Caramel Coconut Coffee

These strange times call for jazzed up home coffees! Social distancing isn’t really a coffee change for me. I tend to not spend $4 on a fancy coffee, but LOVE to whip up fun drinks at home. There’s still joy in sipping this while playing legos or putting shapes into the correct shaped hole. I’m aiming to post when I can, depending on what we an access. We’ll see!

Plus, you can order all these ingredients for groceries delivered.

The Three Bite Rule - Caramel Coconut Coffee

Caramel Coconut Coffee

Ingredients:

1 cup coffee
1/4 cup coconut almond milk
1 teaspoon caramel syrup

Directions:

Brew coffee.
Warm the milk just to take the chill off. Then froth the milk (either with a milk frother or shaken vigorously in a glass jar).
Drizzle caramel sauce onto the sides of the cup then add in the coffee. Spoon the foam onto the top.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Caramel Coconut Coffee
The coconut is subtle and not as creamy as real milk but it foamed well! I have this one and it is the best treat $12 can get you!

P.S. I have some other ideas for your leftover caramel syrup: Caramel Apple Smoothie; or Salted Caramel Cider French Toast; or Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Salted Caramel; or Turtle Hot Chocolate.

Copycat Cracker Barrel Meatloaf

While I’m not a connoisseur of Cracker Barrel’s meatloaf at the restaurant, the copycat recipes have circulated for years and I like so many aspects there: the cheddar in the meatloaf, the butter crackers, and the jazzed up ketchup on top make this a winner. I put my spin on it, most notably using pork but go for meatloaf mix or pork as you like. Raw meat isn’t the most photogenic, but this is very worth it.

The Three Bite Rule - Cracker Barrel Meatloaf Copycat
The ketchup topping probably makes this even more kid-friendly. We all like this at our house!

Copycat Cracker Barrel Meatloaf

Ingredients:

1/2 onion
1 sleeve of club crackers (~30ish), crushed
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
~1 1/2 pounds ground pork (or meatloaf mix)
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard

Directions:

Sautee the onion in olive oil/butter until cooked through.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Mix the crackers, eggs and milk, then add that to a big bowl with the ground pork, cheddar, sauteed onion, worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt, and pepper. Then mix well until totally incorporated.
The Three Bite Rule - Cracker Barrel Meatloaf Copycat
Spoon the mixture into a loaf pan sprayed with non-stick spray.
Bake for 40 minutes.
Mix together the ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard.
The Three Bite Rule - Cracker Barrel Meatloaf Copycat
Spoon half over the meatloaf and cook for another 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and spoon remaining ketchup mixture over the top and let rest for 5 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Cracker Barrel Meatloaf Copycat
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Cracker Barrel Meatloaf Copycat
This is really juicy and flavorful. I served it with some roasted butternut squash (that could have roasted a bit more) and some peas or arugula salad choice. I’m not into peas, and the kids aren’t into arugula, and J could go either way, so everyone got something green! I should really do 2 veggie sides more often! This came after my birthday celebration of a bagel brunch and cake so we probably all appreciated some colors and more varied foods that day!

It reheats very well too so enjoy the leftovers. If making in advance, I’d skip the ketchup topping until the day you’re eating it!
The Three Bite Rule - Cracker Barrel Meatloaf Copycat

February 2020 Recap

February is almost over and do you know what that means?!?! My birthday is coming!! February had some confusing weather and some winter sickness at our house. I feel like there’s a lot more on our calendars in March than we had in Feb. We had a fun little Superbowl festivity and our first school vacation!

I did a series of lunch ideas. It is hard to be creative when packing lunch all the time. I focused on me, though kids could eat these lunches. I spent high school refusing sandwiches and now I love a turkey sandwich come lunch time! I rarely buy lunch since I’d rather save that money for a dinner or that time for a walk.

