January 2018 Recap

January brought the new year and I feel ready for 2018! More importantly, January meant our little man turned 3! I can’t believe it! We had a fun birthday party with a waffle bar! I meant to blog it and really wanted to, but being in the moment, not rushing to prep before the fam arrived, and paying attention to the birthday boy were all more important.
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I’m totally into jazzed up hot chocolate. I made a Hot Chocolate with Raspberry and White Chocolate. So good. It started when NYE was just too cold for our traditional milkshakes so we went for hot chocolate with toppings. I have more ideas ahead, stay tuned!
The Three Bite Rule - Hot Chocolate w/ Raspberry & White Chocolate
#MeatlessMondays are a thing here for the last few months so I did a meatless Monday round up.

I was really excited to make this Cheeseburger Layer Dip, especially in time for the superbowl!
The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Dip

The Little One:

He’s so big! He was proud to show his new age with his fingers. He was pretty amped up during his family party and after his nap he was so much calmer and focused. We’ve been playing a lot of trains and play doh. I was glad we could capitalize on any days that weren’t too cold. Getting outside is so important. Food-wise, he was into tacos and a dinner of white bean/tomato/spinach with polenta.

This year’s goals: 

Year of the candle: Yup, mint chocolate candle for this chilly month. 
Cook more appetizers/snacks:
Yes! I made 2! I made caesar deviled eggs and cheeseburger layer dip!  
Taking time to blog thoughtfully: 
ehh.
Journal the cute moments of my little one: Yes, I’ve noted a few amusing comments- often a “did you know that” or “I didn’t know that”
What I’m reading: 
 I read Necessary Lies and zoomed through it. I’m pretty far into my next one. 
What I’m watching: 
This is Us, the Superbowl (for the snacks), and The Amazing Race. We watched a few movies: Stronger & Battle of the Sexes.

#MeatlessMonday

I quietly instituted Meatless Mondays at our house. I sort of regularly planned or scheduled a meatless meal during our week but back in November I consciously planned them for Mondays and tried to keep them varied. I mean, pasta seems like the easiest & fastest dinner without meat and is a favorite food of mine so I might have been happy to eat pasta every Monday night! There were still a bunch of pastas on my Mondays but everything has felt different so far! Summer definitely seems like an easier season but it is a good habit I hope to keep up.

The verdict? So far so good! They don’t have to be Mondays necessarily, but I did totally find it helpful for speedier meals to start the week! I’ll keep at it and maybe it’ll stretch me to be more creative. We could definitely eat more veggies.

Here have been some of my favs:

Fall Fettuccine with Roasted Squash, Sage, & Alfredo
The Three Bite Rule - Fall Fettuccine
Baked Falafel Bowls
The Three Bite Rule - Falafel Bowl
Bean & Cheese Quesadillas/Burritos – I froze a few burritos with beans, 2 cheeses, brown rice, and corn for lunches too!

Kale Pesto over Gnocchi
The Three Bite Rule - Kale Pesto
Shakshuka
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Spaghetti w/ Tomato Sauce- I was solo parenting and had strep- the worsttttt. A 2-ingredient dinner was perfect- using my fav Kitchen Ready Tomatoes of course.

Grilled cheese & Tomato Soup – this may have been the first time the little one ate soup. He was into it!

Bfast for Dinner: eggs & hashbrowns

Veggie Calzone with Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
The Three Bite Rule - Fire Roasted Veggie Calzone

Tortellini

Fish tacos with Pear Pomegranate Salsa
The Three Bite Rule - Pomegranate Pear Salsa

Sesame Noodles & Edamame
The Three Bite Rule - Sesame Noodles
I think that’s been most of them so far. It was also refreshing for a busy season to rely on many tried and true favs and not focus on new concepts and blogging all of them.

A bunch of my lunches tend to be vegetarian- quiche, soup, crostini, jazzy grilled cheeses, etc but it was good to be mindful to focus dinners around the theme.

