Notes From A Nester: Not So Fierce, Mostly Nerdy Birthday Jan28

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Notes From A Nester: Not So Fierce, Mostly Nerdy Birthday


a blogumn by Debra Barlow

birthdaycutoutThis past weekend was my birthday.  Since I didn’t feel like going out on the town, I had a few close friends over to help me celebrate.  One of my guests was shocked that I had spent my entire birthday cooking and cleaning in preparation for my guests’ arrival.  I had hard time understanding why she was so shocked (especially since she asked me to write a column on nesting), but then I gave it some thought.  I guess, to most people, spending an entire birthday doing what amounts to chores does seem like a drag. And on most given Saturdays, I would lament having to spend 2 hours cleaning the apartment.  But for some reason, when I get the urge to entertain…it no longer seems like a chore.

I’m a perfectionist by nature.  When people come into my home, I want them to feel relaxed and I want it to be clean.  Spotless even.  If it weren’t for parties, my couch would probably never get vacuumed and the ceiling fan never dusted.  Unlike your average Saturday once over, cleaning for other people feels like it has a purpose.   But the cleaning didn’t take up much of my birthday. The cooking did.

I love cooking, as you’ve probably noticed by now.  And spending my day in the kitchen prepping was perfect to me.  I remember manipulating phyllo dough for Buffalo Chicken Bites and thinking how very happy I was that I had given myself permission to spend an entire day just cooking.  That was my gift to myself – a day to do whatever would make me happy.  I could’ve done anything — shopping, Disneyland, spa day – but, for this one moment in time, the thing that made me most happy was having my friends over and treating them to a pleasant evening.

The other thing that made me happy that day and really reduced my usual party stress was keeping in mind that it was my birthday.  I was more focused on what I wanted to serve – what I wanted to eat, drink, nosh on for days after.  Of course I gave the usual considerations to people’s dietary limitations, but for the most part I felt like, ‘it’s my party, I’ll make what I want to!’  And I did and that was part of the pure enjoyment.  And a happy, relaxed hostess who is truly enjoying herself goes a long way in making the party enjoyable for everyone else.

What have you/would you like to do on your birthday that others might find odd?  Also, a decadent recipe for one of appetizers I served at the party after the jump. Warning:  bacon is involved.

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Thingies
(recipe courtesy of The Pioneer Woman)


Fresh jalapenos, 2-3 inches in size
Cream cheese, softened
Thin, regular bacon, sliced into thirds

Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise.  With a spoon, remove the seeds and white membrane (one thing I learned:  WEAR GLOVES – especially if you have sensitive skin.  My fingers were on fire for hours!)  Smear softened cream cheese into each jalapeno half. Wrap jalapenos with bacon.  Secure with a toothpick.

Bake on a wire rack at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

These things are seriously addictive!

. photo credit: davis.jacque