Cranberry & Pistachio Chocolate Bark

Cranberry & Pistachio Chocolate Bark / @loveandlemons #vegan #glutenfree

During the holidays, Jack has a thing for peppermint bark. I have a thing for not picking sticky candy pieces out of my teeth, so we compromised and used festive ingredients that we both love – pistachios, dried cranberries, coconut flakes and (most importantly!) a sprinkle of coarse sea salt.

Cranberry & Pistachio Chocolate Bark / @loveandlemons #vegan #glutenfree

This is my kind of holiday dessert because it’s (naturally) red and green, and also easy to through together. You might even already have these ingredients (or similar ones) on hand in your pantry. If you don’t – feel free to customize with whatever toppings you like – nuts, dried fruit, or even crushed candy cane pieces if that’s your thing.

Pop it in the freezer to set – then break and eat!

Cranberry & Pistachio Chocolate Bark / @loveandlemons #vegan #glutenfree

Holiday Cocktail & Cookie Swap

Holiday Cookie Swap / Love & Lemons + Crate & BarrelCookies & Cocktails w/ Holiday Drinkware

For as long as I can remember, my family’s Christmas season officially started with cookies. Before we were even tall enough to reach the countertop, my mom would pull over kitchen chairs so my sister and I could “help” out and get our hands in the flour. She would get out the baking sheets, the ingredients, and the flour-dusted recipes that were reserved only for the holiday season. We’d bake batch after batch after batch, eating more cookie dough than actual cookies.

This year, to kick off our holiday season, I created a little cookie & cocktail party taking inspiration from my family cookie memories. And we’ve partnered with Crate and Barrel to share a few cocktail and cookie recipe ideas and tips to create a sweet gathering of your own.

pictured above: Hatch Rocks & Shot Glasses, Snowflake Coasters

Holiday Cookie Swap / www.loveandlemons.com

Create your Cookie Swap: 

After a quick google search, I’ve learned that some people have some pretty serious Cookie Swap rules. I personally don’t think rules and parties go together so here are just some of my tips to help get you started:

- Invite some friends who have a big sweet tooth. There’s no calorie counting at this party! The more people you invite, the more cookie varieties you’ll have.

- Ask each person to bring one batch (about 2 dozen) homemade cookies and a tin or storage container to take cookies home in.

 - Make a fun & festive cocktail but I like to keep it simple. I made a Blood Orange and Bourbon Cocktail with a sprig of rosemary.

- Set up platters for guests to place their cookies so everyone can share cookies and swap recipes.

pictured above: Nesting Mixing Bowl, Stainless Steel Measuring Cup, Mini Silicone Spatula-Spoon Set

Holiday Cookie Swap / www.loveandlemons.com

The Cookies:

My mom and I spent an afternoon baking some of our family favorites: this Spritz cookie is my family’s signature cookie. It’s a light buttery cookie flavored with sweet almond extract. Create fun shapes using a Cookie Press – the poinsettia flower shape was always our favorite. We also made vegan sugar cookies, pistachio truffles (which are also vegan), and pecan turtle bars.

pictured above & below: Round Storage Bowl SetBoxed 6” Appetizer Plates, Lumi Batik Cocktail NapkinsJingle Cookies for Santa Platter

Cookie Swap Holiday Decor / Love & Lemons + Crate & Barrel

And don’t forget some cookies for the dogs – ours are always looking for handouts!

Peppermint Bark Dog Treats / loveandlemons.com
pictured:
 Peppermint Bark Dog Treats

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes  www.loveandlemons.com

Happy almost Thanksgiving! Whether you’re having a vegetarian holiday, or your son’s new girlfriend is vegan… OR you just plain love vegetables (like we do), here are a few veggie feast-worthy recipes that will hopefully inspire…

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes  www.loveandlemons.com

Pictured above:

Vegan Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Ginger Apple Pumpkin Soup / Shredded Brussels Sprout & Apple Salad

Butternut Squash, Walnut & Sage Pasta / Creamy Polenta & Mushrooms

Rosemary Roasted Veggies / Kale & Shiitake Mushroom Stuffing

Apple Zinger Tea-tails / Apple Cardamom Oat Crumble

Plus, check out tons more in the Thanksgiving section of our recipe index…

portobello pups & macaroni salad

Portabello Pups / @loveandlemons

In honor of Labor Day weekend we’re making fun, un-fussy (yet still yummy!) food. This is my vegi-ful take on a few cookout classics – grilled “hot dogs,” with all the fixins, and a lighter take on creamy pasta salad.

Portabello Pups and Macaroni Salad / @loveandlemons

We’ve partnered with French’s as part of their Mustard Mixology program to share a few grilling recipes focused around one of my favorite ingredients - mustard. I brushed slices of portobello mushrooms with olive oil, yellow mustard and balsamic vinegar… and grilled them until charred and juicy.

I’ll be honest, I originally planned to serve these in hot dog buns for the novelty of it – but it turns out that portobellos really work better in dog form than in burger-form. They get more fully covered in the flavorful marinade and (because they’re thinner strips) they cook a lot quicker and more evenly.

whiskingPortabello Pups and Macaroni Salad / @loveandlemons

This macaroni is a brighter, more fresh version than the mayo-laden one we all know (but no one really loves). It’s full of crunchy vegetables and tossed with a light dressing made of olive oil, lemon and mustard. If you’re vegan you can stop there, or you can add a big scoop of greek yogurt to make your salad creamy.

Happy long weekend!

Portabello Pups  / @loveandlemons

qooq tablet giveaway

QOOQ kitchen tablet giveaway / loveandlemons.com

Gift giving season might be over, but (surprise!) I’ve got one more…

Have you seen the QOOQ Tablet? It’s like an iPad except you can spill on it. You can get your messy fingers all over it and wipe it clean without damaging it. It’s loaded with recipes, cooking tutorials, and other fun things. (It also has a regular web browser so you can access – say – our website, very easily).

Sur La Table kindly sent one to us, and now we’re sending it to one lucky winner. (We opened it and played with it for awhile – but it’s still totally new).

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below and tell me about a favorite kitchen gift you either gave or received! You can like us on Twitter or Facebook (but only if you want to).

Giveaway is now closed.