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!

balloons

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.
creamcicle_cup_590_390
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.

June 2017 Recap

Summer is here! It has been awesome so far! I feel like we’ve had some fun get togethers and special things to go while also not going 1000 miles an hour. A lot of the year wizzes by but I’m loving this season we’re in. Our herb garden is taking off and the tomatoes are doing well.

This month was Mr. J’s biiiiiiirthday! His Birthday Burger was an Ultimate Mexican Burger with chorizo and topped with beans, queso, & guac.
The Three Bite Rule - Ultimate Mexican Burger
A new smoothie! Finally! Mojito Smoothie was new, with our own mint plant. We had a little smoothie demo at work and did this one, and a twist on this peanut butter & jelly smoothie.
The Three Bite Rule - Mojito Smoothie
And all the toast! I gave myself a self-imposed challenge to create some more interesting toast toppings!
The Three Bite Rule - Burrata, Pesto, Tomato Toast
Vanilla Almond Butter + Blackberries + Maple Syrup
Ricotta + Arugula + Bacon
Pesto + Tomato + Burrata
Nutella + Strawberry + Cinnamon

You know, I miiiight keep the toasts going in July. I make the rules, I can do what I want! They’ve been fun and I have a few more ideas. Stay tuned! I’m psyched for a few days off annnnd later in the month is a week at the beach!

The Little One:

We’ve been swimming! He wasn’t into it the first time of the season but then he went in and had a great time the last few times. We gave him a hand-me-down tee-ball glove from his older cousins and he plays with it daily. He’s loving the grilled foods.

2017 Goals:

Year of the seasonal decor: I did it! I framed a watercolor popsicle print annnd I got blue & white scarf with little tassels for my nautical mantle.
do more dinner prep more in advance: I’m on it. I’m focused on quick dinners to allow playtime outside or a walk before it gets dark.
read more (and always carry my book on me): I read Where’d You Go, Bernadette.
watch more movies: we watched/cried-our-eyes-out to A Dog’s Purpose
cook more fish: I had ton at work, does that count?
focus on clothes that I really like: none this month

May 2017 Recap

Happy spring! May was a delicious month in the kitchen here! I’ve had more chances to cook in daylight, hallelujah. Also, the end of car-sharing logistics has finally come to a close. Phew! I just picked up my new car and I’m thrilled to wrap things up a super annoying car people. The first go-round was surprisingly great and since my accident, the dealership was sold. This time was super frustrating.

Bring on the burger season: this Bahn Mi Burger was so fun made with seasoned ground pork and topped with cucumbers, avocado, and sriracha cilantro mayo. Yummm.
The Three Bite Rule - Bahn Mi Burger
Another fav this month was a little #restaurantrecreation Breakfast Hash brunch dish with tots, poached egg, and cheese sauce.
The Three Bite Rule - Bfast Hash
I made Cheeseburger Potato Skins as dinner, but they’re a great app too. Ground meat, ketchup, mustard, cheese, and pickles!
The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Potato Skins
June will bring Mr. J’s birthday burger, and a fun little bfast series. Many of our herbs have come back and are flourishing so I’m sure those will have a June highlight. There are 2 get togethers coming up so I’ll have captive audiences to feed! Muhhhahaha! ;) I’ve recently become obsessed with defrosting our big spare freezer. You know how I freeze all the things, well, I’m going to just have the refrigerator’s freezer until getting to the bottom and defrosting. Get ready for a week of freezer food inspired meals. I’m so inspired! Follow on insta-stories if you’re interested.

The Little One:

His new phrase is “so excited”! I love it. I had a few days off which was fun for weekday adventures to the Zoo and storytime at the library. He LOVES helping. We’ve been cooking together with the stool to the island, and he planted flowers and herbs. When we see bunnies in the yard he says “don’t eat herbs”. Jelly is still a fav, but it was so funny how into feta he was.

2017 Goals:

Year of the seasonal decor: gahhh. I missed it again. Well, I have one more day to make May happen…
do more dinner prep more in advance: I’ve done some. I’m all over the quick dinners to allow playtime outside or a walk before it gets dark.
read more (and always carry my book on me): I’m reading A Man Called Ove.
watch more movies: we watched Hidden Figures
cook more fish: nahh. Maybe in spring this will actually happen?
focus on clothes that I really like: I returned 3 dress options I got for my event. All were busts. I just ordered some steals from a Loft Memorial Day sale.

April 2017 Recap

April becomes such a blur with work being so busy. I’m counting down and will post again once I resurface for air. I have so many things I want to make & blog! Here are a few of my favs I made in April:

This cast iron skillet pizza was so amazing. I cooked it in garlic oil. Garlic. Oil. Plus, hefting that huuuuge cast iron skillet into and out of the oven is like a workout, so that equals out the pizza. No?
The Three Bite Rule - Cast Iron Skillet Pizza
I also would eat this Sausage, Egg, Cheese & Everything Bagel bake on the regular. It was delightfully not too chewy.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage, Egg, Cheese Bagel Bake
If I’m loading up on pizza and bagels, maybe I should offset with an Orange Julius Smoothie since it tastes a bit like a treat, but it is full of orange, mango, and a little bit of yogurt.
The Three Bite Rule - Orange Julius Smoothie
I don’t think I made anything this month with more than 7 ingredients. It is just one of those times. Work is bananas, my car is officially totaled, Mr. J was away for a few days, and the little pup was sick (back to normal, but she was waking up a million times per night). This is when I appreciate having some easy dinners up my sleeve, not assuming I can do it all, and we’re all cutting ourselves some slack over here.

frequent fast dinners: 
pasta, frozen meatballs, my fav kitchen ready tomatoes as sauce
bfast – Mr. J just threw together a fritatta/torta that was ahhh-mazing the other night
salad bar to ensure we eat enough veggies
quesadillas
grocery store roasted chicken + some roasted veg

The little one: 
He’s pretending more and more. “I’m a bunny” with some hops is just so cute. He wants to live outside right now. He’s loving “butter jelly” for pb&j sandwiches on the weekends since he can’t take them to daycare. Another favorite food is honey mustard. We got some fantastic books at the library. A few were dino books, one was about Bees, and a cool one was photos of all felt things (this book). I don’t really like peas, but this story was just too cute that he’ll miss dearly when it needs to go back to the library: 51rS1-8Z1+L._SY497_BO1,204,203,200_

This month’s goals: 
Year of the seasonal decor: none this month.
do more dinner prep more in advance: ehh. not really, but ohh well.
read more (and always carry my book on me): I’m hoping to finish Be Frank with Me before bookclub next week.
watch more movies: we watched Patriot’s Day which was well done & Masterminds which I loved
cook more fish: nahh. Maybe in spring this will actually happen?
focus on clothes that I really like: I’m still waiting on a few dresses- hopefully one will work for my event. Why can’t all women’s dresses have pockets? Or at least blazers? All blazers should have pockets. End of story.

See ya on the flip side!

March 2017 Recap

My birthday month was a good one! I seriously ate birthday cake for a week. As March draws to an end, I’m very ready for spring though work is getting nutty. Mr. J and I had a little getaway to Foxwoods for a little gambling, and a lot of catching up with my college roomies + spouses. We ate at Guy Fieri’s Kitchen + Bar and loved it!

My grain bowl obsession continues! I loooved this pilaf, grilled chicken, avocado, bacon, & honey mustard bowl. Annnd then I made a teriyaki one with grilled pineapple.
The Three Bite Rule - Rice Pilaf & Honey Mustard Grain Bowl
Chicken Caesar Pasta was such a hit. Loved it.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Caesar Pasta
I baked! We had a snow day and this Blueberry & Cream Cheese Pastry was perfect.
The Three Bite Rule - Blueberry & Cream Cheese Breakfast Pastry

The Little One:
He’s been throwing around some funny phrases, like “I think so” and “ummm” when he’s thinking. There are more and more sentences happening! We had a dry spell for avocados so he’s really hoping ties aren’t cut between our government and Mexico. He had a sleepover with the grandparents and loved it. I got some re-fillable pouches for applesauce and yogurt and those are such a hit.

Monthly goals:

Year of the seasonal decor: I JUST got this awesome felt pom pom garland that is around a twiggy wreath for springy Easter decor! Yay!!
do more dinner prep more in advance: ehh. speedy dinners are def happening and I’m using up the comfort food.
read more (and always carry my book on me): I read Brain on Fire with bookclub and Girl at War.
watch more movies: we watched Girl on the Train, which was wayyy more intense for Mr. J who hadn’t read the book.
cook more fish: nahh. Maybe in spring this will actually happen?
focus on clothes that I really like: no new clothes this month