Celebrate! (Giveaway Post)

Have you all missed me?? I know I've missed you all... but it's been a SUPER busy week full of celebrations that went way past my bedtime most nights. Therefore, blogging has taken a back seat. But I'm back today, and make sure you're in a comfortable seat, you have about 3 days worth of stuff to look at! I'll keep it photo-heavy and not too much reading...

A huge thank you goes out to each and every one of you that sent me sweet birthday messages throughout the day on Thursday! Every time my phone would "ding" with a new message, I'd get a warm and fuzzy feeling!

I started my day early (5 a.m. or so) and was greeted by Adam, carrying a birthday Boston cream donut (a favorite!) with a candle in it, along with a sweet card, iced coffee, and a breakfast sandwich for later in the morning when I was sure to get hungry.


I spent my birthday at camp, and was absolutely floored by the number of cards and gifts I received! One gift in particular though, was beyond thoughtful. Two moms I've come to know and love over the years are What's for Dinner readers, and presented me with this beautiful box of spices from the Spice House in Evanston, IL.


Thank you so much Lisa and Kim! These will surely make an appearance again! Camp was a blast, and I had so much fun passing out the mini cupcakes I made for the campers and staff. My little girls got one version of the cupcakes, served in appropriate "duckie" wrappers:



The remaining staff and campers got a different kind of wrapper, in the form of "nut and party cups" for a sturdier final product. They were a bit harder to unwrap, but held up so well that I can't wait to use them again!


Later in the day, after going to the pool and hanging out with my girls for a while, my mom and David surprised me at the forest preserves with MORE cupcakes and a birthday present!


I'll get to the gift in a minute... it was absolutely a beautiful day!



I got home to a surprise from Adam, two things I've wanted and wouldn't buy for myself:


A new rolling pin (since I had kidnapped the one from the cooking room at school as my own, and had to give it back) and Toy Story on Blu-Ray! There was much more from him this weekend, but you'll have to wait to see...

Our first stop of the night was to use the birthday present from my mom and David to get something I've been wanting for oh, about 5 years. It's small, shiny, electronic, and made by Apple.


I GOT AN iPHONE!!!! I'm a little excited. The remaining pictures from the night are taken with its sexy camera.

We then headed out to a restaurant I've been hearing about in blog land for a while, and just opened here: Seasons 52.

Since it was, well, my birthday, I started with a glass of Moscato wine that was AMAZING (Mondavi 2008), and Adam ordered us a Pellegrino.


We started with a spicy yellowtail sushi roll (really, are you surprised?)


Adam also ordered a bowl of their buffalo chili, and I got a tomato and balsamic salad:



For my entree, it was really hard for me to decide on what to order since everything on their menu is 475 calories or under. I decided on the roasted pork tenderloin with polenta, mushrooms, spinach, and a sherry sauce. I was not disappointed!


Adam ordered the crab stuffed shrimp, which were fantastic:


Then, came one of the things Seasons 52 is famous for: their shot glass desserts! I was presented with a candle topped tower of dessert shots, and we were told to choose two... of course, we chose 4.


From the left: Strawberry shortcake, chocolate peanut butter, key lime pie, and s'mores. Mine were the middle two and they rocked. I'm so glad to know that they're so good, because a glass of wine and shot glass desserts sounds like a fun night out to me!

Now, to help me celebrate, the lovely people at Chavrie (you know, the goat cheese people)have offered you all a fantastic giveaway. Are you ready for this? Are you sitting down? Chavrie celebrates each season, and since my favorite thing to celebrate in summer is my birthday, I wanted to time this giveaway this way. For the FTC: Yes, I received this prize too, for free, and have not been compensated in any way.

For the low low price of a comment about your favorite birthday memory, you will be entered to receive:

  • One Pottery Barn vintage wood chip and dip set (approximate value: $50)
  • Coupons for free Chavrie cheese (approximately $5 value each)
  • A Chavrie goat cheese cookbook

The chip and dip set is seriously beautiful. It's made of carved natural and sustainably harvested mango wood with a porcelain insert for your favorite dip.


For additional entries, you may do the following, but please make sure you leave a separate comment for each one.

  • "Like" What's for Dinner on Facebook
  • Tweet about the giveaway, mentioning @imadedinner, @chavrie, and link to this post
  • Link back to this post on your blog OR leave a separate comment about your favorite use for goat cheese.

I'll have two more birthday-related posts for you in coming days, and never fear, you'll get the cupcake recipe!

