M&M Brownie Bars + Miniature Cookie Ice Cream Cakes

Easy Brownie Oreo M&M Bars

Special thanks to Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser for sponsoring this post. All opinions are mine alone. #ShareFunshine #CollectiveBias

Two great desserts featured – first, some very simple cookie + candy brownie bars and second, some even easier miniature ice cream sandwich cookie cakes. Both are perfect for a summer party!

Easy Brownie Oreo M&M BarsIt’s FRIDAY!! And not just only any old Friday, but a Friday of a long weekend! Happy, happy Memorial Day to everyone this coming Monday – I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! And I’d be remiss to not say how grateful I am for all those that served our country! What great men and women to sacrifice so that we can all enjoy our freedoms.

I hope you all have lots of great plans for this weekend and are able to enjoy some good food! :)

In case you haven’t planned any desserts to bring to a weekend celebration, you are in luck. I’ve got two desserts that take mere minutes to whip up and are each less than 5 ingredients. It doesn’t get much easier than that! Plus they are festive, fun, and look pretty. All nice bonuses of course…. 

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Lightened-up Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

Easy Lightened-Up Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

This post brought to you by Weight Watchers® Ice Cream. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Chelsea’s Messy Apron.

A lower-calorie version of a favorite! An ice cream sandwich cake with lower sugar and fat ingredients, but all the great taste remains!

lightened-up ice cream  sandwich cakeThe very first dessert I made the husband after we were married was an ice cream sandwich cake. We had just gotten back from our honeymoon and still had about a week until school started up. The particular day I made these, the husband had left for work and I had the day off. I worked on unpacking our new apartment most of the day, but in between the boredom of unpacking box after box, I kept myself entertained with making this very dessert.

You may think it’s weird that I remember this four years later, but I guess it also just goes to show how impressive this dessert is. I mean it’s that good that I still remember it all this time later. And, admittedly, I’m a bit of a dessert freak — I always remember and subsequently crave my favorite desserts.

This is one of those desserts that gets made all spring and summer long, every year. It’s absolutely tasty and the perfect way to cool down. Not to mention, it also has a super quick assembly time which I love. :)… 

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The BEST healthy oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies

The BEST healthier oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies: NO flour or butter PLUS only 4 tablespoons sugar!

Oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies made a whole lot healthier with no flour, no butter, very little sugar, and healthy fats such as coconut oil and dark chocolate.

Best ever healthy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

It’s about time. For a healthy oatmeal chocolate-chip cookie that is. I mean we’ve already got the healthy REGULAR chocolate-chip cookies which you guys seriously love! And we have the breakfast oatmeal cookies, no-bake healthy cookies, and double-chocolate breakfast cookies. However, I don’t have a regular oatmeal chocolate-chip cookie that is ultra-healthier until now. And I’m pretty freaking out excited.

The healthier oatmeal cookies I do have on the blog have a whole bunch of peanut butter in ’em. Which is totally awesome for us peanut butter lovers, but not so great for those that HATE peanut butter (do you people really exist?? Oh yeah…hiii mom!) or are allergic to peanut butter. It’s actually no wonder I’m a peanut butter fanatic these days; my older brother is severely allergic to peanut butter and my mom hates it so we never had it around growing up. But this post, it has nothing to do with peanut butter so….let’s get talking about how these don’t have peanut butter instead!… 

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{Slow Cooker} Teriyaki Chicken, Quinoa, and Veggies

Crockpot Chicken Teriyaki, Quinoa, and Veggies - ALL thrown in the crockpot and dinner is ready!

The quinoa, chicken, and veggies are all cooked in ONE dish – the crockpot makes this dinner incredibly simple to make!

Crockpot Chicken Teriyaki, Quinoa, and Veggies - ALL thrown in the crockpot and dinner is ready!

