Category Archives: healthy eating

My First Raw Dessert!!

So awhile ago(at least 3 months…ahem….) when I first got my dehydrator I made some raw-nola(raw granola) and part of the recipe involved soaking dates and processing them into a gooey sweet coating….well I tasted that coating and thought it tasted remarkably like the inside of a pecan pie

source

Immediately my mind started thinking…hey maybe I can make a raw pecan pie tart with this as the filling!!  Of course, months went by and I never go around to it, but then finally this past week I forged ahead and made my first from scratch, from my own brain raw dessert recipe!!

It’s a very simple recipe with only a few ingredients: dates, almonds, pecans, agave, lemon, vanilla…that’s it.  And your food processor.  SCORE!  No dehydrator needed.

Get together your ingredients for the crust:

I used a total of 15 dates.  Take 12 dates and put them in a bowl with enough water to cover them and set aside.  They’ll soak for about an hour.

Add 1 cup of raw almonds(you can use roasted but obviously then the dessert won’t be completely raw) to your food processor and process till fine.  Also, don’t put the lid on quiiiiite right so you spray nut pieces all over the kitchen and give your dogs a nice snack!!*

*this part is completely optional

Once you have a nice consistency add in your three dates and spin till it forms into a kind of sticky ball:

Now you’re going to want to press your crust into your desired shape.  In an ideal world I would have had little tartlet pans to make perfectly beautiful little tarts….but here in the real world we work with what we have….so I put foil cupcake liners into little glass bowls and used that to press my crust into.  It takes about 1.5 heaping tbs per crust in a cupcake liner sized tart.

*This part is sticky and you may want to dampen your fingers or coat them in a little coconut oil*   Put your crusts in the freezer while you make the filling.  I made seven crusts out of this, but then forgot one in the freezer so ended up with only 6 actual  tarts.

Once you’re dates have been soaking for an hour or so, drain off the water, but reserve some of it…you may need it!!

Add your dates to your processor(I used the same one I did the crust in and didn’t even wash it…I’m classy like that) with about 1-2 t of agave, the juice from half a lemon and about 1/2 t of vanilla extract.  Whirl away adding the date water as needed to make it the consistency of pie filling.  Once you get to where you like the taste and the consistency, get your crusts out of the freezer divide your filling equally among the tarts(I used about 1-2T per tart).  Next arrange your pecans on top in whatever design you want.

Freeze for about an hour and remove from your shaping container of choice or eat immediately. These will store in the fridge for at least a week if not longer considering there’s no dairy or animal products to go bad.

Ta-Da:

Here’s me holding one so you get an idea of the size(ps I have super-small hands…I wear a size 4.5 ring)

My folks and the hubby were the guinea pigs on this one and they all loved them!  Said they tasted JUST like pecan pie.

And they’re super-healthy, no corn syrup(sorry Monsanto….NOT), no butter, just all natural plant foods and in their raw state which retains all the enzymes that are so good for our bodies!

Here is is in recipe form:

Raw Pecan Pie Tarts

Makes 6-7 cupcake tin sized tarts

12 merjool dates

1 c. almonds

1/2 lemon

1-3 t agave

1/2 t. vanilla

1/4 c or so pecans

Take 12 dates and cover with water to soak for 1 hour.

Add almonds to food processor and grind to a small powder.  Add 3 dates and grind until incorporated.  Wet hands and press into desired container.  Put in freezer.

Drain remaining 12 dates, reserving some water.  Add to food processor with the juice from 1/2 lemon, 1/2 t vanilla and 1-3 t agave(based on your taste).  Process to combine adding date water as necessary.

Scoop 1-2 T of filling into each tart then decorate with pecans. Freeze for 1 hour then remove from container.  Store in fridge for 1-2 weeks.

ENJOY!!

-Tamara

“Why walk when you can fly?”….Mary Chapin Carpenter

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Life Stuff

So I totally dropped the ball on Monday and didn’t do a weekend update!  Life, as they say, got in the way…So to get you up to speed…

Friday-supposed to go to the gym with mom after work….got a flat tire on my way home from work; couldn’t get in touch with anyone, luckily a nice man stopped and helped me change it(for the record, I know HOW to change a tire; it’s just that is was dark and he volunteered so why not!)…so no gym….

Saturday was spent at a woman’s conference listening to Liz Curtis Higgs speak…very funny….very enlightening….very recommended….then home for about an hour before we had to go BACK to church for worship.  Great sermon as usual and then we went out for Mom’s b-day.

We had planned on Thai and my mouth was watering all week just thinking of it but then the restaurant was really busy and wouldn’t even take our name just told us to “check back later” and then while we were waiting to “check back” we saw several parties as large or larger than our’s(5 people) go in and get seated…hmm…..

So we ended up at a steak house(!)….There was NOTHING on the menu for me….I asked the waiter if the chef could come up with a vegan dish for me(for the record, I am not vegan…I will on occasion eat eggs(and sometimes goat cheese) and honey and baked goods that contain butter/eggs….but I do not eat dairy as a whole so I ask for vegan meals at restaurants otherwise I’m brought a dish covered in cheese).   Anyhow, the waiter came back and said the chef would make a veggie risotto pasta thing and hubby said it sounded so good he ordered it too….OMG…it was incredible….best dish I’ve had in a long time….creamy(without cream), spicy, lots of veggies….mmmmmm….I’ll try to recreate it and get the recipe up here

Sunday was big breakfast then shopping with my sister and mom, then a disappointing pedicure…..then my sister left to head back to SC….but SHE got a flat tire(she had a blowout actually) and my dad had to go get her and bring her and her tires(one was blown the other was about to) to get new ones on Monday.  I made the vegan chocolate ganache cake…but it did not turn out the way I wanted so I will NOT be posting the recipe..at least not for now.

So this week has been…ehhh….could be a lot worse though!  Aspen was seemingly much better but has had a few bad days this week so we’re keeping an eye on her….the more pressing concern is now Gracie.  She has what I believe to be a corneal abrasion and possibly bacterial conjunctivitis.  We may have to take her to a veterinary ophthalmologist soon.  I have her on an anti-biotic drop but she is in a lot of pain and can’t even open the eye so we’ll see(no pun intended….).  I will be bringing home some diagnostic equipment tonight to better take a look and make a clinical decision from there…..

Dad and I are not going to be doing the mud run on Saturday.  Dad just didn’t feel that he was ready and says we’ll do it next year….BUT…we are doing the TRICK or TROT which is a halloween race including COSTUMES!!!!  Are costumes are going to be AWESOME and HILARIOUS……

here’s a hint….there will be a coconut involved…if you know dad and I that gives it(that’s another clue!)all away…….

Pictures to be forthcoming post-race…..

-Tamara

“I repent of the way I believe that I’m living right, but trading sins for others that are easier to hide”…..Derek Webb

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Weekend Update #4

Happy Monday!!!

That can only mean one thing….time for the weekend update(and the crowd goes wild!)

We are currently back living with parents due to a mold infestation in our new house!  When the cabinets were hung, the air conditioner drain pipe was hit and mold has slowly been festering behind our cabinets in the kitchen.  They finally came this week and ripped out the cabinets and the nasty dry wall but that stirred up the mold all around the house!  And so we had to move out until it’s taken care of(which is taking an extremely long time)….so therefore, we are at mom and dad’s for the time-being.  Moving on…..

It was a fairly exciting weekend, but I bet you can guess what we did Friday night….that’s right dinner out at Atlanta Bread Company(only the restaurants change….not the activity!).  Hubby was working late so we brought him some food….I crashed early as I had to be up early to get a GA driver’s license….or so I thought!

Up before dawn, driving in the pitch black fog to the DMV(called DDS here in Chatham county…thanks a lot Chatham….Steve(gps) couldn’t find it!) and got to the entrance…I was the first person there!  Sweet! Maybe this would be a quick visit after all……….

