Life is a like a playground. You can swing up high and feel like nothing can touch you. Or you can swing and jump off when life gets too scary.
You can make the choice to only go down the slide that is straight and narrow so you know what awaits you at the bottom or you can go on the twirly slide and just enjoy uncertainty of the ride.
It is a constant teeter-totter of ups and downs. And depending how you look at it, it can be good or bad. (Unless someone jumps off the teeter-totter when you are in the up position and you land hard on your fanny. There really is no way to find good in that action.)
As a little kid, I enjoyed the freedom of knowing which piece of playground equipment I wanted to conquer each day. If I felt fearless, I could swing on the monkey bars attempting to complete a goal. Or maybe I just wanted to plop down on one of those weird animal springer guys and enjoy the tranquil motion of going nowhere. (Do they even make these anymore?)
These playground experiences were early lessons on how I was going to live my life. We all have that same power to live our lives like a childhood playground. It can be daring or safe, exciting or peaceful. It is truly up to you.
Most of my days seem like the merry ground. I go around in circles, see the same things and just enjoy the security of the ride. Every now and then, it takes an exciting turn and speeds up and I just hold on. When the ride is over, my mind is dizzy and I try to decide if I want to do it again.
Every now and then, I get to spend some time with a kid at a playground. The playgrounds have changed a lot over the years but the little pumpkins that play on them haven’t changed a bit. The layers of experiences they have out there playing will help them not “mousse” out on some of the best times of their lives.
Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Mousse Parfait
Ingredients for “crust”
Equal amounts of graham crackers and ginger snaps crumbled up finely. I only needed less than a cup total. Set aside.
Pie Filling (original source unknown but it has been tweaked over the years)
15 oz can of pumpkin puree
¼ cup of brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 Tbsp heavy cream
Mix all these ingredients together and set in fridge for at least 30 minutes. Mix again when you remove from refrigerator.
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup powder sugar
1 vanilla bean, cut lengthwise and scrape out the yumminess inside. (you can use vanilla extract but the vanilla bean gives sooo much more flavor)
zest from one lemon
¾ cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest. It should be light and fluffy.
Fold in whipped cream so it stays fluffy but is well incorporated. I did give it a couple of twirls with whisk to liven it up.
There are a couple of ways you can put this together. I sprinkled some crust crumbs on the bottom of some canning jars. I did 4 ¼ pints and 4 ½ pints. Use whatever cute parfait kind of glass you have in your cabinet.
Next evenly distribute pumpkin pie filling into each vessel.
Top with the mousse and set in the fridge for at least 2 hours. When it is time to serve, sprinkle a few more crumbs on top.
If you want you could also layer it more if you have a taller vessel so people can get all the tastes in one scoop. Think of it as your playground and have some fun with it!