September 2016 Recap

Woo-eee! September whizzed by. We hosted a brunch party, then a BBQ & firepit party the next weekend, then a trip to Martha’s Vineyard, then a visit from Grammie C. So busy and so fun. Work is really ramping up and suddenly fall arrived in the matter of a day or two.

For October I’m doing a 30-day green smoothie challenge (join in! it is free!) so I’ll keep you posted how it goes – not a weirdo-cleanse when you starve yourself and only drink liquids or $30-a-bottle juices. It is a month of green smoothie recipes to get into a healthy habit. Plus, it ends just in time for Halloween candy. I can’t wait to put the little nugget into a Halloween costume!

The Martha’s Vineyard weekend trip was awesome. We ate some good food, strolled around, chilled on the Inn’s cupula, and explored. It was awesome. I was very sad pulling away from the little one but it was good for everyone. I hadn’t left him before but it went well. We had a really fun diner breakfast that might need to be the next restaurant recreation. Stay tuned!

lighthouse

My fav recipe of September is the Bacon Cheddar Biscuits. They were really awesome for breakfast on the go and I popped a few into the freezer. They tasted just as great out of the freezer! These buggers would be the ideal brunch party prep in advance! I just made them for fun but now I’m wanting to jazz up biscuits more often! Spinach and parmesan next?
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Cheddar Biscuits
Rosemary Hard Lemonade was perfect for my garden rosemary, or if you have rosemary on hand for something else… ummm Parisian burgers anyone? Lemonade, citrus vodka, rosemary, and some frozen blueberries make for such a fun instant summer beverage.
The Three Bite Rule - Rosemary Hard Lemonade

This salad with cucumbers, feta, nectarines, and quick dressing was good. I was all about the fruit in salad this month also with a spinach strawberry salad!
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I actually took a week off from dinner this month. It was pretty refreshing to my cooking motivation. We had lots of leftover, uncooked items from the BBQ party of 30 people, so somehow there were a few things to pick from. Also, since I knew we were going away, I really wasn’t wanting to grocery shop then be gone, especially after shopping and prepping for the party. I should prob do that more often. It wasn’t our most well-rounded meals but it was a few days of anything-goes and I appreciated a break (from myself).

The Little One:
He’s so active! He loves to move. He’s been taking steps using a push toy, feeding himself cherrios, and riding in the big stroller insert. He loves looking around and touching everything! He’s curious and babbling. He just started feeding himself pieces of things we put on his tray and drinking water in a sippy cup. I’m so excited! He hadn’t been into textures but now seems more ready/willing.
8month

Progress on this year’s goals:
The Year of the Earring:  I got these and love ‘em

make more salad dressings: Yes! This poppy seed dressing was so great a spinach and strawberry salad, or anything else!

factor more time into how long every-day tasks/trips will take: 
Always a work in progress. I did pretty well in September.

recreate restaurant menu items: 
ehh. not this month I guess. I did find an amazing diner breakfast menu on Martha’s Vineyard that I’ll have to use in October.

be more adventurous with my reading selections: 
I read Flight Behavior and LOVED IT after a slowish start. I started Cutting for Stone but didn’t really get going. I blame the timing. I’ll try that one again. 

use the crockpot more: 
Nope, but now that fall is here I’m sure I’ll get going.  

seafood once a month: 
I had a quickie Angry Shrimp Wrap aka, Buffalo Shrimp Wrap that hit the spot. I swear I’ll get on the real fish soon enough.

What I Ate: Angry Shrimp Wrap

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.

I’m lacking on the eat-more-fish goal this year. Baby steps…speaking of, the baby is trying to take some steps. For this quickie we did a his/hers wraps. His was Chicken Caesar and hers was Buffalo Shrimp! I liked this for a really quick, easily customizable dinner. Although it is a sandwich, it isn’t your average lunch-box option.
The Three Bite Rule - Angry Shrimp

Ingredients:

burrito-size tortilla
lettuce/tomato/cucumber/pickles as you wish
~6 medium shrimp, pealed & deveined
4 tbs buffalo sauce
2 tbs blue cheese dressing

Directions:

Prep the shrimp: peal, devein, defrost as necessary.
Heat a small skillet to medium low heat and add in the shrimp and buffalo sauce. Toss and cook until warmed through (if the shrimp are fully cooked – about 4 minutes) or until the shrimp cook through (if the shrimp are raw – 5-6 minutes).
The Three Bite Rule - Angry Shrimp
While the shrimp cooks in the buffalo sauce, prep the veggies.
Top the wrap with the veggies, shrimp, and a drizzle of blue cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Angry Shrimp
Wrap & enjoy!

