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.


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

What I Ate: Pesto Chicken Panini

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.

Sandwiches are such a quick and easy dinner for me. I love paninis and and I’m continually surprised how versatile they are. This was going to be chicken breasts marinated and grilled in pesto then I decided to shred it. I figured that would definitely make this seem different than some of my other paninis annnnnd I wouldn’t have that whole take a bite and the whole chicken breast comes out.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Chicken Panini

2-3 chicken tenders (or 2 chicken breasts)
1/3 cup prepared pesto
1 tbs grated parmesan
1 tomato
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, or sliced provolone, or fresh mozzarella
4 slices of bread

Cook the chicken in simmering water until fully cooked, about 10 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Chicken Panini

Sprinkle in salt, pepper, and Parmesan, then add the pesto and shred with 2 forks pulling the chicken apart.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Chicken Panini
Heat a panini press/grill pan/large skillet to medium high heat.
Assemble the sandwiches with sliced tomato and pesto chicken mixture.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Chicken Panini

Top the sandwiches with cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Chicken Panini
Grill until toasty and melty on each side…about 3-5 minutes per side.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Chicken Panini
I love the flavors in this. The tomato is key for keeping the chicken moist. The pesto is a great use for a partial jar. I would normally have used sliced cheese but I had leftover shredded mozzarella and no plan for it, so this worked well.

Paninis need bread that can hold up to what goes inside. I think this nutty one works great. I think the Pesto Chicken Panini is kind of a nod to a lazy-man’s pizza…which makes great panini fillings.

Some of my other fav paninis are: fig and prosciutto panini, bacon & gouda panini with peach compote, and turkey cranberry & brie panini.

Instant Sangria

I’m no mixologist, but this on-the-spot sangria was excellent. I love sangria and have really only made it in big batches so I wanted to see about perfect my by-the-glass sangria.

I turned Mr. J onto sangria in Barcelona which also ended up being a gentle introduction to wine…
My motivation for by the glass sangria was that it needed to be ready on the spot, without needing all day to mellow. I also figured it would be a great use for some open wine that I didn’t like. I started simply so it could be recreated. I didn’t know if I’d need to make tweaks for next time, but I liked this as-is.

Ingredients: (quantities per glass)

4 oz red wine
1/2 shot limoncello
1/2 shot triple sec
splash of orange juice
optional: ice cubes of orange juice & grenadine


Optional: make some ice cubes of orange juice & grenadine.
The Three Bite Rule - Instant Sangria
Add wine, ice cubes, lemoncello, triple sec, and a shot of orange juice into a shaker.
The Three Bite Rule - Instant Sangria
Shake, shake, shake,
Serve & enjoy.
The Three Bite Rule - Instant Sangria
I do not like merlot. Merlot made me think I didn’t like red wine actually. Au contraire my friends. This huuuge bottle is making its way into lots of things I cook and then into this stellar sangria.

I loved this. I think the lemon liquor with the orange liquor with the orange juice was spot-on. It definitely had a kick so I let the cubes melt a touch and it was perfect. It sure made for a happy Sunday!

Some of my other favorite sangrias include:
apple cider sangria
Apple Cider Sangria

strawberry basil sangria
mixed berry sangria

any sangria tips for me?

Rosemary Focaccia

This was the year to mess with bread. I figured the worst that could happen would be a bread flop, and it may take a few attempts. I decided that focaccia would be the first attempt, since it wasn’t critical to the meal. It came out great, not perfect, but delicious nonetheless. It made a lot. I didn’t want to mess with halfing the recipe. Maybe next time!

I used Anne Burrell’s focaccia recipe and topped it with fresh rosemary. It was good. I wonder if it would have raised a bit more if I had given it a bit more time. You can’t rush yeast. It does it’s thing slowly, but surely.


