Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Roasted Summer Vegetables

Healthy quinoa summer salad recipe - cookieandkate.com

When I was young, my mom published a few travel books about Oklahoma. This was back before you could even Google, “How to self-publish a book,” and find answers. She made those books happen, though, and I got to sit shotgun on our way to book signings. Back then, all I wanted to do was read, so I’d get lost in the children’s section while she sold and signed books.

I know how much goes into self publishing—writing a book is a feat in itself, so to take on the printing, distribution and marketing as well is a major accomplishment. Huge, really!

ingredients

Anna Watson Carl did it all when she self-published her lovely cookbook, The Yellow Table: A Celebration of Everyday Gatherings, which is the source of this salad recipe. She documented the process on her blog (also called The Yellow Table) and you can read a summary of it on Design*Sponge.

So today, I’m tipping my hat to Anna and sharing this incredible quinoa salad from her book. It’s simple and fresh and just perfect for late summer. She combined ratatouille vegetables with quinoa and Mediterranean flavors. Leftovers are so good, I just ate them for breakfast! Hurry and make this one before summer ends.

Continue to the recipe…

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Creamy Peach & Honey Popsicles

Creamy honey-sweetened peach popsicles - cookieandkate.com

Have you noticed that the days are getting shorter? Cookie and I are heading out the door earlier for our evening walk, and I’m scrambling to check off the summer recipes on my list while I still can.

Peaches are so plump and sweet right now; popsicles needed to happen. I killed two birds with one stone with these peach popsicles. They’re super simple—consisting of roasted peaches, honey and yogurt—and they taste just like you’d expect. Delicious, fruity and creamy.

peaches

These popsicles are ultra creamy because I roasted the peaches into jammy submission, which reduces their water content while concentrating their sweet flavor, and opted for full-fat yogurt, too. Speaking of, every time I specify full-fat yogurt in a recipe, I get questions asking if you can use low-fat yogurt instead. If you use lower fat yogurt in this recipe, which has less fat and more water, you’ll get icier popsicles.

That said, if you don’t share my totally bizarre, nails-on-a-chalkboard-like aversion to icy popsicles (also included: the sound of ice rubbing against ice, please tell me I’m not the only one), you can go ahead and make some with low-fat yogurt.

Continue to the recipe…

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A Quick Question…

Zucchini with Butter Beans & Goats Curd-2

After our trip to Ireland I fell into some bad habits.

I’d managed to find a great balance between healthy eating and not missing out on any treats (hello Parisian baguettes!) on our trip. And had even come home the same weight I’d left.

But back ‘down under’ things stated to fall apart…

There could have been a few reasons.

But I’m blaming having a sick toddler in the house and a resulting forced extended stay in ‘Sleep Deprivation’ City.

Whatever the cause, I found myself with some serious carb cravings. Resulting in pasta, spuds and tortillas on an almost everyday basis.

Oh yeah, and our veggie intake? Way down.

No prizes for guessing the effect this had on my waistline.

Not pretty.

So when I was in Melbourne a few weeks ago, I found a copy of Pete Evans’ book, ‘Going Paleo’ jumping off the shelf and talking me into buying it.

I first wrote about my experiments with eating Paleo back in 2010. And since then I’ve been following my ‘mostly paleo‘ version – basically skipping grains but including dairy and legumes.

I feel like ‘mostly’ paleo is really the optimum way to eat for me. And until a few weeks ago when we had the ‘carb fest’, I was feeling as good as I’ve ever felt.

If not better.

But I do like to experiment.

Just to know what different ways of eating are like for me.

So I’ve decided to go ‘full paleo’ for the month of September.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I know the importance of public accountability when it comes to changing behaviour. Like the long, long dry month I went without alcohol. There’s no way I would have stuck to it if I hadn’t told you about it first on Stonesoup.

Which brings me to my ‘quick question’…

What’s your preferred mode of eating?

I’d really love to know! Because I want to make sure I’m covering everything in the ‘variations’ I include with every recipes.

So I’ve created a quick one-question survey for you:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WFLLLGR
__

Or if you’d prefer, leave a comment below and let me know. Are you a paleo fan? Omnivore? Or a plant based fan?

____

Zucchini with Butter Beans + Goats Curd

This was the best thing my Irishman and I ate when we were in London. Hands down. And there was some pretty stiff competition. We had the zucchini as part of a lovely little lunch at St. John Bread & Wine. Next time you’re in London, make sure you eat there. Truly inspirational.

And yes, this ain’t paleo, but of course I’ve got you covered in the variations below if dairy and/or legumes aren’t your thing.

enough for: 2
takes: 25 minutes
4 medium zucchini (courgettes), thickly sliced crosswise
1 can butter beans (400g / 14oz), drained + rinsed well
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sherry or wine vinegar
8 tablespoons goats curd or other soft cheese

1. Heat about 8 tablespoons of olive oil on a medium heat in a large frying pan. Add zucchini and over medium heat, turning every 5 minutes or so until the zucchini is golden brown and very soft. (Take at least 15 minutes, ‘slow and steady’ is the key here to concentrating the zucchini flavour).

2. Drain and rinse butter beans well then add to the pan when the zucchini is soft. When the beans are hot, remove the pan from the heat.

3. Combine mustard and vinegar in a little bowl then toss over the hot beans and zucchini so they get mixed with the cooking oil to make an irresistible sauce.

4. Divide zucchini and beans between 2 plates and top with goats curd.

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Variations

paleo (legume + dairy-free) – replace beans with a handful of roasted almonds and replace cheese with chunks of avocado or a drizzle of tahini sauce (equal parts tahini and lemon juice).

carnivore / more substantial – serve as a side to roast or pan fried chicken or fish.

more veg – toss in some baby spinach, salad leaves or parsley leaves before serving. Add other summer veg like red peppers (capsicum) or eggplant (aubergine).

vegan / dairy-free – replace cheese with chunks of avocado or a drizzle of tahini sauce (equal parts tahini and lemon juice).

butter bean alternatives – replace beans with other white beans, chickpeas, cooked quinoa or cooked pasta.

Big love,
Jules x

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ps. One more thing

It’s my birthday in September so I’m going to take a ‘paleo leave pass’ on that day only so I can celebrate with some really smelly cheese. Because what’s a birthday without good cheese…

Thanks! I knew you’d understand.
xx

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Roasted Broccoli Rabe and Pesto Flatbread

Broccoli rabe naan, a simple dinner or appetizer! cookieandkate.com

This post is brought to you by Andy Boy.

Late summer is full of irony. Here we are, when fresh produce is perhaps most abundant, and gardens are overflowing with ripe tomatoes, peppers and basil… and the last thing I want to do is cook dinner. If there’s ever a time to take advantage of shortcuts like pre-made flatbread, the time is now!

broccoli rabe

These quick flatbreads are made with store-bought whole grain naan that I topped with homemade basil pesto, creamy feta and broccoli rabe tossed in olive oil and red pepper flakes. As broccoli rabe roasts in the oven on top of the flatbread, its natural bitterness seems to dissipate as the leaves develop a delicate, kale chip-like crunch.

Continue to the recipe…

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Watermelon White Sangria

White sangria recipe made with watermelon, nectarine and St. Germain! cookieandkate.com

Funny thing. I’ve consumed two glasses of this sangria and I’m fumbling for the proper words to describe it. How about, “Best white sangria ever?” Bold statement, but I’m not kidding around. Yeah, I see your sangria bet and I’ll raise you twenty.

watermelon sangria recipe

Watermelon is key. It infuses white wine with fresh summer flavor, and the little cubes float on top, just waiting to get scooped out and eaten like boozy fruit salad. The raspberries don’t add a lot of flavor, but they’re like rubies on the ocean floor. You’ll find them once you polish off your glass.

