Saturday, January 8, 2011

Birthday Ups and Downs

Yesterday was my birthday, and so I created a photo log of all the food, except my breakfast cereal, that I ate - just for you! I call it ups and downs because of a few things: some of the food was great, some was ethically horrid to the point of sending me to the brink of anger, some of my photography was totally out of whack, and my presents were great: I got a Christian book on tape, a new apron, and doughnut pans. Read on, if you dare!

This is my birthday cake that my ten-year-old, GR, made all by herself. She was disappointed that it turned out to be enough batter for only one layer, the frosting was thin, and she forgot to mix in the chocolate chips. But, I assured her that nothing tastes better to a Blessed Mama than something that was made from love by one of her Blessings. And, this tasted good! It was a marble batter with vanilla frosting.

Here's my slice of that delicious cake. The photo doesn't do it justice.

We went to the same Ethiopian restaurant for lunch, Queen Sheba, that we went to last year. They have a lunch buffet that we like to hit, and it's darn good!

We went to an all-vegan diner, Sugar Plum Cafe, and got some sweets from their bakery. I ordered from the day-old section (half price, you know), and I got a carrot muffin with frosting. I really only got it for the frosting because it was the only day-old choice with some. Four-year-old JK ate his red velvet cupcake frosting in the car on the way home. What I like is they use beet juice instead of dye to color their frostings. This stays in line with our Feingold plan, so it was perfect for us. Well, anyways, typical for JK, he ate the frosting, took a bite or two of the cake part and handed it to me, saying he was full. Then that's when a plan started formulating in my head. I put my unsuspecting frosted carrot muffin on the table...

...set down JK's partially munched on cupcake...

...and SCRAPED off the frosting, smearing it all over JK's topless cake. And voila, I had just what I wanted: chocolate with frosting. I gave the soy-free, gluten-free carrot muffin to my eatin' machine hubby, G.

We headed later over to my parents who were taking us out to dinner. My amazing mom is always trying out recipes for us. She brought out chips and salsa and made homemade hummus for the first time. She found a recipe that had peanut butter in it. It was so good! I am very proud of her. You can see JK is enjoying some, too.

We headed over to the Noodle House, a restaurant near their home in Carmichael that I've really liked in the past. I always order the same soup, so I was really looking forward to it. We started off with our usual spring rolls and peanut sauce.

My soup is Number 91, which is described as a hot and sour soup with noodles, tofu and vegetables. The noodles are served on the side, and I add them in as I wish. Not hard, right? Never had a problem before. Well, first off my mom's dish arrived about fifteen minutes before anyone else's - I don't like that when that happens. They also brought out tofu on a small plate that I was supposed to add to my soup - weird. Well, it turned out they thought my mom's dish was mine, and that I wanted tofu on the side. I explained I had the soup with tofu in it, and they finally understood, I thought. Moving on... Then my dad's dish arrived about another ten minutes before "my soup" arrived. Something looked different. First off, the noodles were already in the soup, but I thought maybe they just changed their procedure. No big deal. The broth looked different though, and G noticed an oily residue on top. As I started swirling my spoon around, I couldn't see any tofu, but I did pull up a suspicious looking chunk of something. G hoped it was a very large piece of ginger, so my mom tasted it, and confirmed it was indeed chicken. Chicken?! I called the waitress over and said there's chicken in my soup, hello??? She went over with me again what type of soup I ordered, and I explained. Up until this point, with just my parents served, and with me getting the wrong dish, I was still chalking things up to "things happen" and not getting too stressed. So, about ten minutes later, my dad now done, my mom eating slowly, my soup came back out. I gave the before-mentioned tofu to the kids, who were so hungry. (The picture above is from this soup.) Still no food for G or the Blessings. I didn't want to eat in front of my children, especially JK, who kept asking about his food. I asked about their food, and was told they were "working on it." About another ten minutes later, my mom was about done by now, their food arrived. The girls ordered a sweet and sour, and JK just had simple steamed veggies with tofu and rice. His came with an obvious sweet and sour sauce, and I didn't notice until later that the girls came with a brown sauce. Hmm. So, I thought, let's see if JK will eat his even though there's this sauce on it, and he seemed to do fine, so I let it go. I started on my soup. It definitely tasted different, and there weren't many veggies, and only three pieces of tofu. Not to worry, they're having a bad night, we're still coming back. About half way down, I pull another piece of chicken out! What???? I call the waitress over, now I was irritated - very - and asked what was going on. Well, I actually told her I knew what happened before she had a chance to answer. They brought the soup back into the kitchen, fished out all the chicken they could find, and added three pieces of tofu back in. Not only is that unsanitary, it's illegal! I expressed my frustration and disbelief, and said I wanted a new soup, unmarred, and packaged to go. My dad was not to pay for the new soup or old. I couldn't believe it. I was ready to come back again and forgive all the errors up until I discovered their gross slip of the hand. What if it was seafood, and I had an allergy? I explained that I was vegan for ethical reasons and how much this offended me. Then we all looked at the girls' brown sauces, and I gave all the food to my parents.

