whole wheat vegan waffles

Whole Wheat Vegan Waffles / @loveandlemons

Fall happened for me last night. I stepped off the plane at Midway Airport (in shorts) and immediately thought “they really have the AC blasting here.” Until I realized, oh wait, that’s just Chicago.

As I write this, I’m sitting in the kitchen I grew up in (with a few sweaters on), thinking about some of my warmest fall memories… Saturday mornings with pancakes and waffles are definitely at the top the list. Crisp cool air, hot waffles… and most likely the Muppet Babies on TV in the background.

Whole Wheat Vegan Waffles / @loveandlemonsWhole Wheat Vegan Waffles / @loveandlemons

These are great right off the waffle iron, but lately (especially because I’ve made so many test batches), I’ve been freezing the extras for easy-waffling any day of the week. Let them thaw just slightly and them pop them in the toaster. Because sometimes you want a waffle on a Wednesday.

Whole Wheat Vegan Waffles / @loveandlemonsWhole Wheat Vegan Waffles / @loveandlemons

These are made with whole wheat pastry flour, which I love because it’s whole grain but not too dense. I used my non-dairy milk of choice – Almond Breeze with a squeeze of lemon (to create a vegan “buttermilk” flavor). They’re soft on the inside, crisp on the outside, and are best with maple syrup and tons of fruit!

Whole Wheat Vegan Waffles / @loveandlemons

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grilled eggplant & pesto sandwiches

Grilled Eggplant and Arugula-Pesto Sandwiches / www.loveandlemons.com

You probably don’t need a recipe to make a sandwich but I couldn’t help but share this big juicy stack of late-summer grilled veggies. I rarely make sandwiches these days, (mostly because I live in the town of tacos)… but these simply grilled eggplant slices were just begging to be put between bread and slathered with arugula-walnut pesto. I piled on some roasted peppers and fresh mozzarella. Sub avocado for the cheese if you’re vegan. Then get out the napkins because things are gonna get messy!

Grilled Eggplant and Arugula-Pesto Sandwiches / www.loveandlemons.comGrilled Eggplant and Arugula-Pesto Sandwiches / www.loveandlemons.com

You can assemble your sandwich like I did, or put the ingredients on a platter so everyone can make whatever combo they like. There are no wrong answers here…

Grilled Eggplant and Arugula-Pesto Sandwiches / www.loveandlemons.com

For further instruction, I made this animated gif for you. And now I’m starving… is it lunchtime yet?

Grilled Eggplant and Arugula-Pesto Sandwiches / www.loveandlemons.com

maple walnut granola parfaits

maple walnut granola parfaits / www.loveandlemons.com #vegan #glutenfree

While we don’t have kids that are going back to school this week, I’m starting to think more and more about healthy make-ahead breakfast ideas. You know – to send to work with my big kid (Jack) in hopes that one day he might start skipping the greasy breakfast tacos & processed Costco bagels that are usually waiting for him at the office. (I can at least try, right?)

maple walnut granola parfaits / www.loveandlemons.com #vegan #glutenfreemaple walnut granola parfaits / www.loveandlemons.com #vegan #glutenfree

I can always win him over with a smoothie, but I don’t always have time in the mornings to break out the blender. He loved these peanut butter crispy treats but I like to change things up. This week’s plan is to have these parfaits ready and waiting in the fridge so he can easily grab and go.

This is a spin on my favorite granola recipe – this time I used hemp seeds & walnuts. It isn’t a super clumpy granola (some might call it more of a cereal), but it’s tasty and packed with protein and some good omega 3′s.

maple walnut granola parfaits / www.loveandlemons.com #vegan #glutenfreemaple walnut granola parfaits / www.loveandlemons.com #vegan #glutenfree

Use whatever fruit you like – I used strawberries, blueberries and frozen tart cherries (like I said before, we’re in love with them). Feel free to use your favorite yogurt – plain, greek, or coconut yogurt if you’re vegan. I should also mention that you might want to keep your granola separate until you’re ready to eat these so it stays crunchy.

tart cherry & mint iced tea

Tart Cherry & Mint Iced Tea / @loveandlemons

We have a new superfood obsession – we’re head over heels in love with tart cherries. It started with this froyo recipe, but since then I’ve been tossing frozen tart cherries into our morning smoothies and mixing tart cherry juice into cocktails, (among other simple uses)…

Tart Cherry & Mint Iced Tea / @loveandlemons

It’s an understatement to say that Jack and I both drink a lot of iced tea. While I usually prefer unsweetened tea – I’ve found that adding just a splash of tart cherry juice to plain black tea (or green tea) is so deliciously tangy and refreshing… and just slightly sweet, which is the way I like my tea. This is quick and easy make – it has just two ingredients plus some mint and a few lemon slices. Lime or orange slices would be lovely in here as well.

Tart Cherry & Mint Iced Tea / @loveandlemons

Tart cherry juice is full of antioxidants (just look at that dark color!), and is a natural anti-inflammatory. Aside from that, most importantly, it just tastes really good. You can find it in the juice aisle of most stores. It’s next to the pomegranate and grape juices.

Tart Cherry & Mint Iced Tea / @loveandlemons

soba noodles with shishitos & avocado

Soba Noodles with Shishitos and Avocado / @loveandlemons

People like to ask me “what’s your favorite recipe?” and I never have an answer. My “favorite” is often what’s most recent and/or what’s coming up next…

But this one combines two definite favorites – blistered shishito peppers (which I usually make as an appetizer), and one of my go-to simple soba noodle recipes. Because my “favorites” are almost always the simple things.

soba noodles with shishitos and avocado / @loveandlemonssoba noodles with shishitos and avocado / @loveandlemons

I brought home a bunch of shishito peppers from the farmers market, but the base of this recipe is so versatile – feel free to sub in a star vegetable of your choice.

soba noodles with shishitos and avocado / @loveandlemonsIMG_5991-2

The noodles get tossed in a light sesame-soy dressing, and topped with avocado and sesame seeds. Sometimes I add sliced miso-broiled eggplant, or dengaku glazed cod or salmon. Other times, I pack it with sautéed greens and other veggies. I’ve probably never made this exactly the same way twice.

soba noodles with shishitos and avocado / @loveandlemons

In other news – (holy crap!) check out my interview on Food & Wine! I talk about vegan food, beefy Chicago, matcha, and of course, tacos…