apple cardamom oat crumble

Apple Cardamom Oat Crumble / @loveandlemons

Pie is something I enjoy most when other people make it. I usually don’t have the patience for crust, but that’s probably because I’m more of a filling person anyway. (When I was a kid, I’d always eat the pumpkin pie filling and leave the shell of the crust behind).

So naturally, crisps and crumbles are my fall dessert of choice. This recipe is much easier than pie but still has all of the fruity-crunchy-fall-spiced goodness.

Apple Cardamom Oat Crumble / @loveandlemons Apple Cardamom Oat Crumble / @loveandlemons

I made this nutty, oat-y crumble with a mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon and cardamom. Cardamom has a sweet floral flavor that’s just a little bit unexpected. Spice yours up however you like – nutmeg or allspice would work too.

Toss with apples and bake until golden. (Btw, your kitchen will smell amazing). Let it cool a little bit and always serve with ice cream. (I especially love this with Nada Moo’s mmm…Maple Pecan vegan ice cream).

Apple Cardamom Oat Crumble / @loveandlemons

apple zinger tea-tails & tea tour

Apple Zinger Tea-tails / @loveandlemons

Last week I had the opportunity to go on a super fun trip to Boulder Colorado to visit the headquarters of Celestial Seasonings. I’ve been drinking their tea for years so it was fun to learn more about the process of making tea and meet the wonderful people behind the brand. The trip started with the warmest welcome (the employees greeted us outside, cheering and holding signs with each of our blog names on them!).

Celestial Tea Tour Celestial Tea Tour

I drank about a million cups of tea (Sweet Harvest Pumpkin is totally my new favorite). After that, my highlights of the visit were: listening to Kay Wright (the Director of Botanicals Purchasing) talk about her travels sourcing all of the various herbs, touring the facility (in stylish Tyvek suits & blue hairnets), and tasting (more tea) with Charlie Baden, the Senior Blendmaster.

I found Charlie’s job so fascinating. Even though Celestial is a fairly large company, blending the tea isn’t an exact science. Depending on seasons, regions, and other growing variables, individual ingredients taste different every time (cherries can be more tart, hibiscus can be more or less bitter, etc…)” so he personally tastes and adjusts each blend in order to make sure every box of tea tastes consistent. “The zingers have to zing,” he says.

Celestial Tea Tour

These are some of my favorite tea facts:

- Black tea, green tea, and white tea are all made from the same plant: Camellia Sinensis. It’s a white-flowered evergreen bush native to China and India.

- The difference? Black tea leaves are allowed to oxidize which causes the leaves to darken and bring out a full-bodied flavor. Green tea leaves are steamed immediately after they’re picked so the leaves don’t oxidize (which is why green tea is more mild in flavor). White tea comes from only the first few tender leaves and new buds and it has the most delicate (slightly sweet) flavor. Herbal teas (unless they’re blended with tea leaves), are not actual tea.

- Celestial Seasonings was the first to bring green tea to the mainstream US market in 1995. They began mixing it with white tea in order to make a smoother tasting green tea.

- Independent artists & illustrators are commissioned to create all of the artwork for the tea boxes. (I actually used to save mine and store my art supplies in them)

- The ingredients in Celestial Seasonings Teas come from all over the world, but the teas are blended in Boulder. Many ingredient suppliers have been part of the Celestial family for more than 30 years.

- Celestial Tea bags don’t have strings, tags or individual wrappers which saves 3.5 million pounds of waste from entering landfills each year.

- The Celestial Tea Tour is open to the public and is Boulder’s #1 tourist attraction!

Tea Tips:

- Use filtered or distilled water. (the water you use affects your tea’s taste).

- Don’t over-boil your water for green tea. Bring it just barely to a boil, and remove the tea bag after 3-5 minutes or your green tea will become bitter.

- Watch the clock, not the color. 3-5 minutes for green & black teas, 4-6 minutes for herb teas, 6 minutes for wellness teas.

- It’s ok to squeeze the bag to get the most flavor from your tea.

Celestial Tea Tour, Boulder Colorado

After the tour, I had just a few minutes to stroll around Boulder before we headed to The Kitchen, for a tea-inspired meal. Some of my favorite dishes were: a beet & hazelnut salad with orange tangerine tea dressing, chai roasted squash with wheat berries, and for dessert: rooibos tea sorbet.

I can’t wait to recreate some of the dishes myself. But for now – a tea-tail recipe! Before we left Celestial, they served these cocktails (and some others) for happy hour. This recipe is by Conor McDermott, from Salt who recently won Boulder’s Best Mixologist. At the event, this was served as a non-alcohol drink… of course when I made it later at home I added some bourbon.

