Life is really complex. It’s a constant damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t wheel of events. Most people can be so quick to disregard a slew of positive efforts as they opt instead to fixate on one small mistake a person makes. Most of the time, it’s just easier to criticize someone based on one single action rather than actually trying to consider the person as a whole. We all fall into this tendency, I think. And we all get to feel it inflicted upon us every once in a while.
There’s something hurtful about being misunderstood when no move has been made to know the full story first and jump to conclusions later. The worse part is when you’ve poured out so much of your effort and heart thinking you’re doing something good for others, but it turns out they’ve been waiting for you to commit a mistake all along. They pounce on you and you end up feeling like a big fool for working so hard. I’ve suffered this kind of heartbreak time and time again. It just takes one moment of error and miscommunication for the other party to disregard everything else they knew about you as a person. It makes you feel like nobody ever really appreciated who you were, along with anything that you do.
There was a point in my life when I felt like no matter how hard I worked it seemed to never be enough to cover up my flaws. In hindsight, I really have to wonder why I thought I needed approval from others. That moment made me feel like I was walking on a road with no end in sight! I’d put on a strong front but inside my spirit was taking a real beating. If I hadn’t figured out how to change my mindset, I wonder how I’d end up. It’s not that I stopped caring entirely about what other people think, it’s that I focused more on how I felt about myself and weighed it against what others say.
The truth is: Nobody else will make you feel happy about yourself except you. Nobody else will appreciate who you are except you. Nobody else will truly try to understand you, so just figure yourself out before you let others say things about you that are untrue but might become who you are. I’m not saying we should all be egotistical maniacs or narcissists. I’m just saying we shouldn’t give others too much power over our emotions and let them dictate who we are. It’s okay to bend a little bit, but make sure you stand right back up remembering who you are. And I can only hope the parts that you do remember are the good bits about yourself.
I promise this type of “drama post” isn’t going to be a regular thing. The topic just came alive in my mind when I came across these muffins from my archives. I made these a long long time ago but never got around to writing about them. And now that I saw them again, they remind me a little bit of how I used to feel so often– under-appreciated. Whew, I’m so sorry muffins…
In my notes, I wrote about how these Lemon Poppyseed Muffins weren’t exactly my kind of zingy citrus treat, but just like me, these muffins are adaptable. They can be modified to get “the best of both words”. They can be for those who like their lemon treats with just a light touch of citrus, and they can also be tweaked to please those who prefer a stronger lemon punch. In essence, it’s a muffin base that never loses its core, but at the same time can be switched up any which way to make itself better.
I’m serious about my lemon treats. I fall into the camp that really likes it when I get a tangy yet sweet hit of lemon that almost makes me want to scrunch my face. I find that these muffins don’t give that, so I’ve modified the recipe from the original and written some suggestions below to help make it more lemony. We’re pushing it to its full potential! But as is, these muffins have the most lovely texture and scent. I could suck in that scent all day.
And I have this weird thing about keeping my glaze really runny, so I guess it doesn’t really show up on the photos as streaks of white royal icing, but it’s there.
By all means, go all out on this recipe. Make the muffins and deck them with the lemon syrup plus the royal icing!
Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
Makes 12 to 16 muffins
For the muffins
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
For the lemon syrup, if desired
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1-1/2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
For the glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Make the muffins
- 1. Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C). Butter muffin tins or line tin with paper liners.
- 2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt for 30 seconds.
- 3. In a separate large mixing bowl, using a whisk or an electric hand mixer (or stand mixer) set on medium-high speed, cream together sugar, butter, lemon zest, and 1 Tablespoon of the canola oil until pale and fluffy.
- 4. Add in remaining 3 Tablespoons of canola oil, then add the eggs one at a time, mixing until well-combined after each addition. Finally, blend in egg yolk and vanilla extract.
- 5. In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, whisk together the milk, sour cream, and lemon juice.
- 6. Using a rubber spatula, work in the flour and milk mixture in three separate batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture: First, add 1/3 of the flour mixture and fold just until combined, then alternate with half of the milk mixture, folding before adding the next portion of flour. After adding the second third of the flour, fold again before pouring in the remaining half of milk. Lastly, add in the remaining flour and fold just until no more streaks of flour remain. Make sure to fold from the bottom of the bowl as you go
- 7. Divide batter among 12 to 16 muffin cups, filling each to the brim to get that nice domed muffin-top. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of the muffins comes out clean. Cool in muffin tin several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.
Make the syrup (if desired) and the glaze
- 8. In a saucepan, heat lemon and sugar together until sugar is melted and the mixture feels slightly thick, like syrup.
- 9. In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and lemon juice until well blended. If glaze is too thick add a little more lemon juice at a time until desired consistency is achieved.
- 10. Brush syrup on top while muffins are still warm so they have time to seep in. (You can poke the muffins a few times with a toothpick first if you want, so the syrup really gets into the crumb.) Immediately drizzle the muffins with glaze and let sit at room temperature until glaze is set. Eat it fresh or store in an airtight container at room temperature.
I’m really grateful, truly, for discovering this world of food blogging, because beyond learning the skill of cooking and baking, it has really helped me tap further into my talents. I have a lot of moments where I suddenly realize I’m doing things I didn’t know I actually could do! It’s even helping “cure” me of my introversion somewhat, thanks to all the events I’ve been lucky enough to get invited to, and the unlikely situations I’ve found myself in. I even made some new friends!
Looks like I’m slowly figuring things out. Finally.