Nov
25

Oh hey, it’s me. And apparently I’m the only blogger around who hasn’t made an extensive list of EVERYTHING you need to make for Thanksgiving. Perhaps it’s because I’ve never been that into the traditional Thanksgiving meal up until a few years ago; before that my Thanksgiving consisted of Mom’s stacked enchiladas, posole, spanish rice and empanadas. The only thing traditional we have got was pumpkin pie (because I requested it of course). And who could get sick of those kind of leftovers? Not me.

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Nov
23

Have you baked something yet this holiday season? Something fantastically sweet, warm and ooey-gooey? If not, I encourage you to take the time out. There’s something spectacular about having a giant baking day with your friends and family; and of course, I’m here to set you up for baking success.

It’s actually quite ridiculous how many cookie recipes I have on this blog. Gluten free ones, double chocolate, lots of brown butter, and some hearty oatmeal bites too! So of course, when Caribou Coffee asked to partner with me to help celebrate their new Gingersnap Cookie Mocha, I was delighted to bake a cookie that would pair perfectly with their new creation. Or of course if you aren’t a fan of mochas or lattes, you could try dipping this scrumptious cookie in a hot cup of coffee (their holiday Reindeer Blend is absolutely fabulous).

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Nov
20

Thanksgiving is in a week. But instead of providing you with an extensive list of what you should absolutely make for the big T-day, I bring you stuffed peppers. Ummm with a homemade sloppy joe filling, quinoa and cheese. Sometimes I do not know why I do the things I do; they just seem delicious.

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Nov
19

Hi I’m Monique. And I’m a chronic late night over eater. That’s right, every night I find myself in the kitchen cupboards searching for something to eat; and I’m not talking about just a small sized snack, but more like a full blown meal. In fact, I wait until I’m practically starving so that I can have a larger portion.

Of course this whole habit of mine started when I wasn’t eating enough during the day. Does that ever happen to you? You know the whole I’m going on a diet this week reasoning that leads to a complete 180 in the opposite direction. Or perhaps you don’t eat enough at dinner just so you can save room for that giant slice of cake or for loading up on extra frozen yogurt toppings. Whatever the reason, I’m right there with you.

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Nov
17

There’s a part of me that says Thanksgiving isn’t really Thanksgiving unless we’re serving pumpkin pie for dessert. You may feel the same. A few years ago, I started incorporating other desserts into our menu; for both my creative pleasure and because I got the sense that not everyone is as outrageously nuts over pumpkin pie as I am. To those people: LIKE WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T EAT IT FOR BREAKFAST THE NEXT DAY?

Brain does not compute.

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Nov
15

Hello you lovely souls. I’m sitting in a beautiful, cozy king bed writing to you from Hilton Head Health, a fitness and wellness resort in Hilton Head, SC. This past week has been so refreshing for me in more ways than I can fathom to write about. Sometimes you just can’t put into words what you feel when your heart is steady and content.  I feel beyond lucky to be invited here; the inspiration in wellness classes, new friends and being a little more vulnerable has left me with a realization that I must let go of my fears of judgement when it comes to blogging and being more personal.

My goodness can you believe AK has been cooking for a little over 3 years? I’ve written here about my life experiences, career changes, moving, relationships, friendships and my ever growing obsession with Zac Efron.

What I haven’t included is my real and constant battle with food; certainly it is the love of my life (questionable due to Tony).  I don’t want this post to become too heavy, but do want you to know that this blog will change and grow, just as any human being does. And as any relationship goes, I hope we’re in this together; that you’ll still come to AK to make my recipes because they certainly are not going away. I’ll just be writing more about this journey I’m on.

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Nov
12

You would think that in the digital age cookbooks would have gone completely out of style, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. There’s something about holding that book full of cherished recipes in your hands; to get crumbs and grease stains over the pages. Cookbooks can easily become your go-to cooking resource for when your party planning, impressing a date or just baking up something sweet.

