Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb and Yogurt Parfaits

Strawberry rhubarb parfait recipe - cookieandkate.com

Will my fellow perfectionists please raise their hands? I know I’m not the only one who chases perfection and suffers for it. In its more mild form, perfectionism can be a good thing, a steady drive to improve. I’ve taken it to the extreme lately, though, into never-good-enough territory. At this point, I am my own harshest critic and my own worst enemy. Whenever a surefire recipe concept fails me, or I don’t like what I see in the mirror, or the crumbs and splatters take over my kitchen countertop, my disappointment spirals downward until I hit rock-bottom defeat.

strawberry, rhubarb and honey

Eventually, I drag myself up and put on Cookie’s leash so we can walk it off. Those brisk walks bring perspective. I remind myself that perfection is entirely subjective. Not to mention, impossible. Nothing will ever be perfect. So why am I bothering with such an impossible pursuit? My drive to be the best only succeeds in making me feel worthless, jealous, even bitter. That’s not me! To that end, I’ve hired a professional to help me. I want to learn how to accept less-than-perfect with grace rather than defeat.

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Lemony Lentil and Chickpea Salad with Radish and Herbs

Lemony lentil and chickpea salad with radish and herbs - cookieandkate.com

Do you all watch “Scandal”? I rarely watch TV, but I found that show on Netflix the other day and I’m hooked. It’s dramatic, even soap-opera silly sometimes, but I can’t stop hitting play. I also can’t stop admiring the main character’s wardrobe. Ms. Olivia Pope always looks so perfect and polished. She makes me want to strut around in classy coats and elbow-length leather gloves. I don’t care if it’s seventy degrees outside! Where are my fancy cashmere coats? Where are my red-soled stilettos?

black lentils and radish

Sigh. Even if I could afford such gorgeous apparel, I’d twist my ankles in those four-inch Louboutins and drip ketchup down my white silk blouses. No doubt about it. Fortunately, this blogging gig doesn’t require a fancy wardrobe. I could be working in my pajamas for all you know. (Maybe I am! Ok, I am.)

We’ve just struck on the primary reason I love posting about food, rather than fashion or interior design or even travel—because I get to promote something that’s actually attainable. And good for you. You could stop at the grocery store on the way home and have this healthy salad for dinner tonight.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Crispy Baked Tofu with Honey-Sesame Glaze

Roasted brussels sprouts and crispy baked tofu with honey-sesame glaze - cookieandkate.com

I just realized that my blog is four years (minus three days) old, which means that Cookie must be about six years old. Six years! She’s still a puppy at heart. We’re heading home to celebrate my baby brother’s twenty-first birthday this weekend. Everybody’s all grown up.

brown rice and brussels sprouts

So I’ve been blogging here for about four years. A lot has changed since my first post, but 343 posts later, Cookie is still snuggled up next to me on the couch as I type. Have I ever told you all that Cookie knows eight different tricks? This dog even dances for kale.

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Vegan Banana Nut Scones

Vegan banana nut scones - made with coconut oil instead of butter! cookieandkate.com

Today is just not my day. It’s one of those days when every earnest attempt at productivity is slowed by unforeseen circumstances. Like, my dog ate my lunch. My sidebar doesn’t look right. And I need to hurry to the post office so I can mail my life savings to Uncle Sam. So it goes.

If these scones look familiar, it’s because they are a riff on last fall’s pumpkin pecan scones. Those scones have quite a few fans and the banana version turned out so well that I couldn’t keep it to myself. Frankly, I don’t think banana scones get better than this.

flour and pecans

Feel free to play with this recipe. I made my scones with solid coconut oil instead of butter, which means that these scones are vegan/dairy free. Bonus: it’s much easier to cut coconut oil into the flour than butter. You could swap in other nuts or skip the nuts altogether. I think whole spelt flour would be a fine substitution for the whole wheat flour, too.

The scones are lightly sweet before topping with the maple glaze. If you want to avoid processed sugar altogether, try topping the scones with pecan butter or another nut butter and a light drizzle of maple syrup or honey. Let me know how you like them!

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Roasted Cauliflower and Farro Salad with Feta and Avocado

Roasted cauliflower and farro salad with feta and avocado - cookieandkate.com

I have a bunny problem. You see, in late January, I moved from a busy shopping area to a sleepy Kansas neighborhood that I will henceforth refer to as Bunnyville. Spring is coming into full force here in Bunnyville—the grass is getting greener by the day and the trees are coming back to life in brilliant shades of pink, purple and yellow. The sun is shining. I feel like I’m living in a scene from Sleeping Beauty.

cauliflower and sundried tomatoes

And the bunnies! They are everywhere. Cute cotton-tailed bunnies bounce through my backyard, sharing a seemingly symbiotic existence with the abundant neighborhood squirrels. I’ve seen as many as five in my yard at one time. So what’s the problem here, you ask? Well, the problem is that my sweet sidekick’s canine instincts switch into high gear every time she spots a bunny.

Cookie is fast. Fortunately, so far, the bunnies have been even faster. They bound across the yard to the nearest exit hole while Cookie chases after them like a rabid hound. I’m concerned that Cookie will catch up to a bunny one of these days. Then, I’ll have to confront the fact that my puppy dog is a coldblooded killer. Cue the “Circle of Life” theme song from The Lion King.

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10 Fresh & Filling Salad Recipes

Find 10 fresh and filling salad recipes at cookieandkate.com

I headed home from Minneapolis in my rumbling Honda yesterday morning. Once my iPhone directed me through the tangle of Minneapolis highways, I zoomed straight south on I-35 through countless Midwestern farms. One coffee stop and seven long hours later, I arrived in Kansas City just in time to pick Cookie up from the boarder. I hate to arrive at an empty house, so I always try to plan my travel schedule so I can pick her up on my way home. This place feels empty without her seventeen pounds of infectious energy.

My refrigerator, however, is a different story. It’s about as empty as it ever gets. In fact, I’m about to improvise a salad out of half a cabbage and a few carrots. After filling up on desserts and soaking up spring sunshine up north this weekend, I thought it was about time to highlight some of my favorite fresh and filling salads. Each salad is vegetarian, of course, and many are vegan and/or gluten free.

I’ve decided to highlight recipes from the archives more often, so please let me know what you’d like to see next. And, since I so appreciate your feedback, I thought I’d post a reader’s review of each recipe rather than providing my own summary. I probably don’t say it enough, but I love reading your comments. I get excited every time I see a new one pop up in my inbox. Thank you!

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