vanilla peach pops

vanilla peach pops / @loveandlemons

There’s only one thing more summery than juicy, ripe peaches: Juicy, ripe peaches frozen into sweet, melty, almond milk popsicles! It’s summer on a stick, friends.

vanilla peach pops / @loveandlemons

First, you need to get your hands on some really good peaches. If you can’t find good peaches, use whatever juicy peak-season fruit you do have. (Sliced strawberries would be excellent here).

vanilla peach pops / @loveandlemons

For the base, whisk Vanilla Almond Breeze, with a touch of coconut oil and maple syrup. You could also use plain (sweetened) almond milk and add a bit of vanilla bean. (I’d stay away from vanilla extract this time).

These are pretty lightly sweetened, which is my personal preference. Feel free to add more maple syrup if you wish. Or get fancy and simmer your peaches into a peach purée.

Because its summer, and I was lazy, I kept it simple…

vanilla peach pops / @loveandlemons

Fill a popsicle mold with chopped peaches and pour the almond milk mixture over top. Don’t worry, if you don’t have a popsicle mold, you can use little cups instead. Just let them freeze for an hour or so before placing the sticks.

vanilla peach pops / @loveandlemons

Now the hard part: waiting. Let them freeze overnight (or about 10 hours).

vanilla peach pops / @loveandlemons

Try to take the photo quickly before they melt all over your countertop!

If you make these, tag #loveandlemons on Instagram so I can see!

feta & harissa fattoush salad

feta and harissa fattoush salad @loveandlemons

I have a confession to make: I’m obsessed with feta cheese. Growing up, my mom used to make spanakopita, (carefully wrapped phillo dough triangles stuffed with spinach and feta), every year for my birthday – it was my favorite thing and that tangy creamy flavor is still one of my fondest food memories.

Of course, that’s a lot of work to do for every day meals, so nowadays I get my feta fix on salads. That tangy salty bite has a way of turning on-hand ingredients into tasty cohesive meals. Sweet potato and pomegranate, watermelon and avocado, strawberries and quinoa, check check check.

One ingredient we happened to have on-hand recently was stale pita bread. I’ve made plenty of panzanella salads with stale bread, but I just love fattoush and all of its crispy flatbread goodness. Fattoush is a middle eastern bread salad made with toasted day-old pita, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta and sumac. Sumac turned out to be a difficult ingredient to source so I subbed in some spicy & smoky (dried) harissa instead. So here we have: fattoush-ish.

feta and harissa fattoush salad @loveandlemons

In a small bowl drizzle sliced sweet cherry tomatoes with a little bit of sherry vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. (This becomes so flavorful and juicy that making a separate salad dressing isn’t necessary).

Cut up the stale pita into small chips, drizzle it with olive oil, harissa spice and salt, and toss it in the oven until it’s golden brown and toasty. Set them aside and try not to eat them all as you assemble the rest of the salad. (or if you have snack-y family members like I do – toast some extra pita so you’ll have plenty left for the salad).

feta and harissa fattoush salad @loveandlemons

Toss the whole thing with peppery arugula, crispy chopped cucumbers and then – the special part - two types of cheese – Président Feta Crumbles which are tart and salty, and Valbreso Sheeps Milk Feta, which is creamy and rich, yet delicate.

feta and harissa fattoush salad @loveandlemons

Toss it all together so the juices of the tomato soak into the toasty pita. Sprinkle on more harissa, a few mint leaves, and – of course – serve with extra feta.

feta and harissa fattoush salad @loveandlemons

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raspberry polenta cake

raspberry polenta cake (vegan) / loveandlemons.com

What do you make with leftover polenta and leftover raspberries? Cake, of course! But not just any cake – cake in a skillet. Because skillets = summer.

raspberry polenta cake / loveandlemons.comraspberry polenta cake (vegan) / loveandlemons.com

Aside from the little bit of butter I used to grease the pan, this cake is vegan and made with coconut oil. It’s naturally sweetened with maple syrup and, of course, the sweetness that comes from the raspberries. (note: you can grease your pan with coconut oil).

