Birthday Specials

It is a tradition in my family to feast on birthdays, and the food prepared for the feast is whatever the birthday boy or girl requests. I haven’t been home for my birthday since I left for Simpson College four years ago, so I’ve been missing out on this wonderful tradition. I decided all that should change this year. Instead of going out for a birthday meal, as I’ve done the past three years, I called up a few of my best friends and planned a delightful feast.

I knew that I was craving salmon, and my friend Catie mentioned she had this great salmon salad at the Bonefish Grill, a Des Moines restaurant. My mouth was watering as she described the salad, so we decided to use it as our muse as we put together my birthday feast.

Birthday Salad


  • Salmon fillets – 1/person
  • Asparagus
  • Sea salt
  • minced garlic
  • Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Feta cheese
  • Diced roma, or cherry tomatoes
  • Dressing – I think a sweeter or citrus based dressing goes best with salmon. I used a Sememe-Ginger vinaigrette

Before putting the salad together, you need to prepare the salmon and asparagus. For the asparagus, line up on an edged cookie sheet and lightly pour olive oil over the trimmed spears. Sprinkle with minced garlic, pepper, and Parmesan cheese 12-15 minutes at 425º.

I decided to sautée the salmon for the salad using a very simple recipe for it since I had a lot of flavorful ingredients in the salad. I heated a 12 inch frying pan to medium heat and poured enough olive oil to line the bottom. I sprinkled the salmon fillets with plenty of sea salt and pepper (I didn’t measure it out sorry) and cooked each side of the salmon for 5 minutes.

When the asparagus and salmon are cooked, mix all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and enjoy!

Since it was my birthday I was inspired to attempt another new recipe. I am OBSESSED with sweet potatoes and determined to make a side using them. I just stuck with the basic sweet potato fries, because you can’t honestly screw them up.

Sweet Potato Fries


  • 2 skinned sweet potatoes sliced into quarter inch circles.
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

After you cut the sweet potatoes into quarter inch slices, coat with olive oil. Then mix the above spices together in a bowl, and cover sweet potato slices. Put the sliced potatoes on a baking sheet and broil for 10-12 minutes, flipping them halfway through. These potatoes never get really hard like normal fries, but they taste great and were my favorite part of the meal!


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