Favorite Fall Recipes

The weather for the next 10 days isn’t expected to reach above 70’ so I think it’s safe to say that Fall is officially here.  The change in season and temperature has me also switching to some of my very favorite fall recipes.  The ones that warm you from the inside and take the cold edge off the cool fall nights.  These are my tried and true favorite fall recipes that keep everyone in my family happy year after year. 

You may notice that all of the recipes include seasonal veggies.  I try to plan my meals around the freshest fruits and veggies….. it’s one of the perks of living in Lancaster County.  Enjoy!

  • Taco Soup 

Taco soup

(via- Cooking Classy)

  • Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash 

Lasagna-Spaghetti-Squash

(via- the kitchen)

  • Zucchini Grinders 

Zucchini grinders

(via- All Recipes)

  • Roasted and Stuffed Acorn Squash 

stuffed-squash_01-13-13_1_ca

(via- The Crazy Apron) 

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Easy, cheap, healthy, AND versatile meal prep!? Finally!

Meal prep is a time consuming and necessary bother.  It takes a few hours that could otherwise finally be that rest you swore you were going to get on a Sunday afternoon.  The benefits make it a non-negotiable for me… I save money and calories by not indulging on convenient breakfast and lunch sammis, and I save time through out the week when my meals are all ready to simply be portioned and dropped into my adorable polka dot lunch pail.

I generally carve out 3 or so hours in a week.  Often Sunday afternoon or Monday evening.  Things that are ‘healthy’ are a challenge because either they require extreme amounts of prep (read: peeling, chopping, sautéing, etc) OR you have the concern of it turning rather quickly (i.e.-produce for a salad).  The best compromise we have found is : egg bakes full of proteins and veggies for breakfast and soups for lunch.

Well, I’m nearing our second year of those exact same meals every. Single. week.  Every week it’s the same breakfast or the same soup for five days straight.  Although we do our best to change the soup from week to week- it never fails – by Friday I just can’t force myself to bring the spoon to my mouth one more time.  Sometimes I just skip lunch to avoid the soup for the fifth time!

I realize this is ridiculous and thought hard on a meal prep that I could tweek from day to day.  It dawned on me- pulled chicken!

Easier than any soup : I threw a few herbs and aromatics in a pot with 3 full chicken breasts and poached for ten minutes! Done.

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One tablespoon of butter

3 smashed garlic cloves

one quarters onion

two branches of basil leaves

a few celery hearts with leaves

one lemon

whole peppercorns

two bay leaves

four or five pieces of corriander!

After I pulled this chicken out I continued to cook down the liquid to make a vegetable flavored stock, awaiting within a mason

jar for my next crazy concoction!

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Let the chicken cool- and then the fun part! Pull it with fingers or forks.  That’s it!

This week I plan to have BBQ chicken, a salad topped with chicken, some brown rice and chicken tossed in teriyaki sauce, the options are endless… And all so DIFFERENT !!

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It took ten minutes, it cost around $6.00 bucks, and it offers a variety of options for the week!

The moral of the story : Sometimes if you don’t make things so complicated you’ll find things then won’t be so complicated ! 😏😉

3 MONTHS! Well, almost four!

So, I admit it.  I’m a few weeks behind in posting the three month pics.  Miles will be four months in just a few weeks.  Lance and I just got the hang of parenting, and then I returned to work a few weeks ago which meant Miles started daycare.  Shortly after, Miles got really sick and mommy got really sick.  Things are back to normal and we are adjusting to our new schedules.

miles outside dino

Three Months!

14 lbs and 26 inches

Miles loves to talk and laugh

Miles hates being put down

He took his first trip to a park and sat in the grass with a new friend, and went to his first Bucs game (coming Tuesday)

hatback hatmad hatnotmad

Experienced his first time at daycare, and his first trip to Children’s Hospital with a high fever and had a chest X-ray.  No worries!  It was just a virus and he’s all better!

mileshosp daddymileshosp

Eating 4-5 oz every 2-3 hours and sleeping through the night, but not very much during the day

Plays with toys and likes to explore with his hands.  Loves to have conversations and laugh and smile.  Likes to be outside and is starting to notice his doggies.

Birthday Party Inspiration!

In just a few short weeks we will be celebrating our girls’ 2nd and 3rd birthdays! This year we are doing a combined party for the girls. I wanted something fall-ish and fun but not Halloweenie. I love pretty fall jewel tones and the girls love glitter and all things girly. I don’t have a crafty bone in my body but I think I can manage a few things I found on Pinterest. Check out my inspiration board for Syd and Elli’s Birthday Extravaganza!!

girlsparty

Master Bedroom Inspo – Part 1

Months ago I painted our master bedroom a dark navy.  It turned out really well and I even put stripes on the back wall using a the same color but in high gloss.  I will admit I did not document this well so I didn’t blog about it previously.  I’m sure like a lot of women in America I moved on to other projects through out the house and well sort of forgot about attempting to finish the bedroom.  Well I got back on track after a labor day furniture sale perked my interest and motivated me to finally get an “adult bed“.  It’s a sueded material with a nail head design on the headboard.  I really love it and it is extremely sturdy!  My next project is to create curtains behind the bed which surround an unsightly chimney.  Here is a little mood board that will hopefully keep me on track!

