A Fresh Dille

vegan pleases.

Posted in FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on June 30, 2008

Hectic is the perfect word to describe the last two days. However, I am determined to keep up with this blog. The little bit of time you give yourself to relax and do whatever you want is a wonderful way to keep your work ethic alive. No one can be inspired to work without time to let yourself vent. I have learned this over the last few years and cherish “me time.”

Yesterday, I was in an extreme hurry to fit in a run and because of the fact that I was rushed, I did not enjoy it as well as I normally would. Running is great sport because it is almost entirely mental. In high school, my coach once told us that distance running is 90% mental and 10% physical. It is obviously just an idea, but I do feel my best when I go out for a run with no expectations except to give it my all. Of course, this may be the reason why I have be injured so many times within my running career. I love to see what I am made of.

After my run, I was too tired to cook a meal so I stuck with some basics. The above photo is a simple stir fry with kale, peppers, baby bok choy, and broccoli with a touch of teriyaki sauce and garlic. I also had a veggie burger with vegan mozzarella. The meal really hit the spot at that time, although burgers and stir fries may not seem to go in unison.

Today, after I had worked all day on a magazine assignment, I knew if was time for some “me time.” I ran speed intervals in a grassy field by my apartment and it began raining on the way home. I will admit right now that I love rain, especially after a hard run. Rain smells incredibly fresh and clean. The lily flower above is a photo I took on the way home. Also, I really want one of these:

Actually, I would love a real Vespa in a cream or baby blue. I don’t know how good they are for the environment, but considering how much I walk around Boston, it is pretty ridiculous. Today, I must have walked at least 5 miles. I also saw a beautiful old yellow scwinn bike that reminded me of Amsterdam:

After running, I knew it was time to hit up Whole Foods. I do not know how anyone rushes through that place. I may be the slowest grocery shopper alive. Fruit-wise, I bought plums, lemons, limes, gala apples, bananas, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, avocado, and tomato. Vegetable-wise, I got zucchini, portobello mushrooms, red onion, a sweet potato, rainbow chard, and carrots. I already have a ton of frozen organic veggies from trader joes that I have been meaning to eat for too long (asparagus, butternut squash, broccoli, and edamame). All the produce I bought today was organic. I read something about trying to buy bananas that are organic because the pesticides still leak through the peel and I do not know about you, but I do not rinse actual bananas. I bought tempeh bacon, three different companies kinds of soy yogurt, whole wheat pastry flour, ezekiel wraps and english muffins, nutritional yeast, sunflower seeds, raisins, and peanuts.

For dinner I knew I should taste the swiss chard. The best part of the chard (other than the beautiful colors) was that it was from a local farm. I cut the stems and sautéed the chopped stems in some olive oil and garlic for two minutes and then added the chopped leaves and a tablespoon of vegetable broth. After 3 minutes, I plated the chard and topped it with some pine nuts. For another side, I decided to slice half a sweet potato really thin with my new mandolin from crate and barrel. They were baked for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

Then I made the tempeh wingz that I have been dying to make. I first saw the recipe on Celine’s blog, and they are originally found here. These were more tasty than I could describe. The mix of hot sauce and thyme, with a crisp from the panko whole wheat bread crumbs was delicious. I have many leftover as well, and they will definitely be included in my lunch tomorrow. I missed the step of slicing the tempeh in half but my big wingz were fabulous. Here they are:

Eating a fabulous meal is one thing, but I cannot believe this whole dinner was vegan. I loved every aspect of it. I cannot wait to create some other exciting things this week with all the fresh ingredients I bought.


Fall trends for a Fall girl

Posted in MAGAZINES by clairedille on June 27, 2008

I have a confession to make. My favorite season is Fall. I think that it is a combination of the leaves falling, clothes layering, and the return of Cross Country running season. I went to Amsterdam for the Fall of 2006 and always wish I could return. Here is a beautiful image of a car my family and I saw in the canal city.

I have been truly awful at blogging this past week, and stressing way too much about a project I am creating for my desktop publishing class. I love the class and the projects are amazingly creative but because it is summer, we have half the time to spend working on each assignment. A 16 page booklet that I have began making is about Fall runway trends for 2008. I think it looks really clean and fresh and that is what I usually go for. After interning at a high end fashion magazine last summer, it is hard not to resort back to that style. When I am finished, I may post a few photos for everyone to see. My father sent me an email with a concept/layout for Walk & Talk. I love how incredibly creative that man is. My good friend, Drew, told me to use the name bella (I prefer it uncapitalized). That is also what he calls me.  Any preferences on a name for my short magazine?

As for the veganism move, I am definitely doing well. The trick was to prepare meals for myself before class filled days. I made this Quinoa and Grilled Zucchini recipe sans eggs and cheese. Instead of the cheese, I made some tofu “feta” from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch. It was really tasty and I will definitely be making this concoction again. The best part was that I could take it to class with me and eat some nutrient dense food quickly.

Tomorrow I will be going for a grocery run and will be sure to post about anything new I get.

p.s. last week, I bought some Ficoco after seeing it here and have yet to try it. I hope it satisfies my chocoholic needs…

one quick din din

Posted in FOOD, SHOPPING, VEGAN by clairedille on June 22, 2008


I wanted to head over to Anthropologie this afternoon for a sale scrummage but I never got around to it. My roommates were heading over to a grocery store near the closest Target so I knew I must tag a long. Target is one of those places where you never plan on purchasing much, but you always do. A few things I bought were a waffle maker, JR Watkins Aloe & Green Tea Hand Soap (now eco-friendly), three adorable recycled notebooks, a new 10″ pan, and two products from the Boots Botanics line, a toner and the Perfecting Day Lotion with SPF 15.

After the store, I was tremendously hungry and didn’t think I could wait to make an elaborate dinner with my produce from the farmer’s market. Instead, I had a corn, cherry tomato, cucumber, avocado, and green onion salad with a balsamic vinaigrette

I grilled a Portobello mushroom and sandwiched it in The Baker 7-Grain Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread with basil, vegan mozzarella, and sun dried tomatoes. Here is a small photograph of it, although it doesn’t do any justice to the actual delicious-ness of this sandwich combo. Truly tasty.

For dessert I had half a pear with two squares of an Organic Chocolove Dark Chocolate bar. The meal was incredibly tasty and I will be eating the salad again tomorrow for lunch, since I made extra. Tomorrow morning I will be making waffles for myself and my roomies. I will be searching for some vegan recipes tonight, but if anyone has any yummy ideas, let me know. I also will soon be investing in a new camera for some better food photography and would love some outside opinions from the foodie world.

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copley farmer’s market fare

Posted in FOOD by clairedille on June 21, 2008

This is from outside the Aquarium, I went yesterday. It was fabulous and fun.

In Boston, the Copley Farmer’s Market takes over the little “piazza” in front of the famous Trinity Church every Tuesday and Friday. Throughout the summer months, I hope to schedule a small visit at least once a week to restock on produce. My love for all things having to do with Farmer’s Markets roots back to the Martha’s Vineyard Farmer’s Market in West Tisbury. Everyone in my family would pick out their favorite things to bring back to our small summer home on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.

My father always managed to get his daily dose of potatoes and I always believed as a child that this was because he was British, and of course, all English people need their potatoes in one form or another. My mother picked out a big bunch of beets to make her beet, orange and avocado salad (sometimes with goat cheese or walnuts and always topped off with a little balsamic vinaigrette). My younger sister of two years, Lily, ran to the Vietnamese Summer Roll stand where two adorable ladies handed out cold rolls of rice paper stuffed with carrots, daikon, cilantro, rice vermicelli noodles, and some protein I cannot remember. It may have been minced pork or shrimp. I can’t recall having my own roll, but I definitely taste tested them over the years. The sauce is a significant factor in the greatness of all Asian rolls, in my opinion. This one resembled both a hoisin and peanut sauce combined…so delicious. The New York Times recipe is extremely close and here is a quick and easy vegetarian video recipe.

Now that I am completely off topic, lets go back to the Boston Copley Farmer’s Market. This is tiny in comparison to the bustling market I went to last week, the Union Square Greenmarket in Manhattan. The Greenmarket has chef tours and even a Greenmarket Dirt E-Newsletter you can see from the link. After I finish college (Dec 2008), I plan on moving back to New York City and that is one thing I am extremely excited for. The Copley Farmer’s Market has a list of vendors here, that I read up on before hitting the stands. It is interesting to hear why some farms choose to go the organic route and others don’t feel it is necessary to be certified, it seems to be a pricey process. The kale looked beautiful and I chose the curly leaf type from Siena Farms.

Atlas Farm, one of the certified farms, had a few pattypan squash left and I grabbed two with the addition of a zucchini and yellow squash. Cilantro was a last minute decision, and I was ready to go.

Ideally, some beautiful heirloom tomatoes would have been great but there weren’t any beautiful looking tomatoes at the market yet. I can’t wait! Here is the epicurious link I am going to be using for the next few months before going to the market. I am not fully knowledgeable yet in seasonal produce, but hope to be soon. Tonight will be full of cooking and I will be sure to update tomorrow.

Now I am heading off to Barnes and Noble to check out some Vegan cookbooks. Thanks for the lovely ideas everyone.

ciao for the day.

*I have to apologize for my not so great photos, I have been using an extremely old Canon from my father. Soon I will be using a slightly newer Casio but nothing great, just saving up for a new one similar to this.

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Are you going to become a Vegan?

Posted in FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on June 19, 2008

On a recent trip to what I call home, New York, my younger sister asked me if I was planning on entering the vegan food world. I have to admit, it is pretty enticing. Although many would probably feel it is a constricting diet, I have come to realize that it is actually quite inspiring and creative. Every day I scout all the vegan blogs that I have gathered in my bookmarks. Reading about Banana Rolls with Coconut Pecan Filling and Lemon Scented Quinoa Salad makes my stomach growl. I truly feel that it is the blogging world that has opened up my eyes to new ways of eating, not only by including different ingredients (i.e. almond milk, kale, tahini) in my menu’s but also challenged my conventional thoughts on nourishment. Eating healthy does not have to be boring and that is why I have determined to redesign my dietary future.

I will be incorporating fresh fare in my everyday meals and hopefully I will be able to share some exciting new spins on ingredients we may already be familiar with. The plan is to eat mostly vegan and definitely vegetarian at home, however, I cannot promise at this time that I won’t stray from eating some fresh seafood this summer. It has been many years since I have eaten red meat, and a few months since eating poultry but I have no desire to return to either. Sadly I am lactose-intolerant so my dairy intake has been limited to greek yogurt and goat cheese the last few years as well. I have been experimenting with all alternatives and favor unsweetened almond milk in vanilla and silk yogurts.

The best wrap I have been having regularly for weeks now is a spin on the classic BLT. Tempeh Bacon is a new favorite and I even brought a piece with me out the door this morning in a hurry to get to class. The Sprouted Grain wrap is stuffed full with halved cherry tomatoes, 1/4 of an avocado, some alfalfa sprouts and nayonaise. In the future, I will venture out with more exciting recipes but this is a classic that never fails my stomach.

The Vegan restaurant, Candle Cafe, in the Upper East Side of Manhattan is a place I loved right away. It was bright and clean inside with a juice/bar to the left upon entering from 3rd Avenue. I shared a Soba Noodle Salad and Smoked Tempeh & Grilled Vegetable Sandwich with my lovely sister. When finishing our healthy meal, we knew it just wouldn’t be right if we didn’t subject our taste buds to a vegan dessert. The Chocolate Mousse Pie was unbelievably tasty, with the perfect smooth texture you would ask of from a mousse. This is a place we will certainly revisit in the near future. I already know what I will be taste-testing, and here is one preview:

Crystal Roll
Cucumber, cabbage, avocado, rice noodles, cilantro and barbecue grilled seitan wrapped in rice paper with a spicy peanut sauce.


*Sorry I never got around to mentioning some favorite shopping spots in The Nine Streets of Amsterdam. I don’t even have time for excuses right now. My new computer and camera will be sure to create some more photo heavy posts soon.

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Cafés in De Negen Straatjes

Posted in TRAVEL by clairedille on June 4, 2008

The Nine Streets or “De Negen Straatjes,” in Amsterdam remind me of Greenwich Village in Manhattan filled with boutiques and cafes, all tiny enough for extreme comfort. As an outsider, I couldn’t help but observe the casually polite Dutch as they passed on the street and jumped off their bikes to say hi to friends. The tall men were often dressed in what I would label “ivy-league professor” apparel, at a very fashionable college of course. The women wore comparable outfits, with a little personal charm thrown in. My mother bought the riding boots that I saw on many women, with their jeans tucked in. This neighborhood is effortlessly classic and eclectic.
These nine blocks can be found between three of the longest canal streets in the Jordaan neighborhood, Prisengracht, Keisergracht, and Herengracht. Each small block connecting has their own name, which differs from blocks in America that continue with the same name after each intersection they pass. Each block consists of maybe ten-twelve different businesses that strive not on the tourists, but the trendy locals.

When my family came to visit during my semester in The Netherlands, I was ecstatic, not only to see them but also to experience the city in my favorite way. Wandering around without a concrete plan is the way we do it. Attempting to pass off as a local in a foreign city is a tough challenge. Amsterdam is a city where everyone speaks English and I haven’t come to terms with whether or not I believe this is a good thing or too easy. Fresh, seasonal, clean, and simple food is what I look for when hungry. I would prefer to sit outside, or inside by the window of any café than sit in a dark pub-like restaurant anyday.

Café Mokka, was the first place my father, mother, sister, and I went for coffee and lunch. From the first time I saw the red awning and green sign, I was captured. The smell of freshly baked muffins took over my senses as I entered the quaint café of two stories. Mokka had 5 or 6 tables sitting two to four people and two young women handled all the fresh ingredients as a team in the step-down kitchen, visible to all sitting above. One woman handed the olive oil to the other who stood behind, and I watched as she let it drip onto the open-faced grainy bread, which she then layered with goat cheese, salad greens, roasted red peppers, walnuts, and honey. She then quickly brought it to the couple sitting at the table next to the glass café front, separating the street from Mokka’s world. The café was filled with people I believed to be completely satisfied sitting there for the rest of the afternoon, sipping their tea’s in tall glasses with mint leaves and Illy espressos.

The European ritual of sitting in cafés, discussing life’s trivial matters seems only capable by those whom live here. The city trams are nonexistent on the cobblestone surfaces in this neighborhood. The rusted bikes of yellow, orange, and sky blue are rode by mothers with their infants sitting behind and even old men over eighty. The vespa’s are parked outside antique shops and modern home design stores. Men and women shop keepers leave notes on doors as they run out to get coffee to go for their employees. They come back with porcelain espresso cups that the café owners know they will soon return. There is a trust that is lacking in the United States. These cafés are not chains but a small independent place of comfort. There is no such thing as a take-a-way cup made from “recycled materials.”

Goodies Café
on Huidenstraat, another place with an English menu on one side, and Dutch on the other was another success. White washed benches give an outdoorsy atmosphere and contrasts a small wooden bar where two young men with warm Dutch smiles served Brand beers to two young Dutch women. A black cat sprawled across one of the bench seats and yawned as two young children, dressed in every color of the rainbow, ran to pet it. The parents were deeply enthralled in a conversation but made sure to acknowledge the women serving them produce-packed salads. The couple were dressed as though one had been in the country riding horses all day and the other sailing. The wife had on a pair of flat riding boots, similar to the ones my mother had bought, and her husband wore a white and navy striped sweater and thick ribbed cords folded up to his shins to emphasize his long legs and a pair of faded navy Sperry top-siders on his feet.

I would suggest trying any of the salads with refreshing Mediterranean flavors. Mine had a wonderful creamy avocado dressing that I have tried mimicking myself, without success. The cold and warm sandwiches are topped with mozzarella, and aubergine (eggplant), pestos, and more. The same goes with the seven different bagel sandwiches on the menu. Eating vegetarian is not hard to do at Goodies.

Another café that is found on Runstraat, Lust, is in a small brick building decorated in plush red booths and purple crystal chandeliers. The atmosphere is familiar, resembling a Los Angeles and New York late night lounge but the bright smile of the waiter bringing over fizzy water is somewhat unfamiliar and distinct. There isn’t the “I am better than you” feeling and I don’t miss it. Although the name, Lust, seems risqué, it actually means “desire” in Dutch. I had the desire for everything in this place. I wanted to return for every salad, sandwich, coffee creation they had. Every ingredient resembled all the other cafés we had the chance to dine in our stay in Amsterdam.

It is as though the chef’s went to the farmer’s market every morning to find the freshly baked breads and all the colorful produce on the menu. I will imagine they do.

Cafe Mokka- Berenstraat 36

Goodies Huidenstraat 9

Lust-Runstraat 13

* Next I will write about my favorite shops in “De Negen Straatjes”.

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a fresh first post

Posted in Uncategorized by clairedille on June 2, 2008

Hello. Bonjour. Goedendag. Holà. Ciào. Namaste. Góðan dag.

A first hello on a first blog post is quite intimidating, therefore I thought I would cover a few bases in English, French, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Hindi, and Icelandic.

In my first official post later today, I will bring up a few of my favorite places in one of my most adored cities, Amsterdam.