Birthday Cake Extravaganza

April is birthday month! Some things I did this month that I categorize as ‘I’m doing it because it’s my birthday’:

  • Upgraded my crossfit membership so I could go to class 4x a week
  • Said ‘Why not?’ When sis asked if I was coming out to run the Bolder Boulder
  • Took a week off from work, and added another day
  • Finally got a new phone
  • Made myself a birthday cake

Now. That last one. I got this fancy cake mix from the fancy store. Based on the box, here’s what I was thinking my cake would look like:

I didn’t realize the trouble I was in until I attempted to invert these cakes. But, seriously. It’s me. I should have known that This wasn’t going to work out.

The thing is … It was a really great cake mx. Even if the cake didn’t look good, I couldn’t just toss it out. That’s when genius husband suggested using a glas to cookie cutter out a few smaller layers and creating a mini cake.

Great idea! So I started cutting out layers, then got a little cocky. Four layers later I realized I would not be able to frost the sucker. There was already plenty of frosting in between the layers. So, I shrugged my shoulders and called it a day.

I present to you … The chocolate cake outburst:

There is a part three to this story as well. I haven’t uploaded the photos, though. You’ll just have to stay tuned.

Cake Break

Finally downloaded this to the PC, and finally finally uploaded it to Flickr. This is our “go-to” cake from Metropolitan Market, with the added flair of a personalized message.

Oh. And someone at work mentioned that he thought I was like 30 or something.

What the wha?!?

Run 4.14

Time: 7:30AM

Where: 1.5 mile warm up on the Burke-Gilman, then from Bryant up to Green Lake, around Green Lake, back on 65th towards Wedgwood. Final destination, Grateful Bread Bakery.

Workout: 9 miles LSD

Notes & Observations. This was my birthday run, with an appointment to meet some friends at GB at 9am. I was about 7 minutes late (but also left 6 minutes early). It’s hard to run around NE Seattle without, um, running, into a bunch of hills. In fact, mile 9 is basically one big hill. I did end up walking a bit of it, maybe 2 or 3 short blocks. In all I felt good, with blisters finally starting to form in the latter third. A little rash on my arm (I wore both shorts AND a short-sleeve t-shirt). The run around Green Lake was great, haven’t done that in what seems like years, and bumped into a pal along the way. Today my right knee is a little achy but that’s what happens.

Music: Foo Fighters on shuffle.

Birthday Fun

Some of the fun food/activities during birthday celebration time, then see below for some photo highlights:

  • Blue C Sushi. Now, I know it’s not exactly gourmet stuff, but it is a lot of fun and easy to bring the kid. Of all the things she could have pointed out that went by on the conveyor belt, what caught her eye? The Mighty-O Donuts. Wow. Good thing we were heading to the next item on my list right after lunch…
  • Trophy Cupcakes! I’ve been looking forward to this since my office moved from The Bravern to Lincoln Square. No easy access to Trophy, you see. It was also fortunate that my birthday fell on a Thursday … Chocolate Peanut Butter day. Yay!
  • Shopping. I told the husband that for my birthday I wanted to go shopping. By myself. So yesterday I hopped the bus to downtown and spent a quality few hours with my debit and credit cards. Nordstrom Rack was my main destination, but also toured the Gap, Old Navy, Pacific Place, among others. My main goal was to try on a bunch of pants to figure out what size I am. And what I learned it it all depends on where you go. Great. It was really enjoyable to walk in and out of stores, to try on clothes without having an entourage (i.e. family) waiting for you. Bliss!
  • Zoo! After shopping I took the little one to the Zoo. We mainly just hung out at the Family Farm and we finially got around to checking out the “habitat discovery loop”. Carousel, too. The only drawback to the Carousel was that I took her twice. That’s $4. Which meant four fewer dollars for …
  • Red Mill Burgers. We haven’t been to RM for a while (used to go more frequently when we lived in Ballard, and/or before we had the kid). Sorta forgot that they are a checks/cash only establishment. So I had them ring up 2 burgers, and was there anything leftover I’d buy some fries. Nope. Had we just sprung for one carousel trip instead of two … but how can I not splurge for the little girl? Definitely made the right decision.
  • Cake from Metropolitan Market. No picture. Because I ate it too quickly. Since I came home fries-less, the husband went hunting for something more at the store and came home with (among other things) a slice of chocolate mousse cake. Since I opted out of baking a cake this weekend, this slice definitely hit the spot. Even if it did give me a sugar headache immediately afterwards.

If it’s not obvious from the above list, I’m taking a break from the usual SBD (sort of) while birthday week celebrations go on. It’s the year of the rabbit! I’m a rabbit! So take a guess as to how old I turned on Thursday. Does the littlest one understand birthdays? Not sure, though I don’t think so. We aren’t exactly the “happy birthday to you” song kind of family. I do wonder if she understands that she gets a tasty cupcake when someone’s birthday comes along. (though she often calls the banana muffins I’ve been making “cupcakes”, so maybe not).

birthday cupcakes via chattycha on flickr


Chocolate Peanut Butter to the left, Red Velvet on your right. The toddler picked out the “Samoa” for herself, but I’ve had the Samoa and I didn’t want her bouncing off the walls. So I chose the domesticated Red Velvet for her. She didn’t put up much of a fight:

now that's yum! via chattycha on flickr

Here are a few other pics from the birthday festivities:

A Red Mill Burger (just a cheeseburger), which I split with the toddler. That I only had $10 cash on hand (RMB takes cash or checks only) made the decision to forego fries, onion rings and a shake pretty simple:

Cheeseburger from Red Mill via chattycha on flickr

My birthday beer. Courtesy of the husband:

monty python ale via chattycha on flickr

I originally planned to make Chocolate Guiness Cake. Bought the ingredients and everything. Then yesterday had a change of heart and decided I really didn’t want an entire cake hanging around the kitchen while I return to those SBD times. I told my husband my decision and then said something like, “So you can have that Guiness that’s in the fridge.” He just looked at me as if to say, “Duh”. Ha ha. But, he did find this fun beer for me. Better enjoy it before the weekend festivities are over.

BTW, check out in the background of the beer pic, to the far right, a glimpse of the cute Chuck Taylors I got for L at the Rack. They’re velcro and they are awesome! She’ll have to grow into them but I’m super excited. Why is it I’m buying the toddler stuff on my birthday? Because it makes me feel gooood!

Pineapple Cake Cookie Thingy

It’s Birthday Week. Woot! I asked the husband to tell my in-laws to refrain from making me my traditional pie this year. While a slice would be great, we both agree that an entire pie is a bit overkill, especially considering our efforts to reduce sugar intake (which is hard to believe, considering this current post and the one I just wrote as well).

It didn’t occur to me to mention this to anyone else. So imagine my surprise when a birthday package came in the mail from my parents, carrying one of my favorites:

Pineapple Cake Cookies via chattycha on flickr

These Pineapple Cake Cookies (I don’t really know what they are called), a Taiwanese treat, are lovely. A buttery shortbread surrounds a sweet, chewy, dense pineapple center. When I was younger my parents would buy these in small plastic containers with 10 or 12 of them per package. I could eat half that package in one sitting. I still can, I’m sure. The ones that arrived in my birthday care package were quite a bit more fancy. They are from a bakery in my parents’ San Gabriel neighborhood, and 2 cake-like cookies are freshly sealed in a smaller package. Perfect to share with the toddler, who shares my sweet tooth, and my love for pineapple cake-cookies. Especially perfect that the husband isn’t a fan of them (more for us). A little research on the Web brought up a homemade recipe. I’m not about to try to make them from scratch. The ones from the store are pretty good.

pineapple cake cookie wrapper via chattycha on flickr

The ones from my Mom’s neighborhood bakery are pretty much divine.

I’ve had to stash the cookies in hiding place to avoid eating several in one sitting. These will hopefully last through the end of the month. At least (let’s hope) through the end of Birthday Week.

Lily’s Birthday Cupcakes

She turned 2 so quickly. My is time flying. I took the day off work and we had a wonderful day together as a family. Breakfast at Sunflour Cafe. A trip to the zoo, where the weather was kind and the animals were out.

happy birthday gorilla via chattycha on flickr

A nice long nap, followed by dinner and of course the obligatory cupcakes. I am including a pic of the cupcake without frosting, as the end result was kind of unimpressive.

mini cupcakes for mini me via chattycha on flickr

Remind me not to use that icing again.

