As always, it was dicey at first. Both layers got stuck in their nonstick pans and finally fell out looking a bit worse for wear. But the frosting went on — painstakingly — and covered up most of the sins. There were a few crumbs caught in it, but the cake itself was tasty, and on the whole, it looked like a self-respecting layer cake made by an amateur. Its flaws, my husband said, lovingly, made it look “homemade.”
Of course I made it dairy free for my son, who chose not to eat it. He had an ice cream sandwich instead. His loss. And my gain.
For lunch, I made the birthday boy a simple rendition of John’s favorite foods: Cheese and cheese. The recipe can be traced back to co-worker Jade Connors. It’s pretty simple:
Chicken Tortilla Soup
3 cans Campbell’s Fiesta nacho soup (which we can only find at super Walmarts)
3 cans skim milk
1 jar salsa con queso
3 10-ounce cans chicken
Tortilla chips for serving
Like Jade, I put it in the Crock Pot about 10 a.m., before I left to get my hair cut. (Hair cuts for me are a four-hour affair, because I drive nearly an hour to my hometown to have it cut by the lady who cut it for me in high school. Then I have lunch with my parents, spend an hour in the chair and drive back.)
The birthday boy was going to have to eat before I got through with all that, and I figured the soup would be hot right about noon.
For some reason, John did not immediately like the soup. I guess it was too thin when he served it. By the time I got home, though, it was wonderfully thick and perfectly spicy. As it cooled further it became an addictive dip. It reminded me of that dip you get by melting Velveeta with a can of Rotel tomatoes. But it was better because of the chicken.
It’s not a nutritional powerhouse, I’ll admit. But perfect for a mid-day birthday indulgence. His dinner was a simple strip steak (with Montreal Steak Seasoning) and Roasted Brussels Sprouts.