The Best Fall Soups

Soups, wonderful soups.

And by soups I clearly mean those made in the crock-pot. Or is it slow-cooker? Are those the same thing? Whatever….

Since I make soup in my crock-pot/slow-cooker at least once a week, but usually twice I thought I should share my favorites.

Seriously though, I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to soups….my love is deep rooted.

Best Fall Soups

Now these are all tried and true recipes I’ve made myself. So don’t worry, an idiot could get these right!

The first is my absolute favorite that I make several times throughout the season.

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

chicken pot pie soup

 

This is actually one of my recipes. I was supposed to be making just chicken noodle soup that night when I decided to see if I could turn it into the Progresso pot pie soups JB loves so much.

I’m happy to say mine turned out better then the canned version. Make this soup now. You’re welcome.

I actually just recently used cream of mushroom and added different veggies to switch it up a bit and it still turned out bomb.

Lasagna Soup

Lasagna soup

via Jenn’s Yummy Fun

Oh my yum guys. I don’t adhere to the whole low carb thing obviously. And while I normally don’t eat red meta all that often, I do like to venture from chicken every now and then. JB thanks me for it.

This soup is so delicious and warm and you need it in your belly right now. Such a filling soup too, no sides needed.

It’s also another good one to sneak extra veggies into.

[Tweet “A round-up of the very best fall crockpot soups!”]

Zuppa Toscano

Slow-Cooker-Zuppa-Toscana-6

via The Chunky Chef

This was my, I’m trying to be fancy soup.

I don’t even really know how to say it correctly. I do know how to eat it though. Eating food is something I excel at…..

Anyway, despite the fancy name, this soup is so Fall it’s ridiculous.

Again, another red meat soup, but when you’re dating a Portuguese man who loves all the spicy foods you give him all the spicy foods.

Correction, you make the food how you like them, with only a little black pepper, and then he adds Sriracha, hot sauce, and any other number of spices to burn his taste buds off.

To each their own right?

Chicken Parm Soup

Slow-Cooker-Chicken-Parmesan-Soup21

via Foxes Love Lemons

I made this one purely because one time a very long time ago, long enough that he doesn’t remember it, JB told me Chicken Parm was his favorite meal.

I have since then made approximately 72 versions of it. And each time I proudly proclaim, I made your favorite meal and he says, “what?”

But even if he doesn’t remember telling me these things I still hold on to it like it’s the gospel truth and make his things like chicken parm soup.

It’s amazing so neither of us are complaining.

Corn and Potato Chowder

Crockpot-Corn-and-Potato-Chowder-3-680x1024

via Crockpot Gourmet

Who doesn’t love chowder?

I love corn and JB loves potatoes so of course this one was a no-brainer.

Again, I always add extra veggies to kick up the nutritional value. Plus unless I trick him JB is like a child and doesn’t eat his veggies.

So there ya have some of my very favorite soups to make!

And by make I mean toss into a crock-pot/slow-cooker and come home to dinner. I’ll make an awesome wife one day 🙂

Do you have any favorite fall staples for dinner?

Are you in a relationship with a kitchen appliance?

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Join the Billion Dinners Challenge and Win Free Grocery Money

Hey Friends!

Remember when we talked about unplugging at dinner time?

Well I’m back. And this time not only am I gonna tell you about a cool dinner challenge to have with your family, significant other, roommate, etc, but I’m also gonna tell you how you can win free grocery money. Yup FREE money to buy you some groceries. Now who wouldn’t stick around to hear about that?

billion dinner challenge

So what is the BillionDinners Challenge anyway?

It’s all about reconnecting with your loved ones over dinner. It’s a way for you to challenge yourself and recommit to having some quality family time. Really be present in those little moments. In the words of Billion Dinners themselves, “Eating 10 fully present family meals over the course of 14 days may require creativity and flexibility. It may get messy, and there will certainly be days when it feels like a hassle. We’re not saying it will be easy, but we do promise it will be worth it. It’s not about what’s for dinner each night – it’s about the stories, the smiles, the fights, the laughs, the tears. And the one billion memories you will create with your loved ones.”

Why Dinner?

Having family dinners has a number of awesome benefits including;

  • Reducing stress
  • Increase wellness
  • Lower risk of obesity
  • Increase happiness
  • Form stronger connections
  • CHANGE LIVES

Seriously though, it may sound all cheesy and nice in theory, but with our lives so busy, dinner is a great built-in time for you to really connect and be present with your loved ones. Every one’s gotta eat right? And if you love food as much as I do, then dinner is already one of your most favorite things to do every day.

