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Best of June 2016!

Best of June from Ambitious Kitchen. Where I traveled, what I ate, and see what I am loving. Summer is here!

June was crazy busy. I spent two weeks in Europe, a few days in Boston and am currently in Mexico.

While traveling can have its downside (the house gets messy, my suitcase is always packed and I miss my cat), usually I feel overwhelmed with gratitude as I’m able to get out and experience the beauty of life, various culture and interact with the introverts and extroverts of the world. It encourages my brain to hum at a faster beat, constantly analyzing the universe and what it’s providing me with.

monique on a lawn in front of a yellow brick house

At times, home can be a safe zone. It is where we feel the most calm, comfortable and grounded. Yet nothing pushes me more to grow as a human than seeing the world. From the old world chateaus in France to the deep green hills of Spain, my adventures make my heart beat a little bit happier each time I visit a new destination.

That being said, I’ve thought long and hard about how I want Ambitious Kitchen to grow and adapt. Recipes are a must, but I love the idea of adding travel and skin care to the site, just because they are things that I’m passionate about. After all, I did start the blog because food was my passion, so why not share the other things in my life that matter to me?

Sometimes I feel that bloggers can get so caught up in what readers want, how to get the most pageviews, and how to be bigger, better, FASTER. Of course, I love you times a million and creating content you love is a must. I also recognize that blogging is a busy business and ideally AK will reflect my values, creativity and passions. I want to be cognizant of what makes me happy, challenged and devoted to this site, especially because I’ve built it from the ground up. I know that you’ll be here with me on the journey.

All of this doesn’t mean any significant changes on your end. Sometimes I just like sharing where my head’s at in the moment. Call it a monthly reflection. Maybe we’ll do this every best of post?

best of june! graphic

Anyway, if you’re still reading this, I promise that we’re getting on to the monthly recap of recipes + posts!

New Ambitious Kitchen Recipes from June

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

Homemade Salted Dark Chocolate Pecan Butter V, GF, DF

Vegetarian Calabacitas Quesadillas V, DF

Vegan Chocolate Avocado Pudding Pie with Salted Almond Date Crust V, GF, P, DF

Chickpea Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies GF, DF

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies V, GF, DF, P

The Ultimate Fruit, Cheese & Nut Salad GF

Easy Mediterranean Pesto Chickpea Salad GF

Healthy 4 Ingredient Reese’s Eggs V, GF, DF, P

My most popular recipes from June was my Healthy 4 Ingredient Reese’s Eggs (link above). They’re just magical and we make them nearly every week. In fact, because Tony loves white chocolate, we tried coating them with Lindt’s Strawberry White Chocolate and it was SO GOOD.

Overall the most popular recipes were skinny zucchini banana muffins, turkey chili and chopped chickpea greek salad. Make them!

Summer Sweat Series!

three girls posing in an Instagram poster cutout

June kicked off the second annual Summer Sweat Series (a FREE 30 day fitness and nutrition program) and we couldn’t be more proud of everything you accomplished. Honestly this year was such an incredible success with all of your photos on Instagram and in our Facebook group. Our jaws dropped when we realized that we have nearly 5,000 people committed to making their health and fitness a priority (in the group alone).

women working out

Lee and I hosted this year’s SSS in Minneapolis at Alchemy. Wanna see pics from the event and also which kick ass workout we did? Check it out here!

Also major love to those of your who have been making the recipes from each week’s meal plan. This picture from Susie G is one of my favorites! She made my Thai Peanut Sweet Potato Noodle Chicken Stir Fry and shared it in the group. Looks dank, Suze.

broccoli and chicken stir fry

So a huge THANK YOU to making this year’s SSS a success. It wouldn’t be possible without each and every one of you committing. If you’d like, you are more than welcome to join our FB group. We’d love to have you!

Obviously Lee and I are work very hard to coordinate workout plans, content, nutritious meal plans and grocery lists; we want to make this a plan that you can do whenever you need to get back on track, be better at meal planning or just are in need for some fun workouts. You can access each week below!

Summer Sweat Series 2016 Week 1

Summer Sweat Series 2016 Week 2

Summer Sweat Series 2016 Week 3

Summer Sweat Series 2016 Week 4

P.S. HUGE SHOUTOUT TO adidas women and Finish Line for sponsoring this year’s SSS. THANK YOU!

