Birthday Dinners + Birthday Cakes (My Son’s Birthday)

Yesterday was my son’s birthday! 17. Who can believe that? I know I can’t. I mean, I’ve been writing this blog since he was what — nine years old?! That alone is crazy to me. But the fact that I have a son who is seventeen, driving his own car and applying to college (well I’m the one who is doing all of that paperwork) is just complete insanity.

Backing up a bit to last Friday, I met my friend Lisa for a quick lunch outdoors at Chopt. I hadn’t actually seen Lisa in MONTHS that she even joked that maybe we wouldn’t recognize each other since we were wearing masks. I used to see Lisa literally every day when our boys were babies/toddlers. We did everything together to keep those two (and ourselves) busy and happy. We were the queens of mall walking with strollers (which was my only form of exercise back then and I wouldn’t change that decision for the world).

Chopt

Flashback photo to my son’s first birthday party with Lisa and her son! Our boys are ten days apart so Lisa and I always planned their parties at the same time, even having their first birthday parties at the same place with the same theme, same balloons, and the same party favors. Those were the days!

benji first birthday

My son has been celebrating his birthday for days with both friends and family. One night of birthday dinners, we had dinner from Mother Kelly’s. I had the hot-cold salad which is simply THE BEST salad. Truly, the hot-cold salad has the best combination of ingredients and flavors which doesn’t shock me. Mother Kelly’s has always been a top Long Island Italian restaurant and one of my favorites since I’m a little girl. It was always my choice for my birthday dinners growing up.

hot cold salad

I wanted to get creative this year with my son’s birthday cake because he was going to be having so many but no, he wants his favorite classic birthday cake combination and I can respect that. Yellowcake with chocolate fudge frosting. Thankfully he doesn’t request vanilla frosting, I would need my own cake if he did that.

birthday cake

Here’s a quick picture while we were unpacking last night’s birthday dinner. A wide range of sushi and appetizers from Cirella’s.

sushi

We did slightly vary last night’s birthday cake to a chocolate cake with the chocolate fudge frosting! As long as he picks chocolate fudge frosting, I’m thrilled.

chocolate fudge birthday cake

A Birthday Food Recaps From Previous Years

My Son’s Birthday Meals 2019

My Son’s Birthday Weekend/Meals 2018

Birthday in Food 2017

Birthday in Food (Bar Mitzvah Year!) 2016

WIAW Birthday Edition 2015

What’s your favorite type of birthday cake?

Talking About Biggest Slices of Cake

I’m always interested (and quite often, amused) by the search terms which lead people to my blog.

Lately, it seems as though I’m getting all sorts of search combinations on the subject of cake.

“Is it okay to eat cake for lunch?” YES. If the cake is what you want, the cake is what you should have.

“Carbs in the cake?” Who cares. If you want cake, eat the cake.

“Should I count the carbs in the cake?” Um, no way. Not if you want to enjoy it!

You should know that I enjoyed this slice of Linda’s Fudge Cake the other afternoon simply because I had a random chocolate cake craving that needed to be satisfied.

linda's fudge cake

I think that the cake search terms land people on my blog because of my history of writing about how it is okay to eat cake for lunch. It is okay to crave cake and eat it. It’s okay to not think about the nutritional content (or lack thereof) in a slice of cake.

I’m waiting for a macros question about the cake to appear in my search terms. Although, a macro question probably won’t appear because I don’t talk about tracking macros as I do not find the subject of any interest < – Nicest way for me to phrase that.

I know I don’t talk often anymore about disordered eating and topics like that but my stance on the subject is still the same. Eat what you crave with an overall focus on a nutrient dense lifestyle. Fruits, vegetables, whole foods over processed when you can with cake or whatever you crave in the mix on a regular basis. It’s a good balance. A balance that shifts, adjusts, and changes but overall, I tend to think it’s a great approach.

Anyway.

On to my most favorite cake search term as of late–

“The Biggest Slices Of Cake!”

My favorite part of this google search might be the exclamation point! That was one serious Googler. They were not messing around as they searched for the biggest slices of cake.

With all of these recent cake search terms, I decided to look back at my biggest slices of cake and favorite cake moments that I’ve shared on the blog.

Pizzeria Uno

First, I thought of this slice of cake from Pizzeria Uno.

It was definitely super big even if the picture doesn’t display just how big it was. I’m pretty sure it’s the biggest slice of chocolate cake to make it to my blog actually.

chocolate cake

Linda’s Fudge Cake

There are MANY references to Linda’s Fudge Cake on my blog.

I mean, I’ve been writing this blog for over SIX YEARS now. Linda’s Fudge Cake is definitely a favorite of mine so of course it’s been featured over and over again.

I think the old version of Linda’s Fudge Cake was bigger than it is now. Here’s an old picture of the original Linda’s Fudge Cake. It used to be served on its side.

lindas fudge cake

The Cheesecake Factory gave Linda’s Fudge Cake a redesign, if you will, a few years ago. I wrote a post about it entitled, They Changed Linda’s Fudge Cake which has become a top 10 blog post search on a weekly basis ever since. Apparently, people are constantly searching to learn what happened to the old style of Linda’s Fudge Cake. At first, I was annoyed about the switch but now I’ve gotten used to it.

linda's fudge cake

linda's fudge cake

P.F. Chang’s

I believe this slice of cake is the wall of cake from P.F. Chang’s. Almost forgot all about this one!

chocolate cake

Cold Stone Creamery

Oh, and we can’t forget about Cold Stone Creamery Cakes!

I do not love straight up ice cream cake but Cold Stone Creamery cakes combine cake with ice cream — so extremely delicious!

This Cold Stone cake was from my son’s birthday in 2014. Who remembers it? I can’t forget it as I made the person at the store crazy with my instructions for the toppings that were both mixed into the ice cream and placed on top of the cake.

cold stone birthday cake

cold stone birthday cake

Birthday Cakes

I’ve shared many of my own birthday cakes over the years, which are always chocolate. Chocolate cake is the only cake ever to make it to my blog. The only exception would be a vanilla cake with chocolate frosting. Always chocolate frosting! Vanilla is just not allowed.

birthday cake

birthday cake

When I’m in charge of the cake for someone else’s birthday, the person receives a chocolate cake too. This one was for my mom.

birthday cake

And here’s another birthday cake for my son.

chocolate fudge cake

And if this isn’t one of the biggest plates filled with cakes, I don’t know what is! Remember this from my 40th birthday brunch?!

cakes

What is your favorite type of cake?

If you are a blogger, what are some of the most common search terms you receive?

 

Let’s Talk Birthday Cake (plus birthday weekend recap)

Happy June 5 to me!

It’s still a little bit shocking to me that today is my 39th birthday and that I am at the end of my thirties. I am still sitting here wondering where my twenties went, let alone my thirties!

Considering I started out my thirties with a divorce process and a visit to my attorney’s office (really, who does that on their 30th birthday?), I would say that things only got better as this decade of my life went on.

My thirties have actually been really fun if you want to know the truth. Probably more fun than my twenties (not that I remember my twenties) which maybe means my 40’s will be even better than my thirties!

I am totally not up for discussing that 40 is next however, I do have big party plans in place for that birthday. I will be celebrating down in Florida for sure. That party plan has been set between Heather and I for years now!

If you are looking for a big birthday weekend recap, you have come to the wrong place.

I feel like this weekend was more of a mom life weekend with some good food and cakes thrown in to the mix. My son had two hockey games this weekend plus plans with friends which meant a whole lot of driving back, forth and all over according to his schedule.

I did escape on Saturday for a bit though and enjoyed my first slice of birthday cake.

chocolate cake

And then last night, we celebrated my birthday with my parents.

We went out for dinner to Piccolo which was an old favorite restaurant of mine from growing up. I hadn’t been there in a while and now I can’t wait to go back! Dinner was so good.

They still give the same appetizer salad (along with a delicious bread basket which includes cut up Sicilian pizza!).

Piccolo salad

I went in to dinner knowing I wanted mozzarella sticks. Random craving completely satisfied.

Piccolo mozzarella sticks

It’s rare that I choose pasta but the grilled vegetables served over whole wheat pasta sounded perfect. In a light garlic and oil, it was delicious. Usually I go for tomato-based sauces but I really liked this for a change.

grilled vegetables with whole wheat pasta

Let’s talk birthday cake.

Of course I picked out my own birthday cake. No one can really be trusted with this task as most will get it wrong and my birthday cake can’t be wrong.

We went to The Bakery (in Plainview) for the chocolate layer cake. Vanilla cake and chocolate fudge frosting is a perfect combination especially when the chocolate fudge frosting is thick without being too sweet.

As we waited for the bakery lady to write on the cake, I picked a few bakery cookies to eat in the mean time.

bakery cookies

I thought it was so smart of me to take a picture of my birthday cake for the blog before my son could get to it and maybe mess it up somehow. Well, he beat me to it when I wasn’t looking. Do I know my boy or what?

Can you see he removed the letter P and took off a piece from the corner of the chocolate? He thinks he is very funny.

birthday cake

I was actually surprised that my son let me have the chocolate piece from the top of the cake. Gosh I love chocolate fudge layer cake, especially from The Bakery. If you are a local reader, I hope you go to one of The Bakery’s locations (there’s one in Albertson, Plainview and Commack).

chocolate layer cake

Monday birthdays can be weird birthdays. I mean, sure, you can celebrate all weekend but then Monday comes and it’s your actual birthday and routine of life takes over which can be sort of whatever.

Today’s birthday will not be just another Monday for me though!

I will be heading into the city this afternoon for some shopping (Bloomingdales and Saks is my plan) and then out for a birthday dinner (with more birthday cake).

After some careful thought, I decided that 38 was my favorite year from my thirties. Here’s to hoping 39 tops 38!

Previous Birthday Recaps:

Birthday 2016: A Soul Cycle & Pure Barre Birthday plus Fudge Cake from Torta Fina.

Birthday 2015That time my mom took the last bite of our dessert

Birthday 2014 – Giant ice cream brownie and cookie sundae, so good!

Birthday 2013Edible Arrangements and dinner at Prime!

[bctt tweet=”The start of my birthday recap! #birthday #birthdaycake #birthdaydinner @thebakery #piccolo” username=”cookiechrunicle”]

Would you have liked my birthday cake or would you have picked something different?

When is your birthday and what day of the week is it this year?

Who else is in their thirties? Can you remember your twenties or are they are blur?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birthday Recap & Bar Mitzvah Week!

 

So, like I want to go on and on about how this is the week of my son’s Bar Mitzvah and OMG I can’t even believe it is here but I know you want to hear about my son’s birthday dinner and dessert from the other night so that’s what we will discuss first.

For the first time in years, my son chose a different restaurant for his birthday dinner. He must really be growing up to decide he needed a fancier meal and I was more than okay with it.

His selection: Blackstone Steakhouse.

We started with sushi as an appetizer. I don’t even know which roll we ordered but it was delicious. I have always loved Blackstone’s food, especially the sushi. I used to be more of a regular here, it’s actually the restaurant I went to that night I had cookies for dinner. Remember that story?

blackstone sushi

Since I no longer eat steak, I ordered a salad and shared the two side dishes which were onion strings (my favorite!) and mashed potatoes.

I would have chosen the hashed browns because those are always the best in steakhouses but my son wanted the mashed potatoes and it was his birthday so I didn’t argue. Honestly, as long as he agreed to the onion strings I didn’t really care what else was on the table.

blackstone steakhouse

Nothing is more exciting to me than a really good chocolate fudge frosted birthday cake.

I ordered exactly what my son requested from The Bakery – a vanilla cake with chocolate fudge frosting – and I still bought the fun birthday plates and cute candles even though he is now too cool as a teenager because if you ask me, it’s the fun plates and cute candles that help to make the special birthday tradition memories in our childhood.

birthday cake

I had more than my share of the birthday cake Thursday night which had me craving crazy healthy vegetables by Friday morning.

Aside from the salad at dinner, vegetables have been at a minimum since I was sick a few weeks ago. Even though I feel completely better, I always get thrown off for a really long time after being sick. Just to give you an idea of how thrown off I can get, I became a meatless eater after a terrible stomach virus almost five years ago. You can read the story of My Meatless Diet if you missed it.

I listened to my appetite though and went over to Whole Foods for the food bar around lunch time while out running some errands.

While in theory this brown box seemed like the right thing to eat, I really did not enjoy it. Taste wise it was just kinda bleh to me, I didn’t even finish it, and of course my stomach starting freaking out from the fiber that I am not so used to eating right now. Oh well, I tried.

whole foods food bar

In other news from the week, my feet are finally feeling better and less cramped after walking  too many city blocks in heels on Wednesday. I know I briefly mentioned my feet being bothered in yesterday’s half marathon training recap and also mentioned the other day that I had been at Kleinfeld’s city showroom for Bridal Fashion week.

I had stayed in the city a little longer than I technically needed to because I went out for dinner (no pictures) and then walked several blocks to the NHL store to get my son a birthday gift. For the life of me I could not get a taxi back to my car so I had to walk something like a total of 50 blocks after working the fashion show.

I took this picture of Times Square for you because somehow I ended up there too. It was quite a busy day.

times square

The Bar Mitzvah:

It’s basically here! Do you know how crazy this is to me? This Bar Mitzvah has been in the back of my mind since my son was born and the planning has been active for a good two years.

We went for dessert Saturday night at Cold Stone after my son’s hockey game, at the exact time one week before his Bar Mitzvah would begin.

As we ate (my Cold Stone creation is made with frozen yogurt), I told my son how well I can still recall the Saturday night before my wedding. While Bar Mitzvahs are not the same as weddings, they are a really big deal and a monumental moment in Jewish life. I also told my son this is the only big affair I will get to plan for him because most likely, his future wife’s family will handle their wedding. 🙂

cold stone sundae

I finalized a ton of the remaining Bar Mitzvah details last week:

  • Final meeting with caterer is done!
  • Reviewed Set Up & timeline of events
  • Scheduled my drop of time for this week (need to drop off exit treats, favors, sock baskets etc.)
  • Finished candle lighting poems
  • Packed most of the favors

Of course a few things did not go as planned. Some of the logo drawstring backpacks (which are used as packaging for the actual favors) arrived damaged so I am waiting for the replacement bags to come today so I can finish packing up the favors for the kids. Also, the dancer logo t-shirts arrived with the logo printed on the back instead of the front which means they need to go back to press and remake them.

This week is another short week for us which is good because the excitement is slightly overwhelming. My son is off today for Columbus day, off Wednesday for Yom Kippur and then off again on Friday because we have a final Bar Mitzvah service rehearsal Friday morning.

How lucky is this kid to only have two days of school this week?!

Linking up with Meg’s week in review!

Week-In-Review-Button-Final

[bctt tweet=”birthday recap & bar mitzvah week! #weekend #birthday #birthdaycake #barmitzvah #mitzvahplanning #blackstone” username=”cookiechrunicle”]

3 things you did over the weekend?

Are you off today?

Do you have a favorite restaurant that you like to go to on your birthday?

Edited to add:

The Bar Mitzvah

Bar Mitzvah Candy Table Pictures

The Bar Mitzvah: A Year Later

Best Bat Mitzvah Food Recap + Love The Bat Mitzvah Exit Treats

snacks, brunch, the beach & happiest moment in my life!

 

 

I needed to restock the kitchen a bit over the weekend before my son arrived home from camp. Since he always complains about Trader Joe’s cereals (and really, Trader Joe’s anything), I did my best to get some non-Trader Joe’s snacks and cereals that would hopefully meet my son’s requirements.

snacks and cereals

I thought he would love the Eggo Chocolate Chip Pancake Bites especially since they come in pouches (the ingredients list wasn’t even too horrendous).

The truth is, we parents need to figure out the balance between raising our kids to understand the importance of healthy, nutritious meals while giving them the okay to eat the snacks and treats they desire.

Some snacks and cereals are better choices than others but the reality is, if we don’t let our kids have some of the processed stuff, they will find it elsewhere, craving it and seeking it out more than if we just allow it. We all ate the “junk” growing up and survived.

I had friends whose parents were so insanely strict with food that when they got away from their parents, these kids ate everything “off-limits” that they could get their hands on.

As my son gets older, it’s just not possible for me to expect him to take homemade granola bars to school or to eat only the foods I suggest. I may not like his food choices all of the time but I gotta let him live. One day he will get it.

I did pick up a box of these new Trader Joe’s Raises the Bar Chewy Granola Bars though, have you tried them yet?

They are made with oats, millet, quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat. I can’t say I liked the one I tried though and the dark chocolate chunks were extremely sparse. Like maybe 3 little chunks of dark chocolate in one bar.

I may return the box to the store.

Trader Joe's Raises The Bar

My really good friend Lisa and I kept trying to make a lunch plan or dinner plan for the last two months which is just ridiculous. When our boys were babies, we spent every single day together walking the malls and raising our kids together. We were our own mommy and me and now life keeps getting in the way.

We finally made a plan for an early brunch at our favorite Premier Diner which was just perfect. We couldn’t decide between the baked oatmeal or the yogurt parfait so we ordered both and shared it. Genius idea.

Lisa and I have the exact same palette for food which was one of the reasons we were instant BFFs when we met back when our boys were only five months old.

Premiere Diner baked oatmeal and yogurt parfait

I spent Saturday at my aunt’s beach house again which is my favorite place to be in the summer ever since I am a little girl.

I was so excited to see that she had made her famous corn flake crumb chicken (and used the breading on veal this time too) so even though I no longer eat meat and didn’t get a picture of what I ate, I made sure to get the picture of the corn flake crumbs!

Remember, I just mentioned her famous breading in my recipe challenge post on Friday.

My aunt is the best cook ever. Not pictured is a really easy and delicious skillet corn dish that she told me how to make so I am going to hopefully give it a try this week and report back!

cornflake crumbs and lunch selection

Even by the beach, it was crazy hot outside due to the heat wave but by later in the afternoon, it was comfortable in the backyard because there was a nice breeze.

You know you have reached old age when you just look at the pool you used to swim in as a kid rather than actually go in to get wet.

pool

This is how I eat cake by the way. I carve out the chocolate filling and leave the cake parts.

birthday cake

And my son is home! I am pretty sure that seeing the parade of buses pull up yesterday from the sleep away camps was the happiest moment in my life.

Seriously. I don’t think I have ever been more excited or happier in my life.

buses from camp

And because I know my bunny so well, Chopt was his first meal home request but first we stopped home so he could see his room all redone (and I forced him into the shower immediately. Like I turned the shower water on and said get yourself in there and don’t come out for at least ten minutes).

Chopt salads

He has not stopped talking about all of his experiences this summer at sleep away camp. Although he for sure missed being home, I can see that sending him to this camp was the best decision ever and he agreed, even thanking me for the experience.

We went over to see my parents for dinner, picking up pizza because pizza was the next request after Chopt. I don’t blame him, I would miss New York pizza too. Even though camp was in upstate New York, their pizza isn’t the same.

pizza

You know how I really know sleep away camp was the best decision? Rather than play around with his cell phone as soon as he was home, my son requested a deck of cards so that we could play all of the card games he learned while at camp.

Being unplugged is probably the greatest part about sleep away camp today. Kids today need a chance to interact without technology and do the things we kids did for years before cell phones and social media existed. 🙂

We have three weeks until school starts!

[bctt tweet=”snacks, brunch, cake and pizza #weekend #brunch #snacks #traderjoes #pizza #beach” username=”cookiechrunicle”]

3 things you did over the weekend?

First thing you think of as the happiest moment in your life?

Favorite cereal as a kid?

 

 

 

Birthday Weekend 2016

 

I love birthdays! Thank you all so much for your birthday comments, emails and messages. So super sweet 🙂

I know we are all waiting to hear what I finally decided for my birthday cake. Let’s talk about the rest of the weekend a bit first and then I promise, cake details!

The Workouts:

I recapped Saturday morning’s SoulCycle & Pure Barre birthday party in yesterday’s post but I am sharing the photo of Dina and me from Pure Barre again because it makes me so happy.

pure barre

I am thrilled to say that Saturday’s double workout did not leave me sore at all (other than in my seat area from sitting on the darn spin bike but you know I have tush issues so did you expect anything less?) so I was able to happily run my birthday miles yesterday morning.

