Let’s Look: Favorite Fall Recipes

Today I’m linking up once again with Shay and Erika for their monthly “Let’s Look” post and today is all about fall recipes which is perfect because it is FINALLY is starting to feel like fall around here! 

A quick recap of our recent fall fun before I share my favorite recipes: Justin and I took the kids to a fall festival at a dairy farm in our area on Saturday and it was a blast! The weather was a little cooler and I was feeling ALL the fall things. Hayrides, corn mazes, and pumpkins galore!

Fall 5

It was so much fun to get to experience the festival with LJ: he absolutely LOVED it!

He played in a giant bin of corn, which just cracked me up. I mean, does it get any more Midwestern than that?

Fall 1.jpg

We also got to see how their cows were milked, pet a baby calf, and take a ride on a train pulled by a tractor through a corn maze. I think LJ’s favorite part was getting to play on the giant jump pad – he wants to do everything he sees the big kids doing and he had so much fun running from end to end and getting bounced around (I love the progression of pictures haha!) It was SUCH a fun fall day!

Fall 6Fall 2Fall 3Fall 4

Alright, now on to fall recipes! Now I’m not one to go crazy over pumpkin spice everything as soon as the temperatures drop, but I do get excited for a few things every fall. My absolute favorites are:

THESE BARS from Sally’s Baking Addition. They’re called Apple Butterscotch Magic Bars and they really do feel like fall magic. I am not a coconut fan so I leave out the shredded coconut and they are still so delicious!

THESE COOKIES from Dear Crissy are the perfect pumpkin cookie. I love making these for a party because otherwise I end up eating them all myself. If you prefer a cream cheese frosting, these cookies from Cooking Classy are also very good.

And as for Halloween festivities, I wrote a blog post several years ago about simple Halloween treats for procrastinators (basically, a few festive and easy treats you can whip up quickly). These are sweet and simple additions to a Halloween party!Final Treat Collage

What are your favorite recipes for fall?

 

Momma B’s Lasagna

It’s finally Friday! (Am I the only one who sings that song regularly on Fridays? I sure hope not!)

I am feeling a bit sore today because yesterday after running a mile for warm-up, my friend Lindsay and I tried a new NikeFit workout called “Dynamic Kettlebell” — it was intense!

Dynamic KettlebellI absolutely love the NikeFit app! This workout was 30 minutes long and kept us engaged the whole time. It worked our legs, butts, abs, and arms in different ways and I am definitely feeling it today! I just hope the soreness doesn’t stick around so I’m ready to go for my 5k race tomorrow. It’s my first ever race and I’m a little nervous; I am in no way a runner but I do love a challenge and I’m excited to participate in this event!

After my workout I was super hungry so I came home and started cooking up a delicious and filling meal — my mom’s famous lasagna! This was an absolute favorite of mine (growing up I requested it for my birthday meal every year) and it is always a crowd pleaser. I thought I’d share it with you today so you too can appreciate my mom’s amazingness. 🙂

Momma B’s Lasagna

Momma B's Lasagna IngredientsIngredients for meat sauce:

-1 pound ground beef

-1 Tbsp parsley flakes

-1 Tbsp basil

-1 1/2 tsp salt

-2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce

-12 oz tomato paste (I use the kind with no salt added; if yours has salt, I recommend not adding the full amount of salt listed above)

Ingredients for cottage cheese layer:

-3 c. cottage cheese

-2 beaten eggs

-2 tsp salt (I usually do a little less)

– 1/2 tsp pepper

-2 Tbsp parsley flakes

Extra ingredients:

-9 lasagna noodles (I use brown rice pasta noodles)

-1 lb mozzerella cheese

-parsley to sprinkle on top

Directions:

1. Brown the ground beef in a large skillet and add the rest of the ingredients once you drain the meat. Simmer the mixture until the sauce is thick (approx. 30 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Momma B's Lasagna Meat Sauce2. While the sauce is thickening, boil the lasagna noodles. As the noodles are boiling, pre-heat the oven to 375.

3. Mix together the ingredients listed above for the “cottage cheese layer.” (Not gonna lie, this mixture doesn’t look very appealing but just trust me, it will be worth it!)

Momma B's Lasagna Cottage Cheese Layer4. Rinse the lasagna noodles in a colander. By this time, the sauce should be close to finished.

