May 12, 2014

A Weekend to Celebrate: Vegan Birthday Parties and Mother's Day

Happy Monday, Everyone, and Happy belated Mother's Day to all you mamas out there! When I was walking Tucker on Sunday morning, this random guy wished me a Happy Mother's Day, saying that even though they're not human, dogs have moms, too. That made my day!

This weekend was amazing because I got to celebrate Mother's Day with my grandma and mom and throw a birthday party for J. Many of my family members were born in May (I'm counting close to ten right now). Most of them are still here (both in a geographical sense and a physical sense), so we had a big birthday/Mother's Day party on Sunday at my aunt's house. I was feeling pretty chill, preferring to keep things low key and just enjoy the moment, so I didn't take any pictures. However, it was so nice to play with the kids and catch up with the busy goings-on of all of the adults.

Every year for the past several years, I wear my cow ribbon for the entire Mother's Day weekend in remembrance of all of the animal mothers who do not get to nurture and raise their children, instead having to cope with the anguish of having their young stolen from them shortly after birth. It's sparked numerous conversations with people, some of whom open their hearts and listen and others whom, out of fear, choose to remain in the dark for the sake of their eating preferences. Either way, I am making visible that which some try so hard to keep invisible.

The reason I was needing such a laid back day is because I hosted a birthday party for J on Saturday. I invited 9 of our friends to join us first for dinner at a restaurant and then we came back to my house for cake and ice cream. The restaurant I chose, Kaya, is one of J's favorite spots in the city for lunch. They're knowledgeable about which menu items contain nonvegan ingredients and are open to substitutions within reason. It can cost a pretty penny, but it's a great place to go for a special treat.

One might argue that we threw a party for J at Kaya and then threw a party for Tucker at the house. That's the way Tuck saw it at least. Everyone piled into the house and scratched him and pet him and talked to him like he was a king. He spent a couple hours circling our living room, settling shortly on one person's lap before moving to the next. He's always the life of the party, so it didn't surprise me, but it always makes me feel so happy to see him so high on life.

When I unveiled the cake, J's eyes were almost popping out of their sockets. I think he ate almost half of it himself. He loves pineapple upside-down cake (it seems this has become a birthday theme for us...), but he also likes to make things bigger, grander. I didn't want to go too big though, and I think I struck a good balance.

For the bottom layer, I made a cherry upside-down cake and stacked on top is a pineapple upside-down cake. Stuffed in between is the fluffiest coconut whipped cream flecked with vanilla bean. On the side, I served maple ice cream with toasted allspice. I think divine is the word to describe this birthday dessert. Divine. Decadent. Fruity. Ambrosial.

Seconds, please!

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