Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Hope Again

 They say that hope springs eternal. But does it?
A mere four years ago, hope took a hit. Body slam, as it turned out. For me, anyway. 
As we close out the nightmare that was most of 2020 and look to a new year, I've been thinking a lot about hope, in both consequential ways, and those with far less significance.
I have no intention of, nor the stomach for, rehashing all that's happened in this country's recent history. Suffice it to say that as my identity as an American along with my personal safety took a hit, so did hope. "Beacon of hope" declined to a "glimmer of hope", and then to "hope against hope". "Beyond hope" was staring me in the face. What then? We're better than this.

At least I hope to hell we are.
But the first step back up that slippery slope from near despair to hope is action. So we voted. Even in a pandemic, when the cavalier actions of so many literally threatened our lives, we found a way, took that step from "hope against hope" back to our old friend "glimmer of hope". Nothing new here, we did the same thing we always did, registered our beliefs.

Hope Again | Graphic designed by and property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics #life

Less consequential, globally anyway, was a conversation I had a few days before Thanksgiving based, it turns out, in blind hope. I was preparing foods differently this year due to my husband's diet restrictions (lower in fats). I'd made some adjustments to the pumpkin pie I always serve, Hubs and PurDude love it but the ingredients needed to be tweaked this year. I added espresso too because PurDude loves coffee as much as he loves pumpkin. I wanted to make a second dessert as well, for all of us, but because College Boy doesn't love pumpkin.

Me: I made an Espresso Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving. What should I make for a second dessert?
College Boy: Cheesecake.
Me: Cheesecake? Dad can't have cheesecake, that's about as high in fat as you can get. 
College Boy (as he's walking away): I'm sure you can come up with a lower fat version.

Of cheesecake? Are you kidding me? 
Looks like hope springs eternal after all. 
But you know what they say, where there's hope, there's fire. Or something like that.

This Cheesecake is lower in fat but just as creamy and delicious as the full fat version. Serve as is or top with fruit of your choice. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert
Cheesecake (Lower Fat) 
This Cheesecake is lower in fat but just as creamy and delicious as the full fat version. Serve as is or top with fruit of your choice. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert
I've struggled during this pandemic, as so many of us who trust science and doctors have, with not seeing family members. I'd never gone more than a few months without seeing my younger son, but this Thanksgiving was a full year. He sat in his home 8 hours away, working from home and I sat in mine, trying to stay healthy and alive. Numbers were spiking both there and here, making it unsafe for us to be together.

I checked in with him each day, and each day we had pretty much the same conversation, trying to come up with a way he could come home. Day after day after day, to no avail.

Until, finally, in what felt like out 300th conversation, we started to work out a way. It would take a lot of effort and a little luck, but it could work.

He came home for Thanksgiving. He stayed for a month. I can't even tell you how that felt.
You know, they say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.
But maybe that's not insanity at all. Maybe it's just hope.

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Cheesecake (Lower Fat)        


Printable Recipe

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 TBSP sugar
6 TBSP milk
1 block (8 oz) Neufchatel cheese, softened
1 block (8 oz) fat free cream cheese, softemed
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon extract
6 TBSP Greek yogurt
2 TBSP milk
2 TBSP flour
1 tsp lemon zest 3 eggs, room temperature 
OPT: macerated fruit for serving

*Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9 inch springform pan. On the outside of the pan, wrap a sheet of tin foil around the bottom and partially up the sides of the pan.
*Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and 6 TBSP milk. Press into and partially up the sides of the springform pan.
*Beat the Neufchatel cheese, cream cheese, brown sugar, vanilla, and lemon extract until smooth. Beat in the Greek yogurt, remaining milk, flour, and lemon zest, then the eggs, one at a time.
*Pour the filling into the prepared crust and bake for 60 - 75 minutes, until the center is just set.
*Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
*To serve: gently run a knife around the cheesecake before removing the side of the springform pan.
*OPT: serve topped with macerated fruit.
*Store leftovers, covered, in refrigerator.


  1. Without hope we have nothing. Nothing at all.
    Carol Cassara

  2. How many servings would you expect to get out of your cheesecake?

    1. Depending on the size of the pieces, 6 for very large, 10 for small, for us it's 8.

  3. Hope.............
    A small word that means so much to so many

    1. So very true, and I'm happy to have it back in my vocabulary.

  4. Hope is everything. Without hope, we die. The cheesecake recipe intrigues me because I've never been able to make a low fat crust. There was one recipe that used egg whites as the binder for the graham cracker crumbs and it was the nastiest crust I ever ate. The one change I would want to make, I think, is no fat free cream cheese. I find fat free cheeses...not appetizing. But it is a matter of taste, and I know you test your recipes extensively. Pinned for later. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

    1. I don't like the fat free cheeses either, but with just one fat free cream cheese and the other a Neufchatel cheese and then yogurt, with the lemon and vanilla flavors, I found that it worked for us.

  5. We could all use hope now. That cheesecake sounds good.

    1. Yes, hope's return is much anticipated and desperately needed.

  6. 1: that cake looks amazing.

    2: hope, while hard to always maintain, is something I have to hold firm to. Otherwise, life gets too scary.

    1. Although I agree in theory, emotionally it's been very difficult to hang onto hope as assaults were coming constantly and from every angle.

  7. Hope has been battered until it is unrecognisable.
    I'm praying that with this 'new sunrise', perhaps we will be able to beat and polish hope back into being!
    We can do this!

  8. As someone from a different part of the world I'm only indirectly affected by those last four years you're talking about. Still, hope is good. On a personal note I know what it's like to not feel all that hopeful. This year though (after the smoke clears) I have hope for a better future as well. Maybe I'll get a phoenix tattoo.

    1. Wherever we are and whatever the reason we start to lose hope, it sure feels great to welcome it back. Happy new year, Vinny.


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