Archive for ‘Dinner’

February 28, 2013

Homemade Taco $easoning

You know you’re a bad blogger when you forget your username and password at sign in. Add on the fact that WordPress got a whole new look since the last time you logged on? Yeah, I officially feel like sh!t. To be honest, I don’t know where my lovespiration for my little place on the good ol’ interweb has gone lately. I’ll blame my incredible job for draining most of my creative mojo from my noggin’. So why I am I trying to get back into things again after almost three whole months of being out of the blogosphere? For one, I’ve felt guilty. Guilty that friends on LinkedIn have been endorsing my blogging skill. (Hey, thumbs up for that!) Guilty that–my big head is talking here, naturally–I’ve been keeping my favorite peeps in the dark. But more importantly, I feel guilty for feeling guilty, if that makes any sense at all. I miss blabbing about the things I sometimes question people actually read. Let me take a quick moment to thank some encouraging tweets and Facebook messages as of late that have spurred my revival: “@soybeanflan: Whenever I want to eat something terrible I think #WWLCD ‘what would @SprinkledwLove do’ then I’m snapped back into reality” and from a talented artist that I know, “I think you should upload workouts!!! I’ve already done your sexy arm one you posted on insta!!! It’s not everyday that a gal who’s intimidated by weights (me) sees a girl who looks amaze not be intimidated by them and actually know what they’re doing!!!!” You guys…I’m blushing! And yes, I’ll try to do more workout-based posts. They’re in the works!

Holy guacamole!

So with that being said, I’m sick of switching off my brain after leaving the office each day and having a rather unproductive personal life, creatively speaking. I mean, I’ve been finding pleasure (loser alert!) editing my sister’s scholarship essays lately. Like, ew. I have a brand new computer and rarely touch it–instead spending my down time serial watching Netflix and Hulu+. Ahem, I’m almost fully caught up on the first season of Revenge. Come on, though…can you blame me on that? To get back in the swing of things, I’d like to present you with the epic, Oscar-worthy taco salad I chopped up this past Sunday for myself and my main squeeze. After watching a little Guy Fieri on the treadmill and diving into the documentary Hungry For Change (haven’t seen it? Welp, you need to…) I was inspired to create my own taco seasoning. Who needs the sodium-laden, pricy packets from the store when you have all of the ingredients already in your pantry? Get ready to get saucy.

Here’s all you need to spice up your [salad] life:
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon minced onion
Pinch of dried oregano and crushed red pepper flakes
Black pepper and salt to taste

Mix into a pound or so of ground meat or block of tofu, alongside chopped jalapeño, sautéed mushrooms and frozen corn. Add alongside a heap of black beans, cheese, avocado slices, crumbled chips and tomatoes over a bed of greens and holy guacamole, you’re ready for a healthy foodie fiesta! Hint: fresh cilantro. Just do it.
Do you make your own seasonings and dressings?

Sprinkled with Love[ly, taco spices],
Lauren

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November 26, 2012

Trottin’ Like Turkeys

I didn’t really know what to expect this Thanksgiving but after my conductor gobbled at EVERY stop on my train ride back to Connecticut, I had a good feeling. (No, I was not able to nap because of his outlandish noises but I give the guy credit for being all festive I guess.) After years of putting on the hoopla for my grandmother and uncle’s sake, my parents, sister and I didn’t really know what to make of the holiday without them. We originally planned on going north to Vermont, avoiding tradition altogether, when our good friends–or should I just call them family at this point–invited us to join them for dinner. It was pretty perfect and after my dad being sick and all, it was nice to not have the added stress the holiday can present. Plus, since we stayed local, I was able to run in the annual Turkey Trot with my favorite running pal! Doesn’t get much better than that. 

With my half so close (one week from today…ahhhh!) and Mandi training for one, as well, we decided to turn the five mile race into 10. You know those crazy people running to the race? That was us. Surprisingly enough, it was a great idea. It felt good to get such a nice warm-up in before getting our Turkey Trot on and as Mandi put it, pushing through the last five with so many people around kept us moving toward that finish line. I mean, everyone from our towns were there, we didn’t want to embarrass ourselves after all. All of that running lent for a guilt-free Thanksgiving, which was two plates full of turkey, slaw and roasted veggies for me! My simple, seasonal broccoli slaw salad was awesome, if I do say so myself (recipe below). The perfect crunch to pair with the whole turkey and mashed potato bit with a sweet tang from chopped apple chunks and the occasional dried cranberry…I may have singlehandedly ate half of that bowl. 

Ingredients
12-ounce package of broccoli slaw
1 Granny Smith apple, chopped
1 carrot, shredded
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Stevia packet
Salt and pepper, to taste

Since my family loves leftovers–who doesn’t!–we ended up making our own bird and a few favorite side dishes the following night. It was weird not having Mike around to devour a plate or two of grub with me. The man I’m most thankful for couldn’t celebrate this year because of work (stupid football!) but don’t you worry, I brought him back a huge container of his favorite Thanksgiving things to show him how grateful I am to have him. I mean, come on, no Thanksgiving? That’s just plain wrong and he deserved some turkey. As you can see, the slaw made another appearance. You know a recipe is good when you make it two days in a row. Oh and in my opinion, avocado trumps gravy any day. Yum!

I have so much to be thankful for this year although, as you know, it’s been a bit of a crazy one. It was a bit strange not having Grandma Ginger and Uncle Ricky across from me Thursday night, but as I toasted to all that I am thankful for and clinked my wine glass with my dad, I couldn’t help but focus on the positive. I’m living in arguably the best city on Earth with the guy I fell in love with when I was 17-years-old. I have a dream of a job that I look forward to every single day. I am surrounded by the most incredible, supportive friends and family anyone could ask for. After quite the scare, my dad is well and even starting to run again. I cannot wait to jog alongside him as I compete in my second half marathon. Let the carboloading begin!
What dish did you contribute to your Thanksgiving dinner?

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

November 18, 2012

Another Chili Recipe…With a Pumpkin Twist

There’s nothing better than a big bowl of chili to accompany football watching (/noshing) on a cold Sunday afternoon. Hearty, delicious and beyond easy to make. One batch, dinner for a week. Or if you live with two boys, like me, a meal and a half total. Tops. Let’s just say Mike isn’t shy when it comes to seconds or thirds of this stuff and I don’t blame him. Although I’m a fan of old-fashioned chili, I wanted to add a little pizazz to the norm so experimented with pumpkin. I couldn’t help but think–or should I say dream–of this warm concoction during my Tough Mudder a few weeks back so after completing all of those obstacles, I tackled this kitchen feat. It hit the spot. I was cold and knew a hefty serving of spicy goodness would do me well, heating me up from the inside out and lending a hand in my recovery. Protein, check. Carbs, check. Veggie-packed sweetness with a kick of jalapeño…check, check and check. Adding pumpkin for depth and texture was a fabulous idea, if I do say so myself. Watch out, healthy chili recipes! This one will knock your socks off.

Ingredients
1 small yellow onion
2 green bell peppers
1 small jalapeño
2 Roma tomatoes
1.5 pounds ground turkey
28 oz. can of tomato purée
15 oz. can of pumpkin purée
1 cup dried black beans (soaked and cooked)
1 large garlic clove
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup water
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash of cinnamon and cayenne pepper
Sliced avocado to top, duh.

In a large pot, heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil over medium heat. Chop up and toss the onion, bell peppers, jalapeño, tomatoes and garlic into the pot. Stir until the onion is cooked through before mixing in the turkey. Once the turkey is browned, add pumpkin, tomato purée and water. Bring to a boil, combining beans, corn and spices. Simmer for 15-30 minutes and serve. Yep, it’s that simple. Want to add in other veggies? Go for it! Remember this recipe? I like chili. Can you tell? Warning: leftovers are just plain amazing.
What’s your twist on the traditional chili recipe?

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

September 11, 2012

Southwestern Shredded Chicken Salad

I’ve been embracing my domestic side, as you may of noticed. Last week, I was craving a Southwestern-style chopped salad for dinner and threw together this flavorful meal in no time at all. Not only did it satisfy my taste buds’ yearning for something spicy, it also filled me and Mike up with two meals-worth remaining for leftovers! Talk about a two-for-one deal, or should I say two-for-two? I don’t know what was better, the look on Mike’s face when he came home from a long day of work with this meal set up on our balcony (with a side of cut up watermelon–our favorite!) or having this protein-packed bagged lunch the following two days. I’ll settle for a tie.

Ingredients
1/2 jalapeño
1 plump tomato
1 large carrot
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 red bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced onion flakes
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of dry black beans, soaked
3/4 lb of chicken cutlets
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Dash of cayenne pepper and paprika
Coconut oil to cook the chicken and drizzle over salad
Ground pepper, sea salt (or liquid aminos/nooch!) to taste

To start off, let me explain my reasoning for the dried black beans. They are cheap. Plus, by refraining from the easy, peasy canned version, you save yourself from all that added sodium. I also think they taste BETTER, more organic and natural! Simply follow the instructions and prep them in big batches to add a punch of protein to your favorite soups, salads, etc. (Get ready because on my post-grad, newly-employed-but-still-relying-on-my-parents-to-be-fed budget this whole “affordable” theme will remain consistent on da blog…embrace it.)

Back to the recipe. I started by cooking the chicken breasts in a coconut oiled pan and one clove of minced garlic.Would it have tasted better and more flavorful if I had marinated the chicken? Obviously but who has time for that? Not me that night but in my defense, the coconut oil and garlic worked swimmingly with the cilantro and spiciness later on. Ok I’m getting ahead of myself…

While the chicken is cooking, shred your carrot, chop up the cilantro, garlic and jalapeño and dice the red pepper and tomato. Drain the beans and combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. When the chicken is done, shred it with your hands and add in the spices–cumin, minced onion, cayenne pepper for more heat, salt/pepper, etc. I then drizzled a little extra coconut oil, alongside the apple cider vinegar (both have amazing nutritional benefits!) over the salad before chilling in the fridge/serving. 

This photo kills me. Sometimes a photo really is worth a thousand words! Mike was hungry so getting him to sit still and look at the camera for all of five seconds was no easy feat. I also reminded him to chew his food, not inhale it…ahem, twice. I feel like I’m talking about a toddler. I swear he is 24-years-old, not four.

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

September 1, 2012

Productivity and Ex-Roomies

Yesterday was quite productive. Don’t you just love that? I even slept in! By noon, our entire apartment was scrubbed, vacuumed and organized. Two loads of laundry were washed, dried and put away. I even squeezed in a sweatastic workout DVD. Seriously, I was dripping. What a great way to start off my 4-day holiday weekend! Now, you may have just noticed the whole “our apartment” thing. Well, I have an exciting announcement. Mike and his roommate decided to resign their lease for another year. The best part of the deal? I was invited to stay. And so cohabitation begins! I think they just like the fact that I cook and clean…well, whatever I love the location, building and the company I’ll be sharing it with. Plus, the fact that Mike and I will be splitting rent isn’t too shabby. Next project: redecorating.

 

After making a refreshing post-workout spinach and banana smoothie bowl, I got ready and headed out to meet my gal pal, Amy, for a much-needed girlfriend afternoon. We got mani/pedis in between my place (ahhh! sorry, it’s so weird to be able to officially say that now!) and her work. My toesies are still a sad sight to see without two nails–uh thanks, running–but the Essie’s Smokin’ Hot on my fingers make me so happy. The color is a rich, glam gray, reminding me of mink. It might be my new favorite fall hue. The photo doesn’t even begin do it justice!

After getting pampered and caught up (neither of us read a single page of the magazines we pulled to indulge in during our pedis…), I decided to introduce Amy to the love of my life: the nearby market I cannot stop blabbering about. She was in shock. The Park Slopean–did I just make that up? Possibly.–even bought some items to schlep home with her! Our dinner purchases included three zucchinis, a bunch of Brussels sprouts, four large beets, an eggplant, four lemons, plus a few other items we needed for our own refrigerators. We then went next door to get salmon. Grand total for a dinner party of four? Roughly $25. Unreal, right?

