How-to: Chocolate Nut Butter Cups

Reese’s Cups HAVE to be one of my favorite chocolates. Here’s a quick little ‘How-to’, to make your very own chocolate cups. It’s messy, and you won’t want to stop licking the bowl, and the result is better than store bought!

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You can play around with the quantity of chocolate and nut butter, as I eyeballed the amount of chocolate chips. I used medium cupcake papers, feel free use the mini ones if they’re on hand, and freeze in a muffin tin to better hold the shape. You can use any nut butter you have in your cupboard, and you can omit the sea salt-but it does add that extra something!

You’ll need (*makes three medium cups):

Roughly two and half handfuls of dark chocolate chips

Tablespoon coconut oil

Three-four heaped tablespoons nut butter (I used almond, but cashew would taste great!)

Pinch of sea salt

Method:

  1. Line the muffin tin with the papers.
  2. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil until smooth (this can be done in the microwave or in a bowl over boiling water in a medium pan)
  3. Pour about tablespoon of the melted chocolate into the paper holders, and stick in the freezer just to set. Keep some chocolate to the side, and keep stirring so it doesn’t get hard.
  4. Once set pour a tablespoon of nut butter on top, followed by the rest of the dark chocolate. Follow with tiny drop of the nut butter, and a sprinkle of sea salt.
  5. Set in the freezer, and keep chilled until ready to eat.

Crush these into ice cream, eat them as are, OR add a teaspoon of raspberry chia jam if you love PB&J combo!

Double Champagne Cupcakes

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I call these my Double Champagne Cupcakes, there is champagne in the Cupcakes and Frosting. These are great for ringing in the New Year, a birthday, or an anniversary–pink champagne would be great for a hen party! Quite easy, but show-stopping for a celebration!
For the Champagne Cupcakes:
-3/4 cup salted butter, at room temperature.
-1 cup of white sugar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-3 egg whites
– 1 2/3 cups of flour
-1/4 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 cup of sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
-1/2 cup of champagne
For the Frosting:
– 1 cup of butter (salted)
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-4 cups icing sugar
-5-6 tablespoons of champagne
1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. In a small or medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
3. In a larger mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
4. Add the vanilla and eggs whites and mix.
5. Then add the flour, but not all at once! You’ll add about half of the flour, then add the sour cream, and mix. Then add the rest of the flour.
6. Fold in the champagne and mix until smooth. Don’t overmix!
7. Fill the cupcake liners a little more than half way-or about three heaped tablespoons of batter. (This batter will make about 14). Bake for about 20 minutes.
While the cupcakes are baking, make the Frosting:
1. Beat butter and vanilla extract until smooth.
2. Add half of the icing sugar and mix until smooth.
3. Add champagne, and mix until smooth. Then add remaining sugar, and mix.
4. Add more champagne if you wish(I added a 2-3 more little splashes!)
Ice the Cupcakes once cool. Decorate with edible pearls or sprinkles.

Two of my go-to Smoothies!

With the holidays coming up there is a lot of nights out, big dinners, celebration drinks, and Sinful treats. I’m not complaining, but come January, my body will be thankful if I avoid some of those temptations now. I recently shared two Smoothie pictures on my Instagram, and have had a couple people ask me for the lowdown. These are incredibly easy, beneficial, and super tasty!

I already have a green smoothie, my Hulk Smoothie Bowl and a Healthier Chocolate Shake, HOWEVER when it comes to healthy treats it’s fun-and important- to experiment/mix it up! I’m slightly hooked on pineapple lately, and the Tropical Green Smoothie is the answer to that! And everyone knows how much I love a peanut butter and chocolate combo, and the Monkey Business is a MUCH healthier solution than a Reese’s cup!

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Tropical Green Smoothie

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut water or milk

1 banana

1/2 cup or so of fresh pineapple chunks and the juice

handful of spinach, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon spirulina

Method

Blend it up! Serve it in a tall glass, OR in a bowl with toasted/shaved coconut flakes.

 

Monkey Business

Ingredients

1/2 cup almond milk

2 bananas

3 tablespoons peanut butter

1 tablespoon cacao powder

1 teaspoon maple syrup

3-4 ice cubes.

Method

Just blend until smmmooothh!

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Let them Eat Cake!

It’s been birthday season in my family-my Dad’s birthday was earlier this month; my Mom’s birthday was exactly a week prior to his(Halloween); and my brother’s was exactly a week prior to hers. It’s great being around family after these last couple of years abroad. Dinner is our household (about 12 adults and 6 grandchildren!) is a time to: catch up, reminisce, gossip, celebrate; it’s loud; chaotic…BUT I really wouldn’t have it ANY other way! And there’s no shortage of food or wine…ever!

I’m really looking forward to cooking Thanksgiving dinner this month. I’ll be in charge of the main bird itself, as well as the stuffing, the gravy, and the pumpkin pie…but I also have two little recipes up my sleeve for the Day. Last Christmas I cooked the turkey and a few good sides, so I’m not feeling too nervous about cooking the turkey…it’s just deciding what flavors I want to include…

While I brainstorm new recipes, here’s a look at some of the cakes I’ve been making in the San Francisco/family home test kitchen: (Who needs/wants a cake in San Francisco??)

