Fake Away: Mongolian Beef with Sesame Cauli Rice

I made this Fake Away a couple of weeks ago, and after some tweaking it’s finally ready to share! I am quite obsessed with cauliflower, can you tell? I use it in everything, even in smoothies when I don’t have an avocado or banana on hand, it adds a thickness.

This is a quick and delicious alternative to the traditional take away.

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Mongolian Beef

Ingredients:

Serves 3

1 lb flank steak (buy in strips or slice; I bought in cubes), or replace with mushrooms or tofu

1/4 cup cornstarch or flour

1/3 cup of soy sauce or coconut aminos

2 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 white onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup water

6 tbsp honey

1/2 tsp grated ginger

mix of bell sliced bell peppers

Method:

In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk the soy sauce, ginger, honey and water until well combined.

unnamed-9Heat the coconut oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Sautee the onion and garlic until soft.

Pour the soy sauce mixture into the sauce pan. Let it come to the boil, then add your cornstarch or flour. Continue to whisk until the mixture thickens, this should take about 2-3 minutes.

Add the meat, being aware not to overcrowd the pan and pieces of meat. Cook through. Then add your vegetables. Serve over Sesame Cauliflower Rice.

Sesame Cauli Rice

Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower

1/2 of white onion, diced

1 clove of grlic minced

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 tablespoon vinegar

Method:

In a food processor, blitz a head of cauliflower until flour like consistency.

In a pan, sautee onion and garlic in a tablespoon of coconut oil. Add sesames seeds. Then add cauli rice and sautee until slightly golden. Pour in vinegar and stir. Top with Mongolian Beef.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Pineapple Lime Salmon and Lime Cauli Rice

This week marks teaching at Burn Pilates SIX MONTHS! It’s been a whirlwind and it really does feel like six months, yet it also feels like I just started. It is truly inspiring to see client’s transformations(mentally and physically), and lately, maybe it was the Rihanna vs Beyonce Playlist I had for them today, but clients have been PUSHING! Like 150%. So if you’re a Burn client and have been to my class, THANK YOU for working hard!!

I really have been feeling inspired by my clients/classes to stay on track. Not only does staying healthy give me the energy I need to teach, it allows me to perform better when I attend fitness classes. Working out makes me feel strong and clears my mind, while eating right is my fuel.

After teaching my Sunday double, and doing a home workout, I needed some refuel. This is the perfect balance of sweet, savory, spice, and packs a BIG NUTRIENT DENSE PUNCH!

PINEAPPLE LIME SALMON AND LIME CAULI RICE

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Ingredients:

Serves 1

Salmon filets (1 per person)

Fresh pineapple chunks

1/2 clove of garlic minced (use 1 whole one if cooking for more than one)

1/2 teaspoon paprika (more for an extra kick)

1 teaspoon of roughly chopped parsley

1 lime

1 head of cauliflower

2 tablespoons white onion, diced

 

Joy Loops Hot Pepper Mix

Pinch of Himalayan salt and pepper

Method:

FOR SALMON:

Preheat oven to 400F. Tear of enough foil to wrap around salmon filets.

Zest the lime(you may only end up using a little bit, but why not put some in your Paddy’s Day cocktail later this week?!). Then cut in half. Using one of the halves, cut three slices. With the other half, juice it. unnamed-3

Lay foil flat on baking tray, and drizzle a little bit of oil(olive or avocado). Play two slices of lime. Then place two slices of lime. Top with your salmon. Add two pinches of lime zest, paprika, salt and pepper, garlic, pineapple, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Drizzle with a tiny bit more oil.

Wrap up the foil and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until salmon is flakey.

 

FOR CAULI RICE:

In a food processor blitz the cauliflower until rice like consistency. I only used about less than half a cup of cauli rice, feel free to use more or less! Store the rest in fridge, for the recipe coming up next!

In a sauce pan melt two teaspoons of oil or butter of choice, I used Earth Balance Vegan Butter. Then saute the onion until translucent, add in the cauliflower for about 2 min. Stir in lime juice(pan will sizzle) and 3 big pinches of zest, season with salt and pepper, and BOOM! Cauli rice in under 5 minutes that is flavorful!

