Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ithaca is Gorges

Phew it's been a while since my last post and we have been busy bee's!  A couple weekends ago the hubs and I hopped on a plane and flew up to Ithaca, NY.  My Grandparents live here (my Mom's parents) and we were way over due with a visit to see them.  The hubs had never been to Ithaca, so we had a great time exploring as well as getting in some quality time with my grandparents.  While my Grandfather slept in in the mornings and when they took naps in the afternoon, the hubs and I headed off for some adventures.  My Grandfather has lost a lot of his energy so he was in bed a good part of our visit.  It is very hard to see this as he had always been a very active person, but he has always been so great at staying positive and we had some great conversations about life.  

Daniel and I went on a hike to Buttermilk Falls and saw many beautiful waterfalls.  Surprisingly, I had never been here before...it was so beautiful.

We also went to the Ithaca Farmer's market twice!  Oh.my.gosh, I LOVE this farmer's market.  If we had one as nice and wonderful as this in Richmond, I would do my grocery shopping there every week.  I could have gone crazy here.  They have everything from fresh organic fruit/veggies to hand made clothing.  Love, love, love.  The also awesome thing about this market is that it's open every day.  Amazing.

We went on a walk through the beautiful Cornell Plantation...took the hubs on a driving tour of Cornell...drove along a highway that overlooks the stunning Cayuga Lake...went to Wegmans (LOVE this grocery store...wish we had one in Richmond...) and indulged with sharing a gigantic eclair that was melt in your mouth amazing.

When with my Grandparents we enjoyed catching up with them and enjoying each other's company.  Daniel did a few house chores for them as well as some yard work.  They REALLY appreciated his hard work and help!  I made dinner both nights we were there and did some grocery shopping for them (I was more than happy/excited to go to Wegman's more than once!).  The first night we were there I made Black Bean soup.  My Grandfather can only eat soft foods, so I wanted to cook something that he was able to enjoy, too.  The Black Beans soup was sooooo good...and super easy to make.  We will def. be making this again soon.  Along with the soup we had broccoli, fresh bread and apple slices.

Black Bean Soup:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chopped jalapeño chile with seeds, divided
  • 2 15- to 16-ounce cans black beans, undrained
  • 1 15-ounce can petite diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth


Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and garlic; sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Mix in cumin and 1 teaspoon jalapeño. Add beans, tomatoes with juice, and broth; bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer 3 cups of soup to blender and puree until smooth. Return puree to pot. Simmer soup until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon jalapeño, if desired.
Ladle soup into bowls.

The next night (our last night), we had my Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake and had my Aunt and Uncle and cousins (who live in Ithaca as well) over for dinner.

This was another easy food for my Grandfather to eat and another easy one to make...healthy too! :)  We had a very wonderful visit, but I found it very hard to say goodbye.  As my Grandfather held my hand he told me how happy he was that Daniel and I found each other and what a wonderful couple we were.  He went on to say a few more tear-jerking comments, but I was trying to hard to stay strong and to not shed a tear.  I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes, but fought hard (very hard) to hold them back.  I did not want to leave my Grandpa crying...I wanted to leave him with my smile...

*Stay tuned for more posts on recipes, fitness, why I've been wearing my glasses (ugh) and about how I'm going to be on TV again...


  1. Oh Laura...I sure had tears in my eyes all the way through this posting and when I got to the end I just lost it. I know how dear you are to your grandparents and how dear they are to you. I, like your GrandDad, am very grateful you and Daniel found each other. This was a special gift for everyone involved. You all had these moments that are now cherished memories.

  2. You sound like you had a fantastic time! Glad you got to see them. Grandparents are the besssssssst! GREAT pictures by the way!! Can't wait to see you on TV again! :)

  3. Awww that last paragraph brought tears to my eyes...that's so nice you got to spend time with your grandparents. I wish to this day that mine were still around and got to see me married and one day have kids...I know from above they're watching and are my angels keeping me safe :)

    What a fantastic time you had...and you're right, just from your pics I can see how gorgeous Ithaca is! You look so happy and gorgeous and can't wait to hear about how you'll be on TV! :)