August 2019 Recap

The end of August brings some teases of fall weather and I’m 100% here for it. The only good thing about August is the height of tomato season – or our baby’s birthday. She’s 1! We made the most of summer days with swims at the grandparents pool, and popsicles, and quick dinners so we could play outside. A trip to see my college roomies and their families filled me up AND my bestie got engaged. I’m feeling so thankful for my friends, near and far.

I have a super exciting burger competition coming up in September! My Parisian Burger will go against 3 others and then one of those will advance to a final round in Napa! Fingers crossed (and some legit practice for my timing)! I was all over the place confirming I’d attend. I was feeling stressed with the timeline and requirements, and annoyed I left it to the last minute. I then thought, why would I add something into my life that induces stress? Should I just forget it and move on? I was afraid I was too late but figured I’d just go for it. I don’t push myself outside my comfort zone frequently. Here’s hoping!

This month, I made crescent dogs – 3 ways which require zero brain power but capitalizes on hot dog season. They’re not grilled so make ‘em whenever. My fav were the bagel dogs!
The Three Bite Rule - Crescent Dogs, 3 ways

On vacay I made not-your-average spinach salad with strawberries which deserves repeating while the strawberries are still good!
The Three Bite Rule - Not Your Average Spinach Strawberry Salad
I made the easiest app: Pesto Puff Pastry Twists I’d totally made these to be lunch, or have them alongside fall soup, or serve with tomato sauce to dip for a fun dinner!
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Pasta Twists
September will bring some changes- new school for T and new work hours for me- which might help with the dinner rush! I have some ideas for lunches and highlights of this fantastic season of produce.

The Baby Girl:

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She’s super strong and curious. When we tell her no, she shakes her head. I can’t wait to hear words! She loves carrying toys around and taking everything out of whatever contains it. It is fun to see her interest in things big brother likes and  she now wears shoes since she wants to walk everywhere.  Finally more teeth are coming in and just now had her 1 year check up. She had a fun birthday and loved the cake. Thanks Grandma! We’re slowwwwly reducing the pacifier she loves so much. We had one on the carseat and in bed for sleeping times…emphasis on had. I’m attaching other toys and she’s less than impressed. She can do it! She’ll sit through about 1/2 of a board book- progress!

The Little Boy:

He loves his sister so much that he needs reminders to chill, enough hugs, let her be. Little dude can’t hang on days he doesn’t have a good nap. He is falling asleep at the table- by 6:15 without one. I cherish nap time and am thankful for 4 1/2+ with regular naps. He loved seeing his new school and we’re excited for him to start next week. I’m so proud when he gets comfortable and settles in, like seeing the new school and when we visited friends in NY and he got right into playing with everyone. Poor guy has wicked motion sickness and Dramamine didn’t cut it on a 4 hour ride from NY. We had a fun trip through Costco and he sampled everything: granola bar; dumpling; almond milk; kielbasa; open faced tomato & mayo sandwich; Norweigan flat bread; and cheese. I love the adventurous side despite always hoping dinner will be pasta.

2019 goals:

Year of ___ decluttering/minimizing/organizing: Together we attacked a closet and donated a bunch of stuff. We quickly got a few things on the buy-nothing group for the town and unloaded stuff pretty quickly!
Feeding Littles: I didn’t share a ton- just a reminder that nobody has picture-perfect meals all the time
Work on advanced food prepping: I’d like to do more of this- without it being Sundays. Maybe I can work harder to create a habit that fits.
What I’m reading: I read Southern Lady Code (skip it, unless is realllly speaks to you) and Becoming (we should all be a little more like Michelle) and Educated. Educated was for bookclub (a must read and a repeat for me but I loved it just the same for round 2).
What I’m watching: I’m ready for substance (This is Us! A Million Little Things!), but have kept up with AGT & Bachelor in Paradise.

Crescent Dogs, 3 Ways

Summer isn’t quite over! There’s still time for these dogs! Though, these are pretty season-less since the dogs are wrapped in crescents and baked.  I whipped these up for a weeknight dinner since I could prep them most of the way and just heat and serve.
The Three Bite Rule - Crescent Dogs, 3 ways
These got delayed- life got in the way. It was a busy few weeks with the baby’s 1st birthday, our refrigerator struggled and we lived out of a drink fridge until it got fixed, an overnight away, and everything else. I made a few flavors giving some fun choice at dinner!
The Three Bite Rule - Crescent Dogs, 3 ways

Crescent Dogs, 3 ways

Bagel Dogs: dogs, wrapped in crescents, brushed with egg wash, sprinkled with everything bagel seasoning
The Three Bite Rule - Crescent Dogs, 3 ways

Cowboy Dogs: crescents, brushed with barbecue sauce, with caramelized onions, with the dog rolled in the crescent.
The Three Bite Rule - Crescent Dogs, 3 ways

Taco Dogs: crescents, sprinkled with cheddar cheese, sprinkled with taco seasoning (I used Chili Lime Seasoning), with the dog rolled in the crescent.
The Three Bite Rule - Crescent Dogs, 3 ways
Try ‘em with any of your fav hot dog toppings. Chili and cheese would be fun! Bacon and cheddar would be fun! Bruschetta & balsamic would be fun!

