Welcome to Ambitious Kitchen

My goodness, I am SO happy you’re here! Welcome to the brand new redesign of Ambitious Kitchen.

For nearly three years, Ambitious Kitchen has been my true passion; a place where I come to write, get creative, share inspiration, ups and downs, and some really freaking delicious recipes. Thank you for being here. I SO appreciate your readership, comments, pins, shares, likes, and LOVE. You inspire me more than you know.

I hope you’ll find the new site inspiring, easier to navigate, and FUN.

Welcome to Ambitious Kitchen

So, what’s new on the site?

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Cinnamon Rolls from Ambitious Kitchen

I love sharing photos and sneak peeks of what I’ve been up to lately, but it’s certainly been awhile! Like I mentioned before, I’ve been quite busy with the site redesign and traveling, but hope to be back with recipes soon so please don’t go away, friends.

Over Easter weekend I was in North Carolina to see Tony play baseball. Unfortunately I missed being able to see him pitch, but we were able to spend time together, which is always incredible.

Tony & Monque

Somehow I convinced him to watch the movie Frozen with me; it’s such a cute movie. I loved the snowman! Besides just vegging out, I made incredible overnight cinnamon rolls by hand. I think I was a little tipsy when I was kneading the dough at 2am the night before, but they turned out beautiful, soft, fluffy, and dare I say it… better than Cinnabon.

No really. Tony and his teammates devoured the entire pan that morning. Girlfriend points.

Decorating cookies

Tony’s parents were also visiting him over the weekend, so we jetted off to the grocery store to do a little shopping.

We picked up a cookie and I was surprised when they actually let me decorate it myself in the back of the bakery!

With all this eating, I brought Jillian along on my trip. Have you guys ever tried her workout DVDs? I LOVE them.

My favorite is Trouble Zones.

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Urban Remedy Purify Juice Cleanse Review

Remember last year when I did a review of Urban Remedy’s Organic Signature Juice Cleanse and fell in love? Well I decided to do another one and share my experience with you!

First I want to dive into WHY I love juice cleanses so much since I know there’s a lot of controversy around if they’re actually good for your body. My reasons are purely personal and should not be taken as advice; consider it me sharing my experience with you.

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Happy Friday! I want to introduce you to someone very special. Meet Jessie of Wool and Whiskey.

I went to college with Jessie; she always had the brightest smile and her love of travel was well-known. In fact, we both studied abroad in Australia! Today, Jessie spends her time making the most beautiful, cozy hand knit scarves! I LOVE her scarves because they’re high quality, incredibly warm, and gorgeous!

More about Jessie: She first started knitting while living and teaching in South Korea. After returning to Minnesota, she continued her love for knitting by making big, cozy scarves for herself to keep warm during the chilly winters. After a few days of wearing her own hand knit scarf, Jessie began receiving compliments. The rest is history; Jessie started an Etsy shop and named it Wool and Whiskey, not only because the name has a nice ring to it but also because both seem to keep one warm on those below zero days!

Here are some more photos of her scarves:

image courtesy: Wool & Whiskey

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I’m back with some more details about my recent travels to beautiful Australia! You can check out the first part of my trip here.

After a few days exploring Sydney, Tony and I flew into Brisbane. We were planning on spending a few days in a little hippie beach town called Byron Bay (my favorite place ever), so we rented a car. It was a bit of a challenge for Tony to get used to driving on the opposite site of the road and in the opposite side of the car, but he managed.

Right when we got off the plane we met my friend Susie for lunch and cocktails, then we dipped off to Byron Bay.


Out of all of the places we visited in Australia, Byron Bay was our favorite.

The first night we walked into town and enjoyed a delicious dinner, live music, and drinks. It was relaxing and just what we were craving.


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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.

aus19 aus18 aus17

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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?


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