Lettuce-less Salad Series: Peach & Mozzarella Salad

July brings us a lettuce-less salad series! Lettuce is often my least fav part of salad and my kids are not so into lettuce- maybe for the texture? This salad is all summer with peach, fresh mozzarella, tomato, and cucumber with balsamic reduction. When I say peach, I often mean nectarine but you do you. This was a hit for all of us! It may have turned Mr. J onto nectarines!

The Three Bite Rule - Peach & Mozzarella Salad

Peach, Mozzarella & Tomato Salad

Ingredients: (for 4)

1 peach/nectarine
1 8 oz fresh mozzarella ball
1 cup grape tomatoes
2/3 of a cucumber
1 tablespoon balsamic reduction

Directions:

Chop the peach, mozzarella, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
The Three Bite Rule - Peach & Mozzarella Salad
Mix and drizzle with balsamic reduction.
The Three Bite Rule - Peach & Mozzarella SaladEnjoy!

If making it ahead of time, chop only the peach, tomatoes and cucumbers. Then chop the mozzarella and drizzle just before serving. Mini mozzarella balls would work well for this too!

The flavors and textures here are so perfect for summer. We ate it as a side with dinner and all of us loved it- we’re very into nectarines right now! I bought balsamic reduction since we’ll eat it a lot this summer and it just makes life a little easier but it is also so simple to make. Just bring balsamic vinegar to a boil and simmer for ~10 minutes until thickened. Then cool before using. That’s an easier way to have a smaller amount too.

I have a few more lettuce-less salads coming. Stay tuned!

Easy Chocolate Mousse

This is totally cheating- this isn’t true mousse, but everyone needs the easiest dessert ever, right? YES. Kids could definitely make this. It seems silly to share given how little cooking is involved, but it is a great one to have in your back pocket- especially something quick and cool. The other night we did a friends call where everyone picked a drink and food item. I went with a riesling and this chocolate mousse. It was a great paring!

The Three Bite Rule - Easy Chocolate Mousse

Easy Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients:

1 box instant chocolate pudding
milk (as the package instructs)
6-8 oz cool whip
mini chocolate chips or chocolate sprinkles

Directions:

Prepare the pudding according to the package.
The Three Bite Rule - Easy Chocolate Mousse
Once cooled and set, mix in 3/4 of the cool whip.
Serve with a dollop of cool whip and garnish.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Easy Chocolate Mousse
Mr. J chose a white wine and boursin with melba toasts. We had a great variety!

June 2020 Recap

Somehow June zoomed by! Maybe it was the wrap up for T’s pre-k class or the hurry of the end of the fiscal year at work. The unknown of what’s ahead is just so strange. Being patient to let time pass, to find out what elementary school and daycare will do, and to hear what is ahead for work is just hard. The limbo is hard to not let possibilities feel stressful.

I was so happy with Mr. J’s birthday burger! This BLT Burger has bacon ground into the patty and a tomato jam.
The Three Bite Rule - BLT Burger w/ Tomato Jam
This Pink Grapefruit Refresher was totally out of the ordinary for me and is addicting. The touch of tart from the pink grapefruit with sweetness from the grenadine is delightful.
The Three Bite Rule - Pink Grapefruit Refresher
The little ones aren’t into shrimp lately so I whipped this Chipotle Shrimp Rice Bowl up just for myself. My love for grain bowls runs deep and some leftover brown rice and some leftover black beans were screaming to become a bowl!
The Three Bite Rule - Chipotle Shrimp Rice Bowl
I’m kicking July off with the easiest dessert ever and maybe a series. This tends to be a slower time for blog readership but maybe that’ll be different now that nobody’s going on vacation? We’ll see. I mean, we’re eating 3 meals a day at home and we love the occasional surprise so I’m still at it!

