COPING WITH CORONA WITH A LITTLE DIY PINEAPPLE DOLE WHIP

photo courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Stuck inside from self-isolation or stay at home orders? Wondering when you might return to a normal life again? Why not try some diversionary Dole Whip, or “Food of the Gods”?

Several years ago when I was in Hawaii, I went to the Dole plantation in Oahu, Hawaii. Dole Plantation in Oahu is a wonderful place to visit, as they have a twenty-minute train ride around the plantation with several different gardens to meander through as well as a pineapple maze to walk through, too. It was there that I first ate the “Food of the Gods” and thought it was a little bit of heaven in the first bite. The plantation is normally open daily from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM (except Christmas Day), although it is currently closed temporarily because of the pandemic.

photo courtesy of Dreamstime.com

When I arrived back home to the northeast United states immediately after my trip to Hawaii, I searched high and low for Dole Whip, which wasn’t at that time readily available. When I flew to Walt Disney World a few years later, I was delighted to see the delicious Dole Whip available at the Magic Kingdom. Pineapple Dole Whip is a creamy blend of pineapple in a soft-serve ice cream base. It is refreshing and as close to perfection that I’ve ever experienced.

Now that we live in Florida we go to Walt Disney World as often as we can, and one of the first things we do in the Magic Kingdom is to head straight for the Dole Whip, which can be ordered with a slice of fresh pineapple and pineapple juice to make a “float.” I prefer my pineapple Dole Whip pure and simple, without any pineapple or pineapple juice, though.

There have been many “copycat” recipes on the net in the years that followed but NONE are as satisfyingly sapid as the original pineapple Dole Whip. This week, however, the Disney app released the coveted compound, and I swear I heard angels sing the moment I heard the good news! Maybe I even heard a horn play. The recipe is so easy that it lends itself to a spontaneous splurge for something sweet.

Disney Dole Whip Recipe (individual portion): Combine one scoop of vanilla ice cream, four ounces of pineapple juice, and two cups of frozen pineapple in a blender until you can’t wait any longer……

While you are at it, or another day you decide on a delicious diversion, you might try the recipe for pineapple Dole Whip that Dole has released:

Pineapple Dole Whip Recipe from Dole: Combine 1 cup of pineapple (frozen), one banana (peeled and frozen), 2 and 1/2 teaspoons of powdered sugar, and 1/4 to 1/2 cups of unsweetened coconut milk, one teaspoon lime juice in a blender until you can’t wait any longer……….(then put into your ice cream maker as you normally would).

photo courtesy of Dreamstime.com

While coping with the pandemic, why not try a little recipe for one for pineapple Dole Whip? It might just give you the daily diversion you need right now for a little sweet spontaneity.

Life is good; carpe diem, friends………….which recipe is YOUR favorite? Let me know if you try them and consider visiting Hawaii when the pandemic is over if you can. Life is short.

Click here for more information about visiting the Dole Plantation in Hawaii:

https://www.doleplantation.com/

Note: 5/18/20….after trying both recipes for Dole Whip, I just couldn’t make the Dole one work. It tasted too much like banana to me. We LOVED the Disney recipe for DIY Dole Whip, although it didn’t taste EXACTLY like Dole Whip in the park. It was very close, though. Plan on eating it right after you make it, however, as it does NOT freeze well at all. Also the taste somehow changes after freezing as well and isn’t nearly as good.

COPING WITH CORONA WITH A GOOD OLD FASHIONED BUBBLE BATH

Ancient Roman Bath, Bath, England

Being stuck inside the house during the recent stay-at-home orders, I have had the luxury of extra time. Time seems to have slowed down to a snail pace in contrast to our busy contemporary society. People coming, people going. Even the numbers of cars on the road have dwindled, and with many “essential” stores closing early, the town looks much like it did when I was a young girl. For the most part, most neighborhood stores were closed in the evenings when I was little until the “Big Box” stores opened. That changed a lot. The days of relaxing at home after dinner were replaced by errands, drive-through pharmacies, or take out orders some time after that in many homes. In those older days, many people used after dinner time for baths for both hygiene and relaxation.

I used to take a bubble bath at least weekly, in addition to my daily shower, until a few years ago. There was always something selfishly indulgent about carving out a half hour all to myself, letting myself enjoy the moment of solitude in the bath among scented bubble baths. Tonight I decided I would steal away some time to get back into the habit of the weekly bath. I remember when I was youn, putting my head underwater so that my ears were submerged for a period of time while my nose was above the water. Resting like this, I could close my eyes and actually hear the sound of my breathing and maybe even the sound of my heart among the solitude under water. If you are short like I am, you might still be able to submerge most of your body, except the tops of your kneees, under water. Sometimes I would take a book into the bathtub and rest it on my bath caddy that sat in front of me while I soaked. Sometimes I would take a cup of hot tea or a cool beverage as well.

A modern bath tub (photo courtesy of Dreamstime.com)

Tonight, I dipped into the warm tub after turning the lights on low with some candles around the room, on the counter and along the sides of the tub. I put on some relaxing classical music, and I soaked with my head under water, except my nose, for a period of time, enjoying those stolen moments all to myself. There is nothing like the peace I feel when I hear my breathing underwater, along with the sights of the calm candlelight and scented bubbles.

After my bath during which I allowed myself to think about nothing, absolutely nothing, I began to consider the history of baths in this country and how now they are considered almost obsolete. New homes are built mostly with tiled showers instead of bathtubs. There may be ONE bathtub in a home now, where there used to be bathtubs in every full bathroom. Such a pity.

When the Pilgrims arrived in America, according to History.com, they were not accustomed to bathing regularly. They thought that submerging their whole body in the water was somehow unhealthy and immodest. In fact, History.com suggests, ” “The idea of being clean wasn’t closely associated with water in the 17th century anywhere in the western world.” Bath houses became a place for the wealthy for medicinal cures or as a place socializing. Of course, in ancient times, the bath was important for socializing among people of all classes, and there is evidence of baths in the homes of the more affluent citizens of Ancient Rome.

While coping with self-isolation, why not dip into your own bathtub again for a few indulgent moments. Put on your favorite music, take a beverage or a book, maybe light some candles and reduce your stress with some time put aside just for you.

orchid flowers and candles for the tub (photo courtesy of Dreamstime.com)

“Splish splash, I was takin’ a bath ‘long about a Saturday night
A rub dub, just relaxing in the tub, thinkin’ everything was all right
Well, I stepped out the tub, put my feet on the floor
I wrapped the towel around me and I opened the door
And then a splish splash, I jumped back in the bath…..”

-“Splish Splash” by Bobby Darin, 1958

I am grateful for the luxury of extra time that these stay at home orders have given me and plan to enjoy these extra hours while I can. Life is good; carpe diem, friends………..

COPING WITH CORONA……GROWING A GARDEN

Aerogarden two weeks or so ago with romaine lettuce

There is something about starting a plant from a seed and watching it grow. The daily anticipation of wondering if the seed has germinated. Then the daily anticipation of wondering if the first leaf unfolds. Then the daily anticipation of wondering if the the first “true” leaves unfold.

While maintaining self-isolation, we decided to get back to our “roots” as gardeners, a hobby we have not tended to in quite some years. Growing up in the northeast, gardening was so much easier than here in Florida. There was the watchful waiting of looking for the very first crocus to bloom as a harbinger of spring. There is something magical about watching a flowering plant wake up, unfolding it’s bloom among snow on the ground.

When we moved to Florida several years back, it amazed me that the plants we grown indoors in pots were the landscape plants outside my house. Something wasn’t quite right about that, but something wasn’t quite right about gardening and putting my hands in soil while risking surprising a poisonous snake at the other end of my trowel.

