Beef & Barley Soup: Clean Eating

Winter in Iowa isn’t over and this Beef & Barley Soup not only is easy, but it is comforting on these cold, blustery days.  Weekends without lots of commitments means we stay home a lot and this means that I can experiment with recipes!  It also means I’m get lots of quality time with my three favorite guys and you all know how happy that makes me!

When I was about 8, I had really good beef and barley soup at a local restaurant and I’ve never forgotten that!  That was probably 27 years ago and I’ve never had beef and barley soup since! Now, I’m currently eating clean and working to incorporate more veggies and good grains into my diet.  And with this diet has come the joy of experimenting with my foods!

I Tame The Leftover Roast

When we cook a roast we seem to always have some left over!  Traditionally, I like to make my Saucy Beef Sandwiches, Easy Shredded Beef Enchiladas, or my Shredded Beef Tostadas.  Unfortunately, these aren’t exactly “clean” and so I needed to come up with something to use up leftover roast I have in my freezer! As I perused the grocery store my eyes fell on a box of barley and I instantly got excited! I knew that a batch of Beef & Barley Soup was in my future and that’s exactly what I set home to do!

Beef & Barley Soup: Clean Eating
Cuisine: Soups & Stews
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • 3 cups cooked medium barley
  • 6 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • chopped carrots
  • celery, chopped
  • chopped onion
  • shredded beef
  • 1 tablespoon each: minced garlic, oregano, and parsley
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Cook the barley according to the directions on the box!
  2. Drain any excess water off barley when it is done cooking.
  3. In a large pot, combine the broth, carrots, celery, onion, and shredded beef.
  4. Add in the oregano, parsley, salt, and pepper.
  5. Allow this to simmer while the barley cooks.
  6. Once the barley is cooked, add to the broth and beef soup.
  7. Simmer for at least 15 minutes.

A few cooks notes: the amount of chopped carrots, celery, and onion are completely up to you!  I use about 1/2 cup each of celery and carrots and about 1/4 cup chopped onion.  As far as the shredded beef, use whatever is your preference, but I use about 2 cups worth.

Like with most soups, the longer you allow this soup to simmer, the better it will taste.  It also reheats exceptionally well, so it’s perfect for lunches!



Diner Night: A Family Tradition

Tradition…what does it mean to you?!  To me, it means almost anything centered around my family!  Are you ready for a rare sneak peak at our “at-home” life? It’s fun, I promise! Welcome to Diner Night!  This past weekend we enjoyed Diner Night and I wanted to share it with you because well…it’s so dang fantastic!

I can’t take credit for this tradition, T started this with the boys before I came around, but they welcomed me into this tradition and it’s still one our favorite at home activities. It’s nothing complicated, nothing fancy, but it’s ours and we all love it! Well, T might not enjoy it as much as the rest of uf since he’s the burger and malt guru, but still…

So, what will you need for a diner night?!  You’ll need burgers, french fries or tater tots, and supplies for malts/shakes.  Oh, and don’t forget your fun attitude and a game or two wouldn’t hurt either!

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“Clean” Open-Faced Tuna Melt – A Healthy Alternative

I love tuna and could eat it on a very regular basis. Ok, I’ll be honest, I really do eat it pretty regularly and I’ve recently fell in love with the tuna packets that don’t require you to drain the tuna.  And while I know they are more expensive, my time and energy are clearly worth more than that to me! Plus, who can actually successfully drain a can of tuna without losing some down the drain?!

I’m in the middle of another 21 Day Fix round as well as participating in the Live Healthy Iowa 10-Week Wellness Challenge.  Basketball season (hello, concession stand food) as well as my own bad habits have made it more difficult this time around and it’s cold which means I want creamy, gooey, warm foods!  Why are comfort foods so unhealthy?!

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Wordless Wednesday: Beauty

Ecclesiastes 3:11 – “He has made everything beautiful in its time.  Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”

10-Week Wellness Challenge – Again!

I’m so excited to announce that I am participating in the Live Healthy Iowa, 10-Week Wellness Challenge again this year! I’m also super excited because I’ve partnered with the Iowa Food & Family Project for this endeavour once again!  Last year was the first year that I participated and thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie of the team and the challenge to place first within our group!  So, of course I was game to participate again this year!  This is super exciting for you, my followers too!  Iowa Food & Family Project has given me some awesome goodies to giveaway to you, my readers, throughout the journey!


So, what is the 10-Week Wellness Challenge?!  An opportunity to focus your life around health and wellness.  Well, that is the short of it at least!  As a participant you can focus on increasing your activity, weight loss, improving your eating habits…or a little bit of all the above!

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Random Monday Thoughts, 1/16/2016

It’s Monday again…I can’t believe it, but thankfully we had a weekend at home for a change! I haven’t had random Monday thoughts in quite awhile..well, actually I have, but haven’t had time to jot them down! So, here we are!

