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My 50th Birthday

Posted Apr 22 2013 9:55am

Weight Watchers isn’t the only one turning 50 this year. I spent Saturday celebrating my 50th birthday in a very low key way which was just what I wanted…

Me with My 50th Birthday Cake

Me with My 50th Birthday Cake

Here’s me with the over-the-top birthday cake Mom made for me. It’s the Barefoot Contessa’s coconut cake filled with lemon curd and fresh raspberries and then topped with white icing and more fresh raspberries. This cake is clearly celebration worthy. So, I opted to splurge on a sliver and not even consider it’s PointsPlus values. Truthfully, it was easy not to get carried away since we enjoyed it at the end of a long day of eating and drinking and I only had room for a tiny sliver.

I began the day much more healthfully, walking Francie and then doing 50 sun salutations, dedicating each one to an important person in my life, past and present. It felt great but I gotta admit the last few left my arms quivering.

Then I ran out and did a last couple of errands, including running to Schreiner’s for smoked Spanish chorico that I needed for the Paella I was planning to make for dinner.

My birthday celebration officially began with lunch at True Food Kitchen , where the menu is based on Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory Diet. Mom, my sister, her husband, Rod, and I all enjoyed a delicious lunch outside on their patio.

I had the chopped chicken salad, a delicious combination of mixed greens, chicken, jicama, Manchego cheese, Marcona almonds, dried cranberries and dates tossed in a light champagne vinaigrette that I can’t wait to try to recreate at home…

True Foods Kitchen Chopped Chicken Salad

True Foods Kitchen Chopped Chicken Salad

After lunch my sister treated us to a truffle from Julia Baker Confections  chocolate shop and wine bar. All I can say is yum! I completely failed to take a photo of the shop and the French caramel truffle, which now gives me the perfect excuse to return for a do-over, something I intend to do very soon. I’ve just recently become familiar with Julia Baker, but I guess she’s a pretty big deal because she’s got a new show called Sweet Julia that just premiered last night on the Cooking Channel.

The rest of the afternoon was spent engaging in some of my favorite activities – relaxing, cooking, eating, drinking and opening presents….

My 50th Birthday Gifts

My 50th Birthday Gifts

My sister spoiled me with an incredible selection of fun foodstuffs which included thin mints (in honor of Dad), a selection of Penzey’s, yogurt dip seasoning, dulce de leche, satay peanut sauce, coconut water, anchovies, green curry paste, grey sea salt, and lemon curd. And now that I’m 50, she wanted to make sure I had a pair of reading glasses which will come in handy for reading menus, cookbooks and labels…

My First Pair of Reading Glasses

My First Pair of Reading Glasses

Thanks, Bren. Here’s what remains of the yummy sangria we enjoyed with our Spanish themed appetizers and dinner. I used  Ellie Krieger’s red sangria recipe from The Food Network. The only change I made was substituting half the brandy with Creme de Peche de Vigne…

Ellie Krieger's Sangria

Ellie Krieger’s Sangria

For dinner we had this refreshing Salad Francais-Espagnole from The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day , one of my favorite cookbooks of the moment that my sister is now having fun cooking from as well. Everything I’ve made from the book so far has turned out delicious and this salad of mixed greens, sliced red onion, orange, grapes and blue cheese was no exception…

The Bonne Femme Salad Francais-Espagnole

The Bonne Femme Salad Francais-Espagnole

It was the perfect accompaniment to our Paella. I know the pictures don’t do the dishes justice. But this party was about cooking, drinking and eating so it’s a wonder anyone remembered to snap a photo at all. I certainly didn’t, so thanks, Mom.

My First Attempt Making Paella - Not Bad If I Say So Myself!

My First Attempt Making Paella – Not Bad If I Say So Myself!

For a first attempt I think this Paella turned out pretty darned good, if I do say so myself. It’s something I definitely want to try again. I kinda mixed and matched two recipes – Mark Bittman’s Simple Paella from How to Cook Everything (Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition) and Kathleen Flinn’s Paella Valenciana from her book The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks .

I jotted down what I did and will try to post the recipe before I forget the details.

The weather was so perfect we were even able to dine al fresco, something I love to do as much as we can this time of year.

What was the PointsPlus value of this day of celebrating? I have no idea. And not an ounce or remorse. You only turn 50 once. It was a wonderful day. I’ll cherish the memories forever.

Isn’t that what happy, healthy, balanced living is all about?

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