Birthday Party Foods

Every year for my birthday I have friends over to my place for a little shindig, and this year was a good one.  Friends showed up in force, everyone had a good time (I think), and a cop came by to give up a noise warning!  You know it’s a good party when the 5-0 arrive.  Nevermind the fact that we weren’t being very loud, spent the majority of the party playing board games, and are all well over the legal drinking age…we’re a wild bunch, really.  And while I never expect any presents, I received gifts including a couple bottles of nice wine, some Jameison, and My Sweet Vegan!

My friends made my week by showing me a good time, so the least I could do was feed them.  Please excuse the flash photography, the pictures were snapped fast since people were already over and eyeballing the food.

VWAV Spanakopita in phyllo cups.


Lettuce wrap bar.  Not everyone got the lettuce wrap concept, which is fine because a) I thought it up last minute and had never done it before, b) the lettuce I bought wasn’t as cup-like as anticipated, and c) all the fillings worked just as well on their own.  The recipes for all of the fillings are at the end.

lettuce wraps

Pea Salad.

pea salad

Sesame Ginger Mushrooms.


Savory Carrot Salad (the dressing on this was so good, it’s going to be my go-to balsamic vinaigrette).

carrot salad

Veggies, Stacy’s Pita Chips and Pretzel Chips.  If you haven’t had Stacy’s Pita Chips yet, get them.  Unless you don’t feel like being tempted to eat the whole bag at once.


A trio of dips, starting with Black Bean Dip with Cilantro & Lime.  I wasn’t impressed with this, so no recipe.  Although everyone seemed to like it okay.  I can do better.

black bean dip

VCON Curried Carrot Dip.  This was really good, but I almost wanted it to be made from sweet potato or squash instead, because that’s what it tasted like.

carrot dip

Roasted Eggplant & Garlic Hummus from Yellow Rose Recipes.  This flew off the shelves like gangbusters.  I had to put out seconds, and it was all demolished.  And just as easy to make as normal hummus, with one extra step.  Get YRR and make this.

eggplant hummus

And the piece de resistance, the birthday cake I made for myself, as all good vegans do.  It’s based on Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream.  Two vanilla layers studded with cookie dough, and a brownie layer, iced with buttercream.  I didn’t get to decorate it like I wanted, mostly because I was short on time but also because I didn’t make enough frosting.  Extra cookie dough balls did the trick.

half baked cake

Money shot.

half baked cake

And my piece, cut bigger than everyone elses.  I could only eat half at first, had to save the rest for later.

half baked cake

If I make this again the only change will be to try to make the cookie dough pieces inside the cake smaller, so they disperse more.  The Brooklyn Brownie, Golden Agave, and Buttercream recipes are from VCTOTW, cookie dough from VWAV.

The recipes:

Savory Carrot Salad

4-5 carrots, shredded
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp maple syrup
dashes of salt & pepper

Whisk all ingredients except carrots together until emulsified. Pour over carrots and stir to combine.

Serves 4.

Pea Salad

3 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup celery, finely diced
2 Tbs onion, finely chopped
2 Tbs each green bell pepper and red bell pepper, finely chopped
3-4 Tbs vegan mayonnaise
2 Tbs relish
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp paprika

Combine all ingredients, chill before serving.

Serves 4.

Sesame Ginger Mushrooms

I made these without soy since a friend is allergic, but 1-2 Tbs soy sauce added to the marinade would be good.

4 cups assorted mushrooms, sliced (I used button, shiitake & portobello)
1 cup vegetable stock or water
1/3 cup cooking sherry
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbs minced ginger
2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
olive oil spray
1 heaping Tbs cornstarch
thinly sliced scallions
toasted sesame seeds

1. Whisk together the water, sherry, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, sugar, salt, dry mustard and red pepper flakes. Pour over mushrooms, cover, and marinate at least one hour, up to overnight.
2. Spray a medium saute pan with olive oil and heat to medium high. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mushrooms to the pan, reserving the marinade. Saute the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until they have released their juices, the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms are tender. If the mushrooms start to stick, add a small amount of water to the pan.
3. Meanwhile, add the cornstarch to the reserved marinade and whisk to combine.
4. When the mushrooms are cooked, add the marinade to the pan. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the marinade is thickened.
5. Sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds.

Serves 4-6.

And for those of you who’ve made it through the whole post, here’s an adorable picture of bf being a sad clown.

sad clown


  1. Romina said

    Happy Birthday!!!

    Great display of foods, you are a fantastic host!!
    mm… I bet that cake is already gone, don’t be surprised if I’m at your door if there’s still a piece!

  2. VeggieGirl said

    Happy belated birthday!!! Wowowowow, all that delectable food!!! Too much goodness in one post, haha. I’ll give a special shout-out to that cake (total food porn), and the spanikopita in the phyllo cups – yum!!

    Oh and ‘My Sweet Vegan’ is a brilliant cookbook – enjoy!

  3. Carla said

    Oh my. It all looks so very good and tasty! Love that cake too!

  4. Happy birthday! this is the best party ever! I wish you could send me a piece of cake 😉

  5. Mihl said

    Happy belated birthday! Man, all your food looks so good, I am totally overwhelmed! After all those goodies you shouldn’t have added a picture of that cake. What a beautiful birthday cake!

  6. Liz² said

    I love the cookie dough cake, that’s awesome!

  7. Jennifer said

    Happy Birthday!

    If you’ll excuse me, I’d love to go linger around those dips for awhile!

    And that cake, wow, it’s gorgeous. You are amazing!

  8. atxvegn said

    Happy Birthday! The food looks fantastic, especially that cake!

  9. Janeen said

    The cake was amazing – I only had two bites b/c of the soy factor, but YUM!

    Also loved the curried carrot dip.

  10. ashley 79 said

    Oh my gosh, that cake looks so good it makes me want to cry! Cookies and cake all in one- perfection!

  11. Kelleen said

    Thanks for the recipes for the pea salad and carrot salad. I’m always looking for easy and tasty ways to take my veggies to work for lunch. And that birthday cake, OMG, I am a total cookie dough addict and would never have thought to put it on top of a cake. Awesome!

  12. kittee said

    wow, fabulous. my mind is reeling. first, i love the idea of the lettuce wrap table, but the cake is blowing me away. can you please explain a bit more how the cookie dough concept works? did you roll ball of dough and place them in the cake pan and pour batter over it? i’m assuming the dough balls are cooked in the cake, but raw on top???????? genius.


  13. veganhomemade said

    Kittee – I poured the cake batter into the pan then pushed balls of raw cookie dough into it, but I’m sure it would also work to put the cookie dough in then pour the batter over. It was really an experiment with awesome results. The cookie dough obviously baked a little inside the cake, but it still felt and tasted raw, which was what I was hoping for. The dough on top was raw. Next time the only thing I’d change would be to roll the dough balls much smaller for better distribution.

  14. kittee said

    fabulous! thanks for letting me know, i’m gonna play with this a bit. such a fun idea.


  15. Megan said

    Wow that all looks really tasty! Especially that eggplant hummus, NOM!

  16. […] Last night for dinner I made a similar sort of concoction – rice, mushrooms, peas and tofurkey kielbasa with cheesy sauce, savory carrot salad. […]

  17. Sean said

    I really enjoyed looking at this site. Wonderful!!! I have many ideas for my next gathering right from you. Thanks!

  18. goring said

    your food is amazing – i wish i know how to make them..sigh..i’m starved.

  19. […] carrot salads are mixed up with mayonnaise; this one uses a really tasty balsamic vinaigrette instead.  This Lemony Carrot Salad sounds really tasty […]

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