Birthdays, Doughnuts & Sushi, Oh My! (Or, how I ate my way through my birthday, with pictures)

 Earlier this week, I turned the big 2-2. Okay, maybe 22 isn’t one of those “big” milestone birthdays that you make a huge deal about, but it does feel a little strange to be over the 21 hump. I feel like there’s no escaping adulthood now, even moreso than how last year’s big day felt. Because 22 isn’t a very big age to turn and I’m not a huge fan of the egocentricity of birthdays (though the petty child within me is kind of lamenting the departure of that huge pile of gifts all for me, I admit), I chose to celebrate quietly. I didn’t make many plans, and instead just spent the afternoon bumming around the house, watching episodes of Ramsay’s Best Restaurant on Netflix Instant and relaxing. I just did whatever it was I felt like doing in that moment, and it was wonderful.

My Food Diary post last month went over really well, so I thought I would take pictures of everything I ate on my birthday, which tends to be much less nutritionally admirable than my more day to day fare. It’s proof that I’m human, I guess; even I treat myself on occasion, if you can believe it.
 (photo courtesy of Chobani)

I woke up early and had a quick cup of Chobani yogurt to fuel up for an invigorating work out. It was supposed to be non-fat peach, but someone stole it before I could eat it and so I had to settle for low-fat strawberry banana, which was only slightly higher in calories than I’m used to for my morning pre-workout “snack.” (I like to wake up and drink a glass of milk or have a cup of yogurt, then eat a more substantial breakfast later on in the morning. I started the habit when I had to start taking my Vitamin D supplements alongside a source of calcium, and I found it to be such a refreshing way to start the day that it’s become more or less a staple.)

 For breakfast, L took me to Dunkin Donuts for my annual doughnut indulgence. Although Dunkin Donuts changed the oil it fries its products in, there are still hydrogenated oils in many of their offerings (though I recently rechecked their nutrition information and found a surprising number of “safe” options there), which means that I’ve had to give up my love for a good, fried doughnut. So, once a year on my birthday, L takes me and splurges on a doughnut of my choice (though it’s always so difficult to choose and I’m tempted to just go crazy and get several flavors; this year, I stuck to 1 and am very proud that I did). This year I chose a vanilla kreme, which I had never had before. I grew up on classic vanilla frosted with sprinkles, occasionally branching out into jelly-filled or old fashioned, but now that I go so infrequently I like to experiment with something new and different each time. The vanilla kreme in the center was basically birthday frosting, making my breakfast a pseudo mini birthday cake – definitely more of a dessert, so I made sure to savor every bite! The powdered sugar was what really sold the flavor for me; I think the cream in a Boston cream doughnut is far superior to the reminiscent-of-sweetened-shortening cream in the doughnut I got, but I’m very happy with the choice I made.

I thought I might finish off the doughnut with a small fruit salad when I got home, but not all too surprisingly, the doughnut did a fantastic job of filling me up until lunch. I opted for a lighter lunch, but still indulgent in its own way. With all of the carbs I had been eating and was planning to continue eating, the RD2Be in me was tempted to go for a nice, lean and crisp salad. The problem was, I just wasn’t feeling it. So, I took one of my favorite wraps, Cedar’s whole wheat, (only 5g net carbs and totally recognizable ingredients!), spread it with about ½-1T almond butter, and topped with sliced strawberries and a dusting of cinnamon. It was one of the most indulgent flavor combinations I’ve ever had, and that’s saying something, especially for how simple and healthy it was. I had never had the berry-almond butter combo, but I really encourage you to try it. It did a good job of keeping me full until dinner, too, which is a very good thing.

You see, dinner was going to be a gamble. I wanted to make sushi. My family has never eaten sushi before. Ever. It’s just so not their kind of thing, which is ok. I’m glad they tried it but in the end, I don’t fault anyone for deciding that sushi just isn’t for them. So I figured, why not take advantage of it being my birthday, and cook something that they wouldn’t ordinarily eat? I wasn’t going for a raw fish roll, which helped, and we had the pizza delivery number at the ready since I’ve heard such horror stories about people’s first attempts at sushi, but I was still nervous and excited all at once. I read articles, studied youtube videos, and then just went for it…and wow! I don’t want to say too much because I’ll have an entire post about this meal, recipe included, over the next few weeks, but it was so fantastic. I think I smiled throughout the entire meal.

 And then there was dessert.  Still in search of a homemade version of a dense, fudgy seven layer chocolate cake I enjoyed growing up, I made a chocolate cake that happened to be gluten-free, made with cooked quinoa as the sole grain. Like the sushi, I’ll have another post devoted to this recipe so I won’t say too much, aside from that it was surprising in a number of ways, and I believe I am officially one step closer to clinching that perfect chocolate cake recipe. One small step, but a step nonetheless. I also made a white chocolate & blueberry sorbet, which was divine, and would have stolen the show if only the blueberry swirl hadn’t been quite so abundant, creating a texture that was a little too icy in the end.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable culinary day, and a very enjoyable day in general. It really reminded me how important it is to take a day here or there where you don’t have any real plans or obligations, and you just follow your desires and whims, at least to an extent. I book myself silly with responsibilities and tasks, and to take a day where I just did whatever I felt like doing in that moment, even if it was as small and silly as playing a computer game I don’t play very often or watching the beautiful weather out my open, breezy window, was rejuvenating. So whether your birthday is coming up or not, make a day for yourself like this one. Take a step back and just savor the day. I think we could all benefit from doing that a little more often.


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