5. Place 3 noodles on the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Next, put half of the cottage cheese mixture on top. It’s okay if the mixture doesn’t actually cover all the noodles; the meat sauce will even it out. (I use a spatula to smooth each layer).

Momma B's Lasagna Layer 16. Add half of the meat sauce on top of the cottage cheese and cover with a layer of mozzerella.

Momma B's Lasagna Layer 2

Momma B's Lasagna Layer 37. Repeat steps 5-6.

8. Top the lasagna with the final three noodles and cover with mozzerella. Sprinkle a bit of parsley on top.

Momma B's Lasagna Top Layer9. Cover the dish with baking foil and bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Momma B's Lasagna Finished10. Enjoy!!

Momma B's Lasagna Slice***

Loved styling my new Stella & Dot bracelet into my casual Friday look!

striped cardigan, long necklace, jeans, nude pumpsCardigan: Bought at consignment store (similar here) ~ Lace Shirt: Express (exact old, similar here) ~ Jeans: American Eagle (similar here) ~ Necklace: Express (old) ~ Renegade Bracelet: Stella Dot (exact here) ~ Arrow Bracelet: Ebay (no longer available)

Wedding Wednesday: Operation Honeymoon!

First and foremost, today marks the last day of my 3-day juice cleanse!!

In the first two days of the cleanse, I made a huge juice in the morning and split it between breakfast and lunch. Yesterday, however, I was craving some change so I made a smaller juice for breakfast and then a different juice for lunch.

My breakfast juice was DELICIOUS! I’m going to call this my Peaches & Cream Morning Juice 🙂

Peaches & Cream Breakfast Juice

Ingredients:

-1 large handful of kale

-2 peaches

-10-12 strawberries

-1 banana

-a sprinkling of chia seeds (I added these to the juice afterwards)

This was probably one of my favorite juices so far — I stuck it in the freezer for about 20 minutes before leaving the house and it froze just enough to taste like a delicious smoothie! YUM!

For lunch, I made a greener juice.

Green Lunch Juice

Ingredients:

-2 handfuls spinach

-1 handful kale

-1/2 cucumber (I am not a huge fan of the cucumber taste in juice and I didn’t want it to be overwhelming. If you love cucumber, you could use the whole thing)

-1 pear

-1 apple (wish I had green apples for a true “green” juice!)

This juice was pretty good as well, although not as delectable as the morning juice. By lunchtime, I was just craving real food! While I wasn’t hungry (an 8 oz. juice is actually very filling!) I missed the texture of different types of foods. It didn’t help that it was my co-worker’s birthday and I had to stare at this all day long:

Temptation!

Yeah. It was brutal! I had to watch everyone eat it while munching on carrot sticks at my desk.

Yet another carrot

Pathetic, I know.

After a quick workout at the gym, it was time to head home and freshen up for DINNER. A real live dinner!! We went over to our friends’ house where they had prepared a feast!

First meal!!

My friend Kristen was the one who initially suggested doing the cleanse and we were both salivating watching her husband prepare lemon alfredo chicken pasta and perfectly steamed broccoli! This meal was perfection and it was definitely worth the wait!

A few tips for anyone considering a juice fast:

-Listen to your body! I tried a 3 mile run the first day of the cleanse and that was a mistake — my body was still adjusting at that point and I wish I would have done a lighter workout.

-Incoroporate whole fruits and veggies. I never would have survived on just juice so I munched on bananas, strawberries, and carrots in between meals.

-Do it with a partner! Kristen and I both admitted we would have cheated many times had we not known there was someone there to keep us accountable. We were both really proud of ourselves for sticking with it and not cheating or giving up!

While I’m actually glad I had this experience, I think I’ll stick to juicing just once a day for the time being. 🙂

Wedding Wednesday: Operation Honeymoon!

About this time last year, my workout routine was getting more and more intense to prepare for the wedding! There are few things more motivating to get your butt to the gym than knowing you’re going to stand in front of 200+ people in a form-fitting dress and have pictures in it that last a lifetime! Also motivating is knowing you’ll frolic on the beach in a bikini the next week on your honeymoon. Needless to say, I was working hard! I found that having an actual plan for my workout helped me adequately rotate muscle groups and make sure I was getting a good mix of strength training and cardio. I even created a workout chart I called “Operation Honeymoon” to help motivate me! I wrote down everything I wanted to do each day (i.e. Monday: 60 minute kickboxing class; Tuesday: 2 mile run, 30 minutes arms strength training; Wednesday: 30 minutes on bike, 30 minutes legs strength training, etc). My plan was for 6 days a week and I tried to keep mixing up what I did so I never got into a workout rut. I was really thankful for all my hard work once my wedding day came! There is nothing quite like feeling fabulous and fit on your wedding day! 🙂

If you are getting married and want to get in shape (or just want to have a healthy workout plan), I highly recommend created an actual physical plan of what you want to do each day. It helps keep you accountable and also gives you and idea of what you need to work on each time you go to the gym!

