Birthday Cake-ing for Mr. Poppycakes: Thoughts on Cooking Lite


Mr. Poppycakes has had a long year of illness. Kidneys, specifically, sarcoidosis, which meant steroids, which meant a moonface and inevitable weight gain, which means now, as the dosage comes down, that I both want to doubly-celebrate his birthday with decadence and gusto and I want to help him find his way back to healthy with some more pared-back or JackSpratted adjustments to a recipe. I love Sweetcakes' post about going all the way with a recipe and I am seeing evidence everywhere that all of the processed "lite" and diet foods are springing up with almost as much frequency as our bulging, burgeoning, unhealthy families. Children, in particular, how many morbidly obese have I seen and how often am I hearing words like hypertension, type II diabetes and heart disease linked to ten year olds? It is easier to eat well than it's ever been, but it seems to be harder to keep our nation from a seriously unhealthy expansion.  A lot of research suggest that olive oil and even butter are better for us than not only their margarinized counterparts, but also many of the fat-free and lowfat foods that are so synthetic, so partially-hydrogenated and chemistry-sets for ingredients, that our bodies are finding them at best, unrecognizeable nutrionally, at worst, they're linked to disease. Sweetcakes and her pure, true take on recipes seems to have known as much.

Here at SD, we are all over carpe dieming. In fact, it's what first drew us to a friendship and various collaborations. As Sweetcakes said, we began eyeing the poems of one another but the poems themselves suggested a hunger, to live vividly, to devour the world before it devoured us, to fear death only in so much as it created an urgency for life and therein we have the birthday dilemma. Mr. Poppycakes is a man of restraint. There are days when I think I am a bit his id (to invoke old Sigmund Freud once again,) and I want him around for a long, long time. (Grammatically, you'll connect to Freud, but the mortality factor should lead you back to my boy: Mr. P.C.).  So on one hand: live vividly and on the other hand live vividly. One hand is lite and floaty, the other rich and shiny with buttery emolients. Hmmm....

So the birthday fell on a Tuesday. I made rosemary turkey sausage for breakfast and my own vanilla goat cheese stuffed French toast (Trader Joes has a brand with blueberries around the outside) and believe it or not, it's not the worst of cheeses by a long shot as far as fat and the like goes. I pre-toasted some whole grain bread and then made thin "pocket" slits along the crust and into the center of the bread. I thin-sliced some discs of the cheese and slipped them in like white coins to the pocket of that bread.

Then,  I drizzled some good olive oil and dusted my skillet with Valencia Orange zest and then with maple-infused whipped eggs, dipped my toast in and then onto that orangey skillet. 

I dipped several half-strawberries into honey-flavored Greek yogurt, and I will confess, though a big Fage fan at heart, on this one, due to its premixed natural sweetness and thinner consistency, I used Oikos yogurt. Fage, your Hellenic Ms. Sweetcakes has to say, comes by its "Greekness" honestly and the name, if you would like to be in the know, is pronounced FAH-YEE and means both food and EAT!   Opa, but I digress. I covered a cookie sheet in foil and after dipping the strawberries, I sprinkled them with my beloved Trader Joe's Sugar, Coffee & Chocolate Grinder sprinkles and then place the whole tray in the freezer for ten-fifteen minutes. After the french toast was ready, the hot yummy coffee (I adore Orange Seville by New Orleans Coffee Exchange). I arranged the berries over the toast, and viola! birthday breakfast was served. 

Now the dilemma presents that on the bigger birthday bash over the weekend: do I serve Mr. Poppycakes what his heart would really desire: a recipe I stuck over on our pinterest page for Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake... Keep reading as the saga unfolds.