Grandma & Grandpa

Since Valentine’s Day is next week, I wanted to introduce you to two incredibly sweet people: my grandparents! They’ve been married for over 60 years and are still in love and going strong! Their relationship is truly one of inspiration, and I hope someday that I can have a love as strong as the one they hold together. Gosh, they’re too cute.

In other news, I’ve been pretty much drooling over everything on Pinterest. Did you know that during this past week it was World Nutella Day, National Pancake Day, and National girl scout cookie day? Why do these all happen in the span of a week? Someone needs to schedule these more appropriately for my diet. Ugh.

Guess what else I need to do? My taxes! I plan on chugging like four margaritas after. Anyway let’s get on with it! Here are my Friday favorites from around the web:

  • I have been craving pizza like a cavewoman. I don’t know what that means, but I want a slice right now. There are no links. I just had to tell you that.


  • Like peanut butter and jelly? Love donuts? Combine the two and it’s a little magical.





  • Have you seen this sweet 6-minute Disney movie? If not, it’s a must!


  • If you need a death-by-chocolate dessert to bake, this cheesecake is the one.


  • 9 important things to remember around Valentine’s Day.


  • Does anyone else love frosted and sprinkled covered animal crackers? Well I found a recipe that turns them into truffles. Omg.


  • song I’m loving.



  • Proof that you need to buy all seasons of Felicity and watch them ASAP.


Have a sweet weekend! xo


Delicious crispy oven-fried chicken with parmesan, garlic, lemon and fresh herbs!

I am having a love affair with Zac Efron. Not like an actual affair, just one that lives in my mind. He’s just SO ridiculously good-looking! I feel like if I baked him chicken he’d feel the same way about me.

Kidding… kinda.

Delicious crispy oven-fried chicken with parmesan, garlic, lemon and fresh herbs!

Anyway this whole Zac Efron thing stemmed from watching The Lucky One for the second time. I know, poor movie choice. The only excuse I can come up with is that Valentine’s Day is around the corner and I just so happen to be a sucker for anything romantic. So sue me!

Besides good-looking men, my other obsessions this week include peanut butter and jelly chocolate bars from Trader Joe’s, lentil soup, and green beans with garlic. Yum, yum, yummmmmm. Seriously I could write a book about the intricacies of garlic and how I slather it in and on just about anything you can imagine.

Delicious crispy oven-fried chicken with parmesan, garlic, lemon and fresh herbs!

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Every week on Instagram I’m posting some new photo of muffins that I’ve baked. You’d think I’m running some sort of bakery out of my house but nope, just a huge fan of compact little flavor bombs for breakfast.

And yes, I just referred to muffins as “compact flavor bombs”… Who the hell am I?

Do you know who I wish I was? Beyonce. I mean did you guys see her last night during the half-time show? What a goddess! Seriously, can someone just explain to me how to jump around with 6-inch heels and a microphone in some tiny outfit? These are skills they need to teach you in college. Maybe I can practice next time I make muffins? Yes, definitely… look for the Instagram pics.

Just kidding, I’ll stick to the things I do best for now. You know like baking muffins with fresh strawberries, sweet bananas, healthy oats, and a bit of chocolate chips? That’s just how my brain works.

In fact, I think it may be one of the best combinations out there. However whatever they put in my margaritas is also up top on my list. But margaritas and muffins aren’t quite the same so we’ll revert back to the subject of baked goods. I apologize, it’s Monday.

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Are you a french fry lover? I sure am! Good quality french fries of all shapes and sizes are one of my favorite ways to indulge on a Sunday.

In my experience, some of the best fries can be found at your local burger joint — you know that hole-in-the-wall spot everyone loves? In Minnesota there’s a small dive bar called The Nook and my goodness… it is completely amazing! I don’t even eat beef burgers, but I would totally devour a Juicy Lucy (a burger stuffed with cheese) if I was there. Oh and their fries? Heavenly, hand-cut, and rich with flavor to balance out that juicy burger. Please go if you ever find yourself in the Tundra.

And now that we’re onto the subject of restaurant fries, we should chat about Manhattan Beach Post in Manhattan Beach, California. This place is one of my favorites and truly has some of the best fries I’ve ever tasted in my life. I should also mention that MB Post makes bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits that are so good they make you want to cry, which is another reason you should stop by. Just please don’t forget the seriously huge steak fries that are so effortlessly perfect for dipping. Mmmm I just lovvveee them!

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Now of course, I can’t go around eating hand cut french fries at restaurants allll the time. That’s why I love that Alexia Foods makes frozen fries that come out perfectly crisp when you bake them in the oven. Their sweet potato waffle fries were my go-to snack during the Super bowl and I made an incredible spicy dipping sauce to go with them. It’s essentially love at first bite. And no, I’m not just saying that.


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Hi guys! Happy Friday!

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 pinterest board 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.



  • An article on how to see the barrier to reaching your goals (one of my favorite career blogs).


  • Take a peek at this girl’s stunning photography. Shout-out!



  • These make make me wish I ate hot dogs. I’m being serious!


  • If you’re a guy, this perfume is the perfect Valentine’s gift for your girlfriend.*


  • Here are the glasses I’m wearing in my photo. I love them!


  • This memoiris incredible, shocking, sad, funny, and memorable.*




Have a great weekend! xo


*contains Amazon affiliate links




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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Have you ever wondered what type of recipe would pair perfect with my Teriyaki Salmon? Or perhaps my Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps?

Or even your own crispy baked chicken fingers?

I think it’s obvious what the answer is: this coconut rice!

I was offered the opportunity to partner with Campbell’s to make a recipe from their site, which to be honest, I didn’t even know existed until now!

I chose to make a coconut rice dish I stumbled upon, because I knew it would pair perfectly with many of the things I eat. And guess what? I loved it! It’s incredibly simple to make.

Basically all you do is start with chicken broth and coconut milk and bring the liquid to a boil, then add the rice, lemon zest, crushed red pepper (for a little spice) and garlic powder, then simply cover and simmer over medium low for about 20-30 minutes or until the rice is sweet and tender. This side dish is then finished off by adding almonds and green onions, however I subbed in cilantro because I love the freshness it brings. I also think it’d be great to add chopped pineapple for a touch more sweetness.

Head over to Campbell’s website for the recipe, then check out their other simple and easy recipes that you can make or adapt to your liking.

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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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Any big plans this weekend?

I’ll be working on recipe development for a few partnerships, and also grabbing dinner and drinks with one of my girlfriends. Other then that, my time will be devoted to yoga and getting organized! I’ve been flipping through old photos lately, and stumbled upon this gem of Dad and I at the pool. I wanted to share it all with you because it’s a special memory. The photo was taken in 1990 and apparently my Dad thought it would be cool to wear neon pink swim trunks. What a happy moment.

Anyway since it’s Friday, I wanted to share with you a few favorites links from around the internet. Here we go…








  • Fun leopard print nail polish design.


  • A comforting whole wheat roasted veggie lasagna for under 300 calories? Yes please!



  • What is this Paleo diet everyone keeps talking about, and should you try it?


  • Twitter launched Vine, a free mobile service that creates videos. Here are five reasons why you should download it.



Have an amazing weekend! xo



The Good BeanIf you’ve been reading Ambitious Kitchen for a while, you already know that I’m completely addicted to grocery shopping. It’s just a thing I do when I’m stressed, or even when I need a little creative outlet. It’s simple: I pace the aisles back and forth, looking at different ingredients and coming up with recipe ideas in my head. And of course, I’m always on the look out for fun new products to tell you guys about, especially if they’re healthy! Or if they have brown butter. Hehe.

This past week The Good Bean company contacted me to see if I’d like some samples of their product and do a giveaway. I usually don’t turn down free food, so of course I said yes!

The Good BeanThe Good Bean makes roasted chickpea snacks and Fruit & No-Nut Bars. They’re gluten-free and non-GMO, one serving of their chickpea snacks has as much fiber as 2 cups of broccoli, as much protein as an egg, as much folate as 3 cups of spinach, and they are freaking delicious! Their chickpea snacks come in four different flavors: sea salt, cracked pepper, smokey chili & lime, and sweet cinnamon. My favorite were the the sea salt and sweet cinnamon flavors. I found myself munching on the snacks on my way to the gym. They’re also perfect for topping on salads or even sprinkling on your greek yogurt in the morning!

The Fruit & NO-NUT Bars (made with chickpeas instead of nuts) were by far my favorite. Each bar has 40-60% less fat than the leading Fruit & Nut Bars. They have three varieties: apricot coconut, fruit & seeds trail mix, and chocolate berry. The chocolate berry bar is amazing, and they’re actually filling! The reason the bars aren’t photographed is because I ate them all. Seriously like ripped them open and devoured them. Sometimes I have no self control.

The Good Bean

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