food · outdoors

9,434,880 Minutes

When you give birth to a child, minutes turn into hours, hours in to days, days into weeks, weeks into months and before you know it 18 years have flown by.  Yet you still are living minute to minute.  Some days more so than others.

Our one and only turned 18 this past Friday.  There are a lot of changes coming up in the next few months.  So many unanswered questions, so many choices.  So many goodbyes and so many hellos.  Its dizzying to think of some times.

One constant I hope will remain for at least a few more years is the tradition of a birthday supper.  I know this tradition will morph for convenience sakes in the coming years when she is miles away from me, so I relished one last laugh around the table with a favorite chosen meal shared between friends and family.

Do you have a birthday tradition in your house? Do you share a homemade meal or go to a fancy restaurant to celebrate?

A favorite family meal in our house is a simple handmade pizzatopped with sauce, ground beef, shrimp and parmesan cheese.  This recipe has been a favorite of my father’s since I can remember.  The recipe has morphed a bit from my mother’s original depending on what bits and bobs are in the fridge and my flight of fancy the day I make it, but it has never been a failure.  It isn’t anything exceptionally special but it is the most often requested dish of any birthday dinner.  I’m surprised at the number of “I remember that!” exclamations from child hood mates when I mention yet another birthday hamburger shrimp on my social media account .

birthday pizza

Birthday Pizza

1 pizza crust par baked

1 lb ground beef browned and well seasoned

2 packages salad shrimp

2 cups pizza sauce

grated parmesan cheese

Notes:  This recipe evolved from my mom’s busy work schedule.  She is of the generation that really came into their own using convenience foods.  Hence this is a quick easy work night dinner.  You can get fancy and make the crust and sauce from scratch – I have and it turns out wonderfully – but it is equally tasty using the short cuts canned sauce and crust pouch.  This recipe uses parmesan cheese, the kind found on the shelf.  Again, I’ve grated block mozzarella, used real parmesan on occasion and splurged with fresh mozzarella pearls all with rave reviews.  You can be as simple and cheap or as complicated and spendy as you want.  The key is love and well seasoned burger.

Where I cheap out on the main dish – the child new adult chose a fancy dessert, Tiramisu

Tiramisu is a deceptively easy dessert. However it requires some more “luxurious” ingredients if you are not lucky enough to have an Italian market in your backyard.  It wasn’t until just last year that my local market carried lady fingers OR marscapone cheese.  Therefore this dessert was saved for holidays only as it took a considerable amount of time to make the lady fingers and wasn’t quite as tasty due to the use of cream cheese rather than the fancy Italian cream cheese.  Now a days the only thing I rely on Amazon for is the quality cocoa powder.  My local grocery only carries Hershey and Nestle.  While they’ll both delight – a good quality cocoa makes this dish extra special.

Have you tried your hand at Tiramisu?  I’ve tried several recipes over the years including the version from the New York Times by Craig Claiborne.  However, I turn back to this version from Epicurious time and time again.  I think its the addition of the Marsala wine.  Don’t get me wrong I love cognac or rum versions such as this version from David Lebovitz, even the irish cream version from Nigella Lawson.  But I’m frugal, and the only three recipes I use that involve Marsala Wine are TiramisuChicken Marsala, and Cannoli.img_4887 I figure I might as well get my use out of the bottle instead of letting it stagnate in the liquor cabinet.

I had extra filling leftover from the Tiramisu so I added in some ricotta cheese and stuffed a couple of stray cannoli shells I had lying around from a previous mid week splurge.  My treat for “slaving” away in the kitchen over a birthday dinner.

After enjoying all that glorious clandestine cannoli goodness I burned off those calories with a good jaunt in the snow with the dogs.  We enjoyed a tauter in the back forty with snow shoes in the fresh snow from last week’s snow storm.  Lots of critter trails to ponder and follow. Sunshine and a good wander lifted my spirits and gave me an appetite for a double portion of birthday pizza.

Thanks to all the fresh air and exercise we enjoyed last week made possible by the gorgeous weather, I’ve been enjoying a bout of laziness yesterday and today.  Part of it is a melancholic mood looking back on the last 18 years and wondering what is in store for the years to come, empty house and all.

Have you experienced empty nest syndrome yet?  Will these feelings of sadness eventually make way to a sense of a job well done?

Pondering what is yet to come……



2 thoughts on “9,434,880 Minutes

  1. Your pizza is something I’m going to try. I’ve never thought of combining those toppings – sounds yummy! 😁 It’s a strange feeling when kids leave home. The house is quiet & it seems like something is missing. But – the house stays cleaner! 😉


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