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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Hope you guys had a wonderful weekend! I was in San Francisco last week at YouTube/Google for work and enjoyed some pretty delicious food and fun.

Best of all before I left for my trip, my latest Stitch Fix came in the mail. It feels likes Christmas every time I get a package! This time I kept 3 out of the 5 items they sent. You can read about why I love Stitch Fix so much here.

I was getting excited for Fall so I requested classic sweaters and told them to head to my Pinterest style board for inspiration on what types of pieces to send. I recieved a short black sweater (pictured above), and paired it with a bright, bold teal necklace that came in one of my previous fixes. Cute, huh?

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How to make the Perfect Party Cheese Platter -- great for holidays, football, or any party!

I LOVE snacking. It’s one of my favorite party essentials. A classic cheese platter is one of the best things you can make for a party, in my opinion. It’s not too fancy, it’s ready in 10 minutes or less, and your guests will LOVE it!

I always place the platter in the center of the kitchen action, so that all of my friends and family can mingle together. It makes for such easy entertaining during football parties or the holidays.

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It’s been incredibly warm in Minnesota so I’ve been trying to workout outside as much as possible. Yesterday I biked 15 miles; my legs are feeling a little tired today! I find that drinking lots and lots of water helps with all of the aches. That and a giant spoonful of peanut butter. Hehe.

My meals are all prepared for the week, too! I’m trying to eat clean so I baked garlic chicken, and roasted broccoli and sweet potatoes. I also made some delicious gluten free pumpkin bars, and sauteed kale & garden veggies. I don’t have much free time on the weeknights so my meals need to be ready. Plus it helps me to stay on track when trying to eat right.

Last week I made this delicious vegetarian chili packed with lentils & quinoa. Mmmmmm!

This chili reminded me of my sweet potato and black bean quinoa chili; the flavors are very similar and deeeelicious!

So much goodness goes into a pot: lentils, quinoa, black beans, kidney beans, red pepper, fresh tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, plus a touch of curry powder.

Let’s not forget about the nutrition: a little over 300 calories, 17g of fiber, and 18g of protein. This chili will fill you up!

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Weekend Favorites - Ambitious Kitchen

It’s a Friday and I want to ramble about life nonsense. I need to vent a little and sometimes the only way to do that is through writing. So here we go.

This Summer has been busy and you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t been as consistent with my blogging. I can’t say that I enjoyed summer to it’s fullest, because I didn’t. In fact, I still have yet to make it to DQ for a Blizzard which is sad because that’s one of my favorite things to do during the Summertime. Dairy Queen reminds me of moments with my Dad and how special our time together was. I’m making it a point to get an M&M blizzard tonight.

I’ve been so obsessed with keeping up with my full time job, blog, and other consulting projects that I haven’t been appreciating things like I should either. I keep pushing myself to my limits. At this point, I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. Although my blog is my passion, it keeps me up until 1AM most nights as I edit photos and write posts. I spend my weekend developing recipes, too. It’s hard work and dedication.

So why do it?

There are so many reasons! This blog is helping to pay off my student loans (and I have A LOT of student loans). It also pushes me to pursue my passion and THAT is something I absolutely love. When I founded Ambitious Kitchen two years ago, I never imagined that I would make money from it. Nor did I ever think that I’d have readers or Facebook fans; every day I worked on it a little harder and learned along the way. The toughest part about blogging is that sometimes you feel like you have to stand out among others. My best advice to new bloggers? Write about what you love, share your passions, and be true to yourself. That in itself will make it stand out because no one in this world is like you.

Really though! I’m so thankful that you’ve decided to come read Ambitious Kitchen. Even if I can’t keep up with it as much as I’d like to. You’re still here.

I don’t know what will happen in the future with this blog, but I do know that it makes me happy — no matter how many nights I’m up late.

Now last but not least, I have some favorites for you. Summer favorites and links that keep me inspired from other hard-working bloggers. Enjoy!

















Have a great weekend! xo


This past weekend I slept. And slept. And slept some more. I’ve discovered that as much as I’m a night owl, I really do need my sleep to function because otherwise I start craving bowls of Cheerios and peanut butter straight from the jar. No bueno for my figure.

Besides sleeping, I’ve been over thinking things. Mostly like where my life is going and what I’m doing with it. To distract myself, I made pancakes with salted dark chocolate, chugged coffee, and watched a movie starring Zac Efron.

From there I went into major creative mode which translated into a brain dump of culinary madness in my kitchen. Mostly things that remind me of fall. I’m SO ready to get cozy in my sweats, eat soup, and cuddle up on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa and a ridiculous amount of whipped cream. I’ve been giving sneak peeks of upcoming posts via Instagram, so be sure to check it out!

Remember when I told you about that handsome guy I met on vacation? Well… he’s coming to visit me. I told you the weirdest things happen to me. Or maybe the most romantic things happen to me?

Since I’ve already baked him my famous cookies, I figure that I might as well fill him up with my other favorite carb: pasta! Cheesy, comforting pasta covered in a mind-blowing homemade tomato sauce. I think he’s going to love it. And I think you will, too!

