Some people go on sabbatical from a favored aspect of their life (video games, dating, alcohol, etc) to gain a fresh perspective on life. A Catholic tradition that I've always kind of liked is giving something up during the season of Lent - the 40 days before Easter. Some give up meat (though they are already fasting from meat on Fridays), and some, like my mother, give up eating out or shopping for leisure. I think one year I tried giving up cleaning my room. That didn't fly so well. And some poor souls give up chocolate. A few months ago, I made a resolve to go without chocolate for as long as it took my skin to clear up - not for Lent, but for me. Why I thought giving up this wonderful treat would be GOOD for me when I'm already starving for contentment, I'll never know. Suffice it to say, I gave up. The experiment did nothing for my complexion, so I'm chalking it all up to stress. Pass the M&M's.
NO ONE was happier about my giving up the giving up of chocolate than Janelle. Janelle and I have a friendship that is part chocolate. We're the kind of friends who call each other in the middle of the day breathless with excitement because OMG THERE'S A NEW FLAVOR OF KIT KAT AT THE CONVENIENCE STORE!!! (Which is not unlike my part-coffee friendship with Courtney, who I'll be writing about soon.) I myself have counted 24 different flavors of Kit Kat in Japan, some of which were seasonal and haven't returned. My favorite so far is green Muscat grape of Alexandria. Humanuh! Yellow peach, cookies and cream and mango were also exceptional. I wasn't a fan of the mixed vegetable, but you gotta hand it to the Japanese - chocolate covered vegetables might be a thing of the future.
It was appropriate - nay necessary, then, that we celebrate Janelle's 21st birthday with a chocolate coma (which, in my opinion is waaaaaay more intense than any alcohol buzz. I literally had a hangover the next day). So, using a recipe from the most beautiful book of chocolate I've ever seen (which Janelle had to half-remember because she forgot to bring the book to my house), we spent 5 heavenly hours making this cake, licking our fingers (and knives) along the way.