A February birthday -- 02/04/05

We've been eating a lot of cakes and pies cookies around here thanks to Jill. I'm not sure if this is some side effect of working in the bakery dept. of a supermarket (or perhaps in spite of?), but in the past couple of weeks she has made two big batches of cookies, two apple pies, a large sheet carrot cake, and then another carrot cake (this last one for Nancy's birthday.

One of the pies was eaten here (very quickly, just as with the cookies) and the other was presented to Eli (her boyfriend).

Then she made a large carrot cake. It was very tasty.

She came by Wednesday night and baked another carrot cake and then on Thursday morning she made a cream cheese frosting for the cake. She also made the little frosting carrots that decorate the cake on the left and right. (I think the green was done with food coloring but the orange color was done using orange rind.)

Meanwhile, that morning I had cut up some boneless chicken breast and put it in a spiedie sauce marinade (very popular back in the Binghamton, NY, area where we lived before moving to R.I.)

The apple pies
Jeremy came by (with Kate, his girlfriend) and took over almost all of the rest of the meal preparation. I got to cook some peas and the rice pilaf, but he washed and cut up every thing for the salad and then he cooked the chicken (in two batches) in a skillet -- showing off his kitchen skills when he would turn the chicken over by flipping it in the air and catching it again in the skillet. (Never lost a single piece.) He says he learned to do that when cooking fried calamari in the kitchen of the Mews Tavern when he was still in high school.
Jill had to work until nine... so we ate dinner and then stalled, sitting around the table and talking until she got home from work and I quickly reheated some chicken and pilaf and peas for her. Eli came over and Jill lit the candles on the cake she had made and we all sang happy birthday to her.

I got Nancy a Dell laptop for her birthday (512 meg RAM, 40 gigabyte disk drive, Microsoft Office, etc.) and the kids got her a cool carrying case for it. She was very happy.

The results of Jeremy's cooking... tender and tasty chicken... and this salad tower. The lower two bowls are filled with Romaine lettuce and the top bowl contains slices of red and green peppers, tomato, red onion -- an interesting presentation -- do-it-yourself salad.

So that was Nancy's birthday yesterday. She has threatened me for years with warnings about the dire fate that would befall me if I ever dared to throw a surprise party for her. Despite those oft-repeated threats and warnings, I actually did contemplate arranging exactly that -- but given the vagaries of New England winter weather, I had nightmares of setting up a party with all of her brothers and sisters coming over and all of her friends in this area and having a huge storm sweep in and bury us in snow and the party would fail and she'd kill me anyway -- so I chickened out and decided to get her a nice gift instead. Tomorrow we'll celebrate a little more at dinner at her Mom's house with a couple of her sisters.

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