Then I saw the sign, “This and all other GA government offices are closed today in observance of the Columbus day holiday”….FAIL

Went to Kroger at 6-something in the morning with nice hair and make-up on…got home what seems like HOURS before anyone else got up and made pumpkin spice cookies(1 spice cake mix +1 can pumpkin…mix, bake at 350 for 12-18 minutes…done).

After a late breakfast(for me at least!) we headed over to do some painting.  Today was trim day for me so I had to be precise.  Somehow I still ended up looking like I wrestled with the paint brush…and lost…..

Afternoon was spent running errands and looking at guns…gah…hubby has this idea that I should be carrying a gun while running(not really a fan; we’ll see how this plays out).

Then church and dinner at Fudruckers….awwww memories of my childhood!  My grandma used to always take me to Fudruckers in Columbia when we would visit her.  I get all nostalgic just going in(course now I order the veggie burger, which amazingly is STILL as big as my face)

Sunday morning dad and I woke up early to go on a looooong run(at least long for us in the shape we’re in now) of 5.5 miles(with a couple of walk breaks thrown in there…ahem…), groceries(again..didn’t get everything I needed on Saturday); some cleaning; some relaxing; going to the house to get clothes for this week(and wow was the house very stink city…and both hubby and I were coughing and feeling so crappy being around that mold!); football watching then early to bed!

The biggest news of the weekend was that my sister got ENGAGED!  So excited to start helping her plan!

My mom’s birthday is coming up and I making her my famous chocolate ganache cake(it’s vegan too!)….so stay tuned for that recipe(if you’re good!).

-Tamara

 

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Dear Marie-Claire

Apparently I’m a little late to the party but news broke last week that Marie-Claire was publishing an expose on the dangers effects of health/fitness bloggers and how bloggers of this nature are nothing short of anorexic-control freaks.  You can find the original article here .  I read the article(and the responses to said article) on Wednesday and have been thinking about it ever since.  At first I wasn’t going to say anything about it; but the more I thought about it the more I realized I needed to speak out against it.

Now, none of the woman in the article have any clue who I am.  They have never heard of me or this blog and maybe never will.  That’s not the point.  The point is I have some arguments against what was presented in the article and I think just as they were allowed to put their opinion out there; I should be given the same courtesy.

If you don’t want to read the whole article the jist is this: the author contacted 6 of the women behind some of the most popular blogs in the genre of health/fitness and said she wanted to interview them about blogging/making money from a blog.  Things took a turn for the sketchy when she started insinuating that the authors had eating disorders/exercise disorders and/or could cause their readers to have the same.

I faithfully read one of the six blogs mentioned and peruse the others on a fairly regular basis.  I have seen very little of what the author accuse these women of(obsession with NOT eating food, exercising too much, being self-absorbed).

The following are things that really stuck out to me in the article:

The author points to several *key* blog posts that “back up her point”.  Such as the fact that one of the bloggers ran 22 miles and then was hungry….um….yup I think after 22 miles I’d be hungry too(heck I’m hungry after a 2 mile run!).  Since when does being hungry mean you have an eating disorder?

The author seems to take issue with the fact that these six women derive some monetary income and perks of this job(such as free stuff given to them by companies looking for mention on the blog).  Ummm…don’t we all do a job of one sort of another that a.)pays you some money and b.) gives you some sort of perk(s).  I’m an eye doctor;  I can get free contacts….My hubby works for Best Buy; he gets a great employee discount and can win free prizes(cameras, GPS, cd’s ect are just some examples of things we have won) through contests/incentives.  Are you going to write an article about us now?  Oh wait, you better include my sister in that article because she’s a teacher and she gets lots of discounts at local businesses.

The irony was not lost on me that a magazine consumed with images of anorexic models featuring articles on “how to lose 10 pounds fast” or “flat abs: we show you how…it’s easy!” would call foul on women presenting a healthy, whole food way of living.