 

 

 

Saintly Rocky Road

I am back in San Francisco (for a little while) after living in Ireland for the good part of just about three years! I hummed and hah-ed about moving home, but now that I’m here I am so happy I packed up and moved back! I’m excited to try all the cafes and restaurants I’ve been craving as well as reading about-pretty spoiled for choice here in SF. I am also just so happy to spend time with family and friends.

Rocky Road is a pretty popular treat in Ireland. I had the duty of making about four slabs daily at a bakery I worked in– up to triple that amount during the holiday season! When it’s made with dark chocolate, it’s really dreamy.

Below I am sharing a cleaner alternative to the traditional Rocky Road: it’s sugar free and vegan friendly. There’s also no baking/ melting chocolate involved with this recipe, all you need is a trusty food processor or blender.

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Carmel’s Saintly Rocky Road

Ingredients

14 dates

Small handful of almonds

Half a cup of your choice of nut butter

Teaspoon of vanilla extract

A couple of drops of water

2 heaped tablespoons cacao powder

Method

Soak the dates and almonds in a bowl of warm water for about a half hour. Then blitz all ingredients together, but NOT until it’s completely smooth. The dates act as the marshmallows, and the almonds act as the hard m&m candies or malt balls typical used. Line a bread tin with parchment paper and press mixture into it. Before pressing it into the bread tin, or casserole dish, you can fold in dried fruits or even more nuts if you fancy. Freeze for about two hours, or even better, overnight.

Keep in the freezer for a more firm texture! If left in the fridge it gets more soft fudge, which would actually be a great sauce for ice cream when warmed up!

Keeps for about a week in Tupperware.

Easy and guilt free treat!

 

Anna-Jane’s Thyme to Eat Salmon Fish Cakes and Mango Salsa

I have been following Thyme to Eat, and I’ll admit, drooling over Anna-Jane’s dishes for some time now! So I am really excited to have her as a Guest Blogger and feature her recipe!

Her passion for food and for healthy cooking really shows through on her blog, social media, and demos. There’s really something for everyone, and her recipes are regularly featured in major publications; she has also appeared on IrelandAM.

If you have mashed potatoes from your Sunday roast leftover, this is an excellent lunch or dinner idea! The Mango Pineapple Salsa is a colorful addition, and adds that summery feel, especially with weather turning grey as of lately.

Fish cakes are a fantastic way of introducing kids and other fish phobes to the wonderful world of seafood. Not only do they taste great and provide some brain love in the form of omega 3, they’re also the perfect way to use up left over mash and create lunch or dinner in a flash!

The Mango and Pineapple Salsa adds another healthy element to the dish, as well as marrying all the beautiful flavours.

Serves: 4 large fish cakes

Creative serving suggestion – Present the fish cakes as fish burgers in a seeded or brioche bun with some tasty condiments and a side of sweet potato fries.

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Ingredients – Fish Cakes

  • 300g of mashed potato
  • 213g of tinned pink/red salmon (freshly cooked salmon is also an option)
  • Pinch of sea salt and black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of paprika
  • 3 spring onions or scallions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Some flour for dusting (use tapioca flour for a gluten-free version)
  • Rapeseed/Olive Oil for frying

Ingredients – Salsa

  • 1 medium sized mango
  • Equal part pineapple to mango
  • ¼ of an onion
  • 1 red chili
  • Handful of fresh coriander
  • ¾ lime
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika

 

Method:

  1. Place the cooled mashed potato in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the drained salmon, salt, pepper and paprika to the bowl and mix into the potatoes.
  3. Dice up the scallions and garlic and heat a small frying pan with one tablespoon of rapeseed oil.
  4. Over a medium heat,sauté the scallions and garlic for about a minute, then add these to the potato mix.
  5. Next, flour a chopping board or work surface with some flour.
  6. Start preparing the potato patties by using a tablespoon or ice-cream scoop – two spoonfuls is enough for one patty.
  7. Shape them in your hands and coat each side of the patty with the floured board.
  8. Heat a large frying pan on a medium to high heat with four tablespoons of rapeseed oil.
  9. Add the patties to the pan and allow them to cook on each side for five minutes. While each side is cooking – start preparing the salsa.
  10. Dice up the mango, pineapple, onion and chili into fine pieces. Add everything to a large bowl and add the juice of the lime, the sea salt, paprika and the roughly chopped coriander. Mix everything really well and taste.
  11. Once the fish cakes are ready – serve them up two per person for dinner or one as a starter with a side of salsa. As mentioned previously, creating fish burgers is another delicious way to serve these up to kids or guests.

