kitchen gift guides with Keep

Kitchen gift guides with Keep / @loveandlemons

It’s getting to be that time of year again. I don’t know about you but I’m the laziest holiday shopper ever. In fact, Black Friday crowds at the mall might be one of my biggest phobias (followed by cruise boats and pulp, in case you were curious).

If you’re anything like me, you’re going to love using Keep. Here’s how it works - you set up a profile and curate Collections. I’ve filled mine with tons of my favorite food and kitchen finds (the items pictured here & more). You can follow me and I’ll follow you, and together we’ll inspire each other with gift ideas.

Kitchen gift guides with Keep / @loveandlemons

Keep has some handy features. For example, it’s easy to see if an item has gone out of stock and it’ll even alert you when things go on sale.

The best part is that you can make all your purchases, from any store, in one shopping cart straight from the Keep App. No lines, no extra passwords, no typing in your credit card number five gajillion times.

I, for one, will be doing all my holiday shopping from the sofa this year.

the Keep App

Click here to check out my Collections and click here to download the app.

Happy Shopping!

This post is sponsored by Keep - thank you for supporting the sponsors that support Love & Lemons. As always, all words and opinions are my own.

sweet potato avocado salad (& video!)

sweet potato avocado salad / @loveandlemons

Check it out – a video! We recently partnered with the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission to create videos about one of my favorite foods – the sweet potato. Here’s a recipe that will start to get you in the mood for fall, but is still light and fresh.

Below are a few of my favorite screenshots. Scroll down (or click the image above) for the video. Special thanks to Rightfrog Productions for the video work!

Roasted Sweet Potato Avocado Salad / @loveandlemons

mango habanero black bean tacos

mango habanero black bean tacos / @loveandlemons

I love a good mango salsa. (I mean, who doesn’t?) It’s so fun and versatile - some of my favorite additions have been roasted jalapeños, smoked paprika, diced avocado, and even sesame & ginger.

mango habanero black bean tacos / @loveandlemons

Today’s special ingredient: Mango Habanero Jam. I know, I know, it’s not in your pantry already, but I just loved this salsa so much I had to share it anyway. It’s sweet, juicy and spicy with a little nice kick from the jam. (A little bit goes long way).

mango habanero black bean tacos / @loveandlemons

I didn’t realize mango habanero jam was missing from my life until it showed up recently in my Hatchery Box. I’ve been loving my Hatchery subscription – it’s like mini-christmas once a month to get a box full of sample-sized artisan ingredients to try. I find that it often takes just one unique ingredient to elevate simple meals into something special.

mango habanero black bean tacos / @loveandlemons

These really couldn’t be easier - just chop and mix your ingredients – salsa, avocado, black beans, etc, and stuff them into a tortilla. (Add cheese if you want, but these are plenty flavorful without). Next time I might switch things up by adding a grilled piece of halibut or salmon.

If you don’t have mango habanero jam: try jazzing up your mango salsa with chipotle spices (either from a can of chipotles in adobo or ground chipotle powder)… or if you’re really brave try adding roasted habanero peppers (just don’t touch your eyes after you handle them!). You can also make this salsa with diced ripe peaches or pineapple instead of mango.

For now, I’m off to eat these leftovers for lunch…

mango habanero black bean tacos / @loveandlemons

red & white summer wines

red and white summer wines / @loveandlemons

Happy almost 4th of July!

Jack and I just got back from a long week in Chicago so didn’t have time to get my flag-cake on… (not that I’ve ever made a flag cake, but there’s always next year). Since the internet seems to be blowing up with food coloring, I thought I’d take a different approach to “red and white” and share a few of my favorite summer wines.

These are all very food-friendly. I’ve made some pairing suggestions but, really, they’re very versatile – perfect for any weekend picnic or cookout. (Also, they’re all under $20). Available at (wine-carrying) Whole Foods stores, now through mid-July:

red and white summer wines / @loveandlemons

Innovac!ón Chenin-Chardonnay 2013, Argentina $9.99
I’ve been a fan of Innovac!ón wines for a long time. This 70% chenin/30% chardonnay has notes of white flowers, apple, pears and tropical fruits. The flavor is fresh and soft with well-balanced acidity. (It’s also 1 liter bottle so it’s a super bargain).

pair with:
Heirloom Tomato Avocado & Chickpea Salad
Grilled Veggie Skewers
Edamame & Corn Succotash

Frey Agriculturist Organic Blanc 2013, California $11.99
This one wins my award for “prettiest bottle.” Frey Vineyards is America’s first maker of certified Biodynamic® wines. This organic white is a blend of chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and riesling. It has notes of honeysuckle, tropical fruits and orange blossom.

pair with:
Mango Zucchini Lettuce Wraps
Grilled Peach Salad w/ Mint Pesto
Strawberry Quinoa & Feta Salad

Les Hauts de Bel Air Bordeaux Blanc 2013, France $10.99
A beautiful pale yellow Bordeaux Blanc… This white has delicate aromas of sandstone, rosemary and thyme backed up by pepper, fresh peaches, and grapefruit zest.

pair with:
Quinoa Apricot & Arugula Salad
Anna’s Tomato Gazpacho with Mango
Chickpea Niçoise Salad with Roasted Potatoes

red and white summer wines / @loveandlemons

Soleil des Garrigues Ventoux 2012, France $10.99
This one is our favorite red lately – it’s made up of 70% grenache, 15% syrah, 10% carignan, and 5% cinsault. Its aromatic bouquet features red licorice, white pepper, raspberry and sweet cherry fruit.

pair with:
Grilled Polenta with Zucchini Salsa
Rosemary Lemon Pasta
Feta & Harissa Fattoush Salad

Querciabella Mongrana Maremma Toscana 2011, Italy $19.99
A blend of 50% sangiovese, 25% cabernet sauvignon and 25% merlot, this smooth super Tuscan blend is vegan, spicy and full of juicy black fruit.

pair with:
Grilled Potato & Arugula Salad
Grilled Herb Garden Pizza
Grilled Panzanella with Poached Eggs

Sanford Flor de Campo Pinot Noir 2012, California $19.99
This medium bodied balanced wine delivers bursts of bright red raspberries and cherries with an earthy hint of pepper.

pair with:
Tomato, Feta, & Honey Toasts
Kale & White Bean Crostini
Slow Roasted Tomato Pasta

red and white summer wines / @loveandlemons

This post is created in partnership with Whole Foods.

dinner party w/ the yellow table

dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.comUntitled-1

When someone asks you if they can come over and throw a dinner party for you and your friends, you say yes. Resoundingly, yes. To be honest, I struggle with throwing dinner parties – they’re a LOT of work and at the end of each one I always say to Jack “let’s just meet friends at a restaurant next time.” My friend Anna – from The Yellow Table – however, is a pro. She’s on a mission to make this year “the year of the dinner party.” She just spent a month driving from NYC to LA throwing 8 (EIGHT!) dinner parties along the way, including a stop at our place last weekend.

Why would someone put themselves through something so crazy as a Cookbook Roadtrip? “Something magical happens when people gather around table,” she told me… “I just love that sense of connection.” Her passion for bringing people together over delicious food was the inspiration behind the cookbook that she created (and blogged about for 100 days in a row). I can tell you first hand that her recipes are beyond delicious… but here’s the thing:

We have to kickstart that cookbook! CLICK HERE, to preorder your copy of The Yellow Table Cookbook, which will fund the first round of printing. Your copy will arrive this fall, just in time to lend some inspiration to your holiday gatherings.

And now, some pics from our party!!

dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.comdinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com

Anna created her menu using tons of local ingredients: Heirloom cherry tomatoes garnished her creamy gazpacho. Beautiful shaved carrots got tossed into a huge lemony kale salad. Juicy peaches and blackberries became a (make-ahead!) crumble with a crispy oat topping. (All of the recipes are in the book, btw).

dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.comdinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com

I set the table with mismatched chairs, vintage dishes and assorted patterned napkins. (Being a food blogger, I don’t own “sets” of anything). I designed little menu cards to tie the look together. Anna plated soups just before guests arrived – icy cold gazpacho was perfect for this hot summer night.

dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.comdinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com

The night was filled with good friends, (and new friends!), and of course great food. The main course (not pictured b/c Jack was too busy eating it), was grilled skirt steak and fish topped with roasted red pepper chimichurri – a delicious twist on a classic.

dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com

Everyone sat around the table and enjoyed wine late into the night…

dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com

Special thanks to Anna for coming to our house and creating such a magical evening! And thanks to Whole Foods who provided all of the groceries and wine!

food by: Anna / photography by: Jack / tables & graphics by: yours truly