umbrella + rain + love + sunshine = how to make a Rainbow
It’s almost midnight here. I sit in my cozy bed with a warm laptop on my legs, a loyal cat on my feet, and a strong, loving man asleep beside me. And, oh . . . wait a minute — make that a strong, loving man and a beautiful but displaced four-year-old who should likely be in her own bed, asleep beside me. I won’t lie, though — I don’t really want her to go back to her bed, even though between the two of them, I’m left with little room to type. Our little almost-two-year-old sleeps peacefully in her crib just across the hall, and it’s a typical night here. Sometimes I forget how much I love typical. I forget how lucky I am to have another typical day with family. See, sometimes, or well, often, when life gets too busy, or too stressful, or even too typical, I take this all for granted–my family, my health, and life in general.
Today, though, was different. Well, I should say this entire week was different, because I have reached a place that immerses me in feelings of gratitude, love, and appreciation for those close to me . . . and what an amazing place that is. Did I mention this wonderful place of love and gratitude has pie?
This past Sunday, fellow food-blogger, Jennie Perillo’s typical came to a heartbreaking halt when, in a sudden and unexpected moment, her husband and father of their two little girls, Mikey, died of a heart attack, leaving no time for goodbyes. When I saw Jennie’s tweet on Sunday evening that said “He’s gone. And my heart is shattered in a million pieces”, I instantly felt numb, but I hoped maybe I misunderstood. I knew she was happily married, but I thought that it couldn’t possibly be her husband she was referring to, or maybe he left her, which seemed so hard to believe. I wasn’t sure, and, to be honest, the gripping worry and concern surprised even me, because I really don’t know Jennie that well. But I was concerned; I couldn’t stop thinking about her, up until the very moment I fell asleep that night, and then some. When I woke up Monday morning and checked into twitter looking for any bit of reassurance that everything was okay with her, I went straight to her profile to see if she’d written. I then saw a tweet she posted linking to a video clip she calls one last dance. When I watched the video of Mikey and their young daughter dancing, I still didn’t know anything for sure, but I cried. Maybe it was because it reminded me so much of Grant dancing with our little girls, but I cried instantly with grief. Once I read the flurry of tweets that followed from her many devastated friends, stating that Mikey had indeed passed away, I cried even more and every time I think about it, I cry again. You truly just never know.
Because the food community is a remarkably tight-knit one, and through the wonders of twitter are able to connect on a pretty intimate level every single day, there is a camaraderie and connection that I simply wouldn’t believe possible if I wasn’t part of it all. Perhaps this is why the entire community is so affected by Jennie’s loss and her recent request in a blog post she calls For Mikey:
As I spend Friday reflecting on the love and life that was gone in an instant, I’d like to invite all of you to celebrate his life too. Mikey loved peanut butter cream pie. I haven’t made it in a while, and I’ve had it on my to-do list for a while now.
I kept telling myself I would make it for him tomorrow. Time has suddenly stood still, though, and I’m waiting to wake up and learn to live a new kind of normal. For those asking what they can do to help my healing process, make a peanut butter pie this Friday and share it with someone you love. Then hug them like there’s no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on.
So, I did exactly what she asked, and I made her incredible pie and shared it with the loves of my life, in honour of Mikey, and to celebrate that we have each other…today.
I gave the girls the decadent and delicious Peanut Butter Pie in bed, in their pjs. They both loved it, and watching Neve savour each and every bite with so much focus and appreciation made me realize, I could stand to learn a thing or two about that. Their matching pajamas say umbrella + rain + love + sunshine = how to make a rainbow, and I couldn’t agree more. For some, it’s as rainy as it can be right now.
But, thank goodness for umbrellas . . .
And love . . .
And a bit more love . . .
And, of course, sunshine . . .
We wish Jennie & her girls, along with anyone else who may have rainy days right now, the brightest of rainbows as they heal.
umbrella + rain + love + sunshine = how to make a Rainbow
We all loved this pie for both what it meant and how simply delicious it is. Thank you, Jennie.
Making and sharing this pie is truly just an amazing reminder of what’s important in life: taking the time to show your loved ones how much you care for them, and in this case, through the nurturing and nourishment of food made with love.
If you’d like to see more Peanut Butter Pie posts from other bloggers, in honour of Mikey Perillo, here is an extensive and constantly updated list of links from Food Network.
Here is Jennie’s recipe for Mikey’s favourite Creamy Peanut Butter Pie:
Creamy Peanut Butter Pie
*courtesy of In Jennie’s Kitchen
Serves 10 to 12
8 ounces chocolate cookies
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 ounces finely chopped chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup creamy-style peanut butter
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Add the cookies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Combine melted butter and cookie crumbs in a small bowl, and stir with a fork to mix well. Press mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Pour over bottom of cookie crust and spread to the edges using an off-set spatula. Sprinkle chopped peanuts over the melted chocolate. Place pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and beat using a stand mixer or hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a small bowl and store in refrigerator until ready to use. Place the cream cheese and peanut butter in a deep bowl. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioner’s sugar. Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Increase speed to medium and beat until all the ingredients are combined and filling is smooth.
Stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream into the filling mixture (helps lighten the batter, making it easier to fold in the remaining whipped cream). Fold in the remaining whipped cream. Pour the filling into the prepared springform pan. Drizzle the melted chocolate on top, if using, and refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving.
Enjoy & serve with love.
Love, Rosie xo