May 2018 Recap

I feel like I got verrrrry pregnant this past week. 31 weeks in, ~9 to go! We had a fun long weekend with the family from Maine staying over and then the local family for a birthday/memorial day bbq. This month Mr. J and I had a date at a new-to-us restaurant and we all went to our fav Chinese restaurant we don’t get to all the time.

This month I was really into this coconut shrimp. Ohh it was just so good. I haven’t made it since but really need to work it into my next meal plan. Sweet but crunchy as well as juicy and fresh.
The Three Bite Rule - Coconut Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa
Baking itsn’t always my jam but I made Mint Chip Coconut Macaroons and was worried when some liquid kind of spread out but they turned out great!
The Three Bite Rule - Mint Chip Macaroons
Grain Bowls are a go-to for me so I rounded up a bunch.

The Little One:

He’s 100% potty trained. I’ve considered him trained for months, but now he is even at night time. Woot woot! He has been doing a great job listening and I appreciate that so much. I’m trying to capitalize, vocalize, and praise how appreciative I am. Aside from going outside, we’ve played a lot of magna-tiles and dinos this month. Breakfast sausage has been a hit with him this month. He’s been learning about insects and spiders at pre-school and always has been sharing a lot of facts.

Bump Update:

7 1/2 months in! I passed the glucose test, which was pretty expected, but great nonetheless. I’m much more uncomfortable and still sleep is what it is. Overall I’ve been feeling ok, just more tired lately. I keep thinking I want avocado and then when I get them home, I’m not really into it. All I want is what I can’t have: sandwiches & caffeine.

This Year’s Goals:

Year of the candle: I didn’t get one in May. I was enjoying my last few and didn’t think I reallllly needed one.   
Cook more appetizers/snacks:
I made honey mustard dip for soft pretzels
Taking time to blog thoughtfully: 
ehh, this wasn’t really something I focused on.
Journal the cute moments of my little one: I’ve enjoyed his way of suggesting something: I was thinking maybe we should go outside?
What I’m reading: 
 I read The Hate U Give and thought it was really well written as a YA novel. 
What I’m watching: 
we watched The Post which was fantastic. Free press is so crucial.

Honey Mustard Dressing/Dip

The little one loves all dip-able things and loves honey mustard the most. I don’t always make it, but it is seriously the easiest dressing to make. Quite awhile ago I brought it to a dip party with soft pretzels from the freezer section and they’re so fun since nobody has them all the time. This combo is the perfect app.

This time, I whipped some up for a weeknight dinner, along with some cucumbers and chicken sausage and it was a hit…likely because it isn’t something we have often!

The Three Bite Rule - Honey Mustard
Honey Mustard Dressing (for ~3/4 cup)
Ingredients:
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon orange juice
1 teaspoon mayo
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dijon/whole grain mustard (optional)

Directions:
Whisk together the honey, mustard, juice, mayo, garlic and dijon.
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Mustard
Or add into a jar and shake.
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Mustard
Taste and adjust as necessary. Refrigerate until serving, for about a week.
Enjoy!

I like the dijon in there for more of a mustardy kick but I don’t always include it. The consistency is like dressing, and my leftover was used as salad dressing. Adding more mayo will make it thicker, more for use like a dip, and mellow out the sweet honey and the strong mustard. Those freezer soft pretzels need to be stocked in my freezer more often. They’re so fun and bake for ~4 minutes!
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Mustard

Rice Bowl Round Up

I just saw a request for meals for families that can be prepped ahead. Grain bowls are definitely a go-to for me and I’ve shared a bunch! I liiiive for meals prepped ahead to speed dinner time up and eat foods we like. They’re so conducive to leftovers and allow for some individual customization. To celebrate this busy time of year or this busy stage of life, here are my fav grain bowls plus my formula!

Grain + protein + veggies + sauce + something fun = the best grain bowls! I start with a theme and strive to hit a bunch of the following elements.

Bahn Mi Bowl - The Three Bite Rule

Grains: I tend to go with brown rice. I strive for a healthy one especially since it isn’t the highlight in these anyway. Brown rice in the pressure cooker is so fast, and is fluffier than I can even describe. I also like cracked wheat or bulgur. I’ve also done couscous, rice pilaf, orzo, and quinoa.

