LIFESTYLE

Spaghetti and Meat(less)balls

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The other day I saw these Crispy Eggplant Parmesan Subs on A Beautiful Mess + I instantly knew I had to try em’.

I’m cutting bread as much as possible during the week days because it makes me sluggish + sloooooow, something I simply can’t afford with brutal Life is Messy Kitchen deadlines every other day. So I made a few changes here + there to make the original recipe extra healthy.

These Spaghetti and Meat(less)balls are made with wholesome ingredients without sacrificing the comfort-feel that we all expect in this insignia dish.

Hope you love it!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized eggplant (about 1 1/2 cup diced)
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 14-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped oregano (plus more for the topping)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 organic egg
  • Zucchini Pasta (instruction below)
  • Marinara Sauce (use your favorite recipe)
  • Mozzarella Cheese (optional)

Preparation:

Step 1: Blend eggplant + onion + garlic + garbanzo + oregano + salt in a food processor. Puree until the ingredients are combined in a spread-like mixture.

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Step 2: With a spatula, stir in the egg + 1 cup of almond flour.

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Step 3: Use your clean hands to divide the mixture into 18-20 small balls. Place these on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Step 4: Preheat oven to 350 F.

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Step 5: Once the balls have hardened from refrigerating, coat each ball in a thin coat of the remaining almond flour.

Step 6: Bake for 30 minutes. If you like yours a bit crispier, leave for 5-7 more minutes.

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Step 7: Serve with marinara sauce over zucchini pasta.

How to Make the Zucchini Pasta:

Spaghetti style zucchini noodles can be made using a vegetable peeler + julienne peeler + mandolin + spiral vegetable cutter.

Pass the vegetable peeler or julienne peeler down one lengthwise side of the zucchini. Only catch a thin portion of the zucchini, no thicker than 1/2 inch, for each pass in order to create thin spaghetti-like noodles. If using a julienne peeler, this thickness should already be preset, so no additional work will need to be done on your part.

If using a mandolin, make sure that the blade is set for a julienne style cut. Pass the zucchini over the blade lengthwise to create thin noodles.

When using a spiral vegetable cutter, press the zucchini against the blade of the spiral slicer + crank the handle of the simple machine. As you wind the handle + press on the zucchini, thin spirals should come out of the other end of the blade.

When you approach the seeds, turn the zucchini + begin slicing another side. The seeds will prevent the noodles from holding together, so you do not want to use the part with seeds in it.

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I’m actively looking for ways to turn nostalgic food we all treasure into real meals worthy of superheros. What are some of your favorite recipes growing up? Do you have any special dishes that you would like me to test in my mad laboratory + turn into healthy that tastes like bad-for you? Cuz you know me… I can’t eat cardboard!

Photography Credit

Marcela Macias

LIFESTYLE

Chargrilled Veggie Terrine

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Dear Santa,

I know it’s July, but in case you’re keeping tabs for your Naughty + Nice lists, I wanted you to know that I’m not competing anymore. I’m on the happiness train now, which includes guilt-free pepperoni pizza. That’s regular pepperoni pizza, minus the feeling bad part, by the way.

xo,

Mayi

PS: S’more cookies will be in the usual spot. That’ll never change!

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I hope you’re having a super lazy Friday, with a pinch on naughty + a dash of nice.

I hope you left the office early.

I hope you’re catching this on your phone, on your way to some sort of beach.

I hope you’re wearing bright pink lipstick, if that’s your thing. Or sweatpants, if you’re into that sort of thing.

I hope you’re day dreaming about a weekend feast. I wish for us mojitos + recipes that lick the plate clean. Especially the mojitos part.

Here’s a sloooow + relaxed dish that will go well with that: Chargrilled Veggie Terrine.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 2 medium red bell peppers
  • Italian seasonings, to taste
  • Olive oil
  • 11 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 ounces basil leaves, chiffonaded
  • 3 marinated artichokes, drained + sliced in half
  • 3 ounces sun-dried tomatoes, drained + chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

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Preparation:

Step 1: Prepare the eggplant. Layer eggplant + salt in a colander. Set aside for 5 minutes. Rinse under cold water. Pat dry with paper towel.

