The world has seemed a little incredibly off kilter lately – earthquakes in odd and unexpected locations, record high heat, people feeling like they’re out of time and out of money. The list is endless. But the most unexpected (and unfair) of all was the recent tragedy that fell upon fellow food blogger Jennifer Perillo. This influential, witty and talented woman lost her husband, Mikey, to a massive heart attack, and now she is left to pick up the pieces of their once idyllic life.
Naturally, I think about my dear Rick, who became my husband nearly one year ago in my parents’ back yard. It was an intimate setting with our closest family and friends. The weather was gorgeous, the flowers were still in bloom and the crickets seemed to be singing their songs just for us. It was perfect… idyllic.
Throughout our wedding, we used the honey bee as a symbol of the productive and fruitful life we are building together. For centuries, bees have been mythical symbols of love, wisdom, fertility and more. Honey bees are known for their hard work and perseverance – a friendly reminder that the “impossible” is attainable. In life, as in marriage, things get bumpy from time to time. We all go through “rough patches” in which we feel we’ll never see the light again. But we realize that, somehow, we will get through these tough spots.
The repercussions of Mikey’s death are more than just raising her children alone – Jennie’s also faced with financial challenges. She just learned that she cannot collect widow’s benefits from Social Security because she earns above the national cap ($14,160) each year.
I urge all of you to read more about Jennie’s story and contribute to a Fund for Jennie, an outstanding show of love and support through Bloggers without Borders. You have the opportunity to donate to the fund and to bid on incredible auction items from generous food bloggers and many others wanting to help. Please give what you can – 100 percent of the proceeds go directly to Jennie.
To support Jennie and celebrate Mikey’s life, I’m following the lead of numerous food bloggers – I’m making Mikey’s favorite Creamy Peanut Butter Pie. *This recipe is directly from Jennifer Perillo of In Jennie’s Kitchen.
Never forget the worker bee at your side who toils selflessly for the good of the hive. It’s for the good of this amazing food blogging community (our hive) that we pull together to support one of our own. You will get through this, Jennie, and we’re all here for you, sending you our love.
Creamy Peanut Butter Pie
Serves 10 to 12
8 ounces chocolate cookies
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 ounces finely chopped chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup creamy-style peanut butter
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Add the cookies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Combine melted butter and cookie crumbs in a small bowl, and stir with a fork to mix well. Press mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Pour over bottom of cookie crust and spread to the edges using an off-set spatula. Sprinkle chopped peanuts over the melted chocolate. Place pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and beat using a stand mixer or hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a small bowl and store in refrigerator until ready to use. Place the cream cheese and peanut butter in a deep bowl. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioner’s sugar. Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Increase speed to medium and beat until all the ingredients are combined and filling is smooth.
Stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream into the filling mixture (helps lighten the batter, making it easier to fold in the remaining whipped cream). Fold in the remaining whipped cream. Pour the filling into the prepared springform pan. Drizzle the melted chocolate on top, if using, and refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving.
*Wedding photos courtesy of Jennifer Schumacher Photography.