I have gotten in the habit over the last few years of going for a nice run on my birthday as my way of relaxing < – only a runner would say running 11 miles on her birthday is relaxing.

Coffee in bed after my run = One of my favorite weekend routines.

birthday mug

The Food & Fun:

Lots of good food this weekend! After Pure Barre on Saturday, Dina and I refueled at Gabby’s Bagels. Since my body is so crazy routine, I craved my usual oatmeal with berries post workout and talked Dina into the same. When she added egg whites to her order, I went along with that plan too, plus iced coffee. I can’t stop thinking about the iced coffee from Gabby’s, it was really so good.

post workout breakfast

One of my favorite things to do for my birthday is treat myself to a special pedicure. What I mean by special is that each year on my birthday, I not only get a manicure and pedicure but go with one of the more involved pedicure options which includes extra treatments and a longer massage. I did the lavender spa pedicure this year and it was worth every extra dollar. So relaxing.

Essie’s Forget Me Knots on my toes which matches nicely with my sandals.

pedicure

I didn’t do a great job Saturday night taking pictures of dinner. After dropping my son off at a Bar Mitzvah party, we went to Spuntino, a restaurant I had never been to but looked tasty enough AND is located next to Chocolate Works and Carlo’s Bakery (which is the main reason I selected this restaurant).

dinner at spuntino

We ordered lots of tapas type plates of food – salad, roasted cauliflower, roasted brussels sprouts, pizzas and I forget what else – there was definitely something else. And wine. I hardly ever drink but sometimes I do order a glass of wine.

Carlos Bakery did not have a good selection of dessert (well, in my opinion) so I went with some chocolate and M&Ms from Chocolate Works.

m&m's

Quick peak in the box of half eaten chocolates: dark chocolate covered pretzels with M&M’s, chocolate covered marshmallows, some sort of chocolate covered peanut butter thing and chocolate caramels (not my choice but of course I tasted them).

 chocolates

I was surprised by my son yesterday on my birthday with an Edible Arrangement! Gosh I love chocolate covered fruit and I love that some of the fruit isn’t covered in chocolate so we can feel balanced and healthy.

It also came with a box of chocolate covered apple slices. Can you see the chocolate covered pineapple slices are disguised as cupcakes? I will have to show you those better in another post.

edible arrangement

The Birthday Cake

Okay okay let’s just discuss the birthday cake already. I didn’t get pictures from my birthday dinner last night anyway. We brought in dinner from Mother Kelly’s  at my parents house after I went shopping with my mom (at lululemon!)instead of going out  to eat – the weather here was just awful!

I am fully aware that I am completely nuts when it comes to dessert so I really have to thank my dad for putting up with me these last few weeks since he bore the brunt of my birthday cake indecisiveness. By Friday, he was answering his phone with a half hello that sort of sounded like he was afraid to hear what I might say next regarding my inability to select a cake.

But I made my decision! I really wanted to make that piñata cake with the pile of M&M’S in the middle but it was a FOUR LAYER CAKE that would have taken me FIVE HOURS to bake. No way was I spending my weekend in the kitchen.

So, instead, I had M&M’S both Friday night and Saturday night to satisfy that craving and finally chose to order one of my favorite chocolate fudge cakes from Torta Fina.

birthday cake

They call it Grandma’s Fudge Cake. It’s seriously piled and filled super high with rich chocolate fudge. I am pretty sure it’s the fudgiest cake available in the New York area.

grandma's fudge cake

You know, I think I ate a lot of chocolate this weekend. No wonder I am in such a great mood!

Previous Birthday Recaps:

Birthday 2015That time my mom took the last bite of our dessert

Birthday 2014 – Giant ice cream brownie and cookie sundae, so good!

Birthday 2013Edible Arrangements and dinner at Prime!

[bctt tweet=”birthday weekend plus the cake I finally picked! #birthday #birthdayweekend #cake #birthdaycake #ediblearrangements #tortafina” username=”cookiechrunicle”]

How was your weekend? 3 things you did?

Have you ever had an Edible Arrangement? Which chocolate covered fruit is your favorite?

What’s on the workout agenda for today?

 

Thinking Out Loud – May 28, 2015

Thinking-Out-Loud

Did you know that yesterday was National Sunscreen Day? It’s a great time to take a look at your sunscreen products to ensure you are using the best possible for your skin.

I put together a really informative sunscreen post last year that is worth sharing again because the information still holds and the products I recommended are still the same ones that I am using for myself and my son.

sunscreen

Click here or the above image for the facts about sunscreen post.

Did you know that so many of the sunblocking products available on store shelves are actually harmful? Yeah. They contain lots of ingredients that some studies suggest are actually worse for you than the actual sun.

Wondering which are the worst sunscreens on the market? Click here. And then go clean out your cabinet of the stuff.

In other news…

Lots of fruit in the house. My son requested strawberries and grapes.

grapes and strawberries

And I am still all about watermelon.

watermelon

The best supermarket thing to happen to me this week was finding fresh blueberries at an acceptable price.

english muffin with peanut butter and fruit

I am currently trying to ration them to myself but we both know that isn’t really working.

