Sunday, September 28, 2008

success with thai & the perfect dog park

I made Phad Thai yesterday and I didn't even need to use ketchup. In the past, it usually didnt come out that good and then I would just add some ketchup to make it edible. I figured it had vinegar, sugar and tomato paste anyway, so why not?
Well I decided to find a new recipe that doesnt have tomatoes in any form and I used fish sauce for the first time. I adapted this recipe from one I found on


8 oz flat rice noodles
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 cup peanut oil
1 or 2 large eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt
12 ounces peeled and deveined shrimp or pieces of chicken or cubed tofu
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 shallots, thinly sliced
3 scallions cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 chopped1 1/4 cups mung bean sprouts
1/3 cup salted roasted peanuts, chopped, plus additional for garnish
For serving: Lime wedges, Sri Racha sauce (Thai hot chili sauce)


Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Whisk the sugar with the fish sauce and vinegar in a small bowl.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat until hot and add 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil. Pour in the eggs. Cook until just set, about 45 seconds. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.

Add another 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil to the same skillet and heat over high heat. Add the shrimp, 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper flakes, and salt, to taste. Stir-fry until the shrimp are pink and just cooked through, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons peanut oil over high heat. Add the garlic, shallots, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes and stir-fry until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add the noodles and cook, tossing, until lightly coated with the garlic mixture, about 1 minute. Add the fish sauce mixture and large scallion pieces and heat through. Stir in the cooked egg and shrimp, 1 cup of the sprouts, and the 1/3 cup peanuts and toss until hot. Divide the Phad Thai among plates and top with the remaining sprouts and additional peanuts. Serve immediately with the lime wedges and Sri Racha.

I was too lazy to take photos of the finished product, but this is pretty much what it looked like.

I know I mentioned the dog park in Northampton before, but that was before I knew how perfect it really is. It is miles of hiking trails, grassy fields, and river for romping. There is a loop that I have done a few times that is 2 miles. Its great for me to get exercise and enjoy being outside AND Indy gets to meets lots of new canine buddies. We are going to start trying to go everyday....soon it will be all ice and snow. Ahhh!

Since we found out that the people that were going to take Indy to Montreal for a Thanksgiving tournament backed out; I had to find a place for her to go when I go to Seattle. I found a place called Bed and Bowl that is soooo cool. They pick the dogs up in Northampton for day care and bring them home in the evening for no extra charge. The facility is someones house that is also set up to accomodate many dogs. For boarding, it is considered a dog "bed and breakfast". The dogs lounge around all day in the yard or in the house (or in Indys case act like a crazy border collie) and then they sleep anywhere they want at night - on a dog bed, on the king size bed for dogs, or with the people that run the place!

I am so excited to have a place to leave her when I go to visit Ben, so I won't have to ask my parents all the time - Cageless Dog Boarding. Yeah!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Internship Update, Shryocks New England Vist, More Flyball, Country Vet

Update on my Internship - I only have one month left of my community rotation! I met with my internship director and preceptor on Wednesday for my mid-rotation review. I am on track with achieving my competencies, but I still have a lot of work to do.

I am teaching a cardiac rehab class on Monday, giving a presentation on nutrition and menopause, designing a WIC phone survey, hopefully teaching diabetes cooking classes and planning some classes for the Kids Kitchen. I also have some other smaller projects that I'm working on.

Of everything I'm working on, the Kids Kitchen is the hardest, by far. I have no idea how to interact with 2-5 year olds. Give me elderly people over kids any day. Little kids are like aliens to me. My concept of what they already know is severely lacking. I actually do like kids, but at this point they make me uncomfortable. Let's just say I probably won't be specializing in pediatrics when I'm dietitian. Any ideas for recipes for a kids cooking class?

On Thursday after suffering through my kids cooking class, I spent the day with my Shryock parents. We went to Sylvesters in Northampton for lunch. This place is known for its homemade soups, breads and dessert. Its very cute and comfortable, maybe not the best clam chowder I have ever had. But I would like to go back for their famous brunch. I have to appreciate their effort to make so much of their food from scratch.
Then we headed to Montague, MA to pick up Indigo from the vet. She was there all day getting her hips and back x-ray ed. She has to be knocked out so she wouldn't wiggle during the imaging process. $200 later I found out that she is looking good, so its time to start her on higher jumps in flyball. I think we are going to stop disc dog competing because I have been hearing horror stories of dogs injuring their backs and its often because of those spinning jumps that look cool, but are terrible for them.

