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Early Birthday!

January 8, 2010

Good evening, friends! I hope your day has gone well!

We’re leaving in the morning for Pennsylvania, so my sister and her husband came over tonight and my parents cooked up a big (vegan!) goodbye dinner!

My birthday is January 20th, so it was also an early birthday dinner for yours truly.

Ryan and I were busy, busy, busy packing up our car this afternoon, so my parents were on their own cooking our meal.  They ended up cooking lemon herb risotto with wild mushrooms, as well as roasted winter vegetables and a salad.

Lemon Herb Risotto with Wild Mushrooms

3 tbsp. olive oil

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 onion, chopped

1 12 oz. package shitake mushrooms

3 cups of Arborio rice

10-12 cups of vegetable broth or water, warmed in a saucepan

1/2 cup white wine


Heat olive oil in heavy-bottom pan.  Add garlic and onion and cook for 3-5 minutes, until translucent.  Add mushrooms and cook for another minute. 

Add rice and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Pour in wine and stir until wine has been absorbed by the rice.  Stir in the broth a cup at a time, stirring slowly until the liquid is absorbed.  Once it has been absorbed, add another cup.  Continue to add broth a cup at a time until the rice is soft and the starches have been fully released and the risotto is creamy, about thirty minutes.

*optional: right before serving, stir a 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese into the risotto for even more creaminess.

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Roasted Winter Vegetables:

1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped

1 parsnip, chopped

1 turnip, chopped

1 rutabaga, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

1 sweet potato, chopped

1/2 head purple cabbage, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbsp. herbes de provence

1/4 cup white wine

salt and pepper


Toss all ingredients together and cook at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

I came in while my parents were prepping dinner, and found my dad playing with the food:

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What a goofball!

Soon, they looked like this:

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Here’s the purple cabbage that we found at the grocery store this afternoon.  Isn’t it beautiful?

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Mmmm…these roasted veggies were so good! Here they are coming out of the oven:

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With dinner, of course, we enjoyed some wine:

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My plate:

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My mom picked up these beautiful roses today:

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Delicious!  A great birthday meal! 

Of course, no birthday meal is complete without birthday cake…errr, birthday vegan streudel.  Yum!  My mom had this vegan streudel specially made by Katie and John at Earthereal. 

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Topped with non-dairy frozen dessert, of course!  This was Purely Decadent coconut milk “ice cream.”  To be honest, it didn’t blow me away.  It was fine as a topping for the streudel, but I don’t think I’d want to sit down to an entire bowl of it.  Oh well!

After we finished eating, we finally got to my favorite part of a birthday: presents!  Of course, Ryan will give me his present on my actual birthday…and I’m told the dogs have been doing a little shopping too.

My sister gave me this beautiful tray:

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My parents gave me some beautiful earrings as well!  Great birthday gifts, without a doubt!

Sigh.  I can’t believe we have to leave and go back to Pennsylvania tomorrow.  It’s been such a nice, long break.

I actually just had a little mini-emotion fest and shed a few tears.  It’s always sad when we have to leave Louisiana and go back up to Pennsylvania.  Altoona is a fine town, but almost my entire family lives in Shreveport.  I hate leaving my parents and sister…especially now that Sophie is on the way!  It’s just hard being so far away. 

Oh well.  As sad as I am to leave, it will be good to be back at our own house and back into our weekly routine.  I’m excited for the start of a new semester! 

Tomorrow, we’re setting the alarm for 4 am…now THAT is an early wakeup call!  We’re going to try to do the entire trip in one day (20 hours), but if the weather gets bad, we might have to break it up.  Hope we can find a dog-friendly motel!

I’ll take pictures of my eats tomorrow, but I won’t be able to post, so I’ll do a big road-trip recap on Saturday. 

Goodnight, dear readers!

24 Comments leave one →
  1. Kristie permalink
    January 8, 2010 4:17 am

    I hope you have safe travels back to PA. 20 hours is such a long drive; our WI to NJ drive was a little over 18 and it was nuts! Glad you had a good time with your family though – dinner looks delicious. The Purely Decadent Cookie Dough flavor ice “cream” is definitely the way to go – the vanilla and chocolate flavors aren’t really all that great on their own in my opinion 🙂

  2. January 8, 2010 4:25 am

    Happy Birthday!

    Your din looks really good.

    All the La Quinta’s are pet friendly… there are also some wingate hotels that are pet friendly. Have a safe drive back 🙂

  3. January 8, 2010 5:01 am

    4 AM!! ahh safe travels girl!!
    love your bday cake!

  4. January 8, 2010 5:07 am

    That looks like an AMAZING bday dinner. I will definitely be snagging that vegan risotto recipe. You’re my hero for choosing to do the vegan experiment the month of your bday. Hope you have a great birthday!