Now beyond the article, I was rather disturbed in reading some of the comments left by other readers.  Now a majority of the comments were in support of the food bloggers and reacted angrily to the article.  There were a few that said the article did bring up some questions they had; which is fine; everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  What disturbed me were the handful of commenters who seemed almost gleeful in the “bringing down” of these women as if they had a personal vendetta against healthy living blogs(and those six authors in general).  One even went so far as to call those who read these blogs “minions”.  I take offense to that.  Just because I read a blog and enjoy it and feel the need to stand up for someone doesn’t mean I blindly worship them or agree with everything they do.  That’s just absurd.

And finally I am blown away by the fact that some commenters logic is that because people are defending food blogs and these six women that that means that what the article says is gospel truth.  Now I know that sometimes this is the case.  When someone defends themselves over-zealously it can mean that they are feeling guilty or there is truth behind the argument.  But not always and to claim that because I want to defend myself(hypothetically speaking) automatically means I’m guilty is plain wrong.

I don’t really read Marie-Claire….I find it so be vapid, self-serving and spoiled.  This article just gives me MORE reason not to read it.  Now if others feel the same way about health blogs; then so be it….guess what you don’t have to read them!

So I am off my soap-box now……back to the goofiness shortly!

-Tamara

“Who are you that lies when you stare at my face? Telling me that; I’m just a trace of the person I once was cause we’re not the same; you’re just a picture of me; you’re gone as soon as I leave; you’ve lived my life for me; And you’re no more than a piece of glass”….Caedmon’s Call

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Weekend Update #3

Howdy Folks!

How was your weekend?  Mine was fab!  Friday night was spent as per our usual(and quickly becoming tradition):  dinner out with the folks(only this time it was just mom as dad was playing tennis) and then some shopping for the house.

Saturday ushered in fall-like temps(lows in the 50s; highs in the 70s..*love*) so dad and I took full advantage of this and woke up early to run around the marsh(about 4 miles).  After breakfast, the four of us headed over the house we are painting and hubby and I got the majority of one side of the house completely painted with blue(now to go back and paint the trim!) Mom and dad worked on one of the dormers; the house is really starting to come together now…soooo excited to see it when it’s all done!!

Hubby and I made a scrumptious lunch of stir-fried veggies and veggie burgers then headed off to our house.  I spent the afternoon cooking for Sat night while hubby did some chores and watched college football.  Church was awesome!  They had an inflatable pool with stairs leading in and out of it in the sanctuary and they asked anyone who wanted to be baptized right then to come forward.  Very moving; don’t think there was a dry eye in the house!

One of hubby’s friend’s from work was there and went forward to get baptized so we invited him home for dinner after church.  At home, hubby gave the house tour and mom and I worked on getting dinner together.  I made fancy grilled "cheese" sandwiches(basil zucchini herb whole wheat herb bread, pesto , mozzarella *cheese*, tomatos and spinach)inspired by Mama Pea and spinach artichoke dip….alll homemade and vegan…oh yeah….plus peanut butter blondies(also vegan) for dessert…..everyone went to town and said the food was delicious.  I’m sorry there are no pictures but again…broken camera situation….I need to take hubby’s point and shoot cause I don’t think he uses it anymore since he’s not doing car audio right now……

We played some games and then everyone crashed!  Dad and I woke up early on Sunday and ran around the lake then hubby and I made the big breakfast(no pancakes this time though….pumpkin cinnamon rolls….*yum*).  After the obligatory weekend trip to Lowe’s we did some minor painting and repair work around the house. 

Mom and dad left in the early afternoon and we spent most of the day relaxing.  I undertook a major project for dinner(didn’t think it’d be that bad actually)….making ravoli.  The making of the dough, the stuffing of the dough into the ravoli’s were all easy.  It was rolling out that dang dough thin enough then cutting the shapes out…gah…I was seriously sweating!  But it turned out all right though I was a bit unhappy with the flavor of the filling(butternut squash, goat cheese, onions and sage).  The sage was just off putting to me…..I followed a recipe when I should’ve just gone with my gut….Live and Learn!

Always too short(but incredibly enjoyable!) and here we are at Monday again!  Have a great week everyone!