1 3/4 cup warm water
1 package yeast
1 tbs sugar
5 cups flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt + 1 teaspoon for sprinkling
1 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped


Leave lots of time, focaccia needs about 2 hours to rise.
Combine water, yeast, and sugar in a bowl. Let it sit for about 15-minutes in a warm place until frothy & foamy.
Rosemary Focaccia - The Three Bite Rule
My warm space was the oven on low, venting on the stove top where the yeast was resting.
Rosemary Focaccia - The Three Bite Rule
With a dough hook attached to the stand mixer, mix flour, 1/2 cup olive oil, salt, and yeast on low until combined. Then mix on medium for 5 minutes.
Rosemary Focaccia - The Three Bite Rule
Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and need by hand a few times.
Drizzle olive oil into the sides of a bowl. Put the dough ball into the bowl, turn over once to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour, doubling in size.
Rosemary Focaccia - The Three Bite Rule
Add the 1/2 cup olive oil to a sheet pan. It seems like a lot, but Anne Burrell says that’s what makes focaccia so good. Add the dough in and stretch the dough to the edges of the pan.
Turn the dough over to coat well with oil.
Poke finger marks into the dough each an inch away from the other holes and sprinkle with salt and rosemary.
Rosemary Focaccia - The Three Bite Rule
Let it rise for another hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Bake 20-25 minutes.
Rosemary Focaccia - The Three Bite Rule
I cut the rise-time a bit short and would have liked it to be more airy. It was a bit dense.
Rosemary Focaccia - The Three Bite Rule
I loved the rosemary flavor. It was crunchy and moist. I really liked it and will try it again, when I’m not trying to rush it for dinner time.

I served it with gnocchi with tomato sauce.

What I Ate: Pork Lettuce Wraps

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.

One of my fav crockpot dishes is a Chinese Pork, It has water chestnuts, and peppers, and bean sprouts,  and green onions.

Chinese Pork from the Crockpot - The Three Bite Rule

This most recent time I made it was a few months ago and I froze the leftovers so we wouldn’t get sick of it. While I was meal planning recently I thought of it and wondered how to use it differently. Lettuce wraps came to mind. They’re pretty easy to make with any filling, but this was cooked and sauced up already. Perfect!

The Three Bite Rule - Pork Lettuce Wraps

I let it defrost all day in the fridge and then heated it through to get ready for dinner. I nixed the peppers, spooning them out leaving it as pork, sauce, water chestnuts, and bean sprouts. It looks like I had more tomato sauce this time, than the first time.
The Three Bite Rule - Pork Lettuce Wraps

I whipped up some sesame noodles to go with it.
The Three Bite Rule - Sesame Noodles
And micro’ed some edemame. This was a super quick dinner (10 min of prep) and it used some some random remnants….like the pork from the freezer and a partial box of wheat spaghetti.

The Three Bite Rule - Pork Lettuce Wraps
It wasn’t exactly an award winning dinner, but it was pretty balanced, suuuuuper cheap, and was a bit different than the usual quickie dinner options. It feels less like: leftovers, womp womp when I serve it a long time from the first debut, annnd when I serve it in a different way.  This is why I save everything. Fast dinners like this meant only added Boston bibb lettuce to the shopping list, everything else was on-hand. Plus it reminded me how great edemame in the pods are.

These would have been better with something else, like vinegar-y cabbage or raw bean sprouts on top but they totally fulfilled the what’s for dinner conundrum. Lettuce wraps are a great use for my random extra ground meat. I drop leftover ground chicken and ground pork into the freezer to be used for tacos or something. It’s not the greatest for burgers once it has been frozen but lettuce wraps could be a good use. Hmmm. Maybe I’m onto something there!

How do you recreate leftovers?

Pine Nut and Parmesan Crusted Chicken

This dinner was sooo good. It was flavorful yet easy, memorable yet simple. I really loved everything about it. I didn’t go overboard for a random weekday night. I kept it simple with just 2 things and it was a good one.

I had brussels sprouts on the brain because we had talked at LENGTH about them at work during lunch. I can’t tell if you think that’s weird or awesome. We thought it was awesome. It was such a fun exchange of favorite ways to make, eat, or order brussels sprouts. I love roasting them and somebody mentioned adding a touch of honey. Done!

I think the first few teases of spring made me want a crunchy protein and a veggie. Nothing else.
Pine nut and Parmesan Crusted Chicken - The Three Bite Rule

I used chicken tenders because I can’t get over how massive chicken breasts can be sometimes. 2 tenders per person is plenty when you pound them out…the same amount of chicken seems like wayy more because of the increased surface area. Plus they tighten up a bit when frying. The nutty exterior and the salty Parmesan was a perfect combo. So good!


2 cups brussels sprouts trimmed and halved
2 tsp honey
1 tsp olive oil
4 chicken tenders (2 tenders per person)
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3 tbs wheat germ (or bread crumbs)
1 egg
1/3 cup liquid egg whites (or one more full egg with a splash of water)
2 tsp light mayo
3 tsp milk
1/2 tsp ground garlic
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
sea salt & pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees while you trim & half the brussels sprouts.
Pine nut and Parmesan Crusted Chicken - The Three Bite Rule
In a small pan, over medium heat, toast the pine nuts. Stir regularly and be careful not to burn them. Cook for about 5 minutes until evenly and lightly browned.
Pine nut and Parmesan Crusted Chicken - The Three Bite Rule
Whisk together the egg and egg whites in a shallow container.
Mix together the wheat germ, Parmesan cheese, and chopped pine nuts.
Pine nut and Parmesan Crusted Chicken - The Three Bite Rule
Put the brussels sprouts onto a baking sheet, drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast them in the oven for about 5-7 minutes.
Heat a large skillet with 1/4 inch of vegetable oil to a medium heat.
Pound out the chicken tenders until evenly flattened.
Pine nut and Parmesan Crusted Chicken - The Three Bite Rule
Sprinkle a little salt and pepper onto the chicken. Dredge the chicken in eggwash then into the crust. Flip and shake around to get completely covered.
Pine nut and Parmesan Crusted Chicken - The Three Bite Rule

Pan fry the chicken tenders, working in batches. Cook about 5 minutes per side.
Pine nut and Parmesan Crusted Chicken - The Three Bite Rule
Pull out the brussels sprouts and flip them over/around to ensure they cook evenly. Add the honey and mix well. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes, then turn the oven down to 250 degrees. The brussels sprouts can stay in the low oven until the chicken is ready.
When the chicken has cooked on each side, put it on paper towel to absorb any excess oil, then put the chicken into the oven to keep warm as the other batches cook.
Pine nut and Parmesan Crusted Chicken - The Three Bite Rule

For the garlic aoli (optional): in a small jar, shake together mayo, milk, garlic, garlic powder, and worcestershire sauce.
Pine nut and Parmesan Crusted Chicken - The Three Bite Rule
Serve and enjoy!

I originally thought the garlic aoli would be great drizzled on the brussels sprouts since they were sweetened with honey. Then I thought the crunch of the chicken would be good with the bite of garlic in the aoli. It became a very translational ingredient. It was not at all necessary, but good.

Pine nut and Parmesan Crusted Chicken - The Three Bite Rule
What’s your favorite way to have brussels sprouts? Are you jealous of our lunch convo? I’m loving that these conversations happen. I don’t miss the crazy fad diets, juice cleanses, wedding crash diets, and instant “I’m no longer eating ___” that I used to encounter at former work places. I think it’s moreso a difference that my new workplace is more closely focused on people who have a greater need for true healthy choices. There’s a different respect for whole foods, this place has a culture that doesn’t view food as an enemy but rather a tool, a benefit, and a joy when treated right. Also, the other day the teaching kitchen students came around with a tray of mini cream puffs. I’m living the dream.

In other news, today is Bailee’s 9th birthday! She can’t open her own presents like Windsor can, but she’ll get an extra treat 😉 Those eyes! That underbite! We really love her.

No Bake Energy Bites

I’ve been less pin-happy lately than I used to be. Pinterest can be kind of overwhelming. I did say that this year I wanted to make some pins a reality so all the stars aligned when I was thinking what to bring to my fav new mommy. Well, she’s not new to mommy-hood but I figured she needed a treat to distract her so I could take hold of babe #2 and play with the big brother. I just want to hug them forever!

