What We Ate Wednesday: For His Birthday

March 19th, 2013 - filed under: The Food » Food Styles

On March 3rd, my baby boy turned three. THREE. And you know, I’ve always been the kind of person who’s quite happy to be just exactly where I am, in my life. I don’t sit around wishing for “the good old days”, and I’m not impatient for what’s to come. I wasn’t one of those pregnant ladies who “couldn’t wait to be done” and I’m not the sort of mother who’s constantly begging time to slow down. But this? This being-three-years-old business? This is throwing me for a loop, because three seems really old and my baby seems so grown up and suddenly I’m feeling like calling “WHOA” and pulling the reins on time. *sigh*

Waits has many families and extended families and thus, there were many iterations of birthday celebrating (lucky boy). The three of us (Waits, Damian, and I) spent the day together on his actual birthday weekend (a few shots here and here and here). And on Friday, March 8th, we finally wrapped up the last of the birthday shenanigans. Here’s how that day went down:

Waits woke reeeeeally early asking for food, so I grabbed him a tangerine and he ate it in bed while I stole a few more minutes of sleep. We actually snuggled for quite a bit longer (thank goodness!) before getting up for breakfast.

Waits had peanut butter on Ezekiel bread and a side of watermelon cubes. It’s rare that I feel hungry first thing in the morning.

But I did have my tea! English breakfast with liquid vanilla stevia and plain unsweetened almond milk. Waits also had a glass of oat milk (his favorite for it’s flavor, my favorite for its higher protein content – 4 grams per cup as opposed to almond milk’s 1 gram per cup) (I drink the almond milk because it’s significantly cheaper, and save the oat milk for Waits)

This was a preschool day, so I had Waits’s lunch all prepped from the night before. On this day he took: a split tin with lentils + olive oil + nutritional yeast (left) and rice + tamari (right), carrot sticks + black olives, strawberries, rice crackers, and peanuts + raisins. Then we were off!

Down the hill full speed ahead!

Oreo the kitty was there to welcome us

“Bye-bye Mama!”

Back at home I had a big project to attend to, but by then I was starting to feel peckish, so I poured myself some peanuts + raisins to nibble on while I worked.

As an aside, I’ve been buying my raisins at the FarMar and OH MAN are they amazing. It’s like a totally different experience, compared to a grocery store raisin. Seriously amazing. And about that project . . .

Birthday cake!

More about the cake later . . .

I spent the rest of my morning working and writing, and grabbed an early afternoon snack on my way out the door to pick up Waits around 12:30.

Gluten-free bread (the pieces are so small!) with sunflower seed butter and strawberry preserves.

When we got home, I threw together my lunch while Waits finished up his lunch leftovers. He usually naps then, but we had big afternoon plans, so no nap that day. My lunch was awesome.

Big mixing bowl full of mesclun, covered with lentils (over a cup) and tahini dressing. Simple. GOOD.

Green tea to go:

We picked up Damian early from work, and the three of us were off to the theatre. Waits got to see his first live show – Yo Gabba Gabba on tour. It was a really special treat for him, and I think it kind of blew his mind.

After the show we dropped Damian off, and Waits and I had to run a few errands before dinner.

Waits had a cashew Larabar. // We each had “coffee” (coffee for me, almond milk for him).

Our last night of birthday celebration was with my godparents, plus some old family friends that were in town. This lucky kid . . .

Truck books! Truck games! Tools!

Amazing salad with romaine, black beans, mango, jicama, and avocado with homemade olive oil and vinegar dressing. Vegan quesadillas on gluten-free tortillas (Engine 2 brand – they’re really good for g-f tortillas!) with black olives and salsa verde.

He also ate a big bowl of organic corn.

After dinner it was cake time! And this cake? Soooooorta my favorite creation ever . . .

Yes, that’s exactly what it looks like. It’s a watermelon!

And that happy little fruitarian was in absolute heaven. And this health-conscious sugar-conscious mama was totally stoked. And everyone enjoyed the “cake”, actually. It got rave reviews!

After dinner and dessert and driving home and pajamas and teeth brushing and book reading and song singing and lots of snuggles, my sweet baby boy said goodnight to his third birthday, once and for all. *sigh*

Lemme say that again: *sigh*

I was up working until after midnight, and then it was lights out for me as well. It was a long day. And it was a damn dood one.


Just in case you were wondering how that “cake” came together, I want to show you what went down. Seriously – 2 ingredients guys (3 if you want your frosting sweet). TWO INGREDIENTS!

I shaved the outer layer of skin using a paring knife. This is not necessary, I suppose, but I liked the visual when it was cut – red with white frosting, no green. I think the frosting also sticks better this way. And finally, it’s a LOT easier to cut like a real cake, with that hard outer rind removed. So yeah, this step takes time and patience but I’d say it’s worth it.

I don’t have pictures for the frosting, but it’s made from coconut cream. You’ll need cans of the full-fat coconut milk (though now you can buy cans of coconut cream some places, like Trader Joe’s). Either way, refrigerate the cans overnight (2-3 cans of full-fat coconut milk or 1-2 cans of coconut cream, depending on the watermelon size). When the cans are thoroughly chilled, the cream will have hardened at the top. It’s very thick – you’ll need to scoop it out with a spoon. Use an electric mixer to whip it just like you would with regular frosting. It will whip up nice and fluffy. If it get’s too warm it softens, so you might need to re-chill it before frosting the “cake”. If you want it a bit sweet, add some stevia (or powdered sugar, just like normal frosting).

Then have at it!

And enjoy!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lou-Dwan/100003213517738 Lou Dwan

    Oh wow! Amazing – 3 years old, what a milestone! It’s crazy how quick time starts racing once kiddos come into the picture, huh? My little man is 3 in a few months -argh! I LOVE this “cake” idea – two of my favourite things right there – simple & delicious. Wow, Yo Gabba Gabba on tour!?! Lucky Waits!

  • andrea

    Ha ha :) you are so creative, that cake was a fantastic idea :))) btw I seriously cant believe that you are saying that oat milk is more expensive than almond milk? here in Europe almond milk and almonds in general are really significantly more expensive and oat milk/cream is even cheaper than rise/soy milk…practically one of the cheapest milks. So, I’m drinking it coz it cheaper and almond milk just for special situations when I need more refined tastes …in coffee or some creams for sweets or sth like this.

  • Sonja

    the cake looks amazing! Such a great and simple idea! I totally second what Andrea says: Here in Germany, oat milk is much more cheaper than almond milk so I always drink oat milk (and because I love the flavour so much).

  • http://twitter.com/lovalatte1 Emily

    I am so impressed by the foods your son eats!!!! I absolutely want to feed my children healthy wonderful vegan foods when I have them someday! :)

  • Coco

    Happy birthday Waits! Looks like he had an amazing celebration!

  • Kathryn B.

    Happy Birthday Mr. Waits!!! And *sigh* a girl after my own heart using mason jars!

  • http://twitter.com/AbbyHasIssues Abby Heugel

    Awww..Happy Birthday to your little guy! And for the record, his food looks so similar to mine that I now want you to come and adopt me or hire me as your PA. I’m game either way ;) He’s a gem!

  • practicalgrnmom

    We saw Yo Gabba Gabba Live when they were here last week. My little guy LOVED it! :) Happy Birthday Waits!

    I’m going to have to look into oat milk for my son. He’s still drinking organic dairy milk because I’m not crazy about giving him soy milk. I’m an almond milk drinker myself, but I’d prefer an option with higher protein for him. Thanks for the suggestion. I learn something new every time I read your blog! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=692392402 Joselle Palacios

    Woah! What a surprise seeing that watermelon cake. I LOVE it. And it’s so beautiful. I’ve made coconut frosting the way you’ve described for less virtuous items (like cake!) and it’s amazing and so so easy. I’ve never warmed to store-bought vegan whipped cream so coconut cream frosting forever as far as I am concerned.

    And Waits is sooooo beautiful. He looks like his mama.

  • christina

    Happy birthday Waits!
    On a side note my little lady will be 9 this year and my little guy will be 6 in a couple of months….yeah, I’m right there with you with a ‘sigh’ :-O

  • http://twitter.com/rebelgrrlkitchn rebelgrrlkitchen

    Happy bday to your little guy! That cake is brilliant. I will definitely be making it!

  • Jenny

    Everytime I click on “I also work for tips!” I get to a page saying “Not found! Sorry, no posts matched your criteria.”

  • skeptk_vegan

    Happy Birthday Waits! What an absolutely epic cake!!! With my birthday next month, this just might have to happen! :)

    Also – have you ever looked into who owns Larabar? It’s General Mills, who spends an atrocious amount of money to make sure GMO foods are NOT labeled. :( Not sure if you are careful of those things, so just an FYI.

  • Danika

    Happy birthday to Waits! My little baby is going to be three in a couple weeks, and it will be the first time I have had a three-year-old without having an infant to take care of as well. It definitely seems like when they turn three, they are no longer a little babe. Great looking cake. Can’t wait to try that frosting!

  • Katrina Fleming

    I admire your little family so much, Sayward, and the way you are making a life for your little Waits that includes two happy parents!

  • Scaredofeverything

    He is just so stunningly beautiful and the cake is super clever!

  • http://twitter.com/appifanie Sarah M.

