A Fresh Dille

getting back to it all

Posted in FOOD, MAGAZINES, SHOPPING, VEGAN, WORK by clairedille on September 30, 2010

It seems like there is a lot of catching up to do these days. I don’t just mean within the blog world, but also getting back to things I love. I have a pile of unread magazine issues that I am beginning to tackle. It is quite overwhelming.

This morning, I made scottish oats (always make these over steel-cut oats when I want to eat sooner rather than later) my usual way. Miss Mandiee asked me about my cooking method and it is really similar to the method of preparing my steel-cut oats.

First, I add one cup water  and a sprinkling of salt to a small saucepan and cover it to boil on medium high heat. Once boiling, I add 1/4 cup scottish oats and lower the heat to very very low. Then I add in 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or another plant milk like coconut) and cover it for five minutes. Scottish oats take 20 minutes to cook compared to the thirty minutes it takes to prepare steel-cut. I add in thin slices of banana, chia seeds (1 Tablespoon), cinnamon (1/2 teaspoon), and a splash of vanilla extract throughout the twenty minutes. If I feel the oats thicken too much, I add up to 1/4 cup more of water. In the last five minutes of cooking on low heat, I chop the fruit of choice. Today I added 1/4 cup of pumpkin instead of water to my scottish oats and then added some stevia in the last few minutes of cooking. I then poured it into my bowl and topped it with strawberries, a chopped fig, and some raw almond butter. Honestly, oats really are the breakfast that keep me satisfied all morning. On days I go without for fun meals like pancakes and waffles, I become hungry much sooner. At least we can have a little excitement with all the add-ins to our morning bowl (cup, plate, mug) of oats.

I promise I don’t only eat bowls of oatmeal.

Falafel is one of my favorite foods, and I used an epicurious recipe earlier in the week to prepare a lot of mini falafel.

Although they may have baked a little too long, they were still delicious. In the last few days, I have eaten them both in wraps and topped on salads.

The shot above may give you a (big) hint to the movie that took over my man’s life all summer.

I made stuffed peppers utilizing a few leftovers, particularly butternut squash and whole wheat couscous.

One of my favorite blog ladies, miss Ashley at edible perspective has a great looking recipe here for stuffed peppers. I followed her method for the peppers and then stuffed them with cumin, coriander, cayenne spiced scallion couscous, red onion, butternut squash, and tomato paste.

Surprisingly, V doesn’t love peppers and I ate these alone. Even garnishing them with avocado, his favorite food, couldn’t get him to eat one. He did eat these though.

Kale chips are quite addicting and he has been known to eat a whole bunch himself with little to no help from myself. Notice the charming item in the background of that photo? Yes, that is movie “blood”  on our table. We eat on a kitchen island in our apartment but the only place with light after 7 p.m. (other than the roof deck) is the table against the window that has been covered with all our work items.

Rather charming, eh? Really, “blood” is one of the main reasons I say our jobs are far from glamorous. Although I love working with clothing, covering them with blood is one of my least favorite parts. I just did three days as an additional costumer on a horror film and there was a little too much time spent in an incinerator room around “bloody body part” props for my liking.

Getting back to some savory eats…

Last night I made Kathy’s Smoky, Sticky, Sweet BBQ Sauce. This stuff was good, finger-lickin’ good. Although the sun had gone by the time we ate, I managed to shoot one photo of the covered tempeh.

On the side, we had Kathy’s Quick Sweet Potato Mash, switching in our chives for the onion. The cayenne added a lovely kick we both enjoyed. There was a simple salad consumed as well.

Since this is such a photo heavy post, I will show one last meal. Today I made a spinach salad topped with bbq tempeh, our tomatoes, avocado, mung sprouts, leftover butternut squash, and radishes from our neighbors garden.

This is a perfect example of a meal featuring local greens and veggies that will make me miss summer produce so much.

Oh, and one last shot of something I am getting back to…

My fashionable self has definitely gone to the wayside and a few new purchases have been made to make up for the lack of shopping for myself in the last few months. Shoes are definitely one of my fetishes and I apologize if you are not into feet. Wedges are ideal for days I want the height but don’t want the discomfort from wearing heels. I am limited to flat closed toe shoes when on set, so I tend to stray from my flat boots and vans when not working. Yesterday I hit up the mall in these and was felt 100% myself. I got a nice new blazer (by one of my favorite simple lines, T by Alexander Wang) to dress up jeans and my favorite skinny cargos.

Tomorrow I hope to be back after some baking therapy, now that I got in some good ole’ retail therapy.

banana bread & bbq’s…

Posted in FOOD, VEGAN, WORK by clairedille on July 23, 2010

Oh blogging, how I’ve missed thee. This week has been anything but dull. The first week of filming always brings surprises and I’ve been running around all day (and night for the last two days) for 12 + hours. Food-wise, I have been pretty disappointed with the catering because the vegan options are limited to vegetables and bread only for the most part. When call times have been as early as 6 a.m., oatmeal is not prepared, who am I kidding? Yesterday however, our call was a little past 2 p.m. (calls are in 6 minute increments) so I made some steel cut oats to travel to set with. Since I only awoke a few hours before because of a late night/early morning, I knew I’d want breakfast to be my first meal considering it was my favorite. When arriving to the new location, our wardrobe trailer was M.I.A,. which meant I sat in a parking lot with piles of freshly altered clothes while eating my warm oatmeal in the 85 degree weather. That wasn’t so lovely but at least I had something delicious to eat. The catering truck only had turkey burgers and hot dogs and although it was past lunch in real-life schedules, it was only breakfast for us. “Lunch” was six hours later as usual and I was out picking up lots of petty cash for the entire wardrobe department. Let’s just say I didn’t feel entirely safe walking around with thousands of dollars of petty cash in downtown Detroit past sunset. But when I made my way back to set, I grabbed a plate of the veggie options on hand. After letting catering know the day before that I don’t do meat or dairy, they told me the options would be better last night and they were. I should be better at packing snacks by now though after learning that the only vegan options on Wednesday were corn (off the cob, probably canned, and white bread). Thursday’s meal had the first vegetarian protein yet, vegetarian baked beans. They also had a salad without mounds of parmesan poured on like previously, and fresh corn on the cob. I was much happier but still am worried about my lack of protein this week. I’ve only been packing raw food bars, such as Larabars and Pure bars, and been munching on all the fruit and veggies I can find at craft services near set (and bringing my own since ideally, organic would be best). I hope I didn’t overwhelm you with all the cons of eating in the film industry. Although some think it is glamorous, it really can be anything but. I was on a dock in the pouring rain until 4 a.m. this morning and when I came home, I crashed…hard. Today is the first time I’ve had a chance to come onto the computer to post and I miss blog reading like crazy.

So let’s talk a little about the good food I had last weekend.

Both nights of the weekend, we have made use of our new weber grill. Since V slept until dinner time on Saturday because of working until the a.m., I made sure to prepare a few things I know he loves. Ironically, he prefers kale chips over sweet potato fries. That is fine with me considering sweet potatoes are pretty much the ideal food in my mind.

Kale is one of the leafy greens I have in my possession most often. Spinach is the other. When our new neighbors told us they had a small garden in the city where they grow Kale, we confessed our love of the veg. We’ve been given two bunches already and used one for Kale chips Saturday night. The other simple components were sweet potato fries, chips and guac (a staple from a local mexican market nearby close to V’s heart), veggie and bison burgers, corn, and veggie kebabs. The last two were saved for the following night since we were already rather full by the time we had munched our way through the rest.

(please excuse my dirty Vans, I was running work errands all day)

The simplicity of this meal is pretty ridiculous, but sometimes it doesn’t take much to make your taste buds happy. Just give me a few of my favorite veggies, and I will usually be happy. Avocado, being a fruit, is definitely one I can eat daily. My daily apple and banana are others.

The weekend mornings involved stove-top oat making, since finding out our call times would me much too early for me to prepare oats for this week.

The plum I had bought was probably too firm, because it didn’t compare to my recent favorite peach topped oats. The blueberries were up to par, as always, as was the Naturally Nutty Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter. Into the pot went steel cut oats, coconut milk, half a banana, cinnamon, vanilla, chia seeds, and a pinch of salt.