 

We were too hungry to do anything special, seasoning-wise so simply baked the Brussels sprouts and fish while grilling the veggies. Fresh ingredients, appreciated for each of their individual flavors and topped with a squeeze of lemon? Now that’s what I call a delicious, nutritious dinner…on a budget! I giggled when Amy asked if I had nooch or liquid aminos, both in which I recently introduced her to have become staples in her eating. It was great hangin’ with my old roommates, who lived with me and G in 143 three years ago now. With Em settling in her new apartment yesterday/today and my news of officially moving in, it was fun to see how far we have come since our days in Storrs, CT. Although I’ll be living with two guys for a year, it’s reassuring to know I have such amazing, close friends here with similar values…most of which include great eats! The best part of the whole night? Our decision to make this a monthly tradition, taking turns hosting and meal prepping. Like.
Did you have a productive start to your Labor Day weekend?

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

July 6, 2012

Summer Quinoa Salad with Jicama and Black Eyed Peas

Happy belated 4th of July! I had all intentions of posting this last night, however Mike and I decided to go see Ted instead. Oops! If it’s any consolation, the movie was hilarious. Anyway, I hope you stuffed yourself with borderline too much grilled cuisine, sported lots of red, white and blue and, of course, enjoyed some good fireworks to celebrate our great country’s birthday. I certainly did, with the exception that I wore pink instead of red (I can honestly day I do not own a single article of clothing that is red…not a fan) and my town firework show was nothing to write home about. Regardless, it was still a relaxing cheat day for me—the annual parade took priority over gym time—and I lent a hand with some of the tasty, healthy cuisine at my family party. Shrimp kabobs, guacamole and a summer quinoa salad to name a few. 

Ingredients
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 red bell pepper
1 large tomato
1/2 of a jicama
1 can of black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1/2 loosely packed cup of basil
Juice of one lemon
Drizzle of olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegarCayenne pepper, black pepper and sea salt to taste

I love making different renditions of a light, cold quinoa dish for summer parties (remember my grad party?). It’s a versatile side that pairs wonderfully with burgers, grilled veggies and the like, but also tastes great on top of a bed of greens as leftovers. After snagging a jicama the other day at Whole Foods, I wanted to let the sweet crispness shine and think this salad allowed just that. Start by cooking the quinoa, following the directions on the box. Typically you bring two cups of water to a boil, add in the cup of quinoa, reduce the heat and cover until the water is fully absorbed. While that is cooking, get started on chopping the tomato, bell pepper, jicama and basil. Combine in a large bowl. Open a can of black eyed peas, thoroughly rinse and drain before adding them to the veggies. Once the quinoa is done and cooled, add that to the mix.

Now for the dressing. Squeeze the juice from one lemon (add a little zest, too, while you’re at it), drizzle a little olive oil, alongside the red wine vinegar, over the salad. Mix thoroughly. Season with salt, cayenne and cracked black pepper. Cover and chill before serving. Clean, light and refreshing, yet filling. Perfect for a hot summer day! This may be my new go-to beach food.
What was your favorite 4th of July dish? 

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

July 3, 2012

Cauliflower-Crusted White Pizza

Long before I made the decision to go gluten-free, I came across a cauliflower pizza crust recipe. I was intrigued, loving the idea of a thin, crispy crust without the carbs or guilt and I, of course, pinned it right away for future reference. Earlier this summer, I finally got around to tackling the recipe with my foodie/fitness side-kick, Amanda, and let me tell you, it was out of this world. We made it dairy-free with a “white sauce” (a variation seen here) out of cannellini beans, roasted tomatoes, garlic and fresh herbs. Then, to amp up the veggie content/overall “wow” factor, we topped it with sweet caramelized onions and thinly sliced eggplant.