Protein: Pre-cooked ones speed it up like meatballs or chicken sausages. We’ve done his & hers by using some shrimp since they cook so quickly (hers) and reheated leftover steak (his). Falafel baked in advance is handy to just warm too!

Veggies: go for some raw and some cooked. These bowls are a good use for any leftover or small amounts. The raw ones allow for come warm/cold contrast and freshness and the cooked ones make these bowls filling. Herbs are great in these two if you have some around from anything else!

Sauce: I love a drizzle across the top of sauce or dressing. I’ve done pesto, honey mustard salad dressing, teriyaki, salsa, hummus, creamy caesar dressing, etc. Make your own or buy it. Sometimes I doctor up another condiment (like ranch + cilantro + taco seasoning or like sriracha + mayo). It ties it all together or can be good as a little dip.
sausage_arugula_bowl_dress_590_390

Something fun: my best grain bowls have something extra. Something we don’t have every day, or always with dinner makes it exciting like crispy wontons, toasted nuts, black sesame seeds, etc. Fruit can be great or some special cheese is always appreciated.

I find them more filling than salads and more fun than the same things on a plate as separate entities. These are also a go-to since the little one loves rice and when chopping stuff for him, it is easy to do the same for all of us. He’s 3 so we give him all the foods we’re eating, though he tends to eat them separately and sauce is sometimes for dipping versus drizzled on top.

Bahn Mi Bowl - The Three Bite Rule

My favorites:
Sausage, Arugula, Walnuts, and Apple Rice Bowls
Teriyaki Chicken, Edamame & Pineapple Rice Bowls
Pork Bahn Mi Bowls
Chicken, Bacon, Avocado Rice Bowls
Burrito Bowls with Mexican Street Corn
Italian Meatball Rice Bowls
Falafel Rice Bowls

Some runners up:
This one could have used more ingredients, but had good flavors: Ground Turkey Teriyaki Rice Bowls
This one could use a touch more variation in texture, but gave great variation: Chicken & Sweet Potato with Peanut Sauce Rice Bowls

The Three Bite Rule - Italian Grain Bowl
I may incorporate weekly grain bowls into the rotation once we have an infant and toddler in just about 10 weeks! These might be a fun way to intro some lesser-consumed veggies at your house. If this format feels daunting, start with favorite flavors- think: BBQ chicken; cobb salad ingredients with ranch or blue cheese dressing; or taco fillings to start!

The Three Bite Rule - Burrito Bowl

These are kind of the anti-casserole. While I enjoy a lasagna, pot pie, layered casserole, these are easier for me, and don’t need a hour in the oven. Plus, they feel appropriate for any season instead of winter-worthy foods. Our toddler doesn’t love foods all cooked together…it also feels like all my eggs in one basket so I reserve those for my favs: chili or pot pie.

Salmon Cakes with Bacon

Salmon BLTs got me thinking how good bacon would be into a salmon cake! It really was! It also was a great use for the 2nd portion of salmon after grilling the other piece and wanting something different. I ate it like a burger but it would be great on a salad or fun as sliders.
The Three Bite Rule - Salmon Cakes with Bacon

Bacony Salmon Cakes with Herb Aoli

Ingredients: (for 2)

~4 oz fresh salmon
2 strips bacon
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 egg
salt & pepper
2 teaspoons mayo
1 teaspoon fresh herbs (mine was chive & thyme or use parsley/oregano/etc)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon of dried herbs (mine was a mix of basil/oregano/thyme/rosemary)
2 rolls
sliced tomato & arugula to serve

Directions:

Pan fry the bacon until crisp.
Chop the salmon and add to a bowl with the bacon, garlic, breadcrumbs, mustard, egg, and salt & pepper. (I chopped half the salmon into larger chunks and half into fine chunks.)
The Three Bite Rule - Salmon Cakes with Bacon
Heat a medium skillet to medium heat (preferably the same pan as the bacon cooked in) with a drizzle of olive oil. Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Stir gently and form into 2 patties.
Pan fry, covered for about 3 minutes on each side. Then bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes.
While the patties cook, add the mayo, fresh herbs, garlic powder, lemon juice, and dried herbs to a small bowl.
The Three Bite Rule - Salmon Cakes with Bacon
Stir the aoli and refrigerate until assembling the sandwiches.
The Three Bite Rule - Salmon Cakes with Bacon
Let the salmon cakes cool for a few minutes before assembling.
Spread the aoli onto the top bun and serve with greens and tomato.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Salmon Cakes with Bacon

I loooooved the bacon in here! It kept it juicy and was a great compliment to the salmon. Mixing it in was way better than serving it on top. The an herby aoli has that touch of lemon to be a quick condiment for just the zing the salmon needs.