The Pre-K Guy:

He was sad for his class to be over. It was a drawn-out time of “being over” but he loved it. He’s honestly so happy to be home 24-7. He loves getting dressed in shorts, playing outside most of the day is great for him. I wish he could play with friends. Our home routine works well. I don’t push the worksheets, crafts, etc but I try to have some things ready. That pre-dinner rush or post-nap or needing a cool activity inside is prime time to have something ready. He’s thoroughly appreciates getting to watch a show- his favs are Floogles, Muppet Babies, and DinoTrux. He is obsessed with playing music from the ipod- Say Something by A Great Big World and Manic Monday by The Bangles. I love that he picks out bedtime stories and we close our eyes and try to guess the books by feel. I’m maybe 50% guess rate. His fav foods are pb&j (still), bread & butter pickles, and craisins. There’s a lot of life lessons happening- racism, honesty, consent. Bah. It is hard.

The Toddler Girl:

She so easy-going. Any chance for an adventure and she’s sold! The possibility of a car ride is her dream. She misses errands. She likes a few licks of an ice cube and knows the remainder goes into the dog’s water bowl. She is happy to give the dogs treats – moreso than big brother is! I’m noticing a few two-year-old moments- she turns 2 in August. She’s so chill until she isn’t. Her fav foods are cheese (and more and more cheese) and jelly and teddy grahams. Her fav tunes are Wheels on the Bus and Uptown Girl.

This Year’s Goals:

Year of beauty/selfcare – Ehh. Not really. I repaired my pedicure tool- does that count?
Prep intentional sides and veggies: Ehh. Nope
Eat more fish: breaded fish sticks
Blog some series: Nope.
Focus decluttering/organizing to an area: I was on a roll giving away a bunch of attic stuff. We’ve probably cleared out the last of the baby stuff.
Share more books on instagram: I’ve shared the collections I pull for the kids and what I’m into.
Prioritize workouts: I’m almost through Barre Blend. I’m not sure what’s next. Maybe running more.
What I’m reading: I finished The Most Fun We Ever Had and thought it was ok/good. Then I loved Clap When You Land
What I’m listening to: 
only the occasional podcast - A Beautiful Mess is a fun one after following their blog and instagram.
What I’m watching: We finished Schitt’s Creek and are so sad it is over. I’m loving the Bachelor Best Seasons Ever for a whole season in one night!

BLT Burger with Ground Bacon and Tomato Jam

Happy Birthday burger Mr. J! Annually I make a special burger and this one was such a good one! Grinding the bacon was no joke but it made for a delicious burger! The bacon flavor is totally up front. This tomato jam has the perfect sweet touch with some smoke and richness.

The Three Bite Rule - BLT Burger w/ Tomato Jam

BLT Burger

Ingredients: (for 4 burgers)

5 roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon ground ginger (~3/4 inch)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
pinch red pepper flakes
1 pound ground pork
1/2 pound bacon
4 burger buns
lettuce

Directions:

In a heavy pot, over low heat, add the tomatoes, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, ginger, garlic, salt, cumin, paprika, worcestershire sauce, and red pepper flakes. Simmer on low for an hour. Then remove from heat and chill until serving.
The Three Bite Rule - BLT Burger w/ Tomato Jam
Grind the bacon or finely chop it while raw.
Mix the ground pork and bacon together and form into burgers. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
Grill until cooked through, until 160-degrees. (We cooked on a flat top.)
Assemble the burgers with the bun, mayo, lettuce, the burger, a generous scoop of tomato jam and the top bun.
The Three Bite Rule - BLT Burger w/ Tomato JamEnjoy!

The tomato jam is a great part to make in advance – even a day or two before. I then ate the leftovers on toast and think it’d be great in a grilled cheese, on eggs, tossed with pasta, or on a real BLT as the T.

Here’s the history of the Birthday Burgers for Mr. J:

2019 it was a Manchego Burger with manchego, quince jam, and arugula
2018 it was a Garlic Lovers Burger with garlic butter, chips, garlic aoli and white cheddar.
2017 it was an Ultimate Mexican Burger with queso, guac, and beans.
2016 it was a Mac & Cheese Stuffed Burger topped with bacon, onions, and tomato.
2015 it was a Picnic Burger with slaw & potato sticks
2014 it was a German Burger with horseradish, caramelized onions, pickles and a pretzel roll
2013 it was a Vermont Burger with maple mayo, cheddar, bacon, and spinach
2012 it was a Bacon Wrapped Burger - enough said
2011 it was a Stuffed Burger stuffed with bacon & cheddar or bacon & blue cheese

