baking

Feature Friday: LHE Bakes

Happy Feature Friday!

20170225_143618We are incredibly excited about today’s feature, because Lisa He of LHE Bakes creates the most beautiful baked goods! We love how her business has grown since the start, now creating dog treats, custom cookies for clients, and even cookie subscription boxes! She isn’t afraid to try new techniques or experiment, and we think that’s what makes her creations stand out and be so well executed! She’s gotten to where she is through practice and balance — and has some great advice to give through her own creative journey. Keep reading and get ready to seriously crave some cookies!

Castle Logo: Tell us a few fun facts about yourself!

lhe logo 3: Am a software/medical device project manager by trade, but love to use my hands after my “day job” is over.  I am slightly obsessed with my dogs. I know I’m going to have dogs for the rest of my life. My husband and I are pretty dedicated to fitness! We eat a “if it fits your macros” lifestyle and lift weights 4x a week– we were feeling really out of shape after getting our first jobs out of college, and realized that it was time for a change so we can live better, longer. We also LOVE doing obstacle races (for fun, not competition).

SONY DSC

Castle Logo: How did you discover you had a passion for baking and wanted to pursue it to start your own home bakery?
lhe logo 3: This was a complete accident! One day in college (this was in like 2008) I came across a photo of a French Macaron. They were SO ADORABLE that I became instantly obsessed and spent YEARS trying to perfect them. These beautiful little treats definitely sparked my passion for baking. Over the years, I’ve always maintained some form of creative outlet aside from my day job– because I need a well rounded life to be truly happy. I finally took the plunge last year and started this little gig on the side– haven’t looked back since!

15977184_602930963236033_7815489475644932770_n

(more…)

Feature Friday: Sprinkles for Breakfast

Happy Feature Friday!

sprinkles4br Today we’re excited to feature Lindsay from Sprinkles for Breakfast who makes the most epic baked goods! Her blog is just as fun as its name! Along with providing recipes and sharing her latest baking creations, her site features jaw dropping photos that will make you want to stop what you’re doing and bake immediately. Learn more about Lindsay here and make sure to keep tabs on her to see what she’s baking next!

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself.

Screenshot (293): My name is Lindsay. I am a 25 year old California native. I have a french bulldog named Olive and I love all things sweet!

Nathanson_150821_0002-Edit

(more…)

Feature Friday: Modest Marce

Happy Feature Friday!

pumpkin+patch+iv

Christmas is a week away and to give you some last minute baking inspiration is Marcella Dilonardo, creator of the blog Modest Marce. She’s provided us with her Eggnog Cake recipe which is sure to please all your holiday guests! It’s definitely a unique take on a classic holiday drink and as Marcella states in her blog, the eggnog flavor is there but isn’t overpowering. If your household is anything like ours, you have some super fans of eggnog and some who won’t go near it. This eggnog cake would be the perfect way to get your family to enjoy eggnog in a different way. It’s also a great way to use any leftover eggnog after the holidays. Along with the recipe, Marcella took the time to answer a few questions about how she started baking and shared tips for holiday entertaining! Happy Baking!

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself.

Screenshot (195): I am a food blogger from Toronto, Canada! I love baking, food styling & photography. My favourite things to make are cakes & pies because I love putting all the different designs into them.

egg+nog+cake+iii

(more…)

Feature Friday: Baker Vickie Liu

SugarhouseHappy Feature Friday!

We absolutely love today’s feature with the amazing baker, Vickie Liu. We can’t get enough of her creative, adorable, and often funny cookies amongst other treats! She gives cookies such personality and her Instagram filled with cookie characters and shapes is sure to keep you looking and “wowing” for hours! We talked to her to find out more about how she found her baking talent as well as how she creates epic baked goods and a picture perfect Instagram feed.

Castle Logo: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got your start in baking.
vickie: Baking has been an interest of mine since high school, but back then I just made (un-appetizing looking) cupcakes for friends or family when I had the chance! After graduating university from courses I wasn’t passionate about and no full time job –  I decided not to do my Masters in Architecture, and instead rekindled my love for baking and have been addicted ever since.
I’m currently working a part time job unrelated to my field of study, and baking part time. This includes taking custom orders, working with small businesses and brands, collaborating with other creatives, guest blogging and a little bit of styling.

