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 were always at Abuelinis house. You arrived early with a ferocious appetite + diets stayed out the door, unless you wanna piss grandma. You left full with a happy belly + napkin scribbled with notes on how to recreate the finger-licking dishes at home; thou we 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 the 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.
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.
I was about to call it a day, but then… oh wait! What’s that on Instagram?
That pancake tower looks divine. Like.
Is that Maaji’s new swimsuit collection. Holy crap! Where’s my wallet?
Oh Joy can I kidnap your baby for a day? (That sounded waaaay creeper than the way I pictured it in my head.)
Oh Mighty Instagram. I would be lost without you. Wait, no. I would sleep way more without you. But one things for sure, sleep deprived aside, my business has BOOM exploded since I began using the platform intentionally. And by exploded, I really mean escalated to that next level we all dream about one day reaching even if it feels impossible. There. I thank Instagram for taking me there, quicker than expected + with no casualties.
So what is it about Instagram? Well, Instagram is yet another visually-centric social network, but unlike it’s counterparts, you can only share your own photos + there are no hyperlinks to direct people to your product or service page. Many see this as a limitation, but for us creatives, this opens up an opportunity to think outside the box + challenge the system with creative solutions.
In today’s episode of Friday Video Time I share my tried + dummy-proof tricks to kill it on Instagram:
These are my 12 tips to win big on Instagram:
- Make it “Instagram”. Use your camera phone to express yourself authentically, not commercially. It’s the nature of the platform.
- Use hashtags to help people find you. Faster.
- If you don’t want hashtags to clutter your posts, no worries. Add them in a comment. Problem solved.
- There’s something really special about real time pictures. Cease the opportunity to broadcast LIVE.
- Artsy + indie far outweighs polished + glossy on Instagram.
- Make your photos tag-a-friend friendly.
- Toughen your selection process. Your social media platforms are an extension of your brand. It’s important for any visitor to look at your feed + understand at a glance what you’re all about. Everything you post adds or subtracts. It’s important for any visitor to look at your feed + understand at a glance what you’re all about.
- Stop the master blaster mode. Don’t automatically pull your Twitter stream into Instragram. Don’t automatically post your Instagram photos to Facebook. You are not only potentially drowning out your message + diluting your value, but you’re misusing the platforms by treating them as one. As Gary Vaynerchuk would suggest, understand how + why people use Instagram or whatever + respect those purposes.
- Tell stories throughout shots of your work + the process + your workspace + behind the scenes. People love it when you pull back the curtains.
- Start a regular series. Posting on a particular theme on a regular schedule is a great way to start a fan base + have people engaged + on the edge of their sits.
- There’s no shame in making your photos more like-worthy. I use Afterlight + A Beautiful Mess App to make small edits.
- Promote amazing talent. Even if Karma is asleep, it feels so good. Try it!
How to you use Instagram to connect with your peeps? Share you ideas in the comments below!
Mayi Carles (aka @mayicarles)
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.
Picked up these Martha-Stewart-would-be-crazy-jealous bamboo salad bowls at a local culinary shop. So divine, I even started petting the wood surface, just as I would a baby Siberian Husky.
As I was pulling out my card to pay the bill, the owner, chatty lady that one was, asked, “Oh, so you cook?”. I would think I’m one of those people with an invisible “I’ve Just Been Released From a Mental Institution, Get Lost” sign on my forehead. Apparently not, cuz before I knew it I was promising signed copies of my up n’ coming cookbook Life is Messy Kitchen + apologizing for not launching a Spanish Edition. Gosh, chatty girl I am. I guess.
“…but you should release a Spanish version too. A lot of people who love to cook speak Spanish, you know?”, the shop owner felt the need to burst out.
The whole spiel left me drained, as my need to please battled with my bitchy ego. A part of me sought approval. The rest, snapped (in silence thank God), “…but you should have another storefront at the mall + another one in New York City + a big one on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile + oh! la la a Paris location too. A lot of people who love to cook + shop go there, you know?”.
In the end, I faked smiled. A lot. And before waiving goodbye I dropped my Priorities Truthbomb like it’s hot. Here’s the Friday Video Time adaptation:
What are your priorities? Wait, but most importantly, what are your non priorities. The not-so-important-right-now stuff you can afford to let go off? Tell me. In the comments.
You don’t have to wait until tomorrow to live more. More can start T-O-D-A-Y.
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.