Apple Zinger Tea-tails / @loveandlemons

5 favorite fall recipes

Sweet Potato Tahini Crostini / @loveandlemons

{ Sweet Potato Tahini Crostini }

Pumpkins seem to get all the glory this time of year, but in my opinion, the humble sweet potato is the real star of fall cooking. As I put this list of favorite recipes together, I unintentionally chose (nearly) all sweet potato recipes. What can I say? They’re healthy, versatile, and are also (conveniently) easier to cut than butternut squashes, pumpkins, and other gourd varieties…

Vegan Sweet Potato Alfredo / @loveandlemons

{ Vegan Sweet Potato Alfredo }

Healthy Loaded Sweet Potatoes / @loveandlemons

{ Healthy Loaded Sweet Potatoes }

Sweet Potato Vegetarian Chili / @loveandlemons

{ Sweet Potato Vegetarian Chili }

Skillet Apple Crisp / @loveandlemons

{ Skillet Apple Crisp }

Click here for even more fall recipes!

butternut squash burrito bowls

Butternut Squash Burrito Bowls / @loveandlemons

Sometimes I feel like I have a never-ending stream of ideas. One idea leads to the next and a few tangents later they multiply into lists full of recipe possibilities. Other times, I’m completely blank.

This is the part where I usually talk about how I was romantically re-inspired after a stroll through the farmers market. But not this time. This weekend, we strolled and we market-ed. Still blank. Then, this idea popped into my head at Chipotle, of all places.

Butternut Squash Burrito Bowls / @loveandlemons

It was a rare day that we were even at Chipotle, (we usually favor our local Freebirds). Either way, I’m a sucker for a burrito bowl and I loved the idea of adding butternut squash for a seasonal spin.

I’m also a sucker for alliteration – so the 3 B’s in Butternut Burrito Bowl had a nice ring to it. Although I actually have 4 B’s in here, if you count the brown rice. (btw, if anyone from Chipotle is reading this: Brown Rice. Just sayin’).

Butternut Squash Burrito Bowls / @loveandlemons

This ingredient list looks long, but feel free to take it in pieces. No corn? Skip it. Tomatoes out of season? Use a good store-bought salsa instead.

I made a creamy avocado sauce with yogurt and cilantro. If you’re vegan, you can use cashews and water in place of the yogurt. And if you’re blender-less (or just short on time), mash up the avocado with lime and salt for a basic no-fuss guacamole. If you’re paleo – leave out the rice and beans and turn this into a big kale salad.

Butternut Squash Burrito Bowls / @loveandlemons

seasons & spice pairings: fall

Fall produce and spice pairings / @loveandlemons

As much as I love summer and it’s fresh herbs, there’s nothing more comforting this time of year than pumpkins, squashes and warm spices. Instead of posting just one recipe today, we’ve partnered with McCormick’s to share some of my favorite ways to use fall produce with their Gourmet Spices. Most of these are simple non-recipe ideas, so feel free to use these pairings as a jumping off point to get a little creative with your favorite fall fruits and veggies.

Acorn Squash: Roast with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and ground ancho chile or chipotle spices. Stuff with a quinoa or rice pilaf made with a variety of nuts, seeds & dried fruits.

Apples: Slice in half and bake them topped with a quick crumble made from crushed walnuts, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg. Or slice them and make apple crisp. Spice it up with ginger and allspice, if you like.

Pumpkin & Butternut Squash: Obviously, you can make pie, but my favorite fall food is soup. Roast pumpkin, apple slices, and onion slices in the oven until soft. Blend with coconut milk, a bit of veggie broth, and spice it up with ground cardamom and freshly grated ginger. (recipe here)

Fall produce and spice pairings / @loveandlemons

Carrots: Roast in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, with olive oil, salt, pepper, and ground cumin. Remove carrots from the oven when they’re browned and caramelized on the outside, but before they’re mushy on the inside.

Beets: Scrub whole beets and wrap them in foil. Drizzle with olive oil and roast until fork tender. (about 40 minutes, depending on the size of your beets). Remove from oven, let cool, then slide the skin off under running water. Slice and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and ground coriander. For a quick salad, toss them with a splash of balsamic vinegar, bit of honey, and some feta or goat cheese.

Fall produce and spice pairings / @loveandlemons Cayenne and Cinnamon Sweet Potato Fries / @loveandlemons

Sweet potatoes: Make sweet potato fries with a sweet & savory kick using cayenne and saigon cinnamon. Or make a version this sweet potato chile or spiced quesadillas with ground chili powder, cumin, and a pinch of smoked paprika.

Sweet Potato Greens: These soft greens remind me most of spinach or Japanese mizuna greens. Slice them (stems and all), then quickly sauté them in a pan with coconut oil, hot madras curry powder and a splash of coconut milk.

Fall produce and spice pairings / @loveandlemons

This post is in partnership with McCormick. All thoughts, words and images are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that support Love & Lemons!