Pesto Puff Pastry Twists

We go through a lot of pesto pasta here at our table. The pre-schooler and baby both love it and I appreciate it for variety. I smeared some on some puff pastry with cheese for this instant appetizer knowing it would be a hit!
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Pasta Twists

Pesto Puff Pastry Twists

Ingredients:

1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted in the refrigerator for ~8 hours or overnight
3 tablespoons pesto
1 cup shredded mozzarella & asiago
1/2 cup tomato sauce

Directions:

Roll out the puff pastry sheet.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (or as the puff pastry package suggests).
Spread the pesto across the whole sheet, all the way to the edges.
Sprinkle the cheese on top, all the way to the edges.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Pasta Twists
Slice with a pizza cutter into 1 1/2 inch strips. Hold from the ends and twist around. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking sheet. (Add the cheese that falls out back into a crack.)
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Pasta Twists
Bake for 10-15 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Pasta Twists
Let cool 5 minutes.
Serve with tomato sauce to dip. Enjoy!

These were a fun appetizer and could even be a meal of their own! Serve them as an app, alongside soup or pasta or with salad. These are a great use for a smaller amount of leftover pesto. These take so little hands-on time!
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Pasta Twists

Not-your-average Spinach Strawberry Salad

Fruit in salad instantly elevates the salad. I wanted to uplevel the traditional spinach/strawberry/poppy seed salad by adding some cute tiny bowtie pasta and avocado. I used this balsamic fig dressing from Trader Joe’s but think shaking up some fig jam with some balsamic vinegar together in a jar would do the same thing!

The Three Bite Rule - Not Your Average Spinach Strawberry Salad

Not Your Average Spinach Strawberry Salad

Ingredients: (serves 2)

1 1/2 cups mini bow tie pasta
2 cups baby spinach
4-6 strawberries
1/2 avocado
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
2 tablespoons fig balsamic dressing (or 1 tbs fig jam and 1 tbs balsamic whisked together)

Directions:

Boil the pasta, cook, drain, and let cool.
Mix together the spinach, pasta, strawberries, avocado, pasta, and poppy seeds. Mix gently.
The Three Bite Rule - Not Your Average Spinach Strawberry Salad
Add in the dressing and mix again.
The Three Bite Rule - Not Your Average Spinach Strawberry Salad
This was a fun one! We thought red onion would have been tasty in here too. I allllmost swapped the poppy seeds for everything bagel seasoning but didn’t in the end. Some shredded chicken would add some protein to turn this into a substantial meal. Spinach is pretty delicate so keep the dressing separate until serving.

July 2019 Recap

July is the best so while it is sad that it is over, the only good thing is baby C’s birthday is coming right up! We got lots of pool days, a week at the beach, and a lot of outside time. Mr. J and I got a date to a new restaurant in our town square that was nice but maybe not our fav for other options nearby. I love El Centro and would choose Mexican over where we went.

I made a lemonade slaw to go onto crispy fish tacos with lemonade mix and used frozen breaded fish pieces with the slaw and avocado. I heard from a few who made them which was so fun!
The Three Bite Rule - Lemonade Slaw
Truffle and Herb Deviled Eggs were for no particular occasion but were fun along side dinner.
The Three Bite Rule - Truffle & Herb Deviled Eggs
I made a smoothie with frozen dragon fruit puree packs+ coconut almond milk + mango and the change for me was that it wasn’t a breakfast replacement.

Next month I have a salad and an appetizer already lined up. We’ll see what else I get to. I have a few ideas, of course!

The Baby Girl:

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She’s 100% walking now. A month ago (at 10 months) she was walking a bit and then it picked up, big time. She ate a ton on vacation so maybe there’s a growth spurt ahead! She is so happy all the time. She loved the beach sand and the ocean water and watching her toddle around on the beach was fun. She likes riding around in shopping carts or in the real stroller to look all around, instead of being in her carseat. I’m excited for her birthday! My little babe will be 1!?!?!?!

The Little Boy:

He’s going to a new school in our town for preschool before kindergarten next year. We’ve been mentally preparing him. I love him for his thoughtfulness and I try to arm him with info because his go-to is to want to stay home until he can picture where he’s going and what it will be like. He has been zooming on his balance bike and loving ice pops. I grabbed pedialyte ones for how active and sweaty he gets. He got to go bowling and loved it.

2019 goals:

Year of ___ decluttering/minimizing/organizing: I joined a giveaway group on facebook and got rid of a few things immediately! A wire rack and a baby activity seat went like hotcakes!
Feeding Littles: We had Italian subs in salad form so I shared the little one’s version, deconstructed, minus lettuce. 
Work on advanced food prepping: Using what we had was the name of the game before vacay and then we were gone, so that was half the month!
What I’m reading: I read Palisades Park and Rich People Problems.
What I’m watching: We caught a part of a CNN series about Movies.

Dragon Fruit Smoothie

This might be the easiest smoothie I’ve ever made yet it feels the most exotic! It only has 3 ingredients! Unlike many of my other smoothies, this one isn’t a meal, but is a great cool fruit serving as a snack or with something else for breakfast.
The Three Bite Rule - Dragon Fruit Smoothie
I buy these frozen dragon fruit puree packs at the grocery store and I went full on tropical for the flavors here: dragon fruit, mango, and coconut!

Dragon Fruit Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 dragon fruit puree pack
~1 cup frozen mango
1 cup coconut almond milk
1/2 cup water, as needed

Directions:

Add the dragon fruit. mango, and coconut almond milk into the blender.
The Three Bite Rule - Dragon Fruit SmoothieBlend and add water as needed for your desired consistency. (I used ~1/2 cup)
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Dragon Fruit Smoothie
How pretty is THAT??? Dragon fruit = pitaya. I often see both words on the package. Those frozen packs are beautifully pink and a bit of a splurge but this nicely highlights the sweet flavor. The color is even more radiant without any dairy in there- not that I should call almond milk dairy. I really only use it for the flavor. There’s nowhere near the calcium or protein of regular milk but I don’t loooove milk so I can appreciate almond this with a more watery and coconut flavor.

I should have poured some into my popsicle containers! This would be a good one!

Truffle & Herb Deviled Eggs

This twist on deviled eggs is packed with flavor. There’s truffle oil, dijon, parmesan, and herbs in the filling and brown butter panko topping for a crunch. I made just a few to have with dinner. These would be fun for a party! I tell you, deviled eggs fly off a party table since they’re typically gluten free and dairy free. Mine aren’t this time, but I love the fun flavors into a deviled egg and just add a label for what is in them.

The Three Bite Rule - Truffle & Herb Deviled Eggs

Truffle and Herb Deviled Eggs

Ingredients:

6 eggs
1/2 cup mayo
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
1 teaspoon truffle oil
1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped chiffonade
1 teaspoon fresh chives, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs

Directions:

Hard boil the eggs and let them cool in an ice bath.
Slice them in half and pop the yolks into a mixing bowl and add mayo, mustard, garlic, parmesan, truffle oil, and most of the fresh herbs – reserving a little for the topping.
Mix well and spoon into a bottom corner of a ziplock bag. (tip: open the bag into a drinking glass to more easily fill without tipping over!)
The Three Bite Rule - Truffle & Herb Deviled Eggs
Snip the corner off the bag and pipe into the egg halves.
The Three Bite Rule - Truffle & Herb Deviled Eggs
In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and watch it to bubble, foam, and brown.
Stir in the panko and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, mix well, and remove from the heat. Add in the last of the herbs.
The Three Bite Rule - Truffle & Herb Deviled Eggs
Sprinkle over the eggs just before serving.
The Three Bite Rule - Truffle & Herb Deviled Eggs

I love these. A little truffle oil goes a long way so add some taste and add more if necessary. Any fresh herbs would be good – use rosemary, thyme, or oregano. The brown butter breadcrumbs are ahhh-mazing. I had leftovers I put on everything I ate the next day- eggs at breakfast and then on a hot dog with parmesan peppercorn dressing!

The Three Bite Rule - Truffle & Herb Deviled Eggs
We’re off to the beach soon! I hope I can blog a few things while on vacay! Stay tuned! I live for this week all year for the huge and empty beach, nightly ice cream, walking everywhere, and mini golf!

Tacos with Lemonade Slaw

This slaw screams SUMMER. All caps screaming! At first it was whispering summer, but I tweaked it and then the flavor was really pumped up. I put the slaw onto fish tacos but will make again just as a side slaw. It would be great with pulled pork or burgers- on them or alongside them! It has an ideal mix of creaminess and brightness.
The Three Bite Rule - Lemonade Slaw

Lemonade Slaw

Ingredients:

12 oz (bag) shredded cabbage/broccoli slaw
1/3 cup mayo
1/4 cup lemonade
1 teaspoon lemonade drink powder mix
1 teaspoon lemon juice
zest from 1/2 lemon

Directions:

Mix & enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Lemonade Slaw

I used a single serving lemonade mix, like what to mix into a 16-oz bottle. One teaspoon of the powder went into the slaw then I mixed the rest with ~10 oz of water to make (strong) lemonade to add some into the slaw. The lemon juice served as my acid where I’d normally use vinegar. The lemonade mix sweetened where sugar would normally be.

The Three Bite Rule - Lemonade Slaw
The little guy ate his slaw separately from his taco, but Mr. J and I put it right on it. We don’t make tons of fish at home but frozen breaded fish pieces are super quick and are a crowd-pleaser inside a taco!
The Three Bite Rule - Lemonade Slaw

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