Oct
19

Hi guys! I hope your weekend was absolutely fabulous.

I’m excited and kinda also freaking out about this week. I’m getting ready for the big move to Chicago; but have I told you that I’m the absolute worst at packing? I’m serious! Anytime I go on a trip, I always pack the morning of or late the night before. It’s ridiculous really. This weekend my mom came over to help me pack, while I spent most of my time cleaning out my closet attempting to figure out if I should get rid of any of my clothes, shoes and purses. And then it’s like all I want to do is avoid packing by baking more or shopping myself silly on the internet. Oops.

The exciting part about this week is that I’m heading to Kansas City for Chopped Con, a food blogging conference. My friend Maegan and I are going to stay the weekend and explore all of the delicious bakeries and restaurants in KC, so if you have any recommendations I’d love to hear them!

Read more.


May
05

Blueberry Vanilla Buttermilk Greek Yogurt Pancakes - fluffy & tender pancakes!

Mother’s day is right around the corner. Each and every day I thank God how lucky I am to have a Mother who is kind, selfless, caring, and encouraging.

My mom lifts me up when I’m down, encourages me to always be the best person I can be, and absolutely loves me unconditionally. After my father passed away several years ago, my mom and I became inseparable. I’ve learned to keep the people you love close, let the little things go, and be appreciative of what you have.

Giving back to Mothers is such a hard thing to do. How can you give someone something who has given you everything? You really can’t. But making her pancakes is pretty close. They’re made with love after all.

Blueberry Vanilla Buttermilk Greek Yogurt Pancakes - fluffy & tender pancakes!

These pancakes are incredibly fluffy, moist, and absolutely melt in your mouth. And there’s actually TWO secret ingredients that keep them light, fluffy and tender:

Buttermilk: The tang and richness it brings to baked goods is undeniable. I promise you’ll notice the difference. It’s slightly acidic and so when mixed with baking powder, it will allow the pancakes to rise and keep them from breaking down. The result is a tender fluffy pancake that will leave you speechless – promise.

Greek Yogurt: Adding greek yogurt to pancakes makes them the holy grail of breakfasts, I swear. It helps to thicken up the batter, but still leaves you with the lightest pancake. Pretty magical.

Blueberry Vanilla Buttermilk Greek Yogurt Pancakes - fluffy & tender pancakes!

Read more.


Aug
12

01-IMG_1979 Hey there! It’s been a while since we’ve just chatted. You know about life, fitness, and non-recipes.

Sometimes we have to do that. To just catch up. I hope this doesn’t bore you.

First let me start out by saying that I LOVE salad bars. All of the healthy quinoa salads, kale galore, and every veggie you could imagine is a dream.

Usually I tend to go vegetarian at the salad bars but if I’m extra hungry I’ll get a little chicken. Then there’s always spinach, kale, and romaine for a bit of crunch. I top my salad with chickpeas, grape tomatoes, olives, red peppers, peas and mushrooms. Oh and red onion! I adore red onions. Lastly I drizzle a bit of red wine vinegar and sometimes a dash of sesame oil. TOTAL NOMS.

Few things are better than salad bars.

02-IMG_2126

Except for chocolate.

My favorite is the Intense Dark Cabernet Matinee. It has a hint of wine and blackberry flavor.

SO SO GOOD. What’s your fav?

03-IMG_2124

I”m very fond of Greek Yogurt. Actually no, I would say obsessed.

Here’s a fun twist on it I found. YUMMY.

08-IMG_2421

 I get to do cool things for work. Like hang out with this guy!

09-IMG_2482

Read more.


May
03

Oh hi! So if you’ve been making my recipes, you probably know that I’m a huge fan of Silk brand milk. Typically I go for their almond milk, but today there’s a new star on my mind: the super delicious Silk Soymilk!

Yes, it’s dairy-free and yes, it’s completely delicious! I love the fact that their soy milk packs protein and good-for-you nutrients! And guess what? Silk is also a part of the non-GMO project! WIN!

So how will you use Silk? Let me offer up a few fun suggestions:

Start your morning with whole wheat banana quinoa pancakes using Silk:

Whole Wheat Banana Quinoa Pancakes

OMG YES. I’m drooling.

Oh, but maybe you’re on the go. You could whip up a filling breakfast smoothie.

Or just grab a pretty muffin. Such flavorful bites of health they are! See?

