Birthday Celebrating & Pavlova

This past weekend I quietly celebrated my birthday with family. That's the best. I don't need anything fancy. My sister spoiled me with a fabulous lunch out by the river, and clothes and toys for my little ones. My kids and my brother gave me BBQ's. Yes, two. We've designated one for meat, and BBQ #2 is going to be the "Pizza Oven". I can't wait to try BBQ'ing some pizza. (Gluten free? I'm going to have to research this!) 
The craziest thing from my day was attempting to make myself a Pavlova-cake. My favorite desserts are light and easy on the tummy, with lots of fruit.  I was super stoked to find berries on sale in abundance, and since I happened to be wandering through Trader Joe's I figured I might as well try out making the Pavlova with egg whites from a carton. You know, save myself 5 minutes. Let me just say....Don't try it. As smart as it seems to just be able to pour egg whites into a bowl from a carton and beat them into heavenly fluffy goodness, the end result is not worth the time. I wasted an hour of my time, and gave my KitchenAide the work out of a lifetime, trying to get those egg whites to whip. In the end, I never did get them to where they needed to be. I resigned myself to lining my skillet with Parchment and pouring them in to bake.

When the Pavolova was finished, it was pretty, but not nearly as fluffy as I would have liked. It was more like a souffle. A sad souffle. A souffle that didn't rise to the occasion. (But still a tasty one.)

On the other hand, the one that I made with separated eggwhites turned out lovely. Typically you want to leave it in the oven when the baking time is up, so that it can cool slowly and dry out completely. I was anxious to eat my birthday cake and share it with my sister before she had to head out, so I pulled it from the oven early. If I had left it, it wouldn't have cracked and crumbled, but turned out like a large lovely, bigger than life meringue cookie. 
 Coconut cream was piled on top, and beautiful tart berries. Plunked a pretty candle in the middle, (because 36 of them would just be way too many).
 Wishes were made. Dreams are expected to come true! They always do, right?

We enjoyed, and then the kids and I relaxed the rest of the day and played with our new toys. I think we're in need of some more little friends to add to our collection now! Maybe I'll make some felt friends...

All in all, it was a lovely celebration. I wouldn't have chosen it any other way. 

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