As I mentioned in my post on Cheesecake Muffins, my week of early-birthday celebrations began with breakfast with my big brother. I made my go-to Bacon Cups, which I've posted plenty about before, because I knew he'd love them. I can't quite put into words how pretty I think these little cups of glory are! I used rye bread this time, and they provided a nice, sturdy base and molded together well with the bacon.
|Bacon Cups. My absolute favourite breakfast.|
That night, my brother and I drove to the Valley to kick off celebrations with our parents and extended family. Below, a classic summer BBQ in our family: Hot-off-the-grill steak, a gazillion kinds of salad, pickled beets, and a chicken skewer... just for fun.
My mother's decadent carrot cake, once all thirty candles were removed. I enlisted the help of my cousin's kids; it took a while!
|It was pretty dark outside at this point, hence the low-quality photo!|
I took the morning off on the day of my actual birthday, and insisted on making my own breakfast in bed to share with F. I'm a girl who knows what she wants! Here is an omelet my way: local, fresh eggs (the very last of my eggs from Jenny, which I had been saving!), cream, cherry tomatoes from my Aunt Bonnie's garden, Baby Parmesan, and spinach. Simple and fresh.
Since I had some left-over batter from Angie's Random Bake of Kindness, I also decided to make myself some birthday morning madeleines.
|Honey Spiced Madeleines.|
Here we have the mother of all gifts: A Kitchen Aid Artisan stand mixer with a Pasta Roller (& Fettuccine Cutter) attachment. I am one lucky girl! This was just the beginning of F.'s birthday surprises for me.
|We'll be eating pasta for weeks!|
That night, F. took me to Chives in Halifax, where I was treated to one of the best meals of my life. No exaggeration! The following day, he took me away for the weekend to a town very near and dear to my heart: Fredericton, New Brunswick. I spent 4 very formative and precious years there completing my Bachelor's degree and I go back as often as I can, especially now that I'm back on the east coast. We left Halifax on Friday night so that we could wake up on Saturday and go to my beloved Fredericton Farmers' Market.
|No trip to the Fredericton Farmers' Market is complete without freshly squeezed orange juice from Sam the Juice Man, Victoria's Secret Blend coffee, and samosas from Samosa Delight (hot turkey, mild lamb, hot chicken, hot lamb)|
I then got to show F. around my former, beautiful campus at St. Thomas University. It certainly was a gorgeous place to study, absorb, and grow.
|St. Thomas University|
That night, F. and I ate at a relatively new place in Fredericton called Isaac's Way: low key, art-filled/silent-auctioned walls, a classic wooden bar, and creative food. We then met up with some people who are pretty special to me, who happen still live in Fredericton, and had a beverage or two while we caught up on several years of news. A perfect ending.
Never had I expected to be treated so royally, but my gifts were especially wonderful in the way that I can use them to give back to the people I love. For example, alongside future Kitchen Aid creations, there will be food and experimentation coming soon from Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table, Gale Gand's Brunch!, and a beautiful, red pie plate (thanks to my mom), as well as Foodista's Best of Food Blogs cookbook (thanks to Angélique).
I certainly am blessed.