This past weekend was my 25th birthday. To some, it may be the sign of old age creeping closer; but to me, it was a celebration of my youth and my life thus far. Life has handed me quite a bit, especially in the last 5 years. As with every year, this birthday was an acknowledgement of the years I’ve put behind me and a wide open acceptance of what is yet to come. This particular year, a milestone, is going to be a great one and this birthday certainly represented that.

Last weekend we started with an early celebration with Stu’s parents at their place in Long Beach Island on the Jersey shore. I got a great birthday cake, as well as some really neat treats.

Stu’s parents got me an awesome apron that perfectly matches the Chartreuse color-scheme in our kitchen. I’ve needed an apron for the longest time but have never thought to get one. Often I will smear flour, oil, and random food bits all over my clothes during and after cooking. This will be great. They also got me this awesome tote-able baking set from QVC. It also matches our kitchen with an awesome black and white polka dot theme and has two transportable baking dishes and a thermal tote bag to put everything in. The best way I can describe it is by including the link: Temp-tations Polka Dot Tote Bag. Adorable!  Can’t wait to put this to use around the holiday season and for picnics next summer.

For my actual birthday, Stu and I went to dinner at Amis, Marc Vetri’s latest restaurant in Philadelphia. We started out with Eggplant Caponata bruscetta, which I forgot how much I looooove. We also split an appetizer of figs wrapped in prosciutto in a ricotta sauce. Three of my favorite things, and very delicious. I love fresh figs and was so excited to see them on the menu, they are starting to pop up everywhere now that Fall is approaching. For dinner, Stu got a dish of Guinea Hen encrusted in (yes, more) prosciutto and I had bucatini- my favorite pasta- with fresh artichokes and pistachios. For dessert we split a blackberry Sabayon with (yes, more) pistachios. It was a great dinner and the atmosphere was perfect for what we were looking for. Laid back, not too casual and not too dressy, and the perfect spot for good conversation. Also, if you skip the appetizers and just go for a meal and drinks, it is very reasonably priced. I encourage everyone to check this place out, but make sure you book your reservation well in advance this place is hot hot hot right now!

We celebrated my birthday at midnight on Thursday with leftover cake from the shore; which Stu dropped on our porch and didn’t tell me until after I blew out my sparklers. We paired the cake with Art In the Age ROOT liquor over eggnog ice cream.

Saturday night we went out with great friends from all over the place. Some from college, some from home, and some who I haven’t seen in a while. We frequented my favorite neighborhood bar, the Pub on Passyunk East or the POPE and has some great beers and delicious appetizers. It was so good to see everyone and have many of my favorite people in one place for a wonderful celebration.

My good friend Natalie, an avid reader of this blog, knows how much time I love to spend in the kitchen. She picked up some great goodies from Williams Sonoma in the form of Lemon Poppyseed Quick Bread Mix and awesome pasta that I immediately put on display and will be sad when I have to cook it and can’t show it off anymore.

And of course, how can I forget one of most thoughtful and most useful gifts I received for my birthday!? I’ve been writing this blog for over a year now off of a 2003 Dell 1100 Inspiron. It’s gone through two hard drives since I first got it for my freshman year in college. It’s been reformatted at least 3 times, it has shotty internet connection, overheats, freezes when I try to play any music or movie, takes about 25 minutes to upload a picture, and weighs about 30 pounds. I hate it, but it’s a computer and I haven’t been able to afford a new one. I’ve made a lot of improvements to this blog since I first started writing it and I’ve become a lot more serious and dedicated to the content that I include. It was time that I have a more serious computer. And that’s just what Stu got me.

Also, get a good look at that Peach Pie; it’s the only photo I got to take before we dug into it!

I can’t tell you how much easier it is to search for a recipe or an ingredient when I’m in a pinch about what to make for dinner or when I first get our CSA share and I have no idea what to do with something like cabbage. I can pick up the computer and bring it into the kitchen and cook with it right in front of me. (I really can! I already did it! Twice!) I can organize my pictures faster and easier and load them in a matter of seconds, as opposed 5 or 10 minutes. And I can blog to my hearts content. Which I will certainly be doing even more of, now that it is totally convenient.

I can’t express what a truly marvelous birthday I had this year. I am so excited to go through my 25th year and experience all of the things that life has in store for me this year. Thanks to everyone who contributed to my birthday this year, I am a REALLY lucky girl.  Cheers!