First begin with a pound of Just BARE Chicken Breast Fillets.

I love Just Bare Chicken because there aren’t any added hormones or antibiotics used – ever! And, every package features a unique traceability code that tells you the location of the family farmers who raised your chicken. You can learn more by heading to their website or Facebook page.

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Ultra chewy oatmeal cookies with layers of coconut and chocolate chunks. Made with coconut oil instead of butter! The best chocolate chip oatmeal cookies you’ll ever have!

There are so many things I want to accomplish. Too many things I want to bake. Too much joy I wish to create.

But right now? All I’m thinking about is Fall. The sweet cinnamon smell that seems to be everywhere, the gorgeous colors of the changing leaves, and pumpkin pie in my belly. Summer was sweet, but I’m ready to bake until I can’t anymore. So let’s start right now.

Cooooooooooooookiessssss. I feel like I really owe you them; it’s been far too long.

Cookies are a big deal to me. They’re here to bring you joy.

And these particular ones? OMG OMG OMG.

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Hi! I came down with little cold yesterday, so I couldn’t finish writing this recipe. But I chugged NyQuil and ate cough drops like candy so now I’m feeling much better. I even went on a 14 mile bike ride this morning. Yay.

I have to tell you that my biggest goal has been to blog on a more frequent basis, thus I spent this past weekend developing three new recipes. And of course, pumpkin season is coming… you know what that means. PUMPKIN EVERYTHING. Are you excited? I am.

But first, some healthy truffles for you.

Yes! The black beans are back. They’re hiding in these fudgy chocolate bites. And they’re AWESOME.

Ummmm please don’t stare at your screen like that. Don’t question the deliciousness! These are addicting! In all seriousness, if you liked my black bean brownies or my chickpea blondies, then I’m sure you’ll LOVE these.

Check out this fun video I made:

So what else is hiding in the truffles besides the beans? Good quality cocoa powder, coconut oil (or olive), a touch of maple syrup, and chocolate protein powder if you’d like a protein boost. I’ve included directions for both versions. Just remember that if you want to keep the truffles vegan, then simply use a vegan chocolate protein powder such as Vega.

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Yoplait Blended Greek Yogurt Giveaway from

Wednesdays are such hump days. We need a pick me up. That’s why I’m giving away a 12-pack of the NEW Blend Yoplait Greek Yogurt!

Recently Yoplait sent me samples of their new product to try and I fell in love! I mean you guys know how much I love greek yogurt (because I bake with it obsessively). This  blended greek yogurt? HOLY FREAKING LOVE OF MY LIFE. It is so yum!

So, what else makes this yogurt great? Well, I didn’t find it sour or chalky like some of the other brands out there. Plus, there are some pretty amazing flavors: Blueberry, Coconut, Pineapple, Strawberry Raspberry, Tangerine and Vanilla – all containing 150 calories or less per serving and 100 percent more protein than regular yogurt.

Now on to the giveaway!

Here’s how it works: I will randomly select ONE winner who will receive: 1 case (12 cups) of a Yoplait Greek flavor of their choice.

How to enter: Leave a comment below and answer the following question: If you could create any Greek Yogurt flavor, what would it be? (BE CREATIVE!)

For additional entries: Each follow on one of social networks below will get you an additional entry. Please leave a separate comment letting me know which social networks you follow me on.


  1. Like Ambitious Kitchen on Facebook
  2. Follow AmbitiousKitch on Twitter
  3. Follow me on Instagram
  4. Follow me on Pinterest



Giveaway will close at midnight EST on Sunday, August 25, 2013 and winner will be randomly chosen and notified via email on Monday, August 26, 2013. Good luck!


This giveaway has ended! Check back for more giveaways soon!


To learn more about Yoplait Greek, head to their website. Also, be sure to like Yoplait Greek on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.


Disclaimer: Yoplait sent me product to sample and try for myself; however opinions are my always my own.



In search of healthy muffin recipes? Look no further…

Hope you guys all had a great weekend!

Yesterday my Mom and I went on a lovely 20 mile bike ride through gorgeous Minnesota trails. I loved riding outdoors again; it had been too long! Of course now my legs are killing me, but I suppose that’s a good thing.

It occurred to me that I get incredibly hungry both during and after my rides, and so it’s probably a good idea to pack healthy snacks with me to provide me with extra energy. Granola bars are great and all but come on, who doesn’t love a lovely little muffin to snack on?! Obviously I’m a MUFFIN LOVER FOR LIFE and today I’m sharing my favorite muffin recipes from my blog.

All of these healthy muffin recipes have a few things in common: they’re healthy, focus on clean ingredients, and are all under 200 calories! They really are the perfect breakfast or snack — plus they’re freezer friendly, too! It’s great to have grab ‘n go breakfasts just in case you wake up late, or even for a kid’s lunchbox treat! Just pop them in the microwave for about a minute and you’re good to go!

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