1-Strawberry Oat Muffins

Now for lunch…

How about upping the protein of this gorgeous maple  butternut squash soup by adding some Silk Vanilla Soymilk? Yes please!

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Maple

See? Baking and cooking with Silk Soymilk is easy! In fact many of my recipes that call for regular or almond milk can easily use Silk.

Tell me: what’s your favorite way to use Silk?




Thank you for continuing to support Ambitious Kitchen. This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are always my own.

This post is brought to you by Silk. Take the Tastemaker Challenge on facebook.com/silkUS.


Mar
15

1-photo (59)

Now that it’s the weekend, I give you full permission to indulge in frozen yogurt with a million toppings. It’s not like you needed my permission or anything; I’m just letting you know it’s a really good idea.

I have A LOT of things to do this weekend and I need to start now! I’m heading to Chicago Monday for a few days plus I’m really hoping to have the new blog design finished within the next month so I’ll be working away. Of course, I’ll be drinking a GREEN margarita at some point.

Anyway I’ll leave you with my favorites from the past week:

 

  • Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with this Irish inspired bread.

 

 

  • Rice Krispie treats made with Lucky Charms!

 

  • Five people you’ll fall in love with.

 

  • Gorgeous carrot cake with one of my favorite frostings in the freaking world.

 

  • Check out what Whole Foods just announced about labeling foods.

 

  • Google Reader is dead as of July 1st; learn how to switch to BlogLovin’ here and then follow Ambitious Kitchen!

 

 

  • How do you top your bagel?

 

  • If you’re a fellow yogi, you’ll love these inversions (& get ready to pin away)!

 

  • 3-ingredient girl scout cookies for the weekend.

 

  • Dying to bake these cupcakes for my Godkids and then secretly lick the frosting bowl clean. Come on, you would too!

 

Have a lucky weekend! xo

 

 


Feb
21

Confession of the day: I’m an absolute lover of mini meals because I consider them real treats! For example, my go-to snacks are bananas rolled in toasted almonds, rice cakes with cottage cheese and honey, or cereal with ice cold almond milk. Oh and margaritas! Because those can be considered snacks, right?

Anyway I’m getting back to the point here… I eat a lot of carbs, and that’s a problem. But you guys, I just ADORE nooks-and-crannies english muffins and basically every flavor or Cheerios to ever hit the market (minus Dulce de Leche).

Raise your hand if I just described you, too.

Surprisingly I’ve managed to stop buying both bread and cereal so now the only carb-like food lurking in my cupboards is a pack of rice cakes, low-carb tortillas, and apparently marshmallow creme, which I ate from the jar last night while watching old episodes of Felicity.

I don’t know if you know this but teen drama from the 90s is extremely stressful.

So this whole low-carb thing means that I am  forced to give up pasta and opt for something else to pair tomato sauce with. That’s where spaghetti squash comes in handy; it’s gluten-free, low-carb, and freaking delicious! Did you know that one cup of spaghetti squash only has 42 calories and 8 net carbs? I can literally eat platefuls of it!

The real star today isn’t the spaghetti squash though; it’s my homemade arrabbiata sauce — a spicy tomato marinara sauce with garlic and herbs. I was reading somewhere that arrabbiato means angry in Italian, which for me just translates into one mean, spicy marinara! It is sensational, especially when paired with garden veggies.

I enjoy making homemade tomato sauce because I love knowing what ingredients are being used plus the flavors are always bold and fresh. I thought it would be fun to show you how I make my favorite sauce without canned ingredients so that you can enjoy it too! Trust me, once you try this you won’t go back. Read more.


Feb
10

Blueberries

During mid-winter have you ever craved juicy sweet strawberries, bright red raspberries or those blueberries that just burst in your mouth? I think it’s evident by my recipes that I do. I absolutely love enjoying fresh flavorful produce year-round!

My parents raised me to embrace the freshest fruits and vegetables. They also taught me how to be conscious of where my food was coming from; that’s why I love enjoying local in-season fruits and veggies whenever possible. However, when I’m working on a recipe during the holidays, or even if I’m just craving fresh strawberry shortcake or my lemon blueberry quinoa pancakes mid-winter, I’m thankful to be able to find produce from Chile that I can put to good use. I recently stumbled upon the fruits and vegetables that are exported by this absolutely breathtaking country and was utterly impressed with both the flavor and freshness. Recently, I even made my famous apple crisp with some of their apples. It was truly divine.

