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Friends having picnic

With the weather warming up and fresh fruit about to hit the grocery shelves, it is time to start planning for picnic season! No matter the occasion or location, a picnic can be held- as long as you have the right food. Here are some great recipes and tips to planning the perfect picnic!

 

 

Romantic Picnic

Whether in history, movies or real life, picnics have been a go-to romantic date for centuries- so why not plan your own? Pick a secluded location, pack a comfortable blanket and fill a large picnic basket with delicious snacks that are sure to captivate your sweetheart. Try our recipe for Tuna Lettuce Wraps, with crunchy lettuce and a creamy yogurt dressing, these wraps are simple to assemble and full of flavor. To compliment your tuna wraps, check out our recipe for Quinoa Salad, with plenty of fresh veggies this dish will keep your meal light and tasty. For a truly romantic picnic, complete your date with our recipe for luscious Chocolate Truffle Stuffed Strawberries. Not interested in making food? Then pack fresh bread, cheese and wine- all found at your local Sparkle Market!

 

 

Family Picnic

This spring and summer, avoid the hassle and money spent when going to a restaurant and instead treat your kids to a fun picnic! Family picnics provide endless opportunities for food creativity. Check out these recipes for Mini Sandwiches, with fillings ranging from peanut butter & jelly to tuna and pickles, sandwiches are easy to pack and please even the pickiest of eaters. To make these sandwiches even more fun, use cookie cutters to cut them into different shapes and sizes! For a family picnic side dish, consider this recipe for ABC Pasta Salad– incorporate your kids’ favorite veggies and swap out regular pasta for alphabet shapes to make this meal as personable and enjoyable as possible. You could also make safe fruit kabobs, cutting up fresh fruit into bite size pieces and skewering them onto a straw rather than a pointy skewer.

 

 

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Beach Picnic

If you plan on going to the beach, don’t worry about rinsing sand off and packing everything up just to eat lunch- have a picnic instead! The secret to having a successful beach picnic is to pack food that can be eaten out of the bag so that the sand doesn’t have a chance to make its way into your food. Try our recipes for Spicy Italian Wraps and Cranberry Pecan Chicken Wraps. The Italian wraps can be easily assembled at home and packed into individual bags while the chicken salad can be made ahead of time and spooned onto the flatbread when you’re ready to eat! Need something cool and refreshing to go with your wraps? Try this recipe for a Lemon Berry Smoothie– blend the mixture and freeze it at home so that as you relax on the beach it can defrost and turn into the perfect smoothie texture.

 

 

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Winter Picnic

Who says you can’t have a picnic in the winter? Escape the indoors and plan a winter picnic complete with a waterproof blanket, warm coats, gloves and, of course, hot food. Try our recipes for Stuffed Pepper Soup and Tortellini Soup– with bold flavors and delicious ingredients, these soups can be easily kept warm in a thermos and taken to whichever winter destination you choose. If you want to make your picnic feel like a summer outing, try our recipes for Salmon Burgers and Bacon Whiskey Burgers. Use a camping stove to grill your burgers (and to stay warm) and pack all of the essentials- tomatoes, lettuce, cheese- separately! And don’t forget, it can’t be a winter picnic without hot chocolate! Check out these unique recipes for Mexican Hot Chocolate and Salted Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate that will definitely add a twist to your traditional hot cocoa mix.

Whether it’s with your significant other or family of four, picnics are a great, unique way to enjoy the outdoors and delicious food. Head to your local Sparkle Market to get all of the fresh ingredients that you need to make your next picnic a success!

EasterSM

Mmm ham, deviled eggs and scalloped potatoes: the building blocks for a successful Easter dinner. For the United States at least. Have you ever wondered what Easter is like in other countries? With nearly one third of the world population identifying as Christians, it is no surprise that Easter is celebrated in very different ways, across a variety of cultures. Check out some of these unique traditions practiced and recipes used during the Easter season!

 

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Bermuda

In Bermuda, the beginning of Easter celebrations is marked with the flying of homemade kites on Good Friday. The tradition is said to have started when a local teacher was having a difficult time explaining Christ’s ascension into Heaven to his Sunday school class. So, the teacher crafted a kite and flew it to symbolize the ascension. With colorful kites filling the sky, Bermudians feast on traditional delicacies like codfish cakes and hot cross buns. With flaky pieces of fish and smooth mashed potatoes, this recipe for codfish cakes is a great way to use up any leftover fish and potatoes you might have during the holiday. This year, replace your typical wheat rolls with this recipe for hot cross buns. With a hint of cinnamon and plenty of raisins, there’s a reason why this treat is so popular in Bermuda.

