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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.



  • 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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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.


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.


Add vainilla. Stir, until well combined.


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.


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!



your turn

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.



Mayi Carles


Photography Credit

Marcela Macias


contest winners

And without further delay, the Life is Messy Kitchen Virtual Potluck winners are:

  • Ana from La Guinda del Pastel
  • Sandra García
  • Matt and Olia


Hip hip HOORAY!!! Congratulations to the messies who won + everyone who helped me with my judge duties. This was sooooo hard you guys.


Winners please e-mail me at mayicarles@gmail.com with a quick “I won” + your mailing address. I’ll take care of the rest.


If you have no ideas what the hell I’m talking about, giveaway what the whaaat, go here!

Messy Kitchens Unite!

Life is Messy Kitchen


Your support is the reason I get to do AMAZING things.


All this recipe recreations from Life is Messy Kitchen are making me blush. It’s clashing with my red Holiday-ish lipstick. Ohhhh STOP IT!!! Okay don’t.


I’m beyond humbled. Flattered to the point of nervous giggling. People are REALLY picking up the book + remaking deliciously nourishing dishes you guuuuuys!!!


Don’t wake me up just yet. Let me savor this for a bit longer please.


Today, is a tribute to the messies of the world. Real people with hungry loved ones + a tight kitchen + not every cooking appliance known to mankind. Real people who struggle to make healthy eating a priority because they are too busy changing the world. Pinky, is that you? No way, I spilled pancake syrup on my pajamas too!


You know those cookbooks full of pretty photos + recipes that never come out according to plan? The ones with rainbow cakes that look more like a poo Tower of Pisa in real life? The ones with pancakes that taste like cardboard? The ones where you can never get anything to look like the picture of the page? Yeah… Life is Messy Kitchen is NOT one of those books.


This book is to meant to be eaten. Well maybe you shouldn’t eat the actual book book without consulting your doctor first, but you know what I mean. I didn’t set out to make another cookbook that sits on the shelf + accumulates dust. I wanted to see people playing in the kitchen… were happiness is born. I just never expected this avalanche of support. Not like this.


Take a peek at what some of your messy compatriots have whipping out already:


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LIMK Recreation 3


  • Bei from Tigriteando did the Avo-Pesto, which apparently passed the most important test of them all, the Sneaky Little Hands Test.
  • Despina Spanaki from Sugarbaby Art fell for the Detox Tonic. Simple + so good for you.
  • Carla M. Jones made Avocado Pesto + turned it into a dip. Awesome!


LIMK Recreation 4


  • Romina Guaraz + her Spa Water recreation. Simply perfect!
  • Jewels by Trish made brownies. YUM! You have got to check em’ out. Note to self: Get those measuring spoons for Christmas!
  • Abi struggled to pick a recipe but decided eventually to prepare the Kale and Black-Eyed Peas Stew. She skipped the celery + rather than serving it with brown rice, added quinoa. Perfect for a winter day.


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  • Kathryn Stewart got crakin’ on a mountain of pecans for this show-stopping Maple Pecans recipe. Perfect for the Holidays. “I didn’t even adapt it because her original version worked so beautifully, and as I’m writing this, I’ve eaten all but roughly 10 pecans, which I’m graciously saving for my sister-in-law for when she gets into town tomorrow.”
  • Gaby Noriega conjured my Avo-Pesto sensation with a creative alteration.
  • Ana Lara literally just started blogging, but that didn’t stop her from making + sharing my Tabbouleh and Pita Bread recipe.




  • Sarah O’Toole tweaked a tiny little bit my German Bread by adding a very Fall-ish secret ingredient. Can you guess which one it is?
  • Nuvea Santos Cobb tried the Avo-Pesto too. Is there a pattern here people? I think people went for it first because it’s sooooo easy to make + all you need are a few simple ingredients.
  • Roxy González experimented with my Avo-Pesto recipe. Improvised with what she had in the kitchen + nailed it!
  • Nancy Gaines from Domesticraft made me giggle with her T-Rex inspired recipe photo shot.












A massive THANK YOU!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart to each + every one of you who has taken the time to recreate a Life is Messy Kitchen recipe.


Psst… if you suspect your recipe recreation was eaten by inbox trolls because you don’t see your dish displayed at the top, quickly send me an e-mail. I’ll fix it Felix in a hot flash.