This was pretty basic, as in simple…not being “basic”. Don’t even get me started with PSL and being “basic”. Such a lame descriptor.

This was tasty and just what I wanted. Again, not rocket-science, but this is real-life. It is definitely a whirl-wind to pick up the little dude at daycare, get home & see the pups, spoon feed the baby dinner, and then to know what’s up for adult dinner. It is a short window from 6-8pm to fit in baby playtime, dinnertime, bathtime, bottle & bed. Dinner sometimes just has to be dinner and this one hit the spot!

Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Poppyseed Dressing

This is so good and feels festive despite the fact that the salad has 2 ingredients. one (spinach). two (strawberries). Well, that’s two more colors than a box ‘o mac & cheese has. Dinner time isn’t all rainbows and unicorns here. This fell on a night that I had the chance to whip up the dressing while the little dude napped for a few moments. When it was time to eat this adorable salad…that was during the betwitching hours and is a whole different picture than this restaurant-worthy salad. I was being stubborn and convinced I could do it all. Make this salad. You’ll feel like $1000 bucks.

The Three Bite Rule - Strawberry & Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Poppyseed Dressing Ingredients:

adapted from The Kitchn
1/2 shallot
4 tbs white vinegar
4 tbs sugar
1 tbs poppy seeds
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp mayo
splash lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
sprinkle of salt

Directions:

Grate the shallot with the smallest grater on a box grater, or blend in a food processor, or dice really finely.
Add the vinegar & sugar to the jar and shake.
Mix everything else together in a jar. Shake shake shake.
The Three Bite Rule - Strawberry & Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Strawberry & Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

The dressing was great. A touch sweet and a touch tart. The poppy seeds are cute. I think it is a great one to make a small amount and have it in the rotation. It would be good on a pasta salad too!

Not enough in your salad? Feta cheese would be good. Some nuts seem right.

Anniversary

Mr. J, my favorite person ever, my love, my taste-tester, my webmaster, my forever partner, my co-parent, and my personal IT specialist. Today we are celebrating our wedding anniversary today! I actually wanted to get a small cake from the bakery that did our wedding cake but they aren’t in business anymore! Four years has gone by quickly and although I don’t have a super special menu planned for tonight (oops, leftovers!), we will celebrate. We have learned and grown together since we met and fell in love. I think we’re growing more alike sometimes, and we’re still figuring out who we are. Our journeys are closer to home right now but our travel bug won’t be lost…just napping right now.

Now we add parents to our personas which is teaching us even more. Those early days/nights with the baby were cra-zy. I throughly appreciate that we have learned only one of us can be having a meltdown at once so sometimes the other just has to suck it up and deal. There are fewer meltdowns, #hallelujah and we’ve both learned how to steer back on course or just to try something different. I love to marvel at our little one with Mr. J, and for us to see the guy he’s becoming. I’m glad he can learn how to be considerate from his Daddy!

I must say, we’ve figured out who does what and have mastered the multi-tasking. We’ve hosted parties back to back the last 2 weekends and did it like champs! I’m so proud of us, though I’m also proud when we aren’t running out of clean bibs, or when we have eaten all he food groups. I love that we can let each-other shine.

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This year we have a fun plan for the weekend! Stay tuned!
In 2014 I was preggers and Mr. J was supposed to get his Wisdom teeth out, which got rescheduled (to not yet) but we went out to dinner at a new-to-us spot over the weekend.
In 2013 we were celebrating in Paris & Prague, also we got to celebrate I found out I got a new job while in Paris! Champagne for everyone!
In 2012 we celebrated with a weekend to Portland, ME &  belated trip to New Orleans & a Caribbean Cruise. I also re-created our wedding menu.
In 2011 we got married Sat Sept 17
In 2010 we got engaged Fri Sept 17 in NYC

I’m so lucky he eats things, all different things. How would I survive with somebody who doesn’t eat real food?! (don’t even suggest that the baby may not eat things…) Here’s a round-up of some of our favorites (not to be served together):
BBQ Chicken Pizza - the first meal I cooked for Mr. J
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The Parisian Burger with rosemary, dijon mustard, truffle aoli, & a fried egg. Hands down, the best burger ever!
The Three Bite Rule - Parisian Burger
Broccoli & Cheddar Soup is just what winter calls for. The bread bowl just makes it perfection.
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Grilled Tuscan Herbed Chicken & White Beans is a recent fav
The Three Bite Rule - Tuscan Herbed Chicken & White Beans
Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars
, aka The Graham-wich
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I’ll have some fun food finds to share after this weekend. I also have a burger, a special salad, etc that I still need to blog.

