Birthday Party + {Real Food} Salisbury Steak Dinner


We celebrated my husband’s thirty-fifth birthday this past week with a small family party at home.

The Whole Foods bag was filled with some of Ethan’s favorite treats like jalapeño stuffed olives, lemon curd, and Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter

Ethan requested Salisbury steak for dinner, which I have only ever eaten once or twice before, and had never made myself. I searched online for a real-food version and found this great recipe from Nourish Your Life. We really enjoyed it!


Zelie took a much longer nap than usual this particular afternoon, so Philomena and I got most of the cooking done in one solid chunk of time. Miss Philomena loves to get in the middle of everything in the kitchen with me!

I got behind and didn’t have time so late in the afternoon to whip up our usual breadcrumb recipe from 100 Days of Real Food, so I had my cute little helper rip up a slice of bread into a million pieces and it worked just as well.
The formed Salisbury steaks. Next time I’m going to make them much flatter.



On the side we wanted some mashed potatoes, so I chopped, boiled, drained, and mashed 16 small gold potatoes. I added to them a 1/2 cup of milk, 2 tablespoons of butter, a third of a brick of cream cheese, and roughly a tablespoon each of onion powder, garlic powder, and parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.


I usually use plain kefir or whole-milk yogurt instead of the cream cheese, and in the future I will go back to that. I think the tang from the kefir or yogurt gives better flavor in the potatoes.

The final plate

For dessert I tried a paleo chocolate cake recipe that tastes almost like a fudge brownie. It was actually so moist I couldn’t even properly stack the layers, so we made the layered cake right in the cake pan! A homemade whipped cream filling, some chocolate ganache, and cherries completed the cake. It wasn’t pretty but oh, it was so good, and there was no refined sugar in the cake or filling. (Alas, I was lazy and used chocolate chips for the ganache, instead of messing with unsweetened chocolate and maple syrup, which meant refined sugar there. Hey, you do what you can!)

We couldn’t find our lighter anywhere, and didn’t feel like getting out the emergency matches, and I dragged that poor middle cherry across the cake when I pulled it out of the fridge. It was one thing after another with this cake!
My sweetheart and toddler enjoying our little party!
I am going to visit my parents across the country next month, so I am making sure to freeze individual dinners for Ethan to eat while I am out of town.

We really enjoyed our little family party, and I am grateful beyond words for the birthday boy!

How does your family celebrate birthdays?

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