Roadtrip to Vermont- Part 4 (The FOOD!)

1 09 2012

Um, is it really September? Where the heck did the summer go?

Well, I guess it’s time for the last post in this drawn out account of my ridiculously long road trip. So, I’ll spare you the details and summarize the drive home. We drove. A lot. (1400+ miles) We arrived safely in Tampa. The end.

Now that that’s over, I can get on to the good stuff- The FOOD! Let me tell you friends, Vermont has some dang good food! And some pretty awesome farmer’s markets too!

In case you missed it:

Friday night’s meal: Courtney and I shared these plates.

On Saturdays in the summer, Burlington has an incredible farmer’s market, right in the heart of downtown. After the race, Felipe excitedly told us that the market was open for another hour or so, and that we all HAD to check it out. You don’t have to ask me twice! I love farmer’s markets! Of course the first thing I did was find a stand selling real maple syrup.

This was from Williston, which is about ten miles away from Burlington. Talk about local!!

I was a bad blogger and didn’t take many any photos of the actual market or the other cool stuff we found (honey, wine, maple lemonade, lots of fresh fruits/veggies). I wasn’t really feeling well, so I walked around a little before taking a rest on a bench while Felipe and Courtney looked around (Jess was resting in the car). I was really bummed that I wasn’t up to walk around more. I ❤ farmer’s markets, and really really miss them. (Growing season is kinda opposite here, and the closest market to me happens once a month. And, its not really that good for getting fresh produce- there’s like one produce vendor.) After we stocked up at the market (I think Felipe bought a quart of honey!) we headed back to the hotel.

After a shower and a nap, I felt much better and ready for our next excursion. It was close to dinner time, but it was also close to closing time for Ben and Jerry’s, which was a short drive away.

It didn’t take long for everyone to agree that we HAD to go to Ben and Jerry’s.

Everyone says Disney is the greatest place on earth. I think Ben and Jerry’s may be a contender for that title.

Clearly, I was excited to be there.

We opted not to take the tour because they weren’t making ice cream while we were there. Isn’t the point of the whole tour to taste test?? Sheesh. Well, at least I got a hot fudge sundae.

I should have gone with a scoop shop exclusive, but I went with the What a Cluster flavor: Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Caramel Cluster Pieces, Peanut Butter & Marshmallow Swirls. Tasty!

We couldn’t leave without taking funny photos in the cut out, over sized pint lid. Courtney’s face is great!

After our ice cream appetizer, we headed into Burlington for dinner. Apparently all the other 2000 or so triathletes in town for the weekend also had the same idea. All the restaurants were PACKED. So, we walked around some, put in our name at the American Flatbread, Burlington Hearth, and then headed over to the Vermont Pub and Brewery for some locally brewed craft beer.

Courtney and I decided to try a sampler. We told the bartender to give us six of her favorites, and we’d go from there.

If I remember correctly, here’s what we got (starting with the beer in the right column, at the top, and going clockwise)

Burly Irish Ale
Forbidden Fruit
Grand Slam Baseball Beer
Genniuss Stout
Tulach Leis

Click here for descriptions.

Courtney and I both agreed that the Tulach Leis was the best. I thought that the Forbidden Fruit came in a close second. We had just enough time to get through all of the beers before heading back to American Flatbread.

When we were finally seated, we ordered salads and a large pizza for our group. By the time the pizza came, I was so hungry I forgot to take a picture. Regardless, it was delicious!

The next morning was driving day, so we stopped for our morning fuel.

It was a beautiful, cool morning (yay hoodie and jeans!) so I grabbed a hot drink. I decided I had to get something different, so I ordered the mudslide mocha. Basically, it was a mocha with irish cream flavor and chocolate milk. It was really sweet, but tasty. The weather screamed autumn to me, so I happily ordered the pumpkin chocolate chip muffin. OMG it was GOOD! I can’t wait for fall! (Oh wait, that doesn’t really happen in FL.)

I was about to check out when I saw this: Homemade raspberry pie. MMmmmhmmmm. I snacked on this all day long.

Someone suggested that we find a few farmer’s markets along the way (while we were still far enough north) to break up our drive. So, somewhere in the middle of western Massachusetts, we found a neat little farmer’s market, with fresh local produce, and lots of other assorted local goodies like beer, cheese, jelly, and fresh bread. WIN!

My bounty included this gem:

I made some quesadillas with this, and they were OUTSTANDING. Smoked cheddar ftw!

I also had to grab these guys:

I haven’t cracked these babies open yet, but the time is coming!

I’m not gonna lie, I left the northeast a little sad. The abundance of farmer’s markets made me miss my favorite farmer’s market in DC. And the weather we had for the weekend couldn’t be beat! It was what I would consider perfect fall weather, but it’s definitely not Florida fall weather. I’ll have to wait at least another three months before I experience that down here. Sad face. On the bright side, at least I won’t have to deal with snow!

