May
23

Tony got me a wonderful ice cream maker for my birthday last December and I finally put it to good use with this absolutely amazing vegan wild blueberry lavender coconut ice cream.

The first time I ever had lavender ice cream was at Jeni’s here in Chicago. It was a marvelous wildberry lavender flavor that was bright purple, sweet, floral and uber creamy. Probably one of my favorite ice creams that I’ve ever had. During the summertime, fruity ice creams are where it’s at.

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May
18

Meet my favorite new brownie. Trust me, it’s an important introduction. It’s kind of like when you meet your soulmate and want to make sure your friends all approve. This brownie situation is similar; I really, really hope you all approve. How could you not? They’re freaking fantastic fudgy almond flour brownies! Too many f words?

When was the last time you had a brownie anyway? I’m talking about a rich, fudgy brownie that talks to sweetly your soul and warms your heart with love. One that you need a big glass of milk for.

Those are exactly these kind of brownies.

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May
15

It was my Mom’s birthday last week and unfortunately I couldn’t be with her. Living apart from your mom seems to get harder the older you get. Lucky for me, I’m going to visit her next month!

To make up for lost time, I plan on making her this stir fry and a fresh cherry pie (her favorite!). I can just imagine Mom licking the plate clean; she loves peanut sauce. Yep, being peanut butter lover is a family trait.

Except for Dad, who really didn’t like anything peanut butter. LIKE WHAT?

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May
09

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a cookie for breakfast. Now raise your hand if it was an epic buttery chocolate chip cookie, or basically anything leftover from holiday or party festivities.

Yep, that’s what I thought. We’ve all been there. Sometimes leftover chocolate chip cookies sitting on the counter are just too good to pass up at 8am. I feel you.

But hold up! I’ve got a fantastic recipe for you today that’s nutritious, free of refined sugars, is naturally vegan AND gluten free. Sounds a little too good to be true, right?

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Apr
28

The other day I was thinking about how different my eating has been since two years ago. I’ve discovered this amazing accomplishment of balance and clean focused eating in my diet. I’ve stayed away from the extremes of overeating and undereating and somehow just seem to be in this happy place. Before I would conceptualize what it would feel like to enjoy the benefits of eating wholesome, nutritious foods while still enjoying a burger or a giant chocolate chip cookie every now and then. It seemed so distant. Now my feet are in the place I wished I always could be; it feels like a wonderful, significant achievement.

As I’ve mentioned before, there are several things I’ve done to find this balance. One of them was nourishing my body with nutritious food every few hours. The second was prepping meals and snack ahead of time. The third was always making sure to enjoy a treat every now and then, because life’s too short not to. We’re never going to be perfect eaters. Perhaps the perfection in eating, is choosing balance? Food for thought, I suppose.

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Apr
26

Hi Spring. So nice of you to finally arrive and warm my bones.

When you’re from the Midwest, you know that there’s a huge discrepancy from when the calendar says it’s officially spring to when it actually gets warm out. Some years it just goes from Winter to Summer in the span of a week.

This Spring has been kind though, it’s been warm and beautiful here in Chicago for a few weeks now. In fact, I just started running outside again and have already made it up to 5 miles. Another plus is that I beat my average pace from Fall, which is AWESOME. Unfortunately, ever since I had to quit yoga because of my neck and back issues, I find my hip flexors and butt to be extremely tight after running. I do roll both out, but clearly need to find other stretches to help me. Suggestions welcome and appreciated!

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Apr
25

How was your weekend? I went on an adventure to Home Depot so I could pick up a few pegs to hold up my newly painted office bookshelf. While at the HD, I got asked a total of 14 times if I needed help. Seriously, I started counting because around every corner there was a man with a bright orange apron approaching me. I’m not sure if it’s because I was wandering around with a lost look on my face or if it was because they have wonderful customer service. Maybe both?

Another great discovery is that they serve popcorn at my local Chicago HD store. It got me thinking that they should really start serving more comfort foods similar to Costco. Maybe some of this quinoa mac and cheese? I’d be shopping at HD errrrrrday.

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Apr
18

How was your weekend, friends? It seems like Spring finally decided to come out over the weekend and I’m feeling extra joyful because of it.

On Saturday, Tony and I went consignment and resale store shopping. I spotted a mid century modern bookshelf for $60 and knew immediately I had to have it for my office! I’m trying to best to get organized, so having a bookshelf for photography props and books is a must. I opted to paint the bookshelf white and it turned out absolutely stunning. I’m very, very excited to show you my office makeover (hopefully soon!).

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Apr
11

I have an endless supply of recipe ideas sitting in my drafts for you at all times. Like these peppers, who have been waiting to make their glorious appearance on Ambitious Kitchen for nearly two months.

Somedays I wish I could live in my kitchen, leaving the writing, editing, photography and all the other things behind. My happy place is recipe creation; fitting flavors and ingredients together like a puzzle. It’s my favorite part about my job. And also you all. Seeing all the recipes you make of mine makes me extraordinarily happy. I’m in awe that I get to create this life for myself, which keeps me inspired and feeling creative on a daily basis. You’re making this girl’s dream come true.

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Apr
06

It always feels exceptional to wake up and notice banana bread sitting on the counter waiting to be devoured. You know it’s going to be even better than it was the first day, if that’s even possible. Yet you tell yourself you’ll have it later, perhaps for an afternoon treat.

Shortly after you open the pantry and peer into the fridge, you realize you’re absolutely having that banana bread for breakfast. There’s no stopping you. You’re craving it NOW.

That was my situation last week and it ended with me enjoying two thick slices with peanut butter on top. Plus a few fresh strawberries, chia seeds and huge chunks of dark chocolate. Because antioxidants, right?

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