A few other ideas that’ll hit next are some pizzas/flatbreads, Mexican things, more soups, and eggplant. I’m just not craving salads while it is 10-degrees around these parts. Any other cold-weather meatless meal ideas for me? Fish & mushrooms aren’t always favorites for all of us at our house.

December 2017 Recap

I really like the between Christmas and New Years. I don’t feel the post-celebration blues I hear so often. I like the hubbub of Christmases we have celebrating twice and then I like the quietness of NYE. I’m looking forward to sliders and milkshakes that have become our tradition to ring in the new year! As much as I LOVE LOVE LOVE holiday decor I also like the getting back to usual with the tree down etc. I also switch from Christmas/Santas/etc to Snowmen and lights so it still feels festive.

So. much. food. in. December! I hosted Christmas Eve and Mr. J and I made fresh spinach pasta, alfredo, these crockpot meatballs, caesar salad, and chocolate mousse. It was soooo good and the right amount of easy/special foods.

My fav thing this month was an apple, caramelized onion, and boursin crostini. So perfect for a snack, lunch, or cocktail party food.
The Three Bite Rule - Crostini with Boursin, Apple & Caramelized Onions
I also really loved this cheesy-veggie calzone with fire roasted tomatoes.
The Three Bite Rule - Fire Roasted Veggie Calzone
January should be tasty! I have a few posts to work on during my break from work that I’m excited to share. I got some new kitchen toys so I’ll be sure to break them in as well! I made a yogurt cake which instilled a touch of confidence for baked goods.

The Little One:

Christmas was so magical for him! He was feeling shy to sit with Santa, but he did talk to him and asked for a Construction vest. Santa delivered, also with safety goggles which he barely took off since. He couldn’t believe the cookie crumb mess Santa left on the plate! He was quite well behaved and very happy opening presents. I wasn’t sure if he’d have zero attention span since all the family members showered him with so many gifts!

In just a few weeks he’ll be 3! I cannot wait to post his bday celebration!

This year’s goals: 

Year of the candle: 
Grocery store re-invention: 
Ehh. I might just nix this – it never seems to happen! 
Cook more appetizers/snacks: 
Bacon & Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms were from November, and Apple/Boursin/Caramelized Onion Crostini was December! 
Taking time to blog thoughtfully:
I might have added a touch more style this month.
Journal the cute moments of my little one: 
What I’m reading: 
 I read The Day the World Came to Town, so uplifting! and I read Talking as Fast as I Can which was cute & enjoyable. 
What I’m watching:
I fulfilled my Christmas-movie needs by catching some/part of my favorite ones – Elf, The Holiday, Love Actually, Miracle on 34th Street, Christmas with the Kranks & Christmas Vacation. I didn’t see Home Alone which I was missing.

November 2017 Recap

November was full of all the fall flavors: sweet potato; sage; thyme; maple; and dijon! It was a busy month, but also so different than Novembers had been in recent years. I’m loving my new job and have been so appreciative of the chance to do this work. It feels weird to be new and not have all the answers or know style preferences. My team has had successes and I’m so glad to be busy. November wasn’t my healthiest month – separately having strep and a stomach bug put some dampers into my weekend plans twice! I blame the dentist for the stomach bug – prob not their fault, but it was the same day and I hate going so why not?!

#GrilledCheesePlease was a series for November with some of the most fun grilled cheeses! 
Turkey & Pear Grilled Cheese

Sweet Potato & Sage
Pancetta & Cheddar in Truffle Butter
Grilled Cheese Lorraine
The Three Bite Rule - Sweet Potato Grilled Cheese

My fav dish this month, maybe this season, is Fall Fettuccine- with butternut squash, alfredo, and sage. I need to make this again.
The Three Bite Rule - Fall Fettuccine
Burger season isn’t over here – this Asian-Inspired Burger had flavors of teriyaki, sesame, pineapple, and sriracha with crunch from wonton strips and cucumber!
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Burger

The Little One:

He was so good when Mr. J was gone. Also, while I had strep at the same time. Ugg. No fun, but he was very well behaved and we ate toddler greatest hits so I didn’t have to extend too much energy: spaghetti; quesadillas; and leftovers. He and I are each struggling with how early it gets dark, but I’m loving how much pretend play he’s into- especially with toy animals, dinosaurs, and dress up. He got to watch TV for the first time to see the Thanksgiving Day Parade! He loooved it. I never noticed how many interviews there are until I watched with a toddler who just wanted to see marching bands and balloons. Every long stick he finds outside becomes a leaf blower so that’s been a lot of our November play! We’re getting into the holiday spirit – I’m all in, 98% of my spirit is already there! It makes me smile every time he refers to “Santa Closet”.

