What’s in Season? October Produce

Learn what to do with October fruits and vegetables! Find recipes, preparation tips and more. cookieandkate.com

October already? Month of pumpkin spice everything and candy galore? Yes! I’m going to wear boots today to celebrate. I’m struggling to string together coherent paragraphs this morning because I stayed up too late last night watching the Kansas City Royals beat the Oakland A’s (and of course, by “watching the game,” I mean chatting it up with friends).

Before I cut to the fresh produce you’ll likely see at the farmers’ market this month, I owe another thank you to Becky of Vintage Mixer for allowing me to expand upon her monthly seasonal guides! Click here to check out Becky’s free, downloadable desktop background featuring October produce.

Show me the October fruit and vegetables »

Basil Pesto Party Almonds

Basil pesto almonds, a great snack to keep on hand or appetizer to serve guests! cookieandkate.com

I hope you all had crazy fun weekends to make up my totally tame past couple of days. Please, tell me stories about late nights and bottomless brunch mimosas so that I may live vicariously through you.

As for me? I stared at this screen a lot and cleaned, mostly. I bathed my puppy dog (Cookie wants you to know that she is so fresh and so clean clean), moisturized my handbags (you guys, it’s like I got brand new purses) and finally, cleaned off my camera lens and viewfinder. I can see!!! All hail the transformative power of cleaning. Please don’t tell my mother I just said that.

almonds

I hadn’t cleaned my lens since, ah, I don’t even remember, but definitely not since I toured a dusty almond orchard last month. The Almond Board of California invited a group of dietitians and bloggers out to visit the Sacramento area and learn about almonds. To clarify, they covered our expenses, but I’m not sharing the experience out of obligation—I genuinely thought it was interesting and thought you might, too.

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Introducing New Website Features! (More special diet categories, ingredient index, and more)

website features

Good morning from the office of Cookie and Kate! Please pardon the interruption of regularly scheduled posts. Based on your requests, I’ve been working hard on some new features that will (hopefully) help you find just the recipes you’re looking for.

Unfortunately, the transition was not as graceful as I hoped it would be. If my menu looks wonky or all of this text is underlined, please clear your browser’s cache. Sorry about that!

Here’s how it works: You can access all of the new organization features by hovering over “ALL RECIPES” in the menu. The triangle is there to remind you that there are more options there. The new drop-down menu is designed for easy access on your computer, iPad, iPhone and whatever else the kids are using these days. You can still just click on ALL RECIPES as usual, if you want the full recipe index.

Learn more »

Balsamic Roasted Broccoli and Red Pepper Grilled Cheese

Balsamic roasted broccoli, red pepper and onion grilled cheese sandwiches - cookieandkate.com

I drove to northern Iowa for a wedding and back over the weekend. Here’s a brief summary: corn, corn, soybeans and more corn.

My brother and I zoomed past endless rows of tightly packed commodities, punctuated by classic white farm houses and red barns that looked like they had popped right out of our childhood story books.

Our cousin got married in a small farming community on a lake. It was quaint and beautiful and the sunny weather could not have been more lovely.

broccoli, red pepper and onions

Ironically, however, the restaurant menus in this farm town were lacking in fresh food. I mean that as an observation, not a complaint—it was a good reminder that the farm-to-table/slow food movements still have a long way to go. In my daily life, I surround myself with people, restaurants and websites that also appreciate fresh cooking, so travel experiences always provide requisite jolts of reality.

In town with my parents for lunch, I skimmed past an iceberg salad topped with ranch dressing on an otherwise meaty menu. I was relieved to find a grilled cheese sandwich listed under the kids menu on the back side. I welcome an excuse to eat a classic grilled cheese sandwich, but I just can’t imagine feeling well if I ate from those menus every day. My dad related the experience to the small Oklahoma town where I was born. (He always comes back home craving fresh flavors.)

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Freezer Breakfast Burritos with Sweet Potato Hash and Black Beans

Healthy freezer breakfast burritos with sweet potato hash, black beans and scrambled eggs! Make some now and freeze extra burritos for busy mornings. cookieandkate.com

First of all, is a burrito still a burrito if the ends aren’t tucked in? That is the question. I’m learning toward yes, at least with these breakfast burritos (ok, and my other sweet potato burritos). I always pull of that extraneous tucked-in tortilla part before I take my first bite of burrito, anyway. Filling or bust!

Moving on. I have been stepping up my breakfast game lately. For the longest time, I was content eating plain yogurt with some fruit for breakfast. Then I started making my own granola and my old standby lost its appeal. That granola crunch is so necessary!

burrito ingredients

Then, I ran out of granola and started testing waffles for my pal Erin’s forthcoming cookbook. I froze all those waffles and got in the habit of eating a waffle with nut butter and maple syrup for breakfast. Eventually, I ran out of her waffles, which was incentive to play around with oat flour waffles (success!).

And here we are with breakfast burritos. I love that I can freeze them for future breakfasts, because breakfast is essential and, therefore, best kept simple. I never (ever ever ever) skip breakfast, but the general consensus amongst breakfast skippers seems to be that they run out of time or supplies. Enter the breakfast burrito. I’d call these guys breakfast backups or grab-and-go options, but they’re so good, they just might become your default breakfast option.

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14 Simple Weeknight Dinners

Simple, fresh and healthy recipes for busy weeknights. All vegetarian. cookieandkate.com

I made the most random dinner out of leftovers last night. Sautéed fennel and garlic, leftover linguine, a handful arugula and enough goat cheese to bring it all together. It wasn’t bad. Sometimes, though, I don’t want to chance it—I just want a simple, tried and true dinner that I can serve to friends. I came up with this collection of my favorite, simple, hearty dinner recipes for those nights.

By the way, if you appreciate this post, you might also want to bookmark my new “easy weeknight dinners” category, which I’ll be adding recipes to as they are published. I’m working on a better way to navigate all of my recipes and hope to launch that feature soon.

Hope you all enjoy a good dinner tonight!

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