As you can tell, I had some good eats on my road trip. Maybe for my next road trip, I’ll take a tour of the best farmer’s markets in the country. Wouldn’t that be great??

Dunedin Sprint Tri- A Race Spectator’s Report

12 06 2012

On Sunday, I experienced a triathlon from the other side- as a spectator!

Courtney and Felipe were racing in the Dunedin Sprint Tri so I decided to go cheer them on. Dunedin isn’t too far away, and the race was on Honeymoon Island, which I had heard was a beautiful park with a gorgeous beach. Say no more; I’ll go cheer you on as long as I can get a good spot on the beach to relax afterwards 🙂

(yes, I did a little post-processing 🙂 )

I left my house a little after 6am on Sunday, and got to the race site with plenty of time to spare. It didn’t take me too long to find Courtney, and we stood around chatting until it was time for her wave.

While we were chatting, the first wave started. Or, at least we thought they were. We noticed that the mass of youth in maroon caps was heading out to the buoy; some were swimming, some were walking. That’s weird, I thought. A few moments later, when most of the swimmers were out to the buoys, the siren went off, and that’s when there was a flurry of splashing arms and legs. Oh, apparently this race had an in-water start because of the sandbar.

The start line was about where that yellow buoy is in the picture above. Courtney left me when the woman announced “2 minutes until start.” Yipes! 2 minutes to get out to the buoy wasn’t a lot of time. I don’t think anyone in the white caps was even in the water yet! I watched as the mass of white caps moved towards the starting buoy, and before I knew it, the siren was starting this wave. I’m positive there were a lot of people unprepared for that start. I did notice that the wave after the white caps learned from their mistakes and moved into the water immediately after the white caps left the beach.

I walked the quarter mile down beach to the swim exit and kept my eyes open for Courtney and Felipe. I was also searching for Jess, who I thought was racing, but it turned out she wasn’t.

Soon, Courtney popped out of the water. She was the 2nd white cap out, not too far behind the girl who came out first. Not too long after came Felipe who was in a wave or two behind Courtney. I almost missed him!

After they both passed, I walked over to the bike course to see if I could catch them there. The bike course was two loops, a total of 12 miles. I snagged a spot near the start of the bike, where I could catch the cyclists making their turn for the second loop, and then only a few meters away I could catch them again on their way into transition. I was standing with some other spectators, watching the cyclists go by, and we noticed one of the volunteers standing on the course, telling the cyclists to “Slow down, left merge.” I’m glad this guy was volunteering, and I’m glad he was concerned for the cyclist’s safety, but I think my biggest problem was that he was standing on the curve, about five feet into the course. The road wasn’t all that wide; it was barely wide enough for two cars to fit through. Some cyclists like to take the curves wide, and this guy was totally taking away valuable real estate on the course! I was frustrated, and I wasn’t even racing! I wonder if any of the cyclists were bothered by him. /rant

Anyhow, I was watching every cyclist go by, keeping my eyes out for Felipe and Courtney. Though I had seen Felipe exit the swim, I hadn’t registered what he was wearing. So, I kept looking for the tri suit he had worn at the Crystal River Tri. Every time a group of guys came buy I would look and snap some photos. When most of the lead guys had finished their first lap, I figured I had missed Felipe so I started looking for Courtney.

I saw Courtney looking like a total pro on the bike.

I gave her a holler and then moved to the straightaway right before transition. I cheered on some more cyclists, and then I saw Felipe! He was moving fast and ready to hop off his bike and run.

It was at this point I realized that Felipe was a) not wearing the same tri suit as Crystal River and b) not wearing the same helmet either. Had I known he was wearing a bright green helmet, I’d probably have spotted him on the first lap, instead of taking a picture of someone who I thought might have been him, and unintentionally ACTUALLY getting him in the photo.


I got to see Courtney finish up the bike, and then I walked to transition. Where I was photographing the bike leg wasn’t too far from the transition area, but I was pleasantly surprised to get there just in time to see Courtney run out!

I was so caught off guard, that I didn’t have time to fiddle with the camera settings, so she came out a little blurry 😦

After seeing her start the run, I headed over to the finish area. Twenty-some minutes later (or less?) I saw my friends finish. I clearly have problems with focusing on runners because all of my pictures of Felipe are blurry:

And Courtney too:

Oh well, at least I got a good shot of them with their awards:

Courtney took 3rd in her age group, and Felipe took 2nd. Studs.