Step 2: To prepare the rest of the veggies, wash 3 glass jars with lid in hot soapy water. Rinse in hot water. Drain upside-down until completely dry. Heat a chargrill over high heat. Cook eggplant + zucchini + red bell pepper, in batches, for 4 to 5 minutes each side, or until browned + tender. Transfer to a bowl. Add italian seasonings. Toss gently to combine. Transfer to prepared jar. Add oil to cover eggplant. Seal jar. Refrigerate. To skip this step, you can buy chargrilled eggplant + red pepper + zucchini at most delicatessens.

Step 3: The next day, line a 9 x 5 x 2 1/5 inch loaf tin with plastic wrap, leaving a generous amount hanging over the sides.

Step 4: Place the ricotta + garlic in a bowl + beat until smooth. Season with salt + pepper to taste. Set aside.

Step 5: Drain the chargrilled vegetables.

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Step 6: Line the base of the tin with half the eggplant, cutting + fitting to cover the base. Top with a layer of half the red peppers. Then all the zucchini slices. Spread evenly with the ricotta mixture + press down firmly. Place the chiffonaded basil leaves on top of the ricotta. Arrange the artichoke + sun dried tomatoes + mushrooms in three rows lengthwise on top of the ricotta.

Step 7: Top with another layer of chargrilled red peppers + finish with the eggplant. Fold the overhanging plastic wrap over the top of the terrine.

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Step 8: Put a piece of cardboard on top + weight it down with weights or small food cans. Refrigerate the terrine overnight.

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Step 9: To serve, peel back the plastic wrap + turn the terrine out onto a plate. Remove the plastic wrap + cut into think slices.

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Step 10: Serve with a side of arugula, massaged with high quality extra-virgin olive oil.

Step 11: Cover any leftovers with plastic wrap + store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Connect with other foodies. Tag your recipe recreations @mayicarles using the hashtag #lifeismessykitchen. 

Photography Credit

Marcela Macias

LIFESTYLE

Orange Blossom Cupcakes with Orange Kissed Cashew Cream

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Know my favorite dance? The Happy Indepen-DANCE. Get it?

Plop!

Alright, maybe that’s only funny after eating an entire batch of these Orange Blossom Cupcakes with Orange Kissed Cashew Cream. I would say it’s the sugar high, but these are sugar-free as well as gluten-free, so I’m not really sure what’s going on.

Anyhoo, I made these cupcakes for my dear “gringuita” friends who are celebrating their birthday today. Yee ha! Potluck-friendly cupcakesperfect to match the Forth of July festivities. Minus the fire-farts.

You see, I was lucky to call “the States” my home-away-from-home for six years – four of them in Evanston, Illinois (going to Northwestern University) + two of them living downtown Chicago (getting my Masters at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago). Fun times.

I was fortunate to presence many firework shows + drink one too many red/white/blue jello shots + oh em gee savor what a real BBQ should taste like. American’s sure know who to live big + rock their grill. That’s for sure. I only hope they’ve left a little room for dessert this time, cuz I baked cupcakes. And they are divine.

World Cup aficionados, these are for you too!

Here’s how to make em’:

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons orange blossom
  • 2 eggs
  • Desiccated orange, for topping (the zest of 1 orange also works)

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked for 3 hours + drained + rinsed
  • 4 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scrapped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 freshly-squeezed orange
  • Maple syrup, to taste

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Preparation:

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 325° F to make the Orange Blossom Cupcakes first.

Step 2: Combine flour + salt + baking soda in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine coconut oil + maple syrup + orange juice + eggs.

Step 3: Mix dry with wet until well incorporated.

Step 4: Divide batter among cupcake tins, filling 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool cupcakes on wire rack.

Step 5: To make the Orange Kissed Cashew Cream, place cashews + dates + coconut oil + vanilla bean + salt in a high speed blender + pulse. Add orange juice little by little until you reach a smooth consistency. Add maple syrup until it’s sweet enough for your tastebuds. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 hour before piping the cupcakes.

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Step 6: To serve, whip cupcakes with the decadent cream + top with orange zest or unsweetened desiccated orange.

