Welcome, I'm Monique! Ambitious Kitchen is a blog devoted to clean eating, healthier baked treats, plus my passion for fitness and nutrition. Bottom line, I love to inspire others in and out of the kitchen! Read more.
I’ve been super lazy about packing my lunches lately. Probably because they have a Chipotle type line at the work where I basically get a chicken taco salad every single day. ALRIGHT FINE, I’ll admit that I totally get the salad because it comes with crunchy, salty tortilla chips and loads of guac.
Hope your weekend was lovely! I spent mine in Chicago with my good friend Meagan; it was her 26th birthday and I couldn’t think of a better way to help her ring it in then with a girl’s weekend. By the way, thank you for all of the wonderful restaurant and bakery recommendations – you guys are the best!
I might have had little too much fun in Chicago. Basically I’m in need of a MAJOR detox. I chowed down on churros, a bottle of wine, and probably an entire platter of chips and guac. HELP.
Why are burgers so freakin’ delicious? I’m serious. Turkey burgers, chicken burgers, bites of Tony’s heart-attack double bacon burgers. Oh and isn’t it just convenient that they are constantly paired with the other most addictive food in the world… aka french fries?!
My willpower around juicy burgers and hot, crispy french fries = zero.
So, what’s a girl who is trying to eat healthy but has a massive craving for a burger to do?
I feel as though I’ve been waiting forever for humid summer nights. And my goodness are they here. Smoky BBQ meat, fresh juicy watermelon, and frozen yogurt has taken over my life and I couldn’t be more ecstatic about it.
As you’ve probably seen via my Instagram, I’ve been taking a few summer trips. Along the way, I find myself eating out and enjoying food relative to each state’s culture. Often times, I’ll order some sort of chopped salad; each one being more unique than the last. In New Mexico, I enjoyed a BBQ Chicken salad with green chile, chickpeas, jicama, mango, red pepper and an incredible cumin-lime dressing. In Minnesota, I often munch on my Healthy Chicken Chickpea Chopped salad and mix up the dressings. When in North Carolina visiting Tony, I gravitate to greek salads with red potatoes, grilled onions, olives, and loads of feta cheese.
From around noon until 6pm on Saturday and Sunday, I was in my kitchen testing out new recipes. It’s actually my little weekend ritual. I jam out to music, dance around, get creative, trash the kitchen, and make my entire apartment smell like fresh baked goodies.
An incredibly fudgy & delicious 100 calorie brownie sprinkled with chocolate chips and raspberries — you’d never guess that these are made with protein powder! Easily vegan and gluten-free, too.
I swear that if I didn’t have a healthy food blog, it would be just straight buttery treats in your face at all times. I’m talking crazy ass desserts that would blow your mind. For instance, during my last family holiday I made a Nutella S’mores Pie with a Toasted Marshmallow Meringue and a chocolate nutella crust. Wait, what?
I know, scaryyyyyy. But OMG, was it ridiculously good. Also probably the richest thing I’ve ever had in my life.
Anyway you all know I have a weak spot for sweets, but that I also believe in balance, moderation, and healthy living. That’s why I’m here to create healthy, unique desserts that you’ll fall in love with.
Today I want to introduce you to my newest invention: The Protein Brownie. Can you believe that 1 brownie is only 100 calories?!
I created this brownie with my diet in mind. I’ve been drinking protein shakes with fruit every single morning so I’ve gotten real obsessed with protein powder. I guess you could say my diet has fallen under the Paleo category. Just don’t expect me to start baking with almond flour (or maybe I will, ha).
This whole protein obsession made me incredibly curious about baking with protein powder. I wanted to invent a brownie that could be enjoyed as a treat instead dipping a spoon into a jar of almond butter every night. My goal was to create a chocolate brownie relatively low in carbs, low in sugar, and high in protein; I also wanted it to taste really good
Happy Monday. Just kidding. Who actually likes Mondays?
Not me. Not ever.
To be honest, I kind of need a break. I’ve been working a ridiculous amount lately and I feel as though I need some down time. Since I work a full time job outside of this blog, I really only have the time to create recipes on the weekends. That translates into me working all the time. From Saturday morning to Sunday evening you can find me at Ambitious Kitchen HQ creating absurd messes that I never want to clean up.
Okay I’ll stop complaining now; thanks for hearing me out. Whatever the case, chocolate is necessary today.
Chocolate with a dose of health.
Meet the Flourless Chocolate Chip Zucchini Oat Brownies.
So increds. So amazing. Words cannot describe this magic.
July is officially here! I booked a flight for a fun adventure. I have two jobs I love. Plus, I made you truffles, cookies, tacos, and this easy & fun Summer berry crostini.
I’m also currently obsessing over zucchini and have way too many ideas in my head; I literally had to force myself out of the grocery store after three hours of pacing the aisles. Pretty typical.
