as part of FrostingfortheCause
“It’s a tumor or it’s a tumor.” These were not the words I was wanting, or expecting, to hear on the first day of my Freshman Spring Break. I was suppose to by in TN with my friends visiting Dolly Parton, not in a doctor’s office in Northern Virginia being told that life as I knew it was about to change. I remember fighting with my mom once we got home. I still wanted to go on Spring Break figuring if this was it, then I wanted to end on a high note, while she wanted me to stay at home. I remember peeling out of the driveway and driving as fast as (legally) possible to my best friends house, emotions rapidly switching from anger to confusion to elation. Yes, I said elation because after 5 months of pain I finally knew what was wrong with me. After consuming my weight in Cookie and Cream milkshakes I returned back home 10yrs older and told my mom that I would stay but that if possible I would go back to classes the next week and drive to Maryland for my appts as needed. The next three weeks passed in a whirl wind of activity. People at school were use to seeing me on crutches so nobody asked questions that I didn’t want to answer, which provided a perfect escape. It felt like I was living two different lives at this point, one a normal college freshman and the other a girl with an uncertain future. The day of my surgery I remember thinking “this is it,” I couldn’t change the outcome of what they would find and I knew that I couldn’t stop them from amputating my leg if it came down to that. I knew the odds were in my favor of waking up and everything going back to normal but I was also aware of the other possible options. I was lucky, the best case scenario was my scenario. The tumor, and some surrounding tissue/muscle, was removed and all the tests showed that I was good that it had been caught at the perfect time. It has been 8yrs and 9 days from my surgery and while I’m not to where I was before the surgery I know that I’m in a much better place than I was 8yrs and 8days ago. I learned a lot about myself, regarding what is (my family) and is not (Spring Break) important. I learned that I can still dance and also found the motivation needed to perfect my left kicks. Mostly I learned how fast life really can change, and how it amazing it really is.
In the years since my encounter with parosteal osteosarcoma I have learned to accept that there are certain things that I can’t do, and that’s ok. I’m finally able to ride a bike again but squatting is out of the question and have finally accepted that it’s ok to wear flats on occasion. I have to be careful when I go hiking or running and I pay attention to when the pain in my leg escalates. I am also ineligible to donate blood or bone marrow, but I have found other ways to help. I ran a bone marrow drive in 2007 and I’m hoping to do another one sometime later this year.
It was also during the years following my adventure that I discovered my love of cooking. Being on crutches for a significant part of my college career kept me indoors more often than not and I needed something to do besides studying. I started experimenting with cookies and cakes, using the frat boys next door as willing guinea pigs. These cupcakes use the vanilla cupcake recipe that I started working on back then but the filling is one that I never would have attempted back then. They might take awhile to assemble but they are worth it!
Ingredients for Cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a regular sized muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2. In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
3. Measure out the milk and add the vanilla extra. Set aside in the fridge. (Learned this trick from Martha Stewart)
4. Cream the sugar with the butter until light and fluffy, about 3minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and cream well. Sift in half of the dry ingredients and stir in. Pour in the milk/vanilla mixture and then slowly mix in the remaining dry ingredients until just wet.
5. Spoon the dough into the cupcake pan, filling about 2/3rds full. Bake in oven for 18minutes, or until a tooth pick pulls clean. Allow to cool in pan for 5minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before proceeding to fill and ice.
Ingredients for Filling:
24 Raspberries (half of these will be for topping the cupcake)
1 cup melted chocolate
Directions for Filling:
1. Use a knife to gently carve a hole into the top of the cupcake. Trim the extra cake off the “lid” so that it’s about 1/8in thick. Be careful when carving the hole to not go through the bottom of the cupcake!
2. One at a time gently fill the raspberries with the melted chocolate, and place chocolate down in the cupcake hole. Cover the raspberry with more of the chocolate, until the whole is filled then cover with the lid.
Ingredients for Icing:
8 oz cream cheese, cold
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1. Place all the ingredients in a large food processor and gently pulse until creamy.
2. Use a knife or a piping bag to ice the cupcake as desired. Top with a raspberry and ENJOY!
1/3 cup white wine
1 cup chopped mushrooms
2 cloves garlic2/3 cup veg stock
1 Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook 5minutes, or until onion slightly clear.
2. Add the mushroom soup along with the stock and wine. Bring to a simmer and cook qp minutes, stirring to prevent sticking. Add the mushrooms and cook another 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft. Season to taste and serve over chicken or tofu.
The traditional way of serving this growing up always involved broccoli and white rice or rice ppilaf. For those doing chicken the sauce can be poured over the chicken before adding the mushrooms for a more authentic experience. I havent seen Chicken Tonight on the shelves in years but I hope it will make a return just so I can see grown men in business suits doing the Chicken Tonight dance.
Happy belated Mardi Gras! I have never been to New Orleans, I had the chance once upon a life ago but passed. Looking back on this I have major regrets seeing as how I was suppose to go the spring before Katrina hit, forever changing the landscape of the city. One day I will correct this wrong and until then I will stuff myself with cajon/creole food whenever I get the chance. I have already shared my love for eggplant and when eggplant is mixed which a spicy tomato sauce life is good! The first time I had an etouffe it was crawfish style and I was hooked. The best part about it was that the dish had crawfish two way: diced/sauted and heads-on/steamed. I succeeded in grossing out a few of my dining companions when I started sucking the heads out but that part is so juicy and amazing I couldn’t resist! This version doesn’t have any crawfish mustard which makes it perfect for Lent. A quick note: I don’t like celery so I use celery salt so I can have the taste without the texture. Feel free to replace the celery salt with about 1 cup of diced celery.
A Delicious entry into the Food52 recipe challenge. This week the theme is Best Late Winter Tart and the winner gets not only the amazing Food52 prize pack, they also get to go to NYC and see Martha!!!
Happy Saturday everyone! It's time for spring cleaning over here and I'm also using this time to reorganize my recipes. I'm bringing back some oldies from my college days and I'm also finally at a stage where I'm ready to start testing some more ethnic recipes. While I'm not sure how the new ones will turn out, some of these older recipes are easy classics from when I was growing up. My parents were both great at preparing fast and comforting meals, from my mom's "Chicken Tonight" to my dad's meatballs. While I no longer eat a number of these dishes, one of my favorites side dishes were my mom's garlic and Parmesan baby red potatoes. I made this many times in college and my friends were always HUGE fans. One night I decided to take her basic recipe and up the ante by adding some sour cream. My logic being that baked potatoes are boring without sour cream and these red potatoes were essentially baked. The result was a delicious new side dish that is great as a vegetarian main dish or as a side dish for chicken.
Ingredients:2 lb baby red potatoes, cut in half 1/2 onion, chopped3 cloves garlic, diced2/3 cup sour cream1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Directions:1. Preheat the oven to 400 and lightly grease a roasting pan.2. Place the potatoes, onion, and garlic in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sour cream and the Parmesan cheese. Pour the mixture into the pre-greased roasting pan. 3. Bake for 25minutes or until the sour cream on top has started to turn a golden color.
This dish is fast and simple and it also smells amazing which is also important. I have been known to have these potatoes with some nice crunchy bread, all the better to soak up any extra sour cream sauce that might remain. After all, leaving sauce like that behind would be a food crime!