FOOD

Drunken Cherries Dipped in Dark Chocolate

Here’s a deceptively impressive dessert that will WOW the crowd and your belly: Drunken cherries dipped in dark chocolate. Keep the kids away from these! The best part is that they’re super duper easy to make.

Hit play to check out the recipe!

And that’s really it!

What’s that one get-you-out-of-trouble dish you’ve got up your sleeve that’s quick + totally fancy + perfect for impromptu gatherings?

FOOD

Sweet Cookoff with @Fitseed

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You guys.

I mean girls.

I’m SO excited about this post!

If you’ve been following me on social media (on Instagram or Facebook), you know that it’s been a tough last couple of days. We’re “sleep whispering” Baby O into her big girl crib + helping her zzz longer stretches. We’re EXHAUSTED. If you don’t hear from me again, please dial 911. Tell them to pick us up with an ambulance, the helicopter kind, and inject us with Mickey Mouse ice cream bar elixir.

To tell you the truth, the hardest part hasn’t even been the lack of sleep. It’s been the emotional roller coaster, the upside down kind. The midnight loser tapes that tell you: “You’re not cut out for this mom gig. You’re not good enough.” So, I’ve been asking myself that question a lot lately, “Am I a good mom?”

And here’s what I came up with: I am the best mom when I’m OKAY.

Want to be a good mom? Take care of yourself.

How can you take care of yourself?

  • Cry it out with a bestie who deserves to listen.
  • Wear red lipstick.
  • Take a bubble bath.
  • Get a babysitter, or better yet, call grandma.
  • Go to dance class.
  • Give yourself a gold star for brushing your teeth.
  • Treat yourself with your favorite breakfast.
  • Wear stretchy pants.
  • Quit your job, get one you love.
  • Buy something online.
  • Invite a friend over for a dessert cookoff.

Do whatever you need to do. But! DO IT.

Your baby needs you to be OKAY. We need you to be OKAY.

Being OKAY starts NOW!

And you know what makes me OKAY more than anything else in the world? Well, besides kisses from the Mr. of course. Dessert. Dessert making + dessert eating. That makes me the most OKAYist person in the galaxy.

And that brings me here.

To boost my OKAY levels, I’ve invited one of the smiliest + most crazy talented girl bosses I know for a Life is Messy Kitchen Sweet Cookoff, the friendly kind, where we both win + eat our own desserts over belly laughs.

Meet Rivca Zayat!

Rivca is the 24-year old who right out of college refused to set foot in an office. That’s when she opened her, now famous, Instagram account @FitSeed with the purpose of recreating not-so-healthy sweet recipes + turning them into good for you treats. She then went on to found FitSeed, “The Bakery” and the rest is history!

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One thing that Rivca + I share is a love of food, the kind that loves you back. I will say, though, that Rivca is on another level than I am of loving food… making food… and fully living a healthy lifestyle.

I thought it would be fun to do an interview with her where we dive into her life with food + health in general. Let’s get to it!

1. Tell us something about you that’s not in your bio. 

My best recipes are always inspired by someone, cooking is an act driven by love and inspiration!

2. What is your most “preciouzzz” moment or happiest memory in the kitchen?

It was something very unexpected! I have a client/good friend and she totally loves nutella and anything nut butter related (just like me hehe) and I remember that one day she stopped by my bakery and I happened to have a fresh batch of “Nutella” stuffed cookies (which btw I had not tried yet and were a NEW product I was going to release and I wanted her direct feedback) to make a long story short she tried the cookie and her eyes got teary and she told me she was having a VERY VERY bad day and that “my cookie” made her remember so many good memories (without feeling guily) of her late father and she started crying! This is a very SPECIAL memory since it was until that moment, which was not so long ago, that I understood the impact my “healthy treats” could have in a person, and I am so grateful to be able to convey such emotions though a single bite!

