Tag Archives: Birthday

Our sweet Etta’s birthday party was featured on Apartment Therapy Kids Parties!


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September 18, 2012 · 9:14 PM

Birthday Spaghetti

It’s a little embarrassing to admit at age 29, but birthdays are still a big deal to me. As an adult, I have tried to dial back my enthusiasm to a respectable level, but as a child, being born the day after Halloween means your birthday is a culmination of a three day orgy of candy, glorious outfits, and presents. My mom, having been raised in a “birthdays are a BFD” household herself, implemented a firm policy of putting the birthday child in charge. The whole family would wake up early to have breakfast and open presents, followed by an afternoon classroom pizza delivery, then dinner and more presents with our grandparents. It’s easy to get used to that kind of celebration.

In keeping with my barely-concealed desire to be lavished with attention on the anniversary of my arrival in the world, this year I invited my besties over for a birthday feast. They brought copious amounts of wine and thoughtful gifts, and I in turn served up a coma-inducing spread of the ultimate in comfort food, spaghetti and meatballs.

It was the perfect menu for weeknight festivities. The meatballs and homemade tomato sauce required a little love and advance preparation on Sunday night, but there was no slaving over the stove on the evening of the party. Instead, I was in the dining room sipping wine and snacking on rosemary marcona almonds with my friends. A salad of arugula and shaved Pecorino Romano, tossed in a bracing red wine vinaigrette, and homemade garlic bread rounded out the meal. And for dessert, the best cannoli in Chicago, with a candle in mine, of course.

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An Epic, Delicious, Somewhat Gross-Out Birthday Cake

My entire extended family is very much into gross out humor. Two years ago, I baked a kitty litter cake for my little cousin’s birthday and since then, she and I have been stepping up our game with each subsequent birthday. Last year was a chocolate fudge cake with homemade hot pink raspberry icing- pretty, but not particularly clever. Imagine my pride when this year, a full two months before her 9th birthday, she sidled up to me a brunch and said, “Emily, I know what kind of a birthday cake I want this year- a dog poop cake!” As we hashed out the details, we decided the cake should be a scene of a dog park, complete with grass, play areas, and defecating dogs.

Don’t worry, cakes are not going to become a regular feature on this blog. Although my obsessive compulsive tendencies lend themselves fairly well to the precision of baking, I’m much more into rustic desserts. In fact, I only create a ‘celebration cake’ a few times a year. But thanks to the Baking & Pastry Boot Camp my mom and I took last fall, I have acquired some skills that allow me to turn out a cake that is both delicious and humorous.

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