I probably should not be fessing up to such a decadent meal – I am doing A Course in Weight Loss, so it is hardly a shining example of my new found enlightenment. However, honesty is my policy, and luckily birthdays only come around once a year.


A birthday gift from Marzia Medazzaland,
click here to sign-up for my gift to you!

I indulged, and I enjoyed every last morsel of my birthday lunch at The Tavern. The progress is that I slowed down enough to savor each mouth full, did not feel compelled to clean every plate, and felt zero guilt afterwards, because I knew I’d get right back on track.


Cynthia Occelli spoiling me rotten for my birthday

Now my friend Cynthia is normally one of the best influences on me – her wisdom about LIFE is boundless. She’s the one that talked me into the cleanse that finally made me get real about what I put into my body, the harm it causes, and how powerful a role food can play in healing. I am a firm believer in eating consciously, but dining out together does sometimes swing the pendulum the opposite direction since we’re both adventurous people.

We started out with good intentions:

Chickpea purée with feta, black olives and grilled toast

Potato & Leek Soup with Garlic Puree

Decided we’d be very European in making lunch our main meal of the day:

Steak frite (steak and French fries)

The first few fries tasted great, but then not so much after that, so l left the rest, moderation.

With arugula salad and sauce béarnaise on the side

Then they brought us the dessert menu, and we both caved completely:

It was a really good wish, but you know I can’t tell you!

“Snickers” Bar salted peanut caramel and vanilla ice cream

Churros with Marzipan & Caramel Cream

Now here is the really naughty part – on the way back to the car we took a detour to Susie Cakes for later…

Now that is a LOT of red velvet cake – my idea of heaven

… because a birthday just isn’t a birthday without red velvet cake!

Red Velvet Cupcakes to go

Thank you so much for such a special birthday celebration Cynthia! Daisy is happy too – she’s getting extra long walks every day now.

Gotcha!

That wasn’t all Cynthia treated me to on my birthday – she even helped me update my facebook page, so if you “like” me and join my email list – you will get a gift too!
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  • March 11, 2011
    5:57 pm

    Happy Birthday Jewels!!! Hope it is as fabulous as you are!

  • March 11, 2011
    5:57 pm

    If you CAN'T indulge on your birthday, when CAN you?! Glad you had a good time!Justine Owls

  • March 11, 2011
    5:58 pm

    Looks stunning! The real way to savour food!

  • March 11, 2011
    5:59 pm

    I'm so happy you had a wonderful birthday! And you had your Red Velvet Cake. :) The entire lunch looks incredible, not sure what part appeals to me the most. Probably the soup, then the cupcakes. Hope your birthday wish comes true and your year is a special one full of wonderful surprises.

  • March 11, 2011
    6:01 pm

    Happy Birthday, my dear!!!! What a wonderful treat, all the dishes look absolutely delicious but true to my Spanish genes, my favourite has to be the 'Churros'. In fact, I'm off to Spain on Sunday and very much looking forward to sharing a paper cone full of them with my sister and niece :Dxxx

  • March 11, 2011
    6:28 pm

    What a well deserved way to celebrate your Birthday! Wow that meal looks really fantastic – Steak Frites with Bernaise is one of my favourites. My wish for you is for continued health and happiness, love and joy in all things and thank you again for re-kindling a passion I thought I had let life wear out of me.

  • March 12, 2011
    12:07 am

    Happy Birthday ! feast & Friends great gifts indeed xox

  • March 12, 2011
    2:13 am

    Hello Julie Anne!!!!!! I'm so proud that you put my birthday gift in your wonderful blog! I'm very very happy that you like it!!! And thanks for beautiful gift you sent me, is a great recipe!!!!!! Kisses!!!! Marzia Medazzaland!!!!!! xoxox

  • March 12, 2011
    12:24 pm

    Happy Birthday!!!! Wonderful outing. As I was scrolling down at first I was thinking it's looking pretty healthy…but the lower down I got I chuckled, ok it was a treat. You need off days and your bday has to be a treat day…has to. You gotta live a little!Cupcakexo

  • March 12, 2011
    5:03 pm

    Wow, all of that food looks so delicious! For my birthday on the 10th, I had a BLT with avocado on whole wheat bread, potato salad, and a peanut butter milkshake! Much more low-budget, but delicious and just decadent enough.Here's to a great year ahead!Kathy

  • March 12, 2011
    7:04 pm

    Happy birthday Kathy! Gotta admit – one of my faves is BLT with avocado – Trader Joes does a vegan bacon that's really yummy and a little healthier than the real thing, so I have them often. Peanut butter milkshake sounds divine – never had one before.

