The Everything Cookie Brownie Bars

Today I bring you a dessert I made during the holidays but thought it was a good choice for the day my little man turns 4! Woah! He’s just as sweet as these chocolate chip cookie + oreo + brownies.

The Three Bite Rule - Everything Cookie Brownie Bars

Everything Cookie Brownie Bars

Ingredients:

1 roll of chocolate chip cookie dough (brought to room temperature)
2/3 package of Oreos
1 box brownie mix, prepared as instructed

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Spread the cookie dough into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish, sprayed with non-stick spray.
The Three Bite Rule - Everything Cookie Brownie Bars
Then line up Oreos across the cookie base.
The Three Bite Rule - Everything Cookie Brownie Bars

Mix up the brownie mix with eggs, oil, and water, as directed.
Pour the brownie batter on top being careful to pour it all over (it doesn’t spread well without disrupting the Oreos).
The Three Bite Rule - Everything Cookie Brownie Bars
Bake for about 45 minutes.
Let cool completely, then cut and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Everything Cookie Brownie Bars
I loved this but cooked mine a smidge long for my liking. Go for 45ish minutes. I left mine in for about 55 and that might be too much. I’d also like a bit more cookie on the base so next time I might do 1 & 1/2 rolls of cookie dough…I’m sure the remainder won’t go to waste. ;-)

These would be a natural birthday dessert offering for a now-4-year-old, but we’ll have leftover cake, complete with party hats even just for the 3 of us who can sit upright on our own. I’d imagine the babe might get a hat for a few minutes…and a dog or two might partake as well.

Ok, 2019- We’re onto you!

Happy New Year! As much as the clean slate and encouragement to do all the right things feels exciting it can also feel overwhelming. Suddenly we’re supposed to switch from Christmas cookies to all the kale salads? My plans for the upcoming year usually start in November, with my blogaversary but after some post-holiday clean up, I was feeling jazzed and inspired to help for those whose resolutions include the kitchen! By now we’re definitely into January but the number date doesn’t have to dictate when to get started on good habits!

I’m interested by the idea of a word for the year and I’m loving the lists of “more XYZ; less ABC” as a way to set some intentions versus specific goals. I asked on instagram what some food/kitchen related resolutions were which led me here!

If you’re trying to be more intentional with meal planning:

weekly-meal-plan-1000x600

  • Capsule Meal Planning: gives yourself some structure & starting points to plan a week of meals
  • meal planning in 5 steps
  • also, write it down! It helps you plan, shop, visually see what’s ahead (so you can prep ahead somewhat) and anyone else who is eating can see it!
  • my fav grocery app (Anylist) is now on apple & andriod! Hallelujah! We tried so many when we weren’t both on iphones. You can share the list with family members annnnd save a photo with an item- if you’re super particular about say, pita bread, like me! You can even connect recipes so you shop for all the groceries. I keep lists for groceries, Costco, Trader Joe’s and Target.

If you’re wanting some smart breakfast ideas:

Pumpkin Muffin

If packing your lunch needs some attention:

The Three Bite Rule - Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad

If you have a new appliance to play with:

The Three Bite Rule - PB & J Smoothie Healthified

If you’re wanting to do more meal prep in advance

(like me!) I’ll be sharing some of those tips on instagram.

Don’t feel the January pressure to do all the things. Take something that you WANT to do and just stick to that. Or pick a new resolution or intention for each month!
My goals:
Year of organizing/decluttering
Feeding Littles
Advanced food prep

 

Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad

Happy new year! I’m the only chicken salad eater at home but it is so great to make for 1 or 2! Make as little or as much as you like! I made this for a weekend lunch but I’ll definitely repeat this one for packing my lunch too. I poached chicken which is the trick for chicken salad and added in dried cranberries and toasted walnuts. It has good mix of crunch- without celery, which is my nemesis.

The Three Bite Rule - Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad

Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad (for 2)

Ingredients:

3 chicken tenders
2 sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)
2 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoon Italian dressing
2 tablespoons walnuts
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
salt & pepper

Directions:

Poach the chicken in a medium pot, just with the chicken covered with water and a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and 2 sprigs of fresh thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 8 minutes. Let cool completely before chopping/shredding.
The Three Bite Rule - Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
Mix together the chicken, mayo, dressing, walnuts and cranberries.
Refrigerate until serving, or serve immediately.
Mix together the chicken, mayo, dressing, walnuts and cranberries.
Assemble sandwiches and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
I loved this! I made a sandwich with arugula on wheat toast or it would be good on salad too. The add-ins are great to bulk it up with less chicken. I was wishing I had pecans around…that would have been a fun twist from the walnuts!
Mix together the chicken, mayo, dressing, walnuts and cranberries.