A unique characteristic of Chile is that their produce is in season when the United States isn’t, plus their richly unique agriculture and nearly perfect climate allows them to export some of the finest quality produce in a safe and sustainable manner. The Chilean geography is a diverse one too, and perhaps is why they’re able to export delectable wine, olive oil, almonds, seafood and much more! It ranges from mountains to rain forests to even deserts; this offers the perfect climate for a wide variety of food to grow.

Oh and Chilean people certainly love their food too! This month Foods from Chile is hosting a blogger contest which offers the opportunity to visit Mercado Central in Santiago, a world-renowned food market, and also other cultural heritage sites. Of course I had to enter, and could not be more excited to be sharing the country’s culture and delicious food with all of you!

So remember next time you’re at the store, look for delicious foods from Chile!


Feb
08

Grandma & Grandpa

Since Valentine’s Day is next week, I wanted to introduce you to two incredibly sweet people: my grandparents! They’ve been married for over 60 years and are still in love and going strong! Their relationship is truly one of inspiration, and I hope someday that I can have a love as strong as the one they hold together. Gosh, they’re too cute.

In other news, I’ve been pretty much drooling over everything on Pinterest. Did you know that during this past week it was World Nutella Day, National Pancake Day, and National girl scout cookie day? Why do these all happen in the span of a week? Someone needs to schedule these more appropriately for my diet. Ugh.

Guess what else I need to do? My taxes! I plan on chugging like four margaritas after. Anyway let’s get on with it! Here are my Friday favorites from around the web:

  • I have been craving pizza like a cavewoman. I don’t know what that means, but I want a slice right now. There are no links. I just had to tell you that.

 

  • Like peanut butter and jelly? Love donuts? Combine the two and it’s a little magical.

 

 

 

 

  • Have you seen this sweet 6-minute Disney movie? If not, it’s a must!

 

  • If you need a death-by-chocolate dessert to bake, this cheesecake is the one.

 

  • 9 important things to remember around Valentine’s Day.

 

  • Does anyone else love frosted and sprinkled covered animal crackers? Well I found a recipe that turns them into truffles. Omg.

 

  • song I’m loving.

 

 

  • Proof that you need to buy all seasons of Felicity and watch them ASAP.

 

Have a sweet weekend! xo


Feb
03

Are you a french fry lover? I sure am! Good quality french fries of all shapes and sizes are one of my favorite ways to indulge on a Sunday.

In my experience, some of the best fries can be found at your local burger joint — you know that hole-in-the-wall spot everyone loves? In Minnesota there’s a small dive bar called The Nook and my goodness… it is completely amazing! I don’t even eat beef burgers, but I would totally devour a Juicy Lucy (a burger stuffed with cheese) if I was there. Oh and their fries? Heavenly, hand-cut, and rich with flavor to balance out that juicy burger. Please go if you ever find yourself in the Tundra.

And now that we’re onto the subject of restaurant fries, we should chat about Manhattan Beach Post in Manhattan Beach, California. This place is one of my favorites and truly has some of the best fries I’ve ever tasted in my life. I should also mention that MB Post makes bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits that are so good they make you want to cry, which is another reason you should stop by. Just please don’t forget the seriously huge steak fries that are so effortlessly perfect for dipping. Mmmm I just lovvveee them!

photo (33)

Now of course, I can’t go around eating hand cut french fries at restaurants allll the time. That’s why I love that Alexia Foods makes frozen fries that come out perfectly crisp when you bake them in the oven. Their sweet potato waffle fries were my go-to snack during the Super bowl and I made an incredible spicy dipping sauce to go with them. It’s essentially love at first bite. And no, I’m not just saying that.

1-IMG_7845

Read more.


Jan
25

photo (27)

Any big plans this weekend?

I’ll be working on recipe development for a few partnerships, and also grabbing dinner and drinks with one of my girlfriends. Other then that, my time will be devoted to yoga and getting organized! I’ve been flipping through old photos lately, and stumbled upon this gem of Dad and I at the pool. I wanted to share it all with you because it’s a special memory. The photo was taken in 1990 and apparently my Dad thought it would be cool to wear neon pink swim trunks. What a happy moment.

Anyway since it’s Friday, I wanted to share with you a few favorites links from around the internet. Here we go…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Fun leopard print nail polish design.