And the best peanut butter thing to happen to me this week?

#peanutbutterloversunite

I won the Peanut Butter & Co. giveaway on instagram! Do you see my oats in a jar in their photo?! I won, I won!

Can’t wait to see my prize 🙂

Talk to me about cold brew coffee. Do you make it? Buy it? Drink it?

I read this post the other day all about the benefits of the cold brew coffee and I am intrigued.

I had one of my favorite salads yesterday for lunch and no, I wasn’t at The Cheesecake Factory for a change.

Warm Cold Salad from Mother Kelly's

I went a majority of my life without eating beets. I hated them by sight which translated into hating their taste until one day I decided I should like them so I did.

I am due for a dessert trip to The Cheesecake Factory by the way. Especially since my birthday (June 5th) is next Friday!

I haven’t planned out which cakes and desserts I want just yet but the Factory Mud Pie is usually on my birthday list.

birthday mud pie

Factory Mud Pie from one of last year’s birthday dinners. Yum!

I have a few birthday desserts in mind but none of them involve me baking a darn thing.

I will bake your birthday cake and my dad’s chocolate fudge cookie dough birthday layer cake but I will not slave away in the kitchen on my special day.

I prefer to treat myself or be treated to something sweet without lifting a finger 🙂

A girl deserves a break every now and again, you know?

Be sure to check out what everyone else is thinking about today!

[bctt tweet=”Thinking Out Loud May 28, 2015 #sunscreen #peanutbutter #birthday @runwithspoons @peanutbutterco #thinkingoutloud “]

*************

Which sunscreen do you use? Are you remembering to wear it while you run?!

If I was baking your birthday cake, what would you request?

Cold Brew Coffee? Should I be drinking it?

 

 

 

 

What We Ate – Birthday Edition

It isn’t often that you find people who actually care to hear you ramble on about a fudge cake or a delicious restaurant.

wiawphotobutton

In fact, my friends and family often look at me funny when I take cake selecting and restaurant menus so seriously.

I’m so glad you share in my excitement just so I can recap my son’s birthday with you in food on this What I Ate Wednesday.

Let’s start with Sunday brunch which happened at The Smith in Manhattan. I took the birthday boy to the city for the day to enjoy the fall weather, some good food and birthday shopping.

He is realizing that I am super cool because I take him to trendy places which require reservations even at 11:30 am and serve BLT & E’s on croissants with mounds of French fries.

croissant blt

I went with an Ahi Tuna Salad thing plus the mandatory side of roasted Brussels Sprouts.

ahi tuna

I have learned to request my roasted vegetables extra crispy. Make sure you do the same.

roasted brussels sprouts

I was hoping for dessert at The Smith because I spotted several other tables ordering the plates of warm donuts but my son was full so we decided to start walking around and pick up a dessert a bit later in the day.

After the NHL Store, we found ourselves in the Magnolia Bakery.

magnolia bakery

I just feel the need to say that every time my son and I walk around the city I make it a point to remind him how lucky he is to hang out in Manhattan as if it is nothing while people around the world dream of coming here and plan travel vacations to do the things we do on a regular basis.

Sometimes people, including myself as a child, take living here for granted and I want him to appreciate and somehow understand this concept.

One thing we don’t do on a regular basis is order banana pudding for dessert but I suggested that he try it since Magnolia is kinda famous for it.

magnola bakery banana pudding

The dessert side of my brain thinks only in chocolate but I must say, this banana pudding thing was pretty tasty.

It was like eating frosting and cake crumbs with a spoon and the banana part didn’t jump out at me like oh, you are eating bananas for dessert. Do I even make sense?! Just try it, you will see what I mean.

If that wasn’t enough for the sweet tooth, we headed to the candy section of FAO Schwartz (FAO Schweetz) shortly after the banana pudding.

fao schweetz

I spent more money on a bag of candy than I care to admit but it was for his birthday and I couldn’t say no.

Birthdays mean lots of sweet things which is exactly why I needed to load up the birthday cake pancakes Monday morning for breakfast since it was his actual birthday.

birthday cake pancake batter

I was short on time so I used Kodiak Cakes pancake mix instead of taking the from-scratch route. I added to the mix some mashed banana, mini dark chocolate chips and lots of sprinkles to make the pancakes look all funfetti and birthday party-ish.

birthday cake pancakes

With Mighty Maple peanut butter spread between each pancake layer and extra bananas and chocolate chips on top to make up for the fact that I was out of whipped cream which I usually use on top of the stack for birthday pancake breakfasts.

birthday cake pancakes

Birthdays on a Monday aren’t always fun but I made sure that we continued to celebrate after school.

