Aug
17

I have to tell you something.

It’s kinda weird.

Here it goes…

I keep having dreams about cheeseburgers! Seriously… juicy burgers hot off the grill are haunting me every single night.

I’ve had these dreams consistently over the past two weeks. The strangest part is that I haven’t had beef in over two years, so I don’t know what’s going on in my subconscious. It’s translating over to real life too! For example, a couple of weeks ago, I found myself staring at a piece of steak on the grill like a freaking lion about to attack its prey; I almost had to wipe my drool.

I decided it was best if I tried to clear my mind of burgers and all things beef. Dessert always helps.

Sometimes a classic chocolate chip cookie brings an unexplained comfort to the soul. The aroma of butter browning in your kitchen; blending the smooth texture of the peanut butter with eggs, sugar and vanilla; the mess of flour and the delicious flavor of sweet cookie dough in your mouth. Of course, I love baking cookies. And of course I can’t think of anything else when they come out of the oven. Not even how much I’d bake cookies for somebody special if they were here with me. Well, maybe I thought about that a little, but baking cookies always gives me a little romantic feeling.

When it comes to cookies, simple is good. Oh yes, simple is perfect sometimes. But! when you want something unforgettable, then you NEED extraordinary. That’s why we add peanut butter and sea salt.

Mmmm salty sweet peanut butter and chocolate in a warm little cookie; it’s an undeniable magic. I can’t explain how much I love them! They’re crisp on the outside but chewy in the middle. Eating them straight out of the oven is an outrageous experience you must try.

It’s really like this: they’re the type of cookie you want to bring to a party, the perfect cookie to bake for your boyfriend (and his parents), and most definitely the best solution for getting rid of cheeseburger dreams.

 

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookie, Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Creamy peanut butter, chocolate chips, and sea salt combine to make one delicious, unforgettable cookie.
Ingredients
  • 11/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used mini chocolate chips)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, mix the softened butter and peanut butter together until thoroughly blended. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Next beat in the egg, honey, vanilla, and yogurt until combined. Add the dry ingredients slowly and beat on low-speed just until combined. Gently stir in the chocolate chips. Chill dough in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes-1 hour, or place in freezer for 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Once ready to bake, roll dough into 1-inch balls and place onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 9-12 minutes (depends on size of your cookie) or until cookies begin to turn a tiny golden brown and crisp up around the edges. Do not overbake! Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes and sprinkle cookies generously with sea salt. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely or just inhale them like I do. Repeat with remaining dough.
Notes
-Cookies may appear underdone in the middle, but they will become more firm as they cool. It's important to allow them to cool a few minutes before removing them from cookie sheet.
-You may require less or more baking time depending on the size of your cookie.
-If you are using all-natural peanut butter, try adding in another 1/2 tablespoon of flour, as cookies tend to spread too thin when baking with all-natural peanut butter.


Aug
14

Sometimes I find myself in an entranced state when I cook. It’s as though I get lost in the food; in the flavors, the smells, and sometimes just the simple pleasure that good food brings to my soul.

I also get lost pinning things on Pinterest. Which is mostly just a distraction from what I’m actually trying to do which is work like a normal person and get to the gym.

Speaking of the gym, I have an update on my Big Foot/marine/professional wrestler trainer! Uhhh… he is legit crazy (yes I just said that). He made us do 30 jumpsquats, some weird miliary squats with weights, 20 billion planks, and suicides. It’s like high school basketball practice all over, and again, I thought I was going to die. Apparently he enjoys torturing people while he sits there and plans his next attack as Sasquatch or whatever he does in his free time. I mean he even told us to eat a Paleo based diet, which of course I won’t be doing. Only because I really like carbs and pumpkin pie season is coming (my obsession).

What?! No one tells me what to eat.

…Unless it’s someone really ridiculously good-looking like Pacey from Dawson’s Creek. Then I MIGHT consider his suggestion.

Bruschetta is delicious and quite healthy as far as appetizers go. Well unless you put fried onion rings and bacon on it.. then not so much.

However, I like good-for-you sorts of things. So toasted slices of whole grain french bread are slathered with one of my favorites: heart-healthy smashed avocado mixed with sea salt and fresh lime juice. Then I pile on a mixture of tomato, balsamic vinegar, garlic and olive oil. Oh and let’s not forget a little fresh basil!

Goodness. These cute toasts are simply delightful. Especially with fresh tomatoes from your garden!

 

 

They only take about 10 minutes to throw together.

Annnnndddd they are vegan! But I mean, if you hate vegan things you could just add a little goat cheese. Or bacon.

