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My Birthday din-din

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Because we had a Labor Day Barbecue to attend on Monday, my parents treated me to a birthday dinner Sunday night. Hey, I was born in England, so technically, it was my birthday at the exact time we celebrated… Not that I didn’t celebrate on Monday as well. Two birthdays are better than one.

Tell me if any of you have this problem: You’re such a good cook that you don’t normally like to eat out, because the entire time, you’re sitting there thinking, “I could make this better.”  When I do eat out, I try to go to places that offer food I can’t easily make myself, such as Indian (like this past Sunday’s dinner) or Korean (think Hangawi in NYC) or Ethiopian, like my vegan Ethiopian post of a few years ago.

This weekend, we decided to try a new restaurant, called Clay Pit. Well it’s not really new, but it’s new to us. They have a separate section specifically for vegetarian items, so I was a happy camper. Plus, when I called ahead of time (to ensure that the vegetarian items could be made with oil, not butter), the manager told me that they can even change some of their non-vegan dishes to accommodate my needs if I so desire, such as leaving the cream out of the dahl. A lovely offer, but I didn’t even need to take advantage of it, as there were plenty of already-vegan options at my disposal. Sometimes it’s actually simpler if there aren’t; it’s easier to decide! That night, I went with Aloo Ghobi, a traditional Indian cauliflower-potato dish. However, since I’m not the biggest potato freak (I think they’re mushy and bland), I asked for mixed-veggie Aloo Ghobi instead.

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Above, my no-potato Aloo Ghobi, alongside an order of roti bread. This was so good! You bet your socks I licked the dish clean (when no one was watching, of course). The whole-wheat roti bread was a perfect accompaniment for the saucy curry. Ingredients: whole wheat flour, oil, water, and salt. That’s it. Oh, it was so soft and flavorful… I must learn how to make this!

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Curry close up. The veggies were cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, peas, and broccoli.

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 

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  1. Lindsay says:

    You are a very pretty girl, Katie!

    I just found your blog yesterday from HEAB, and I’ve already become a huge fan. I’ve added you to my reader and am excited to follow :). Also, I think Larabar MUST have known it was your birthday. Or at least that you have a huge following. I emailed them asking if they could send me samples of the new flavors and they sent me four BARS, not boxes. And not even a new flavor! I’ll just have to hope to win your giveaway! 😉

  2. Oh my gosh that indian food looks so good!
    and its easy to like such positive people as yourself :)
    keep up the good vibes girl!

  3. I hate Indian food – but that looks good!!
    And awesome you were born in England – I’m English! Happy belated birthday anyway, as I don’t thik I said before..I’m glad you had fun!

  4. Haha, I usually think, “I could make this for the whole family for 1/4 of the price of my serving…”

  5. I totally with you on dining out! Why shell out 15$ when you can make it, only slightly better, at home?

    I am so glad your birthday din was delish!

  6. Your birthday meal looks fantastic. I love Aloo Gobi! 😀 Your mixed vegetable Aloo Gobi sounds lovely.

  7. GabyE says:

    I fell the same way about going out to eat. Plus, I’m always nervous that the server or chef won’t understand what vegan means. I tent to just stick to salads when My family goes out, but I always prefer to cook for myself. Unless it is a vegan restaurant, or something like Chinese, Thai, or Indian (they almost always understand) and their diets are centered around veggies anyway.

    That Indian food looks so good! I’m a HUGE lover of Indian anything. It’s such an amazing culture, and they make AMAZING food. I actually had Aloo Gobi last week for lunch. It’s my favorite dish, but then again, I’m a potato freak.

    Hope you had a wonderful 2 day birthday experience (that sounds so extreme!)

  8. abby says:

    happy birthday cutie! sorry i didn’t get a chance to say it yesterday. but this way you can drag out the day even more hehehehe.

    p.s. even with your head cut off, you’re beautiful :).

    1. Abby, you are such a sweetie! :)

  9. Marina says:

    I want that indian food soooo much! Looks amazing.
    I am really glad that you had a nice birthday, and that we all made you feel special. Well, you are, so you better feel like that 😉
    Enjoy your birthday week dear 😉

  10. I’m happy you had such a great birthday! That Indian food looks incredible. I tend to prefer Indian or Asian type places too mostly because they taste more flavorful to me. Mm, now I want Aloo Ghobi.

  11. Brandi says:

    Happy Birthday Katie, my fellow Virgo. My birthday i tomorrow! I looove Indian food.. yum!

  12. We are both very fortunate when it comes to having good friends. :)

    Your birthday dinner sounded perfect Katie – I love the veg heavy Aloo Ghobi. So colorful, and I would dug right in with a big piece of that roti. Gosh, I love Indian food, and it’s been way too long since I’ve had it. :( Need to work on that!

    Thanks for your very kind shout-out. You know I love you bunches, and I’m cracking up at you calling your dad out for cutting off the top of your head. You’re so funny.

    Happy to hear you had a wonderful birthday!

  13. Indian food is my favorite!
    Glad you had a good birthday!

  14. Carbzilla says:

    That dish looks fab! I am also over the mushy potato!

    Happy Birthday again! My mom was also born in England! That’s an odd little co-inky-dink.

    Have a great bday week!

  15. The reason you get so many birthday wishes is because you deserve them! Readers engage with you because you are a wonderful, generous, kind and giving person yourself.

    With restaurants, I don’t have a problem with them on the level of cooking skill (because I have none!) but more with the fact that I’m rather picky and have so many allergies and intolerances to consider! Your Indian meal does look lovely though.

    Happy belated birthday and can’t wait to see dessert 😉



  16. Inspired says:

    You are gorgeous and sweet and smart and talented! Is there anything you don’t do?


    (Anyone thinking of the line from “Ever After”?)

  17. shesarunner says:

    Glad you had a good birthday Katie! You deserve so much happiness and all good things, and I wish you all the best. Can’t wait to read more about your lovely day.

  18. Katie!! I regretfully was nowhere near a computer for nearly all day yesterday and so am sending you these birthday wishes 1 day late, but:


    This delicious dinner looks like a perfect celebratory feast, and I hope the rest of your day yesterday was wonderful!


    1. hey, I have no problem with late messages… they enable me to think it’s still my day. Yes, I’m milking (soymilking? hehe) it for all it’s worth! :)

  19. Leslie says:

    Oh I haven’t had Indian food in so long! Huge craving!

    Side note: Has anyone ever told you how stunningly striking your eyes are? I hope this comment doesn’t make me sound creepy, I just had to tell you :).

  20. Oh no, I wasn’t online most of yesterday and missed the big birthday!! Happy belated birthday Katie! Glad you had such a wonderful day :)

  21. Kiersten says:

    I am glad you had such a nice birthday Katie! Your meal looks like it was delicious!

  22. barb says:

    Happy Belated Birthday, Katie!! I’m new to your blog and just love it!!

  23. glidingcalm says:

    Aloooooooooooooooooo Gobiiiiiiiiiii! I love love loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! So so good!!
    Glad you had such a delicious Indian meal!!!

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY AGAIN, and you are more than welcome for the facebook post!! I should thank you for being so wonderful and amazing!!


  24. Happy belated !
    You look fabulous, even with a cut-off head :)
    I looove Clay Pit!! When I lived in Plano my parents and I used to go there allll the time! Soo so good; I miss it! I am totally going to suggest going there the next time I’m home!

  25. Happy birthday!!!!!! I didn’t check blogs yesterday so I missed it …. but it looks like you had a great time. Indian food is my fave for eating out!

  26. gaby says:

    Aw, you’re so sweet Katie! Of course you have a billion friends all over the world!
    And I also agree that little HEABlet is going to be one of the luckiest girls in the world!

