peanut butter pie

last week i quoted someone’s blurb on what it takes to be happy, boiled down to three simple clauses: someone to love, something to hope for, and worthwhile work to enjoy. i’d like to add one more for myself, one that i think i’ve known ever since i brought my first tupperware container of homebaked brownies to share with my friends at the lunch table – happiness is having someone to cook for. 

it’s hard to work this elegantly into a little post on this little blog where i write self-indulgently about the thoughts in my head and the food on my table, and frivolously about the things i wish i could buy… but here’s the reason i made this pie: i read this and my heart dropped.

do i know what it’s like to love hard for 16 years, then have my husband suddenly – absurdly, really – just stop existing?

no. not at all.

but i know how to make pie, and so i do.

happiness is having someone to cook for. the simple act of making a pie and being able to share it with those i cherish – it’s not something i can take too lightly. who would i call up to gather around the table? whose company would soothe the thought of great loss, a stranger’s though it may be? it wasn’t too long ago that i would have struggled with the answer to those questions.

but these days i know exactly who those people are, and that in itself is a great love – a great life. and for that reason i find myself happy, and grateful… and making pie.


Creamy Peanut Butter Pie
by Jennie 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
¼ 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

  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.


on and on

it’s important to run into yourself every once in a while. i remember reading something like that in a book i never finished (one of several – my attention span these days has been less than stellar).

i haven’t been around these parts in what feels like a long time. 

life has been good – life has been big – these past couple months, and i guess i’ve been busy going at it.

but a lot has changed, and sometimes you need to do yourself a little favor and have a spin and a good look around.


it is strange to say i feel more grounded than ever. despite hopping on a plane to thailand, chasing a job up to san francisco, spending 18 hours in a little prius with a couple of my favorite people trying to find our way up to portland (oregon: you’re two for two), i feel even more rooted in this messy, ugly-pretty city i call home. i’m kind of figuring out who i am here, and not in that sit-in-the-shadows-and-think-about-it kind of way that i was so good at before. the real way. the living it out kind of way.

i read somewhere else that happiness is “someone to love, something to hope for, and worthwhile work to enjoy.” think about that for a bit. do you have all three? and if so, can your brain really handle it? …i’m being honestly curious here, because these days i wonder at it – and it’s a dizzying thought.

but i like it. and i think that’s what i love about where i am now. i’m still marked up with all sorts of imperfections, but i am happy. i am happy, and astounded that there could be even more in store somewhere up ahead.