Birthdays are special to me. It’s another year lived and celebrated. This day was chosen long before we were even created and formed. So I think every birthday needs to be celebrated. It’s something over the years I have learned to respect and cherish more, because another year alive and dreaming is not something to take for granted.
We only get one life to live so how we chose to live it is important, and celebrating the life you live is important. This isn’t to say you have to go all out to make a birthday special. Maybe some years fancy dinners and parties just can’t happen because money is tight. Maybe they’ll be no big, expensive gifts, but still the day can be made special.
To me the most memorable birthdays for me growing up, when my parents were a little more tight on money, were the most special to me. I didn’t envy other kids with big birthdays and gifts, because I just loved being with my family. My grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins and parents. It was probably the introvert in me, and now I absolutely cherish those birthdays. I remember how special my parents made me feel. The family will always be there. Things fade, get worn out, and eventually thrown out, and you realize they are just that….things. Memories and family will last forever. That’s probably why I don’t remember as many of my gifts received for birthdays, but more the memories. Some gifts I do remember, because they were special to me. I knew the sacrifice made for me, and those gifts I hold forever.
So in our family we always did a birthday dinner, making the birthday girl/boy’s favorite dinner and cake, and it’s a tradition that stuck. Now with kids, I love celebrating my birthday with them and my husband. I celebrate the gift of life and health. I am celebrating another birthday this week. Another year older and another year to be thankful for. Another year to live this life they way the Lord had intended for me.
Vegan Veggie Mac’n’Cheese Bake
My meal always changed as a child, some years it was mashed potatoes with white gravy and a good steak. My dad’s beef is the best. I know now I was spoiled. Other years it was a good Chinese or Thai dish or biscuits and gravy, with my dad’s homemade sausage. In the years I was a strict vegetarian, It was vegetable stir fry, or even still mashed potatoes with white gravy. Either a chocolate cake, ice cream cake or carrot cake for blowing out candles. Those are my favorite cakes. Now I always go with carrot cake it seems.
Over the years, I craved a good healthier mac’n’cheese. Mac’n’cheese, country style is the best, but it can be rich and calorie laden. So, I thought I would add in some veggies for the kids and make it vegan, for the allergy friends. This is one of my favorite mac’n’cheese bakes. Over the years I have made many. Still tasty and still a breeze to make!! Loaded with great vegetables, and vegan cheese doesn’t change the taste one bit. Creamy, not dry and perfect for the whole family.
Marc and I used to make these when we were first dating and married, and would have enough for leftovers for a few days. I haven’t made one in a while. This dish is a great addition to your family meal routine, and it’s well liked. It’s fun to experiment and add what you want. And I love a dish that will leave leftovers. It’s also gluten free as well.
So here’s an old favorite I just had to share on my birthday. My mom made a great Thai dish for me last night and we will be enjoying carrot cake too today. It’s getting harder for me to chose a meal for my birthday dinner, because there’s just so many I love. I don’t think I am hard to please.
- 1 16 ounce package of GF penne noodles
- 2 c broccoli, just the crowns
- 2 c spinach, packed
- 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
- 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1 c vegan shredded mozzarella cheese + additional for topping
- 1 c shredded vegan cheddar cheese + additional for topping
- 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- ¾ c almond milk
- ½ tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1 tsp pepper, or to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook noodles according to package directions in large saucepan. While water is boiling, and noodles cooking, I start preparing veggies.
- Once noodles are cooked and drained (about 10 minutes), return to pan and add veggies.
- Add in milk, cheese and spices.
- Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 inch greased pan. Top with mozzarella and cheddar cheese and bake for 20 minutes, uncovered.
Experiment with the veggies you love, and if frozen veggies are more convenient, go that route. There’s great vegetable medley mixes you can thrown in. I always chose organic vegetables when possible.
Thanks for being apart of my life. Hoping this year will be full of blessings, dreams and more memories. Have a great Monday folks!!
Until Next Time Be Whole and Be Fit