Hello my loves! First of all, let me tell you that I have missed you all so much. I can’t wait to share recipes with you soon!

As you probably know Tony and I headed to Australia to spend time together and attend one of my best friend’s wedding. I already miss the bright blue water and silky smooth sand on my toes. The smell of the ocean, too.

We took a flight from Chicago to LA, then headed to Sydney. Our travel time was long and draining, but we flew Qantas which I highly recommend! Our flight was fairly comfortable, and we especially loved the service, free snacks, and safety. The inside of the plane was gorgeous, too. What are your favorite airlines?

1888 hotel - Sydney, Australia

When we arrived in Sydney, we checked into the 1888 Hotel. It’s a small boutique hotel and overall we really enjoyed it! Our room was beautiful, bright and clean; everything we could have hoped for.

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So many things have changed for me this past year: a new job, moving back to Minnesota, meeting my boyfriend while on vacation in Arizona, traveling, and devoting more time to this blog.

I’m beyond excited for 2014 though! The chance to bring you more healthy recipes, sweet delights, crazy cookies, and a little bit of my spice for life. I’ve always said that the goal of this blog is to bring you inspiration – whether it’s in the kitchen or in your life. I hope to do more of that this year by adding my favorite food finds, my workout inspiration, style, and a little bit of everyday life. Above all, I want to stay consistent with blogging; never forgetting my passion for food and healthy living. Sometimes I lose sight of that with everything else I have going on.

I love that you all share my recipes; it keeps Ambitious Kitchen alive and growing! Thank you for inspiring me to do what I love.

Here are my Top 10 recipes of 2013! I hope you’ll try some of them out! xoxo


10. Oatmeal Cottage Cheese Banana Pancakes – gluten free, high in protein

These are one of my favorites for a healthy breakfast – just blend the ingredients together, cook on the stovetop, then eat up!

Oatmeal Cottage Cheese Banana Pancakes {high in protein, gluten-free}


9. Flourless Chocolate Chip Zucchini Oat Brownies – low in calories, super fudgy and both vegan & gluten free!

Flourless Chocolate Chip Zucchini Oat Brownies {vegan, gluten free & healthy}


8. Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchilada Skillet – a vegetarian skillet that only takes 30 minutes to make, plus you’ll love the leftovers! Oh and it’s under 300 calories per serving. YUM. YES!


7. Chewy Chocolate Chunk Coconut Oatmeal Cookies – made with coconut oil instead of butter, these oatmeal cookies stay soft and chewy for days!

Ultra chewy oatmeal cookies with layers of coconut and chocolate chunks. Made with coconut oil instead of butter!

6. Skinny Zucchini Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins – one of my favorite muffins ever. Only 153 calories! Zucchini and greek yogurt help these low-fat muffins stay ultra moist!

Skinny Zucchini Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins {healthy, low-fat}

5. 100 calorie Banana Oat Protein Muffins – made with protein powder, oat bran, greek yogurt and a banana! The perfect snack. Spread them with chocolate hazelnut butter for a sweet treat.

100 calorie Banana Oat Protein Muffins. No flour used or added sugar!

4. Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oat Bars – A clean vegan and gluten free treat that everyone will enjoy! One of my absolute favorites and SO easy to make. Plus they’re only 128 calories each (with chocolate chips)!

Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oat Bars {vegan & gluten free}

3. Flourless Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies with Sea Salt – another flourless, gluten free, and vegan treat that tastes like a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie! You won’t be able to tell the difference.

Flourless Chocolate Chip Blondies with Sea Salt {vegan, gluten-free & healthy}

2. Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies – made without flour or butter. Chewy and perfect in every way!

Thick & Chewy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies made with no flour or butter

1. Crunchy Thai Quinoa Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing – light, vegan, gluten free, and packed with flavor! This was your favorite recipe of 2013! Hope you find the time to try it out if you haven’t already – you’ll fall in love!

Crunchy Thai Quinoa Salad

What was your favorite recipe of 2013? I’d love to hear!



