Gina’s Birthday Weekend!

19 Apr

It was one of my best friend’s birthday on Sunday. She ran the La Jolla Half Marathon that morning and then had a big gathering with family and friends in Escondido! Unfortunately, Travis and my friend Jordan were both working that day, so I had to go alone, but I still had a great time.

The party didn’t start until 1pm, which meant one thing for me: Morning trip to Pannikin’s! Pannikin’s is my favorite favorite favorite coffee shop around. Since it’s a good 1-hour drive away, it’s always a treat when I get to go, and anytime I head towards San Diego, Pannikin’s is the first stop on my route. They’ve got a bakery case FULL of homemade treats: pies of all kinds, biscotti, scones, muffins, granola bars, cakes, cookies, brownies…just to name a few! They also serve breakfast and lunch, but I usually just order coffee and pastries and call it a day!

Sunday’s choice was this beauty:



Homemade Blueberry Pie and a large cup of coffee (plus a refill!).  The pie was awesome; oodles of sweet blueberry filling enveloped by a thick, flaky, buttery crust. It was huge, too, and I was so full that I could hardly eat any of the great food at Gina’s Party.

Knowing that Gina had just run a half marathon, I wanted to bring her something that would refuel and replenish her tired muscles. I made her a large batch of raw and vegan date squares that Angela at Oh She Glows shared. The original recipe is from KB Blissologist, but I adapted mine from Angela’s post.

No Bake Date Squares

-adapted from Oh She Glows and KB Blissologist


  • 1.5 cups whole raw almonds
  • 1.5 cups regular oats
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 10 Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
  • 25 medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup water

1. Line a square pan (I used 8in x 8 in) with two pieces of parchment paper going opposite ways. In a food processor, process the almond, salt, and oats until a fine crumble forms. Now add in the dates and process until crumbly again. Add the coconut butter and oil and  process until sticky. You can add a tiny bit more oil if the dough is too dry. I didn’t need to though! Remove from processor, set aside 3/4 cup of the mixture for later, and press the rest of the mixture very firmly and evenly into the pan.

2. Grab your pitted and roughly chopped dates and water and process in the food processor until a paste forms. You will have to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl often. You can add a tiny bit more water if needed, but you want the paste quite thick. Scoop out the date mixture onto the crust and gently spread with the back of a wet spatula until even.

3. Sprinkle on the 3/4 cup of mixture you set aside and gently press down with fingers. Refrigerate in the fridge until firm for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight. Cut into squares and serve. Store in the fridge or freezer.

note: I found these to taste and look their best straight from the freezer. They need to be COLD when you serve them because the crust and filling get very, very soft at room temperature.

 Dates are great for a post-run treat because they are made of soft, easily digestible flesh with simple sugars like fructose and dextrose that when eaten, replenish energy and revitalize the body instantly.

They are a good source of fiber, anti-inflammatory tannins, beta-carotene, lutein, iron, potassium, and calcium to restore bones and muscles! Go Dates!

I managed to save a few for myself. 😉  Also included in Gina’s gift bag was a homemade lemon sugar scrub for hands, feet, and body. You can find the recipe here.  It makes your skin so soft and smooth, and I love that’s it’s all natural and made from ingredients you probably already have on hand!

Here’s a picture of Gina and me at her party! Isn’t she lovely???


Look at these gorgeous cupcakes that her boyfriend’s mom made! They were delicious, too.

Make a wish, Gina!!

Oh! Before I go, I must mention that my best friend’s enchilada recipe is featured on  You can also check out other great recipes from Jordan’s blog, Madeleines and Marathons. She’s an excellent cook and someday I aspire to be as good as she is!

I hope you all have a great day!


2 Responses to “Gina’s Birthday Weekend!”

  1. Madeleines and Marathons April 19, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    That pie looks heavenly!

    Oh, Lauren, puh-leeeze. I think we all remember who won the chocolate chip cookie contest. You wear the pants in our baking relationship.

  2. thebasicsbypaulbyrondowns April 19, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    Thanks for the mention Lou. Your Blueberry Pie looks like a plate of goodness for the spring and summer.

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