Jan
30

The other day my best friend’s mom asked when I was going to start seriously dating someone that I was just sort-of seeing?

Ummmm I don’t know, I just turned 24? And what is this — an intervention? I mean is there a deadline that I missed out on that says you have be in super serious relationship by a certain age? Can’t it all be casual and cool? I like going on dates, I’m just not on the marriage train. I prefer to live in the reality that love is a fairy tale, you know after I chase down all of my dreams and travel around the globe.

Speaking of romance, Valentine’s Day is coming up! Quick, Let’s eat salads before we overcompensate by shoving heart-shaped Reese’s in our mouths!

Just kidding… Sort of?

Lately, I have been a complete train wreck. Okay not necessarily in a bad way though; I’ve just been focusing on prioritizing my projects for work AND keeping up with the blog. Juggling them can be difficult and most of the time I end up working on the weekends with little time for guzzling my favorite margaritas. Wait, now that I think about it… aren’t margaritas a priority? Hmmmm. I’ll have to ponder that one.

Anyway this whole getting my life organized thing has forced me to become incredibly prepared since I’m always on the go. This includes making my meals ahead of time: oat muffins for the morning, greek yogurt with caramelized almonds for a sweet afternoon snack, and this pretty superfruit and nut salad that I’ve enjoyed chowing down on for lunch.

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Jan
27

Is it normal that I sleep with my iPhone under my pillow? Or that when I immediately wake up I check all of my SEVEN email accounts? Um, probably not.

I need to figure out a way to unplug from all of the communication sometimes. Or just find a balance. When I’m not working on my site, I’m constantly plugged in for my other job. As much as I tell myself that I need to take a break and relax, it’s hard to step away from the chaos of work and the busyness of life; I’m sure many of you can relate!

Usually the only thing that gets me away from all of it is the chaos of my own kitchen — my own little sweet happy spot. As soon as I put on a little music and begin to dice and chop, my creative energy pours into pots and pans, creating good food for loved ones.

This stew was made during an evening when my mind was cluttered and I needed a release. I had a busy day full of meetings. Okay and I was also dreaming about when I would actually get those girl scout cookies I ordered — like how long it would take for me to destroy 5 boxes this year? Whattttttt? Girl scout cookies are stressful to think about.

Anyway there was a jar of lentils that had been sitting in my cupboard along with gorgeous organic sweet potatoes from Whole Foods. It was time to put the iPhone down. A lovely pot of stew was an adventure I was ready to take on.

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Jan
14

This past weekend I spent my time catching up with a friend and enjoying a short trip to DC. I absolutely love weekend trips! You get in and out of cities with a few fantastic meals, memories to laugh over, and the excitement of travel. There’s only really one thing I despise: travel aftermath.

I always find myself in a state of chaos after an adventure. I’ll even fully admit to you that my suitcase isn’t getting unpacked for at least two weeks. There will also be piles of laundry starting at me, and it will take at least two days to sift through emails. Oh and then to top it all off I have to think about cooking myself dinner after dining out all weekend and guzzling margaritas like I have the metabolism of a gymnast… forget it! At that point all I desire to do is spread out in my bed and watch a marathon of shows that used to be cool in the 90s. Or the Food Network because it’s truly the only channel I need.

This is the time where super lean turkey sloppy joes come in. They’re so easy to throw together — and healthy too! Total travel worry diminished. Really you guys, you absolutely have no idea how obsessed I am with favorite childhood foods, particularly heaping tomato slathered juicy turkey sandwiched between a whole wheat hamburger bun. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. As a kid, I used to eat them with corn chips almost every day. Now that I’m an adult, I hold the hope that someone will create a sloppy joe food truck and park it in front of my house during lunch time.

Okay I admit that’s an unlikely scenario, but I really do adore them! These joes are a quick fix for my comfort food cravings.

Seriously how much easier could dinner get? Minimal ingredients. Healthy and easy. Just awesome flavor in your mouth. They remind me of being a kid! This recipe calls for a bit of BBQ sauce which means the sloppy joes aren’t as sweet, but instead have a perfect tangy, rich flavor with a hint of spice. I recommend using a bbq sauce with minimal sugar, and a spicy flavor, although your favorite sauce would work too. My favorite way to serve them? With sharp cheddar cheese on whole wheat crusty buns. Doooo it.

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Jan
05

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As you may know (or perhaps you don’t), I don’t eat beef. It’s actually a little weird to think about since growing up I was in love with cheeseburger happy meals from McDonald’s. My dad loved a good burger too, topped high with condiments and every fixin’ in the refrigerator. Burgers were essential year round in our house, yet during my high school years I converted to turkey burgers, and then throughout college veggie burgers filled my plate.

