Well that title is certainly a mouthful. But guess what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I made you another delicious flourless treat without any weird ingredients. This time it includes two of my absolute favorite things: peanut butter AND nutella. OH BABY. And if you want to get really crazy, you can add bananas into that mix! But we’ll get to the various adaptations behind these bars in a bit. First I’d like to share some VERY exciting news with all of you!
I’ve taken a new job!
I will be joining General Mills as a full-time employee managing social for Gold Medal Flour and Bisquick. I’m completely thrilled as I have been working on and off with General Mills for the past two years in social media, thus it was only natural for me to move into a full-time role.
So what does this mean for Ambitious Kitchen?
You probably won’t notice a difference at all, other than my posts may be a little sporadic as I transition into my new role. Naturally you might hear me mention cereal and yogurt a bit more often (because I will be surrounded by it at work), but other than that I will continue to stay true to what I love: creating unique, (mostly) healthy recipes and sharing my passion for healthy living with all of you.
Again, thank you so much for your continued support of Ambitious Kitchen.
Note: Everyone has different opinions on the food brands they support; please know that Ambitious Kitchen is my personal food blog, and will continue to remain that way.
Out of all the brownies I’ve made, these are my absolute favorite.
Like the best evaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
A bit dramatic but what did you expect? I love chocolate.
A mix between fudgy and a tiny bit cakey, these brownies are incredibly rich, decadent, and downright addicting.
I thought I’d share them with you, because this is as close to a Valentine’s Day dessert that I’ll make. Trust me, it’s got all the chocolate love you need.
I hope you had a great 4th of July with your friends and family!
I did! Summer cocktails were flowing, potato salad was piled high, burgers were chowed on, cheese and crackers were consumed, and the cake was gone; it was a day full of endless eating. In fact, I caught myself mindless munching all day. And now that my mind realizes what went down, I’m upset about it. Summer BBQs win again!
I know just what I need: some seriously good-for-you, juicing smoothie vegan stuff. With spinach, or kale… Or I don’t know… JUST GIVE ME ANYTHING BUT CHIPS AND CAKE!
Are you feeling the same way? Please say yes.
I’m a HUGE fan of protein shakes. I drink one at least once a day. And no, I do not have muscles like Arnold Schwarzenegger, thank you very much. They’re a delicious snack that fills me up and usually keeps me from reaching for Nutter Butters and chips at 3pm.
Now I definitely can’t claim to be a health or nutrition expert, but I do know how to prepare healthy snacks and meals. And since so many of you are interested in eating healthy, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about the types of foods I normally eat and give you ideas for some healthy breakfast recipes that can be easily prepared at home.
So what do I normally eat? Usually clean, unprocessed whole foods, including whole grains, lean meats, fish, some dairy, healthy fats, and fresh fruits and vegetables. This means cooking at home, preparing meals ahead of time, and resisting the urge to bake cookies and drink margs. And let me tell you, THAT is super difficult sometimes.
BUT with all of these delicious options below (and in my recipe index), I think you’ll have enough recipes to start your morning off healthy and delicious.
HEALTHY BREAKFAST IDEAS
And what about this protein shake?
Well, this shake packs flavor in a glass. Bananas and blueberries are a great combination together. It will fill you up and takes less than 5 minutes to make.
You really have no excuses to miss breakfast with this delicious little thing staring at you.
My hope is that some of these ideas and recipes will inspire you to get in your kitchen, eat breakfast, and be a little healthier. We all know breakfast is easy to skip, but it’s also the most important meal of the day.
Let me know what your favorite healthy breakfast is in the comments below!
2 cups milk of choice (skim, almond, coconut, soy)
2 scoops of vanilla protein powder (I use whey protein)
1 cup of fresh blueberries
1 large ripe banana, peeled and cut into chunks (best if the banana is frozen)
3/4 cup of ice cubes
Things I’ve learned in the past year:
1. Follow your heart. It’s the best thing you can do in life. You live once, so enjoy your life as it unfolds.
2. Embrace change. When we change, we grow and adapt. We become better. Don’t do something just because it’s comfortable. Instead, challenge yourself and learn from your failures.
3. Take chances. I moved across the country for a job and realized it wasn’t for me. I looked at what I wanted, and what I didn’t, then made a decision to pursue a different career. Without moving, I wouldn’t have figured that out. Taking chances means succeeding or learning something you didn’t before. And sometimes, it’s okay to fail.
4. Work hard. Damn hard. Success never comes easy. Dreams rarely turn into realities overnight. It’s an uphill climb full of doubts, but with enough determination, I believe anything is possible.
5. Baking cake is essential. No wait, THIS cake is essential. It has bananas, peanut butter and has a caramel topping to die for. It’s the stuff dreams are made of… or something like that anyway.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes a love a little reflection. Today we’ll reflect over this cake together. Join me?
Today, I slept in for the first time in what seems like forever. For brunch, I made vegan chocolate chip oatmeal cookie pancakes that I found on Pinterest. I’m so thankful I did because I had a smile on my face for the next 7 hours. What? Pancakes make me happy.
