Maple-Sweetened Pumpkin Muffins with Oats

Healthy maple-sweetened, whole grain pumpkin muffins (they're absolutely delicious!) - cookieandkate.comTarget logoThis post is brought to you by Target. With helping hands, Target is committed to building healthy and sustainable communities.

7:30 am. Time to get up, Cookie says. She starts nosing under my arm to try to herd me out of bed. Sometimes she weasels her way under my neck and plants herself between me and the pillow, so I have no choice but to get up and feed her. Somehow, I don’t mind. That adorable mutt of mine has a finely tuned internal alarm clock for meal time and walk time.

Once she manages to shove me out of bed, I grab my phone from the nightstand, make a pit stop in the bathroom to chug a glass of water and pad into the kitchen, with Cookie close on my heels. I scoop food into her bowl and she eagerly scarfs it down in one noisy, impressive inhale.

Target direct trade coffee

Then I open the cupboard and pull out a mug for my daily cup of coffee. I like my coffee extra strong, black and freshly brewed, and I feel super spoiled every morning when I make my coffee out of filtered water and quality beans.

I’ve upgraded my coffee-making equipment over time, but my set-up isn’t terribly fancy. These days, I use my beloved sunny yellow teapot, an electric Burr coffee grinder and an inexpensive contraption called an AeroPress. (One of my friends handed me a cup of AeroPress-brewed coffee last fall and I retired my vintage French press on the spot. It produces the best home-brewed coffee I’ve ever tasted.)

Continue to the recipe »

Autumn Kale Salad with Fennel, Honeycrisp and Goat Cheese

Autumn Kale Salad with Fennel, Honeycrisp and Goat Cheese -

I know, I know. I’m always jabbering on about my new favorite kale salad and waxing poetic about kale salads in general. This salad, though! It’s crisp, sweet (but not too sweet) and features seasonal fennel and apple, which is a new-to-me pairing that you will definitely see again. I’ll admit that licorice-flavored fennel was a bit of an acquired taste for me, but now I can’t get enough of it.

raw kale salad

I’m not-so-secretly plotting to convert all visitors into kale salad enthusiasts, so I’m crossing my fingers you’ll give this salad a shot. It definitely went over well at girls’ night last week. I served it with a cheese plate, crackers, grapes and wine, of course.

One final selling point before I go. Kale salads keep well in the refrigerator for a couple of days, which means this salad is a great candidate for your lunchbox!

Continue to the recipe »

What’s in Season? October Produce

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

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!

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.


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.

Continue to the recipe »

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 -

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.)

Continue to the recipe »