Winter Farro & Kale Salad

Winter Farro & Kale Salad with hazelnuts & pomegranates

All you want for Christmas is a christmas salad – right? Ok, maybe not, but in between all of the cookies and other sweet treats, doesn’t it just feel so good to eat something nourishing before your next cocktail? This salad is packed with so many things that I crave, like dark leafy kale and hearty farro; and to make it extra festive – hazelnuts and pomegranates. It’s the salad that looks like a Christmas tree.

Winter Farro & Kale Salad with hazelnuts & pomegranates

You can use either lacinato kale (pictured) or curly kale for this recipe. I usually find curly kale to be a little bit softer, but this pretty bouquet of local lacinato was on the smaller side so the leaves were nice and tender – especially after massaging them with this tangy dressing.

This salad looks gorgeous as a side dish on your holiday table or is delicious with soup for a cozy night in. If you want to make it a meal on it’s own, add your protein of choice and pack it up for lunch during the week. It’s great the second day (and also the third).

Winter Farro & Kale Salad

Edible DIY Gift Ideas (+ printables!)

Infused Olive Oils  - make & give as homemade gifts!  @loveandlemons

I have to say that my favorite part about Christmas is wrapping the gifts. When I was in college in Chicago, I had a part time job wrapping gifts at the infamous Marshall Fields on State Street. Their gift wrap room was full of rolls of beautiful wrap, ribbon, and bows – it was a small haven from the holiday chaos that was happening everywhere else outside in the city. So recently, when I was given the opportunity to go through The Container Store’s “Gift Wrap Wonderland,” I was positively giddy. Of course they have gift wrap galore, but they also adorable jars, tags, tapes & twines… oh my.

These simple projects don’t require perfect corners or invisible tape (although maybe a DIY for next year!). I had way too much fun making & decorating these and I hope you do too.

DIY Gift Tags for homemade olive oils / @loveandlemons

I made lemon and chili infused olive oils and poured them each into these cute bottles (these tiny ones and these medium ones). I decorated the little tags simply with a strip of Washi tape and tied them to the jars with red metallic Bakers Twine.

Almondella - Chocolate Almond Butter Spread / @loveandlemons

Almond-ella is my version of nutella. It’s easier to make (and also a tad healthier). Instead of grinding your own hazelnuts, I use almond butter – this recipe takes 2 minutes. I dressed up Small Parfait Jars, using strands from this Candy Cane Stripe Curl BowMetal Rim Tags, and more Bakers Twine.

Almondella - Chocolate Almond Butter Spread / @loveandlemons Pistachio Goji Granola / @loveandlemons

This pistachio goji granola has been one of my favorites for years – I dressed it up in another Small Parfait Jar (I just love them!) and attached its tag with this Silver Glitter Star Gift Tag and pretty green ribbon.

Pistachio Goji Granola / @loveandlemons

I also served this Sweet & Spicy popcorn, with the same metal rim tags and a snowflake gift tag.

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Download these tag designs and assemble your own tags. Click here to download the PDF, print them out, cut them out and stick them onto Metal Rim Tags with double stick tape. (Or print them onto full-sheet adhesive paper). I also handed out little packets with recipe cards that I tucked inside these festive treat bags.

Click here to download the printable Gift Tag PDF

Click here to download the printable Recipe Card PDF.

Recipe Card Printables / @loveandlemons

…and one quick snap of me doing my demo-thing in Gift Wrap Wonderland at the Container Store :)

Happy gifting!

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Creamy White Bean & Tomato Soup

Creamy White Bean & Tomato Soup (vegan)

It’s been a soupy week around here. I’ve said it probably one hundred times before, but I just love the process of making soup. It makes me feel grounded and fancy all at the same time. Simmering flavorful things in a pot (with a glass of wine on the side) is my idea of a perfect night. It could be Tuesday night, it could be Friday night – it doesn’t matter to me.

Creamy White Bean & Tomato Soup (vegan)

I made this one last weekend when my mom came to visit and again a few days later for Jack who had been out of town. The best part about all of this soup making (and testing and shooting) is the leftover lunch soup – because second day soup is where it’s at. Trust me, you’ll want to make extra and store away the leftovers for lunch all week. It gets better and better.

Because it’s the middle of winter, I used canned tomatoes, which makes this soup “soup-er” easy (get it? also – I’m so sorry). I thickened the soup with white beans (half blended and half left whole for texture). For extra creaminess, I also blended in some raw cashews. If you’re looking for a lighter more tomato-ey soup, you can skip them – I actually like it both ways, depending on what I’m in the mood for.

Creamy White Bean & Tomato Soup (vegan)

Lemony White Wine Capellini

Lemony White Wine Capellini / loveandlemons.com

This recipe describes how I like my holidays: simple and with wine. I don’t get too wrapped up in holiday craziness – I don’t fight crowds at the mall, I don’t bake ten million cookies, and I don’t cook a christmas ham (is that what people still do?). But I do enjoy making easy elegant dinners like this one. This pasta is bright and merry, with squeezes of lemon and splashes of Barefoot Pinot Grigio.

Lemony White Wine Capellini / loveandlemons.com

The recipe starts with a very light lemony white wine sauce made with olive oil, shallots and garlic. Then, I toss in a few handfuls of spinach before tossing everything with the pasta.

Finally, I toast pine nuts, rosemary, and breadcrumbs for texture and add a few red pepper flakes for kick. This is a simple recipe that’s a bit of a blank canvas. Feel free to customize this however you like –  it would be yummy with other vegetables such as mushrooms, kale or swiss chard. And if you’re not vegetarian, seafood would be delicious in here as well.

Lemony White Wine Capellini / loveandlemons.com

Serve with fresh parsley, parmesan cheese (optional), and a few glasses of wine (not optional). Cheers!

Lemony White Wine Capellini / loveandlemons.com

Sweet & Spicy Popcorn

Sweet & Spicy Popcorn / @loveandlemons

Hello everyone, Jack here pinch-hitting for Jeanine. She’s been busy making this very popcorn, so she asked me to write about it.

Popcorn this time of year makes me think of something that has become a bit of an American tradition – gigantic multi-gallon tins of flavored popcorn. You know the kind – they’re the size of an oil drum, separated into three sections on the inside with a literal ton of popcorn inside. It seems like a good idea – popcorn is cheap, so why not preserve it in a sticky, sugary shell to enjoy over the entire month of December? Well the reality is that I usually eat nearly half of it the first day, feel terrible, and then eventually throw out what’s left in February.

Sweet & Spicy Popcorn / @loveandlemons Sweet & Spicy Popcorn / @loveandlemons

So naturally, Jeanine made her version a little bit healthier, but I can promise you that it’s every bit as addictive. It goes the sweet and spicy route, because why not? It’s sweetened with maple syrup and spiced with cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne. It makes a great gift – that is, if you can keep from eating handfuls of it before packing up. (Sorry, Jeanine).

Sweet & Spicy Popcorn / @loveandlemons