food for thought

I feel like an old person, but what will they think of next…ummm no thanks.

This eating all the emoji article cracked me up. I had no idea what some of the food was, or why they were important enough to have an emoji but this was so fascinating. She didn’t count the animals and stuck to actual food pics. It wasn’t a stunt to lose weight, just out of interest. Apparently it lacks bfast and there’s tons of alcoholic options and desserts.
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I’m ready for all the fall things and for some reason, all the fall/harvest-y/seasonal decor has glitter. Why all the glitter? Pumpkins are so dang cute. Candy corn, delicious with no sparkle necessary. I open greeting cards carefully when I can tell there will be glitter. There’s no way I’m putting a wreath celebrating pumpkins and lovely colored leaves on my door if it’s covered in glitter. That means everytime I open the door I’ll encounter THE GLITTER. Of all holidays I think glitter is not necessary for halloween and I think Thanksgiving is about so much more. I just want it all to smell like apples, cinnamon, and pie.
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I want to make this pumpkin coffee cake
and I might try my hand at a better caramel apple cider than this one I tried
it is time to go apple picking
easy pumpkin muffins are in order, or maybe pumpkin bread french toast
this year might be right for apple week since last year I did pumpkin week
there might be a pear picking party at Mrs. M’s house. What should I make featuring pears?

August 2014 Recap

August was a month full of fun dining experiences and outings an less about actual cooking. I find readership being very lopsided in the dead of summer. I think September will bring a good variety…I already have seafood, a twist on pizza, more grilled foods, and I even have a giveaway planned!

I had the best breakfast sandwich…of. my. life. On our trip to NH. They crossed a bagel with a croissant. It doesn’t get much better than that.

In other adventures, I tried Barcelona Wine Bar and loved everything we ordered. I met up with other bloggers for a fun afternoon of walking, salads, and cupcakes. I wasn’t into the salad I got but loved the cupcakes.

The best thing I cooked all month were these Steakhouse Flatbread Pizzas. Mine had buttery mushrooms and Mr. J’s had grilled steak. They were really good and so quick to prep by using naan bread. I loved these and would eat it again in a second.
Steakhouse Flatbread Pizza - The Three Bite Rule
I did a roasted beet, sweet potato, and potato side dish that was really good, but more time consuming than I usually spend on sides.
Roasted Beets & Potatoes - The Three Bite Rule
I decided a Greek Pita Pizza deserved a re-do and it was a good excuse to unload some zucchini onto.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Pita Pizza
Bump Update:
In the last month the baby has grown to the size of a turnip, a sweet potato, a mango, and a banana. My hunger has evened out a bit. I was introduced to donut peaches from the CSA delivered to work and they’re so amazing. Whenever I’ve gotten a whiff of my nectarines or somebody’s peaches at work I’m all about it. It is getting a bit harder to get up after being on all fours talking to the pups and harder to go from laying to sitting. I’m feeling it a bit more and I’ve officially popped. Getting dressed requires a bit more creativity with the few maternity items and whatever I find that I fit into.

Enjoy labor day & a long weekend and see ya in September!

July Recap

July was bananas. Between the holiday weekend, telling everyone about the baby, and some landscape projects I feel like summer is in full swing. I cannot express how thankful I am that Mother Nature has been kind to me without too much heat. Seriously. Those 75-degree days were lovely and I appreciated it thoroughly.

People’s reactions to the baby have been so wonderful and I am grateful for the support. I’ll keep ya posted as any crazy food cravings/aversions changes & evolve. I had grilled salmon on salad one night and couldn’t stop calling it the best I’d ever had. Currently I’m hungry all the time. In July, the babe was the size of a large plum, a peach, a lemon, an orange, then an avocado.
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July also was sort of life-changing in that we finally got our ice maker fixed. It is amazing. Having an endless supply of ice cubes is so great. Mr. J has become a cold-brewing coffee master, and ice is a vital component to that. The pups are not interested in them, but I pile them into every drink I have now.

I tweaked my normal pizza dough process with the prompting of Mr. J. He suggested we try rolling out the dough a bit to make it thinner. It was awesome and cracker-thin. I made this breakfast pizza that might be my best attempt thus far. I hard-boiled the eggs and chopped them up. It gave it a true eggy-taste without the texture getting wanky.

