lemony summer squash orecchiette

Lemony Summer Squash Orecchiette / @loveandlemons

You still have tons of zucchini right? Ok, I thought so, just checking. If you don’t (hi, Australia!), you can use this recipe as a template for whatever vegetable you do have (ie. broccoli would be delicious here). It’s a straight-forward simple pasta recipe – perfect for highlighting a special seasonal ingredient.

My zucchini and yellow squash were on the small side, so I sliced them into thin little coins and paired them with orecchiette pasta. I like how the shape of the squash and the shape of the pasta are somewhat similar. It makes for a nice “easy-to-get-it-all-on-your-fork” sort of texture.

Lemony Summer Squash Orecchiette / @loveandlemonsLemony Summer Squash Orecchiette / @loveandlemons

Rosemary isn’t super summery, but it’s what I had (my basil didn’t last through the heat). If you’ve been more successful with your herb-growing, feel free to switch it up. If you use leafy herbs, just be sure to add them closer to the end so they stay fresh and bright.

Lemony Summer Squash Orecchiette / @loveandlemons

Just a few minutes in the pan and you’re done. I folded in some creamy feta near the end – for a vegan option, add pesto instead.

Lemony Summer Squash Orecchiette / @loveandlemons

shells & brussels sprouts

shells & brussels sprouts / loveandlemons.com

Growing up, I was made to eat vegetables just as much as the next kid. Broccoli was at the top of my hate list, closely followed by mushy cooked carrots (one of the only veggies I still won’t eat). But I never had to face brussels sprouts. My mom didn’t like them as a child, so she never subjected them to our family. I felt lucky about this… if the adults in my family wouldn’t eat them, they must be that bad.

shells & brussels sprouts / loveandlemons.com

I don’t know what prompted brussels sprouts to go from America’s most hated veggie to darn near the most loved one, but I’m glad they did. Like most things, I’m sure it has everything to do with the preparation. They’re so great roasted until golden, or flash fried until crisp. Here, I coat them with a little balsamic and pan-roast them, then toss with shells, a little cheese and some bright squeezes of lemon.

vegan mac & cheese

Vegan Mac & Cheese // loveandlemons.com

I’m not going to lie and tell you that no one will believe this doesn’t have cheese. If you’re vegan, this will taste darn cheesy… if you are a true cheese lover (as my husband Jack is), you won’t be totally fooled but you will devour it anyway.

Jack likes to make fun of me when I make things like this… calls it “mac & sauce” and “vegan velveeta,” In the end he always eats his words. And most of the food on the table.

Vegan Mac & Cheese // loveandlemons.com

This one is just as tasty as this recipe… except this time the creaminess comes from coconut milk. The cheesy flavor comes from nutritional yeast and a kick of dijon mustard. But the star ingredient is the smoked paprika which ads a real depth of flavor.

Vegan Mac & Cheese // loveandlemons.com

roasted cauliflower pasta

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta // loveandlemons.com

This was my birthday dinner last week. My sister called while we were working on this, and the message she left said “I hope you’re out doing something special, and not at home photographing your dinner.”

Well, what can I say, I was obsessed with my cauliflower mission. Plus, it was a cold and rainy night, and this dinner felt warm and cozy. (well, ok, it was warm when I reheated it after the photos were done… but still).

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta // loveandlemons.com

I’m strange about holidays… I just think celebrations should be random. If I made a list of my favorite life moments, most of them did not happen on Christmas or my birthday, or even on my wedding day (family, pretend I didn’t just say that)… they happened on some random Tuesday, at a time and place that I never expected.

To me, expectation muddles things. I’d rather Jack come home some weeknight and announce that we’re going to Uchiko (hint hint) than watch him stress about what to plan for my birthday.

So a low key birthday it was… with Jack, my dad, myself, and the cauliflower…

sweet potato surprise

sweet potato surprise / loveandlemons.comsweet potato surprise / loveandlemons.comsweet potato surprise / loveandlemons.com

I first made this months ago with the very first of the butternut squashes of the season. I had decided ahead of time that it would be a “non-photo” night since casseroles are not the easiest subject matter. Of course, after we made it, I was regretting not having the camera out because it tasted way too good not to share.

For the second go-around, I made it with sweet potatoes only because that had a better ring than “butternut squash surprise.”

If you’re vegan, this will taste like a baked mac and cheese. If you’re not vegan, it will just taste awesome and you won’t really believe it’s vegan (surprise). Or if you use gluten free bread crumbs on top instead of panko, it’s gluten free (double surprise).