 

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Now there is no question that the tastes and textures between the three of them are completely different—juicy beef burgers, moist turkey burgers, and unbelievable flavored hearty vegetarian burgers. I actually prefer the satisfying flavor from veggies burgers — beans, fresh herbs, spices, and a delicious texture just can’t be surpassed.

Yesterday I was craving one of those veggie burgers made with good-for-you ingredients. Since I’m an Alexia Tastemaker, and have the honor of developing delicious recipes using Alexia products, I wanted to incorporate their new sweet potato rolls I knew they would be perfect with my veggie burgers, especially since they have sweet potatoes in them. Yum!

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Jan
02

Welcome to 2013! I hope you had a blast ringing in the New Year. I know I did!

Now that it’s January, I realize that most of us are now on some fitness or health mission. I really haven’t made any resolutions, other than to never let myself miss out on an experience that I find interesting or challenging. However, I do think that it’s finally time for me to get back into the swing of things health-wise. Today I finally made it to yoga after being sick for the past week; it felt wonderful to just be there. I’m also making an effort to get rid of all of the junk I ate last month — ugh, like enough with the cookies already! Yep, I just said that.

Even if I’m eating healthier, I just can’t find a reason why I would give up eating Mexican food. Why torture myself? We all know how that would end up — me with a plateful of nachos, a giant margarita, and a whole lot of guilt. Who gives up the things they love the most? Not this girl.

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Dec
12

I was just thinking about how much has changed this past year. I mean isn’t it a bit exhilarating how fast life happens? We’re learning tough truths, letting go of the things that are out of our control, and heck, we’re growing and changing!

Last year I was working on the east coast.  I barely had any time to blog and was struggling with what I wanted to do with my life. I referred to it as my early quarter life crisis. It was like when Felicity had to choose Ben or Noah, and decided to become an artist (seriously, go buy all the seasons of Felicity). Anyway, it wasn’t until I was completely lost did I discover my passion that I absolutely had to pursue. It was so obvious at that point: food is the recipe to my heart and happiness! I love creating it, photographing it, and eating it.

I know I talk a lot about following your dreams and living your passion, but that’s because I completely believe in it! Helping you, whether it’s in your kitchen or in your life is essentially apart of my success.

Today’s success comes in the form of soup. A soup that I’m completely in love with. Of course, I’m in love with a lot of things, but simple soup fills me up with contentment. Adding crispy lime and salt studded corn tortilla chips on top just makes it that much better.

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Nov
29

Soup is one of my favorite things during the cold winter months. I literally dream about the days where I can sit with a good book, a cup of soup, and a slice of crusty bread to soak up  all that warm comfort left on the bottom of my bowl.

And of course in between eating pie for breakfast (there were leftovers!) and shoveling Christmas cookies in my mouth; my soul craves soup. Perhaps because it’s the only thing that isn’t made up of purely sugar and butter. Goodness, my body needs a break from that. And this soup? Well, it leaves me full, warm, and richly satisfied.

The butternut squash is roasted in the oven to bring out it’s natural sweetness. Meanwhile the apples, carrots and onions are sauteed with a bit of cinnamon. Lastly the maple and milk are added. The soup is easily pureed into a fairly thick and creamy delight which ends up being quite delicious paired with croutons, or a warm crusty bread for dipping.

It’s really quite perfect in between those overindulgent family get-togethers, cookies exchanges, and peppermint lattes.
Enjoy!

Oct
08

Happy Monday!

I thought it would be fun to start off the week with 10 random things. Ready?

1. You should rent the movie The Lucky One. I watched it this past weekend and decided that the plot was weird but that Zac Efron is probably one of the most good looking human beings on the planet and totally worth staring at for 1.5 hours. Do it.

2. WHAT THE FREAKING DELICIOUS… Hasselback sweet potatoes with oatmeal cookie crumble? I need to eat these every day for breakfast. Or dessert. I haven’t decided yet; all I know is that it was love at first sight.

3. Trader Joe’s makes Nonfat Pumpkin Greek Yogurt. It’s like a drug, so plan accordingly. Swirl that in your oatmeal in the morning, dip a pita chip in it, or put it in a smoothie. Addictive. Like really freaking addictive.

4. The 32 Best Things About Being an Adult. I can’t decide what my favorite one is. But probably unlimited access to Toaster Strudel? Yes, definitely.

5. Apparently Monica Lewinsky is writing a book. I really think it’ll be up for a Pulitzer Prize, don’t you?

6. Lemon poppyseed pancakes. Put that on your brunch list asap. With blueberry syrup of course.

7. Here’s a 100 calorie guide to your favorite Halloween candy. A bit depressing yet also very helpful as I think one year I ate like 10 mini Reese’s because they were… well, mini?

8. Check out A Cup of Jo; it’s a women’s lifestyle blog that I’ve fallen in love with. (Hint: you might see a recipe of mine over there if you dig around!)

9. Stay weird.

10. October is National Chili month. Let’s celebrate by eating this chili! It’s vegetarian, hearty, and amazing with a smoked chipotle greek yogurt sauce. Extra points if you serve it with cornbread.

 

I ate this chili all weekend. At first it’s slightly sweet, but has a tiny bit of kick from the chipotle tabasco sauce (a must have condiment in my opinion). It’s also full of a medley of spices including tumeric, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg. Ugh it was everything I wanted: sweet, savory, and perfect for a chilly fall day.

I swear you’ll fall in love with it. And it’s hearty enough to last you a couple of days. Or if you prefer, you can freeze half of it and take it out later during the winter when you need a big bowl of comfort.

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Sep
19

 

I just wanted to tell you all that I’m in a Starbucks writing this post. I’m hungrier than a lion and those little salted caramel cake pops are staring at me. Seriously, whoever invented those is a genius because I want to destroy about three of them… with my mouth.

Sorry if that was too much, but writing about food, staring at food, and smelling food is making me a little bit weird. Minus the fact that I’m already weird, so this post is just extremely weird. Got it?

Anyway I’ve gathered all of my willpower so we can chat about what’s been actually going down in my kitchen. About a month ago I posted a simple photo of tilapia on my Facebook page. Many of you asked for the recipe, so although I don’t have photos of the finished, plated meal, I thought that you would still enjoy it. But here’s some truth: half of the things I create or bake don’t end up on my blog. Sometimes it’s simply because I didn’t snap a photo; realistically it’s because I’m a little bit of a perfectionist now that I own a nice camera. Most of the food I create is made at night for dinner, so finding time to set up a photoshoot when I’m hungry can be difficult. Not to mention I only use natural lighting, so I’m a little bit bummed that it’s getting darker, earlier.

Let me introduce you what’s been happening. Usually my kitchen is a mess.

 

Mostly because I make a lot of pancakes. Like every morning. They’re always different and damn, they are delicious.

I’ve also been making a lot of brown butter and sea salt chocolate chip cookies. While they are amazing, I can’t say they benefit my waistline. Oh well… WORTH IT.

To balance it out, I eat A LOT of veggies. Roasted in garlic and tossed in olive oil. I could eat the entire pan… and often times I do.

Snack time happens a lot. I’ve been drinking vegan kale green monster smoothies (I have a recipe coming soon).

I think they totally make me kissable. My kale bag thinks so too.

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Sep
10

If you made my favorite brown butter + sea salt chocolate chip cookies this past weekend and left me a comment or sent me an email then quite frankly, I love you! I am trying my best to respond to each of you to let you know that your sweet (and funny!) messages make me smile and are sincerely appreciated.

I think the best part is that many have told me that they are the best cookie you have ever had! But most of all I think you should be proud of yourself because you officially now know how to brown butter (which will particularly good for more Fall recipes I have coming)! Hehe.

Of course, I realize that many of you read my blog for my creative, healthy recipes, but I’d like to emphasize that I believe in moderation. I once lived life eating healthy all the time, depriving myself of the things I wanted the most. I ate egg whites, oatmeal, protein shakes, vegetables and lean meats consistently. I rarely touched a cookie or ate pie (my favorite)… shocking, I know. However I realized the joy that came to me when cooking for others and especially loved educating on healthy eating; that’s why most of my recipes have healthy twists while still being creative enough to make you feel like a chef in your own kitchen. Simply put, Ambitious Kitchen is about inspiring you. I’m bringing my passion for food to life through your eyes.

Now, I don’t believe in any one ‘diet’, but I exercise almost daily, eat consistently healthy, and indulge occasionally. So although this blog is not a health or fitness blog, it is geared to those with active lifestyles or of course, anyone looking to learn to cook for themselves.

Or if you just love staring at photos of food like this delicious breakfast (or anytime, really) taco.

This recipe came about when I had an intense craving for smokey, salty salmon with warm, fluffy eggs; a combination frequently found on a typical restaurant’s brunch menu. So off I went to stalk Trader Joe’s where I made about 17 different loops around the store just to drool over everything new. If you shop at Trader Joe’s, you know what I’m talking about.

I was so excited when I found these amazing blue corn tortillas! I am even more excited that I bought two packages so that I can make homemade blue corn tortilla chips for football games I don’t even watch.

While I am not a huge football fan, I am a fan of anything wrapped in a taco that I can devour.

 

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