Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Poppyseed Dressing

This is so good and feels festive despite the fact that the salad has 2 ingredients. one (spinach). two (strawberries). Well, that’s two more colors than a box ‘o mac & cheese has. Dinner time isn’t all rainbows and unicorns here. This fell on a night that I had the chance to whip up the dressing while the little dude napped for a few moments. When it was time to eat this adorable salad…that was during the betwitching hours and is a whole different picture than this restaurant-worthy salad. I was being stubborn and convinced I could do it all. Make this salad. You’ll feel like $1000 bucks.

The Three Bite Rule - Strawberry & Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Poppyseed Dressing Ingredients:

adapted from The Kitchn
1/2 shallot
4 tbs white vinegar
4 tbs sugar
1 tbs poppy seeds
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp mayo
splash lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
sprinkle of salt

Directions:

Grate the shallot with the smallest grater on a box grater, or blend in a food processor, or dice really finely.
Add the vinegar & sugar to the jar and shake.
Mix everything else together in a jar. Shake shake shake.
The Three Bite Rule - Strawberry & Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Strawberry & Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

The dressing was great. A touch sweet and a touch tart. The poppy seeds are cute. I think it is a great one to make a small amount and have it in the rotation. It would be good on a pasta salad too!

Not enough in your salad? Feta cheese would be good. Some nuts seem right.

Anniversary

Mr. J, my favorite person ever, my love, my taste-tester, my webmaster, my forever partner, my co-parent, and my personal IT specialist. Today we are celebrating our wedding anniversary today! I actually wanted to get a small cake from the bakery that did our wedding cake but they aren’t in business anymore! Four years has gone by quickly and although I don’t have a super special menu planned for tonight (oops, leftovers!), we will celebrate. We have learned and grown together since we met and fell in love. I think we’re growing more alike sometimes, and we’re still figuring out who we are. Our journeys are closer to home right now but our travel bug won’t be lost…just napping right now.

Now we add parents to our personas which is teaching us even more. Those early days/nights with the baby were cra-zy. I throughly appreciate that we have learned only one of us can be having a meltdown at once so sometimes the other just has to suck it up and deal. There are fewer meltdowns, #hallelujah and we’ve both learned how to steer back on course or just to try something different. I love to marvel at our little one with Mr. J, and for us to see the guy he’s becoming. I’m glad he can learn how to be considerate from his Daddy!

I must say, we’ve figured out who does what and have mastered the multi-tasking. We’ve hosted parties back to back the last 2 weekends and did it like champs! I’m so proud of us, though I’m also proud when we aren’t running out of clean bibs, or when we have eaten all he food groups. I love that we can let each-other shine.

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This year we have a fun plan for the weekend! Stay tuned!
In 2014 I was preggers and Mr. J was supposed to get his Wisdom teeth out, which got rescheduled (to not yet) but we went out to dinner at a new-to-us spot over the weekend.
In 2013 we were celebrating in Paris & Prague, also we got to celebrate I found out I got a new job while in Paris! Champagne for everyone!
In 2012 we celebrated with a weekend to Portland, ME &  belated trip to New Orleans & a Caribbean Cruise. I also re-created our wedding menu.
In 2011 we got married Sat Sept 17
In 2010 we got engaged Fri Sept 17 in NYC

I’m so lucky he eats things, all different things. How would I survive with somebody who doesn’t eat real food?! (don’t even suggest that the baby may not eat things…) Here’s a round-up of some of our favorites (not to be served together):
BBQ Chicken Pizza - the first meal I cooked for Mr. J
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The Parisian Burger with rosemary, dijon mustard, truffle aoli, & a fried egg. Hands down, the best burger ever!
The Three Bite Rule - Parisian Burger
Broccoli & Cheddar Soup is just what winter calls for. The bread bowl just makes it perfection.
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Grilled Tuscan Herbed Chicken & White Beans is a recent fav
The Three Bite Rule - Tuscan Herbed Chicken & White Beans
Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars
, aka The Graham-wich
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I’ll have some fun food finds to share after this weekend. I also have a burger, a special salad, etc that I still need to blog.

Bacon Cheddar Biscuits

This is all I need in life for breakfast. Well, maybe this biscuit with a runny-yolked egg as well. The bacon, cheddar cheese, and chives are so great in a fluffy buttery biscuit instead of just being on a biscuit as a bfast sandwich.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Cheddar Biscuits
Yum. These would be so great with an egg. Or as a breakfast sandwich, or on the go. Seriously so good any way you eat them. I was so impressed how fluffy and puffy the biscuits got. I froze some others before they got stale so I’ll have to report back how they are out of the freezer.

Ingredients:

biscuit mix, prepared according to the package
2 strips of bacon
1 cup of shredded cheddar
2 tbs chives, chopped (or green onions)

Directions:

Fry the bacon until crisp and let excess fat drain. Then chop it into small pieces.
Mix up the biscuits according to your package, adding in the cheese, bacon, and chives.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Cheddar Biscuits
Flour the counter with biscuit mix, and need them a few times. Flatten the dough out to 1/2 inch thick and cut out the biscuits with a biscuit cutter, a jar lid, a juice glass, etc.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Cheddar Biscuits
Bake according to your mix.
Right at the end, brush with some melted butter.
Serve & enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Cheddar Biscuits
You can thank me later. I couldn’t get over how fluffy these are! They were so quick to mix and bake. I had everything cleaned up before they were out of the oven and then I fell in love….probably smart that I did the dishes first because once I ate these I was really loving them. So good!

What I Ate: Nectarine & Feta Salad

What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.

It was an anything-goes dinner night here…I think we ate too much guac & chips after swimming that afternoon to warrant wanting dinner. I wanted something. But what? I ended up tossing together a really quick salad and it was just such a reminder that the simplest salads can be the best…either that or the salads with all the stuff.

The Three Bite Rule - Nectarine Feta Salad
Ingredients:
greens
cukes
feta
nectarine
honey mustard dressing

Directions:
Chop, dress, toss, and enjoy!

Make your own honey mustard…it’ll take 2 seconds and you can make just enough for this or you can have it around for your next salad.

Peaches will work, if you can stand the fuzz. I cannot so I’ll stick with my nectarines. #thankyouverymuch I loved the combos here. I made my honey mustard heavy on the mustard so it had quite a zing! The lettuce was from the farmers market, the feta was leftover from a Greek-ish salad and the cuke was from our garden. It was perfect. A restaurant would charge $18 for this guy.

I threw it together on a whim and it was everything I wanted. Sweet (nectarine), tangy (honey mustard), salty (feta), and crunchy (cucumbers).

Breakfast Burger Bagel

My ratios were a touch off, but his breakfast burger was so fun. What’s more breakfast than bacon, an everything bagel, cheddar cheese, and a sunny side egg?! The bagel is pretty huge making an already small-ish burger look tiny but this one is a winner.

The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Bagel Burger
I mixed up some maple mustard for a touch of sweetness and a little mustardy tang. That and the egg yolk are the only condiments needed!

The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Bagel Burger
I made breakfast burgers on english muffins with bacon jam that were really incredible. Breakfast for dinner is the best!

Rosemary Hard Lemonade

Get ready for some herby cocktails! Thanks to the family in Florida, we got a great spread of different herbs which are flourishing in our garden! I’ve been using them to cook with but there’s plenty so now I’m introducing a few cocktails! This is perfect for your labor day menu! Make a pitcher!

The Three Bite Rule - Rosemary Hard Lemonade
I started with lemonade and citrus vodka, and then added a sprig of rosemary and dropped a few frozen blueberries on top. So good!

Ingredients:

1 shot citrus vodka
4 shots lemonade
ice
1/2 shot lemon juice
1 sprig fresh rosemary
frozen blueberries

Directions:

Add some ice to a glass with a sprig of rosemary.
In a cocktail shaker, add 2 ice cubes, lemonade, vodka, and lemon juice.
The Three Bite Rule - Rosemary Hard Lemonade
Shake shake shake.
Serve over the ice and rosemary. Top with a few blueberries.
The Three Bite Rule - Rosemary Hard Lemonade
Enjoy!

I loved this. The lemon juice really balanced the flavor from being too sweet since my lemonade was Crystal Light, not a tart lemonade. The rosemary was perfect. It wasn’t too much…I didn’t want it to become woodsy. I might not buy rosemary just to make this, but it is a perfect use for rosemary if you have it from something else.

The Three Bite Rule - Rosemary Hard Lemonade
Get your hands on some rosemary to make these…just not all at the same meal with the cocktail:
Rosemary in white beans, then top with something deliciously grilled
Rosemary in the Parisian Burger, seriously favorite burger of all time
Rosemary & Truffle oil on some baked french fries or homefries

August 2016 Recap

I’m never sad for August to be over. I really love September so I’m ready, bring it on. I really had a lot of favorites this month so it was a good month in the kitchen while still keeping most meals quick, flavorful, and fresh. The babe is so active and the bewitching hours are 6-7:30 so dinner is sometimes a scramble right now.

Some of my sangrias have been hit or miss in the past but this insta-sangria really was awesome with barely any time required! I think my Quick Sangria white cranberry strawberry juice was the right sweetness with a touch of tart to then pair nicely with white wine.
The Three Bite Rule - Quick White Sangria
I try to bring out the panini press during the hot nights that I want something quick without heating up the whole house. I made a ham & havarti melt that was perfect and just a touch more special than the average ham & cheese.

Pair that sangria with a burrata bar and poof, instant party.
The Three Bite Rule - Buratta Bar
Yum. I’d be happy eating grilled bread, burrata, tomato, and basil daily. Daily. Day-ly.
The Three Bite Rule - Buratta Bar
Then I tried a new grain and I’m so glad I did. I made Cracked Wheat with Greek Flavors Topped with  Grilled Chicken.  It was awesome and I’ve already made more since then. It cooks quickly, similar to rice but with much more nutrients. Cracked wheat is a wheat berry “cracked” into smaller pieces for quicker cooking, bulger is the next step being par-cooked.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Grain Salad

The Little Man:
This guy. I can’t believe how big he is. He’s crawling and standing. Craziness. Where’d my little baby go? This month more than ever I feel like he’s a little person instead of a baby. The monthly photos might go by the wayside. This one took 2 days of outtakes. He just wants to move. He’ll be on his back for .5 seconds and then he’s rolling over and up to crawl away.
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He loves swimming and crawling. He’s so proud when he pulls up to standing. He eats anything we give him and is 4th tooth is on the way! Thomas LOVES straps: the adjustable straps on his highchair, his backpack for daycare, on our totebags, anywhere. He sleeps like a champ at home and less so at daycare.

Progress on this year’s goals: 

The Year of the Earring:  Yup! Got ‘em in August with an instagram discount code 

make more salad dressings: Yes! Make honey mustard and you can thank me later.

factor more time into how long every-day tasks/trips will take: 
I’m doing OK. Getting things ready in advance is becoming more of a habit.

recreate restaurant menu items: 
ehh. not this month I guess.

be more adventurous with my reading selections: 
I was a bit over eager for the beach and loaded up 3. Well, with the baby at the beach I didn’t quite read much. I read Mrs. Hemingway and looooved it. Now I’m into Flight Behavior which is turning out to be captivating after a slowish start. 

use the crockpot more:
Nope. I do have my next plan though! 

seafood once a month: 
I made some lobster cakes that were really good. The breading is only on the outside so the inside is all lobster!

Lobster Cakes

I made some lobster cakes as a play on a crab cake. They were so good and though I plopped mine onto a salad, they would be great as an appetizer too!

