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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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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