 

 

 

How-to: Whipped Ricotta Two Ways

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Fancy toasts have been on blogs, in cafes, and pictured on Insta for quite some time. Personally I can’t get enough avocado toasts-smashed avocado with a good sprinkle of chili flakes and squeeze of lemon juice. Another variation of these faWncy(pish-posh accent) toasts is using ricotta cheese. It’s my go-to snack as of lately. Sweet or savory, you’ll be making these for yourself for breakfast or lunch on the go, or for the wee ones after school.

I use the Sweet Ricotta on toast or pancakes! I use the Savory mix on toast, bagels, crostini, even as a dip for carrot and celery sticks!

For the photo pictured, I used Irish Soda Bread(my go-to recipe is the one I learned at Ballymaloe!), Irish honey, and wild blackberries that I foraged down in West Cork.

Here is my quick ‘How-to’ for Whipped Ricotta:

 

Ingredients:

All you need is about a cup of ricotta cheese

 

For Sweet Ricotta:

A teaspoon of vanilla (I like to also scrape a tiny bit of the beans out of the pod to add an extra punch of flavor)

Drizzle of honey, agave nectar

Toppings: Berries, coconut shavings, or almond slivers

 

For Savory Ricotta:

A teaspoon of lemon juice

A teaspoon of thyme leaves (dried is totally fine, but fresh is that bit nicer!)

Sea salt and pepper

Toppings: Tomatoes, green olives, smoked salmon

 

What to do:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the ricotta until fluffy (just about 4-5 minutes). Remove the bowl from mixer and add either your Sweet or Savory ingredients.

It’s that easy! And there are so many ways to mix up the flavors. I even sometimes smash berries into the Sweet Mix, it creates a cool color effect.

 

Enjoy!

Paleo Dutch Baby

Dutch Dutch Baby!

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I had one of my pancake cravings this morning, but was also feeling a little bit lazy. This is just a simple recipe, which I’m sorta feeling this week, after a couple of days…well more like, weeks…of indulgent eating between it being the Regatta Festival in West Cork, my birthday, and taste testing for the eBook. I would also consider this on the healthier side, using all natural fresh ingredients. I see my blog’s recipes taking a healthier, cleaner route,  and my eBook certainly reflects that!

This is definitely a great recipe idea for a brunch with family and friends, served sliced and alongside coffee mimosas and you are pretty much guaranteed a good morning. The little amount of washing up is an added bonus! It’s another recipe of mine that is a great easy go-to.

Paleo Dutch Baby:

Ingredients:

3 eggs

1 1/2 tablespoons coconut flour

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Heaping tablespoon of coconut oil

Small handful of berries

Method:

Preheat oven to about 220C. In a medium frying pan, melt the coconut oil over a medium heat. While it’s melting, beat the eggs then add the other ingredients. Pour into pan, and let cook for about 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle on a couple of berries, and cook for another 3 minutes. It’ll look pale, and almost like it’s curdling. Then pop it in the oven for another 5-6 minutes, and cook through.

Serve with a splash of maple syrup, berries, coconut slivers, or yogurt!

Spicy Prawn Salad

Sun’s out in Dublin, and it’s beautiful! Such a change from yesterday. Maybe you’re hosting or going to one last summer BBQ? Or just don’t feel like cooking a massive meal?

This is a super quick and easy salad recipe, but there is a lot of flavor. It’s a colorful and bright dish, but the marinade really steals the show! It’s a good go-to for get togethers. Although it’s only August, this would make for a great, and very refreshing, starter at Christmas time.

The prawns are from Castletownbere, where the seafood is unreal. If you ever find yourself in West Cork, picking up some seafood is a must! Top chefs all over Ireland use, and give high praise to, West Cork’s seafood.

I made this Spicy Prawn Salad at my cooking demo earlier this month, and it was such a hit! Thanks again for those who came out.

 

CARMEL’S SPICY PRAWN SALAD

Serves 5-6

 

INGREDIENTS:

6 ears of fresh corn

1 lb cooked prawns

10 ounces cherry tomatoes

1 red bell pepper

 

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon paprika

¼ cup tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

sprinkle of chili flakes

 

2 tablespoons parsley

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons white vinegar

salt and pepper

 

METHOD:

Marinade the prawns for at least 45 minutes(the longer the better!). Marinade is: olive oil, cumin, turmeric, paprika, garlic and chili flakes. While marinating the prawns, cook the corn. Place the corn in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil, then drain and rinse. Set aside to cool. Whisk together parsley, lime juice, vinegar and salt and pepper. Put corn, prawns, tomatoes, and bell pepper in bowl. Pour the parsley dressing over. Serve alongside BBQ and enjoy!

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AVAILABLE NOW, my EBook!

I’m so excited! My recipe EBook is available now!!

It’s full of my most popular recipes from my blog, as well as two exclusive recipes just for the EBook. All the recipes are more from my ‘Saintly’ category.

It was challenging at times, but I love a challenge. It also made me tweak current recipes, tasting and testing my skills even more.

This will be the first of several!

Purchase here:

https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Easy-Cookin-Carmel-Recipes-ebook/dp/B01KG4VN6O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1471868893&sr=8-1&keywords=Quick+and+Easy+Cookin%27+with+Carmel

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