Have a great rest of your Sunday, and TGIM!



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96 Responses to Celebrate! (Giveaway Post)

  1. amy says:

    My favorite birthday memory is from turning 21 in college. In our group of friends I was the youngest so they all got to go out and party with me!

  2. MarathonVal says:

    I’m not entering the giveaway, just wanted to say hi and I’m so glad you had such a great birthday!

  3. Jennifer says:

    Wow! Fun giveaway 🙂 My favorite birthday memory would have to be when my now-husband (then, new fiance!)surprised me with a nice, quiet dinner at a great restaurant – we had our own little curtained booth. I’ve had surprise parties, etc but for some reason, this birthday memory is my favorite! happy birthday to you – your dinner looked amazing!

  4. Jennifer says:

    Also, my favorite way to use goat cheese – on a flatbread with fresh figs. It’s a great hors d’oeurve when we have guests. My neighbors have a fig tree so it’s also economical!

  5. Oh Happy Birthday!!

    My favorite birthday memory was when I was 2… everyone sang happy birthday and then my mom was beginning to cut up my cake and hand it out. I went from being the happy birthday girl to crying and screaming ‘MY CAKE!’. Obnoxious and spoiled? YUP 🙂 haha

  6. PS- I linked to your giveaway on my blog 🙂 I looooove goat cheese! Especially when it is deep fried on a bed of arugula… YUM!
    Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life)´s last blog post ..Ramblings…

  7. Emily says:

    I’ve had some pretty phenomenol birthdays – but I’ll never forget the biggest birthday bash at the pool – when I was 8. 🙂 It was a joint birthday with my best friend in the whole world and my mom made this unbelievable cake (she took cake decorating classes and it was of little girls and boys in floats – adorable). It was a birthday to remember!
    Emily´s last blog post ..Protect your Privacy with Private Domain Registrations

  8. My favorite birthday was my sweet sixteen, on Maui, with my parents, at Spago . . and Wolfgang Puck!
    A Teenage Gourmet´s last blog post ..Grapefruit Brûlée

  9. jenna says:

    Birthdays have always been low key in my family. But for my 21st birthday my sister threw me a surprise birthday party. It was so fun and I was not expecting it in the least.

  10. Heather says:

    I love the Seasons 52 desserts, so much yum!

    My favorite birthday memory was my 21st. I took a road trip to one of my favorites cities with my then-boyfriend and saw our favorite band. It sounds small and insignificant, but it was great 🙂

  11. Michelle says:

    Good question! I’ve been thinking about it and I would have to say my 16th. It was the first time I got a $100 bill as gift!!!

  12. Stephanie says:

    My favorite birthday was the year I turned 8. My mom hosted an all out slumber party. There were terrible glamour shot esque makeovers, silly dance routines and copious amounts of cake fueling an all night sugar high! Every moms dream 🙂

  13. Erin says:

    My favorite birthday memory is definitely my 25th birthday this past year — it was the day after our wedding, and we went on a fabulous honeymoon to Curacao (completely planned by my husband)!

  14. Kristina says:

    Happy Birthday, Mara!

    one of my favorite birthday memories… a few years ago Jason gave me a twinkie with a candle in it 🙂 he gave me the most beautiful outfit and took me to an amazing dinner at our favorite restaurant. it was perfect. 🙂
    Kristina´s last blog post ..Kardea Nutrition

  15. Astrid says:

    I loved my 21st birthday. I was doing SEA semester and it was the shore component in Cape Cod. It was so fun to celebrate right on the coast and go out with my new friends and drink a bottle of champagne that I bought myself!

  16. julie says:

    birthday posts are SO much fun to look back on 🙂

    i think my fav bday memory is actually from high school when my besties threw me a suprise party!

  17. julie says:

    just became a facebook fan!
    julie´s last blog post ..a habitual creature

  18. Beth says:

    I just loved when I was a kid and I would host big pool parties for all my friends, those were truly the innocent times…happy bday to you!

  19. Ashley S says:

    My fav birthday memory was when I turned 21 and my husband took me to the casinos!

  20. Kristina says:

    I like you on FB 🙂
    Kristina´s last blog post ..Kardea Nutrition

  21. Sara says:

    My favorite birthday memory… my 21st spent at Buffalo Wild Wings!

  22. Aspen says:

    Happy Birthday to you!!! Hope you have a wonderful day!

    My favorite birtday memory has to be when I turned 21 and drug my parents out on the town with all of my friends. So much fun..

  23. Liz says:

    Happy birthday! My favorite bday memory is my 21st when my friends threw me a surprise party. So sweet! Thanks for the contest giveaway

  24. Kylee says:

    My favourite memory of a birthday was when my dad came home from work at noon, and took me and my friends ice-skating. Very un-dad-like at the time (he usually worked 15 hours a day, and it was so memorable. I was delighted!

    I wonder if he knows that?
    **immediately making plans to call him**

  25. Kari says:

    My favorite birthday was my 21st of course! My husband (boyfriend at the time) and I went to Niagra Falls and played tourists. The drinking age in Canada is 19, so he could drink too, being that he is 11 days younger than me. So fun!

  26. Lucy says:

    Happy Bday–my fave memories are from my mom’s homemade cakes, she always let me pick the flavor of cake and frosting…I miss that so much, better than any bakery!

  27. elaine says:

    happy birthday!! My favorite birthday memory has to be my fourteenth birthday, where on top of a delicious s’mores ice cream cake and bbq on the beach with friends, i also had my first kiss!

  28. Liz says:

    Ok, I just “liked” your What’s For Dinner page on Facebook! Please enter me again. Thanks:)!

  29. Carolyn C. says:

    Probably my favorite b-day memory was this past one! My mom and husband made a fondue dinner for me from scratch, and my three boys got to enjoy it with us (their first experience). VERY FUN!!

  30. Em says:

    When I was 13, my parents arranged a surprise birthday party for me (my first!), complete with a sleepover, pool party at the waterpark the next day, and a DQ cake. I wasn’t really allowed to go to sleepovers until middle school, so my parents doing this for me was a pretty big deal!

  31. Marianne says:

    I am sad that you are no longer a BB buddy. And that new BB is coming out on my birthday – I so want one!

    Sounds like you had an excellent birthday. How could it be bad? It involved sushi!
    Marianne´s last blog post ..Celebrate BC

  32. alexis says:

    my favorite birthday memory is when my mom and dad took my friends and i to cedar point (when I thought they were leaving in the morning after a sleepover!). It was FABULOUS and I was thrilled!!!

  33. Will says:

    My bday is in the summer, so we definitely had fun pool parties, tons of pizza (no one counted calories back then) and ice cream cake–those were the days!

  34. Scott C says:

    Probably has to by my 30th BDay.. My wife threw a surprise party… had a great time…(30 was devastating to me, but the party was good!)…Thanks for contest

  35. sheri grennille says:

    My favorite memory is from three years ago – my husband bought tickets to a minor league ball game and wandered the stadium with our then 4 year old daughter after the first few innings when she got bored. I enjoyed watching the game and when they returned in the ninth inning, she sat and watched the “new” game. Then they ran the bases on the field. Nothing is better than joy in your child’s face!

  36. Sarah says:

    I LOVE goat cheese in everything… BUT I think my favorite use currently is in scrambled eggs!

  37. Debbie T says:

    My daughter’s 1st birthday was my favorite.

  38. colleen says:

    Happy birthday to you! I am new to your blog,I loved your pics!
    My favorite Birthday memory was 6 years ago. My hubby (then boyfriend) took me to Aruba to celebrate my 29th Birthday. At sunset on Sept 26th while sitting on the balcony of our hotel room over looking the ocean, he pulled out the most beautiful engagement ring,and got down on one knee and proposed to me. That was the best birthday memory that lasts year to year. :O)

  39. Jeanne says:

    My favorite birthday was spent in a hostel in Chamonix, France. I woke up early and went & sat outside in the natural splendor and was just so grateful to have had that opportunity! 🙂

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  42. Tamara B. says:

    My favorite birthday was the big “30”, it also happened to be a week after my divorce became finalized. I rented a limo and picked up all of my girl friends, we hit the town and had the time of our life. Thank goodness for best buddies they sure brighten our lives when things look bleak!

  43. Tamara B. says:

    I “Like” What’s for Dinner on Facebook

  44. Tamara B. says:

    I love using goat cheese making the Chavrie® Chicken Wontons. I stole that recipe from their website and it is a huge hit with everyone! I also love making crab dip with goat cheese.

  45. Sarah says:

    My favorite birthday memory is of when I was six and I asked to have a crab feast (we are in MD)… I didn’t know how to pick my own crabs yet but we had a big family party and my dad taught me!

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