Breakfast chat

Hey guys! It’s been a while since we’ve had a little chat. I can think of no better way to share my favorite things then over a good weekend breakfast (eggs, turkey bacon, and a whole grain bagel with light cream cheese).

So pour yourself a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, make your favorite breakfast, and let’s chat!


Life lately

First, I’ll catch you up on what’s been going on in my life lately. Unfortunately, I’ve been really slacking in the fitness department! I’m usually really good about leaving work and heading to the gym, but I’ve been so busy and my focus has been on getting as many things done as possible. It’s been tough and I know I need to get back into my groove; working out is a great stress reliever and helps me stay focused. That being said, I also try to remember that I can’t be perfect. None of us are! It’s all a balancing act.

Truly my biggest challenge is realizing that I cannot do it all. But hey, being ambitious is kind of my nature. Yet I often forget what I’ve accomplished thus far and what I’m striving for. It’s easy to get lost in the big world, too! However I wanted to say thank you for allowing me to vent and be honest in this space. It means so much to me! I love your emails, comments and fun notes – they make my days better.

This weekend I’m going to ease back into yoga and sculpting. Perhaps I’ll try and run around the lake if it isn’t too chilly! Fingers crossed. I’m also planning on doing an iPhone photo dump soon, so watch for that.


Weekend Link Love

I know it’s been a while since I’ve done my weekend link love or favorites, but I want to try and make this a regular thing again.

Here are 10 of my favorite bites, styles, articles, and inspiration from the past week:


  • THANKSGIVING EATS: this salad belongs on your Thanksgiving table.



  • GET GLAM: one of my favorite style blogs.


  • BREAKFAST LOVE: a bowl of oatmeal I would eat every day. forever.


  • A GOOD READ: my best friend sent me this article and I fell in love with it.


  • WORDS: remember this.




  • POLISHED: gorgeous holiday color.




Have a wonderful weekend! xoxo



One of my best friends is moving to Washington this weekend so this shout out is just for her: I’ll miss you Laura. I’ll miss Tibet Kitchen, our Rojo dinner dates, and even hard boiled egg whites. By the way, I’m so proud of you.

Can’t wait to visit!


We recently had a team meeting and had this for apps. It was nothing short of delicious.


During our meeting we made homemade pasta, grilled chicken, salads, and lemon olive oil cakes. I was FULL to say the least.


Have you tried this stuff? My favorite granola is usually honey and oats or ANYTHING pumpkin flavored.


Isn’t it obvious I love pumpkin from the bottom of my heart?


Read more.


photo (96)

Hope you guys had a wonderful weekend! I was in San Francisco last week at YouTube/Google for work and enjoyed some pretty delicious food and fun.

Best of all before I left for my trip, my latest Stitch Fix came in the mail. It feels likes Christmas every time I get a package! This time I kept 3 out of the 5 items they sent. You can read about why I love Stitch Fix so much here.

I was getting excited for Fall so I requested classic sweaters and told them to head to my Pinterest style board for inspiration on what types of pieces to send. I recieved a short black sweater (pictured above), and paired it with a bright, bold teal necklace that came in one of my previous fixes. Cute, huh?

photo (97)

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Weekend Favorites - Ambitious Kitchen

It’s a Friday and I want to ramble about life nonsense. I need to vent a little and sometimes the only way to do that is through writing. So here we go.

This Summer has been busy and you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t been as consistent with my blogging. I can’t say that I enjoyed summer to it’s fullest, because I didn’t. In fact, I still have yet to make it to DQ for a Blizzard which is sad because that’s one of my favorite things to do during the Summertime. Dairy Queen reminds me of moments with my Dad and how special our time together was. I’m making it a point to get an M&M blizzard tonight.

I’ve been so obsessed with keeping up with my full time job, blog, and other consulting projects that I haven’t been appreciating things like I should either. I keep pushing myself to my limits. At this point, I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. Although my blog is my passion, it keeps me up until 1AM most nights as I edit photos and write posts. I spend my weekend developing recipes, too. It’s hard work and dedication.

