Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Food for Thought

According to The National Cancer Institute, three out of four Americans will die from diseases linked to poor nutrition such as heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

Since my carcinoid cancer diagnosis, Gary has completely overhauled how and what we eat at home and at restaurants. He shops organically, and we don't eat meat unless we actually know the farm it comes from. This, however, has not prevented me from partaking in a steady stream of marshmallows and chocolate - both of which seem to sneakily slip into my diet on a daily basis.

What amazes me is that through two surgeries, a cancer diagnosis, and a barrage of specialists  - not a single doctor has ever asked me about my regular daily diet. Not one. In fact, other than the temporary diet restrictions following my right hemi-colectomy, "food" has never been discussed as part of recovery, prevention, or treatment of whatever it is that is still making me sick.

While I don't know about totally giving up my sweets - I do know that I need to be more responsible in my independent food choices. Since Gary basically has the home-front covered, I think that what I really need is a basic meal plan for school days... breakfast / lunch / snack. Time to do some thinking (and shopping).

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mission Accomplished

This weekend's trip was centered around one purpose: buying a dinning room table. We moved into our condo four years ago, and we have been looking for a dinning room table ever since. We had several near purchases over the years, but nothing quite perfect enough to invest in. One Saturday, we were eating at a restaurant in Chelsea Market, NY and fell in love with the restaurant's tables... They were thick slabs of reclaimed wood on metal welded legs.

After doing a bit of research, we found out that the tables were made by a company in VT called Vermont Farm Table, that builds their tables out of wood recovered from old Vermont barns. The concept of the company, along with the unique look of their tables, won us over -- so we drove to Vermont to talk to the owner, Dustin, who would be hand crafting our table.

He couldn't have been nicer, and with the help of his iPad, he walked us through all of our custom options, and showed us pictures of beautiful but dilapidated VT barns where the wood came from.

We decided to go with a rich, golden reclaimed Pine, and should get the table in 5-6 weeks... after so many years of looking, the relief of finding "the one" was well worth the 4.5 hr trip. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Factory Tour

I love ice cream ... wait, let me rephrase that: I worship ice cream. So when we discovered that the Ben and Jerry's Factory was only 30 min south of our hotel, it was a no-brainer that we'd start our day off with a trip to my Mecca.

We arrived at the Ben and Jerry's Factory just in time to take the 10:30 am tour, which was very impressive - and included a bird's eye view of the production floor. One of the things that we learned on the tour was that all of their ice cream is made exclusively with milk from Vermont dairy farmers who do not use growth hormones.

After our tour, Gary and I drove out to their "flavor graveyard"... where various flavors are forever "put to rest" - either because they flopped or because the ingredients became too expensive. Some of the flavors sounded amazing (especially the peanut butter and jelly ice cream)... If I was ever going to become a grave digger, this is the place I'd dig up!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Marriott Residence Inn, Colchester VT

We arrived at our hotel a little after midnight, and were pleasantly surprised with the accommodations. For $98 we had a spotless, well-appointed studio apartment, complete with a full kitchen. It was almost a shame that we were only staying for a few hours.

This morning, we enjoyed a complimentary breakfast, complete with a DIY waffle bar. While it was fun making my own waffle (without having any of the clean up), the waffle itself wasn't crispy at all, and tasted a lot like a warm, limp Eggo. Still, it was better than any other "continental hotel freebie" I've ever had.

Overall, the hotel was a GREAT bang for our buck.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Crossing the Mid-Hudson Bridge

On the way to Vermont...

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Friday, January 6, 2012

Kavos Gyros in Poughkeepsie, NY

This weekend, Gary and I are on our way to Vermont to pick out a dinning room table. Then, we are heading to Canada.

As soon as we were on the road, our first order of business was to find a place for dinner in between NJ and VT, so I grabbed our copy of Roadfood from the back seat of the car... but for the first time, our trusted gastronomical guide let us down. Literally there was nothing listed along I-87 - just a long, lonely, squiggly line moving north along a barren page. Sorry eastern upstate NY - you're apparently a virtual Roadfood wasteland.

Changing tactics, I hopped on the Internet with similar frustration ... until I studied a map and determined that Poughkeepsie was close enough off of I-87 for a slight detour - I was certain that we could find something to eat there.

And find we did.

We needed something quick but local. (Our one cardinal rule while traveling is: no fast food or restaurant chains.) TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Urbanspoon all gave ridiculously high ratings to a little gyro place called Kavos, so we decided to give it a try.

The gyros were awesome. If you've never had a gyro, they are sort of like a Greek version of an overstuffed soft taco.

I had a gyro with hummus, carrot-cabbage slaw, tabouli and pork (pictured below), and Gary had a gyro with roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, goat feta and garlic arugula.

The flavors in my gyro worked well together -- the pork was slightly sweet and smokey, the hummus was rich and creamy (but not too heavily applied), and the entire flavor profile was brightened by the carrot-cabbage slaw and tabouli (which is a fresh, finely chopped salad of tomato, cucumber, parsley, mint, garlic, onion, olive oil and lemon juice).

We also ordered a side of fries with oregano, lemon and sea salt. The fries were the thick cut kind, which I like, but a little dry. Gary and I both loved the oregano and lemon, but we couldn't taste the sea salt... with ketchup they were perfect.

We did, however, have two "non food related" complaints: 1. No bathrooms, and 2. Only 8 tables (seating for 16) and half of the tables (like ours) were made out of wire... so the juices from our gyros seeped through the holes in the table, and got all over our pants.

We left Kavos with happy bellies, anticipating the bathtub jean scrubbing awaiting us just a mere 4 hrs and 27 min. down the road. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone