pear & fennel salad

Pear & Fennel Salad // loveandlemons.com

Happy new year!

Do you all make resolutions? In the past I haven’t, but this year I’m going to give it a go. (And I’m thinking if I write them here, maybe I’ll feel some sense of accountability).

1. Learn Italian. So far, I can read most restaurant menus, I can order gelato… I can ask for directions… but I’d love to be able to have an actual conversation.

2. Send back wedding rsvp cards, and mail out baby gifts on time. I’m the worst… I’m the friend that shows up to your baby shower with a printout from Amazon.com of what I purchased off your registry that morning. But I mean well, really I do.

3. Get some furniture and hang things on my walls. We moved into this new house just about two years ago. If you’ve seen our kitchen, it might appear as if we live in a state of togetherness, but I assure you that every other room has a ways to go. Furniture is hard.

I haven’t made any specific food resolutions… but if eating healthier in the new year is one of yours, this salad is a good tasty place to start. It’s light, yet satisfying, and packs a nice kick. Sweet pears and paper-thin fennel are tossed in a tangy dijon vinaigrette. Salty feta ads a richness (and just a little bit goes a long way).

sweet potato & pomegranate salad

Sweet Potato & Pomegranate Salad // loveandlemons.com

I hope you all had a very merry Christmas!

Aside from a short Christmas morning trip to the emergency vet (everyone’s fine, false – yet expensive – alarm) we had a pretty relaxing day. We consumed tons of food, wine, cookies, more wine, and a few extra (unnecessary) rounds of dessert.

Sweet Potato & Pomegranate Salad // loveandlemons.com

With new years right around the corner, the indulgences aren’t over yet… but all the more reason to pack in veggies along the way. This is a variation of this sweet potato salad that I was obsessed with at the beginning of fall. I made it a little more festive by using red pomegranates and bright green pistachios.

Quinoa stuffed acorn squash

quinoa stuffed acorn squash / loveandlemons.comMy idea of a vegetarian thanksgiving looks something like this… seasonal acorn squash stuffed with a sauté of quinoa and kale… kicked up a notch with scallions, tangy feta, sweet currants, and toasty pumpkin seeds. A colorful & hearty meal that doesn’t sacrifice on flavor. With all of the great produce this time of year, who really needs turkey and mashed white potatoes? (ok, just kidding, don’t answer that).

quinoa stuffed acorn squash / loveandlemons.comquinoa stuffed acorn squash / loveandlemons.com

sweet potato & cranberry salad

roasted sweet potato & cranberry salad

In one version or another, we’ve probably eaten this salad five times in the last couple of weeks. I know everyone’s sort of hooked on sweet potatoes at the moment, and I guess I’m no different…

Two things I love most about sweet potatoes are: 1. They take less strength and finger-losing risk than butternut squash… and 2. once you pop them in the oven, the house almost instantly smells like Thanksgiving.

Now that it’s been a little bit colder here, this has been the perfect soul-warming kind of meal to cozy up to with a bottle of red wine.

roasted sweet potato & cranberry salad

sweet potato & feta crostini

sweet potato & feta crostini / loveandlemons.com

It’s fall and I’ve been madly in love with this combo lately: roasted sweet potatoes, feta, dried cranberries, sage & honey.

I like to think I’ve become more creative with my cooking since we started this blog (coming up on one year ago!), but in the past few weeks, I’ve used those 5 ingredients in a slightly different form nearly every single night. I’ve tossed them with kale or spinach as a side dish… mixed them with wheat berries or quinoa for a hearty grain salad… I haven’t made a dessert out of them yet, but I wouldn’t say that’s completely of the question.

If I had to pick, I’d say this crostini might have been my favorite. I just love how the sweet, salty, and tangy flavors work on top of toasty grainy bread.