Birthday/St. Patty's Day celebration.
Here we are at the beginning of the work week again….hope your St. Patrick’s Day weekend was festive and memorable! Since my birthday was March 14, this past weekend was basically an extension of a celebration that started last Wednesday at Maggiano’s, when my sister Carolyn, sister-in-law Lisa and Mom treated me to a fabulous lunch. There they also presented me with a gorgeous Ann Klein ceramic watch in navy, and a decadently delicious cake from Clay’s Bakery.
One of my favorite birthday presents this year!
This past Saturday evening, some wonderful friends hosted a lovely birthday dinner, where in addition to a multitude of great presents including Oscar de la Renta perfume, a Steve Madden keychain, a pretty hard-bound journal and pen, a 1928 necklace and so many other beautiful things I will definitely treasure, I also savored one of Pat’s typical gourmet meals — along with everyone else in attendance. It started with a new appetizer, hot asparagus dip, which I managed to eat without the accompanying crackers, opting instead for sliced red bell peppers. Pat also served the familiar pigs in the blanket, but I am proud to report I didn’t eat one, since they’re definitely a no-no on Atkins!
Also a no-no? Lemon Chiffon cake, but hey it was my birthday and since Pat made it at my request I had to at least eat a small piece, right? I don’t know if that link is identical to the recipe she used but several years ago she baked one for another event — and I was immediately smitten. From that point on, lemon chiffon cake became one of my very favorites (although chocolate still ranks pretty high! ;)).
Presents and food aside, Pat and Bill’s enduring friendship, the result of a very close childhood friendship I once shared with their daughter but lost at the age of 19 (a long story I will blog about someday soon) is a gift in itself. And for the past 25+ years since their daughter rejected everyone who loved her including them, Pat and Bill’s friendship has expanded to include my parents, siblings, nieces, nephews and cousins. It reminds me of the old saying about God closing a door and opening a window, and the old adage that something good always emerges from painful events.
A holiday person in the tradition of my cousin Maris, Pat’s home was decked out in St. Patty’s Day fashion, and she herself wore a beautiful kelly-green blouse to honor her Irish half — along with an apron designating her Italian side! 😉
Our talented cook Pat, posing with Mom in the kitchen.
So now that St. Patty’s Day is over, it’s time to look ahead to Easter. And what better way to celebrate than by baking a traditional Italian offering, Easter Bread? Ah, one of my favorite holiday creations — also in violation of the Atkins diet!
Finally, I want to thank everyone for their support of the Freedom Forum, whose contributions consistently rank at the top of this blog’s most popular posts. These essays were all part of a previous project that never came to fruition, so I am proud and pleased to be able to post them here, in an effort to remind Americans and freedom-loving people everywhere that liberty is not to be taken for granted and that we owe a huge debt to all those who fought to secure it — past and present. It is our hope that by reading these short, but informative pieces, you’ll be inspired to learn more and do your own research. To all of the Freedom Forum writers: Don Smith, Luanne Jacobs, Brooke Musterman, Dave Smith, Steve Parkhurst, Stephanie Janiczek, Joan Schaefer-Poach and Diane Student — THANK YOU for allowing me to publish your excellent work!
What are your plans and goals for the week ahead? Wishing you a productive one!