Do you believe in karma? I do. Not necessarily in a religious sense, but more in that you should treat others the way you’d like to be treated. I feel as though every day is a blessing; you learn to make the best of it. I bought the shirt (pictured above) from my yoga studio and I absolutely LOVE it; it reminds me to conscious of my attitude and to be kind no matter what type of day I’m having.
This week has been busy for me! I have been traveling and my workout schedule has been out of sorts so I picked up a couple of Jillian Michaels Workout DVDs* and I fully intend to get my butt kicked. Do you guys have any favorite workout DVDs? Please don’t say Insanity or P90x. Those guys weird me out.
Hmmm what else?
We’re working hard on the new redesign for Ambitious Kitchen and it’s looking great so far! I also booked a vacation with a friend for the end of March. I’m so excited to just relax and drink margaritas by the pool. Speaking of which, today is National Margarita Day! Go get one, you deserve it!
Now on to my favorites from this past week:
Have you ever done a juice cleanse? I’m dying to try the 3-day Pressed JuiceryCleanse.
This sounds fun: Healthy new snack products delivered to you every month from Nature Box.
How was your Valentine’s Day? Mine was insanely delicious. I made honey-lime and chili spiced pan-fried walleye with some garlic roasted asparagus and spaghetti squash. The best part about V-day though? A McDonald’s ice cream cone after! I swear they have some of the best ice cream and I had been literally dreaming about inhaling one for like a week straight. Sooo I just hit up Mickey D’s drive-thru. Probably the best decision I’ve made in a while.
Oh, I also got sucked into watching Dear John, but decided to turn it off halfway through because it just gets weird, wouldn’t you agree? Like Channing Tatum is half-gangster half-army guy with a pretty girlfriend who leaves him for a guy a million years older? I don’t get it.
Anywhoooo I’m traveling this next week so my blogging schedule may be a tiny bit chaotic; trust me when I say I’ve been holding back on you. Oh, and if you’re wondering what’s up with the picture of the cookie, they are my favorite to bake for a weekend treat especially since they only take about 25 minutes until they are in your mouth. Dooo it.
I haven’t traveled in a few weeks and it feels weird, but it’s nice to be able to unpack my suitcase for once! This weekend I have a fun dinner planned, along with a superbowl party. I’m also dying to make my favorite pancakes with bits of chopped dark chocolate. I’ve been collecting recipes on my pancake pinterestboard too just to reiterate to the world that I love breakfast.
Anyway let’s get into Friday favorites!
Doesn’t this la paloma cocktail look incredibly refreshing to serve during the super-bowl?
Dying to see Warm Bodies… please tell me I’m not the only one?
Thinking about what to get your man for Valentine’s Day? Check out this incredibly awesome dude gift basket aka the Broquet.
Football season is here, and I don’t know about you but I’m more interested in the snacks rather than the game. So when I had the opportunity to partner with Pillsbury to build a Snackadium using their crescent rolls & pizza dough, I was totally in!
Thus I began my mission: throwing the ultimate football party with copious amounts of snacks, dips, brown butter cookies, meatballs, wings and just about anything you can think of.
Now you’re probably wondering what I did to create this ultimate party, and it’s simple really: I built a snackdium (football stadium made out of food) on top of my pool table. Obviously the best thing to known to men who love food.
I’m not kidding. Building stuff + food + football + brown butter cookies = a man’s favorite thing. Promise.
Of course, my family requested that I make my brown butter and sea salt chocolate chip cookies. Somehow we ‘forgot’ to bring them to the Christmas Eve party we were attending. However, I’m pretty sure they meant to leave them back home so that they could eat them all.
Breakfast — why am I so obsessed with it? I appreciate it. I wake up for it. I even crave it at night! Brinner (breakfast for dinner) is now a crucial part of my diet! My new obsession is skinny french toast with peanut butter and maple syrup. I’m thinking about adding bananas next time. Or bourbon? Yes, probably bourbon.
I seriously might have to create a how-to just on that french toast.
Fashion wise, cranberry colored jeans are totally the way to go. Except when you spill chocolate donut sprinkles all over them; then bring on the black. Or just get a napkin and stop eating donuts like I should.
How was your weekend? Mine was full of cooking! My roommate and I made arugula salads with fresh fruit vinaigrette, chicken stir fry, and spent hours making chile verde and the best apple crisp in the world. Our bellies were happy.
After all of that cooking, I wanted to bring you something simple: a green chile sauce that goes on top of nearly everything! I’m also a huge fan of how easy this recipe is. All you have to do is roast chiles (or you can used canned), put a couple of ingredients in a pot, and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
This green chile sauce is slightly spicy, but it reminds me of all things Summer. You can put it on anything, and is now a staple in my diet. I put it in on eggs, chicken, over enchiladas, in tacos, basically anything… oh and it’s incredible over squash. See?
Doesn’t that look good? I can’t wait to share a million other things that make Fall the best season everrrrr.