3. Any hot messes or complete cooking failures? We promise not to tell anyone (wink wink).

Humm… let me think! So… I wanted to make coconut fudge brownies but I don’t know what happened in the process and they ended up tasting like dirt! It was horrible haha, coconut flour has a very particular texture when it bakes and It was like the first time I was using it and it was not a good! Now, it is a whole different story, I am proud to say I have mastered the ART of baking with coconut flour.

4. What ingredients would you bring on a desert island with you if you could only pick 3?

Coconut, Dark Chocolate, Bananas. I mean these three are bomb.com by themselves, but combined they are even better. The cool thing about my first ingredient is its versatility, and if you know me you should know I am all about versatile ingredients, I could make coconut butter, coconut oil, coconut flour, coconut water… So that is my smart ingredient! Then, bananas are just perfect complements to anything and well I LOVE dark chocolate so I could live off these three.

5. What food is your kryptonite? You know, one you sneak in a little extra of when no one is looking.

Beans! Since I love baking, beans give an amazing texture to baked goods without the need of butter or dairy. I never mention this to my clients because the idea of beans in sweets freaks out people since we are so accustomed to eating them as a savory dish! But in Asia red bean paste of bean desserts is a must have. Then, when I tell them ”Oh btw it has beans!” they are surprised and are totally amused by the idea of beans in sweets!

6. When you want to treat yourself or loved ones what do you prepare?

Well, to treat myself It would definitely have to be something involving chocolate! I ACCEPT IT….I AM A CHOCOHOLIC!!! I recently made a lave cake with an almond butter filling and I am totally hooked so I guess that would be my treat. My family on the other hand…(my husband cough cough) is addicted to my cheesecake and when ever I have the chance I make a fresh batch for him with his FAV topping of all times, my decadent almond butter.

7. Are there foods that you won’t eat or don’t like?

I would eat anything except bugs haha… My daily diet consists of a lot of greens, lean proteins and complex carbs like oats and brown rice. I don’t eat dairy, refined sugars or processed stuff. I prefer natural and local ingredients. That being said, since I told you all I eat anything it is because I do, but I try to keep my eating habits pretty clean during the week and on the weekends I treat my self and go out to eat a pizza or something I am craving!

8. In case of a zombie apocalypse, what would you pick for your last meal? And who would you like to eat it with?

Ok so if I was a character from The Walking Dead (hehe addicted to the show btw) I would choose a Veggie Pizza with Tequeños on the side (current favorite) and it would be with my husband! I love going out and enjoy a glass of wine, good food and just catching up on how was our week.

9. Fill in the blank. Happiness is _________.

Self LOVE.

10. If we want to totally fan crush you, where can we follow?

On Instagram I’m at @fitseed and @fitseedpanama. My personal account is @rivcaz.

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Sticky Cookies Filled with Expresso Ganash / Powered by @Fitseed

Cookie Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup oat flour
  • 1 tablespoon flax
  • 1 tablespoon buckwheat flour
  • 3 tablespoon stevia
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoon apple sauce
  • 2 tablespoon date paste
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup almond milk

Preparation:

Preheat your oven at 275. Mix your dry ingredients in one bowl. In a separate bowl mix your humid ingredients and mix until everything is well incorporated. Then proceed to place your humid ingredients into your wet ingredients and fold the mixture util it has a thick but creamy texture. Then divide your mixtures in your muffin tins (1/4 cup per mold) and place in your oven for 30 to 40 min or until golden. This recipe yields 7 muffins.

Ganash Ingredients:

  • 15 ounces of kidney beans cooked
  • 2 tablespoon of espresso powder or instant coffee
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Preparation:

Place all ingredients in your food processor and mix until creamy. You need to pulse your food processor and scrape the sides as you go to achieve the creamiest consistency. Store in a mason jar and use as a ganash or spread for anything you can think of!

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Bonus: Oh look! You can turn these cookies into muffins too. Same recipe. Different presentation. Awesome, right?

