Combined Birthday Dinner

Brian and I celebrated our birthday on November 4th 2012. His birthday is Oct 24th and mine is Nov 2nd. He turned 28 this year and I turned 26. I have to admit turning 26 wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Honestly I do not feel like I am 26, and apparently I do not act like I am 26.

The one thing I look forward to when I leave school or work is seeing him in the garage when I pull up from school/ errands. He is the best husband and best friend that I could ever ask for. I know since the start of my grad program I have taken advantage of him. The first few weeks of grad school he was doing all of the dishes, cooking, and cleaning. He was also helping me adjust to school because I was having a hard time finding a balance. I was having emotional break downs, and severe anxiety attacks. I was working six days a week, and going to school five days a week. I never had a day off. I believe the only days we had dinner together were Monday’s after a long day of classes.

He takes school work away from me when I am getting too upset and makes me take breaks. I have reduced the days I work so that I can be home during the week. This has left me with more time to do my homework / study, do chores, and spend more time with my husband. I really wanted to do something special for his birthday because he does so much for me.

One of the things I look forward to doing in the fall is coming up with Brian’s birthday dinner menu. This year’s menu was the best! I made the cheese cake on Saturday, and only had one mistake. My husband was getting ready to go to his moms and Gizmo was running around (she always gets excited to go to moms on Saturday). She gets so excited and she can’t sit still which makes it difficult to get her sweater and harness on. Usually she listens to Brian, and only on a few occasions has he ever had to get a deep voice with her.

I can remember one occasion she ran out the back slider with out permission, and she went in to the woods. She was not listening to me and so I got Brian to come out. I have never heard my husbands Military voice until that day , and I jumped clear off the ground. It worked and Gizmo came running back and eventually started to belly crawl to her daddy. After that incidence we built her a fenced in area because she was becoming more obstinate and ornery.

Well Gizmo was being her ornery self and not coming when called for so we had to try every trick in the book to get her to come to us. Because I was distracted with all the commotion I thought I had turned down the oven. Little did I know I only thought about turning down the oven. A big red flag was the fire alarm went off before Brian left. He went over and turned it off. I thought huh nothings burning … I don’t understand why the fire alarm is going off.  So, I see Brian and Gizmo off and go about the rest of my day. That is till I check up on the cheese cake thirty minutes later. My first thought was crap! Okay it was a worse word but we will keep this blog pg13. I ended up spraying aluminum and placing it over the cheese cake to keep it from browning more. In the end the cheese cake was still good, and I will never forget to turn down the oven ;).

The Sweet loafs, with olive oil herb dip was awesome and reminded us of Johnny Corrinos or Carabas. We actually had to stop eating the bread so we would have room for the main dish and dessert. The mac and cheese was heavenly! The cream and cheese was smooth, and the lobster was sweet. The green beans and roasted Roma tomatoes complimented the lobster mac and cheese dish.

The new york cheese cake, despite being browned on top, was creamy and sweet. The strawberry topping was easy, tart, and sweet. I will add another blog about the cheesecake at a later date.

Presents :

Brian’s present was a pair of house shoes that have support and a sole. He even convinced me to let him open his present early the stinker!

My presents so far have been: Flannel PJ’s from the wonderful husband, and money. I used the money to buy three pairs of fleece lined leggings, and help pay for our birthday dinner ingredients. We also had a lot of cards from various family members 🙂

App: Sweet loafs, with olive oil herb dip,
Main: Lobster mac and cheese, Green beans, and Roasted Roma tomatoes with feta
Dessert: New york style cheese cake with strawberry topping

Any sweet rolls or white bread works.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Herb Dip
Yield: 4 servings Prep Time: 5 minutes
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or according to your taste)
freshly ground black pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1. In a small bowl, mix together the dry spices. Add crushed garlic, stirring to combine and moisten the herbs.
2. Transfer herb mixture to a small dish or bowl. Pour olive oil over herb mixture. 3. Serve with fresh bread.
Notes:- Feel free to use fresh or dried herbs.- For the recipe above, I used all dry herbs with the exception of the rosemary

Lobster Macaroni and Cheese

Recipe courtesy The Neelys via

Prep Time: 10 min
Inactive Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min
  • Level: Easy, Serves: 8 servings


  • 4 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon for greasing dish
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 2 small shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups shredded sharp white Cheddar
  • 2 cups shredded Gruyere
  • 2 (8-ounce) raw lobster tails, defrosted if frozen, meat removed from shell, chopped
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and adjust racks to the middle. Grease a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with butter.

In a large pot of boiling salted water over medium heat, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve.

Add 4 tablespoons butter to a large pot over medium heat. Once the butter shimmers, add the shallots and garlic and saute until translucent. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the tomato paste and flour and stir to toast, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the white wine and reduce, by half, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the cream, whisking well to remove any lumps. Add the paprika, cayenne, and bay leaf. Bring the cream up to a simmer and turn the heat to low. Let reduce until the cream is thick and can coat a spoon, about 5 to 10 minutes. When thickened, remove the bay leaves.

Stir in the grated cheeses, a handful at a time, combining well after each addition. Add the chopped lobster meat to the sauce and stir well. Add the pasta and stir. Add to the greased baking dish and sprinkle with the panko crumbs and parsley. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle individual servings with parsley.

Roasted Roma Tomatoes
Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Mix together the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, parsley, basil, oregano, and salt and pepper in a bowl, working the seasonings into the cavities of the tomatoes. Place the tomatoes, cut sides up, on a baking sheet, and sprinkle each tomato with about 1 tablespoon of feta cheese.
Bake the tomatoes in the preheated oven until cooked but still firm, about 15 minutes.

Here is the photo I will leave you with. Here is the strawberry cheesecake 😉


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