Continue to the recipe…

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Sweet Corn & Black Bean Tacos

Sweet corn and black bean tacos - cookieandkate.com

August is slipping through my fingers. Time is slipping through my fingers. I celebrated my favorite tiny person’s second birthday this weekend and I remember the day I visited her in the hospital like it was yesterday. Now she calls me “Ka-Ka” like my little brother did and glides through the house wearing my ballet flats, which are about 10 sizes too big.

jalapeno and corn

These sweet corn tacos seem to be a perfectly appropriate way to commemorate mid-August. I opted not to cook or grill the corn—it’s so creamy and sweet when it’s fresh—and instead marinate it in lime juice, with some lime zest to really set it off. (You could grill it, though, if you prefer!) Finely sliced radishes and jalapeño lend a bit of crunch and heat, while sliced avocado and feta finish it off.

Continue to the recipe…

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How Much is a Handful?

Stir-Through Mac & Cheese-2

Are you a precise, measure-every-single-ingredient cook? Or more someone who likes to just add ‘a little bit of this and that’?

Me?

I’m somewhere in the middle…

Now ‘fence sitting’ isn’t normally my style. But in this case, there’s a very good reason…

Sometimes (actually more often than not), especially in savoury cooking, the exact amount of an ingredient doesn’t matter.

Sure more cheese in the recipe below will give you a richer, more cheesey pasta, but it’s not going to ruin it. And if you love cheese, will probably be the best outcome.

Then there are times when precision means the difference between ‘delicious’ and ‘disaster’…

This tends to happen more often when you’re baking but it can happen in savoury dishes too.

What does all this mean?

Essentially, if a recipe writer calls for a ‘handful’ or a ‘pinch’ of something, they’re really telling you it doesn’t matter so much exactly how much you add.

You’re free to use your own judgement. Really.

But if there’s an exact measurement, generally this should be read as ‘please use this amount so everything works out and you like my recipe and keep coming back for more‘.

Got it?

I’m so glad we had this chat.

So back to my earlier question?

What type of cook are you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below…

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‘Stir-Through’ Mac & Cheese

We normally don’t eat a lot of pasta but I must admit, I love having this simple stir-through dish in my repertoire as a treat for Fergal or when I have a hoard of hungry toddlers to feed. For some healthier ideas see the variations below.

enough for: 2
takes: 15 minutes
200g (7oz) pasta
4 tablespoons cream
2 handfuls grated cheese (see below for options)
salad leaves, to serve

1 Bring a medium pot of salted water to the boil.

2. Add pasta and set your timer for the time indicated on the packet. Simmer, stirring every few minutes until the pasta is no longer crunchy.

3. Drain and return the hot pasta to the pot.

4. Stir in the cream and cheese. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed (the cheese may be salty enough).

5. Serve hot with salad leaves on the side.

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Variations

different cheese – my fave combo is parmesan and emmental for flavour and ooziness. But any good melting cheese will work like gruyere, cheddar or even mozzarella. Or if you want to use processed sliced cheese, knock yourself out!

more veg – add a few handfuls peas frozen peas or snow peas to the pasta cooking water a minute before the timer is due to go off. Or toss in roast or grilled veg in with the cheese.

gluten-free – use GF pasta (I like ones based on quinoa flour) or replace pasta with cooked or canned chickpeas or white beans. Just warm the drained legumes in a little oil in a pan before adding cream and cheese.

dairy-free – replace cheese and cream with a few handfuls of a dairy-free pesto like this Sicilian Nut Pesto (it’s really good and I often prefer it to traditional pesto). Or replace cream with a peppery extra virgin olive oil and replace cheese with sliced grilled veg like eggplant, zucchini and / or red bell peppers (capsicum).

paleo – replace pasta with diced roast veg like sweet potato, parsnip and carrot. And use one of the dairy-free options instead of the cheese and cream.

carnivore – toss in some cooked bacon or sausage or finely sliced prosciutto.

Video version of the recipe.

Big love,
Jules x

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ps. I know you might still be thinking…

But come on Jules, how big are YOUR handfuls. So for the record I have quite long fingers. I’ve often had people tell my I have ‘piano playing’ hands. Also for the record, I’m crap at piano. But I did just measure out a ‘Jules handful’ of almonds and they were a generous 1/4 cup. Now what am I going to do with all these almonds?

xx

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16 Healthy Kid-Friendly Recipes

Find 16 healthy recipes that kids love here! cookieandkate.com

Perhaps the better title for this post would be, “16 recipes your kids might eat.” I’m outside of my realm of expertise here—I’m childless and a former picky kid myself—but I thought I’d share a few recipes that kids seem to enjoy.