The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Flatbread
A true shining moment of food in July was a BLT Burger – This burger was so great. I mixed in some sun-dried tomato pesto into the burger, giving the flavors a serious upgrade.
The Three Bite Rule - BLT Burger
I used this roasted kale pesto to become pasta salad and it was ahhh-mazing. I loved it and want it all the time now. I might have to mass produce the kale pesto to keep stocked.
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Kale Pesto Pasta Salad

The puff pastry turnovers were so good and such an easy dinner. The creamed spinach and ham were so good. Three ingredients: puff pastry sheets, frozen creamed spinach, chopped ham. Done! They are really adaptable with whatever is on hand. I liked the little deviation from grilled things and I made them in the toaster oven without heating up the whole kitchen! The kale pesto would be good in these buggers too!
The Three Bite Rule - Puff Pastry Turnovers
Mr. J has been toiling away on a landscaping project. He has a great landscaping eye and mapped out a plan for walkway paths from the deck over to the hammock, and to a future firepit area, and to the basement door. After being revived from the landscaping estimates for stone pavers, he planned gravel paths he could do himself…for less than the $10K price tag.

It was tonsss of work and my dad lent some much needed hands-on help. Mr. J rented a sod cutter, dug out the dirt, installed edging, loaded in crushed gravel base, pounded that down, and topped with pea stone. I helped a bit when I was up to it, but really this project took lots of full days of work. I’m thankful the majority is done. It’ll be awesome and I cannot wait to roast marshmallows. It will be done soon!

Let’s check on my goals:
Buy myself flowers more often - The Year of the flower is a hit! this month I nabbed some blue hydrangeas  and then this beautiful mix came from a chef at work.
send more mail – ehh I didn’t quite get there this month.
make some Pinterest pins a reality 
cook with yeast (yikes!)
try a spin class – um nope. I’m not sure I’m adding in any super new exercises at this point. I’m slowly doing a 30-day yoga challenge whenever the mood strikes.
make more cocktails – umm no cocktails for me until January ;) but I did make a fun beverage: Bubbly Blueberry Lemonade

August is always a reminder to make the most of the final days of summer. I’ll have a few beach days at the very end, and I have already mentally prepared people that I need a lot more Maine Black Bear ice cream in my summer.

4th of July Cookout Ideas

I wanted to throw out some ideas for your holiday weekend. I’m excited for some swimming at my parents’ pool and my hometown fireworks and then a trip to the lake in Maine. Windsor doesn’t even know he’s going to get to swim!!! He’ll be so excited!

Whether you’re hosting and doing the whole menu or just need to bring something, here are my favs.

For a salad:
Corn, Avocado, & Cucumber salad takes 10 minutes to prep but will outshine the run-of-the-mill potato salads, or just provide a fun alternative.
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or I love this Ramen Broccoli Slaw, which also takes 10 minutes. I like it with broccoli slaw but shredded cabbage works too.
The Three Bite Rule - Ramen Slaw
or Greek Pasta Salad with cukes, tomatoes, and feta.

For a burger: 

Ranch Chicken Burgers are always a hit (and deserve a redo)
Onion Dip Burgers are so fun with dried onion soup to mix in, and some french onion dip on top!
The Three Bite Rule - Onion Burger
or check out some of my other fav burgers. A burger bar with all different toppings and a few “specialty” burger ideas on a menu.


For a drink: 

Instant Sangria doesn’t need to sit all day, so if you forget you can whip this up without a lot of lead time.
or creamsicle cocktails
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For dessert: 
S’mores Bread Pudding has 4th of July written all over it, and you can make it in advance and warm it up.
The Three Bite Rule - S'mores Bread Pudding
or PB & J bars
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Happy Independence Day!

June Recap

June has been lovely, and slower paced which I’m loving. I’ve abbreviated my quantity of posts but hopefully you’re still enjoying them. June was pretty meat-less now that I look back.

I did have some really delicious food outings. I went to The Painted Burro and had an amazing duck taco. I had a weeknight date to Figs Boston for some pizza. I went to a food truck festival and almost passed out, so I didn’t take any photos after I finally securing some water. I’m thankful for how many not-too-hot days we’ve had. I spent one Sunday by the pool after hitting of my fav local doughnut joint.