Besides being a grocery store stalker, I was quite busy this past weekend. The majority of my Friday was spent working then I caught a movie and stayed up until my eyes felt like heavy bricks. Saturday went by too quick; I hit a yoga class in the morning, did some editorial planning for the blog, and watched an episode of Cats from Hell. NOT KIDDING. I love cats.
I had a little ‘me’ time yesterday though and spent most of my day in the kitchen. I’m trying to get caught up on recipe creation so that I can take a little vacation over the weekend and relax. My wonderful mom also stopped over to show me her StitchFix collection (I got her hooked!). We haven’t seen each other in nearly two weeks so it was good to catch up. It’s important to remember you can never be too busy for your family. However, you can be too busy for when your mom tells you about how much she loves Jeremy Piven.
Are you a enthusiast in life? Are you doing what you love? Are you following your passions, your dreams, and pushing your boundaries?
I’ve been asking myself all of those questions because most days it feels like I’m chasing an unknown dream. However, I know that I’m meant to be on this journey and that ultimately it’s the right choice for me. For some reason, I feel compelled to write, to make and share recipes, and to absolutely pour my heart into my craft.
Of course I’m sure you have a passion too — something that makes your heart beat enthusiastically; but are you doing something about it? So many of us wait for moments of success to appear in front of us instead of seeking out and pursuing what we truly want. The important thing is to let your passion flow freely and enable your dreams to live wildly. Your intuition will guide you through your fear.
Perhaps you don’t know what your passion is yet. If that’s the case, ask yourself this what you do effortlessly. We all create our own happiness and the most important thing I’ve realized is that we all have limited time. So spend the time you do have, doing what you LOVE!
OKAY, the Tuesday Preach is over. Time for me to share my exquisite passion for delicious salad making with you.
This salad is absolutely incredible and probably one of my new favorites. I’d even put it right up there with my Thai Quinoa Salad.
The flavors are bright, fresh, and flavorful. Not only is it incredibly healthy, but it’s also gluten free and vegan friendly.
Ummm hi. I’m recovering from a food coma — a deep and scary one. I guess that’s what happens when you attend food conferences in a city where there is magical Mexican food.
I can’t even think of anything except salad right now! I need it. Because apparently I think that it’s okay to eat ice cream sandwiches the size of my face, buttery muffins for breakfast, and ohhh I don’t know about a million peanut butter m&ms (give or take a few).
I’ll be paying for my decisions for the next week; however, with salads that include strawberries, goat cheese, quinoa, and crunchy sunflower seeds; I’m not sure I mind too much. Especially when it’s tossed in my absolute favorite lemon dressing.
I would have to say that this salad is absolutely perfect for summer. It’s slightly sweet, but oh so fresh! Often times I add chia or poppyseeds to the lemon dressing for a little fun crunch and extra nutrition. The goat cheese adds in a nice tang and along with the dressing, I found it to be irresistible! The sunflower seeds are different and lovely, but you can use pecans if you’d like.
Other optional add-ins that I’d suggest: chickpeas or pulled chicken breast. You can serve this over spinach and pack it for your weekly lunches.
First thing’s first: How was your Memorial Day Weekend? I hope you had the chance to relax and eat some delicious food.
I was able to finally catch The Great Gatsby in theaters and HOLY heaven… Leo! I don’t think he’s been that good looking since his Titanic days. Besides staring into Leo’s eyes via theater projection screen, I was able to accomplish a lot this weekend. I cleaned my room (MAJOR DEAL), booked some flights, spent time with my family, cooked, and instagramed my food like a freak.
Yes, I’m totally one of those people.
I wish I could say I instagrammed and ate this salmon this weekend, but that’s just not truth. I actually created this dish several months ago and completely forgot about it until recently when I was strolling through my photos. Please forgive me! How could I deny you this magical meal?
This salmon. Um, words really won’t do it justice, but I’ll try to describe it in the best way I know how: through super delicious adjectives (obviously) and dramatic descriptors.
It really felt like a Summery Cinco de Mayo weekend, didn’t it?
I spent the better half of it with my face in a bowl of chips and guac… like you would expect anything less from me. I’m just going to be honest and say that I’m hoping to repeat it every single weekend for the rest of my life.
I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to Summer. My ears are longing for Lana Del Ray and old Mariah Carey beats.
Everyone knows Minnesota summers are the BEST EVER! Probably because we endure a solid six months of Winter? Nevertheless, a completely irresistible three months are coming soon. I can’t wait to lounge by the lake and catch the pink-painted sunsets with a drink in hand. YUM!
Anyway I was thinking we’d start enjoying the flavors of Summer a little early with a bit of mango avocado pico and burgers packed with fresh flavors. I already know you’re down.
(If you don’t know what that means, the just make the burgers and enjoy how freaking healthy delicious they are.)