Sparkling Paloma Cocktails

Sparkling Paloma Cocktails

Happy (almost) new year and also – happy citrus season! If you were thinking “hmm… maybe margaritas for new years eve this year?” then you’ve come to the right place. Well almost.

I originally planned to make a version of my go-to pomegranate cocktail when these sweet ruby red grapefruits showed up in my Farmhouse box last week. It was a lovely surprise because, well, I’ve been over-doing it on the pomegranates lately and I love the idea of a pink drink instead. While Jack is not a fan of grapefruit in general, he loves palomas which are essentially grapefruit margaritas.

This is a slightly lighter take on the traditional recipe – I use agave nectar instead of simple syrup, and add a few splashes of sparkling water to make these bright and bubbly.

We usually drink these in the summertime, but citrus is at its best right now around here so we broke out the tequila and the tortilla chips anyway!

Sparkling Paloma Cocktails

Apple Mimosas & Butternut Baked Eggs

Apple Mimosas & Butternut Baked Eggs / loveandlemons.com

Thanksgiving has become an odd holiday for us. During the first years that Jack and I were together, we traveled to visit family for every single holiday. It took us awhile to realize that Thanksgiving weekend air travel is the worst of them all. So now we have a tradition of staying home with no real tradition. One year we stayed in and made risotto. the year after that we had a friends-giving (before they were called that). Last year, we stayed home and worked (we were just beginning the book).

Apple Mimosas & Butternut Baked Eggs / loveandlemons.com

This year we’re going to gather with friends over a fun & easy-going brunch that doesn’t need any sort of title. What it does need are apple mimosas made with Barefoot Bubbly. For the main course I’m making butternut squash baked eggs. These are easy recipes that are always delicious, hard to mess up, and can be easily scaled to serve a group.

Apple Mimosas & Butternut Baked Eggs / loveandlemons.com

This is my fall spin on a frittata – made with butternut squash, leeks and fall herbs.

Apple Mimosas & Butternut Baked Eggs / loveandlemons.com

These mimosas have 3 basic ingredients – orange juice, apple juice & champagne – plus apple slices, cinnamon sticks and star anise for garnish.

Apple Mimosas & Butternut Baked Eggs / loveandlemons.com

Cheers!

Spicy Jalapeño Margaritas

Jalapeño Margaritas / @loveandlemons

Happy Friday!

We’re getting the weekend started a little early today with my favorite late summer drink. It’s been nearly 100 degrees around here lately – and to that I say, let’s make it hotter! Bring on the jalapeños…

Jalapeño Margaritas / @loveandlemons

My #1 rule of margaritas is to never use margarita mix. Fresh limes are a must. My #2 rule: mess with this recipe and make it your own. Adjust the ratios to make your margaritas as sweet, sour and/or spicy as you like. (I always like mine on the tart & spicy side). Double the recipe if you’re having friends over.

These are best served with salsa and tortilla chips… which are best served in this gorgeous platter from Crate & Barrel, who so kindly provided us with the serving pieces & glassware for this post. Check out the full story we created for the Crate & Barrel blog along with some healthy tailgating recipes!

Holiday Cocktail & Cookie Swap

Holiday Cookie Swap / Love & Lemons + Crate & Barrel Cookies & Cocktails w/ Holiday Drinkware

For as long as I can remember, my family’s Christmas season officially started with cookies. Before we were even tall enough to reach the countertop, my mom would pull over kitchen chairs so my sister and I could “help” out and get our hands in the flour. She would get out the baking sheets, the ingredients, and the flour-dusted recipes that were reserved only for the holiday season. We’d bake batch after batch after batch, eating more cookie dough than actual cookies.

This year, to kick off our holiday season, I created a little cookie & cocktail party taking inspiration from my family cookie memories. And we’ve partnered with Crate and Barrel to share a few cocktail and cookie recipe ideas and tips to create a sweet gathering of your own.

pictured above: Hatch Rocks & Shot Glasses, Snowflake Coasters

Holiday Cookie Swap / www.loveandlemons.com

Create your Cookie Swap: 

After a quick google search, I’ve learned that some people have some pretty serious Cookie Swap rules. I personally don’t think rules and parties go together so here are just some of my tips to help get you started:

– Invite some friends who have a big sweet tooth. There’s no calorie counting at this party! The more people you invite, the more cookie varieties you’ll have.

– Ask each person to bring one batch (about 2 dozen) homemade cookies and a tin or storage container to take cookies home in.

 – Make a fun & festive cocktail but I like to keep it simple. I made a Blood Orange and Bourbon Cocktail with a sprig of rosemary.

