Looking Back: The Top 10 Recipes of 2013

2013 photosHey there, Friday! You’re looking good. Today, I thought I’d share a few of the top recipes from the past year. Looking back at each recipe brings back memories of the circumstances surrounding it, some of which I was more open about than others.

I can’t talk about last year without bringing up the break-up that knocked the wind out of me. It was a relationship that moved about 100 miles per hour. It was a relationship punctuated by a terrible car crash and it was over as quickly as it began. I learned last year that falling in love, even briefly, leaves an indelible impression, not unlike a semester in France.

Last year, Cookie and I walked about a million miles together. She led me around the parks and through the neighborhoods, over and over again. These days, I’m not wiping my eyes on our walks. I feel focused and energized. I enter 2014 with a fresh sense of empathy for anyone who has ever loved and lost, which is everyone. Broken hearts are real.

Last year wasn’t all bad. I travelled a lot: first Salt Lake City, then Atlanta, that road trip through the Appalachians and Nashville, Minneapolis, San Diego, Denver. I got back into yoga and feel more comfortable in my own skin than ever. I laughed really, really hard with my friends—those deep, side-splitting laughs left my cheeks burning and assured me that I am ok.

I quit my job last year so I can spend more time hanging out with you wonderful people. I love this little website. It’s my baby. I owe you a tremendous thank you for visiting. Thank you for cooking, commenting, and sharing with friends. You make all my late nights worthwhile.

Today, in the absence of a new recipe, I thought I’d share the top ten recipes from last year. I left out a few sweets since we probably got enough of those during the holidays. Which recipes are your favorites? I want to hear about them! Please tell me about your 2013, and about the recipes you’d like to see this year.

Sweet potato & black bean veggie burgers - recipe at cookieandkate.com

No. 1: Sweet Potato & Black Bean Veggie Burgers
It was about time I posted a veggie burger recipe and told you all about my friend Bill, a friend and cancer survivor. (vegan and gluten free)

West African Peanut Soup - recipe at cookieandkate.com

No. 2: West African Peanut Soup
I had no idea this soup would go over so well! Apparently peanut butter in soup isn’t too crazy (if you don’t believe me, try this soup). (vegan and gluten free)

buckwheat pancakes recipe - recipe at cookieandkate.com

No. 3: Buckwheat Pancakes
Another surprise hit, Adrianna’s buckwheat pancakes. They aren’t the prettiest or fluffiest of pancakes, but they are sure delicious. (gluten free)

Raw kale and brussels sprouts salad with tahini-maple dressing - recipe at cookieandkate.com

No. 4: Raw Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad with Tahini-Maple Dressing
I worried that this salad would seem too bird food-y, but you tried it and loved it and I love you for it. (gluten free and easily made vegan)

Crispy mushroom, spinach and avocado quesadillas - recipe at cookieandkate.com

No. 5: Crispy Mushroom, Spinach and Avocado Quesadillas
Crispy cheese, guys. Crispy grilled cheese on the outside and filled with mushrooms, sautéed spinach and avocado on the inside. (vegetarian like the rest)

Vegetarian Lentil and Mushroom Meatballs - recipe at cookieandkate.com

No. 6: Lentil and Mushroom Meatballs
These “meat” balls almost got the best of me, but the third time was the charm. I ate so many mushrooms in the making of this recipe that I haven’t wanted to eat any more since then. Truth. (gluten free)

Chopped Kale Salad with Edamame, Carrot and Avocado - recipe at cookieandkate.com

No. 7: Chopped Kale Salad with Edamame, Carrot and Avocado
I love kale salads! This is one of my favorites. The ginger-soy dressing is killer, if I can say so myself. (vegan and gluten free)

Kale, black bean and avocado burrito bowl - recipe at cookieandkate.com

No. 8: Kale, Black Bean and Avocado Burrito Bowl
A bunch of my favorite things in one satisfying bowl. Lime-marinated kale and avocado salsa verde are meant for one another. (vegan and gluten free)

Roasted Broccoli, Arugula and Lentil Salad - recipe at cookieandkate.com

No. 9: Roasted Broccoli, Arugula and Lentil Salad
This is one of the few recipes that I’ve made that turned out just right on the first try. Broccoli gets all roasty toasty and crispy on the edges when roasted in the oven—if you haven’t tried roasted broccoli yet, you’re missing out. (gluten free and easily made vegan)

Vegetarian portobello and poblano fajitas - recipe at cookieandkate.com

No. 10: Portobello and Poblano Fajitas
Yet another mushroom and avocado recipe. Even meat-loving guys love these fajitas. They were a hit at girls night, too. (easily made vegan and gluten free)

Some sweet extras: ginger beer concentrate (add club soda for homemade ginger beer), chai coconut ice cream (because warming spices make it suitable for winter?) and gluten-free chocolate chip cookies (my favorite chocolate chip cookies, ever).


  1. says

    Great post, K. I think the tough years, the ones we really learn from, open doors to some of our most enjoyable and resolute ones. Here’s to starting fresh in 2014! xo

  2. says

    Lovely post Kate! It’s so cliche but looking back on the year seems to just refresh the soul and remind us what we are lucky for, right? I’m thinking I need to make those veggies burgers ASAP : )

  3. says

    Ditto to Kasey. Loved reading this and hearing how you came out on the other side. Thankful to call you friend. Hoping 2014 allows us to exchange real life hugs again. PS—I have that peanut soup bookmarked. Meant to make it last winter. It’s high time I remedy that.

    • says

      Thank you, sweet friend. Let’s catch up soon. I want to meet little Halle, virtually or better, in real life. Oh and I hope you make that soup! It’s so simple and so good.

  4. says

    I cannot wait to try the peanut soup! Sounds lovely. I made one similar (I think…I can barely remember) several years ago from a recipe given to me from someone I know who lived in Indonesia. Delicious. I shall try yours soon!
    Your blog is adorable, thank you for sharing.

  5. says

    Congrats on a great year! And props to you for opening up about a breakup. They can be HARD and yes, literally knock the wind out of you. I’ve been there – we just have to remember that great things can come of terrible things (or things that feel terrible at the time), and life goes on. :-) Keep up the great work, and I’m so happy for you that you were able to go full-time with this blog.

  6. says

    That burrito bowl was killer! I absolutely loved it — and I can’t wait to make my way through a few more of these recipes.

    This hasn’t been the best year for me, either…but I’m trying hard to see the good amidst the bad and scary and stressful, and it seems like you’re on your way to doing the same thing. Here’s to 2014! And know that I’m jealous of the fact that you can work on this blog full-time. Congratulations :)

  7. Liz says

    Nice recipes – thank you. I’m happy for you and your new found happiness. May 2014 be a great year for you 2. Congrats.

  8. says

    i would love to try that peanut soup… it looks really good!!!
    kale is my most favorite leafy green, but i still cannot eat it raw… all your salads that have the raw kale in them look really good though!
    i have some things from your blog that did not make it to this list… but i wanted to let you know that i am in love with the lemon, rosemary, olive oil shortbread. i also tried making the grapefruit cocktail with the rosemary sprig but accidentally grabbed extra large navel oranges. i still followed the original recipe closely anyway and just used the fresh orange juice and it was great. but i really wanna try it with the grapefruit.
    oh and i made those gf chocolate chip cookies! they came out a little crispier (that’s really because i tend to over bake everything) but i loved them anyway!

    • says

      Thanks, Margarita! I’m so glad to hear you’re enjoying the recent recipes. I hope you’ll give a raw kale salad a shot soon (the trick is massaging it… although, if you’ve tried that already, it might be a lost cause!). I’m really glad to hear that the rosemary cookies turned out well for you. I had an issue with the baking temperature on that one for a little while (I underestimated the impact of chilling/not chilling the dough before baking). I think I have it sorted out now. Anyway, thanks for cooking and reading! Hope 2014 is wonderful to you.

    • says

      That’s one of my favorite recipes, too! Glad to hear that you enjoy it so much. I think I published it in the fall of 2012, so that’s why it didn’t make the list.

  9. says

    Love it! Sounds like 2013 was a good year of growth and inward reflection to come to self sustained happiness. Wishing you all the best in 2014! Keep it up lady! Not sure how I missed that broccoli, arugula, lentil salad but I’m going to make it this weekend.

  10. says

    Kate, thank you so much for sharing how difficult 2013 was for you so honestly. I also went through a break up last year that made me once feel as though I’d never laugh or feel content again. Now that it has passed and I can look back on it as my past and not my present, I feel stronger, more focused and more motivated to do for myself all the things I was so hesitant to pursue before. I get so inspired by your photography and writing and it makes me want to work harder on my own pursuits. Best of luck to you this year and I look forward to seeing more of your wonderful work!

    • says

      Sonja, thank you. Sounds like we’ve both come out stronger in the end. 2014 is going to be full of goodness for the both of us, I can just feel it.

  11. says

    Hard times like that may be exhausting and feel impossible while we live through them…but when we come out stronger on the other end, it’s the best. And I can tell you’ve come out stronger. Your top ten makes me drool.

  12. Victoria says

    The peanut soup is a staple in our house…I think I make it every other week! My husband just adores it, and I happen to think it’s pretty tasty as well!

    We also loved your brussels sprouts and cranberries over barley and your summer squash salad with the citronette.

    Looking forward to another year of awesome recipes! Happy New Year to you and Cookie!

  13. says

    Wow, what a year. Cheers to making it through with strength and grace, and for creating a host of gorgeous recipes along the way. Looking forward to what 2014 will bring for you — and that had better include a happy hour soon!! :)

  14. Renae says

    WoWza…Don’t know how I missed these Fab recipes! Can’t wait to try! I just found your blog in 2013…’My Good Fortune’! You have posted some ‘smashing good’ cocktails…which I happily share with everyone. Every place that I take them, the response is always the same, “These are the BEST cocktails that we have ever had”. As for 2013…I don’t know of one person, who wasn’t happy to bid it a ‘good riddance’. 2013 ‘kicked the pants’ of everyone I know. It was a VERY challenging year!!! I am SO happy to hear, that you were able to quit your job, and do what you love…it gives me, immense hope. A ‘Million Thanks’… for making us, all happy, with Yummy treats!!! And… ‘To A Fabulous 2014’!!!

