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.
bean_ready_590_390
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!
guest_huevos_rancheros_plate_590_390
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.

March Recap

We are so close to spring…I can totally feel it. I’m ready. I love not having to plan boots and shoes just to run outside. March was busy and awesome, because it was my birthday month!

Mr. J and I went to Quebec for my birthday. It was so darn cute. I couldn’t get over how picturesque it was. The food was amazing and I loved how charming Quebec is. It was pretty freezing, next time I’d love a few more degrees.
Quebec Getaway
Then of course the fam had “the cake” for me. It was awesome and I wouldn’t have it any other way. They themed my dinner as all things 3-ways. I got my March #yearoftheflower Also, I got a fitbit which I’m obsessed with. I love the stats. I also like the pressure of knowing if I got close to my goal etc.

fitbit

March was really a fun-filled month. I got to meet the newest B baby who is adorable. I brought them some no-bake energy bites which I think they’ve already recreated. I was really glad to catch up with these forever-roommates.
The Three Bite Rule - No Bake Energy Bites
Hmmm. What other fun activities happened? I saw Flashdance the Musical. Hands down, one of the most fun shows I’ve seen. I loved it and was in the 2nd row for half price. Bookclub finally reconvened…we’ve been on an unofficial sabbatical. Sis and I scoured the antique market for treasures and I left with a rockin’ yellow bird cage for a spring mantle-scape. I was really jazzed about a social media food photo challenge but apparently I was one of the only ones so I abandoned it #healthygbfb

I made an awesome loaded potato soup, which seemed quite weather appropriate.
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Soup with Loaded Toppings
Work is prettty crazy. I have an event coming up that I don’t feel 100% about. I wish it were bigger, stronger, better, etc. As Juan Pablo would say “it’s ok”. The next one follows quickly behind it. I’m loving how busy everyday is, yet I still feel accomplished. It feels doable whereas last year I felt like there was never enough time.

Where are we at for goals
? Funny you should ask. I’m crushin’ it!

year-of-the-monthly self-imposed cooking challenge: I did it. folks, I cooked with yeast. I made Rosemary Focaccia and it was great!
Rosemary Focaccia - The Three Bite Rule

my other goals are on a roll!
send more mail – check! found a great card to lift spirits and encourage…it seemed to do it’s job and had perfect timing.
make some Pinterest pins a reality – check! the energy bites were a pin!
cook with yeast (yikes!) – check!! I made rosemary focaccia
try a spin class not yet
make more cocktails – check! I made instant sangria
Buy myself flowers more often – check! birthday flowers

Quebec Getaway

I’m baaaack! I took Monday off because

IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY!!

Mr. J and I went to Quebec for a long weekend. It was just what I wanted. Quebec is super cute and the food was fantasic. I very much appreciated getting to see the city without running ourselves ragged. Well, we could not have run. It was -15 degrees part of the time. I have a whole new appreciation for weather in the 20s and 30s. We enjoyed the old city and poked around between meals.

Quebec_fontWe were just across the square from Chateau Frontenac, the most photographed hotel in. the. world.

quebec_lower
It just looks like the set of a musical. I felt like any moment I’d have to step aside for a horse-drawn carriage with the heroine singing a tune as she passed snow covered shop steps and lit trees next to ice sculptures. That didn’t happen. But this is for real though, this is what it looks like. So cute!

We ate some really great meals. The best one was at an adorable French bistro. I, of course, got duck confit. This one came with a citrus salad of herbs and more duck confit. Ahhh-mazing.
Quebec_duck

Mr. J got steak frites
Quebec_steak
The creme brûlée didn’t photograph well, but it was MAPLE creme brûlée which was every bit as good as it sounded.

On a more casual night we got burgers, a boozy milk shake, and coq au vin poutine!
quebec_poutine

Cheese curds are so interesting. I was thinking the texture would be too much for me, but it wasn’t. I found them to be sort of like fresh mozzarella. I don’t understand the squeak?

We had a half day our 3rd and final day, which was also my birthday. We started with pain au chocolat.

quebec_pain
and croissant egg sandwiches for the best of both worlds.
quebec_eggsand

Actually, another best that morning was that we got an extra coffee by accident! One bfast came with coffee so we added another. They gave us 2 and then the one came with the food. Jackpot! Happy birthday to me!

Quebec_falls
We took a quick ride (to defrost) over to the frozen waterfalls. Pretty spectacular. See that speck near the orange snow-fence? That’s a person. These falls are huuuge! I wasn’t sad that the 500-stairs up the side are closed for the snow. #nextime

It was a great getaway. I loved it. You should follow me on instagram. I went #happy, and I’m onto a new photo challenge, and I have a family birthday celebration this coming weekend. I’m a pretty lucky girl! (despite coming back to a clog in our sink drain/disposal and the pup having a seizure in our first few hours of sleep being home.)

