Quick Pickled Peppers

Quick-pickled peppers recipe - cookieandkate.com

If I had to characterize the past week in two words, they would be: pepper problems. These peppers gave me all sorts of trouble! I’d made these quick-pickled jalapeños a couple of times already, but these locally grown peppers were way spicier than the others. Just one little nibble of raw sliced pepper made me feel like one of those silly, red-faced cartoon characters with steam shooting out of his ears.

Then, when I was rinsing the sliced peppers under running water in an attempt to cool down their spiciness, the pepper fumes made me cough-cough-cough-cough-cough. I had to use my shirt as a nose mask to get through it. So beware pepper asphyxiation. (I know I sound dramatic right now, but I’m serious.) I’m still recommending them because none of my other batches gave me such trouble.


The final result, though, is totally irresistible. Fresh, spicy, with a light sweetness thanks to the bell pepper and honey, and a nice, crisp crunch. You’ll see in the photos that I made a control batch with plain distilled white vinegar and no bell peppers, but I so prefer the gourmet version with honey that I’m going to insist that you go with that one.

Really, it was only a matter of time after pickling radishes that I turned to peppers. I’ve always loved pickled jalapeños, but lately I’ve been frustrated by store-bought varieties that are sliced too thick (they overwhelm the other flavors) and taste way too salty (again, overwhelming the other flavors). Not to mention, many pickled jalapeños contain food coloring and preservatives in addition to vinegar, which I’d just as well avoid.

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Roasted Red Pepper Tortilla Soup

Roasted red pepper soup with a Tex-Mex twist - cookieandkate.com

This soup hurts my eyes. It’s so very red! That’s just one of several reasons why you should not make this soup. Also problematic: it’s expensive. Organic bell peppers are not cheap and you’ll need quite a few of them for this recipe (unless you are growing bell peppers now, in which case, goldmine! I’m so jealous.).

Furthermore, roasting and peeling bell peppers is no fun. The process ranks pretty highly on my mental “least favorite things to do” list. It’s time consuming, tedious and makes my fingers burn because I never learn my lesson and wear gloves (clearly a personal problem). Lastly, this soup takes a full hour or longer to make, so it’s definitely not an I’m-starving-where’s-dinner kind of option.

red bell peppers

Why should you make this soup, then? It’s outrageously delicious, that’s why! Hands down the best red pepper soup I’ve ever tasted.

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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.)

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Autumn Kale Salad with Fennel, Honeycrisp and Goat Cheese

Autumn Kale Salad with Fennel, Honeycrisp and Goat Cheese - cookieandkate.com

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!

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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.


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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