Being Tired, Feeling Lazy, and Eating Pumpkin Pudding

Dear Joey,

It’s late, and I’m tired. We stay up late far too often, and it’s catching up with us. Last night, we tried to go to bed early, but we both laid awake for a lot longer than we had thought possible, given just how tired we were.

We’ve been doing this thing where stay up late every night under the guise of “hanging out,” but what really happens when the evening comes and we finally get a moment to look at each other, we sit on the couch eating popcorn or hummus and Veggie chips or big bowls of ice cream or random pieces of candy that one of us somehow manages to rustle up. It’s embarrassing to admit, and the truth is, we know better. We know better than to let a whole evening go by without really talking to each other, seeing each other, being with each other. We know better than to silently sit up late watching TV, bleary eyed and yawning, eating whatever snack happens to be within arm’s reach. We know better than to slip into bed and let the the latest Candy Crush level be our lullaby.

We know that to be better, we must do better. But we’ve been so tired, that we don’t want to do better. We’ve chosen to just, well, be lazy, I guess.

We hate this about ourselves, and it’s a constant battle between what we want in that moment (to sit on the couch and zone out with a bowl of ice cream for a little while) versus what deep down we know we need: Sleep. Nourishment. Exercise. Real rest.

The thing that gets me is this: every night, without fail, you ask me this: What’s for dessert?
You really are one of the healthiest eaters I know, Joey – but darn it if you don’t have a sweet tooth.

And I’m stuck, because on the nights when I don’t plan for some sort of dessert, I end up apologizing that the only thing that resembles dessert in the house is a bowl of cereal or that Hazelnut chocolate bar that’s been in the cupboard for over a year. But when I do plan ahead and make dessert, I’m met with initial excitement followed by frustration that you’re eating dessert, again, late at night.

So many of the low fat, low sugar, low calorie desserts out there are really just “edible food-like substances,” to borrow Michael Pollan’s keen description of the bulk of the American diet. Like your beloved sugar free, fat free instant pudding mixes. And I just can’t get on board with that. Experimentation isn’t always kind to me (I will never again serve you chocolate mousse made out of tofu), but once in awhile, I hit on a recipe worth keeping.

Tonight was one of those nights, and pumpkin pudding was the recipe.

So even though we didn’t go for an evening stroll tonight, and even though we ate our dinner after the girls were tucked in for the night (while sitting on the couch watching a movie), and even though after that movie was over we both spent far more time than perhaps we should have gazing into the bright light of our respective computer screens (as opposed to focusing on each other for a few minutes), at least we had a decent dessert that didn’t make us feel so bad about enjoying something sweet after dinner.

Maybe tomorrow we can resume our evening walks? I really miss those. We could talk as we walk, and hey – that’s two birds with one stone!


Pumpkin Pudding
Joey loves pumpkin pie. Loves it. I adapted this recipe from the one printed in the latest issue of Food Network Magazine. It is reminicent of pumpkin pie filling, especially when topped with whipped cream (which I know sort of compromises the virtue of this low fat dessert, but it sure makes it tasty). I used arrowroot powder as a thickener, but you could easily use cornstarch instead. Also, I used organic ingredients where indicated because I prefer to use organic whenever possible. But you may certainly use conventional ingredients if that’s what you have on hand, and it would still be healthier than any of the readily available pumpkin pies in the frozen section of the grocery store. 

2 cups pumpkin
2 cups light coconut milk
3/4 cups organic sugar
3 organic egg yolks
3 Tablespoons arrowroot (or cornstarch)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

In a medium saucepan, add all ingredients together and mix well. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil and cook, whisking fairly constantly, until thickened (about 10 minutes). Pour into serving dishes or a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap (lay it directly on top of the pudding to prevent skin from forming), and chill for about 3 hours before eating.

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