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Best of July 2016!

The best of July is here. It was a bumpin’ month full of good eats, adventure, joy and sunshine. Check out all of the latest from July!

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It seems we’re back here again (already) with another Best of post, where I compile everything made, adventures and things I’m loving over the past month. I hope you guys are finding these posts interesting — I’d love to hear any of your feedback!

best of july collage

Recipes from July!

V= vegan/vegetarian | GF = Gluten Free | DF = Dairy Free | P = Paleo Friendly

1.) Dad’s Dilly Greek Yogurt Cucumber Salad GF

2.) Salted Date Brownie Energy Bites GF, V, P

3.) Low Carb Turkey Eggplant Lasagna GF

4.) 5 Ingredient Lemon Yogurt Marinated Grilled Chicken GF

5.) Raspberry, Almond Butter & Banana Oatmeal Muffins

6.) Healthy 4 Ingredient Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge GF, V, P

7.) Homemade Cashew Butter with Vanilla Bean & Sea Salt GF, V, P

8.) Chocolate Chip Almond Flour Banana Blondies V, GF, P

9.) Tortilla Chip-Crusted Baked Jalapeno Poppers GF

10.) Healthy Chicken Burgers with Spinach Basil Pesto GF

Upcoming Event in Chicago!

beast + balance logo

Are you looking for a fitness and lifestyle experience? Come check out Beast + Balance, a curated yoga and lifestyle experience. Flow hard, breath deep, and learn some solid sh*t. Rooted in community and convenience, you’ll sweat and chill with cool people who are doing cool things, things that matter.

I’ll be teaching a cooking class/demo on August 21st. First, you’ll go all yogi and FLOW HARD, then stay and experience a curated cooking class with me on August 21st at Beast + Balance Pop-Up Yoga and Lifestyle Experience. You’ll walk away with 3 meal prep recipes (dinner, snack & dessert), a grocery list + the confidence to cook healthy, nutritious meals! Get your tickets here!

We bought a condo! 

monique and tony with a donut

This month was exciting, challenging, stressful and joyful. If you haven’t already heard, Tony and I are in the process of buying a house. I keep saying house, but it’s actually a condo in Chicago. Either way, it’ll be our home and if all goes well, we’ll be moving in mid-September.

If you’re familiar with Chicago, it’s in the Ravenswood neighborhood. A little more north then we anticipated going, but it’s close to the train, family-friendly and huge. The condo is completely refinished and the kitchen is a DREAM. As soon as we saw it, we knew it was the one and there was no turning back.

I’m an aunt!

My brother and sister-in-law had their first baby! Her name is Gwenaver and she was born on July, 29th. She’s happy, healthy and looks like a beautiful angel. I can’t wait to meet her!

Taste of Chicago

french fries with the skyline in the background

Tony and I went to the Taste of Chicago this past month. It was my first time, and we were overwhelmed with food choices. Read what we ate here.

Travel Updates!

tony at a brunch table

Tony and I went to Playa del Carmen, Mexico over the 4th of July weekend! Hah. We really enjoyed ourselves, relaxed and spent time playing tennis, swimming, walking the markets and exploring the area. The vacation was a first for me where I wasn’t really active on social media, which was weird, but most of the time when Tony and I spend time together I try to stay off my phone because I enjoying being present in the moment.

A few of you asked where we stayed too, so I’ll update on that. First, it was our first time staying in Playa, and we LOVED it. Have you ever been? We stayed at the Royal Playa del Carmen — highly recommend it because of the central location, on-site restaurants, and incredible staff.

I know I still need to update you on my travels to Europe — hoping to get to that in August!

Other things I’m loving right now

monique's running shoes

Morning or afternoon walks. Each morning or afternoon I walk about two miles, listen to music and breath in fresh air. I check the news, scroll through FB/Twitter, and write out my to-do list for the day. Usually I’ll work out early in the morning because I enjoy getting it done plus the endorphins. If I’m doing an evening class, then I’ll spend about 45 minutes walking in the AM just to get my energy flowing.! Have you heard of They recently sent me a few bags of coconut flour and almond flour. I’ve been loving how convenient it is to stock up on goodies through them. They also have plenty of organic options, which I love.

Going out with my girls. We’ve been making an effort to get together more often and it’s been so much fun checking out new restaurants in the city. We’ve been to Avec and Fig & Olive. I would hands-down recommend Avec — everything we ordered was delicious We got chorizo stuffed dates, crispy skin salmon & truffle flatbread. Mmm hmm honey. I also really want to try Lena Brava.

What’s coming up in August

August marks 5 years that Ambitious Kitchen has been bumping and creating healthy recipes and sweet treats for the internets. Obviously I need to make myself (or you all) a sweet 5 year anniversary recipe. What will it be?! Something epic.

You can read my very first Ambitious Kitchen post here (enchiladas!!)

Anyway, thanks for being here. I heart you x a million.

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