9 Recipes To Make Before Summer Ends

Pattypan Panzanllla

As a self-declared “summer person” August is always a little bittersweet for me. Five minutes ago it was May, and all of a sudden back-to-school supplies are on store shelves. Which shouldn’t matter to me – it’s been years since I’ve been in school – but the thought of notebooks and number two pencils still sends a little chill up my spine. No matter how old I am, I’ll never be quite ready to let the summer go.

Today’s recipes use all of my favorite late summer produce – zucchini, summer squashes, peppers, corn, eggplant, and (the one I’ll be most sad to see go): peaches. These are some of our all-time favorites and I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Patty Pan Panzanella: (pictured above) A hearty veggie-filled salad using sauteed summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, day-old bread and tons of herbs.

Summer Squash Vegetable Pizza:

Summer Squash Vegetable Pizza: When it comes to pizza, I usually think less is more – but when you’ve got tons of zucchini and you’re up to your ears in corn – pile it all on. This one is messy to eat, but it’s a fun way to eat SO many summer vegetables.

Summer Squash Orecchette:

Summer Squash Orecchette: More zucchini, I know, but don’t you have tons of it? This simple pasta with rosemary and lemon is a light, yet satisfying. We like to make this one on Sundays with a glass of rose, but it’s easy enough to pull off any night of the week.

Peach Salad with Mint and Pistachios:

Peach Salad with Mint and Pistachios: This salad is one of my absolute favorites – peaches and mint are not only a winning combo, but they’re so delicious over a f zucchini noodles with a dollop of savory spiced coriander yogurt.

Peach & Plum Crumble

Peach & Plum Crumble: One of my summer goals is always to consume as many peaches as possible. This crumble recipe will work with any in-season fruit, but it’s my absolute favorite with peaches.

Grilled Eggplant Pesto Sandwiches

Grilled Eggplant Pesto Sandwiches: I always get asked “what do I do with eggplant,” and my first reply is always “grill it!” If you’re afraid of working with eggplant, give this one a try.

Eggplant and Roasted Tomato Farro Salad

Eggplant and Roasted Tomato Farro Salad: When we came home from Rome last summer, this was the first meal that I recreated, inspired by a terrific salad I had at Roscioli’s. I love the concentrated super sweet flavor of slow roasted tomatoes – they’re so good with meaty eggplant, chewy farro and peppery arugula. Make a big batch and keep this salad around all week. Its a great picnic lunch.

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Tostadas with Smoky Sweet Corn Hummus: A corn trifecta – smoky sweet corn hummus on top of corn tortillas, topped with grilled corn (and avocado and tomatillo salsa).

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Corn, Cucumber, Peach & Avocado Salad: Last but not least, my favorite salad that I created so far this summer – the name kind of says it all – it’s full of all my favorite fruits and vegetables, tossed with a creamy chile-lime dressing. It’s summer in a bowl.

Two days in Copenhagen

Copenhagen / loveandlemons.com

Ever since watching those chef-y TV shows about Rene Redzepi, I’ve wanted to go to Copenhagen. Sadly, we didn’t get into Noma (we were #1400 on the waiting list when Jack entered us 5 months ago, ha!), but we had a blast eating our way through Copenhagen nonetheless. We had only 2 short days to take it all in, but I think we did pretty well. Thanks to all of you who gave us so many amazing recommendations on Instagram!

Copenhagen / loveandlemons.com

Day 1:

We checked into this Airbnb, had a conference call and took a nap (#werk).

Later, we walked through Nørrebro and had an awesome first dinner at Manfreds. It’s a tiny vegetable-focussed restaurant that, first off, smells amazing when you walk in – like sourdough bread baking and onions roasting. It was so warm and cozy especially since we had just walked in from the cold pouring rain. (The photo below, was taken the next day when it wasn’t raining). Our dinner consisted of about 8 shareable courses – my favorites were the roasted spring onions with pistachio cream, grilled cabbage with tarragon, and the olive oil chocolate mousse. The great thing is that they can cater to special diets & allergies if you ask. Be sure to book a reservation a few days in advance.

Copenhagen / loveandlemons.com Copenhagen / loveandlemons.com

Day 2:

By popular recommendation, we had porridge for breakfast at Grød (the one in the Torvehallerne market because it was closest to us). I got oatmeal with almond milk, topped with granola, fruit and dried strawberries. Jack got (the better bowl), which was topped with homemade caramel sauce, apple and roasted almonds. Afterward we took a long walk to Copenhagen Street Food, which is a giant warehouse full of tons of food trucks/stalls – there is a stall representing pretty much every cuisine of food – Indian, Moroccan, French, etc, etc, etc. I had smørrebrød (the open faced sandwiches that are everywhere in Denmark), Jack had something meaty, and afterward we walked through Christiana Free Town. 

For lunch #2 (so much to eat, so little time), we went to 42 Raw since so many of you had recommended it. I had the veggie burger with vegan tarragon mayo and sweet potato fries. Although I was really wishing I had gotten one of the avocado sandwiches because they looked incredible. (I have this thing where I can’t help but look at other people’s food!)

For the rest of the afternoon, we walked around central Copenhagen and popped into the Design Museum when it looked like it was going to rain.

The highlight of our trip was a late dinner at Relæ (make a reservation in advance). We sprung for the 8 course tasting menu (although the 4 course option would have been totally sufficient). It started with the most delicious sourdough bread I’ve ever eaten. The rest of the courses were a series of creative, seasonal vegetable dishes. Some of the most memorable were: a salad with pickled green strawberries, marigold and chives, cold cucumber soup with sorrel & nostrum, and these wonderful thyme roasted carrots en papillote with hollandaise sauce for dipping. We had organic natural wines (although I’m not sure how I feel about those, but they were interesting to try), and yogurt panna cotta for dessert.

Copenhagen / loveandlemons.com Copenhagen / loveandlemons.com

The next day before heading to the airport:

We took a quick walk through the Torvehallerne Market, had a more smørrebrød at Hallernes Smørrebrød – I had one that was piled high with potatoes, cucumbers and chives, and a slice of carrot cake at Laura’s Bakery.

Copenhagen / loveandlemons.com

Super quick trip, but we’ll be sure to go back! If you have favorite Copenhagen places, feel free to list them in the comments!

Watermelon Gazpacho

Watermelon Gazpacho

In the past few weeks, I’ve gone from hot Austin, to hot New York, to hot Chicago. I’m currently sitting in my parent’s kitchen in the west suburbs where the breezes have nicely cooled off, but not before I could make this watermelon gazpacho at least a few times. I can’t think of anything as refreshing and hydrating as watermelon so this soup has really hit the spot during these hot summer days. Note that this recipe makes a pretty big batch – I love to keep it in the fridge for quick lunches all week.

Watermelon Gazpacho Watermelon Gazpacho

I always thought watermelon gazpacho seemed like an odd concept, but here’s the thing – when everything is mixed together, this doesn’t actually taste like watermelon. The tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, scallions and herbs make this a savory soup while the watermelon brings a subtle sweetness that nicely balances these flavors. I also snuck in a half of a jalapeño for some spice, but you leave that out if you’re not into spicy things.

Watermelon Gazpacho Watermelon Gazpacho

I usually like my gazpacho really creamy, but this summer I’m just going crazy for this super light version with tons of chopped vegetables mixed in. And like most soups – this one gets better the next day, and even better the day after. It’s also great with a little chopped avocado on top.

Watermelon Gazpacho

A Picnic at Hamilton Pool

A picnic at Hamilton Pool

Since Jack and I first moved to Austin, we’ve loved exploring all of the local natural springs and watering holes. The heat here in the summertime is no joke and the best way to beat it is by getting around some water.

A few weeks ago, we took the day off and spent a lovely afternoon hiking and picnicking at Hamilton Pool. For this post, we’re partnering with Bota Box to share our little local adventure. Hamilton Pool is SO beautiful.It’s a natural pool with a gorgeous 50-foot waterfall. It’s about a 40 minute drive outside of Austin – an easy half-day trip.

A picnic at Hamilton Pool

There’s a quarter mile hike down to the pool. It’s scenic, but be sure wear decent walking shoes that will probably get a little muddy. Another quick tip: pack a lighter picnic than I did above unless you have as nice a husband as I do who will carry it all. (note: glass containers actually aren’t allowed, as we discovered later. Bota Mini’s are perfect to bring along since their alternative packaging contains no glass). 

Here we go!

A picnic at Hamilton Pool, Dripping Springs TX A picnic at Hamilton Pool, Dripping Springs TX

The pool was naturally created thousands of years ago when the dome of an underground river collapsed due to massive erosion. It’s fun (and totally safe!) to hike around the massive limestone formations. Be sure to grab a walking stick at the beginning of the trail, it was surprisingly helpful.

A picnic at Hamilton Pool, Dripping Springs TX A picnic at Hamilton Pool, Dripping Springs TX

The day we were here, swimming wasn’t allowed, but that didn’t hold us back from enjoying our picnic on the small beach. I packed my favorite picnic sandwiches, hummus & veggies, a lemony chickpea & radish salad, and these vegan chocolate chip cookies. We brought Bota Minis because what’s a picnic without wine? The Bota Minis are so convenient and easy to pack. Because the weather was warm, I packed their Mini Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay white wines.

A picnic at Hamilton Pool, Dripping Springs TX A picnic at Hamilton Pool, Dripping Springs TX

I just loved spending this day with Jack. It really reminded me that we should get away from our computers and go explore something new, yet nearby, more often.

A couple of tips before you go: be sure to make a reservation, they only let a certain number of people in at a time and, especially in the summer, it gets full. If you can take off a weekday afternoon, I highly recommend it!

This post was created in partnership with Bota Box. All opinions are my own!

6 steps to prep for a healthy week

6 steps to prep for a healthy week / loveandlemons.com

Here’s a little guide to how I like to plan for meals throughout the week. I don’t do a bunch of heavy weekend batch cooking, but I DO like to prep just a few basics that can be worked into versatile meals throughout the week. If I spend just a little time, I find that I can set myself up for a healthy week ahead.

And because chopping vegetables in silence is no fun, I’m partnering with Audible to share a few of my favorite foodie “reads” that I like to listen to while I work. I love how easy their app is to use – check it out for yourself and download a free book as part of their free 1-month trial offer.

6 steps to prep for a healthy week / loveandlemons.com

This plan changes by season, but this is what my basic summertime prep looks like. Store everything in air-tight containers in the fridge:

1. Clean & massage a big bunch of kale. I like to eat kale salads for lunch, but I hate to stop in the middle of my work day to make one. Having the kale prepped ahead of time makes these salads easy to throw together.

Wash and dry a big bunch of kale. Remove the leaves by holding the stem with one hand and stripping the leaf with your other hand. Place the kale in a large bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and a good squeeze of lemon. Use your hands to massage the leaves together until they’re soft and wilted. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. (Tip: save the kale stems for pesto or soup – I also like to chop them and feed them to my dogs).

6 steps to prep for a healthy week / loveandlemons.com

2. Pre-chop some seasonal produce. This changes by season (for example, in the fall, I’ll pre-roast sweet potatoes), but current selection is corn, cherry tomatoes, chopped cucumbers, red peppers and scallions. These veggies are great on my lunch salad (especially with avocado, chopped peaches and hemp seeds). Work them into dinners by tossing them with pasta or serving next to grilled fish with generous scoops of a good sauce…which brings me to item #3:

3. Make a good sauce. Put it on everything all week: your salads, sandwiches, grain bowls, etc. Toss with pasta or scoop onto whatever you’re grilling. This one is a creamy (vegan) basil jalapeño sauce made with hemp seeds. (Scroll down for the recipe!).

6 steps to prep for a healthy week / loveandlemons.com 3. Pre-cook a grain. I like to have cooked quinoa on hand for grain bowls. If you have extra at the end of the week make these cookies.

6 steps to prep for a healthy week / loveandlemons.com

4. Make a soup that’ll last the week. I love soup-prep because soups always taste better on the second day and they keep well all week. This time I went with this Watermelon Gazpacho because it’s so refreshing on hot summer days. I also strategically used many of the ingredients that I chopped up there in item #2 and I cut up extra watermelon to have on hand for mid-day snacks.

6 steps to prep for a healthy week / loveandlemons.com

5. Listen to a great book while you work! Currently, I’m listening to Michael Pollen’s Cooked (which is sort of ironic because this particular prep-session is entirely raw, but I digress). His previous book, In Defense of Food, was one of the reads that inspired my love for eating real, unprocessed, whole foods. His quote: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” has really stuck with me. I love listening to these books while cooking because they remind me why I love what I do so much.

6 steps to prep for a healthy week / loveandlemons.com

These are some other foodie books that I love:
Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
The Third Plate by Dan Barber
32 yolks by Eric Ripert
Stir by Jessica Fechtor

If you have favorites, please recommend them to me in the comments! And don’t forget to download your first audio book for free as part of Audible’s 30 day trial offer.