Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Tart: Redux

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about two dessert recipes I tried, one of which was a raspberry lime tart. Since then, I have made that tart three more times (with a graham cracker crust), and therefore consider myself an expert at it.

So last night I got to thinking, How could I change this one up? (I know, WHO AM I?) I decided to try two different variations, and fully expected at least one of them to be gag-worthy, because I still have not accepted that I might be a halfway decent cook/baker. But lo and behold, I have adapted a recipe for two variations that are both ridiculously tasty! Here's a couple cute recipe images you are welcome to download and try for yourself.

For this blueberry lemon version, I literally used ALL Trader Joe's ingredients (except maybe the butter and sugar). Namely, I tried TJ's cinnamon grahams for the crust, and honey Greek yogurt for the filling. The honey yogurt added a lot of sweetness (so I probably could've reduced the added sugar a bit) and therefore, the lemon flavor was much more subtle. I liked it!

Click to view full size; right-click and choose "Save Image" to print your own copy!

 For the strawberry margarita version, hoo boy! I am definitely a fan of this one, you guys. I actually think I may add more tequila and triple sec next time, except I don't know if that will make it too watery and less inclined to set. But I've got one in the freezer now to see how that works out; I'm betting it will be delightful. For this one, I used regular graham crackers, but I used salted butter (versus my usual unsalted choice). I figured, margaritas are best with a little salt, right? Right. Honestly, this wasn't super margarita-tasting; it just had a LOT of great, summery flavor to it -- more so than the original raspberry/lime version.

Click to view full size; right-click and choose "Save Image" to print your own copy!

So pretty, right?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Five years!

Last Saturday marked five years since the day Joe and I met. (I know, I can't believe it's been that long, either!)

We went out to dinner to celebrate, but before that, I got a fun makeover from Sephora! (They did my makeup; I did my own hair.) I felt pretty glamorous, not gonna lie.

The girl who did my makeup said I looked like I could be a pinup girl. I'll take it!

My hot date! Love of my life! (How handsome is he in that snap-brim cap?)

I call this "Classy vs. Sassy" but really, the one on the right was me saying,
"Why are you tilting the camera? I'm not THAT tall!"

After several hours, my hair and makeup still looked pretty sweet!

More important than getting dressed up, it was just sweet to celebrate five years with Joe and reflect on how good God was to bring us together in such a memorable and "random" way.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Two Delightful Pinterest Desserts!

Yesterday I found myself working too late to make it to my Tuesday boot camp class at the gym, so rather than do my own workout at home, I decided to try two incredibly healthy delicious dessert recipes I found on Pinterest.

The first recipe was one I had pinned ages ago and was sure would flop because it just seemed too good to be true: Two Ingredient Lemon Bars. Basically you take a box of angel food cake mix and a can of lemon pie filling, mix them together and bake for 20 minutes. These came out gooey and delicious, though not exactly "bars" since they were so sticky and gooey. (Not that I'm complaining!) Amy, Michelle and I basically just ate them right out of the pan, anyway.

In case you're wondering about this weird-looking thing - it's the "All-Edge Brownie Pan!"

The second recipe I tried was one I thought would flop only because it sounded CRAZY delicious and I have a history of choosing recipes that sound great in theory but end up being really weird. Fortunately, I was wrong again! This Raspberry Lime Tart came out just as CRAZY DELICIOUS as it sounded. The recipe said you could use graham crackers or gingersnap cookies for the crust, so obviously I decided to go with the gingersnaps because it sounded just strange enough to work. (Side note: I also love that I finally found a dessert recipe that uses Greek yogurt and isn't weird or terrible! Still not exactly a healthy dessert, what with the butter, sugar, and cream cheese, though.)

I personally didn't like the gingersnap crust as much as I think I'd like a graham (or maybe Oreo) crust, only because I love the lime/raspberry flavor combo so much, and I felt like the gingersnaps kind of distracted from that. But my trusty taste-testers (Amy and Michelle) said they liked it just the way it was! I think next time I'll try a different crust and also add more lime juice for some extra sourness.

It had been so long since I'd cooked or baked anything, I was definitely not expecting TWO success stories in one night! Here's hoping the trend continues. Pretty soon I'll be ready to check off one of my Thirty Before 30 items: homemade lemon meringue pie!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Once upon a time, I was kinda clever.