Anyway, I love this vet that I found here. She is holistic and practices out of a beautiful location on a farm. She also has a border collie and does agility, so she understands the needs of a performance dog. I felt much better when she cleared up my confusion about what to do about Heart worm and Lyme disease prevention.

The Vet's Office

Indy after finding out she does not have hip dysplasia

Only in New England would a drive to the vet be this charming.....

She sucked it up and posed with Flat Stanley

Frances bought me one of these beautiful pumpkins for my front porch

To prepare for the flyball tournament next weekend on Indigos first "open team" we joined Canine Mutiny flyball team for their Friday night practice. Its very interesting to see how different teams practice and what training methods they use, especially on new puppies. I really enjoyed practicing with them and got some good tips. Plus they have really cool Boston accents!

They are becoming competitive in this region because of their new speedy designer flyball dogs. They have 2 borderjacks (border collie X Jack Russell terrier) and just got a mini aussie X staffordshire terrier (the first non border collie flyball mix I have seen). They also had a breed called Hungarian Mudi, a herding breed that is supposedly just as smart as a border collie and maybe even faster at learning new things. She sure was speedy during the puppy training I saw.

A Hungarian Mudi

I got plenty of practice time with Indy passing her teammate for next week and we even got to participate in a drill called "power jumping" . This only works if you have a lot of space!

The Hungarian Mudi in action

Indy power jumping (8 jumps in a row)

Remember when I said that we MIGHT be getting another border collie at some point? Well that might be happening soon.I am not lying when I say that Ben is the one that really wants this puppy, but I do understand how boring it would be to go to herding lessons and just watch and poor Indy has no one to play with at home. Ben doesn't have a preference for color or sex, so our chances are pretty good. The female is a red merle and the sire is blue tri - the puppies can be pretty much any color. I think Ben is hoping for a black tri. I am hoping for a blue merle.

In case you were wondering what Black Tri looks like

A beautiful blue merle

Sunday, September 21, 2008

New England In September

Its so beautiful here right now. The leaves are starting to change, the days are sunny and mild and the nights are cold. It smells like fall. The farms are harvesting the last of the produce, there are fields that look dead except for bright orange pumpkins. Amherst and Northampton are packed with college students and professors. The fall foliage tourist season is starting...

Heres what Ive been up to....

working hard at my internship planning programs and classes for people with diabetes, herding lessons and flyball practice, finding out that I definitely have Chondromalacia Patella (Patellofemoral Syndrome), hanging out with my parents, roasting my first chicken.

When Ben was here we went to this place called Atkins Country Market that used to just be a farm stand that sold apples and cider, but now its pretty much on steroids. Its massive with lots of fun gourmet, locally made foods. Ben and I had to try the cider donuts that this area is famous for. They were almost as good as mighty-o donuts!

I had another herding lesson with Indy. She is making progress slowly. I know she has potential because she was better 6 months ago than she is now. Hopefully Diane will have some advice for me when we get back to Seattle! I was very entertained by the rough collie getting a lesson after me in duck herding. I love ducks. They had to bring them down to the round pen. I guess the ducks are cool with being held like that.

My parents came to visit this weekend and I dragged them to watch my first sheepdog trial. It was the Northeast Border Collie Association NOVICE FINALS. I couldnt believe it was novice, it seemed really complicated. Most of the dogs were having difficulty getting the sheep to do what they wanted.

Then we drove through the Berskshires and stopped in Stockbridge, MA a cute little town with extremely wealthy looking people strolling around. Its a vacation spot for New Yorkers.

I have been doing some cooking...I roasted a whole chicken. I just added salt and pepper, whole garlic cloves under the skin, and some olive oil. I roasted it at 375 for about 40 minutes, flipping it 1/2 way through cooking. It was super easy and fed me for most of the week.

I though it would be a good idea to make sweet potato bread with chocolate chips. This probably doesnt sound that appetizing, but it was actually really good. Everything tastes good with chocolate chips!
Sweet Potato Bread with Pecans
Recipe courtesy Bill Kelly

2 1/3 cups sugar
2/3 cups water
2/3 cup oil
4 eggs
2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine sugar, water, oil, eggs, and sweet potatoes and mix thoroughly. Add dry ingredients and mix to combine. Add pecans and mix well. Divide between 2 greased loaf pans and bake for 50 minutes. Cool in pan to room temperature.

This is how Nasdog teaches new dogs a box turn

Flyball Practice with my Massachusetts team and Indy sounding like a hyena in the background

My patella hurts....I need stronger quad muscles. Yeah physical therapy!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Its been a long time! Life must be busy.....

I realized its been awhile since I last posted...this is mainly because my computer sucks and I haven't been taking photos. Hmm that must mean I need a new camera.

Also I've been busy with my internship, driving over an hour each way to get there. I have mixed feelings about my rotation at the nutrition community center, but I am definitely learning about working for a non-profit and how to work more independently than Ive ever done before.

My parents came to visit a few weeks ago for the weekend. We went out to breakfast twice to Esselon cafe good and really close to my house! Its kind of all-American breakfast comfort food, but they serve healthy salad instead of fried potatoes. You know its better for you, but its a bit of a disappointment when you want something to slather in ketchup. When people visit I always want to go out to eat because I'm not a fan of going out solo.

Of course we went to the Amherst farmers market

Downtown Amherst

The Emily Dickenson Homestead

Indigo has been keeping me busy, dragging me all over New England to various flyball and herding events. We went to watch a flyball tournament and meet the teams in the area. Everyone was really welcoming and friendly. Nasdog Racing invited me to attend practice with them and join them for demos. Someone from Canine Mutiny, Amanda, set me up to run on an open team in an upcoming tournament. Yeah!

We found a herding instructor in Greenfield and had two great lessons with her and for some variety went to Ct for a lesson with Carol Campion. The lesson with Carol was great, but 1.5 hrs is too far to drive for lessons, so we are going to stick with the trainer in Greenfield (20 minutes drive). Indigo is making progress, but Ive been fairly frustrated with how long its taking her to circle the sheep and bring them to me. She seems to feel uncomfortable with being behind them and keeps trying to be face to face with them. This obviously stresses them out and its all downhill from there. Im going to try to watch some herding trials to see how its done right.

The Drive to Carol's Farm

Denise Leonard's Farm in Greenfield

Ben came to visit last weekend and I was really excited to show him around, since Ive had some time to get to know the area. I took him on a drive up to Williamstown in the North Berkshires. We saw exactly what I was looking for, one room school houses, covered bridges, farm ponds and rivers. I dont have photos because Ben was tired and lounging back during most of the ride. We didn't have time to go to Mass Moca (museum of contemporary art), but headed to the Clark Art Museum The exhibit was called Like Breath on Glass and was all art inspired by Whistler who said, "Paint should not be applied thick. It should be like breath on the surface of a pane of glass." Its American art from the turn of the 20th century. The permanent collection there was impressive with some pieces by Degas, Renoir, Monet and many Renassiance pieces. I still have a lot to learn about art, but Im working on it!

My only chance to take photos on our lovely drive was when we stopped for caffiene

We also went to a Mass ASPCA event and helped by doing a flyball demo. We only ran two heats because they were behind schedule, so disspointing for Indy!. It was a fun event with lots of good demos and silly contests that the kids loved. Hopefully some homeless pups found new homes!

Later that day we went to see the Saltimbanco version of Cirque du soleil, the oldest running show. Both this and the one we saw in Seattle were perfect. Non-stop entertainment, great music, muscle stregth beyond belief. We decided to make a trip to Vegas and see the rest of the versions we haven't seen yet. Probably the only good reason to go to Vegas.

Something about the flatness of Northampton makes me want to ride my bike. I bought a bike a few years ago and hardly ever ride it. I love that I can easily ride to downtown in less than 10 minutes. Its probably easier than driving because parking sucks.

The Northampton Bike Trail

I'll try to write more later.....