Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Birthday Extravaganza !

Well hello sweet friends! First of all, THANK YOU for the sweet birthday messages and e-mails, it was SUCH a blessed day! And yes, my cookies were FABULOUS! Speaking of which, my friend Andrea, whom I've previously featured, decided SHE was going to make my birthday oatmeal cookies for her visiting friend, and they were GREAT. She switched it up a bit and instead of raisins, did semi-sweet morsels... WAY TO GO GIRL! Sounds so good!

Ok back to business! So today I thought I'd share with you a hodgepodge of different tasty things. Our last few days have been filled with A LOT of eating and cooking and it's all TOO good to not be shared! :) Let's start with the pre-birthday dinner drinks. We had a little bit of a busy day and everyone was still running around getting ready for dinner so just dad and I went up to our favorite corner spot, The Wine Cellar. If there's ANY place I highly recommend for a great glass of wine and a NICE atmosphere, it's here. The place is gorgeous, dons my most favorite wall paper and the owner is SO French and SO wonderful!
(that's him!)
(these are obviously from a few different nights)

Also on a practical "ok but how good's the food" note, the MUSTARD that they serve with their pretzels, tomatoes or cheese plates... oh. my. gosh. Dad and I went NUTSO on this spicy dijon. It's like nothing you've ever tasted and it paired SO well with my chianti. So definitely make a stop at The Wine Cellar and have hors d'oeuvres and a nice glass of red before heading out to your next dinner party.
(again... from a different night, just to show you how much we frequent it! and also to show you the wallpaper... SO great right!?)

It's been a tradition since I was about 9 years old to have my birthday dinner at Mickey & Mooch here in Cornelius, NC. This place will OFTEN be seen, featured and reviewed on Recitherapy because IT IS THE ABSOLUTE BEST. Seriously, there's no place like it for food, service and value; not to mention they have the world's GREATEST 9 layer chocolate cake that will make you think you died the nicest, moistest chocolate death and have arrived at the milky chocolaty gates of cocoa heaven (yeah, i just used all of those ridiculous adjectives). ANYWAYS, let me tell you about our dinner.. because it was perfect.... best company and best food.
Gege, Momma, Dad...
James, Myself, Brent... only one missing was Jordy :( and yes of COURSE LuLu was there!

I'm not actually kidding when I say that we were at Mickey & Mooch the night BEFORE this birthday party here... so I'm going to show you my birthday meal AND my night before meal... both are worth show & tell. Birthday meal: Cheeseburger and bleu cheese wedge salad. (and also stole half of mom's tomato cream pasta) Oh yeah. James said I was allowed to cheat on our low-carb diet since it was my birthday. ;) (don't judge)
BEAUTiful glass of Pascual Toso malbec
(yes those are onion rings.. i highly recommend those as well. dad ordered those and i just TASTED them so they didn't count as part of my meal) ;)
bleu cheese wedge
pasta tomato cream
You already know how I feel about bleu cheese but you guys... let me TELL YOU AGAIN how I feel about bleu cheese. I LOVE BLEU CHEESE. So you can imagine my JOY when THAT mound of lettuce and crumbly bite-y cheese gets put under my fork. It is TRULY the best I've EVER had anywhere. And the best thing yet... it's home made, Mickey & Mooch recipe. TO DIE FOR. The tomato cream pasta... not very impressive to look at but take my word for it, you'll want to swim in it when you taste it. And I know you've gotta be thinking, "what is she, 5?" that I ordered a cheeseburger of all things from a fabulous steak house... but I'll tell you what.. I've discovered that the best cheeseburgers you can find are at steak houses. Why NOT think 'cheeseburger' when you're at a gourmet restaurant? It's going to be the best ground round you've ever had! AND THIS IS. They use such juicy, flavorful meat, it's ALWAYS cooked perfectly to my liking, the cheese is sharp and delicious and the BRIOCHE BUN... oh man. You can see it's coated in glistening egg and butter wash. This is not a bun you should make a habit of eating but when it's your birthday, c'mon.

Did you think I forgot the cake? I didn't.
Seriously? It's the size of my head.
You guys, this was my wedding cake I love it so much. Let me clarify.. we had 10 WHOLE cakes at our wedding... 1 ENTIRE CAKE for each table. "What were you thinking?," you ask. We were thinking chocolate, chocolate and MORE chocolate. And that's what we got! :)

BEST birthday ever... Thank You, Jesus!

Night before meal: Caesar salad with grilled chicken...
This salad may not look like the "belle of the ball," but it is! Again, they house make this unbelievable caesar dressing that is creamy but clean all at once. I don't even LIKE caesar dressing.. at ALL. And you will never catch me eating a caesar salad ANYwhere else. But here, it's the 'go-to' option when a big, juicy steak just isn't sounding good (which is hardly ever).

NOW- What you've ALL been waiting for... WE ARE MAKING THE CHILI because the COOK-OFF  IS TOMORROW. I wish I could show you how hysterical it is in here right now... we're ALL cooking in the SAME KITCHEN! INSANITY! Listen, we are competitive. And it is getting INTENSE. Luckily, James and I raced home from our family gathering at Starbucks this morning and were the FIRST ONES in the kitchen! We finished our chili in record time and got it stored away before anyone could see what we were doing... except dad, he cheated a little. ;)
(isn't he so hot in the kitchen? geez!)
Friends, let me just tell you now so it's on the record TWICE... WE ARE GOING TO WIN this thing!

ONE MORE THING to show you before I call it a post, I know we're getting long here. I am SO happy to show you Jessica Joyner's DECADENT Ultimate Brownies that she made for her and her husband just last night!

THANK YOU so much for sharing that with me, Jessi! So glad you guys loved them! (sorry about Booney's T-shirt!) ;) .... it took a hit with the chocolate batter! "so worth it," she said!

So there we have it you guys... I've got A LOT more to show you from the past 3 days but I'm going to save it for future days! More to come such as Dad's meat pies, really great cornbread, Gege's spanakopita... etc etc etc. SO, keep an eye out and THANK YOU again for your continued support and messages! I LOVE that you guys are making these recipes and enjoying discovering your OWN cooking and baking skills! What an encouraging thing for you AND me!

Wish us luck for tomorrow night! ;) LOTS OF LOVE!

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