June 2019 Round Up

I loooove June. It is such great weather in New England with just a hint of summer. I’m not a fan of >80 degrees, so this is my happy place. It is the end of the fiscal year at work so fundraising is at 100 mph. I am le tired. In June we lightly celebrated Mr. J’s birthday, went to Western MA for a 1st birthday, went to the Downton Abbey exhibit, our flag day parade was super fun and we went to Maine. The little ones are in a fantastic rhythm and are such loves.

The Manchego Birthday Burger was my fav this month!
The Three Bite Rule - Manchego Burger
This lightened up lunch combined my love for a hearty grain and a worth-while green. Some fruit in there is a good choice too! Farro/Arugula/Blueberries/Watermelon, what’s not to love?
The Three Bite Rule - Farro & Blueberry Salad
Plus, I made some loaded Buffalo Chicken Nachos with a nacho tip everyone can benefit from {spoiler: you need layers. lay-ers!}. Plus, make these in the toaster oven for a fun meal/snack that won’t heat up your kitchen!
The Three Bite Rule - Buffalo Chicken Nachos
I’m pumped for July. Work will chill down a bit and vacation is coming up!! I missed the annual beach week when I was overdue last year and I look forward to it all year. I have some fun food coming up: tacos, an app, and some summery foods!

The Baby Girl:

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Annnd she’s off! She’s trying to walk and taking lots of consecutive steps. I can’t believe it! She’s so strong. She likes eating everything and I just want a few more teeth to come through! She has the bottom two in the middle- that’s it! She went in the pool and loved it.  She loves everything really. It is so fun to see her expressing herself when somebody takes something away from her – sometimes that’s us for something she shouldn’t have and sometimes that is big brother suddenly wanting his toy. She’s going to do well holding her own. She LOVES her brother and nobody can make her giggle like he can. She can clap and a wave is coming along.

The Little Boy:

He’s so sweet and being super well behaved. I melt when he tells me he loves me “all the way past my ponytail”. He’s allll about the pesto right now and has been into peaches. For lunches he told me he doesn’t always want sandwiches so I’m trying to keep it varied. I cracked up when we picked some basil one night and he said, hey- this smells like pesto! In my attempts to raise open-minded, accepting, and thoughtful kiddos – and after a narrow-minded incident in the Boston media, I got us a bunch of books about different kinds of families. It was great to test out a few. Now I want to add a favorite to our personal collection. Libraries are just the best (there’s a highlight reel on my instagram of kid favs)! He was a trooper in the car to Maine but dang, motion-sickness is awful. The meds help but until then, he’s ghostly pale, quiet, and looks so scared. Library books and a ring pop really helped pass the time (4 hours). He had the time of his life with his cousins (and their trampoline).

2019 goals:

Year of ___ decluttering/minimizing/organizing: I dropped several boxes off to Savers while peeking at sneaks for the ever-growing little guy. I also joined a free/hand me down group in my town on facebook so I want to see if we can hand off a few things asap.
Feeding Littles: I’m not sure I shared many! I shared making pizzas on the tiny naan for some toaster-oven pizza, with tiny pepperoni of course. 
Work on advanced food prepping: Ehh. Meals have been quite minimal and speedy.
What I’m reading: I took forever to read Radium Girls and then sped through The Gown.
What I’m watching: I’m so so into the Bachelorette after having zero expectations- I thought she couldn’t speak! We both love Amazing Race and Great Foodtruck Race. I now want to rewatch all of Downton before the movie comes out in September!

Manchego Burger

The birthday burger continues! We celebrate Mr. J’s birthday with a burger and this year, my inspiration came from somebody who told me about the show Bob’s Burgers – which doesn’t seem like my jam, but this flavor combo sounded delightful! “A Good Manchego is Hard to Find” has manchego cheese, a sweet jam spread, arugula, and caramelized shallots. We loved it!

Manchego cheese is from Spain and made of goat’s milk. It is a bit nutty, crumbly, and hard – it resembles Parmesan but is softer and not quite as salty. It goes really well with fruit/sweet on a cheese board so it was ideal on this burger with a jam spread and sharp peppery arugula.

The Three Bite Rule - Manchego Burger

Manchego Burger

Ingredients (for 3 burgers)

~3/4 pound ground meat, formed into patties
3 brioche rolls
2-3 shallots
~4 oz Manchego cheese
3 tablespoons quince spread
2 cups arugula

Directions:

Bring the patties to room temperature while the grill heats up.
Slice the shallots and gently caramelize them in ~1 tablespoon of olive oil and ~1 tablespoon of butter over low heat, stirring regularly.
Grill the burgers until cooked to your preferred internal done-ness.
Slice the cheese and melt it onto the burgers for their last minute of cooking.
Add arugula onto the bottom of each bun, top with the burger, and shallots. Then spread the jam onto the top bun.
The Three Bite Rule - Manchego Burger
Enjoy!

