Sweet Tea Sparkling Apple Cider

Sweet Tea Sparkling Apple Cider

Happy almost-Thanksgiving week! Do you have your menu set? Are you getting together with family or having a Friendsgiving? Either way – here’s a sweet and oh-so-pretty cocktail that would be lovely for your turkey day.

Sweet Tea Sparkling Apple Cider Sweet Tea Sparkling Apple Cider

This one couldn’t be easier: mix apple cider with iced tea, let it chill for about 2 hours with diced apples, cinnamon sticks and star anise. When your guests arrive, pull it out of the fridge and serve with sparkling wine. That’s it!

Sweet Tea Sparkling Apple Cider Sweet Tea Sparkling Apple Cider

A Fall Wine Party (& a video!)

A Fall Wine Party A Fall Wine Party

A few weeks ago I threw this simple, fun Friday night wine party. Here in Austin, it was the first day of fall (read: the first day that the temps dropped below 90 degrees)… I invited some of my closest friends, served up some fall-inspired appetizers and (to keep things easy!) opened up a few boxes of Bota Box wines.

Here was my menu:
– Roasted Butternut Squash Crostini w/ Sage
– Assorted Cheese Platter
– Pumpkin Hummus (recipe below)

A Fall Wine Party A Fall Wine Party

I roasted cubes of butternut squash and topped them onto crostini with lemon ricotta and fried sage. This is my go-to fall appetizer. It’s also a wonderful starter before your Thanksgiving dinner.

I LOVE assembling pretty cheese boards. This time, I went with a combination of blue cheese, white cheddar slices, goat cheese, and a few others that looked great at the cheese counter that day. I filled the platter with grapes, rosemary crackers, and cranberry-hazelnut crackers. I also made pumpkin hummus, which is great because it can be made well in advance.

A Fall Wine Party

I decorated with a few pumpkins and had Jack string some lights from the tree.

A Fall Wine Party

If you come to my house often, then you know that I usually have a Bota Box in my fridge – their packaging makes it possible to store wine for a really long time, so I find it super convenient. For a party, it’s a great solution because you don’t have to mess around with tons of empty bottles, and it’s also very affordable.

A Fall Wine Party A Fall Wine Party A Fall Wine Party

Get the recipe for my Pumpkin Hummus below!

A Fall Wine Party

All in all, it was a fun evening with friends, although little anxious Annie didn’t know what to make of it all. She hung back by the door waiting for snacks to fall on the ground.

A Fall Wine Party

Mix & Match Summer Crostini Bar

Mix & Match Summer Crostini Bar / loveandlemons.com

Tell me, who doesn’t love a variety of yummy mix & match toppings on little pieces of grilled bread? Here’s a party idea that you can easily pull off this weekend. All you have to do is chill some rose, gather a bunch of toppings (and a bunch of friends)… grill some bread and voila, you have a fun, casual crostini party!

The combinations you can put together are endless, but my strategy here is pretty simple. I chose ingredients that hit on a variety of flavors and textures – sweet, savory, salty, fruity, herb-y, creamy, crunchy… you get the idea. For this post we’re partnering with Stonewall Kitchen because their delicious jams fit perfectly into this mix (hello, Hot Pepper Peach Jam!). I often reach for their jams, chutneys & crackers (among their other gourmet products) when I’m entertaining and when I don’t want to make everything myself.

Mix & Match Summer Crostini Bar / loveandlemons.com

Your guests can, of course, mix and match crostini toppings to their hearts’ desire, but these were some of our favorite combinations:

Strawberry Champagne Jam +  brie +  mint
Hot Pepper Peach Jam + cashew cream + a peach slices + pistachios
– Pesto + Roasted Garlic Onion Jam + cherry tomatoes

Mix & Match Summer Crostini Bar / loveandlemons.com

And because Stonewall Kitchen is celebrating their 25th anniversary, they’re giving away a Limited Edition 25th Anniversary Picnic Tote Gift which includes: a nautical recycled tote by Sea Bags, stemless wine glasses, a teak wood spreader, a cutting board, a jar of their delicious Mango Chutney, crackers, a picnic blanket & an insulated Corksicle water bottle. (A $349 value), check it out and enter to win by clicking here!

Mix & Match Summer Crostini Bar / loveandlemons.com

Vegetarian 4th of July Recipes

Vegetarian 4th of July Recipes

Baby Bella Veggie Kabobs Watermelon St. Germain Cocktails Tomato Basil Peach Skewers Vegetarian Orzo Stuffed Peppers Chile Lime Grilled Corn on the Cob Sweet Pepper Panzanella Tart Cherry Cheesecake Parfaits Image Map

Happy long weekend! I hope you all have some exciting 4th of July plans! And what I really mean by that is I hope you have more exciting plans than we do. We’re pretty jet lagged so we’ll probably be celebrating the red white and blue on the sofa with some Orange is the New Black. However, if I DO get up the energy to cook, I think this would be such a delicious veggie-forward summer menu:

Pictured above:
Baby Bella Veggie Kabobs
Watermelon St. Germain Cocktails / Tomato Basil Peach Skewers
Vegetarian Orzo Stuffed Peppers
Chile Lime Grilled Corn on the Cob / Sweet Pepper Panzanella
Tart Cherry Cheesecake Parfaits

10 Vegetarian Memorial Day Recipes

Portobello Tacos with Creamy Jalapeño Sauce

Is it Friday yet? I’m SO ready for the long weekend. After a whirlwind 2 days in Toronto this week promoting the book, I’m ready to relax, sleep in, and of course eat some yummy food! If you’re hosting (or heading to) a picnic or BBQ this weekend – here are some very favorite Memorial Day veggie ideas:

Pictured above: Portobello Tacos with Creamy Jalapeño Sauce

Ginger Peach Sangria

First things first, get your guests a cocktail! Mix up a big batch of this ginger peach sangria. It’s light and refreshing – my favorite summer cocktail. Serve it along with chunky Avocado, Black Bean & Corn Salsa and Cucumber Apple Green Gazpacho.

Chunky Avocado, Black Bean & Corn Salsa Cucumber Apple Green Gazpacho

For a veggie main course, try the Portobello Tacos (pictured at the top of this post), Orzo Stuffed Peppers or Chickpea Avocado Salad Sliders.

Vegetarian Orzo Stuffed Peppers Curried Chickpea & Avocado Salad Sliders

On the side: Sara’s Strawberry Tabbouleh and Grilled Corn on the Cob.

Sara's Strawberry Tabbouleh Grilled Corn on the Cob

For Dessert: Gluten Free Chocolate Pecan Skillet Cookies with melty ice cream.

Gluten Free Chocolate Pecan Skillet Cookies

For Dessert #2 (since it’s a holiday two desserts are allowed): Fancy S’mores! Put the Hershey bars away and gather a bunch of non-traditional toppings like crushed blackberries, almond butter, bananas and strawberries. Let your guests create their own customizable s’mores.

Fancy S'mores