Chipotle Shrimp Rice Bowl

Will I ever run out of grain bowls? Actually – don’t answer that. I seriously loooove the combo of a grain + something cooked/warm + something cool/raw finished with a drizzle. They are also a fantastic way to hit lots of food groups while using up small quantities of things!
The Three Bite Rule - Chipotle Shrimp Rice Bowl
The littles aren’t enchanted by shrimp lately so I skipped them on this one and made it just for myself. It was a good thing because this was spi-cy. This would be great with any fish or chicken or beef.

Chipotle Shrimp Rice Bowls

Ingredients: (for 2)

1 1/2 cups brown rice
1/4 cup sour cream
1 chipotle pepper in adobo (plus 2 teaspoons of sauce)
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon lime juice
8 jumbo shrimp, pealed and deveined
1/4 cup tomatoes
1/2 avocado
1/2 cup black beans

Directions:

Cook the rice.
In a food processor or blender, mix together the sour cream, chipotle pepper plus 1 teaspoons of sauce, honey, and lime juice.
The Three Bite Rule - Chipotle Shrimp Rice Bowl
In a medium skillet, over medium heat, add in butter and remaining teaspoon of adobo sauce.
Slice tomatoes and avocado.
The Three Bite Rule - Chipotle Shrimp Rice Bowl
Layer into two bowls and drizzle with chipotle lime sauce.
The Three Bite Rule - Chipotle Shrimp Rice BowlEnjoy!

The sauce is spi-cy. Next time I’d tone it down a bit (by halving the chipotle) but I liked it. The rice and the avocado and the beans all help the spice. It was great for something different. In a pinch I’m known to mix ranch with salsa for a creamy drizzle too.

Pink Grapefruit Refresher

Cheers! If now isn’t the time for a fun drink, I don’t know when is! I whipped up this as an afternoon frozen treat but it definitely lends itself to being a frozen cocktail too! I never make drinks anymore but need to get back to it. This one has pink grapefruit juice with lemonade to mellow out the tartness. The grenadine adds some sweetness plus it brightens up the color!

My blender can totally pulverize ice but this drink could be on ice too- especially if it would be too icy and chunky, I’d shake it and serve over ice.
The Three Bite Rule - Pink Grapefruit Refresher

Pink Grapefruit Refresher

Ingredients:

2 cups ice
3/4 cup lemonade
2/3 cup pink grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon grenadine

Directions:

Add everything into the blender.
The Three Bite Rule - Pink Grapefruit Refresher
Blend well.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Pink Grapefruit Refresher
I loved this. The pink grapefruit is distinct and I knew it needed more sweetness. I used 100% ruby red grapefruit juice and a single serve lemonade. My tests were just frozen slushies which was truly a highlight of the afternoon. Each of the kids were stealing sips while they played outside.

For an evening version, I’d add some citrus vodka.

May 2020 Recap

I’d say we are somewhere between doing-well and surviving. Mostly we’d point towards well, though, honestly there are moments each day that we’re ready to tap-out. I think our rhythms are serving us well and we have enough ideas to keep us all on our toes. On weekdays, I create themes to give us some focus or for the days to feel different. Some good ones this month were: Thomas’ fav things day; cat day; and color days. We’ve been keeping our Friday night take out & DVR tradition after the kiddos go to bed and we often get take out another night. I love breaking up the week to have things to look forward to- and to supporting our local favs.

Cooking wise, we’ve been grilling a lot and I blogged with a focus on sauces since nobody is shopping extra and I’m never sure how accessible everything is.

Sauce 1: Maple Dijon for greens
Crispy Chicken Panini with Maple Dijon Greens
The Three Bite Rule - Crispy Chicken Panini with Maple Dijon Arugula

Sauce 2: Bacon Aoli
Bacon Aoli Burger
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Aoli Burger
Sauce 3: Honey Garlic Sauce
Honey Garlic Sauce on Pizza

The Three Bite Rule - Honey Garlic Sauce Pizza
I loved all of these! This reminded me to add garlic to the grocery list to make some more! I hope a sauce can mix up your next panini, burger, roasted veggies or pizza!

