Saturday, August 23, 2014

Banana Walnut Muffins

I've had a revelation.
This isn't my first ever revelation but I will say, this is quite a profound one. Are you ready for it?
I have decided to embrace the limitations of MS.
Now, before you judge that statement too quickly or assume that I am "giving up" the fight, hear me out. There is an explanation to my revelation, or shall I say, a method to my madness.
Let's go back to this morning. I woke up with the left side of my body in a terribly flared state. I could see the pulsing vein bulging in my stickily arms and legs. The pain was acute, as if someone were tugging on my muscles just for kicks. I always flare on the left side and every time the pain is the same. The only difference is the varying strength of the pull. Some days it is as if there are three strong men pulling on the muscle and other days I'm down to just one. Today I was somewhere in-between. Let's say, two strong men yanking on the muscles in my left side. Needless to say, an unpleasant sensation.
My day didn't improve much from there. My emotions were on edge along with my muscles and nerves. I hit a wall, a breakdown, a complete and utter meltdown. Living in this body with all of its flares, pains, lack of weight and unpredictable twists and turns got the better of me. Not knowing what each day will bring or what limitations will be put on me next brought me to my emotional knees.
I stayed there for a good hour getting more frustrated. I must confess I was downright angry with God for not touching my body with miraculous healing.
Finally a jackhammer outside got me out of the condo and on a bike ride. I simply couldn't take the noise a moment longer (my noise sensitivity is a relativity new and rather severe symptom that is enough to drive a girl absolutely mad). It wasn't until I started peddling on that bike that I hit upon my revelation.
Yes, MS is most certainly limiting my life but it is not ending it. There are still things I can do. God hasn't chosen to heal me. But He didn't choose to heal Paul either yet Paul had a purpose and God enabled Him to do plenty (more than plenty) to further the Kingdom of God and bring glory to God. Paul asked three times to be healed. God didn't give Him healing but He did give Him a mission and a purpose even without providing healing.
I have asked God well over three times to be healed and He has not worked that miracle in my body. Now I must accept that He wants to use me with my limitations. I have to learn to live fully in the ways I can and stop fighting, lamenting and wishing away my frailties and weaknesses. I have to accept my limitations and embrace wholeheartedly what it is I am capable of.
Like baking.
I can bake and I love to bake. It is where I sense purpose and fulfillment. I am able to bless people by baking. I have never experienced a flared muscle while baking. So baking is what I will do because baking is what I am fully capable of doing.
To embrace this new way of living and new revelation I am going to a cooking store and getting a stand up mixer. This is a splurge but it is a splurge in the name of embarking on a new way of living. I am no longer going to be defined by what I can't do, I am going to be known for what I can do. And what I can bake!

It only seems fitting that today I bake something with nuts and some bananas because my day was a little nutty but in the end it turned out to be divinely sweet and scrumptious.
Today's culinary creation features Banana Walnut Muffins. The recipe I used came from the book "A Homemade Life" by Molly Wizenberg. Her recipe is for a loaf bread but I didn't have a loaf pan on hand so I improvised, halved the recipe and made muffins instead.

Here's the original recipe:
6 TBSP unsalted butter
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I didn't use, swapped walnuts instead)
1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger (didn't have any so omitted)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cup mashed banana
1/4 cup yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 and grease a loaf pan (or muffins if you are taking the Fritz approach). Melt the butter and set aside. Mix in a large bowl the flour, sugar, soda and salt. Add chocolate and ginger (if using) and mix well.
In a medium bowl beat the egg and then add banana, yogurt, butter and vanilla. Mix well. Pour banana mixture into the flour mixture and using a rubber spatula, mix until combined but not too much. You don't want to over mix. The batter will be a bit lumpy but if the flour is all incorporated then it is mixed enough.
Fill the pan and bake in the oven for about 50 minutes (or 20 for muffins). The top should start to brown and a toothpick come out clean.
Let cool then remove from pan, slice, serve and enjoy!

Recipe from "A Homemade Life" by Molly Wizenberg

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