December 2014 Recap

It is almost 2015 and the holidays have kept me busy and actually cooking less. This is the time of year many people cook and host more than usual. I’ve been working hard at not over complicating everything. I was wanting to try some new fun recipes but hosting isn’t the time for that, and I really enjoyed a slower paced holiday season.

I refused to let Pumpkin be relegated to November, so I kicked off December with Pumpkin Mac & Cheese with Gouda Brown Butter Sauce. I thankfully have some leftover sauce to relive this tasty dinner.
The Three Bite Rule - Pumpkin Mac & Cheese
The biggest bust of the month was Zucchini Risotto Boats. They were just blah.

My favorite quickie dinner this month was calzone with chicken meatballs, creamed spinach, tomatoes, and cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball and Creamy Spinach Calzone

I messed around with a ham and fontina rolled up pasta idea I saw on an episode of Diners, Drive-ins & Dives, though I can’t find it and give credit where credit is due. They were fun and so darn cute.
Rosetti Ham & Cheese Rolls - The Three Bite Rule

In an effort to not push my boundaries too far, I whipped out a few freezer favs & quick meals this month like: BBQ Chicken Bubble Up Pizza; aranchini to pair with some pasta one night; broccoli & cheddar soup; bfast for dinner, grilled cheese w/ tomato soup; etc. 

Here are my goals which also wrap up for the year right now:
The Year of the Flower lived on! Mr. J got me poinsettias that are fun for festiveness to have a plant, though I guess our Christmas tree should count too. I also had a cheery mix from my baby shower.  Follow me on instagram for the latest and greatest. I neeeeeed to decide what next year will be the year-of-the-________, other than year of the baby!
send more mail – yes, I sent out all my baby shower thank you notes. No holiday cards this year, since January will include a baby announcement.
make some Pinterest pins a reality - Yup, I made this pin of nutella hot chocolate
try a spin class – um nope. I’m not adding in any super new exercises at this point. I have been trying not to over-do it. I’m watching my fitbit steps to be moving around a bit, but I waddle everywhere and I’m quite tired.
make more cocktails – umm no cocktails for me until January ;) but this nutella hot chocolate was just in the St. Nick of time.
The Three Bite Rule - Nutella Hot Chocolate

Bump update:
It is almost time! I can’t believe it. I’m now 38 weeks out of 40-ish. I feel really good, but also kind of feel like a hippo. The final stretch has come out of nowhere! I’m glad I was super busy in October & November for work and then December was busy with the most perfect baby shower and holiday celebrations with both families. I loved celebrating Christmas with the C family at our house and then the R family. They were really lovely holidays that brought me to tears. It’ll never be the same. Now it is onward to baby-time!

I’ve had a ton of backpain and I’m trying to really hydrate. We wrapped up the supplies and I’ve read a few books. I think we’re as prepared as we can be. I’ve been very interested in desserts, which is quite fitting for this time of year. I’m kind of continuously hungry but don’t want to be packing on the unnecessary weight.

The next few weeks will be crazy but I’m excited. I need to finish getting a few little things ready. I have a crafty-wall art piece planned too! As much as I looooove holiday decor, I’m ready to switch over to full-out baby set up. I haven’t stocked up the freezer yet but I have a list and some ideas. It could be anytime so we’ll see what happens over the next few weeks. When I suddenly go MIA, you’ll know why!

Enjoy NYE! It has never been my holiday but I’ll live vicariously through your champagne!

Last Minute Holiday Crowd Pleasing Foods

I just had a lovely weekend of Family Christmas #1 with the C family. Even though we hosted here, I have nothing to blog since a) Mr. J did all the work and b) I’m trying not to do too much while toting around this 37-week old babe in my belly and c) I didn’t want to over complicate things. We had great and plenty of food and it was all a manageable menu. Also big kudos to Mr. J for shopping and prepping everything.

One fun moment was making the chocolate fondue  which I choose since I’m not a big baker. The chocolate seized and then there were 3 of us googling how to fix it. It was a reminder that “you can’t win ‘em all”, “it takes an army”, and sometimes the fix-risk is worth it when “it can’t get any worse”. Fun fact: the steam from the double boiler is what made it seize, yet boiling water was actually the fix. It was delicious and we ended up laughing about it and to all a good night.

Anywho, now that the holidays are close, here are my round-up of recommendations:

If you need an app:
This Greek Dip is suuuuper easy, very portable to just assemble on-site, and doesn’t require any cooking. Plus it is sort of healthy. Spread hummus onto the plate, top with cucumbers/tomatoes/feta/Greek Dressing. Dip with pita chips. Ho ho ho.
greek_dip_plate_590_390

If you need a drink: 
Have one for me! Make some Apple Cider Sangria to appeal to cocktail-lovers and wine drinkers alike.
Apple Cider Sangria

If you need a side dish:

This Sausage Stuffing is the best. It also can be prepped and just bake alongside the rest of your meal. The secret is golden mushroom soup mixed into it.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
If you need a brunch item:
These Apple Cinnamon Rolls will go with anything, and won’t take up your whole morning. Store-bought cinnamon rolls with icing topped some apples cooked with brown sugar and voila! The best part of waking up…
The Three Bite Rule - Apple Cinnamon Rolls
If you need a dessert: 
Black Forest Bread Pudding seems like such a decadent and special dessert. The best part is that it is foolproof, and that the intense chocolate is nicely paired with dark cherries.
bread_pudd_baked_590_390
If you need a use for leftovers: 
Puff pastry turnovers work well for leftover ham.
The Three Bite Rule - Puff Pastry Turnovers
(or a panini is a great use for any ingredients like turkey or meatballs, etc).

If you need a warm beverage to serve: 
Caramel Apple Cider was soooo good. Make it now. Apple cider, heavy cream, and brown sugar amp up and personalize this drink.
The Three Bite Rule - Caramel Apple Cider 
If you need a hostess foodie gift:
Bacon jam is perfect for literally everyone except a vegetarian. It is nicely gifted in a jar and is easy to tote wherever you’re going.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Jam

If you need an easy menu:
This weekend was a prime example of centering an easy/do-able menu around a spiral glazed ham. We made some mashed potatoes & green bean casserole. It was simple enough and nothing crazy.

You could do ham/turkey/pork roast/etc then make your sides something easy like a top your own potato/mashed potato bar. Or host apps & zerts that either you make or that everyone else makes. You can add a wine-off too and your guests will surely focus less on your food once they’ve sampled enough $15 and under priced bottles of wine.

Whatever you serve, follow these basic hosting tips:
1) know what you can do/make/what you have time for & ask others to provide a category you can’t or don’t have time for. Giving a category to those who are picky or have restrictions will be great help for you and make them comfortable.
2) don’t apologize for what you made (same for the condition or cleanliness of your house).
3) plan in advance: map out your serving, set up, cooking, prep, & shopping backwards from when you want everything ready (with extra wiggle room).
4) Enjoy!!

See ya after Christmas

November Recap

Holy. Moly. November is over. HOW did that happen. I can’t get over it. October and November are the craziest months at work and I feel like I blinked and the turkey has passed. I’m now 34 weeks preggers…out of 40. Wowza. The last 4-ish months have flown by. I haven’t been cooking quite as much but I have a few favorites from November in case you missed them. This month the blog turned 4 years old!

Butternut Squash & Apple Soup came out great. It was a nice comforting fall meal without being heavy.
The Three Bite Rule - Butternut Squash & Apple Soup
I cooked so much with apples in October & November. I added some apples to refrigerated cinnamon rolls. This was such a great way to amp up a ready-made item. Barely any cooking for an instant treat.
Apple Cinnamon Rolls - The Three Bite Rule
One dish meals are so great to keep in your back pocket, especially at this time of year. I used some prepared sundried-tomato pesto for a chicken pasta dinner to take this simple pasta dish to something more special and a flavor we don’t have all the time.
The Three Bite Rule - Sundried Tomato Pasta with Chicken

Let’s check on my goals:
The Year of the Flower continues! Mr. J got me some yellow ones that have lasted for.ev.er.
send more mail – ehh. I missed this one.
make some Pinterest pins a reality - Not so much, though the baby-room decor ideas are multiplying on a private board.
cook with yeast (yikes!)
try a spin class – um nope. I’m not adding in any super new exercises at this point. I have just been working and relaxing. That’s it.
make more cocktails – umm no cocktails for me until January ;) I had an idea that I didn’t quite get to. Maybe December.

Bump update:
Mr. J has gotten all the room stuff done. All of it! He also was working like crazy to build a shed and clear out lots of room in the garage. We now can get to both sides of both car for future carseat loading and there’s room to dance park a stroller. The room is super cute. Here’s a sneak peek, and there should be a full reveal later. We picked daycare, a pediatrician, and took a birthing class. The babe is now as big as a honeydew!

I’ve had crazy heartburn that comes and goes and I’ve slept ok. I blame some of my restlessness is the biggest work event of the year. Who knows. I feel so full so quickly that I’m not really even craving anything right now. I miss wine though. Next month I’ll probably address the freezer contents and see what I want to prep. Any suggestions?

December will be crazy but I’m excited. I love the holidays but just didn’t want to be rushed though my work event for Thanksgiving. I see peppermint, and cockpot meals, and hot chocolate in my future for December!

Happy Blogaversary

The Three Bite Rule is four years old! F-O-U-R. Cra-zy. Monthly I pretty much don’t know where time has gone.

There were a lot of trips this year: NYC, Cape Cod, NH, Quebec, Prague, & Paris. I changed jobs and am really happy. I was so thankful to have entered into a really great work environment and to not have to go on all the work trips anymore. I love that I get to be around food and conversations about food all the time. Mr. J has done tons to the house this year. I’m now almost 8 months pregnant so year five is definitely going to be different than year four.

The pups are ohh so happy too (just kidding, they’re happy being separate they don’t normally cuddle together).
pups_590_390

Let’s celebrate some superlatives:
My favorite post:
Parisian Burger
The Three Bite Rule - Parisian Burger

Most Pinned Post:
Easy Sesame Noodles
The Three Bite Rule - Sesame Noodles

Most viewed post:
Almond Joy Parfait
The Three Bite Rule - Almond Joy Smoothie
Best Easy Recipe:
Fig Preserve & Prosciutto Panini
The Three Bite Rule - Fig & Prosciutto Panini
So, what are the goals for year 5? I think your guess is as good as mine. I just don’t even know what the next year will look like. I don’t want to be somebody who doesn’t try to do things. I also don’t want to set myself up to not be able to reach any realistic goals. I think I just can’t decide right now what will be ahead. I’m assuming there will be a a baby-hiatus and fewer posts per week.

My goals for the year were something I could think about each month:
The Year of the Flower
make some Pinterest pins a reality
cook with yeast
try a spin class
make more cocktails

I don’t know what next year will be the year of. The year of the flower was one of the best ones I’ve done yet. I might have to go back to the year of the earring. Who knows. Maybe I should transform the grocery store impulse buys into a recipe.

follow me on instagram @emilyran  & catch up on the 3rd, the 2nd, and the 1st blogaversaries.

October Recap

October flew by. Seriously. I think it was just labor day in NYC. Somehow I’m now 7 months pregnant and work’s huge Thanksgiving fundraiser is just around the corner.

We harvested pears at Mrs. M’s house and cooked them into a few dishes, froze a ton of them for smoothies, then made the rest into pear sauce. The pear sauce has been so good warmed up and served with vanilla ice cream.

October fall flavors kicked off with a Thanksgiving Burger… maybe the best decision I made all month. Ground Turkey, stuffing, cheddar, and cranberry mayo were such a great combo before you’re overrun with Thanksgiving foods.
Thanksgiving Burger - The Three Bite Rule
Pumpkin Coffee Cake was unbelievable and really easy. I’m no baker, but this will appear again very soon.
The Three Bite Rule - Pumpkin Coffee Cake
I think October’s most fun dinner was a Top Your Own Potato Bar. It was seriously so fun and took no time at all.
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Bar
After apple picking, there were apples appearing in lots of foods, like caramel apple cider, in sausage stuffing, breakfast yogurt, but most importantly this chicken sausage, apple, onion calzone and apple, manchego, bacon quesadillas.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage, Apple, & Onion Calzone

Let’s check on my goals:
The Year of the Flower lives on! I got some funky purple squirly ones but forgot a pic and then added some fall festiveness for my desk.
send more mail – a very special gal got engaged and got a card…though why aren’t there more same-sex engagement cards? I had to resort to congratulations since the engagement are way too heterosexual. I sent the nephews some Halloween cards too.
make some Pinterest pins a reality - Not so much, though I’ve pinned about 1,000,000 baby-inspired pins though I’ve spared my followers with a private board
cook with yeast (yikes!)
try a spin class – um nope. I’m not adding in any super new exercises at this point. I’ve tried to stay active and walking a lot. I might try some prenatal yoga.
make more cocktails – umm no cocktails for me until January ;) but I made Caramel Apple Cider that was unbelievable.

Bump update:
Lil’ Chil is growing and growing. I can’t believe I’m 30 weeks along. 10-ish more weeks. Crazy! This past month has been baby-centric. We toured the maternity ward, registered and learned a lot about what little ones need. We picked baby names. We not only planned the nursery, but Mr. J painted the walls! We started checking out daycare options.

Next up, classes, putting the nursery together, and a busy, busy work month. I’ll for sure have fewer posts but stay tuned! I’m sure we need more soup and maybe a new pizza.