This year’s goals: 

Year of the candle: I had some spruce/tree scented ones with a bit of life but got a cinnamon-y candle that seems festive!
Grocery store re-invention: 
Ehh. Not so much in November. 
Cook more appetizers/snacks:
I made one that I’ll blog in December. Stay tuned! 
Taking time to blog thoughtfully:
I squeezed a photo into the morning, aka daylight so bam. Done!
Journal the cute moments of my little one: I justttt started. Mostly because I want to always remember him saying “Santa Closet”.
What I’m reading: 
I finished When Breath Becomes Air & Small Great Things 
What I’m watching:
the Law & Order True Crime series about the Menendez Brothers was soooo good. Also, This is Us. I miiiiight have gotten suckered into a Gilmore Girls replaying of all the episodes, in order- perfect on some sick days.

Blogaversary: turning 7!

The Three Bite Rule is 7 years old. I cannot believe it. Sevvvvven. Happy blogaversary! When this timing rolls around it feels like a good time to stop, reflect, and look forward….moreso than January even does. I share some stats/superlatives and …. wait for it…the new goals for the year.

Thanks for sticking around, popping over, and for the love. I do this for fun and I’m still glad to be doing it. I have taken breaks and tweaked along the way but I’m glad to share ideas, what I’m eating, and be part of a food community. Stay tuned for year 8! I’m not out of new recipes yet!

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Superlatives!

My personal fav post: these crockpot meatballs were so unbelievably good, and I totally need to make them again. ‘Tis the season for the comfort foods! They were easy, and also are my favorite because I made ‘em for the little one’s 2nd birthday dinner. He loves pasta & meatballs!
The Three Bite Rule - Crockpot Meatballs
Best Burger: you know what, this gouda, bacon & peach burger was just so good it inspired a full category to win.
The Three Bite Rule - Burger with Smoked Gouda & Peach Relish

Most on-trend food: grain bowls. Give me all the foods that coordinate, on a bed of hearty grains, with a fun drizzle on top and I’ll be ohh-so-happy. This chicken sausage, apple, arugula and honey mustard hit all the flavors and textures.  See other winners like: Italian Grain Bowls, Falafel Grain Bowls, and Burrito Bowls.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage, Arugula, and Rice Bowl

Best photo: this Cast-Iron Skillet Pizza in garlic oil was the picture of crispy perfection – and the crunchy crust was what it is all about. 
The Three Bite Rule - Cast Iron Skillet Pizza

Most loved food insta: Build a Better Charcuterie post about a cheese board was a hit
The Three Bite Rule - Build A Better Charcuterie Board

peanut butter, nutella, and banana smoothie continues to top the charts, for several years. I made a healthier version, but to no avail , the favorite is the original.

The 2018 goals:

I’ve repeated some for several years which was what my gut told me I wanted to do, but 2 years was too long to think it’d get me to do it…I’m looking at you ‘cook more fish’! I love a monthly look to hold my self accountable. I have a mid-month pop up reminder on my phone and the recap prepping is another nudge to see if they’ve happened.

