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Welcome to The Sensitive Kitchen where home cooks are inspired to Cook to Enable Those You Love to Flourish. I’m Cindy Sullivan, registered dietitian, passionate nutrition, educator, and accomplished home cook. Whether you’re changing how you cook for food sensitivities, allergies, intolerances, or just trying to eat healthier on a budget, you’re in the right place.
Most episodes, I will share favorite recipes as well as modification tips and nutrition benefits. Occasionally I’ll have a guest or special episode like modifying holiday favorites. My favorite foods? The’re raspberries and homemade chocolate chip cookies. My latest cooking project was long fermented sourdough bread,
Welcome to the sensitive kitchen today. I am so excited to have more of my students. Makayla De Leon with me.
She is a junior studying nutrition and dietetics at Texas A & M university. And she has developed an amazing recipe for you. I can’t wait for you to hear about it, but first let me introduce her. She is here today and I want her to tell you, I’ve already told you she studying nutrition and dietetics at Texas A & M and she’s been working with me,
but tell me a little bit more about yourself Makayla. What do you like to do? Give me a fun fact or two. Okay. So one, I’m Catholic. I love the Lord. Two, I love hanging out by the pool or the lake or the beach. I don’t really have any beaches nearby. So mostly the pool and the lake. And then I’m also a huge foodie.
I love food. Do you like both to cook and to eat? Yes. Cooking is kind of a newer thing. I never got to cook that much at home. I was blessed with my family, cooks a lot for us, cooks dinner every day, but in college I have to cook for myself. So it’s been fun experimenting with different recipes.
So tell us a little more about this food journey. You started to do it, but how, you know, tell me about your food journey. You said your family cooked growing up, which is awesome. And how do you cook now? How did you end up here? Yeah, so, like I said, I’m a foodie. I’ve always extremely enjoyed eating and now,
cooking and cooking for myself and also for my family and my friends. But I guess my journey kind of started back in high school when I was struggling with acne and it was always very bad, but thankfully it wasn’t too bad of a struggle just because I’ve always been surrounded by very supportive and loving family and friends. But it was very frustrating that the only way to heal my acne
whenever I would go talk to a dermatologist, was to take kind of the harsh medication with all the crazy side effects, like acid reflux or stomach aches, or just crazy hormones and sensitive skin. So that is kind of what initially got me, like looking on the internet, like what are some other options? And that’s where I discovered diet and nutrition have a huge role in your overall health and also just in your skin.
So it was in high school and I started to try and eat healthier and try and think of new recipes and get different ideas online. But I guess it wasn’t until college. When I, changed my major to nutrition and that’s when I discovered food sensitivities. So I’ve learned that that plays a huge role in the inflammation in your body, hence acne.
So it’s taken me a very long time to finally get all this knowledge and realize that I need to see a dietitian that specializes in food sensitivity. So luckily I just started doing that. And so it definitely helped me with my acne, but that’s basically how I found a passion for just clean eating. And I do have a lifelong goal of opening up my own private practice one day,
specializing in acne and inflammation. So I’m very grateful that I discovered this program, the mentorship program at my school. And especially because you know a lot about food sensitivities, but yeah, that’s basically it. Awesome. So you are, you are currently avoiding dairy, right? And, and you’re hoping to be tested. Is that what’s, is that where the process you’re in?
Yeah, I haven’t gotten the lab yet or the lab test yet, but I do, I have noticed that dairy makes my acne flare up some more. So I just try my best to avoid it. Always looking for good dairy free recipes, Which is what you developed for us today. So tell us vegan, pumpkin mac and cheese. And if your kids don’t like pumpkin,
don’t say pumpkin, tell us about this recipe. Yeah. So I am so very proud of this final product because it’s taken me a lot of trial and error to get it to taste just right. But also don’t let the pumpkin scare you off. It doesn’t taste like pumpkin at all. It’s kind of like a fun fact that it has pumpkin in it cause you would never guess. But the purpose of it is just add creaminess and a little bit of sweetness and also the color to it helps it look just like regular mac and cheese. And so when you combine it with the other ingredients, I think it mimics cheese pretty well. Awesome. So you were talking about not having dairy. Is Mac and cheese.
one of the things that you were looking for when you didn’t have dairy? Yes. I do love Mac and cheese, but that’s also one of the foods that gives me stomach aches and doesn’t help with my acne. So I guess I, it just inspired me to make it cause I was craving Mac and cheese and also not wanting to have the dairy.
And I’ve also tried some store bought recipes, but they weren’t too good. I thought I could try and make my own, but it was a little hard. I’m happy to say now I have something for y’all to try. So it was maybe a little bit harder than you anticipated at first. Yes, definitely. I think it’s taken me like maybe six different adjustments of the recipe.
I think cheese is a hard flavor when you can’t have cheese and you went that cheesiness. That’s hard. Right. So tell us a little bit about how did you develop it and what did you use to give that flavor? Okay. So I think two of the, maybe most alarming or just riskiest ingredients that people might see are the nutritional yeast and the pumpkin puree.
But like I said, pumpkin, just, you need it. It adds a lot. I think those two are the best additions out of the entire recipe, but I guess I can walk you through how I got to the final recipe. Tell us a little bit about the ingredients. That’d be good. Yeah. So initially I started off with including the pumpkin, just cause I’ve seen some other recipes and they say this is a secret ingredient.
So thought I would try it, their secret ingredient to mimicking cheese. But when I had that in the ingredient list, it just seemed a little bit like too many ingredients. So I tried removing it, but it just wasn’t the same. It wasn’t the same amount of creaminess you needed that slight bit of sweetness too. And then also the color, it helps it be orange,
just like regular cheese or Mac and cheese. But yeah, there’s different seasonings that I messed around with too. Okay. So you have pumpkin and nutritional yeast, right? And then then, what does your other main ingredient for the main, the main before the seasonings? What else besides pumpkin and nutritional yeast? Okay. So I guess you could call it,
the base has cashews, pumpkin, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and almond milk and all of those together. Just make it super creamy and a little bit of the cheesy flavor, but it’s not until you add the seasonings like Dijon mustard, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder. And I guess the lemon to it really makes a well-rounded cheesy flavor. Awesome.
Okay. So is this a recipe that’s going to take us half the day in the kitchen? Is it? Definitely not? It’s very quick. So there’s kind of a method to doing it, to make it quicker to for the quickest like prep and cook time. I would recommend starting by boiling your pot of water for the noodles. And also we have to soak the cashews with hot or boiling water and you kind of want to do that way more in advance if you want it extra creamy.
But, so you can do an hour in advance, but you could also get away with doing it just for 10 minutes, which is what I did. So, college students need quick things, right? Yes. Very quick recipes. But you start by boiling the water. It takes probably 10 minutes or less. Then you’re going to add your noodles to the water and then you want to start with your,
your sauce. And that definitely does not take long because you’re just blending it all in one, one machine and that’s basically it. And then you add that to the, to the noodles after. That’s awesome. So you don’t actually have to cook your sauce. You can just put it all in the blender. Yeah. Oh, that’s wonderful. So it is also
very easy. If you’re not very experienced with cooking, there’s not much cooking going on. So boiling noodles and you need a blender. Yeah. And that’s about it. Basically. One thing to note is it does help to have a good blender because I’ve tried with two of my blenders that we have here. One of them came out a little bit chunky, but the other one was perfectly creamy,
no lumps. So it does help to have a good blender. That’s good for people to know. So if you get chunks, try different blender borrow one from a friend, right. If you don’t have another one yeah. Or maybe just soak your cashews for longer, That could do it too. Okay. Since you’re a nutrition student and I’m a dietician,
my regular listeners know, I always like to give a nutrition tidbit. Like why should you make this recipe? So tell me a little bit about some of the ingredients. I think you’ve got two or three ingredients to highlight for us today and what they might do and what, what nutrition they might bring to this recipe. Yeah, so three of the major nutritious components I think are the pumpkin,
the nutritional yeast, and the cashews. And I think my favorite is all the protein that’s packed in it from the cashews; 15 grams. But you do want to note the serving size for that would be if you’re eating it as like a main dish instead of a side dish. And then also there’s lots of phytochemicals with this. The pumpkin adds the beta carotene and the almond milk.
And also the cashews adds phytic acid, which are both amazing further antioxidant properties. Oh, another one is nutritional yeast, which is a great source of diamine, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. And those of you who are not nutrition students, those are all B vitamins. Yes. And then when everything, I was just gonna say,
when you put everything together, tell me about what happened. So for about a quarter of the recipe, right. I know that because I was looking at it with you, it’s just over 400 calories, highlight some of the other nutrients people get from this. Yeah. So it’s very high in vitamin A and vitamin K about 15% of your daily value.
And then it’s also an excellent source of zinc and iron. So those are the two highest, I think That’s awesome. Now sometimes there’s always a nutrient or two that are a little bit, either high or low or something. So what’s our, what’s the hardest one we’ve been talking about in this recipe? Yes. The salt, the yummy one. So the sodium’s a little higher.
Right. And any tips if somebody were on a reduced sodium diet or they’re really watching their sodium, any tips for reducing the sodium? Yeah. You could just remove half the sodium or a quarter and that’ll take out a lot producing assault, sir. Yeah. For the salt in the recipe. So they’re, most of the sodium in this recipe comes from the salt that you add to it.
So that’s easy. You can just take out the salt and there’s lots of other things to give it flavor. Yes. It’s very flavorful. So you won’t be missing out if you want to remove some salt. I am actually looking forward to trying this recipe. You all know that I usually try all the recipes. I usually develop them, but Makayla has been developing this one and I have been out of town.
So I haven’t gotten to try this one. So I am very excited to try this recipe and bring it home and try it. And my daughter who loves mac and cheese. And so we will try it ourselves. I am so glad that you’ve been here today, Makayla and I’m so thankful for all your help all year. So thank you. Thank you for teaching me so much.
Yeah. So for those of you who want to make Makayla’s vegan, pumpkin Mac and cheese. And again, if you’ve got people who are like pumpkin, just don’t leave out the pumpkin, but remember it since it’s vegan, it’s great for not only dairy, but it’s great, if you happen to be allergic to eggs or just for your friends who are eating vegan,
if you have some vegan friends, even if you’re not vegan yourself, if you are, that’s awesome. You know, a bunch of this stuff. And if you are gluten-free, you could also remove the noodles or do gluten-free noodles. Yeah. So for gluten-free noodles, that would be an easy switch. Wouldn’t it? That would be awesome. So for the recipe and the blog post with pictures to accompany it,
go to food sensitivity, kitchen.com/episode 0 4 5. And you will have both the transcript of this as well as the link to the recipe. And you can make it for yourself. We would love to hear if you make it, what did you like? What did you change? We always want to know all those good things. So a big thank you to Makayla for being with me today.
And thanks for you for joining me today. Keep cooking to enable those you flourish. Have a wonderful day. Bye-bye.