Hey by the way… did you guys know that I don’t eat pork or beef?

Seriously. What is wrong with me.

 

Smashed Avocado + Tomato Basil Bruschetta
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer, Lunch, Healthy
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Whole grain slices of french bread are toasted to perfection and topped with smashed avocado and a garlicky tomato basil mixture.
Ingredients
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 loaf whole grain french bread (or 1 petite loaf), sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 avocados, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus exta
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 basil leaves, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven on broiler setting.
  2. Place slices of bread on baking sheet, spray with olive oil cooking spray and sprinkle with sea salt; broil slices in oven about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from oven and rub with one clove of garlic (make sure to cut it in half before rubbing).
  3. In a medium bowl, mix smashed avocado, lime juice, and 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt and ground pepper.
  4. In a separate large bowl, combine tomatoes, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Mince other garlic clove and add it into tomato mixture.
  5. Spread smashed avocado mixture onto each slice of toast, then generously spoon tomato topping on top. Garnish with basil and serve immediately.

 

 

 


Aug
12

Sometimes in life you do things you aren’t proud of. Like that time I went to Chick-Fil-A and ordered their chicken nuggets because I was starving. At the moment little chicken nuggets (bites of childhood happiness) dipped in BBQ sauce sounded absolutely tremendous. What a mistake that was! The chicken nuggets were coated in a ridiculous amount grease (I literally had butterfingers) and the breading wasn’t crispy, but rather soggy. The entire meal just tasted like hydrogenated oils. I felt like I was committing a crime against my heart.

BUT let me tell you something even more disturbing: I ate them anyway.

Ew… I know. Perhaps because it was one of those days where I was really hungry, stressed, and greasy chicken nuggets seemed to rationalize hating my job. All I wanted was a little bite of comfort… but even loading (literally coating) them with sauce didn’t provide that. They still tasted like lard. I mean, not that I know what lard tastes like or anything, but you get the point.

However that day got me thinking about how easy it is to roll through the drive through, sometimes just for that comfort meal… or for that childhood moment! But more than likely because your kid is chanting and/or crying that they are hungry, and oh look (!) you see a fast food joint and well, maybe you’re kinda hungry too… so you order a burger and fries. Now your kid is happy but you’re feeling guilty. It’s happened to me, and I’m not even a parent. Sometimes it’s easy to give in to what’s convenient.

I won’t lie, sometimes I really crave a small fry from McDonald’s. BUT I realize that they aren’t even that great (salt overload) and that quite frankly, I could probably cook something better tasting and better for me at home. And you can do it too! In 30 minutes! Just give the kid an apple to tie them over.

Soooo what do you think? Wanna make some crunchy chicken tenders with me or what?

Great! Let’s get started.

While rummaging through the pantry, I found a box of Honey Bunches of Oats, and starting thinking to myself that they would be incredible on chicken; they’re sweet, crunchy and have a slightly nutty flavor from the almonds. Basically they are honey cornflakes! And who doesn’t want to put cereal on everything in sight? My thoughts exactly.

I knew I wanted my chicken tenders to be extremely moist because I really despise dry flavorless chicken. So, I marinated my chicken in nonfat plain greek yogurt and honey. If you want to make these honey mustard flavored all you have to do is all a little dijon mustard to your marinade.

Finally, I placed a couple of cups of the cereal into a ziploc bag, crushed them into tiny flakes, then placed my chicken in the bag and shook to coat. All I had to do was bake them until crispy and golden brown. See? Look at those perfectly cute little tenders.

Mmmmmmm tasty crunchy chicken tenders that don’t make me want to die. This is a miracle! You don’t understand how awesome it felt to not have a cup of grease on my fingers after eating these (Chick-Fil-A please take note).

BUT seriously I can’t tell you how mega good these are. The honey cornflake exterior is complimented with a slightly nutty crunch, and the chicken stays incredibly moist. I recommend dipping them in my homemade honey mustard sauce.

Let me know if you or your kids approve as much as I do.

Oh, and do you guys notice the new font on my blog? I kind of love it! I also added an easy print button for the recipes! Let me know if you like it.