FullSizeRender

Color that I chose for the walls – painting tip (use aluminum foil on the tray so you don’t ruin it and can reuse it just throw away the foil when your done! )

Bedroom Inspo

 

City Mini GT Review

Stroller shopping was one of the first big purchases/decisions we made when we found out we were expecting. Honestly, Ken didn’t care what crib I ordered or if I decided to buy an organic mattress…and he certainly didn’t care about the nursery decor either. But, what he did care about was the type of stroller we added to our registry. It’s an expensive item, and we use it almost every single day. I’m glad we took the time to look at all of the options and find the stroller that was the best fit for our family.

Strollers

For us, stroller shopping was VERY similar to car shopping. We looked at all of the options and features, considered our budget, and, once our choices were narrowed down, we took each one for a test-stroll.

FullSizeRender-4

Have you every seen a pregnant lady pushing an empty stroller through the jam-packed aisles of Bed Bath and Beyond? Yep, I’ve done it and I’m not embarrassed to admit it. I wanted to get a good “feel” for the stroller and walking through the aisles was the best way to do it.

Stroller.katie

In the end, we decided on the City Mini GT and couldn’t be happier with our decision. The City Mini GT has a few added features that we really enjoy, like the larger wheels, hand break, and rubber handle.

  1. The hand break is such a nice feature.  It’s an easy click of the switch and I’m certain that both of the back wheels are locked into place. Plus, one of the sales associates mentioned that the manual wheel locks can do a real number on freshly painted toes, so technically I’m saving money by not needing a pedicure every week. 🙂
  2. One of the biggest differences we noticed with the City Mini GT was the smooth ride, thanks to a larger set of wheels. We’ve taken this stroller camping and use it daily on our evening walks, and just love how it glides across the different types of pavements.
  3. The thing we liked the most about this stroller was how easy it was to collapse. You simply pull the strap in the center of the seat and watch as the stroller folds in half. Easy peasy!IMG_7426

Home Made Dog Food

I love my pup A LOT.  She’s just the cutest … when she’s sleeping.

imageimageimage

 

She is also a handful for so many reasons.  Beyond the behavioral battles, she  has a very sensitive belly.  We learned by trial and error with many types of foods.   No matter what the combination- grain free, single protein only, high end, low end, even prescription- we would come home from work to a VERY sick puppy.  She was crated at that age – so she would be stuck for hours surrounded by what she couldn’t keep down.  There really was no choice in our decision to switch to homemade food.  It was out of desperation that we started doing our research.

I read as many blogs as I could until I found what I felt sounded like the right mix.   We confirmed with our vet and our trainer at the time jotted down the mix and took it to the animal nutritionist at our local animal Nonprofit.  Thankfully they both agreed this seems to cover all of the right basis.

It’s not the cheapest, nor the easiest – but for us right now, we haven’t been able to find anything else.  For you it might be a choice- because one things for sure- this is INCREDIBLY healthy.  If you or I were to eat this- heck, we’d live past 100!

We shop at markets that allow us to buy in bulk, or produces that’s a few days past its prime- and this really helps us save.  I also might decide to alter the recipe just slightly from month to month depending on what I find and its price point at the time.  For the most part it goes like this:

 Ella’s Home Cooked Everyday Meal:

I dump all the ingredients into a gallon size freezer bag, uncooked.  We freeze the uncooked food until two days before we need it.  One day to thaw, and about 8 hours in the crock pot on low (while we work) and that’s all it takes.  This recipe is per bag, although we generally  make 4-8 depending on the freezer space.  Thanking my baby everyday for buying us a deep freeze!  This means less meal prep in a month!

4 gallon bags will last us about 15-18 days (that’s two meals a day)- I would say.  We don’t actually measure anything but the rice- sometimes it last us longer, sometimes not as long depending on the size of the batch.

