recipes

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!

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Creme Brulee French Toast Recipe

BY TARA BURKE

Brunch food is one of our favorite things to make and each year one of our friend’s holds a Christmas brunch where we each bring our own dish. This year Cailin made a delicious creme brulee french toast that we just have to share with you guys.

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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.

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Dessert Parfait Recipe

BY TARA BURKE

Yogurt bowls of any kind are one of my go-to snacks. They are so fun to make and you can pack them with a bunch of nutritious food. I usually just search my cupboards for anything new I can throw into some vanilla yogurt and this time I leaned toward the sweet side. In turn, my snack turned into this dessert parfait!

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How to Make S’mores Without the Campfire

BY TARA BURKE

Among my favorite summer activities is sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows for s’mores. However, you can’t always get to a campfire. A great alternative and amazing party treat are oven roasted s’mores. Oven roasted s’mores are perfect for parties because you can make a large serving in one single dish and you cut the prep time by leaps and bounds compared to setting up a campfire. They are also just as delicious as real fire roasted s’mores, especially if you aren’t a fan of burnt marshmallows.

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Avocado Ice Pops Recipe

BY TARA BURKE

Back when I was a kid my Mom always used to make avocado popsicles. Maybe it has been the really humid summer we’ve been having in NY, but I was craving one after not having them for years. So I made it my mission to recreate them while I was home for my whole family to enjoy. So let’s begin!

Ingredients 

One Avocado (This makes four medium sized popsicles)

1/3 Cup Condensed Milk

3 tbsp. of granulated sugar

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Directions

1. Chop ripe avocado into cubes.

2. Place the sugar into enough water to cover it and let it dissolve.

3. Drop avocado cubes, dissolved sugar and condensed milk into a blender. Blend until creamy and smooth.

4. Pour mix into ice pop mold. Give the mold a shake to get rid of any air bubbles in the mix.

5. Freeze for about 5 hours or more.

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That’s it! Now, this recipe will make super creamy avocado pops. The consistency will be very similar to double churned ice cream. If you are looking for something with more of a dessert feel this recipe may be your choice. However, if you would like them to be more refreshing and icy just add some regular milk or water into the mix until it’s at your desired consistency. For our first batch of ice pops we made the creamy version, so the next day we used leftover mix (from just the one avocado!) and added some milk, water and a little more condensed milk to make icier versions. Both were delish and were a step up on the healthy scale from all the ice cream cones I’ve been devouring this summer. If avocados and popsicles sound like a strange combination to you, just give it a try. It may become your new favorite summer treat!

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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.

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Please excuse my sock pjs!

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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

Health Enthusiast and Baker: Julie Mason

BY CAILIN BURKE

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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!

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Banana Peanut Butter Waffles

BY TARA BURKE

I don’t know about you guys, but I have been enjoying a lazy Sunday and have been loving every minute of it. Although we didn’t make these delicious Banana Peanut Butter Waffles today, I think they are a perfect Sunday brunch option! It’s a super simple recipe and is completely customizable.

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Here is what we used:

A Waffle Press

Box of Waffle Mix

A Few Fresh Bananas

Creamy Peanut Butter

Half a Handful of Chocolate Chips

However, like I said this recipe can be changed to reflect whatever your tastes are for that day. Crunchy peanut butter, Nutella, cinnamon and a little vanilla extract are just a few simple ways I can think of to switch the recipe up. When it comes to making waffles and pancakes we tend to eyeball all of our measurements, but for this particular batch of waffles we filled a standard Pyrex up about halfway with waffle mix, added water until it was a liquid consistency, put in a whole over-ripe banana (much easier to mash and mix into the waffle mix), and added a few generous spoonfuls of creamy peanut butter. This makes the batter a little stiff so give it a good strong stir to make sure the batter is fully mixed. Make sure to oil or butter your waffle maker a little before putting the batter in.

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We like to mix our batter straight in a Pyrex cup since it makes it much easier to control the batter as you pour it into the waffle maker. This mixture usually makes a good four waffles in our maker. Try to keep them in the waffle maker as long as possible before they burn. Since the batter is so dense the waffles are ooey gooey in the center, so a crispy crust adds a needed crunchy texture. We added some fresh cut bananas on top and poured some pure maple syrup over the whole thing. If I’m going to do sweet I like to go full-out in order to appease my sweet tooth, but these waffles have all the natural sugar of the bananas in them so they taste great all on their own. If you’re ever bored with your typical waffles and pancakes try this really easy recipe for something different!

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Pasta Recipe & Girl’s Night Tips

BY TARA BURKE

Getting together with your best girlfriends is always so much fun. For a catch-up with our friend who goes to school nearby, we decided we wanted to cook and have a girl’s night in. Our friend found a pasta recipe on Pinterest that she had tried and loved, and she wanted to share it with us. When she arrived at our place we were so excited we hopped right into the car to hit the grocery store for the ingredients. Here’s what you will need:

#1) One Pound of Gemelli Pasta

#2) Salt and Pepper

#3) Six Slices of Bacon

#4) Four Leeks or Two Large Leeks

#5) Two Large Eggs

#6) 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan 

#7) Zest of One Lemon

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Here’s a link for how you mix all these ingredients together to make this delicious and easy pasta dish: http://www.alexandracooks.com/2011/11/28/pasta-carbonara-—-easiest-weeknight-dinner/

We all split up the cooking tasks. I cooked up the bacon, Cailin zested the lemon and our friend Katy took the lead and chopped the leeks and bacon. She also cooked them down and added the ingredients into the mixing bowl along with the eggs, lemon zest and drained pasta. It was done in no time. All that was left to do was sit down and enjoy!

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Our meal was delicious and it’s a perfect pasta dish if you tend to lean towards the creamier pasta recipes that are amazingly scrumptious, but not that healthy. The eggs and parmesan cheese give it a creamy flavour, without having to actually add heavy cream and the lemon vest balances all the flavors giving it a fresh zing.

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After lots of catching up, girl talk and literary discussions, yes, we can’t seem to escape our love of books when we’re together; we were ready for dessert. I tampered with the idea of making something from scratch, but after a big business law test had me beat from studying I opted for an easy favorite, brownie mix! However, the mix we used isn’t your ordinary fudge brownie mix, it is Ghirardelli Caramel Turtle brownie mix. We tried this mix for the first time after our family brought them to our Super Bowl party. They were too good and were a simple way to make a ooey gooey chocolate dessert.

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We had a great time, with great food and lots of laughs. If you ever find yourself in need of an easy, but put-together meal for a casual dinner party, try this dish!