I searched through the comments for words like “kids” and “daughter” and landed on the following sixteen recipes. About half are dinner recipes and the other half are wholesome sweet treats, like granola bars and oat-based banana pancakes. Some pack well for lunch or snacks, so I’ve made note of those. Here we go!

Continue to the recipe…

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Tomato Jam and Mozzarella Panini

Tomato jam panini with mozzarella and basil! cookieandkate.com

Here’s a fun seasonal project for those of you who have a surplus of cherry tomatoes. Or for people like me, who just can’t get enough cherry tomatoes while they’re here. Tomato jam! It’s sort of like peppery, jammy ketchup and I’m really into it.

tomatoes and bread

Fair warning; tomato jam requires a lot of tomatoes (one and a half pounds yields a scant cup of jam). If you’re so willing, I can offer you a delicious tomato jam, basil and mozzarella-Parmesan panini, which can also be made as a grilled cheese sandwich. I used my electric grill to make panini because that sounded like more fun at the moment.

This is more of a flexible recipe than most, so use your best judgment when it comes to cooking the jam down and grilling those sandwiches!

Continue to the recipe…

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Get a Week’s Worth of Healthy Dinners… Without Having to ‘Think’ or Plan

Green Lime & Fish Soup-2

You’re probably not going to believe me. But I swear I’m telling the truth. I’ve just done my shopping list for the week.

And I only need 7 ingredients.

Really?

Yep really. 7. That’s all. Well for dinner for the next 5 nights at least. Oh, and it includes 1 healthy dessert as well.

Best of all, I’m getting them all from my local mini-supermarket.

Why am I telling you this?

Because the Soupstones Dinner Challenge starts this week!

And I’m following along.

I’m really looking forward to it!

Especially the part where I walk into the kitchen at dinner time, look at my dinner challenge meal plan and just cook what’s on the list.

No having to ‘think’.

Bring it on!

Want to join me?

It’s super easy! And it doesn’t cost a thing.

Just enter your email below to get your FREE weekly meal plan!

—-

Green Lime & Fish Soup


One of the things I adore about this soup is the intense lime-ness from letting the whole limes simmer in the soup and release all their zingy juices. Perfect for when you have limes that are a bit on the hard side. My Irishman thought the lime was a bit too much though so if you think you’d prefer a less instense soup, go for 1 lime rather than 2.

enough for: 2
takes 15 minutes
2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
1 can coconut milk (400mL / 14oz)
1 bunch broccolini or broccoli, chopped
1-2 limes, halved
450g (1lb) white fish fillets, chopped

1. Bring the curry paste, coconut milk, brocccolini, limes and 1/2cup water to a simmer in a medium saucepan.

2. Simmer for 3 minutes then add fish and cook until fish is just cooked through – about another 3 minutes.

3. Carefully remove the limes, squeeze the lime juice into the soup and serve hot.

Variations

hot! – add a few chopped fresh chillies or use more curry paste.

tiny-person friendly – make the soup without the curry paste. Serve up for your child then add the curry paste and heat through before serving the adults.

more fragrant / herby – add a handful kaffir lime leaves to simmer or serve with a handful fresh basil or mint leaves.

no thai curry paste – replace with 2-6 chopped large green chillies for a more simple soup.

no coconut milk – replace with a fish stock for a less creamy soup.

more veg – add peas, snow peas, chopped red or green peppers (capsicum), chopped carrots or finely chopped cauliflower.

carb-lovers – toss in some rice noodles cooked according to the packet just before serving.

vegetarian / vegan – replace fish with chopped tofu, a heap of extra veggies or some cooked egg noodles. Make sure your curry paste doesn’t have any shrimp paste or fish sauce.

different protein – replace fish with chopped chicken thigh fillets, green peeled prawns (shrimp) or thinly sliced beef.

Big love,
Jules x

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ps. What are you waiting for?

Enter your email below to get your FREE weekly meal plan!
You won’t have to enter a credit card or anything. It really is free.

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