Snow has covered the ground and shelves are sparkling with red and green sprinkles: it’s time to bake some holiday cookies! And this year, we’re traveling (much) further than the Sparkle Archive for recipes. Pack your apron and grab your recipe book, we’re circling the globe with cookie recipes from around the world.

Christmas homemade gingerbread cookies 

Hey Batter Batter

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But, before we start our journey, we want to share a few recipes curated locally, right from the Sparkle Great Groceries kitchen! One recipe that’s sure to be a hit at your next holiday party is our recipe for White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies. These cookies are full of classic winter flavors, with a simple sugar cookie base, dried cranberries and white chocolate chips. Chocolate lover? Try our recipe for Double Chocolate Chip Mint Cookies, complete with cocoa powder, semi-sweet chocolate chips and mint baking chips. Baking tip: swap the regular mint flavors with peppermint to achieve a better holiday season flavor. Ready to explore other corners of the cookie world? Clean your mixing bowls and grab your molasses, we’re heading to Germany!

 

Oh (Ginger)Snap

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Home of Volkswagen and Oktoberfest, Germany is known for its rich heritage and widely-practiced traditions, and is also credited for the start of gingerbread houses! Constructing and decorating elaborate cookie houses became a favorite Christmas pastime in Germany as early as the 16th century, and the famous Grimm brothers only amplified the tradition with their iconic story of Hansel and Gretel. Nowadays, gingerbread is widely used to decorate and to eat. And if you’re a fan of the latter, we recommend you try our recipe for Gingerbread Cookie Sandwiches. These cookies are rich in flavor (lots of molasses, ginger and cinnamon), and require little to no construction experience. Next stop on our cookie cruise? Think: pasta, pizza and pizzelles.

 

Mama Mia!

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Sweet and light, the Italian pizzelle is commonly found at holiday parties, not only in Italy, but also in the United States. Originally made in Southern Italy, pizzelles are one of the oldest cookies still consumed today, made by pressing dough into an iron to create its iconic snowflake pattern. But luckily with Sparkle, you won’t have to shop around for a pizzelle iron. Instead, you can grab a package of pre-made pizzelle cookies from your local Sparkle Market and try our recipe for Pizzelle Berry Delight. Or, stray from the pizzelle (but stick to Italian ingredients) and make Ricotta Cookies. Classic Italian ricotta cheese is the secret ingredient in this recipe, resulting in extra-light and fluffy cookies. Now it’s time to say ciao to Italy and bonjour to our next stop, France!

 

Bon Appétit

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From choux pastry to croquembouche, France is known for its many complex desserts and talented bakers. So, if you’re interested in bringing French cookies to the next holiday get-together, we recommend trying a simpler recipe first, like this one for Madeleines. They’re essentially little sponge cakes flavored with vanilla and sometimes orange zest, and go great with a warm cup of Peppermint Hot Chocolate. Want to try something a little more challenging? Make French Macarons (not to be confused with macaroons). Light and airy, macarons are tricky to master, but great for parties! They can be made with all different colors, and endless filling possibilities.

 

This holiday season, get inspired by countries around the world and try a new cookie recipe! And before you fire up the oven, make sure to visit your local Sparkle Market for all the quality baking ingredients you need to make your cookies a success.

 

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Today might be known as Black Friday, but to anyone who attended or hosted a Thanksgiving meal yesterday, today also marks the start of a very long series of microwaved leftovers; turkey sandwiches for lunch, turkey and stuffing for dinner, pumpkin pie for dessert- you know the drill. This year, clear the fridge by using your leftovers in new, different and better recipes!

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Too Much Turkey   

soup.jpgIf you were sent home with the leftover Thanksgiving turkey this year, don’t force yourself to eat turkey sandwiches for the next six days. Instead, get creative! And luckily, you were left with one of the more versatile turkey day dishes, so it shouldn’t be too difficult. For your next dinner, chop it up and use it in a big batch of Turkey Wild Rice Soup. Or, reserve some for lunch and make Turkey Mango Quesadillas. With lots of fresh and fruity flavors you won’t even recognize your once gravy-laden dinner. Still have more turkey? Take a look at our Turkey 8 Ways blog post from last year for more repurposing ideas.

 

Potatoes Are No Longer Apeeling

pizza.jpgWhether you have a bowl of leftover sweet potatoes or savory mash, we have a few tricks up our aprons when it comes time to use them up. If you’re a fan of chai tea, try this recipe for Chai-Spiced Sweet Potato Pancakes. Full of warm spices and cooked to fluffy perfection, these pancakes are perfect for a post-Thanksgiving breakfast. Or, transform your mash from a side dish to the main course with this recipe for Loaded Bacon Mashed Potato Pizza. Top a pre-made pizza crust with your leftover mash, cheese, bacon and chives. Serve with a side of sour cream and kiss those cold, gloppy leftovers goodbye! And if you’re one of our more seasoned chef shoppers, try making Mashed Potato Gnocchi. For this recipe, you simply mix your mash with some flour and egg, cut into dumplings and cook.

 

Sick of Side Dishes  

waffles.jpgIf turkey and potatoes are just the tip of your leftovers iceberg, don’t panic. For those of you with extra stuffing, especially recipes that use sausage or bacon, make a Stuffing Frittata. Topped with lots of eggs, this recipe will hit the spot for breakfast. Another genius way to eat stuffing for breakfast is by making Leftover Stuffing Waffles. Just imagine: flavorful stuffing crisped to perfection and dunked in some leftover cranberry sauce…yum. Speaking of cranberry sauce, if you don’t use it for dipping, try incorporating it into this recipe for Appetizer Meatballs. Not sure what to do with your leftover cornbread? Use it in this recipe for Cowboy Casserole! Extra pro tip: swap the chicken in this recipe for turkey to use up two leftovers in one dish.

 

Drowning in Desserts

cookies.jpgIf you were left with extra canned pumpkin after whipping up this year’s desserts, use it to make Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies. It’s not your average pumpkin spice dessert, aka it won’t give you pumpkin pie PTSD from last night’s feast. Or try this recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. The recipe only calls for four ingredients (your leftover pumpkin being one of them) and tastes delicious. You could also eat it for breakfast, using our recipe for Pumpkin Cream Cheese Crepes. More pumpkin recipes can be found in our Sparkle Recipe Archive– just search pumpkin!

 

There’s no reason to eat your Thanksgiving dinner 10 times over this year! Instead, transform your leftovers into brand new, equally-delicious dishes, using fresh ingredients from your local Sparkle Market!

Overtime wins, unbelievable Hail Mary passes and devastating losses; football season is well underway. And no matter the team you root for or the outcome of your game, one thing should always be present: the tailgating food. Today we share the (questionable) roots of tailgating and plenty of recipes sure to keep you happy, even when your team is not.

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The OG of Tailgating 

We’ll admit it, the history books are a little fuzzy when it comes to the start of the tailgating tradition. But, over time the story of tailgating has been narrowed down to three theories:

Theory 1: Tailgating was established at the first college football game between Rutgers and Princeton. It’s believed that spectators spent their pre-game ritual grilling sausages at the “tail end” of the horse.

Theory 2: In 1906, some Yale fans traveled by car while others traveled by train to a two o’clock game. The fans that rode in cars packed picnics, however the ones riding by train did not. When everyone arrived to the game, those eating their picnic spreads noticed that the others didn’t have food. So, they invited them to join in on the festivities, and the rest is tailgating history.

Theory 3: Green Bay Packers fans coined the term “tailgating” during the team’s first year in business in 1919. The fans would back their pickup trucks around the field and fold down their tailgates for seating.

