Posts by Lauren Brennan

Lauren Brennan

Strawberry Pavlova with Mint

Growing up I hated strawberries with a passion. I have no idea why. Actually, most fruit {with the exception of bananas} was on my “do not eat” list. Then after I got married, had a baby and couldn’t eat chocolate or dairy, I became a little more open to fruit. {My little one had a sensitive tummy.} I started trying apples, cantaloupe and pineapple. I eventually expanded my horizons to *gasp* berries and loved them! Shocking, I know.

Since then, strawberries have always been at the top of my shopping list, especially in the summertime! Strawberries are so incredibly sweet and juicy when they’re in season. When I saw a recipe for this Strawberry Pavlova with Mint in the newest Better Homes and Garden cookbook Fresh, I knew I had to make it.

Pavlova is a pillow of baked meringue, topped with whipped cream and fruit. If you’ve never had pavlova before, you’re really missing out on something delicious not to mention really simple!

This specific recipe calls for homemade sweetened meringue that is baked and topped with lightly whipped cream and creme fraiche.

Finish it off with lots of strawberries and mint and that is one gorgeous, light summer treat.

Get the recipe here or buy yourself a copy of the book Fresh for this recipe and lots of other amazing, produce-heavy treats. Enjoy!


Lauren Brennan

Cherry-Almond Vanilla Mini Cupcakes

Sometimes you just need a sweet treat! My four year old caught me browsing bhg.com for dessert recipes and one look that these Cherry-Almond Vanilla Cupcakes and she was a goner! At that point, I knew I had these in my future so I made an afternoon of it! I baked these up with my daughter and turned them into mini cupcakes. We actually made these to eat as part of a little tea party! Since the weather in my neck of the woods is gorgeous, I thought it only fitting to eat these out in the garden.

Whether you’re a Mom with a little girl you’re trying to please or just have a big sweet tooth, these cupcakes will not disappoint! Cute, sweet and really easy to make! Here’s how you do it:

Cream some butter and sugar together, and then add in some vanilla extract,

almond extract,

and egg whites. You use only the whites because stirring in the yolk would discolor the batter.

Once that’s all stirred in, alternate adding in your dry ingredients {flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt} with your wet ingredients {buttermilk, maraschino cherry juice} until you have a smooth light pink batter.

Spoon this into prepared mini muffin tins and bake!

These were done in my convection oven after 12 minutes.

While the cakes are cooling, whip some butter, powdered sugar, maraschino cherry juice, almond extract and milk together to create your frosting. Spread or pipe this onto your mini cupcakes and top with a cherry!

How cute are these little guys? Almost too cute to eat…almost!

If you’d like to make these, be sure to print the recipe here. Your friends and family will thank you!


Lauren Brennan

Creamy Chocolate Pudding

Nothing is more satisfying that a bowl of pudding. Especially chocolate. There’s just something about it that takes me back to my childhood and brings a smile to my face. I just love the stuff.

Well, this week I decided to focus on avocados because they are popping up everywhere and in everything…including this Creamy Chocolate Pudding!

I know what you’re thinking–avocados and chocolate? Are you serious?

Yes, I’m serious! And no you don’t have to be scared! This is actually a yummy recipe and just looking at it, you’d never know that avocados were in this pudding!

Intrigued? Just as I suspected…

 This recipe requires only a few ingredients that you probably have in your pantry plus no cooking is involved. I had this done in 5 minutes flat. Not too shabby for a chocolatey dessert!

So, all you do is throw some almond milk, vanilla, avocados, honey and cocoa powder into a blender. The recipe called for agave nectar but I didn’t have any so honey made a good substitution. You’re going to want to make sure your avocados are ripe and mashable! That will ensure your pudding gets completely smooth.

So, once all your ingredients are in the blender, just add the lid and let ‘er rip! A few seconds later, you’ve got a healthy {and vegan} chocolate pudding!

If you’d like to make this pudding at home, check out the recipe here and get it printed! Enjoy!


Lauren Brennan

Avocado and Asparagus Egg Sandwiches

Nothing screams Spring quite like bright green veggies! Recently, I’ve been really digging asparagus probably because it’s so easy to cook and my entire family loves it. Yes, even my 4 year old loves it! She calls is ‘sparagus’. She also calls avocados ‘ha-do-ca-dos’. We have fun little cooking and grammar lessons all at the same time.

I’m all about education and multi-tasking.

Except not really.

Anyways, after searching BHG.com, I found this amazing recipe for Avocado and Asparagus Egg Sandwiches. Pretty healthy, totally delicious and really easy to throw together! Plus I had all the ingredients on hand. That is a recipe meant to be.

Here’s how you make them:

Start by snapping the bottoms of your asparagus off. The ends are woody and aren’t that fun to eat. I also sliced mine down the center because the asparagus at the grocery store were particularly large and in charge.

Once you have your asparagus in a shallow dish, cover them with boiling water and set aside. After about 10 minutes they should be crisp-tender and bright green. Drain.

While the asparagus is doing it’s thing, cook up some bacon,

fry a few eggs,

and mash a ripe avocado with a little lemon juice.

To the avocado, chop up a few pieces of the barely cooked asparagus and stir. Once this is all done, you can assemble your sandwiches!

 First, spread a healthy layer of the avocado mixture onto some toasty bread, then top with more asparagus, cooked bacon and a fried egg. Serve warm and enjoy!

We loved this recipe and the combination of bacon and avocado with the asparagus was amazing!!

If you want to try this recipe out, check out the printable right here.


Lauren Brennan

Springtime Petits Fours

As some of you may know {or not} I am hugely pregnant with a little boy! Things are getting all round up in here, let me tell you. Something else you may or may not know about me: I’m addicted to mini food. Everything is so much cuter small! So, in honor to my addiction and pending baby bump, I decided to make some cute little Springtime Petits Fours that would be perfect for a spring tea party or baby shower! Here’s how you make them:

Start by defrosting one of those store bought pound cakes. You know the ones I’m talking about! Once it’s ready to cut, slice it into 1-inch cubes and cut those cubes in half again to make these 1/2-inch slices. The recipe says to stack these 3 high, but I just did two.

Now you can fill these little baby cakes with any sort of filling your little heart desires. Jam, nutella or lemon curd {which is what I used}.

Once your cakes are filled, make the glaze/coating to go over these Petits Fours. Basically, this is just powdered sugar, milk, lemon flavoring and blue food coloring. Feel free to switch up the flavorings and colors. Strawberry flavoring with pink food coloring would be extra cute for a little girl baby shower! Or color it yellow for a spring-themed dinner party.

Spoon the glaze over each individual cake and top with decorations. After 20 minutes or so the glaze should be set and you can get these on your table! OR, make these in advance and store them in airtight containers until your party. The coating on these will keep the cake inside really moist, so it’s a perfect make ahead treat!

If you’d like to try to make these, check out the written BHG recipe here.

Categories: Let's Party | Tags: , , ,
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Lauren Brennan

Browned Butter Frosting + How to Brown Butter

For those of you who have never attempted to brown butter or make anything with browned butter, let me be the first to tell you that you are missing out! Something magical happens when you let butter get all golden and fragrant! And the best part is you only need butter!

So, here’s how you do it. Grab a stick of butter and place it in a small saucepan over low heat. Once it’s completely melted, swirl the pan every 30 seconds or so and let it slowly brown. After a few minutes of babysitting, you’ll notice the milk solids start to brown up and then voila! It’s done! Try not to let it sit on the stove top unattended because it only takes a few seconds from going to perfect to burnt. And burnt butter is not quite the flavor profile we’re going for. Read more

Categories: Better Cook | Tags: , ,
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