 

 

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Norway

When the Easter bunny turns into the Easter chicken and crime novels hit the shelves, you know you’re in Norway. Easter Crime, or Paaskekrim, is widely celebrated in Norway with natives reading mystery novels and watching crime detective shows broadcasted during the Easter season. With nearly all commerce and business closed from Holy Thursday through the Monday after Easter, most families get their grocery shopping done early and head to the mountains to enjoy their vacation. One Easter staple found in every Norwegian home is the juicy, ripe orange- over 20 million oranges are eaten in Norway during Easter. This Easter, consider our orange-inspired Whole Roasted Chicken recipe, bursting with bright orange flavors and savory spices.

 

 

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Europe

Europe lights up at the arrival of Easter, literally, as bon fires are lit across the country to celebrate spring finally overtaking winter. While bon fires originated as a way to chase away the winter darkness, they are now a popular reason for family and friends to get together and enjoy the Easter holiday. Try some of these recipes inspired by just a few of the diverse regions belonging to Europe:

Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff

Spring Veggie Gnocchi

Beer Simmered Bratwurst

 

 

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Haiti  

During the Easter season, Haiti erupts into colorful parades and traditional sounds of “rara” music as natives play bamboo trumpets, maracas, drums and coffee cans. With a combination of Catholic and Voodoo traditions, Easter in Haiti is full of drumming, chanting and animal sacrifices. Despite their complex cultural traditions, Haitian food is quite simple, including things like fish, rice, beans and root vegetables. Try our simple recipe for Sparkle Baked Fish, juicy and flaky fillets of fish filled with flavor. Not a fan of seafood? Try this recipe for rice and red beans, a Haitian staple.

No matter the location, Easter has a way of bringing people together through culture, traditions and, most importantly, food. This Easter season, head to your local Sparkle Market to get all of the fresh ingredients that you need to make your meal a success!

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As store shelves turn green and Shamrock Shake commercials echo on all radios, people across the United States begin to prepare for the greatest day of March-
St. Patrick’s Day! With long parades and huge celebrations, don’t wait too long to plan your day! From morning to the next day, we have you covered with plenty of Irish recipes that will help make your St. Patrick’s Day a success.

 

 

Pre-Parade Snacks

Before spending all day at a parade, make sure that you grab something to eat! Try some of our easy recipes for delicious snacks that you can either eat at home, or take with you. Check out our recipe for Roast Beef and Brie Sliders- buttery, sweet and tangy mini sandwiches complete with Sparkle’s deli roast beef and brie cheese. For a lighter snack that will satisfy kids and adults alike, try our Bacon Turkey Wraps. These wraps, cut into snack-size pinwheels are easy to pack and filled with plenty of flavor. If you’re looking for something sweet that will give you energy to last the entire parade, try our recipe for Apple and Peanut Butter Snack Bites. With peanut butter, dried cranberries and apples, these snack bites will fuel your body for a long day of celebrations.

 

 

Drinks

When it comes to St. Patrick’s Day, most people will agree that there’s no celebration without the festive drinks. This year whether you’re attending the parade or hosting your own party, try some of these great drink recipes that look and taste like St. Patrick’s Day. For a bright green cocktail, try this recipe for Shamrock Juice- a combination of orange juice and colorful alcohol that mix to create a bright emerald drink. Another St. Patrick’s Day inspired recipe is the Irish Flag– a layered shooter drink that mimics the colors of the Irish flag, featuring Irish cream, green crème de menthe and Licor 43. Do you have kids or are underage guests attending your party? Then try this recipe for St. Patrick’s Day Punch, a fun green drink with pineapple juice, ginger ale and lime sherbet.

 

For more creative drink recipes: https://mixthatdrink.com/st-patricks-day-cocktails/

 

 

The Main Course

After a busy day of celebration, end your St. Patrick’s Day with a hearty Irish dinner. Check out our recipe for Irish Beer Beef Stew, a perfect comfort meal with juicy bites of beef roast and russet potatoes. Want to make a meal that doesn’t require a lot of work? Try this recipe for Corned Beef and Cabbage, an Irish classic that can be prepped in the morning and cooked in a slow cooker during the day while you enjoy festivities elsewhere! Or if you have a little bit more time to prepare dinner, try this recipe for Shepherd’s Pie, with plenty of veggies masked by creamy mashed potatoes and a flavorful sauce, this meal will be a hit among everyone in the family.

