Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Plethora of Birthdays

Dear me, time flies by and here it's been nearly another week since I wrote anything. I had the great fortune of celebrating my birthday with my  family and later with friends last week. Mom and I spoiled ourselves at the amazing Burke Williams for the day. I got sneaky and took pictures where I probably wasn't supposed to, but I made sure I was alone.

They've made some changes since the last time I was there and now the place is even more full of cozy spots like this one than it was before. We sat here and chatted, 

We sat here in blissful silence, 

and we sat with this in utter delight. You do have the option to have lunch brought to you there in the spa but we decided to go out and get lunch before returning to the quiet oasis behind the Burke William's doors.

I had a panini (surprise, surprise!) and a salad of field greens topped with balsamic from Corner Bakery. They have a new panini that is definitely worth a taste. The Monterey Turkey: smoke turkey, fresh spinach, artichoke asiago spread and provolone on sourdough. =D

There are a lot of great things about this spa but on of them is that around just about every corner you will find a table like this one: 

Loaded with cool water, fresh fruit, and hot tea. 

Anyway, after Mom and I were pampered all day long, we spent some time walking around the outdoor mall and then it was time for dinner with some of the family. 

My sister, two brothers, two nephews and Mom and Dad took me out for dinner at a grill called Zitto's. We passed up a Mediterranean restaurant because of the size of our group but we were all very happy with our dinner. 

I added a side salad but was disappointed with their version of a "green" salad. It was all iceberg lettuce and very little flavor. I didn't finish it.

My pasta on the other hand was delightful. Angel hair, basil, feta and parmesan, sun dried tomato and pine nuts. This is a deceiving picture. There was quite a bit of pasta and I ended up taking a large portion home for leftovers.

My gift of the night: A handmade wand. Fashioned out of a straw by my multi-talented nephew. Thank you Derek! I'm keeping it safe here on my desk if the need for a wand ever arises, I have a strong feeling this one will serve me well!

The following night I went to dinner with a few friends to celebrate 2 birthdays! Stephanie and I share a birthday week and we need very little for an excuse to have a great night with friends. We went to BJ's again because it's just too hard to pass up free pizookie. :) Those of you who don't have a reference for the amazing-ness of pikzookie, I urge you to google it, order it, make it, indulge in it. It's amazing.

Anyway, I ordered this humongous salad without knowing just how humongous it was and proceeded to engulf myself (figuratively of course) in the tasty fried onions, grilled chicken, sweet corn and all the other amazing elements of this plate. 

I was through a good portion of it before someone mentioned pizookie and I quickly dropped my fork, appalled that I had forgotten about dessert.
Stephanie and I ordered our birthday pizookie plates and delightfully dug in. At this point in the night, I was already full and was more than willing to share with two of the guys that had refrained from dessert. Sneaky little thieves got the better end of the deal on that one didn't they?

I had such a great night. So many good hard laughs and stories we'll tell and continue to laugh about. Thanks to Ashley, Jason, Marven, Stephanie, George and Zaul for a great night! Can't wait to do it again!

I had a sort of shift initiation this weekend. I worked until 10 both nights and then had to be back at 5 the next morning. It's the most extreme back to back shift I've ever worked and I survived. I won't lie, I did doze at my desk a few times during the slow moments in the office. Not to be outdone, my partner in crime for the morning, Jon, expertly got in more shut eye than I did during those downtimes. 

I was very thankful for the day off today after that although it wasn't as bad as my imagination had chalked it up to be. I spent the day catching up on errands and of course, in the kitchen. I had some requests to write about my mom's homemade sourdough and how it all works so I spent some time baking and snapping pictures today. Can't wait to share because it was a learning experience for me too.

My favorite part about my days off : fresh lunches!

I threw together a sandwich with Havarti cheese, fresh Roma tomatoes, spinach, hummus, pepper, and a very small amount of cooked pastrami on Tandoori Naan. Blueberries on the side to encourage and feed what few brain cells I have left.

Not too shabby for a quick, thrown together lunch. :)

It's back to work tomorrow but not before I bake something sweet to take with me. Still not sure what it's going to be... 
Off I go, back to the kitchen!

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