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

Filling

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