I really loved this super simple Veggie Pasta with Brown Butter Sauce
The Three Bite Rule - Brown Butter Pasta
This Marinated Cucumber Salad and this Spinach & Tomato Tortellini Salad seemed like good summer staples.

I figured we were due for a re-do of zucchini fritters
The Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Fritters

Sis and I took Mom to tea for a belated Mother’s Day outing. It was awesome. I loved it! Let’s have tea and scones every afternoon.
The Three Bite Rule - Afternoon Tea
Mr. J’s birthday burger was a great one! I was worried I wouldn’t come up with a new theme for the traditional burger but this one was great. It was a German burger: pretzel rolls, caramelized onions, mustard, swiss cheese, and a touch of horseradish. I also tossed together some truffle parmesan fries. Can’t beat that!
The Three Bite Rule - German Burgers

 

Let’s check on my goals: 
Buy myself flowers more often - The Year of the flower is going strong, this month was a home ground peony and then this month also had some lupine from the highway in Maine.
send more mail – ehh I didn’t quite get there this month.
make some Pinterest pins a reality 
cook with yeast (yikes!)
try a spin class – um nope. I did a zumba class…not quite the same.
make more cocktails – totally forgot. Stay tuned. I issued a mojito “cross country challenge” to @jessfuel

May Recap

May was bussssy. My event was amazing, we broke the 22-year fundraising records. It was awesome. Then there were a few trips to Maine and a few busy weekends. I took a break after not feeling overly proud of my latest meals. I did have a few goodies in May.

I started with a his/hers topped Caesar Salads hers with grilled shrimp, his with grilled steak.
The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Salad with Grilled Shrimp
Baked Gnocchi was a great freezer/pantry meal, especially fitting on a pre-spring cool night. I was thinking baked ravioli but I found some frozen gnocchi and got a quick meat sauce together.
The Three Bite Rule - Baked Gnocchi
I loooved this twist on chicken & waffles, making it into a panini.

One of the best meals of the month was an Asian inspired salad with peanut butter chicken. It has some great flavors with the peanut butter, oranges, and edemame. Yum.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken

P.S. Happy Birthday to my Momma!


Let’s check on my goals: 

Buy myself flowers more often - The Year of having-more-flowers is going strong, this month was the iris.
send more mail – I sent some mother’s day cards
make some Pinterest pins a reality 
cook with yeast (yikes!)
try a spin class
make more cocktails – hmmm, no special cocktails to share. June seems right for something lemonade-inspired.

Next week has some legit recipes. Stay tuned!

Who is Making Some Good Stuff

I’m back!  Haha sort of. I’m easing my way back into blogging and seeing what I come up with. Buckle up. It might get crazy. I think that’s the beauty of this. I do what I want. I was feeling in a rut so I might change it up a bit now and then. I know, crazy. It is Tuesday and I’m posting. What will the world come to? Or maybe I’m the only one who knew my own schedule.

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I haven’t really been making anything amazing, but I wanted to share a few folks who are and maybe a few other fun goodies.

First of all, I’m newly obsessed with this:
Raspberry Chocolate Greek Yogurt. It is so good. I had it as dessert the other day, tossing in just a few raspberries I had. It was unbelievable. Raspberries might be my least favorite berry. My nephews would be in shock since they love ‘em, exclusively. I’m noshing some blueberries right now as I write this and wishing I had some strawberries…that’s how low raspberries rank to me.

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I never choose yogurt for dessert, since it normally is my bfast, but I saw some fun flavors that seemed really desserty. Caramel Macchiato, Strawberry Cheesecake, and Toasted Vanilla Coconut I’m coming for ya. I wish I bought more than one of these guys.

Next, these Chicken Parmesan Cupcakes by Plain Chicken are just too cute, and sound delicious. How come mini foods are so much more fun? I’m thinking some apps for dinner are in order.

Onto dessert, again…This sounded too good to be true: Chocolate Oreo Peanut Butter Dream Dessert by Seeded at the Table
Seriously. Unreal. Check out her blog, it is lovely and this sounds amazing. I want to be friends.
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I saw these two ingredient sandwiches and they sounded so fun. Now I want to have a crustini party. Who’s in? These would be fun for a brunchy spread or for when it is too hot to really cook, or to appeal to all palates. I think “less is more” is a great summery food motto. Unless we’re talking that dessert with every good flavor in the world (oreo + pb + whipped cream + butterfingers, see above).

