I grew up around food. I can remember waking up to the smell of freshly baked bread as a kid + the sound of the blender cranking ginger roots + carrots.
I grew up around food. At school, our lunch box didn’t look like the other kiddos. Instead of Doritos + fruit rollups + Cool Aid, Dad woke up extra early to pack ours with bow-tie pasta with sun-dried tomato + pine nuts, drizzled with pesto. My brother Coco + my little sister Laura + I were the envy of the cafeteria.
I grew up around food. Sunday’s are always at Abuelinis house. You arrive early with a ferocious appetite + diets stayed out the door, unless you wanna piss grandma. You leave full with a happy belly + paper napkins scribbled with notes on how to recreate the finger-licking dishes at home; thou we’ve quickly learned that Abuelita Nani never gives out her recipes, at least not accurately. On purpose. Our only luck has been literally following her around the kitchen with a video camera. So far we’ve only been able to immortalize granny’s Sweet Corn Soufflé + Egg Nog + Johnny Marzetti.
I love food. To eat it + to make it. I day-dream of recipes. Well, I night-dream of recipes too. I’m constantly thinking of different combinations of flavors + healthier substitutions. I get so much joy writing + sharing my love for food + the recipes that have been rattling around in my head + it’s stories with you, right here + in my book Life is Messy Kitchen (that you’ll get to see early Fall).
Today, I prepared for you a ridiculously healthy Easter treat, because it’s not a celebration without cake. And I gotta say, I nailed it with this decadent Raw Carrot Cupcakes with Orange Maple Creamy Frosting recipe. You won’t even miss the high processed + sugar high version that will surely give you an Easter coma.
You will need to start this recipe the day before to give the cakes time to firm up a little in the fridge + to chill the coconut milk for the cream. For the cream you need to make sure the coconut milk you use is a natural one, no nasty additives + additives whatsoever, just coconut + water is all it should say on the ingredients list.
- 2 medium carrots, ends trimmed + peeled + coarsely grated
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped but not pulverized
- 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 15 medjool dates, pitted
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted if solid
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- Zest from 1/2 orange (zest the whole orange as you need the rest for the cream)
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 1 tin (approximately 1 cup) natural coconut milk (just coconut + water is all it should say on the ingredients list)
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- Zest from 1/2 orange (leave some for garnishing)
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- Orange zest
- Chopped walnuts
Place the tin of coconut milk into the fridge + leave overnight.
Place all the cake ingredients into a food processor + blend on high until everything is finely chopped but still chunky for that carrot cake texture we love. Line a six-hole 1/3 cup capacity muffin tin with cute baking cups. Divide the mixture between each hole. Press down firmly to pack it down. Cover + refrigerate overnight.
To make the cream, open the tin of coconut milk carefully + scoop off the thick cream that’s settled on the top + place it into a bowl, leaving behind the thin watery liquid at the bottom (this is delicious to add to baked oatmeal or smoothies so don’t throw it away!). Use a whisk or electric beater to beat the cream until thick + fluffy. Add in the maple + orange zest + whisk to combine.
Serve cakes topped with a dollop of Orange Maple Creamy Frosting, immediately.
Un-iced cakes will store happily in the fridge (covered) for 4-5 days.
Happy weekend + Happy Easter, my friends! I hope there’s love + family + Raw Carrot Cupcakes with Orange Maple Creamy Frosting + so much bunny-shaped chocolates in your horizon.
This week was like a Lord of the Rings chase scene.
It started Wednesday morning as I was sipping freshly squeezed Mandarin Juice typing up a Life is Messy Bootcamp challenge. All the sudden the earth starts shaking. Well, more like my little cactus plant + the overhead lamp start dancing. I’m freaking out in my high-density plastic lounge chair on the 21-floor. Hubby is at the hospital getting stitched up from a surf wound. I’ve got inbox decluttering on my to-do list. It’s Armageddon from here. I’m sure.
The earthquake was 5.9. Phew! I thought there for a second I was hallucinating being on the Disney Cruise. Not there, just yet.
Now I’m just playing sexy nurse as hubby’s 10 stitches make a speedy recovery. Of course the magical Sponge Bob Square Pants Band-Aids + the five movie rentals (Iron Man III + Thor II + Man of Steel + Star Trek II + The Great Gatsby) + your Get Well Soon vibes are helping. A lot. Thank you!