 

 

 

Baked Honey Cornflake Chicken
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish, Dinner, Kid-Friendly, Healthy
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Chicken breasts are marinated in honey and greek yogurt to ensure tenderness, then the chicken tenders are coated in a honey cornflake cereal and baked until golden and crunchy.
Ingredients
  • Olive or Canola Oil Cooking spray
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into vertical strips
  • 2 cups plain nonfat greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard (if desired)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 1/2 cups of Honey Bunches of Oats (either with almonds or honey roasted) cereal, crushed
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Rinse your chicken breasts strips and pat dry with a paper towel; set aside. Add greek yogurt, honey, salt, and dijon mustard (if desired) to a large bowl. Place chicken into bowl and toss to coat each in yogurt, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for 20 minutes.
  3. Next, place 1/2 of the crushed cereal in a zip loc bag and add 1/2 of the yogurt covered chicken to the bag, shaking to coat. Remove and place on large greased baking sheet then repeat with second half of the cereal and chicken.
  4. Spray the chicken with cooking spray and bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
Notes
Baking time will depend on how large or thick your chicken tenders are. Check after 20 minutes for small tenders. These can also be made into chicken nuggets, just cut chicken into smaller cube like pieces before marinating.


Aug
10

Let’s catch up. How have you been?

This week I joined a new gym, where I’m quite certain my trainer is either Big Foot, a marine, or a professional wrestler. He teaches my Nike Training Camp classes, which are a mix of plyometrics, military drills, cardio, and weights. Literally sweating waterfalls every time I walk out of there; it’s very similar to the Insanity videos! I just think he’s trying to kill me. But who knows.

I’ve also been enjoying living next to the ocean as much as possible. Every day I try and make it down to the beach. I don’t mean to make you jealous BUT look at this view from my rooftop! Amazing.

I’m not even prepared for Summer to end or these sunny days that seem to never cease. I’m dropping my roommate off at the airport in a few hours, where she’ll head to Greece for a vacation… on a yacht. WHAT! I can’t even talk about it because I’m so jealous. My weekend plans consist of more cooking, maybe a little surfing, and most likely a dinner with these mushroom + kale quesadillas and probably a couple of roasted blueberry basil margaritas to drown in my sorrows. Only kidding, I’ll be fine.

Maybe my trainer would chill out if I offered him a margarita? But then again, he’s there to push me to help me get in great shape; that’s why I made these skinny! I can’t go around eating pie and doing jump squats; those two activities would not mix well.

These strawberries are a great party appetizer or summer treat for anyone. The filling is made with reduced-fat cream cheese, nonfat vanilla greek yogurt (protein!), key lime juice and zest. All you have to do is hollow out the strawberries then fill them with this mix.

I topped my strawberries with sliced toasted almonds, but I think that crushed graham crackers would add a lovely texture and be more reminiscent of a true key lime pie or cheesecake.

After I filled the strawberries, I froze them for about an hour. I think they would be also delicious if you froze them before filling, but that’s up to you. I also found that I had a bit of the filling left over… UM, thank goodness because I spooned that on top of everything. And when I mean EVERYTHING I mean granola, bananas, almonds, in a smoothie, on a muffin, AND on top of graham crackers. My crazy drill sargent trainer would not be proud that all these things, but you act like I could resist putting this dip on everything in sight. It’s called recipe testing!

So really the filling can act as a dip, too! A creamy, healthy key lime cheesecake flavored dip perfect enough to serve to guests at a party, give your kids, or just to distract you from real pie.

Well until next week when pie takes over this blog and I throw pictures of oreos, bananas, peanut butter, and whip cream in your face. So just trust me, eat skinny things while you still can.

Skinny Key Lime Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer, Dessert, Healthy Snack
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Strawberries filled with a sweet and zesty key lime cheesecake yogurt filling.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb large strawberries
  • 8 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup vanilla nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh key lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon key lime zest
  • Optional toppings: Sliced toasted almonds, graham cracker crumbs, extra zest, chocolate drizzle
Instructions
  1. Rinse the strawberries and dry. Remove the top with a pairing knife; set strawberries aside until ready to fill.
  2. Whip the cream cheese until it is fluffy and light. Fold in yogurt, key lime juice, and zest; mixing until well combined. Refrigerate to thicken, about 20 minutes.
  3. Add cream cheese mixtue to a pastry bag or ziploc bag with the tip cut off. Fill each strawberry with the mixture and add additional toppings such as almonds, graham crackers crumbs, or chocolate drizzle if desired. Serve immediately or place in freezer for an hour for a cool treat.

Aug
09

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!


Aug
07

This Summer I’ve discovered a lot of really good things.

Farmer’s markets. Romance. Gluten-free breads. Coconut flour. Trader Joe’s Fig Jam. Adorable red skinny jeans. Chocolate nut butters. Oatmeal pancakes. Tzatiki. California. Traveling. Writing. Letting go of inhibitions.

I have to say starting brand new has been the best experience yet; because what is life really without a little bit of adventure?