I really wasn’t sure what to bring. I ended up settling on a snack that I thought maybe everyone could enjoy. These no-bake energy bites were hopefully healthy and easy for one-handed munching while mom & dad hold a newborn and chase a 2-year-old. Originally, I pinned no-bake energy bites without a plan in mind because they seemed so easy and had flavors I love/had-on-hand. Shanpagne all Around made these and I’m so glad I tried them. They were so good! I repinned a pin and then actually made them #winning

The Three Bite Rule - No Bake Energy Bites

No-Bake Energy Bites

by Shanpagne All Around


1 cup old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup coconut
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flax or wheat germ
1/2 cup chocolate chips (or mini chips would work well, not more than 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla


In a flat pan over medium-low heat, lightly toast the coconut, stirring occasionally. Cook for about 3 minutes and remove from the heat.
Mix together the oats, peanut butter, flax/germ, honey, and vanilla.
The Three Bite Rule - No Bake Energy Bites
Stir in the chocolate chips and coconut.
The Three Bite Rule - No Bake Energy Bites
Refrigerate a few hours, or overnight.
Roll into balls & enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - No Bake Energy Bites
I thought they were pretty OK to roll. I do think more chocolate chips would have made it harder to roll though. Normally I’d never measure them and I’d just dump a bunch in. This time I was glad that I didn’t over-do it. Too many would make this harder to roll.

Store in the refrigerator and keep for a week. I figured I’d label the heck outta ’em since a) I hear breast feeding means you need to know what you’re eating b) I wasn’t 100% if there was anything the big brother couldn’t have, like coconut c) they have enough to think about right now than to wonder about their snacks.

The Three Bite Rule - No Bake Energy Bites
I loved these. They’re soft and chewy like cookie dough. The toasted coconut is so good. I might add some nuts next time. These buggers are sweet from the peanut butter, chocolate chips, honey, and coconut but there’s no other sugar added. They’re such a reasonable snack I just might have to throw some together for a quickie dessert.

I had planned to use ground flax but ended up skipping a trip to the store and using wheat germ. I keep wheat germ handy when needing to keep pizza dough from sticking or when I need a subtle binder or want a healthier alternative to bread crumbs…like in meatballs or veggie burgers etc. Wheat germ has the healthiest part of the wheat with the most vitamins & minerals plus protein and fiber. It has the good stuff that gets left out when using wheat to make white bread.

Saw it. Pinned it. Made it.

What I Ate: Quesadilla Huevos Rancheros

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.

I took a twist on one of Mr. J’s signature dishes, huevos rancheros. It was good, but I think I might like the regular method better. I whipped out the big griddle to do the quesadilla and egg at the same time.

The Three Bite Rule - Quesadilla Huevos Rancheros


2 taco-sized tortillas
1/2 cup shredded cheddar, monetary jack, or pepper jack cheese
1 egg
salsa & guacamole


Spray a large skillet with non-stick spray. Bring heat to medium heat and lay one tortilla down and top with cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Quesadilla Huevos Rancheros Then lay the other tortilla on top.
Cook for about 3 minutes.
Spray top tortilla, and carefully flip the whole quesadilla.
In a separate pan, heat to medium and fry the egg.
Top quesadilla with a sprinkle of cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Quesadilla Huevos Rancheros
Serve with salsa, guacamole, and the egg.
The Three Bite Rule - Quesadilla Huevos Rancheros
I love the yolk with the tortilla and cheese. Seriously, the yolk is like nature’s sauce. I also could eat guac or avocado for breakfast daily. Have I told you lately how much I love savory breakfasts?
The Three Bite Rule - Quesadilla Huevos Rancheros
I probably will stick to the single layer/traditional way. I think the super crisp tortilla that is almost blistered into crispness is better.

Do you ever do that? Take a regular dish you love and amp it up, only to decide it was better as-is?

Broccoli and Wild Rice Casserole

I tend to not spend a lot of time on side dishes. This one could be a meal-in-one. I’ve seen a lot of broccoli and wild rice dishes but I did mine with a few slightly- healthier touches. There’s no canned soup here, and no heavy cream, no cheese, and  so little butter. There is some serious flavor (and sodium) from the broth so season accordingly or swap out low sodium broth if you’d like.

