my birthday dinner ....

it was my birthday a couple of days ago.

my husband planned the most amazing surprise !

you can read about the whole day over on my simple beauty blog but

i'm just going to cut and paste and share the food bits of the story for you here ...

let's start with ... my neighbors coming over with birthday cocktails

i love having neighbors who are such a bit part of our lives !

when rory gets home, he says

'would you be totally disappointed if i told you i've made a reservation for us at a restaurant ?'

ummmm ... let me think about this for a minute ?!

i still don't have to cook ?

i get to go out ?

yeah ... i'm good !

rory got a phone call just as we were ready to leave, from our friend craig

he said 'we've got a present for bonnie,

would you guys swing by and pick it up on your way to dinner ?'

up until that phone call, i had NO IDEA anything suspicious might be happening

after that ... i wondered if all wasn't as it appeared !

but ... i had NO IDEA of the amazing surprise that lay in wait for me

weeks of planning, international conversations, importing of food

so ... we get to C & J's place to 'pick up the present'

and the house is all decorated

and something smells incredible ... (and very familiar)

and then there were shouts of surprise and the faces of other friends i love

rory hands me an envelope and says

'this is my present to you'

inside the envelope is this menu .........

the foods of my childhood !


(my requested birthday dinner every year since we had lived in Italy !)

now ... this is no easy feat ... because in my little girls mind, the vongole (clams)


well ... you can't get that here ...

in fact, you can't get clams here at all, unless they are in a can

so Rory IMPORTED them from New Zealand

can you believe that ?!

the food was amazing.

APPARENTLY, they had been cooking all afternoon ... I thought Rory was 'working late' !

Here's the Patatas Alioli and the Champinones Al Ajillo con pan (with bread), of course.

And then came the never ending supply of Gambas Al Ajillo ... OH YUM !!

Master Chefs in action ...

Amazing team work ...

And here's the Traditional Vongole ... with homemade fettucine ...

I'll have to find out what recipe he used for this ... he said it was a Jamie Oliver one.

And the Vongole like my Mom used to make, only with a spicy Casa de Ross twist.

And this recipe too, I'll have to write it down and share it with you ... it's a spicy tomato sauce ...

mmmmmmm !!!

Do you know one thing I loved about this night ?

There were so many things I loved ... but here's just one.

I loved that I was the only known clam lover of the bunch but they still cooked this for me !

And (almost) everyone tried the clams ! Some even liked them !

All of these dishes were new to everyone besides me and Rory, and everyone tried them !

And again ... liked (and even loved) them !

I love the adventurous nature of this group of friends !

And I love that they love to celebrate life.


Mom ... Rory insisted that I take this photo for you ....


Empty shells !!


When we were little, it was tradition in our house that all birthday cakes had to be chocolate.

So ... we have gazillions of birthday pictures of us COVERED IN CHOCOLATE !

BUT, once we were old enough to request our own birthday cake preference ... mine was

ALWAYS cheesecake (with cherries on top) !

My sweet friend Donna recently learned this about me and though she had never made one

before, she baked me the most wonderful birthday cheesecake ! with berries ! oh my !

and Jodie made cupcakes

that I have yet to try

but some came home with us and I will be having one for breakfast !

I was crowned 'birthday queen' and actually wore my 'crown' for a good hour.

Not the mask though ... it was way too hot for that !

Spoiled ? Yeah ... I can't disagree.

I have an amazing, thoughtful, selfless husband,

kind, encouraging and giving children,

enthusiastic, creative and (SNEAKY!!) friends,

an extended family like none other,

friends all over the world (thanks to the Navy and now facebook !) that i love


to top it all off ....

my very own website !!

I cannot wait for you all to see it !

Well ... you can sort of see it here but I've crossed off it's name (which you are going to LOVE)

because I don't want you to go there just yet.

I'll let you know when you can !

Craig and I are going to play with it a bit more first ...

by the way, Craig ... who is a music lover, not a web guru, designed this !

Look out world !


All in all ... this has been my best, most favorite birthday ever.

Thanks to everyone who was a part of it !

~ bon ~


stacief said...

What a fabulous birthday!!!! Clams are my absolute favorite - I will have to look up that recipe!

Happy Birthday!

andrafaye said...

looks like an awesome day! what a menu!

Brendasan said...

Wow! Sounds like you had a great time and rightly so! I need to learn to cook more Italian foods, one because we love them and two, because I am 1/4 Italian :-) Happy belated birthday and God bless you!