I was refreshing my memory on the goals I had written in my Thirty before 30 list, and seeing #26 ("Write a poem.") got me curious about when the last time was that I wrote a poem. I used to post a lot of poetry back when I used LiveJournal, and after a bit of digging I discovered it's been close to ten years since I was last struck with this particular sort of creativity.

So, while I still haven't felt the inspiration to compose anything new quite yet, I thought I would take a little time-travel excursion into the poetic archives of 18/19-year-old Tabitha. Here are a few of the old poems I've unearthed, with some present-day commentary. (Be warned: it's pretty emo.)

This photo has nothing to do with the post. But doesn't it look yummy?

Silence - January 25, 2004

Sitting in dead
silence, she concentrates, listening
for a sound she knows she will
never hear again.
But maybe, she thinks,
maybe if she
waits long enough, focuses
hard enough, believes
strongly enough...
she'll hear it.
It's the last hope she has
of making it over the mountain of grief,
of feeling the weight lift
from her heart.

And when she still hasn't heard his voice,
she resigns, now wanting
only to cry, so that
her whimpers will veil the tormenting

But even tears seem to be
hiding away from her,
mockingly resting
just behind her eyes.
She feels the pressure and
welcomes them to pour down her face;
she begs them to fall free.

But silence is all that she has now.

I wrote this a week after my friend Kyle was killed in a motorcycle accident. I was pretty devastated, and I think I wrote this entire poem in just a few minutes.

Commentary: I think about 80% of my poetry has always followed some rhyme scheme or at least some sort of constraint (iambic pentameter, etc.), so whenever I come across the rare poem that doesn't rhyme, I find it a little bit more special. I think maybe the non-rhyming stuff tended to capture my true heart because I didn't spend extra time fabricating the words just so...if that makes sense.


Inconclusive Certainty - March 20, 2004

Am I wasting another precious day
trying to find out where I fit?
How much more of this pretending
to know I’m going the right way
before I give up and admit
that my plans for the future are pending?
Am I convincing if I continually say,
“My life is right where I want it,”—
can you read the real message I’m sending?
I don’t know whether to leave or stay;
I’m still waiting for a flame to be lit
to tell me how much time I should be spending
on discovering my purpose and what part to play.
I need to take a moment just to sit
and wait on a word of God’s lending.
But I fear the things he will want me to obey,
and I’m always so hesitant to submit;
the fact is, I’ve been so used to depending
on my own instincts, but they lead me astray.
So I lift up my worries, trust God, and commit
to seeking his will in the time I am spending
awaiting his signal to make clear what’s gray.
In this temporary life, I need to omit
the excuses for my actions; I’m always defending
my humanness, and it’s caused such disarray.
I want my will and God’s to be knit
so that His story and mine have the same ending.

I was in my second semester of freshman year, seriously questioning everything about my life. My major, my friendships, my passions...kind of a common theme throughout my college experience. Suffice it to say I dug up several other poems with a similar theme; this one is my favorite, though.

Commentary: I remember I wrote this in such a way that if you removed the line breaks, it would read as a single paragraph with less emphasis on the rhymes. That was kinda cool.


anti-acrostic - June 21, 2004 
Don't you see how long it's been
Since you last made anything worth saving?
Fighting discouragement is quickly
Becoming too draining a task for you.
Underline a few words for emphasis, but it
Just doesn't do the trick.
Was there ever a trick?
Jokingly, or at least for pretend, you say, "I
Underestimated how good I am at being awful."
Zap back into reality, and you're empty.

Context: Was home for summer after completing freshman year at APU. I'm not really sure what else was going on in my life at that time other than working at a preschool and hanging out with church friends.

Commentary: This is, as far as I can deduce, the last poem I wrote (aside from my yearly Christmas couplets). You can probably sense that I was pretty much out of steam in the inspiration department. Side note: can you figure out the constraint I followed in this poem? (The title should help a little.) It actually took me a minute to figure it out upon re-reading it today. Even though I know I wrote this one with exasperation and then basically gave up on poetry for the next decade, I like it because I can still see that I cared about writing and I cared that I was struggling so much with it.  


It's been almost ten years, so I know I'll be a little rusty when I finally sit down to try to do this again. Feel free to weigh in with your critique/praise on my teenaged poetic skills, or holler any tips, ideas or suggestions for ways I can become re-inspired!