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2018-04-24T10:57:36.176Z
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Do you love pickled onions as much as I do? Pickling transforms raw red onions from pungent and crunchy to irresistibly tangy and crisp. I add some red pepper flakes for extra spice and a splash of maple syrup or honey to round out the other strong flavors.

These onions are the perfect condiment for tacos, burgers, salads, and more. The best part? These quick-pickled onions are ready to serve after a brief 30-minute cooling period. Start your meal prep with these onions, and they’ll be ready to go by the time the rest of your dinner is ready.

These onions are incredibly easy to make, too. I like to keep them on hand for any meal that needs some extra oomph. Leftovers are so much more exciting with quick-pickled onions in the fridge!

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Fair warning: You are going to want this avocado dip with every meal this week. I’m obsessed and I think you will be, too! It’s lusciously creamy, thanks to the ripe avocado, and bursting with fresh lime, cilantro and jalapeño flavor.

Like guacamole, you can serve this as a party dip with chips, or dollop it onto any remotely Mexican-ish meal. You can also thin out the avocado dip so it becomes more of a sauce, which you can drizzle onto nachos and more.

I make my guacamole by hand for the best texture, but this creamy dip is incredibly easy to to make in a food processor or blender. Just toss your a few basic ingredients into your machine of choice, and blend ’em up. Avocado dip is ready in five minutes, from start to finish.

Unlike store-bought creamy dips, this avocado dip is made with wholesome, plant-based ingredients. It’s a dip you can feel good about!

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Where have pinto beans been all my life? I dismissed them after a couple of lackluster Mexican restaurant meals, but I’ve recently realized pinto beans in their full glory. They’re creamy and rich, and mix in beautifully with scrambled eggs, soup, rice and more.

Pinto beans also make the best refried beans, since they’re so buttery. I recently crossed the refried black beans recipe with my pinto beer beans (both available in my cookbook) and ended up with these outrageously delicious refried beans.

Fresh cilantro livens up these refried beans, and a squeeze of lime juice makes them taste more complex. Flavor aside, these refried beans are also a healthy source of plant-based protein and fiber (12 grams of each per serving).

Bonus? This recipe is so easy to make! I used high quality canned beans to make this recipe quickly. I tried home-cooked beans and couldn’t tell enough difference to bother doing it again. If you prefer to cook your own beans, though, you certainly can.

Cook up some onion in olive oil, add spices and beans, and...

Let’s clear up a few things about this cucumber salad. First of all, it’s Gaby’s Mom’s recipe. Second, it’s the most delicious cucumber salad I’ve ever met. Combined, crisp cucumber, creamy avocado and the most basic balsamic dressing create one stellar cucumber salad.

This recipe comes from Gaby Dalkin’s new cookbook, What’s Gaby Cooking: Everyday California Recipes. Perhaps you know Gaby’s blog, which has the same name. I’m always admiring Gaby’s simple, colorful, fresh-from-the-farmers’-market recipes.

Here’s what Gaby says about this salad: “My mom made this salad just about every night when I was growing up. It was so yummy that I’d eat half the bowl before we even sat down for dinner, even though I’d get yelled at for not saving any for my dad and sister… Now it’s my go-to side salad, and my husband eats half of it before we sit down for dinner.”

Here’s what I have to say about this salad: I’ve demolished this cucumber salad all on my own in one sitting. I want to plant Persian cucumbers in...

Fellow salsa lovers, this recipe is for you. This red salsa recipe offers fresh, authentic Mexican restaurant flavor. The best part? It’s super easy to make with six basic ingredients.

I developed this salsa for my cookbook, since my book wouldn’t have been complete without an amazing homemade salsa recipe. It took me about ten tries to get all the details just right, but man, this recipe was worth it.

I served this salsa at my birthday party and watched my friends’ eyes light up when they tasted it. Everyone asked for the recipe, so I’m sharing it on the blog for you today with all of my salsa tips and tricks.

Fresh salsa any time the craving strikes? Yes, please.

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One of my favorite parts of my job is meeting and befriending other food bloggers. Melissa of The Faux Martha and I started our blogs around the same time. We commented on each other’s blogs for a while and then I reached out to Melissa way back when she was living in Chicago.

That’s how you know you’re headed in the right direction—when “networking” feels so natural and easy. Melissa invited me over to her home and out to dinner. We’ve been buds for a while now.

Last summer, when I was in Minneapolis for Lindsay’s photography workshop, Melissa invited us over for dinner. I got to see her amazing modern farmhouse in person, finally. We ate homemade pizza in her backyard under those big, round Christmas lights I love so much. Someday, I’ll have a proper backyard and I’ll “borrow” some of Melissa’s design elements.

Melissa is a designer. She worked as a graphic designer when I met her, then she became a blog designer,...

Meet my all-time favorite mac and cheese recipe! This recipe has been in the works for over one year, no exaggeration. It has taken me that long to find my go-to mac and cheese method.

