Monday, June 02, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

My birthday was last Friday, and it was an action-packed weekend of celebrations!

It all began Thursday night . . .

Typically, my friend Ann and I go for a walk on Thursday nights, but last week, I had had a very long, very physically intense day of work, and I was feeling just about completely exhausted. I suggested we go out for dinner instead, and Ann was very supportive of that idea! We ended up pigging out at Sushi Tango, which was a blast. We had vegetable tempura, two sushi rolls apiece, (I am in love with their avocado-asparagus roll!), and then we shared (well, I ate most of it, really,) a tempura green tea ice cream for dessert! AND, Ann treated, since it was very nearly my birthday. :) After dinner, we did a little shopping at the kitchen store, where I picked up a few gadgets, thanks to birthday money from my grandparents! Wooo-woo!

Friday began slowly . . . because I treated myself to the day off from work! (Gotta love that vacation time!) I visited my chiropractor at 9:45, then went downtown to renew my driver's license. I was bracing myself for the worst, but I was in and out, with big yellow sheet and clipped license in hand, in less than fifteen minutes! After my errands, I treated myself to a Wonder Woman tote bag purchase from Target, and lunch at Chipotle. I order two tacos, and that's just enough for me! In the afternoon, I lounged around my apartment, reading magazines and working on a little laundry.

After Dan finished work Friday night, we drove south to visit his parents for the first part of the weekend. Dan's mom and dad had made a lovely birthday dinner for me, (eggplant parmesan, coleslaw, haricots verts, and kalamata olive bread,) and there was birthday cake, too!! (I'm still working on the leftovers Sandy sent home with me -- thank you!!!)

Saturday morning, Dan and I took our time getting out the door for my birthday celebration. We took a 22-mile (round-trip) bike ride along the Douglas trail, which runs from Rochester to a small town called Pine Island. The scenery was beautiful, Dan's mom sent us with delicious roasted mushroom and goat cheese sandwiches, and we stopped in Pine Island for INCREDIBLE ice cream; Dan had pina colada, and I had buttermilk-cinnamon. Although our tushies were pretty sore by the end of our ride, we felt refreshed, almost. We made one last stop in Mantorville on our drive back to Dan's parents house -- Dan had never taken me to the old-fashioned candy store, until this past weekend! They had many types of candies and chocolates in bulk, and I settled on a quarter-pound of some extremely tasty black licorice. Hooray!

After the drive back to Dan's parents' house, a nap, and a shower apiece, we joined the folks for a quick supper before heading back to the city. Upon our arrival, we discovered we were hungry AGAIN . . . must have been all that exercise. We grabbed a quick mini-meal at Salsa a la Salsa, just a short walk from my apartment. Dan and I shared a cheese quesadilla, and I also ordered a side of their grilled vegetables, which are incredible! (Dan ordered a couple of tamales.) They also make great, fresh salsas -- hooray!

Sunday morning, I met up with my friend Courtney, and we visited the Minneapolis Farmer's Market for the second week in a row! I'm quickly falling in love with the Farmer's Market. Why? Because I spent $28 this week, and scored all of this deliciousness:
TWO POUNDS of local asparagus, already trimmed, for a meager $8.50, (there's a lot more than what I photographed,) plus huge stalks of rhubarb, mixed salad greens, green onions, a loaf of wild rice sandwich bread, and a pint of Wisconsin maple syrup!
A close-up of the asparagus:
After wrapping up at the FM, Courtney and I hopped the bus Uptown to Namaste Cafe, where Courtney treated me to a delightful birthday lunch. I ordered a sweet lassi and their "Namaste Special Curry" with tofu and vegetables. Namaste serves Nepalese food, and caters to herbivores and omnivores alike -- they even list specific items as "vegan/can be prepared vegan" on their menu. Although I eat a little dairy and eggs every now and then, Courtney's vegan, so it was wonderful to eat somewhere where we both would be satisfied!!

After our lunch, I ran a few more errands and did a whole bunch of cooking "back at the ranch." Dinner Sunday night:
Roasted asparagus, crenshaw melon, homemade barbecued seitan sandwiches, and poppyseed broccoli-slaw. Delish!

I had never made seitan before -- although it was a bit time-consuming, it was really easy!

Even though I was back to work today, I still cooked tonight. I realize this doesn't look like much, but I promise you, it's mighty tasty!
Red Lentil Stew looks boring, but tastes spectacular!! It also freezes well, which is good, since the recipe yields 8 servings. (I served it over quinoa.)

I also received a birthday card from my friend Lauren in the mail today, a small birthday package from my friend Anna, and several birthday emails over the course of the weekend.

What a wonderful birthday weekend I had! Thank you, everybody, who contributed to all of my fun!!


Judy said...

Sounds like you had a great birthday - kitchen gadgets and good food and lounging around reading magazines sounds perfect! And wow, all that food looks so great.

Anonymous said...

Happy Belated Birthday Catherine! Your weekend looks like it was a ton of fun!!

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Wishing you a VERY happy, belated birthday - looks like you had a wonderful celebration!

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

Happy Belated! I'm glad you are enjoying your local farmer's market, too!

Anonymous said...


I am happy to hear that you had a nice birthday weekend--you deserved it!

Your cooking always looks so delicious, and that looks perfect! Yum!


Anonymous said...


It sounds like you had a lovely couple of days of celebrating.

I do love homemade seitan. What recipe did you use? The Simple Seitan recipe in VCON is very reliable.

J said...

Happy late birthday! Sounds like you had a lot of fun. Sushi, kitchen stuff, good food, relaxation, time off of work, what more could you ask for?!

Rural Vegan said...

Happy belated birthday!

Anonymous said...

Happy belated birthday. I'm just catching up on a whole bunch of your posts I missed. I can't believe with no A/C how much baking/cooking you do. You deserve that wonder woman tote for being able to stick it out. Whew!