Or crazy weird (and delicious) grilled cheese sandwiches for that matter?

I enjoy living life as it comes. Mostly through food experiences. And let me tell you, raspberry jam is simply the best there is. Seriously grape jelly weirds me out. But maybe that’s because I’m used to seeing it in that creepy Welch’s squeezable container.

Are we on the same page here? Probably not, because I have no idea where I’m going with that. I really just wanted to tell you how much I love raspberry jam. I don’t think I could live a week without it.

…Or a week without looking at Ryan Lochte.

Oh, sorry. Back to the jam.

Raspberry jam is just this thing that goes perfectly with all the other good things in life… you know like cupcakes and whip cream or sandwiched in s’mores. Oh let’s be reminded that it’s the perfect topping for peanut butter pie.

Once I brought raspberry jam swirled-dark chocolate brownies over for a dinner party. They were really, really good. Apparently so good that the guy who ate them tried to ask me out on a date. That’s not a joke. The world is a weird, weird place sometimes.

Especially when you find out that raspberry brownies cast magical love spells.

I can contribute to the weirdness of the world I guess. I mean, I put raspberry jam, goat cheese and peaches in a sandwich, grilled it, then watched the Bachelor Pad.

Help?

Despite my weirdness, the sandwich was delightful. Tart goat cheese, raspberry jam, and bright ripe peaches made it the perfect quick summer meal. Because I realize that we can’t make salmon and pancakes everyday.

If you’re anything like me, half the time you want to bury your face in a bag of Sun Chips for lunch and save the other half for dinner. But let me tell you that I really do like this sandwich, it’s easy to pull together and full of bright fruity summer flavors.

WAIT… are you thinking what I’m thinking?

I hope so…

Crunchy Sun Chips in the sandwich?

Ohhhh yes!

Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwiches with Peaches + Raspberry Jam

Makes 1 sandwich (double for 2)

1 tablespoon good quality raspberry jam (preferably low in sugar)

2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled or spreadable kind

1 small peach, sliced

2 slices of good whole wheat sandwich bread (panini would be really good)

 

Directions

  1. Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Butter one side of the bread slices. Place one slice of bread butter side down on the pan. Add goat cheese and place peach slices on top. On other bread slice, spread raspberry jam on the side without the butter; place butter side up on top.
  2. Grill/Cook the sandwich for 4 minutes or until cheese begins to melt and the bread begins to turn golden brown. Flip the sandwich with a spatula and cook for another 2-4 minutes or until the bread golden brown on the opposite side and cheese is thoroughly melted. Remove from pan, cut in half and enjoy.

Notes

  • This can also be made with a sandwich maker, if desired.

Aug
06

Is it really August?

Oops! I forgot to do a post on my July favorites!

Instead I wanted to catch you up on my life; what I’m doing, working on, and loving! Most of this involves food.

Obviously.

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!

 


Aug
01

This August marks a year of blogging on Ambitious Kitchen, and I couldn’t be happier. I’m going to do a recap of everything I’ve learned soon, but first I wanted to list YOUR favorite recipes over the past year.

So let’s count them down!

10. Nutty Strawberry Banana Breakfast Quinoa

9. Sweet Potato & Chicken Mexican Stir-fry

8. Asian Edamame Salad with Cilantro & Toasted Almonds

7 . Peach, Basil & Brie French Bread Pizzas

6. Blackberry & Chocolate Greek Frozen Yogurt Cones

5. Skillet Chicken with Spicy Pepperoni Sauce

4. Low-fat Oatmeal Blueberry Banana Bread

3. Lemon Blueberry Quinoa Pancakes

2. Whole Wheat Banana Quinoa Pancakes

1. Banana ‘Ice Cream’ with Toasted Coconut, Almonds, & Dark Chocolate

Thanks for reading, baking, and cooking with me this year! It’s been AMAZING. I can’t wait to share more recipes, stories, and laughs with you.

If you have a favorite recipe that you’ve made on my blog, be sure to share in a comment below or on my Facebook page.


Jul
29

In my dream world I’d live on the beach, have a Whole Foods salad bar in my kitchen, and eat magical zero calorie banana cream pie every day for dessert.

I’d enjoy every sunrise with a continental breakfast and buy a German Shepard just because I think they’re really cute. I’d visit Machu Picchu, bungee jump daily, and make s’mores for a bedtime snack. I’d own a banana bread only bakery that serves wine. Oh and I certainly would NEVER spill wine on my white jeans (it happened this weekend).

But that’s all just in my dream world.

