base.
The Three Bite Rule - Everything Cookie Brownie Bars

Mix up the brownie mix with eggs, oil, and water, as directed.
Pour the brownie batter on top being careful to pour it all over (it doesn’t spread well without disrupting the Oreos).
The Three Bite Rule - Everything Cookie Brownie Bars
Bake for about 45 minutes.
Let cool completely, then cut and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Everything Cookie Brownie Bars
I loved this but cooked mine a smidge long for my liking. Go for 45ish minutes. I left mine in for about 55 and that might be too much. I’d also like a bit more cookie on the base so next time I might do 1 & 1/2 rolls of cookie dough…I’m sure the remainder won’t go to waste. ;-)

These would be a natural birthday dessert offering for a now-4-year-old, but we’ll have leftover cake, complete with party hats even just for the 3 of us who can sit upright on our own. I’d imagine the babe might get a hat for a few minutes…and a dog or two might partake as well.

Ok, 2019- We’re onto you!

Happy New Year! As much as the clean slate and encouragement to do all the right things feels exciting it can also feel overwhelming. Suddenly we’re supposed to switch from Christmas cookies to all the kale salads? My plans for the upcoming year usually start in November, with my blogaversary but after some post-holiday clean up, I was feeling jazzed and inspired to help for those whose resolutions include the kitchen! By now we’re definitely into January but the number date doesn’t have to dictate when to get started on good habits!

I’m interested by the idea of a word for the year and I’m loving the lists of “more XYZ; less ABC” as a way to set some intentions versus specific goals. I asked on instagram what some food/kitchen related resolutions were which led me here!

If you’re trying to be more intentional with meal planning:

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  • Capsule Meal Planning: gives yourself some structure & starting points to plan a week of meals
  • meal planning in 5 steps
  • also, write it down! It helps you plan, shop, visually see what’s ahead (so you can prep ahead somewhat) and anyone else who is eating can see it!
  • my fav grocery app (Anylist) is now on apple & andriod! Hallelujah! We tried so many when we weren’t both on iphones. You can share the list with family members annnnd save a photo with an item- if you’re super particular about say, pita bread, like me! You can even connect recipes so you shop for all the groceries. I keep lists for groceries, Costco, Trader Joe’s and Target.

If you’re wanting some smart breakfast ideas:

Pumpkin Muffin

If packing your lunch needs some attention:

The Three Bite Rule - Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad

If you have a new appliance to play with:

The Three Bite Rule - PB & J Smoothie Healthified

If you’re wanting to do more meal prep in advance

(like me!) I’ll be sharing some of those tips on instagram.

Don’t feel the January pressure to do all the things. Take something that you WANT to do and just stick to that. Or pick a new resolution or intention for each month!
My goals:
Year of organizing/decluttering
Feeding Littles
Advanced food prep

 

Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad

Happy new year! I’m the only chicken salad eater at home but it is so great to make for 1 or 2! Make as little or as much as you like! I made this for a weekend lunch but I’ll definitely repeat this one for packing my lunch too. I poached chicken which is the trick for chicken salad and added in dried cranberries and toasted walnuts. It has good mix of crunch- without celery, which is my nemesis.

The Three Bite Rule - Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad

Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad (for 2)

Ingredients:

3 chicken tenders
2 sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)
2 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoon Italian dressing
2 tablespoons walnuts
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
salt & pepper

Directions:

Poach the chicken in a medium pot, just with the chicken covered with water and a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and 2 sprigs of fresh thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 8 minutes. Let cool completely before chopping/shredding.
The Three Bite Rule - Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
Mix together the chicken, mayo, dressing, walnuts and cranberries.
Refrigerate until serving, or serve immediately.
Mix together the chicken, mayo, dressing, walnuts and cranberries.
Assemble sandwiches and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
I loved this! I made a sandwich with arugula on wheat toast or it would be good on salad too. The add-ins are great to bulk it up with less chicken. I was wishing I had pecans around…that would have been a fun twist from the walnuts!
Mix together the chicken, mayo, dressing, walnuts and cranberries.

December 2018 Recap

Howwww is it the end of December?! I think this was the fastest month of the year! Fingers crossed I can get photos of a bunch of menu items during my week off from work.

Christmas was magical. I think 3 (almost 4) years old is quite possibly the most ideal age for Christmas wonder. Our little guy loved seeing the lights, decorating the tree, and meeting Santa. Baby C was so happy and napped and ate pretty well considering it was an unusual day. Christmas day was great. Christmas eve we hosted dinner at home and making fresh pasta has become our tradition for the last few years. We made ravioli and crockpot meatballs. Dad made his signature antipasto and Mom made all the cookies.

December was busy with almost-final touches on the basement renno, social gatherings for dinners out and holiday parties, and busy at work. I really tried to balance Christmas being a magical time with what is actually do-able without adding stress. I decorated a bit less, we didn’t get lights onto the house, visiting Santa was suuuuper late, but the kiddos can’t understand a calendar so it is OK for this season of our lives. More and bigger wouldn’t help anything except for making stressed out parents.

The basement renno is allllmost done. It is in the final stretch. It is livable and just needs the tiniest of details. After the first overnight guests we may settle more toys there though having family helps us (cough, all credit to Mr. J) get the last items done. I’ve tried to “own” meals/laundry/gift wrapping while he’s taking on all the projects!

I think everyone needs loaded waffle fries on a menu, even if just for lunch.
The Three Bite Rule - Loaded Waffle Fries
I made an easier-than-expected Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese and hope that it reinvents leftovers from Christmas!
The Three Bite Rule - Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese
This PB&J smoothie is my favorite. I rarely make any others now that this one feels perfected.
The Three Bite Rule - PB & J Smoothie Healthified
Work closes between Christmas & New Years, which is awesome for time home, and also since I’m at a negative balance from maternity leave. I hope to enjoy the time and to get a few recipes blogged (I have a dessert, a pizza, and maybe a soup on my list!), stock the freezer just a bit, and get a few things done.

The Little Boy:

He moved up to the next class at daycare which is awesome. Such a big kid! We put his play kitchen into the basement and he is loving cooking for us! He is suuuuper into tools and kept very occupied by poking holes with a screwdriver into our broken-down cardboard. He got to watch his first movie! We watched the original, animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas. He loved it. For food, he loves eating his gingerbread house and all the treats of the season. Meat-less tacos didn’t phase him and I was glad to see him eat them as is, and not deconstruct them to eat elements separately. He liked “fancy toast” which means nutella. He was so excited for Christmas and couldn’t wait to leave cookies for Santa. His birthday is coming right up which might mean that at 4 years old, we maybe should give up the crib. I had hoped we’d get to be sleeping through the night before the effort of teaching him to stay in bed, but alas, someday.

The Baby Girl:

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She’s suchhh a happy girl! She’s very chill, very smiley, and eating better. We’re on a better dosage for reflux. I think she loved being held by all the family for Christmas. We have a good routine going in the mornings and after work. It feels like a relief to know what to expect with her now. Daycare loves her because she’s so sweet and doesn’t cry.

2019 goals:

Year of ___ decluttering/minimizing/organizing: 2 donation pick ups helped move things out but we’re not 100% settled into the basement yet. Almost! I’m glad to report our wetbar is cleared off now that we moved into our desks in the basement renno.
Feeding Littles: I wish I did this more. I’ll keep at it. Dinner is just such a rush to get onto the table and I try not to have screens at the table! Here’s one!   
Work on advanced food prepping: I capitalized on Trader Joe’s favs (Mandarin Orange Chicken & edemame) and some pre-made freezer items this month (like leftover Thanksgiving meatballs, lasagna, a calzone)
What I’m reading: I didn’t read all that much this month. I’m quite far into What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton but it is ohh so long- I’m about 400 pages into the 600ish pages. I may call it done and move on.
What I’m watching: Christmas movies! Christmas with the Kranks is a fav and so underrated, in my opinion. We rushed to squeeze in a few other favs like Home Alone, Elf, Christmas Vacation, etc.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie, Healthified

Wayyy back, circa 2013 I made a peanut butter and jelly inspired smoothie. Since then, I’ve been drinking a new version with a green base. I made this one several times a week while pregnant with Baby C and my preschooler had some whenever I made it. The greens in the base are totally camouflaged so it is a great green-smoothie starter.
The Three Bite Rule - PB & J Smoothie Healthified
I often use a smoothie to be my breakfast- with something small later, like 1/2 cup Cheerios or a hard boiled egg. It also makes a great snack during this busy, on-the-go season!

PB & J Smoothie, Healthified

Ingredients (for 1-2 servings: 1 meal or 2 snacks)

1 1/2 cups greens (spinach or baby spinach & baby kale mix)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt (Greek or regular)
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1-2 tablespoon peanut butter
water

The Three Bite Rule - PB & J Smoothie Healthified

Directions:

Add greens, milk, and yogurt to the blender and blend well. Keep blending once it seems like enough. The more the better!
The Three Bite Rule - PB & J Smoothie Healthified
Then add in the blueberries, ground flaxseed, and peanut butter.
Add small increments of water until desired consistency. (I end up using about 1/2 cup usually)
Blend well and enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - PB & J Smoothie Healthified
I like it best with regular vanilla yogurt but Greek has more protein (and more tang). I buy this bag of “juicing greens” which is baby spinach and baby kale. Once it has hung around about a week and there is any left, I freeze it an break some off for smoothies.

I add the water to get it to a drinkable consistency. Milk would work too. I keep adding, very slowly, until it splashes on the sides of my blender. Then I know it’ll go through the straw well.