-Tamara

"I struggle with my laziness…I’m always like: should I sit down and do nothing or should I lie down and do nothing?"….Jim Gaffigan

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Confessions of a Wanna-Be Food Blogger

It was just about a year ago that I really discovered food blogs.  This led to a life-changing conversion(from heavy meat eater to a dairy-free vegetarian) and helped me  change my body image, my eating habits(no more calorie counting for me!) and gave me lots of recipe and meal ideas.

The kinds of food blogs I like are those that are not strictly just about food.  They have life "things", recipes, fitness related "stuff" and lots of cool pictures. 

I thought, if they can do it, I can do it….I mean, after all,

I had a computer, I had a fancy DSLR camera, I like to cook and be creative in the kitchen, I enjoy writing and a *few* professors have even told me I’m pretty good at it. 

I figured I’d be a natural. Just put out posts and people will instinctly flock to my blog. 

So I started with The Mockingbird Chronicles as my blog name.  I blogged; and you couldn’t so much hear people flocking to the blog as you could hear crickets chirping so was the lack of traffic to said blog.  I think my parents occassionally read it…maybe…once in awhile….

I got discouraged; I started posting less and less; then not at all for awhile; then I thought, IT MUST BE THE NAME…it’s too hard to remember and it’s not catchy…so I tried again with Eyes on the Run….again crickets…..

Then with the buying/moving into the house, the lack of internet and a busy life, my posting has been anything but sporatic……

Earlier today, I was thinking, what’s the point? If I stopped writing in my blog would anyone care?  Probably not, I don’t have a huge interest in this blog, maybe 1 reader if I’m lucky….

Then I reminded myself WHY I blog…I like it….I am inspired by those whose blogs are much better than mine(and coincidentally actually HAVE devoted readers)…and it really doesn’t matter if I actually have a popular blog or not…I’m not in it to try and earn $$(as some of the popular blogs are able to do), I’m not going to win some blogger of the year(or even the day) award,  won’t change the world, but it does provide me a creative outlet in which to write, publish my (very)amauture photography, show off recipes and generally have fun! 

And maybe there is that one person out there that stumbles across my blog and finds meaning in something I posted or can relate to the struggles I have with fitness, body image and becoming a better runner and they in turn can be inspired by me!

All that being said, I am just not that great of a blogger…I start cooking without thinking about taking pictures or determing amounts of each ingredient I’m using so more often than not I realize AFTER I’ve made a really good meal that hey this would be good to share with the blog world(case in point, last night I made these AH-Mazing vegan enchiladas that rival the Amy’s kind from the organic freezer section but I didn’t think about the blog until…I was chowing down on them with no idea *how much* of each ingredient I used…gah!)

I’m also not great at *taking* food pictures.  I don’t have a macro lens for my DSLR and my lens that can take closer up pictures(just not macro) is broken and just the other week my point and shoot died, so now I’m relegated to my iphone or using the long range lens on zoom and then cropping with photoshop. 

But ya know what?  My blog has lots of failings and it’s not that asthetically pleasing but it’s mine and it’s beautiful in it’s own right…

So blog on my friends, blog on…

-Tamara

"I will be here when the laughter turns to crying, through the winning, losing and trying, we’ll be together, and I will be here"…Steven Curtis Chapman

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I’m Still Here….

I promise….I even have several good posts awaiting in my arsenal, but alas they are very picture heavy and with the limited/intermittent internet signal I get at work, I cannot post pictures and hardly can get a word only post on here so alas and alack until I have internet access at home(FRIDAY!) you will have to wait on my fun and amazing posts, which include but are not limited to:

-A recipe for kitchen sink lentil and white bean soup!
-A recipe for vegan baked eggplant parm(with homemade cashew cheese…I know right!)
-TWO(count them TWO) recipes for home-made LARA bars; pb&j AND a new flavor I’d like to call peaches n’ cream.

Are you drooling yet? Cause I know I am!

Stay tuned for these deliciouso recipes!

-Tamara

“I swore on the Bible to not tell a lie, but I’ve lied and lied. And I crossed my heart and hoped to die and I’ve died and died…” Andrew peterson

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