Birthday Weekend!

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Vegan MoFo Day 13 and 14 combined into one post!

I was trying to keep up with posting every single day this month, however yesterday had other plans.  I got up at 9 a.m. and didn’t stop going until midnight!  Monday is my brother’s birthday, so this was his BIRTHDAY WEEKEND!

My brother works all the time, but he managed to get Saturday off so we could celebrate his birthday all day.  Every year we get together with my cousin Katy and celebrate by going to The Apple and Wine festival at our local fairground.

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It’s a really fun celebration of all things local.  Of course there are apples from local orchards.  They are available to buy by the pound.  The wine is from local wineries in New York State.  There is a barn/tent area set up for you to go and sample whatever wines you would like.  They are also available to purchase if you find something you really love.  Besides those things, there are tons of vendors selling everything from hand made hats, to BBQ sauce, to dry dip mixes, to tea, to salsa, to jewelry, and so much more!  We go every year and have such a blast!

But before all that fun could happen, I wanted to make birthday dessert.  I’ve talked before about my cupcake ego, and how great my cupcakes are.  Well now I make birthday cupcakes for my friends and family.  I found an amazing chocolate cupcake recipe that I use all the time for birthday cupcakes.

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I use it so much that my poor book looks severely abused:

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What is the book you ask?  Only the best vegan cupcake book ever written.

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Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  Seriously, if you haven’t picked up a copy go out and do it now.  These recipes are how I got my unofficial title of “Cupcake Queen” and why I have such a cupcake ego.  These are the best recipes ever!  They always make the most delicious, moist cupcakes ever.

There is only one low fat recipe in the book, and it isn’t for the chocolate cupcakes.  However, I think it’s okay to indulge every once in a while, and a birthday is an excellent excuse to do so!

My brother requested my famous chocolate cupcakes, but I wanted to make something special for him on his birthday.  I looked in the book, and decided on a variation of the chocolate cupcake recipe that would change it enough, but keep the consistency of awesomeness there.  I picked the “mocha” cupcake variation.  I love chocolate cupcakes made with instant espresso powder, and I know my brother loves coffee so it was perfect.

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I always make such a mess when I bake 🙂

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Does anyone else have different measuring supplies for wet and dry ingredients? 🙂

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The frosting was a variation of the Vegan Vanilla Buttercream from the book using coffee instead of nondairy milk.  Awesome!

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I dusted a little bit of cinnamon on the top and they were done!

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The frosting was a little runny, but oh well!  They can’t always look perfect 😉

Once I was finally done with these, I only had a few minutes before I had to be out the door and on my way to picking up my brother!

Unfortunately it was pouring rain all day.  It bothered me at first, there were giant puddles everywhere and we were soaked in 2 seconds.  As soon as we got to the wine barn and tried a few wines nothing bothered us anymore!  We had such a great time.  We ran into some of our other wine loving friends and tried many great wines.  I love the Apple and Wine Festival!  My brother doesn’t talk much, but it looked like he had a lot of fun too!

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It was fun checking out the vendors and finding things that were accidentally vegan.  SCORE!

Afterwards we continued my brother’s birthday tradition of going to Chili’s for dinner.  He always asks me if it’s okay that we go there, but I would never tell him no since it’s his birthday.  He always asks me because Chili’s is a very vegetarian/vegan unfriendly restaurant.  Not saying that the wait staff isn’t helpful and accommodating, just that the menu doesn’t have too many options to choose from.

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We only go once a year and we only ever go on my brother’s birthday.  He loves to get the Crispy Honey-Chipotle Chicken Crispers meal that comes with fries and corn on the cob.  There is some sort of sauce that he loves on it.  I would never deny him this once a year treat, so I go to work with the menu and try to figure out something I can eat.

When I was vegetarian, I would always get the Cajun Pasta and omit the chicken and shrimp.  It’s one of my weaknesses:  Alfredo sauce!  I remember it being good, but the last time we went I was eating a vegan diet so I tried the tacos with black beans instead of chicken and asked for no cheese.  They were okay, but this time I wanted something different.

When I looked at the menu this year, I zoomed in on the Lighter Choices portion:

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With the exception of the chicken/fish, these dishes looked amazing.  Mango salsa, avacado slices, rice and steamed broccoli!  I know that they will substitute black beans in many of their menu items if you ask.. so I did.  The waitress looked at me like I was crazy, then thought about it for a moment, told me they could do it and that they wouldn’t charge me for the full meal!  Another score!  When it came out they made it more like a build your own meal with all the parts separate (the broccoli came on it’s own plate, then the black beans were in a little cup, with the salsa and avocado also in small cups, plus seasoning and and the habanero mango glaze on the side).  I put it all together and made this tasty meal:

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Going to a restaurant and specially ordering things is new to me, but this was awesome!  It was so good!

After the restaurant my brother and cousin Tim came by my apartment for gift opening and video games.  Overall it was a great day.  I think it was a good birthday for my brother!  🙂

Have you ever gone to a vegan unfriendly restaurant and created your own meal?  Where did you go and what did you have the staff make you?

I can’t believe we’re just about halfway done with MoFo!  I’m excited about what’s coming up this week.  Until next time!

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