December 2018 Recap

Howwww is it the end of December?! I think this was the fastest month of the year! Fingers crossed I can get photos of a bunch of menu items during my week off from work.

Christmas was magical. I think 3 (almost 4) years old is quite possibly the most ideal age for Christmas wonder. Our little guy loved seeing the lights, decorating the tree, and meeting Santa. Baby C was so happy and napped and ate pretty well considering it was an unusual day. Christmas day was great. Christmas eve we hosted dinner at home and making fresh pasta has become our tradition for the last few years. We made ravioli and crockpot meatballs. Dad made his signature antipasto and Mom made all the cookies.

December was busy with almost-final touches on the basement renno, social gatherings for dinners out and holiday parties, and busy at work. I really tried to balance Christmas being a magical time with what is actually do-able without adding stress. I decorated a bit less, we didn’t get lights onto the house, visiting Santa was suuuuper late, but the kiddos can’t understand a calendar so it is OK for this season of our lives. More and bigger wouldn’t help anything except for making stressed out parents.

The basement renno is allllmost done. It is in the final stretch. It is livable and just needs the tiniest of details. After the first overnight guests we may settle more toys there though having family helps us (cough, all credit to Mr. J) get the last items done. I’ve tried to “own” meals/laundry/gift wrapping while he’s taking on all the projects!

I think everyone needs loaded waffle fries on a menu, even if just for lunch.
The Three Bite Rule - Loaded Waffle Fries
I made an easier-than-expected Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese and hope that it reinvents leftovers from Christmas!
The Three Bite Rule - Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese
This PB&J smoothie is my favorite. I rarely make any others now that this one feels perfected.
The Three Bite Rule - PB & J Smoothie Healthified
Work closes between Christmas & New Years, which is awesome for time home, and also since I’m at a negative balance from maternity leave. I hope to enjoy the time and to get a few recipes blogged (I have a dessert, a pizza, and maybe a soup on my list!), stock the freezer just a bit, and get a few things done.

The Little Boy:

He moved up to the next class at daycare which is awesome. Such a big kid! We put his play kitchen into the basement and he is loving cooking for us! He is suuuuper into tools and kept very occupied by poking holes with a screwdriver into our broken-down cardboard. He got to watch his first movie! We watched the original, animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas. He loved it. For food, he loves eating his gingerbread house and all the treats of the season. Meat-less tacos didn’t phase him and I was glad to see him eat them as is, and not deconstruct them to eat elements separately. He liked “fancy toast” which means nutella. He was so excited for Christmas and couldn’t wait to leave cookies for Santa. His birthday is coming right up which might mean that at 4 years old, we maybe should give up the crib. I had hoped we’d get to be sleeping through the night before the effort of teaching him to stay in bed, but alas, someday.

The Baby Girl:

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She’s suchhh a happy girl! She’s very chill, very smiley, and eating better. We’re on a better dosage for reflux. I think she loved being held by all the family for Christmas. We have a good routine going in the mornings and after work. It feels like a relief to know what to expect with her now. Daycare loves her because she’s so sweet and doesn’t cry.

2019 goals:

Year of ___ decluttering/minimizing/organizing: 2 donation pick ups helped move things out but we’re not 100% settled into the basement yet. Almost! I’m glad to report our wetbar is cleared off now that we moved into our desks in the basement renno.
Feeding Littles: I wish I did this more. I’ll keep at it. Dinner is just such a rush to get onto the table and I try not to have screens at the table! Here’s one!   
Work on advanced food prepping: I capitalized on Trader Joe’s favs (Mandarin Orange Chicken & edemame) and some pre-made freezer items this month (like leftover Thanksgiving meatballs, lasagna, a calzone)
What I’m reading: I didn’t read all that much this month. I’m quite far into What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton but it is ohh so long- I’m about 400 pages into the 600ish pages. I may call it done and move on.
What I’m watching: Christmas movies! Christmas with the Kranks is a fav and so underrated, in my opinion. We rushed to squeeze in a few other favs like Home Alone, Elf, Christmas Vacation, etc.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie, Healthified

Wayyy back, circa 2013 I made a peanut butter and jelly inspired smoothie. Since then, I’ve been drinking a new version with a green base. I made this one several times a week while pregnant with Baby C and my preschooler had some whenever I made it. The greens in the base are totally camouflaged so it is a great green-smoothie starter.
The Three Bite Rule - PB & J Smoothie Healthified
I often use a smoothie to be my breakfast- with something small later, like 1/2 cup Cheerios or a hard boiled egg. It also makes a great snack during this busy, on-the-go season!

PB & J Smoothie, Healthified

Ingredients (for 1-2 servings: 1 meal or 2 snacks)

1 1/2 cups greens (spinach or baby spinach & baby kale mix)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt (Greek or regular)
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1-2 tablespoon peanut butter
water

The Three Bite Rule - PB & J Smoothie Healthified

Directions:

Add greens, milk, and yogurt to the blender and blend well. Keep blending once it seems like enough. The more the better!
The Three Bite Rule - PB & J Smoothie Healthified
Then add in the blueberries, ground flaxseed, and peanut butter.
Add small increments of water until desired consistency. (I end up using about 1/2 cup usually)
Blend well and enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - PB & J Smoothie Healthified
I like it best with regular vanilla yogurt but Greek has more protein (and more tang). I buy this bag of “juicing greens” which is baby spinach and baby kale. Once it has hung around about a week and there is any left, I freeze it an break some off for smoothies.

I add the water to get it to a drinkable consistency. Milk would work too. I keep adding, very slowly, until it splashes on the sides of my blender. Then I know it’ll go through the straw well.

Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese

December seems to be a combo of feeding guests and repurposing leftovers! Use all the leftovers! This ham, cheese, and raspberry jam sandwich on sweet bread is craving your leftover party foods (like that spiral ham) or cheese (remnants from a cheese board)! Sometimes they are ham, turkey, and cheese and the sweet fruity spread is what makes this iconic sandwich.

I made these for a lunch and it brought me back to childhood memories of my Dad ordering the monte cristo at a family favorite restaurant. That sweet bread with salty ham and melty cheese is such a great combo. Restaurants deep fry it but this is quickly pan fried without the hassle of battering the whole sandwich.
The Three Bite Rule - Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese

Psssst. I used challah bread for this (and you can use leftover challah for this french toast too!)

Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese (for 2)

Ingredients:

4 slices of challah bread
2 tablespoons raspberry jam
2 slices of white cheddar
2 slices of American cheese
4 slices of ham

Directions:

Slice the bread and spread one side with raspberry jam. Then layer American on the other side, then ham, then cheddar to assemble the sandwich.
The Three Bite Rule - Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese

Preheat a griddle or frying pan.
Lightly spread the outside with butter/oil/mayo and lay that side onto the pan.
Cook for a few minutes and spread the other side.
Carefully flip and cook for a few minutes more. Cover for the last minute to ensure the cheese all melts.
Slice and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese

I loved this! The bread is so delightfully soft and sweet, especially with the jam, but the salty ham and melty cheese makes the best contrast here. The American cheese gives that melt factor and the cheddar gives good flavor. A sprinkle of powdered sugar would be beautiful. The bread is decadent. I didn’t make it as French toast, but that’s another way to do it. These would be tasty brunch elements if you’re using ingredients up or wanting to serve something without eggs! My toddler wasn’t home but I can see him liking aspects of this…maybe it would be a good reinforcement for ham since he’s not 100% gung-ho about all sandwich meat.

What I Ate: Loaded Nacho Waffle Fries

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.

You neeeed this super easy and fun dinner in your rotation for December. It is delicious, a great use of leftovers, and couldn’t be easier. What else could you look for from a weeknight dinner!? We have something Mexican about once a week so I popped a small portion of pulled pork into the freezer for occasions such as this. Add gather some queso sauce, tomato, avocado, green onion, salsa, and cheese onto waffle fries and you’ve got yourself a meal!

Taco night gets recreated for a whole different feel. I’m working to ensure foods aren’t always the same for my little one…I don’t want him thinking tacos are always one way, or cheese is always in string form, etc. Having tacos/burritos/quesadillas/etc help ensure he sees ingredients he’s familiar with in another format so it is still approachable. I took a similar tactic for a recent salami & cheese calzone being his fav sandwich flavors. I have adventurous eaters in our family, but doesn’t everyone just want a crowd-pleasing, slam-dunk of a dinner in the rotation, right?
The Three Bite Rule - Loaded Waffle Fries

Pssst. These would totally fill a group for a weekend lunch, after sledding, as a quick meal before some festive holiday gathering, or watching a game (<- jeez, I sound like I host football parties non-stop. I just like how those games bring out the snacks!).