No joke, some of my favorite family memories of telling stories and laughing together come from when we were sitting around the dinner table. Many nights, dinner would end and we’d stay chatting around the table. Family game night was the only thing that surpassed this quality time (in my mind anyway).

billion dinner challenge

How Can You Participate?

Simply download the app which can be found in the App store (for both iphone and Android)

Next track your dinners.

Simply log 10 meals in two weeks for your chance to win their grand prize!

You don’t have to get all the way to 10 meals to win my giveaway though. Simply tag me (@kelsnsher Instagram or @blonderside Twitter) just ONCE and you can win $20 to your favorite grocery store. And who doesn’t like free money!

[Tweet “I’m joining the #BillionDinners challenge for a chance to win $20 grocery money! Are you?”]

What Can You Win?

Let me say it one more time. By simply tagging me ONCE in a dinner post you can win $20 of free grocery money.

On top of that, if you track your meals through the actual App and commit to the challenge, you’ll be entered to win the Billion Dinners official “10 in 2” contest. heads up guys, they’re giving away $100 giftcards. That’s huge!

Easy enough right?

Questions?

Will you be signing up to unplug your dinnertime routine?

Tag me and win that money!

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Making Dinner An Unplugged Zone

I love dinner.

Actually if I’m being quit honest breakfast is my favorite meal. But being the only early bird in this relationship, I eat breakfast alone (and extremely early) and make dinner for two.

JB is the easiest person on the entire planet to cook for so it really makes me job a cinch. What we’re both guilty of however, is eating “together” but on our phones. Ick. How lame is that.

I know we’re not alone though. You see it at every restaurant you go to. People sitting around a table with their phones out and barely talking. (teenagers I’m lookin at you!)

Billion Dinners challenge

Growing up, my Mom always made a point of us all sitting down as a family for dinner. It’s where we talked about our days, joked and teased one another, and created those family bonds that have seen us through the many years and miles we’ve put between us as we’ve gotten older.

Having that same dynamic in my family now (even if it is only the two of us) is super important me. which is why I’ve teamed up with Billion Family Dinners for the #billiondinners challenge.

I challenge you to make dinner a priority and to really live in the present with whomever makes up your family. It can be your actual family, husband, kids, etc or your roommates, friends, neighbors, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re making it a meaningful time.

The Key? Being Unplugged!

Unplugged as in put your cell phone down, turn off Netflix and really be in the moment and connect with those around you. I promise it’s worth it. Don’t believe me? Watch this video all about the benefits of eating a family dinner together!

Join the #Billiondinners Challenge!

Billion Family Dinners has made it even easier to track our dinners as well. Simply download the FREE app, and start tracking! Then the goal is to complete 10 meals in 2 weeks! Totally doable no? The best part is that the one lucky person who completes the challenge will win a $20 gift card to the grocery tore of their choice!** Just make sure you’re tagging me when sharing your meals! (@blonderside Twitter @kelsnsher Instagram)

What do you have to do?

  • Follow Billion Dinners on Twitter and Instagram (oh and me too!)
  • Download the free app (available for Android and iphone)
  • Sit down to 10 unplugged meals (doesn’t have to be just dinner!) in the next 2 weeks and tag me @blonderside and @dinnercall along with the hashtag #billiondinners
  • **If you want to win you must tag me in your tweets and instas!**

You can also find them on Pinterest and Facebook.

Also it’s Fall so that means lots of cozy meals meant to be shared. Chili and cornbread anyone?

So whatcha think? You think you can have 10 family meals unplugged in the next two weeks?

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Flavor Your Adventure

Hey Friends!

I’ve got a confession to make……

I love my job, but it barely leaves me time to eat anything. Confession; I love food more then my job lol.

But seriously, food it life and I don’t mean the staying alive kind. My job hardly lets me sit down for 12 hours let alone eat something. I’ve seriously gone into work thinking I could just fix my messy bun later that day and 12 hours later I step out of the camp vortex and wonder where my day went.

Thankfully my peeps at Blue Diamond have come to my rescue.

blue diamond almonds

I’m a nut person. I love them in everything and all the things. Cookies? check. Muffins? double check. Anything can be made better if you put nuts in it in my opinion. Even better? Straight up eating nuts. Almonds being my favorite, duh. Although cashews and pecans come in a close second. (note; it’s said P-can, just saying)

Every Thursday is field trip day at work, and every Thursday I think, “Yes! Today is the day I can sit down and eat a normal lunch!” And every Thursday I’m wrong…..

