Hearty Barley Stew

Wait, first off, I have an important announcement…

I finally purchased a DSLR camera!

After much deliberation, I went with the Canon Rebel T2i. (Uh, if anyone wants to help me figure out how it works? That’d be cool.) So I’ll be spending lots of hours in the future trying to figure out how it works 🙂

Anyways, there was a winter storm warning here in Richmond, and I didn’t need to see snow flakes to decide it was the perfect excuse to spend the day in the kitchen.

I whipped up a huge pot of what was initially going to be a vegetable soup, but it turned into more like an italian stew. This recipe had a mind of its own. Thankfully, it turned out well.

Hearty Barley Stew

Makes about 6 cups
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce (or just more diced tomatoes)
  • 1 cup uncooked, pearled barley
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup fresh spinach

Start by sauteing the carrots and onion in the olive oil, over medium heat until soft. Add cumin and stir. Pour in your diced tomatoes, vegetable stock, marinara sauce and barley. Turn to high, and bring to a boil. Stir in the rest of the seasonings, and continue to cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the barley is cooked. Just before serving, stir in the spinach so it’s just barely wilted.

I didn’t do the exact “analysis” on this, but each serving is about 200 calories, and that’s for a pretty big serving. (Over a cup.) The barley is super filling, and you’re getting lots of veggie-packed goodness in each serving!

Forgive the photography… I don’t know my settings on my camera yet 😉

Anyone have DSLR tips for me?


  1. DSLRs are so fun and confusing. I recommend reading Ashley (edible perspective)’s photography posts one by one, really getting comfortable with whatever skill she’s talking about, and then moving on to the next post. It’s taken me a while, but I might be getting the hang of it.
    And you’re now reminded me that I need more barley in my life. Thanks, lady.

  2. Congrats on the new camera!! How exciting! It’s so much fun to mess around with all the settings 🙂 I have a feeling some very tasty photos will be appearing quite soon on this bloggy heehee

  3. woot on the camera 🙂

  4. Yay for your new camera, it’s always exciting to get a new gadget! Enjoy 🙂

  5. Ahh congrats! Dream come true. Still just a dream for me, though, so I can’t offer much/any advice 🙂

  6. The DSLR will change your life!!! My tip would be to keep it on manual. If you put it on auto, there is really no point in the DSLR. I would suggest google for a full run down! But you need to learn ISO and aperture. Lower ISO when it’s bright out, higher when it’s super dark to lighten the photo. When you look in the camera hole and press the button lightly you will see a little timeline like thing and I always try to get the line in the middle. IT’s really hard to explain lol so I have no idea if I’m making any sense to you. But definitely check out the edible perspective!

  7. that pic actually looks really good to me! 🙂 love the recipe!

  8. So excited for your new camera, unfortunately I have no advice. I am hoping to take a class at my local Rec. Center as I learn better from real people and not at all from tutorials on the internet.

    And I am the same way with soup. I just add in whatever I have and looks good, it always turns out well. It’s hard to mess up soup.

  9. Hi Liz,

    Congrats on the new baby! The camera, I mean, haha! I only use pocket camera, so I know nothing about photography, but I do admire those who do and can capture the moments in such pretty frames and pics.
    Well, yes, I ‘stole’ a lot from my Mom’s closet. I think in the past they made clothes with higher quality. And the funny thing, Liz, my Mom is almost 5 inches shorter than me! ^__^

    Visit me:
    LeeAnne, Style N Season

  10. Funny story about my camera — We bought it from Best Buy last summer. I spent two hours in the store trying to figure out which camera was the PERFECT camera for us. I tried every single one and liked the one I bought the best. I tried getting Mr. A to try it about 234932423 times, but he refused because he trusted my judgment. Now, every time we shoot, he bitches about the camera because he said it doesn’t work well. He just doesn’t know how to use it. Because he didn’t try it in the store. Like a dumbass.
    … Men.

    Was that story even relevant to your post?

    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

  11. jealous of your camera! congrats on your new baby though 🙂
    and I am a total soup fan! I love throwing random things into the pot and watching it turn into a masterpiece

  12. Mmm.. that sounds great!
    I have a DSLR, but don’t have any good tips. I’m terrible at it, and take most pics with my iphone. I need to work on it!

  13. congrats on the new purchase, SO excitinggggggggg!! hope you had a fun snow day yesterday 🙂 (ps we missed you at blowtoad on friday for britt’s bday!!)

  14. Congrats on the camera! And that’s so fun about the couple getting engaged- love that.

  15. I totally want a DSLR – I’ve decided (it’s on my 30 before 30 list I’m posting tomorrow) that I will take a photography class from the community ed program at the local university this summer and buy one, so I get some help!

  16. Chelcie @ Chelcie's Food Files says:

    Congrats on the new camera!! I have a canon and I still need to teach myself how to use the settings!!
    That stew looks so delicious and so healthy!

  17. Congrats on the camera! I really don’t know much about how to use mine…it just seems to require more time than I have. My “blog dad” (so named because he is married to my ‘blogger mama’) taught me some basics, but it’s hard to balance excellent photography AND new recipes AND writing AND that little thing called life. 🙂

    In other news, I love the idea of adding marinara to the soup/stew. I don’t know why this idea never struck me before…especially after the time I ordered a bowl of sauce at an Italian restaurant and then ate it with a spoon.

    • I was eating leftovers of the stew tonight and I added extra marinara sauce (because it dried out a little in the fridge) and my boyfriend was like, did you just add pasta sauce to your soup? And I was like… maybe… 😉

  18. Woo congrats on the camera! I would love one of those.. someday 🙂
    And great recipe too! Perfect for cold weather of course

  19. That stew looks fantastic! And lucky you with a new camera, have fun learning all about it!

  20. Congratulations on your new camera!!! I love my DSLR. I don’t really have many tips for a Canon, as I use a Nikon D90, but I can definitely say I absolutely love shooting in RAW and in the Aperture mode (A on my camera settings dial). You can really control all of your settings that way!

  21. Congratulations on the new camera! I haven’t had mine for very long so I am not much help on the whole how to work thing. I am still learning mine. I love the quality of pictues I get with it even as a novice!

    The stew looks phenominal. I love a good hearty stew on a winter night. Unfortunately we didn’t have a winter her in LA 🙁

  22. Yay! New camera!!! Excited for you…and for me…because I love your food pics 🙂

  23. Woo-hoo for the new camera lady! That’s super exciting. I’ve had mine for over 2 years and just recently went to a DSLR workshop. Now I finally know what to do with it. I would highly recommend checking out one of these workshops when they come back to Richmond! http://www.dslrworkshops.com/ OR you could just be smart and read the manual – something I didn’t do. haha

    Also, Ashley from Edible Prospective does awesome photography tutorials. http://edibleperspective.com/photography/

  24. Congrats on the new camera! I’m going to have to break down and get one some day. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on figuring out how to use it!

    That soup looks awesome – I love the chewy grains!

  25. Yay! Enjoy it. 🙂 I have no tips for you seeing how I’ve had my Canon Rebel since Christmas and haven’t figured out much of anything.

  26. OH that’s exciting! I can’t wait to see what pictures you come up with using the new camera! I’m jealous–I’d love a fancy camera. Maybe try finding a local SLR class? I know there are quite a few around here, and they aren’t too expensive. (And YUM, barley stew! A favorite of mine.)

  27. Ooooooooo yummy that stew looks mighty fine : )

  28. Congratulations on the purchase! Having a good camera makes taking food pictures even more exciting! 😀

  29. Hooray for the Rebel!! That’s great, girl!! And your soup looks so good!

  30. haha “sorry i’m not sorry”. That’s funny. Well I think your pictures you took with the camera look great! I’m hoping to get a new camera for my birthday this year so I can work on my photography too. And I always take pictures of my lunch at work. The first time I did I got a, “uh are you taking a picture of your food???” with a very strange look. I guess they have gotten used to it now though bc no one says anything anymore. And I usually only buy natural raw almond butter. I don’t buy the organic one because it’s close to $20 and sorry…but I’m so not going there!

  31. I unfortunately sneak Blackberry pictures, not iPhone pictures — which I am hoping changes this weekend! I am so ready for the iPhone it is unreal! That whole wheat bread looks amazing.

  32. I know we are late to this but congrats on the new camera! You will fall in love with it! Tips are just start slow and take a lot of pictures. Over time you will learn what you like and don’t like when shooting a photo 😉

  33. So happy you stopped by our blog! Love to meet local RVA bloggers!! Congrats on the new camera. I want a nice one so bad!
    Have not been to Xtra’s yet but totally want to do the $10 champagne night. 🙂
    We are following you on Twitter now and am going to follow on Bloglovin. Gotta support us Richmond girls! 🙂

    Jayme @ Her Late Night Cravings

  34. i like simply jif 🙂 no shame here! i actually bought whole food’s all natural kind and it is SO DRY!!

  35. Congrats on the new camera! You will love it!! I’ve had mine for almost a year and I still don’t use it to it’s full capacity…I need to take a course at our local photography shop.


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