 

App Szn

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Whether you’re throwing an outdoor tailgate or an indoor watch party, great appetizers are a must. Don’t have time to cook all day? Throw together this simple and fresh Black Bean Corn Salsa. Or whip up Cheesy Corn Dip. It’s full of flavor and only needs to bake for 30 minutes! For those of you brave enough to grill in chilly Ohio/PA weather, snag some USDA choice meat from your local Sparkle and take a look at our recipe for Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Burgers. If you opt to stay in the warm indoors, try our recipe for Mini Bacon Cheeseburger Bites instead! Miniature burger patties are baked in the oven, and stacked with crispy crown tots, cheese and bacon.

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At Great Groceries, there’s no shortage of great tailgating recipes. Here’s some more:

Shredded Buffalo Chicken Sliders

Game Day Beer Chili

Pizza Bread

Jalapeno Cheddar Stuffed Mushrooms

 

First Down Desserts

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Throwing a tailgate without desserts is like hosting Thanksgiving without a turkey. Okay, maybe it’s not that bad, but you still shouldn’t forget about the desserts at your next party! If you’re ambitious and crafty, try a football-themed recipe like this one for a Cookies and Cream Cheese Ball. It’s shaped and decorated to look just like a football. Or, if you just want to make something simple, try our recipe for White Chocolate PB Chip Cookies. They’re easy to make and easy for your guests to grab before getting back to the game.

 

Before your next tailgate or football watch party, head to your local Sparkle Market and grab the ingredients you need to make the best apps and desserts for your guests.

With costume makeup smudged, pillow cases filled to the brim and exhaustion seeping in: it’s officially over. You’ve survived another year of trick-or-treating, and in just one short hour, your kids have managed to loot the neighborhood of (what seems like) every last candy bar. How will you ever get through the piles of candy on your dining room table? Don’t worry, we’ve laid out some ways & recipes to use it all up!

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Option 1: Eat it All   

Unless you enjoy stomachaches and cavities, eating all the Halloween candy is probably not your best option. But, you could take a page out of Jimmy Kimmel’s book and pretend to eat it all. For years, TV personality Jimmy Kimmel has challenged parents to hide their children’s proudly-acquired Halloween candy and confess to eating every last bite. The challenge has taken the YouTube world by storm, with some pretty hilarious reactions caught on camera. See for yourself.

 

Option 2: Use it in Baking   

WED_small-768x1024.jpgFor those of you that don’t have the heart to fool your little trick-or-treaters, opt for option 2: baking with candy. There’s plenty of cookie, brownie and cake recipes out there that call for some classic Halloween candy bars. Our oober-recent recipe for a Giant Halloween Cookie is a great example. It’s essentially a cookie cake topped with all sorts of classic candy. Have lots of Heath bars leftover? Use them in our recipe for Butterscotch Cookies! Just substitute the butterscotch chips for crushed Heath. (Our recipe for Toffee Cheesecake Bars is another great way to use leftover Heath bars). And to use up a whole slew of candy bars, try this recipe for Candy Bar Brownies.

 

Option 3: Dip Dip Hooray  

PBdip-1024x686.jpgIf baking isn’t your strong suit, then whipping up some candy bar dips might be an easier alternative. Try this recipe for Caramel Covered Candy Bar Dip. It’s filled with Snickers, Reese’s cups and topped with caramel (yep, extra sweet). Served with waffle cones, pretzels or apple slices, this dip is a great treat to bring to upcoming holiday parties. Or try this recipe for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Dip. It’s another great way to use up some extra Reese’s cups lying around.

 

Option 4: Candy + Fruit = Healthy Eating?   

snickers-carame-dip-resize-1.jpgOur math might be a little off… but these recipes definitely aren’t. And if you’ve never tried a dessert that combines fruit and candy, you’re 100% missing out. Sweet and healthy worlds collide to make recipes like Butterfinger Grape Salad. In this dessert, juicy grapes are mixed with tangy cream cheese and topped with crunchy Butterfinger pieces. Sounds fantastic, right? Another great recipe is this one for Snickers and Caramel Apple Dip. Tart apples and sweet caramel candy = tastebud nirvana.