The Pre-K Guy:

He loves the routines more than anyone else here. He loves the sandbox Mr. J made them. He’ll gladly play with tools and scraps while Mr. J builds all the things. The daily themes are of interest, but he’s resistant to some of the worksheets/projects. Once he gets going, he can totally do them all. He’s super into eating a whole raw carrot. Avocado toast with everything bagel seasoning was a hit for lunch a few times. Somehow we got into a routine of having us guess, with our eyes closed, what book it’ll be.

The Toddler Girl:

She’s pretty happy with the current situation. She loooves stroller rides and the Cozy Coupe car- those are her auto-responses when we chat about our favorite parts of the day at dinner. She eats SO much at lunch and breakfast and dinner are so-so. Oatmeal and yogurt are her fav breakfasts. She loves pb&j and turkey & cheese sandwiches. Little girl can put away a whole sandwich plus whatever else! I love seeing her drink out of (and say) water bottle.

This Year’s Goals:

Year of beauty/selfcare – I didn’t grab anything. Do my resistance bands for workouts count?
Prep intentional sides and veggies: Ehh. Nope
Eat more fish: Salmon- again!
Blog some series: Nope.
Focus decluttering/organizing to an area: A pantry shelf got a complete clean-out when we found some ants. Eeek! I also did a major org of kids clothes and passed along a bunch of too-small ones.
Share more books on instagram: I’ve shared the collections I pull for the kids and what I’m into.
Prioritize workouts: I got into a Barre Blend one that has been good, and a serious reminder that I’m not my teenage self in ballet class. We are taking a lot of walks and I’ve gone running about once a week or so.
What I’m reading: I read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo which might be my fav of the year. I tried The Followers but couldn’t get too far into it.  I’m partway into The Most Fun We Ever Had.  
What I’m listening to: 
only the occasional podcast - Be There in 5 did a series on influencers that was so captivating.
What I’m watching: Supermarket Stakeout has been fun.

Honey Garlic Sauce on Pizza with Chicken

Back when we could go places, Mr. J and I had a date night to our now-fav local winery, Debevino for a wine tasting and then got dinner at Tavolino. We had a pizza we fell in love with. It had crispy chicken, bacon, smokes gouda, mozzarella and a roasted garlic-honey drizzle. I loooved it and actually asked if they sold the sauce- they don’t.

My pizza was a bit different than the restaurant version, but this sauce- ohh this sauce -is to die for. I plan to whip up some more sauce asap. We would love this sauce spread on a panini, as a bread dip, on a burger, or drizzled on pasta or over roasted veggies. For 2 seconds I felt bad that the sauce will take you 45 minutes. But seriously, when else will you have this much time?? Also, B, you’re just popping the garlic into the oven and setting a timer. I roasted it in the toaster oven for 40 minutes and mixed up the sauce. Then it chilled in the fridge until dinner time!

The Three Bite Rule - Honey Garlic Sauce Pizza

Honey Garlic Sauce Sauce on Pizza

Ingredients:

1 bulb of garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon butter
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
salt & pepper
pizza dough
3/4 cup mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded, roasted chicken
2 cups arugula
drizzle of olive oil, vinegar, or Italian dressing

Directions:

Slice 1/4 inch off the top off the garlic bulb, drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil and wrap in foil. Roast at 400-degrees for 40 minutes. (It should be super soft, add another 10 minutes if needed). This can be done in advance too.
Poke or scoop each garlic clove out into a small food processor or a bowl to beat with a hand mixer. Add in remaining olive oil, honey, butter, garlic powder, and a sprinkle of salt & pepper.
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Garlic Sauce Pizza
Blend until smooth. Chill until using.
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Garlic Sauce Pizza

Preheat a pizza stone, the oven, or grill – however you’re cooking your pizza.
Spread the sauce onto the crust then top with cheese and chicken.
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Garlic Sauce Pizza
Bake until the crust crisps and the cheese melts.
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Garlic Sauce Pizza
Top with arugula dressed in olive oil and vinegar or Italian dressing.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Garlic Sauce Pizza
We seriously swooned over this one. The chicken was from a rotisserie chicken that I had frozen. Pizzas are a great way to spread a small amount of the protein for topping! The sauce was flavorful, rich, and sweet. I love the raw crunch of the greens on a melty pizza. Some chopped parsley for some freshness and greens would be a great alternative.

