Blogger Spotlight: Kate Taylor from Cookie and Kate

Join Food Network's Healthy Eats in discovering the best healthy bloggers around the web. Today we're talking to Kate Taylor from the blog Cookie and Kate.

Kate is a self-taught photographer and cook from Oklahoma whose passion for food inspires readers to step into the kitchen and start cooking. With a focus on whole food, the recipes she shares on Cookie and Kate are both nutritious and fun to make. She believes in keeping food as close to its source as possible and features exclusively vegetarian fare. Cookie is her friendly canine companion and “chief crumb catcher.”

What does “whole food” mean to you and why is it important to you to eat this way?

Whole food, to me, basically just means real food that is as close to its source as possible. In other words, whole food is minimally processed and doesn't contain unnecessary junk like preservatives, chemicals or pesticides. Naturally, whole foods are better for us, too. Whole grains retain the nutrients and good fats that processing removes. And fresh, quality ingredients taste better! You can make an incredible meal with just a few great ingredients. That's why I say my blog "celebrates whole foods," because I believe that food should both delight the senses and nourish the body. Whole foods can do that.

What made you start your blog, Cookie and Kate? How has it evolved since you started?

A couple of years ago, I was stuck in a stifling desk job and decided I needed a creative project. Photography had long been one of my favorite hobbies, but my camera was gathering dust on a shelf. I read a lot of blogs in my free time, so I decided to start one of my own. I picked a name that I thought would be memorable, designed it myself and started posting about a variety of subjects: life, design, etc. Coincidentally, around that time I was developing more of an interest in food and cooking. I had been reading a lot of Michael Pollan, I'd given up meat and started experimenting more in the kitchen. I posted my favorite salsa recipe and got such a nice response that I started posting more and more recipes. Cookie and Kate eventually evolved into a full-fledged food blog, and I couldn't be happier about it.

What do you like best about blogging?

To me, food blogging is just the greatest creative outlet—it combines my love for cooking, photography, writing and web design. I also enjoy connecting with others over our shared love for food. I've become friends with wonderful people around the world through my blog. It's pretty amazing.

What is your favorite cuisine to cook?

Oh, this is tough. I generally love spicy, flavorful food that is full of fresh produce and herbs. I'm not sure any of my recipes could be considered authentic cuisine, but I like to cook meals with Mexican, Mediterranean or Asian influences.

What is your favorite ingredient to cook with?

Lately, I can't get enough coconut. Coconut milk lends creaminess to cooked grains, coconut oil is a great substitute for butter and has the most lovely coconut scent, and coconut flakes add texture and flavor to baked goods.

You're a firm believer in allowing yourself occasional indulgences. What do you think is the key to splurging on treats without unraveling a healthy diet?

I wish I had an exciting secret to share, but it's really all about moderation. I might go out to lunch with a friend and splurge on a big meal, but then I'll eat a salad for dinner. I prefer quality over quantity and try to eat reasonable portions, too. I've learned that I can actually get more satisfaction out of a single scoop of homemade ice cream than a big milkshake, as long as I savor every bite. Plus, I know I would feel sleepy and sluggish after eating that big milkshake, and I don't like to feel that way. Making good decisions is a lot easier when we are mindful of how different foods make us feel!

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