Today I share two things. In the spirit of feeling like I am 'getting back to things I love,' I share a simple, sweet recipe for a big bowl of my Ginger-Peach Banana Ice Cream. But really, this post is about my dad. I share a few personal thoughts regarding my life this past month and what I have gone through losing him to Alzheimer's Disease. I hope that me sharing, brings some comfort to those going through something similar. We are never alone. We are in this life together. Community meant a lot to my dad, so sharing his story here feels right.
I am trying to stay positive in this post, even though it is hard.
So, a smoothie. Banana ice cream, really. Always a good idea. Always a comforting big bowl.
Swirl. Vitamix bliss..
Happy New Year. Smoothies. January is the season of green smoothies, healthy habits and putting your Vitamix front and center in your kitchen for that 'start the year off right' kind of glow. And while I know it is WINTER and many of you think I am nuts for suggesting you cozy up to a big bowl of frosty banana ice cream - with peaches too! I just couldn't help but share this recipe because it is so lovely, and kinda calming and soothing in its peaches and cream way.
And deep down inside I think banana ice cream is always in season.
So while I am not really into the whole "January diet craze" thing, I do love the smoothie part of this month. Obviously.
And I do love fresh starts.
Fresh starts are little twinkles of HOPE in our lives. Giving yourself a fresh start is a way of being kind to yourself. And being kind to yourself is a really great idea for 2016. Your fresh start can begin any time. Not just January.
So today's recipe is a lovely, super simple banana ice cream recipe. It has a light and creamy texture and peachy flavor with subtle hints of ginger and vanilla bean. You can eat a giant bowl of this stuff and feel great about it. Healthy can taste amazing. In each spoonful, vitamin C, potassium, fiber and zero added sugar.
Some personal stuff. Those of you who follow me on social may have noticed a lack of posts the past few weeks. For good reason.
You see, three days before Christmas, my father died. The funeral a few days later, was on what would have been my parents 45th wedding anniversary. It has been a very challenging and emotional few weeks for me and as I am slowly getting back to "real life" I knew I wanted to share something about my dad here on my blog. So today I will share some HOPEFUL things I have to cherish. Thank you for reading, and being a part of my own healing process.
I can still see his bright, eager, turquoise eyes and easy, sincere, smile. He was curious, loved to befriend strangers and was always looking for the folks in the crowd who shared his friendly spirit. He loved people. He came from a big, loud, hugging italian family. Family reunions were part of the package. He danced when there was a live band. Smiled at waiters. Had photos of waterfalls, wild flowers and rocky mountains on his office wall. He was a veteran, serving in the Navy. He loved Hawaii and waterfalls, ski slopes and sunshine. And he didn't have a snobby, fake or uptight bone in his body.
Tennis. I can still hear the cracking echo of a fuzzy, neon green tennis ball hitting his racket. The squeaking of his tennis shoes on the court. I can see the foggy, flickering glow of evening tennis court lights, high above our heads. Crickets chirping, twinkly stars. Moonlight catching my eye as I twirled my racket between my palms, ready to pounce on the next ball coming my way. Crisp, cool ocean air filling my lungs. I can still hear him calling out to my sister and I, wiping his brow with his wrist sweatband, "One more game girls!" He had to be tired. He had already worked all day then played a 'real' match with his tennis buddies, all before his two brown-haired, pre-teen-ish daughters stumbled onto the court with giggly faces and high ponytails, excited for a few games with dad. He always played those bonus matches with us. I don't think he ever said, "No girls, I am too tired."
Snow. I can still see him gliding down a fluffy fresh layer of powder snowfall at our favorite ski resort in Lake Tahoe, Heavenly. After a long ski run down the mountain we'd pull off our snow-dusted hats and thick fingered gloves, lay our gear on a rack and clomp across a crowded wooden deck, lined with picnic tables, to get in line for steamy hot cocoa served in small, white styrofoam cups. He hid candy bars in his pockets, for nibbling on the ski lift, he liked how they froze up. He was always joy-filled as we climbed the mountain together, him, my sister and I, cozy, side by side on the icy metal chair lift, enjoying the view of green alpine trees, dusted with sparkly snowflakes.
My dad died after a long struggle with Alzheimer's Disease. I am sorry I never shared that side of my life here, but I just did not feel it was my story to tell. But I do think it is terribly important that I speak out for my dad. And share a piece of his life. Sadly, those who pass from Alzheimer's or complications, usually never get to fully understand what is happening, or communicate effectively to loved ones in the end. So their passing can feel heartbreaking and unsettling for family and friends. But I know my dad would be happy that his healthy, happy, real self is what I will always remember, rather than those final years.
Some facts about Alzheimer's:
* An estimated 5.3 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer's disease in 2015
* Every 67 seconds someone in the United States develops the disease.
* Alzheimer's Disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.
* In 2015 Alzheimer's and other dementias cost the US $226 Billion.
* Alzheimer's is the only disease among the top 10 causes of death in America that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.
* more facts here ALZ.org
And if you are going through a struggle with a loved one who has Alzheimer's, I send you lots of love, strength and healing. You are not alone. And we should never feel ashamed to share and support each other. I found it very lonely to go through this without really anyone my age to talk to about it. So I hope my words can reach someone.
And if you are a care taker for a person with Alzheimer's, you are indeed a hero. And I hope you can take care of yourself too. I know it is incredibly challenging. You probably do not hear "thank you" enough, so I will say it, times a million.
I will carry my dad with me, in every day. His outlook on life. His endlessly goofy, ageless side. His adventurous spirit. His warmth towards strangers. His genuine curiosity for people. His quiet side. His rambunctious side. And his ability to be joyful - to smile a big, goofy, real smile, even when his health was failing him.
Dad doing what he loved, playing tennis with his buddies, always.
Again, thank you for letting me share a few of these thoughts. And to all my friends and family who have been especially amazing for me through this, THANK YOU.
So back to a recipe. This creamy-delish ice cream. Hope you guys can spoon-dive into a big bowl of this very soon. And remember, you can always switch out the peaches for another fruit (blueberries, strawberries, more bananas..) and have the same delicious banana ice cream experience. And for all you cold weather snow bunnies this time of year, crank up the heater or serve this bowl fireside...
Ginger-Peach Banana Ice Cream
Creamy, sweet ginger peach and banana flavors with an accent of optional vanilla bean and cinnamon.
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peaches, organic
- 1 large banana, frozen
- 1 cup non-dairy milk (add or less as needed to blend)
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- optional: pinch of real vanilla bean powder or 1/2 a vanilla bean - seeds scraped
- Tip: for extra rich and creamy ice cream try coconut milk or a non-dairy yogurt in place of the non-dairy milk.
- optional: 1-2 tsp maple syrup for a sweet maple accent
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend from low to medium until smooth. This may take a few minutes, and really working your blender with a tamper (Vitamix) or by scraping down the sides of the blender to really get a THICK blend. Using minimal liquid helps thicken your ice cream, but also use liquid as needed to fully blend and smooth out your fruit ingredients.
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 02 mins.
Cook time: 00 hrs. 08 mins.
Total time: 10 mins.
- Calories: 250
Tags: peaches,banana, smoothie,banana ice cream,blender,vitamix,breakfast,snack,fruit,easy
And if you STILL are not sold on frosty banana ice cream this month, OK, I have a recipe for that! My Potato-Carrot Lentil Soup is sure to be a bowl you can warm up to. :)