Serving a group: mix up the salmon cakes and bake in the oven for ~15 minutes on a generously oiled pan, flipping once or twice. Then you won’t have to baby-sit them frying in a pan! The aoli can be made ahead of time or double it and use the rest on burgers or sandwiches. I made 2 salmon cakes and froze the other for a treat some night when we grill since it’ll only have to warm through.

What I Ate: Teriyaki Turkey Rice Bowls

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 love a build-your-own rice bowl and have adapted many times. The little one can eat his weight in brown rice so this one came together easily in the spirit of a weeknight dinner to be prepped in advance. Those mad rushes between daycare pick up, arriving home with a sweet request for playtime outside, and dogs who have missed humans mean that once 6ish strikes dinner neeeeeds to be well underway.
The Three Bite Rule - Teriyaki Bowls

I made the brown rice in the pressure cooker that morning, roasted the broccoli most of the way that morning, AND cooked the ground turkey the night before. #winning Photowise, I wish I had tons more add ins, but this was quick & easy so it won’t win an instagram prize, but it is real-life!

Teriyaki Turkey Rice Bowls (for 3-4)

Ingredients:

1 cup brown rice (& liquid as rice instructs)
3/4 pound ground turkey (or sub ground chicken/pork/beef)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
2 small heads of broccoli
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Directions:

Cook the rice according to the package. (If cooking it in advance, add a splash of water when reheating.)
Brown the ground turkey in a large pan. When it has cooked for about 3-5 minutes, drain off any moisture. Then add in half of the teriyaki sauce (1 tablespoon) and the garlic to cook another 3-5 minutes. (If prepping in advance, cook less and ensure to cook through before serving.)
Roast the broccoli with a drizzle of oil, salt, and pepper for ~10 minutes at 375 degrees.
Whisk together the remaining teriyaki sauce (1 tablespoon) with sesame oil and rice vinegar.
Assemble with rice on the bottom, broccoli, ground turkey, a small drizzle of sauce (careful, it is strong flavored), and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
Enjoy!

I loved this. It was super flavorful and a nice balance. I would also love other add ins, like: edemame; lightly sauteed purple cabbage; and bean sprouts.
The Three Bite Rule - Teriyaki Bowls

I tend to grab ground chicken since it is 99% of the time priced lower than ground turkey but this time the turkey was on sale. These bowls would be an easy use for any leftovers, or could be reduced for a single serving. The little one was most into the rice and the crunchies (sesame seeds).

Mint Coconut Macaroons

My colleague brought macaroons into the office and there were regular and mint with mini chocolate chips. They were SO good and it got me thinking that with so few ingredients I should try making them! They worked, though it was a little touch and go there.
The Three Bite Rule - Mint Chip Macaroons

Macaroons = (mac-a-roooon) easy, minimal ingredients- mostly coconut & egg whites
Macarons = (mac-ron) complex, French,

Mint Chocolate Chips Coconut Macaroons (makes 12 large, or 24 small)

Ingredients:

4 egg whites
1/2 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mint extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 drops green food coloring
4 cups shredded coconut
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
With a hand or stand mixer, whisk together the eggwhites, sugar, salt, extracts, and food coloring until frothy.
The Three Bite Rule - Mint Chip Macaroons
By hand, stir in the coconut and the chocolate chips.
The Three Bite Rule - Mint Chip Macaroons
Scoop onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking sheet.
The Three Bite Rule - Mint Chip Macaroons
Bake ~25 minutes until toasted. Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet.
Enjoy!