This is seriously one of the easiest teriyaki chicken recipes ever. On this site, there does happen to be a very simple oven baked teriyaki dish which my family seriously loves, but as far as getting some veggies, grains, and fruit all cooked and ready in one dish? Well, this is the winner.

The chicken, quinoa, peppers, and pineapple are all cooked together in the crockpot so you don’t have to waste extra pans cooking up things separately. And the result is a flavorful, healthy, and delicious dish with incredibly little prep time!… 

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Raspberry Sherbet Party Punch Slush

3-ingredient Raspberry Sprite Slush - the perfect party drink!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WhereFunBegins #CollectiveBias

This delicious raspberry sherbet + soda + juice slush is made with a simple 3-ingredients and is perfect for any party!

3-ingredient Raspberry Sprite Slush - the perfect party drink!This drink is pure total FUN! It’s absolutely the perfect party drink and it couldn’t be easier to make all while tasting quite impressive.

I mean, 3-ingredients? You can’t go wrong there! It whips up in seconds and will quickly become the favorite drink of any party.  I know I just mentioned baby showers and girl’s birthday parties on my pink cake from Friday, but I’ll mention them both again… this drink is great for those types of parties! … 

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Strawberries and Cream Cake

The BEST Strawberry and Cream Cake (Cream Cheese Frosting)

A delicious, homemade-from-scratch strawberry cake with a thick cream cheese frosting and garnished with sugared strawberries. The perfect cake for Mother’s Day!The BEST Strawberry and Cream Cake (Cream Cheese Frosting)Welcome to the fifth day of the third annual #BrunchWeek hosted by Terri from Love and Confections and Shaina from Take A Bite Out Of Boca. Celebrate Brunch with us this week as we prepare for Mother’s Day. 30 Bloggers from around the country will showcase their best brunch dishes, from cocktails to casseroles, breakfast breads, sandwiches and salads – there is something for everyone! And don’t forget to enter in to win an awesome giveaway this week – just click here for more information on that!

Right in time for Mother’s Day, I’ve got you covered for dessert. … 

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Creamy Broccoli, Avocado, and Berry Salad

Super easy creamy broccoli salad with berries and avocado!

A delicious and creamy broccoli, avocado, and berry salad with a 2-ingredient raspberry walnut poppyseed vinaigrette!

Creamy (NO MAYO!) Berry Broccoli Salad

Welcome to the third day of the third annual #BrunchWeek hosted by Terri from Love and Confectionsand Shaina from Take A Bite Out Of Boca. Celebrate Brunch with us this week as we prepare for Mother’s Day. 30 Bloggers from around the country will showcase their best brunch dishes, from cocktails to casseroles, breakfast breads, sandwiches and salads – there is something for everyone! And don’t forget to enter in to win an awesome giveaway this week – just click here for more information on that!

Okay now let’s get right to this broccoli-berry salad. I am telling you – this is a must have salad/side dish for Mother’s Day. Not only is it extremely tasty and everyone will go crazy over it, BUT it’s also one of the easiest salads I’ve ever made.

When I’m saying 10 minutes prep, that may even be an exaggeration!… 

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The BEST Lemon Bars

The BEST lemon bars!

The ultimate lemon bar with tons of tangy lemon flavor and a very simple shortbread crust. 

The BEST lemon bars!

Hey everyone!! Welcome to the third annual #BrunchWeek hosted by Terri from Love and Confections and Shaina from Take A Bite Out Of Boca. Celebrate Brunch with us this week as we prepare for Mother’s Day. 30 Bloggers from around the country will showcase their best brunch dishes, from cocktails to casseroles, breakfast breads, sandwiches and salads – there is something for everyone! And don’t forget to enter in to win an awesome giveaway this week – just click here for more information on that! :)

For the first day of Brunchweek, I decided on lemon bars – nothing fancy at all here, just a normal lemon bar with a typical shortbread crust. What does make this recipe special is that they are the BEST lemon bars – ultra tangy, full of flavorful, and the perfect proportion of crust to lemon topping. Because everyone (especially moms, right?!) loves a good traditional lemon bar! I mean, if you like lemon that is. :)… 

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Brunchweek 2015 Giveaway

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Welcome to the third annual #BrunchWeek hosted by Terri from Love and Confections and Shaina from Take A Bite Out Of Boca. We are so excited to have you join us this year!  Celebrate Brunch with us this week as we prepare for Mother’s Day. 30 Bloggers from around the country will showcase their best brunch dishes, from cocktails to casseroles, breakfast breads, sandwiches and salads – there is something for everyone! Our amazing Sponsors have donated some great prizes for the #BrunchWeek giveaway. Thank you so much, Sponsors, for your generosity. We have an incredible giveaway below and we’d love if you would take a moment to read about them all and what you can possibly win!

BrunchWeek 2015 Logo

Prize #1: Bob’s Red Mill is giving one winner a Pie Plate, Gluten-Free Oats, Gluten-Free Pie Crust Mix, Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour and a Bob’s Red Mill Flour Sack Towel.

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About Bob’s Red Mill: Trust, honesty and integrity. The three principles their business is built on. Their packaging is a great example of this commitment: clear bags that let you see the high quality of every one of their products. By producing the very best in whole grain foods, they are able to fulfill their commitment to help look after more and more people through better nutrition.
Prize #2: Cabot Cheese is giving one winner a Gift Box with a selection of Cabot Cheeses as well as a Cheese Board and Knife.

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About Cabot Cheese: Cabot blends state-of-the-art facilities and a savvy entrepreneurial spirit, with the timeless values a personal commitment to quality that comes from being 100% owned by their farm families. Cabot is a cooperative owned and operated by their members, dairy farmers and their families throughout New England and Upstate New York. Cabot products include Cheese, Yogurt, Dips, Butter and Whipped Cream.
Prize #3: Dixie Crystals is giving one winner a Wilton Master Tip Decorating Kit along with a 4lb bag of Granulated Sugar, 2lb bag of Powdered Sugar and 2lb bag of Light Brown Sugar.

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About Dixie Crystals: Since 1917, Dixie Crystals® has been the South’s choice for high-quality sugar and sweeteners. Our pure cane sugar products are all natural, non-GMO and provide consistently delicious results.

Prize #4: California Walnuts is giving one winner a Classic Series 4.5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer in white.

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About California Walnuts: The California Walnut Board was established in 1948 to represent the walnut growers and handlers of California. The board is funded by mandatory assessment of the handers and the California Walnut Commission, established in 1987 is funded by mandatory assessments of the growers. More than 99% of the walnuts in U.S. are grown in the fertile soils of California’s Central Valley. Internationally, California walnuts supply three-quarters of the world’s walnut trade. Sustainability is important to the California walnut industry. The California Walnut Board has supported sustainable growing practices through its production research program for over 20 years.
Prize #5: Le Creuset is giving one winner a set of their new Revolution® Bi-Material Utensils. The pliable combination of flexible silicone and rigid glass-filled nylon allows Revolution cooking utensils to conform to the edges of pots and pans, making it easy to stir, scoop and serve your favorite chili recipe to family and friends.

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About Le Creuset: Respect for tradition and authenticity has been Le Creuset’s guiding principle since 1925, yet our innovative designs and exceptional quality ensure that we remain relevant today. The Le Creuset signature color, Flame, was born in this first piece. With their new ability to pigment the enamel glaze, Desaegher and Aubecq modeled their first color after the intense orange hue of molten cast iron inside a cauldron (“creuset” in French). We still manufacture our cast iron in the original foundry, with each piece passing through the hands of 15 skilled artisans to ensure flawless perfection. With the consistent qualities of authenticity, originality and innovation, Le Creuset maintains a connection to both heritage and modernity.
Prize #6: KitchenAid is giving one winner a Maximum Extraction Juicer. The KitchenAid® Maximum Extraction Juicer (slow juicer) gives you more juice with less prep work, featuring a patented two-stage blade and auger system and wide chute. This juicer also comes with 3 pulp screens for low pulp, high pulp and sauces. Perfect for hard, soft or leafy fruits and vegetables.