It’s a (smaller) version of this peach cake I made last summer – in my 10-inch skillet this cake is just 4 servings, but you can double it if you have a larger skillet and more mouths to feed. I prefer it straight out of the oven with melty ice cream on top. Although, the leftover slices were delicious (sans the ice cream), for breakfast the next morning.

raspberry polenta cake (vegan) / loveandlemons.com

Oh, and it goes without saying that you could top this with any fruit you like.

mango & zucchini lettuce wraps

mango and zucchini lettuce wraps / loveandlemons.com

As the temps have been rising, I’ve been craving food that’s lighter and colder. Lately we’ve spent most evenings dining al fresco trying to live it up before the 100 degree weather sets in. Chill evenings call for chilled food and these lettuce wraps are just so refreshing…. a beautiful appetizer, or (in our case) a light dinner.

The thing I love about Lettuce Wrap Nite is that you can eat lots of them without feeling too guilty. For me, eating light is never about eating less food. I piled this platter full of crispy romaine, julienned zucchini, thinly sliced mango, tons of mint, and super healthy kelp noodles (although feel free to sub in vermicelli noodles if you like). I kept it simple by adding some edamame for protein, but it’s delicious with slices of baked tofu.

mango and zucchini lettuce wraps / loveandlemons.com

This soy-ginger dipping sauce will take just a few minutes to stir together – if you want to get fancier, peanut sauce would be great with these as well.

ginger soy dipping sauce / loveandlemons.com

But the most important thing you need for outdoor dining is a big platter to load everything onto. You don’t want to have to make multiple trips for herbs and dipping sauces, etc – plus one of you has to carry the wine. This Heritage Platter from Q Squared is absolutely perfect – it’s become my go-to platter for patio meals – plus how pretty are those colors!

mango and zucchini lettuce wraps / loveandlemons.com

Check out Q Squared and the rest of their beautiful things. Love and Lemons readers will receive 20% off! (enter code: LOVEANDLEMONS)

any vegetable vinegar pickles

any vegetable vinegar pickles

I love cookbooks and I hoard them pretty obsessively. Although, I’ll admit, I have a hard time following recipes from start to finish. Which is why I love the premise of Kate Payne’s new book, The Hip Girls Guide to the Kitchen. It’s a “hit the ground running approach, seeing as you need to eat three times daily whether you’ve mastered your kitchen or not.”

It’s full of, really, everything you need to know to be pretty successful in your kitchen – from how to set up your pantry to how to put meals together intuitively and economically. (Also she’s gluten free, so she includes tons of dietary options). She offers suggestions for what to buy in bulk, (and what not to), tips for buying kitchen tools from second hand stores, plus tons of clever “hip tricks” along the way. (For example: did you know you can buy a refurbished Vitamix blender for a fraction of the cost? …me neither).

The Hip GIrl's Guide to the Kitchen, by Kate Payne

She’s truly your friend in the kitchen and her writing is charming, witty, and just fun to read. Some of my favorite sections are:

Equip your Ship: Setting up your kitchen without winning the lottery
Methodology & Madd Skills: Learning how to cook without books or your laptop
Kitchen Kick-Ass: Tapping into your inner depression-era granny
Using Stuff Up: Preserving projects any beginner can handle

The Hip GIrl's Guide to the Kitchen, by Kate Payne

Since I’m clearly a beginner at preserving projects, I instantly gravitated to her recipe for Any Vegetable Vinegar Pickles. Any recipe that has “any vegetable” in the title, is my kind of recipe. I chose cauliflower, broccoli, red onions, radishes, and cucumbers along with a few various spices. Her brine recipe was quick and easy to make. The hardest part is the waiting – she suggest stashing them in the back of your fridge and not touching them for at least a week, although she says 2-3 is the best. (We’ll see if I can hold out that long!)

any vegetable vinegar pickles

Click here to go buy her book!

Also, be sure to check out Kate’s blog, as well as these fine fellow bloggers who have also written posts about the book: Food in Jars, Healthy Green Kitchen, Local Kitchen Blog, Autumn Makes and Does, Punk Domestics, Spinach Tiger, and Local Savour.

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