Tart Cherry Cheesecake Parfaits

Tart Cherry Cheesecake Parfaits / loveandlemons.com

The other day, I had this intense craving for cheesecake. The timing was a little out of the blue since I eat cheesecake exactly once a year when my mom makes it at christmas time. She makes a family recipe – my Grandma Kissel’s infamous recipe – and no one but her and my Aunt Kathy have it. It’s amazingly creamy and light and perfect and it won’t be getting passed down to me anytime soon.

I wasn’t going to attempt to make sub-par cheesecake to satisfy my craving, so I made a lighter and altogether easier no-bake version.

Tart Cherry Cheesecake Parfaits / loveandlemons.com

I’m not going to exactly call this healthy – but as far as cheesecake goes, it’s definitely a skinnier cousin. It has less overall cheese and less sugar (just a few tablespoons of maple syrup actually). It’s topped with my favorite dessert fruit – tart cherries – which have some major superfood properties. They’re a natural anti-inflammatory as well as a source of melatonin which helps regulate sleep. While this is not a famous family recipe, it’s creamy and delicious. The bright pop of tart cherries are really, well, the cherry on top.

Tart Cherry Cheesecake Parfaits / loveandlemons.comTart Cherry Cheesecake Parfaits / loveandlemons.com

I use coconut cream along with mascarpone cheese, which makes for a light and smooth creamy filling. If you’re vegan, you can double the coconut cream. If you love cheese and want to make this thick and decedent, skip the coconut cream and double the mascarpone cheese.

If you live in an area where you can get Montmorency tart cherries, seek them out – or look for them frozen in your local retailer nationwide. I personally love them frozen because as they thaw their natural juices become a sweet tangy sauce.

Tart Cherry Cheesecake Parfaits / loveandlemons.com

Peach & Tomato Crostini

peach & tomato crostini / @loveandlemons

Lately I’ve been reading all kinds of summer bucket lists that are floating around the internet. I enjoy them – they inspire me to get away from the computer and do fun things like hang out at pools with popsicles. (which I haven’t actually done, but the idea still lifts my spirit).

For me, summer + list-making don’t go hand-in-hand, so I’ll just make one goal and that is to eat ALL of the peaches. I freaking love peaches. Their season is happening here and now in Texas so I’m I making the most of it with things like peach salads, peach salsa, and peach pops, just to name a few…

herb garden pine nut spread/ @loveandlemons

The other day, with my Farmhouse bounty, I made crostini with the sweetest peaches and cherry tomatoes. The basil in my herb garden isn’t doing so well, so traditional pesto wasn’t going to be an option. Instead, I picked some pretty purple sage, oregano, chives (and a couple of sorta-bruised basil leaves) and pulsed them together with pine nuts. It’s almost pesto – I stopped short of adding the olive oil because I liked the taste of it as a chunkier spread.

Assemble the toasts with sliced peaches and cherry tomatoes and serve on a patio with Peach Sangria!

peach & tomato crostini / @loveandlemons

Oyster Mushroom Po’ Boys

Oyster Mushroom Po' Boys / loveandlemons.com

This blog may be mostly healthy, but I have to admit that I enjoy my share of fried foods from time to time. Fried oysters, fried shrimp – I love it all, even if it’s “sometimes food.” That is until now, because these baked oyster mushrooms are every bit as crispy, meaty and delectable as anything fried. They’re easy to make, healthy, and there’s no messy fry oil involved.

I’ll just go ahead and say it – if you make one recipe this summer, make this one. These mushrooms are so delicious stuffed into a soft baguette with a slather of Sir Kensington’s Dijonnaise. The Dijonnaise is bright, tangy and a little spicy which pairs perfectly with the mushrooms.

Oyster Mushroom Po' Boys / loveandlemons.com

I marinated the mushrooms for a short time and then breaded them with a spiced mixture of cornmeal, panko and hemp seeds. The hemp seeds give these a nice crispy bite and they also add a little bit of protein.

Oyster Mushroom Po' Boys / loveandlemons.com

I dipped each mushroom in a flax/water mixture to get the breading to stick. Alternatively, you could use an egg white – I tried both and the flax actually worked (and tasted) better. Which means that these mushrooms, on their own, are vegan… but I promise no one will know because they taste so good.

Oyster Mushroom Po' Boys / loveandlemons.com

Bake the mushrooms until they’re golden brown and crispy then squeeze a little bit of fresh lemon juice on top. Stuff them into sandwiches with tomatoes, pickles, arugula and Dijonnaise and dig in!

Oyster Mushroom Po' Boys / loveandlemons.com

If you’re vegan, I recommend slathering your sandwich with Sir Kensington’s Dijon mustard. (Or mix the dijon with a little vegan mayo to create a creamy sauce). I buy Sir Kensington’s condiments at Whole Foods, but click here to find a store near you that carries their products. I love their all-natural Ketchups and Mayonnaise too.

Oyster Mushroom Po' Boys / loveandlemons.com

zucchini noodles & lemon “ricotta”

Zucchini Noodles & Lemon "Ricotta" / loveandlemons.com

In a few weeks, Jack and I are headed to Rome where we will unapologetically eat gelato and pasta every day. We’ll tell ourselves we’re “walking it off,” and that “walk” will most definitely be on our way to the next meal. Until then, I’m making an effort to lighten things up. Conveniently, zucchini is in season so “zoodles” make for a fun vegetable-focused spin on regular pasta…

Zucchini Noodles & Lemon "Ricotta" / loveandlemons.com

First off – you don’t need to go out and buy a spiralizer to make these. If you’re going to invest in a gadget, I highly recommend the julienne peeler because it’s inexpensive, works great, and is small enough to fit in your utensil drawer. But if you really want curly noodles (and you have an extra shelf to spare), spring for the spiralizer. I have both for no good reason at all.

This recipe is pretty simple – zucchini, tomatoes, and olive oil. I made a lemony sort-of-ricotta out of sunflower seeds and macadamia nuts. It’s delicious to serve on the side and scoop onto the noodles as you like. If you have extra, store it in the fridge over night and slather it on toast the next morning.

Zucchini Noodles & Lemon "Ricotta" / loveandlemons.com

The Berry Best: Berry Recipes

Berry Recipes / loveandlemons.com

Happy 3rd day of summer!! Maybe that was a little over-enthusiastic, but I couldn’t be more excited for this season. I just love the long days, dinners on patios, excuses to eat more gelato, and of course all of the summer produce. Berry season is just about over for us (prepare for a pile of peach recipes!), but first here are some of my berry favorites as well as a few from some of my favorite food bloggers:

Pictured:

Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins  /  Raspberry Polenta Cake
Strawberry Balsamic Crostini  /  Blackberry Lemon Cake

And some more!

Sara’s Strawberry Tabbouleh
Strawberry Quinoa & Feta Salad  
Blackberry & Lemon Zest Crostini
Strawberry Balsamic Jam
from Brooklyn Supper
Frozen Blueberry Margaritas from Cookie & Kate
Healthy Strawberry Rhubarb Hazelnut Muffins from A Couple Cooks
Ginger Berry Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie from Edible Perspective
Fish Tacos with Blueberry Almond Salsa from Gimme Some Oven
Berry Spelt Scones from Fairing Well
Baked Raspberry French Toast from Naturally Ella
Blueberry Buckle with Lemon Glaze from Foodie Crush
Cherry Berry Buttermilk Crumb Cake from How Sweet It Is
Raspberry Ripple Coconut Ice Cream from Minimalist Baker