***

Today’s outfit was filled with bright colors because it’s finally sunny and warm! (Never mind that it’s supposed to snow tomorrow…)

coral shirt with turquoise jewelry

 V-neck shirt: Old Navy (similar here) ~ Lace cami: Express (similar here and here) ~ Khaki pants: Maurices (similar here) ~ Leopard Flats: Target (exact here) ~ Necklace: Premier Jewelry (exact old)

Juice Cleanse Day Two!

Day two of the juice cleanse is on! So far I’m feeling pretty good, but yesterday I ran 3.25 miles (I’m running a 5k on Saturday) and by the end I was NOT feeling very well. I’m not sure this juice cleanse provides enough calories (and possibly not enough protein) for such strenuous exercise. I think today I’ll just stick to a light workout.

Last night’s dinner was the first real challenge for me because before I made my juice, I cooked a huge pot of chili for Justin. OH MY GOSH it was ridiculously tempting. Luckily, I made enough chili for leftovers so I won’t have to cook again tonight and be tempted again.

03-10 DinnerI had to throw in a bunch of strawberries for something to chew. The juice was yummy but I just needed something “extra!”

My dinner juice consisted of:

-2 handfuls of spinach

-1 banana

-1 apple

-4-5 pieces of bok choy (kind of a mix between lettuce and celery if that makes sense at all)

Morning Beet Juice

Morning Beet Juice Ingredients :: simplifythechaos.comMy juice this morning consisted of:

-2 apples

-4 clementines

-1/4 pineapple (half of what is shown)

-handful of kale

-2 large handfuls of spinach

-1 beet (peeled)

This juice is also really good but the beet kind of gives it what my husband calls “a dirt taste.” I have to agree that the beet significantly changes the taste but it was good variety to add! I had half the juice for breakfast and half for lunch with a banana and carrots as snacks. Tonight I want to try a juice with lots of greens–we’ll see how that goes. I’m halfway through this juice cleanse!!

***

Today’s outfit was simple with a touch of sparkle!

cardigan, pencil skirt, statement necklace. teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.com  Cardigan: Old Navy (similar here) ~ Lace cami: Express (similar here and here) ~ Grey pencil skirt: Laundry by Shelli Segal (similar here and here) ~ Grey pumps: Bandolino (similar here) ~ Necklace: Purple Peridot “Crystal Sparkler” (exact here)

Let the Juice Cleanse begin

Well, Daylight Savings Time is officially kicking my booty. Last night Justin and I thought we had changed all the clocks, but we forgot one crucial one in our living room and by the time we realized it, it was already way past our bedtime (yes, we have a bedtime). Needless to say, that led to accidentally sleeping in WAY too long this morning so it’s been a bit of a rough start for me with the time change!

Juice Cleanse

I have really enjoyed the juices that Justin and I have been trying lately; it’s been fun to come up with different combinations! Yesterday I was talking to one of my good friends and she expressed a lot of interest in doing a 3-day juice cleanse. Even though I initially said I had no interest in a juice fast of any kind, she convinced me to give it a try with her. We started today and so far, so good! I made an extra big juice for breakfast and brought half with me to school for lunch.

Morning Burst JuiceI had to drink it on the way to work because of my super hurried morning!

I made my Morning Burst Juice again but added an extra apple and pineapple. It was a pretty frothy juice (I blame the banana) but very yummy! I enjoyed having another one for lunch as well. In addition to the juices, I packed lots of carrot sticks and a banana; there is NO way I’d be able to survive on only three juices! I plan on making a snack juice after my run this afternoon and then a dinner juice later in the evening. It will be hard to cook Justin dinner and watch him eat it, but I really want to try to make it through this cleanse!

***

It was finally above 60 today and it’s sunny so it feels like spring is really on its way! I wanted to pick fun springy colors for my outfit and here’s what I came up with (open-toed shoes!! Yay!) Details on wear page.