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Hmmm. What else.
This BLT loaded guac dip sounds ahhh-mazing.
This Spinach & Artichoke & Bacon Stuffed Pretzel might be my next “cooking with yeast” adventure
This make-your-own dressing guide is foolproof
This Chocolate Mousse-Covered Strawberry Pie seems like a non-baker like me to could make it

In other news…
Mr. J is a building machine. Since constructing the compost bin, he has reconstructed our saggy wooden window box, and now he’s working on a table for photo mat cutting and a squirrel feeder. Don’t ask about the squirrels, apparently they’re stealing from the birds.

The Bachelorette just started and I love this gal. I hope she doesn’t go as crazy as a few of her suiters went after meeting her for an hour. #drama

The teaching kitchen students at my work made the most unbelievable fried chicken. It was like late afternoon snacking dream.

The pups have their annual exam soon. Dun dun dun! No, it’ll be fine. Bailee will be in panic mode, but she lives in a highly excitable state. Windsor will be well behaved and won’t mind at all…especially since it involves a car ride.

Quick Cinco de Mayo Menu Ideas

It is already Cinco de Mayo. Here are a few ideas you can throw together in a jiffy IF you want to be all themey today and hadn’t already thought about it. My themey-ness is limited because my brain is about maxed out in preparedness for a huge work event on Thursday. Ease and auto-pilot are the names of the game this week. I do love how quick tacos can be though…

Here’s what I wish I were serving ;)

Flautas filled with beef, chicken, pork, veggies, etc: They’re super quick and easy to prep. They’re a great appetizer or main dish. I love the crunch + cheese in one cute little roll-up. Mix up some ranch + taco seasoning for a creamy drizzle with a kick!

The Three Bite Rule - Pork Flauta
Grilled Pineapple Salsa: this is so easy, you could also grill some pineapple and just add that + black beans to your regular ole jar-o’salsa. Serve it with chips or on top of some chicken. Your call.
pineapple_salsa_mixed_590_390

If you’re celebrating a bit later, you neeeed to mix up this bean dish. They’re sweet & tart and I hesitate to call it bean salad because that isn’t quite what it is, but bean dip isn’t quite right either. It needs to marinate for a few hours, or overnight. I make this often, as a side dish or to add onto tacos, or with chips. It keeps a few days and is great on a salad. Try it, you’ll convert everyone.
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Go beyond your average tacos by using pulled pork
The Three Bite Rule - BBQ Pulled Pork Tacos
Or if tortillas + cheese + eggs are all you can will yourself to grab for a fiesta then Huevos Rancheros it is!
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I love taco pizzas like this or taco pizzas like this
or taco inspired burgers are great

adios!

April Recap

Happy spring! I’m loving these warm and sunny days. I don’t hate the cool days. They’re like one last chance to wear a sweater or to eat cold-weather-food.

April has been good to me. Work is pretty busy with a big event right around the corner. I’m so thankful that I’m not crazy and at my wit’s end, like I have been for years at this point before my May events. It is so great to have this job. Although it is busy, I still have energy for getting to the gym, and making meals…so some of the meals are focused on quick and springy ideas.

Parisian Burger was hands down the best recipe I’ve made in a loooong time. Rosemary, garlic, mustard, truffle mayo, an egg, and arugula were unbelievable for this burger.
The Three Bite Rule - Parisian Burger

I hadn’t made breakfast in awhile so I came up with Chunky Monkey Pancakes with chocolate chunks, banana, and walnuts.
The Three Bite Rule - Chunky Monkey Pancakes
It had been wayyy too long since I shared a book for foodies. I didn’t looove this one, but I thought it was interesting. It got me drinking more water…well, the book or my fitbit person icon.
The Three Bite Rule - Book: French Women Don't Get Fat
I also made a Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta that was full of flavor.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
I whipped up a few calzones, but the sausage and pepper calzone was the better of the two. I’m glad I used some different cheeses. It’s a good reminder how to tweak or make some changes to keep a calzone feeling fresh and different.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & Peppers Calzone
April was definitely a busy month of work, a weekend to Maine, and some yard work. There are some bulbs popping up and my chives are already thriving. We have some grand plans for the yard. Mr. J is making a compost bin and I’m psyched. We definitely need better soil and I’m glad to put those coffee grounds to better use. Just you wait to see the pics of it….very impressive.