The Three Bite Rule - Lobster Cakes

Ingredients:

1 cup lobster meat, chopped
2 tbs mayo
1 tbs grainy mustard
1 tsp minced garlic
4 chive sprigs minced
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

Directions:

Mix together the lobster meat, mayo, mustard, and garlic gently to not pulverize the lobster.
The Three Bite Rule - Lobster Cakes
Add in the chives and green onion stirring gently.
The Three Bite Rule - Lobster Cakes
Heat a large skillet with vegetable oil to medium heat.
Form the mixture into 2-3 patties and roll them in the mixed breadcrumbs.
The Three Bite Rule - Lobster Cakes
To check the oil temperature, drop a few breadcrumbs into the oil and see if they sizzle immediately. If they do, then add the patties in to cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Try to let them really crisp on the bottom before flipping so you only have to flip it once.
The Three Bite Rule - Lobster Cakes
Remove from the oil and let them drain on paper towel to get rid of the excess oil.
The Three Bite Rule - Lobster Cakes
Serve on their own or on top of salad! Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Lobster Cakes
This is the best lazy-man’s lobster. It gets crunchy on the outside but is all lobster on the inside. There really isn’t much filler in these bad boys. I ended up adding a 2nd to my plate. I couldn’t resist!

Can you believe I fried them? I never fry things! They’d be good in the oven, if it isn’t too hot to have your oven on. ;)

I served it with honey mustard dressing that is just so easy and worth making yourself:
2 tbs honey
2 tbs dijon mustard
tiniest dab of butter (tiny as in 1/2 teaspoon – this makes all the difference)
shake it up and enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Lobster Cakes
Make your own honey mustard dressing. It is perfect to make a tiny bit for one or two servings or double/triple/quadruple this and have enough for a while.

Greek Grain Salad

This dinner is one to make immediately. I was inspired by all the different grains that are served at work. I chose cracked wheat because a) it is such a healthy grain b) it was much cheaper than some others c) it cooks just like rice. To keep it summery, I didn’t try to serve it really warm. The cracked wheat cooks quickly while the chicken was grilling and while I chopped everything else.

The Three Bite Rule - Greek Grain Salad

Ingredients:

3-4 chicken thighs marinated in Italian dressing.
1 cup cracked wheat
2 cups tomatoes
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup fresh oregano & mint
3 tbs olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dried oregano
cracked pepper

Directions:

Marinate the chicken at room temperature while the grill preheats.
Cook cracked wheat according to package. Mine said 40 minutes but was definitely tender when I fluffed with a fork at 25 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Grain Salad
Chop tomato, feta, and fresh herbs. Add into a bowl with the cracked wheat.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Grain Salad
Grill the chicken until fully cooked through, at least 165 degrees.
Shake together the dressing in a jar – olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, dried oregano, garlic, and pepper.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Grain Salad
Mix the cracked wheat and everything together with the dressing.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Grain Salad
Serve the chicken on top of a bed of the grain salad.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Grain SaladEnjoy!

I loved this. We had plenty of tomatoes, oregano, and mint so I was thinking I should do something Mediterranean. The cracked wheat was awesome! It has more of a nutty flavor and I loved knowing it was a better choice than rice or couscous. I forgot that I had some zucchini which would have been good in this, or raw cucumber.

This was so easy and had great flavor. We both loved it and I’m glad we tried something new with flavors that are sure to be a hit.

Burrata Bar & Crostini

My August event is a lovely Garden Party. I wanted the burrata bar but got out voted for a raw bar. Bahh. That isn’t my thing but I couldn’t get the burrata bar out of my head! I was all too happy to bring home a little buratta-ball-baby to become the star of dinner.

The Three Bite Rule - Buratta Bar
I could have gone on and on with toppings but decided it needed to be somewhat reasonable. This would be so fun for easy prep for happy hour party.

Crostini Components:

Buratta
Herbed butter
Prosciutto wrapped melon
sundried tomatoes
balsamic reduction
African blue basil
tomato
Prosciutto

Mr. J lightly grilled the bread and it was go-time.
The Three Bite Rule - Buratta Bar

Besides the buratta being amazing on its own, I absolutely loved buratta with tomato, basil, and balsamic.
The Three Bite Rule - Buratta Bar
The melon with the prosciutto didn’t really need to go on crostini but the salty and sweet and crunch is so lovely with a schmear of herbed butter.
The Three Bite Rule - Buratta Bar
I mixed butter, garlic, fresh oregano, and fresh thyme. This is also perfect for garlic bread or to jazz up the outside of a grilled cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Buratta Bar