And because I love to reward caring, I’m going to giveaway signed copies of Life is Messy Kitchen + some of my favorite kitchen party props to THREE messies from today’s tour. But…I need your help.


In the comments below, tell me which recipe twist you are most excited to try from the bloggers above. Based on your hand raises, I will choose the lucky winners next Friday, December 12.


Thank you so much for playing along + helping me make the tough call. Being a judge is HARD! Especially a hungry one.



Mayi Carles

PS: I love featuring your Life is Messy Kitchen recipes. Send me your pictures… your posts… your testimonials. I might be tempted to buy a Super Bowl ad spot to give it some air time.

Life is Messy Kitchen Launch Party

Life is Messy Kitchen Launch Party


Hoping to hear all the inside secrets behind the making of Life is Messy Kitchen? Like, what it was like to work with a professional photographer? The recipes testing + finding (or not finding) the ingredients? The crazy process of designing the cover? The meltdowns? The stuff that went utterly wrong, like that time we killed a dehydrator… TWICE?


Well, you’re in luck, cuz I’m hosting a Life is Messy Kitchen Launch Party together with Marcela Macias + Marbel Canseco, TODAY, November 25 at 3PM ESTClick here to RSVP + save your seat!


And you wanna be there because we will be giving away signed copies of the book + the cutest kitchen props ever. AHHHH!!! It’s true.



Mayi Carles


Photography Credit

Susana Aramburú

Life is Messy Kitchen Teaser

HELP!!! Please tie my hands to the back of my chair. I cannot control myself from leaking more Life is Messy Kitchen behind the scenes. I hope by the time November 18 comes around, I’ve managed to at least keep the book cover a secret.


Goshhh! I could never be the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy. I’m the worst secret-keeper in the galaxy.


Having cleared that out to assume no responsibility for third party damages, here’s a lil’ teaser of our trailer video:



CLICK TO TWEET: Impatiently waiting for Life is Messy Kitchen to come out after watching the teaser – http://bit.ly/1zoY6cx @mayicarles


Who’s excited about the full Life is Messy Kitchen mini movie now? I know right? It’ll premier this November 18. Bring popcorn.


A special thanks to Joey Loreto + Dorina Szabokelly + my cousin Karina Pallares + uber talented Sarah Tyler for this amazing video collab.



Mayi Carles

Behind the Scenes: Life is Messy Kitchen Top Secret Project

Life is Messy Kitchen


Flight attendants, please prepare for departure. Life is Messy Kitchen launches in ONE WEEK!!! Countdown will commence in 3-2-1…


CLICK TO TWEET: Life is Messy Kitchen launches in ONE WEEK!!! Get it first – http://bit.ly/1gnWpqt @mayicarles


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This week, we are putting together the last puzzle pieces + hopefully pulling the last all-nighters of the year + finishing a very top secret coloring book with the tri-MC League (Marbel Canseco + Marcela Claudia Macias + yours truly, Mayi Carles).


Here’s a sneak peek… SHHHH!!!






CLICK TO TWEET: SHHH!!! Behind the Scenes: Life is Messy Kitchen Top Secret Project – http://ctt.ec/EBZ2e+ @mayicarles


Between Marcela’s jaw-dropping photographs + Marbelita’s killer design ideation + guest recipes from my favorite foodie friends + a ton of quirky illustrations hand painted by yours truly + your generous spread-the-words, I’ll be surprised if Oprah’s people don’t call. And shocked if you don’t faint from glee. (Bring a pillow to cushion your landing, just to be safe.)


By the way, if you have no intentions of owning a copy of Life is Messy Kitchen, HIDE YOUR KIDS. I repeat, hide your kids. If those lil’ supers see it, you’ll be screwed. Like when they see Lucky Charms in the cereal aisle. There’s no turning back. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.


Stay tuned for more Life is Messy Kitchen behind the scenes magic!



Mayi Carles


P.S.: If you would like to be a part of the Life is Messy Kitchen LAUNCH-O-RAMANESS for a chance to win cool prices + social media love from me + good karma calorie-free cookie points, shoot me an e-mail at mayicarles@gmail.com.


Photography Credit

Sarah Tyler