matcha kale & peach smoothies

matcha kale and peach smoothies / @loveandlemons

Blame it on the heat, but I’ve finally joined the “smoothie for breakfast” club. I’ve always been more of a breakfast taco or avocado-toast-in-the-morning kind of person, but lately I’ve been waking up craving something a little more light and refreshing.

matcha kale and peach smoothies / @loveandlemons

This icy cold matcha kale smoothie really hits the spot. Matcha, (to me) is as good of a pick-me-up as coffee. Plus I was able to sneak some greens in here. The kale taste is almost barely noticeable because, Jack, our resident smoothie-lover is not exactly a green juice guy. At least, not yet.

matcha kale and peach smoothies / @loveandlemons

Creamy bananas and sweet ripe peaches help make this smoothie a little more, well, smooth. In the wintertime, I think I’ll try subbing in ripe pears.

matcha kale and peach smoothies / @loveandlemons

And I almost forgot – ginger. It’s totally optional, but adds a nice (healthy) kick. Grate in a little fresh ginger or splash in some ginger juice.

matcha kale and peach smoothies / @loveandlemons

About matcha: Unlike steeped tea, matcha is made by grinding the entire tea leaf into a fine powder. Because you consume the whole leaf, it has approximately 10x more nutrients than regular green tea. (If you’re interested in more health benefits, click here). 

We, of course, love it because it tastes good! If you’ve never had it, this smoothie is an easy way to give it a try. Or have a look at our other Matcha Recipes.

mango & red pepper orzo salad

mango red pepper orzo salad / @loveandlemons

A few weeks ago we spent some time in Chicago visiting my family. In between some pretty indulgent meals (we finally got to the Girl & the Goat!), I did most of the cooking. At each meal, my mom and my sister would ask: “So is this recipe on the site?”

And, um, well, no. They never are… mostly because I find it liberating to cook in someone else’s kitchen with no camera in sight. There are no notes to be taken, and certainly no recipes to follow. I love digging through the fridge to see what’s there and what ingredients could potentially go together.

mango red pepper orzo salad / @loveandlemons

This mango & red pepper salad was especially refreshing for the heat wave that happened to be going on. Crunchy cucumbers, red onions, fresh herbs and sweet mango… summer was made for big juicy salads like this.

mango red pepper orzo salad / @loveandlemons

We served this next to some salmon but it’s plenty filling on it’s own – chickpeas and hearty whole wheat orzo make it a complete meal. This would be especially great for picnics and make-ahead lunches. (It’s one of those that actually tastes better the second day).

mango red pepper orzo salad / @loveandlemons

I topped this with feta when I made it for my family, but I’ve recreated it here to be vegan. It’s super flavorful from the herbs, spices and tahini… even Jack approved it without the cheese (but feel free to add some if you want to).

mango red pepper orzo salad / @loveandlemons

So mom, here’s the recipe! Or, a least, a similar version of it…

fancy s’mores

fancy s'mores @loveandlemons

I ate a lot of s’mores as a kid. It all started at our family’s annual summer vacations to Kentucky Lake. Later, at home, my sister and I would make them regularly in the microwave. Authentic “camp” flavor doesn’t happen in the microwave, but it was fun to watch them rise and (nearly!) explode.

It probably comes as no surprise that hershey bars and jet puffed marshmallows aren’t quite my thing anymore. So, last weekend, Jack and I headed to Whole Foods where we gathered ideas and ingredients to make these fancy pants gourmet s’mores.

fancy s'mores / @loveandlemons

Most of our inspiration came from the fancy chocolate aisle. I could lose myself in that section all day… So. many. pretty. packages. Jack waited impatiently while I decided which bars looked prettiest together which flavors would go best together.

fancy s'mores / @loveandlemons

Truth be told, we tried to make our own homemade vegan marshmallows. It was a big fail, but these vegan homemade-like ones by Sweet and Sara are awesome. (Find them in the refrigerated section).

fancy s'mores / @loveandlemons

To keep things somewhat classic, we used regular (365 brand) graham crackers. We also stocked up on fruit and a jar of Jeni’s Salty Caramel Sauce. (I never said these were going to be healthy s’mores!).

fancy s'mores @loveandlemons

Here are the combos we came up with! They were all delicious but I think our favorite was the one with strawberries & white chocolate (made with the Divine White Chocolate & Strawberries bar, pictured above).

The giveaway is now closed.

Also, be sure to check out Whole Foods website for tons of summer recipes, tips & other fun foodie ideas.

gluten free skillet cookies

chocolate pecan skillet cookies (gluten free) / @loveandlemons chocolate pecan skillet cookies (gluten free) / @loveandlemons

A lot of gluten free baking experiments happen around here. If you haven’t noticed them, it’s because a good many of those trials never become post-able recipes. I’ll say it (and I won’t be the first!) – gluten free baking is hard. I know many of you are pros, but for the rest of us, it can be frustrating and not to mention expensive. Today, I’m here to relieve you of all of your internet-flour purchasing by saying: just buy a pre-made flour blend. One bag, and you’re done.

chocolate pecan skillet cookies (gluten free) / @loveandlemons

For years, all of my gluten free friends have sworn by Pamela’s flour blends. The handy thing is – you can sub it into your favorite recipes 1:1 and the texture is pretty spot on. For this recipe I used their Artisan Flour Blend – which is made of brown rice and other whole grains. (And there’s no bean flour so even the raw dough tastes good!)

chocolate pecan skillet cookies (gluten free) / @loveandlemons

Because summer (to me) is about skillets, I made chocolate chip cookies in cute little mini skillets. If you don’t have mini skillets, you can use little ramekins, or bake the dough in a larger skillet (or a glass or ceramic dish) and slice them into bars.

chocolate pecan skillet cookies (gluten free) / @loveandlemons

Also (because it’s summer), we indulged and smothered these with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

chocolate pecan skillet cookies (gluten free) / @loveandlemons

(Yes, there’s still a cookie under there!)

heirloom caprese w/ mint pesto

heirloom caprese with mint pesto / @loveandlemons heirloom caprese with mint pesto / @loveandlemons

And the season of simple recipes continues…

“What are you going to do with these?” asked the farm-stand man as I was fixating on these 3 gorgeous golden tomatoes. This question always flusters me… I should have an answer, but truthfully, I buy things on a whim and usually decide what to make later. And in this case, these tomatoes were so spectacular that knew I wasn’t going to “do” much.

heirloom caprese with mint pesto / @loveandlemons

“Um… I’m probably just going to slice and eat them…” He looked at me with a huge grin as if I had just given the right answer. I could tell he was pleased that his tomatoes would be heading to a good home. Then he told me they would be perfect tomorrow, but only tomorrow.

This is what I love about summer.

heirloom caprese with mint pesto / @loveandlemons

Here’s the plate of beautiful sliced tomatoes that we enjoyed last Sunday night… elevated (just slightly) with slices of fresh mozzarella and a bright mint pesto.

A little pesto goes a long way – save the extra for simple meals throughout the week. If you make this tag #loveandlemons or @loveandlemons on Instagram!