 

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The Morning After  

While coming down from your St. Patrick’s Day celebratory high, don’t neglect all of the food opportunities that await the morning after the festivities. If you’re looking for something to do with your meat and potato leftovers, try making Corned Beef Hash. With crispy corned beef and buttery potatoes, this recipe will clean out your fridge while also providing a hearty breakfast. For another option, try our recipe for Kielbasa Pepper Hash and replace the kielbasa with corned beef. To cure that post-celebration headache pounding at your temples, use this recipe to make a pitcher of soothing Matcha Iced Tea. Containing lots of antioxidants, Matcha will flush out any St. Patrick’s Day toxins that are still lingering in your body while adding a tasty change to the average cup of tea.

 

Whether you’re traveling downtown for the parade or hosting a party, these recipes offer food that will be just as great as the festivities! Head to your local Sparkle Market to get all of the fresh ingredients that you need to make your St. Patrick’s Day celebration a successful one.

Milk & Cookies on Blue

Attention Sparkle shoppers: The holiday for America’s favorite cookie is just around the corner. Get out your streamers and balloons, National Oreo Day is on March 6 and definitely needs celebrated! Here are six recipes that prove Oreos are the best, and not just meant for milk.

 

 

Peanut Butter & Oreo S’mores

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Sweet, gooey and delicious, s’mores are a finger-licking staple at any bonfire. Now picture the classic s’more and add peanut butter, peanut butter cups AND Oreos- yum. While you normally have to wait until summer to enjoy s’mores, this recipe is made in the oven and cut into squares, making it easy for any time of year without the sticky fingers. Check out this recipe for Peanut Butter and Oreo S’mores that will fulfill any sweet craving for at least a month.

 

Cookie Dough Oreo Brownie

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On National Oreo Day, why not make a dessert that combines Oreos with another cookie favorite, chocolate chip cookie dough? Our Cookie Dough Oreo Brownie recipe takes advantage of this ingenious combination with three scrumptious layers of cookie dough, Oreo and brownie.

 

Oreo Cookie Butter

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One of the most unique Oreo recipes out there is definitely Oreo Cookie Butter. Combine just coconut oil and Oreo cookies to make this tasty and thick butter (kind of like peanut butter) that can be spread on anything from graham crackers to waffles. For more ways to eat your cookie butter, check out these twelve delicious ideas.

 

No-Bake Cheesecake Parfaits

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For a somewhat lighter dessert with fresh fruit and fluffy whipped cream, try our recipe for No-Bake Cheesecake Parfaits. Add a chocolate twist to this recipe by replacing the graham cracker crumb layer with crushed Oreo cookies. These parfaits are a simple, yet tasty dessert for any occasion.

 

Peanut Butter Oreo Popsicles

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While you might have to wait a few more months before trying this next chillingly sweet treat, it will definitely be worth the wait. Avoid eating sticky, melted cookies this summer and instead snack on Peanut Butter Oreo Popsicles. With the perfect blend of cream and crunchy cookies, these popsicles will transform the way you see Oreos.

 

Cookies n’ Cream Fudge

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Creamy and sugary smooth, fudge is one dessert that should not be neglected. Try this recipe for Oreo fudge that enhances the cookie’s traditional flavors with the addition of marshmallow fluff and white chocolate morsels. Make this fudge a seasonal recipe by substituting the traditional Oreos with one of their limited-edition flavors like pumpkin spice or gingerbread. Check out this recipe for Funfetti Golden Oreo Fudge.

 

 

Whether you eat them whole, pull them apart or dunk them in milk, Oreos are a staple in everyone’s cookie collections. With an endless array of recipes, there is no doubt that the Oreo deserves its own holiday. Satisfy your sweet tooth with some of these Oreo recipes and head to your local Sparkle Market to find any ingredients that you need, including plenty of Oreos.