Bacon Cheddar Biscuits

This is all I need in life for breakfast. Well, maybe this biscuit with a runny-yolked egg as well. The bacon, cheddar cheese, and chives are so great in a fluffy buttery biscuit instead of just being on a biscuit as a bfast sandwich.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Cheddar Biscuits
Yum. These would be so great with an egg. Or as a breakfast sandwich, or on the go. Seriously so good any way you eat them. I was so impressed how fluffy and puffy the biscuits got. I froze some others before they got stale so I’ll have to report back how they are out of the freezer.

Ingredients:

biscuit mix, prepared according to the package
2 strips of bacon
1 cup of shredded cheddar
2 tbs chives, chopped (or green onions)

Directions:

Fry the bacon until crisp and let excess fat drain. Then chop it into small pieces.
Mix up the biscuits according to your package, adding in the cheese, bacon, and chives.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Cheddar Biscuits
Flour the counter with biscuit mix, and need them a few times. Flatten the dough out to 1/2 inch thick and cut out the biscuits with a biscuit cutter, a jar lid, a juice glass, etc.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Cheddar Biscuits
Bake according to your mix.
Right at the end, brush with some melted butter.
Serve & enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Cheddar Biscuits
You can thank me later. I couldn’t get over how fluffy these are! They were so quick to mix and bake. I had everything cleaned up before they were out of the oven and then I fell in love….probably smart that I did the dishes first because once I ate these I was really loving them. So good!

What I Ate: Nectarine & Feta Salad

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.

It was an anything-goes dinner night here…I think we ate too much guac & chips after swimming that afternoon to warrant wanting dinner. I wanted something. But what? I ended up tossing together a really quick salad and it was just such a reminder that the simplest salads can be the best…either that or the salads with all the stuff.

The Three Bite Rule - Nectarine Feta Salad
Ingredients:
greens
cukes
feta
nectarine
honey mustard dressing

Directions:
Chop, dress, toss, and enjoy!

Make your own honey mustard…it’ll take 2 seconds and you can make just enough for this or you can have it around for your next salad.

Peaches will work, if you can stand the fuzz. I cannot so I’ll stick with my nectarines. #thankyouverymuch I loved the combos here. I made my honey mustard heavy on the mustard so it had quite a zing! The lettuce was from the farmers market, the feta was leftover from a Greek-ish salad and the cuke was from our garden. It was perfect. A restaurant would charge $18 for this guy.

I threw it together on a whim and it was everything I wanted. Sweet (nectarine), tangy (honey mustard), salty (feta), and crunchy (cucumbers).

Breakfast Burger Bagel

My ratios were a touch off, but his breakfast burger was so fun. What’s more breakfast than bacon, an everything bagel, cheddar cheese, and a sunny side egg?! The bagel is pretty huge making an already small-ish burger look tiny but this one is a winner.

The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Bagel Burger
I mixed up some maple mustard for a touch of sweetness and a little mustardy tang. That and the egg yolk are the only condiments needed!

The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Bagel Burger
I made breakfast burgers on english muffins with bacon jam that were really incredible. Breakfast for dinner is the best!

Rosemary Hard Lemonade

Get ready for some herby cocktails! Thanks to the family in Florida, we got a great spread of different herbs which are flourishing in our garden! I’ve been using them to cook with but there’s plenty so now I’m introducing a few cocktails! This is perfect for your labor day menu! Make a pitcher!

The Three Bite Rule - Rosemary Hard Lemonade
I started with lemonade and citrus vodka, and then added a sprig of rosemary and dropped a few frozen blueberries on top. So good!

Ingredients:

1 shot citrus vodka
4 shots lemonade
ice
1/2 shot lemon juice
1 sprig fresh rosemary
frozen blueberries

Directions:

Add some ice to a glass with a sprig of rosemary.
In a cocktail shaker, add 2 ice cubes, lemonade, vodka, and lemon juice.
The Three Bite Rule - Rosemary Hard Lemonade
Shake shake shake.
Serve over the ice and rosemary. Top with a few blueberries.
The Three Bite Rule - Rosemary Hard Lemonade
Enjoy!

I loved this. The lemon juice really balanced the flavor from being too sweet since my lemonade was Crystal Light, not a tart lemonade. The rosemary was perfect. It wasn’t too much…I didn’t want it to become woodsy. I might not buy rosemary just to make this, but it is a perfect use for rosemary if you have it from something else.

The Three Bite Rule - Rosemary Hard Lemonade
Get your hands on some rosemary to make these…just not all at the same meal with the cocktail:
Rosemary in white beans, then top with something deliciously grilled
Rosemary in the Parisian Burger, seriously favorite burger of all time
Rosemary & Truffle oil on some baked french fries or homefries