PLATE UP: Just top a bed of the cauli rice with the salmon, serve with a side of greens, and drizzle a tablespoon of Joy Loops Hot Pepper Mix! Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Mac and Cheese and Pilates

It’s been a minute! If you been following on my Instagram(the social media I post on the most, find me @cookinwithcarmel), you know I can now call myself a FITNESS INSTRUCTOR! It was this time one year ago I started out my own transformation, and what a year it’s been! SO much sweat, a few tears, lots of doubt, but I can say I am in a VERY happy place since I made the choice to give my life a makeover. And now I’m helping people with their own transformation!

Since moving into fitness I get asked A LOT if I’ll ever become a chef again, and this was a question brought up many times at my high school reunion this past weekend. I’d still call myself a chef, just a former commercial kitchen chef/at home healthy chef. I’m focusing more of the nutritional side of food when it comes to eating and cooking, how we can use food as fuel. So if you need a little help in what to eat to help you get through a workout, I’m here to help! And that might actually be my next blog post!

Anyways, this past weekend was Thanksgiving! My favorite holiday! Not just because of all the food, but because it’s a time for family. And with my large family, the holidays are always a blast! Back to the food, we had a SPREAD: pumpkin donuts for breakfast; dinner was turkey, ham, two bowls of stuffing, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, more veg, and PUMPKIN MAC AND CHEESE!

The recipe was highly requested, and I highly recommend it this time of year! Such a cozy dish! It’s really easy and quick! There is dairy in it, those following me for a while know I cut dairy out for a little bit. But this is a HOLIDAY dish, and during the holidays you’re allowed to indulge a little! I cut back on cheese and added nutritional yeast. That way I was going even a small amount of benefits, without losing that cheesey flavor. I used 3/4 of a cup of cheese, but you can even experiment and cut it down o 1/2 of a cup and add 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast.

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Here’s what you’ll need: 

1 can of pureed pumpkin

1 cup of milk (I used dairy; alternative: use unsweetened/unflavored almond or soy milk)

2 tablespoons butter (alternative: Smart Balance vegan butter)

1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard

3/4  of a cup cheddar cheese

1/4 cup of nutritional yeast

2 tablespoons minced garlic

Pinch of salt and pepper

Elbow/macaroni pasta or spiralized zuchinni

Method:

Put all ingredients in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally, bring to the boil. Stir until cheddar has melted and ingredients are combined through. Add a little more salt and pepper to adjust. Cook your choice of pasta and mix it with your sauce!

This recipe makes about 3 1/2 cups of sauce. Store in a mason jar and use within three weeks!

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Carrot Cake Bliss Balls

I’m a big sweet tooth(most of my recipes on here are on the sweeter side), and at night is when my sweet tooth really starts to act. Rather than reach for a bar of chocolate, I like to make protein/bliss bars.

Growing up, carrot cake was just one of those things I did not like! I always preferred chocolate cake. It was only in the last couple of years I really started to like carrot cake. Below is a much healthier version-and it really does taste like a dessert! I like to make these on a Sunday and have them for the week-as a post workout or TV snack.

 

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Ingredients:

1 large carrot

3/4 cup oats

6 Medjool dates, pitted

1/2 cup of cashews

1/2 walnuts

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp of hemp heart seeds

Method:

In a food processor, shred the carrots. Remove and put into a bowl. Then pulse the oats and nuts together until very fine. Also remove and into the mixing bowl with the carrots. Then blitz the dates until they form a paste.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor, also adding the carrots and oat nut mix. The mixture will come together like a dough. Quickly form balls and place in freezer. Once frozen, top them with a tablespoon of Cashew Buttercream!

I usually take them out of the freeze about 20 minutes or so before I eat them; I usually enjoy one or two as a snack. They keep for a couple of weeks in the freezer.

 

Spinach Arugula Walnut Pesto

I’m a sucker for bowls of pasta! When I first started working out and resetting my body, I thought I had to give up my favorite foods. And I sort of do, as processed foods no longer agree with my stomach. So, I experiment and turn my favorite foods into nourishing dishes, that help fuel my workouts and keep me feeling great.  Instead of traditional flour spaghetti noodles, I like to spiralize veggies into pasta noodles! Recently, I purchased a box of Edamame Noodles and LOVE them! The noodles are just made from Edamame, which hold so many benefits, and big bonus, they only take four minutes to cook!

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I’ve been using these noodles with some of my favorite sauces. Last week I made a Lentil Bolognese, and honestly as a meat eater I didn’t even notice a lack of ground beef! I’ll share that Lentil Bolognese later this week, right now I want to share a quick pesto that has some pretty big benefits. A typical pesto usually calls for parmigiano cheese, but I ditched that and used NUTRITIONAL YEAST; and I went with avocado oil instead of olive oil.

Spinach Arugula Walnut Pesto

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups of washed spinach and arugula

1/2 cup of walnuts

2  cloves of garlic

1/4 cup of nutritional yeast

Big pinch of Himalayan salt

Roughly 1/3 cup of avocado oil

Method

In a food processor, blend all the ingredients EXCEPT  the oil until it’s a paste. Then slowly add the oil.

Enjoy tossed in your favorite pasta or salad!

 

Saintly Layered Reese’s Tart

A year ago you would have found me eating bars of chocolate like Cadbury’s or Hershey’s  was going out of business! I ate out of stress, boredom, and portion control didn’t even cross my mind. My weakness was a big bag of Galaxy Minstrels(yikes!) or a tray of three Reese’s(yikes, again!) and Barry’s Tea at the end of the day. While I still have a sweet tooth, I like to experiment with ways chocolates and sweets can BENEFIT you. And making sweet treats at home allows me to omit sugars and use raw/all natural ingredients.

This Reese’s Tart came A LOT of Date Caramel that I used in a quick snack: Date Caramel Apple Nachos.

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Ingredients

1 cup mixed almonds and cashews

1 cup Date Caramel

1/2 cup mixed walnuts and almonds, roughly chopped

1 cup dark chocolate

Method

Line an 8 inch round baking tin with parchment paper or plastic wrap(the paper or plastic wrap just makes it easier to remove and slice).

In a food processor, add the one cup of almonds and cashews. Pulse until VERY fine. Press into the bottom of the tin. Pop it into the freezer to set for about 7-10 minutes.

Pour Date Caramel evenly over the base, and smooth out. Sprinkle on the roughly chopped walnuts and almonds. Pop it into the freezer for a second time. for a couple of minutes

While the tart is setting, melt the chocolate! You can do whatever is easier: microwave or stovetop. Make sure it totally melted and smooth. Pour the chocolate over the tart, and yep, pop it back into the freezer for about 12-15 minutes or until chocolate is just a little hard.

Slice it up and serve it!

 

 

 

 

 

Avo-Cashew Ice Cream

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When I made my Protein Cookies earlier this week, I made A LOT of Cashew Buttercream, so I stuck it in the freezer, thinking I’ll use it eventually. I happened to throw about 3-4 tablespoons of it in a smoothie I was making for my sis and I, it was DEELISH! It added such a creamy texture.

I started thinking how this Cashew Cream is such a great starter for an ice cream! I didn’t want to make another banana ice cream, so I reached for avocados! With their good for your fats, avocados make for a great ice cream base.

Ingredients

1 1/2 Cups Cashew Cream

About 1/4 of the avocado- so slice the avocado in half, and then again in half

1/2 cup almond milk (I used unsweetened but whichever you prefer)

1/2 tablespoon of vanilla

Pinch of Pink Himalyan Salt

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Optional: Since this sweet treat has a green hue, add a teaspoon or two of peppermint extract for a Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream! Also optional, more than just that 1/2 cup of chocolate chips!

Method

Put the Cashew Cream and avocados in a food processor and blitz until smooth and blended. Add in the vanilla and almond milk and blend until smooth.17796492_1500259119986239_5436749948448470280_n.jpg

Fold in chocolate chips.

Stick it in the freezer, and wait to to eat at least about a half hour-any earlier it will be more like soft serve, which is also a great treat!

 

 

 

Pro tip(s): Freeze your bowl before putting your ice cream in it. I also suggest using a glass, or Pyrex bowl. Be sure to take your ice cream out of the freezer about 7-8 minutes before you plan on serving it, so it does soften.

 

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

 

What do you make when you can’t eat junky white processed flour but are a pizza lover?! CAULIFLOWER CRUST PIZZA!!