The Cold from H*!L – So, about January 5th, I started the symptoms of a small winter cold…sore throat from post nasal drip, slightly stuffed up, etc.  Over the next couple days the symptoms grew into a full-blown cold/sinus infection.  Last Monday found me home from work, sleeping on the couch most of the day, and headed to the doctor!  Armed with antibiotics, heavy doses of Sudafed, and nasal spray I spent Tuesday at home too!  The bottom of my nose is so raw from blowing and wiping it that I now have 2 cracks in the skin! UGH!  I’m not tired and worn out, but I am tired of having pressure on my ears, my nose constantly stuffed up, etc.  If anyone has any tips on how to get rid of this cold from H*!L, I’m open to suggestions!!

My current arsenal against this cold!
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Chicken & Asparagus Skillet – 21 Day Fix Approved

Time for a new recipe from me! WOOHOO! This Chicken & Asparagus Skillet is the perfect dish for eating straight from the pan or reheating for lunch! Packed full of protein and veggies with a little carb on the side for fun!

Prior to the Christmas season, I embarked on another round of the 21 Day Fix.  The more times that I follow through with the 21 days, the more adventurous and creative I get with my cooking.  While I tend to combine chicken and broccoli, I LOVE asparagus just as much, so I decided to come up with a new dish for my lunches!  When I think about cooking something, I often think about the re-heatability of a dish so I can use it for my lunches at work!

Executing My Vision

In my mind I worked through how I wanted this dish to come together and my favorite way to eat asparagus is sauteed, so I knew I wanted to incorporate that.  I also knew that it would deepen the flavor of the dish a great deal, instead of just steaming it.  To me, there are very few things as beautiful as sauteed asparagus!

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The 16 Best of 2016

I can’t believe another year has come and gone! I see so many social media posts about how awful everyone thinks 2016 has been and my heart hurts for those people! I mainly hurt because my 2016 has been phenomenal! Has there been frustrations, heart ache, things that don’t go exactly how we planed?! Absolutely, but that’s life.  We choose to focus on all the things that we’ve been blessed with in our lives and year! So, I thought I’d share with you 16 of my favorite pictures found on my phone from 2016!

Without further adieu and in no particular order:

 1.  This was our first day on our family vacation in Branson!  Not only were we excited to explore the area, but we were excited to be out of the truck too!  Plus, it’s me and my three favorite guys, so what could be better?

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Review: L’Oreal Extraordinary Clay System

It’s been awhile since I got a VoxBox from Influenster, so I was super excited when the L’Oreal Extraordinary Clay System came to my doorstep for me to try out!


I seem to have a hard time finding hair products (especially shampoo & condition) that work well with my hair type! Because of this I was super excited to give this new system a try!  In my VoxBox came three products:  the Clay Mask, Re-balancing Shampoo, and Re balancing Conditioner! The packaging on the mask says,

“Deeply absorbs oil and purifies the scalp, ultra fresh, lightweight roots!”

Introducing our 1st purifying pre-shampoo clay mask.  Used before your shampoo, it deeply absorbs impurities and excess oil at the root, for long-lasting fresh, beautiful hair.”  

I will admit that one thing I struggle with is oil roots.  I’ve always had oily roots, but now that I work out so hard in the morning, it seems to be worse.  I’m not one of those people that can go 48 hours without shampooing their hair…well, I could, but it would just be downright gross!   This new system from L’Oreal boasts “up to 48hr purified roots + hydrated ends”…obviously I was intrigued.  It also says that these products are ideal for people with oily roots and dry ends and that’s definitely me!

Testing The Product

So, anyway…on to my testing.  One Saturday when I didn’t have to be anywhere right away, I gooped up my scalp with the mask and like any good review blogger, I put a stunning picture of myself on Instagram!

After letting the mask set for at least 5 minutes…(I think it actually ended up being about 10-15 minutes because that’s how my life goes), I headed for the shower, where I used the shampoo and conditioner!  So, did it work?  What did I think?

The pros:

  • Super easy to use all the products
  • The shampoo & conditioner can be used without the mask, if need be
  • My hair feels super clean and super soft when I use it!
  • The products smell really well and the scent hangs around, even after I’ve put other product in my hair and gone on with my day!

The cons:

  • In order to get the whole system done, you’ve got to be able to spare 5-10 minutes prior to your shower (not feasible for me on a day to day basis).
  • The system did not last me 48hrs, but I was going to be shocked if it did.

So, what’s my final verdict?!  I enjoy the system and will definitely continue using the shampoo and conditioner (and will probably purchase it once available in stores).  The mask will stay until I’m out.  Purchasing it later is still up for debate!  If you have oily roots and dry ends I would definitely recommend at least giving the Extraordinary Clay system at least one shot!

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.  All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Click on “Disclosure Policy” tab for full details!