Tahini Date Shake & Tel Aviv

Rich and decadent, dairy-free tahini date shake recipe - cookieandkate.com

Our month in Austin is coming to a close far too quickly. I only have two more nights left before we pack our bags and head north. I kind of want to throw a flailing fit about it. “It’s not fairrrrrrr!”

I haven’t crossed off all the restaurants and activities on my Austin bucket list, so I’m feeling some intense pressure to take advantage of every minute left. It always kills me to leave a place without seeing it all. I just want to cross off one place on my list so I can move on to the next, but that’s not going to happen with Austin. It rarely happens that way. I almost always want to go back! There’s always more to see and do, isn’t there?

bananas, dates and tahini

I feel the same way about Austin as I do about my trip to Israel last fall. I’ve been meaning to tell you more about it since my pomegranate salad post, but it was such an overwhelmingly fast and beautiful eight days that it’s been difficult to put the experience into words. Sharing my experience is made even more challenging by the political situation in Israel. I’m not qualified to explain it and even if I were, I certainly couldn’t sum up millennia of history in one blog post. I can only tell you about my experience, so keep reading if you’d like to hear and see more.

I have so many photos to share that I decided to break up the trip into a couple of posts. First up? Tel Aviv, Israel’s colorful city on the Mediterranean Sea, which is where we spent the majority of our eight days in Israel. The weather was warm and sunny, which was much appreciated after a week in Portland. It’s a healthy, active city with an impressive variety of vegetarian/vegan restaurants. One of my favorite experiences was our private yoga session on a rooftop!

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Southwestern Kale Power Salad with Sweet Potato, Quinoa & Avocado Sauce

Healthy and hearty Southwestern kale power salad recipe - cookieandkate.com

Don’t you hate it when your brilliant ideas don’t pan out? I’ve spent the week in the kitchen and I don’t have much to show for it. It’s maddening, I tell you. But, if anyone is going to end up with lackluster homemade meals, let it be me. I don’t want any precious avocados or maple syrup going to waste in your kitchens on my behalf.

sweet potato and kale

Ali and I were both in sour moods on Tuesday after spending the afternoon sharing pans and sighing at our resulting recipes. We were so frustrated that we almost decided to stay in and watch more of The Blacklist on Netflix, but! We reminded each other that our evenings in Austin are dwindling. I traded my yoga pants and sandals for skinny jeans and booties and we headed out.

Dinner was pretty good. I just ordered a salad. Our waiter surprised me with a free dessert (griddled cornbread and bourbon ice cream, hello) and the night got better from there.

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Parmesan-Crusted Cauliflower Steaks with Marinara

Parmesan crusted, roasted cauliflower "steak" on spaghetti with marinara. This is a super simple, healthy weeknight dinner! cookieandkate.com

Growing up, my younger brothers and I didn’t make dinner easy for our mom. We could agree on a very short list of menu items, including pizza, pasta and peanut butter sandwiches (white bread, hold the crust!). We ate more spaghetti with marinara sauce for dinner than anything else. It was the meal I made for myself when Mom made something I didn’t like (cough cough, steak).

cauliflower and spaghetti

This cauliflower and spaghetti dish is a throwback to my childhood dinners. These days, I opt for whole grain pasta because it keeps me feeling full for so much longer, and I like to add as much vegetables as pasta. I’ve been really into roasted cauliflower this winter and it’s the perfect, hearty and healthy addition to this classic comfort meal.

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13 Healthy Make-Ahead Breakfast Recipes

13 healthy make-ahead breakfast recipes - cookieandkate.com

Who here eats breakfast every morning? I do! It’s really not an option for me. I’ll turn into a shaking, starving, mumbling mess a few hours into the day if I skip it. Since my breakfast is mandatory (and I don’t like cereal, I know I know), I’ve found quite a few staple grab-and-go breakfasts over the years.

I’ve learned that breakfast “sweets” are not all created equally. Simple carbohydrates like all-purpose flour pancakes and pastries give me the shakes. Whole grains like oats keep me going for hours, especially when combined with nuts (or nut butter), yogurt and/or eggs. You’ll find a variety of healthy options below. What are your go-to breakfast recipes?

Before I go, here are some notes on storage and reheating: Muffins, pancakes, waffles and granola freeze well. Just let them cool and transfer them to freezer bags, squeezing out as much air as reasonably possible before sealing them up. I reheat my muffins and pancakes in the microwave (don’t overdo it, or they’ll get tough). If you have the foresight to let them defrost at room temperature or in the refrigerator, you can warm them in a low temperature oven. I reheat my frozen waffles in the toaster (again, don’t overdo it or you’ll burn your waffles). Granola doesn’t require any defrosting.

Morning glory oatmeal - cookieandkate.com

No. 1: Megan’s Morning Glory Oatmeal
Gluten free and vegan

Creamy, steel-cut oatmeal is a fantastic make-ahead option. Just make a big batch and store it in the refrigerator for later. Gently reheat it in the microwave or on the stove with a splash of milk (almond milk is great). I like to serve mine with a dollop of plain yogurt to up the creamy factor and protein content.

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Spiced Vegan Lentil Soup

This healthy, Mediterranean-flavored lentil soup is made with (mostly) pantry ingredients! Vegan and gluten free. cookieandkate.com

This soup recipe has been a long time coming! Over the years, I’ve made some lackluster lentil soups that never saw the light of day on this website. No vegetarian food blog would be complete without a proper lentil soup, though, so I’ve been perfecting one of my own lately.

Here it is. My lentil soup is made with mostly pantry ingredients but includes hearty greens and a squeeze of lemon for bright, fresh flavor. It’s seasoned with a few of my favorite spices and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

carrots and lentils

I’ve seriously overindulged over the past couple of weeks here in Austin, Texas. This much-needed soup is helping me balance out all the tacos and tequila (or at least that’s what I’m telling myself). It’s the best.

I have to remind myself that it’s still February when I look out the window and see only sunshine and green cactus. I heard there’s snow on the ground elsewhere and it’s below freezing back home in Kansas City, though. Hope you can warm up with this soup over the weekend. Spring is near, I promise!

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Ashley’s Sun-Dried Tomato Caesar Salad

Sun-dried tomato Caesar salad recipe from Date Night In by Ashley Rodriguez - cookieandkate.com

I have quite a cookbook collection. They’ve overflowed my bookcases and spilled over to both coffee tables. They’re stacked on my desk and sometimes they accompany me to bed. Flipping through the best cookbooks sends my mind into a tizzy and leaves me feeling sort of desperately, overwhelmingly inspired. I want to make everything and it kills me that I don’t have time for all of them.

bread for croutons

I watched my mom self-publish a few books when I was young, so I know how much effort and care goes into the making of a book. I’m in awe of all the authors who come up with a concept and carry it through to execution. It’s truly a labor of love.

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