My fav in the series was this hummus, cheese, and very veggie sandwich. Loading up the veggies is great and the roll seeming decadent is key to keeping this exciting. Word to the wise: bring un-assembled. Otherwise it’ll be drippy and soggy and no good.
The Three Bite Rule - Hummus & Veggie Sandwich

Breakfast food for lunch was a stroke of genius. I made just a few breakfast burritos but will definitely make more.
The Three Bite Rule - Bfast Burritos for Lunch

I also made some Lemon Poppyseed Tuna, complete with the caveat not to pack this one up for work unless you eat outside or close your door.
The Three Bite Rule - Lemon Poppyseed Tuna

I’m not sure what’s up for March. I just did 2 back to back series so I think I’ll hold off on another series and just make what I want. We’re doing a bagel brunch with the fam for my birthday and maybe my birthday is a good excuse to go out to our fav Chinese restaurant or my fav Mexican restaurant. Both are kid-friendly for my little ones and we all like both spots. I also am itching to make ravioli again so maybe that’ll fit in soon.

The Preschooler Guy:

We loaded up my old ipod with some songs and he loves playing them. We tend to hear one 1,000 times then he’s onto another. Kokimo by The Beach Boys was on repeat for awhile. We’ve been playing a lot of legos lately too. He loves going to the library and he often can find the books at home when we’ve missed returning them! Sometimes he eats so much and other times I’m shocked that’s all he wants. He ate 1 and a half pb&j sandwiches the other day…and might have kept going. He’s obsessed with the fruit and cream flavored oatmeal packets. He had a fun vacation with a few days in Maine and some extra fun days home with me and with his grandparents.

The Toddler Girl:

She’s getting more and more words! I love to hear them. She’ll repeat most words, and started saying “mine”…especially when big brother takes something! She loves being in the stroller and going outside. Refillable pouches with applesauce or yogurt are her fav bfast right now. Anything brown-ish and square, to her is a “cra-ker”. I love how well she sleeps. She loves to tuck toys into sleep and she loves her baby Cabbage Patch Doll “baby” and a hippo lovey “Pi-po”. I’m thrilled how much more she’s enjoying books!

This Year’s Goals:

Year of beauty/selfcare! Do antibiotics for strep count? Jk. I got some nifty hair elastics to minimize breakage and I got red-eye reducing drops.
Prep intentional sides and veggies: I planned for a few then grabbed a few others to have available – like a butternut squash. That’s the best method for me!
Eat more fish: Both kids will eat tons of salmon so I made that a few times this month. We all ate crispy fish tacos too. I made coconut shrimp when it was just me and the little girl home but she wasn’t that into it.
Blog some series: I did a lunch one of “Outside the Lunch Box”!
Focus decluttering/organizing to an area: ehh. not so much but I did transition some clothes the kids have outgrown with a next batch of hand-me-downs. 
Share more books on instagram: I got a few of mine on there and a few for the kids.
Prioritize workouts: I finished 100 Morning Meltdown! I felt so accomplished. Then I started a core/kickboxing one called Core de Force.
What I’m reading: Bookclub read There, There by Tommy Orange. I liked it and was glad to get lots of perspectives from Native Americans but wasn’t super motivated to keep picking it back up. I flew through Chances Are… by Richard Russo. I was really into it, but felt it was good, not life-changing. 
What I’m listening to:
my usual podcast favs like: Young House Love Has a Podcast; Be there in Five; Reply All; Mama Bear Dares
What I’m watching: There was an interesting Dateline I had seen in the news. Cra-zy.

Outside the Lunch Box: Veggie & Hummus Sandwich

The lunch series continues with a very veggie sandwich. Nothing about this one is rocket science BUT we all need more veggies, right? We had some illness go through our house and the winter months seems like a time to hunker down with a bowl of pasta. I embrace that but why not load up the veggies for other meals?!
The Three Bite Rule - Hummus & Veggie Sandwich
My all-time fav hummus is Cedar’s Balsamic & Caramelized Onion flavor. Color and texture are both emphasized here. Also, some really good sharp white cheddar is good here on a quality roll. This should definitely be in the weekly rotation!

Hummus & Veggie Sandwich (for 2)

Ingredients:

2 Onion rolls
4 tablespoons hummus
1 cup baby bella mushrooms
1/2 carrot
1/2 tomato
2 cups arugula
3-4 inches of a cucumber
3 tablespoons salad dressing (Parmesan Peppercorn, Creamy Caesar, Tzatziki, etc)

Directions:

Saute the mushrooms in butter with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
Slice the tomato, cucumber, cheese, and grate the carrot.
The Three Bite Rule - Hummus & Veggie Sandwich
Layer the roll with hummus, arugula, mushrooms, tomato, cheese, cucumber, and carrot.
The Three Bite Rule - Hummus & Veggie Sandwich
Drizzle with dressing.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Hummus & Veggie Sandwich
To pack this up for lunch, as mine always are: some assembly required. I brought this to work unassembled. It makes all the difference. In one container I had the veggies and separately I packed the roll, hummus, cheese, and dressing.

This was so good. I love all the flavors and crunch. The possibilities are endless: avocado, or pickled onions, or beets, or sprouts, or whatever you love!

I hope you got some new lunch ideas whether you pack it up for an office or for your mid-day meal wherever you are!

Outside the Lunch Box: Breakfast Burritos

Packing lunches takes a bit of preparation and when crowd-sourcing some ideas a while back, I was awe-inspired by breakfast foods! Duh! Yes, please! I whipped up a few breakfast burritos to see how I’d like them come lunch time. Spoiler:: they’re just what noontime wants. I should keep a few in the freezer for bfasts too. I often make burritos to freeze with leftover taco elements but I’ve been sleeping on the breakfast burrito game! These are perfect to customize. I used my fav Gardein meatless sausages {not sponsored} but the filling opportunities are endless – see the end for ideas!
The Three Bite Rule - Bfast Burritos for Lunch

Breakfast Burritos w/ Sausage, Egg & Cheese

Ingredients: (for 2)

3 sausage patties (I used meatless)
4 eggs
2 burrito sized tortillas (flour are most durable for folding/freezing/microwaving but use what you like)
~1 cup shredded white cheddar
1 tablespoon everything Bagel seasoning (optional)

Directions:

Pan fry the sausage until cooked through, or as the package indicates.
While sausage is cooking, whisk together the eggs and cook gently in a pan over medium-low heat until set, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (Note: I normally cook eggs with a splash of milk and really soft scramble them. For burritos, I didn’t want the eggs to be at all watery so I skipped the milk and cooked until a bit firmer than I normally do.) Let the eggs cool for a few minutes off the heat.
Lay out the tortillas and shred the cheese on top.
Cut the sausages into bite-size pieces and let cool a bit.
Add the eggs and sausage on top of the cheese. Then sprinkle with everything bagel seasoning, if using.
The Three Bite Rule - Bfast Burritos for Lunch
Fold the sides of the burritos inward about 1-2 inches, then roll from the bottom towards the top tucking the sides in as you roll. (Here’s a video of the same way I do it)
Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until serving. Microwave about 30 seconds to a minute, depending on that work microwave power! Then pop into a toaster oven if possible!
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Bfast Burritos for Lunch

Variations:
bacon, eggs, cheese
eggs, cheese, spinach & mushrooms
eggs, cheese, salsa, beans
eggs, cheese, homefries

These freeze well so make a bunch and spread them out to add more variety to your week! They are prob the easiest “batch” cooking ever and they don’t take up much freezer space. I love breakfast food and I never cook eggs on weekdays so these are a great idea for me! I appreciated a warm option come lunchtime. I’d lighten them up a bit for breakfast- 1 egg and 1 sausage patty is prob enough for the morning.