So why do it?

There are so many reasons! This blog is helping to pay off my student loans (and I have A LOT of student loans). It also pushes me to pursue my passion and THAT is something I absolutely love. When I founded Ambitious Kitchen two years ago, I never imagined that I would make money from it. Nor did I ever think that I’d have readers or Facebook fans; every day I worked on it a little harder and learned along the way. The toughest part about blogging is that sometimes you feel like you have to stand out among others. My best advice to new bloggers? Write about what you love, share your passions, and be true to yourself. That in itself will make it stand out because no one in this world is like you.

Really though! I’m so thankful that you’ve decided to come read Ambitious Kitchen. Even if I can’t keep up with it as much as I’d like to. You’re still here.

I don’t know what will happen in the future with this blog, but I do know that it makes me happy — no matter how many nights I’m up late.

Now last but not least, I have some favorites for you. Summer favorites and links that keep me inspired from other hard-working bloggers. Enjoy!

















Have a great weekend! xo



Happy, happy weekend friends!

It’s been a great past two weeks. I did a 3-day juice cleanse, met with one of my best friends for a fun wine night, made some delicious treats, annnnnndddddd bought a bike that I’m absolutely in love with.

Anyway I’m quite ready for a relaxing weekend. I have an epic cake in my mind that I want to bake up to celebrate the blog’s second birthday — hopefully I get around to that. Of course it involves chocolate. DUH.

I’m also popping over to help take some photographs for work at the Minnesota State Fair. It’s pre-fair, so it’ll be nice to be there before all of the chaos!

Now let’s get to my favorites… delicious favorites, beauty picks, music you need to hear and other random stuff thrown in.


















Have a sweet, Summery weekend! xoxo


01-IMG_1979 Hey there! It’s been a while since we’ve just chatted. You know about life, fitness, and non-recipes.

Sometimes we have to do that. To just catch up. I hope this doesn’t bore you.

First let me start out by saying that I LOVE salad bars. All of the healthy quinoa salads, kale galore, and every veggie you could imagine is a dream.

Usually I tend to go vegetarian at the salad bars but if I’m extra hungry I’ll get a little chicken. Then there’s always spinach, kale, and romaine for a bit of crunch. I top my salad with chickpeas, grape tomatoes, olives, red peppers, peas and mushrooms. Oh and red onion! I adore red onions. Lastly I drizzle a bit of red wine vinegar and sometimes a dash of sesame oil. TOTAL NOMS.

Few things are better than salad bars.


Except for chocolate.

My favorite is the Intense Dark Cabernet Matinee. It has a hint of wine and blackberry flavor.

SO SO GOOD. What’s your fav?


I”m very fond of Greek Yogurt. Actually no, I would say obsessed.

Here’s a fun twist on it I found. YUMMY.


 I get to do cool things for work. Like hang out with this guy!


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Happy Friday! The photo above is a quote I picked out during my yoga challenge that inspires me! Of course I’m still doing the challenge but I decided that doing it everyday wasn’t necessary for me. 5x a week is enough (with some double days)! The point of the challenge was really to complete 35 classes within 6 weeks and there are still a few more weeks to go.

Hmmm what else? Yesterday I ran 5 miles with my friend. My legs were heavy, but we kept a 9 min mile pace, which isn’t too horrible. I have to admit that sometimes I just need a good run to clear my head. I especially enjoy running with a friend because I’m extremely competitive when it comes to fitness, so I end up pushing myself. Do you prefer to workout by yourself or with a friend?

Oops! I just realized that I have yet to post a yoga challenge recap. I’m sorry! I promise to do one soon. I have lots to share. Wanna know what my biggest accomplishment this past week was? Packing my lunch every single day! I think I saved about $30!

Anyway I have a fun weekend ahead of me — I’ll be babysitting the kids I used to nanny for when I was in college. They’re the sweetest and I cannot wait to bake their favorite banana bread or monster cookies with them!

Now on to the good stuff… my weekly favorites! Here they are:





















Have a wonderful weekend! xoxo

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