Loaded Nacho Waffle Fries

Ingredients: (serves 3-4)

3/4 bag frozen waffle fries
~1 cup pulled pork (or pulled chicken or taco meat)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup salsa con queso
1 avocado, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 green onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup salsa

Directions:

Bake the fries according to the package.
While they bake to a crisp, pan fry the shredded pork to brown a bit and warm the queso.
Sprinkle the shredded cheese on the waffle fries and return to the oven to melt.
Drizzle some queso onto the fries and top with pork.
The Three Bite Rule - Loaded Waffle Fries
Serve and offer the toppings of tomatoes, avocado, green onions, and salsa as a top-your-own station, or top the whole platter and let everyone dig in.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Loaded Waffle Fries
These are plate and fork nachos, which are the very best kind! They are truly loaded and so filling- as in, ours were on salad plates instead of dinner plates! Loaded waffle fries are definitely enough to be a meal. Our toddler thought it was a super fun dinner! I’d argue that the baked fries aren’t really a far reach health-wise from the rest of it being a taco or regular nachos. These are more filling so plan portions accordingly!

This uses up the remainder of queso and a small amount of pork & cheese so it reminded me not to underestimate what can become a meal! Vegetarian-ize them swapping pork with black beans and saute some bell peppers or add whatever toppings would go in your tacos!

November 2018 Recap

November meant the end of maternity leave and back to work. My blog also turned 8. Woah! We were getting into our groove again, and we continue to. The babe got used to her reflux meds and either that, or eating a little more, or hitting the 3 month benchmark, or sleeping a bit more, or all have made a world of difference!

We are THIIIIIIS close on the basement renno being done. Can. not. wait. We all are anticipating space: lounge area with a TV; play area with the train table, play kitchen & toy storage; laundry room; powder room; desk space; and storage space. It has taken foreverrr. The end is in sight!! I’m itching for big time organization, cleaning, and getting things settled that have been in limbo for months! Ok, onto the food.

Our fam fav dinner this month might have been these Thanksgiving meatballs!
Thanksgiving Meatballs - The Three Bite Rule
This fall hot dog with apple slaw was super fun and I hope it graces somebody’s football game watching!
The Three Bite Rule - Fall Hot Dog
French Toast with Salted Caramel Cider Sauce is so good, and very fall-winter-ish.
The Three Bite Rule - Salted Caramel Cider French Toast
December is such a fun and busy time of year. I’m bringing you some quick meals that can use leftovers or work as a cook once, eat twice plan for you. Maybe something healthy will sneak in there since there’s enough party food elsewhere? We’ll see!

The Little Boy:

He had some rocky days of listening at daycare. I wish toddlers could express themselves! I think we’re back on track. He’s been into play-doh, knex, and working outside with Mr. J. Meat isn’t always his fav but he liked chicken marsala with sauce from Trader Joe’s and he ate the Thanksgiving meatballs. I loved seeing him assemble his plate like ours. He often wants foods a bit separate so it was cute to see him imitate our plating. It was fun seeing him take bites of a big burrito and I wrapped the bottom with foil for him to hold telling him that’s like at a restaurant. I’m working to ensure foods he likes appear in other formats, hence, the burrito. He’d eat pasta every night if we let him decide. Edamame in the shells are so fun to him.  He’s pretty adventurous when he encounters foods he doesn’t remember or doesn’t have all the time- i.e. soup, lasagna, eggplant, shrimp etc. I love when he tells me dinner is SO good.

The Baby Girl:

She’s sleeping like a rockstar in the Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit! She started rolling when swaddled and giving us a heart attack! The first day sleeping in the suit she napped more in that day then the past several months of her entire life. She’s finally done with that infant nightly meltdown and I’m ever so grateful. I’m hoping we can let her sleep through the night once she weighs a bit more. She got to a double digit weight- 10 pounds at 3.5 months old! She’s super smiley to all of us and cracks up seeing her big brother! She just needs to eat more.

