Feb
26

I love a good Sunday routine.

Usually I roll out of bed, throw on an outfit, and stop at Starbucks. This happens all before 9am.  After I get my sweat on at the gym I head straight to the grocery store, where my cart crashes into at least 3 people. I smile and kindly apologize for being an aggressive cart driver. It’s Sunday after all and I’m feeling extra nice.

Really though, I’m on a mission to get home and put my Kitchen Aid mixer to work, do some laundry, and watch a trashy television show while I eat a giant bowl of pasta.

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Feb
23

I had oatmeal, a chocolate protein shake, and broccoli for dinner tonight. Wait… what?! Yes, it’s that time of year. Warm weather is on its way, and soon I’ll be spending my days in oversized sunglasses and a bikini. That’s my plan.

I’m getting ready by eating simple meals, but that only gets you so far. I’ve also been attending hot yoga classes. I’m really hoping the next time I go the guy next to me doesn’t smell like Campbell’s chicken noodle soup. Broth sweat is not cool dude!

Anyway, I’m getting prepared and I’m sure you all can relate. This is real life. I know you want chocolate cake and fluffy cream cheese frosting… I do too. But let’s just play it cool this weekend, okay?

Time to hush up and make some healthy, delicious chili!

 

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Feb
21

I have been wanting to bake chocolate chip cookies that taste like pure luxury, and while I’ve tested many, I have never quite perfected my own recipe… until now!

I knew I wanted to create a cookie that would make anyone want to savor that exact moment when they first bit into it. They had to be a little unique too! I don’t know about you but my perfect chocolate chip cookie is a little crisp on the outside but still chewy and moist in the middle. It’s not overly chocolatey, and certainly not too sweet.

Through trial and error, spoonfuls of cookie dough, and scribbled recipes, I’ve finally created a cookie that I’m proud to share with you. These brown butter & sea salt chocolate chip cookies are now my go-to cookie.

In fact, I’m actually considering them to be one of life’s essentials. You should too.

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Feb
19

 

This video demonstrates my obsession with pumpkin. I put it in risotto. Weird, but totally good. 

It’s my first ‘how to’ video. I thought it would be fun to make one. You’ll have to tell me what you think.

I was starving after kickboxing so I threw my apron on over my gym clothes. No biggie.

Also, nevermind that pumpkin is no longer in season. I’m still trying to pretend it is.

Don’t laugh at my Minnesotan accent. Work in progress!

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Feb
16

My dad once wrote me a note on the back of a piece of paper at Church. I’ve kept it with me, always acknowledging it as a form of inspiration.

Monique,

Humor is good, learn from your talents. Education is key – you can do anything! Be a good listener. Make sure your kind & tolerant.  Be patient. 

Always evaluate your decisions. But never sell out your heart! Quiet time alone is important. Most of all, find something you love to do – and do it!

Always be the best you can, but be still enough to find the answers within. Respect Mother Earth and your mother! Listen to your instincts, but don’t be fooled. Always grow, and learn new things.

Take risks, a little anyway. Be healthy, eat sensible and smart. Don’t do too much of anything. Find God in Jesus. Get to know your parents. Always be honest.

Love,

Dad

That note is a part of who I am. Everytime I read it, I’m reminded of what’s important. And even if I’m not entirely sure what inspires me to cook and bake, I’ve discovered that maybe it’s just part of me. I’m finding something I love, and I’m doing it!

So… won’t you stay a while? Grab your mixing bowl, and maybe a  frying pan too… we’ll have lots of fun!

I promise you won’t get bored. Just look at everything that’s being made! Quinoa is coming… chocolate is coming… strawberry peanut butter banana bread is coming!

Until then, enjoy your weekend.

“Find something you love to do – and do it!”

 


Feb
13

Don’t waste your time asking yourself what you’re going to get your sweetie for this Hallmark holiday. Just embark on a mission to make something out of this world delicious that comes from the heart.

I’m talking about this cake people.

This delicious, moist, beautiful dark chocolate raspberry upside-down cake.

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Feb
12

On a scale of 1 to 10 on the adventure scale, I’d say I’m at about an 8.2. I think it’s going up too! There simply isn’t anything that I don’t want to do.

I’ve knocked some off of my to-do list already. Climbing mountains? Check. Surfing? Check. Swimming with Jellyfish? Check. Cleaning out my closet? Half-check. (Umm… yes that is an adventure!)

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Feb
06

The Day After Super Bowl Sunday should be a holiday.

Here are three reasons why:

1. The team you were rooting for might have lost, an obvious reason to lay in bed all day.

2. You’re in a food coma because you don’t care about sports and ate all of the bread dip at the party instead (me)! Fat naps are needed.

3. No one likes Mondays anyway.

I say we just stay home and bake cupcakes.

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Feb
01

I don’t have much time these days, but I’m still looking out for your best interest. This milkshake is especially for you.

See, I know you are probably pinning things on Pinterest in your free time. It’s my favorite too! But it totally makes you hungry.

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!

A healthy milkshake should tide you over until the Healthy Coconut Banana Bread comes out of the oven. In fact, that banana bread was ranked as one of the best reader photos of 2011 by YumSugar.

That makes me happy. Milkshake please.

Did I mention that this milkshake is made with coconut milk and greek yogurt? That means it’s extra thick, super delicious, and oh yes, protein packed for your cute self. (Yes, you!)

Whip cream is advised. Obviously.

There are no time for questions!

What are you waiting for? Stop your pinning, and make this!

 

Chocolate-Banana Coconut Milkshakes

By Monique of Ambitious Kitchen

2 cups of coconut milk

1 cup of nonfat vanilla greek yogurt

1 tablespoon natural unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ripe banana, sliced and preferrably somewhat frozen

6-7 ice cubes

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Pour evenly into two glasses and top with whip cream if desired

Serves 2


Jan
29

Finding what you believe in is important. Diving into things that make you joyful is essential. Beauty is what you make it.

There’s no doubt that the things I find beautiful are different from you. What makes me laugh you may find absurd. The fact that I could spend an entire day in a grocery store baffles some. In fact, I could live off banana bread for a week straight. I call that a gift people!

How we spend our days and lives is what make us each unique. Paula Deen’s made herself so unique that her veins now operate on butter. She sure is special.

But really, the older I get, the more I realize that you choose your own path. Your choices make your journey.

Stay with me here.

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