Year of the _____:
I got such ahhh-mazing ideas on social media. I loved them all. I’m drawn to a year of candles (thanks Sarah!)! They’re a budget-friendly treat, I have definite scent preferences, they can be a nod to seasonal decor, annnd I have a passionate disdain for cheap ones I can’t seem to smell! I was interested in shoes, bags, etc, but thought they might be categories of wanting a few good ones versus 12 affordable ones 
Grocery store re-invention:
grabbing something and using it unexpectedly
Cook more appetizers/snacks:
plusapps for dinner are also SO FUN
Taking time to blog thoughtfully:
that means daylight- when possible; more attention to get a variety of shots; striving for more style
Journal the cute moments of my little one: I did a little gratitude journal when the baby blues hit me and I needed to look for the good. Now I just want to remember when he says funny things.  
What I’m reading:
What I’m watching:

October 2017 Recap

Happy Halloween!! Eat all the orange foods and then pass on over all the pb cups you find. Sounds like balance to me! October was a biggie for me. I wrapped up my former job and am settling into the new one. I didn’t take much time between since I had justtt gone on vacay but it was good to have a few weekdays with the little one. November was always the busiest of the year in my previous role, so I honestly have never looked forward to November as much as right now! The fall is glorious and I couldn’t be happier.

First things first, we had a yard sale. It’s a great feeling to let go of things. Also, I’m psyched to take the little one trick-or-treating! We bought a tool-belt toy since every stick we find outside is a pretend tool. I’m hoping November can include a day-date hike with Mr. J now that Zion has us prepared for all terrain. I also have a fun fall theme that was suggested to me to blog annnnd I have lots of fall food inspiration to come – definitely including flavors like cider, butternut squash, pork, sage, & pears.

This fall inspired breakfast sandwich is definitely me living my best life. A local everything bagel, maple sausage, egg & sharp cheddar, apple, and maple dijon spread. It cannot be topped.
The Three Bite Rule - Maple Sausage & Apple Breakfast Sandwich
This Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese had us feeling is this, or isn’t this healthy? Take your own stance, but the squash gives that pop of orange with minimal cheese. I had some leftover sauce and froze it…it sounds ideal before trick or treating!
The Three Bite Rule - Butternut Mac & Cheese
There is also plenty of time for more Salted Caramel Apple Smoothies.
The Three Bite Rule - Caramel Apple Smoothie

The Little One:

I can’t get over what he can remember! He’ll make connections to a book we haven’t read 1-million times, or something we saw 1 time and it takes me a second to get there. He just told Mr. J about a his best friend at daycare. I didn’t know he knew that concept -it was really sweet! When he sees 2 of something he counts it as one for him and one for his cousin Nate. Food wise, this month he’s been wanting bagels, though his love for waffles hasn’t gone anywhere. He hasn’t gravitated to meat as much lately but I was thrilled to see him eat chili. Sometimes he hasn’t been into foods cooked all together, even when he likes the components – think: chili, pot pie, baked pasta. All fruits and all veggies are still a-go. He liked getting edamame out of the pods too. In October he ate at a few more restaurants than usual and other diners commenting on the volume he can put-away!

 

2017 Goals:

Year of the seasonal decor: I am stocked for Halloween and fall so I used October to prep for Thanksgiving to grab this cure Thankful sign. Thus, no photo yet.
do more dinner prep more in advance: Yup! The crockpot got some action with chili!
read more (and always carry my book on me): I am mid-way through 2 books. Stay tuned for a big November recap! I’m super excited for a pajama storytime I’m taking the little one to!
watch more movies: we watched The House which was funny – Amy Poehler is so amazing.
cook more fish: ummm, nope
focus on clothes that I really like: I have purchased so many work pieces, though I’ve been good about returning anything I’m not 100% into…which included 2 blazers & a sweater. I should be good for work clothes until after I’ve done holiday shopping!

September 2017 Recap

September seemed to FLY by. It started with Mr. J working super hard all Labor Day weekend. I had a lot of time with the little one. He was so good but I give single parents soooo much credit. I also was trying to fit in a bunch of blogging and vacay prep – some happened, some didn’t. It was a busy time to get vacation details planned, get the grandparents ready for babysitting and dog-sitting, and to get physically ready for a lot of hiking. Speaking of vacation – it was ahhhhmazing! I didn’t cook a ton this month, but I was pretty happy with a bunch of what I cooked!