The cheese is just so good. I went looking for fig jam but was glad to use quince since I think I’d eat the rest more regularly than fig. Quince are like the ugly step-cousin of a pear. The little guy has a love/hate relationship to the onion family and skipped the shallots but he loooved the cheese and gobbled his slider size version with quince jam and manchego.

This might have been the first year we couldn’t quite make it happen the night-of. With 2 little ones, that dinner time is quite the time-crunch and Mr. J was just getting back into true solid foods after having his wisdom teeth taken out!

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

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

Farro & Arugula Salad with Blueberries & Watermelon

This salad lunch has all. the. things. After the buffalo chicken nachos, we were due for something healthier and summery, right? Balance is the name of the game.

It has a grain to be really filling and some greens for freshness and fruit for a pop of summer. I’m not enthused about meal-salads with just a bunch of greens. An hour later I’d be hungry.  I made a batch of farro to also use in a dinner and it could easily swap with brown rice, cracked wheat, lentils, quinoa, or whatever you like/have leftover! Swap the greens for your favorite too, the arugula just holds up so well.

This salad works great as a meal – mine was lunch, or it’d be a great side or even a snack for those times you’re starving and know you’d like to make a good choice.

The Three Bite Rule - Farro & Blueberry Salad

Farro & Arugula Salad with Summer Fruits

Ingredients: (for 1 meal or 2 sides)

3/4 cup prepared farro (or grain of your choosing)
1/2 cup blueberries
2 cups arugula (or greens of your choosing)
~2-3 slices of watermelon
2-3 tablespoons vinaigrette dressing (I used my fav Italian Dressing)

Directions:

Chop the watermelon into bite size pieces and the arugula just once through.
The Three Bite Rule - Farro & Blueberry Salad
Mix the farro, arugula, blueberries, and dressing to coat, then lightly toss in the watermelon.
The Three Bite Rule - Farro & Blueberry Salad
Enjoy!

This has great balance. I used allllll the arugula I had or I would have loaded in more. This was so fresh and actually filling. With so few ingredients this one is a winner to me. I’d pack this for lunch at work, keeping the watermelon & dressing separate until actually eating.  I really wanted radishes in here but I didn’t find any at the grocery store and my farmer’s market is just opening. That super crunch would be great! I purposely went meatless but I can’t help but think grilled chicken would go well too!
The Three Bite Rule - Farro & Blueberry Salad

 

Buffalo Chicken Nachos

Remember that part of This is Us with the nachos? Beth and Randall are sleep-deprived new parents eating nachos and Randall inadvertently eats all the best chips? I felt deeply for Beth – for her wanting to have somebody who will save a best bite for her- literally and metaphorically. The bottom of the plate of nachos can be such a letdown so, I’m here to tell you to make it in layers. LAY-ERS. Nacho unevenness can be cured. This is precisely why I like to make them at home and rarely order them out!

The Three Bite Rule - Buffalo Chicken Nachos

Buffalo Chicken Nachos

Ingredients (for 1 meal-2 appetizer servings)

2 breaded chicken tenders or popcorn chicken
~4 cups of chips (seriously, how do you measure chips? eyeball it)
1/4 cup salsa con queso sauce
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup hot sauce
~2 green onions
1/4 cup blue cheese dressing

Directions:

Bake the chicken tenders until cooked through & crisp (according to the package, unless making your own).
While chicken is cooking, lay ~1/2 the chips onto a baking pan and drizzle half the salsa con queso sauce, half the shredded cheese, and half the tomatoes. Bake for ~5 minutes to melt the cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Buffalo Chicken Nachos
Chop the chicken and toss with hot sauce. Add about half onto the first layer that baked.
Then top with remaining chips, remaining queso, shredded cheese, tomatoes, and chicken.
Bake for another 5 minutes to melt the cheese.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with green onions.
The Three Bite Rule - Buffalo Chicken Nachos
Drizzle with blue cheese dressing.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Buffalo Chicken Nachos
I love nachos fully loaded- lots of stuff on every bite. These were a fun twist with some favorite flavors and a great use for some leftover taco-night ingredients for something totally different!

The tomatoes are for juiciness and to get a little veg in there. I abhor celery but you could always add that. Add avocado, shredded lettuce, shredded carrots, or whatever you like on top at the end- just make sure every bite has a little something on it!