These are insanely cheap to make and have wayyyy fewer ingredients than the frozen ones sold. Wheat tortillas don’t seem to hold up as well but that’s a great substitution if you have some you like. Try include plant-based proteins. They’ve come a long way since 2008 when they were more available. I swear by Gardein {pulls out her soapbox}. Our whole fam love the meatless crumbles in tacos, the Szechuan beefless strips, the meatless meatballs, the turkey cutlets, and we have others to try. A fam of 4 skipping red meat one meal is as good for the planet as taking a car off the road for 3 months. That’s insane! Don’t get me started on how little recycling actually gets recycled so this is a really tangible way to have an impact on the environment, and these are truly flavorful replacements for meals you’re already familiar with.

I’d love love love to hear what you think!

Outside the Lunchbox: Lemon Poppyseed Tuna

Let’s talk lunch! I began packing my own lunch since maybe 3rd grade. It is no easy feat so I wanted to share some special ideas. Lemon Poppyseed tunafish is delicious but also requires a PSA: do not bring tuna to work for lunch unless you have your own space where nobody will smell it, or bring it if you’ll eat outside! This is a fun lunch for the weekend too.

The freshness takes this up a serious notch.
The Three Bite Rule - Lemon Poppyseed Tuna

Lemon Poppyseed Tuna (for 2)

Ingredients:

1 can chunk white tuna in water
2 tablespoons mayo
1 teaspoon Italian dressing (or olive oil)
1 teaspoon relish
1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon poppyseeds
salt and pepper
arugula
bread

Directions:

Drain the tuna and mix in mayo, dressing, relish, juice from the lemon, zest from the lemon, poppyseeds, and salt and pepper.
The Three Bite Rule - Lemon Poppyseed Tuna
Mix with a fork and store until serving.
The Three Bite Rule - Lemon Poppyseed Tuna
Serve on toast with greens.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Lemon Poppyseed Tuna
I loved the lemon in here! I often go for dill relish, but the sweetness was perfect with the tart lemon. Sandwiches can be ho-hum but assembling when eating is the key!

Next up, I have a more out of the box idea to pack for lunch!

January 2020 Recap

My little boy is 5! January is a fun month for us to start the year off fresh, and celebrations continue at our house! We took a family group excursion to a local, division 3, hockey game + pizza/cake/gifts back at home. This month was a chance to get back into routines. Mr. J and I had the greatest date night- we went to a new local winery for a tasting, then we got dinner. January was ideal for a Winter Comfort series!

I made Chicken Pot Pie
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Pot Pie
and Easy Homemade Ramen
The Three Bite Rule - Easy Ramen

and I made Chicken Parm Stuffed Shells
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parm Stuffed Shells
Next month, I’ll make some sports snacks for the superbowl but I’m not a real fan so I’m mostly in it for the snacks & commercials! I have a new series coming up and I’m feeling like I have enough bandwidth right now to help make all the things happen!

The Preschooler Guy

His birthday was fun and I’m loving this age right now. He comes home from PreK and knows so many things! He is SO SO into music! He still loves The Beatles, but also is into Queen & The Beach Boys. It is so fun. This month he was nottt into Chicken Pot Pie but came back for seconds when we had chili. You just never know with these little humans!

The Toddler Girl:

I love this age right now too! Words are coming along. Her favs are saying “shoes” and “go go” and “coat”…can you tell she loves to get outside or go somewhere? She tucks dolls to sleep all the time and is very into magnatile stacking and the water-filled brush “painting”! Tubs are her favorite thing and it cracks me up that she wildly kicks her legs if she hears it go on after dinner. She eats everything and is getting better at taking bites instead of shoving whole things into her mouth.