This is my mom at the restaurant with SR and GR acting silly. Their expressions capture my feelings of thinking of going back to that restaurant ever again.

We went back to my parents' home for my mom's Blind Date Bars. The picture, again, doesn't do it justice. It's a chocolate cake foundation with chocolate chips and walnuts. So, it ended on a happy note. Yay!


  1. First of all, that is so sweet that your kid made you that lovely cake :)

    I HATE when they mess up orders like that. That is horrible that they just fished it out and didn't give you a new dish. What retards! That has happened to me a few times. The worst I think is when I go to taco bell every once in a while and I ask for, example, a taco with beans instead of meat, no cheese, no sour cream. Simple enough. And they pretty much ALWAYS get it wrong the first time. They either add meat and minus the dairy or take out the meat and add the dairy. I'm like, HELLO! I'm always way too nice about it though and always have to get my husband to take it back.

    Sorry for that bad experience, but glad the rest of your birthday went well! Happy Birthday~

  2. Thanks, Carissa. I was really proud of GR! I have learned to take mess-ups in stride, but they out and out did something wrong, and that's what made me mad. But, in the end, it was a great birthday. :-)

  3. Happy Birthday BlessedMama!!!

    All the food up to the Noodle House. GR's cake looks great to me! All those chocolate chips make a great decoration on top. Your Ethiopian food looks so good too.

    Sorry to hear about the ordeal at the Noodle House...and that is really bad to "doctor' the soup like that. It really is horrifying to think of unmentionables floating around in the soup or the sauce.

    Have a great weekend!

  4. I meant to say "All the food up to the Noodle House looks wonderful!"

  5. Thanks, Rose, I knew what you meant. :-) Yes, I agree, all the food was great, except at the Noodle House. I don't want to even think about what I may have eaten last night.

  6. "I ordered from the day-old section (half price, you know)"

    oh i know!

    beet juice instead of dye! thats a great little find(bakery)right there! i like the little switcheroo you did with the frosting:)

    thats really neat of your mom to do that, very sweet.(humus, chips etc)

    "They brought the soup back into the kitchen, fished out all the chicken they could find, and added three pieces of tofu back in. Not only is that unsanitary, it's illegal!"

    highly illegal, i like how you told THEM what they did before they could make something up. good for you but im sorry you had to do that on your big day. who serves birthday princesses meaty chunks? id like to know?

    your poor kids too, its harder for them to be patient.

    that cake that your daughter made? marble cake has so many steps, she didnt go easy when she decided on that recipe! you could tell how much you appreciated it from what you wrote here, that made me smile:)


  7. Happy Birthday my friend...I am so sorry I missed out on that great Birthday bash...the food all looked great and I hope you had a great time.

  8. Happy Birthday! The cake and Ethiopian food look great.

    If the Noodle House can't handle over 90 different items on the menu, they should pair it down to 40 or 50. Shame on them for ruining the Blessed Mama's Birthday!

  9. Happy (belated)Birthday Blessed Mama!!!

    That is sooo sweet of your daughter to make you a birthday cake. Her cake looks delish!

    Wow...what a horrific experience at the Noodle House. You are way more patient than I think I would have been. I would have given them the benefit of the doubt the first time, but after all those mistakes, I would have been some kind of upset. Well, knowing me I wouldn't have said much, but my husband would

    What book did you get on tape? I've never done the book on tape thing, but have thought about trying it.

    I hope you have a great rest of the weekend!

  10. Well, I wasn't even there and I had an anxiety attackreading about the noodle house! I would never go back! OMGosh!
    Other than the anxiety I had over the meaty dishes, your birthday sounds lovely, I like when K makes me birthday food!
    How old are you know M? lol

  11. My heart goes out to you for your bad experience at the restaurant. I hope you've recovered! Happy Birthday!!!!

  12. Up and downs, none the less, great pictures!

    Happy Birthday!

