Jun
19

Learn how to make homemade almond butter with vanilla, honey, and sea salt. This is better then the store bought version!

You guys know I’m a peanut butter lover for life. I mean whoever thought of grinding a nut into a magical spread is a FREAKING genius!

I literally slather peanut butter on everything in sight. I dream about it. I also wake up with peanut butter sandwiches next to my bed.

Yeah, don’t even ask.

Know what else I’m head over heels in love with? Homemade almond butter! It’s ridiculously smooth and perfect on muffins, pancakes, and in chickpea blondies. After making this vanilla bean honey almond butter, I just don’t know if I can go back to the plain PB.

Almond butter is packed with nutritional benefits too; this includes fiber, protein, and good-for-you fats. I’m not sure about you, but I kind of want to dive face first into the jar.

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Jun
13

Yes, the weekend is here. I should be thrilled, but to tell you the truth, I am sooooooo tired. The only thing I’m thrilled about is the chance to sleep in.

I don’t think I’ve recovered from last weekend yet, plus my new job started on Monday so I’ve been going, going, going. Maybe I’ll take the weekend to recover just a little bit. This is really just me explaining why I haven’t been posting as frequently.

But here’s something to look forward to: A brand new redesigned Ambitious Kitchen! Yes, each day we’ve been plugging away on my new site! I’m excited for it to launch, but let me tell you, it takes more work than you would think!

Anyway since I’ve been on the go lately, I’ve needed to make sure that all of my meals and snacks are prepared ahead of time.

I’m also kind of on this no-wheat experimentation diet, thus I’ve been eating high protein breakfasts  — including these awesome veggie-packed egg white muffins.

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Jun
11

Ummm hi. I’m recovering from a food coma — a deep and scary one. I guess that’s what happens when you attend food conferences in a city where there is magical Mexican food.

I can’t even think of anything except salad right now! I need it. Because apparently I think that it’s okay to eat ice cream sandwiches the size of my face, buttery muffins for breakfast, and ohhh I don’t know about a million peanut butter m&ms (give or take a few).

I’ll be paying for my decisions for the next week; however, with salads that include strawberries, goat cheese, quinoa, and crunchy sunflower seeds; I’m not sure I mind too much. Especially when it’s tossed in my absolute favorite lemon dressing.

I would have to say that this salad is absolutely perfect for summer. It’s slightly sweet, but oh so fresh! Often times I add chia or poppyseeds to the lemon dressing for a little fun crunch and extra nutrition. The goat cheese adds in a nice tang and along with the dressing, I found it to be irresistible! The sunflower seeds are different and lovely, but you can use pecans if you’d like.

Other optional add-ins that I’d suggest: chickpeas or pulled chicken breast. You can serve this over spinach and pack it for your weekly lunches.

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Jun
03

Well that title is certainly a mouthful. But guess what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I made you another delicious flourless treat without any weird ingredients. This time it includes two of my absolute favorite things: peanut butter AND nutella. OH BABY. And if you want to get really crazy, you can add bananas into that mix! But we’ll get to the various adaptations behind these bars in a bit. First I’d like to share some VERY exciting news with all of you!

I’ve taken a new job!

I will be joining General Mills as a full-time employee managing social for Gold Medal Flour and Bisquick. I’m completely thrilled as I have been working on and off with General Mills for the past two years in social media, thus it was only natural for me to move into a full-time role.

So what does this mean for Ambitious Kitchen?

You probably won’t notice a difference at all, other than my posts may be a little sporadic as I transition into my new role. Naturally you might hear me mention cereal and yogurt a bit more often (because I will be surrounded by it at work), but other than that I will continue to stay true to what I love: creating unique, (mostly) healthy recipes and sharing my passion for healthy living with all of you.

Again, thank you so much for your continued support of Ambitious Kitchen.

Note: Everyone has different opinions on the food brands they support; please know that Ambitious Kitchen is my personal food blog, and will continue to remain that way.

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May
28

First thing’s first: How was your Memorial Day Weekend? I hope you had the chance to relax and eat some delicious food.

I was able to finally catch The Great Gatsby in theaters and HOLY heaven… Leo! I don’t think he’s been that good looking since his Titanic days. Besides staring into Leo’s eyes via theater projection screen, I was able to accomplish a lot this weekend. I cleaned my room (MAJOR DEAL), booked some flights, spent time with my family, cooked, and instagramed my food like a freak.

Yes, I’m totally one of those people.

I wish I could say I instagrammed and ate this salmon this weekend, but that’s just not truth. I actually created this dish several months ago and completely forgot about it until recently when I was strolling through my photos. Please forgive me! How could I deny you this magical meal?

This salmon. Um, words really won’t do it justice, but I’ll try to describe it in the best way I know how: through super delicious adjectives (obviously) and dramatic descriptors.

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May
06

It really felt like a Summery Cinco de Mayo weekend, didn’t it?

I spent the better half of it with my face in a bowl of chips and guac… like you would expect anything less from me. I’m just going to be honest and say that I’m hoping to repeat it every single weekend for the rest of my life.