The Three Bite Rule - Broccoli and Wild Rice Casserole


1 1/2 cups wild rice
2 cups water
1 cup vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
1/2 tsp Krazy salt  (or a mix of salt, italian seasoning, garlic powder)
2 large carrots, diced
2 celery stocks, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 tbs garlic, diced
3 tbs wheat flour
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
3/4 cup white wine
1/2 tsp dried thyme
salt & pepper
2 cups broccoli florets, trimmed
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cup wheat panko


Cook the wild rice in water and vegetable broth until fully cooked through.
Mix in sprinkle of Krazy salt and spread into a baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.
The Three Bite Rule - Broccoli and Wild Rice Casserole
In a dutch oven, cook carrots, onions, and celery in 1-2 tbs olive oil for 5-7 minutes over medium heat.
Add in garlic and wheat flour, stirring well.
Pour in vegetable stock, wine, thyme, salt, and pepper.
Increase heat to medium high, cover, and let look for 8 minutes at a boil, then reduce the heat to low.
Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
In a separate pot, boil broccoli florets for about 4-6 minutes. They should be cooked through but slightly crisp.
Pour the broccoli on top of the rice layer.
The Three Bite Rule - Broccoli and Wild Rice Casserole
The carrot/celery mixture will have thickened up. Pour on top of the broccoli layer.
The Three Bite Rule - Broccoli and Wild Rice Casserole
Melt butter and mix in olive oil and panko.
Sprinkle over the top and bake for 20-30 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Broccoli and Wild Rice Casserole
I liked this, but phew! It seemed like a lot of work for just a side. I love the velvety sauce over the broccoli. I would probably leave it at that next time. The rice wasn’t really necessary. The highlight is the illusion of creaminess with the broccoli and the toasty crumbs on top.
The Three Bite Rule - Broccoli and Wild Rice Casserole
It made a ton and I felt like we ate it a million times. I’d half this or freeze half next time. I also would question the rice. This would be good for a crowd, or as a side with just about anything else…fish, pork, chicken, steak, sausages, turkey, etc. I think it could be a good one for Thanksgiving or a potluck. It definitely has a winter vibe so I wouldn’t be whipping this one up for spring.

Not to worry, I’m done with the heavy winter foods. I have a breakfast what I ate up next, then a lightened up snacky treat, and maybe a cocktail (if I get my act together).

Potato Soup with Loaded Potato Toppings

New England is in that in-between winter and spring time so I have (at least) one more truly wintery meals…don’t hold me to it. The warm days remind me that spring is coming and the cold days give one last chance to wear a favorite sweater one more time, or to make one more hearty meal. I wanted to do a potato soup and figured I’d mix it up with the “loaded” potato ingredients being toppings. This soup relies on some pureed potato to thicken it. I also thought some sweet potato in there would be fun.

The Three Bite Rule - Potato Soup with Loaded Toppings


1 yellow onion, diced fine
4 potatoes, pealed and cooked
1 sweet potato, pealed and cooked
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup chicken or veggie stock
1/2 cup half & half or cream
1/2 cup white wine (optional)
4 slices of bacon
2 green onions
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper


Boil or bake the potatoes until cooked through.
In a heavy pot or dutch oven, cook the onions for about 5 minutes in a little olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onions until translucent and soft.
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Soup with Loaded Toppings
Add the chicken/veggie stock. Be sure so scrape the bottom to mix throughly.
Add in the cream and wine, reducing the heat to medium low.
When the potatoes are fully cooked, chop them into bite-sized chunks. Add half the potato & half the sweet potato into the pot.
Add garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, fry the bacon until crisp in a flat pan. Add a teaspoon of the bacon drippings into the soup pot, discarding the rest.
Chop the green onions and grate the cheddar.
Carefully ladle most of the soup into a blender and blend until smooth. Or, use an immersion blender.
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Soup with Loaded Toppings
Return to the pot, adding the rest of the potatoes & sweet potatoes.
Add in garlic powder, thyme, salt, and pepper.
Cook for another 5 minutes or so. Add more broth if it is too thick.
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Soup with Loaded Toppings
Top with shredded cheddar, green onions, and bacon!
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Soup with Loaded Toppings

This was really good. Toppings make everything more exciting to have the cheese, bacon, and onions for toppings instead of cooked within the soup. I didn’t blend it all the way but I loved it thickened with the potato, rather than a ton more cream, butter, or anything else. By blending it then adding in more chunks on purpose, you get the best of both worlds!

I don’t make soup all the time but this seemed so appropriate on a Sunday night with a pretzel roll to dunk.