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About KitchenAid: In 1919 our iconic Stand Mixer was born. And from that stemmed an entire kitchen of high-performance appliances-all created with the same attention to detail, quality craftsmanship, versatile technology and timeless design. As the only appliance brand that only makes things for the kitchen, we continue to keep pushing the limits with our products so you can keep doing the same with everything you create. So, here’s to you, your kitchen and the delicious world that surrounds us all.

Prize #7: Nielsen-Massey is giving one winner 2-oz bottles of their entire line of flavor extracts: Pure Almond Extract, Pure Lemon Extract, Pure Orange Extract, Pure Chocolate Extract, Pure Coffee Extract, Pure Peppermint Extract, Rose Water and Orange Blossom Water

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About Nielsen-Massey: Nielsen-Massey has been crafting world-class vanillas and flavors since 1907. It is still a family owned business today and focuses on quality and its customers. Nielsen-Massey uses a cold extraction process for making its vanillas, which preserves more than 300 distinctive flavor compounds present in vanilla beans. Nielsen-Massey product can be purchased at Williams-Sonoma and all of their products are gluten-free, allergen-free, GMO-free and Kosher. Nielsen-Massey also has a line of organic vanillas available as well.

Prize #8: Pacari Premium Organic Chocolate is giving one winner a gift box which includes: 8 bars (3 Single Region Bars, 1 Raw 70% (multi-award winner), 4 Andean Flavors Collection Bars (Salt and Nibs, Lemongrass (award winner), Merken and Andean Blueberry, 2 chocolate covered boxes: 1 Banana and 1 Goldenberries (award winner), and Dry Cacao Beans.

Collage Pacari

About Pacari Chocolate: Pacari Chocolate is a line of premium organic chocolate and is the first single-origin organic chocolate entirely made in Ecuador. We carefully select the finest ingredients and work in small batches in order to bring you an unforgettable chocolate experience. All of the ingredients are 100% organic and produced according to fair and equitable standards. Each of our single-region, raw and specialty chocolate products is crafted to maintain the complex flavor profile of the Arriba Nacional cacao bean. We partner directly with over 3000 small-scale cacao growers to preserve their traditional way of farming, thereby safeguarding the biodiversity of cacao in Ecuador. We undertake a number or sustainability programs for the benefit of the cacao-growing communities with which we work. The founders and owners are a young couple that around 10 years ago started with a vision of making the best organic chocolate at the source of the best cacao in the world and paying the farmers that grow it twice market prices.

Prize #9: Stonyfield Organic is giving one winner a Shirt, $40 in coupons, Cookbook, Mason Jar and Measuring Cups.

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About Stonyfield Organic: Back in 1983, our co-founders Samuel Kaymen and Gary Hirshberg were running a nonprofit organic farming school on a small New Hampshire farm. They were on a mission to help family farms survive, keep food and food production healthy, and help protect the environment. They began selling yogurt made without the use of toxic persistent pesticides or chemical fertilizers. The yogurt was a hit and Samuel and Gary realized that a successful organic company could make a bigger difference for family farms, people and the planet than their school could. Today, our organic yogurts, smoothies, soy yogurts, frozen yogurts, milk and cream are sold in supermarkets, natural food stores and colleges across the country. And we make all of it without the use of toxic persistent pesticides, artificial hormones, antibiotics or GMOs. We’re still located right here in New Hampshire—about 30 miles east of the old farm—but now our organic ingredient purchases support a huge network of food producers made up of hundreds of organic family farms, thousands of organic cows, and over 200,000 organic acres. We’ve also pioneered planet-friendly business practices—from offsetting our yogurt works’ emissions, to making yogurt cups from plants instead of petroleum, to making our own renewable energy, and much more. Our old organic farming school is just a memory. But the thought and passion that started it in the first place have only grown stronger, and we’ve never stopped working for healthy food, healthy people and a healthy planet.
Prize #10: Woot Froot is giving one winner a Cuisinart Griddle Panini and Sandwich Maker, a Hamilton Beach Smoothie Blender and fresh Woot Froot. Peaches, pears, nectarines and grapes are the perfect addition to almost any meal to help jazz up your routine dishes and flavors—whether it’s in a pear, ham and grilled cheese Panini, nectarine margarita or grilled peaches or just a plain old snack. But to get you cooking these kitchen appliances will help you get a head start on your dinner menus! We’ll even throw in some Woot Froot packages too! #WootWoot

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About Woot Froot: The story of Woot Froot began 25 years ago, when owner Kim Gaarde (Mama Woot) was growing and selling nearly every variety of peach and nectarine to places near and far. But that all changed when 10 years ago, she wondered why no one had started selling fresh cut peaches and nectarines. After many years of research, trial and error – not to mention naysayers, Woot Froot freshly sliced peaches and nectarines was finally created! Over 500 varieties of peaches were tested for flavor and texture to ensure that you received that “bite right flavor”! In fact, many people believe the softness equates ripeness.  Not true at all. We have a special formula that is just the right firmness and brix (sugar) to get great consistent flavor without getting puree in a bag. Woot Froot is a woman-owned, family business. Along with peaches and nectarines, Woot Froot also offers freshly sliced pears and de-stemmed red grapes year round!  Peaches and nectarines are available June – October while in season. Woot Froot sliced peaches and nectarines will stay ready to eat for a whopping 21 days in your fridge! And even better, they use all natural ingredients and preservatives to ensure that your fruit stays flavorful and fresh from day 1 to day 18.

Prize #11: Grimmway Farms, Cal-Organic and True Juice is giving one winner a Ninja Professional Blender with food processor and single serve blender, assortment of True Organic Juice Blends, and a package of Grimmway Carrots and Cal-Organic veggies. Grimmway carrots and Cal-Organic veggies are enjoyed fresh and whole, or as part of a delicious smoothie – which is why we thought you’d love the Ninja blender to help you make some! Don’t trust your own culinary skills to make your own juices and smoothies?! We decided to throw in some of our own True Juices for you to try as well!

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About Grimmway Farms, Cal-Organic & True Juice: The story of Grimmway began in 1968, when brothers Rod and Bob Grimm set up a roadside produce stand and planted the seed that would blossom into today’s Grimmway Farms. Grimmway Farms began growing carrots back in 1971! Today, Grimmway Farms has become the largest grower, producer and shipper of carrots in the world! Not only does Grimmway Farms play a part in every meal—breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks—but they also play an essential part in the health of growing children and active adults. Bringing Grimmway home to your family means bringing home the best in produce and the best for their health! Join Grimmway’s Twitter parties and conversations by following the hashtag #JustCrunchEm! Sustainability is in our DNA. From using all parts of the carrot, having a full organic line and using our own veggies to make juice, we believe taking care of the environment is part of taking care of you. Cal-Organic Farms is a large part of our farm where we grow over 40 fruits and veggies from kale and potatoes to blueberries and watermelons. True Juice is just that – juice that’s truly organic, sustainably grown, and delicious with products from our own farms. Although the flavor names might be hard to pronounce, they’re full of simple ingredients – like Bananaberry Crush with strawberries, kiwi, banana, beets, carrots and apples! Try all of our great flavors – BananaBerry Crush, Pure Carrot, Wild Berry Blend, Bunched Greens, Blended Blue and Tropical Mango.
Prize #12: Vidalia Onions is giving one winner an OXO SoftWorks Handheld Mandoline Slicer, Vidalia Sweet Onion Cookers, Vollrath 8″ Stainless Steel Non-stick Fry Pan, Weber Style Grill Vegetable Basket and fresh Vidalia Onions. Since Vidalia onions are such a versatile item to cook with, we thought setting you up with a few appliances to help explore different cooking styles would be a perfect way to introduce you to Vidalia onions! Slice them, dice them, cook them, sauté them or grill them – any way is delicious! We’ll even throw in a bag of Vidalia’s for you to get cooking with!

