Thai Mango Cabbage Wraps with Crispy Tofu and Peanut Sauce

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

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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The Fruit and Vegetable Tools You Actually Need

Essential fruit and vegetable tools (everything you need, plus some fun extras) -

Last week, when I asked what you all are craving this summer, you blew me away with overwhelming enthusiasm for fresh summer fruits and vegetables. Peaches! Cherries! Watermelon! Blueberries! Heirloom tomatoes! You’re showing me up by growing vegetables in your backyards and buying locally grown produce on your lunch breaks. It’s no wonder we all get along so well. Peace, love and veggies forever!

You got me thinking about all the time and effort that we’re putting into these fruit and vegetables. Then I started thinking about all the tools available to help us with our kitchen endeavors. A lot of those tools are totally unnecessary. Looking at you, mango pitter.

I thought it’d be fun to open up my kitchen and talk about some tried-and-true utensils. These are the fruit and vegetable tools that have earned a permanent spot in my kitchen. Even the two that require electricity have proven themselves nearly indestructible.

Several items listed below (like the chef’s knife) are absolutely essential, and a few others are just handy/fun to have (like the julienne peeler and ice cream maker). Let’s talk about them!

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Cucumber Mint Gimlet

Cold, refreshing cucumber cocktails made with gin, lime and mint -

I need another cup of coffee. I need a vacation. I need something interesting to write about today. All I’ve got are cucumber cocktails. Happy hour, anyone?

Come on over. I have chilled cocktails in the fridge and an overgrown-yet-very-green backyard with two patio chairs. Sitting out there sounds much more appealing than tending to my inbox or addressing the technical difficulties that never.stop.coming.

cucumber and mint

Maybe I can entice you with a description of this cold cucumber cocktail. I know I can’t resist a cucumber drink on restaurant menus. Cucumber cocktails are the epitome of refreshing: light, summery and hydrating.

It’s no wonder restaurants call these gin and lime numbers by other names, though. “Gimlet” sounds like “piglet” and, as such, doesn’t sound nearly sexy enough to describe this drink. Gimlets are composed of gin, lime juice and a touch of sweetener. Something magical happens when these basic ingredients are shaken with ice and strained into a martini glass.

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Plum Crisp with Pistachio, Oat and Almond Meal Topping

A simple, honey-sweetened, plum dessert -

These gorgeous little ruby red plums are extra sweet because they were hand-picked by friends. Jordan and her husband have an enormous plum tree in their front yard, which hasn’t yielded much fruit in years’ past, but this year is different.

This year, the tree’s limbs are drooping under the weight of ripening plums. Walking along the sidewalk to their front porch is like walking through a purple polka-dotted candy land.

plum crisp ingredients

I wasn’t sure what to do with my plums once I picked them up. Obviously, I had to make something beautiful out of them, something worthy of my friends’ plum-picking efforts. I really have the sweetest friends.

I thought the plums would make a beautiful plum upside-down cake (I think you could make one out of this honey-sweetened almond cake recipe) or sorbet (which reminded me of this peach and raspberry sorbet from two summers ago). I thought about making chia jam, too, but I’ve doing a lot of those lately. I’ve since found out that Tessa turned her plums into a gorgeous clafoutis. Brilliant!

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Cherry Couscous & Arugula Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

A recipe for a fresh summer salad, plus a $50 Whole Foods gift card giveaway! -

Are you stuck on the slow summer wavelength, too? Let’s embrace it. Let’s sit in the shade and watch the sun go down. Sip on cold drinks. Hop in the pool. Play board games on the porch. Stretch at yoga class. Maybe even do less work (and not feel bad about it). Let’s fill up on big, fresh salads, too. Salads like this cherry stunner you see here.


This salad came to be after Whole Foods asked me to come up with a cherry recipe. Any recipe, as long as it contains cherries. Challenge accepted! As a reward, I got a $50 Whole Foods gift card for you (and a gift card for me, too). I don’t do a lot of giveaway posts, but an offer for high quality, free groceries? You deserve a chance at that. Just don’t spend it all on the dark chocolate mini malt balls in the bulk bin section… or do. They’re delicious.

The winner will also receive a copy of a beautiful new cookbook that I’ve been meaning to tell you about. It’s called The Vibrant Table: Recipes from My Always Vegetarian, Mostly Vegan, and Sometimes Raw Kitchen by Anya Kassoff of Golubka Kitchen. This cookbook would be great for someone whose diet is both vegan and gluten free. A number of the recipes call for specialty ingredients, but that’s where the Whole Foods gift card comes in.

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Salted Peanut Butter and Honey Ice Cream

Rich and creamy, dairy-free peanut butter ice cream -

Do you remember those “choose your own adventure” books from childhood? The books that let you choose how the story proceeds, with each option presenting different potential outcomes? Just thinking about those books makes me nostalgic for simpler times, when limited choices offered more clear-cut conclusions. Life’s not so simple these days.

Anyway, this peanut butter ice cream recipe is kind of like those “choose your own adventure” books, so I thought I’d present it as such. Fortunately, each option leads to a happy ending.

peanut butter and honey

Question no. 1: To add spice or not to add spice? The first time I made this ice cream, I added 1/16 teaspoon cayenne pepper, which lent a stronger jolt of spiciness than anticipated. The cold, sweet-and-spicy ice cream tingled my throat and kept me going back for bite after bite.

I loved the cayenne version, as did Tessa and Jordan. Alissa, on the other hand, much preferred my spice-free, salted second version. If you’re sensitive to spicy heat like Alissa or want a more traditional ice cream flavor, skip the cayenne.

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