My dad once wrote me a note on the back of a piece of paper at Church. I’ve kept it with me, always acknowledging it as a form of inspiration.


Humor is good, learn from your talents. Education is key – you can do anything! Be a good listener. Make sure your kind & tolerant.  Be patient. 

Always evaluate your decisions. But never sell out your heart! Quiet time alone is important. Most of all, find something you love to do – and do it!

Always be the best you can, but be still enough to find the answers within. Respect Mother Earth and your mother! Listen to your instincts, but don’t be fooled. Always grow, and learn new things.

Take risks, a little anyway. Be healthy, eat sensible and smart. Don’t do too much of anything. Find God in Jesus. Get to know your parents. Always be honest.



That note is a part of who I am. Everytime I read it, I’m reminded of what’s important. And even if I’m not entirely sure what inspires me to cook and bake, I’ve discovered that maybe it’s just part of me. I’m finding something I love, and I’m doing it!

So… won’t you stay a while? Grab your mixing bowl, and maybe a  frying pan too… we’ll have lots of fun!

I promise you won’t get bored. Just look at everything that’s being made! Quinoa is coming… chocolate is coming… strawberry peanut butter banana bread is coming!

Until then, enjoy your weekend.

“Find something you love to do – and do it!”



Don’t waste your time asking yourself what you’re going to get your sweetie for this Hallmark holiday. Just embark on a mission to make something out of this world delicious that comes from the heart.

I’m talking about this cake people.

This delicious, moist, beautiful dark chocolate raspberry upside-down cake.

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The Day After Super Bowl Sunday should be a holiday.

Here are three reasons why:

1. The team you were rooting for might have lost, an obvious reason to lay in bed all day.

2. You’re in a food coma because you don’t care about sports and ate all of the bread dip at the party instead (me)! Fat naps are needed.

3. No one likes Mondays anyway.

I say we just stay home and bake cupcakes.

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I don’t have much time these days, but I’m still looking out for your best interest. This milkshake is especially for you.

See, I know you are probably pinning things on Pinterest in your free time. It’s my favorite too! But it totally makes you hungry.

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!

A healthy milkshake should tide you over until the Healthy Coconut Banana Bread comes out of the oven. In fact, that banana bread was ranked as one of the best reader photos of 2011 by YumSugar.

That makes me happy. Milkshake please.

Did I mention that this milkshake is made with coconut milk and greek yogurt? That means it’s extra thick, super delicious, and oh yes, protein packed for your cute self. (Yes, you!)

Whip cream is advised. Obviously.

There are no time for questions!

What are you waiting for? Stop your pinning, and make this!


Chocolate-Banana Coconut Milkshakes

By Monique of Ambitious Kitchen

2 cups of coconut milk

1 cup of nonfat vanilla greek yogurt

1 tablespoon natural unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ripe banana, sliced and preferrably somewhat frozen

6-7 ice cubes

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Pour evenly into two glasses and top with whip cream if desired

Serves 2


Finding what you believe in is important. Diving into things that make you joyful is essential. Beauty is what you make it.

There’s no doubt that the things I find beautiful are different from you. What makes me laugh you may find absurd. The fact that I could spend an entire day in a grocery store baffles some. In fact, I could live off banana bread for a week straight. I call that a gift people!

How we spend our days and lives is what make us each unique. Paula Deen’s made herself so unique that her veins now operate on butter. She sure is special.

But really, the older I get, the more I realize that you choose your own path. Your choices make your journey.

Stay with me here.

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I’ve learned a couple of things lately. Always take the road less traveled. Always sign up for an adventure. Always appreciate what you have. And always say yes to donuts!

Valentine’s day be next month but I’ve already been planning on falling in love with my life all over again. This consists of activities and things I’ve never done before. I’ve got a trip to Boston planned, a food tour booked, and reservations at Mike Isabella’s restaurant (that’s love right there)! Living young,wild, free and single.

Of course, a benefit of calling someone mine would be making ridiculously good breakfasts for them. Basically what I’m saying is boyfriends need to be willing to eat everything I make. There are no exceptions. So, until I have time to quiz dates on their pancake flipping style and favorite morning muffin, it’s just me and my spatula this Valentine’s Day.

How about you?

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Because of my general lack of time these days, I haven’t been in my kitchen in a week. The truth is, although I’d love to bring you recipes, I can’t bear myself to take pictures in the dark.
Don’t worry! I can’t be away for too long. Baking and cooking is in my soul, it’s just what I do. Making pies for hunnys. I’ll be back soon with some sweet delights and healthy bites. I’ve also been working on developing a Pinterest site, a tailored newsletter for all of you, plus Valentine’s day goodies!
Today, I’m having a guest blogger for the first time ever. She made Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies. Crazy awesome, I know! I hope you enjoy her healthy recipe.
Take it away Carly!


I don’t know why but drinking a large cup of hot cocoa before bed makes me incredibly happy. Just one of my newfound obsessions. Other things I’m into lately consist of cinnamon roasted almonds, smiling at everyone I see, working out to this song, and avoiding traffic at all times. At one point this week I was contemplating buying a bus so I could ride the shoulder. It was the only solution I could think of until I discovered the DC Metro. Good news: since I won’t be purchasing a bus, you are still safe on the road.

Besides that I’ve been mega busy! Meeting fabulous new friends, working out at 5am (it has to be done), and working on my 23 things list. I’ve got a couple checked off.

It’s restaurant week in DC as well, which means I finally got to experience lobster for the first time. Baklava too! Finally the world makes sense to me.

…I went on a date too. But that’s a different story for a different time.

We’re here to focus on Burgers people. Simply good and totally dreamy! I’m just looking out for you. 

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I’m finally in DC for good.

I made it here yesterday afternoon after about 20 hours worth of driving.  I did stop in both Chicago and Pittsburgh overnight. It was quite a drive. I do have to say that Maryland and Virginia are incredibly beautiful states. 

I simply adore Chicago though. It has everything a girl could want: Michigan Avenue, deep-dish pizza, cute men, and the Navy Pier. Hello romance waiting to happen! It’s my mission to get back there soon.

After eating Subway for three days straight on the road, it’s time for Brûlée people! And not the kind made with creme! 

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The moment is finally here. It’s time to say goodbye to Minnesota for good.

Eating Teddy Grahams is a bit comparable to leaving home really. Bittersweet. I can’t think of any other way to describe it.

Teddy Grahams are adorable, and yet so delicious! Even though devouring their cute little bear bodies is a little devastating, the incredible taste and satisfaction makes it all worth it.

Okay so that’s a stretch, but you get what I mean right? I’m completely weird.

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