Thursday, March 1, 2012

Living to Eat Lemon Poppy Cupcakes

Sometimes I find myself in the middle of a holiday and am completely unaware of it passing me by. Mardi Gras is the perfect example of this, also known as Shrove Tuesday, or National Pancake Day, because I've missed it every year. I love food holidays, even if my birthday falls on National Fast Food Day. (Yeah... I'm going to fix that.) I also love Awareness Weeks and Months about food, because they can make creating recipes all the more special.

This recipe is special for a few reasons. With my Peanut Butter Poppy Sandwich Bread being so popular, particularly with those who eat a low-carb diet, one lamented to me how much they missed lemon poppy cupcakes with a buttercream frosting. I can happily say the recipe was a success, but this is only one of the reasons why it’s so special. The other, and the one I feel is slightly more significant, is to celebrate and honor Love Your Body Week (as known at GMU), also more commonly known as National Eating Disorders Awareness Week


Disordered eating is something that affects a large range of people: the super model and the all-star athlete, the average skinny Joe and the voluptuous Jane. Like all of us, disordered eating comes in all shapes and sizes. If we let it, it will consume us, starve us, hurt us, and make us feel in control even though we’re falling deeper into our own personal chaos. It will isolate us, shame us, and make us feel the opposite of what we expected to feel.

I bring up this rather dark subject because this is an extremely real situation that affects a lot of people. There are neighbors, family members, lovers, and friends of ours who are dealing with this every day. It’s not a joke, and telling them they could use a few more (or less) pounds or telling them they should eat more (or less) can be more hurtful than you realize. I should know; I’ve been there.

As a person who was rather plump as a kid, I decided to get healthy and in shape for the wrong reasons. It was to prove to another person, perhaps all of society, that I was worth something and that I was strong. After going gluten free, I became obsessed with what was healthy and what was not, literally having panic attacks after eating what I viewed as detrimental to my well-being. My well-being was synonymous with how much I weighed and what I saw in the mirror, and my minor case of something similar to Body Dysmorphic Disorder didn’t help things either.  I felt that if one bite of non-Morri friendly food entered my mouth, time would turn itself backward and I would go back to being that awkward girl who disliked the way she looked.

Cassie of Back to Her Roots wrote an amazing article titled “Don’t Call Me Skinny,” and why she feels “like size-based compliments aren’t doing our hard work justice.” It’s as true to her as it is to me when I feel there is nothing complimentary about the sentences, “Goodness, you’re tiny!” or “You could stand to gain a few pounds.”

To quote this amazingly strong, hazel-eyed brunette:
“It’s almost as if all the hard work I put into being strong and fit doesn’t matter. Because if skinny is the ultimate goal, I can get slimmer a lot quicker with a lot less work in other ways. I refuse to believe that just becoming smaller is the ultimate goal for anyone. So why should our compliments indicate that it is?”
Being thought of as “skinny” used to be my ultimate goal, and that’s why I was so miserable. I was getting fitter, yes, but I wasn’t dropping dress sizes left and right. I went from a size 12 to a size 8-10 in high school, and from a size 8 in pants to almost a size 0 in my first semester in college. During that time, I worked out by calorie loss and limited calorie intake. It progressed to calorie counting and food restriction, and then to Orthorexia. Thankfully, I met Cheryl before it went any further. After a year of seeing a nutritionist that focuses on holistic and gluten free living, I’m significantly better off than I was. I not only like myself… I LOVE myself, and it has nothing to do with my weight but everything to do with who I am as a person and how I live my life.

Also, I realize and honor the people compliment me on how I appear to them, and I am working at accepting their compliments graciously. If they see a compassionate, green-eyed, and petite warrior woman that cooks gluten free, loves to rock climb, and enjoys the little things, that’s awesome. There’s more to a person than the size of their waist or their weight on a scale.

So stay beautiful, my friends, both inside and out.

Bite-sized Lemon Poppy Cupcakes & Poppy Dream Frosting

For the cupcakes:
28 g Coconut flour
60 ml Coconut milk (high fat and quality) 
64 g Smooth peanut or almond butter
3 Large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. Bourbon vanilla extract
5 g Poppy seeds
Zest of 1 Lemon (preferably organic)
3 tsp. Fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. Baking soda
Stevia, to taste

Coconut oil, for greasing

Thoroughly combine the ingredients, sans the baking soda, in a medium-sized mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed (or in a food processor).
Cover the mixture and let it chill for an hour or overnight in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Remove the batter from the fridge, add the baking soda, and let sit on the counter for a few minutes (until the oven is ready).
Grease the mini muffin pan with coconut oil at room temperature or cooking spray and set aside.
Spoon the batter into the tins, three-quarters of the way or up to the top, and place in the center of the oven to bake for 18 – 20 minutes.
When done, remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on a cooling rack until room temperature.

Makes 12 mini cupcakes. Serve with frosting.

Poppy Dream Frosting
30g Whipped cream cheese
30 ml Coconut milk, chilled into a thickened cream
10 ml Coconut oil
1/4 tsp. Bourbon vanilla extract
2 g Poppy seeds
Pinch of Sea salt

Mix together the ingredients until fully integrated.
Chill in the fridge for at least 10 minutes until ready to use.

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