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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Mar
28

Recently I started developing a morning routine and have been loving it. Obviously it involves these greek yogurt waffles…

Here’s how it goes: Wake up at 5:30. Hit the snooze button for 5 minutes so I can cuddle with Tony. Feed Milly. Brush my teeth. Get dressed. Grab a cup of coffee to go. Kiss Tony on the cheek and walk out the door so I can just make it for my 6am workout class. I enjoy getting my workouts done in the morning because not only does it give me TONS of energy, but then I can focus on work the rest of the day.

Since I ususally don’t eat pre-morning workout, my stomach is rumbling once I return home. During my shower, it’s not uncommon for me to debate my breakfast options for a good 10 minutes. Do I want avocado toast with ALL the toppings?! What about pancakes? Maybe a green smoothie with peanut butter? Perfectly fried eggs? Crispy, fresh waffles? UGH. So hungry I can’t think.

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Mar
24

Remember the ever-popular Sprinkles cupcake era of 2010; when Cupcake Wars was the best show on TV and gourmet cupcake shops were popping up at every corner? Cupcakes were adored by the little ones for birthday parties but also by the Grandmothers who loved pairing them with a cup of coffee for breakfast.

During that time period I learned that ordinary cupcake flavors almost always disappointed me. When I went to local cupcake shops, I stuck to the classica: chocolate with chocolate frosting and sprinkles, strawberry, red velvet, vanilla birthday cake, etc. They were never magical enough for me to want to return for another.

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Mar
21

I’ve been wanting to make beet burgers ever since my Mom introduced me to them a few years back. Whole Foods used to make this fantastic version full of crunchy walnuts, beets and so much flavor; often times we’d scarf them down after our workouts.

Sadly, I can’t seem to find the same tasty beet burgers at any Chicago area Whole Foods.

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