Typically, on more stressful than usual weeks like this one, I would be surviving on Nutella Banana Crepes + Pepperoni Pizza. Or running + screaming. This week’s cardiopulmonary resuscitation was different. My fight + flight survival instincts called for Salad in a Jar. Go figure! Maybe cuz Mason Jars have a way of making everything feel better. Perhaps it’s a Kung Fu Panda reflect. I think my cookbook in the making Life is Messy Kitchen is playing Yedi mind tricks on me.
Regardless, I’m gonna start asking for trouble if it’ll lead me to these three chef’s favorites:
lunch break salad
Layer 6: Arugula
Layer 5: Pecans, chopped
Layer 4: Dried figs, chopped
Layer 3: Broccoli florets
Layer 2: Mushrooms, sliced
Layer 1: Avocado Dressing
1 avocado, mashed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
sea salt to taste
Layer 8: Feta cheese to top, crumbled
Layer 7: Watercress leaves
Layer 6: Red currants
Layer 5: Strawberries, sliced
Layer 4: Edamame beans
Layer 3: Asparagus spears, chopped into 1 inch pieces
Layer 2: Lentils, cooked + cooled
Layer 1: Maple Dressing
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
sea salt to taste
rainbow fruit salad
Layer 8: 1/4 cup of flax seeds, to garnish
Layer 7: Red – Watermelon, diced in cubes + seeds removed
Layer 6: Orange – Orange, peeled + sliced
Layer 5: Yellow – Pineapple, peeled + diced in cubes
Layer 4: Green – Kiwi, peeled + sliced
Layer 3: Blue – Blueberries
Layer 2: Violet – Seedless grapes, sliped in half
Layer 1: Cashew Dressing
1/2 cup cashews, soaked for 4 hours
2 pitted dates
2 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
water, as needed
What ya’ think?
We all have our go-to meals when the waters get stormy. What’s on your survival menu captain? Let’s swap comfy-rescue bites with each other, in the comments below.
Last week we celebrated hubby’s birthday. I made him a road trip friendly Raw Chocolate Banana Tart to blow 32 candles. It was glorious. For dinner, we had Kentucky Fried Chicken sandwich (WTF?) with fries + a wannabe McFlurry without the extra Oreos we ordered.
Hey. Hi. My name is Mayi Carles + despite being the soon-to-be NY Times Bestselling author (ahem ahem) of a deliciously healthy cookbook Life is Messy Kitchen, I eat “devil food” too. And you wondered why I still had cellulite on my thighs, didn’t you? Well, that’s because I’m on the Real People Diet, people. On the Always Falling Short Diet. On the I’m Huuuuuungry Diet which quickly turns into the I’m (H)Angry Diet. On the Welcome To The Real World Anti-Diet Bitchezzz. Your pick.
I’ve always felt inadequate when it comes to “eating the right thing” because no matter what bandwagon I was on, I always felt short. I was never able to strictly obey Phase I of the South Beach Diet. I didn’t survive Disney on the No Sugar train. I even joined the warm + fuzzy raw club for a while, but was surely kicked out the day I felt the urge to ask David to take me to Ruth’s Chris Steak House cuz I needed a Filet Mignon.
And I realize. finally, like a stroke of genius, that you must be exhausted too, because it has come to my attention that while you cherish the immaculate stalk of pancakes with the chocolate syrup perfectly dripping taken with a fancy DSL + fixed on Photoshop, what you treasure most are the “oh crap” moments in between. The un-edited Apocalyptic shot taken with a cellphone showing you Marcela’s bedroom (ahem ahem, don’t mind hubby’s clothes on the corner) turned photo studio or the infamous
walk of shame drive-thru, “Make that a grande combo please. No pickles. And don’t forget the purple soda.”
And all that got me thinking about waffles.
No seriously. Tell me you’re not hungry too? Hungry for real everythingness. Hungry for real food (that doesn’t taste like wet flip flops or comes sprinkled with Splenda dust) for real human beings from planet Earth that unfortunately don’t have unicorns for pets. Hungry for waffles damn it! Who doesn’t love waffles? Surely someone from Pluto.
Let’s make some Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Waffles because living naturally + eating a little better should be deliciously uncomplicated.
The recipe is for two starving Waffle Monsters. Screw cupid or oysters, there is nothing more aphrodisiac than a brunch for two that included waffles. Baby making is on!
