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Delicious Gratitude

Perfect Pumpkin Cheesecake! (Recipe below) This is a great dessert for any fall meal and does not have to be limited to Thanksgiving.

This past weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving – a weekend of friendship, abundant food and wine and most importantly, gratitude. Most of us understand the power of gratitude but require a good reminder every so often. Being grateful changes the way you look at things and as we know, when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change!

I found this fantastic quote today;

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
~ Melody Beattie

Years ago, the Oprah Winfrey show introduced me to the book “Simple Abundance” by Sarah Ban Breathnach and her awesome concept of keeping a daily Gratitude Journal. The author advises us to find a beautiful blank page journal and to every day, write 5 things that we are grateful for – no matter how simple or momentous. I have turned to this solution at various challenging times in my life and have found it to be tremendously helpful. Now, I have decided to make it a consistent daily habit. What it does is changes one’s focus to what is good and because what we focus on expands, we attract more good!

I am grateful for countless people, animals, things and experiences in my life and I am even grateful for this INCREDIBLE Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe that I have been making for Thanksgiving every year for the past 10 years! It is very popular with my guests and I am very happy and grateful that I get to share it with you ~ Enjoy.

Walnut Pumpkin Cheesecake

1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup ground walnuts (or almonds)
2 tbsp butter at room temp
1 1/2 cups cream cheese (room temp)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup pureed, cooked pumpkin
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
Candied Walnuts (recipe follows)
Whipped Cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line base and sides of a 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper and brush sides with 2 tbsp melted butter.
Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, ground walnuts and remaining melted butter. Mix together and pat into bottom and sides of pan. Chill crust in fridge while making filling.
In a food processor, cream together butter and cream cheese. Scrape down sides, add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape sides again and beat in pumpkin.
Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Beat in sour cream, flour, vanilla, lemon zest and juice.
Pour filling into chilled base. Bake cake in centre of oven for 1 hour. Leave oven door ajar, turn off heat and let cake sit in oven for 1 hour. Chill and remove from pan.
Decorate with candied walnuts and whipped cream if using.

Candied Walnuts

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup walnut halves

Bring water and 1/4 cup sugar to boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Add walnuts and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Drain walnuts and roll in remaining sugar. Spread on a parchment lined cookie sheet and dry for 1 hour.

(Now, go to the gym! Did I mention that I am very grateful for my trainer – the awesome Jitsu?!)

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