I’m busy being very thankful right now. I’m so happy to be living back in my safe, warm, easy-to-heat house. I’m glad for modern conveniences like pipes that don’t freeze and windows that are well insulated. It is a pure pleasure to be able to plug in more than one appliance at a time. I’m happy I have access to excellent coffee beans on a daily basis. I say all of this because I have lived without all of these very simple things from time to time in my adult life. Last night as I dove under my warm covers, I thought about all the people and animals that were not warm at all. Again, I was struck by how bleak and empty I feel when it comes to figuring out solutions for helping the homeless and hungry.
Today I will go to the store and buy some healthy food items and other necessities and take them to a food pantry that feeds people without question or judgment. No, it is not much or enough, but it is what I can do right now. Then, despite my general dislike of “food substitutes,” I will put the final touches on a pumpkin cheesecake type shortbread recipe I made using gluten-free flour. I will get to share the results with a friend over an afternoon cup of tea.
Along with not having any helpful answers about the state of the world, I also have some questions about where we are in the progress and technology of travel. First world problems, but I want to be so many places at once next week, and I really think we should have figured out more Star Trek technology by now. I would like to spend Thanksgiving Day with the various members of my family this year. I would love to cook for my parents, and there is a new baby at my nephew’s house. That would split me between Albuquerque and Pittsburgh. I also have friends I really want to be with on Thanksgiving Day right here at home, and damn, I don’t own a private jet. You would think we would have done something to speed up travel and make things easier instead of more and more arduous and costly. I don’t think it is asking too much for the ability to be several places at once, do you?
Next week is going to be pretty amazing despite my wishing to be everywhere at once. I will have a “passing through town” visit from a dear friend who I have not seen in years. I’m putting together a small brunch for that momentous occasion, and we will be drinking some bubbly together. We drank bubbly together when we were very young, so why mess with tradition?
Thanksgiving will be spent with people I adore, and we are all pitching in for the expense and efforts for a celebration meal. I will get to Skype with my family, which is as close to instant travel as you can get. I will chat on the phone with friends both near and far. I will be lucky because there will be candlelit evenings with good wine and interesting conversations. In short, I will live the life I wished to have when I was gazing through the telescope of my youth. Thankful indeed.
There will be one final moment for which I am very thankful. For the past eighteen months, I have worked on a project that is finally complete. Let’s just say I had a lot to think about and some “secret” recipes to share. More about that next week!
- Oven 350 degrees
- 8 x8 baking pan, coated with spray release and parchment paper
- Shortbread Crust
- 1 ½ cups gluten free all-purpose flour (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp. gluten free all-purpose flour
- For the crust:
- In a food processor, add the GF flour, brown sugar, and salt. Pulse to mix.
- Add the cold butter pieces and pulse the mixture several times until the dough is the consistency of wet sand. Drop the mixture into the 8x8 pan and press firmly into an even layer to form the bottom crust. Bake for 20 minutes.
- In the same food processor container, combine the pumpkin, cream cheese, brown sugar, honey, and salt. Pulse several times to mix into a smooth batter.
- Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and the egg and pulse until well combined.
- Add the GF flour and pulse until completely mixed.
- Pour mixture onto the top of the hot shortbread crust and bake for 30 minutes. Check the center with a sharp knife to be certain the blade comes out clean.
- Cool for 20 minutes and then cover and chill in the fridge for 1hour or overnight.
- Cut into 9 pieces and serve cold or room temp. I topped mine with whipped cream, but you could use yogurt or some sour cream.