Happy Birthday!

My sister recently sent me an email looking for advice on a gift for her soon-to-be 16 year old. My reply? Uh, we’re not that big on birthdays.

This View is a Gift

Oh my goodness! I recognize that this easily casts me into the Scrooge stratum with most of the readers here but please, understand, we are a blessed family. My kids have what they need and when they also get what they want, regardless of of the calendar, I’m content to say, “Happy Birthday!”

Don’t get me wrong. I love a celebration and today is my husband’s birthday. It’s a Monday and a school day and so we’re constrained in our options. I love that he chose a local Thai restaurant for dinner since the kids never want to go there. Today, it’s his choice.

As my children are entering the teenaged years, fixing meals is becoming more difficult. I have one fast-growing, elite-athlete with enormous protein requirements and a second son nipping at the heels of that growth. All three kids enjoy meat but readily volunteer that they couldn’t hunt it themselves and they’re perfectly content with meatless meals.

My husband adores the grill and roaster but recognizes that our bodies change as we age and that something has to give. He’d like to move to more of a plant based diet and we know he’ll notice the difference in the way he feels. ย Here’s our gift to him:

Almost Raw Sweet Potato Pie
Serves 6


  • 1 1/2 cups pecans (let dry a bit on a paper towel)
  • 4 cups peeled and chopped sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dates, soaked for about 20 minutes
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (this is not a raw product)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup raw honey (could probably use maple syrup here to make it vegan)


Place sweet potatoes, 1/2 cup pecans, dates, cinnamon and vanilla in a food processor and puree until smooth. Spoonย into a casserole dish.ย In another bowl, mix the remaining 1 cup nuts with salt and honey, and sprinkle over the potato mixture. I put it into the fridge and can’t tell you how it is until later.

Happy Birthday Sweetie!

Previous Post
Leave a comment


  1. Happy Birthday to Agriboy ๐Ÿ™‚ Is that your home? WOW!

  2. That looks amazing! I’m cutting out refined sugar for a month, and I have sweet potatoes and pecans, so I am intrigued…

  3. My husband and I don’t usually get birthday gifts either. I just made him promise before we got married that we would travel someplace internationally every year. ๐Ÿ˜‰ We do go out for a nice dinner though and said birthday girl or boy gets to pick.

  4. Nice! I think you’re non-gifting gift philosophy can inspire many others.

  5. Love this. Hope J2 has a great day with you.

  6. I feel much the same. We are truly blessed to have our needs met, and many of our wants as well. Enjoy your special dinner out tonight!

  7. Sally Mom

     /  September 17, 2012

    Absolutely beautiful post and I can hardly wait to make this dish for my sister and brother tomorrow night. Great concept and dish. Have a wonderful evening and dinner. YUM!

  8. I wish that we had that no-birthday-gift policy in our family. I have reached a point in my life where I feel burdened by Stuff. Have a great meal and time at the Thai restaurant. In the meantime, I’m very curious about this almost raw sweet potato pie!

  9. I love it! Happy Birthday Agriboy, and I hope you enjoy your supper ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Dear Husband

     /  September 17, 2012

    Thank you sweetheart… I like pie. I’m looking forward to some great green curry and larb with you and the boys tonight, and of course, finishing the meal with what I’m sure will be a fantastic almost raw sweet potato pie!

  11. Enjoy the Thai and the sweet potato pie! I’d be OK without birthday celebrations too – life is all about living and loving, not about man-made inventions like calendars. Have fun because every day should bring a smile!

  12. Beth Rabuczewski

     /  September 17, 2012

    My high school distance runner is always asking for sweet potatoes. Glad to have a new recipe to try. Thanks, Tammy!

  13. Do you live in that house???
    If so, I hope that none of you are prone to nocturnal wandering (a/k/a sleep walking) . . . that’s a steep drop!

    We’re not big on birthdays either . . . a meal, a delicious dessert, and the gift of time together.

    And chocolate. ๐Ÿ˜€

    That Sweet Potato Pie looks superb!

    • No. That is the Lookout studio on the side of the Grand Canyon. We went up Friday night and stayed the night. It was lovely and a view to behold.

  14. I printed out this recipe. It looks so good, Tammy! Hope your husband enjoys it (and the rest of your family, too.) I like eating raw foods whenever feasible, although husband doesn’t like them as much.

    • I am trying to eat raw more frequently. I really like it but find it hard work (all that no-cooking!).

  15. I feel the same way you do about birthdays, but can’t get my spouse to go along with it!

  16. Lucy

     /  September 17, 2012

    Happy Birthday! Enjoy.

  17. What an interesting cake. It’s certainly different to the one I’m making my daughter for her 18th! I think she would cry if I gave her a raw sweet-potato cake – she’s into a sugar phase! Your son is an elite athlete? Wow! That’s super-impressive. I can imagine you must need to keep him on the best possible diet xx

  18. Happy Birthday wishes for your dear hubby! And what a simply beautiful way to celebrate . .. love it!

  19. Tammy, you have just amazed me. And warmed the cockles of my heart. I really don’t enjoy the birthday gift thing either. Our family used to have a cake with money, wrapped in wax paper, hidden in the cake before it’s iced. That’s it. Presents were given at Christmas only and that was through drawing one name.

    I cannot afford expensive gifts and I dislike wasting money on trinkets. My gift givers now see me as a soap, lotion, oil person. Do you need any at your house?! I have tons.

    Sharing a meal is the epitome of celebration in my heart. Happy Birthday to that man of yours.

    Oh…I really like the ingredients of that dish. Yum. Think I’ll input it on My Fitness app and see what the recipe does to my plan.

    • Dawn

       /  September 18, 2012

      I’m very much like you – I dislike trinkets and gifts I don’t want so much that it makes me feel thankless, and OH MY it’s terrible to receive soaps and lotions that you just won’t use – doesn’t everyone at this point have their favorites?? Ha. That said, I do like a surprise now and then. I guess I’m tough to please…

    • I think this recipe would work with your diet Amy and thanks for the endorsement of the gift of a meal and a view. I don’t like the stress of trying to buy someone a gift when I have no idea what they enjoy.

  20. Happy birthday to your hubby!
    I really liked this post, and can say honestly, I don’t really like birthdays either. Especially now pared with the Chef’s family and friends this summer we went to at least ten birthday dinners/lunches/parties/whatever – not that long ago we even had two in one weekend. It was all so draining for me…..

  21. Birthday blessings for your husband ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Belated Happy Birthday to your hubby. I too am not into birthday except for my little boy who still believes in magic and toy land dreams. To me, having peace at home, happiness of being with family and yes, I delicious home cook meal are all that I need to make a birthday special. There is no substitute material gift for a family’s presence and love. Great post!

  23. Happy Birthday to your husband! You definitely have a blessed family, and it is wonderful that you see it, and don’t take it for granted. That sweet potato pie looks mouthwateringly delicious!

  24. I’m like you, Tammy, fortunate enough to lead a very blessed life that gift-giving seems, well, sort of unnecessary. Not that I don’t like to give gifts, mind you, but I usually take the route of baking a special treat, going someplace special, or just sharing the day. Happy Birthday to your other half!

  25. Lisa H

     /  September 19, 2012

    The perfect birthday for me is spending it with my family, doing things we normally do, and then celebrating with a good meal. Nothing fancy.
    The kids always get to have a party, but even they have been making them smaller and smaller as they get older. They do enjoy the tradition of picking out their dinner that I will cook on their birthday. Sometimes it’s fancy, such has homemade pierogies, sometimes simple, such as Chinese fried rice.

  26. I would consider that sweet potato pie quite a fine “birthday cake!” Hmmm, mine is coming up soon…

  27. I have always been sort of big on birthdays. It’s how I was raised. I’m learning that each marriage and family has to find their own way of doing things. It’s best not to always compare with the traditions of other families.

    I loved this post. It gave me a glimpse into your family and the beauty of how you celebrate birthdays. Happy birthday to your husband. I hope the sweet potato pie is a hit!

    • That’s right Lori. It’s important not to compare – odd because that is quite the opposite of my typical statement aka Swedish movie – My life as a dog – “it’s important to compare, always compare”. Worrying about the celebration and the gift and all of that ruins it for me and for my husband. Thank goodness we share the trait.

      • I appreciate hearing your perspective. Maybe it will help me be more sensitive to my friends, and try less to impose my desires for my birthday on them. How nice you and your husband are in agreement.

  28. I think it’s a lovely gift ๐Ÿ˜‰

  29. authorjaneward

     /  September 21, 2012

    Another use for my sweet potatoes. i am determined to like them somehow, some way. Maybe the right recipe is this one. I will give it a try.

  30. Happy belated birthday to your husband! ๐Ÿ™‚

    The view looks indeed stunning? Is that where you live? With the Grand Canyon in your garden? ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s looks wonderfully natural and down-to-earth, although with this location at the edge of the canyon, down-to-earth is a little further down … ๐Ÿ˜‰

  31. I love your take on gifts, Tammy, I feel the same way. Things are great, and giving is fun, but like you we are blessed with many wonderful experiences.

    Lovely pie!

  32. Danielle

     /  September 24, 2012

    I too am burdened by stuff. My husband shares the same sentiments. So spending time together and sharing a good meal is all we need for Birthdays. But unfortunately our 7 year old daughter is all about the stuff! While I know I still have to provide her a good birthday party in December, I’m going to take your advice to tell her “Happy Birthday” when I get her things she wants during the year. I’ll remind her on her actual birthday to remember all the other things she received as gifts throughout the year.

    You give the best advice! …and that’s one kind of gift I love.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: