Arugula-Almond Pesto Pizza

Homemade arugula-almond pesto pizza with a simple whole wheat crust - cookieandkate.com

Pizza is a highly personal affair, isn’t it? Seems like everyone has strong opinions about the subject. New York style vs. Chicago, veggies vs. meat, thick vs. thin crust, classic mozzarella vs. the fancier stuff… We could debate over pizza all night, especially if there’s an ample supply of wine to fuel the discussion.

Most pizza is pretty good, if you ask me. While my friend from New York vehemently argues that New York-style pizza is tops, I have a more ambiguous, middle-of-the-country view of pizza. My favorite is a tie between brick oven and well done, classic American pizza. The only kind that I vehemently dislike is St. Louis’ mushy Provel cheese pizzas. Real cheese or bust!

pesto recipe

I haven’t quite perfected my at-home pizza technique, but I’m getting there. I enjoy my super simple 100% whole wheat pizza dough, but it’s still not the same as those brick oven-baked, stretchy sourdough crusts. Maybe someday I’ll learn how to manage sourdough starters… then again, there’s always take-out.

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Veggie Breakfast Tacos

Simple, healthy and delicious veggie breakfast tacos! cookieandkate.com

Raise your hand if you’re ready for breakfast tacos! I don’t know about you, but I get a little giddy at the mere mention of breakfast tacos. Breakfast tacos turn everyday mornings into a reason for celebration. Just look how colorful they are! Like a fiesta on a plate.

vegetarian breakfast taco ingredients

You can, of course, enjoy these festive tacos any time of day. I’ve been eating scrambled egg tacos for breakfast, lunch and dinner all week.

Breakfast for dinner has to be my favorite, though. Nothing against regular breakfast (I never skip regular breakfast), but I don’t have much patience for fancy AM meals. At that point, I’ve gone over 10 hours without eating. I’m hungry. Food me now.

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Thai Mango Cabbage Wraps with Crispy Tofu and Peanut Sauce

Light and healthy Thai mango salad wraps (gluten free and easily made vegan) - cookieandkate.com

Hi, I’m Kate, and I am a chronic over-stuffer. I recognized the theme while I was making these salad wraps last night. In addition to salad wraps, I over-stuff tacos, burritos, bookshelves, closets and worst of all, my calendar. Basically, anything that can be over-stuffed, I over-stuff.

mango salsa ingredients

“I’d like all the salsas, please.”
—Me, at Chipotle, as the girl behind the counter struggles to fold over my burrito.

“Sure, I can photograph four recipes in one day, then answer comments and emails, go to yoga, stop by the grocery store and make it to bed at a reasonable hour.”
—Me, lying to myself on a daily basis.

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The Fruit and Vegetable Tools You Actually Need

Essential fruit and vegetable tools (everything you need, plus some fun extras) - cookieandkate.com

Last week, when I asked what you all are craving this summer, you blew me away with overwhelming enthusiasm for fresh summer fruits and vegetables. Peaches! Cherries! Watermelon! Blueberries! Heirloom tomatoes! You’re showing me up by growing vegetables in your backyards and buying locally grown produce on your lunch breaks. It’s no wonder we all get along so well. Peace, love and veggies forever!

You got me thinking about all the time and effort that we’re putting into these fruit and vegetables. Then I started thinking about all the tools available to help us with our kitchen endeavors. A lot of those tools are totally unnecessary. Looking at you, mango pitter.

I thought it’d be fun to open up my kitchen and talk about some tried-and-true utensils. These are the fruit and vegetable tools that have earned a permanent spot in my kitchen. Even the two that require electricity have proven themselves nearly indestructible.

Several items listed below (like the chef’s knife) are absolutely essential, and a few others are just handy/fun to have (like the julienne peeler and ice cream maker). Let’s talk about them!

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Cucumber Mint Gimlet

Cold, refreshing cucumber cocktails made with gin, lime and mint - cookieandkate.com

I need another cup of coffee. I need a vacation. I need something interesting to write about today. All I’ve got are cucumber cocktails. Happy hour, anyone?

Come on over. I have chilled cocktails in the fridge and an overgrown-yet-very-green backyard with two patio chairs. Sitting out there sounds much more appealing than tending to my inbox or addressing the technical difficulties that never.stop.coming.

cucumber and mint

Maybe I can entice you with a description of this cold cucumber cocktail. I know I can’t resist a cucumber drink on restaurant menus. Cucumber cocktails are the epitome of refreshing: light, summery and hydrating.

It’s no wonder restaurants call these gin and lime numbers by other names, though. “Gimlet” sounds like “piglet” and, as such, doesn’t sound nearly sexy enough to describe this drink. Gimlets are composed of gin, lime juice and a touch of sweetener. Something magical happens when these basic ingredients are shaken with ice and strained into a martini glass.

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Plum Crisp with Pistachio, Oat and Almond Meal Topping

A simple, honey-sweetened, plum dessert - cookieandkate.com

These gorgeous little ruby red plums are extra sweet because they were hand-picked by friends. Jordan and her husband have an enormous plum tree in their front yard, which hasn’t yielded much fruit in years’ past, but this year is different.

This year, the tree’s limbs are drooping under the weight of ripening plums. Walking along the sidewalk to their front porch is like walking through a purple polka-dotted candy land.

plum crisp ingredients

I wasn’t sure what to do with my plums once I picked them up. Obviously, I had to make something beautiful out of them, something worthy of my friends’ plum-picking efforts. I really have the sweetest friends.

I thought the plums would make a beautiful plum upside-down cake (I think you could make one out of this honey-sweetened almond cake recipe) or sorbet (which reminded me of this peach and raspberry sorbet from two summers ago). I thought about making chia jam, too, but I’ve doing a lot of those lately. I’ve since found out that Tessa turned her plums into a gorgeous clafoutis. Brilliant!

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