Creamy Parmesan Pork Chops

Do you ever have a random “ah-ha” moment when trying to figure out what to make for supper, well that’s exactly how these Creamy Parmesan Pork Chops came to be! No need to stand at the grill in the middle of Iowa winter to get a juicy flavorful pork chop with this recipe!

But first, an update!  Life has actually slowed down for our family!  Most of you know by now that we live sports season to sports season during the school year and we are in that happy month-long sabbatical from sports currently!  It’s the down-time between basketball and track! (Don’t worry, our first track meet is March 14th, so it’s literally only a month long!)  This means with less running, we get more time at home, more time together as a family!  T and I spent a warm 4 days in Branson a couple weeks ago.  We took R and a friend to an Iowa State basketball game recently, while M and I have played many games of Skip-Bo!  It’s all been bliss!


Danna’s Bar-B-Que & Burger Shop: Branson, MO

Danna's Bar-B-Cue

Danna's Bar-B-Cue

Who doesn’t love some good barbecue?!  And who doesn’t love a quaint locally owned joint?!  That’s exactly what you get at Danna’s Bar-B-Que & Burger Shop in Branson, MO!  T and I recently returned from a 5 day getaway to Branson! Can you believe we haven’t had a vacation (just the two of us) since our honeymoon over 5 years ago?!  We decided it was time and Branson was an easy choice since we loved it so much last summer!

Picking where to eat when we are on vacation or going on a date can be the longest undertaking!  Usually I’m craving a specific cuisine or I can’t decide at all!  The first night we were in Branson, I left all the picking and deciding up to T!  This doesn’t happen often, so he took advantage of it!


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!



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!


“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?!


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!


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!