2019 goals:

Year of ___ decluttering/minimizing/organizing: November kicks off by sending a ThreadUp batch full of maternity clothes to say goodbye to!
Feeding Littles: I only did once or twice in Instagram stories. I’ll keep at it.  
Work on advanced food prepping: yes! I got a leg up when Mr. J was home and could turn something on. I prepped broccoli & cheddar soup one morning before we ate it that night and getting chicken cooked to just warm in marsala sauce was hugely helpful.
What I’m reading: I read Himself for bookclub and didn’t love it. I read Educated and Crazy Rich Asians couldn’t put either one down.
What I’m watching: Now that our little lady naps, we’ve watched some several-months-old DVR! I cannot wait for Dec when I’ll be into Christmas movies & music!

Salted Caramel Cider French Toast

I’m fully embracing all the fall flavors despite already having a bit of snow! I added apple cider to a salted caramel sauce and it was a hit! The apples were lightly cooked for extra flavor while maintaining a good crunch. This will be a great breakfast if you have family around for Thanksgiving- make the sauce in advance and cook the french toast “to order” as folks make their way out of bed!
The Three Bite Rule - Salted Caramel Cider French Toast
We make tons of waffles at our house, the occasional pancakes, but rarely french toast. Challah bread turned that ratio around! It is quite sweet but the salted caramel sauce has great flavor. I was wishing I had thought about a side of bacon.

Salted Caramel Cider French Toast (for 4)

Ingredients:

1/4 cup apple cider
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce
1-2 apples
1/2 loaf Challah bread (or 4 thick slices of bread)
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

Slice the bread and chop the apple.
The Three Bite Rule - Salted Caramel Cider French Toast
Add cider and 1/4 cup of the caramel sauce to a small pan over medium heat. Bring it to a low boil for ~15 minutes to reduce slightly. Then reduce the heat to low and add in the remaining caramel sauce and chopped apple. Cook for about 5 minutes more.
The Three Bite Rule - Salted Caramel Cider French Toast
Heat a pan or griddle to middle heat.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, and nutmeg.
Dredge each slice of bread into the egg mixture on each side. Pan fry them ~3 minutes on each side. Reserve in the oven to keep warm if cooking in batches.
The Three Bite Rule - Salted Caramel Cider French Toast
Serve with sauce. Enjoy!

We all liked this one. I tested it out as bfast for myself and then immediately made more sauce so we could all have it over the weekend! The sauce was great made ahead of time! It would be a great topping on baked french toast as a whole pan if taking it somewhere!
The Three Bite Rule - Salted Caramel Cider French Toast
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have lots to eat as you think about what makes you thankful.

Fall Hot Dog with Apple Slaw

Could this ‘dog be any more fall? It all started with a long pretzel bun and I knew it needed a fall festive hot dog since this is the ideal weather for grilling! There’s melty white cheddar under there and a slaw of apples, onion, and arugula. It is spectacular and would be super fun for an afternoon game watching – especially since, I’m only watching football for the snacks!

The Three Bite Rule - Fall Hot Dog
Swap the hot dog for a sausage or bratwurst or whatever you like! I recently tried the Beyond Meat sausage and think this would be a good combo for that too! I made this for a lunch but it was a really great use for some frozen-since-summer hot dogs!

Fall Hot Dog with Apple Slaw and a Pretzel Bun (for 2)

Ingredients:

2 long pretzel buns
2 hot dogs/sausages/bratwursts
1/2 apple
1/4 white onion
1/2 cup arugula, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 slices sharp white cheddar

Directions:

Finely chop the apple, white onion, and arugula while preheating the grill. (This is easy to make indoors on a pan as long as you toast the roll too.)
The Three Bite Rule - Fall Hot Dog
Mix together the apple, onion, arugula, olive oil, and vinegar. Refrigerate until serving.
The Three Bite Rule - Fall Hot Dog
Grill the dogs/sausages/brats until cooked through. While they cook, toast the pretzel bun and melt the cheese onto it.
Assemble with the toasted roll, melted cheese, dog/sausage/brat and spoon the apple slaw over the top.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Fall Hot Dog
This is the perfect fall food. The slaw is really addictive- as in, I ate the leftovers with a spoon. The pretzel roll and really good quality white cheddar made me really fall in love with this. Originally I was thinking apple slices but the slaw format allowed for the sweet crunch with acidic dressing to be in each bite and it seems like a real dog topping. My pretzel bun is from Trader Joe’s but my grocery store has them in this shape occasionally and I’ve seen them at Whole Foods too. I cut out a sliver to make the roll smaller and keep the ratio how I wanted it.