Thursday, October 30, 2008

First National Dietetic Conference and Homesick

Life has not been especially exciting lately, aside from my recent trip to Chicago for the American Dietetic Association conference. It was fun to be at a conference surrounded by hundreds of other dietetians, however there is clearly a variety of motivations this career choice. I am going to be a dietitian because I believe that food is a valuable medicine, that Americans are extremely confused about how to use. It is amazing that people can prevent or treat various disease states through dietary changes rather than (or in addition to) using medication.

Anyway, I was very unimpressed by the massive Expo that featured various corporations pushing mostly processed food to the dietitians. I was even more unimpressed by the dietitians that thought that this was the greatest thing ever. I made the mistake of taking free samples instead of eating lunch one day and ended up eating way too many bars and other weird food products. At least I didn't have to buy lunch!

I went to talks on Celiac disease, Phytochemicals and Cancer, The Choline Gap, Addiction/Sobriety and Nutrition, and Sustainability and Dietitians. None of these presented information that I hadn't already heard. I guess that says a lot for my graduate program.

The highlight of the trip was just being in Chicago and hanging out with Ashley (a friend from grad school). We hung out the whole time and have the same opinion of the ADA, so it was fun to vent together. We went out to some good restaurants, including a conveniently located vegan restaurant a few blocks from the hotel.

Check out some photos on Ash's blog (my camera was out of batteries) http://amonroea.wordpress.com/


For some reason I have been having an especially hard time with being away from Ben and my home lately. I think it is because the novelty of being in a new place has worn off and I don't have much going on other than my internship, which has not been going as well as expected.

I should probably take up some of my old hobbies again - photography (need a better camera for that), water coloring, other crafty things. Maybe I'll learn how to crochet or take a pottery class. I have been learning a lot more about politics, doing lots of yoga and dog training/going to flyball tournaments. Indy is going to know lots of fun tricks by the time I'm done with this internship!

Speaking of flyball tournaments, I'm going to one in Maine next weekend. I'm going to try to leave early and check out the beach, antique stores, and light houses.

I start my next rotation on Tuesday at Noble Hospital in Westfield, MA. Food service management! Yeah!

Sorry no picutures this time.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Learning to Make Cheese with the Queen of Cheese

When I found out I was going to Western Mass for my internship, one of the first few things I did was sign up for a cheese making class with Ricki Carroll. Ricki is known as the person that taught Americans to make cheese at home. She has been at it since the early 70s and even has a DVD and a book called "Home Cheese Making". I have the book and tried to make cheese using her recipes with the raw milk we get locally in Seattle. I had success with lemon or vinegar cheese, but was way overwhelmed with mozzarella or cheddar.

It just so happens that Ricki's workshops are held 30 minutes from my home in Northampton! So today I had the chance to see cheese made in person and have all my questions answered. In the 6 hour class we made not only cheddar and mozzerella, but also Queso Blanco, Mascarpone, Whole Milk and Whey Ricottas, Fromage Blanc, Creme Fraiche and Mascarpone. We sampled it all!

The class was completely packed. Apparently after Animal Vegetable Miracle by B. Kingsolver came out (Kingsolver takes this class in the book) Ricki's business doubled! Despite the jam packed class, I loved the class and learned that cheese making is a lot easier than it seems! The people next to me bought everything that is needed to get started and spent $400. Wow! Maybe I'll wait on the hard cheeses that require an expensive press.



Hanging soft cheese in butter muslin



Curds forming


Pouring curds into cheese cloth


Squeezing out the whey

Filling the press




I was talking to some other people there and found out that King Arthur Flour is in Norwich, VT and offers baking classes. Coming up in the next few months they have a class on Baguettes, Artisan breads, whole grain baking, sourdough, croissants, holiday pies http://www.kingarthurflour.com/baking/. I am definitely going to sign up for one. How could I pick just one though?

They provided a lunch which included tomato and mozz salad, local greens salad, chicken, honey crisp apples and carrot ginger soup. Oh and of course a variety cheeses.

