I bet you didn’t even realize that I was away all last week, on vacation with my family. It was only through the magic of the internet that I was able to still bring you a few recipes even while I was in a rustic cottage in the remote wilds of Ontario, in an area called Muskoka. Oh, who am I kidding? The cottage was hardly rustic, being outfitted with all the modern amenities, including wifi. And those of you from Ontario are already calling my bluff on Muskoka, which is not exactly remote and very much tamed. I had my computer with me and although I did my best not to spend as much time on it as I would at home, I was very happy to still be connected to the blogging world.
The real “hardship” of this vacation, if it can be said to have any, was that I was doing all of this without my husband. Poor man had to stay behind in Boston for work, as a project he has been working on for several years was finally rolling out. This meant that I was the sole parent to my three young children on this trip. Keeping them in check on the flight from Boston to Toronto was a bit rough, but the built-in TVs for each seat helped keep the older two entertained. The drive up to the cottage was a bit rougher, since the older two started fighting and woke the little one from her much-needed nap. I spent the last 45 minutes of the drive singing “You Are My Sunshine” at the top of my lungs to keep her from screaming. I was exhausted upon arrival, but all in all, I’d say it went as smoothly as one might hope when one’s traveling companions are 6, 4 and almost 2.
Thankfully, once I was up there, I had my parents on hand, as well as my sister, brother-in-law and their little girl, to help keep the kids entertained. We also had a gorgeous lake for swimming, a dock for jumping off into the lake, a boat and an innertube for riding and playing, and some great weather so we could enjoy it all. Muskoka, a set of lakes a few hours outside of Toronto, is an almost magical place in the summer. It’s hard to describe the draw of Muskoka to outsiders, and the gloriously slow pace of life at a Muskoka cottage. It’s a place where you shed all the worries of workaday life, where your greatest concern is whether you have time to go jump in the lake again before getting the burgers on the grill. And the sight of the late afternoon sun casting its golden light on the trees across the lake never fails to lift my spirits.
So why am I telling you about my idyllic family vacation? Because it is about FAMILY. Because, while I was away, there was a movement afoot among foodbloggers to celebrate family and to celebrate life. Jennie Perillo, of In Jennie’s Kitchen, lost her husband Mikey to a sudden heart attack. She sent out a plea to her fellow bloggers to make his favourite food, Peanut Butter Pie, and to hug their families tight. I don’t know Jennie personally, although I certainly knew of her, but one cannot fail to be impressed by the response in the fooblogging community. Peanut Butter Pie and many variations thereof were made in kitchens across the country, indeed across the world. I hope, I pray, it helped lift Jennie’s spirits even a little to know that her husband’s life was being celebrated the world over.
At first, I didn’t think I would participate. Although our cottage was lovely, it wasn’t exactly well stocked in the baking department. There was all of one measuring cup, and a single measuring spoon. No pie plate to speak of, naturally. I had brought up a few low carb ingredients with me, but I certainly didn’t have all the items I was used to using. But there I was, enjoying time with my wonderful family, and I was inspired. Peanut Butter Pie is relatively easy to convert to a low carb treat. I tossed some almond meal with cocoa powder and a little sweetener and a little butter for the crust. I beat some cream cheese and peanut butter together and then mixed in some whipped cream. I melted some Lindt 90% Cacao chocolate with some butter for a little ganache. And that night, after dinner, we had what I’d like to call Muskoka Peanut Butter Pie.
I don’t have a lot of photos to share because I was using my sister’s DSLR, having left mine at home. And I only have pictures of the whole pie. It was my intention to get a few pics of a slice but after serving it up to the family, I proceeded to drop what was left of it on the floor. We ate the mangled pie anyway! I’m also not providing you with the recipe today. With our cottage being so ill-equiped, I threw things together without measuring anything. And although the results were really quite delicious, I’d like to take the time to recreate the recipe and work out the details a little better.
But I did want to make the pie and let Jennie and my readers know that I did so. Because life is precious. Take care of it. Enjoy it. Eat pie and hold your loved ones tight.