2017 Cookbook Gift Guide

Love & Lemons 2017 Cookbook Gift Guide

It’s that time of year again! You’ve gone through your list and checked it twice… yet there are still a few friends and family members left and you don’t know what to get for them. How about a cookbook? I always say this, but I think cookbooks make the best gifts because there’s always one to suit every taste. Or maybe I just say this because I personally love (and love to hoard) cookbooks!

Anyway, here are my favorites from this past year. Many I’ve written about before, many you’ll hear more about in the next few months. They’re all pretty veggie-forward (the ones that aren’t still have interesting vegetable options). So if you like our blog (and book!) I think you and your loved ones will love these cookbooks too!

Vegetarian Favorites:

The Love & Lemons Cookbook by yours truly
The First Mess by Laura Wright
Love Real Food by Kathryne Taylor of Cookie & Kate
Naturally Vegetarian by Valentina Solfrini of Hortus Cuisine
One Part Plant by Jessica Murnane
In my Kitchen by Deborah Madison
Bowls of Goodness by Nina Olsson of Nourish Atelier
The Savvy Cook by Izy Hossack of Top with Cinnamon
Naturally Nourished by Sarah Britton of My New Roots
The Moosewood Restaurant Table 

Deliciously Beautiful Books:

Cook Beautiful by Athena Calderone of Eyeswoon
Autentico by Rolando Beramendi

Weeknight Cooking (with good veggie options):

Dining in: Highly Cookable Recipes by Alison Roman
Back Pocket Pasta by Colu Henry
Dinner, Changing the Game by Melissa Clark

Good Reads:

The Wellness Project by Phoebe Lapine
What She Ate by Laura Shapiro
Coming To My Senses by Alice Waters

Fun books from favorite restaurants:

Elizabeth Street Cafe by Larry McGuire and Julia Turshen
Jack’s Wife Freida by Maya & Dean Jankelowitz & Julia Jaksic
Egg Shop by Nick Korbee

I’m currently devouring:

The Sweet Spot: Dialing Back Sugar and Amping Up Flavor by former White House Pastry Chef, Bill Yosses
Downtime by Nadine Levy Redzepi (wife of Noma chef, Rene Redzepi)
Smitten Kitchen Everyday by Deb Perelman

Looking forward to (available for pre-order):

Healthy-ish by Lindsay Maitland Hunt
Vegan Comfort Classics by Lauren Toyota of Hot For Food

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Zucchini & Sweet Potato Noodle Minestrone

Zucchini & Sweet Potato Noodle Minestrone

I always talk about how much I love soup and now that it’s winter (in Chicago! Ack!), I’m more obsessed than ever. I love making it, I love eating it, I love freezing it… and I love reheating it just to enjoy eating it all over again. There’s never a day that I’m not in the mood for soup – it just makes my body and soul feel so nourished and happy. This blog could have been titled: Love and Lemons and Soup because I first fell in love with cooking by routinely making soup on Sundays.

This was an especially fun soup to make because how pretty are these veggie noodles?! Usually I put pasta in my minestrone, but this time I used spiralized zucchini and sweet potato noodles that I made using the KitchenAid® Spiralizer Attachment. I might never make soup with regular noodles again.

Zucchini & Sweet Potato Noodle Minestrone

Sharp-eyed readers may notice that we’ve replaced our blue KitchenAid® Artisan® Stand Mixer with a shiny new lemony yellow (Majestic Yellow, to be exact) one. We loved the old one, but with all the blue in the new kitchen, now seemed like as good a time as any for a change. Plus, I’ll never say no to lemon-colored anything 🙂

I love this new Spiralizer attachment, and here’s why:

  1. It’s easy to clean(!) because only two small pieces of it actually touch the vegetable
  2. It’s simple to use – once you get the hang of putting the attachment on, you just start the mixer and voila! Vegetable noodles.
  3. It’s fast. Once I load a vegetable in and start, the whole thing is spiralized in seconds.

Zucchini & Sweet Potato Noodle Minestrone

I know what you’re thinking – “that’s one long noodle, I bet you made a mess of yourself trying to eat it.” Well I trimmed it into smaller more bite-sized pieces before adding to the soup, I just thought that the one noodle was super fun.

The rest of the soup is pretty simple but so delicious – carrots, tomatoes, broth white beans, chickpeas… and it’s flavored with generous amounts of rosemary and fresh thyme. Don’t forget to tie up your thyme so you can dig it out easily before you eat it! (Alternatively, you can pull the leaves off the thyme sprigs, but I like to save time and bundle it.

Zucchini & Sweet Potato Noodle Minestrone Zucchini & Sweet Potato Noodle Minestrone Zucchini & Sweet Potato Noodle Minestrone Zucchini & Sweet Potato Noodle Minestrone

This soup reheats perfectly – the veggies stay firm and the broth just tastes better and better. Enjoy it for days like we did!

Shredded Brussels Sprout & Cranberry Salad

Shredded Brussels Sprout & Cranberry Salad

I just woke up to a snowy white Saturday morning, which means that it’s the perfect day for… salad! Ok, maybe I’m the weird one that just loves salad no matter what’s going on around me. If you’re craving something warm and cozy, go make a mug of this cacao hot chocolate then come back here if you’re looking for an easy salad to make for weekend holiday festivities. This one will be your go to throw-together winter salad that you’ll crave when you want a break from cookies and other indulgent treats.

The recipe comes from our book and after making it multiple times Thanksgiving weekend, I just had to share it here because it’s such a breeze to put together. You can make it hours in advance and even though it’s made with so FEW ingredients, it’s so delicious.

Quick tip: look for pre-shredded Brussels sprouts (I’ve seen them in many stores recently). I don’t often buy pre-cut vegetables in bags but I won’t tell if you won’t tell.