TotoroDonut

(more…)

Candied Sweet & Spicy Pecan Recipe

BY TARA BURKE

I’m always on the lookout for really simple ways to make salads or yogurt a little different. The other day I had a salad from a restaurant that had these delicious sweet and spicy pecans in them. I searched online for the simplest recipe I could find and found one with just four ingredients on Once Upon A Chef.

IMG_7083

(more…)

Feature Friday: Macaron Baker Natalie Wong

Happy Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05!

 
image1This week we are featuring Natalie Wong! We love macarons and Natalie makes such unique ones! Natalie is attending university while running her own business at the same time. We know how crazy the workload can be at school, so it’s a pretty amazing feat to be doing both simultaneously. Just goes to show that if you are passionate about something you’ll find the time to pursue it. It’s also a great idea if you want to get a foothold in the industry you plan on entering after school. Running your own business looks pretty impressive on a resume! Read on to learn more about Natalie and her macarons!

Castle Logo: Introduce yourself and tell us what you’re all about!

975ef1_adf8c6ca3faadd6b7afdc14de303bc8c.jpg_srz_p_960_269_75_22_0.50_1.20_0: Hello everyone, my name is Natalie Wong and I am a macaron artist and baker from Oakland, California. I am currently twenty-one and I go to San Francisco State University hopefully it’s my second to last year of college. I’m studying management so that one day I can manage and run cafes and shops in multiple locations. I love baking and I always have, I also introduce my artistic background in my macarons like character themed ones. I try to make my desserts aesthetically pleasing as well as delicious, made with only natural flavors and real ingredients.

image2

(keep reading…)

Easter Weekend

BY TARA BURKE

This Easter I was really looking forward to some time at home. Not only is it starting to be that really hectic time in college where all of your research papers, presentations and homework starts piling up, but if you’re a senior (like me) you are probably dealing with a whole array of other issues. I don’t know whether I should spend more time contemplating my severe college-life nostalgia or the impending uncertainty of my future. As you can see I needed a break, some good food, and time to celebrate my faith with my family! Easter is one of my favorite holidays and this year’s celebrations were even more special because Cailin and I were in charge of both brunch and dinner. The first thing we did was plan our menu, so here it is:

BRUNCH: Bread Pudding

DINNER: Ham, Ratatouille, Baked Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Carrots, Cheesy Garlic Biscuits

DESSERT: Cadbury Creme Egg Brownies

Cailin and I had been wanting to make bread pudding after we fell upon an episode of the Barefoot Contessa making breakfast bread pudding. Cailin had never tried it before and had been wanting to try it ever since, so we thought Easter brunch would be the best time to make it. I had tried a dessert caramel version of bread pudding at a restaurant before and although the first few bites were divinely delicious the rest just seemed soggy and mushy. Thus, the hunt for the perfect bread pudding recipe commenced! Of course, I turned to the Pioneer Women’s blog and looked up a bread pudding recipe. She too confessed to not having a taste for the sometimes mushy texture of bread pudding and had a recipe that used sourdough bread instead of more traditional bread pudding breads like Challah. Sourdough bread is able to hold its structure better and give a better balance of gooey and crispy textures. We gave the recipe a shot and it couldn’t have turned out any better. Our whole family wanted seconds and we were all fighting over the last piece.

photo 1

IMG_3373

IMG_3379

Please excuse my sock pjs!

IMG_3376

An easy way to finely chop pecans is to use a meat tenderizer.

IMG_3377

photo 2

photo 3

The next things we tackled were the ratatouille and Cadbury Creme Eggs brownies. Almost all the credit for the ratatouille goes to Cailin. Again, we were inspired to make the dish after we watched it being made on tv, only this time the chef was a tiny mouse. Yes, the movie Ratatouille and our travels in Nice, France had us vying to make the intricate vegetable dish. We picked up fresh zucchini, yellow squash, a small eggplant, yellow and red bell peppers, minced garlic, an onion and tomato puree at the grocery store to make the dish. Cailin and my Mom chopped all of the vegetables into the thinnest slices possible. They then spread about two cups of tomato puree on the bottom of a 13X9 baking pan with half of a diced onion and threw in some minced garlic. Then the best part came, layering the vegetables! We made the oval overlapped pattern typical of ratatouille by interchanging the yellow and green colors of the squash and zucchini.

IMG_3365

IMG_3323

IMG_3316

IMG_3338

IMG_3366

All the while, I was in charge of dying the Easter eggs. We found an Easter egg dying kit laying around from last year but quickly found out that the dye wasn’t sticking to the eggs. So we had to improvise. Ultimately, we ended up painting some designs on with food coloring and a paint brush and using makeup sponges to make cool dye designs. We ended up loving the designs and had a lot more fun doing it.

photo 1-13

IMG_3364

photo 4

For the brownies we kept it really simple. We started cooking on the later side and using a box batter made the process much shorter. All we did was stick 9 whole Cadbury Creme Eggs into the batter, which we baked in a 9X9 baking dish. We loved them, but they were really sweet. You may need an extra sweet tooth for this dessert!

IMG_3360

The roasted carrots were also super simple. All I did was toss them in some olive oil, salt and pepper and popped them in the oven. We baked the sweet potatoes and heated up our very convenient pre-cooked and sliced ham. While the food was all still hot I made the biscuits. I tend to be drawn to recipes with 5 or less ingredients. The easier the better. All you need to make these biscuits are Bisquick, milk, shredded cheddar cheese, butter and garlic powder. First you mix two cups of Bisquick with two and a half cups of milk and half a cup of shredded cheese. Then spoon the batter onto a baking sheet to make perfectly imperfect drop biscuits. Before you take the biscuits off the baking sheet give them a good brush with melted garlic butter.

photo 5

photo 6

photo 7

IMG_3516

IMG_3518

There it is! A simple and delicious Easter brunch and dinner that anyone can make!

Health Enthusiast and Baker: Julie Mason

BY CAILIN BURKE

Happy Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05 !

IMG_0753Today we’re featuring Julie Mason, a health enthusiast that spends her time baking, cooking, and blogging about it! Except one thing differentiates her from other chefs out there; she aims to make everything healthy! Her goal in baking or cooking something is to use at least one healthy ingredient. That way, Julie’s culinary creations are both delicious and have an ingredient that gives you a dose of healthy nutrients or vitamins. She has a lot of recipes that she has tested herself and one day hopes to use these recipes to start her own healthy bakery. We can’t wait to see what Julie does in the future, but for now, Tara and I love checking out her blog and Instagram to see the amazing looking foods and baked goods she’s making next. She’s definitely inspired us to use healthy ingredients, try new things in the kitchen, and to stop baking from a box. Julie took the time to answer a few questions for us and even shared some tips for healthy eating. Read her interview below and make sure to check out the great pictures of some of her favorite creations!

1) What got you started?

My love for baking and cooking could have came from watching my mom bake 6 dozen oatmeal chocolate chip cookies in one day, or it also could have started after watching my older sister experiment (and make a mess) in the kitchen when I was growing up. I was lucky enough to grow up with people in my life who have a passion for cooking, and this definitely rubbed off on me. My family is also very health conscious, due to poor family health history, and this inspired me to study nutrition at Framingham State University.

2) Tell us a little bit about who you are?

Currently I am a senior at Framingham State University in Massachusetts. I am studying Nutrition and Dietetics, with a minor in business. I love food, big surprise there! But I also enjoy running, animals, my family and friends, nature, and enjoying life! Once I receive my undergraduate degree, I plan on applying to graduate school and getting my masters in nutrition. I am considering the idea of applying to British Columbia University in Canada. (side note: I was born in Ontario, Canada). Eventually, I want to receive my RD, which stands for Registered Dietitian. Once I receive this certification I will be well on my way to achieving my dreams!

3What are your inspirations?

When cooking I am inspired by European and Mediterranean ingredients. I love using olive oil, lemon, nuts, and fresh vegetables/fruits in my dishes. I am a college student so I buy my ingredients on a budget. To save money I buy many plain frozen vegetables, and I also shop around to find the best deals for fresh produce. It also helps to buy produce that is in season because it is the freshest and cheapest!

4) What are your favorite ingredients or types of food to make?

My favorite foods to make are baked goods. I have a special place in my heart for baking muffins. I love to take a recipe that someone else has created, and tweak it to make it healthier! I started doing this after watching my mum create healthy baked goods for my family, and my interest grew further when I got to school and we did this same thing in the food lab. An example of a healthy alternative for a recipe is swapping out some of the fat for natural applesauce. So if the recipe called for 1 cup of oil, I would change this to 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup apple sauce!

5) Where are you most inspired to bake and cook?

I am most inspired in my own kitchen. I love it when I have the apartment to myself and I can turn on Pandora radio and try out a new recipe. As weird as it sounds my favorite time of day to bake is in the early morning…which could be as early as 3 am! (I’m sure that doesn’t thrill my roommate). I love when the house is silent and tranquil, and I can get into the baking zone! There really is nothing like the smell of warm honey-nut granola toasting in the oven in the early morning!

6) What are your future goals and biggest dreams?

When I consider what my biggest dreams would be, owning my own healthy bakery/café comes to mind. I have a huge love for coffee (I drink too many cups to admit). I would love to share my recipes with customers and give nutritious baking advice.

7) What have you learned in your creative process?

The most useful thing I have learned in the kitchen is becoming a good cook/baker is all about trial and error. I have experimented many times, took a bite, and thought what was I thinking!? Adding too much salt comes to mind… Then I learned from my past experiences and moved on. I think people take cooking and baking too seriously, and they should just have fun with it! It’s all about putting your creative hat on and getting out of your comfort zone. There is nothing more gratifying then creating something you initially thought would be too difficult to make, and it turns out delicious!

8) Any tips?

Baking tips and tricks!

  • When a recipe calls for oil, you can substitute half of the oil for natural applesauce! You can also use mashed banana or avocado in place of some oil.
  • Run out of one egg while baking? You can replace one egg with either: 1/4 cup plain yogurt, 1/2 cup pureed banana, 1/3 cup applesauce.

* Keep in mind, these substitutions work best when you are baking items that start as a batter rather than a dough. Baked goods that start as a batter would include muffins or brownies. When making cookies I would stick to traditional butter.

Want to keep up with Julie’s tips and see her delicious (and healthy!) daily meals? Then make sure to check out and follow her blog, Juju’s Secret Ingredient:

http://jujusecretingredient.wordpress.com/

Of course we couldn’t leave out pictures of some of her baked goods. Try your best not to let your mouth water or get completely hungry. Or do, and bake one of Julie’s delicious recipes after reading this!

 Click to enlarge

Feature Friday Sneak Peek

Make sure to check back tomorrow for our third Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05!

This time we’re spotlighting someone with a talent a little different than those we’ve featured before. Here’s a clue:

IMG_3022

The full interview will be revealed at 10AM. Don’t forget to check it out and email castlefoundations@gmail.com if you’re interested in being featured yourself!

CALLING ALL CREATIVES!

Castle Foundations is launching Feature Fridays on March 14th and we are looking for people with creative talent to spotlight! All you have to do to be considered is send the following to castlefoundations@gmail.com:

#1 Name your talent (Can be anything from art, design, fashion design, illustration, music, crafts, baking, interior design, makeup design, photography, dance, writing…etc.)

Embed from Getty Images

#2 A brief description of yourself and your work (One paragraph please!)

#3 Some examples of your work (No more than 5)

It’s as simple as that! After we receive your application, we will contact you and let you in on the full process. Take this opportunity to share with the world what you’re passionate about and inspire others to follow their dreams!

P.S. You don’t have to be a professional, if you love what you do that’s good enough for us. Show em’ what you got!