The Power of a “Pick Me Up”

decadent without the guilt

decadent without the guilt

Just a simple poem to end 2014 and ring in the new year. I read it whenever I need a little “pick me up”. Thank you, Susan for thinking of Will when you first read this poem and for sharing it with me. It’s perfect. Peace and hope for 2015.

“The Biography”

Do not judge a biography by its length

Nor by the number of pages in it

Judge it by the richness of its contents

Sometimes those unfinished are among the most poignant…

Do not judge a song by its duration

Nor by the number of its notes

Judge it by the way it touches and lifts the soul

Sometimes those unfinished are among the most beautiful…

And when something has enriched your life

And when its melody lingers on within your heart

Is it unfinished?

Or is it endless?

~author unknown

Matino family rallied before William went to Afghanistan

Matino family rallied before William went to Afghanistan

And now for another “pick me up” better known as tiramisu. Countless variations on tiramisu exists. This recipe of mine always gets rave reviews and is SO easy to make. No one will believe it is low in fat. Beware: This is an adult dessert with a bit of a savory edge from the bitter-sweet espresso syrup. I find the soft lady fingers at Trader Joe’s. They fit perfectly in an 8-inch square pan. The Greek yogurt pudding mix is new to me and I love it. I found it in the regular grocery store right next to all the other pudding/jello mixes.

luscious layers

luscious layers

No Fat, No Fuss, No Foolin' Tiramisu

Espresso Syrup1-1/4 cups hot water

2-1/2 Tbsp instant espresso coffee

1/4 cup sugar

2 Tbsp orange flavored liqueur or orange juice

use regular vanilla if you can't find this

use regular vanilla if you can’t find this


1 (4 serving) package instant Greek Yogurt vanilla pudding mix

1½ cups skim milk (fat-free)

12 ounces (1 ½ packages) Neufchatel or fat-free cream cheese, softened

½ cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt (use Fage brand)

1 (8 oz) container frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed

1 (4.75 oz) soft lady fingers (or use angel food cake)

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1-pint fresh strawberries, sliced

torpedo shaped strawberries from Florida-super sweet

torpedo shaped strawberries from Florida-super sweet

To prepare espresso syrup: combine all ingredients, stirring, until sugar is dissolved; set aside.

To prepare filling, in medium bowl, beat pudding mix and milk for 2 minutes; let set 5 minutes. In large bowl, using same beaters, beat cream cheese and yogurt until smooth. Add pudding mixture and whipped topping; blend well.

Using half of the lady fingers, one at a time, quickly dip into espresso syrup. Place in a single layer over the bottom of an 8-inch square serving dish. Pour half the filling mixture over the top smoothing with a spatula. Evenly dust top with 1/2 tablespoon of cocoa. Slice strawberries and arrange in a single layer on top of cocoa.

Repeat layers using remaining lady fingers, espresso, filling and cocoa.

Cover and chill. In small saucepan, over medium heat, reduce remaining espresso mixture by half—it will be syrupy and quite bitter-sweet. To serve, drizzle a small amount of the espresso syrup on serving plate. Top with a portion of tiramisu. Garnish with additional fresh berries.

lady fingers

8 thoughts on “The Power of a “Pick Me Up”

  1. I know kind of what your are feeling this time of the year. You are always in my thoughts Lisa.

  2. Lisa,
    I have not left a message before but I wanted to let you know that you and your family are in my daily prayers. I have heard many wonderful things about Will from my son, Tim.
    With Love and Prayers,
    Christine Hause

    • Thanks for reading and commenting. Tim is a real blessing. Such a hard working good man, husband and father….we understand why William loved him.

  3. thank you for sharing the poem on this day of all days, my dear. Love to you and your family!

    • Rich, you are a real inspiration. You have made it through your first year without your darling daughter with such strength and grace. You honor Meghan and Eileen so beautifully. Always an honor to have you here as I know the struggle.

  4. Of all the “firsts” so far New Years Eve was the hardest and it hit me without warning, Although the future holds so much promise for my older children, I feel like I’m leaving Aidan behind. I am grateful for goods friends who have tried to carry me through.

    • I bet Aidan loved this holiday. And you will be on the roller coaster of sudden ups and downs for awhile–it is normal-what you are going through. New Year’s Eve was a time of being surrounded by the whole family and counting blessings….it was filled with hope and promise for all, but that has changed and how does one adjust? It is such a difficult thought and struggle to move forward without Aidan. Moving forward doesn’t have to mean leaving Aidan behind, though. In fact, he is alive and well in your heart and pretty much goes every where you do and most likely in his siblings and friends, too. This is why it is so hard. He is there, but he is not. There is a bit of Aidan in every person who has ever been touched by him. Tell me and my readers more about Aidan and together we will celebrate him. We already know he was destined to be a great cook and maybe even a chef (I am thinking he treated all the angels to some great appetizers on New Year’s Eve), but what else did Aidan love and dream about. Did he play an instrument or love to play a particular sport? My William loved the sport of lacrosse and his school celebrated him in alumni games with shirts with his name and #15. They gave me a shirt which I cherish. Keeping the memories alive–how do you do that with Aidan? Can you do it? Start with a journal, a photo book or maybe create an annual event. He’ll never be forgotten.

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