- 1 large uncooked sweet potato, grated
- 1 organic egg
- 3 organic egg whites
- 1 tablespoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Extra-virgin unrefined coconut oil, for cooking
- Pure maple syrup
- A handful of walnuts, chopped
- Extra-dark chocolate, grated (for a special treat!)
In a bowl, add the grated sweet potato + egg + seasonings. Mix with a fork.
Set your waffle iron on medium high heat + brush with coconut oil so that the waffle does not stick.
Pour the batter onto the waffle iron + spread evenly. Close the lid + let it cook for about 5 minutes or until your waffle iron indicates the waffle is cooked.
Serve immediately + garnish.
Did you know, sweet potatoes are not only readily available + inexpensive + orange like an Umpa Lumpa which makes them ridiculously good-looking, but they are:
- High in vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 helps reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies. Homocysteine has been linked with degenerative diseases, including the prevention of heart attacks.
- A good source of vitamin C. While most people know that vitamin C is important to help ward off cold +flu viruses, few people are aware that this crucial vitamin plays an important role in bone + tooth formation + digestion + blood cell formation. It helps accelerate wound healing + produces collagen which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity + it’s a key player to helping us cope with stress. It even appears to help protect our body against toxins that may be linked to cancer.
- Rich in Vitamin D. Vitamin D is critical for immune system + overall health at this time of year. Both a vitamin + a hormone, vitamin D is primarily made in our bodies as a result of getting adequate sunlight. You may have heard about seasonal affective disorder (SAD or “the Winter Blues”), which is linked to inadequate sunlight + therefore a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D plays an important role in our energy levels + moods + helps to build healthy bones + heart + nerves + skin + teeth + it supports the thyroid gland.
- Loaded with iron. Most people are aware that we need the mineral iron to have adequate energy, but iron plays other important roles in our body, including red + white blood cell production + resistance to stress + proper immune functioning + the metabolizing of protein, among other things.
- A good source of magnesium. Magnesium is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral. Magnesium is necessary for healthy artery + blood + bone + heart + muscle + nerve function, yet experts estimate that approximately 80% of the population living may be deficient in this important mineral.
Don’t be surprised if you don’t crawl back to bed after this plate-licking number. Instead of feeling sleepy + fartsy (did I just talk about farting on my blog? Gosh) you will want to climb mountains + dance Happy + quite possible even obsessively clean your pantry by type + size + expiration date. It happens.
Hope to see your recreations around the webs soon. Tag me @mayicarles + tag Marcela @thecelebrationgirl to make our days.
Back story: Every year on the four days leading up to Ash Wednesday, Panama’s carnival takes place, which Panamanians call “Los Carnavales”. Although it is not an official holiday, the country basically shuts down + Panamanians put their inhibitions aside + let the
party spirit rum take over.
Most people go to the “Culecos”, which are large fire trucks that blast music + get surrounded by drunk people dancing in the street while being sprayed with water. Hello, Do I look like the type of person who voluntary likes to get drenched. Umm. No, thank you.
But as much as I’ve refused to partake in all this monkey business in the past, no one cares. Last years, I went out for a jog. You know this won’t end well, don’t you? Yeah, I was victim to water guns + water balloons + water buckets, despite my cry for help, “Please. Have mercy on my soul. I will get electrocuted. I’m carrying my iPhone with me”. Didn’t work.
Apparently being the Grinch of any holiday, back fires, so this year I’m embracing this stupid celebration head on. In preparation, I’m stocking up on munchies, the healthy kind, to counterbalance all those mojitos ya’ know?
Today, I’m pausing the cook-a-thon to show you how to make one of my new favorite creations. This Strawberry Granola drizzled with Chocolatey Sauce is 100% clean + naturally sweet + gluten free + vegan + oh so perfect for snacking. You can even use it as a lethal weapon if someone dares to test drive their Super Soaker on you. The chocolate sauce in the tropical sun will have them screaming, “Mommy!”. You sold on the granola now, aren’t you?