After a trip to the Nike Store so that my son could use a birthday gift card, we stopped at Vincent’s Clam Bar for dinner.

meatballs and lasagna

Lots of parmigiana happened on my son’s plate while I opted for the Zucchini Marinara which I requested to include primavera vegetables to make it a bigger and more satisfying meal.

zucchini primavera

And of course I ordered the Burnt Broccoli (extra burnt) because I am a sucker for roasted vegetables.

burnt broccoli

It doesn’t matter how many vegetables I consume which tend to make my stomach fuller than full, I always have a separate area reserved for dessert, especially cake.

cold stone birthday cake

After serious cake contemplating, I went with a custom-ordered Cold Stone Creamery layer cake.

cold stone birthday cake

I know you want all of the details:

The ice cream flavors:

  • Chocolate Fudge Truffle
  • French Vanilla

The Mix-In’s:

  • Peanut Butter Cups
  •  Cookie Dough
  • Chocolate Chips

The Cake layers:

  • Devil’s Food

The Frosting:

  • Chocolate Ganache with chocolate shavings

On Top:

  • Cookie Dough
  • Peanut Butter Cups

cold stone birthday cake

Just admit that you want me in charge of your next birthday cake.

I should probably set up a business of cake selecting. I don’t want to be in charge of making it, just selecting, designing and ordering someone else around on how to make it.

Like a cake architect if you will.

cold stone birthday cake

The only problem with me in charge is that I will probably help myself to half of the cake.

A few slices (literally) of this cake Monday night fueled me up real nice for Tuesday morning’s run.

Worth every bite.

Be sure to check out what everyone else is eating today!

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Ever have the banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery?

What candy/toppings would you have ordered mixed in to your Cold Stone Creamery cake?

Do you have a favorite restaurant you like to go to for special occasions?

 

You Never Sleep Again

Shh. Don’t make any noise because we can’t have the birthday boy wake up before I have made his birthday cake pancakes.

Do I even want to discuss that my baby is eleven?

15 months old

Two more years and we have a Bar Mitzvah on our hands? How did that happen?

I will forever say that I didn’t sign up to be single mom but you know what? It’s all okay.

This little boy and I are the best of buddies and have been since day one.

benjiandme-400x204

Our bond was probably made even stronger after the divorce which technically made us our own little family yet I will never rely on him as the man in my life.

I make it a point to raise him to be independent of me and really, me of him.

benji

Although he has made for a terrific dining partner ever since he was two weeks old and the doctor said it was okay if  I exposed him to restaurants and ice cream parlors, I do make it a point to encourage him to go out with his friends and spend as much time with his dad as possible whenever he wants even if it means I am home without plans of my own.

And I must be doing something right because recently he even told me that should I never remarry, I don’t have to worry about living alone when I am older because I can come live with him and his family.

His future wife is going to be so thrilled about that arrangement.

I considered doing one of those posts like “11 Things I Have Learned As A Mom” or “11 Things My Son Has Taught Me” when in reality, there is only one major thing I have learned since October 6, 2003….

You never sleep the same again after having a baby.

At first it is because babies are up all night looking to nurse and torture you with that insatiable screaming sound while all you want is to sleep for one hour straight.

newborn

DO NOT let this sleeping face fool you. The kid was a monster, especially during those first few weeks. His eyes were closed in that Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Bouncy Seat completely by accident.

As they get out of the infant stage, you are one part asleep one part awake because you live by the sounds of the baby monitor analyzing each and every breath, sigh, cry, hiccup, half happy sound/half about freak out and scream along with the noise which is made when they are trying to climb out.

You do get to a point where they are sleeping through the night but it’s so quiet that you are up wondering if someone has stolen them out of their crib even though the house alarm is set and the baby’s room is on the second floor.

You can’t rid yourself of the image of a bad guy somehow bypassing the alarm and climbing a ladder up the front of your house and through the window so you must get up to check that all is okay.

Please tell me you had these thoughts too.

  benji sleeping

And when you see that no one has broken into your house and that your baby is really asleep, you then check to ensure they are breathing.

As they get older you sleep with one eye open because at any moment someone will be coming in to tell you they are just up to go to the bathroom, up because their ear hurts or you are on alert to hear someone about to vomit on the carpet and you need to go running with the bucket.

And the one time you by accident fall into a good sleep?  It’s like they have radar because they come marching in a minute after you hit the  REM cycle which is so much worse than having not slept at all.

I mean, you can’t even sit down to rest at all until the countdown to bedtime is complete and you know that you have tucked them in for the evening.

We have now reached the point however in his tween life where I tell him I am the one done for the night and march myself into my bed which allows him to put himself in his bed when he is ready.

This was a lovely concept until the night when I heard that darn basketball bouncing around the den while I was trying to watch Kardashians from under my covers even though I said no ball playing the house.

basketball

This makes me insane in case you are wondering.

And if I manage to fall asleep without anyone interrupting me or worrying that someone stole him from his bed?

I wake up because I am the one who has to use the bathroom and then I decide it’s time to start to worry about the days which are fast approaching where he will be out with his friends actually driving cars themselves and I will have to wait up. holding my breath until the second he walks back in the door.

Don’t even get me started on the fact that ten years from this very morning, my baby will be 21, most likely not home for birthday pancakes and oh my goodness, probably first arriving to wherever he calls home (or OMG some girl’s dorm room or something) after a night of birthday drinking.

I think I need to stop this thought process and switch over to happy thoughts….like cake.

welcome baby cake

The first ever cake in honor of the birth of my baby boy which I barely remember eating because I was that sleep deprived.

You can be sure I will enjoy tonight’s custom-ordered birthday cake which I can’t wait to show you once I pick it up later this afternoon.