 

  • A comforting whole wheat roasted veggie lasagna for under 300 calories? Yes please!

 

 

  • What is this Paleo diet everyone keeps talking about, and should you try it?

 

  • Twitter launched Vine, a free mobile service that creates videos. Here are five reasons why you should download it.

 

 

Have an amazing weekend! xo

 


Jan
24

The Good BeanIf you’ve been reading Ambitious Kitchen for a while, you already know that I’m completely addicted to grocery shopping. It’s just a thing I do when I’m stressed, or even when I need a little creative outlet. It’s simple: I pace the aisles back and forth, looking at different ingredients and coming up with recipe ideas in my head. And of course, I’m always on the look out for fun new products to tell you guys about, especially if they’re healthy! Or if they have brown butter. Hehe.

This past week The Good Bean company contacted me to see if I’d like some samples of their product and do a giveaway. I usually don’t turn down free food, so of course I said yes!

The Good BeanThe Good Bean makes roasted chickpea snacks and Fruit & No-Nut Bars. They’re gluten-free and non-GMO, one serving of their chickpea snacks has as much fiber as 2 cups of broccoli, as much protein as an egg, as much folate as 3 cups of spinach, and they are freaking delicious! Their chickpea snacks come in four different flavors: sea salt, cracked pepper, smokey chili & lime, and sweet cinnamon. My favorite were the the sea salt and sweet cinnamon flavors. I found myself munching on the snacks on my way to the gym. They’re also perfect for topping on salads or even sprinkling on your greek yogurt in the morning!

The Fruit & NO-NUT Bars (made with chickpeas instead of nuts) were by far my favorite. Each bar has 40-60% less fat than the leading Fruit & Nut Bars. They have three varieties: apricot coconut, fruit & seeds trail mix, and chocolate berry. The chocolate berry bar is amazing, and they’re actually filling! The reason the bars aren’t photographed is because I ate them all. Seriously like ripped them open and devoured them. Sometimes I have no self control.

The Good Bean

Read more.


Jan
15

I’m a little bit late in posting this, but I wanted to share with you the Top 15 recipes on Ambitious Kitchen in 2012. I also was inspired to include some of your amazing comments, as I feel that hearing someone else’s success on a recipe is always encouraging. Ultimately, I feel so amazed and blessed by your readership, stories, comments and emails. You inspire me much more than you know!

I’m looking forward to sharing more photos, recipes, adventures, and cooking with all of you in 2013. If there’s anything you’d like to see more of, be sure to leave a comment or send me an email; I’d love to hear from you. Now on to the recipes!

  

15. Lemon Blueberry Quinoa Pancakes

CC says, “Just made these for my father-in-law for Father’s Day (second time making them) and I wanted to share that you have won him over. He wouldn’t ever consider eating quinoa before today (“too healthy”), but I whisked this cup in under the radar and he LOVED it/them! Love the healthy, tasty recipes you share. Keep up the great work/passion!”

Lemon Blueberry Quinoa Pancakes

14. Vegan + Gluten-Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Arwen wrote, “This is SUPER tasty. Like, shockingly so. I’m not sure if it messes up the healthy factor if you eat half a loaf in a day, but that’s definitely the direction I’m heading in. Not sure I mind too much.”

Vegan & Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Banana Bread

13. Vegan Detox Green Monster Smoothie

Laura said, “I made this on Tuesday and was daydreaming about it all of yesterday while fasting for Yom Kippur, and I had leftovers of it this morning, and I’m making more now to have tomorrow morning!”

Vegan Detox Smoothie

12. Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Homemade Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Kira says, “Just made these for dinner with cornmeal crusted tilapia and mixed greens. The dipping sauce is amazing! I almost considered not making it but I’m delighted I did. Another culinary masterpiece from Monique!”

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce for Sweet Potato Fries from ambitiouskitchen.com

11. Banana ‘Ice Cream’ with Toasted Coconut, Almonds, & Dark Chocolate

Karissa said, “Result: It was so easy to scoop out, even after that amount of time; literally like the texture of real ice cream! Hooray! We didn’t eat all of it, so the rest is still being stored for later. I thought I would have to chip/scrape or thaw the banana ‘ice cream’ after the refreezing, but nope, it was perfect!”

Banana Ice Cream #vegan

Read more.