4-Ingredient Date Bites

Hi, friend! How have you been?

I’ve been busy.

And I’ve also been struggling with this whole no-sugar-Monday-through-Friday thing.

Luckily, the short and simple recipe that I get to share with you today is a remedy to both of those problems. 🙂 Shout out to my sweet friend/coworker Bonnie who made a variation of these first and gave me the idea!

Introducing…4-Ingredient Date Bites. The sweetest, tastiest, easiest treat ever. 

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The best part is, they’re 100% vegan, made from whole foods, and free from anything that it’s trendy to not eat right now. 🙂 They’re perfect for a sweet treat after dinner, or for quick fuel before you head out the door for your morning run. Wanna know the goods?

4 cups of dates

Half a cup of unsweetened coconut 

One cup of unsalted pistachios

One tablespoon of agave nectar

That’s IT! I’m willing to bet you already have a few of these good-for-you staples in your kitchen right this very moment.

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How To Make Date Bites

  1. Take dates and chop in your food processor. Make sure your dates are pitted!
  2. Remove dates from food processor and add to a large mixing bowl. Use the back of a spoon to mold dates together to form a thick paste.
  3. Crush pistachios and add to the dates.
  4. Add in just a bit of agave nectar.
  5. Mash it all together!
  6. Crush your unsweetened coconut pieces and place in separate bowl.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or plastic wrap.
  8. Get ready to get messy — using your hands, take the date mixture and roll small balls at any size that you’d like.
  9. Dip the ball in coconut chips until it’s covered on the outer layer.
  10. Place on baking sheet and let them chill in fridge for at least one hour before serving.

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Too easy, right? I love that they satisfy my sweet tooth naturally. Give them a try and let me know what you think! The mix-in possibilities are endless.

Happy Snacking!

-Charlotte

 

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Currently: January 2018

Reading A few books at once! Right now, The Excellent Wife, and the Shofar Blew, and the Oswald Chambers Daily Devotional Bible. It depends what time of the day it is and what I’m in the mood for. 🙂

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The daily devotional Bible has been by far the best part of my year so far. Some friends and I have committed to reading through a section daily and by the end of the year, we’ll have read the entire bible! This is always something I’ve aspired to do but always felt quite intimidated by it. This Bible is perfect because it is broken up into 365 days, and there are sections from a few different books of the Bible. For example, right now, I read a little something from Genesis, Psalms, Proverbs, and Matthew in one sitting. And it all ties together, which is really cool to see how God connected certain themes throughout the Bible. Thank you, Jarilyn, for this fabulous idea and for helping to keep me accountable and thank you, sweet Bonnie, for gifting me this special Bible for Christmas!

Watching Season 2 of This Is Us! Anyone else? It’s our favorite show to watch together and I love that they are touching on foster care. Randall is my favorite character, but I must admit that I have the biggest crush on Jack Pearson…aka…Jess from Gilmore Girls. 🙂

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Listening 

When we were on Maui, we bought a $4.99 app that was a self-guided tour recording for Haleakala National Park. It was the best $5 we spent on the whole vacation because the tour was fantastic! The tour’s soundtrack was awesome too. We drove up and down the volcano twice during our stay there, and on the way down, the app plays this song. I sang it allllll vacation long and as you can hear, it’s super easy to get it stuck in your head.

I honestly forgot about the song until last week, but randomly one night after work I searched for it and found it and had no idea that it was from Lilo & Stitch! I remember seeing the movie however many years ago when it came out, but didn’t remember this song. Now I listen to it at least 2 times a day because it’s just so fun and happy and brings back good Maui memories. Call me crazy for loving a children’s song but if you listen to this song and it doesn’t bring you insane joy, something might be wrong with you. 🙂

And this song was also on the tour, too!

Eating So much popcorn lately! I just can’t get enough. Lately I’ve been loving getting creative with it and adding different toppings. I like making salt and vinegar popcorn or adding the Everything but the Bagel seasoning from Trader Joe’s.

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How do you take your popcorn?

Drinking My daily green smoothie, as I type this. I know I sound like a broken record because I talk about this combo so much, but it really is tasty, filling, and perfect!

Simple recipe: 1 cup spinach, 1 cup coconut water, 1 scoop protein powder, and one banana. Blend and enjoy!

Indulging in Restaurant Week at a new place for our date tonight! 5 course meal, here we come. 🙂

Anticipating going home for the Eagles Super Bowl!!! Only 8 days away!

Cooking lots of stir-fry lately. My go-to is jasmine or brown rice, mixed veggies, tempeh, and coconut aminos.

Praising God for taking care of a scary situation in our neighborhood last night. He is good, he is faithful, and he always protects us!

Praying for healing with the person involved last night, for my father-in-law’s recovery from his surgery, for my Nana’s health.