Mini chocolate muffinsWe are approaching one of the biggest holidays of the year, can you guess what it is? February 20 is National Muffin Day! Okay, so maybe it’s not the biggest holiday, but any national food day should be celebrated, especially in the grocery world. Today Sparkle is here to show you that muffins aren’t only for February 20- there’s a muffin recipe for any time of year! Here are some of our favorites:

 

Get Rid of That Muffin Top, Eat a Muffin!

Woman on scale

As the New Year begins, resolutions are made by people, young and old, all across the nation. While some people may hope to be nicer to others or more productive at work, the most popular New Years resolution for 2017 was to lose weight by eating healthier. As people begin to change their diets, there’s one thing for certain- they won’t have to cut muffins out. Muffins can be made healthy in a variety of ways. Try using Greek yogurt in the batter like our Greek yogurt banana muffins, or you could even try whole wheat sweet potato muffins that use honey as a sweetener instead of sugar.

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For another healthy muffin recipe, check out these mango muffins with coconut lime streusel. These muffins include great tropical flavors while leaving out gluten and refined sugars.

 

Green Eggs and Muffins

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When party stores’ interiors transform with every shade of green and Sparkle’s beer shelves begin to empty, you know that St. Patrick’s Day is on its way. This March, you can incorporate some muffins into your holiday fun by trying green muffins! Dyed with a spinach puree, these muffins stay sweet and tasty without the use of harsh food dye chemicals. And don’t forget to include some muffins in the main course too! Make some Irish soda bread muffins to go with a recipe like our Irish beef stew! These muffins will add some sweetness to the meal while still sticking to the Irish theme.

 

Tan & Golden Brown (Muffins)

As the snow melts and the Spring chill turns to warm sunny days, we can begin to prepare for summer muffin recipes! With summer, comes cook outs and you better believe that muffins have a place among the hotdogs and pickles. For your next cookout, try making these savory, BBQ pork-stuffed corn muffins. These muffins would be a great addition to any summer plate, especially if that plate had our bacon whiskey cheeseburger on it! And if you’re struggling to think of something to bring to the family 4th of July party, try making our red, white and blue muffins. With the use of fresh summer fruit, these muffins encompass summer with a patriotic twist.

 

Pumpkin Spice Makes Everything Nice

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When the leaves begin to change color and coats are dug back out of the closet, you can almost begin to smell the sweet scent of Fall…pumpkin spice. It’s no secret that pumpkin spice is one of the most popular and reoccurring Fall trends. Like Oreos and coffee, muffins have also adapted to the seasonal flavors with recipes like cream cheese filled pumpkin spice muffins and our pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. These muffins include all of the warm spices that make the pumpkin flavor as popular as it is today.

 

All I Want for Christmas is a Muffin

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As the Fall weather quickly disappears and holiday decorations line store shelves, muffin recipes will still be here to help you through the hectic season. When the cold weather starts to set in and you’re craving a nice cup of hot cocoa, opt for a warm hot chocolate muffin instead! These muffins maintain all of the tasty chocolate flavors, without burning your tongue. As Christmas makes its way around the corner, try a recipe that embraces the season- adapt the same flavors that were used in our eggnog French toast recipe, to make eggnog muffins! These muffins would make a perfect holiday morning snack.

 

While February 20 might be the only national day for muffins, these diverse treats can be made on any day of the year! Head to your local Sparkle Market and find the ingredients you need to make some of these delicious muffins.

Valentines Background concept with happy valentines day greetings card

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching which means that love is in the air, chocolates are filling stores’ shelves, flowers are being sold by the dozen and…groundhogs are preparing to see their shadows? Although not necessarily true anymore, Groundhog Day used to be celebrated on February 14! Here are some more unconventional Valentine’s Day fun facts with corresponding recipes that are sure to get you ready for this season of love.

 

Love Isn’t Cheap

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One thing that most people can agree on is that relationships can be expensive- between birthdays and Christmas you might find yourself spending quite a bit of money to ensure that your significant other has a great day. Not surprisingly, Valentine’s Day is no exception- the average consumer spends $166.21 for February 14. This year, spend a little less by shopping at Sparkle for ingredients that will make the perfect dinner for two. Check out this recipe for a steak and potato dinner that will impress your significant other without breaking the bank.

For more affordable dinner ideas, look at this gallery of romantic recipes.