February In Review

How is February over already? Time is kind of zooming past me. Normally I only feel like time-flies when I’m super busy and over-scheduled. February wasn’t exactly like that but work is busy and I love it. I’m ready for Mother Nature to see the other side, but that might mostly have to do with Mr. J being a one-armed bandit after a hockey injury resulting in a dislocated shoulder. #notfun

The Olympics have taken over the last few weeks of February. Sis had a very themed party. I took a terrible assortment of pics resulting in either an awkward portrayal of a great theme or no blog post…I went with the latter. At least from here you can check out the Jenner Juice (throwback Pepsi), some Olympic torches int he background and Olympic rings in the foreground. I got snowboarding and Austria for a medal pool and was a winner! I was pretty close on the USA medal count though! IMG_3910
I snuck in a few spring-inspired dinners to look past the snow:
like caprese stuffed chicken
The Three Bite Rule - Caprese Chicken
and mojito shrimp which might be my fav photo this year
The Three Bite Rule - Mojito Shrimp
I used some leftover fondue to make some pretty rock-star Kale Mac & Cheese
The Three Bite Rule - Kale Mac & Cheese
My last favorite meal of February has to be Prosciutto, Fontina, and Fig Panini

The Three Bite Rule - Fig & Prosciutto Panini
So, what’s next for March? I’ll have a birthday getaway that I’m sure will be filled with delicious goodies.

Goals update:
#yearoftheflower is going strong, thanks to Mr. J for Valentine’s Day
self-imposed cooking challenge: I made a quickie Curry Carrot Soup that was pretty good, and definitely something different for me.
foodie excursion: the best chicken burger I’ve ever had at Grass Fed & a spur of the moment dinner at Sky for a flatbread that totally needs to be recreated at home.

With February coming to a close do you know what that means? On Monday I will feel like the camel from the commercial GUESS WHAT DAY IT IS!? My birthday is riiiight around the corner, and it’s a biggie!

January Round-Up with Superbowl Snack Ideas

The start to 2014 has been great. Work has been rolling along and getting busy. Hitting my first 3-months at the new job has me feeling more settled and more knowledgeable about everything. I can’t believe it has already been 3 months! Lots of folks at work are all about their fitbit/jawbone/nike fuelband/etc. It’d be a great comparison, thought I don’t exactly have the ability to buy them all and test ‘em out. It does have me thinking and wanting to blog something….

I’ve been really appreciating the hibernation-feeling of January. I love having some fun things happening over the weekend but it isn’t non-stop. That’s my favorite. There’s time to make last-minute plans and the freezing temps makes me enjoy hunkering down with some great down-time…perfect for old West Wing episodes (I’m up to season 3). I’m behind on the book I should be reading but I’ll get going. A step aerobics class has brought me back to way-back-when I took step 9 years ago.

For February, I’m psyched for the Olympics. I just watched the Price of Gold story about the ’94 figure skaters, which I remember happening. It was fascinating!

Do you follow me on instagram? I posted a pic of an unbelievable dinner of chicken and waffles Mr. J made. He fried the chicken himself and we couldn’t get over it. Crazy good. Also, I found roasted garlic at the salad bar in the grocery store for dirt cheap. Such a great 40-cent find! Who knew?

In January I redid my traditional lasagna with assembly tips and LOTS of adaptation suggestions.
The Three Bite Rule - Traditional Lasagna

I posted my cheese fondue party. I repeated the fondue for New Year’s Eve too. I still need to show you what I did with some leftovers. Ahhh-mazing. Stay tuned.

Maple Dijon Chicken is such a simple but fantastic recipe. It takes barely any time and you’ll make it again and again. Just try it.
The Three Bite Rule - Maple Dijon Chicken


Need some superbowl snack ideas?

Did you see my Chicken Bacon Ranch Spring Rolls? Doesn’t get much better than that!
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Spring Rolls
To add to your Superbowl Spread….
No-Cooking Required Greek Dip is a base of hummus with chopped veggies, feta, and Greek dressing. Super easy and fresh.
Or Make Everything in a Muffin Tin for easy plate-filling and minimal game distractions.
Apple Cheesecake Dip with apple dippers is an addictive sweet dessert-ish dip
Set up a panini bar or a taco bar or a nacho bar and let your guests make-your-own. The ease is great for the host, and everyone loves to customize their own.