But seriously.

I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to Summer. My ears are longing for Lana Del Ray and old Mariah Carey beats.

Everyone knows Minnesota summers are the BEST EVER!  Probably because we endure a solid six months of Winter? Nevertheless, a completely irresistible three months are coming soon. I can’t wait to lounge by the lake and catch the pink-painted sunsets with a drink in hand. YUM!

Anyway I was thinking we’d start enjoying the flavors of Summer a little early with a bit of mango avocado pico and burgers packed with fresh flavors. I already know you’re down.

(If you don’t know what that means, the just make the burgers and enjoy how freaking healthy delicious they are.)

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Apr
25

The nice part about becoming older, is that you truly gain wisdom. It’s kind of weird to think about sometimes, isn’t it? To really acknowledge how much you change each and every year. As I glanced out at the sunrise during my flight to Chicago this morning, I thought about the little (big) things I’ve learned during my 20s (thus far):

  • Your time is better spent doing what you love. Always.
  • You learn a lot about other people and the relationships you find yourself in and sometimes it’s a pattern. It’s weird.
  • You become better at understanding  others in a more of an emotional sense.  A good thing!
  • You realize that sometimes two people just aren’t right for each other, but you accept it, move on, and that’s that.
  • You realize you need to be patient when it comes to your career and success.
  • BUT You learn to walk away from the things that don’t leave you satisfied with happiness, and then choose to pursue what keeps you smiling.
  • You value close friendships more than ever. You leave drama behind.
  • You are more thankful for your family because they will always be rock solid.
  • You begin to acknowledge the fact that a different location wont change your feelings or allow you to start over. Your location doesn’t control your happiness — YOU do.
  • Somewhere along the way, you grow up a bit.

More than anything, I’ve discovered that your 20s are about trials and tribulations. The best you can do is to just be yourself. Only try to change what you CAN control… and the rest? Whatever! Simply put, we all can be better than the people we were yesterday.

 

 

After all this, I’ve also realized that growing up means enjoying thing that are actually HEALTHY for your body and mind. Especially food that makes your body feel good on both the inside and out. Unfortunately, inhaling 5 cookies at once won’t bring you any sort of happiness.

Trust me on this. I’ve had several bad experiences with Girl Scout Cookies. Shhhh.

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Apr
15

Healthy oatmeal cottage cheese pancakes packed with 20g of protein to give you boost. The perfect after workout meal full of healthy carbs and protein! Taste like banana bread pancakes.

I recently caught up with one of my best friends from college; we hadn’t seen each other in over a year! How does time pass that quickly? I’m not sure, but life does happen and as I’m hurling my way through my twenties, it has increasingly become more difficult to maintain the relationships I once had.

I feel like this should be an article on Thought Catalog.

college

Anyway, Callie (pictured in the middle) and I lived together throughout college, which reminded me of our absurd obsession with oatmeal. WE LOVED IT. I can’t tell you how many times we ate it for both breakfast AND dinner; it was just SO filling, good-for-you, and comforting! Big bowls of cinnamon oatmeal bliss for dinner topped with anything we could find. I miss those days.

In fact, I MISS ALL OF MY FAVORITE COLLEGE GIRLS! Life slow down for just a minute please. At least so I can find the time to make some oatmeal.

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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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Feb
21

Confession of the day: I’m an absolute lover of mini meals because I consider them real treats! For example, my go-to snacks are bananas rolled in toasted almonds, rice cakes with cottage cheese and honey, or cereal with ice cold almond milk. Oh and margaritas! Because those can be considered snacks, right?

Anyway I’m getting back to the point here… I eat a lot of carbs, and that’s a problem. But you guys, I just ADORE nooks-and-crannies english muffins and basically every flavor or Cheerios to ever hit the market (minus Dulce de Leche).

Raise your hand if I just described you, too.

Surprisingly I’ve managed to stop buying both bread and cereal so now the only carb-like food lurking in my cupboards is a pack of rice cakes, low-carb tortillas, and apparently marshmallow creme, which I ate from the jar last night while watching old episodes of Felicity.

I don’t know if you know this but teen drama from the 90s is extremely stressful.

So this whole low-carb thing means that I am  forced to give up pasta and opt for something else to pair tomato sauce with. That’s where spaghetti squash comes in handy; it’s gluten-free, low-carb, and freaking delicious! Did you know that one cup of spaghetti squash only has 42 calories and 8 net carbs? I can literally eat platefuls of it!

The real star today isn’t the spaghetti squash though; it’s my homemade arrabbiata sauce — a spicy tomato marinara sauce with garlic and herbs. I was reading somewhere that arrabbiato means angry in Italian, which for me just translates into one mean, spicy marinara! It is sensational, especially when paired with garden veggies.

I enjoy making homemade tomato sauce because I love knowing what ingredients are being used plus the flavors are always bold and fresh. I thought it would be fun to show you how I make my favorite sauce without canned ingredients so that you can enjoy it too! Trust me, once you try this you won’t go back. Read more.

 
 
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