Vegan Cherry Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Vegan Cherry Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies / loveandlemons.com

These are my perfect cookies. If you’re not vegan, don’t let the “vegan” part of this title distract you – there’s nothing vegan tasting about them. These are cookies that happen to be vegan because I like to save my eggs for breakfast and, well, I like to eat more raw cookie dough than the average person.

Vegan Cherry Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies / loveandlemons.com

These are rich, chewy, sweet, but not too sweet, and have the most delicious pop of flavor from the dried tart cherries, which are the star here. They’re soft, plump and chewy and I’m so in love with these cookies.

Vegan Cherry Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies / loveandlemons.com

I used coconut oil instead of butter (as I so often do). I experimented with sugars until I ended with a combination of brown sugar and maple syrup that I think is perfection. The brown sugar helps create the chewy texture, and the maple syrup adds a rich sweet flavor.

Vegan Cherry Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies / loveandlemons.com

Tart cherries have some unique superfood benefits. They’re a natural anti-inflammatory as well as a source of melatonin. I put them in everything from salads to grilled cheese to granola. They’re easy to find – I get mine in the bulk bins at my Whole Foods (and I’ve seen them in most grocery stores).

Vegan Cherry Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies / loveandlemons.com

What are you waiting for? Go bake cookies!

Vegan Cherry Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies / loveandlemons.com

Spicy Jalapeño Margaritas

Jalapeño Margaritas / @loveandlemons

Happy Friday!

We’re getting the weekend started a little early today with my favorite late summer drink. It’s been nearly 100 degrees around here lately – and to that I say, let’s make it hotter! Bring on the jalapeños…

Jalapeño Margaritas / @loveandlemons

My #1 rule of margaritas is to never use margarita mix. Fresh limes are a must. My #2 rule: mess with this recipe and make it your own. Adjust the ratios to make your margaritas as sweet, sour and/or spicy as you like. (I always like mine on the tart & spicy side). Double the recipe if you’re having friends over.

These are best served with salsa and tortilla chips… which are best served in this gorgeous platter from Crate & Barrel, who so kindly provided us with the serving pieces & glassware for this post. Check out the full story we created for the Crate & Barrel blog along with some healthy tailgating recipes!

Eggplant & Roasted Tomato Farro Salad

Eggplant & Roasted Tomato Farro Salad / loveandlemons.com

I keep a food journal when we travel. It’s nothing fancy, just a little book that isn’t my iphone. There are no pictures or charming doodles… there aren’t really even sentences, just scribbles of ingredients and descriptions of what we ate and where. Some dishes, I’ll try to recreate at home, but not all of them. The chosen few that make it off the list and into my kitchen come down to a few components: how badly I crave something, the ability to decipher my chicken-scratch handwriting, and the availability of similar ingredients without having to visit specialty stores.

This one (a take-away lunch I ate one day at Roscioli) easily fit into all three categories especially since it’s eggplant season! I loved how simple and perfect these ingredients worked together: hearty farro, eggplant, and roasted tomatoes with lots of basil & olive oil. It had my name written all over it and I thought you all would like it too…

Eggplant & Roasted Tomato Farro Salad / loveandlemons.com

This came together even easier than I expected – no fancy dressing, no cheese, just a good splash of olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt and pepper. The bright tangy flavor comes from roasting the tomatoes until they’re shriveled up and lightly dry and brown around the outside. Their concentrated sweet flavor is what makes this, although you could also chop up sun dried tomatoes in a pinch.

Eggplant & Roasted Tomato Farro Salad / loveandlemons.com

I cooked my eggplant simply in a pan with garlic and chickpeas (the chickpeas were my addition if you couldn’t tell)… and tossed it all with farro, arugula, basil and pine nuts. The best part about this salad is that it keeps well. Make it ahead, serve it at room temp or store it in the fridge and have it for lunch the next day. I served my leftovers for breakfast with a fried egg on top – which is not the Italian way but it was so delicious that I recommend you do that anyway.

Eggplant & Roasted Tomato Farro Salad / loveandlemons.com

Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl / loveandlemons.com

If you saw what I eat for breakfast every day, you would be so bored. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my daily eggs & avocado, but lately I’ve been trying to switch things up just because I think change is good every once in awhile. Especially if that change means another excuse to smother things in peaches.

This one is inspired by all of those beautiful breakfast bowls of oatmeal that I see all over the internet. You know the ones – they’re chock full of colorful fruit and other various superfoods. They’re so pretty that they make me wish I liked oatmeal… so finally I had this idea to make a sweet non-oat quinoa bowl for breakfast.

Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl / loveandlemons.com

This base of this recipe is the quinoa that is lightly sweetened by cooking it in almond milk with a few cinnamon sticks. It’s this simple: Almond Breeze + quinoa + whole cinnamon sticks. You could also get creative with your spices. Nutmeg, cardamom, and/or vanilla bean would all be welcome here.

Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl / loveandlemons.com

To your spiced quinoa, add whatever seasonal or dried fruits you like. Obviously, peaches are my thing right now, the raspberries are for Jack because they’re his favorite. For crunch, I topped these with toasted almonds and coconut flakes.

I’m going to give you two options of how to serve these bowls because Jack and I both have different preferences. Because I have a thing about mushy food, I like my quinoa bowl best served pilaf style, leaving my quinoa fluffy. (it can be served warm off the stove or at room temp if you’ve made it in advance). Jack prefers his porridge style – hot with plenty of almond milk to soak into the quinoa. So to each their own…

Sweeten the deal by drizzling a little maple syrup on top.

Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl / loveandlemons.com

Favorite Summer Sips & Sweets

Favorite Summer Sips & Sweets / loveandlemons.com

I keep hearing all of this crazy-talk about summer being almost over. I suppose backpacks are on the shelves at Target, but until the first pumpkin muffin shows up on Pinterest, summer is in full swing to me. To celebrate my favorite season not being over, here are a few of my favorite cocktails and sweet treats…

Ginger Peach Sangria

Tart Cherry Frozen Yogurt  /  Watermelon St. Germain Cocktails

Fancy S’mores / Cherry Cheesecake Parfaits

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookies / loveandlemons.com

… and last but not least: Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillets. (You could also bake these as normal cookies or in ramekins).

What are you making this weekend?