Simple Goat Cheese and Egg Toasts with Fresh Peas and Dill

A simple spring meal featuring goat cheese on toast with eggs, fresh peas and herbs - cookieandkate.com

I feel good this morning. I haven’t felt so hot for the past few days, so I noticed. I’m not sure if my ambiguous symptoms have been caused by allergies or a bug, but! I’m on the mend. No more afternoon naps for me. My mama would tell you that I quit taking naps at the age of two (my poor mom), so sleeping during the day is truly an unusual phenomenon for me.

I’ve also been avoiding the kitchen as much as possible and, when my stomach starts to growl, throwing together one-serving meals that don’t leave a family-sized mess to clean up. It’s been a good reminder that simple, quick and wholesome recipes are always much needed and appreciated.

Peas, eggs and dill - cookieandkate.com

This eggs-on-toast recipe is just that. It’s super simple and ready in ten minutes. You can prepare your eggs however you’d like—scrambled, fried, even poached. Toast your bread and slather on a healthy amount of goat cheese (or smashed avocado, ricotta, hummus). Prepare some vegetables to provide a fresh component (I used peas for a spring version, but can’t wait to try sliced heirloom tomatoes this summer). Top with egg, salt and pepper, and a sprinkling of fresh herbs. I opted for dill because I really love dill, but any leafy herb will do, like basil, parsley, mint, cilantro or chives. And you’re done!

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Lentil-Chickpea Veggie Burgers with Avocado Green Harissa

Gluten-free lentil, chickpea and carrot veggie burgers with a spicy, herbed avocado spread - cookieandkate.com

In case naming this website after my dog didn’t automatically qualify me as a crazy dog lady, I just did something even crazier. I ordered a dog DNA test. My curiosity about which breeds created my spotted companion got the best of me. I’m supposed to just swab the inside of her cheek and send the swabs back.

My suspense is growing. What kind of dog is she? A blend of two pure breeds or lots of mutts? Shall we make this more interesting and turn it into a betting game? I bet you a pan of my best brownies that Cookie is half Australian shepherd and half obscure small dog breed, like a Danish Swedish farmdog or schipperke.

Feast cookbook

Here are some clues: Cookie has merle coloring, floppy ears and a bushy tail that curves slightly over her back. She’s smaller than she appears in photos, about 18 pounds. She’s fast, smart, energetic and ornery. She herds me out of bed in the morning to feed her breakfast. She is not yippy or overly protective. She is a jaunty, outgoing, friendly little clown. What do you all think?

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Strawberry Kale Salad with Nutty Granola Croutons

Lemony strawberry and kale salad with nutty granola croutons (SO good and good for you, too!) - cookieandkate.com

I keep thinking that someone will knock on my door and offer to mow my lawn. For a fee, of course—a fee that I will gladly pay. Yet no one has come knocking. My grass is only growing longer. And I am definitely not going to buy a mower and mow it myself. What’s a girl to do?

Google “lawn service,” probably. I will say, though, the overgrown green blanket outside my window is a lovely backdrop for my food photos. At my last apartment, my view consisted of strangers’ windows and a parking garage. Now I have big green trees and a yard that’s being overrun by weeds but if you squint, it just looks like a nice, uniform green.

granola ingredients and kale

We’d better start talking about this salad before I start going on about the neighborhood bunnies and squirrels again. (They are everywhere!) I’m totally obsessed with this salad. I basically took Deb’s kale salad and changed it up for spring. I added strawberries instead of apples, swapped lemon juice for apple cider vinegar in the dressing and kept the chopped radishes for some spicy crunch. Then I topped it all off with nutty, savory granola clusters that act as croutons. Granola in salad?! Trust me.

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Rhubarb Chia Jam

Quick and healthy rhubarb jam made with honey and chia seeds! cookieandkate.com

Well hello! I received several requests for this rhubarb jam recipe after you all saw it over and over again in my “life of a vegetarian” post. I made another batch as the sun went down yesterday so I could share the recipe with you this morning. I finally captured a bunny and a couple of squirrels outside my window in the process—proof that I really do live in Bunnyville.

Rhubarb and bunny - cookieandkate.com

Sometimes I judge recipes too quickly, as was the case with this rhubarb jam. It’s lovely, pink, sweet-and-sour goodness. You can spread it on toast or swirl it into yogurt or oatmeal.

I based this jam off of my strawberry chia jam recipe. Chia jams are really easy to make. They’re made of fruit, mostly, and naturally sweetened with honey, so they’re healthy, too. The chia seeds are rich in Omega-3s and help the mixture thicken into a nice, jammy consistency.

I’m going to keep this post short because it’s a beautiful day and I want to get out and enjoy it. I hope you’ll get a chance to try rhubarb chia jam before rhubarb season is over!

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Maple Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies!

