Category: Recipes

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!


Honey Mustard Coleslaw

Don’t let the name of this coleslaw steer you from a traditional side dish!  It’s a traditional coleslaw with a small twist!  This recipe also came about because I had a bag of coleslaw mix that was going to go bad and when you’re feeding two teenage boys, you don’t waste food and throw it away!  I needed to use that mix!

New Recipes

I’m always trying to perfect a homemade coleslaw recipe!  I hate buying that sugar laden syrupy dressing at the grocery store!  T loves coleslaw and so it’s something I can easily throw together and keep in the fridge for a side for us!  We are frequently critiquing new coleslaws and if you remember, we LOVED the coleslaw at the Barrel House in Dubuque!  So, I am constantly trying new combinations and T loved this one and said it was the best I had ever made, so of course, I needed to bring it to you!


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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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!


Cinnamon Sweet Potato Fries & Yogurt Dipping Sauce

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Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring and these Cinnamon Sweet Potato Fries with Yogurt Dipping Sauce prove that to be true!

Growing up in a family where meals were meat and potatoes, it’s been  a tough transition to cutting carbs down!  I’m also a big texture person when it comes to food, so I have to be strategic about cooking things that are good for me otherwise it makes me not like them!

Growing up in my family, the other part of food was growing our own food!  We grow green beans, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, etc!  While we don’t have room to grow a little bit of everything, my dad does and he loves to share, so sweet potatoes are easy to come by!


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!


Crumb Topped Apple Pie

Getting to bake is one of my favorite things to do!  Getting to share my baked goods with other people is just the icing on the cake!  Or, the ice cream on the pie as it would be for today’s recipe!  This Crumb Topped Apple Pie (with a secret ingredient) is one that I recently shared with some friends and I loved getting their feed back!

Crumb Topped Apple Pie



Easy Instant Pot Tomato Sauce

Last year I canned tomatoes for the first time.  This year I decided to tackle tomato sauce.  But,  if you’ve learned anything about me, it’s that l like things to be as easy as possible in the kitchen!  So, when people were telling me that I needed to blanch tomatoes, take the skins off, deleted them, roast them with lots of seasonings, and other things, I thought…surely this has to be easier.

Of all the produce that our garden has produced this year, our tomatoes are some of the best.  Big, firm, and standing tall!  They may have been slow to turn, but I’ve been patient as I knew this would be worth it in the end when I have homemade tomato sauce this winter!  I’ve discovered that the older I get, the more joy I get in preserving our food through freezing and canning for use later.

My Instant Pot ready for making tomato sauce!

The Recipe

Thanks to my friend Jenny over at In the Kitchen with Jenny and my other friend Mary, over at a Natrual Soul, I talked through things and did indeed find that it could be easier!  So, between these friends and my Instant Pot, I now make what I’d like to consider is the worlds easiest tomato sauce.

Instant Pot Tomato Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: varies
  • Tomatoes
  • 1 Onion
  • Minced Garlic
  • ¼ c water
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Place the trivet in the bottom of your instant pot and pour the water in the bottom.
  2. Fill the pot with the tomatoes, washed and whole, along with the onion that has been cut into quarters!
  3. Drizzle olive oil over all and season liberally with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the lid on with the valve set to steam and turn on to manual for 5 minutes.
  5. Once done, do a quick release.
  6. Drain all the juices from the tomatoes and onions and place in a blender and blend until smooth!
  7. Can or freeze.


After cooking in the Instant Pot

Cooks Notes:

  • There aren’t a lot of measurements on this recipe because it is a lot up to the cook!  Some batches I put more onions in, sometimes it was more garlic!
  • 1/4 cup of water may not seem like a lot, but the tomatoes produce so much of their own juices that you don’t need any more!
  • No, I don’t remove the skins or seeds!  The seeds don’t bother us and I believe the skins add a thicker texture!
  • Yes, it really is that easy!  I have a large drawer full of tomato sauce ready for the winter thanks to this recipe and my mom (who does my canning)!

I hope you find this recipe helpful and as easy as I did!  Enjoy tomato sauce year round!

Tomato Sauce

Other tomato sauce recipes from Iowa Bloggers:

Healthy Roasted Tomato Sauce from Farm Girl Cook’n

Easy, Homemade Roasted Tomato Sauce from Simplify, Live, Love

Traditional Slow Cooker Sunday Red Sauce from Ally’s Sweet & Savory Eats


Sweet & Creamy Strawberries – Keto Friendly 

I recently started eating Keto style and these Sweet & Creamy Strawberries are the perfect snack to satisfy my sweet tooth.  Most of you know that I have tried eating “clean”.  It didn’t work for me.  I can only eat so many stalks of celery before I need something of substance.  Several of my friends have adopted the Keto lifestyle and so after much research and talking wit them, I decided to give it a whirl!  Before I go any further, I want to say that I am not an expertise in Keto and not a professional, so before you decide to take on the lifestyle, please do research with those that are!

Finding What Works For Me

One aspect of Keo is high protein and high fat and very low carb.  I’ve actually come to discover that I love carbs, but they don’t love me.  I love cereal, muffins, and bread, but it makes me so bloated.  So, this diet has been great for me!  However, I’ve struggled to find low carb snacks to curb my sweet tooth!

We also have started a strawberry garden this year!  T has loved giving these “ladies” as he calls them extra attention and producing the sweet red berries for me to enjoy!  Next year I’ll have an abundance of strawberries and this will be the perfect way to use some!

One of the many strawberries from our garden

Fruit is something I’ve always loved and love experimenting with recipes.  This yummy fruit recipe can be used as a side or a dessert!

Sweet & Creamy Strawberries - Keto Friendly
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 2 T Swerve
  • 1 t almond extract
  • 3 cups diced strawberries
  1. Begin by whipping your cream until somewhat frothy
  2. Add the cream cheese, Swerve, and almond extract and mix thoroughly
  3. Fold the cream cheese mixture into your strawberries

Cooks Notes

  • Swerve is an all-natural sugar substitute.  Any natural (no calorie) sugar substitute will work for this recipe.  You may just have to adjust the amounts based on what you use.  You can also use real sugar if you aren’t worried about those calories!
  • Your whipping cream will not whip up into an actual cream.  You aren’t using enough (or in my case, didn’t have the patience) and that’s ok!  You just want to whip it until frothy!
  • Stir your strawberries real well before eating or serving.  They will put off a natural juice and you will see “water” or juice sitting in the bottom of the bowl!  This juice just helps to spread things around, it’s all good!

I love enjoying these Sweet & Creamy Strawberries for an evening snack!  They are perfect for satisfying my sweet tooth, but not getting me off track with my diet!  If you want something extra special, toss a few dark chocolate chips in with your strawberries! YUM!