I freaked when I saw some liquid spreading out around them. They seariously each got a little skirt. I don’t know what that was. I lifted the cookie part that stayed together off the pan and they were good. They were delicious. I loved the mint amount – nothing like mouthwash.
The Three Bite Rule - Mint Chip Macaroons

Grilled Cheese with Maple Glazed Bacon

Maple bacon just wasn’t good enough, the bacon needed to to be glazed in maple syrup. Annnnd the grilled cheese needed to be cooked in the pan from the bacon. Of course.
The Three Bite Rule - Maple Bacon Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese with Maple Glazed Bacon

Ingredients: (for 1 sandwich)

2 slices of bacon, sliced in half
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 slices sourdough or oatmeal bread
2 slices of American cheese
~1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

Pan fry the bacon until crisp then drain on paper towel. Brush each side with maple syrup.
The Three Bite Rule - Grilled Cheese with Maple Glazed Bacon
Drain most of the bacon out of the pan. Keep the pan on medium heat.
While bacon cools, assemble the sandwich with cheese, bacon, then more cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Grilled Cheese with Maple Glazed Bacon
Pan fry the sandwich for ~3-4 minutes on each side. Carefully flip over and cook the other side. Cover to ensure all the cheese melts.

This is the ultimate breakfast grilled cheese. That’s a thing, no?

Potatoes, Gruyere & Caramelized Onion Tart

Call it a galette and feel fancy or call it a tart and feel cute. Either way, this sucker was delicious. I used sweet potatoes, white potatoes, gruyere cheese, and caramelized onions tucked inside a not-fussy crust. This #MeatlessMonday plan was hatched when I was inspired after seeing some other posts around like a flaky crust when Eats Well With Others posted a galette with Asparagus & Gruyere  and I wanted all the cheese and potatoes when Bev Cooks posted these Cheesy Skillet Potatoes.
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Tart

We ate this on a drizzly night with a quick arugula salad. It absolutely hit the spot for me. The cheese is the perfect splurge and has perfect nutty meltyness for this. The rest of this is so super cheap so go for the good cheese! Shred it yourself, or slicing/dicing it is fine too!

Potato, Gruyere & Caramelized Onion Tart

Ingredients: (for 1 small tart, feeds ~3 for a meal, or ~6 for a side)

1 sheet pie crust (mine was a roll defrosted from the freezer)
1/2 – 1 small onion
1 sweet potato
1 white potato
~4 oz/1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese (sometimes labeled Alpine style if not imported from Switzerland/France)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon each rosemary, thyme, garlic powder
salt & pepper

Directions:

Bring the pie crust to room temperature.
Slice the onion and add to a skillet over low heat with a drizzle of olive oil/butter. Stir regularly and cook for ~30 minutes until caramelized. (I did this the night before).
Peel the potatoes and cut in thirds. Boil for ~5-8 minutes, until the outsides are getting soft but not cooked all the way through. Then slice into thin disks. A mandolin made this faster (that was my tactic). Or, peel and slice into thin disks and roast in the oven for ~10-20 minutes at 350-degrees.
While the potatoes cook, shred the cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Tart
Melt the butter and mix in the rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, and salt & pepper.
Spread out the pie crust onto a sheet of parchment paper, baking mat, or baking sheet well sprayed with non-stick spray.
Leaving 1-2 inches around the outside, layer half of the potato slices, half the cheese, and a quarter of the onions. Sprinkle cheese over and drizzle half the butter/herb mixture.
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Tart
Repeat for another layer reserving a few potato slices to be the very top.
Working around the tart, fold crust inward then turn and fold more crust inward and repeat all the way around.
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Tart
Bake 20-30 minutes at 375 degrees. (I baked ~20 minutes when prepping in advance and baked another 10-15 before serving.)
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Tart
Let sit for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Tart

I prepped this in advance, I know, story of my life. It comes together quickly but getting home on a weeknight with a toddler and two hungry dogs means dinner is really nice when mindless. I baked 20 minutes when I prepped it and another 15 to heat through before serving. I literally partially baked it and kept it on the parchment and covered it in the fridge for the day. Then I uncovered it and slid the parchment back onto a baking sheet that night.

Should we do a cost breakdown? Let’s! I haven’t in forever!