Crust Ingredients
(Inspired by Eat. Drink. Smile.)
2 cups cooked, riced cauliflower
2 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Crushed red pepper and a pinch of salt

To start, shred roughly half a large head of cauliflower by cutting the florets into large chunks and pulsing in a food processor. Don’t over pulse or it will end up pureed! Transfer the riced cauliflower into a microwave-safe bowl and pop it in the microwave for 8 minutes or so. While that’s cooking, spray a large cookie sheet or pizza pan with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 450°F. We used a Silpat, one of my new favorite kitchen accessories, so there was no grease necessary or mess to clean up! If you’re a roasting fiend like me, you need one!

Allow the cauliflower meal to cool before combining with the egg and spices. If you feel inclined, you may add your favorite shredded cheese but because of my sensitivity, we skipped out on the dairy. Once the mixture is ready, spread it evenly on your pan into your desired shape. Lightly spray the crust before baking so it will get crispy and place in the oven for about 15 minutes.

When the crust is golden brown, remove it from the oven and get creative with your toppings! Our roasted eggplant disks with caramelized onions and bean paste was two thumbs up but I would love to experiment next time. And there will be a next time, trust me. What about a Mexican twist with a homemade, chunky salsa, corn, black beans, roasted hot peppers and ground turkey? Or how does a wilted arugula salad-topped pizza sound with a balsamic reduction? I’m curious if I could easily make a gluten-free pie crust out of this concept. Mmm…this will not be the last time you see a cauliflower-crusted pizza recipe up here. Return the pizza to the oven under a broiler for 5 minutes (or less if you’re not cheese). Time to dig in. No need to keep track of how many slices you eat here! PS: This recipe could easily be used to make pizza popper appetizers! How cute and bikini-conscious of a host are you?
Have you ever made cauliflower crust? Thoughts?

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

June 27, 2012

Cannellini Bean “White Sauce”

Guess what just happened? Something big. HUGE. Something my dad and I have been talking about for years now. On December 2, I will be participating in the Strip at Night Half Marathon! We officially signed up (and payed the pricy fee…) over breakfast this morning. I cannot be more excited. With the start outside of Mandalay Bay, finish at The Mirage and live bands rocking out alongside the entire course, could there be anything more exciting? Oh yeah, I should also mention people getting hitched mid-race, the plethora of running Elvises on top of the usual strip chaos and the fact that it will be just 14 days before I turn 23. Woah. I’m giddy to have another goal to work toward. And, I mean, come on, Vegas? I feel like a screaming teenybopper watching a Justin Bieber concert. My dad’s commitment, after all he’s recently been through, is so inspiring. Although he doesn’t think he’ll be able to complete the full 13.1 (he’s done this Vegas race twice before), just running the first few miles side-by-side with him will make me happy.   

Moving on. Last night I waited for Amanda to get out of work and headed to the gym so we could complete a quick arm circuit together. She then surprised my family with a wonderful meal of ground turkey stuffed peppers and a chickpea salad. Isn’t that just the sweetest? I hope to snag her recipes to share with you all soon. In the meantime, however, I wanted to give you a peak at my cannellini bean “white sauce.” Amanda and I put together a similar sauce a few weeks back for our cauliflower crust so I wanted to give you the recipe before I post our pizza. It’s a cinch. In a food processor simply pulse together (to your desired consistency) a can of cannellini beans, 1/2 cup fresh basil, 1/2 cup fresh parsley, 2 roasted garlic cloves, a small roasted tomato and a tablespoon of olive oil. Season with a little salt and pepper. DONE. How easy is that? I cooked up a spaghetti squash the other night for dinner, mixed in some of the “white sauce” and topped it with some roasted asparagus, as well as a sprinkle of nooch. It was glorious. I put the leftover sauce in the fridge, which has created a delightful hummus-like veggie dipper. What a pleasant surprise.
Do you have a dream race you’ve been wanting to complete?

