Heavy Cream and Belated Birthday Cake

So, I am continuing to deal with the rush of histamines (and antihistamines) that comes with early spring. And it's been a . . . busy . . . week. For the first time today, I taught all five classes. That equates to a full time teaching load. I also used 3 boxes of tissues in the past 4 days.

I went to Borders to monopolize on their closing stores and found a dessert cookbook. I saw homemade marshmallows in it and I knew I had to get it.
I also had to fill out a "your response is required by law" Census Bureau survey. Wonderful. Fun stuff.
I lost an acquaintance from high school and a beloved pastor who almost felt like a third grandfather. As sad as I am and as much as I will miss him, I can only praise God that his pain is over.

And somewhere amongst all that, I found time to cook. Somewhere.

On Tuesday night, I made Parsnip and Tomato Casserole. I forgot the recipe at school. I will share soon. I promise. It comes from one of my new cookbooks from BMM. It intrigued me because it had parsnips (and thyme!) and I love parsnips. And it sounded vaguely British. Which I discovered must be true, because all the recipes I found online (when I realized I forgot the recipe at school) were from British or New Zealand websites.
I also think, strangely enough, that this might be the first thing -- not including desserts or whipped cream -- that I have ever put heavy cream in. I happened to have some because of, well, you'll see. The fact that I had some that needed to be used up was the ONLY reason I didn't use milk. Skim milk. To think that other people keep cream on hand for cooking. It comes from different styles of cooking, I guess.
Anyway, it kind of ended up being like macaroni and cheese with tomatoes in it, but with parsnips instead of pasta. And more spices.
It was a little odd, I'll be honest. But, at the same time it was pretty good. I mean, what with cheese isn't good? I think I might try not putting in the sugar next time. The sweet and cheesy thing is a little odd. And then there's the heavy cream. Just kidding.

Then came the baking. The same baking I wanted to do on Monday, but I finally got around to it on Wednesday night. It was part of a busy afternoon where I didn't let myself think about what was going on outside of my little bubble. I know, living in a bubble doesn't work. But still. I had to try.

Anyway, while everyone else was on spring break and I was still going to school, MF's birthday went without proper apartment celebration. That was not ok.
I had a cake mix from Christmastime that I almost made for JG and my birthdays last month, but when thinking about it, I decided it had to be for MF. The chocolate was what made the decision for me.
I used my mom's magic layer cake trick: trace the bottom of the cake pan on some parchment or wax paper and then cut it out. When you flip out the cake, it doesn't stick on the bottom, and peeling the paper off isn't very hard.
Chocolate cake and chocolate mousse? I couldn't just leave it at that.
I added chocolate ganache on top. Somehow it's ok to put a whole cup of heavy cream in with chocolate. It's dessert.
The ganache was so easy, and it just added something to the boxed cake mix that made it seem slightly more exciting.
I wrote "happy birthday" on top, but with the ganache being, well, glaze . . . it kind of slid off as we were watching. Well, not all the way off. But it was starting to go over the edge.
Hey, it still tasted just a good.


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