Meatballs filled with Avocado

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March 9 – this coming Wednesday is officially the (US) national meatball day! What better way then to celebrate this day with a new recipes for meatballs? I’ve thought about going vegan once or twice, quite frankly, I was a vegetarian for almost 4 years of my life (note, that I simply did not like the taste – typical teenage-syndrom everyone goes through I guess). When looking back at it, and despite the reoccuring veganism trend I see ever so often, I currently cannot imagine my life without meat. It just tastes too damn good, and really, it’s just super filling. Never saying never, who knows, I might end up at that stage again one day. For now, however, I want to share this party-perfect recipe for you. This meatball recipe is super simple to make, again contains neither lactose nor gluten, can be easily served as a party-snack or combined to make a lovely meal. This recipe makes 10-12 meatballs, which might not sound like much, but beware, they really are filling (even my dad – hence, a man with good appetite – said so).

What you need
330g minced beef*
1 medium sized egg*
1 medium onion* 
2 teaspoons paprika (powder)
1 teaspoon sea-salt (I use lavender sea salt)
1 teaspoon dried basil teaspoon
½ a medium sized avocado
1 tablespoon of olive oil

*(though it won’t matter if a little more or less)

What to do
1) peel the onion and chop it into small cubes (I use a cutting-mixer)
2) place the minced beef, cut onion, egg, paprika, sea-salt and basil into a large bowl and mix it thoroughly with a fork (or using your hands) until everything is well mashed-up
3) peel the avocado and cut half in little cubes (approx. 1 x 1 cm sized)
4) depending on how fast your stove is, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan (or make this step later if you have a gas-stove or something similar fast)
5) using your hands, place about 2 tablespoons of the beef-mixture in your hand, place a piece of avocado in the middle, and roll the meat around until you’ve reached a golf-ball sized meatball (if needed, add a little more meat – simply make sure the avocado doesn’t peak out anywhere)
6) repeat step 5 until you have used up all of the minced beef mixture – I usually end up with 10-12 meatballs
7) once all meatballs are finished, carefully place them in the pre-heated pan
8) make sure to pan/fry the meatballs from each side, for about 2 minutes, which should be enough for the meatballs to be well-done yet not dry – if you’re unsure, after about 12-15 minutes, simply take one out and cut it in half

Now you can
1) have them immediately whilst warm
2) indulge them with a spicy tomato sauce
3) serve them in a bowl for your guests to snack on whilst gossiping away over which actress wore the best dress at the golden globes 

What do you think of the recipe? I’m already thinking a little further and thinking with what else I could fill these meat-balls, any ideas? For cheese lovers (and myself absolutely not being one), I could imagine that a piece of molten cheese inside doesn’t sound bad either. Either way, with or without meatballs, I wish you a fantastic continuing Sunday! xo

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Chocolate over Chocolate

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Chocolate over chocolate over chocolate – can you believe it? I never used to be a huge chocolate fan, mostly because my stomach didn’t take it all too well. Then I discovered lactose free chocolate and almond milk: my whole world has changed. I absolutely love chocolate now – I still don’t indulge in it daily, though love treating myself from time to time. Speaking of treating, I decided to treat my family last week when my mother and sister came over to visit my dad and I.

If you love chocolate, be warned, you will love this cake. It’s insanely good (yes, padding myself on the shoulder right here), yet it is also extremely heavy. Like, real heavy. As much as I love chocolate, and so does my family, a small piece is more than enough of this little calorie filler. Yep, so much for being healthy – this recipe is far from it. However, it’s important to indulge from time to time and just enjoy the moment.

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Here is what you need for the cake

2 cups & ⅓ cup glutenfree flour
1 ⅓ cups brown sugar (or more if needed; though I found it sweet enough)
2 teaspoons glutenfree baking powder
2 cups almond milk
1 ⅓ cup applesauce (unsweetened)
⅔ cups coconut oil (make sure it is soft)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or 4-5 drops of pure vanilla)
1 cup raw cocoa powder
a hint of salt

How to make the dough

1) Pre-heat the oven to around 180°C (about 350°F)
2) Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl until you have a lovely chocolate dough (do try – it’s delicious!)
3) line your baking dish with coconut oil if you are not using a silicon form
4) place about one half of the dough into the form and put it into the oven
5) depending on the size of the form (I used a small one with a diameter of about 18 cm) the cake will take up to 50min in the oven
Larger forms (speaking of 26cm and the similar) will take about half the time, so make sure to stick a toothpick into the middle after 20 minutes to get a feeling for the cake. It will be done, once no more dough sticks to the toothpick.
6) Once the cake is finished, put it on a tray to let it cool off
7) repeat steps 3-6 with the other half of the dough
8) once both cakes are cooled off, make sure to cut off the top, to achieve a straight cake-top (to easily stack them later)

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What you need for the frosting

2 ½ -3 cups powdered sugar (told you its a calorie filler!)
⅔ cups raw cacao powder (unsweetened again)
1 cup lactose free butter (pre-softened)
¼ cup lactose free chocolate
¼ cup almond milk
2 drops vanilla extract

How to make the frosting

1) melt the chocolate and let it cool off for a few minutes (it can be warm, though should not be hot)
2) add all ingredients into a large bowl and mix them thoroughly until you have the perfect frosting texture. I would start with 2 ½ instead of 3 cups powdered sugar
3) should your frosting be too stiff, add a little more almond milk
4) should your frosting be too soft, add more powdered sugar until you have the perfect frosting

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Building the cake

1) Place the first cake piece onto your dessert plate (or wherever you want to display your cake later)
2) add about 2-3cm of frosting on top of it, making sure it is more or less well spread
3) now add the second cake on top of the first one with frosting – see how it builds up? :)
4) use the rest of the frosting to fully wrap the cake
5) if you have left-over frosting, you can always add a bit more to the top, to sculpt the cake a little more

Voila – the cake is ready! You can either serve it immediately or place it into the fridge for a couple of hours. If you leave it in the cake, the frosting will stiffen quite a bit, which is why I personally prefer it outside for the frosting to have the fresh, yet soft texture.

We didn’t manage to even eat half of the cake, as I had said, it’s a real chocolate bomb. Instead, my boss was lucky enough to receive almost a half of the cake for himself and his family. So unless you are really, really hungry and can eat super much chocolate, I advise baking for family, friends or loved ones. I’m sure they will love you for it!

Good luck with the recipe, enjoy the cake and have a wonderful Thursday! xo

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Chipotle Summer Salad

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Chipotle! Oh, it’s when I hear that word I already start drewling and simultaneously digging up my memories from San Diego & LA from three years ago. Time passes way too quickly – really in the mood for flying over to LA again, to explore some more of that city and eat myself through all the wonderful restaurants and coffee houses. But I don’t want to dwell in the past, so instead, I’ve made my own chipotle salad the other day – warning; deliciousness has the potential to overwhelm!

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What you see here in one bambus bowl, is actually a recipe for two hungry people – I got so into the whole decoration that I made way too much to possibly eat and so packed the rest for the next day (lunch).

What you see here are some delicious layers of

1) cooked wild rice (cooled down)
2) about 200g of minced beef
(pre-cooked with salt, pepper, and lots of chili & fresh herbs – depending on preference)
3) ½ of a small lettuce head
4) 1 small can of red beans
5) 1 small can of pre-cooked corn
6) homemade guacamole
(1 ripe avocado smashed, juice of ½ lemon, pepper, salt, chili as per taste)
7) a handful of mixed cherry tomatoes 

Voila! The dish is made super, super fast since all you need to do is pre-cook the rice (I thank my rice-cooking machine) and the meat. Upon preference, one can have both of these ingredients warm when making the salad, yet I preferred everything cooled down as we had a heat-wave running over Zurich and on those days there is nothing better than a cold salad in my mind. Also, once cooled down the dish is perfect for taking to work (or school) or even keeping it for the next night.

My next add-on: roll it up! I imagine the above ingredients fitting perfectly into a burrito and thus making a chipotle burrito to either eat at home or when on-the-go. I’ll definetly try that idea soon with some glutenfree homemade burritos soon!

With that – I wish you all a great Sunday and happy cooking! xo

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Why and How to Stay Hydrated

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Water. You would think there is nothing special about it, yet, it is the one thing our bodies cannot live without. I admit, I barely used to drink water – yes, a glass here and there but I was a sucker for Coke Zero and all other “calorie free” soft drinks. Several months ago, I stopped all of it. I completely live off of water now (and the occasional alcohol, which I am not counting to satisfy my thirst).

Hydration is the most important thing, especially now that summer (in Zurich) is coming up and we already experienced our first heat wave. Over 70% of the world is covered in water, each organism needs it to survive, and we as humans, are basically made up of water. Everything we touch (except for plastic, maybe) needs water or has been produced using it. So here are a few tip to making sure that you always stay hydrated and why water is the best method to do so.

1) It’s cheap – literally, almost free. Depending on what country you live in and if you have access to fresh water from the tap – it barely costs a thing. Here in Switzerland I am fortunate enough to being able to drink tap water. Think about it: no more carrying pounds or kilos of soft drinks! If you’re not too sure about the tap water, there are quite cheap filters out there, which enable you to drink the tap water without any concerns.

2) It keeps you hunger in limits. You have probably heard and read it often enough, but I try and remind myself daily. It’s usually that time between my main meals when suddenly, out of no where, my stomach starts to grumble. I used to think I was hungy – again! How wrong I was, often times, if not almost always, the body will scream for hydration and unfortunately we often interpret it with us being hungry. So the next time your stomach grumbles and you seem confused because you should still be full – drink, drink drink! It will work wonders.