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Next week, I’m coming back to share some secret projects I’ve been working on. So happy to finally reveal these behind the scenes + get back to video-making. Have you missed me? I’ve sure missed YOU!

To my American friends, I hope you have a magical Forth of July weekend. To my Brazilian + Colombian + German + French, may the best team win!

Okay, I’ll stop rambling now.  Just make these cupcakes you guys. You’re gonna LOVE them.

Photo Credit

Marcela Macias

LIFESTYLE

Almond Peak-a-Boo Banana Bread with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Hershey’s Syrup

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Well hello Mr. Clean Banana Bread. Looking as delish’ as ever. I can’t even tell you’re vegan + gluten free + sugar free.

Wanna make it? Good thing I transcribed the recipe from napkins notes to here then.

Banana Bread Ingredients:

  • 1 large banana, peeled + sliced length wise
  • 1 banana smashed
  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour (buckwheat flour works too)
  • 2 eggs (use 1 tablespoons of chia seeds soaked in 2 tablespoons of water to make it vegan)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cacao powder

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Syrup Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

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Preparation:

Step 1: Preheat over at 340 F. Line loaf tin with baking paper.

Step 2: Beat together all ingredients, expect the sliced bananas, until well combined. Cover the bottom of the loaf tin with the sliced bananas. Pour mixture around the placed banana slices. Place into the over + bake for 30 minutes. Remove from over + cover with foil. Cook for further 10 minutes. Remove from oven + leave in tin to cool.

Step 3: In the meantime, prepare the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Hershey’s Syrup. In a small bowl add all syrup ingredients + whisk together well with a fork. Warm if desired + drizzle over individual bread slices to serve. Pow!

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Time to eat. The End!

Photography Credit

Marcela Macias

LIFESTYLE

Berry Bars

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It’s Friday. Thank goodness. Let’s not talk about how to fold our fitted sheets + our financial stability today, okay? Deal!

Instead, let’s hydrate with a frozen something. Anything, preferably with Cointreau.

Sometimes, when I’m sipping down my third cocktail before noon has even arrived (which only happens if I’m somewhere paradisiacal like Curaçao), I get these brilliant ideas that I know I could sell at the Dragon’s Den for millions of dollars. Like that one time I thought about putting fig spread on top of baked brie. Patent material! Or that other time I made myself some Berry Bar with what was left in the pantry. Mama mia!

Pretty sure I’m a genius. Well at least when I’m feeling reckless + tanning in Curaçao, my precise emotional + physical coordinates by the time you get to this sentence.

Next stop: Juice cleanse. Just kidding! I don’t want to follow any anything that bans these Berry Bars from the menu.

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Crust Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon filtered water
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Filling Ingredients:

  • 2 cups mixed berries (thaw completely if using frozen)
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 vanilla bean, scrapped
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice

Toppings:

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup gluten free oats
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

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Preparation:

Step 1: Combine the filling ingredients in the food processor + blitz till well mixed. Transfer to a glass jar + let set in the fridge for at least 2 hours before topping the crust. The chia will swell up + give it that jam-like texture.

Step 2: For the crust, preheat the oven to 350 F + line an 8″ x 8″ baking dish with parchment paper, to prevent sticking. Combine all of the crust ingredients in a food processor + process until the dough sticks together. Press the dough into the bottom of the baking sheet + bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven + allow to cool completely. Don’t turn off the oven.

Step 3: Prepare the crumbly topping by combining the pecans + coconut + oats + maple syrup + coconut oil + salt + almond extract in a food processor. Process until a crumbly texture is achieved.

Step 4: Arrange the bars by spreading the filling over the crust, then spreading the crumbly topping over the raspberry layer. Return to the oven for 15 minutes at 350F, or until the topping is lightly golden.

Step 5: Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars + serving.

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You guys, you gotta make these Berry Bars this weekend. You know you want to. Nom nom. And invite a friend over. Food tastes twice as good in good company. Which reminds me, I need to get myself an ice crusher when I get home, these Banana Colada is freaking-licious! I see World Cup-themed cocktail party in my horizon.

I’m off.

If you wanna follow my Curaçao adventure on Instagram (oh look, Belgium chocolates!) follow me @mayicarles.

Photography Credits

Marcela Macias

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