    That dinner looks awesome! I’m the exact same way, not to sound all presumptuous or anything :X but I cook really well! Even with baking, I really don’t enjoy restaurant or bakery desserts as much because I like my baking better. I think it’s also that we know EXACTLY what we want and another chef will never predict our tastes as accurately. So I do the same thing, when I go out, I order things I can’t or don’t frequently make. Indian is definitely in that category.
    I also don’t like white potatoes! My family is your average meat and potato type, and are especially obsessed with things like potato chips or fries. Those are not appealing to me at all. And I still only eat baked potatoes if it’s the only thing available and I have really good toppings. My family thinks I’m craaazzzzzy but for me, it’s all about the sweet potato :)

    I’m glad you had a great birthday weekend! Let the celebrations continue!

  27. Kittie says:

    Aloo Ghobi is my FAVORITE! Well, after Baingan Bharta. I love me some eggplant. mmmm. And I would marry naan if I could. I’ve had many naan babies out of wedlock….

  28. Angela says:

    Happy Birthday Katie! Hope you had a great one.

    I love your dinner, Indian food is definitely my favorite. I love saag paneer and of course naan. I know what I want for dinner now. :)

    1. Mmm saag! There’s a place in Philly that has the best saag. I miss that place!

  29. MoniMeals says:

    Glad you had such a great birthday Katie! That is great the new restaurant was a hit, I just love when that happens. Glad it was not the “hmmm, I could make this at home much better,” kind of place! :)

  30. Hotchoc23 says:

    Oh my goodness that curry looks so lovely. I’m glad you enjoyed your birthday meal xx

  31. Kiki says:

    Mmmm I love Indian food! Part of the appeal is that there is guaranteed to be something vegetarian that I can eat. And if you have any success with recreating the whole wheat roti, please share because I tried to once and it was kind of a fail 😛

    Glad you enjoyed your birthday girl!

    You’re a Virgo, right? SWEET :)

    Btw, roti and curried veggies would be my pick for birthday noshing too 😉

    HUGGIES x10000

    1. Oh my goodness, didn’t mean to send that so quickly! Anyway, back to waht I was saying..yes, curry’s the best. It’s possibly one of my favorite dishes (besides sushi!) You’re birthday dinner looks fabulous- glad it wasd a big hit!

      And I’m the same way when eating out. Except maybe not that “I could have made this so much better” part..but at least “I could have made this so much healthier and still as good” 😛 So whenever I do eat out, it has to be something I’d never ever cook for myself…or at least rarely would.

  33. Caitlin says:

    Birthday dinners are the best! I am a little late, but I still want to wish you a Happy Birthday! Your blog is such a joy to read, and you deserve every bit of birthday excitement that comes your way. Also, Indian food = great birthday dinner choice.

    1. Aww Caitlin, thank you! Your sweet words put a huge smile on my face :).

  34. Sagojyou says:

    Happy late birthday! Two is better than one 😉
    You sure like Indian food, don’t you? Because I don’t go out to eat often, it’s really interesting and fun for me to see what Indian food are out there!

    1. Hehe yes I love Indian! Actually, I hadn’t had it in ages until the other day. Now I’m counting down the days til I can go back! Or maybe I should try my hand at making my own…

  35. Katie says:

    Happy (late) birthday!! I’m glad you got to go out and enjoy it!

    I also suffer from “I could make this better” syndrome at restaurants. I’ve never put it together until now, but I think that’s why I also like to go to Indian/Thai/Asian restaurants…I can’t make that kind of food (yet!)

    Hope your birthday WEEK is fabulous!

  36. Once again, Happy Birthday!!!! You lucky girl! Two back to back days of celebration! (That dinner looks fabulous by the way!)

  37. BroccoliHut says:

    Beautiful birthday dinner for a beautiful girl:)

  38. Faith says:

    HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY gorgeous lady! Looks like the perfect dinner to go along with the celebration…Indian food is one of my faves!

