Fall Listing

I’m back in California (for the 4th time this year…) so I wanted to put this out to you to comment one while I’m gone. I fear my fall is getting gobbled up (get it? haha!) life is just always crazy busy, isn’t it? I have a few fall favorites I hope to make before winter when I’ll probably come up with a new list. I’m considering my fall/self imposed deadline to be pre-Thanksgiving. I made a list last fall but want to complete one this time!

This fall I’ll be whipping up:

1) Pumpkin coffee cake or pumpkin pull apart bread, or pumpkin granola etc. Regular pumpkin bread or muffins doesn’t count. <check it out here!>

2) Something fun in the crock pot. By fun, I mean we’ll eat it at least 4 times so we’d better like it! <check it out here!>

3) A cranberry bevvie (I put this on last year’s fall list and overlooked it) <check it out here!>

4) Soup of some sort.

5) A pasta dish that isn’t our “we-don’t-have-anything-for-dinner” option. <check it out here!>

 

Any suggestions to help me complete any of these bad boys?

Meal Planning Tips, Part 2

I’ve been working in Santa Barbara for the last few days so on this long day of travel home, I have some more meal planning and organizational tips for you. Check out part 1 here! I get started by planning meals. I shoot for some diversity, balanced meals, and I try to be realistic on how long it might take. We like to pack up leftovers for lunch so I typically plan on a meal to serve 4 so the hubbie an I can have it twice.

After thinking about what is going on, what we’re in the mood for I peruse the pantry, fridge and freezer and then make a list.

Step two: grocery list
I keep a running grocery list as I use things up on an app for my phone called grocery IQ. It is one of my favorite apps since we can share the grocery list on both of our phones and I always have my phone when grocery shopping. This ap lets me scan barcodes but usually I’m not so specific as to which brand or size. It categorizes food automatically so you’ll see any produce items you added all together and not be crossing the store a million times. (Nope, Grocery IQ has no idea I exist and did not compensate me to endorse this ap. I just love it after trying a few others.)
The Three Bite Rule - Grocery List

I go through my meal plans and the pantry/fridge to see what I need each night for dinner and what might already be in stock. That helps me defrost since I loooove freezing things too. Maybe my freezing tips will be the next tip post!

Step three: implementing dinner plans
Not all plans always go as scheduled. Sometimes the meal is a bust or there’s not enough leftover for lunch. We often pack tomorrow’s lunch right when tonight’s dinner is over to grab and go in the morning. Salads are another typical lunch but get packed in the morning so that means fewer snoozes on the alarm. On an occasional act of preparation, I will get something going in the morning. It usually just means I had a few extra minutes.

Why it works for us:
It wasn’t fair that the dinner plans were always in my head. I’m happy to share them with Mr. J. It also means we’re not running to the store before even getting dinner going. It makes me more conscious about what I’m making and serving at any given time. He’s not asking what we’re having since he can see the week himself. Mr. J knows if he’s in charge of the meal or if I’m having him BBQ something etc. It also helps us figure out the timing if one of us is running and errand after work etc. There’s also something homey feeling to me that the week’s plan isn’t electronic.

When doesn’t it work:
Sometimes we’re still staring into the cabinets trying to think of something to eat that’s quick/easy. Usually we end up with pasta or breakfast item when that’s the case. It doesn’t mean that food is on the table awaiting our arrival. We rely on a commuter train so during a busy time at work, I don’t know when I’ll get home. None of my method is foolproof. I like when something spontaneous comes up since that just means I have the ingredients for a whole other night! I never want to say “no” to a fun plan because there’s chicken defrosting in my fridge.

I don’t usually plan out the weekend meals. Friday tends to be an unofficial take-out & DVR/movie night. I’m most often the shopper because my gym is in the same shopping plaza…what a suburbanite I am now!

I might jazz up the weekly schedule board itself. Our fridge isn’t magnetic so the menu board is also the home to reminders, coupons, save the dates, etc.
3 Bite Rule meal planning
I think dinner would seem like a way more daunting task if I didn’t plan ahead and already have the ingredients. Grocery shopping at 7pm while being hungry is a recipe for disaster.

What works for you? Are you a planner? Do you dine spontaneously? Do you make something and eat it for a week? 

Meal Planning Tips & Techniques

I’ve seen some pretty impressive meal planning posts lately

like this
or this
or this

there are tons of ideas out there…just search “meal planning” on pinterest and you’ll find endless hours of creativity and organization. Mine is pretty basic but I’m taking the food approach rather than the crafty approach. Maybe I’ll get on that later ;)

Since I’m only meal planning for two of us, my set up is pretty basic. We have relatively busy lives but we know what is coming up for the week. I used to just have in my head what I wanted to make and when that would be. I had elaborate plans for leftovers but that was just living in my head too. It made me feel like I was the dictator, like Mr. J’s tastes were at my whim, and like I was running the show.

Now that we’re homeowners, I’m being a grown up and mapping out the week for all to see. It is helpful for us because it gets us both on the same page, saves money, eliminates extra grocery store trips, and helps for lunch-packing-planning. Mr. J has taken to bringing lunch everyday so having a plan we both know.
3 Bite Rule meal planning

Step one: figuring out what to make
I usually meal plan on Saturday or Sunday mornings. I see what is going on (i.e. Mr. J playing hockey, me working late, one or both of us going out, etc). I think of a few things I’ve been itching to make and fill in the gaps with easy throw together meals (think salads or burgers or eggs). Not every dinner is special or blog-worthy: thus why I created the What I Ate series). I usually have a list of ideas to try. I get a bunch of food magazines, I subscribe to a lot of blogs, I scour restaurant menus all the time, and Pinterest is always a great source too. I tap into these sources while watching food network or combing through my lists/ideas. I sort of attempt to vary the categories or foods so that we don’t have pizza 3 times in one week or burritos/tacos/enchiladas all in a row.

ex: If I have a pizza topping idea up my sleeve that might be Monday, and Thursdays are usually quicker/lighter meals before Mr. J plays hockey so falafel wraps might be that night. Now I need something for Tues & Wed. Maybe burgers sound good because it’ll be hot on Tuesday with my fav oil/vinegar coleslaw. We haven’t had anything Mexican in awhile so maybe that’s a good use for leftover ground meat after making Wed’s burgers. Now that becomes Tuesday’s plan. Mon & Wed have leftover capabilities for lunches the following days so I’ll add salad or sandwich stuff to the list for the days after a dinner without leftovers (i.e. I’m never gonna eat a burger I cooked the night before for lunch).
3 Bite Rule Meal Planning

I have some more planning tips I share later. How do you plan meals?

Roundup: Birthday Boy’s Favs

Today is Mr. J’s birthday. I looove birthdays (as seen here and here). He isn’t as into birthdays as I am, but luckily he humors me. I’m super jazzed about the dinner I thought of for tonight (stay tuned). Hopefully it works!

In honor of his birthday I’m giving you a little collection or list of some of his favs! Happy birthday Mr. J!

He liked this Thanksgiving Sandwich I made recently (yes, no timely connection or anything)

thanksgiving_sandwich_close_590_390

And he surprisingly fell for broccoli & cheddar soup in breadbowls
brocc_cheddar_done_590_390
and he was into these Greek Meatball Wraps
greek_meatball_plate_590_390
and the guy loves his Chinese food
crab_rangoon_plate_590_390
He embraced Neapolitan pizza when we were in Italy on our honeymoon. We’ve recreated since then and I perfected it…I dare say.
pizza_recreation_590_390
He loved this Balsamic Citrus Chicken though the photos don’t do it justice.
chick_plate_590_390
I hope he has a fantastic birthday. He’s amazing beyond words and deserves it. He has suffered through some of my mishaps and willingly eats pretty much anything I make. He patiently waits for me to photograph his meal before taking a bite and is my biggest supporter…blog and live-wise. The pup and I have lots of fun surprises for him!

Check out his amazingness here on his guest blog.  Better yet, check out his blog here! Go ahead, leave him a comment for his birthday!

Bites This Week

Want a preview of what’s to come on The Three Bite Rule this week?

You can see some high-end caramel corn
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you can whip up an unexpected pumpkin dinner
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and who can forget dessert?
smores_done_590_390
Stay tuned!

1st Blogaversary

Happy Blogaversary to The Three Bite Rule!

Can you believe The Three Bite Rule is a year old today?!?! Wow. I cannot believe it’s been 365 days with 139 posts and 667 photos and lots of techie learning along the way. This year has been full of changes, travel, our wedding, job changing, new kitchen equipment, and so much more.

In celebration I’d love to make some goals for year 2 of the blog and extend some awards.

Goals for year 2:

1 – Some behind the scenes growing up and some website changes: I need a better archive system/recipe index; biz cards; pinterest follow icon; and to finally figure out why my tweets like to repeat. I’m sure there are some other items that need tweaking too.

2 – I would love to improve my photos…I’m sure you’d love that too! I desperately want a kitchen with a window but in the meantime I need a better lighting set up. I got an amazing camera but the lack of natural light and too much yellow light annoys me when photo editing. Stay tuned.

3 – More guest posts: come on down! (email emily@thethreebiterule.com for details)

4 – Get a bit better about prepping posts further in advance. Ever notice they appear at 7:30 or 11:30? Well, I’m spilling the beans that no, I’m not hitting “send” before/during work. I schedule them to appear.

5 – More Giveaways. Scratch that. Some giveaways. Wouldn’t that be fun?

6 – More restaurant recreations, more food round ups, more food/drink related crafts, & more unusual stuff.

7 – Move to a house with real kitchen unlike my current apartment kitchen which drives me nutty. Then all my new kitchen toys can come out to play!

8 – Preview of coming attractions so you can get excited before I even post ‘em!

9 – Host more often so I can share with others and learn more from different tastes.

10 – Be more creative.

Now, for some superlatives:

Party Animal: Mac & Cheese Taste-Off
This was my favorite party of the year. I was blown away that we had 10 entries! Wow! Delicious! I was too busy having a wonderful time to take many photos. You get the idea though, right?
mac&cheese_290_200

Best Dressed: Tangy Asian Wings
I was happy with the photos of these and thought these were the best looking plates.
wings_plate_close_290_200
Most Likely to be Famous: Life Savor Fundraiser Event
This meal was so memorable. I loved all the courses, the wine pairings, how the restaurant really went all out, and all the choices.
lifesavor_ravioli_290_200

Biggest Meal Surprise: Ranch Chicken Burgers and Apple Slaw
I was surprised how amazing this meal was. I mean I knew it would be good but I was bowled over! I hadn’t made a burger inside before and it was a really pleasant surprise.
ranch_burg_plate_290_200

Biggest Flop: Baked Orzo Flop
This dish was just sad and it didn’t even taste better than it looks. Bahh.
orzo_baked_290_200

Most Likely to Succeed: Calzones
Calzones are my signature dish and always seem to be a success!
calzone_cambridge_290_200

Proudest Moment: Meatballs
I hadn’t made them myself before but totally should more often…especially given my beef-less life!
meatballs_baked_290_200

Best Supporting Actor: Butternut Squash Risotto
For Valentines Day at home I made some bbq pork ribs and butternut squash risotto. This side dish was sooo good. As Rachael would say…yum-o!
butternut_risotto_290_200

Thanks to everyone who reads, comments, follows, subscribes, and supports me and The Three Bite Rule!

Love Lists

I love lists. I’ll admit it. Most people do.

I keep my daily to-dos at work as a running word-doc to avoid all the paper. My life to-dos are spread between 4 apps, shared google docs with the hubby, and the occasional post-it or white board note. I keep a grocery list on a shared app which was a genius invention even-though we rarely shop unplanned without coordinating with one another.

I think my lists make me more accountable and it’s just so fun to cross stuff of of there! Here a new list…probably the first of many. I define fall as pre-December.

Fall “To Cook” List:

  • Pumpkin Pancakes (I made them as waffles a long time ago) <find it here!>
  • Some sort of stew (I’m thinking maybe lamb & lentils?)
  • An annual apple crisp attempt (that won’t ever compare to my mother’s) <find it here!>
  • stuffing (I don’t like to call is dressing so stuffing is what I’ll make!)
  • some sort of cranberry cocktail (when I relocated our liquor I unearthed lots of cranberry vodka)
  • rosemary cashews (I made these in August but didn’t blog ‘em…addicting) <find it here!>
  • risotto (I bought some in Italy!) <find it here!>
  • coconut shrimp (just want to make it…it doesn’t have to be summer, right?) <find it here!>

Most are thematic but if I just need an excuse or when inspiration is lacking, I’ll be back…and I’ll be checkin’ stuff offa there! Have any recipes you suggest for these?

Stay tuned!

I’m baaaaaack!

I’m baaaaaaaack! I didn’t forget about you. Life just got away from me and between honeymooning, jet lag, seeing friends and family without a wedding focus, a trip for work, and not feeling so hot, I’ve been slow to get back to life. It all caught up with me after NYC kicked my butt. The pup can attest that the apt looks insane and I haven’t been cooking regularly. It’s craziness.
I have lots of fun to catch you up on. Here are some teasers you can just sit on the edge of your seat for:1) I’ve tried to get crafty…with a food/drink focus
2) A blue Le Creuset made it’s debut in my kitchen
3) Mr. J falls for sangria in Spain and I swoon over Paella
4) We could get used to 3 course meals all the time
5) birthplace of pizza was a pizza dining adventure
6) 2 words: chili cookoff
7) It’s time for crockpots, apples, and pumpkins ohh my!

I feel terrible that it has been so long, but never fear, I’m back. I am trying not to feel guilty since I do this for myself and it’s not like it’s my job or I’m letting any sponsors down (cough, cough:sponsors-welcome;cough).