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Spend Valentine’s Day in Grand Rapids with these Fun Date Ideas!

Valentine's Day is quickly approaching and if you're still trying to figure out plans, here's a guide to help you get started.

It doesn't matter if you're single, in a relationship or just looking for something different to do, a lot of places around Grand Rapids have something for everyone...

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Kimberly Ryan Hells Kitchen
Kimberly Ryan Hells Kitchen (via Youtube/FOX)
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29-Year-Old Michigan Chef Won “Hell’s Kitchen” Season 16

Michigan fared pretty well on season 16 of Fox's cooking competition, "Hell's Kitchen". Last night, February 2nd, Traverse City sous chef Kimberly Ann Ryan won $250,000, and the head chef job Yardbird Southern Table & Bar at the Venetian in Las Vegas!

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Laurenda Marie Bennett/LaurendaMarie.com
Laurenda Marie Bennett/LaurendaMarie.com
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It’s Still Soup Time!

By Laurenda Marie Bennett
Photos do not always do soup justice, particularly this one.

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Laurenda Marie Bennett/LaurendaMarie.com
Laurenda Marie Bennett/LaurendaMarie.com
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At Home for the Holidays: Pumpkin Spiced Oat Bread

By Laurenda Marie Bennett

I know I’m not the only one that becomes absolutely pumpkin obsessed around the holidays.

Am I right?

There is just something about the season that makes me want to consume pumpkin in every single form.

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Knorr
Knorr
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Simple Shrimp Alfredo Recipe [Video]

How about a simple shrimp alfredo recipe that almost everyone will love?

The decadently creamy Knorr Pasta Sides Alfredo becomes a delicious meal for four when you add juicy shrimp, plump cherry tomatoes and fresh spinach.

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Laurenda Marie Bennett/http://laurendamarie.com/
Laurenda Marie Bennett/http://laurendamarie.com/
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Blueberry Season: Watermelon Blueberry Mint Salad

By Laurenda Marie Bennett

It’s very likely I ate more watermelon making this watermelon bluerry mint salad than what actually ended up in it.

Plus, it's blueberry season in Michigan!

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Stephen Ausmus/U.S. Department of Agriculture
Stephen Ausmus/U.S. Department of Agriculture
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Cook Well During Barbecue Season with These BBQ Tips

It's summertime and that means grilling season.

The Ad Council and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service has a new online tool through the Food Safe Families campaign to raise awareness about proper grilling techniques and the dangers of food poisoning risks.

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Laurenda Marie Bennett/LaurendaMarie.com
Laurenda Marie Bennett/LaurendaMarie.com
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Breakfast from the Heavens: Almond Joy Pancakes

By Laurenda Marie Bennett

Pancake Sunday was a tradition in my family. I looked forward to those mornings when my mother poured her homemade buckwheat batter onto a warm griddle. Yummmm.

I haven’t met a pancake I didn’t like, but over the years I’ve come to find my favorite.

So, what are my favorite pancakes, you ask?

They are fluffy, chocolatey, whole wheat Almond Joy Pancakes, with plenty of chocolate chips, shredded coconut and sliced almonds. Breakfast from the heavens. They’re made with quality ingredients, too, including unsweetened organic coconut, almond milk and the oh so wonderful coconut oil. It's definitely a healthier pancake if you ask me!

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Serving up this Brussels Sprout Carrot Salad would be perfect for your next gathering. (Photo: Laurenda Marie Bennett/LaurendaMarie.com)
Serving up this Brussels Sprout Carrot Salad would be perfect for your next gathering. (Photo: Laurenda Marie Bennett/LaurendaMarie.com)
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Salad Time: Raw Brussels Sprout and Carrot Salad

By Laurenda Marie Bennett

Brussels sprouts, carrots, parmesan and toasted walnuts plus a yummy lemony garlic dressing equals a simple and refreshing salad.

It’s bright, flavorful and perfect for spring and summer.

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(Photo: Laurenda Marie Bennett/LaurendaMarie.com)
(Photo: Laurenda Marie Bennett/LaurendaMarie.com)
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Smoothies Naturally: Blackberry Banana Chia Smoothie

By Laurenda Marie Bennett

I cannot get enough of fresh berries in the warmer months.

Cherries.

Strawberries.

Raspberries.

Blueberries.

Blackberries.

Oh, and smoothies. I can’t get enough of those either!

They are breakfast made easy. Or have one as a mid-day snack. Or enjoy one as a post-workout replenisher. Or try one as a dessert!

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Apple cheddar salad with honey mustard vinaigrette makes for a great spring salad. (Photo: Laurenda Marie Bennett/LaurendaMarie.com)
Apple cheddar salad with honey mustard vinaigrette makes for a great spring salad. (Photo: Laurenda Marie Bennett/LaurendaMarie.com)
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Salad Time: Apple, White Cheddar and Chicken Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

By Laurenda Marie Bennett

Spring has finally sprung!

While everyone is spring cleaning and de-cluttering their homes, I think it’s just as important to cleanse our bodies.

They sure deserve it, don’t they? Especially after such a long winter of hibernation and comfort foods. Fresh salads, like this Apple, White Cheddar & Chicken Salad with homemade Honey Mustard Dressing, are the perfect way to lighten up a meal without compromising flavor.

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Mmm. Double dark chocolate brownies with avocado. (Photo: Laurenda Marie Bennett/LaurendaMarie.com)
Mmm. Double dark chocolate brownies with avocado. (Photo: Laurenda Marie Bennett/LaurendaMarie.com)
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Sweet Treat: Double Dark Chocolate Brownie Cookies with Avocado

By Laurenda Marie Bennett

Double dark chocolate brownies with avocado.

Yes, you read that correctly: avocado! The avocado replaces butter in the recipe.

I hope you haven't left yet. These are also refined sugar and flour free.

Are you still here? ;)

I adapted this recipe from a fellow blogger. And let me tell you, these cookies do not disappoint.

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