  • 2-3 cups of White Rice  (Costco @ around .43/pound)
  • 1.5 #s Ground Beef (We buy a 10# portion at 27% fat because shes not getting a lot of fat elsewhere in her diet- 3.80/pound)
  • 1/4 pound chicken livers (about 1.89/pound)
  • 1/4 pound chicken gizzards (about 1.89/pound)
  • 1/4 pound beef liver (about 1.89/pound)
  • 1/4 chicken thighs (only if we get a good price under 4/pound)
  • 1 extra large sweet potato/cubed (.89/pound)
  • 4 large carrots (.50/pound)
  • 1/4 of the largest bunch of kale you can find/chopped (.89/pound)
  • 4+ large eggs (we buy a carton of 18 for about $3 and split it between each bag)
  • Salmon Oil (this will depend on your dogs weight)
    • Helps for bones, joints, and coat- dogs LOVE the taste!
  • Bone Meal
    • for strong bones and teeth!
  • Daily Multi Vitamin ( we just add one to every bowl of food)
    • for anything else we may have missed

bone mealsalmon oilvitamin

We used to spend hours chopping/grating/and blending all of this together in the blender, and then stirring it to make an equal and properly mixed batch.  Over time we decided it wasn’t necessary-just like us, sometimes we get a well rounded meal, some days- not so much.  But by the end of the week we (and she) will get all that we need). Now we leave it all as whole as we can so that it will fit/cook in the crock pot.    Just add a few cups of water to the crock pot to aid the process and avoiding burning where you can.

 

 

I hope this helps the other puppy mommies out there!

 

Sopranos Sausage Beans & Greens Soup

sourcream

I’m half Italian.  My dad is one of those guys from Eastern Pennsylvania who walks the walk and talks the talk….you know.  The “cool as a gabagool” type.  There are a few things that make me feel almost as Italian as him.  One is watching the Soprano’s and feeling almost certain that I have met someone in the Mafia.  The second is making Beans and Greens.

So, I made a soup that’s sure to satisfy the entire family: wether you’re serving 2 or 6; this is the recipe for you.

soup in pot

Ingredients:

1 bunch of kale

7-9 cloves of garlic

1 1/2 lbs of sausage (sweet or hot ground)

2 cans of cannelloni beans

1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes

2 medium potatoes (peeled unless using red)

7-9 bullion cubes

7-9 cups of water (same amount of bullion cubes)

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

sour cream

In a dutch oven or big pot, cook the sausage through.  While the sausage is cooking, chop potatoes into bite sized pieces.  Toss them into the pot when the Sausage is done cooking.  Add minced garlic cloves, bullion cubes and water and turn heat up to high to bring to boil.  While you’re waiting for it to boil, remove kale from stem and tear into bite-sized pieces and wash thoroughly.  Add Kale and red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and let simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.  Rinse the beans in a strainer and add to pot along with parmesan cheese.  Stir and serve.

soup final

If you want to add a little creaminess without the calories or heaviness of cream, add a dollop of sour cream to your serving and stir.  Yum!

Fall Friday Favorites!

Fall is almost here! My favorite time of year; I love the colors, the smells, and the cozy felling I get when I think about the change of seasons. I’ve made a list of my fall favorites, some old, and some new!

1) Target Women’s Sawyer Booties-The weather is still warm around eastern PA so I haven’t had a chance to wear these yet, but I’m dying for the first cool day to bust them out. The color is the perfect wear-with-anything tan, and they are so comfortable, not to mention they are very affordable.

target.com

target.com

2) Essie Carry On-This is my all-time favorite cold weather nail polish. It is the perfect deep burgundy and it goes with everything.

essie.com

essie.com

3) Target “Boo Banner”-This banner was a 1$/3$ bin find and I love it! It’s the perfect addition to my mantle. It’s just the right size and colors go with my theme.

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4) Yankee Spiced Pumpkin candle-I’m pretty sure every woman looks forward to lighting her first Pumpkin Spiced candle of the season. It’s basically the gift that gives all Fall long! It’s warm, inviting, and boy, does it smell delicious!

yankeecandle.com

yankeecandle.com

5) Crock-Pot-Crock-Pots are great year round but I find I use mine the most in the fall and early winter months. I have a feeling I will be using it a ton this fall! I have found so many great recipes that I intend on trying in the very near future.

crock-pot.com

crock-pot.com

What are some of your Fall Favorites? I would love to try out some new things!!

Blogger Babe Thursday!

I know it’s not #WCW but I wanted to do this little feature on a top trend I’ve been following with my help of my OCD following of my favorite bloggers.  Since starting this blog with my girlfriends I have found that I have been drawing inspiration from my favorite bloggers for well everything.  I look to them to find out daily outfit inspirations, new trends and tips, and even ideas on home decor.  With New York Fashion week drawing to an end there was one over arching trend that I couldn’t top staring at, 70’s!  The 70’s are back and they are replicating some of the era’s best pieces.  From fringe, to flares the trends are everywhere and I think that everyone can pull it off in their own special way.  Personally I have made a pledge to try flares this year nothing to pricey and nothing too fancy, a simple dark wash with a large flare and skinny leg.  Here are a few bloggers who are doing it all right!!