Monday, February 23, 2009

Celebration = Food????

The past few weeks have been overwhelmingly celebratory...and I have LOVED every minute of it! I guess it all started with a fun tradition of Baking Day with my two best friends. Every year at Christmas time, we set aside one day to spend together, talk, bake, and then personally deliver the goods to our families. We even have matching embroidered aprons. Yea...we're pretty intense.

This year, however, Christmas got to be a bit busy so we had our official Baking Day for Valentine's Day. We baked homemade sugar cookies with almond extract. We even hand sifted the dry ingredients! Then, we decorated them with lots of LOVE!

Little did I know, that my wonderful friends and family had a SURPRISE BIRTHDAY PARTY planned for me! I thought we were delivering Valentine's cookies to my friend, Elizabeth's parents' house, but when a walked into their house, there were about 30 people yelling "Surprise"! It was completely unexpected, and really one of the best gifts I have EVER received! I absolutely LOVE the people in my life!

The Mediterranean menu that my sister and friends prepared for my SURPRISE PARTY. Greek chicken, pitas, hummus, olives, vegetables, cheeses, feta/cranberry/nut salad, artichoke dip, etc. Also, there was a Chef's Market fresh strawberry cake!!

J. Alexander's is one of my favorites - the consistent quality and the wide variety offered on the menu without being too overwhelming.
This was a Birthday Lunch with my co-workers. J's famous mac 'n cheese, grilled zuccini, cauliflower/brocolli, and orzo & wild rice with berries and nuts.

Momma Sue comes through once again! Grilled asparagus sandwiches with Havarti cheese on Morrocan olive bread. I made the salad of baby spinach, strawberries, and homemade orange vinagrette.

Compliments of Whole Foods Grocery:
*Grilled Swordfish with capers and sundried tomatoes*
*Cous Cous with raisins & olives*
*Butternut squash risotto cakes*
*Broccoli rabe with fresh garlic*
*Pluots & blueberries*

Dinner to celebrate our TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY
at MAD PLATTER in Germantown.
*I ordered roasted duck with gnocchi, butternut squash, chorizo, and honey reduction.*
*Jordan had grouper with P.E.I. mussels and andouille sausage.*
It was elegant, but really tasty. The flavors were perfectly complimented by one another - the sweetness of the honey with the creamy butternut squash and melt-in-your-mouth duck meat.

CELEBRATIONS continue...
BRIXX Wood-Fired Pizzas for Cori's 25th Birthday!
Thin Whole Wheat crust with peppers, onions, mushrooms, mozzerella, and broccoli.
There is no substitute for the flavor the wood burning oven gives these pizzas.

the perfect birthday cake for my friend, cori

Colorful SUNDAY BIRTHDAY LUNCH with the gang!
Jan's chicken fajitas
Grilled peppers and onions
Yellow rice
Homemade fresh guacamole

More than just the delicious things I have eaten throughout all of the celebrating, I love to look back on the memories made with the people I love. I am surrounded on a daily basis by amazing, talented, caring, hilarious, creative, sincere friends. (And that is just mentioning a few characteristics!) It is truly a blessing to have people in my life who care about me enough to take part in these events. These are the people who remind me each day of how lucky I am and how full of happiness my life is.

Also, we give each other an excuse to EAT! I love that the people around me generally appreciate meals together, like to try new foods, and understand the importance I place on what I eat. Thank you to all who helped make the past few weeks one big party!

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