Veg Out Platter (i.e. the Ultimate Crudité Board)

Veg Out Platter (i.e. the Ultimate Crudité Board)

I love a good crudité board. I feel like they get a bad rap because the grocery store versions with the sad celery, raw cauliflower, and grubby carrots are never the most exciting appetizer at a party, but this board fixes that by being bright, fun, and delicious! It’s a yummy mix of fresh things, salty/savory bites, and even a sweet element from the delectable Tart Cherry Thyme Compound Butter.

Each little recipe is made up of super simple combinations of creative ingredients that together, make a really unique appetizer board! I brought this platter to my family’s father’s day gathering a few weeks ago and it got gobbled up in minutes.

Veg Out Platter (i.e. the Ultimate Crudité Board)

This recipe comes from the gorgeous book Platters and Boards by Shelly Westerhausen of the blog Vegetarian Ventures. It’s filled with recipes to create fun, beautiful, yet very doable spreads for any occasion. There’s everything from a Beach Board, to a Holiday Hosting Spread, to a Lazy Sunday Brunch Board.

What I love most is the part where Shelly talks about how a board can be blank canvas for your creativity… or your leftovers. “It’s a great way to use up whatever vegetables, cheeses, jams, or meats you have hanging around your refrigerator, or use it as an opportunity to try new foods. Take a trip to that new cheese shop you’ve been meaning to visit or spend some time in the bulk section of your grocery store.”

Veg Out Platter (i.e. the Ultimate Crudité Board)

While my wheels are turning about what other types of boards I can create, let’s turn back to this one and talk about this marinated feta. I’m SO OBSESSED with this Marinated Feta with Sun Dried Tomato, Thyme, and Garlic. It added a wonderful pop of flavor to this board, and to the salad that I made later with the leftovers. It’s tangy, briny, and so fresh with the addition of the thyme leaves. I think thyme is such an underrated herb – it’s time to start using more thyme!

Veg Out Platter (i.e. the Ultimate Crudité Board)

The crowd pleaser on this board was this Tart Cherry Thyme Butter (again with the thyme – so delicious!). Shelly’s recipe calls for dried blueberries, which I couldn’t find, but dried tart cherries offered a bright, sweet element. I would have never thought of adding compound butter to a veggie board, but it was a wonderful, fancy addition that was easy to make!

Veg Out Platter (i.e. the Ultimate Crudité Board)

For more fun board inspo, get the book, Platters and Boards!

Mother’s Day Recipes + a Giveaway!

Coconut Mango Muffins

Mother’s Day is this weekend! That sure came up quick! In case you need some recipe inspiration, here are a few of my favorites that I think would be perfect for the occasion. Plus, see below for an extra special giveaway 🙂

For brunch:

I love these lightly sweet Coconut Mango Muffins. I often keep them in my freezer for a weekday breakfast or snack. To make them brunch-able, serve with the mini frittatas below:

Mini Tomato Frittatas with Dill

These little Mini Tomato Frittatas with Dill are as cute as they are delicious. I absolutely love the combo of dill and eggs. These little guys are also filled with kale, feta, scallions, and tomatoes.

Blueberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal

This Blueberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal might be my favorite brunch recipe ever. It’s a sweet breakfast that’s filled with so many good-for-you things like oats, almonds, hemp seeds, coconut flakes, strawberries, and bananas.

Shakshuka with Spinach and Harissa

This Shakshuka with Spinach and Harissa is a reader favorite and one of my favorites too. I just love these baked eggs in spicy tomato sauce. Serve with avocado slices and toast for dipping – yum yum!

Cinnamon Sugar Baked French Toast

This one just makes me drool. The Cinnamon Sugar Baked French Toast is a slightly more indulgent sweet breakfast than the baked oatmeal above and it’s a crowd pleaser, because who doesn’t love french toast! I originally made this using pomegranates in the winter, but now that it’s spring, I would use fresh berries instead.