Cost Breakdown (for what was used)

Potato, Gruyere & Caramelized Onion Tart
1 frozen sheet pie crust = $1.59
onion = $0.89
white potato = $0.75
sweet potato = $1.10
Gruyere = $5.99 (used half) $2.99
= $7.32 or ~$2.44 for about 3 servings

Does that sell you on making this for dinner or your next gathering? It is so cheap!

Coconut Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa

These tacos have alllll the flavors you could want: sweet mango & lime slaw & fresh & nutty shrimp. This was seriously the best thing I’ve eaten in awhile. I meant for these to be a his/hers taco night but it was too much without prepping the shrimp in advance on a weeknight at dinner time. That weeknight, Mr. J had steak and I ended up sautéing the shrimp in taco seasoning. I whipped these up for a weekend lunch with some leftover slaw and was ohh-so-happy.
The Three Bite Rule - Coconut Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa

Make a big batch of the coconut shrimp in advance and freeze and your tacos will thank you later. Reheat in the oven before serving.

Coconut Shrimp with Mango Salsa

Ingredients: (for tacos for 2)

6-8 jumbo shrimp (shells removed and deveined)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 egg white, whisked
1/4 cup shredded coconut
2 tablespoons panko
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon mayo
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cup slaw mix or shredded cabbage
1/4 cup salsa
1/4 cup mango (mine was frozen & defrosted)
1/4 cup cucumber, chopped (optional)
1 green onion
4 taco sized flour tortillas

Directions:

Set up the dredging line up of shrimp, cornstarch, egg white, and coconut mixed with panko. Bring oil to medium heat in a small skillet.
Dredge the shrimp into the cornstarch, then egg whites, then coconut mixture. Pan fry for ~3 minutes on each side, then drain onto paper towel.
The Three Bite Rule - Coconut Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa
While shrimp is cooking, whisk together the slaw dressing of mayo, lime juice, and sugar. Mix in the slaw.
The Three Bite Rule - Coconut Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa
Mix together the salsa, mango, cucumber, and green onion.
The Three Bite Rule - Coconut Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa
Assemble the tacos with slaw on the bottom, shrimp, and salsa.
The Three Bite Rule - Coconut Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa
Enjoy!

The shrimp was amazing. I really loved the flavor and loved how crispy they were. Now I’m wanting to make a big batch. I fried these since there were only a few.  Usually I stay away from frying things so baking them would be good for a hands-off approach, especially for a big batch.

These could be a fun app in wonton cups with mango salsa on the bottom and the shrimp placed on top.

Peach Raspberry Smoothie

I’m on a serious smoothie kick lately now that it has warmed up a bit. The dead of winter is never when I want to start the day with a frosty smoothie. Know what I mean? I like them to start with greens, but this one was a bit different. I wanted raspberry flavor without the annoying crunch of raspberry seeds. Ugg. They’re the worst. I used some jam and it was perfect! I got a kick of flavor and sweetness without the bulk or texture.
The Three Bite Rule - Peach Raspberry Smoothie

Peach Raspberry Smoothie

Ingredients: for 1-2 servings

1 cup frozen peaches
1 cup yogurt
2 teaspoons raspberry jam
1/2 cup water or juice or milk

Directions:

Add peaches, yogurt, jam, and liquid to a blender.
The Three Bite Rule - Peach Raspberry Smoothie
Blend well and add another splash of liquid if needed.
IMG_7030Enjoy!

I loved this! I used a little V8 Splash in a Berry Blend flavor. The jam definitely sweetened it so water or milk as the liquid would be good for balance. The raspberry flavor was definitely there without that gritty crunch. Yay! Jelly is a fun way to get another flavor & sweetness into a smoothie without the bulk of another ingredient! The possibilities are endless!

Add in some cauliflower, chia or ground flaxseed, or protein powder to up the nutritional content. This smoothie is mild and sweet so it was a nice variation in the rotation for green-based smoothies. Another favorite of mine I haven’t made in awhile is this Peanut Butter, Nutella, and Banana one. They both are very kid friendly will nicely space out green ones or berry flavors if you hit your max on those flavors!
The Three Bite Rule - Peach Raspberry Smoothie
There are more smoothies to come! Stay tuned!