This past week we went to the Beach. We went to the beach with over 100 campers between the ages of 6-15. That is a a potential nightmare scenario and I knew I would need all the energy I could muster up. In comes Blue Diamond Almonds.

blue diamond almonds

I’ve said before how vanilla I like my food, so the salted/roasted and lightly salted almonds are my jam. They also have bold flavors like Sriracha and other crazy flavors I buy solely for JB to eat, because my tastebuds are actually those of a 2-year-old. No worries here.

If I’m being completely honest, the roasted/salted ones are already empty in these photos. Sorry but Homegirl’s gotta eat, photos be darned. I should also mention that I only sat down to snap a photo then it was right back up to go dig holes in the sand with the kids. Final note, I didn’t get sunburned at all. It’s the little things. 😉

blue diamond almonds

I also got a lot of strange looks from passer-bys as I snapped photos of cans of nuts in the sand. The kids however thought it was awesome and it was like having my own personal photo crew. (Don’t worry though Parents, I’m well aware of allergies in my groups and none with a nut allergy were anywhere near them.) << I felt that was nessecary to include…..

So I made it through the day of digging holes, building sand castles, applying sunscreen, picking up sandy sandwhichs, carrying kids across the hot sand, endless trips to and from the bathroom, and picking up the trail of forgotten items on the way back to the buses. It was a  great day. I lvoe my job 🙂

So thank you Blue Diamond for making the perfect on-the-go snack to keep me going!

What about you? what’s you go-to snack to make it through the work day?

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This “Flavor Your Adventure” post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. For more snack ideas to “Flavor Your Adventure” this summer, visit Blue Diamond Almonds on Facebook (http://facebook.com/bluediamond), Twitter (http://twitter.com/bluediamond) and Instagram (http://instagram.com/bluediamond).

A Kitchen Fail Kinda Weekend

Showing up on a Monday! (read in a sing-songy voice)

Happy Monday everyone!

I had the best weekend. Wanna know why? Well for one I didn’t have to work. Any weekend is automatically sky-rocketed into the stratosphere of awesome when there’s no working involved. But second, I got to hang out with the World’s Cutest Tiny Human aka JB’s niece.

Best. Weekend.

I had a few fails though…..

See, in case you missed it, it was Father’s Day on Sunday and with my Dad in Germany, I spent the day with JB’s family instead. (I did Facetime my Dad though because I’m a good daughter) And even though JB’s Dad isn’t mine and I have, like zero obligation to get him anything, I’m a super adorable person and wanted to bake something for him anyway.

Enter the Kaluha…..

See, I was even ready with my props for photos!

See, I was even ready with my props for photos!

It happens to be his favorite so I decided to get creative (aka search Pinterest) for a good baked Kaluha treat. Here’s where things went wrong. Like really, really wrong.

So I started off attempting to make some no-bake Kaluha truffle things. All I needed was Kaluha, powdered sugar, and a bag of mixed nuts and chocolate covered espresso beans. Easy enough right? Nope. Mine didn’t set, ever, even after sitting overnight in the fridge and adding an extra cup of powdered sugar. So I was left with a bowl of soupy Kaluha goop and a bag of crushed nuts. Not a very tasty treat….

Not pretty, but delicious for sure.

Not pretty, but delicious for sure.

Enter plan two.

I decided to make brownies with a Kaluha swirl. Delicious, you’re sitting there thinking to yourself. Well you’d be wrong again. The Kaluha mixture didn’t like the oven and bubbled up and basically turned into a layer of plastic on top…Fail #2.

Finally I dropped by the store, picked up a tube of cookie dough, tossed it in a bowl, added a few splashes of Kaluha and the crushed nuts/beans and baked em up. These actually turned out edible but apparently there was zero Kaluha taste to them. Whatever, they were gone within seconds so I call them a win.

So two disasters aside, I managed to bring home a win, even if it was only semi-homemade. Some lady made a living off of that on tv after all 😉

How was everyone else’s weekend? Ever turned a kitchen fail into a win?

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No-Churn Mint Oreo Ice Cream

Welcome to June Friends!

I’m not sure when the first official day of summer is, but June = Summer and I don’t care what the astrologists or whoever decides these things say.

With the start of summer, comes infinite ice cream. Because everyone knows ice cream calories don’t count in the summer, duh.

no-churn Mint Oreo Ice Cream

Mint Oreo is actually my absolute favorite ice cream on the planet. However, I have a confession for y’all. I don’t like Oreos, *collective gasp* I know, you wouldn’t know it based on this recipe for Mint Oreo Donuts, or this one for Oreo Pudding Cookies. Clearly I have a problem…

But to prove I’m not part of the Taliban, let me explain. I won’t eat an Oreo, but I will put it in all my desserts and lick up every last crumb.You can crush Oreos up and put them into any dessert and I will eat them. Oreo crumbs are like crack. I think I actually read somewhere that Oreos contain actual crack. I could be wrong….

