I have a tendency to dread Mondays so I figured why not start this one with Peanut Butter Pie. Well, that and yoga toes. As I’m writing this I have my toes nicely threaded with them. It’s enough to take the foreboding out of anything. And to be completely honest, I don’t know why I dread Mondays anymore anyway. I think it’s a carryover from my previous lives. I’ve spent a lot of Monday mornings in a state of angst – whether it was about getting up early to go to school (think high school), seeing bad weather out the bedroom window and realizing rush hour traffic was going to be a nightmare, or the thought of Monday morning staff meeting and the blood-thirsty, fanged hyenas who possess the bodies and minds of your normally pleasant workmates during said staff meetings.
Maybe today’s cure is working for me because peanut butter pie and yoga toes are so unusual for a Monday morning. Or maybe it’s because yoga toes make my feet feel so special. Personally, I think it’s because I just read a quote I like and plan to turn it into my mantra for the day: Disciplined thought leads to disciplined action.
If you read that wrong, it can sound harsh. That’s not how I mean it for my life.
I’m sitting in my backyard tapping away at my laptop and I can hear a crow calling. The sound of it overwhelms the delicate calls of the songbirds in neighboring trees. It reminds me how the negative impact of a thing, like the word “discipline” can overshadow the good.
Setting goals and following through requires discipline in a self-love kind of way, not in a punitive, “wait ’til your father gets home” kind of way.
For me, disciplined action begins by creating realistic goals. I want to make sure this day includes a workout (a person needs to sweat to feel really good about a day…that’s my theory). I have some work-related goals as well. I want to spend quality time with both my husband and daughter. Quality time with Shawn could easily translate into a bike ride up to the tennis courts this evening followed by a couple of hours of hitting (that’s hip, insider language for playing tennis). That will accomplish the sweating so it covers two goals with one.
I also plan to take at least five mini-meditations. What’s that? It’s a new technique I created to help me handle the every-day stress that builds up in my life. Most of the time I will do a mini-mediation right where I’m at, but if the opportunity is there and I want to do a proper pose, I will sit or stand very tall, breathe in to the count of eight and breath out to the count of eight and repeat that seven times for a total of eight. It takes about five minutes (or less) and makes a big difference in my days.
Emotions are great, but unchecked they can wreak havoc. This is my way to keep my emotions in check so they don’t derail my day.
It’s going to be a scorcher today, but right now in our backyard with a 50-year old oak and a couple of mature maples, it’s perfect outside. A breeze is rolling through the trees causing the leaves to dance around me. If I close my eyes, those leaves sound like the ocean waves coming in and out on a sandy beach. Only the redbird calling out to its mate nearby reminds me that I’m in Missouri. That, and the thundering pulse of a motorcyclist on a distant highway, somehow needing respect by souping up his muffler so its heard in a 20-mile radius. What is up with that I ask you!
But wait. I’m starting my day with a moment of reverie. I’m not about to let it get sidetracked by someone with issues of their own to deal with.
Another goal for my day is sharing this pie. It’s a little more involved than some of my other recipes, but it’s well worth the effort.
Isn’t it fun to think about – how many of life’s special moments center around food? It makes me smile to think about making this pie for our next family dinner. I imagine us sitting around the table each with our own slice, sharing stories of our days and laughing until we have to wipe away the tears from it all. Those are the best moments.
Vegan Peanut Butter Pie
(Inspired and Veganized from a recipe for Deep Dish Peanut Butter on Pinterest)
- 5 cups pretzels
- ½ cup dairy-free margarine (I used Earth Balance Coconut Spread)
- ¼ sugar
- 1 cup dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ¼ cup soy milk
- 2/3 cup peanut butter
- 1 8-ounce package of vegan cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 Vegan Whipped Topping (recipe below)
- About 15 – 20 Vegan Peanut Butter Cups (I made these the day before)
Note: This recipe is one that requires a few planned out steps. I apologize for this in advance, but promise that the effort is well-worth the results.
- Make your Vegan Peanut Butter Cups ahead of time. These are actually kind of fun to make. I like to listen to a good audio book while I’m doing that. Here’s my Vine video on Making Vegan Peanut Butter Cups. Doesn’t that look like fun? Tip: If you really don’t want to make your own peanut butter cups, this recipe would also taste great with Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls (much easier to make) or even a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls (even easier to make!).
- When you’re ready, heat your oven to 350F. Add the pretzels to a food processor and pulse away until they’re nice and crushed, but still chunky. Add the margarine and sugar and pulse a few more seconds until everything is combined. Press the pretzel crust firmly into the bottom and up the sides of a springform pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Set aside the empty food processor bowl. We’ll need that again in a few minutes.
- While the crust is baking, combine the 1 cup of chocolate chips with 1/4 cup of soy (or almond) milk in a microwave safe bowl. Stir so all the chocolate chips are coated and place in the microwave. Heat in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until the chocolate is melted.
- Remove the baked crust from the oven and pour the melted chocolate over the crust, using a spoon to cover the entire bottom of the crust. Set aside to cool completely.
- Next, use the recipe below to prepare your Vegan Whipped Topping. Once it’s ready, store it in the fridge or freezer while you prepare the peanut butter filling. You could also choose to make this topping the night before so you break up these steps a little more.
- Peanut Butter Filling: Using the same food processor bowl you used for the crust (nothing wrong with a few pretzel crumbs in the filling), combine the peanut butter, vegan cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Pulse for several seconds until everything is combined and leaning toward light and fluffy. Add half of the Vegan Whipped Topping and pulse some more until everything is combined and definitely light and fluffy. Feel free to take a little taste test but be prepared be sure to have a buddy handy to help yourself stop. This stuff is addicting.
- Pour the filling into the completely cooled crust. Spread the remaining Vegan Whipped Topping over the top.
- Decorate the top with crumbled or whole Vegan Peanut Butter Cups. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. You can also store it in the freezer for a delicious frozen dessert.
Vegan Whipped Topping
- 1 cup soy or almond milk
- 1 tablespoon Agar Flakes (I bought this at a local health food store)
- 2 – 3 tablespoons powdered sugar (depending on your preference for sweetness)
- dash of sea salt
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or coconut flavoring
- Place the almond milk and agar flakes in a sauce pan over low heat. Give it a stir and set your timer for 5 minutes. Go make yourself a margarita or something while you wait…or not.
- Once the five minutes is up, give the agar mixture another stir and turn the heat up to medium-high and allow the mixture to come to a boil. Then turn the heat down to medium to allow it to continue to simmer. Set your timer for 5 more minutes. It’s a magic number!
- Once the next 5 minutes are up, remove the saucepan from heat and allow it to cool a bit. Once it’s cool enough, place the pan in the fridge to let it set completely. This should take anywhere from 30 – 40 minutes.
- Once the agar mixture is set, pour it into a food processor or blender, add the powdered sugar, salt, coconut oil and vanilla and pulse for a few seconds. Then remove the lid and push down any ingredients that went to the top of the container. Pulse again for several seconds, up to a minute. Continue pulsing until you get a nice, whipped topping (it may take a couple of minutes). Note: This whipped topping will not result in stiff peaks, but it works quite well for the purpose of this recipe.
I kid you not, this is now my absolute favorite vegan dessert, except for the fact that it’s slightly on the addicting side. It definitely gave me the opportunity to exercise that discipline I talked about above. Enjoy!