3) Always have water with you. This is probably the most important thing, especially now in summer. How often have I run errands in the city or elsewhere, suddenly super thirsty and grabbing a cool, chill Coke. Well, not the healthiest choice and really not the best drink to hydrate the body. Instead, make sure to always carry a small water bottle with you. The only time you might not be able to, is when you go out clubbing.

4) Speaking of clubbing – do not forget to drink a glass of water or even two, when having alcoholic drinks. I always make sure to ask the bartender to hand me a glass of tap water with my drinks for me to get enough water. Another plus point – the alcohol doesn’t get to you as fast and you drink a little less of it. Most importantly though, drink lots of water when returning home. I try to drink half a liter of water before jumping into bed – it really helps avoiding that possible hangover.

5) Make it tasty! I always hear (and was the same) that water is boring, plain, tastless,.. you name it! Okay, I’ve gotten to the point were I am “used” to it and really don’t mind the missing taste. If you think about it, it’s rather great because you don’t feel the urge and need to put more sweets into your mouth. Yet, tasty water is always great in summer. Try adding fruit or vegetables to your water – fruit infused water, it seems to be the IT thing to do at the moment. And of course, I admit to doing it daily too. I especially love adding the combination on my photos: lime, cucumber and mint. It is an amazing combination and the mint really comes out great (make sure to hold the mint in your hands and clap your hands to “slap” the leaves – it brings out the flavor so well!).

Now, I hope these few tips helped you if you don’t already indulge in your daily 1.5-3 liters of water. I don’t really count on how much I drink, yet always try to re-fill up my 0.5L bottle at least 2 times a day (making it 1.5L) – now in the summer I usually fill it up 3-4 times even.

What’s your favorite water-combo, do you have one? Let me know and I’ll make sure to try it out! xo

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Gluten- & Dairyfree Banana Bread

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Good morning folks and happy Wednesday! Some of you might have seen me sharing my ‘in the making’ baking picture of my Banana Bread on my Instagram. I love banana bread – I used to make banana cake all the time actually. Then I wasn’t allowed to have any gluten and my old recipe fell into dust. I’ve been thinking of making a similar recipe the past weeks on a constant now, so this past weekend I finally tried out throwing in some ingredients. It worked – the banana bread is absolutely delicious. I’ve had it in the mornings for breakfast with either egg or avocado and some fruit. I’ve decided to call it banana bread rather than cake, because it really is more like bread: the texture is too similar.

Not only is this bread gluten and dairy free, but also quite healthy. It has a little bit of sugar in it, I admit, however all other ingredients are organic and natural. So if any of you are interested in trying out this delicious and easy-to-make banana bread, here is what you need:

– 4 ripe bananas
– 1 ¼ cups of ground hazelnut
– 1 ¼ cups of buckwheat flakes
– 1 ¼ cups of buckwheat wholemeal flour
– 1 egg
– ½ cup of brown sugar
– ¼ of golden syrup / agave syrup
– ½ tablespoon cinnamon
– ¼ tablespoon baking powder (gluten free)
– 5-8 drops of pure vanilla / or one fresh vanilla
– 4 tablespoons of coconut oil
– ¾ cups almond milk

bake at 180°C / around 355 F, for about 45 minutes

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You want to start by peeling the 4 bananas and mashing them well until you get what you see on the bottom left corner of the above picture. I used my kitchen machine for the mashing as well, as I couldn’t be bothered to do it by hand. It is however also possible to mash them well with a fork, should you not have a kitchen machine available. Once mashed well, add all the other ingredients, starting from the hazelnut up until the almond milk. Some prefer to adding one ingredient after another and then mixing it all up everytime you have added something. Please feel free to try that as well, however, I admit I am too impatient for so much work when it comes to baking.

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Once you have mixed and mashed everything well, you will end up with a semi-fluid dough as (again) the third picture above. You are now ready to fill in into the baking dish. I used a regular rectangular one for this bread made out of special silicon. If you do not have one made out of silicon, do remember to grease the form well with butter or use baking paper instead.

Now place the filled form into the pre-heated oven and off you go – I used the time for working out at home actually. After about 45-50 minutes the banana bread was done and I can tell you my apartment smelled delicious. I let it cool off for around 20 minutes before taking it out of the form but I couldn’t wait to try it while it was still warm. One hint I can give you if you prefer it warm at all times: the microwave. If you have one and feel like having a warm slice, just pop it in for about 20-40 seconds (depending on how hot it turns) and voila, as if fresh out of the oven. The bread should hold around one week if you keep it open, however it is also possible to freeze the rest for later use.

Voila: done is your gluten and dairy free banana bread! For anyone wanting to try it out and post about it,  I would love to hear how it turned out, what you changed or what you ate it with in the mornings. Feel free to add #StylePhantomrecipes to your instagram photos and I will make sure to check out what you have posted! xo

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