Izzy Eats: The art of raising a gourmand, one bite at a time

Stirring tales of eating, cooking and foraging in my never-ending quest to provide, great-tasting (local and organic whenever possible) EATS for me and my boy(s).

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Here Today....

Gone tomorrow..

And oh how I wish it weren't so.  Yet I know that I did all I could to prevent this surgery.  Unlike Angelina Jolie, I did not and could not bring myself to choose a prophylactic surgery.  My choice was surveillance, in the hopes that if cancer were found, it would be found early.

Despite the encouragement of my breast surgeon and others,  never did I wish to undergo a surgery while my breasts were healthy.  Even though I am BRCA +1 and a high-risk patient,  my breasts are near and dear to me and I couldn't conceive of removing them without evidence of cancer.   Instead I opted for surveillance and I underwent any and all necessary procedures to assure that nothing would slip by unnoticed. In the past 3 years I have undergone three invasive procedures,  regular 6 month MRIs,  ultrasounds and yearly mammograms.   

These last two months have been a whirlwind of ups and downs, starting in May when an abnormality showed up on my breast MRI and a biopsy showed evidence of cancer.  After two months of conflicting diagnoses, visits to four breast surgeons and a lumpectomy two weeks ago, my cancer diagnosis has finally been confirmed. Now I no longer have a choice.

And so it is that on Tuesday, July 23, 2013, I will undergo bilateral (hopefully) nipple-sparing mastectomy with reconstruction.  It is my intent to share my journey here, in the hopes of helping others faced with similar decisions.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Oranges - East and West - A Tale of Two Abandoned Cats

The "Oranges" - East and West

These two cats appeared in our backyard in early January.  They are two shy brothers that remained together after they were most likely abandoned.  Somehow they managed to weather the snowstorm, always sticking together.  We watched as they snuggled together and shared their food.

We finally trapped them on March 4 and had them neutered, tested and given rabies shots.  We initially thought they were feral but it seems they once belonged somewhere.  They were traumatized at some point, perhaps when they were dumped so they are somewhat shy.

They are need of a patient, loving home, ideally together.  We already have 4 cats of our own so we cannot keep them.  Please consider taking these boys in.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Don't Miss it !: Ernesto Neto: Art Appeals to ALL

Today is the last day you can catch this fantastical show at the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery.  This exhibit appeals to both children and parents.  Spend an hour or so exploring this unexpectedly enticing world of colorful nets, all suspended from the ceiling in unusual configurations.  We went last weekend and we didn't want to leave!  Make it an afternoon and spend sometime exploring Chelsea and all it has to offer.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Great Theater in Our Own Backyard!: Beauty and the Beast

Right here in downtown Jersey City, Art House Productions is hosting the musical,  Beauty and the Beast.

Dining in OUR backyard before the show

 Izzy and I went with friends last night and were bowled over by the talent of the young performers, as well as that of the accompanying musicians.  Katie W. was cast as BELLE and she does a phenomenal job.  The exuberance of the other performers shines through the evening.  A great opportunity for theater right in our own backyard and a perfect way to introduce your kids to the wonders of theater. Tickets may still available for tonight's performance although it seems that the others have already sold out.  If you can't catch this production, keep Art House in mind for upcoming performances.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Day On The Slopes - Izzy Skis

A few weeks ago,  Izzy and I joined his great friend J. for their first skiing adventure.  We went to a nearby mountain, Campgaw in Mahwah N.J.   There, Izzy and  J. maneuvered their skis on the ultra-easy, gradual bunny slope, perfect for the smallest of skiers.  After their first hour-long lesson the two of them were whizzing down the tiny hill with ease.  Although this was a good introduction to skiing, Izzy was eager to try something slightly more daring.

 I researched some other local options and this weekend we tried Tuxedo Ridge, perfect for us because you can get there from Hoboken via the NJ transit train.  Not only that but the resort offered to send a van to pick us up at the station.

We set out early this morning with a group of Izzy's classmates.  Everything went according to plan and we arrived at the slopes by 10:30.  This time, I got myself a snazzy, warm ski outfit so that I wouldn't spend my day shivering, sniffly and miserable as I did a few weeks ago. I couldn't ski that day as I didn't have warm enough clothing and wasn't feeling up to it.  This time I decided to do it right.  I even signed up for a lesson, along with Izzy and his classmates.

Our instructor was a sweetheart and he patiently provided basic beginner skills, such as putting on skis, stopping and turning.  Izzy was bored at first as he was eager to get moving, but I appreciated the review.  You see I haven't skied in 20 years, since my days on the slope with my old beau Mr. B who was quite the daredevil skier.   Back then he managed to get me on the black diamond slopes even though I had very little skiing experience at the time. 

Shadowing Izzy....