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

June 14, 2012

Salmon Black Bean Burger

Canned salmon has become one of my favorite protein sources. I often add it to a big bed of greens, make cold salmon salad with a spoonful of hummus, chopped celery and green onion (perfect on top of crackers and cucumber boats!) or sometimes even eat it as is with a drizzle of apple cider vinegar and a squeeze of lemon. It may seem strange but all I could think about after making pesto the other day was a burger of some sort (i.e. veggie or turkey), envisioning a generous dollop of the herb-aliciousness on top. So that’s precisely what I decided to make, naturally experimenting with a new creation. A black bean burger has been something I’ve wanted to tackle for some time now, however after a successful  weight training and ab sesh at the gym in the morning, I wanted more of a protein boost so turned to the last can of salmon in my pantry. What happened from there was tremendous. Let’s just say I gave myself a huge pat on the back after eating every last bite.

Ingredients
(Yields 2 patties)
5 oz. can of skinless & boneless pink salmon
1/3 cup black beans, slightly mashed
1 tablespoon chia/3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon onion, chopped
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
Juice from 1/4 lemon
Cayenne pepper (I used 1/2 teaspoon for a kick!) and salt to taste 

Start by combining the chia and water. Let this sit for 10-15 minutes, allowing it to form into a gel. In the meantime, chop up the onion and open/drain the cans of salmon and black beans. Be sure to rinse the beans before using a fork to mash them into a chunky consistency.

Once the chia is ready, mix together all the ingredients and form into two patties. Place the burgers in a olive oil-coated skillet or pan over medium heat. Cook until each side is lightly browned. I kept mine more cake-like but if you like it crispy, smoosh ’em down so they are thin and keep on cookin’!

So there you have it! Eggless, gluten and guilt-free burgers! Not your traditional recipe but healthy and divine. Like most things I create, this “salmon cake” concept can be altered easily. No flaxseed meal? Breadcrumbs or ground oats can be used. An egg can substitute the chia gel, too. Want more veggies in there? I bet chopped spinach or grated carrot would be fabulous, alongside fresh herbs. I might even try using a variety of beans and some portobello mushrooms next time. GO WILD! With a generous slather of pesto and a few slices creamy avocado, this burger was a great addition to my barbecue repertoire. That’s for sure!
Any fun, untraditional burger recipes to share? 

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

June 12, 2012

Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free Pesto

When my sister and I came across lush basil plants last Friday at our town’s farmers’ market, we couldn’t help ourselves and brought one home as a “gift” to my mom. A gift that we certainly will be reaping the benefits of. Basil, in my opinion, is the flavor of summer. My family always has one planted in a big ceramic pot on our sun-soaking deck so I can enjoy it finely chopped on top of watermelon, in my water with freshly squeezed lemon and, most importantly, in pesto. Pesto is a staple in my house this time of year and the taste of family barbecues, pool parties and beach picnics. This summer will be a bit different, however, as I have taken such huge strides in cleaning up my diet. Being gluten-free and cutting back on all dairy (except Chobani…it surprisingly doesn’t have an affect on my stomach like cheese or other milk products), the typical pesto pasta salads I used to indulge in will no longer be much of an option. So that’s why I decided to take matters into my own hands yesterday. Since my wallet hates pine nuts, as does my friend Amy, I embraced the lower price tag, texture and health benefits of walnuts.

Ingredients
(Inspired by Gluten-Free Goddess)
2 cups loosely packed basil
1/2 cup walnuts
2 cloves fresh garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Lemon juice, sea salt and pepper to taste

Ready? This is easy. Like really easy. Start by washing and removing any stems from the basil. In a food processor, combine basil with the walnuts and garlic, pulsing until fully chopped. Slowly add in the extra virgin olive oil and process. I left mine kind of chunky but for more of a thin, spreadable paste, add more extra virgin olive oil and continue to process. Season with sea salt, a little pepper and hint of lemon, if desired. Cover and chill before serving.

Pesto is simple and extremely versatile. You can throw in virtually any herbs to put your own twist on the recipe and serve it over grains, greens, legumes, burgers, fish, baked potatoes, etc. for a fresh, seasonal dish in just seconds.  Now that I have figured out that pesto can taste great without the cheese and pine nuts, I cannot wait to start experimenting more! Maybe a coconut oil version? Or how about throwing some cannelli beans in there for a hummus-like consistency? Hm…glad my creative chef hat is back on!
What is your summer staple? 

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren