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.

light-and-fit-greek-raspberrychocolate
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).

7-sandwichoverhead_1000
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.
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.