It was exciting to be out on the slopes after all these years and today was the perfect day for it.  At first glance,  the bunny slope at Tuxedo Ridge definitely appeared more challenging than the one at Campgaw and it had a real ski lift instead of the "magic carpet"(which is perfect for first-timers or little ones but less so for Izzy).  At first I couldn't imagine that Izzy or I would even attempt this bunny slope but after I taught him how to zig-zag, I decided he was ready ( and I hoped that I could manage it myself).   By the afternoon, the two of us were gliding down the slopes with ease, Izzy following my trails and eventually going up the lift on his own.

Both of us were thrilled with the experience and hope to return to Tuxedo Ridge soon and check out some other nearby ski areas as well.

If you go:


pros: Bunny slope is ideal for first-time or very young skiers. The snow-tubing area is right next to the bunny slope. Close to NYC.
cons: Lodge is noisy, loud music.  Food didn't look great, crowded, no intermediate ski-area.

Tuxedo Ridge

pros: Close to NYC, easily accessible by public transportation. Snow tubing, patient instructors.
Nice-sized bunny slope. Low-key.  Two dining options.

cons: Bunny slope may be too challenging for little ones (kids 6 and under may find it difficult without a private lesson or a parent to accompany them).

Also,  I recommend packing a lunch and snacks.  We spent very little time eating as we wanted to maximize our time on the slopes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"Please Don't Pass That Gas" (pipeline through Jersey City): Izzy attends a protest

"Please don't pass that gas (pipeline)"
The Spectra financed natural gas pipeline which is slated to run underneath downtown Jersey City, is a source of great concern and outrage for the city's residents.  Today was our chance to speak out against its construction, which would surely do more harm than good, bringing toxins and danger to a densely populated area.  The public hearing was scheduled for this evening and since it wasn't too late I decided it would be a good introduction for Izzy, into the world of protests.  Although this wasn't the first protest he has attended it will undoubtedly be the first he will remember. 

Izzy and his pal Y., waved their signs dutifully and then sat patiently while many of our city's leading politicians spoke out against the pipeline's construction through our city.  Many of the speeches were engaging and well-done.  But of course the most memorable speaker, from the kids' viewpoint, was the woman who incorporated the phrase "Please don't pass that gas (pipeline)" throughout her speech.

The majority of the attendees were anti-pipeline protesters but there was a small but vocal bunch of pro-pipeline union workers sprinkled amongst the audience.   The kids managed to sit through over an hour of the hearing but they began to get sleepy so we had to leave before it ended.

When the final decision regarding the pipeline is made in 2012, let us hope that our voices were heard.  May our children learn the importance of speaking up for what they believe in.

Click here for the latest news on the event...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Preparedness, Shopping for Irene and An Agonizing Decision

Most of our summer has been spent elsewhere, Europe or the shore.  As a consequence, our pantry and cupboards are shockingly bare.  Of late, I have been making daily shopping trips and haven't replenished any dry food goods and other staples.   With all of the panic and hoopla surrounding the impending arrival of Hurricane Irene, I decided to make an emergency trip to Shoprite, a place I have managed to avoid for the better part of the past year.

I went there with the intent of picking up water, batteries, cleaning supplies and some canned goods.  I assumed others there would be doing the same.  What I found however, were shelves empty of gallon water jugs and shoppers piling their carts with all manner of junk food.  An acquaintance, whose cart contained the spray cheese of my youth (oh so delectable on a Ritz cracker during those summer camp days of yore), and all sorts of other goods out of my realm, tried to persuade me to throw out my foodie/organic convictions and just stock up.  After all, this was about survival.  I explained that I didn't just want to buy food that I wouldn't eventually use.  Her rationale (and a good one at that), was that if we didn't end up using the food, we could just donate it.   Yet I looked around and saw the carts stuffed with all manner of processed foods and couldn't exactly follow suit.  In my own fashion, I did shop with abandon, as I purchased some things that would not ordinarily find their way into my cart.

With Izzy at my side, we carted home the following: 13 bottles of fizzy water, a lone bottle of Fiji water,  hearts of palm, water chestnuts, olives, chickpeas, cannellini beans, olive oil, canned pink salmon, coconut water, organic granola, blueberry pomegranate juice, organic rice milk, coconut milk and whatever else you seen in the picture.  I marveled at the spread and how it differed from what I saw in the carts of my neighbors.  I knew that come what may, would we still manage to eat healthfully.

Not only did we shop for groceries, we also managed to snag the last light stick at Sears, get a bag of ice from the bodega and stop at the bank.  Yet my efforts were for naught.  I have been tracking the storm and reading the dire predictions, wondering if we needed to evacuate or not.   This morning, A. insisted that Izzy and I leave Jersey City.  

After much agonizing, I have left my stocked pantry and made the decision to leave my kitties and house behind.    A. has remained home, guarding the house and the kitties.  We chose to go stay with my brother since Flemington is merely a tropical storm zone instead of a category 1 hurricane site.   Though the rain is falling steadily around us, inside my brother's kitchen feels like a pretty safe place to be.

May everyone left on 8th Street and elsewhere stay safe and dry.  My thoughts are with all of you.

p.s. Thank J. for sharing your bedroom with us!