This burger wins for best in show: Smoked gouda, bacon, and a peach relish.
The Three Bite Rule - Burger with Smoked Gouda & Peach Relish
I loved this pasta my boss made with ricotta, zucchini, mint, and lemon zest. It felt summery but I love ricotta so much that I’d keep making it until the mint in our garden is no-more. Which means I probably have another month or so.
The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini, Herb, & Ricotta Pasta
I brought Greek Deviled Eggs to the potluck at work and they were a hit! I packed them up in my egg carrier and added the cuke/feta/tomato toppings just before serving. My photo-op one here is plated, but I sprinkled the feta all over the tops of them and it was way easier (and cute!) instead of placing each piece. I have a few more deviled egg ideas. Stay tuned!
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Deviled Egg
My last fav of the month was an heirloom tomato flatbread with truffle breadcrumb topping. What’s not to love? It was ~5 ingredient dinner and ready in 10 minutes (plus grill preheating time).
The Three Bite Rule - Heirloom Tomato Flatbread
Vacay was so incredible. It was the longest I’ve been away from the little one but I think it is good for all of us. Mr. J and I made the most of every minute and were just astounded by the Utah/Arizona area. We flew to Vegas and had a quick night there with a tour at the Neon Museum and a great dinner. Then we went through Valley of Fire and absolutely loved it. It was so red and had such huge rocks with far visibility. That was actually one of our toughest hikes but was one of our fav spots. Then we went to our airbnb and spent 2 days in Zion, 1 day in Bryce Canyon, and 1 day to canyons & coral sands. It was breathtaking and we loved hiking and photographing it all. We clocked about 12,000-20,000 steps per day and were wiped at night. It was just incredible and a different vacation for us.

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Next up, my new job! I have just a few days in-between but after a year of job hunting, I’m off to a new adventure in higher ed doing alumni/annual giving. I’m very excited but it’ll be bittersweet to leave. I’ve absolutely loved and been so proud to be part of my last organization so it was hard to break the news and took finding the right fit to even get me to the decision. Job transitions are so tough and emotionally charged. The waiting and interviewing and offers feels like a lot. I’m grateful for this new opportunity. I’ll have to pack lunch now! Stay tuned!

The Little One:

He had such a fun stay while we were away. He was lucky to get to see all his grandparents that week! The highlight of his month might have been a weekend to Maine to see the big boys play football. He loves them dearly and they are so nice to him. The little one is obsessed with a nerf football and runs around yelling “tumble!”. He is excited each day to “play with the big kids” in the preschool class at daycare. I love hearing how well he’s listening and doing there – they said he doesn’t want to walk downstairs because he thinks he’d go back to the toddler group. His sentences are getting longer and he cracks us up. I melt when he says “Mommy and me have blue eyes?” A recent and frequent phrase is “what happened” for everything, multiple times. I’m sad for the early darkness in terms of cooking, he’s sad for early darkness for playing outside. He is still pb&j obsessed on the weekends. He loves the stool up to the counter to “cook” with me, and I love having him there.

2017 Goals:

Year of the seasonal decor: Yes! I grabbed this cute pear and a printable. I have plenty of pumpkins & halloween so I’m not sure what Oct will bring.
do more dinner prep more in advance: Sort of…I made a bunch of quick dinners and did some weekend meal prep.
read more (and always carry my book on me): I read Women of the Silk and loved it, yet was horrified by the families choosing to send a daughter to the silk factories. Then I read Break in Case of Emergency. It was kind of dumb, but entertaining.
watch more movies: hmmm. I don’t think we watched any.
cook more fish: nope
focus on clothes that I really like: I fell for a crazy deal. 2 work tops for $7 each…one’s a winner, one isn’t. I need to get on new work clothes though!

Labor Day Menu

Burgers + a goooood side + another fun side + drinks by the pool:

I’d pick a rodeo burger that calls for a par-tay! Rodeo burgers are topped with melty cheddar, BBQ rub, onion rings and a drizzle of BBQ sauce.
rodeo_burg_plate_590_390
I’d go for this side, with anything on the grill: Caesar Asparagus by grilling some asparagus, a drizzle of caesar, and some hard boiled egg
The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Asparagus
Why not add some Bacon & Blue Cheese Pasta Salad that is ideally made in advance.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Blue Cheese Pasta Salad
and a Creamsicle Cocktail to wash it down with orange soda, whipped cream flavor vodka, and orange zest.
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Enjoy!