Other posts in June:

6 Tips to Stay Healthy & Active While Traveling: I shared this because I’m always traveling and it can be difficult to know when to indulge and when to take it easy. How do you find balance between enjoying all the new foods a country has to offer? I share my favorite balance tips to stay healthy and active.

New videos!

I made THREE videos this month and would love if you watched every single one (obviously).

Homemade Salted Dark Chocolate Pecan Butter (full recipe link here):

How to Make Homemade Healthy Reese’s Eggs (full recipe link here):

Bikini Cardio Circuit Workout (full workout & instructions here):

Where I traveled in June:

waffles, croissants, fruit, and eggs benedict on plates

Europe (France, Spain, Portugal)!

In June I went on a 10 day European cruise with Windstar Cruises. I had never been to Europe before so it was such a treat to take in the culture, enjoy baguettes, mussels and real European food. I want to do a full recap for you soon, so expect that later this month!

girls posing outside of a restaurant

Boston!

I also went on a lovely blogging trip to Boston for #bloggersdoboston. It was actually more of a girl’s trip where we all got together, ate delicious lobstahhh rolls, got facials and laughed our faces off. I love these chicas.

wine bottles on a fireplace mantle

Highlights of my trip were:

Balans spa

Heading to the balans spa where I purchased a few new organic skincare products from Maria Akerberg. Right now the Papaya Peeling scrub is one of my favorites because how luxuriously soft it leaves my skin. What I really love about the line is that it’s 100% organic plant-based, nutrient dense skin care. You can smell and feel the difference in your skin. Currently I’m working on developing a new skincare routine so I’ll keep you posted as I continue to try new products from Maria!

Bonus: If you enter ‘BLOG15’ at checkout, you’ll get 15% off your order of anything at balans spa!

Barcelona Wine Bar

Oh how I wish I had pictures to display of Barcelona Wine Bar, but unfortunately it was dark inside and I didn’t get a chance to snap any. However, I’ll do my best to describe to you my favorite things on the menu. First off, get the truffle bikini, because it will melt in your mouth. Next, make sure you try the ceviche, cocktails/wine and pretty much anything that’s seafood based. Also the FLAN is just incredible. Blown away by the wonderful service and food at this restaurant! Major thanks and love!

Other things I’m loving:

kombucha and a mint RXBAR

I did a fun event at Williams-Sonoma to support the Chicago Children’s Choir. They made my Mediterranean Chickpea Pesto salad and it was a huge hit. It’s just a great summer side dish, or easy make-ahead lunch. Highly recommend trying.

I really, really loved the movie Age of Adaline. Maybe it’s because I’m obsessed with Blake Lively, but it was such a cute love story.

I basically can’t get enough of gingerade kombucha. Can’t stop, won’t stop. I need to venture to other flavors soon, but you know when you love something so much, you have it again and again? That’s what’s happening to me. But still, please tell me your favorite flavors below and I’ll give them a go!

The new mint chocolate RXbar flavor. OMG SO DANG GOOD. Chocolate Sea Salt is also another favorite!

Making my own energy balls. I have a new recipe coming soon. In the meantime, you can nosh on these ones!

Sweet Chili Sprouted Corn Chips. Someone HELP me cause I’ve been munching on these like no other. Crunchy, slightly sweet, a little spicy. MY GOODNESS. I’m not normally a huge chip person, but this kinda changes everything for me.

This amazing SPF facial serum. I love that it doesn’t smell weird or feel like a thick sunscreen on my skin, especially in the summertime when I need something less heavy. This is perfection!

This maxi dress is insane! Loving the straps and details. Putting it in my shopping cart right now.

I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw this post about a baby in overalls.

I’m on snapchat almost everyday making a recipe or showing you something weird about my life. Let’s be friends!

Email sign up!

ambitious kitchen email sign up graphic

Are you signed up for Ambitious Kitchen emails yet? If you want to receive new healthy recipes to your inbox, you can sign up right here! It’s free and I’ll only email you things about AK, promise! 🙂

That’s all I have for you! Let me know if you have anything you’re craving for April so I can create some recipes!

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