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Cranberry Pecan Pie with Oatmeal Crust / Powered by @MayiCarles

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch of sea salt

Preparation:

Preheat your oven at 350. Put oats in the food processor + blend, until a rough flour is formed. Add the remaining ingredients, until well combined. When dough comes together, remove it from the food processor + gather it into a ball + put in the the center of a 9-inch pie pan. Press the dough out to the edges + sides. Prick holes in the dough with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes, until golden. Remove the crust from the oven + let cool. Leave the oven on.

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup barley malt syrup
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (do not use dried cranberries)
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup whole pecans, to decorate

Preparation:

Put the barley malt + maple syrup + almond butter + vanilla extract + cinnamon + arrowroot in the food processor. Blend, until smooth. Transfer for a mixing bowl. Add chopped pecans. Fold in. Add cranberries + blueberries. Fold in. Pour the filling into the cooled crust. Decorate with the whole pecans. Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbling and evenly browned. Let the pie cool completely before slicing + serving.

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A big thank you to Rivca for sharing this fabulous recipe with us + giving us a sweet peak inside her world.

Spending time with her in the kitchen was so much fun + it reminded me that real radical happiness is not something big + looming on the horizon ahead, but something teeny tiny + already here.

Happiness is:

  • Finishing a hot cup of tea without having to microwave it 7 minutes later.
  • Watching a full episode of Game of Thrones without interruptions.
  • Finding out the dress I’m about to buy is actually 50% off. Ah!
  • The sound my phone makes every time a new order comes in… Ca-ching.
  • Closing the office early on Friday to drive to the beach.
  • Driving to such beach with the handsomest pilot, who also happens to have great taste in music.
  • Praying Baby O falls a sleep so she doesn’t cry in her car seat the whole way, and having my wish granted.
  • Indulging in the most delicious dessert + oh la la, finding out it’s totally healthy too.

Little, everyday joys all lines up in a row. That is it!

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I wish you the happiest week EVER. Take care of yourself, alright? We need you to be OKAY!

PS: Be sure to try these recipes at home + let us know what your taste buds say. You don’t even have to pick out a favorite, cuz in our messy kitchen, every chef is a Big Mega Lotto winner.

PS2: Who do you think I should challenge next for a cookoff? Cast your votes in the comments below!

Photography Credit

Susana Aramburú

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FOOD

Grandma’s Festive Rum Cake in a Jar

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This is one of those secret vault recipes I had to bribe granny to share with me.

Then some more bribing was involved to convince her to let me post it here.

Traditionally, this recipe is called Sopa Borracha. The direct translation is drunken soup. But as you can tell from the pics, it isn’t a soup at all. It is a delicious + airy + drunk in all the right placed dessert from Panama, very popular in weddings and quinceaños.

This year we are making it for New Years, cuz we are rebels like that. And we’re calling it Festive Rum Cake in a Jar. Here’s how to make it:

Psst… it’s easier to make than store-bought cake in a box. I swear.

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Ingredients:

  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation:

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a square baking pan.

Step 2: Combine the flour + baking powder + salt.

Step 3: In a bowl, with an electric mixer, beat egg yolks + sugar until creamy. In a separate bowl, using a wire whisk or electric mixer, beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the yolk mixture. Then fold the combined egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring only enough to wet the dry ingredients. Add vanilla.

Step 4: Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife tip inserted in the center comes out clean.

In a hurry?: You can totally skip this step + get yourself some store bought vanilla cake, just make sure it’s dry. Moist-y cakes don’t work for this recipe. There’s a famous pastry shop here in Panama called MOMI + we buy our cake from them all the time. It’s part of this recipe’s charm.

Rum Syrup

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 pound raisins
  • 4-5 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 pounds prunes
  • 1 bottle run (I used Bacardi)
  • 1 bottle dry sherry (I used Tio Pepe)

Preparation:

Step 1: In a saucepan, combine the sugar + cinnamon sticks + water. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring briefly, until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to low and cook for 7 to 8 minutes. Add the raisins + prunes during the final minute of cooking.