 

Celebrations Around the World

In the United States, Valentine’s Day might mean buying candy hearts and roses, but other countries celebrate this day in very different ways. When the holiday was first introduced in Japan in 1936, there was a translation error made by a chocolate company that led to only women buying gifts for their significant others. Men in Japan don’t return the favor until “White Day” which is celebrated in March. In the Philippines, mass weddings have become incredibly popular, where hundreds of couples gather on February 14 and get married all at the same time. In Wales, natives don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day in February, but rather in January with the traditional gift being “love spoons” engraved with meaningful patterns and symbols. This year, use some of these unique traditions as inspiration and make an ethnic meal for two! Check out our recipe for coconut fish tacos here.

More ethnic recipes: Thai Cucumber Salad, Chicken Marsala Pasta, Veggie Lo Mein, Chicken Shawarma with Hummus

 

Valentine’s Day isn’t Just for Couples

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While Valentine’s Day might be filled with love and couples, it can also be SAD for some people. SAD, or Singles Awareness Day, is a holiday that is widely celebrated by singles on either February 14 or February 15. For this celebration, single friends get together to either embrace their situation or curse Cupid. But single women need not worry- there are 119 single men in their 20s for every 100 single women of the same age. Whether or not love is in the air, the odds will be in women’s favor this February. If you plan on throwing a SAD celebration this year, consider this recipe for creamy bacon mac and cheese that will satisfy your guests’ stomachs (and hearts).

 

Season of Gift Giving

Although candy is the number one gift given on Valentine’s Day, cards and flowers are very close behind. In fact, about 180 million cards are exchanged annually on February 14 and while men are the primary buyers of flowers, 15% of American women buy themselves flowers on Valentine’s Day. This year, take a break from the usual cards, flowers and chocolates, and instead spoil your sweetheart (or yourself) with a dessert that is sure to make this Valentine’s Day stand out from all of the others. Try our recipe for chocolate truffle stuffed strawberries and red velvet cheesecake brownies.

 

 

Whether single or happily in love, there is a recipe for your Valentine’s Day this year! Use some of our recipes as inspiration before heading to your local Sparkle Market to get all of the fresh ingredients that you need to make this Valentine’s Day (or SAD Day) a success.

Football party

Since 1967, football fans across the United States have gathered to watch and celebrate one of the most popular sporting events of the year- the Super Bowl. Whether your favorite part is the half time show, the commercials or the game itself, one thing is common among all 111.9 million viewers: food is a necessity. As you start to organize your Super Bowl party this year, consider making some of these unique treats that will be sure to keep your guests happy, even if the outcome of the game doesn’t.

Pepperoni Rolls

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Take a break from ordering the usual, expensive large pepperoni and cheese pizza for your party and instead get creative with some pepperoni rolls! With prepared dough, cheese and pepperonis this take on traditional pizza can be made in just thirty minutes, allowing you to watch the game instead of being stuck in the kitchen all night. Crispy on the outside and warm and cheesy on the inside, these pepperoni rolls are sure to be a hit among adults and kids alike.

See how to make pepperoni rolls here.

Garlic Parmesan Wings

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A Super Bowl party isn’t a party until the wings are made. This year, try out this simple, yet flavorful recipe for garlic Parmesan wings. With just the right combination of tang and salt, these wings will make guests wish that your Super Bowl party happened more than once a year.

Check out the recipe here.

Dips

If your friends are the type that like to arrive early, then dips are a hassle-free way to have food made without taking your attention away from your guests. If a cheesy dip sounds good, then try making Sparkle Markets’ Spinach and Roasted Red Pepper Dip. Full of flavorful red peppers and three types of cheese, this dip is sure to be a hit! If rich and creamy isn’t your style, then try making a fresh garden salsa with juicy ripe tomatoes and crisp onions, served with your favorite, salty tortilla chips. This salsa can easily be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge until ready to eat.

For more dip ideas, click here.

Cookie Dough Oreo Brownies

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Whether you’re disappointed in your team or cheering for another touch down, dessert is a party food staple that should not be overlooked. One treat that most people would agree is delicious no matter the occasion, is brownies. But, this year spice up the typical chocolate brownies by adding cookie dough AND Oreo cookies. Sweet and decadent, these brownies are sure to make all of your guests happy.

See how to make cookie dough Oreo brownies here.

This year’s Super Bowl is quickly approaching so don’t wait too long to plan the treats that you’ll be making! Use some of these recipes as inspiration and head to your local Sparkle Market to get all of the fresh ingredients that you need to make this Super Bowl season a success.