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).

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sheepy Sustenance (or Why It's Better To Shop At A Farmers' Market)

Not only have I been receiving meals from friends and family but I have also received gifts of sustenance from unexpected places.

When K., the sheep lady from Three-Corner-Field Farm at Union Square, found out I was ill, she immediately offered sheep yogurt and cheeses for me to my friends who continue to shop at the market. In fact, she probably knew about my illness before other people because I was often recounting my inexplicable symptoms when I saw her. She worried that I was losing weight and always asked after my health. It's farmers like her who make traveling to the greenmarket worthwhile. Not only are her products fabulous but she takes the time to build a rapport with her customers. You are not likely to find that connection at the supermarket, which is why I so miss my forays into the city these days, while I am mainly confined to my house.

K. knew I wouldn't be making it into the city for my sheepy fix, so she provided me with one highlight during the beginning of my chemotherapy treatments, the arrival of a large care package filled with goodies from Three Corner Field Farm. Inside there was my favorite Brebis Blanche cheese, along with sheep's milk yogurt, and Izzy's beloved yogurt dip, all kept frozen by a package of lamb chops! I feasted on the dairy and I saved the chops for the day when my taste buds are in good functioning order. I do imagine I will grill them soon!

Many thanks, K.!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tick Tock: Some idea as to where I've been and what I've been doing

Time is passing by and so many tales are slipping past my typing fingers. I can only hope that posting about Izzy's birthday has broken the ice. I have been so out of sorts lately I just haven't had the inclination to write. Besides, it's not so appealing to write about food when just trying to eat is a chore.

Aside from my time spent at chemotherapy and doctors' appointments, most of these last two months have been spent at home, either in bed or on the couch, with occasional forays into the kitchen. One of my jobs is making myself eat and drink. I need to drink at least 2 liters of fluids per day and on some days it is quite a struggle. Eating is equally challenging as well, especially on post-chemo days which can last for 10 days. Between trying to keep hydrated and searching for appealing foods, I barely have time for much else. On bad days I only emerge from bed to pee. On good days I make it out to pick Izzy up from school and even spend time on the playground. There have even been occasional outings to restaurants which I hope to post about soon.

The good news is that since I stopped posting in March, I have finished four rounds of chemotherapy (10 sessions) and I am more than halfway done with my treatments. The treatments and side effects can only be described as awful and I am not looking forward to the last 2 rounds which could be comprised of as many as 6 more sessions. I was given a week off last week which is why I have the energy to write. The week off was not because I begged for it but rather as a result of low platelet counts, which are definitely not a good thing but are common with certain types of chemotherapy drugs. Last week my platelets were 82,000 and normal is 150,000-450,000.

One latest tidbit of news is that yesterday I managed to walk to my neighborhood bakery, and back, which is something I haven't done since January. Izzy and A. followed along, on bicycle and scooter, in case I needed some assistance on the way home. Miraculously I did not. What I do need is a pedometer to clock my mileage and inspire me to walk more and regain my strength and stamina.

And food, what about the food? I am still being sustained by meals from friends. Tonight there was grilled chicken, Israeli couscous with roasted vegetables and a mesclun salad, thanks to M. There are several memorable meals to recap which I hope to get to shortly.

p.s This post from the Yummy Mummy most certainly brightened my chemo-dimmed life. Check it out for a good chuckle.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mad Science Birthday (My Boy Turned 7)

That was April 19th, 2010, party April 17th. Old news, but still news, even a month later...

Celebrating and preparing Izzy's birthday parties is always great fun. This year I wondered how I would pull it off but I knew I had to, someway, somehow. I figured I could manage since the party fell on one of the better weeks in my treatment schedule.

Izzy requested a "Franny K. Stein" mad science party. I know he was conjuring up explosions in the living room and I knew I wouldn't have the wherewithal to create them. Instead of doing everything myself, I hired a "mad scientist" to help out. I also enlisted the help of friends and family and all I had left to do was bake the cake (with test tubes - which Izzy declared he needed two days before the party), cupcakes and pop up the popcorn. All important to my party plan was keeping the party no longer than two hours (something all parents should consider).

Easier said than done. It was more work than I anticipated but it all came together in the end and I was able to sit through it for the most part.

The party was supposed to begin with snacks but Izzy and friends were so over-excited they had to be herded into the backyard where mayhem ensued. When the mad scientist arrived (which wasn't soon enough) the children settled into rapt attention.

From bubbles to explosions it was just what Izzy had in mind.

Experiments over, next on the agenda was cake and dessert.
My friend L. assembled a most professional-looking fruit arrangement, with beautiful organic fruit.

Too bad Izzy and his pals thought to use the skewers as weapons.

As for the cake it was similar to the one I made last year, Chocolate Layer Cake with Raspberry Filling and Chocolate Frosting. This one was a more classic layer cake, adorned with test tubes which my dad found for me at a medical supply store. Perfect!

Much giddiness ensued and then it was time to sing "Happy Birthday".

So glad it turned out to be just the party Izzy had wished for. So glad that I could be there.