Step 2: Remove the syrup from the heat and stir in the rum + dry sherry. Allow syrup to cool for at least 30 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks before assembling.

To assemble: Cut the cake into small squares + place them in a deep serving dish or individual portions. Bathe with the syrup + let them soak well (“to get drunk”). Garnish with prunes + raisins. Traditionally in Panama we use silver sprinkles as decoration.

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Skip the confetti this year. Grapes are so last season. Make this Festive Rum Cake in a Jar instead.

Enjoy it with your favorite people in the whole wide world!

See you back here in 2016!

Photography Credit

Marcela Macias

FOOD

Clean Glazin Raisin Pretzels

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Last week, dad + David + I went to go see Alejandro Junger LIVE, the Uruguayan M.D. who created the Clean Program. If you’re not familiar with his work, I totally recommend a Google search. Doctor, one of the very few I listen to these days, is absolutely brilliant.

So, I made Clean Glazin Raisin Pretzels in his honor. Just in time for Valentine’s Day.

You can steal the recipe below.

Raisin Pretzels

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour or flour of choice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoon coconut palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoon firm coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup baking soda
  • 3 cups of warm water
  • Extra flour, as needed

Preparation:

Step 1: Heat the almond milk + maple syrup in a measuring cup to around 110 degrees F. Sprinkle the yeast on top + let it sit 5 minutes. If your yeast is good, it will bubble.

Step 2: Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the flour + salt + sugar. Cut in the coconut oil, using a fork or a stand mixer. Then stir in the raisins. Thoroughly combine this mix with the yeast mixture, using your hands or a stand mixer, then knead dough on a floured surface or in the bowl for 5 minutes, adding more flour as needed to keep it from being too sticky to knead. I mixed dough in the bowl + added a total of 6 tablespoons extra flour by the end of the 5 minutes.

Step 3: Lightly grease the mixing bowl. Set dough in the bowl, cover the bowl with a towel + put the bowl in a warm place for 50 to 60 minutes or until it’s doubled in size.

Step 4: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F + lightly grease a baking tray. In a long + shallow container or dish, dissolve the 1/3 cup baking soda in 3 cups of warm water, then set aside.

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Step 5: Get out the risen dough. Punch the dough to deflate, then form evenly-sized pieces (8-10 large pretzels or 16-20 smaller ones). Roll each section of dough as thinly as you possibly can (the thinner the better), then twist into a pretzel shape. Dip each into the baking soda water, shake to dry, then arrange the pretzels on the baking tray. Pretzels are done when they have turned golden-brown + you can smell them (about 15-18 minutes).

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Glaze

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup yogurt of choice
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon coconut palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup to taste
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk, adjust to control thickness
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preparation:

Stir together all ingredients. Apply glaze to each pretzel directly before serving, or use glaze as a dip instead.

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I Need Your Help

Since I can no longer watch the news or anything remotely stressful because baby Olivia starts kicking real hard in retaliation, I need your help filling up my movie wishlist. I’m talking about no-suspense (or drama of any form), feel good films. Or documentaries. Something I can pair with these Clean Glazin Raisin Pretzels + won’t give me indigestion, if you know what I mean.

I can tolerate a bit of crying if the ending is like BOOM, pure magic. But no Titanic or La Vita è Bella sh*t, please. Even Animal Planet is becoming a little too extreme for us.

If you’re an AppleTV + Netflix junkie, will you help this 5 month pregnant lady pick out some happy movies?

Thank you soooo much!

Coming Soon!

Life is Messy Kitchen, the printed book, comes out March 2. Holy Batman + Robin!

Be sure to pre-order your copy at www.lifeismessykitchen.com if you don’t like paying full price.