I had given up gardening in the fourteen years I’ve been living in Florida, but when we recently started self-isolation and social distancing from the Covid-19 pandemic, we decided it would give us something to look forward to if we started a plant from seeds. Watching and waiting for the seed to germinate somehow soothes my soul. Surrounding myself with something growing while being stuck inside was just what I needed.

Would I grow a green plant or a flowering plant? Would I grow edible flowers? Would I grown some vegetable to sustain me in case the food supply chain became scarce. I sent away for seeds for my Aerogarden with excitement. I had decided upon romaine lettuce seed pods, knowing how delicious freshly harvested lettuce is. It is too hot this time of year to grow lettuce outside here in Florida, as it is a cold weather crop.

Two weeks ago, I set up my Aerogarden indoors and inserted the seed pods into the hydroponic growing machine along with the nutrients and water that they plant needs. It always amazes me when I see plants growing without soil and reminds me that we all can “bloom where we are planted” and can thrive with less than we THINK we need.

Each day, I look forward to checking on the status of my new plants and today I tried my first piece of lettuce from one of the plants. It was the freshest tasting lettuce I had ever eaten. Romaine lettuce from the market doesn’t really seem to have much of a flavor, but these dark lettuce leaves from my Aerogarden are tender and delicious.

Aerogarden today with bigger romaine lettuce plants

The need to grow something hit me all over again. Before the stay at home orders and shortly after planting my Aerogarden pods, I went to the garden center to purchase some herbs to grow in pots on my patio so I could be less likely to inadvertently bump into a not so friendly slithering friend. Walking by and touching the leaves of aromatic plants gives me joy. Maybe even bliss. It provides me with that in-the-moment magic that I adore. There is something about using my five senses when I am around plants that gives me that same feeling as when I see a flock of birds above my head while they change direction yet still maintain formation. There is beauty all around us that captivates my eyes and soul.

It is so easy to stop doing something you live for the time being for whatever reason. There are a million reasons why we USED to love something that we no longer do. The pandemic has given us the luxury of a little more time in our homes. Why not take up a hobby you used to love all over again to find some joy.

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow…..”

-Audrey Hepburn

Find a way to believe in tomorrow, for it will be here sooner than you know. Life is good; carpe diem, friends……….

COPING WITH CORONA, PART 13……”ARE YOU A TIGGER OR AN EYORE?”

Tigger at Crystal Palace restaurant, Walt Disney World

“Too many people go through life complaining about their problems. I’ve always believed that if you took one tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you’d be surprised by how well things can work out.”
― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Randy, a Carnegie Mellon professor who died of the then rare pancreatic cancer in 2008 believed in keeping optimistic, despite one’s harsh reality. He believed in confronting a difficult situation by acknowledging it and controlling our thoughts if we can’t control our situation.

“That is what it is. We can’t change it. We just have to decide how we’ll respond.”
― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture.

Finally, he believed one needs to ask oneself frequently the following question:

“Are you a Tigger or an Eyore?

-Randy Pausch, “The Last Lecture”

Eyore at Crystal Palace restaurant, Walt Disney World

SO………..ARE you a Tigger or an Eyore when you find yourself thinking about Covid-19 or anything else on your mind? Try to keep a positive mindset while the situation develops and changes everything around you.

Carpe-Diem, friends…………..and look to Tigger (and Randy) for inspiration at this difficult time.

COPING WITH CORONA, PART 12…..HAVE A PLAN, SEE THE BEAUTY, AND DON’T GET “EATEN BY THE WOLVES”

Toilet paper display at the Point WC, a public restroom on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, which also sells luxury bathroom items such as colored toilet paper

Another way to be prepared is to think negatively. Yes, I’m a great optimist. but, when trying to make a decision, I often think of the worst case scenario. I call it ‘the eaten by wolves factor.’ If I do something, what’s the most terrible thing that could happen? Would I be eaten by wolves? One thing that makes it possible to be an optimist, is if you have a contingency plan for when all hell breaks loose. There are a lot of things I don’t worry about, because I have a plan in place if they do.”

― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Randy Pausch was an inspirational Carnegie Mellon University professor who died of pancreatic cancer when is was still a very rare disease in 2008. When he found out he had cancer, he decided to write what he considered his “last lecture” of his observations about life and delivered it lecture-style in class in 2007. He was a champion of making every day matter. I am reminded of him today when I hear the panic that is happening about the coronavirus. The best way to handle it, in my opinion, is to acknowledge its seriousness, make a plan, be prepared, and don’t fret the outcome. Rather, spend the time enjoying the moments along the way and keep living, enjoying your life, and having fun as best as you can.

So……..what IS the worst thing that could happen I run out of toilet paper? I don’t think I would be “eaten by wolves”, or any other animal either for that matter, so it will be okay………….and we don’t really need to worry about it, because we “have a plan.” Maybe facial tissues could double for that dreadful day!

In the meantime, I try to see the beauty in every day……..while every day may not be beautiful, there IS beauty in every day, even while we are coping with Corona to come knocking at our door.

Beautiful bathroom stalls in one of the airports in Paris, reminding us to see the beauty in every place every day….

Enjoy ALL the moments; carpe diem, friends…………..

COPING WITH CORONA, PART 10……THE FINE ART OF HYGGE

Macaroons in Paris

The Dutch have it right AGAIN! Instead of Niksen, the art of purposely doing “nothing”, another Dutch approach to enjoying life is called “hygge” (pronounced “hoo-gah”). Hygge centers around enjoying the little things in life that provide us comfort. Although spring is upon us, providing warmer weather in some parts of the country, other parts of the country are still experiencing a bit of a chill. Fire in a fireplace? That’s hygge. Scented candles burning in your home? That’s hygge. Meals with comfort food and friends? That’s hygge. Big comfortable furniture with a soft throw blanket draped around you? That’s hygge. Your favorite hot tea, cappuccino, or coffee served in a china cup? That’s hygge. A long indulgent bubble bath with scented candles burning on the sides? That’s hygge. A bite of a delicious Belgian chocolate? That’s hygge. Anything and everything comfortable and cozy? Now THAT’S hygge!

High tea treats in Bath, England

While you are trying to take your mind off the corona virus situation in our lives right now, turn off your phone and turn on some soft music, sip a hot beverage, light a fire, and burn some scented candles after dinner. You will most likely experience comfort and contentment that will take your mind off of the virus knocking at your door.

Bananas Foster served outdoors over an open flame with family gathered around

Hygge, loosely translated as “to give courage, comfort, and joy”, will help you to live deliberately with comfortable intentions. They say it’s the “little things that matter.” Why not give it a try? Today choose pastry over healthy food for a change. Maybe a bite of a brownie, freshly baked cookies, or Bananas Foster………..

Sign from Keukenhof Gardens, Netherlands, showing an attitude of gratitude


Enjoy today; find some comfort. Enjoy the little things. Carpe diem, friends…..

COPING WITH CORONA, PART 7…..OH SAY CAN YOU SEE?

“Home of the Brave”

While we are at war with Corona, we stand united knowing that we will eventually win the war together. There are so many beautiful things happening right around us at the same time this virus takes its toll on our health, our family, our homes, our communities, our nations, and our world. But there is a glimmer of light, a bright spot on a dark dark day…..

Oh say can you see….how our community comes together to help those who need help?

Oh say can you see………how wonderful it is to have extra time with our families while self-isolating?

Oh say can you see…..how we have learned we really can do with less stuff?

Oh say can you see…..how we now have more time to tackle those projects we put off like refinishing some furniture?

Using Annie Sloane Chalk paint by mail order from “Purple Painted Lady” in NY to go from “drab” to fab” in the garage

Oh say can you see……how most of the time we really have all that we need in our homes already?

Oh say can you see…….how spending time with a good old fashioned board game with those we love really beats the computer any day?

“Teen Traveler”, my daughter, pulled this game off her shelf. We bought it last year not having a clue how ironic with would be to play THIS year.

Oh say can you see…..how resourceful we can be when we really put our minds to it?

Oh say can you see…..how much better dinner time is with a home-cooked meal shared with those you love at the dinner table at the same time?

Oh say can you see……how exciting the thrill of a scavenger hunt to find toilet paper at the store is when shared with your child?

Oh say can you see……..how you can calm your child’s fears if you model calm behavior yourself?

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?…..”

-“The Star Spangled Banner”, The United States of America National Anthem, by Francis Scott Key

Life is good; find the bright spot in the dark day today………

So…….oh say what can you YOU see?

COPING WITH CORNONA……HOPE SHINES BRIGHT

“Some hope for the future
Some wait for the call
To say that the days ahead
Will be the best of all…..

……Hope shines brightest in the dark
When nothing’s ever seen
Lighting undiscovered places
No-ones ever been…..

…..Hope for the Future”

-Paul McCartney, “Hope For The Future”

COPING WITH CORONA, PART 4…..MAGIC MOMENTS

“Teen Traveler” toes in the sand

Cabin Fever. Wanderlust. Tough to be inside. Spring Break today, ” Teen Traveler” and I decided to venture out of the house to where we could maintain an appropriate “social distance” from others to protect ourselves from Covid-19. Living in Florida, we decided we would find a remote beach area where there were few people present. We searched for the perfect “Cast Aside Covid Cove” with a song in our hearts and our usual spirit of adventure.

Turtle Sculptures were originally auctioned off and placed in Vero Beach by Turtle Trax to raise awareness for mental health. There are over thirty turtle sculptures similar to this one in Vero Beach.

We traveled to Vero Beach, FL, where we found WAY too many people in the parking lots and on the beach for us to maintain our “social distance”, but we enjoyed our day trip to this magical place that is dotted with sea turtle sculptures in so many places. Vero Beach wasn’t as isolated a spot as we wanted, so we decided to drive further south until we found some hidden beach access somewhere else.

I wanted to share this day with “Teen Traveler” to show her how we prepare for Corona to come knocking on our door. We think. We come up with a plan. We prepare. We have FUN! A day spent all alone with “Teen Traveler” where we went on a road trip, we laughed, we talked, we laughed some more, we listened to music from our respective generations, and we laughed some more was just what we needed.

“Teen Traveler” the mermaid

There were few people on the beach, but there was a red flag waving in the breeze. Native Floridians know this means to stay out of the water for some peril or another. One red flag means that the surf is high or there are dangerous currents or both. So, we decided to go into the water only up to our knees, but the surf was so high the waves hit our waists as they came rolling in toward shore. The water was cool at first (for the Native Floridians in the crowd), but we adjusted okay.

“Teen Traveler’s” Life Through a Lens………..

Being with my daughter reminded me of a song by Sia……….

“… I’ve been waiting for a magic moment
But maybe there are magic moments
Could it be a magic moment now?
I’ve been waiting for a magic moment
But maybe there are magic moments
Baby it’s a magic moment nowBut darling it’s a magical, magical life, life, life
Oh honey, it’s a magical, magical life, life, life
And baby it’s a magical, magical life, life, life
When you can find magic in every day, night, night, night….”

“Teen Traveler” contemplating…….serious one moment………….
….then making “sand angels” in the sand instead of the snow the next minute…………..

We had a great day and we are already thinking of where we might take a day trip next week. Clear kayak on a Florida spring? Fly a kite at another beach? One thing is for certain. On Earth we have ONLY these five minutes. Time to go out to make a memory, as there is beauty everywhere.

Life is good. Carpe diem, my friends………

COPING WITH CORONA, PART 3 OR “FOR EVERY DROP OF RAIN THAT FALLS A FLOWER GROWS”….

Keukenhof Gardens, the largest flower garden in the world, located in Lisse, Netherlands (South Holland)

As I transition from “social distancing” to self-isolation in our home, I am reminded of an old song that says, “For every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows.” I am reminded of all the good things that are happening in the world right now, despite our current precarious world situation, that are still positive.