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Pizettes Two Sauces: Traditional Marinara Sauce and Sweet Potato Sauce

There are SO many more benefits to this alternative-you’ll feel good, which means you’ll look good! Well, I do, ever since giving my food a makeover. I TRY to stay clear of eating white processed flour-and really any sorts of processed foods. So I turn to this Crust Recipe when I’m craving a takeaway. It’s all veggies so it is a guilt-free pizza pie-YUM!

Ingredients

Cauliflower Crust 

(Makes 1 large round pizza or 4 small pizzettes)

1 small head of cauliflower

1 clove of garlic

pinch of Himalayan or sea  salt

Tablespoon of dry, mixed herbs (Oregano, Basil, Parsley)

1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flax+3 tablespoons water-rest for 15 min)

 

Sweet Potato Sauce

1 large BOILED or ROASTED sweet potato

tablespoon of nutritional yeast

pinch of salt

Pizza toppings that pair great with this Sauce: sauteeed mushrooms, sauteed onions,  spinach, and walnuts

Method

Preheat oven to 450F.

To make the crust: Wash and dry cauliflower. Cut off the floret. In a food processor, pulse all ingredients EXCEPT the flax egg until it looks like the consistency of rice.

Put the cauliflower in a mixing bowl and add the flax egg.

Spoon the mixture onto a baking tray. Pat and shape with your fingers into a circle.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown (this may take up to 20 for the larger pizza/depending on your oven).

While the base is baking in the oven you’ll want to make your sauce and toppings.

To make the Sauce: Siimply mash the sweet potato with a fork until smooth. Mix in the nutritional yeast and smooth.

Back to the Crust: Take the Crust out and spread the Sauce. Add the Toppings. Bake for another 10 minutes.

Enjoy!

High Protein Cookie Sandwiches

These are really rich, but packed with the good stuff to recovery after a workout! The Cashew Buttercream was just what these cookies needed, as they’re very much a dense cookie otherwise.

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Ingredients

Protein Cookies

1 cup of nut butter (I mixed half a cup of Tahini and half a cup of Almond)

2 scoops of your favorite Chocolate protein powder

2 teaspoons cocoa powder

1 large egg OR use flax egg*

Optional-walnuts or chocolate chips

Cashew Buttercream

1 cup of cashews*

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1-2 tablespoons maple syrup

 

Method

*Soak cashews for at least 30 minutes in a bowl of water.

*To make a flax egg: Mix 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed with 3 tablespoons water, let sit for 10 minutes

To make the Cookies: Preheat oven to 375F. In a bowl, stir together the protein powder and cocoa powder. Mix in the nut butter until no trace of powders. Then add in the egg, mix well. Fold in walnuts and chocolate chips. It will look just like cookie dough, but the texture will be a but more stiff. Roll dough into balls(about a tablespoon or two) and gently press/flatten down when you place on trays(you can use a fork to make the criss cross pattern). Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Cashew Buttercream: After soaking the cashews in water, put them, along with vanilla and maple syrup in a food processor. Blend until smooth–be sure to scrape the bowl while blitzing to get all of it smooth!

 

 

Vanilla Cookie Protein Balls

I was starting to make my Guilt Free Truffles, when I decided to omit the cacao. Two big thumbs up for this vanilla variation! Since hiring a trainer, it’s made me realize how important it is to fuel our bodies with the right foods. Getting enough protein has really helped my body recover quickly after workout sessions. I’ll be snacking on these before and after my upcoming workouts for the next couple of days! I’ve added some flavor variations down below!

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Ingredients:

14 dates pitted (Medjool)

1 cup of cashews

1/2 cup walnuts

2 heaped tablespoons almond butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

Method:

Soak the dates in warm water for about 20 minutes. Then drain the dates, and put in your food processor. Pulse until smooth. Take out the pulsed dates, and add your cashews and walnuts to the food processor. Pulse until fine. Add the dates back into the processor, along with the almond butter, vanilla extract, and sea salt. Blitz until everything comes together like a dough. Put the ‘dough’ in the freezer for AT LEAST  15 minutes to firm it up. Then take it out and shape into balls and/or bars! Put them back in the freezer, and take out about a half hour before eating to thaw.

*Add a pinch of cinnamon for a Snickerdoodle flavor (at the same time as the vanilla and sea salt)

*Fold chocolate chips into the dough (or melt chocolate and pour over them!)

*Add oatmeal and top with cranberries or goji berries for a classic oatmeal cookie flavor