Weekend Recap: MLK, the Birds, and 13.1

Hello from the comfort of my couch, two cups of coffee deep as I’m writing this on a lazy Monday morning! I’m lucky to have had the day off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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Speaking of which, we got to visit the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN during our road trip out to San Diego in 2016. This was where he was killed. It was such a powerful experience to be there, imagine him standing on the balcony giving a speech, and I am so thankful for all that he did in the past that made a way for the future that we enjoy today – though there is still so much work that needs to be done to fight for justice and equality. Nevertheless, he lived a beautiful example and paved the way!

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We had a great and busy weekend. It started off on Friday with heading to the Carlsbad Marathon & Half Expo after work. I was in and out in 5 minutes, and was a #BadBlogger because I took photos of nothing! I was too tired from the work day to spend any time walking around the booths and sampling the goodies.

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Carlsbad is at the very northern end of San Diego County, and it’s a bit of a hike from where we live, so I inevitably sat in some of that notorious southern california traffic on the 5 on the way home. I made the most of it and passed the time by calling my mom + nana and caught up on life with two of my favorite ladies.

Chad and I were both pretty exhausted from the work week, so we opted for some dinner from our favorite cuban food restaurant + reruns of the Office. I didn’t take a picture but here’s a fun and bright smoothie bowl that i made the night before.

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Beets, a banana, plant protein powder, water, flax, chia, and coconut. 

On Saturday morning, I worked a few hours at the gym and then it was time to head to the local Philly bar to cheer on our Eagles as they took on the Falcons.

 

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Matching shirts — a Christmas gift from my mom! I hardly drink beer these days, but when I saw that they had bottles from our home state brewery, I couldn’t resist! LOVE Dogfish.

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California Tap Room is a great bar in North Park, San Diego’s hippest neighborhood. It was started by a guy from West Chester, PA and specializes in soft pretzels, a philly classic! We watched the game with one of Chad’s coworkers and one of my old coworkers from the Invisible Children days, and he also happens to be from Philly. We met a lot of people from the Philly area that moved to San Diego for the weather, just like us.

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Philly Style pretzels — almost as good as the ones we we normally buy off of a dude with a shopping cart in a parking lot. 🙂 

The Eagles pulled off the win and I literally shed a tear (or twelve) because I love them so much and it was so good to be surrounded by our people. It’s rare that I get homesick, but it usually happens during an Eagles game. I grew up going to a lot of Eagles games with my dad, training camp every summer, and that environment and this team just feels like home to me. I am so excited that we are contenders for the Super Bowl and just love this time of year. On to playing the Vikings in the NFC Championship this Saturday!

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We were up bright and early Sunday morning for the Carlsbad Half Marathon. I told Chad that he didn’t have to come since it is a local race, and I could drive myself, but he insisted on waking up early with me and playing his normal role of chauffer, coach, photographer, and professional stuff-holder. I am so thankful for his support of my running!

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We were off at 7:45 a.m…a fairly late start as far as races go! It was hot hot hot by time we got out there.

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It was a hot day with ocean views and rolling hills – way more hills than I anticipated! I loved running in the sun by the ocean and 13.1 miles later, pulled off a 1:59:50 watch time and 2:00:36 chip time, a PR for me. According to the chip, you could say I missed my goal by 36 seconds. But you could also say that I had a BLAST running this race too, enjoyed the Pacific scenery, and felt God’s presence which is such a gift on the run — and is what really matters at the end of the day.

I counted and this was my 9th half marathon! I grew up running cross country and track in middle and high school. My first half marathon was in September 2013 after I was motivated to run by the tragic events that happened at the Boston Marathon that year, and, well…9 halves and 2 fulls later…it’s safe to say that I love to run!

Fun story about that first half: Chad and I were just friends for about four months at first. I thought he was super cute the moment I met him but also thought he was too old for me. 🙂 He didn’t think of me beyond a friend either. Then that September, I ran the Philly Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon with my mom and promptly went to the Eagles 1 p.m. game with my dad (against the San Diego Chargers, of all cities!) after crossing the finish line. I posted about both on Facebook and Chad saw the photos, and apparently that combination of running + football is what made him see me a little differently than as just a friend. 😉 He asked me on a date a few days later, we watched a lot of Eagles games together and ran a lot that Fall, and the rest is history. And now we’re married and live in San Diego and I still spend my weekends watching football and running miles. 🙂 I love the way God works, don’t you?

Chad used to be a runner but is more into Crossfit these days, which is fine by me! Though, I am dying for him to run a marathon with me. He says that if I break his 1:47 half marathon PR, he’ll run a full. So i’ve got some work to do! 🙂

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Kisses for Coach.

Since Chad’s been doing this whole awesome supportive running husband thing for a few years now, he’s gotten pretty good at making the most of all of the free swag after races. I’m so proud! Rx Bars are his favorite and they go for like $2.29 a piece in stores! He should get a medal just for his food hauling abilities.

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We celebrated and refueled at Draft Republic in Carlsbad with a gift card from our dear friends – thanks Matt and Gwen! It was delicious and a really fun atmosphere to watch football (hellllllo, 150 screen inch TV). We couldn’t believe the Jaguars vs. Steelers!

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And then we went home and took the world’s longest nap. I think one of my favorite things about race day is the marathon-length nap I take afterwards in the late afternoon sun. There’s nothing better than the feeling of lactic acid buildup in your legs and the comfort of your own bed. 😉

Later that night we went with two of our friends to see one of our favorite comedians/speakers, Michael Jr. He is hysterical and yet meaningful, and always makes me cry!

On our day off, I enjoyed a walk by the water with my friend/coworker/soul sister Bonnie and her sweet baby girl. I brought my (furry) baby along, too!

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We also met up with Ali and her dog Harley (Chase’s girlfriend) later in the day for…you guessed it…more walking by the water! It never gets old. 🙂

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And, while the day off held a lot of fun things, it also held a healthy dose of real life, too — like scrubbing toilets, laundry, and grocery shopping. Here’s a glimpse at some of our haul! And yes, that’s steak and chicken, and eggs and yogurt — I may not eat animals, but I do love my husband enough to still cook his favorites. 🙂 We make it work!

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Were you off of work for Martin Luther King Jr. day?

Did you race this weekend? Where? How far? How did you do?

Do you have different dietary preferences in your family?

Have a great week!

Thankful Thursday: Wins & Water

The grass is greener where you water it.

You’ve heard it before, right? I know I have, but it’s never rocked me before like it has recently. Friends, if I heard that expression once in the first 11 days of 2018…I’ve heard it 100 times. God has been sending me a message so loud and clear about contentment and gratitude. I’ve heard that exact expression in podcasts, interviews, books, and conversations with friends so many times over the past week and a half that I just have to blog about it.

And I confess: it’s a message I’ve desperately needed. Throughout the last months of 2017, I found myself knee-deep in the comparison trap and the grass that seemed greener to me sounded a little like this in my head:

her daily life must be so much better because she lives on Maui

her husband must really love her because all of their pictures are perfect

she must be so much happier because she qualified for the Boston Marathon

perhaps I need to be in an industry that allows me to make more money

life would be better if we bought a home like they did

Just typing out those thoughts make me roll my eyes in disgust at how ugly and ungrateful they are, but the truth is, that is really what is going on in my head sometimes. Have you ever had thoughts like that? I’m willing to bet – yes, you have, maybe even multiple times a day. You’re not alone, sister.

These thoughts that the grass is greener on the other side are straight up lies from the enemy, who so often tries to convince us that our lives would be much better if only they looked more like everyone else’s. That’s just simply not true.

God has gifted us each with the life that He especially handcrafted and designed just for us. There is no other life quite like yours. So why waste our precious, numbered days focused on what everyone else has, instead of enjoying the gift that God has given us to the fullest?

But let me be the first to admit that this is a daily struggle. I know. I get it. The world is constantly telling us that someone else has it better. So how do we combat that?

Gratitude.

Gratitude Turns What We Have Into Enough

Join me in my new endeavor: thankful thursdays. It’s simple, really. Even if you’re not a blogger, take 5 minutes at the start of every Thursday to write down in a journal 5 things about your own life that you love. That you’re thankful for. And then, write down 5 ways that you’re going to water your own grass. Wins, and then the water.

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Here’s what this habit looks like for me today, punching those lies of comparison and ingratitude right in the face:

WIN: We live in the paradise that is San Diego, a dream we’ve had for a long time that we are actually getting to live out.

WATER: Spend more time at the beach and take advantage of our proximity to so much beauty.

WIN: Chad and I have been happily married for two years and together for four and a half, and we’re continually learning more about each other and only getting stronger.

WATER: Protect our weekly date night time and take two trips just for us this year.

WIN: I am healthy and able to run and I enjoy a sport that I’m passionate about.

WATER: Set goals that are personal and meaningful to me, and don’t measure my success against someone else’s. 

WIN: I have my favorite job yet and love getting to serve children, families, and volunteers in foster care. And my coworkers have become some of my best friends. 

WATER: Remind myself that contributing to kingdom work is more rewarding than the size of my paycheck — and that I have been blessed with more resources than I deserve, and there are so many people living in true poverty.

WIN: We live in an apartment because we live at the beach, and that’s what’s financially realistic. The joy of simple beach living outweighs the social pressure I can sometimes feel to settle down and fill a big house with babies and stuff I don’t need. 🙂 plus, there’s so much less to clean!

WATER: Steward the gift of our home well by using it to host friends and family, by inviting neighbors for meals, and by making it a place of refuge and peace for anyone that visits. Remind myself that it’s not what’s on the walls or in the cabinets that matters. Grow in hospitality.

So…what are the lies of comparison that you’ve been believing lately? Who’s grass have you been looking at and longing for? And what steps do you need to take to start seeing how darn cute your own grass is? And how will you water it?

None of our lives are perfect, but they are each a precious gift. And I have to believe that our lives will get brighter the moment we stop to acknowledge that.

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What are 5 things that you’re thankful for in your life today? Feel free to share in the comments.