She has some very beautiful and unique clocks

Front of her very colorful house

Front Porch


Across the street

In other news...no Phish tickets for me. I guess its not such a bad thing that I don't have to drive 9 hours to Virginia.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ari's encore

Since Ari's last video was not too glamorous he is getting another shot.
The first video is of Ari freaking out. He was going even crazier as I was running to get the camera.

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These last two of Ari depositing the ball on our coffee table. He normally can't seem to hold onto the ball so this is a big step for him.


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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ari's video

And this is what it looks like to work on the computer with an un-exercised Ari.
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Monday, October 13, 2008

Peak of Fall in New England

The colors of the leaves are unbelievable right now. I find myself pulling over all the time to take photographs of the beauty that is Fall in New England. This makes it difficult to get anywhere quickly, but thats fine with me.

Amy (friend from grad school) came to visit this weekend and we had a blast exploring together. She got here late on Friday night, so we just stayed at my apt and caught up.

Amy likes to stay up late and sleep in like me, so we got up at around 9:30 on Saturday morning and went out to the crowded Esselon for brunch. We both had egg sandwiches on Ciabatta. To enjoy the perfect weather we went back home to pick up Indigo and walked along the Ct River. It has been breezy and cool, but very warm in the sun. Fall weather is definitely my favorite, even in Washington when its raining.
I decided that I should learn some New England plants. I'm starting with refreshing on on the ones I already know. This is Pokeweed that I saw along the Ct River. The berries are poisonous, but are medicinal and may be used internally to treat rheumatoid arthritis, tonsillitis, mumps, swollen glands, chronic excess mucus, bronchitis, mastitis, and constipation. The young sprouts are edible.


We are both big Bill Maher fans and religion questioners, so we went to see Religulous eventhough I've seen it once before. She loved it! After that we stopped to pick up some snacks and wine and drove up to Brattleboro, Vt to visit Lizzy (another grad school friend). The three of us went out for sushi and because of the terrible service, had lots of time to share stories of our internships. We went back to Lizzy's house and hung out with her boyfriend Kody and had some wine and dessert. She made a very seasonal fruit compote with a cashew cream topping. She's a great cook, so of course it was delicious. Lizzy only lives 40 minutes away, so hopefully we will see eachother more often.

The specialty food store that is very old-fashioned and has a nice selection of wine

A country store near Lizzy's house



Lizzy and Amy

Me and Amy

On Sunday we ate a quick breakfast at home and went to check out downtown Northampton. We went in many of the small shops and drooled at posted menus at the restaurants.






After grabbing a coffee at Woodstar we walked to the Smith Art Museum. The special exhibit was called Coal Hollow - photographs taken in West Virginia of coal mining families by Ken and Melanie Light. It was depressing to see the poverty that people in our country live in. It made me feel ashamed of any complaint I have about my living situation.


The artist designed bathroom at the museum


Outside the museum



I was feeling bad about leaving Indy cooped up in the house, so we took her to the dog park and walked the full loop.



I saw these interesting yellow berries along the path. I think its Sumac.





After sufficiently tiring the pup, we rested at home and then went out to The Dirty Truth for some beer and fish and chips. The Dirty Truth is a beer hall with excellent bar food. It was packed because of fall break. Amy ordered a Hefeweizen and it was actually good! I finally found a beer I don't hate. Just like everyone else that has come to visit, I had to take Amy to Herrells for ice cream. She had "carrot cake batter" and I had mocha with chocolate sprinkles.

The Dirty Truth

We weren't seeing the foliage in all its glory, so we took a scenic drive around Western Massachusetts. We went up to Historic Deerfield, over to North Adams and then down through the Berkshires. We got home just in time to get Amy to her bus back to Boston. What a busy, fun weekend! I can't wait to visit her in Boston!

























Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dog Photos/Video

Here are some photos of our dogs at the Jet City Jumpers flyball tournament in 2008 taken by a member of our team. Ari has a huge smile on his face and Indy very serious. Some day when I get a nice camera I'll be able to take action shots like this.
















This is what its like to try to watch TV with a high energy, un-exercised border collie.



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