  5. January 8, 2010 6:10 am

    Your dinner and dessert looks absolutely amazing. I’m especially loving the look of those roasted veggies..

    Oi, have fun on that super long drive! And waking up at 4:00am. 😮

  6. January 8, 2010 7:48 am

    Those veggies look so colorful! I love it!
    Happy Early Birthday!

  7. January 8, 2010 10:22 am

    Have a safe trip! 20 hours in one day….oh boy. I’m the same way about leaving my parent’s house. I always hate to leave 😦

    Your food looks wonderful by the way. I love roasted veggies.

  8. January 8, 2010 12:10 pm

    Happy early birthday! What a fun celebration!

    I find it hard to leave family and go home. I just have so much fun with them.

    I was not too impressed with Purely Decadent (didn’t hate it, but didn’t love it, like you) but really dig Soy Dream vanilla. Luckily, it takes awhile to thaw out, so I have not devoured the whole thing yet!

  9. January 8, 2010 1:15 pm

    Happy Early Birthday!

    I am totally making those roasted veggies…purple cauliflower and all!

  10. January 8, 2010 1:41 pm

    Happy early birthday, missy!
    As usual, that risotto and everything else here looks absolutely delicious!

  11. January 8, 2010 2:21 pm

    What an amazing looking meal! I’ve always been too scared to try to make rutabaga and parsnips on my own…I just need to try it one day!

  12. January 8, 2010 2:29 pm

    Just stumbled upon your blog. Happy Birthday! Looking forward to reading more 🙂

  13. January 8, 2010 2:29 pm

    It sounds and looks like you had a wonderful evening with your family. The meal, especially all of those veggies, the flowers and dessert all look beautiful. Happy Early Birthday!

  14. January 8, 2010 2:41 pm

    It looks like you had a wonderful Birthday celebration with your family. Your parents made a really delicious looking dinner. I”d love a dinner like that! Have a safe drive back to Pennsylvania. Sorry that you have to leave your family 😦

  15. January 8, 2010 4:09 pm

    Be safe traveling!

    That dinner looked amazing too! WOW!

  16. January 8, 2010 4:31 pm

    Happy Early birthday!! Mine is the 30th, and Nick’s is on Tuesday (the 12th). We are celebrating his early (well, on Monday). This meal looks fantastic, wow. I’ve never tried a purple cauliflower before, I bet I could freak Nick out with that. We are probably doing giant burgers for his know…the man thing.

    The vegan streudel looks great, and especially with a nice scoop of ice cream!

  17. January 8, 2010 5:23 pm

    What a fabulous looking birthday meal! YUM!

  18. January 8, 2010 5:53 pm

    Was that the vanilla bean purely decadent? That’s one I haven’t tried. But, I do highly recommend either the cherry amaretto coconut milk or mocha almond fudge coconut milk one, or the snickerdoodle soy milk flavor. Any of those I have to try and not eat the whole pint 🙂

  19. Allysa permalink
    January 8, 2010 7:02 pm

    Oh, lordie, your risotto and roasted vegetables look yummy beyond belief! Wish I could get my hands on some vegan streudel, too. I gotta tell you, though, I’m in love with Purely Decadent coconut milk ice cream. Try the mint chip or the chocolate. They’re incredible. Happy early birthday and happy safe travels!

  20. Ginger Lowe permalink
    January 8, 2010 11:17 pm

    We’re having left-over risotto-stuffed red peppers tonight, but it will be so sad to not have all of you here to share it. Thanks for the education in vegetarian and vegan cooking these last few weeks – I feel like I’ve taken a cooking course, and I’m definitely going to keep trying your recipes, because they were all so delicious. What smart girls I raised!! We sure miss you and Ryan (and Ella and Baxter). Have a safe trip!!

  21. greensandjeans permalink
    January 8, 2010 11:50 pm

    My birthday is the 19th! Small world! Have a safe trip back to pa!

  22. January 9, 2010 1:58 am

    Happy birthday! That risotto seriously looks amazing- thank you for posting!

  23. January 9, 2010 4:16 am

    Safe travels!
    The lemon herb risotto looks great, and I love that funky purple cauliflower! happy happy birthday!

  24. January 9, 2010 5:57 am

    So many beautiful colors in this post!! Those veggies!! THE FLOWERS!!

    You are beautiful, Lady!! Happy almost birthday. I’m sure I’ll say it several times before then 🙂

    I love mushroom risotto!!

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