Jun. 8. 2017
Home & Garden
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped® and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

Hooray for another peek into one of my friends and someone you probably know, kitchens! Today on the #NSkitchen we have Kate from Cookie + Kate sharing her staple kitchen items she can’t live without, what healthy eating means to her, and how she describes her kitchen. If you don’t know Kate, I’m excited to be the first to introduce you to her amazing work. She has been food blogging healthy recipes for 8 years, has an adorable pup (named Cookie) and a new cookbook baby that came out this month called Love Real Food.

Last summer, Kate was passing through Nashville and knowing I lived here, she reached out for coffee. We got along so well and I was already a huge fan of her work so I’m so proud of her finishing the cookbook AND one of you get to win a signed copy with the giveaway below. Read on to learn more and enter to win her cookbook!

“In this series, I’m sharing the in’s and out’s of kitchens across the globe from fellow registered dietitians, bloggers, and friends. The mission behind the NS Kitchen is to embrace differences and help shine a light on the behind the scenes of wellness. We all have different ways of eating well, and it’s here on NS that they’ll be celebrated!”

What are your 5 must have items in your fridge at all times? 
1) Lemons
2) Cilantro
3) Fresh greens
4) Cheese
5) Salsa or a random homemade sauce
What are your 5 must have items in your freezer at all times? 
1) Berries—raspberries and blueberries (I defrost them overnight and pile them onto my toast in the mornings)
2) Sliced whole-grain bread and tortillas (I can’t go through them fast enough)
3) Leftover cooked beans (I’ve been cooking big batches in my new Instant Pot)
4) Sliced bananas
5) Individual portions of leftovers if I’m lucky
What about your pantry?
Lentils, brown rice, extra-virgin olive oil, vinegars, spices, pasta, canned tomatoes and coconut milk, fine sea salt and flaky sea salt
What’s the “weirdest/non-traditional” food item we’d find in your kitchen? 
This is hard. Is pickled okra weird? I love pickled stuff.
What’s 1 word that describes your kitchen at home? 
Open—I just moved to a new place with an open kitchen layout and lots of natural light. It’s glorious.
What’s your philosophy on cooking?
Keep it real and fresh. By real, I mean work with minimally processed ingredients. By fresh, I mean incorporate a bunch of fresh flavors like herbs and lemons—that’s the easiest way to make those minimally processed ingredients taste amazing.
What’s your fondest or most special memory that took place in the kitchen? 
My sweet grandmother Mimi taught me how to make homemade fudge when I was little. I can’t ever seem to get it right, but it’s still a special memory.
If you were on 1 cooking/TV show, what would it be and why? 
I never watch TV! Can I be on Laura Miller’s YouTube channel? She makes me laugh.
What does nourishment mean to you? 
Nourishment is that warm, fuzzy feeling I get after eating a fresh, wholesome meal made with healthy and sustainable ingredients.
You come home from a long day at work/etc.; what’s the first food you reach for in your kitchen? 
Leftovers! Does that count? My go-to five-minute meal is quesadillas stuffed with beans and something fresh.
Fill in the blank: my kitchen is full of light.
If you were to describe your philosophy about cooking and healthy food in a movie title, what would it be? 
Love Real Food. I’m cheating, that’s my cookbook’s title.
Coffee or tea: Coffee
Green juice or smoothie: Green smoothie
Warm cereal or cold: Toast with almond butter 🙂
Spicy or sweet: Spicy!
Go to snack: Dried fruit and nuts


Do you have any of the same go-tos as Kate? Is there something you think is a necessity for a well-stocked kitchen that we’re missing? Share in the comments so we can chat! And check out Kate’s new cookbook, Love Real Food. Cheers to more whole foods cookbooks!

xx McKel

Giveaway is now closed!