It IS my birthday, and I AM smiling! Maybe you don’t always feel ready to party with POTS, but be encouraged by the fun I’m having on my birthday weekend. A change of scenery and something to look forward to can make a huge difference for someone with a long-term illness.
Mark surprised me yesterday with a trip to the Biltmore Estate to see a display of costumes worn in Downton Abbey– yes, the REAL costumes actually worn by Lord and Lady Grantham; Mary, Edith, and Sybil; Lady Violet; and Matthew and Branson from Seasons 1-4. There were dozens to see– SO cool.
The first two floors of the Biltmore were wheelchair-friendly, and we even got to ride the oldest continuously running elevator in the Southeast, complete with original motor from the 1800s. How’s that for a perk (seeing as it didn’t break down while we were on it)?
The main tricky thing about wheelchair adventures (besides nausea) is that you see everything from about the height of an eight-year-old (definitely different for me, since I’m almost 5’9″ and used to looking over people’s heads)… but the Biltmore was well prepared and even know exactly how many steps it would have taken me to go up to the third floor (I’d been there before, so I passed this time but got to watch a video that displayed the rooms I could not access).
Mark was awesome. He planned the whole thing and even scheduled it so we didn’t spend too long there, knowing I’d wear out quickly, and had us back to our hometown to have a restful afternoon at home. (Full disclosure: It was 3 p.m. and I crawled right into bed.) He tells me he has more surprises in store this weekend… I’m excited!
I wanted to make a big chocolate chip skillet cookie and homemade ice cream on my birthday (Yes, I could buy them, but where does one buy sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free desserts? That’s called fruit.), but considering how I felt and deciding to conserve energy, I only made the ice cream, below. No problem: I added chocolate chunks to get the feel of the whole dessert thing. This recipe is adapted for our family’s current digestive needs using the general idea of the dairy-free ice cream recipes on The Spunky Coconut. Mark and I thought it was pretty much the most amazing thing ever; two kids ate it… with tons of Hershey’s syrup on top… and one kid didn’t eat it at all. Hey, more for us!
Birthday Butter Pecan Ice “Cream”
1 can light coconut milk
1 frozen banana
3 Medjool dates, soaked in 1 cup almond milk
1 Tbsp gelatin, dissolved in 1/4 c boiling water
big dollop sunflower seed butter
dollop vegan butter, cooked to attempt a faux brown butter
almond and vanilla extracts, to taste (more almond than vanilla)
3-4 drops liquid stevia, to taste
salt, to taste (you want butter pecan ice cream to taste a bit salty)
Combine all (including the liquid in which the dates soaked) in a high-speed blender; adjust flavorings, sweetness, and salt. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Pour into prechilled ice cream maker and process, according to manufacturer instructions. Toward the end, add chopped pecans (and maybe dark chocolate chunks). YUM!
Notes: Full-fat canned coconut cream tastes better and gives better consistency; also, it tastes better if you use more dates (8-10) and eliminate the banana. We used sunflower seed butter, but almond butter would be better.
Cards, texts, and Facebook messages from friends and family are making my day fantastic. Never underestimate how encouraging a few kind words can be! Thanks to all who are helping me celebrate!
P.S. Lest you think our kids are deprived, neighbors we haven’t seen in months just rang the doorbell– I opened the door to find them bearing a large container full of gluten-full, sugar-full, dairy-full cinnamon rolls. They had no idea it was my birthday– and the kids will get to, first-hand, TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD!