Mar
31

Chewy protein-packed granola bars made with almond butter, protein powder, dark chocolate and cherries! These gluten-free and vegan-friendly bars are the perfect snack or breakfast.
Chewy Dark Chocolate Cherry Protein Granola Bars with Chia Seeds

Did I tell you that Sundays are a big day for me? Usually I wake up, hit the gym, then head straight to the grocery store. After that I go home and cook until my kitchen is trashed and I can’t possibly dirty another dish. It’s kind of my little ritual.

Of course Sundays are also big because I’m determined to start the week out on a good note. To me, being healthy is a big part of this. I forget the incredibly delicious carrot cake cupcake I ate last week when I was stressed and remind myself that this week is brand new and full of healthy opportunities.

To encourage healthy eating, I chop up celery, cucumbers and carrots for nibbling during the day, but sometimes I need something a little more satisfying. So I decided to make ridiculously good granola bars. With protein powder to keep me full.

Chewy Dark Chocolate Cherry Protein Granola Bars with Chia Seeds

I made these last week and was slightly obsessed. So obsessed that I had to give them away to a friend because they I kept finding myself eating more and more out of the pan. I think the whole dark chocolate + cherry + chia seed combo really spoke to me.

I’m actually a huge fan of several brands of protein and/or granola bars. The chewy ones, the nutty ones, the extra crunchy ones. Heck, just give me ALL THE BARS.

Chewy Dark Chocolate Cherry Protein Granola Bars with Chia Seeds

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Mar
13

An incredibly fudgy & delicious 100 calorie brownie sprinkled with chocolate chips and raspberries — you’d never guess that these are made with protein powder! Easily vegan and gluten-free, too.

100 Calorie Raspberry Chocolate Chip Protein Brownies from ambitiouskitchen.com

I swear that if I didn’t have a healthy food blog, it would be just straight buttery treats in your face at all times. I’m talking crazy ass desserts that would blow your mind. For instance, during my last family holiday I made a Nutella S’mores Pie with a Toasted Marshmallow Meringue and a chocolate nutella crust. Wait, what?

I know, scaryyyyyy. But OMG, was it ridiculously good. Also probably the richest thing I’ve ever had in my life.

Anyway you all know I have a weak spot for sweets, but that I also believe in balance, moderation, and healthy living. That’s why I’m here to create healthy, unique desserts that you’ll fall in love with.

Today I want to introduce you to my newest invention: The Protein Brownie. Can you believe that 1 brownie is only 100 calories?!

100 Calorie Raspberry Chocolate Chip Protein Brownies

I created this brownie with my diet in mind. I’ve been drinking protein shakes with fruit every single morning so I’ve gotten real obsessed with protein powder. I guess you could say my diet has fallen under the Paleo category. Just don’t expect me to start baking with almond flour (or maybe I will, ha).

This whole protein obsession made me incredibly curious about baking with protein powder. I wanted to invent a brownie that could be enjoyed as a treat instead dipping a spoon into a jar of almond butter every night. My goal was to create a chocolate brownie relatively low in carbs, low in sugar, and high in protein; I also wanted it to taste really good

100 Calorie Raspberry Chocolate Chip Protein Brownies

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Feb
02

Amazing Banana Chocolate Chip Oat Breakfast Bars – they taste like banana bread! No flour, butter, eggs, or dairy in this healthy recipe!

How was your weekend? Hope it was sweet! I’m in the middle of a juice cleanse and it’s been completely amazing! I can’t wait to tell you guys all about it.

This past weekend I spent a lot of time in the kitchen developing recipes because I know I’ll be in Australia for the next few weeks and wanted to catch up on blogging. It’s amazing how much time I can spend myself when I’m cooking and baking; my heart feels content.

But damn, can we just talk about these bars?

Breakfast is looking sweet with that pretty chocolate drizzle. Am I right or what?

Of course they are a healthy version of sweet because you know I’m always looking out for your dietary needs and waistline.

Just kidding. I’m really only making recipes up that seem interesting; things that I like to eat, bake, and create! I’ve realized that my body loves natural foods — and these bars are exactly that. No flour, eggs, dairy, or butter! 

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Jan
05

A lightened up coconut oatmeal healthy banana bread with a few chocolate chips — you don’t have to feel guilty enjoying a slice or two!

You guyssssssss. I have made so many banana breads over the last few days. Sometimes I wish I could stop baking but when I get the urge to, I just can’t stop. I think I’m an addict.

HELLLLLPPPPPP.

Due to my baking urges, I’m often up late at night; unfortunately I don’t get the chance to photograph the recipe since it’s dark and because I’m a little bit of a perfectionist. But sometimes I just want to share a recipe with you right away so I took these photos with my iPhone… hope you don’t mind!

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Nov
12

Healthy Chai-Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins with a lovely vanilla bean cream cheese glaze!

I spent last night catching up with one of my best friends; we don’t live near each other so it’s wonderful being able to chat for an hour or two. Unfortunately I haven’t seen her in almost a year, but I think a trip to Chicago for New Years is in the works now!

Speaking of Chicago, I’m actually headed there over Thanksgiving and couldn’t be more thrilled! Michgan Ave, high rises, shopping, incredible food, and that gorgeous water. For some reason that city speaks to my heart.

It just so happens that food also speaks to my heart (obviously). Lately, I can’t get enough pumpkin! Wait a sec. I can never have enough pumpkin. If you guys have been reading my blog, you know it’s just one of my serious obsessions. I’m even asking for pumpkin pie for my birthday this year! Weird, I know… but what else can you expect from me?

I’ve been hoarding these pumpkin oatmeal muffins for a good month! Shame on me. I’m sorry to do that to you.

To be honest, I couldn’t even remember what they tasted like so I convinced myself to test the recipe once more before posting; I will never forgot these again. The muffins were superb, full of pumpkin and chai flavors, and incredibly moist. Seriously probably my favorite muffin ever. EVER you guys!

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Nov
08

You won’t believe that these fudgy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars are made with lentils.Vegan and gluten free!

WAIT. WHAT?

LENTILS in a dessert? You think I’m crazy? Weird? Cute? Maybe it’s a combo.

We’ll get to this dessert soon. First off, it’s Friday!

I haven’t slept all freaking week. I wish I was kidding. I’ve been preparing for the launch of a brand new site for work and so we’ve been busy plugging away, staying late, and chugging coffee. I’ve also been trying to get back into working out after taking a little over a week off. Last night I went to my favorite yoga sculpt class. Ummmm you guys… it was pure hell and I mean that in the best way possible. I literally thought I was going to throw up on my yoga mat, and that never happens to me (sorry for being so descriptive). I guess that’s what happens after a week of vacation wine and cookie inhaling.

Today I rewarded myself with a small dark hot chocolate. I figured that I haven’t had a real hot chocolate in ages, and I felt like I needed a sweet treat to keep me going. Let me tell you, it was SO worth it. I even topped mine with extra whipped cream. It’s important to treat yourself to a little indulgence; I hope you all do the same this weekend!

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Nov
02

Naturally sweetened banana bread made with whole wheat flour and oatmeal. Perfect for a healthy breakfast or snack!

I’m absolutely one of those people who believe that everything happens for a reason.

That tragedy is followed by opportunity and growth. That difficult times will eventually be followed by lovely moments. But I’m also the type of person who loves to plan, think ahead, or heck, just think about everything. My to-do lists are endless. My goals keep getting bigger.

But, I’ve also found that sometimes you have to live in the moment. Enjoy little moments with people who matter to you. Appreciate the messes, forget imperfections, and embrace the present. Still with me?

Remember last week when I told you about my vacation? Well it was the best! I went to the apple orchard, on long fall drives, baked apple crisp, coconut cookies, turkey meatballs, and more. We watched movies, drank wine, and laughed like nothing else mattered. In fact, we even went to the diner and ate pancakes at 2am on a Sunday. Sometimes you just need those moments; that little bit of time with someone special.

Other times you just need banana bread. That sweet aroma to fill your house and create a comforting atmosphere.

It’s obvious I’m in love with banana baked goods. Have you checked out my recipe index lately? It’s full of healthy banana breads.

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Oct
14

SO much to say. So little time. Currently I’m in a coffee shop as I just moved into my new place and haven’t set up the internet yet. It’s a weird world without the internet you guys. As in I actually went to bed before midnight yesterday. CRAZY I know. Maybe it’s a good thing.

Hmmm what else? I bought a new couch! The color looks like the inside of an almond; I’m in love with it because it’s one of those couches that completely gorgeous but also amazingly comfy. It’s being delivered on Friday so I’ll be sure to share some photos soon. I’m also getting an AMAZING vintage refinished table from a good friend (Hi Sherry!). If you couldn’t tell, I’m going for the romantic shabby chic/Californian look with a touch of vintage. It’s been a blast hunting for pieces and shopping!

By the way, have I mentioned that I miss you guys? Like really, life is getting INSANE. I wish I had the time to blog more! Right now I’m taking two classes, working a full time job, creating recipes, working out, and trying to have a social life. But hey, that’s life.

And sometimes you just have to reward yourself with brownies.

Yep. Fudgy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Brownies.

Made without flour. Made without animals (vegan). Made WITH love.

And made supremely decadent (yet still healthy) by the best combo known to mankind: pb & chocolate.

Are you with me here?

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Oct
01

Hi guys! Sorry about taking last week off of blogging. I was in Boston on a little vacation with some of my friends from college. We had an unbelievable time baking cookies (new recipe coming soon), exploring the North End, running around Southie, and laughing until we couldn’t anymore. Life is good! I’ll have a recap soon of all of my Boston outings plus some favorite things of mine, too! But of course, Monday came and vacation ended. And now it’s October; I can’t believe it! I’ve been busy running outside trying to soak it all up before Minnesota weather comes swinging in with negative temperatures. Obviously since it’s been so lovely, I’ve been slacking in the baking department. Sorry about that! I’m back now… with tasty little bars. You’re excited, right?

You should be! I’m a HUGE fan of all things pumpkin. In fact if I had to choose my last meal on earth, it would be a simple slice of warm pumpkin pie with whipped cream. That’s my heaven. Seriously pumpkin is the JAM to my peanut butter. What I really mean is that it completes me.

These bars are just as wonderful as pie in their own way. They make mornings a little brighter. Somehow they feel romantic and will definitely have your house smelling like fall.

Oh and did I mention that they’re healthy? Yes, you can totally eat them for breakfast or as a snack — there’s only 128 calories per bar and healthy ingredients, too!

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Sep
18

I’m heading to Boston next week for a 5 day vacation. I literally cannot wait! I’ll be visiting my good friends from Australia; we’ve kept in close contact over the years and try and visit every so often.

Boston has great weather this time of year, too! I’m excited to check out some restaurants and explore a bit so definitely let me know if you have any suggestions!

I also have a new obsession to share: Banana bread breakfast cookies. Normally I would say regular cookies, but since these taste like banana bread AND oatmeal, I’m really quite in love. And when chocolate chips are thrown in the mix? OMG!

Plus they only take 15 minutes to make and clock in at around 60 calories per cookie. YES!

This really isn’t even a recipe. It’s me telling you to mix two things together for sweet satisfaction that you don’t have to feel guilty about.

For reals. No weird processed ingredients from a box. Just all natural stuff.

Dairy free. Gluten Free (use GF oats). Nut free. Vegan. Vegetarian. I think they’re a good breakfast (or healthy treat!) for whoever you are. That is unless you’re allergic to bananas or oats. Sorry!

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