There’s one thing I’m more excited for this week: the 4th of July! It’s probably one of my favorite holidays. Laying under the sun all day and watching fireworks at night is simply the best.
And of course instead of giving you a standard with red, white, and blue dessert for the 4th of July, I thought that maybe you’d like to indulge in this cake instead.
While rummaging through recipes, I found a recipe for a Caramel-Walnut Upside Down Banana Cake in my Bon Appetit Desserts! book (a great dessert cookbook). I adapted it by adding peanut butter instead of more butter, and reducing the sugar (ripe bananas provide natural sweetness). Don’t let that fool you though, his cake is still ridiculously indulgent.
The caramel sauce is completely delicious, gooey, and warm when the cake comes out of the oven; I recommend serving the cake as soon as you are able to flip and cut into it. I thought about pairing it with a salted caramel ice cream, but they were out at the store so if you try it, let me know.
Please note that the caramel sauce tends to harden a bit once the cake it cooled, so don’t be afraid to warm up a slice in the microwave! You can even make the cake with out the caramel-walnut topping if your heart desires.
This is a cake that changes non-cake lovers into die hard fans. It can also be the cake you bring to your boyfriend’s mom. You could even bring this cake to every family gathering you ever have, they won’t mind.
It will deliver every single time.
My advice? Don’t think about the calories. Indulging every once in a while actually keeps you on track. And your taste buds will thank me later. I promise.
Come on you know you want to.
Caramel-Walnut Upside-Down Peanut Butter Banana Cake
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons dark corn syrup
1/3 cup walnut halves or pieces
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter (4 tablespoons), room temperature
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup very ripe mashed bananas (about 2-3 large bananas)
1/2 cup all-natural creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons plain greek yogurt or sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup skim milk
Hey you! Yes, YOU! I like you… a lot. You brighten my day.
I feel so lucky to have such incredible readers; readers who make me feel amazing and inspired every single day. Many of you have been tweeting with me or posting on my Facebook page letting me know which recipes you’re loving, or what’s inspiring you to cook. Some of you have even sent me an email saying how my recipes have encouraged you to eat healthier. You are all so sweet and I’m OVERJOYED that this blog has inspired you.
I don’t know what to say other than… THANK YOU! It’s appreciated more than you know!
Now, let’s talk about quesadillas.
I love them. Adore them. Salivite over them! Yeah, I’m pretty weird but you’re probably okay with that by now if you’re still reading this.
Quesadillas are a traditional mexican dish that usually involves cheese and a savory mixture of vegetables and/or meat. They’re one of my favorite meals to put together at the last-minute because it involves throwing delicious combinations in a tortilla and toasting or frying it until crispy and golden brown. These days the traditional quesadillas have evolved into something wonderful: breakfast (or dessert) quesadillas!
It’s as simple as this: I am obsessed with the peanut butter and banana combo. Typically when I’m in a rush I put the duo on an english muffin and barely remember inhaling my breakfast, but I was getting a little bored with that. So instead of the usual, I thought I’d make it interesting by making peanut butter and banana quesadillas and adding in seasonal, ripe strawberries for a sort of PB&J twist.
My mind was BLOWN AWAY after one bite. In all seriousness, yours probably will be too.
If you’ve never experienced the peanut butter, strawberry, and banana combo–prepare to be amazed!
First of all–the strawberries in the quesadilla! They almost taste like they were roasted–exploding with flavor and juicyness from the heat. It reminds me of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, except with a fresh, more interesting appeal. The crunch of the tortilla and the warm, creamy peanut butter makes me wish I could go back to grade school and
demand ask nicely for this in my lunchbox.
When making quesadillas I always use whole wheat-low carb tortillas because I love the nutty flavor of them, plus whole grains keep you fuller, longer. I recommend using Joesph’s Tortillas, but any whole grain tortilla would work well. This also would be an optimal pre or post-workout snack or meal because of the good carbs and healthy fats.
Additionally I HIGHLY recommend trying this for dessert. It’s pretty guilt-free, perfect for sharing, and kids will even love them. Plus they are vegan, and you could certainly make them gluten-free by using GF tortillas.
The possibilities are endless! Think about it.
Wouldn’t replacing nutella for peanut butter be dreamy? Or perhaps sprinkling in a few mini chocolate chips? What about dipping them in a warm chocolate sauce?
THAT could be like tasting a little bite of heaven. But those are just suggestions, feel free to get creative!
As requested, nutritional information is included.
Just please note that after this quesadilla, you’ll never want to settle for a traditional PB&J again. If you try them, be sure to let me know what you think.
Peanut Butter, Strawberry, & Banana Quesadillas
Cooking spray or butter
2 tablespoons natural creamy peanut butter
2 whole grain tortillas
1 large ripe banana, sliced
4-5 strawberries, sliced
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (if desired)
|Servings Size: 2 Servings|
|Amount Per Serving|
|Calories 263||Calories from Fat 102 (39%)|
|% Daily Value *|
|Total Fat 11g||17%|
|Saturated Fat 2g||17%|
|Monounsaturated Fat 7g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 2g|
|Trans Fat 0g|
|Total Carbohydrate 36g||12%|
|Dietary Fiber 4g||16%|