No-Churn Mint Oreo Ice Cream Mint Oreo no-churn Ice Cream

My sister finally let me off the leash and let me make something OTHER than my Smore’s Ice Cream, so what else would I  make, but my very favorite! I actually bought Birthday Cake Oreos, thinkin the sprinkles would be really cute in the ice cream but in the end you couldn’t even see them, whomp, whomp…

I also Packed, them full of Oreos. Like almost an entire package of Oreos. I maybe let out like 6 for photo purposes….I told you, crack….

mint oreo no-churn ice cream

No-Churn Mint Oreo Ice Cream

  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 package Oreos
  • 2 drops peppermint extract
  • 6 drops green food coloring

Crush as many Oreos as you want. I suggest possibly scraping off the icing and only using the crack crumbs, but to each their own. Beat your heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks. It takes about 10-15 minutes I think. I’ve never really timed it, just stare off into space and daydream as I do it. Welcome to my life.

Beat your heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks. It takes about 10-15 minutes I think. I’ve never really timed it, just stare off into space and daydream as I do it. Welcome to my life.

No-Churn Mint Oreo Ice Cream

Next combine milk, peppermint extract and food coloring in a separate bowl. Finally, dump everything together in the stiff peaks bowl. Combine well then pour into your final dish. I prefer to use my Mom’s old “vintage” bread pans, because they’re just so darn cute.

Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight (or at least for a few hours if you’re impatient)

Done, Voila!

Anyone got any ice cream combos they’d like me to try? Or better yet, who’s gonna try to make their own?!?

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Green Monster Breakfast Smoothie

Happy Monday Party People!

You’d be the only party people in the room right now because I spent my entire weekend in the library studying for my graduate exams this week, whomp whomp. But with two snow days beforehand, you best believe I completed two more hats, an ear warmer, and a scarf so I got my “partying” out of the way before the weekend lol

Anyway, today’s recipe comes to you in honor of my Boston bound Spring Break next week!!! You know I just couldn’t stay away so it’s 7 days in the city that’s still buried under snow. I really planned my “Spring’ break really well this year lol

Green Monster Smoothie4

Anyway, with all this cold weather that just won’t stop, I’ve been terrible at getting my greens in. Carbs? No problem. Homemade warm and delicious sugary treats? duh, I made donuts remember….

So yea, I needed an easy and doable way to get my greens in until Mother Nature decides to bring real life back to us. Now there’s no shortage of green smoothie recipes out there, just go on Pinterest and you could scroll through that page for the next 1,000 years and still find more.

So what makes mine different?

Green Monster Smoothie3

Cauliflower!

Actually I have no idea if that’s never been done before, ain’t no one got time to fact check 1,000 years worth of recipes! So I apologize if you’re the creator of spinach-cauliflower cubes.

[Tweet “I don’t always invent recipes, but when I do they involve chocolate #smoothie”]

I kid you not though, there’s a full serving of cauliflower in these puppies. On food prep day I blend one cup water with a batch of fresh spinach (not the bagged kind) with half a head of grated cauliflower. Once it’s blended into its green earthy glory, I pour it all into ice cube trays and freeze them overnight. Then you can either leave them in the trays or pop them out into a bowl like I do.

Green Monster Smoothie2

I also chop and freeze separately my bananas for extra bulky blended goodness the next morning. Finally I add in one cup water, a full navel orange, a dash of vanilla and peppermint extract, and blend well. Last I toss in a few (my few and your few are allowed to be different) and pulse 3-5 times until there’s tiny chunks on chocolate throughout.

I actually blend everything together the day of that I’ll be drinking it. Plus since the banana and spinach-cauliflower cubes are frozen there’s really no need for ice cubes to give it that frosty texture! Easy peasy no-lemon’s involved squeezy!

Green Monster Smoothie1

Green Monster Breakfast Smoothie

  • 3-4 spinach-cauliflower cubes
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 navel orange
  • 1 cup water
  • dash vanilla
  • 1-2 drops peppermint extract
  • flax or chia seeds (optional)
  • handful chocolate chips (NOT optional, kidding)

Blend well and enjoy! It’s really that simple.

Have you ever tried making your spinach cubes beforehand? What’s your favorite smoothie recipe to get in those greens?

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Linkin up with Meatless Monday