    Happy Birthday Waits! It looks like he had a great day – that cute little pic of him gaping at the stage! So cute. Also, I will try those Engine 2 tortillas if I find them! The rice gf tillas aren’t too great.

    The 3rd is my hub’s b-day and the 30 is mine :) I can’t WAIT for watermelon season – I may try this, just for fun!

  • Novah

    I’ve never seen you mention a brand, so I have to ask: What type of stevia do you use? The only vanilla flavoured one I’ve seen in Canada has milk in it (huh?!) and I don’t just want to order any old brand online…I’d like a “less grassy” one, ya know?

  • Kelly H.

    It has been amazing and a real treat to see your Little Man grow up. He’s such a doll! And his hair is so blonde now!

    I love making coconut whipped cream. Damn, it’s soooo good! Neat idea for a cake. :o)

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  • http://windycityvegan.wordpress.com/ Monika {windycityvegan}

    I love the watermelon ‘cake’ idea! And as always, it’s so fun to see what other vegan kiddos are brown bagging these days. Nina has the same split tin, and often takes a variety of jars to school. I often send a single-serving sized glass apple juice jar filled with green smoothie, since she isn’t really a breakfast person (and I make a giant green family-sized smoothie first thing every morning for the whole fam).

    Your simple salad of greens, lentils and tahini sauce? Pretty sums up my lunch most days (and my favorite midnight snack).

    How exciting for Waits to see his first live show! Nina recently saw a local theater’s production of The Music Man, and has been talking about it non-stop.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Isn’t it funny how that stuff varies around the world? Almond milk is everywhere here, and so cheap. Oat milk is considered “specialty” and they raise the price. So silly.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Well he’s definitely picky in his own ways – they all are. But yes, I am lucky!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Mason jars for LIFE!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    You’re hired! Will you work for green juice? ;-)

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Isn’t the show fun? All the kiddies were freaking out, it was so dang cute.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    You could do it for your little one’s first birthday! Grandparents love to see the “cake wreck”/”baby’s first cake” thing, but this way keeps the mama happy. No sugar bombs for baby! =D

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    oh, BIG *sigh*

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks, and thanks for the link in your Friday post!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Dang it, thanks for the heads up Jenny! And thanks for thinking of me. =)

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks, I’ve heard mixed things about Larabar. I don’t like doing processed/packaged foods period, but in this big life transition period I’ve had to ease up. I’ll look into it though, thanks lady.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Yeah, three was definitely like a switch. They’re little people, we have full on philosophical conversations! Wild.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks Katrina, that means a lot. We are trying and so far, so good! I feel like it’s nice for people to see a couple separate and still maintain a happy, functional family dynamic. I hope so!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Aww, thanks!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Ooh happy birthday to you guys! And yes, do try the cake!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    I use NuNaturals EXCLUSIVELY. I *hate* all other stevias, they all have that horrible aftertaste to me. NuNaturals is delicious and amazing and I love it!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Aww, thanks lady! Hope life is treating you and yours very well! <3

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    I’m all about giant bowls of greens with leftovers dumped on top. It’s perfect! =D

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks Coco!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    You’re so lucky! I WISH oat milk were the cheap one, haha.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Yeah he’s a pretty lucky lad. Happy upcoming birthday to your little guy!

  • http://www.facebook.com/juliet.glassroth Juliet Glassroth

    Hi Sayward – I really love the split tin idea for lunch to go. I can’t seem to find any though. Where do you get yours?

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  • http://twitter.com/rachelkyle0402 Rachel Jacobs

    That is a very cool “cake.”
    It seems that the birthday boy definitely celebrated in style and his first show…I couldn’t agree more with the choice (love the singing and movement of Yo Gabba Gabba).
    He is very much looking his age in the photo you have captioned “Bye-Bye mama” like a rough and tough boy (I am thinking a very young Marlon Brando like character).
    So glad that you all enjoyed yourselves and that you were a good blogger and took copious photos so that we could share in the joy as well.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    I got it at a Portland co op, but the brand is LunchBots

  • Dadof5

    I’m so thrilled with your watermelon “cake” idea. All the excitement of a celebration, without the sugar & white flour.

    One question: Did you eat it all the way through from watermelon flesh to the icing, like a piece of cake? Because it seems like the remaining rind would be pretty tough.

    Love the site.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Yeah, we kind of had to grab some icing with the fork for each bite. Couldn’t eat right through like in real cake.

  • Ebby’s Mama

    I love your bowls next to your salad! Where did you get them? Also what type of jars did you use for te preschool lunch?

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    The bowls are vintage pyrex, I collect them at thrift stores. =D

    The jars are just plain ol’ canning jars, the smaller jam jars. But you can just save salsa or peanut butter jars – I use whatever’s around.

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