In terms of my goals: 
Buy myself flowers more often - The Year of having-more-flowers featured daffodils for April and some in the ground are sprouting! #totallycounts
send more mail – one card came back in the mail, but 3 birthday cards made it to their destinations this month!
make some Pinterest pins a reality 
cook with yeast (yikes!)
try a spin class
make more cocktails – I made one for bfast with white hot chocolate, some reduced coffee syrup, and Bailey’s but it wasn’t feeling photo worthy…should I post it? Then, not quite a cocktail, but I did buy some blood orange Italian soda this month and it has been an ahhh-mazing change from water We also inherited a cra-zy amount of milk at Easter so the focus has been milk, milk, milk! I enjoyed a blood orange margarita so I guess that counts, even if I didn’t make it myself.

follow me on insta @emilyran to see how often I post puppies, food, and flowers. See ya in May!

Easter Brunch Ideas

Spring is in the air and Easter is on the calendar. Here’s a quickie round-up of make-and-take brunch ideas or ideas if you are hosting your own Easter festivities.

The first rule of brunch, is not to make everything more complicated than it needs to be. Each thing you serve cannot be the most special thing ever. It is hard to make eggs, and waffles, and hashbrowns, and toast…unless you are in a diner. If you’re making something eggy, or pancake-y then do something easy with it like fruit you’ve prepped in advance, or muffins that are already made, or bagels with spreads that are ready to serve.

Quiche is a great brunch item that you’ll make in advance. Voila! Brunch is served! I made quiche lorraine recently and loved it. bacon + swiss cheese = delicious. Ms. L makes a killer tomato, basil, goat cheese quiche.
The Three Bite Rule - Quiche Lorraine
Going somewhere? Make your own granola and serve it with yogurt. I loved this maple peanut butter granola over coffee Greek yogurt, or vanilla, or coconut. It is very pack-able.
The Three Bite Rule - Maple Peanut Butter Granola

Make-your-own
this is the easiest way to serve a crowd and everyone will get what they want. It makes it fun and easily customizable for all ages.

build your own BLT bar:
bacon vs. canadian bacon? 2 lettuces, tomatoes, different breads, different spreads, avaocados, sprouts? you name it. It’s the perfect between breakfast & lunch. Maybe there are fried eggs to lean towards breakfast? Maybe there are cheeses? you. name. it.
Avocado BLT
Build your own yogurt parfait bar: 
granola, toasted coconut, strawberries, bananas, dried cranberries, walnuts, brown sugar, + whatever else you have.
Yogurt Parfait Bar
Salad bar: 
this takes the every-day side to a whole new level. Warm up a honey-baked ham, grab some good rolls, and spread out a salad bar and you’re done! Edemame, chickpeas, hardboiled eggs, cheese, and lots of veggies make it fresh and a meal in its own. Plan a salad bar as part of your meal or for those get the evening munchies hours after brunch.
The 3 Bite Rule - Salad Bar
Build your own grilled cheese:
give some bread options, a few cheeses, and then a few other add-ins will please all palates. I love a good grilled cheese. American cheese and cheddar have me easily won over on a grilled cheese. Prep some bacon, tomato slices, mustards, caramelized onions, ham, or whatever you love. You need a grill pan ready or a panini press.
grilled cheese with balsamic onions
pizza grilled cheese
bacon grilled cheese with peach compote

Build your own breakfast sandwich would be like my dream come true:
bagels, croissants, biscuits with cheese options, and a panful of eggs sounds like my idea of a good time. My fav bagel place does breakfast sandwiches with slices of egg and cheese omelets. That’s an easy way to make a bunch for a crowd. Offer bacon, sausage, ham, arugula, and tomato slices. Add some tortillas, black beans, and salsa for breakfast burritos.

Whip up a blender-ful of creamsicle smoothies. This is my favorite smoothie and I think everyone would love it. Add some champagne for a twist on a mimosa, or a splash of vanilla vodka for a spiked brunch bevvie
The Three Bite Rule - Creamsicle Smoothie
Lastly, the hands-down easiest festive breakfast is a cereal bar. Some milks and everyone brings a cereal and you have an instant cereal party. It is a fun pot-luck with no-cooking required.