I remember when I first had a baby and our friends Tina and Sean came over to meet our new little member of the family. They already had two kids at the time and were definitely more seasoned in what it was like to actually have little humans running around the house wreaking havoc on all that you have. They were smiling about the fact that we had a dish of candy on one of our coffee tables along with some candles. They both advised us to enjoy having that out since this would be the last time we would ever be able to have that out for a very long time without it being destroyed. I remember sitting there and holding our little girl, all wrapped up in a blanket, thinking, this is the life. Calm. Peaceful. Content.
Fast forward eight years later, and guess what?
They were right.
Not only did we have to leave the candy out of decoration plans following that year, we also left the table out.
Yes, the whole table left our family room.
It found a nice cozy spot in our basement, where it stayed for a long time.
It just didn’t fit with our parenting philosophies of letting our kids actually play in our home.
Yes, we have a very small family room and if we wanted our kids to be able to play, we had to get rid of the table.
It was fine. We only really missed it when our feet needed to find a place to rest after a long day with the kids. Or when we wanted to enjoy a pizza and a movie after the kids went to bed…it was hard to find a place for the pizza with no table.
But, guess what?
We survived and the kids had a blast with the giant (super tiny) play space that they gained without the table.
It returned recently to our family room now that the kids are all old enough to do more than toddle in a tiny space and play with toys scattered on a blanket.
It was the best toy in the room for the kids. You would be amazed at how many super fun games can be played on a table. Seriously, I was amazed.
When I hosted book club with some friends, it held these delicious mini pumpkin cheesecakes quite wonderfully.
We all win.
Welcome back table. It’s nice to see you again.
Individual Pumpkin Cheesecakes
Makes 8 individual cheesecake parfaits
1 can of pumpkin puree
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
2 – 3 tblsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 pkg, cream cheese softened
1/2-1 cup powdered sugar
2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
6 tblsp butter, melted
Fresh Nutmeg for serving
*Read Recipe: These need to be chilled so need to be made ahead of time or overnight.*
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine pumpkin and sweetened condensed milk, whisking until smooth. Add sugar and spices. Taste and add more sugar or spice to your liking. Heat over low heat whisking frequently for 8 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk one egg. Add a few tablespoons of hot pumpkin mixture to egg whisking very fast until smooth. Add a few tablespoons more and repeat whisking process. Continue to do this until you have about a cup of the mixture in the small bowl with the egg. This is called tempering. Basically you are slowly getting the egg up to the hot temperature in a way that prevents it from scrambling. Add the entire small bowl mixture to the hot pumpkin mixture in the saucepan. Whisk together and heat through, about 8-10 minutes stirring frequently. Turn off heat. Meanwhile in a bowl, with beaters on high, beat heavy cream with powdered sugar until whipped and fluffy. Whip in softened cream cheese. Whip until fluffy, thick and smooth.
In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter until crumbly and buttery. Test some of the graham mixture by pressing a bit together in your fingertips. If it doesn’t slightly stick together, add a little more melted butter. In 8 individual dessert dishes or glasses, press a 1/4 cup of graham mixure into the bottom. Top with a quarter cup of pumpkin and top with 1/4 cup cream cheese mixture (I piped my cream cheese mixture for a prettier look!). Chill for 3 hours or overnight. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh nutmeg.
*I used mini dessert dishes and it made more than 8/Also, for a great way to transport these and hold them in the fridge is a muffin or a jumbo muffin pan. Holds them right in place and easy to take in and out of the fridge.*