 

This year, don’t let your Halloween candy recycle into Easter basket treasures. Instead, head to your local Sparkle Market and grab the ingredients you need to transform your candy surplus into decadent desserts.

From eating Kraft mac ‘n cheese as a child to ramen as a college student, pasta has probably been a lifelong staple in your cuisine. And thus, we feel it is our due diligence to celebrate National Pasta Day the only way we know how- with recipes and a blog! What to expect: mini pasta history, pasta recipes and lots of fun facts.

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Back to the Basics  

First, let’s dive in, fork-first, to the history of the humble pasta dish. Despite common belief, pasta actually didn’t originate in Italy. Instead, it is believed that Central Asia was the first area to have produced noodles- thousands of years ago. From Asia, pasta then traveled to Europe and the Mediterranean via nomadic Arabs (historians think). In Europe, pasta became more refined, using durum wheat to give it a cheap and indefinite shelf life. Early Spanish settlers where the first to bring pasta to America, but it was Thomas Jefferson that actually made it popular. During his extended stay in Paris, Jefferson tried pasta and loved it so much that he carried two cases of it back to America! Over time, new sauces and noodles have been introduced and developed to form the large variety of pasta dishes that we now know and love.

 

Oodles of Noodles  

lasagna-768x1024The epicenter of food holiday celebrations is undoubtedly the recipes. And over the years, Great Groceries has featured so many pasta recipes that it was hard for us to choose just a few to feature! So, we’ve decided to list lots.

 

Introducing: Impastas

spag-squash-768x1024.jpgWith the rise of low-carb diets and healthy lifestyles, more people are saying no thank you to traditional starch-laden pastas. Instead, we’re turning to pasta substitutes like zoodles (zucchini noodles) and spaghetti squash. Not only are these impastas lighter in carbs for those of us watching our figures, but they’re also an easy way to introduce more veggies to little ones (without them really noticing). Want to give ‘em a try? Make our recipe for Chicken Alfredo Zucchini Noodles. Or, take a look at our recipe for Spinach Artichoke Spaghetti Squash– once shredded, the squash looks just like thin spaghetti noodles! Once you get the hang of zoodling zucchini or shredding spaghetti squash, you can use them in virtually any pasta dish.

 

A Penne for Your Thoughts  

We at Sparkle Markets aren’t the only ones with pasta on the mind. Don’t believe us? Take a look at some of these crazy pasta fun facts:

  • According to the International Pasta Organization, there are more than 600 pasta shapes worldwide
  • Italy is ranked #1 for most pasta consumption (no surprise there)
  • But, believe it or not, #2 is Venezuela and #3 is Tunisia
  • If all Italians ate their average yearly amount of pasta in spaghetti shape, they would eat, as a country, approximately 600 million kilometers of spaghetti. That’s enough noodles to wrap around the planet 15,000 times!

 

Celebrate National Pasta Day by visiting your local Sparkle Market for all of the noodles and sauces you need to create the perfect pasta dish!

Put away your cutting boards and get out your tape, today we’re crafting. Whether it was from the Martha Stewart Show or a Pinterest board, we guarantee you’ve tried a DIY project before. And while you probably know to get wreaths from Pat Catan’s and blankets from JOANN Fabrics, did you know that many projects call for ingredients found right at your local Sparkle Market?

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DIY Spa Day

spa.jpgTreat yourself to a relaxing spa day, without ever leaving the comfort of your home. Let’s start with an exfoliating face mask or two. Reduce redness and acne scars with this Nutmeg, Honey and Cinnamon Mask. Or moisturize and brighten your skin with a Mud Mask, made out of honey, cocoa, Greek yogurt and banana. Next step? Take a relaxing bath with DIY bath salts. Sea salt, Epsom salt, baking soda and essential oils are all you need! And before you look for candles, try creating a Simmer Pot. Fill a pot or slow cooker with water, add lots of natural aromatics (cinnamon, cloves, fruit) and let it simmer- your house will smell fantastic. Complete your day of relaxation with a light lunch, like a Tuna Avocado Bowl or Chicken Burger Pita.