August 2017 Recap

August has meant a lot of grilled dinners and enjoying the daylight. I harvested all the basil and made some pesto. The little one loooved the pesto-pasta! Mr. J and I booked a trip to Zion National Park! SOOOO excited! We go in September and I’m really looking forward to it.

I whipped up these Shrimp Cakes to go on a salad and they had the best texture.  I made them on a Sunday and had some for lunch and the rest for Monday’s dinner over salad. They were perfect for my goal for dinner prep in advance!
The Three Bite Rule - Shrimp Cake
I was all about the breakfasts. I used a frozen Belgian waffle with fun toppings for German Chocolate Cake Waffles, and then I made Peach Cornmeal Pancakes.
The Three Bite Rule - Peach Cornmeal Pancakes
My fav meal of the month was the salad with cracked wheat, arugula, peach, avocado, and pistachios. The best!
The Three Bite Rule - Peach, Avocado & Grain Salad

The Little One:

He’s such a big boy now! He remains waffle-obsessed and can’t get enough fruit. My 2nd cousins were visiting and Thomas ate the 6 & 11 year old under the table. He’s such a little sponge. He knows and remembers things – like we drive around a rotary on the way home and when we get close he says “goin’ round the rotary?”. He’s moving up to the pre-school classroom at daycare. I can’t believe it but think it’ll be good for him to play with the bigger kids. He is loving all the books and coloring with markers. All sticks outside are screwdrivers or hammers.

2017 Goals:

Year of the seasonal decor: Ehh. I’m lacking on fall that isn’t pumpkins.
do more dinner prep more in advance: Yes! I made sweet pickle pasta salad to go with something grilled; I made shrimp cakes in advance; etc!
read more (and always carry my book on me): I read started a few but didn’t get really into it.
watch more movies: we watched The Founder, which was fascinating.
cook more fish: shrimp cakes!
focus on clothes that I really like: I grabbed a few workout items for our big trip!

July 207 Recap

Happy summer! July wraps up for me with vacay. It is my fav week of the year full of family time, the beach, and nightly ice cream. I’m glad for another full summer month coming. I had an appendicitis which threw me for a loop for a few weeks. I missed a trip to Maine but am now back to normal and feeling better. I only cooked a bit- mostly for breakfast toasts. I’ve leaned heavily towards quick dinners on the grill to squeeze in eating as a family.

My fav thing I made was a French Onion Dip Hot Dog….Mr. J’s idea.
The Three Bite Rule - French Onion Hot Dogs
This white wine spritzer was so delightful and the tip was pomegranate lemonade ice cubes.
The Three Bite Rule - Wine Spritzer
Meatless tacos with chili-lime sweet potato & black bean filling or taco-spiced zucchini and onions.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatless Taco Options

On goes the toast:
Cherry Basil Toast
Avocado Toast with Soft Boiled Egg & Everything Bagel Seasoning
Peach & Pistachio Toast

August will be a bit different with the family vacay in July instead of August. I bought cool silicone popsicle molds for push pops. I blended mango with a little water and froze it. What a hit! The little one loooved it. I want to do some crazy favor ones.

2017 Goals:

Year of the seasonal decor: I added a cool rope ball and adirondack chair to my mantle-scape.
do more dinner prep more in advance: I did pretty well. I stillll want to use up some freezer things….like flatbreads etc that can align with quick meals.
read more (and always carry my book on me): I read The Wangs vs. The World and The Perfume Collector.
watch more movies: I don’t think I saw any movies this month. I dozed and watched a lot of TV while I was sick.
cook more fish: I made salmon for a his & hers protein topped caesar salad…the little one ate some and liked it!
focus on clothes that I really like: I snagged some deals from the Gap Factory outlet- $17 white jeans and $5 tee shirt.