Maple-sweetened peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal cookies (gluten free!) - cookieandkate.com

My parents recounted a bittersweet story from my childhood at dinner a couple weeks ago. When I was around two years old, my sweet grandpa was diagnosed with terminal cancer and not long afterward, my mom suffered a miscarriage. They were in the hospital at the same time and my dad shuttled me between floors in a little red wagon. On my grandpa’s birthday, my family gathered in his hospital room and tried their best to celebrate, but the mood was heavy.

There was a birthday cake in the room and I knew it. Once my tiny self couldn’t take the temptation any longer, I sidled up to that cake and poked my finger in it. Then I tried to sneak around the corner so I could lick the frosting off my finger. My whole family was watching and burst into laughter. It must have been a side-splitting, pink-faced, thank-God-someone-lightened-the-mood kind of roar because they’re still talking about the relief it brought to the room.

peanut butter

I wish I could still swipe frosting off of cakes and get away with it (you know I would if I could). One of my dear friends is going in for another round of chemotherapy this week and I wish I could do more to help. If I could poke a cake to make her laugh, I would. If I could cook nourishing meals for her, I would, but she lives a plane ride away. If I could meet up with that cancer in a dark alley and beat it into remission myself, I would. I can’t do any of those things for her, but she’s strong and I know that she has all the help she needs. I decided to send her some homemade cookies in the hope that they might brighten her day.

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A Week in the Life of a Vegetarian

See a typical week's worth of meals for a vegetarian - cookieandkate.com

Let’s change things up today. Instead of my usual recipes, I’m going to share a candid look at a typical week’s worth of vegetarian eating. I don’t have a big “vegetarian” label at the top of the blog, but it’s true—all of my recipes are meatless. My motto is, “Celebrating whole foods!” because I just want to show how wonderful vegetables and whole grains can be.

Michelle requested this post a few weeks ago. She told me that she’s moving more toward a vegetarian diet but doesn’t have enough go-to meals in her repertoire to give up meat completely. She said, “I’d love to see what a week-in-the-life so to speak looks like for a practicing vegetarian.” My knee-jerk reaction to Michelle’s email was, “No! My leftovers aren’t pretty and I’m not the world’s healthiest eater. What are they going to think?”

After giving Michelle’s request more thought, however, I decided to go for it. I know Michelle isn’t the only one wondering how to become a vegetarian or just how to eat less meat. I swallowed my pride about the imperfect phone photos because hey, real life is messy. Real life is busy. Making the unconventional decision to eat more plants and less animals on a daily basis seems hard at first, but it’s actually pretty easy once you get started. I hope this post provides insight on how to eat less meat, if that’s your goal, or just a behind-the-scenes look at this vegetarian’s lifestyle, in case you’re curious.

You might notice that I always eat breakfast. Always! I also eat a lot of leftovers, naturally, since I don’t have a family to help me polish off the family-sized meals I make for the blog. It takes me a few days to go through a tub of spinach or strawberries (you’ll see a lot of each in the photos below).

Protein seems to be a big concern for those starting out, but I get plenty of protein from eggs, beans, occasionally tofu, nuts and all the other whole foods that fill me up. Protein is generally present in whole foods, like greens, vegetables and whole grains. I would be hungry all the time if I still subsisted on my middle school diet of Cheez-Its and Dr. Pepper, but I’m definitely not going hungry now!

I should clarify that I’m not a super strict vegetarian. I’d guess that my diet is about 97 percent vegetarian, which is good enough for me. I never want my friends to go out of their way for me, so I don’t turn away their homemade vegetable soups made with chicken broth. I eat quality fish when the opportunity arises because it tastes good and it’s good for me. I might even eat a slice of bacon or pepperoni pizza when it looks particularly tempting, just because I like it. I don’t check my cheese to make sure it doesn’t contain animal rennet, either.

So yeah, I could perhaps more accurately call myself a pescetarian or flexitarian instead of a vegetarian, but those terms just seem to complicate the point of a vastly meat-free diet. We make eating decisions at least three times a day, so any diet designed for the long-term should allow for some flexibility. I’ve been healthy and satisfied with my version of vegetarianism for the past five years.

Last but not least, I don’t mean to imply that vegetarianism is the only way to go. I don’t believe that there is one ideal diet for all human beings. A meatless diet suits me well, and I find peace in knowing that I’m doing my body and the environment a favor by eating less meat. I understand that a meatless diet isn’t for everyone. Take my brother Reed, for example. He has big muscles, loves to hunt, relishes a great steak, and doesn’t feel satisfied unless there’s meat on his plate. I get it. I don’t criticize his choices or even hope that he’ll change. I’m just happy to share my vegetarian favorites with him because, as it turns out, he enjoys kale salad with his steak.

Week of Vegetarian Eating - cookieandkate.com

Here we go! OKC to KC/Back to the grind

I spent an extended weekend in Oklahoma (above left) with my family before snapping these photos. I ate a lot of pizza while I was there, so I was craving lighter fare when I got home. Last week (Monday through Sunday), I was back in Kansas City and working hard to get caught up with work, so you’ll see a lot of super quick meals made at home.

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