This Year’s Goals:

Year of beauty/selfcare! I got 2 pairs of blue-light blocking glasses- for home and work. My eye dr recommended I try them (and drops) since my eyes look tired, bloodshot, and my vision hasn’t changed. I’m into them- mostly at work, but also for the last social scrolling before bed!
Prep intentional sides and veggies: Having the remnants of a veggie tray was handy for cooked vs raw veggies around!
Eat more fish: Neither was interested in shrimp this time. I’ll have to plan something else in the mix.
Blog some series: Winter Comfort dishes was fun for me! I have a new one planned for Feb. Stay tuned!
Focus decluttering/organizing to an area: I “rehomed” an unused stuffed animal on the free group and scheduled a pick up for some stuff we aren’t using. It feels good!
Share more books on instagram: I did a few.
Prioritize workouts: I’m into the 90s of my 100 Morning Meltdown workouts! I’m not sure what’ll be next.
What I’m reading: Bookclub read Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee and I thought it was such an insightful way to to see mental illness and I read I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown and found the daily microaggressions mapped out & time stamped was the most powerful lesson for me. 
What I’m listening to:
I found Bad on Paper and love it.
What I’m watching: Project Runway & This is Us & A Million Little Things! We watched the movie Bombshell and my heart hurt afterwards for women in too many workplaces.

Winter Comfort: Easy Homemade Ramen

I have all the short cuts & cheats to make ramen! It is a little spicy and perfect for a slow lunch or to clear out a stuffy head from those dang winter colds that just won’t quit. While it is pretty quick to make, this was a nice slow food. This isn’t a Saturday lunch I eat over the cutting board while instructing my cherubs to focus before naptime. This ramen is a spoon and fork bowl to linger over.
The Three Bite Rule - Easy Ramen

Easy Homemade Ramen

Ingredients: (serves 2)

4 chicken tenders (or 2 chicken breasts, or ~1 cup rotisserie chicken, shredded)
1/2 Thai flavor seasoning (I used this or substitute with 3 cups vegetable/mushroom/chicken broth with a dash of soy sauce)
1 cup baby bella mushrooms
2 eggs
3 green onions
1 package of instant ramen, seasoning discarded)
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
black sesame seeds (or substitute by toasting white sesame seeds)

Directions:

Bring 1 cup of of broth (I used ~1/4 of the seasoning cube + 1 cup water) to a simmer and lightly poach the chicken for ~8-10 minutes until cooked through.
While the chicken cooks, saute the mushrooms for ~3 minutes in a skillet over medium high heat with a drizzle of olive oil.
Remove the chicken and let cool, then shred with 2 forks.
Add the rest of the Thai seasoning cube with 3 cups of water (or add in the broth + soy sauce) and cook over low heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Easy Ramen
Add in the chicken, mushrooms, 2/3 of the green onions, and sesame oil to cook for 5 minutes.
Bring a separate small pot of water to a boil. Reduce to medium-high and cook the eggs, covered, for 6 minutes.
Add in the noodles to the large pot with the chicken, mushrooms, green onions and broth for 2 minutes.
Remove the eggs from the water and immediately put into a bowl of ice water for 1 minute. Then carefully peal under running water.
Scoop the noodles, chicken, and mushrooms into bowls. Add an egg into each bowl.
The Three Bite Rule - Easy Ramen
Pour broth into each bowl, top with sesame seeds and remaining green onions.
The Three Bite Rule - Easy RamenEnjoy!

The flavors were so great. I found it a bit spicy (I’m reducing the seasoning for the recipe above) so I added in a little chicken broth. The spice cubes were in the spice section at my grocery store but might also be near the bullion/broth. It is on Amazon too. Ramen – straight out of the pack- is my guilty pleasure but this was such a fun heightened version! I probably make regular ramen ~6 times a year but this being real food, makes me want it more.

Winter Comfort: Chicken Parm Stuffed Shells

This week weather may have been upper 50s & into the 60s in New England, but stuffed shells are a faster-than-lasagna winter comfort dinner. These got a slight twist with flavor of chicken parm we love. Plus, I love ricotta more than the average person, so this hit the spot. Make one big pan or 2 smaller ones with one to freeze!

