Summer Squash Vegetable Pizza

Summer Squash Vegetable Pizza / loveandlemons.com

Our vacation is coming to a close and while we’ve eaten well in Italy, we’ve eaten just a little too well. I’m feeling pretty ready to go home and get back to my many-vegetable way of eating. But before we go to salad town, I thought I’d share this pile-of-vegetable pizza recipe that I made before we left. Usually my opinion about pizza is “less is more,” but I had a fridge to clean out.

Summer Squash Vegetable Pizza / loveandlemons.comSummer Squash Vegetable Pizza / loveandlemons.com

The crust here is made with spelt flour but you can use whole wheat if you want to. Or skip the dough-making step and get it from the store. I usually get the raw dough that they sell behind the pizza counter at Whole Foods.

Summer Squash Vegetable Pizza / loveandlemons.com

I used a regular vegetable peeler to peel my zucchini and summer squash into thin ribbons. They cooked a little faster this way, plus, I mean, they’re so pretty right? I piled them on top of sliced tomatoes (that are a little hard to see), and then tossed red onions and corn on top. I’m not gonna lie – this one is a juicy mess to eat but we loved it anyway.

Summer Squash Vegetable Pizza / loveandlemons.com

Peach & Plum Caprese Salad

Peach & Plum Caprese Salad / loveandlemons.com

First, thank you all SO much for your Italy foodie suggestions, the other day! They are all so so helpful. I’m writing this from the terrace of our small, yet very awesome, airbnb apartment in Rome. It’s picturesque, I’m not going to lie. What’s less idyllic is this jet lag. I always expect it to get easier, but every trip it seems to hurt a little more… of course, nothing I’m sure a little gelato won’t fix.

Before we head out for the day, I wanted to share this simple peach salad I made a few weeks ago with the sweetest Texas peaches & plums that I hauled home from the farmers market.

Peach & Plum Caprese Salad / loveandlemons.com

This is exactly the not-recipe recipe that I like to make with perfect peaches. While I absolutely love recipes like this grilled peach salad (it’s one of our most popular ones too), there’s something about those first summer peaches that are so special to me and I just want to savor them for the sweet little gems that they are.

This is the perfect salad for the start of a summery Sunday meal. Although – oops – I’ve lost all sense of day & time, so I guess this is a Monday salad.

Peach & Plum Caprese Salad / loveandlemons.com

There are no measurements here – just use up the peaches you’ve got and eyeball the rest. Ciao!

Green Mojito Smoothies

Green Mojito Smoothies from The Blender Girl Smoothies / www.loveandlemons.com

Ok so lately, I’ve been trying to detox (a little). Between all the food that’s been around during our cookbook testing and all of the food I’m about to eat in Italy – I’ve tried to clean (and green) things up over the last few weeks. Cheesecakes and pizzas aside (and oops, early gelato), I’ve gotten back to my salad-ey lunches and green drink routines. So it was perfect timing that Tess Masters (a.k.a The Blender Girl) sent me a copy of her new book The Blender Girl Smoothies. It’s packed with over 100 super unique, superfood smoothie recipes.

Green Mojito Smoothies from The Blender Girl Smoothies / www.loveandlemons.com

I get sent a lot of books but truthfully, the books I end up choosing to write about are usually the ones whose authors I have a personal connection with. I met Tess about a year ago where we shared a vegan meal at Bouldin Creek (one of my favorite neighborhood spots).

I was so inspired by her, not only because of her work (if you don’t have her first book, The Blender Girl Cookbook, you should get it – creamy vegan soups, sauces, etc, it has it all…), but because she’s one of those people who walks into a room and just lights it up. She has this inexplicable energy that is bright, vibrant, and kind. I’m sure it can be attributed to all of the nutrient-dense smoothies… or maybe it’s just her cool Australian accent…

Either way, her new book The Blender Girl Smoothies is a guide to a rainbow of creative smoothie combinations ranging from light breakfast recipes to indulgent dessert smoothies – (hello Apple Pie in a Glass, I’m coming for you this fall!).

Green Mojito Smoothies from The Blender Girl Smoothies / www.loveandlemons.comGet the book here!

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