Orange stripes, green statement necklace, navy ankle pants, orange strappy heelsSweater: Express

Pants: Target

Shoes: Bakers

Necklace: Bluetique

Outfit catch-up + Juice!

Hi y’all!

Another day off of school due to snow (I don’t know about you, but I am READY for spring to get here!) which I spent cleaning, doing laundry, and . . . napping. Not even a little bit ashamed about it either.

Morning Burst Juice

Today for breakfast Justin and I tried a new juice and we LOVED it! I am calling it my “morning burst” juice because it seriously gave me the perfect boost of energy to start my day! This is definitely going to make it into our regular rotation.

Ingredients:

-2-3 handfuls spinach

-1 banana (two if they are small)

-1 large apple

-1/4 pineapple

-1 pear

Morning Burst Juice Ingredients

So delicious! I added water to mine to make it less thick but Justin loves the thicker/frothier taste so he didn’t. We were both big fans!!

Morning Burst Juice

Outfit Catch-up

Since I’ve been horrible at blogging lately, here are my latest work outfits! Details to all available pieces can be found on the wear page. Enjoy!

teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.com teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.com teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.com teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.com teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.com teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.com teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.com

Super Simple Roast

Hello there!

Today was yet another day off of school (this time not due to snow but rather to extremely low temperatures) and it was a productive one for me! I did a lot of cleaning and spent a solid 1 1/2 hours at the gym, which was really nice. Normally I only have 30-45 minutes to spend there so it was nice to get a nice long session in. I also had lots of time to snuggle my fur babies and give them plenty of love! 🙂

Simple Roast

Since I had plenty of time today and Justin and I happened to be hosting some friends for dinner, I decided to make a yummy roast for dinner. I used a super simple recipe that my mom passed down to me. When I say “super simple,” I mean that even beginning cooks can easily make this and have it turn out delicious! It does need to spend several hours in the oven, so I don’t often have time to make it; however, today I had the time to do it so it was the perfect choice!

My dad provided Justin and I with several roasts that he purchases from a local butcher every year. I am always thankful for local food and meat is no exception; however, this particular cut was rather fatty so I had to spend a little time cutting off most of the excess fat. I placed the roast in my roaster and surrounded it with five potatoes, peeled and cut in half, and about 8-9 carrots, peeled and cut in half.

simplifythechaos.com

I poked several holes in the top of the roast using a fork.

I sprinkled a bit of seasoned salt on top of the roast and then filled the roasting pan with water until it covered all but the top of the roast. I then sprinkled half a packet of onion soup & dip mix into the water.

Then I covered the pan and put it in the oven. (The picture below looks a little gross but trust me . . . looks aren’t everything!)

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After about 4 hours, I removed the roast and separated all the ingredients. I added some flour to the  leftover “soup”  mixtureand voila! Gravy for the potatoes!

I also served this meal with some homemade bread that I made on another day off school. It was delicious and a huge hit with everyone! Easy and delicious meal? Great success!

Super Simple Pot Roast

Ingredients:

-Beef Tip Roast (mine was about 2 pounds)

-5 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut in half

-8-10 carrots; peeled and cut in half (you could also use baby carrots)

-Seasoned Salt to taste (I used roughly 2 tsp)

-1/2 packet of Onion Soup & Dip Mix

-Flour (to thicken gravy)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the roast in a roasting pan.

2. Surround the roast with the carrots and potatoes.

3. Use a fork to poke holes in the top of the roast.

4. Sprinkle seasoned salt over roast.

5. Fill the roasting pan with water until all but the top of the roast is covered.

6. Sprinkle the onion soup & dip mix into the water.

7. Cover the roasting pan and place in oven for 3-4 hours (depends on how fast your oven cooks). Potatoes should be soft and roast cooked through.

8. Remove from oven; separate meat, potatoes, and carrots.

9. Mix remaining water with a bit of flour to thicken into gravy.

10. Enjoy!

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 3-4 hours

Serves 6 (may depend on the size of your roast)

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!

***

No school but at least hosting dinner gave me a reason to dress up a bit! 🙂

simplifythechaos.com

Lace Shirt: Maurices

Cami: Target

Purple Sleeveless Top: Forever 21

Skinny Jeans: Maurices

Flats: Target

Necklace: Forever 21

Belt: Bluetique