You say it’s your birthday!

While L’s actual birthday was last week, I will never forget that my water broke the night of the AFC/NFC Championship games, which happened to be tonight. Haven’t decided who I’ll be rooting for in the Super Bowl, but I will try to remind the husband that I called these two teams as meeting in the Super Bowl back around week 5 or so. Seriously. No, really. I did. Maybe it wasn’t too difficult a call to make considering both teams were so frikkin hot, but I did and that’s what’s important. But, I digress.

Due to scheduling, we did a little celebratin’ yesterday, when Grandma was in town. Sheva, a gal I know from work who does photography on the side, came over and took pics of the family. I made cupcakes for the little girl. I made it easy on myself by purchasing Dr. Oetker brand organic cake and icing mix (chocolate/chocolate, as requested by the husband), then just whipped up a little bit of icing to decorate. Used some handy decorating tools that the MIL gave me for Christmas. Thus the fancy-schmancy leaf tips and star tips and somewhat neat handwriting using the round tip. Thanks, Grandma, for playing with the little monkey while I baked and frosted.

happy birthday

Happy Birthday, little monkey!

A belated birthday post

Found some pics from a little bit ago that I never posted. The husband’s birthday was a few weeks ago. I’ve mentioned several times the birthday pie tradition. So, it’s no surprise that we had banana cream pie in the fridge for a couple of days. Embarrassingly enough it was gone in record time, but not because of me. I had to quickly sneak a slice or two before the husband finished it off (and rightly so … it was his birthday, after all).

As the husband takes care of the babe during the work week, he’s gently requested that he have dinners off on the weekends. Fair enough. He already had plans for lamb chops on his birthday, though, so I was assigned to fix up some sides. A little random, but I cooked some wild rice, made a caprese salad and then cleaned out the fridge by making orange-glazed baby carrots. Not super-exciting, but a reasonably healthy meal, which was necessary considering the aforementioned BCP.

Lamb chop with wild rice and orange-glazed carrots

Lamb chop with wild rice and orange-glazed carrots

Caprese salad

Caprese Salad. You just can't beat fresh, handmade mozzarella. The basil is from the U District Farmer's Market.

Sorry, no pic of the pie available. You can always review last year’s.

moo-shoe pork

Here is the card Max gave me for the birthday (inside it reads ‘have a porkfect birthday’ or something like that:

moo-shoe pork via chattycha on flickr

No doubt this is what inspired my decision for what we should eat on the birthday, mu shu pork and chinese broccoli.

Yes, it’s true. We spent the special evening eating take-out Chinese food and watching “NCIS” reruns. I just love that show.


Birthday Dinner, part 2

And it’s not even my birthday yet! (here is part one)

So here is the deal with the pie. Every year on the husband’s birthday, the husband’s mother bakes him a banana cream pie. Nothing fancy. Literally it is the same pie recipe she’s been making for him for the past 30+ years. It very well might have come from an issue of Redbook or the back of a Jello Pudding package. And the husband wouldn’t have it any other way. Within the last couple of years my birthday also made it to the “birthday pie” list. Now I get a pie on my birthday! Or the day before, which is fine by me. This is coconut cream pie (recipe from Martha, according to the MIL). A coconut filling layered beneath fresh whipped cream. Toasted coconut and shaved chocolate to top it off. Plus, a homemade crust that looks like a REAL crust (unlike some crusts I’ve known). Plus plus, I also received the pie plate that the pie arrived in as a gift. Beautiful stoneware from Crate & Barrel.

And, because we couldn’t just have pie for early dinner/late lunch/whatever it is you have when you eat at 2:30 in the afternoon, the husband made one of his (and my) favorite dishes that he pulls out for guests: gnocchi al romano. Rich cheeses, eggs and milk, magically/scientifically combined with semolina flour then baked/broiled to perfection. The 16 words I just used to describe the dish doesn’t do the actual cooking process any justice. Just keep in mind that on more than one occasion, when cooking this dish, has the husband hurled out expletives and thrown a few pans around the kitchen. It’s intense. But the results are sooo good. In the background of the photo below you can see the ragu bolognese sharing the plate, another specialty he’s prepared on occasion (the pics of the bolognese didn’t come out, but picture this).