The smile of a stranger at the market from an appropriate social distance combined with eyes that meet and show a shared understanding (before I self-isolated), the sense of community in my neighborhood where people are looking out for each other and some folks have offered to get groceries and supplies for the elderly or at-risk neighbors, the gift of extra time together with my family, sharing a laugh as we remember to have fun while we prepare for this coronavirus to come knocking at our door. Having the luxury of extra time with board games while “Teen Traveler” is home from school and watching any pandemic movie we can will be fun memories to reflect upon years from now. Today we will find a remote stretch of beach where there are no visitors so we can feel the sand between our toes and the wind in our hair. This situation is serious, but we still can live while we are living with the situation.

There are many other other things that are that that “flower growing” despite the “rain” in this health crisis. Dolphins have returned to the canals in Venice because the water is cleaner and clearer right now with less traffic. The air is cleaner as emissions have fallen as China’s coal use drops. Many companies are changing policies and procedures to make working from home a possibility, which can help families who are normally juggling the needs of their children while needing to work. Supply chains are working overtime to help meet the needs of the country. We have begun to investigate what self-reliance means personally and as a country, giving some thought to how we can manage on many levels when things go awry. We all have developed an “attitude of gratitude” when we find a supply of toilet paper, any toilet paper, any brand, in the market.

I am reminded of the beauty of Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands while I think “for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows.” The garden will not open tomorrow as planned, yet I can’t help think of all the beautiful flowers that continue to grow, despite our global turmoil. I had always wanted to see the tulips growing in fields as a bucket list item, so last year we traveled there. Another bucket list item crossed off my list.

Tulip farm near Keukenhof

Keukenhof Gardens normally is open in the spring for the about eight weeks from mid-March to mid-May. Originally the gardens were part of Countess Jacoba van Beieren’ s (Jacqueline of Bavaria, 1401-1436) kitchen gardens at Teylingen Castle. In 1949, plans were made by some prominent bulb growers to use that space to grow bulbs, and in 1950 the gardens were opened to the public.

At Keukenhoff, one can take a forty-five minute quiet electric boat ride through the region where you can learn a little bit more of the area. Unfortunately this boat is NOT wheel-chair accessible. Fees range from 4.50- 9. Euros (about $4.82 USD for children -$9.63 USD for adults) at the time of this writing. Children under three are free of charge. The park does, however, offer complimentary electric wheelchairs to guest to enjoy the gardens, though.

Keukenhoff is NORMALLY open from 8:00 AM to 7:30 PM but is temporarily closed now because of Covid-19. There are multiple places to eat within the park, and the park allows dogs on leashes.

A pop of color in a box
Breathtakingly sturdy and enduring windmill on the property reminds me of our resolute human will while battling cornona
Daffodils mingle among tulips and hyacinths in harmony
Wish for quick resolution of the Coronavirus and its effects
Hyacinths and crocuses
These tulips were not dyed but grow this color
Breathtaking displays of exhibition tulips grow everywhere

Coping with the Corona situation is difficult for everyone, but taking a moment in your heart and mind to visit other places where beauty endures and life goes on might be just what you need. Armchair travel is always good for the soul, as it gives us something for which to look forward some day. The flower bulbs remind us that life goes on, year after year, even after a period in which everything appears to have stopped and is dormant.

I believe for every drop of rain that falls
A flower grows
I believe that somewhere in the darkest night
A candle glows
I believe for everyone who goes astray someone will come
To show the way
I believe, I believeI believe above a storm the smallest prayer
Can still be heard
I believe that someone in the great somewhere
Hears every wordEvery time I hear a new born baby cry
Or touch a leaf or see the sky
Then I know why I believeEvery time I hear a new born baby cry
Or touch a leaf or see the sky
Then I know why I believe”

-Written by Roger Whittaker and sung by Mahalia Jackson

TODAY is a good day to have a good day. Spring has sprung. Go out and live; carpe diem, friends…………..