Apr
11

Healthy vegan avocado brownies made with black beans instead of flour, and avocado instead of butter or oil! You’re going to love these fudgy chocolate-packed vegan and gluten free treats.

Healthy Flourless Black Bean Avocado Brownies

Things are getting weird. I mean I’m putting avocados in baked desserts again. But don’t judge just yet. I can assure you that after you taste them, you’ll know I’m actually not insane for doing so.

You guys. I swear that all I’ve wanted to do was blog all week to give you this recipe, but it’s taken me forever to sit down write and edit with everything else going on. Perhaps I forgot to mention that Ambitious Kitchen is going through a MAJOR redesign? I seriously cannot wait. I’ve hired a few designers over the past year or so, but have always felt like it wasn’t the right time or that it wasn’t my vision.

This time I’m working with two wonderful girls who actually have food blogs themselves so they are really able to think strategically about branding, design elements and techy stuff that I don’t get. Soon enough the new site will be revealed to all of you!

Healthy Flourless Black Bean Avocado Brownies

Besides site stuff, preparing for Easter has been crazy. It’s such a busy time with the brands I work on (outside of this blog), so I’ve been a little consumed with planning. Today I even helped food style on a video shoot which is always a fun experience! I’ve done a few and I really enjoy bringing them to life through an editorial lens. It’s also a great way for me to get outside the office and into a new creative environment.

After the shoot was over today, I came home and ran 4 miles around a lake near my apartment. It’s finally getting nice out so I’m trying to take advantage of being in the sunshine pretty much every single moment I can. GIVE ME THE VITAMIN D. Every single drop please!

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Mar
31

Chewy protein-packed granola bars made with almond butter, protein powder, dark chocolate and cherries! These gluten-free and vegan-friendly bars are the perfect snack or breakfast.
Chewy Dark Chocolate Cherry Protein Granola Bars with Chia Seeds

Did I tell you that Sundays are a big day for me? Usually I wake up, hit the gym, then head straight to the grocery store. After that I go home and cook until my kitchen is trashed and I can’t possibly dirty another dish. It’s kind of my little ritual.

Of course Sundays are also big because I’m determined to start the week out on a good note. To me, being healthy is a big part of this. I forget the incredibly delicious carrot cake cupcake I ate last week when I was stressed and remind myself that this week is brand new and full of healthy opportunities.

To encourage healthy eating, I chop up celery, cucumbers and carrots for nibbling during the day, but sometimes I need something a little more satisfying. So I decided to make ridiculously good granola bars. With protein powder to keep me full.

Chewy Dark Chocolate Cherry Protein Granola Bars with Chia Seeds

I made these last week and was slightly obsessed. So obsessed that I had to give them away to a friend because they I kept finding myself eating more and more out of the pan. I think the whole dark chocolate + cherry + chia seed combo really spoke to me.

I’m actually a huge fan of several brands of protein and/or granola bars. The chewy ones, the nutty ones, the extra crunchy ones. Heck, just give me ALL THE BARS.

Chewy Dark Chocolate Cherry Protein Granola Bars with Chia Seeds

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Mar
13

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.

100 Calorie Raspberry Chocolate Chip Protein Brownies from ambitiouskitchen.com

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?!

100 Calorie Raspberry Chocolate Chip Protein Brownies

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

100 Calorie Raspberry Chocolate Chip Protein Brownies

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Feb
02

Amazing Banana Chocolate Chip Oat Breakfast Bars – they taste like banana bread! No flour, butter, eggs, or dairy in this healthy recipe!

How was your weekend? Hope it was sweet! I’m in the middle of a juice cleanse and it’s been completely amazing! I can’t wait to tell you guys all about it.

This past weekend I spent a lot of time in the kitchen developing recipes because I know I’ll be in Australia for the next few weeks and wanted to catch up on blogging. It’s amazing how much time I can spend myself when I’m cooking and baking; my heart feels content.

But damn, can we just talk about these bars?

Breakfast is looking sweet with that pretty chocolate drizzle. Am I right or what?

Of course they are a healthy version of sweet because you know I’m always looking out for your dietary needs and waistline.

Just kidding. I’m really only making recipes up that seem interesting; things that I like to eat, bake, and create! I’ve realized that my body loves natural foods — and these bars are exactly that. No flour, eggs, dairy, or butter! 

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Nov
08

You won’t believe that these fudgy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars are made with lentils.Vegan and gluten free!

WAIT. WHAT?

LENTILS in a dessert? You think I’m crazy? Weird? Cute? Maybe it’s a combo.

We’ll get to this dessert soon. First off, it’s Friday!

I haven’t slept all freaking week. I wish I was kidding. I’ve been preparing for the launch of a brand new site for work and so we’ve been busy plugging away, staying late, and chugging coffee. I’ve also been trying to get back into working out after taking a little over a week off. Last night I went to my favorite yoga sculpt class. Ummmm you guys… it was pure hell and I mean that in the best way possible. I literally thought I was going to throw up on my yoga mat, and that never happens to me (sorry for being so descriptive). I guess that’s what happens after a week of vacation wine and cookie inhaling.

Today I rewarded myself with a small dark hot chocolate. I figured that I haven’t had a real hot chocolate in ages, and I felt like I needed a sweet treat to keep me going. Let me tell you, it was SO worth it. I even topped mine with extra whipped cream. It’s important to treat yourself to a little indulgence; I hope you all do the same this weekend!

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Oct
14

SO much to say. So little time. Currently I’m in a coffee shop as I just moved into my new place and haven’t set up the internet yet. It’s a weird world without the internet you guys. As in I actually went to bed before midnight yesterday. CRAZY I know. Maybe it’s a good thing.

Hmmm what else? I bought a new couch! The color looks like the inside of an almond; I’m in love with it because it’s one of those couches that completely gorgeous but also amazingly comfy. It’s being delivered on Friday so I’ll be sure to share some photos soon. I’m also getting an AMAZING vintage refinished table from a good friend (Hi Sherry!). If you couldn’t tell, I’m going for the romantic shabby chic/Californian look with a touch of vintage. It’s been a blast hunting for pieces and shopping!

By the way, have I mentioned that I miss you guys? Like really, life is getting INSANE. I wish I had the time to blog more! Right now I’m taking two classes, working a full time job, creating recipes, working out, and trying to have a social life. But hey, that’s life.

And sometimes you just have to reward yourself with brownies.

Yep. Fudgy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Brownies.

Made without flour. Made without animals (vegan). Made WITH love.

And made supremely decadent (yet still healthy) by the best combo known to mankind: pb & chocolate.

Are you with me here?

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Oct
01

Hi guys! Sorry about taking last week off of blogging. I was in Boston on a little vacation with some of my friends from college. We had an unbelievable time baking cookies (new recipe coming soon), exploring the North End, running around Southie, and laughing until we couldn’t anymore. Life is good! I’ll have a recap soon of all of my Boston outings plus some favorite things of mine, too! But of course, Monday came and vacation ended. And now it’s October; I can’t believe it! I’ve been busy running outside trying to soak it all up before Minnesota weather comes swinging in with negative temperatures. Obviously since it’s been so lovely, I’ve been slacking in the baking department. Sorry about that! I’m back now… with tasty little bars. You’re excited, right?

You should be! I’m a HUGE fan of all things pumpkin. In fact if I had to choose my last meal on earth, it would be a simple slice of warm pumpkin pie with whipped cream. That’s my heaven. Seriously pumpkin is the JAM to my peanut butter. What I really mean is that it completes me.

These bars are just as wonderful as pie in their own way. They make mornings a little brighter. Somehow they feel romantic and will definitely have your house smelling like fall.

Oh and did I mention that they’re healthy? Yes, you can totally eat them for breakfast or as a snack — there’s only 128 calories per bar and healthy ingredients, too!

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Jul
29

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.

Ugh I always say that, don’t I?

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Apr
08

Have you ever spent so much time or energy on something, only to realize it wasn’t even worth it?

It’s kind of like when you bake a cake and absolutely hate the end result. Or when you date someone for too long only to end up being disappointed or hurt. Sometimes it can even be when you listen to entire Taylor Swift songs.

Anyway, the point is, even though you’ve had to live through things that seemed pointless and time-consuming, you learned from them. You realize that sometimes you can’t trust those Martha Stewart recipes, and that the person you dated actually taught you a lot about what you want in a future relationship. Oh and that Taylor Swift song? Absolutely change the station and never purchase another one of her songs off iTunes again. Harsh Monday realities coming at you.

Oh but these blondies? Amazing bites of peanut butter chocolate chip cookie bliss. No regrets. They’re just SO worth it!

Now don’t think I’ve gone all weird on you because I put chickpeas in a blondie without any flour or butter.
Nevermind, clearly I’m a little bit weird. After all I am obsessed with Zac Efron.

Apr
03

I bet you’re hungry. I mean, it’s been a week since I’ve given you a recipe!

I’m not back from vacation just yet so I’m going to keep this short and sweet; I have to enjoy my last day in the sunshine!

Before I go, we must discuss these granola bars. They’re simple, delicious, and full of good-for-you ingredients and healthy fats to keep you satisfied. Plus they are incredibly easy to make!

First we toast the coconut, oats, and almonds in the oven.

Then simply mix honey, almond butter, a little coconut oil, vanilla and cinnamon in a saucepan to heat thoroughly. The wet ingredients are then added to the dry mixture and then tossed to combine. Easy!

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