 

DIY Kids

baby.jpgWe’re not sure if there’s a project out there that creates an actual babysitter for you, but there’s at least a few recipes for homemade toys and treats. And if your kids love to create masterpieces, you should start with this recipe for Homemade Playdough. A few ingredients from your pantry will easily turn into hours of fun for your kids. Another great DIY activity is a Science Experiment. You can create things like rubber eggs, baking soda volcanoes and homemade lava lamps using everyday kitchen items. Afterwards, experiment with some real recipes for lunch, like PB&J on a Stick or Ham and Potato Soup. And moms and dads of infants, we didn’t forget about you! Take a break from pricy baby food and try some DIY blends instead. You can choose your child’s favorite fruits and veggies, make a batch in bulk and freeze the leftovers.

 

DIY Fur Kids

dog.jpgNot only are homemade dog treats great for your own pups, but they can also be used in goodie bags or as gifts to other furbaby owners! Find recipes for crunchy treats, dog-approved ice cream and more DIY fun in this blog post.

 

Now that we’ve got your creative DIY juices flowing, head to your local Sparkle Market for all of the fresh ingredients you need to make your projects a success!

 

 

Potatoes come in all shapes and sizes, and we at Sparkle Markets do. not. discriminate. Whether you want ‘em roasted, mashed or hashed, we’ve got the ingredients and recipe for you! This September, celebrate National Potato Month with us and try any of the following recipes. 

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Boom, Roasted – Michael Scott

potatoes-768x1024-1.jpgIf it’s not already, roasted (or baked) potatoes should be your go-to side when it comes to dinner. They’re easy to make and require little to no clean up if you line your baking sheet with foil! Take our recipe for Garlic Roasted Potatoes for example. Red potatoes are chopped, tossed in a flavorful garlic mixture and roasted. They take no more than 20 min to make! For the healthier folk out there, try our recipe for Baked Parmesan Sweet Potatoes. Rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, this sweet potato side is not only good tasting, but also good for you. Or go above and beyond with our recipe for Broccoli Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes, perfect for your next dinner party.

 

Do the Mashed Potato  

potatoes-768x889.jpgMashed potatoes might sound easy, but they can actually be a lot of work! You have to find the right ratio between milk, butter and potato, make the choice between smooth or chunky- and after all that, they still might not turn out right. And that’s why you should try our recipe for Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes. Step 1: put all ingredients in slow cooker. Step 2: add butter & mash. Try the same technique using this recipe for Mashed Sweet Potatoes.

Okay, but what about the leftovers?
Great question! You don’t have to throw away an entire container of leftover mash, and you certainly don’t have to eat them as is. Instead, repurpose your mashed potatoes in Potato Pancakes. Goodbye cold, gummy mash & hello crispy pancakes. They work great for breakfast or as a side dish for dinner later in the week.

 

The Hash Slinging Potato Slasher  

breakfast-768x1024.jpgContinuing along the crispy potato topic, let’s talk hash. If you’re looking for a hearty breakfast, try our recipe for Bacon n’ Egg Hash. It checks all the boxes (potatoes, meat, egg, cheese, veggies) and only uses one skillet! Your turn to host brunch? Make Spinach, Bacon and Hash Brown Quiche. In this recipe, the hash browns create an irresistibly crispy crust that you didn’t know you needed until now (trust us). Or if you’re not a breakfast person, make hash for dinner! Try this recipe for Kielbasa, Pepper and Onion Potato Hash – it’s filling and only takes 15 min to make.

 

Potatoes are so diverse that we couldn’t possibly fit all types in one blog. But instead, you can check our recipe archive for more potato recipes! Once you’ve found the perfect potato plate, head to your local Sparkle Market for all of the fresh ingredients you need to make it a success.