  13. Hi, Everyone!

    Michelle (DD), I was so happy to see that the cafe didn't use food coloring! Another reason for us to go now! I was proud of myself for standing up the restaurant workers - that's not normally like me, but this was egregious! And, I am so proud of my little GR. She makes my heart so happy.

    Thanks, Millie. Most of the food was pretty good.

    Yeah! You tell them, S.V.!

    Thanks, Michelle (LLV), for your comments. The book on tape is The Secrets of Judas by Robinson. I've never had one either, except for fairy tales for the kids, so this will be a first for me, too.

    Brandi, we could have shared our anxiety! Isn't it nice when our little ones take care of us? I'm sorry that last line you wrote is blurry, I can't quite make it out.

    Heidi, all is well now, thank you!

    Thank you, Reggie!

    Thanks, Wild Magnolia!

  14. hear hear Shen! lol

    and i forgot to mention that the chocolate chips piled on top make a huge,.."statement" like, THIS CAKE ISNT MESSING AROUND, WATCH OUT!:) sometimes accidents like leaving them out of the actual cake turn out BETTER!!oh my husband jsut said it looked pretty cool:) and he isnt a cake person(!), so im a little jealous:)hehehe

  15. Happy Birthday!!!!

  16. Happy Birthday! I like the homemade cake, especially with the pile of chocolate chips on top! And how resourceful of you to make your own treat at the bakery/deli.

    I'm sorry to hear about the Noodle House. I hope that final smiling photo is at the end of the night and everyone was happy again after the disaster and cover-up.

  17. happy birthday! i'm sorry to hear about your crappy soup experience, on your b-day of all days. i would be so mad, i'd never go back! however, that ethiopian food looks like an awesome birthday lunch, and your daughter's cake looks lovely with that inviting pile of chocolate chips on top!

  18. Hey, Michelle, I'm so glad GR's cake much such a good impression Stomper!

    Thank you, Alessandra.

    Jessica, The cake was great, and thanks for the kudos on the bakery - I felt so clever. Everyone recovered from Noodle House, but it made for lively conversation.

    Sara, you've encapsulated my ups and downs!

  19. Happy birthday!!!!! (belated) GR, I personally like one layer cakes. I don't like a lot of cake getting in the way of my icing.

    I don't think it has been difficult for us to live without artificial color - except for the things constantly being shoved into my kiddos hands by other people. Does that happen a lot to you? Does it drive you insane?

    What was the restaurant's response to your claim that they'd just fished out the meat? Did they admit? Apologize? People can be so gross and so lazy. I think you should go out and have another birthday meal!!! Pretend that this one is the real thing.

  20. Hi, Jenny - thanks for your support of GR and of my horrible meal! The change has been the hardest for my oldest who is missing some of the foods she used to eat. But, even she is on alert now when something has artificial color in it. There is a lady at church who offers candy as a reward in her class for different things, and GR has to turn her down for that. GR doesn't mind, but the teacher acts as if she feels sorry for her, which irritates GR. As far as the restaurant, they said they were short-staffed, which I said was not a good excuse.

  21. I feel so cheated (like WHO got to decide that it's perfectly acceptable to give other people's kids anything you want without asking their parents?!) when it comes to the reward system of everywhere we go. Preschool, homeschool co-op, my mom's office, the bank, the post office, the hair cutting salon...and there are birthday parties, but you kind of know what you're going into, at least, with those. Ooo, that really bugs me when people "feel sorry" for my kids. When they say, right in front of me, "You poor thing. Come over to my house, and I'll give you some cookies (or meat or suckers or whatever it is they THINK my kids are deprived of)." That's good that it irritates GR, I guess - you know, better than, "She's right! It is unfair!" My kids do end up getting food coloring away from home occasionally because they aren't able to say "no" yet on their own. They wouldn't say yes to meat, but they would say yes to a Dum-Dum if I'm not there. :)

  22. reading your comments and Jennys comments makes me sad. thats got to be so hard. congrats to your oldest for sticking to her guns. at her age she isnt doing it becasue you are telling her to, its becasue she understands WHY. and Jennys kids, to say no to meat is great, candy:) well that IS a little hard. but im sorry that people do that to you and your kids (feel "sorry" for them) and i cant say that a few years ago i would not do the same. please just know that they really dont have a clue how bad the stuff is and just have patience. also you are paving the way for future moms (lol like me:))...dont know if that will make you feel any better, but your hard work WILL pay off.