Then I finally realized that I wanted a classic stovetop recipe, like the blue box mac and cheese I grew up enjoying. But, I wanted to make my stovetop mac and cheese with real ingredients. I wanted it to be creamy and deliciously cheesy—but not oozing with so much cheese that I had to take a nap afterward.

Here is my ultimate mac and cheese recipe, which meets all of the above requirements. I purposefully used yellow cheddar and noodles that remind me of the boxed variety. It’s made simply with cheddar cheese and cream, and a few subtle dried spices to ramp up the flavor.

The best part? This mac and cheese could not be easier to make. Homemade mac and cheese for the win!

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Would you look at those blueberry-studded beauties? These blueberry muffins are golden on top, moist and fluffy on the inside.

Best of all, they’re bursting with jammy blueberry flavor. These are my favorite homemade blueberry muffins, and it’s about time you met them.

These healthy blueberry muffins are easy to make, too. Forget those box mixes! You can make these wholesome muffins from scratch with basic grocery store ingredients. No special equipment required.

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It’s still cold outside! Let’s cozy up with some soup and trust that warm spring weather is on its way. If you enjoy bean-based chili recipes and tortilla soup, you are going to love this pinto posole.

I traded pinto beans for the pork you’ll find in traditional posole recipes, so this stew is vegan. It’s also hearty, spicy and delicious.

You’ll just need one pot for this stew, and I opted to use canned beans to cut the cooking time down to about 30 minutes. Leftovers taste even better the next day, and this dairy-free recipe freezes great for later, too.

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Does it feel like April outside where you are? It snowed yesterday on Easter and I scraped ice off my windshield this morning. I’m daydreaming of spring weather and picnics in the park. Sunshine, tulips, asparagus, Claritin—I can’t wait.

Below, you’ll find a list of what’s in season this month, and a few links that I’ve been wanting to share with you (the camera and app are affiliate links). Cheers to April!

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Are you craving sunshine and warm days like I am? Let’s divert our eyes from the cloudy weather and focus on these vibrant, refreshing açaí bowls instead. They’re like a tropical vacation in a bowl, minus the jet lag and sand in your pants. You can enjoy them in the morning before work!

I’ve been curious about açaí bowls for a while now, after seeing them pop up on my friends’ vacation feeds from trips to Southern California and Hawaii. Like always, I researched acai bowls to the end of the internet and played with my own acai bowl recipe until it was just right.

Since acai grows in the Amazon, it seemed natural to blend acai with tropical fruits. These smoothie bowls are simply and naturally sweetened with frozen banana, mango and pineapple. If you’ve been looking for a fun way to eat more fruit, this is it.

These vegan acai smoothie bowls are cold, creamy and almost sorbet-like in texture. In fact, the smoothie portion is so delightful that you could...

Little-known fact: I am a stovetop popcorn connoisseur. I’ve been making popcorn on the stove since my parents taught me in elementary school. Stovetop popcorn is infinitely better than microwave popcorn or air-popped popcorn. If you haven’t made it yet, you’ve been missing out!

I’m on a mission to make sure everyone knows how to make popcorn from scratch. Today, I’m sharing all of my popcorn-making tips so you can make perfect stovetop popcorn at home, too. All you need are popcorn kernels, a good pot with a lid, oil and salt. You can do it!

Of all the salty, crunchy, savory snacks out there, stovetop popcorn is one of the tastiest and least expensive. I love that I can make it in under 10 minutes if I’m craving a snack, and easily adjust the amounts to yield a single serving or popcorn for a party.

The 10-minute buffer period is actually great, since it means I can’t reach into the pantry and mindlessly snack on popcorn. That’s why I don’t...

Intrigued? I was, too. I can’t take credit for this lovely combination of ingredients. This masala lentil salad comes from Gena Hamshaw’s new vegan cookbook, Power Plates: 100 Nutritionally Balanced, One-Dish Vegan Meals.

Perhaps you have come across Gena’s blog, The Full Helping, and come to appreciate her warm writing style and wholesome vegan recipes. If not, you’ve been missing out.

This salad combines tender roasted carrots, protein-rich lentils and fresh greens and mint with a garam masala-infused vinaigrette. Raw red onion contrasts beautifully in both color and flavor, and pumpkin or sunflower seeds offer some welcome crunch.

I love sharing recipes from new cookbooks because it lets me share ideas I never would have come up with on my own. I wouldn’t have thought to add garam masala to a salad dressing, but it’s really nice. Noted, thanks Gena!

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The post Masala Lentil Salad with Cumin Roasted Carrots appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

My friend Jessica’s new book is here, and I’m so excited for her! The Pretty Dish is bursting with 150 colorful, flavor-packed recipes in Jessica’s true How Sweet Eats style, and all of them can be made in under 60 minutes. Well, slow cooker recipes excluded. Plus, she included 50 beauty DIY recipes. Homemade bath melts? I’m into that.

Jessica is as bubbly, witty and adorably self-deprecating in person as she is in writing. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and the book’s cover is the most perfect representation of her colorful personality and the vibrant recipes inside.

