Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Birthday Celebrations Continued

My sister and her 2 kids came from St. Louis for a visit last week. We packed in lots of fun activities - and lots of food.

This is Cary.
I'll explain later this week why she was eating out of a dog bowl.

Cary is a (vegan-minded) vegetarian. I am not so fortunate to have vegan/vegetarian friends in "real" life (I mean, of course, I have all of you!), but I love that my sisters and I have this commonality.

the mixture before cooking

Friday night, we hung out with them at my parents' house. It was Cary's idea to make veggie burgers with this recipe from The Front Burner. It is mostly black beans, carrots, and oats. And we used sunflower seeds instead of pumpkin seeds. This was a great recipe that I would definitely make again.

We had our veggie burgers with all of the best stuff to go along with them.

Cary gave me beautiful, wooden bird earrings.
My parents gifted me with these white dishes.
Thank you all!

Cary and Mom had a little surprise up their sleeves. They had ordered this cake from Whole Foods, and Cary decorated it up all fancy.

I'm not used to having fancy birthday cakes. What a treat!

What is NOT a treat...turning thirty...five...sigh.

Mixed with a little Soy Delicious, there was approval all around.

That was my cutie nephew and niece.

As if all of that wasn't enough, my other sister Tracy (who is my youngest sibling) had been planning on making me a vegan birthday meal. Tracy was vegan around 10 years ago and has gone through various periods of veganism and vegetarianism over the years. She's back, though, in full force, and I'm glad - because she's a great cook!

And I feel certain I should mention that she didn't want me to take her picture. She was feeling a little awkward in our mother's shirt.

This little guy, however, loved discovering he was wearing the same kind of shirt as his Papaw.

first up on Tracy's menu: Manicotti from Vegan with a Vengeance

She also made Isa's Seitan Portabello Stroganoff to spoon over homemade mashed potatoes (with skins, like I like it). This was amazing. We all loved it. My dad said, "Don't take this the wrong way, but it doesn't taste vegan." I do think he meant it as a compliment.

Our dad is so cute. He actually will eat and appreciate anything vegan we make him. In fact, when he hears us talking "vegan" and discussing recipes or whatever, I think it makes him feel left out; he'll say, "I'm thinking about becoming vegan," just so he can "fit in." :)

I am afraid my husband will not want to go back to my boring cooking after this flavorful meal. Stroganoff is not something I would have ever picked out of a cookbook to make (I'm a little one-track minded.), much to Ryan's dismay. Everything was really delicious.

Thank you, Tracy. This was such a great birthday gift.

We had the hardest time with our photo shoot, trying to take a good picture of ourselves. Or even getting ourselves in the frame.

I'll let these cuties take over instead.

I'm hosting a $40 CSN giveaway. I will draw a winner on August 15th!


  1. Wow, all the food looks amazing! Those burgers are making me hungry for a burger now...and I just ate dinner! It's cool that all sisters are veg-minded...that must be so fun.

    All your family sounds like a lot of fun...and you can tell just by looking at the photos that everyone is having a great time.

    And as for 35...you look great...don't worry about that.

    Anyway, great pics thanks for sharing them with us.

  2. Happy Birthday...again! :-) So glad you have such a close family that supports kind eating. Enjoy it!

  3. Weird, that no one has yet commented on my beauty.

  4. I know, Cary, you would have thought the picture of your one eye alone would have been enough to mesmerize them.

  5. Delightful pics. I especially liked the one of the baby w/chocolate on his face.

  6. So neat that you and your sisters have this in common! I would love to hear more about that if you have any ideas of how it came about. My only sibling is a big meathead. Oh, and I can't wait to hear about the dog bowl...

  7. Awww looks like you had fun. And haha your dad sounds so cute! I think it's great that you can share veg dishes with non-veg family members who are open and willing to try them. It's one of the things I love about my family, too. :]

    Yuppp, lately I've been sprinkling on the coconut atop my overnight oats instead of using them in the soaking base. I think I prefer the "fresher" texture!

  8. Now that really is a fantastic and special birthday treat! I don't have any vegetarian or vegan (IRL) friends either so I understand how you feel. My husband does eat meat when we're out unless there are multiple vegetarian versions of things to try (like on the Philly trip). But no meat at home. My sister will at least try veggie options which is nice. Many people are so close-minded to vegetarian/vegan dishes.

  9. happy birthday! it looks like you had a great time. it's cool you have a vegan sis who will cook stuff for you. and that's too cute about your dad threatening to go vegan so he's not left out! have a good day :)

  10. You aren't the only one that doesn't have veg friends in real life. If it weren't for Dan it would be just me too.

    I would kill to be 35 again since 50 is coming up soon. Enjoy it now because you will look back and wonder why you didn't.

    Great plan to celebrate your b'day for weeks. I will have to remember that for next year. My best friend thinks we should all have a b'day month. I think you two are on to something.

    Looks like everyone had a great time. It was very sweet of your sister to do so much for your b'day.


  11. Everything looks so yummy HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You are very lucky to have so many veg friends around you also :) I have actually been dying to make some stroganoff because I think that my family won't mind it even though it's vegan :)

  12. First, those are some adorable little kids! Second, that veggie burger is making my mouth water. Third, Happy birthday!

  13. Mmm, cake and SoDelicious ice cream...does it get any better than that? :] The dishes from VwaV look awesome!

  14. hey jenny!
    FIG INFO!: yes, you should definitely buy those figs. Figs should be really really soft when you eat them. Like, crazy soft. Basically, the softest possible before rotten. Softer figs = sweet and yummy figs. :)

  15. bird earings....totally beat dishes!!!lol bet they are cute:)
    vegan-minded, lol, i like that a lot. my friend that i just met is exactly that way. it would be nice to meet people that are 100% though.