Friday, December 21, 2012

Hip Hip Hooray...

...R turned 25 yesterday!  And it's almost Christmas Day!  

Anyone who was born in December knows the "combining gifts" idea all too well.  When R and I started dating, I thought that by combining his birthday and Christmas gifts, I could justify getting him a really cool present. Wrong.  Apparently everyone else had the same idea…and anyone born near him can relate with getting "duped".  Now I'm making it sound as if my husband is ungrateful and throws temper tantrums…which is not the case.  I just want to make him feel extra special on his birthday. 

For the big 2-5, R and I chilled on the balcony for a quiet evening in...just us two three per his request.  We usually do big birthday celebrations with friends, but he wanted to appreciate this rare occasion in Sydney soaking it all in.  And that we did.  
After work, we cheersed with his coworkers at Opera Bar happy hour!
  Later that evening, we watched a storm roll over us into the city over a glass of champagne and strawberries.

No birthday would be complete without Teddy hugs and kisses xoxoxo
Homemade cheesecake and gifts!
Inspired by my new cookbooks (xmas gifts), I made my first attempt at a cheesecake for the birthday boys favorite treat.  I chose the classic Sarabeth's Bakery in New York for my creation, which I must say was one of the most thoughtful gifts from my father-in-law and step mother-in-law as it was a special place to my mother.   
For the crust, I took the recipe from Sarabeth's shortbread cookies.  After I kneaded, rolled, and baked the dough, the fun part was crumbling them into the pan (and sneaking in a few bites for myself..I couldn't let perfectly warm cookies go to waste).  From there, I followed her cheesecake filling recipe to the tee…or so I thought.  Turns out, when I made the conversion from pounds to grams at the grocery store for buying enough cream cheese, I underestimated.  Converting recipes can get tricky, especially when weight is a factor.  And the golden rule of baking is to always be accurate in your measurements…no guessing or eyeing like with other cooking.  Good thing I double checked my math as I was adding the cream cheese because I was short half of what was needed…and already too far into the recipe to turn back (and too short of time to run to the store).  I just halved all the other ingredients and it turned out scrumptious…just a little thin!  
Not only did we get to celebrate four christmases in Texas, but R's parents both surprised him with a mini birthday celebration!! Can you say spoiled?!  
 Besides unpacking, celebrating, and recovering, we are appreciating the summer vibe again.  I hope many picnics like this are ahead for us…

This week in the kitchen:
Whole Wheat Fettucini Pasta with Simple Basil Pesto Sauce and Shaved Parmesan

Tomorrow we are headed to Hunter Valley, aka the wine country for a weekend getaway!  It's only a 2 hour drive north from the city and one of Australia's best known wine regions.  We are looking forward to some wine tasting, bike riding, and xmas lights displays to celebrate the holiday.  

We will miss our loved ones this Christmas, but feel blessed we could all be together last week.  On Christmas Day, our friends invited us to their families yearly lunch gathering, which was super sweet of them!  We can't wait to celebrate Aussie style. While everyone is gathering this week, remember what it is exactly we should be glorifying and thankful for.  And while the holidays should be cheerful and a time of togetherness, a painful reminder of those loved ones we have lost will be felt in their absence.


  1. I love love love your blogs. Please keep them coming. It's truly a gift to read these and be able to hear and see what's going on in your lives on the other side of the ocean. Much Love, M

  2. Happy Belated Birthday! Kelsey, I thought, who is that stunning girl pouring their champagne, and then I realized it was you!!! :) You're so gorgeous. And you guys seriously have the best view!!