Photography Credit

Marcela Macias

FOOD

Ron Ponche de Abuelita Nany

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I submitted my Abuelita Nany’s signature Ron Ponche recipe to Sweet Paul Magazine’s Holiday Contest this year.

For 87 years granny’s kept this famous recipe a secret, until I bribed her with this competition, cuz if there is something granma’ loves more than cooking + seeing your face after savoring what she made, is winning.

Happiness is… ferociously following granma’ around the kitchen with a video camera to document this heirloom recipe. Until the very end she was still trying to sneak up on me, ninja-style so I couldn’t measure her “to taste” additions. “Abu, you told me this recipe called for 8 egg yolks. I just counted TWENTY FOUR!!!”. Sneaky granny. Sneaky sneaky indeed.

Happiness is… faking I didn’t actually learn how to recreate my Abuelita Nany’s Ron Ponche, so she keeps on making it herself for years + years to come. Cuz nothing says “es la Navidad” like the smell of rum coming out of grandma’s kitchen.

Happiness is… hitting submit on Sweet Paul Magazine’s Holiday Contest page + never hearing back + still feeling like a jackpot winner.

Happiness is… sharing everything this recipe means to me + my family + our history with YOU!

Ron Ponche de Abuelita Nany

Here’s what you’ll need to make Ron Ponche de Abuelita Nany, because you should. Make it, I mean. Because even if you’ve been naughty this year you deserve an indulging extravagance.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups white sugar
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 4 cups evaporated milk (we used Nestle)
  • 24 egg yolks (not 8 as granny will have you fooled) + whisk with 1/8 cup whole milk
  • 4 teaspoons corn flour or corn starch + diluted in 1/2 cup water
  • 1 bottle of rum (Granny likes Bacardi)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

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Preparation:

Step 1: In a large pot add sugar + milk + evaporated milk. Cook in “Baño María” (in English this is called “Water Bath” or Bain Mary), until it boils. Stir occasionally. It took us approximately 20 minutes.

Step 2: Bring the fire down to low heat. Dilute corn flour in water before adding to the mix. This step is important. If the corn flour is added when dried it can create ugly clusters of muchiness. Add the wet corn flour mixture to the mix. Stir well.

Step 3: Add vainilla. Stir, until well combined.

Step 4: In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks. Add 1/8 cup milk. Add this to the cooled down mix in slow motion, using a mesh strainer. Stir stir stir stir like a crazy person.This is one of granny’s secret steps. Skip it if you want Frittata Ponche instead of Ron Ponche. NOT!!! Most people get this part wrong + end up cooking their eggs. You should notice eggs yolks “strings” coming from the strainer. That’s the idea.

Step 5: The add 1 bottle of rum. Let cool completely.

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Bottle in beautiful recycled glass bottled + gift for christmas using these Holiday Gift Tags (ahem ahem).

CLICK TO TWEET: Your gifts deserve the cutest Holiday Gift Tags in the land. Check these out http://etsy.me/1BEwfci from @mayicarles

Keeps in the refrigerator for up to a month. Serve in a fancy cup with ice or in a whisky glass. Make it festive!

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When I told my family “I DID IT!!! Eagle Minor One Niner has landed the recipe. I repeat Eagle has Abuelini’s Ron Ponche recipe”, it felt like I had landed on the moon or holding The Ring, as in my preciouzzzz.

Of course I documented the entire experience in film + photos, for myself, for my kids + their kids. But then I saw the footage + I was like, “I can’t keep this too myself”. So here’s an editor’s cut version of the footage. It’s raw + intimate + mostly in Spanish, but I knew that wouldn’t stop you from enjoying all the magical moments. Take a peak!

Tell me what tastes like Christmas in your family? Any treasured Holiday recipes or funny stories around food? I wanna know EVERYTHING, in the comments below. Especially if it involves a sneaky granny buahahaha.

Photography Credit

Marcela Macias

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