Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Soup

Creamy and light, spiced pumpkin soup - cookieandkate.com

While I was in Portland, I went to lunch with my baby brother and our friend Bill. I’ve written about Bill over the years—in summary, Bill beat leukemia with the help of my stem cells. He’s the toughest guy I know. Now we’re friends who share the same immune system and we finally got to meet a few weeks ago. (More about that here and by the way, you can join the registry over here.)

We shared lunch and an afternoon at Multnomah Falls. It was a damp, gray fall day in the Pacific Northwest and it was perfect.

pumpkin and Portland

Bill picked The Picnic House for lunch. You really have to go next time you’re in Portland. “Unique” doesn’t begin to describe it—the restaurant feels like an old school theater inside, with different scenes set up in every corner and amazing food everywhere the eye can see. I was tempted to order every item on the menu, but after much deliberation, I finally settled on a small soup, salad and sandwich. I might just have to recreate all three of them for the blog (so good), but the pumpkin soup seemed most timely.

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Simple Gluten-Free Apple Crisp

Gluten-free apple crisp recipe, perfect for the holidays! cookieandkate.com

Are you feeling that holiday cheer? I’ve been to two Friendsgivings this weekend so I am in full holiday mode. I’ve been bringing this simple apple crisp with me to get-togethers lately. It’s a cinch to put together: just chop up some apples, mix in some honey and spice, then top with an irresistible mixture of oats, almond meal and chopped pecans.

There’s just enough butter and sugar in there to make sure this crisp tastes like a treat, but it’s pretty light and healthy compared to most holiday desserts. (Don’t worry, pumpkin pie, I still love you.)

apples and honey

The apples transform into gooey goodness during a 50-minute bake in the oven, during which time you’re free to do whatever you’d like. If you’re like me, this is probably when you scramble to make yourself look presentable before the holiday party and don’t hear the timer going off while you’re busy blow-drying your hair in the other room.

That’s why the crisp you see above borders on too golden, but I pulled it out just in time. Crisps are so forgiving, which makes them perfect for forgetful bakers like me.

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Herbed Quinoa and Pomegranate Salad

Light and healthy, herbed quinoa salad - cookieandkate.com

I was totally overwhelmed by the abundance of fresh food in Israel. Every time we sat down to the table, our generous hosts covered every available square inch with dishes to try. I, of course, couldn’t let one pass me by, so I always left the table feeling thoroughly stuffed and seriously spoiled.

In those stomach-clutching moments, I day-dreamed about going home to a simple quinoa salad and a glass of wine. The grass is always greener, isn’t it?

herbs

Honest to goodness, those dishes passed by so quickly that I hardly had a moment to dissect one before the next arrived. I had hoped to come home with a long list of dishes to recreate, but I’m left mostly with vague, game-changing impressions of flavors, colors, smells and sights. It was a whirlwind of a trip and a really wonderful experience.

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Spiced Apple Margaritas

Spiced apple margaritas, just in time for the holidays! cookieandkate.com

Oh boy, is it nice to be back in the United States. Home of reliable 4G networks! Where chips and salsa flow like water! Queso? Por favor! I may have gone out for a Mexican dinner last night, but my mind is swimming with recipe inspiration from the Middle East. Recipes, coming up!

apple margarita ingredients

I came up with these apple margaritas before I left town. Credit goes to Marb, who commented to tell me that she made an apple version of my classic margarita recipe when she was out of orange juice. I owe a big thank you to Marb and everyone else who takes the time to share their adaptations and cooking discoveries with me. I really appreciate you all.

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15 Meatless Thanksgiving Recipes

A roundup of 15 fresh, meatless recipes for your Thanksgiving table! cookieandkate.com

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner? Mayble I’ll believe it once I get home to below-freezing temperatures. I’m shivering just thinking about it!

If you’ve been stressing about what to serve the vegetarian, vegan and/or gluten-free eaters at your Thanksgiving table, I hope this roundup eases your troubles. All of the recipes are meatless and the recipes that are also gluten free and/or vegan are labeled as such. I know I’ll be bringing a couple of the following dishes to Friendsgiving this year.

What am I missing? Let me know if you’re on the hunt for any Thanksgiving recipes that didn’t make the list!

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How to Make Powdered Sugar

Learn how to make your own powdered sugar! It's so easy and you can use natural sugar if you'd like. cookieandkate.com

Hello from Israel! I am having the greatest time exploring the country with Lee, Emily, Ben and Jessa and the wonderful people who run Vibe Israel, the non-profit organization that invited us over. I’ve been sharing photos on Instagram if you’re interested!

Since I’m away from my kitchen and the holidays are fast approaching, I thought I’d share a super simple tutorial on how to make your own powdered sugar out of less refined sugars. It’s a great option for vegans or anyone who needs powdered sugar in a pinch!

homemade powdered sugar

It’s ridiculously easy to make powdered sugar at home in your blender or food processor. Powdered sugar (which you may know as confectioner’s sugar or icing sugar) has a bad reputation because it’s usually made out of super refined sugar and mixed with corn starch to prevent caking. You can skip the corn starch when you make it at home.

You can use any granulated sugar you have in your cabinets, like the coconut sugar I bought recently at Trader Joe’s. Coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index than other sugars and actually contains trace minerals like iron and zinc, so it’s a slightly less unhealthy sugar than regular table sugar.

I don’t usually advocate for sugar consumption buuuut I firmly believe that life’s too short to go without the occasional glazed treat. My favorites include this maple tea cake and these vegan pumpkin scones. Oh so good!

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