Freezer Foods

So… I’m here! I’m here! I’ve been a bit tired this week so the rest of the week’s posts lost out to:
a) Autumn Awesomeness ice cream: at my fav local ice cream place (vanilla, with nutmeg, apples, and cider donuts)
b) Going to bed early
c) Getting a few baby preparations started
d) all of the above

ding ding ding! D is correct, which means each are right. I figure nobody wants to read a post I wasn’t really into writing or editing so I’ve snoozed a bit earlier than usual, passed my glucose/gestational diabetes test! Mr. J and I went to the hospital to meet the maternity/delivery team and learned how much we don’t know yet. Somehow more posts didn’t make it into this week.

I’ve cooked a bunch this week and last week of oldie but goodies that were freezer friendly so half could be enjoyed now and the other half could emerge during my busy time at work…just before Thanksgiving! Here they are in no particular order if you’re ready for fall/wintry foods or want some freezer prep too!

Butternut Squash Lasagna
I love this one. It is so good and perfectly divides into 2 baking dishes…one for now, one for later.
The Three Bite Rule - Butternut Squash Lasagna
Sausage Stuffing
This is a great main dish, or a side. I added shallots and pears and we devoured the “now” portion.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
Chicken Pot Pie
I make the filling and add the topping when round 2 comes up.
chickenpotpie5_290_200

Sweet & Smoky Chili
I literally filled the crockpot for 5 people. Needless to say there were leftovers so we ate some a few more times, and froze the rest.
chili_tomato_590_390

September Recap

Pretty much every month I can’t believe it is over. September was fun and full. Work is pretty busy gearing up for our big Thanksgiving event.  Mr. J and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary on the 17th! I’m so thankful that I no longer have to travel for work. I’ve been home the whole month of September which I haven’t been able to say in 5 years! It’s been great to hit the Big E and the farmer’s market, and some of the open studios.

How good does a deep fried Oreo look from the Big E?
IMG_1798-2

Mr. J has been full steam ahead on house projects. I just keep seeing them coming off the list and I know the baby nursery will be soon! The front step was redone and Mr. J installed a new vanity in the bathroom.

I really loved embracing the best time to cook with seasonal produce. I found fantastic heirloom tomatoes and corn for a puff pastry tart that was simply perfect. Puff pastry with tomatoes, corn, and Seriously Sharp Cabot Cheddar went together perfectly.
Tomato & Corn Tart - The Three Bite Rule
I messed around with polenta paired with shrimp and tomatoes which reminded me how fast, cheap, and easy it is to work with.
The Three Bite Rule - Polenta & Shrimp
I did some Hawaiian hot dogs with teryiaki and pineapple that were fun. Those flavors are so good together. I should use them more often.
The Three Bite Rule - Hawaiian Hot Dog
I’m not sure what’s on top for next month. I hope to go apple picking and a friend’s pear tree is about ready so I want to get some of those. I’m thinking it is time for everything apple and pumpkin flavored!

Let’s check on my goals:
The Year of the Flower is going strong! this month clipped some hydrangeas from my parents’ tree
send more mail – Gram got a birthday card, so that counts
make some Pinterest pins a reality - I didn’t really make any but have one for next month!
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 all about zumba now that my gym fall classes have increased. Zumba is now 3x a week! I’m aiming for zumba once or twice and some other workouts each week. So far so good!
make more cocktails – umm no cocktails for me until January ;) but I did get a lemonade served out of a lemon stand at the Big E! Next month should be good for fall fun drinks.

Bump Update: 
I’m beyond halfway! I can’t believe it. I’m just over 6 months along. There’s not much time now! I feel like I doubled in size the last few weeks! Getting dressed takes a lot more creativity but I’ve gotten some clothes to give me enough options. I hadn’t really thought about gym clothes and pjs not fitting so I’ll likely have to invest in those & something dressy. The baby is the size of cauliflower now! There’s been a lot of kicking lately.

Next month we’ll keep brainstorming names and get started on the baby’s room. We have a meet the delivery team & tour of the maternity area. Registering can’t be too far behind either.

I’ve been feeling great and trying to do as much as I can whenever I’m up for it. I’ve been very into zumba at the gym so I’ll try to keep that up as long as I can. I don’t remember any cravings this month…well, one night I had to try a caramel apple sundae. One take-out Chinese night I couldn’t even fathom biting into a crab rangoon. Other than those, no real cravings or aversions.

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.
73763d634

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.
cc848797c3dc1e57d2c1a13b4bee7df8
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.
baby_announce

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.