After the race, it was beach time! I brought a cap and goggles and planned on going for a short swim as my workout for the day. Felipe and Courtney said they’d go too. So we spotted a boat about 200 meters or so out and decided to swim out to it, go around it, and back in. When we were just about to the boat, it started to pull away. We stopped swimming, and joked with them that they were our turn around point and now they’d moved! They told us they’d spotted a 6 foot hammer head, which is why they were relocating. GULP. We asked if they were joking, and it was clear they were serious. We IMMEDIATELY swam to shore. I’d like to keep my limbs today, thank you!

After our little shark scare, Courtney and I relaxed on the beach and read for a bit, before heading over to downtown Dunedin for some lunch. Dunedin is so cute! Lots of little shops with art and home decor; it’s the kind of stuff you’d probably see on Pinterest. There are also yummy places to eat! We decided to check out the Broadway Deli and Cafe, drawn in by the fact that they were still serving breakfast.

We walked in, and were immediately intrigued by the soda case.

Lots of unique sodas, made with real sugar and not HFCS. We opted to get one honey cream soda and one blackberry soda, and share. One of the reasons why I got the blackberry soda:

The brand was “Hotlips!” Hahah. It also didn’t hurt that these were the ingredients:

simple, real ingredients. love it!

Courtney and I got two different egg dishes and split them.

The farmer’s market omelet, served with a potato pancake and whole grain toast.

And the bacon and egg wrap (on ciabatta so it uh wasn’t a wrap).

MMM both were delicious! The farmers market omelet was LOADED with veggies, many of which I had never had in an omelet before. We noticed broccoli, zucchini, squash, cauliflower, green beans, carrots, and tomatoes. The omelet was filled with some gooey meunster cheese, which made it oh so yummy! The ciabatta bread totally made the sandwich. Perfectly crispy on the outside. Fantastic!

And, we couldn’t leave Dunedin without a trip to Strachan’s for some ice cream!

I got a scoop of Butterfinger and it hit the spot!

This one’s for you dad!

I would HIGHLY recommend Strachan’s. The ice cream was SO GOOD! If you go, it’s cash only (but there’s an ATM inside).

I got home and was too exhausted to head to the Tampa Bay Lady Blogger meet up 😦 Yoga in the park sure looked like fun though! All in all, I’d say it was a great Sunday! Spectating certainly is exhausting and now I definitely have a greater appreciation for friends and family who have watched me race!

{Guest Post} Queen of Ice Cream

16 09 2011

Hi, friends! I’m Lauren and I blog about training for my first Ironman over at my little blog.

Chloe asked me to write a guest post while she is off gallivanting around Brazil. It is no secret that Chloe is the queen of ice cream and frozen yogurt so what better guest post to do than homemade ice cream!

The recipe is for a basic vanilla recipe but the beauty of it is that could can make it into whatever you want! I made one batch of vanilla and one batch of mocha chip by adding instant espresso to the batter and chocolate chips when it was almost complete. The possibilities are endless!


1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or extract
Note: I used skim milk because it is what I had on hand. The ice cream still came out great just note that the less milk fat you use the more ice crystals you will get. More milk fat = creamier ice cream.

How to:

1.Whisk together first 3 ingredients in a large heavy saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk and cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 10 to 12 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat.

2. Whisk egg yolk until slightly thickened. Gradually whisk about 1 cup hot cream mixture into yolk. Add yolk mixture to remaining cream mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk in vanilla bean paste. Cool 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

3. Place plastic wrap directly on cream mixture, and chill 8 to 24 hours. (I let mine chill for like 2 hours because I was impatient!)

(Steph’s note: Check out her fridge. There are three, yes three gallons of milk in there. It’s not secret that Lauren and Phil get their fill of calcium!)

4. Pour mixture into freezer container of a 1 1/2-qt. electric ice-cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. (Instructions and time may vary.)

I was able to borrow a friend’s ice cream maker. It was fancy.

However- you don’t NEED one to make ice cream so don’t scratch this recipe off the list just because you do not have a fancy shmancy ice cream machine! Another option is to use good ol’ ice and rock salt (or ice cream salt) that you can find at the grocery store. This process requires a little more effort but -hey- then you deserve to eat more ice cream!

1. In a large ziplock bag place crushed ice and ice cream salt

2. In a smaller bag, put the chilled ice cream liquid

3. Place the smaller bag in the larger bag.

4. Jump up and down, run around, do jumping jacks, while shaking the bags. for about 10-12 minutes.

5. Eat all of the ice cream you just made to cool yourself down.

The chemistry behind this is that when you add salt to the ice, it lowers the freezing point of the ice. This makes the ice colder than it was before, which is how ice cream freezes. Excuse me, my nerd is showing.

Any left over ice cream can be kept in the freezer for later! Enjoy!

Question of the day: Have you ever made homemade ice cream? What kind did you make? Or, what kind would you make at home?