rooberry smoothie

rooberry smoothie /

Today I’d (and this is Jack again, by the way) like to bring you another one of my favorites – a great, fruity smoothie. You see, Jeanine likes smoothies, but I really, really love berry smoothies. And I don’t need them for a workout, or to wake up, or any regimen – we’ll be walking down the street randomly and I’ll just decide that it’s smoothie time. I have no smoothie shame.

rooberry smoothie / rooberry smoothie /

This smoothie brings in my two favorite smoothie berries – blueberries and raspberries – and adds another favorite to the mix. Tea. We’ve been experimenting with AIYA’s Rooibos Tea blend. Similar to the way matcha is made, it’s powdered tea, so it doesn’t need to be steeped. This means that it is perfect for sprinkling into things like smoothies. The mild red tea adds a delicious depth to the flavor of the berries that you normally don’t get in a smoothie.

Jeanine wanted me to make sure I mentioned the health benefits (since this is a healthy blog after all). Since this tea (like matcha) is made from the whole tea leaf, it has (around) 10x the health benefits and antioxidants of regular steeped tea.

blackberry & lemon zest crostini

blackberry and lemon zest crostini /

Now that it’s nearly summer, I’ve been making more and more things with less and less ingredients. Lately, I’ve been in love with this juicy little blackberry bite – it’s simple, sweet & bright, with an unexpected savory note from the thyme leaves.

These would be beautiful (not to mention ridiculously easy to assemble) for any last minute cocktail party. The only thing missing here: a patio & a few glasses of prosecco. It’s 5 o’ clock somewhere right?

blackberry and lemon zest crostini /

vegan soft baked pretzels

soft baked pretzels (vegan) /

Jack here with my second recipe on the Love and Lemons blog. This is one near and dear to my heart – big, doughy, german-style pretzels!

Now, while Germans tend to dip their Laugenbrezel in butter, that’s not how I do it. I dip them in spicy brown mustard. And when we started working with Sir Kensington’s, the first thing I said when I opened up the sample package of Ketchup and Mayonnaise was “Where is the mustard?” Sir Kensington himself has heard my call, and here is the mustard. And its best friend – pretzels.

soft baked pretzels (vegan) / vegan soft baked pretzels & spicy mustard /

The traditional recipe for Laugenbrezel is nothing short of terrifying. Why? Because they make the dough, twirl it up and dip it in lye. As in, the stuff that soap used to be made of. As in, the stuff you wear rubber gloves and eyewear to handle. We will not be doing that. But one thing we will be doing – and what does NOT terrify me – is making dough.

Dough has become one of my favorite things to work with. Many of you may not know this, but I’m a software engineer by trade, and I like things to be… measured. When I’m cooking with Jeanine, it’s always “a pinch of this, a splash of that.” Also, Jeanine has a fairly well documented problem with waiting in lines. Well, working with dough is full of exact measurements, and waiting for it to rise may as well be waiting in line to her. So I’ve found my “thing” for the blog now, and my thing is dough.

These pretzels are wonderful and simple, because you’re essentially making fairly standard dough, using baking soda and boiling water to smooth out the outside, then baking it. That’s really about it. The hardest part, probably, is twirling the pretzel. My main modifications from Laugenbrezel are to use maple syrup instead of barley malt syrup, oil instead of butter, and baking soda instead of severe burns and lawsuits (lye).

Sir Kensington's Mustard /

And of course, serve these wonderful vegan pretzels with your favorite spicy brown mustard. Might we suggest Sir Kensington’s?

pickled chard quinoa bowls

spring quinoa bowls (w/ pickled chard stems) / walnut pesto & balsamic mushrooms /

Lately, our weekends have been filled with some pretty extravagant eats. After a few weeks in a row of food & wine fests, gelato fests (oh, yes), and dinners out with friends, I’ve been feeling a little over-indulged, to say the least. Quinoa to the rescue!

Nothing helps me feel more grounded than a bowl of quinoa piled with veggies. This bowl is pretty simple if you’ve prepped a few of these items in advance. I like to make a big batch of quinoa and keep it in the fridge all week. Same with pesto… and this week I happened to have these pickled chard stems on hand.

I cooked up some mushrooms with my new favorite combo – balsamic & soy sauce – then piled the veggies into bowls. I you haven’t pickled chard yet, you could sub in some dried fruit for a pop of sweetness.

Here’s to a happy healthy weekend! (With maybe just a small scoop of gelato).

pickled chard stems

pickled chard stems / pickled chard stems /

Eat the rainbow, (and no I’m not talking about Skittles). I just love chard and I love it’s crunchy colorful stems. Although, very often, I end up with a lot of extra stem pieces. They’re way too pretty to toss so I’ve started pickling them. Don’t worry, this isn’t a Sunday afternoon project, these are super quick refrigerator pickles. (i.e. the kind I have patience for).

pickled chard stems /

You could slice yours into long spears, but I chop mine up (they pickle quicker that way), and them I eat them Japanese Tsukemono style – as a simple condiment with rice (or any grain), and a few vegetables.

They’re tangy and a little bit sweet – a bright little pop of color and flavor!

pickled chard stems /