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parm Stuffed Shells

Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells

Ingredients:

1/2 box jumbo shells
~4 breaded chicken tenders (or ~1 cup popcorn chicken)
15 oz ricotta
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 1/2 cup mozzarella
1 1/2 cup tomato sauce (I use Pastene canned Kitchen Ready Tomatoes)

Directions:

Bake the chicken until cooked through and crisp, according to the package. Then chop into bite-sized pieces. Lower oven heat to 350-degrees.
Boil salted water for the jumbo shells and cook until al dente.
Mix the ricotta with 1/2 cup mozzarella, Italian seasoning, and salt.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parm Stuffed Shells
Fill a ziplock bag with the ricotta. Use a tall drinking glass to hold the bag while spooning the ricotta into the bag.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parm Stuffed Shells
Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray. (I made 2- 9×9 pans or this would fit one 9×13). Spoon about 1/4 cup of tomato sauce onto the bottom.
Snip the bottom corner off the ziplock bag to pipe the ricotta into the shells and place the shells into the baking dish.
Add chicken on top of the ricotta.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parm Stuffed Shells
Spoon tomato sauce on top.
Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Then uncover, top with remaining mozzarella, and return to the oven for 15 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parm Stuffed Shells
Enjoy!

I loved this. Leftovers packed up really well to be lunch the next day! I love these flavors and was reminded just how easy it was to pop this together. Another fun twist is to skip the chicken, and stir in creamed spinach into the ricotta mixture for my Better Than Usual Stuffed Shells.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parm Stuffed Shells

Winter Comfort: Chicken Pot Pie

I believe everyone needs some crowd-pleasers or make-ahead meals in their arsenal! This chicken pot pie would fit the bill for each of those categories! Here’s the first of some winter comfort food staples!
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Pot Pie

…unless you ask a certain pre-schooler. Kids’ tastes are so weird. He ate all of the Winter Veggie Grain Bowl on another night with farro, roasted veggies and dried cranberries- he even had more of the roasted butternut squash – prob not be every kid’s preference. He was hesitant to try the chicken pot pie, and then pretty indifferent after having a few bites of each component. While he likes all these things separately, he’s not super into foods all cooked together, but he needs to encounter foods that way. He doesn’t get an alternative so he ate some tomatoes on the side and then just a few bites and was confident in his decision that it was all he would have for the night. To each their own, right? Our toddler loved the chicken pot pie though!

Chicken Pot Pie (serves ~5)

Ingredients:

~2 cups of roasted chicken (I used ~1/3 of a Costco roasted chicken)
2 potatoes
2 carrots
1 cup frozen corn (or substitute peas)
1 cup chicken broth
2/3 can cream of chicken soup
salt & pepper
1 pie crust (frozen, rolled up)

Directions:

Cut the roasted chicken off the bones and chop into ~1″ pieces. If possible, simmer the bones & skin with ~2 cups of water for 15 minutes to make broth.
Cook the potatoes and carrots and add with the chicken to a pie plate sprayed with non-stick spray.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Pot Pie
Mix the broth with the cream of chicken soup. Gently stir that liquid mixture into the chicken, potatoes, carrots, and corn.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Pot Pie
Unroll the pie crust and cut some slits into it to vent.
Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350-degrees. Rest for 5 minutes before serving. (Or bake for 20 minutes, cool and freeze. Defrost in the refrigerator over night and bake for 20-30 minutes before serving.)
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Pot Pie
Enjoy!

It freezes well, or could be prepped and cooked in advance and warmed when eating. I made 1 big one, but it also easily doubles or could become mini individual ones! If you’re passionate about crust make your own but using a pre-roasted chicken and frozen crust brought this together so quickly!
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Pot Pie

Days later both kids had mul-ti-ple servings of lasagna so- life lesson: don’t count ‘em out, kids can always surprise you and eat something all cooked together!