Here’s what you’ll need:
ingredients for the strawberry granola
- 3 cup gluten-free oats
- 1/2 cup hemp seeds
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup dried strawberries (make sure their unsweetened)*
ingredients for the chocolate drizzle
- 2 tablespoons cacao powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons young coconut water
- 2 Medjool dates, pitted (or 1 tablespoon maple syrup)
- 1/2 vanilla bean, scrapped
*If you can’t find desiccated strawberries you can make them yourself. It takes a bit of time, but it’s super easy. Wash + pat dry strawberries + slice lengthwise. You should get about 5-6 slices from each strawberry. Turn the oven to the lowest heat setting. Spread strawberry slices on a rack or a tray that has holes to let the hot air circulate under the strawberries. Oven dry for 2-3 hours. At around 2 hour mark, carefully turn the strawberry slices over. Once the strawberries are ready, remove from the heat + let cool.
Turn the heat up to 300˚ F.
In a large bowl combine oats + seeds + almonds + coconut flakes + salt. In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup + coconut oil + vanilla + whisk to combine. Pour wet mixture over the dry mixture + stir so that everything is well coated.
On a parchment covered tray, spread mixture so that it is a think layer. Bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes so that the edges do not burn. Once done, let cool for 15 minutes. Pour granola into a bowl + toss with dried strawberries.
To make the Chocolatey Sauce, just combine all the ingredients in a food processor + pulse.
Store the leftover Strawberry Granola + Chocolatey Sauce separately in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to devour.
Serve the Strawberry Granola in a bowl or kraft paper brag + drizzle with the Chocolatey Sauce to send it over the top.
Here in tropical paradise, the chocolate melts fast, so things might get a little messy. But heck, there’s nothing a good ol’ finger licking technique can’t fix.
Whether you’re celebrating carnivals or not, or perhaps joining April + I for cocktails this Friday, February 28 at 3pm EST (I’ll be broadcasting from the beach with my parrot + palm tree sunnies + a mimosa in hand) or not, do yourself a favor + whip out this granola on steroids. Your taste buds deserve a little carnival of their own.
And now it’s back to the kitchen for me. I have a cookbook to write!
How cliche. Heart-shaped cookies for Valentines. So clever.
Oh c’mon! Look at the name of my blog. Where you seriously expecting skull-shaped pancakes? Bomb-like chocolates with raspberry filling that explodes in your mouth?
If you feel like puking already over the avalanche of red bows + pink cakes + heart-shape everything everywhere, well, I come with a great idea: Simply make my cookies + break em’ in half with an evil look + we’ll call it a vengeance, alright? It’s rebellious, yet not creepy enough to put you in jail for a bloody Valentine’s crime.
I told you I’m getting smarter. I eat cookies that don’t make me feel like crap. Oh yeah, cuz you will still look sexy in lingerie when you eat these. They are gluten free + dairy free + vegan + refined sugar free + ridiculously delicious. Cuz healthy shouldn’t taste like cardboard. That’s an ultimatum.
Here’s how to make your batch of No Heart Attack Chocolate Chip Cookies:
- 1 cup all purpose gluten free flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips/mini chunks
Heart-shaped cookie cutter (optional)
Preheat oven 400°F.
Prepare a baking sheet + line with foil.
Mix flour + coconut + baking powder + baking soda + salt in a large bowl. It’s essential that these ingredients are evenly spread throughout your cookie dough, before it goes in the oven.
Mix coconut oil + maple syrup + vanilla extract together in another mixing bowl. Give it a good stir.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture + mix with a wooden spoon. Add the cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips. With your hands, compress the cookie dough into a ball, until the chocolate is well incorporated.
Take 1 generous tablespoon of cookie dough into your hands + compress it + roll it into a ball. You can either flatter the balls slightly on the prepared baking sheet to make round cookies or you can press the ball of dough into the cookie cutter to mould it into heart shape. Don’t worry if the cookie dough is a bit oily before entering the over, that’s normal.
Makes about 15 cookies.
Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, until they start to brown slightly. Remove the baking sheet from the heat + using a spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack + allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Serve with fresh almond milk.
And cuz everything is sweeter with a whimsical little tag made with love, I’ve made them available for you too. Not hating The Cupid so much anymore, are you? LOL! I thought so too.
Time to put on my new ba ba boom Pull Up Cherry Dress. Got a date with a really hot man with beard that’s sitting in my couch playing FIFA. Not for long thou. BUAAHAHAHAHA!
Continuing with the rated X programing. What you doing (said like Joy from Friend’s would) for Valentine’s? Will you be lighting up candles or stabbing your Sad Sam stuffed puppy? Tell me in the comments.