In real life I’m making big batches of pancakes on Sundays, chasing dogs around the neighborhood when they run away, and convincing myself to exercise daily.

Lately I’ve been testing out recipes. Usually on kids because they never lie to you; they either like it or they don’t.

Here’s Ava testing out a layered cake I made. I think I need to start renting kids for recipe testing.

Next week I’m headed out to California again! From the moment I first visited, I fell in love with it. And now I couldn’t be more excited! I’ll take a million photographs and update my about me page soon. There are so many things that I can’t wait to share with you.

For now, I made you some healthy pancakes. Wait… are they healthy if they have chocolate chips in them? That’s up to you! I try to keep them lower in calories by using egg whites, high protein greek yogurt, and quinoa. I also recommend using whole wheat white flour.

But first let’s just eat some feel-good super romantic and always delicious pancakes.

My only problem with pancakes? Deciding if I want blueberry or chocolate chip. Since I love both, I added them to my quinoa pancake batter. Yeah my brain is pretty weird; however, my taste buds are not. These are a gift from the universe.

Aren’t you a little intrigued? Maybe puzzled with the combination?

Whatever your thought, I assure you that these pancakes are a whole lot of deliciousness. Blueberry chocolate chip pancakes are kind of just an essential life experience. Something you need to try at least once.

Or a million times. Whatever!

Juicy, warm berries plus über creamy chocolate chips packed in a healthy little pancake. Take it over the top by serving them in pure maple syrup (or peanut butter!) and chasing with a glass of ice-cold milk.

It certainly is a little part of my dream world come true.

 

Blueberry Chocolate Chip Quinoa Pancakes

Makes 8-10 pancakes

1 cup cooked quinoa

3/4 cup all-purpose flour or white whole wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

3 large egg whites

1/4 cup plain or vanilla nonfat greek yogurt

1/2 cup milk of your choice (skim, soy, almond, coconut)

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Fresh fruit or fruit preserves (optional), for serving

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together quinoa, flour, baking powder, and salt. In another medium bowl, whisk together egg whites, yogurt, milk, and brown sugar until smooth. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and whisk to combine. Add vanilla and whisk again. Next gently fold in blueberries.
  2. Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with butter or cooking spray and heat over medium. Drop batter by 1/4 cup onto skillet. Cook until bubbles appear on top, about 2 minutes. Flip cakes and cook until golden brown on underside, 2 minutes. Wipe skillet clean and repeat with more melted butter and remaining batter.
Notes

Jul
27

Thank goodness it’s Friday!

I have to admit that this week I was a little bummed. I don’t know if it’s because Bella cheated on Edward, or if it’s because I got rid of THIRTEEN pairs of shoes yesterday. Yes, THIRTEEN! It’s not like I ever wore them, but seriously getting rid of shoes is like throwing away memories.

So I took myself shoe shopping to make up for it.

What?

I’m a girl… it’s what we do. Anyway I feel much better now. I even made myself a cute little appetizer to start the weekend the right.

And I think that you just have to make these little pita pizzas too! They are my new favorite thing.

If you’ve never roasted berries before then now is the time to start; it’s so wonderful! The heat from the oven brings out the sugars and juice, giving you a melt in your mouth sweetness that will make you want to savor every single bite of the fruit.

Roasting berries had been on my bucket list for a while, but throwing them on a whole wheat pita and topping it with caramelized onion, mozzarella, and arugula? Completely spur of the moment and just a little bit heavenly.

I served these at a party and they disappeared in seconds!

Wearing new heels and making delicious pita pizzas with roasted berries.

Someone’s Friday just got better.

Roasted Balsamic Strawberry Cherry Pita Pizzas with Arugula

Serves 2-4

3 teaspoons olive oil, divided

1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided

1/4 teaspoon of salt

10 strawberries, hulled and quartered

10 dark red cherries, pitted and halved

3 or 4 whole wheat pitas (I use 100 calorie pitas)

1 cup of reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup arugula

Salt and pepper

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss strawberries and cherries in 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Spread on baking sheet and place in oven for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat medium saute pan over medium high heat and add 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add onions and stir frequently until onions begin to brown. Reduce heat to medium low and add 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt. Cook 1 more minute and then remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Place whole wheat pitas on a nonstick baking sheet. Brush pitas with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Evenly distribute roasted strawberries and cherries, cheese, onions onto pitas. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees or until edges of pitas begin to turn golden brown.
  4. Top each pita with arugula and cut into triangles. Drizzle with addition balsamic vinegar and top with fresh black pepper and salt if desired.

 

 

 

 
 
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