Until then, I’ll savor ice cream cones, shorts, the bright blue ocean, fresh fruit, iced coffee, and everything else that makes Summer oh so good. Here’s a look at some photos that I’ve snapped over the past month. (The recipe for the sauce is at the end of this post.)
Won’t you savor the rest of Summer with me? Preferably with this roasted green chile sauce; I’m telling you it’s soooo worth it!
Now, if you don’t know how to roast green chiles, here’s a great tutorial (with photos!) from the Pioneer Woman. Basically all you have to do is place green chiles under the broiler for 10-15 minutes. Cool, huh?
You’re gonna need this recipe for another recipe I have coming soon!
I can’t believe that I’ve been blogging for nearly a year! It seems like forever ago, I was sitting in my college house attempting to determine what I would call this blog.
It also seems like yesterday I was helping my Dad in the kitchen; we were always baking together. Our favorite thing to bake was a moist yellow cake with a simple, but extraordinary homemade chocolate frosting (also known as the best birthday cake in the world). Although the recipe is simple, I don’t know it’ll ever taste the same. I’m simply not sure I could ever put enough care, or for the matter, enough love into a cake like he did.
Every time we made chocolate frosting, Dad would always add in a little freshly brewed coffee. When I asked why, his answer was simple, “Coffee enhances the chocolate flavor.” I remember looking at him like I was puzzled, and he responded, “Because that’s just the way it is Loveys (my childhood nickname).”
And I was okay with his answer, because it was Dad telling me so. He made things so easy to understand.
Our days were simple together. We had fun flipping pancakes, flying kites, and reading books. I drew pictures of him while he watched TV. Once we even made homemade butter because I was obsessed with Laura Ingalls Wilder for a good six months. Our moments of laughter will never be forgotten in my heart. And yet after nearly five years of life without him, I still ache for our weirdness; our absurd obsession with cake, pickles, and the perfect sandwich. These past five years could never erase any moment with him; it just brings a better appreciation.
Losing him was a striking, bold moment in my life that left me wondering what I was meant to do, how I would survive without a parent… or simply carry on. But I did, and will continue to. I’m pouring my heart into my passion.
You see, there are moments in life when you are blindsided, and it will happen to you, I promise. Why? Because it happens to everyone. Life is simply a building experience of beauty, tragedy, and significant moments that change us for the better, even if we can’t see it in the present. Our defining moments are our worst moments, yet remembering the positivity behind every life experience can enable us to flourish.
I decided that I would never live my life waiting for the what-ifs; for those unexpected moments to sneak up on me. Of course I’m not perfect; I just want to experience what life has to offer. I know what I’m capable of, where my passion lies, and how hard I have to work to get there. Maybe the odds are against me, but I’d rather try to do something and fail then always wonder about what-ifs.
I also want to enjoy living in the moment… and right now that includes eating pancakes every single morning.
A year ago I didn’t think I would be living in Washington DC. Six months ago I never knew that I would be making my way to California. It never crossed my mind that I’d ever be dreaming of being a chef, or a cookbook author! But these were choices, and I’m choosing to design my life.
I have plenty of goals that I want to accomplish in my next year of blogging. I want to cook more and challenge my abilities in the kitchen. I’m hoping to improve my photography and writing as well. Last but not least, I’m going to bring a more personal touch to Ambitious Kitchen… there might even be some cooking videos!
Anyway, maybe now you can see why I’m so passionate about the things I do: about food, this blog, and mostly just about life. And when I ask myself why I’m a little overly ambitious, I can almost hearing my Dad say, “Because that’s just the way it is Loveys.”
I hope you’ll continue to read Ambitious Kitchen as it continues to grow and change. Thank you all so much!
Instead I wanted to catch you up on my life; what I’m doing, working on, and loving! Most of this involves food.
We haven’t had a sweet recipe for FAR too long. How rude of me.
Butter + sugar + lots of love in forms of cakes and cookies coming soon.
AND PIE…. that’s another obvious.
I’ve discovered that cookie dough is really crazy good and addicting. BUT I think the smell of homemade cookies out of the oven is even better; I would never get sick of coming home to the aroma of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.
That’s why someone should bottle it up and sell it as a men’s cologne. Instant millionaire!
There are an abundance of zucchinis the size of my arm in my garden. They are not even genetically modified so I don’t know what’s happening there. Good things will come of this though, I promise.
I love creating feel-good recipes with fresh summer produce.
You know, when I’m not eating pie.
This just seems to be the summer of cooking! Every second I get I’m in the kitchen doing way too many things at once.
Just look at that weird brown-greenish sauce! It’s actually an amazing homemade green chile sauce. I put it on everything for a week straight.
Things are getting really good in my kitchen. Like really, really freaking good. I can’t stop having fun. No, no…. maybe life is getting good? Like really, really freaking good? I am 23 after all!