Fennel & Clementine Chopped Salad

Farmers Market Inspired Recipes:

This Fennel & Clementine Chopped Salad is so pretty! It’s a crunchy slaw-like salad that’s tossed with a ginger-miso dressing and topped with clementines, avocado, and fresh mint.

Chickpea Salad Wraps with Avocado Dill Sauce

Chickpea Salad Wraps with Avocado Dill Sauce. If you love tuna salad, but not actual tuna, give these chickpea salad wraps a go! I love to eat these for lunch, but they’d also be a great springy brunch appetizer.

Farmers Market Asparagus Potato Pizza

I’ve never actually had pizza on Mother’s Day, but this super springy Farmers Market Asparagus Potato Pizza is so elegant and fresh with those pretty asparagus ribbons that I’m sure it would be a big hit.

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Dinner for a group:

You can’t go wrong with a big pan of lasagna and this Roasted Vegetable Lasagna will please vegetarians and meat-eaters alike!

Strawberry Coconut Cream Tart

For Dessert:

This Strawberry Coconut Cream Tart has a delectable almond flour crust. This is a lightly sweet, very fresh, grain-free dessert that everyone’s going to love.

Love & Lemons Mother's Day Giveaway

And a special Mother’s Day Giveaway! One lucky winner will receive:

– Our new meal planner: the Love & Lemons Meal Record & Market List
(oh and this makes a great gift, click here to order one that will arrive on time for Mother’s Day!)

– A $100 ALDI gift card – because you’ll need some groceries after you plan your meals 🙂

– A special treat to pamper yourself: These Osmia Organics skincare products: Coffee Mint Soap, Adzuki Nourishing Mask, and Pumpkin Facial Soap. I’ve been personally using and loving these items for the past few months! Their products are made with all natural, non-toxic ingredients… they feel wonderful on your skin and smell amazing, all with no fragrances – just wonderful essential oils.

To Enter: Leave a comment below and tell me what your favorite brunch food is!

The giveaway will close on Friday at 11pm CDT. A winner will be chosen at random. Because I’m shipping this one out personally, US addresses only please!

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

As you know, the Kentucky Derby® is right around the corner (did you see last week’s Sparkling Mint Juleps?). Today I’m partnering with 14 Hands Wine to share some Derby Day party tips, recipes, and a few great wine pairings. It’s time break out your fancy hats, pour some wine and get started!

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

First up are these colorful open-faced (crust off!) tea sandwiches. These are super easy to make if you make the spread ahead of time and assemble these just before your guests arrive. Instead of a cream cheese spread I made an herbal creamy dill spread by blending sunflower seeds to create a creamy base. Slather it on some sourdough sandwich bread and then top with rows of paper thin slices of cucumbers, radishes, and candy striped beets. Use a sharp knife to cut the crusts off and you have the cutest little springtime snacks. (See the full recipe below in this post).

This recipe pairs especially well with 14 Hands Sauvignon Blanc – it’s citrus-y aromas and its crisp flavors of grapefruit and guava are a lovely compliment to these spring vegetable bites. Sometimes I find Sauvignon Blanc to be a little too sharp, but I love this one because it’s light, mellow, and juicy.

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

My husband Jack has more southern roots than I do, so when I asked him what to put on my Derby Day menu he didn’t hesitate before blurting out “Pimento cheese!” What can I say, the guy loves cheese. Since we’re going for a lighter, brighter theme here, I made my version vegan and Jack, my cheese lover, is obsessed. Ok, that’s a lie – we’re both so obsessed that we sat down and ate it for dinner one night while I was testing it. Like, that was the whole dinner – crackers and “cheese”. And wine.

Cashews give this spread a creamy base while jarred pimentos, dijon mustard, and lots of lemon give it a proper tang. It’s best with Ritz-like crackers, but I also like to serve it with tons of chopped up veggies as well. This is another recipe you can make in advance, but just try not to eat it all before your guests show up.

This recipe is also a wonderful pairing with the crisp flavor of the 14 Hands Sauvignon Blanc.

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

And now for dessert! To be honest, I don’t always love wine and chocolate as a pairing, but when we tasted 14 Hands Limited Release Kentucky Derby Red Blend, the subtle hints of cocoa and caramel really stood out to me. That’s when I decided I needed to finish this menu with wine, chocolate, and pecans. In lieu of pecan pie, I made chocolate pecan truffles. The base of these truffles is made by blending pecan and dates before they get dipped in chocolate. The opulent red blend with aromas of blackberries and plums is a bold pairing with this sweet treat.

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

Just to recap, here are my top 5 tips to have a great Kentucky Derby viewing party:

1. Make a fancy Mint Julep – check out the Sparkling Mint Juleps I posted last week.

2. Go for pretty vegetable-forward dishes – they’re perfect for a spring menu and work well with the juicy flesh flavors of the wine. Plus, they’re so pretty and festive!

3. Make food that you can prepare ahead of time and easily assemble before guests arrive.

4. Be sure to have plenty of wine! 14 Hands is the preferred wine of the Derby, so taste and create your own wine pairings with the Kentucky Derby Limited Release Red Blend−perfect for any Derby party, and the new Rosé. 

5. Tune in to Facebook Live on Thursday, April 27th at 2pm CST to watch me demo these recipes and set up a simple party table that you can recreate for your own Derby gathering. 

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

Sweet Tea Sparkling Apple Cider

Sweet Tea Sparkling Apple Cider

Happy almost-Thanksgiving week! Do you have your menu set? Are you getting together with family or having a Friendsgiving? Either way – here’s a sweet and oh-so-pretty cocktail that would be lovely for your turkey day.

Sweet Tea Sparkling Apple Cider Sweet Tea Sparkling Apple Cider

This one couldn’t be easier: mix apple cider with iced tea, let it chill for about 2 hours with diced apples, cinnamon sticks and star anise. When your guests arrive, pull it out of the fridge and serve with sparkling wine. That’s it!

Sweet Tea Sparkling Apple Cider Sweet Tea Sparkling Apple Cider

A Fall Wine Party (& a video!)

A Fall Wine Party A Fall Wine Party

A few weeks ago I threw this simple, fun Friday night wine party. Here in Austin, it was the first day of fall (read: the first day that the temps dropped below 90 degrees)… I invited some of my closest friends, served up some fall-inspired appetizers and (to keep things easy!) opened up a few boxes of Bota Box wines.

Here was my menu:
– Roasted Butternut Squash Crostini w/ Sage
– Assorted Cheese Platter
– Pumpkin Hummus (recipe below)

A Fall Wine Party A Fall Wine Party

I roasted cubes of butternut squash and topped them onto crostini with lemon ricotta and fried sage. This is my go-to fall appetizer. It’s also a wonderful starter before your Thanksgiving dinner.

I LOVE assembling pretty cheese boards. This time, I went with a combination of blue cheese, white cheddar slices, goat cheese, and a few others that looked great at the cheese counter that day. I filled the platter with grapes, rosemary crackers, and cranberry-hazelnut crackers. I also made pumpkin hummus, which is great because it can be made well in advance.

A Fall Wine Party

I decorated with a few pumpkins and had Jack string some lights from the tree.

A Fall Wine Party

If you come to my house often, then you know that I usually have a Bota Box in my fridge – their packaging makes it possible to store wine for a really long time, so I find it super convenient. For a party, it’s a great solution because you don’t have to mess around with tons of empty bottles, and it’s also very affordable.

A Fall Wine Party A Fall Wine Party A Fall Wine Party

Get the recipe for my Pumpkin Hummus below!

A Fall Wine Party

All in all, it was a fun evening with friends, although little anxious Annie didn’t know what to make of it all. She hung back by the door waiting for snacks to fall on the ground.

A Fall Wine Party