“What I” Wednesday: My Birthday Weekend

January 25th, 2012 - filed under: The Food » Food Styles

Smack dab in the middle of a very, very good weekend.

This weekend I celebrated my 31st birthday! After last year’s 30th B-Day Bash-stravaganza, I was more than happy to keep my celebrating simple and sweet. And I was totally successful.

I spent the weekend lazing about with my two favorite menfolk. Laughing and laughing and laughing. Feeling like I was in love with the world (and my family!). And of course, eating really amazing vegan food. Lots of eating . . .


It started just like every day. A breakfast plate and play time. Coffee and cleaning. This magnificent mug (who needs the sun, right?)

We made a badass smoothie, the usual(ish) (banana, water, ice, spinach, sprouts, spirulina, protein, vitamin k2, maca, probiotics) plus a few frozen strawberries. Totally out of season but hey, it’s my birthday!

Not so pretty, but dang it was great.

That afternoon I had some fun in the kitchen . . .

Irish moss is so weird.

. . . which led to . . .

Raw ice cream! Strawberries N’ Cream

Raw pudding! Chocolate Chunk.

YUUUUUUUUUMMM. I didn’t write the recipes down, but it was my first time playing with fresh mature coconut flesh and I’d say it was a success. Great flavor, suuuper rich. Irish moss paste (it’s made from seaweed!) gives it an amazingly light and fluffy texture. I’m looking forward to playing with this pair a whole lot more in the future . . .

That night we dropped Waits off with our friends, and took a little trip . . .

I had been invited to the pre-opening of the brand new Veggie Grill in nearby Beaverton. Veggie Grill is quickly-expanding chain out of southern California, serving awesome vegan versions of familiar “fast food” fare. Of course, it’s a whole lot healthier than your typical burger joint, with sweet potato fries and steamed kale and tempeh on the menu!

We started with an appetizer of buffalo wings, which was salty and spicy and tangy and ohmigosh so good. It’s been a long time since I’ve tasted those flavors! (though I’m almost certain they use Gardein, and I wish they made their own meats in-house, a la Native Foods)

For dinner Damian had the Santa Fe Crispy Chickin’ with sweet potato fries:

And I had the VG-Cheeseburger with steamed kale:

Damian loved his meal and I thought mine was good, though a bit greasy. The kale was spectacular! All in all I think Veggie Grill is a great addition to the Portland scene. I actually really appreciate that they are taking a different approach to vegan dining. They are situated in a strip mall, in a suburb. They offer a clean, familiar, family-friendly atmosphere and an un-intimidating menu. This is the kind of place where veg-curious omnis will go, and I’m pretty sure they’ll come back, again and again and again. It’s an important component of the worldwide vegan takeover! But seriously, I do think it’s important and I’m all for it. Yay Veggie Grill!

Date night.


Saturday was a run-around, have-fun-around sort of day. Foodie highlights include an enormous fajita burrito:

Afternoon treats and coffee:

And that night we had a very small gathering at a friend’s house. We pretty much ate guacamole and fancy olives and caramel truffles for dinner. Then we had cake!

The carrot cake that killed me this weekend (such a sweet way to go . . . )


On Sunday morning we made bread, like we always do these days. It’s one of my favorite parts of the week.

Afterwards, we hit up the all-you-can-eat brunch buffet at Sweetpea. This time it was southern-style! Biscuits and gravy, taters, tofu scramble, and tons of kale. There were also grits and some sort of berry dessert but I didn’t try any of those. It was A-MAZING (as always):

Then we played in the rain . . .

. . . and ran some errands in our rain boots . . .

And finally, made our way home for an early Sunday supper. Fresh-baked bread (sprouted wheat sourdough), home-cooked chili (it had been simmering on the stove all day, mmm) and a big-ass bad-ass crisp romaine salad.

And that, my friends, is pretty much my idea of a perfect weekend.

Hope you had a great one as well! ♥ ♥ ♥

also, just an fyi: I drink lots of water throughout the day, and I never mention it. Waits still nurse – a lot – probably 10+ times per day, and I never note that either. yup yup!

  • Maria

    Yay! What a perfect way to celebrate a birthday! Surrounded by loved ones and beautiful food, that’s all I could hope for too! I love your experiments with Irish moss. I’ve been trying to find it here too, but haven’t yet been successful. All the foods you had sound and look so amazing – it’s so inspiring, I tell you! I wish you another great weekend ahead! xx

  • meg

    Happy birthday! Your “date night” picture should replace the one in the upper right corner of your page– you look absolutely glowing, and–dare I say?– much more “totally fabulous” than the picture posted there now.

  • http://simplybeme.com/ Jenny @ simply be me

    What a wonderful weekend! Love all the family fun.

  • Jacquelyn B

    I agree with Meg! Totally love the photo- I can hardly recognize you in the current “profile” pic! We prefer Native Foods over Veggie Grill- but LOVED the buffalo “wings” as well! Yum, yum, yum. I’m scheming a buffalo “chicken” dip for the super bowl… nom!

  • http://www.choosingraw.com/ Gena

    Amazing post. Additionally, I <3 Irish moss. Happy Bday!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/minnatoots Minna Toots

    Nooo, I like the chook!

  • http://www.facebook.com/minnatoots Minna Toots

    My favourite sentence from this post is “It’s an important component of the worldwide vegan takeover!” :D Seems you had an awesome weekend! I couldn’t even dream of having all those delicacies pictured above. My country has a looong way to go, hoping to see the first vegan or at least vegeterian cafe in a few years. :)

    My weekend wasn’t as fun as yours but I learned a lot though and feel much happier thanks to that lesson. Sort of euphoric even, sort of what I was back when I was a teenager and felt so inspired by *everything*. :P I managed to forever get rid of a few unreasonable beliefs about myself that were holding me back and I’ve been practicing my daily affirmations again which have been working wonders. I love it.

  • Brianna

    Happy Birthday!!

  • http://callofthe-wild.blogspot.com/ Francine

    Ooooh that burrito. GUH. All of that food looks fabulous and I’m jealous of your awesome birthday weekend. Mine are never that fun!

  • espadrilles2

    Happy Birthday! You are an inspiration, and the clarity and directness of your writing make being vegan, vegan-curious, vegetarian and conscientious so accessible. Thank you.

  • M.A. McGreevy

    Oops, double-post. Sorry. New.

  • Melisa

    Girl! I need to see outfits, too!! (; Happy birthday!

  • Carrie (Carrie on Vegan)

    Your little guy is so cute! Also, can’t wait to read more about your adventures with Irish moss. It’s a raw food thing, right? I have no clue how to use it or even where to buy it?

  • http://fridgescrapings.com/ Lou

    Wow, looks like an awesome birthday weekend…. and you still nurse?! Good on you, Mama, wish I was… my milk gave up on me :(

  • http://taimetoit.ee/ Sandra

    Amazing post, amazing blog! You rock and happy-happy birthday!!

  • Sarah C

    Glad you had a happy b-day weekend! Hope the week and year are as great!

  • Ceisentr09

    What a brilliant, rich birthday weekend. As it should be. :) Congratulations on completing 31 years of a knowledge-infused, passionate, love-filled life!

  • http://almostveganchef.com/ Amber Shea @Almost Vegan

    Looks like a wonderful birthday weekend. Happy 31st to you, Sayward!

  • http://www.theborrowedabode.com Jane @ The Borrowed Abode

    This looks like a delicious weekend! Every fab bite you mention on here is keeping me inspired as I’m working on returning to a more vegetable-centric diet. Hadn’t thought to put sprouts in my smoothies but I’ll give them a shot tomorrow! My coworkers are horrified by the sight of my smoothies b/c of the spinach – but dang, it tastes good and I love that I’m getting an extra dose of veggies with my fruit!

  • http://www.mynaturallyfrugalfamily.blogspot.com/ Rachel@MyNaturallyFrugalFamily

    Oh I am quite jealous of those eats and the many veg friendly restaurants that Portland has (just not available here in North Carolina).
    Happy Birthday and I hope you have a fantastic 31st year.

  • http://www.mynaturallyfrugalfamily.blogspot.com/ Rachel@MyNaturallyFrugalFamily

    Oh I am quite jealous of those eats and the many veg friendly restaurants that Portland has (just not available here in North Carolina).
    Happy Birthday and I hope you have a fantastic 31st year.

  • http://www.mynaturallyfrugalfamily.blogspot.com/ Rachel@MyNaturallyFrugalFamily

    Oh I am quite jealous of those eats and the many veg friendly restaurants that Portland has (just not available here in North Carolina).
    Happy Birthday and I hope you have a fantastic 31st year.

  • Bianca-Vegan Crunk

    Happy birthday! Looks like a perfect weekend. I’m inspired by the way you eat….lots of raw, but still plenty of cooked delicious treats. Seems like the perfect balance. Also, that Sweetpea breakfast buffet plate looks AWESOME!

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  • http://vegmomof4.blogspot.com/ April

    Happy Belated Birthday, Sayward! From your photos, it looks like your 31st was pretty spectacular! Wishing you many healthy years ahead :)
    Thank you for all the upbeat posts. In these dark (and blue) days of winter, your optimism is just what I need.

  • http://www.gawkylu.com/ erica

    you just barely squeaked in as a monkey!!! HOORAY!!!

  • meg

    I just meant you look so great in that picture!

  • Olivia Jean

    Happy Birthday! Been a while since I commented….but still here :) point me to your recipe for the chili would ya?