Beef & Barley Soup


Beef & Barley Soup is full of savory goodness and hearty vegetables — guaranteed to warm you from head to toe!



I had some extra time after grocery shopping and weekly meal prep this afternoon, so I said to heck with it and dragged the rest of my Christmas decorations out!

After adding red ornament accents to the new mantle, and hanging the stockings with care…

I turned my attention to the tree.


Ben and I are still rocking my pathetic Charlie Brown Christmas tree from my first apartment right out of college, but what it lacks in fullness and height, I make up for with cute and meaningful ornaments. :)

DSC_0061 DSC_0072

Someone around here thinks non-themed trees are tacky, but I think they’re fun! While no ornament matches the other, they all have a significant meaning.


From the kicking Rockette’s ornament I picked up when my Mom and I saw them last year, to the plump penguin I bought because it reminded me of Ben’s obsession with ’em I think they make the tree cheery and personal.


I set up the decorations while Ben supervised from the couch. Poor guy is a kind of a hot mess.


Today he was diagnosed with an ear infection that includes torturous ringing in one ear.

Do you think I could cut my ear off with our bread knife?

Could you stop humming?

I. Am. Irritable!!!

I feel so bad for him!! :( Plus, I, uh, sort of owed him from last year


I made a warm and comforting batch of soup to supplement the cozy new decorations, and help Ben’s thoughts shift from his ear to his taste buds: Vegetable Beef & Barley Soup!


Beef & Barley Soup

Serves 8


Beef & Barley Soup is full of savory goodness and hearty vegetables — guaranteed to warm you from head to toe!


  • 1lb lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, processed or chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 baby carrots, processed or chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, processed or chopped
  • 1-14.5oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1-14.5oz can cut green beans, drained
  • 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
  • 4, 14.5oz cans beef broth, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup barley
  • salt & pepper
  • Worcestershire sauce


  1. Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add ground beef, onion and garlic, and season with salt & pepper. Cook until beef is no longer pink. Add carrots and celery and continue to cook under carrots are tender, about 3-4 more minutes.
  2. Add in tomatoes, green beans, corn, 3 cans beef broth, basil, bay leaf and barley. Season with more salt and pepper. Bring soup to a boil then place a lid on top, lower the heat, and simmer for 60 minutes, or until the barley is tender.
  3. Add a couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce and season with more salt & pepper to taste before serving.


  • If making ahead of time, you may need to add the extra can of beef broth before heating back up, as the barley will have soaked up the remaining broth.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,


This soup was incredibly easy to make and so hearty, yet light. I chopped up all the vegetables in my food processor and pretty much just threw them in a pot with ground beef, broth and barley.


To supplement, I crunched on some Wheat Thins dunked in Sabra Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. It’s weird because I hate roasted red pepper, but this flavor of hummus is one of my #1 faves!


Absolutely delish! :


In other news…

I SAW BREAKING DAWN ON FRIDAY!!!! It was soooooooo good!!!


Seriously, my heart is still a wee bit aflutter from all that Edward. :) I went with my Mom and am planning on seeing it again next weekend with a girlfriend. Fellow Twihards – thoughts?!

I’ve heard it both ripped to pieces and also adored by film critics, but I personally loved it. Plus the soundtrack was awesome.

All that said, I think the final movie will be the very best of the series.

</nerd rant>


With that, I’m out! Gotta locate, and hide, that bread knife… ;)


What are you “nerdy” about?

I am a huge Twilight nerd (which is weird because I do not usually get into things like this at. all!) Also, I used to collect rubber stamps. Right.

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  1. I started cracking up as soon as I saw the picture of your tree up already. So much for just adding a few holiday decorations yesterday! :-) You’re seriously giving me the decorating itch right now!

  2. Sara 11.20.2011

    I am also in the hating roasted red peppers but loving roasted red pepper hummus. It really tastes nothing like roasted reds. Thankfully.

  3. Amy 11.20.2011

    Such a good day to do Christmas decorating………it looks cozy in your living room……!

    I think I’ll put my tree up next wknd…….:)

  4. Love the new IGE!!
    I just saw Breaking Dawn. Not my fav of the 4 so far…too gory actually! but that’s how the book was too. Still love Edward. Swoooon

  5. Lauren 11.20.2011

    I love the new site!!! I wanted to tell you the other day but I couldn’t comment. Today I can thank goodness! :)

  6. Love the lights twinkling in the background of your gorgeous soup pics! So festive. And – also loving your new layout. It’s crisp yet fun.

  7. Kim 11.20.2011

    I just started the whole Twilight thing. I have read the first two books in the since Sunday, and started the third today. My roommates are considering and intervention!

  8. Stefanie 11.20.2011

    I love how you managed to mention all 3 of my nerdy obsessions in one post: penguins, Tiwlight & putting up my Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving, ha! Love the new site and the color scheme as well. Looking forward to that tour as I’m kind of lost at the moment but loving it :)

  9. I love your site’s new look! I am a huge Harry Potter nerd. I can’t get enough!

    I saw Breaking Dawn on Friday, and while I enjoyed it, I have to admit that I was giggling through a lot of it. Not because it was bad… I don’t know, I just couldn’t help it! I felt like I was worse than most of the 13 year old girls in the theater.

  10. Love the new look!

  11. Kim 11.20.2011

    This is a really silly question. Where do you find Barley in the grocery store?? I have never used it but your soup looked so yummy!!! And I love the berry mason jars that you just made! It would make a great gift!

    • T 11.20.2011

      I was wondering the same thing! I have been looking for Barley at every store for the past few weeks & cannot find it! I’m glad I’m not the only one… :)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 11.20.2011

      They’re right by the dried beans!

  12. Sarah 11.20.2011

    I love your new layout! This post is getting me so excited for Christmas. My family’s tree is justly like yours. There is no theme. Bit all of the ornaments are associated with a lot of memories. I can’t wait for school to be done so I can go home and decorate the tree with my sister.

  13. Jane 11.20.2011

    We just went today and saw Breaking Dawn. I liked it a lot, huge fan (as is my 13 year old-haha)! Since I’ve read all the books twice, of course I knew what to expect and I thought they did a good job (ick on the blood drinking, but at least they didn’t show her heaving it up like she did in the book!)I am actually looking more forward to the Hunger Games series! I’ve read all 3 books and the first movie comes out in March. If you haven’t read them, you really should, they are great!!!! Fan of Harry Potter of course, no I’m not really 35 I’m 12 :)

  14. Rachel 11.20.2011

    My tree has no theme either, other than almost all the ornaments are mine–We have only 2 or 3 that we were given the Christmas after my husband & I got married. I was going to put the tree up Thanksgiving Day, but I think I’ll wait until next Saturday to get working on it!

  15. Liz 11.20.2011

    Your new site is beautiful! I love it! And you’ve gotten me inspired to put up my tree!

  16. Your Christmas decorations look so festive! You helped me make my decision… Monday and Tuesday I will be getting out our Charlie Brown tree (we are the same way…we use the same tree we got for our first apartment) and decorating the house. :)

  17. LOVE the new site…and the fact that you have Christmas decor up already! I can’t bring myself to drag out the boxes yet – but it’s fun to look at yours! So glad you posted about Twilight too! I JUST saw all the movies a few weeks ago – and can’t wait to watch the next one. I know I know – I should read the books too. By the way – have you seen “Edward” in Water for Elephants? HOLY YUM!!!!

  18. Kristin from MN 11.20.2011

    I love non-themed trees best, too. They have the most charm and the ornaments all tell a story!
    I have a few nerdy habits as well. I am a fellow Twilight nerd. And I am a huge book nerd. When I saw the Hunger Games movie preview, I was so excited I felt like I was gonna throw-up! Seriously! I am also obsessed with True Blood and the Vampire Diaries. :)

  19. Ashley 11.20.2011

    Love the Mason Jars! Simple but elegant :) My nerdy thing is Harry Potter, and X-Men. lol.

  20. Sarah 11.20.2011

    Love your new blog look. It’s SO pretty. Congrats!

    And, I too saw Breaking Dawn this weekend. I was eager to see the wedding dress!

  21. I was so confused when I first opened your page and saw all the Tiffany blue! Ha! It’s so cute though, I love it!
    Can’t believe you have your tree up already! It *feels* so early, but I know it’s *not*!

  22. Laurie 11.20.2011

    Love all the tree pictures! I am kicking around the idea of doing that same type of picture for our Christmas you mind sharing your setting on your camera that enables the wonderful glow of the tree but doesn’t hide kids’ faces completely? Thanks!

  23. I love trees that are decorated eclectically! Very nice :)

    That soup sounds wonderful. Hope Ben feels better! Being sick is the pits :(

  24. Connie Conlon 11.20.2011

    Your house looks so perfect and I love your mantle decorations. Sorry Ben is under the weather and hopefully he will be back to his old self soon. Talked to your MIL this evening and she said the temp down there this evening was in the 60’s. I heard Emma barking at another doggie….enjoy your evening Kristin.

  25. Amy 11.20.2011

    Hahaha, I did rubber stamping, too!

    I want to see the new Twilight movie, too.

    I’m also a closet Star Trek (Next Generation) fan. And I will watch hours of Quantum Leap reruns if SyFy puts them on. Yup. Ultimate nerd right here.

  26. Beautiful decorations!! We’ll be puttng ours up after Thanksgiving. Can’t wait!

  27. Storm 11.20.2011

    LOVE the new look!! The colour is beautiful :)

  28. Amy 11.20.2011

    I love the makeover! So pretty :)
    I also love that you already have your tree and decorations up, I can’t wait until we get our house decorated for the holidays. We try to theme our tree but only because we have about 30 years of collected decorations as I still live with Mum and Dad. I try to convince them every year that we need two trees but I have yet to succeed. This year people, this year…

  29. Lindsey 11.20.2011

    I really liked Breaking Dawn too! It made me swap sides from Team Jacob to Team Edward ;) I think the last movie will be even better. Now I am really tempted to re-read all the books too. haha

  30. Katrina 11.20.2011

    I’m a new reader and I spent some time yesterday making sure I had the right blog! I do love the new header and layout.
    Non-themed trees are precious! And this is coming from the girl who has 4 trees. We finally passed down our charlie brown branch to my sister’s child and got a bigger one after we got a house that would contain it. From there, the tree multiplied to 4. 3 are themed but our main one is my favorite. It has all our favorites from places we visit, ones we’ve made when we were DIRT POOR our first couple of years of marriage, and ornaments that remind us of happy people and memories.
    And I’m glad you came out of the Decoration closet early, too. I’m trying to ease people into mine because they’ve been up two weeks.

  31. Tessa 11.20.2011

    Our tree is totally non-matched too. My mom has gotten me ornaments every year since I was a baby, so it’s fun to see what I picked out each year. My husband has been getting them too as long as we’ve been together, so each ornament definitely has a lot of meaning!

  32. erica 11.21.2011

    LOVE the site’s new look!!!

    i haven’t seen breaking dawn yet…waiting for the crowds to die down. i hope it’s good!!!

  33. Michelle 11.21.2011

    Hi! I’ve been following your blog for a couple months and hadn’t stopped to say hi yet… hi! :-) I love the new look! Your Christmas decorations looks beautiful. I love the mason jars! My mom does something similar and fills them with water so the cranberries and candle float.

  34. Hope 11.21.2011

    I love your new site! It looks great! :)

    That soup looks so delicious and comforting. I’m going to have to make it. I hope Ben feels better soon!

  35. C. 11.21.2011

    Your house looks lovely – I haven’t taken the decorating plunge yet, but soon!

  36. I saw breaking dawn on Sat and could easily have watched part 2 right after. I couldnt get enough!

  37. Catilyn 11.21.2011

    I going to see Breaking Dawn on Wednesday with my sister! I watched the first 3 movies this weekend for the first time and loved them. I was tempted to rewatched them again right them!

  38. Katrine 11.21.2011

    Love your blog, Kristin! I started reading a few weeks ago and look forward to your post each morning. And if you want some NERD, I used to collect glass birds. Glass birds?!? Who does that? Happy Monday!

  39. Carrie 11.21.2011

    LOVED BREAKING DAWN! I saw it last night and am already ready to see it again. How could you not swoon at Edward in every.single.scene!!!!! It definitely did not disappoint and I would love to see him in his cute PJs again soon!!!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 11.21.2011

      I know!! I’m feeling kind of obsessed right now and want to see it like 25 more times…

  40. New site looks great! I can’t wait to get my xmas stuff out…we did get our outside lights up this weekend.

  41. Linda 11.21.2011

    Hey Kristin – the new blog layout looks fantastic. Love that your house is already decorated for Christmas too. We’re hoping to get started with the decorations next weekend. I wanted to let you know, one thing I noticed about your new blog layout, is you don’t have the option to click a link to go to previous posts unless you expand all the comments. Is it possible to get that option back?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 11.21.2011

      Thanks! If you are on the home page, at the very bottom in the grey, there are numbers and a “next” button. Those will take you to previous posts!

  42. Teresa K. 11.21.2011

    Where is the hot water bottle for Ben? – Seriously – go get yourselves one of those old fashioned things – and next time one of you get sick, wrap it up in a threadbare comfy towel – and you will feel soooo much comfort!

    Hey – like the new look!

  43. Jacki Noel 11.21.2011

    I agree with you Kristen. I like the Christmas tree to be decorated with memories, its so less commercial

  44. Cindy 11.21.2011

    I use to be the grinch until I realized looking at a Christmas tree makes me happy. The soup looks so good for a cold day, will have to add to my recipe book. Thanks!

    PS. LOVE the new layout

  45. I, too, am with you on the tree!

    I would have to say that I totally get geeked by hair products… I’m a hairdresser and I can tell you a ridiculous amount of information about a lot of products… and let’s just be honest, something always falls out of my medicine cabinet when I open it, plus, i have another embarassingly large shelf in my linen closet that is a little on the overflowing side. I’m not even going to mention how many bottles are in the shower :) My husband “loves” it.

  46. Machelle 11.21.2011

    poor Ben! hope he gets well soon! and what is that in his right hand? looks like the remote in his left, but the right…computor mouse?…..hmmmm? i dearly love scrambled eggs w/a little diced up roasted red pepper and feta cheese….ya oughta try it! and a tiny piece on top of deviled eggs as garnish is very pretty! i’m gonna admit it here, i’m a WALTONS nerd! i know…..let the snickering begin! :)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 11.21.2011

      It’s a wireless mouse, so he can control his Fantasy Football lineup without having to lean forward…HAAAAaaaa

  47. Amber 11.21.2011

    Yay for Breaking Dawn!! I went yesterday. I liked it. No the acting isn’t stellar, but I thought it was mostly true to the book and well done… now bring on the unrated DVD version…. :) I want the original rated R version before they had to cut scenes to get to PG13, lol.

  48. Your decorations looks so cute!! I love how festive it all is. I especially love your wedding ornament :). I’m about to get married this week so I’m thinking about going and getting one like it for our tree!

  49. Kristen 11.22.2011

    Non-themed trees are the way to go! I love collecting ornaments each year and remembering where and why I got each one. Total twilight nerd here…also Harry Potter!

  50. Jeri 11.22.2011

    Breaking Dawn was wonderful. I watched it with one of my best friends and when they slowly panned over Bella at the end, I leaned over to her and said, “They are going to stop the movie, right here. Please no…please no…” and they did. I was pissed.
    Also, I have a collection of rubber stamps also, haven’t used them since high school.

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