Fingers crossed that all of my crazy cake details and requests are understood by the cake maker.

benji birthday party

The best thing about all this birthday reminiscing is that I have a ton of cute pictures all ready for the Bar Mitzvah party montage.

Time to go make the pancakes…Have a great Monday!

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If you have children, were your kids up all night as babies?

Can you guess where I ordered the birthday cake from?

Best dessert you had all weekend?

WIAW- October Happenings

 

I thought about skipping out on the What I Ate Wednesday fun this week because it is suddenly October 1st and we need to discuss some happenings.

But…. WIAW is part of my routine and without my routine I feel all sorts of off-balance and I don’t want to be off-balance so I figured out how to make today What I Ate Wednesday which wasn’t difficult since most of what I do revolves around eating anyway.

wiaw fall into good habits button (2)

Lots of exciting things are penciled all over my October calendar and while it’s possible you could care less what I have going on, I think I will tell you anyway because I feel like it.

october-happenings-header

october-happenings

 

October 6th

My son’s birthday is on Monday.  He is going to turn eleven.

Do you hear me?  Eleven. 11. ELEVEN.

Like really? How the heck did that happen so fast.

benji

I sort of feel like I just gave birth and didn’t sleep for months (if not years) because he was a nursing monster who quickly grew into some kid who thought he could share my ice cream.

benji

He wants a dog for his birthday. I have been told he will accept nothing more and nothing less.

Part of me wonders though if making another stack of birthday pancakes this year for breakfast and letting him skip Hebrew school for the day will suffice.

birthday pancakes

Last year’s birthday breakfast “pancake cake” which involved Kodiak Cakes pancake mix, sprinkles, chocolate chips and whipped cream.

Of course I am currently working on picking the right birthday cake.

birthday cakes

When I say “right”, I mean chocolate. The right amount of chocolate….Stay tuned…

October 11th

Opening Night For My New York Islanders.

Actually, I should call this the last opening night at the Nassau Coliseum since the Islanders will be moving to Brooklyn to play at the Barclays Center after this season.

islanders in brooklyn

If I struggled with Jeter retiring last week, I can’t even imagine or discuss just yet this topic of the Coliseum being no more and my team moving to a borough I rarely, and I mean rarely, venture off to.

Although I should really reconsider this especially since the Peter Pan Bakery is in Brooklyn and they have the best donuts ever.

For now let’s just look forward to the start of hockey season and the fact that we already planned out dinner before the game…

zucchini marinara

Just like last year’s opening night, we will be going to Vincent’s Clam Bar so I can have the Zucchini Marinara followed once again by dessert after the game at Friendly’s for the Crowd Pleaser Sundae…

friendlys crowd pleaser

Twelve scoops of ice cream plus six toppings may sound like a lot but it really isn’t if you are sharing with me.

October 16th

Fitness Magazine Meet and Tweet time again!!

fitness magazine meet and tweet

I am so excited. Last year’s Meet and Tweet was so super awesome that I am honored and thrilled to have been invited once again to take part in all of the fun.

And my plan for this year is to make a pit stop at Maoz just like I did last year so that I can load up on my vegetarian favorites.

maoz

I am never without a food plan.

October 17th- October 19th

rwhalf

Not only am I headed to Pennsylvania to run the Runner’s World Hat Trick (5k, 10k and half marathon) but I am so looking forward to meeting and spending some time with my fellow running/blogging friends and experiencing all that Runner’s World has to offer throughout the weekend.

I even signed up already for a few of the seminars!

And really, my excitement over finally meeting Sarah and eating ice cream with her can’t be put into words.

cold stone sundae

I don’t know for sure if there is a Cold Stone in Bethlehem, PA (yes I already tried googling and haven’t found one just yet) but I did see a few ice cream/dessert shops that are on the radar.

October 31st

I am wondering if an 11-year-old is too cool for trick or treating.

I am wondering if an 11-year-old is too cool for trick or treating with his mom.

I am wondering if making my Chocolate Covered Caramel Apples can subtly convince him that I am worthy of Halloween.

chocolate covered caramel apples

I am in fear though that he will not only give up trick or treating but will replace it with ideas about shaving cream and silly strings and those naughty things we all did but aren’t about to let our children do.

Maybe it’s time to watch Can’t Buy Me Love again. I am adding it to our October calendar.

cantbuymelovearizonauniversityshirt

You know the scene I am thinking about, right? With poor Kenneth’s house on Halloween?

If you haven’t had your children watch Can’t Buy Me Love, you need to do so with them.

In fact, I think that the schools should be showing this movie as part of an educational assembly.

It’s totally an 80’s film but it conveys a great message about bullying and how not always cool it is to be cool even though cool seems so cool.

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And on that note, it’s time for me to go eat my oatmeal which I have adjusted to include mashed banana in place of fresh berries since we are no longer in summer.

As exciting as my October appears to be, oatmeal mixed with mashed banana and peanut butter may taste amazing but in the early morning darkness of fall, it looks really icky therefore I will spare you the photo.

Be sure to check out what everyone else is eating today!

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Who will be at the Fitness Magazine Meet and Tweet with me?

Who will be at the Runner’s World Half & Festival with me?

Favorite 80’s movie?

 

 

 

 

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