  15. says

    Happy new year lovely! I hope that 2014 brings you all the happiness in the world and I can’t wait to see what delicious eats you have in store for us this year!

  16. says

    I haven’t stopped by in a while, but I’m not surprised that I want to eat everything on this page. Sorry to hear that some of 2013 just plain sucked. I’m also so glad to start the new year and one of my resolutions is to come by more often. :)

  17. says

    Hi! I am new to your website but want to compliment you on your beautiful pictures…they really make the food look delicious! I look forward to seeing your future posts! :)

  18. says

    Love your honesty, Kate, and glad to hear that things are looking up for you now. I like the look of all of these recipes and am going to spend some time going through some of them properly, but the one that jumps out at me the most is the creamy mushroom, spinach & avocado quesadillas. They look like a healthier kind of comfort food … brilliant!

  19. Shannon says

    I totally agree with numbers 1 and 4. I’d never enjoyed raw Brussels before but now I consider them in many of my salad combinations. Thanks for the awesome recipes!

  20. Tina says

    None of your favorites were on my favorites list, but thank you for introducing me to kale, quinoa and brussel sprouts…our meal planning has definitely gone in new directions! And your life has also gone in a new direction which is never easy, but growth comes out of the pain. Happy to see you’re coming to the other side of it stronger than ever!

  21. says

    Kate, I absolutely adore your blog! I was so happy to read your latest post and see that I had actually made almost all of your top 10 pics. Everything was so great, its hard to choose a favorite, but the West African Peanut Soup has to be top for me. And you’ve shown me the light with kale salads. I’m not even a vegetarian, but love reading through your recipes and picking out fun new ones to try– I know they’ll be healthy and delicious, and helps us do more than just one “Meatless Monday” in my house. Keep up the great work, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2014!

  22. says

    I love this post. I’ve been following your blog intently for the past year and I’ve made lots of your recipes. Thanks for your dedication, creativity, and awesome work! You inspired me to make a food blog, and honestly, it has helped me delve into my passion greatly. I just want to say thank you and cheers to another year of healthy, happy eating.

    • says

      Thank you, Quinn! Thank you for following. I’m so pleased to hear that my blog inspired you to create one of your own. All my best, K.

  23. says

    Kate, thankful to have discovered your blog in 2014! This round-up is a great primer for digging into your delicious-looking recipes. Your words about your tough 2013 resonated with me. I went through a sudden & heart-wrenching breakup a while ago, and honestly, some of my favorite memories today are from that period – because I re-discovered how important and special my *friendships* are. You know, when you cry at the bar at 1 a.m. 6 months after “the incident” and your friends bring you cheese fries and ask the DJ to play Hall & Oates for you. I’m glad you’ve found that amazing solace and laughter in your best friends, you’re lucky! Cheers to a fabulous year! (in which I will cook a ton of your concoctions!)

  24. says

    For a better & brighter 2014! I love reading your blog and cooking the recipes, Kate (the roasted broccoli, arugula and lentil salad is delicious). You’ve accomplished so much last year (hey you, full-time blogger!) and fought through the storm life has thrown you in.

  25. says

    Happy 2014, my friend! I think it’s awesome that you are here full-time sharing all of your delicious recipes with us. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us for 2014.
    And I hope this year is much kinder to your heart.

  26. says

    I missed those portobello and poblano fajitas the first time around. Thanks for the reminder — they will be making an appearance at dinner very soon! BTW – so jealous of your photography!

  27. says

    i gope 2014 will be a good year for you friend. I clearly remember Ben’s story and after that I enrolled myself on stem cell donor list. I need to make some of those kale salad recipes and quesadilla. Thanks for the round up.

  28. says

    I’m so sorry to hear about the tumultuous component of 2013 Kate. I guess I missed it in the text of your posts but you’ve handled yourself SO well. I don’t think I would’ve been able to maintain myself as a blogger or in work etc if I’d been in the same position. I am just glad that you’re moving ahead this year with a renewed energy and positivity – I know that there will be amazing things ahead for you this year!!! This recipe round up is beautiful… it’s a tribute to your massive creativity and talent. I look forward to seeing many more beautiful things from you this coming year. Sending you hugs, glad that you’ve got the always present Cookie by your side! xx

    • says

      Thank you, Laura. I appreciate your empathy. After the breakup, producing posts was really difficult. I had a hard time coming up with stuff to write about that wasn’t terribly depressing, so I started writing about my friends. That was easier. I hope 2014 treats you well!

  29. says

    Your post made my eyes moist – maybe cause I shared the experienc of the broken heart but then without a cookie to get me through it :-) Wishing you a wonderfull 2014 full of happiness and laughter!

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