– Set up platters for guests to place their cookies so everyone can share cookies and swap recipes.

pictured above: Nesting Mixing Bowl, Stainless Steel Measuring Cup, Mini Silicone Spatula-Spoon Set

Holiday Cookie Swap / www.loveandlemons.com

The Cookies:

My mom and I spent an afternoon baking some of our family favorites: this Spritz cookie is my family’s signature cookie. It’s a light buttery cookie flavored with sweet almond extract. Create fun shapes using a Cookie Press – the poinsettia flower shape was always our favorite. We also made vegan sugar cookies, pistachio truffles (which are also vegan), and pecan turtle bars.

pictured above & below: Round Storage Bowl SetBoxed 6” Appetizer Plates, Lumi Batik Cocktail NapkinsJingle Cookies for Santa Platter

Cookie Swap Holiday Decor / Love & Lemons + Crate & Barrel

And don’t forget some cookies for the dogs – ours are always looking for handouts!

Peppermint Bark Dog Treats / loveandlemons.com
pictured:
 Peppermint Bark Dog Treats

Apple Zinger Tea-Tails

Apple Zinger Tea-tails / @loveandlemons

Last week I had the opportunity to go on a super fun trip to Boulder Colorado to visit the headquarters of Celestial Seasonings. I’ve been drinking their tea for years so it was fun to learn more about the process of making tea and meet the wonderful people behind the brand. The trip started with the warmest welcome (the employees greeted us outside, cheering and holding signs with each of our blog names on them!).

Celestial Tea Tour Celestial Tea Tour

I drank about a million cups of tea (Sweet Harvest Pumpkin is totally my new favorite). After that, my highlights of the visit were: listening to Kay Wright (the Director of Botanicals Purchasing) talk about her travels sourcing all of the various herbs, touring the facility (in stylish Tyvek suits & blue hairnets), and tasting (more tea) with Charlie Baden, the Senior Blendmaster.

I found Charlie’s job so fascinating. Even though Celestial is a fairly large company, blending the tea isn’t an exact science. Depending on seasons, regions, and other growing variables, individual ingredients taste different every time (cherries can be more tart, hibiscus can be more or less bitter, etc…)” so he personally tastes and adjusts each blend in order to make sure every box of tea tastes consistent. “The zingers have to zing,” he says.

Celestial Tea Tour These are some of my favorite tea facts:

– Black tea, green tea, and white tea are all made from the same plant: Camellia Sinensis. It’s a white-flowered evergreen bush native to China and India.

– The difference? Black tea leaves are allowed to oxidize which causes the leaves to darken and bring out a full-bodied flavor. Green tea leaves are steamed immediately after they’re picked so the leaves don’t oxidize (which is why green tea is more mild in flavor). White tea comes from only the first few tender leaves and new buds and it has the most delicate (slightly sweet) flavor. Herbal teas (unless they’re blended with tea leaves), are not actual tea.

– Celestial Seasonings was the first to bring green tea to the mainstream US market in 1995. They began mixing it with white tea in order to make a smoother tasting green tea.

– Independent artists & illustrators are commissioned to create all of the artwork for the tea boxes. (I actually used to save mine and store my art supplies in them)

– The ingredients in Celestial Seasonings Teas come from all over the world, but the teas are blended in Boulder. Many ingredient suppliers have been part of the Celestial family for more than 30 years.

– Celestial Tea bags don’t have strings, tags or individual wrappers which saves 3.5 million pounds of waste from entering landfills each year.

– The Celestial Tea Tour is open to the public and is Boulder’s #1 tourist attraction!

Tea Tips:

– Use filtered or distilled water. (the water you use affects your tea’s taste).

– Don’t over-boil your water for green tea. Bring it just barely to a boil, and remove the tea bag after 3-5 minutes or your green tea will become bitter.

– Watch the clock, not the color. 3-5 minutes for green & black teas, 4-6 minutes for herb teas, 6 minutes for wellness teas.

– It’s ok to squeeze the bag to get the most flavor from your tea.

Celestial Tea Tour, Boulder Colorado

After the tour, I had just a few minutes to stroll around Boulder before we headed to The Kitchen, for a tea-inspired meal. Some of my favorite dishes were: a beet & hazelnut salad with orange tangerine tea dressing, chai roasted squash with wheat berries, and for dessert: rooibos tea sorbet.

I can’t wait to recreate some of the dishes myself. But for now – a tea-tail recipe! Before we left Celestial, they served these cocktails (and some others) for happy hour. This recipe is by Conor McDermott, from Salt who recently won Boulder’s Best Mixologist. At the event, this was served as a non-alcohol drink… of course when I made it later at home I added some bourbon.

Apple Zinger Tea-tails / @loveandlemons