Later, while V was still sleeping, I made banana bread with the bananas that were on their last leg.

the black hole in the center, caused by my impatience while testing its done-ness. oops.

This wasn’t just any banana bread, but Amanda’s Blissful Banana Bread. When V finally woke up from his slumber, he ate two pieces on the spot. We are both completely in love with this bread. I can’t believe the tiny amount of sweetener used either. Instead of picking up maple syrup the other day, I bought sorghum syrup by mistake. After searching my way around the internet to reassure myself it wouldn’t completely destroy Amanda’s recipe, I found it was similar to molasses. Since molasses are more potent that than maple, agave, honey, etc., I halved the amount of sweetener needed. It still was adequately sweet, dense, and tasty. Into the mix went sliced almonds and raisins. They added great flavor to the already wonderful bread that I need to make again soon. It has been eaten many nights (or early morning) after work by both of us and the loaf is long gone.

Another meal involved pizza on the grill. I’m still extremely interested in making my own dough, but the night before the first day of work, I was getting pre-shoot jitters and opted for the already prepared dough. V had two/thirds with all the same veggie toppings as myself, with extra cheese on top. I then cut off a third for myself and added the mozzarella daiya to try. It was much better than the cheddar I’ve tried previously, but I still think I prefer cheese-less pizza. Growing up, I wasn’t ever a pizza person, and would prefer focaccia, flatbreads, and even pasta when having italian carbs.

The dough was pre-cooked and then topped with Eden pizza-pasta sauce, the local company that is non-BPA and GMO free. Of course I made use of Angela’s Garlic Scape Pesto that I saved for the pizza topping and all the herbs in our little roof top garden. We had basil, rosemary, and chives that I added to the sauce  mixture. The kebab veggies from the previous night were chopped up and placed on top. There was red pepper, mushrooms (for me only), red pepper, and yellow and green squash.

The corn that was grilled the night before wasn’t the best and this is probably because we couldn’t find any local farmer’s market corn. Although organic, it was from far away and that is  not the best when it comes to corn, is it? The pizza though, was great. We both loved that the crust was chewy and crusty and the flavor of the fresh herbs and garlic scape pesto really brought it to the next level. On the side, we had a spinach salad with cucumber, carrots, avocado, and sesame seeds. On top, I later poured on Angela’s better than bottled balsamic, a favorite of both of ours.

Hopefully I can get in the kitchen more this weekend. My camera is being used by one of my coworkers so I can’t even post a few measly oats pictures today.

In the meantime, I would love to hear about some of your favorite made from scratch pizza dough recipes. If you have any recipes online, send them my way!

Oh, and I’d love to hear some of your favorite simple meals as well!

ciao for now.

6 months left…

Posted in FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on July 2, 2010

Excuse my absence.

Since moving and beginning to prep my next project, I have been quite the pitiful foodie, runner, yogi, etc. Many meals have centered around leftovers that we were able to carry upstairs to the larger apartment in which we are now situated in. There have been many moments in the last week where I’ve reached in the freezer for leftover soup. ATT is now in my nightmares and hopefully all issues involving scattered or non-existent internet will be resolved today mid-morning. However, yesterday was the first day I have felt “at home.” Waking up with the sun coming in the sliding door to our new roof deck is making each morning a little easier. This is usually after previously waking up by V’s departure in the darker morning hours and re-attempting to get a few more hours of quality sleep.

It is still strange for me to live in a city where I don’t feel completely comfortable going out solo in the evenings. I’ve said this many times but Detroit needs so much help and maybe the film industry will be beneficial for the area. The few grocery stores within the city tend to be dirty, overpriced, and filled with processed junk. It is frustrating to have to drive to the suburbs to obtain good groceries from Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. We have decided that a Farmer’s Market run is a must-do tomorrow morning because my fresh produce has been pretty minimal this week.

Although the move was not very far, we spent two days moving all our items up many stairs. V is pretty good at lifting heavy objects like bins of camping gear and racks full of clothing (yes, we use rolling wardrobe racks for our clothing…just like work), but I was incredibly tired. I am now at the sore stage, which isn’t making these any easier.

In order to ease some post-move soreness, I brought the yoga mat out for the first time in a while yesterday evening. Actually, it has been used in other ways in the last week, one being dinner on said roof deck since we have yet to buy patio furniture.

I spent thirty minutes doing Sun Salutations taught by Dave Farmar, specifically this class form yogadownload.com. It has been much too long since I’ve let out stress on the mat and I’ve decided this has to change for the second half of 2010. Can you believe that we are already halfway through the year? I certainly can not. Due to my upcoming crazy schedule of prep and shooting through August, training for a marathon may not be possible. Fitting in at least 30 minutes of yoga a few days a week is a much more rational goal for the upcoming weeks filled with 10-14 hour work days running around set. I do miss studio classes, but schedule-wise, I rarely can make a class. Besides, roof deck yoga doesn’t seem too awful.

The downstairs of our loft is pretty bare right now and I have been rushing upstairs to eat my oats in the sunshine. Coconut butter is something I will make from now on. It melts so nicely over warm oats and forms a great shell on overnight oats.

Of course I still love my raw almond butter and cacao bliss. V’s Surfer magazine was the perfect backdrop for these overnight oats. Apparently, strawberries are the only berries present in our fridge. I’ve been craving blueberries and because July is Blueberry Month, I better find some this weekend!

Angela and Ashley have been making overnight oats with banana soft serve that have made me swoon these last few weeks. Already a huge fan of Gena’s banana soft serve, I was dying to try a new version with cherries or berries. This did not disappoint. The only banana left was frozen and I whipped it with some organic frozen berries to layer between the overnight oats made with coconut milk and chia seeds. Cacao bliss and coconut butter were both poured on top to form a shell on the cold strawberries.

This lady’s pumpkin hummus tortilla pizza was another thing I’ve been meaning to make for a while and yesterday I made a pumpkin-less version with red pepper hummus. On top of the hummus, I layered mushrooms, leftover asparagus, and vegan lentil walnut loaf crumbles. This is definitely a lunch worth repeating. The crispness of the baked tortilla and the creamy hummus makes a tasty base for a bed of veggies I can’t wait to experiment with.

Our dinner celebrated another July Foodie holiday (unintentionally), Baked Bean Month! Baked Beans were a dish I ate a lot growing up. My dad enjoys his with toast (and sausage) like any other Brit, but I opted for sweet potatoes and a refreshing salad for the first night of July’s dinner.

Since we still have yet to grocery shop, I relied on the canned version of Baked Beans by Eden. They are the good but not as good as homemade. Eden is local, BPA free, and GMO free; therefore, I have no problem relying on them when in need. This VegNews recipe for Tempeh BBQ Baked Beans sounds great though.

The salad was composed of baby spring mix, shaved carrots, radishes, avocado, and better than bottled balsamic vinaigrette.

This was ready at least an hour before V came home but after some quick re-heating of the sweets and beans, we sat outside and ate while viewing far away fireworks from Windsor, Canada in celebration of Canada Day.

Now, it is time to head downstairs for the last of my Scottish oats and strawberries and another crazy day ahead. I am still trying to catch up with all things involving the blogosphere, but I hope everyone is having a great start to July and the second half of 2010.

Other things:

-Do you have any exciting weekend plans for the fourth? Do you have a special menu or dish planned? We have more furniture shopping to do, world cup watching, baseball game (second this summer = second game ever) attending, and hopefully some time spent with family and one of my best friends in town from Guatemala. As far as planned menus, I am unsure of where we will be Sunday and Monday evenings but I have many bbq type dishes bookmarked like these Portobello burgers and Grilled Bananas.

-Are you craving any certain fruit or veggies recently? Are they the ones abundant within this season or do you find yourself wanting out of season produce? For the most part, I am wanting seasonal berries and veggies. I can’t wait for some organic tomatoes and peaches but I still crave avocados and bananas which are never “in season” in the midwest.

-Do you have any goals you wish to accomplish by the end of 2010? Are you re-evaluating resolutions? I don’t tend to make resolutions for the year but I know that things such as adding more yoga into my life will be extremely beneficial for my physical and mental health these next few months. I miss racing so much and still hope to run a half marathon by the end of 2010, but if it isn’t possible, I will try to fit in smaller races.

mem day deliciousness.

Posted in FAMILY, FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on June 1, 2010

After writing about my tendency to be uncomfortable in extreme heat yesterday, I was stuck in a thunderstorm in a Whole Foods parking lot when venturing out for Memorial Day Dinner ingredients. I didn’t mind though, because within a half an hour, the weather dropped ten degrees. The only thing that changed in the night’s festivities was that our feast was moved indoors. Everyone contributed to the preparation of the meal and it turned out to be a tremendously delicious, yet overly filling night.

A few weeks ago, I was sent some coupons for free chips from Food Should Taste Good. In the past, I’ve had the Multigrain variety and seriously loved them. They were the perfect balance of sweet and nuttiness from the sunflower seeds, flax, sesame seeds and other grains. Last night, we tried the new Blue Corn Chips and Jalapeño flavors. I preferred the Blue Corn Chips because they had a similar sweetness as the Multigrain, with the addition of the same seeds. I’ve always loved Blue Corn chips but have never had them with quinoa, brown rice, oat fiber, and seeds before. I could eat them daily. However, the Jalapeño were also very tasty and paired perfectly with the Corn Salsa my mom had made. Both would be great with Guacamole too. But what isn’t? In all honesty, I know that I will be buying these Food Should Taste Good chips again. I adore the nuttiness from the seeds and grains too much to not let myself enjoy them again soon.

A slightly messy & partially consumed corn salsa photo…

For our Memorial Day meal, I wanted to make a very simple salad focusing on two local ingredients.

My mother has said that she never has really enjoyed radishes fully. In hopes of changing her mind, I sliced them very thin (without a mandoline because of a horrible experience last summer) and tossed them on top of the local lettuce my parents also picked up at the farmers market.

Earlier in the day, I made Angela’s Better than Bottled Balsamic Vinaigrette that she had adapted from a Dreena Burton’s Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan. Often, I make a simple balsamic dijon vinaigrette, but this dressing was knock-your-socks off good. Really, just make it. It may be the maple syrup that makes it incredible, and a little sweetness never hurt anybody.

My father had picked up the worlds largest rib eye steaks for the rest of the diners to feast on, but my sister decided to go the veg route and share some marinated grilled tempeh with me. The inspiration for the Tempeh was from Kathy’s Lunchbox Bunch blog, my latest obsession. She created a great compilation of her favorite bbq foods for the weekends festivities that will come in handy for the upcoming summer. We also had sweet potato fries, a staple in our home.

Notice the raindrops on the plate? I tried to snap these in the only remaining sunlight I can find, on our back steps…

A favorite seasonal dessert, a Martha Stewart recipe for Apple Berry Crumble, was made by my mother. I asked her to swap the butter for Earth Balance buttery sticks and she used whole wheat pastry flour in place of white. Although she was hesitant to make such changes, we all agreed that it tasted just as wonderful as before. The five of us devoured this spooned over So Delicious Vanilla Bean coconut milk ice cream.

Lets just say, we went to bed with full, happy bellies.

Other things:

-Do you consider yourself a traditionalist when it comes to desserts? My father, the Brit, who called our dessert “pudding” wouldn’t allow oats to be added to the crumble topping tonight. We all knew it would be a great idea since oats could add the perfect crunch, but we decided not to because it was already veganized.

-Look how tasty this Gluten Free bread recipe looks on Aran’s Cannelle et Vanille blog. I haven’t ever made a yeast bread, and am unsure of what I am really afraid of. Unfortunately, most gluten-free baked items use an abundance of eggs. Maybe this will be a challenge for this week, a veganized gluten-free yeasted bread recipe. Do you bake your own bread?

-The No Meat Athlete’s post about The Vegetarian Diet for Athletes was tremendous. He also interviewed an inspiration of mine, Brendan Brazier, about All Things Energy. I love reading about other athletes who feel they can adequately fuel themselves with a plant-based diet. Of course, I am an advocate of finding whatever works best for the individual, as well.

I hope everyone is having a lovely week so far. I may be heading to one of my favorite spots next Tuesday with V. I really am wishing it works out as planned.

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