Category: 21DayFix Approved

Top Recipes 2014-2017

Typically, each January (or end of December), you see these posts floating around from bloggers.  Their top posts from each year!  I’m a little late to this game, but remember…life is slowing down, which means I have more time to get things published! I figured it probably didn’t matter to you if I was a little later on this post. Some people scoff at these type of posts, but personally, I like having my favorites all in one spot, so I’m doing this anyway!

I decided to go with the top 10 recipes from my first 4 years of blogging!  Why limit myself to one year since this is my first post like this?!  I’ve had a lot of great recipes over the years, so I thought I would include each of them!  However, they ended up all being from 2016 and 2017!  That’s ok though!  Without further adieu….

Campfire Cinnamon Bites

This recipe came about when T and I were camping, experimenting with food (one of our favorite pastimes of camping) and became VERY popular with our whole family!


One Pan Beef & Cabbage Skillet

I love it when we find a healthy recipe that both T and I will eat! This One Pan Beef & Cabbage Skillet is one of those! In fact, most of it came from T! I can’t even take credit for the majority of it.  But, that’s why we make such a great team!

Some Background…

As I’ve been working, once again, to clean up my eating, we’ve been trying lots of new recipes!  One of those was the ever-popular Crack Slaw floating around on the interwebs!  People I know have raved about it over and over, so I was ready to try it!  THIS recipe is the one we tried.

I made it exactly as the recipe said except I cut the recipe in half in case we didn’t like it, which left me one bag of coleslaw mix in the fridge!  I also had hoped to make an additional batch for work lunches if I liked it.  However, I halted when I got to the red pepper flakes!  1 teaspoon seemed like a lot to me, but I’ll admit that I have a very sensitive palate to spicy foods.  T likes spicy foods though and I really wanted him to like it, so I went ahead!  I still regret that decision.  It was WAY TOO spicy for me.  I ate about 4 bites and moved on to something else.  T managed to eat a bowl full, but passed on having anymore!

The Recipe

So, anyway, T and I were inspired to come up with our own crack slaw recipe and I’m so glad that we did because, in my opinion, we hit it out of the park! This recipe combines the protein of the beef with the vegetables, which is exactly what I’m looking for right now!  The rich flavors give it a hearty flavor!  Check it out!

One Pat Beef & Cabbage Skillet
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 bag coleslaw mix
  • ½ green pepper, chopped
  • ½ white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves, minced garlic
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon beef soup base
  • 2-3 T worcestershire
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  1. Brown your ground beef in a skillet with the green peppers, onions, and garlic until cooked thoroughly.
  2. Drain the grease off and return to the skillet.
  3. Add the water, beef broth and worcestershire to the skillet and the coleslaw mix, stir well.
  4. Season with salt, pepper to your liking.
  5. Place a lid on the skillet and let cook until the cabbage has cooked down to your preference, stirring occasionally.

Cooks Notes:

  • The flexibility of this recipe is fantastic!  If you’d like to add more veggies, feel free!  Same thing with the seasoning!  If you’re a big garlic fan, use more, T is not, so I don’t load it up.  But, I did go heavy on the pepper.
  • The cooking time is completely up to you!  I prefer that the cabbage has a very small amount of crunch to it, so I cook it longer rather than not.  If you don’t like the crunch, simply cook it longer!
  • The beef could easily be swapped out for pork, turkey, or chicken.

One Pan Beef & Cabbage Skillet

This recipe is definitely being added to our regular meal plans as it is filling, but also incredibly healthy!  Give it a try and let me know what you think!  Enjoy this One-Pan Beef & Cabbage Skillet!

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Tips for A Balanced Lifestyle, the 10-Week Challenge, & A Giveaway

It’s time for the annual 10-Week Wellness Challenge that is put on by Live Healthy Iowa each year and I’m so excited to be participating with the Iowa Food & Family Blogger Team again this year!

Some Background…

For the third year in a row, I’m joining a group of Iowa bloggers on the Iowa Food & Family Project’s team!  Catch those other bloggers here!

Lisa C from Midwest Mom Life

Stephanie G from Been There, Baked That

Shari H from Inked & Educated Mom

Kelli K from The Sustainable Couple

Kathy V from Kathy’s Kitchen

Mary L from Farm Girl Cook’n

Head over to their blogs and follow their social media channels to follow thier journeys!


Easy Instant Pot Roasted Shredded Chicken

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I’ve made lots of shredded chicken by roasting a chicken in the oven!  Of course, once I got my Instant pot, I wanted to see it if was as easy everyone else claimed it to be.  They weren’t wrong, but what I did notice is that my chicken didn’t have much flavor!  I missed the taste of a Sunday roasted chicken shredded up to be put into casseroles or soups!  There seemed to be something missing, so I was determined to recreate that flavor in my Instant Pot!

Life Is Busy

I can’t even being to tell you how busy life has been recently!  Between 2-3 nights of basketball each week, 1-2 meetings a week, I’ve barely had time to do the regular chores (laundry and meals) in my house!  Thankfully, last fall when I was having back problems, T and I decided that we would hire a cleaning lady!  She comes 1 hour every other week and it’s the most glorious thing!  She cleans both bathrooms, cleans the kitchen floor, and whatever odd and end jobs I ask when she has time!  It has been a game changer for me!  I used to spend my weekends cleaning, laundering, and then meal prepping leaving no time to relax. I was going back to work on Monday stressed and almost more exhausted than I was during the week!  Not to mention, she will put away my clean dishes from the dishwasher, and folds my bathroom towels like those in a hotel!  (It’s the little things in life, right?!)

Roasted Chicken

Like I said before, there is something about the taste of roasted chicken when it’s shredded and put into soups and casseroles.  I love the ease of using my Instant pot to make shredded chicken, but not the taste!  So, I was determined to achieve both!  Here’s how I did it!


Healthier Taco Skillet – Ready In Less Than 30 Mintues

The holidays are fast approaching and we all feel our pants getting a bit tighter! Thanks to this Healthier Taco Skillet, you can worry a little less! When you live in Iowa in the winter, all you want to eat are comfort foods! Comfort foods are usually associated with words like creamy, gooey, cheesy, etc! That also usually means they pack on the fat and calories too!  I knew I needed an ooey, gooey comfort good without all that, so I came up with this dish!

Eating Clean

I’m in a round of the 21 Day Fix right now! (I know, how many times have you heard me say that?!) But, seriously, I have to stay after it or my addiction to sugar just goes crazy!  A good friend of mine is a coach and decided to run this challenge before the holidays and I thought it was a great idea, so I joined in!  For the most part, I’ve done REALLY well (except for that ice cream on Saturday night and that Oatmeal Cream Pie on Sunday night)!

Thanks to Iowa, I’m craving warm comfort foods sooner than normal!  We seemed to have skipped over fall for the most part and our temps are already consistently in the 30’s and have even dipped into the 20’s already!  UGH!  It’s going to be a long winter at this rate!  Thankfully, I have this new Taco Skillet in my arsenal to help me get through it without having to just eat salads when it’s so cold out!


Mexican Quinoa Bowls: Clean Eating

mexican quinoa bowls

I love it when a new recipe comes together, as well as being healthy, and these Mexican Quinoa Bowls did just that!

My Eating Habits

My eating habits have been dreadful at best!  Life is busy (weekend trips, construction jobs, home repair, and work commitments) and through all this, my eating and health has taken a backseat!  I’ve been eating whatever is in the house and whatever is quick and easy!  We went a week extra without getting groceries, which also meant that a whole week went by without fresh veggies and fruit in the house!  This has all taken a toll on my body.  I’m moodier, am incredibly bloated, my pants don’t fit right, and overall feel yucky!  My workouts have been harder to complete and I sweat something crazy!  It’s amazing how our bodies adapt to the way we eat!  Put good things in and we get good things out!

Mexican Quinoa Bowls

mexican quinoa bowls


Blender Cottage Cheese Pancakes

I’ll be the first to admit it, there are lots of cottage cheese pancake recipes out there, but I’ll also admit, that this one is my favorite!  It’s my favorite for a couple different reasons!  The first is that it is all made in a blender!  One “bowl” makes for easy clean-up!  The other thing that makes it my favorite is flavor!  I wouldn’t say that there is anything that makes it more special than any other, other than the seasonings and added flavors!

cottage cheese pancakes


Instant Pot Chicken Tacos with Fresh Pico de Gallo

chicken tacos

I’ve been in serious meal planning mode recently and these Instant Pot Chicken Tacos with Fresh Pico de Gallo have been at the top of my list!  Thank goodness for the Instant Pot which makes meal planning and prep so easy!  During the few weeks of track season, I seemed to have really got off the path of clean or whole eating and have been working to get back on track!

I also noticed that when I don’t meal plan, there is a lot more waste of food and even money!  Meal planning helps me save a $!  For some reason, when I don’t have meals easy to grab and portioned off sitting in the fridge, I have a greater tendency to run to a convenience store or restaurant for lunch and we even do it for supper! So, now that track is over I am making the dedication to meal plan and meal prep to save our family money!


Beef & Barley Soup: Clean Eating

beef and barley

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!