I talk honestly and openly about my experiences with mental illness, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome through the lens of feminism, fat acceptance and process theology. I also do recipe and book reviews. My mission is to spread the message that hope is always real for a better life, despite living in a world that is often very harsh.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Grateful for a Great Birthday

I had a rough afternoon today.  I am applying for disability and today I had to talk to a therapist and tell her why I am applying for it.  It sort of reminded me of doing my fifth step, except that I'm telling all my flaws to someone who is going to write about it and share it with the government and then this information is going to help decide if I am severely disabled or not.  Not fun.  I felt embarrassed and anxious and awful.

But when I got home, I found out that a person I know died recently, probably due to complications from anorexia.  I used to be nearly anorexic, myself.  My mom and I talked about it and my mom pointed out that while our day may have been rough, we are still very fortunate.  It's true.  My afternoon has not been pleasant, but I am still alive.  I am alive and at times able to truly enjoy life.  I am willing to accept help and I am learning new ways of being.  I am no longer afraid of certain foods and for all of these things, I am very grateful.

There have been times not that long ago when I wanted to kill myself and so I was very grateful on my birthday to still be alive and be turning 31.  For my birthday party, I invited some of my friends to go with me to the roller derby and then to Fellini’s for pizza.  Instead of buying a cake, I decided to make my own cupcakes.  I made lavender cupcakes, because I thought using lavender made them gourmet!  I also replaced the white sugar in the recipe with Splenda, so that one of my friends who is diabetic could eat some too.  I had never cooked with Splenda before, but I don’t think it affected the taste at all.  In fact, one of my friends said that they were the best cupcakes she had ever tasted!

I got the recipe from the blog, Jessie’s Kitchen Chronicle.

Makes 12 cupcakes (I doubled the recipe)
Ingredients
For the cupcakes:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon red and 1 teaspoon blue food coloring*
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons dried lavender buds
2/3 cup cold milk

For the frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons honey, plus a little extra for drizzle
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the softened butter and sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each egg. Stir in the vanilla and food coloring.
In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Chop the dried lavender buds into fine, small pieces. (Just throw them in-they'll taste fine.)  Stir into the flour mixture.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Stir in the milk.
(Purple batter!)
Scoop batter evenly into lined muffin tins. Bake for 18-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool in the tins for 5-10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the frosting:
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese together. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing on low, until the frosting is smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract and honey.  I also added fresh cherries.
(Yum!  Honey, Cherry Cream Cheese Frosting!)
Lightly drizzle a little honey on top of the frosting. Enjoy!
*Note: If you prefer a lighter color, just begin with 1/4 teaspoon of the red and blue and continue adding drops of each until you like the color. You can also use purple food coloring if you have it.
I have these really cool cupcake liners that are shaped like tulips.  I thought they were perfect for Spring!
A lavender colored and flavored cupcake with fabulous frosting.  These were seriously good and the addition of cherries were genius (I have to credit the young woman I work with with that one.)  The taste was unusual, but in a good way.  The cupcakes were addicting and some of the best cupcakes I have ever had-definitely gourmet.

Here are the roller derby players:
I like watching these women who are undeniably athletic.  I can really tell that they are having fun and I love their fun names.  The teams were the Denim Demons vs. the Sake-Tu-Yas.

Here is a picture of me and my minister enjoying ourselves.  (I'm on the left.)
I love this picture-we both look so fun, funky, and happy.  I also love my outfit!  The orange shirt was a splurge for me, even though it was on clearance.  I think it was $40!  (I'm poor, so that's a lot to spend on one article of clothing for me)  I bought it a few weeks before my party as a birthday present to me from Anthropologie (I think...).  The skirt is from Torrid.

I may have had one bad afternoon today, but I had a great birthday party and am looking forward to many more years where I can make good memories.  Yes, I am very grateful to be alive!

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How come we never seem to talk about the mental health crisis in this country when a massacre like the one here in Colorado occurs? We always talk about gun control, which I support, but we guarantee more of these incidents by ignoring the mental health crisis.

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