Daughter’s Birthday And A Special Friend

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Layered chocolate cheesecake and ice cream cake

Layered chocolate cheesecake and ice cream cake

I’m not sure about you when comes to celebrating birthdays but I thought I had just gone through quite a lot of  stress in the run-up to my daughter’s birthday last week…….lots of unbending requests from her! One of them is the birthday cake…ONLY chocolate cheesecake. I tried to persuade her to go for a different cake with nice icing but then, “NO”, a flat “NO”…ONLY chocolate cheesecake. That’s what happens when our children grow up. They have a strong mind of their own at times……both good and bad.

I tried to tweak a little by trying out a flourless chocolate cheesecake earlier but realised that it would be too dense for a birthday cake. And too rich too to eat more. Finally I settled back to my layered chocolate cheesecake, my girl’s top favourite. She said she doesn’t mind without icing but for me, a cake without nice icing is not a birthday cake. You’ll agree to that, right?

Well, 1 hour before our 2 special guests arrived, I decided on the easiest icing…..chocolate icing. This is self inflicted stress. I spent too much time thinking….*sigh*. Hurriedly I melted some double cream and chocolate together. Removed it from the heat and kept stirring until it got a little thicker. Then I poured it over the cake and spread to cover the whole cake. My girl received a box of mini cupcakes. That’s fantastic. I placed a few on the cake and…yippee….what a makeover! And with the colourful birthday candles, it looked fabulous! (picture above)

Birthday party food

Birthday party food

I cooked quite a number of dishes (my girl’s choice) for her birthday. Proud of myself as a mom. My guests liked the food very much. And to my girl…she must be the happiest person that day. It was a real blast…..2 birthday cakes (the other being a very delicious ice cream cake from her best friend), lots of presents and her favourite food. I’m just unspeakably overjoyed to see her happy. That’s the heart of a mother, right?

With lovely Jeanette

With lovely Jeanette

Now I must introduce to you a very special friend, Jeanette. She is an amazing woman, full of love, grace, gentleness, kindness and generosity…..and…..a treasure house of interesting life stories that makes you laugh, cry, think, evaluate yourself and want to improve. I wish I have good command of English. I would write a book about her and all her stories. On top of that, she also dresses very well and looks gorgeous all the time. To me, that’s inspirational. Time that I hit the malls and get some nice clothing….*grin*.

Jeanette is an avid fan of Royal Ascot, the famous yearly horse racing event where even the royal families attend every year. She told me I MUST attend it with her! She even made me promise to go with her. Oh dear…my head!! I can’t believe I made that promise. My poor heart….must have missed many, many beats…haha. You know that if you go for such event, you really have to dress up very well, including a VERY nice hat, something like this. Mind you, it’s no ordinary hat. They come in all sorts of fashion, style and size.

At the Royal Ascot, you also need to know how to walk, talk, eat and drink with style….WOW……oh, dear me!!! Imagine a simple country girl having to look posh?? And a bottle of champagne costs 85 pounds! I can imagine your popped-out eyes and your jaw-dropping gasp…haha….me, too! In my normal senses, not in a million years would I put myself through all that. But lovely Jeanette spent most of the whole evening trying to convince me that there is no problem and I have to go. She said she has LOTS of hats, in different style and in different colours to suit my clothing! Wow…I feel SO loved….but yet…..I feel like running and hiding in a mouse hole….haha. Ok, let’s wait and see. The day will come….*BIG smile*. Hope I don’t pass out…*wink*

Jeanette takes very good care of herself. She eats very healthy and goes for exercise regularly. She is presently in the advanced level of pilates, a very good form of exercise to help build/maintain posture, balance and performance. I’m very impressed and inspired. Now I feel guilty because I only attended, maybe, 3 classes and I gave up. Reason…too slow and boring for me…*big sigh*. I think I better get back……inspired by Jeanette.

Colourful and delicious juicy fruits

Colourful and delicious juicy fruits

Delicious and healthy Thai beef salad

Delicious and healthy Thai beef salad

I can tell Jeanette eats very healthy because her favourite dishes were the fruits and the Thai beef salad. She also loves the stir fried broccoli very much but regrettably I forgot and used fried shallots instead of fried garlic. She reminded me to use fried garlic next time. Yes, Maam, I will remember that….happy to cook!

Oh, I must tell you. The Thai beef salad was seriously delicious. I can eat that everyday. It was my first time making that. I will put it up soon and hope you try it out. It was so good that the very next morning, I went to supermarket to buy more salad and beef just to make this salad. I’m sure this is a great dish for those who not only want to eat healthy but also to lose some weight. I’m not too sure whether it will work on chicken and other meat. I would love to try that one day. Maybe even with fish.

Thai firecracker prawns from Costco

Thai firecracker prawns from Costco

Another one of our new favourite is the Bangkok Firecracker Prawns. My daughter introduced me to this dish. See, these days I learn a lot from my children when comes to eating. I must really thank her because it’s so easy. Just buy from Costco and bake them from frozen. Takes about 10 - 12 minutes. Isn’t that fast? It’s spicy and very delicious served with Thai sweet chili sauce.

Oh yes, I almost forgot. Jeanette told me that she never lose in the betting at Ascot…WOW! That’s one big reason I promised to go even though I may not know how to walk with that hat on my head…haha. She said it’s OK…my hubby can help to carry my hat if I don’t know how to walk wearing it!….poor man…haha. Right, back to the betting. I must follow all her betting numbers! Would be so fun to win. But wait….will I bring bad luck? I asked her what if because of me and for the first time she loses. She looked at me and with loving eyes, she said, “Oh no, Mary, it’s perfectly fine.  It’s not about the money. It’s about the fun!” Awwww…how sweet of her!! I just love her all the more…by the second! She is just so fun to be with. She is really full of life and vibrance.

Jeanette talks a lot about her wonderful parents. Each time she mentioned about her parents, her eyes sparkled. How sweet! I’m sure all parents would love their children to talk about them that way. It’s surely something that kept us thinking when we went to bed. Nothing matters more than loving and investing in our children. It’s sad that many parents put their career first. Career is definitely important but when our work and family life is out of balance, all parties suffer. Our children grow up very fast and before we realise it, they do not want our time any more even if we want to give them. Each year as we celebrate our children’s birthday, we realise that another precious year is gone. We can’t undo any wrongs and mistakes but we always remind ourselves to love them more and invest in them.

Let’s not just place emphasis on education but also the things about life….how to love ourselves, how to get along with others, and other important etiquettes of life. I must say that it was a great evening that we had….lots of laughter, interesting stories, great food and most important, my daughter was the happiest. We made her birthday a very memorable one.

Now, as for me, I will continue to enjoy what I love to do…cooking, baking, entertaining, badminton, facebooking, music, reading, meeting friends etc etc. My 24 hours each day is JUST enough…….*BIG smiles*. I hope you have fun everyday in whatever things you do. And even if you go through some rainy or stormy days, know that it will not remain forever. Hang in there. Be courageous and move on.

Quote of the day……

“The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.”

-  Honore de Balzac

Keep Learning Keep Smiling

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I beat Joyce  on July 3rd, 2011

I’ll be back, I just need to beat Joyce as first commenter. Lol.

孤傲的王子  on July 3rd, 2011

Happy Belated Birthday!!!
the cake very nice!!yummy!!!

Humph! Not Fair Le!  on July 3rd, 2011

LoL! Cant believe it! hahahaha…… Still not giving up! Oh well…Aunty Mary…next time hint me before u post it up. lol!! Glad that u all have a wonderful time celebrating Susan’s bday! 2 amazing cakes!! really really niceee…. I miss strawberries….love the cream u made for me.. n the Thai beef salad look so yummy!!! I can see the food which i love eating when i’m at aberdeen… dumplings…noodles…roti canai….=D Hope u have a great day Aunty Mary… Miss ur food but miss u more! Hugsss…

redkathy  on July 3rd, 2011

Hi Mary Happy to see your daughters birthday party was a success! Send her a happy birthday wish from me :) I do agree with her choice of cake. Cheesecake is my all time favorite cake and what better way to celebrate one’s birthday than with a favorite! You are great mom.

Enjoy your week!!

claire  on July 3rd, 2011

Happy Sweet Birthday to your princess! What a great blessing for her, firstly, to have a mum who can whip out so many of her favourite dishes on her special day!
I was looking forward to seeing your dishes and saw two of them.. i like the firecracker prawns, reminded me of the dish my mum used to make.. minced prawns mixed with some flour.. :)

anncoo  on July 3rd, 2011

Mary, say Happy Birthday to your daughter on my behalf :) I can see your daughter had a wonderful birthday party with all the delicious food prepared by you. You are great mom!

somewhere in singapore  on July 3rd, 2011

Happy Birthday to your daughter!!!

I’m craving for everything, lol…

sweetlife  on July 3rd, 2011

Happy Bday to your daughter! Mary your feasts are always brimming with great food. Thank you for introducing us to your sweet friend! have a great weekend!

I beat Joyce  on July 3rd, 2011

I had no doubt your daughter would have a fantastic birthday. I mean, who wouldn’t “fight” over a chocolate cheese cake? (wink). Your daughters seriously have the best mom in the world! I’m sure you got that big hug and more! The cake looks beautiful! Love the addition of the cupcakes as well. Seriously, I don’t know how you all stay so skinny with all the great food you make. Not to mention, all the parties!

Wow! The Royal Ascot sounds really intimidating. Kudos to you for agreeing to go. I know you’ll do fine though, Mary. You are a quick learner and I know you’ll fit right in. Hope to be seeing you in your hat next post :D. Have fun with Jeanette!

Ooh, I never noticed those prawns at Costco before. I need to look for them next time I’m there. And the Thai beef salad looks yummy. Looking forward to your recipe.

Of all the things on your list of things you love to do, I’m glad you put Facebooking on there. Haha. All right, until next time, my dear. Try to stay out of trouble. Teehee.

Blackswan  on July 3rd, 2011

Busy mum, as always. Hahaha! Happy Bday to ur dearest sweetie :)

Belinda @zomppa  on July 4th, 2011

What a wonderful solution! The cake is great! Happy birthday to your little one. Have fun witg the horses and your friend.

Angie's Recipes  on July 4th, 2011

Happy Birthday! Both cakes look stunning..you are a super mom, Mary.

Jeannie  on July 4th, 2011

Happy Birthday to the birthday girl:D I am drooling over the cakes! and the rest of the food look very delicious too!

Priya  on July 4th, 2011

Belated birthday wishes to ur gal, cake looks super stunning Mary..

Mary  on July 4th, 2011

@I beat Joyce - Haha….this is so funny! I think someone will bribe me very soon :D

@孤傲的王子 - Thanks very much! :D

@Humph! Not Fair Le! - Haha…I am enjoying watching the fight! Now I am waiting for the highest bribe :D Next time when you come, make sure you stay through someone’s birthday to join in the fun. I’m waiting for next summer :D

@redkathy - Thanks very much for your wishes and your compliments, Kathy! Have to agree with you, I also have a weakness for chocolate cheesecake :D

@claire - Thanks very much, Claire! Yes, I think I need to learn how to make that firecracker prawns. It’s really good. Will post my Thai Beef salad soon. I ate it again yesterday. Believe I will eat it again today :D

@anncoo - Thanks very much, Ann! Yes, my girl was just so happy :D

@somewhere in singapore - Thanks very much, Sharon! Next time, come and join us :D

@sweetlife - Thanks very much Sweetlife! Hope you had a great weekend, too :D

@I beat Joyce - Thanks very much for your compliment! Well, you are going to get to eat all the good food soon! I think you can list down what you like now :D I think I am very good….not into too much trouble unless someone…. :P

@Blackswan - Thanks very much, Shirley! Yes, always busy…but good busyness :D

@Belinda @zomppa - Thanks very much, Belinda! The horses?…haha…will wait and see. Too stressful to think of it :P

@Angie’s Recipes - Thanks very much, Angie! :D

@Jeannie - Thanks very much, Jeannie! Next time, just come and join us :D

@Priya - Thanks very much, Priya! :D

Cheah  on July 4th, 2011

Happy belated B’day to the B’day girl! You’re such a kind loving mum. Your girls must be very, very proud of you. Can’t wait to see you all dressed up for the Ascot race!!

Catherine  on July 4th, 2011

Happy Birthday to your Daughter :D Two cakes?! Lucky girl! That Thai beef salad looks beautiful mmmm… if it’s healthy, does that mean I could eat more of it? Hee hee :)

Faith  on July 4th, 2011

Happy belated birthday to your daughter! Both cakes are really beautiful, Mary. And what a delicious spread of food that is!

kitchen flavours  on July 4th, 2011

Happy Belated Birthday to your daughter! And the cake is beautiful! It is nice to have good friends around for special occasions like this!
Mary, be sure to take a photo of yourself with the hat on. I have always wondered about the “hats” especially among the royalties and rich and famous, looks like you will be among the high and mighty! Enjoy yourself!

kristy  on July 4th, 2011

Mary, Happy Belated Birthday to your girl! Wishing her the very best. Btw, your friend Jeanette sounds very interesting & cute. Yes, cute! haha… Of coz, you must join her some day and dressing up like a true lady. Probably your man will be fainted seeing you wearing like that. haha… “drinks madam!”….. Looking forward to your pictures if you’ve a chance to attend such function. Have a lovely day, dear.

DG  on July 4th, 2011

Happy belated birthday to your gal! The cake look great and what a wonderful food you provided. All look delicious.

Drick  on July 4th, 2011

lucky daughter to have such an amazing mother… but we know where that comes from don’t we… and it doesn’t surprise me one bit that her demands are met, you would not have it any other way… very nice party, great food and forgive me, but I cannot see you in any of those hats…too funny…. Jeanette is lucky to have a friend like the two of you….

Anna Johnston  on July 4th, 2011

Happy Belated Birthday! :) Wow, what a spread, your a fabulous Mom, I love it. Mmmmm… the firecracker Prawns sound great, we are soon to have a Costco so Ill be able to get me some of that. :) The strawberries, actually all the fruit looks so delish.

Mary  on July 5th, 2011

@Cheah - Thanks very much, Cheah for your compliments! :D Royal Ascot? I think I’m both excited and afraid…haha

@Catherine - Thanks very much, Catherine! Yes, you can eat lots. I have been eating lots :D If you want it healthier, then you can leave out the beef. But I would not do that :P

@Faith - Thanks very much, Faith! :D

@kitchen flavours - Thanks very much! Oh yes, I will take LOTS of photos if I ever wear such hat :D Maybe a short moment to feel like the rich and the famous…haha

@kristy - Thanks very much, Kristy! Haha, yes, high time to dress up like a celebrity one day…just for fun. Needless to say, my man won’t know how to walk beside me….haha :D

@DG - Thanks very much, DG! :D

@Drick - Thanks very much, Drick! Now I wonder whether my daughter being demanding is from me or from my hubby….haha. I think her unwavered determination comes from me :D I haven’t attended the Royal Ascot, so not wearing those hats yet. Maybe one day…. :D Yes, Jeanette is just awesome. So glad to know her.

@Anna Johnston - Thanks very much, Anna! I am so happy to know that there’s going to be a Costco at your place. I love to go there….so much to see and food to sample. That’s how I always end up buying more than I want :P

Joy  on July 6th, 2011

I love the spread

Cook.Bake.Love  on July 11th, 2011

This is a long post but I enjoy reading every word of it.

Mary  on July 15th, 2011

@Joy - Thanks very much, Joy! :D

@Cook.Bake.Love - Thanks very much! It’s so encouraging to hear that :D

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