Also, a reminder that our cookbook makes a great holiday gift! It’s packed with tons more easy and delicious recipes like this one 🙂 Click here to read more about it!

Salad Cheers!

The Love & Lemons Cookbook

Home for the Holidays (+ mulled wine!)

Home for the Holidays (+ mulled wine!)

I’ve mentioned this before on the blog, but this past year we made a huge move from Austin to Chicago, where I’m originally from. Years and years ago (when I first met Jack who lived in Austin) I was SO excited to leave and to live somewhere warm… forever! I didn’t miss fall, I didn’t miss the seasons, I basked in the sun in December and I loved every minute of it. As far as I knew, I would never be back but, well, life has a way of changing in unexpected ways and here we are!

On a warm summer day in July we saw this condo and decided that we could do this winter thing. So here we are doing winter, which I can’t say I LOVE, but I’m excited to be back home near my family.

You all saw the kitchen a few months ago, but the rest of the house had been almost entirely empty until very recently. Little by little, our living space is starting to come together. We’ve been doing a lot of staying in (its cold out there!), creating new traditions like actually putting up a Christmas tree and making warming recipes like this mulled wine below.

Home for the Holidays (+ mulled wine!)

Speaking of staying in…here’s a little peek at our new living room. The layout of this space was challenging because we didn’t bring anything from Austin and the space was entirely empty when we moved in. So I designed these built-ins, we ordered (and waited and waited) for a couch to arrive, I picked out (and changed my mind about) chairs, coffee tables, etc… It finally started to feel like a room we can get cozy in.

And then there was the TV. In our other homes, Jack always had a giant bachelor-pad style super ugly TV. Since this room is so integrated with the rest of the house and opposite the kitchen, I didn’t want that to be my view while I cook. So enter – the prettiest TV I’ve ever seen – The Frame by Samsung. I’m not one to get excited about electronics, but when we saw this TV in a store a few months ago, I knew it would be just the thing to keep the room looking nice while Jack could still be the tech nerd he is.

Home for the Holidays (+ mulled wine!)

This TV also solved a problem I didn’t really know I had. See, I love art but I can never decide what to hang on the walls. This usually ends up meaning… nothing. Now I can change the artwork that’s displayed on it all day long if I want to! There’s a really great selection of artwork to choose from and it’s nice to be able to change the look of a room on a whim. I love how this bird piece works with/as my holiday decor because now I have less holiday tchotchke to collect (and store). When Christmas is over, bye bye birdies!

Home for the Holidays (+ mulled wine!)

Ok, this is Jack, the “tech nerd” chiming in for a minute. I could talk for WAY too long about my love for this TV, but I’ll try to keep it short. To start, its design is nearly perfect. It sits flush with the wall, comes with the wall mount included(!), and all the connections and stuff go through a box on the other end of a tiny cable (they call it the Invisible Connection) so you don’t have wires sticking out the side of your TV. There are also three trim colors you can get that attach magnetically to the side of the TV – we chose white.

Picture-wise, it’s state-of-the-art 4K with HDR, so the colors and resolution are top notch. While it’s great for my video games and movies, it’s also stunning for the “art mode,” which is so cool. You hit the power button, and the TV adjusts the brightness and color tone to the surrounding room, so the TV just looks like a picture frame on the wall (see above) when it’s not in use, instead of the giant “black mirror” that Jeanine always hated.

Home for the Holidays (+ mulled wine!) Home for the Holidays (+ mulled wine!)

Ultimately, of course, this is a site about food and drink, and I also love this drink. While I put up the Christmas tree, Jeanine decided to try her hand at some mulled wine. Neither of us have had mulled wine before, but with the cold Chicago winters and our cozy new house, I can see this becoming a thing for the next few months. Wait… it’s cold here for months?!

Home for the Holidays (+ mulled wine!)

Apple Cinnamon Crunch Overnight Oats

Apple Cinnamon Crunch Overnight Oats

It’s December! How did that happen already? With the holidays quickly approaching, you’re busy (and I’m busy!)… all the more reason to have a super quick energizing breakfast ready to go in the morning. This recipe takes less than 5 minutes to put together at night and it’s ready in the morning.

Admittedly, I was late to the overnight oat craze, but I’m pretty obsessed now. What I love is that they’re creamy without being gummy and the flavor combos are endless! I love this version with blueberry jam that I made in the summertime – this fall/winter apple version is just as delicious but totally different. It’s just oats, almond milk, diced apples with a little lemon, and your favorite granola. It’s amazing how something so simple can be so satisfying.

I’ve been keeping these stocked in my fridge (they last up to about 3 days) for both myself and Jack. This recipe was inspired by one from the Quaker Oats website where there are lots of fun ideas for overnight oat combinations.

Apple Cinnamon Crunch Overnight Oats

Speaking of holiday craziness, this weekend we got the chance to get a head start on our holiday shopping at the Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago at the Bridgeport Arts Center. Since moving back here, we’ve been enjoying exploring everything that Chicago has to offer, but we especially loved this event because it had a very art-y Austin-y vibe :). There was sunshine, beautiful goods, creative craftspeople, and even a few food trucks.

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago

Our friends at Quaker Oats had a booth at the event and asked us to stop by. The place was PACKED, so it was a nice place to take a break (and get some more overnight oats…)

The booth was great – for starters, you can get your name etched on your very own overnight oat jar. Since this is a craft fair, they also have an area for kids to decorate their jar. There are stickers and glue sticks, and, well, I have to admit I spent quite awhile decorating my own jar  – if I’m gonna do something, I’m gonna do it right! It’s fun, free, crafty, and like I said, a great snack stop! (Pictured above: me rolling oats)

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago

Of course, I nabbed some pretty ceramic plates before we left. Such a great day!