Bacon Aoli Burger

This bacon aoli is as amazing as it sounds and makes the burger. I’m glad there’s some leftover aoli for another time! It is packed with so much bacon flavor, a little creaminess and lots of smokey flavor.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Aoli Burger
Mine was a beyond meat burger which is SO good. It was, hands down, the best burger I’ve had in a long time. I made the bacon aoli in advance which totally sped up getting the burgers on the table. A toddler waits for no blog photos.

Bacon Aoli

Ingredients: (for 1/4 cup, about 4 servings)

2 strips of bacon, reserve the bacon drippings
1/4 cup mayo
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
salt & pepper

Directions:

Pan fry chopped bacon until crisp. Remove from the pan and reserve the drippings.
Add the mayo, garlic, liquid smoke, bacon, bacon drippings when cooled, and salt and pepper to a small bowl.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Aoli Burger
Stir well.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Aoli Burger
Spread onto burgers topping them with more bacon, cheddar, arugula, and tomato – like I did. Or spread onto a BLT with more bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado. Or spread onto a roll with turkey, provolone, tomato, and arugula.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Aoli Burger
I loved this. We had these burgers with sweet potato tots and some white wine. It truly made a perfect mother’s day dinner for me!

Get your hands on some liquid smoke. It seems like a specialty ingredient, but it lasts forever and will transform your chili, it is great in any cheeseburger-ish item you’re not actually grilling (like cheeseburger layer dip) or Rootbeer bbq sauce or in any pork dish (like pork and bacon ragu). I use it all the time and just now need another bottle. I’ve seen it for sale in the grocery store too. In a pinch, Worcestershire sauce would be a back-up.

Crispy Chicken Panini with Maple Dijon Arugula

The title doesn’t leave a whole lot to your imagination, but I was going for easy to procure ingredients with lots of wiggle room to customize! This was also an fun way to use a smaller portion of chicken, or I’d totally make it again with meatless chicken, which I love too. I forget about paninis but now that we’re all home for quarantine, they’re a great and easy meal and can easily be a dinner. There are 4 food groups in here!

I hope some of these easy ideas give you something to look forward to. We all need that right now, right? Paninis are also so great to be build your own if you have a crowd too!

The Three Bite Rule - Crispy Chicken Panini with Maple Dijon Arugula

Crispy Chicken Panini with Maple Dijon Arugula

Ingredients: (for 1 panini)

2 breaded chicken tenders
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon mayo
1 slice provolone
1 small roll

Directions:

Bake the chicken until crispy and fully cooked through. (Mine came frozen or use meatless tenders or make your own). Then slice in half width-wise.
Mix together the dijon, maple syrup, and mayo.
The Three Bite Rule - Crispy Chicken Panini with Maple Dijon Arugula
Heat a panini press or grill pan or heavy skillet.
Toss the arugula in some of the maple dijon. Reserve some to spread onto the roll.
Assemble the panini with a little maple dijon on the roll (if desired), arugula then chicken then cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Crispy Chicken Panini with Maple Dijon Arugula
Press or grill or pop into a toaster oven (or skip and enjoy immediately!), as you wish, until warmed through and until the cheese melts.
The Three Bite Rule - Crispy Chicken Panini with Maple Dijon Arugula
Slice and enjoy!

Ohh so good, and simple. Making a little maple dijon gives it an easy special touch that I think is totally worth it- esp since I was using otherwise prepared ingredients, but substitute honey mustard dressing and call it a day.

I know not everyone can get every ingredient right now, so here are some substitution ideas:
roll – use bread, or make it a wrap!
provolone – any sliced cheese: swiss/cheddar/gouda/monterey jack
arugula – any greens: spinach/collards/swiss chard/kale

Whatever you do with it, add a panini or melt into your menu for a fun but quick lunch or a dinner.