And because I am 23, my veins operate on caffeine.
WAIT… that’s not right, is it? I’m supposed to only need coffee once I have kids. This might be an issue someday.
Until then, I still love a good cup of coffee. To me, it’s the perfect way to start my morning. My roommate introduced me to the French Press annnndddd it could be the best thing ever. I also really love Peet’s Coffee.
Since being in LA, I’ve been trying to check out new restaurants. On Saturday, I had these incredible baby scallops and a fresh summer salad with figs and pea shoots at Hot’s Kitchen. Then delicious watermelon and mint cocktails at Silvio’s BBQ.
But do you want to know my favorite discovery was?
A little social house with a super creative chef: Manhattan Beach Post. We went there for brunch this past weekend. I ordered a Burrata and Roasted Red Pepper sandwich and my friend had and incredible eggs benedict on top of a bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuit. HOLY… what?! So soooooo good.
I’ve been listening to Lana Del Rey’s album non-stop; Summertime Sadness is one of my favorite songs. Her voice makes me feel like I’ve been thrown back into the 60’s. Just listen!
My mom made me plantains which are a traditional staple in Puerto Rico. There are countless ways to prepare and use them. Don’t they look like bananas?
Anyway that’s just a little bit of my summer for you. Right now I’m working on a huge project and have been enjoying summer as much as possible. Don’t worry, I’ve got lots of recipes coming soon!
June is nearly over, but Summer is just getting started.
I’m excited! The 4th of July is next week and I can’t wait to celebrate. Usually it’s full of cinnamon rolls, grilling turkeys (seriously), watching fireworks, and making an absurd amount of patriotic cakes and jello shots. I wasn’t planning on posting a red, white, and blue themed recipe, but who knows perhaps you can persuade me.
Now quite frankly it’s been a busy month for me. I was jetting around the country. BUT I still found some fun things I want to share with you. Let’s start with this cookbook.
Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook is a lovely baking cookbook based on a real life bakery in Savannah, Georgia. Their motto is simple, “Slow Down and Taste the Sweet Life”. I couldn’t agree more! The book is full of simple yet creative baking recipes that make you want to immediately jump in your kitchen and get out the flour, butter, and sugar.
Through reading this cookbook and sampling the recipes, I realized that the owners Cheryl and Griffith are extremely passionate about sharing their love for baking and food with others. Their recipes come straight from the heart and you’ll find yourself pulling out this book to bake every chance you get. I highly recommend it!
Now look at these gorgeous cakes I found while standing in line to order at Alcove, a cafein Los Angeles. The brunch was superb and worth the huge line and wait. I got the power breakfast, so nothing crazy but I had a bite of a friend’s chicken sausage and goat cheese omelette–just amazing.
Unfortunately I didn’t take a cake home with me. Which only means I have to go back again soon!
For Father’s Day I made my famous brown butter & sea salt chocolate chip cookies. Not for my Dad, but for a friend’s Father’s Day BBQ. Seriously have you guys tried them yet? They are sweet, salty, and perfect over cold ice cream. I served them warm over Breyer’s Vanilla Bean (my favorite). It was magic in a bowl.
Hmmm… yoga on the beach! It was the ultimate form of relaxation. Well, as relaxing as exercise can be anyway.
I’ve also been eating way too much Trader Joe’s turkey jerky! It’s ridiculous how good it is.
It’s also crazy how much I’m there. I’m a TJ stalker.
Getting ice cream in the Summer is such a tradition. The other day we went to Dairy Queen and Ben got his favorite: a double fudge cookie dough blizzard. I didn’t even know that existed.
My favorite blizzard is still banana cream pie.
I can’t forget to mention all the cute summer accessories I’ve been seeing around. Here’s a necklace from Anthropologie that I’ve been eyeing for quite sometime. I love bright colors paired with a white top or jeans, especially with a nice summer tan.
Sooooo I saw these drop dead delicious crispy baked asian chicken wings I just knew I had to make them! They’re very easy to throw together and can be done in just about an hour. Um and they’re really freaking goooooood. Seriously if you are looking for great recipes that your entire family will love, then you need to check out Kelly’s blog Just A Taste.
Kelly and I also have an obsession with this guy right here:
It’s Ari from this season’s Bachelorette! I can’t believe how addicted I have become to that show. I seriously think I would cancel a date to watch it. I normally never watch television religiously either! If you’ve been watching I’d love to know who you are rooting for.
I have a lot of shows I need to catch up on. Revenge, Mad Men, and True Blood are all some of my favorites. I’ll save those for days I feel like baking cookies and relaxing.
Lastly, I found out some disappointing news last night. I didn’t get the job that I desperately have been working hard towards. I guess you could say it was my dream job.
I didn’t necessarily need the job, I just really wanted it. So today, I’m actually completely bummed, but I have to remember that there is so many other things to look forward to. I’m still only 23 and sometimes out of failure or rejection comes wonderful opportunities.