  39. stylish1 says:

    So glad you had an amazing birthday weekend!! :)

  40. Nicole says:

    I just watched a cooking show yesterday with a recipe for Roti. The woman is Indian and makes it in her own unique way, for more health benefits. If I’m remembering right, she used lentils (cooked) and spinach and one or two more ingredients and rolled them out and cooked them on a cast iron skillet. I DVR’d the episode, so if you’re interested let me know and I’ll watch it again and send you the exact recipe. Nicole

    1. Oh wow, Nicole, that sounds delicious! I don’t want to trouble you… but if you’re ever bored and do end up re-watching it, I would love the recipe! :)

  41. That looks delightful. If only I could convince my parents to ever venture into Indian food. It’s ok, though. Italian with them for birthdays will do just fine. :-) Twice the celebration sounds like something we should all enforce.

  42. Alexis says:

    Happy belated birthday, Katie! I admire your vegan-ordering skills. You always seem to know how to figure things out to suit your social life and eating preferances!
    Indian food is the best :) You have great taste.

    1. Thanks, Alexis! Haha what can I say? I’m a food lover… there’s no way I am going to a restaurant and just ordering an iceberg salad! Bor-ring ;).

  43. Vanilla says:

    Oh no I didn’t send you birthday wishes…:(

    …I was too busy eating your Bug-A-Boo bulgur pilaf, will this be an acceptable excuse???

    *Happy Birthday* <3 <3

  44. jananib says:

    Happy birthday Katie! The roti in restaurants is made in a super high-temp tandoor and often with leavening of some sort…but you can make it at home yourself very easily:

    1. Thanks!! I am seriously going to get my roti-making on :).

  45. Ilana says:

    Happy birthday to my beautiful friend (albeit a couple days late)! May this year be the BEST ONE YET, because you totally deserve it!!

    Indian food is almost always a good idea for vegan dining – it’s the one thing my boyfriend and I agree on when we go out to eat! There are so many vegetarian and vegan Indian food places here in the city that I can always talk him into it 😉

    1. Oh dearest Ilana! I am sending you a comment in response to your college comment as soooooooon as I get a chance!!

  46. Namaste Gurl says:

    You look very pretty– and not to mention that great looking meal, too :)!

  47. What a pretty picture of you! glad you had a wonderful bday dinner :)

  48. Marianne says:

    If cooked correctly (as in not over done), potatoes shouldn’t be mushy, and should be seasoned correctly as to not be bland 😉 Not that your curry doesn’t look delicious…I’m just sayin’. Glad you had a great dinner out for your birthday!

  49. Justine says:

    I tried to make Aloo Ghobi once, and I think I just didn’t get the spices right or something because it just wasn’t all that great. Maybe it was the potatoes….? :)

    I love that you are more celebrating a birth-week rather than a birth-day; there’s nothing wrong with that! :)

  50. Helen Kopp says:

    So, that huge plate of curry made me crave curry! So I made my first Indian curry dish last night! Also, having just found your blog, I added chocolate chips to my steel cut oatmeal with blueberries yesterday morning. It was like dessert for breakfast! Happy Late Birthday!

    1. Oooh yay! Chocolate chips in oatmeal are the best, because they get all melty… so yummy!

  51. Samantha says:

    Happy belated birthday!

    This has been bothering me for a while so I thought I should share…aloo is hindi for potato and gobi is hindi for cauliflower. So when you exchanged the potatoes for other veggies you changed the dish from aloo gobi (meaning literally potatoes and cauliflower) to sabji (pronounced sub-gee). Sorry but I feel better now.

    1. Samantha says:

      After re-reading my post I realized that I sounded like a complete jerk. Sorry. I do love Indian food and I’m glad they’ll make it without dairy so you can enjoy it, too.

      1. No way are you a jerk! I’m a language nerd; I love learning about word meanings/origins! :) :)

  52. Katie says:

    FIRST OFF HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Im sorry Im late on the happy birthday, I have been away and soooooooooooooooooooooo crazy busy! I love ya girl and it looks like you had a great birthday for sure!!!!!

    The pic of you and your dad is so nice! U are so beautiful Katie! Just love that pic!

    love you! xoxo