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About Vidalia Onions: Vidalia onions are unique to a very small region. In fact, they only grow in 13 counties in Georgia! Vidalia onions were discovered back in 1930’s, and just like back then, they are still planted, transplanted and harvested all by hand! Vidalia onions are grown during the winter months, and are only available in stores between April and September, making them a true seasonal specialty! In 1990, Vidalia onions became the official state vegetable of Georgia! Vidalia onions are a great source of Vitamin C, and are also fat free, cholesterol free and sodium free! In order to grow great tasting Vidalias, and to give them their characteristic sweetness, they must be grown in a sandy soil mixture that is low in sulfur (sulfur in soil is what gives onions their hotness). Each year, approximately 5-million, 40-pound boxes are shipped out around the country. Now that’s a lot of onions!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: The #BrunchWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up only. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Twelve winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The #BrunchWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.

Mandarin Chicken Pasta Salad

The best mandarin chicken pasta salad!

Pasta is tossed with spinach, mandarin oranges, lots of veggies, and deliciously flavored chicken pieces all topped with sliced almonds and drizzled with a flavorful dressing.

The best mandarin chicken pasta salad!

Pasta salads are pretty much a staple at my home during the Spring and Summer. Our all-time favorites (featured on the blog) are this pesto pasta and tortellini salad, this chicken taco pasta salad with a catalina dressing, and my personal favorite this Greek pasta salad.

However, after making this salad (and subsequently making it twice more in the same week), I think it’s safe to say we have a new “family favorite pasta salad.” This salad is packed with flavor, extremely filling, has all the right textures, and, honestly, it just feels plain good eating all the vegetables/healthy ingredients while absolutely loving it…. 

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Simple Mexican Chicken {30 minute meal}

The easiest 6-ingredient Mexican chicken over cilantro-lime couscous

A simple 6-ingredient Mexican salsa chicken served over a quick cilantro-lime couscous.

The easiest 6-ingredient Mexican chicken

This is quite possibly one of the EASIEST dinners to throw together. Ever. I’m talking SIX ingredients for the chicken portion!  Just chicken, taco seasoning, salsa, corn, black beans, and cheese.

The great news is not only is it super easy, the taste is incredible. Like no one would know it only took an easy six ingredients to get that flavor. Tender chicken with a little bit of a kick and tons of cheesy goodness. Of course, the “kick” part can totally be adapted to your preference – you pick the level of salsa and you can always make your own taco seasoning to give it more or less spice…. 

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Slow Cooker Quinoa Minestrone

The BEST Crockpot Quinoa Minestrone #crockpot #quinoa #vegetarian

A simple quinoa minestrone packed with good-for-you veggies and made easy thanks to the crockpot!

The BEST Crockpot Quinoa Minestrone #crockpot #quinoa #vegetarian

I know what you are thinking…soup in the middle to end of April? I know, I know. But you guys, it SNOWED this last week. Like a few inches of snow! We had the craziest wind ever and next thing it was raining and then it turned to snow and before we knew it there were a couple of inches on our deck outside.

And anytime it snows, I have a seriously craving for soup. The good news is, this isn’t a super “winter-y” soup. It’s totally perfect for Spring and even for Summer because it’s packed with delicious seasonal vegetables.

But of course when it gets super cold outside and turns into winter and you are still craving this soup (I know I will be!) the vegetables can easily be changed out for what’s in season. This soup is highly adaptable – to seasonal need or personal preferences!… 

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