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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Thai Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Creamy yet light Thai curried butternut squash soup - cookieandkate.com

Have you ever gotten to the airport only to find that your pilot has gone missing? Apparently that happens. I finally got out of Kansas City and caught a red-eye from Chicago to London (hello from Heathrow!). I only wish I’d been smart enough to pack basic toiletries and a change of clothes in my carry on. Here’s to hoping that my luggage meets me in Tel Aviv eventually.

butternut and onion

I love how cultures collide in airports. Right now, I’m listening to a guy speak French into his iPhone while wearing a shirt that says “Brooklyn” across the front. I just accepted German chocolate from a friendly Jordanian and earlier walked by a group of chic Europeans (maybe Italians?) drinking Stella before noon. Then there’s the pink-faced stranger of unknown origin who’s snoring loudly a few seats over. Snoring is a universal language, n’est-ce pas?

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Easy Brown Rice Risotto with Mushrooms and Fresh Oregano

Easier, healthier brown rice risotto with caramelized mushrooms - cookieandkate.com

If you’re in the market for an awkward experience, try editing mushroom risotto pictures on an airplane. I caught the sweet older gentleman in the window seat eyeing my screen while I zoomed in and out on ambiguous brown mush. I hunched over and tried to use my hair as a shield. Didn’t work. I hope he likes risotto?

This dish may not be a looker, but good gracious, it’s delicious. So delicious that I had to stop myself from inhaling the whole pot of risotto while it was still hot. So delicious that I ate it for breakfast three days in a row because it sounded better than anything else. So delicious that you should definitely make this risotto on date night.

easy brown rice risotto ingredients

I’ve had mushroom risotto on my list since girls’ night a while back. Jordan was out of white rice, so she used short-grain brown rice, which took a LOT of stirring and absolutely forever to cook (seriously, over twice as long as white rice). Fortunately, we had plenty of wine to sip in the meantime. We finally sat down around the table with bowls of mushroom risotto, fresh salads and more wine before us.

That brown rice risotto blew away all the other risottos I’d ever tasted. Brown rice risotto is inherently more flavorful, with a light nuttiness and tender bite that pairs perfectly with sautéed mushrooms.

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