Pesto Squash Noodles and Spaghetti with Burst Cherry Tomatoes

Vegetarian pesto, squash noodles and spaghetti with burst cherry tomatoes - cookieandkate.com

Not long ago, while Cookie and I were out walking, I watched an older lady cross paths with another woman and her dog. I realized that the women were strangers. Dogs have a way of bringing people together, you know? As we walked up, my gray-haired neighbor was asking permission to pet the big, slobbery mastiff. Then came the usual, “What kind of dog is that?” question.

Three single women, two dogs, one neighborhood intersection on a warm summer evening. We all started swapping laughs and sighs about our pups’ peculiarities as Cookie wiggle-waggled over to the older lady. She fawned over Cookie and admitted that she recently lost her 15-year-old collie. We expressed our condolences. The other woman mentioned her current mastiff’s beloved predecessor and suggested, “Why don’t you get another?” The older lady confessed that it was too much, too hard to lose an ever-present companion, that it’s just the worst. My heart broke for her. I get it. Maybe you get it, too. It is terrifying to love another being so much.

arugula-pecan pesto

Cookie hopped the fence on Wednesday afternoon. I let her come outside with me while I was talking to my friend on the phone. I watched in horror as she made one impressive, graceful, vertical leap over the chain-link fence to pursue a bunny.

Ten, fifteen, I don’t know how many minutes passed while I was frantically shrieking her name out the car windows and flagging down neighbors. Finally, my phone rang. Cookie was safe at the bank, of all places. Whether for safety or cash for the road, Cookie had run inside the bank. Her new friends were feeding her treats in the conference room when I got there.

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Strawberry and Spinach Salad with Quinoa and Goat Cheese

Gluten-free summer salad with strawberries, spinach, quinoa, almonds and goat cheese - cookieandkate.com

Well, I don’t know about you, but I definitely overindulged this weekend. I caught up on sleep yesterday and now I’m ready to balance out Saturday night’s rosé, cheese and chocolate party (!!!) with some fresh, redeeming meals. Greens to the rescue!

I hate to keep a good recipe from you, but this one has been in the works for a while (for good reason). I’m excited to finally share it with you all today. It’s a refreshing strawberry, spinach and quinoa salad featuring a zippy lemon dressing, savory toasted almonds and creamy, tangy goat cheese. It’s the kind of summery, dinner-sized salad that will fill you up without weighing you down.

lemon dressing and chopped spinach

Have you all heard of Plated? Perhaps you saw the founders on Shark Tank, but if not, they deliver ready-to-cook ingredients along with simple, gourmet recipes. It’s the perfect solution for busy people who love to cook at home, but don’t want to deal with the hassles of recipe hunting and grocery shopping.

Plated asked me to come up with a recipe (enter this strawberry quinoa salad), which earned Chef Elana’s stamp of approval in Plated’s test kitchen. Then they sourced the ingredients, made sure that strawberries ship beautifully and took step-by-step photos to show how to make the recipe. They’ll be sending out perfectly portioned, fresh ingredients to make this salad next week!

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Lemon-Basil Mojito

Lemon-basil mojito - cookieandkate.com

Well hello! My friend Matt is in town and brunch awaits, so I’m going to make this quick. We made these super simple and refreshing mojitos last night before we hit the town. (Side note: we used Uber for the ride downtown, what a concept!)

Today, I bring you a simple twist on a mojito from The Forest Feast by Erin Gleeson. I’ve been meaning to tell you about this cookbook for a while. The book’s subtitle, Simple Vegetarian Recipes from My Cabin in the Woods, sums it up pretty perfectly.

lemon-basil mojito ingredients

Erin started a blog called The Forest Feast after she moved from New York to a cabin near San Francisco. In the book, she offers exceptionally simple (like, five ingredient!) vegetarian recipes that are brought to life by photographs, watercolor illustrations and handwritten notes. It’s definitely a book to keep on the coffee table.

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Arugula-Almond Pesto Pizza

Homemade arugula-almond pesto pizza with a simple whole wheat crust - cookieandkate.com

Pizza is a highly personal affair, isn’t it? Seems like everyone has strong opinions about the subject. New York style vs. Chicago, veggies vs. meat, thick vs. thin crust, classic mozzarella vs. the fancier stuff… We could debate over pizza all night, especially if there’s an ample supply of wine to fuel the discussion.

Most pizza is pretty good, if you ask me. While my friend from New York vehemently argues that New York-style pizza is tops, I have a more ambiguous, middle-of-the-country view of pizza. My favorite is a tie between brick oven and well done, classic American pizza. The only kind that I vehemently dislike is St. Louis’ mushy Provel cheese pizzas. Real cheese or bust!

pesto recipe

I haven’t quite perfected my at-home pizza technique, but I’m getting there. I enjoy my super simple 100% whole wheat pizza dough, but it’s still not the same as those brick oven-baked, stretchy sourdough crusts. Maybe someday I’ll learn how to manage sourdough starters… then again, there’s always take-out.

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Veggie Breakfast Tacos

Simple, healthy and delicious veggie breakfast tacos! cookieandkate.com

Raise your hand if you’re ready for breakfast tacos! I don’t know about you, but I get a little giddy at the mere mention of breakfast tacos. Breakfast tacos turn everyday mornings into a reason for celebration. Just look how colorful they are! Like a fiesta on a plate.

vegetarian breakfast taco ingredients

You can, of course, enjoy these festive tacos any time of day. I’ve been eating scrambled egg tacos for breakfast, lunch and dinner all week.

Breakfast for dinner has to be my favorite, though. Nothing against regular breakfast (I never skip regular breakfast), but I don’t have much patience for fancy AM meals. At that point, I’ve gone over 10 hours without eating. I’m hungry. Food me now.

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Thai Mango Cabbage Wraps with Crispy Tofu and Peanut Sauce

Light and healthy Thai mango salad wraps (gluten free and easily made vegan) - cookieandkate.com

Hi, I’m Kate, and I am a chronic over-stuffer. I recognized the theme while I was making these salad wraps last night. In addition to salad wraps, I over-stuff tacos, burritos, bookshelves, closets and worst of all, my calendar. Basically, anything that can be over-stuffed, I over-stuff.

mango salsa ingredients

“I’d like all the salsas, please.”
—Me, at Chipotle, as the girl behind the counter struggles to fold over my burrito.

“Sure, I can photograph four recipes in one day, then answer comments and emails, go to yoga, stop by the grocery store and make it to bed at a reasonable hour.”
—Me, lying to myself on a daily basis.

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