The Busy Birthday.

So far today has been a great birthday!  I started my morning off with a big ole bowl of birthday oats – coffee-soaked oats topped with bananas, slivered almonds, POMEGRANATE seeds, and PB2 icing…

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I rushed out the door, running a bit behind, to discover that my gas light was on – ugh.  I made it to a gas station with no time to spare, and when I went to pull my wallet out, I discovered that it was not there.  Oh crap.  With ten minutes until class started, I decided to go for it on fumes, and figure out how to get home later.  I made it to class on time, and one of my classmates was nice enough to lend me $20 to get home – thank you, Sid!

Not the greatest way to start the day, and I was in a panic all morning about the wallet.  I checked my bank balance several times, and after hours of no activity, I decided that it must be at my house, and I stopped worrying about it.

When I got to class, I was greeted by lots of birthday wishes, and even a few birthday gifts!!  I can’t tell you how nice it was to realize that I’ve made such good friends here in Charlotte in such a short amount of time.  Working so closely together day in and day out – aaaaaall day long – has allowed me to make real, lasting friendships, for which I am very grateful. 

Jeff, who works at Starbucks, hooked me up with this awesome travel mug!  He assures me it is spill-proof, which is perfect for tossing in my school bag.  My old coffee thermos is horrendous – this one is beautiful!

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Mylan gave me this cute shirt about “going green” – you can tell my classmates know me well!  :)

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Today was my dining room practical exam, which meant I was graded on my service and attention to detail – eeek!

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I was given a booth table today, and my table number was lucky #12 – score!  Plus the booths are really easy because you only have two people, so that made my day even better. 

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Service went well, and I think I did just fine on my practical – no mistakes that I know of!  Crossing my fingers for a good grade tomorrow.  Today’s menu features cuisine from Spain and Portugal – yum!  Appetizers included…

Gazpacho – chilled vegetable purée of tomato, cucumbers, peppers, and onions, topped with ceviche calamari and a yucca chip

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Check out the scary tentacles coming out of the gazpacho!  Eeeeeeeeew!

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Catalan-Style Vegetable Soup – catalan-style vegetable soup with saffron, rice, tomatoes, onions, garlic, turnips, celery, and spicy chorizo sausage

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Tapas – a selection of traditional tapas (the International Cuisine students had to make a variety of tapas for their practical exam, so their products were used as appetizers!)

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Portuguese Salad – fresh greens, cherry tomatoes, Spanish onions, tossed with a sherry-garlic vinaigrette

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And onto the en

Paella Valenciana – classic Spanish rice casserole with seafood (shrimp, lobster and clams), chorizo sausage and chicken, scented with saffron and paprika

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Cataplana – spicy Portuguese dish of littleneck clams, cubed pork loin and potatoes, stewed together with white wine, garlic, and Piri Piri, a fiery condiment of peppers, vinegar and lemon zest

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Braised Chicken with Nuts – braised chicken with almonds, pine nuts and with a savory wine sauce (this was originally supposed to be rabbit!)

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Veal with Sherry – veal cutlets pounded thin, sautéed and nappéd with a sherry veal demi-glace garnished with smoked ham, olives and mushrooms

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Dessert was another ice cream dish, but I didn’t have to scoop today – just serve!  Cinnamon ice cream with a berry crumble, and dried fruit – looks good.

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After my dining room class, I had my LAST DAY of Menu Planning & Cost Control class – crazy!  Remember that huge project that I pulled an all-nighter for a few weeks ago?  I got it back today, and got an A and lots of great comments and feedback – whohooooo!  I took my final exam in menu planning today too, and I think it went well.  Crossing my fingers that the 4.0GPA is still intact!

First order of business when I got home was to tear my house apart and find my wallet.  Ta-da!  WHEW…

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Next up was making myself a birthday snack – pomegranate Chobani with blueberries, frozen pom seeds, and TJ’s high fiber cereal.  In a pretty bowl because it’s a special day!

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A knock on the door brought a BEAUTIFUL surprise!!  I can’t tell you the last time someone sent me flowers – thank you, thank you, thank you, Lindsey!!

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Now that our table looks so pretty, I’m going to go hang out with Casey and make birthday DINNER!  Thank you all so much for your nice birthday wishes – I feel very loved! :)