Yes that’s right, I believe cookbooks are here to stay for quite sometime. I love paging through all of mine and being enticed by all of the gorgeous, mouth-watering photos and stories that go along with each recipe. They challenge and inspire me to try something new in the kitchen AND get me excited about what I’m going to be creating. I also have learned to expand my culinary expertise and become a better cook/baker along the way.

This Wellness Wednesday post is a little bit simpler as I’m traveling this week to a Health and Wellness Retreat in Hilton Head, South Carolina. I wanted to take a step back and share with you some of my biggest healthy cooking resources as I know the holidays are coming up and it will be gift giving time. All of the cookbooks below have inspired me to eat healthier and think about food in new forms. All have different approaches to eating, but I know you’ll find a few that you’ll enjoy or of course, a few for some friends/family who love cooking and baking.

Andddddd if you’re wondering if cookbooks are worth the purchase, the answer is YES! You have the chance to own these book for the rest of your life, to pass them down and share with others. You can put it on a shelf and come back to it time and time again. So… here we go!

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Nov
11

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Kansas City to attend ChoppedCon, a small blogging conference with incredible speakers and attendees. It was one of the best conferences that I’ve ever been to, partly because of the location but also because the content was fabulous.

My friend Maegan from The BakerMama decided that we would take the weekend to have a fun trip and do some exploring around the city. Now when I usually get together with her, it means I’m eating a lot of sweets because she loves baking and exploring cute bakery shops. I love when I get to spend time with her because she’s always getting me to try the tastiest treats in each city!

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Nov
10

Hi. How was your weekend? I have to admit that I was so incredibly lazy. I literally watched Vampire Diaries on Netflix for over four hours yesterday. Oh and did I mention that my apartment isn’t really unpacked yet from the move? Tony and I attempted to put some things away but apparently I have wayyy too many kitchen appliances and hardly enough cabinet space. I think I need to get a prop table and maybe a cabinet for extra storage. I love when I actually have a reason to visit HomeGoods!

Yeahhhh…. so basically total procrastination over here.

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Nov
06

I know I’ve been baking a lot. Perhaps too much. You’re probably waiting for some miraculously delicious salad with quinoa and some other hippie things, but today I couldn’t help but bring you a new cookie recipe because helloooo… it’s cookie season and I freaking love to bake them.

I know that most of time we’re all about healthy goodies but there’s no holding back when it comes to cookies this time of year.

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Nov
05

Oh my goodness! I was so overwhelmed by the positive responses I recieved on my last Wellness Wednesday post. Actually I’m beyond excited that many of you could relate to what I wrote and also that you’re eager for me to continue the series. Thank you, thank you for all of your emails! I am working on responding to them, but have been a bit crazy with the recent move.

This week I’m choosing to focus on something that has been life-changing for me: Learning how to relax and stress less. I know it seems simple, but many people actually struggle with learning how to relax and enjoy time to themselves because they’re chasing success, happiness and perfection without even realizing it. Over the past few years, I valued my ambition and success as a feeling of contentment. I drove myself into the ground keeping busy by perfecting every project I took on and basically just being an extreme overachiever. I’m not sure where it all began; I actually think I might have always been this way however it magnified once I began working on both my blog and corporate job.

You see for me everything needed to be the best, it had to be. Then after work, I’d head to the gym so I could work on achieving a perfect body. Then I’d get home with barely any time left in the evening, make myself dinner, and sit back down to work and/or blog. Often times, I’d stay up until 2am just to finish a project or to edit a post. On the weekends, I never allowed myself a break; I would develop recipes, write and edit until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. Then get up and do it all over again. It felt like I wasn’t experiencing my life or being kind to myself.

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Nov
04

All I pretty much want to do today is tell  you about how intoxicating and delicious this casserole is. But first I need to tell you about the long journey to Chicago and my new apartment.

I honestly can’t tell you how much I despise moving. It actually could be one of the worst things ever. Thank goodness for my boyfriend because I wouldn’t have been able to get through the move without him. I kid you not, I would have given up on packing, curled up into a ball and probably just cried in my bedroom corner. I’m the worst at it. I get distracted way too easily and end up going through old photos, digging through my closet and who knows what else. I have moving ADD. For reals.

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