Diana from Food N Thought Peddler came forward with both this great recipe and a very personal story. Early this year my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She ha surgery and right now (knock on wood) appears to be cancer free. Welcome Diana….
Me, Myself and I
Few times in life we get to experience a total sense of renewal, deep gratitude and appreciation, and maybe even a bit of a relief. Perhaps you felt it at your high school or college graduation, all of us feel it when we get married and when the children are born. And sometimes you get to experience certain milestones that are not generally written in your lifetime story.
Today I’m celebrating an occasion that’s been in the works for over 5 years, and I’m ecstatic, grateful and totally relieved that I’ve finally reached this point! After 8 months of an aggressive treatment for breast cancer and 5 years of post-treatment therapies and follow-up, I’ve just crossed the 1st survival milestone! With no more therapies, I’m now facing a normal life (whatever that may mean ) and can raise my son, work, and just be who I am with the hopes that cancer will never come back.
Going through this cancer ordeal was the most difficult thing I’ve done in my life, but ultimately I’m very grateful I got to experience it, even if it sounds very strange. Who I am today is largely due to those 8 months of treatment. You don’t know how strong you are until you’re faced with adversary. We all have the core that’s impossible to break no matter which way you bend it and how crushing the circumstances are. Have faith, in yourself first of all, go back to the basics nourishing your body and soul and be grateful for every day’s end that you got to see.
Some of the lessons I learned are with me for the rest of my life. The most important one is that I matter! Before the diagnosis, I was “too busy” with everybody and everything but myself, graduate school, then work, a small child and home chores, family and friends, and parties and things to do… I don’t remember experiencing any symptoms, but if I did, I probably just brushed them off. Today life is completely different, the most important person in my life is me, I come even before my son! I know it sounds incredibly selfish, but I’ve already been at the other end of the spectrum, and I know where it lead to. If I’m healthy, chances are his well-being is going to be enhanced too, plus there’s no measure to simply having your mom alive and well in your life! So, if you’re where I was 6 years ago, please dedicate some time and attention to yourself too, you definitely matter!
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and my own survival, for the whole month of October, I’m doing a Pink series on my blog, all kinds of recipes with pink foods, along with providing valuable information about breast cancer and resources, so I hope you visit often and help spread the awareness. With young age, no family history of breast cancer, and even negative BRCA genetic testing as I found out later, I wasn’t “supposed” to get breast cancer. Too young for mammograms and an “undesirable” candidate for any other testing, I don’t remember any doctor ever discussing breast cancer with me at all. When my cancer was found, by me during a self breast exam (so they are indeed crucial), it was no longer in its beginning stage and was right on a brink before it could’ve turned much much worse.
Breast cancer, though rare, does happen in men also, but for women, it’s no longer an “old age” disease. If you’re a woman, no matter the age and family history, you may still be at risk. So please, please, please, take care of yourself, listen to your body, see your doctor regularly and insist on some testing if you suspect any kind of symptoms or changes!
On a spectrum of life, you matter the most!
And since we’re in a mood to celebrate, I think some butter, sugar, a shot of alcohol and a splash of pink color is just “what the doctor ordered”.
Limoncello Cupcakes with Lemon Curd and Raspberry Buttercream Frosting
Cupcakes (makes 16):
1 1/2 cup of flour
1 cup of sugar
4 Tbspoons of butter, softened
2 oz of cream cheese, softened
1 tspoon of baking powder
1/2 tspoon of sea salt
1/2 cup of buttermilk
1/4 cup of lemon juice
3 eggs, room temperature
1 Tbspoon of Limoncello
zest from 1 lemon
In a small bowl combine together flour, salt and baking powder. In a big bowl beat together softened butter and cream cheese, add sugar and beat it all until light and fluffy. Start adding eggs, one at a time, mixing well in-between, then add Limoncello and buttermilk, beat until everything is well combined. Add flour mixture in small portions and then beat together until flour is incorporated. Mix in lemon juice and lemon zest to combine. Pour into prepared cupcake pans and bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for about 17-18 minutes.
You can use store-bought lemon curd, but I had some time while the cupcakes were baking so I made my own.
Lemon curd filling:
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of lemon juice
zest from 2 lemons
Combine lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar and heat it up on low heat until it starts boiling. While it is cooking, whisk together egg and egg yolk, set it aside. Once the lemon mixture is boiling, remove it from heat temporarily and whisk into eggs. Return everything back to the pan and cook over medium heat, whisking often, until the curd is thickened. Remove from heat and cool off completely.
While the cupcakes and the lemon curd are cooling off, make the buttercream frosting.
Raspberry buttercream frosting:
8 Tbspoons of butter
2 oz of cream cheese
1/4 cup of seedless raspberry jam
2 Tbspoons of Limoncello
4 cups of powdered sugar
Beat together butter and cream cheese until fluffy, add raspberry jam and beat until smooth, mix in Limoncello. Start adding powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beat until the frosting is smooth.
Once everything is cooled off, start assembling the cupcakes. Using a cupcake corer or a knife, make holes
and pipe in the lemon curd inside each cupcake.
Decorate the cupcakes with frosting however you want it, I thought that making pink flowers would fit right in into our Pink celebration. I used inverted Hershey kiss as a center of a flower and Wilton’s small leaf tip to make the petals.
As I gather my little flower bouquets into boxes and gift bags, I remember the people who helped me get through my difficult time through their care and support.
I hope you make them too and share with those you love the most!
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