  • March 12, 2011
    7:04 pm

    Beautifullly written and what a wonderful celebration! ♥Sara Myron

  • March 12, 2011
    7:04 pm

    Yes it was so much fun!

  • March 12, 2011
    7:33 pm

    Yum! Makes me wish it was my birthday!Sima Kumar

  • March 12, 2011
    7:33 pm

    beautifully simple, they look so delicious. Are they red velvet by any chance?Phoenix Lebon-Taylor

  • March 12, 2011
    7:34 pm

    and now I've just read it and seen all those yummy red cakes lol I love to make these cakes! You inspired me to try & make these UK style and I found a way that works pretty good, so now I have another cake I love to bake for friends -many thanks JulieAnn xPhoenix Lebon-Taylor

  • March 12, 2011
    7:35 pm

    I'm craving for sweats and those ones look yummy!!!Sandra Lai

  • March 12, 2011
    7:55 pm

    "Seems you had a great and yummy b-day!!Glad for you Jewels!!XX"MariFer Cruz Ortega

  • March 12, 2011
    11:22 pm

    Yum! Scared to think about the calories tho! LOL!Isabel Ortiz Bernad

  • March 12, 2011
    11:24 pm

    these look so good. I am on diet so I got the Weight Watchers red Velvet bars…yuk wish I had these instead. Happy Birthday.Carmen Hoehne

  • March 12, 2011
    11:25 pm

    Very nice bd lunch indeed! And churros! We have them here as well. Tho typical for Valencia and these days are buñuelos, or bunyols. Will show you a pic I took today ;)Isabel Ortiz Bernad

  • March 12, 2011
    11:27 pm

    Unfortunately I like churros just a little too much! The only fattening part of lunch I couldn't stop at one or two bites – think I ate at least half of them!

  • March 14, 2011
    4:58 pm

    Hope you enjoyed it!Niki Nartey

  • March 14, 2011
    4:58 pm

    Oh yes! Very rich though – a couple bites did me fine.

  • March 14, 2011
    4:59 pm

    i love it !! simplyRoberta Gui

  • March 14, 2011
    5:33 pm

    Did you end up taking the rest home?Niki Nartey

  • March 14, 2011
    5:33 pm

    yummyShannon Marie Moyer

  • March 14, 2011
    5:34 pm

    Not just yes, but HELL YES! :DKimberly Flynn

  • March 14, 2011
    5:36 pm

    Couldn't Niki – it was ice cream. It was really more about getting a taste than stuffing our gobs, but I did have help from Cynthia.

  • March 14, 2011
    8:57 pm

    Ah, excuse my failing eyesight! Looks like it was a delicious treat for you guys.Niki Nartey

  • March 14, 2011
    8:59 pm

    I didn't touch it . . . okay I touched it.Cynthia Occelli

  • March 14, 2011
    8:59 pm

    YES! In a heartbeat!Karen Gilbert

  • March 15, 2011
    3:13 am

    Happy Birthday, Jewels. It all looked so yummy. :-) Your site tends to be hazardous to my diet ;)

  • March 15, 2011
    3:32 am

    Avert your eyes a little longer Mari – I'm on a cupcake roll at the moment (two more cupcake posts to come – hey a girl has to do some sampling when she gets a 24 hour pass). In real life I had my decadent 24 hours for my birthday, then got right back on track. I really do believe A Course in Weight Loss has made fundamental changes in my preference for living healthy. Just weighed myself today, and l certainly didn't lose any weight this week, but the good news is I didn't gain any either – confirming my theory of 95% healthy, and 5% wiggle room for the occasional indulgence is the perfect balance for me.

  • March 15, 2011
    3:39 am

    Ok..jewels i'm in heaven right now..just imagining myself eating this for hours. you got good taste!Laura Watson

  • March 15, 2011
    3:39 am

    It looks wonderful & I'd love to just try a bite, but then pass the plate around the table for everyone to sample.Ruthee Mac

  • March 15, 2011
    3:43 am

    You got it in one Ruthee – the secret is have the occasional bite to get it out of your system (deprivation tends to make me obsess until I binge), but you do not have to clean the whole plate. I like Ruthee's approach – share with your friends.