I was drawn to this chickpea recipe because it’s so simple and reminds me of some of my favorite deli salads. These marinated chickpeas with feta and basil are spicy and garlicky.

They’re a little sweet, too, thanks to the roasted red peppers and a touch of honey. They strike an irresistible balance between the two,...

Hallelujah! We’re two days from the official first day of spring. I’m so happy for more sunshine and longer days. Winter makes me crave hearty, cheesy dinners, and I’ve had enough! Seriously, my pants are snug.

I’m transitioning to more light, fresh meals, and I bet you are looking forward to those, too. Somehow it has been ten months since my cookbook, Love Real Food, hit the shelves last May. So, I thought I’d highlight some of my favorite spring-y recipes from the book.

If you already own Love Real Food, I have loved reading your reviews and your kind notes about the book. I sincerely hope it’s become a go-to cookbook in your kitchen. You might see one of these recipes with fresh eyes now that the weather has changed, and I hope it inspires you to cook a new recipe.

If you don’t have the book yet, I’ll admit that I hope these recipes entice you to get a copy. I poured all of my energy into the recipe testing, writing and photography for this book for over a year, and I’m over the moon by the feedback....

Remember my new marinara sauce recipe from earlier this week? I just had to share one of my go-to quick meals to go with it. I’ve been keeping this easy combination all to myself for the past few years, and it’s about time we talk about it.

Here it is: marinara sauce and lentils. I know, it might sound weird at first. But let me tell you, marinara and lentils is a delicious combination. Perhaps you have already encountered it in my lentil baked ziti?

Marinara offers deep, umami-rich tomatoes in irresistible sauce form. Lentils offer earthy flavor and a hearty, Bolognese-like texture. I use French green or plain brown lentils, which retain their shape better than red or yellow lentils.

Just combine marinara and lentils with whole-grain pasta. Ta da! You’ve successfully lightened-up a traditionally carb-heavy pasta dish into a well-balanced, fiber-rich dinner.

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Meet the marinara recipe of my dreams! I’ve always been intimidated by marinara, maybe because I love it so much that I was afraid of messing it up. I finally faced my fears and tried making marinara every which way. This version is my favorite, no contest.

This homemade marinara sauce offers rich and lively tomato flavor, and it could not be easier to make. You’ll need just five basic pantry ingredients: good canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, dried oregano and olive oil.

The best part? You don’t even have to chop the onion and garlic. Just crank open a can of tomatoes, halve an onion and peel some garlic. You’re ready to go!

This sauce offers lovely, authentic Italian flavor after a 45-minute simmer. I tried to take shortcuts to make it even faster, but no amount of tomato paste, spices, salt or sugar will make up for lost time.

Bottom line: It’s impossible to achieve enchanting, long-simmered marinara flavor in under 45 minutes. So throw those ingredients in a pot, pour yourself a glass of wine and boil water for...

I’m pretty particular about my waffles. I want light, whole grain, crisp-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside, Belgian-with-deep-pockets, quintessential WAFFLES. No soggy waffles allowed! Bonus points if they freeze well so I can pop them in the toaster like Eggo’s.

These waffles meet all of the aforementioned qualifications. After tweaking five batches of these waffles, I can confirm that oat flour waffles are the waffles I’ve been searching for all along. Oat waffles are the waffles of my dreams.

Best of all, these waffles are gluten free, which means that I can share them with all of my friends! This gluten-free waffle recipe is so simple that I have it memorized.

It only requires one flour—oat flour—which is the easiest flour to make at home. Just toss some old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats in your blender or food processor and blend until they are a fine flour.

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I have never been so excited about roasted broccoli. This is a big statement, coming from such a broccoli fan!

This simple side dish recipe features tender broccoli florets, roasted until irresistibly caramelized and crackly on the edges, topped with golden, crispy Parmesan cheese. I finished it off with a drizzle of tangy balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of lemon zest.

This roasted broccoli would pair beautifully with your favorite Italian or Mediterranean entrées. It would be lovely with eggs, too, for brunch or a simple breakfast-for-dinner situation. Make it on busy weeknights and special holidays; it will fit right in.

Please make this roasted broccoli recipe as soon as possible so we can gush about it together. It has definitely become a staple side dish at my place. The only hard part about making this recipe is not eating it all straight off the pan!

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What took me so long to make almond butter? I just enjoyed homemade almond butter on toast for breakfast, and I must say—it’s far superior to store-bought almond butter. Homemade almond butter is ultra thick and creamy, and it tastes like warm, freshly roasted almonds.

Now that I know the difference, I can’t go back to buying jars at the store. I blend a tiny bit of cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup into mine to make it taste extra special. Why not?

Homemade almond butter is more affordable, too. The math is simple. One pound of almonds yields one pound of almond butter (or 16 ounces), which is the size of the standard almond butter jar at the store. Just compare the price of one pound of raw almonds to the price of your favorite almond butter.

The cost savings depend largely on the almond butter. I’ve bought jars of almond butter at Trader Joe’s for seven dollars, so there’s not much savings opportunity there.

However, I’ve seen almond butter on shelves demanding seventeen...