Friday, February 17, 2012

Skating Rinks, Scrunchies, & Several Surprises

Some of my most favorite birthday memories were those spent at the local skating rink with my childhood friend Rachel who shares the same February 16th birthday. Both classes were invited, balloons donned the picnic tables plastered with plastic tablecloths, and cookie cakes piled high with sugary icing paraded themselves as centerpieces. Of the “rollerblade” generation, Rachel and I would look forward to another year at the rink where all eyes were on us in the disco lit oval stage. No matter how hard I tried, she always beat me in the round robin races but I am sure if there was a contest of who wore the most bracelets, the most washed denim, or had the blondest perm I would have won. Take note to new awards present day skating rinks. I just might show up and upstage on my birthday.

Birthday parties, office or family, can throw gluten intolerant gals and pals into a tizzy now a days. Cakes, cupcakes, cookies…I always feel bad making people go out of their way to make special arrangements. “Yes, please get me a cake. Just get make sure it’s gluten free. Oh, and you can only find them here and here. Don’t be surprised if it looks and feels like a brick too.” Not exactly the conversation you want to have around you birthday. And asking non-gluten free folks to bake at home for you? Forget about it! Asking my manager to foray into the unknown and risk explosive oven disasters doesn’t encourage job stability.

However, I was delightfully surprised multiple times yesterday. The first time was from my pops in our office lobby holding a beautiful bouquet of a dozen pink roses. (insert AWWWWWs here). They really brightened up and my day and desk! Thank you!

The second surprise came after lunch when my fellow coworkers serenaded me in an embarrassing rendition of 'Happy Birthday' and presented me with a Deerfields Bakery large, triple chocolate, gluten free brownie. Everyone was eager to dig in and it was, if I may say so myself, fabulous!! A little crumbly on the outside which I venture was due to packaging but magnificently moist on the inside. Rich squares of chocolate melted into smooth, sinful chocolate cake. This was a new brand for me and I highly recommend it! They found it at Merrits bakery here in town but if you are interested in their other products or aren’t local here is their site:

My husband surprised me with a birthday gift and took me out to dinner where my last surprise awaited. After a delicious local dinner at Juniper, one of the chefs, Justin Benner, surprised me with a delicious ending to the night…a silky mousse topped with ripe blueberries and raspberries. Now at this point I must admit a few things. One, I was stuffed more than my husband’s tenderloin special. Two, I am not the biggest dessert buff. I love making it but I am more a salt craver. However, neither of these points stopped me from attacking the seducing martini glass holding heaven in dessert form. I barely took a breath. I am sure I looked quite charming to the onlooker but I didn’t care.

On a side note, if you haven’t tried out Juniper yet, I highly recommend it!! Plus, I know you want one more reason to support local. Here is their website:

All in all, one of the best birthdays I have ever had. It didn’t involve perms, scrunchied pony tails/t-shirts, or a skating rink, but it held some thoughtful and delicious surprises. Maybe I will call up Rachel for a white wash denim dual at the rink next year.

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