Status of This Year’s Goals:

Year-of-the: self imposed cooking challenge resulted in seeking savory breakfast ideas via Quiche Lorraine
The Three Bite Rule - Quiche Lorraine
also I bought myself more flowers

I’m not sure what will be on the menu in February yet. I have some kitchen tips I was thinking of sharing. I have some more salad and panini ideas. February is a great time for wintry food so I’ll see what else I come up with.

Cooking Forward to 2014

New Year’s resolutions leave me kind of undecided. Part of me thinks why not use the change in the calendar to be a better self. No time like the present to do or start something. The other part of me feels like there’s pressure to claim something big, or change drastically while sometimes New Year’s day feels a heck of a lot like the day before.

A friend told me once about doing a year-of-the-_____. I’ve enjoyed it some years while other years it gets kind of dropped. I think I want to do a food related one this go-around.

The 1st year I did year-of-the-earring. It was perfect since I’m picky about earrings.
The 2nd year I did the year-of-the-footwear. This worked well as I didn’t want to limit myself to just shoes.
The 3rd year I did year-of-the-home decor since it was the year we bought a house. It was kind of a bust.
Last year I thought I’d like to be more crafty, thank you Pinterest. I decided on a year-of-the-DIY craft. I probably did about half the year…if that.

I have a few thoughts for 2014 that might be fun blog posts themes, and we’ll see which actually happen. Maybe a monthly reminder is all I need, or maybe whatever sticks is just meant to be.
a) year-of-the-grocery store impulse buy
b) year-of-the-food re-do/restaurant recreation
c) year-of-the-monthly self-imposed cooking challenge
d) year-of-the-foodie excursion

Cooking Light has an actually do-able 12 Healthy Habits monthly challenge that is actually do-able.

Maybe I also will set some attainable goals for the year:
send more mail
make some Pinterest pins a reality
cook with yeast (yikes!)
try a spin class
make more cocktails
Buy myself flowers more often

What do you think? Do you make resolutions? Do you like hearing what others are doing for a resolution?

December In Review

December is over and 2014 approaches. In case you’ve been too busy for The Three Bite Rule, here’s some highlights of what’s been happening lately.

I was thrilled to see snow, but didn’t love my commute home. It seemed appropriate for December and a weeknight snowfall didn’t affect any holiday gatherings for me. Mr. J was psyched to use his snow blower. In December we cut down our Christmas tree, celebrated with each family, and I hosted a little holiday girls gathering one afternoon.

The puppies were just so happy to pose for a holiday card. Seriously. They love it. Windsor & Bailee are happy to have attention of any kind, also when earning a biscuit afterwards. Poor Windsor had a rough few weeks of seizures around Thanksgiving and then again on Christmas Eve. I told him people were going to think he didn’t like holidays.
The Three Bite Rule - Happy Holidays
For most of December I was obsessed with quick & easy meals. One of my favorites was Cheeseburger Soup that is easy on a weeknight or well suited to be kept warm in a crockpot.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Soup
I tweaked how I suggest adaptations, which has been well received: As seen at the end here for Sausage Stuffing
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
I figured everyone could use some tips to make better pizza
The Three Bite Rule - Margherita Pizza
And after all of that, who doesn’t need a lighter salad inspired by winter
The Three Bite Rule - Wintry Salad

It’s a light few days here on 3 Bite Rule and in the blogosphere. I have a fancy new laptop (eeeeek!!!) for January posts and some ideas for blog-related New Year’s Resolutions. Stay tuned!

Quick Meals for a Busy Season

I’ve been thinking about meals that are speedy yet delicious. Mr. J has been rushing around to get our holiday card photo done (gonna be AHHH-MAZING) and I’ve been trying to finish up some shopping (thanks to Amazon prime!) and I’ve been decorating so my focus has been on some meals that we’ll enjoy but that aren’t as elaborate as they sometimes can get.

Enjoy these ideas, and leave a comment with your own suggestions!

Chicken and waffles makes a quick meal. I made the waffles with some cornmeal and hot sauce in this post but if you find some in your freezer you’ll be halfway to dinner! From Away blogged about some to-die-for chicken and waffle nachos with maple and sriracha.
chick_waff_plate_590_390
I absolutely love this spinach and artichoke pasta. The trick is creamed spinach from the freezer section. It takes longer for the pasta water to boil than anything else!
spin_art_plate_590_390
Maybe your grill is covered in snow, but grilling some chicken inside, or getting already cooked chicken would make Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps super quick.
chick_caesar_filling_590_390
Lastly, when all else fails, breakfast for dinner. Mr. J makes a mean huevos rancheros. All you need is: tortillas, eggs, salsa, and cheese.
guest_huevos_rancheros_plate_590_390
What’s for dinner in your kitchen when you’re busy busy busy?