A Fresh Dille

movin’ up

Posted in DESIGN, FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on June 25, 2010

In the morning, V and I are moving upstairs to a larger loft apartment and instead of packing up our things post work, I decided it would be an appropriate time to tackle seitan. This lady wrote a wonderful explanation of how to make a small serving of seitan, so tonight had to be the night.  I must admit, I’ve been rather apprehensive about making it since I am not the biggest fan of “faux meat.” However, I really trust Jessica’s judgement and already adore Veganomicon’s Chickpea Cutlets which feature vital wheat gluten, the main component of seitan.

I followed Jessica’s instructions and added some chives V has been growing. When he came home from work, he thought I was cooking meat, something I haven’t done in years.

The only other time I’ve tried seitan was at Candle Cafe, where I really enjoyed it in sandwich form. For dinner, I decided to switch things up and make use of the end of our farmer’s market veggies by serving it with soba noodles and the last of a pack of udon.

Kale, onion, mushroom, and bell pepper were cooked in sesame oil, rice vinegar, and tamari.Then I mixed the veggies with the noodles, seitan, and scallions to round out the simple meal we both savored.

Now we must relax before a full day of moving, World Cup watching, and V’s pre-shoot party. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Other things:

-Have you ever tried Seitan? I would love to hear some opinions and ways you like to eat it if you are a fan.

Home design inspiration here (minimalism done right with white, green, black, and neutral) and here (such a charming home with some kitsch). Where do you go for home decor ideas? Since we are moving into a much bigger space, I am really interested in all different aesthetics right now. Do you have a certain design aesthetic? I love all types of styles and creating a mixture of industrial, natural materials, vintage, mid-century, minimalist, ethnic, etc.

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a loaf & lots of oats.

Posted in FOOD, VEGAN, WORK by clairedille on June 24, 2010

Things have been a little wild around here. Thank you so much for all the support given about my (maybe) limited blogging in the next few months, which I mentioned last week. When I spoke of freelancing, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to discuss what I do, but I figure some of you may be a little interested. My job is within the wardrobe/costume department of feature films. The film production tax incentives in Michigan started in the last few years and the industry seems to be doing very well. Who knows if the film industry will continue to film here for years to come, but Detroit needs some help and I am willing to stick around for a little bit if there is still a reason (work) for me to be here. I left NY where I was freelancing at a fashion showroom (after a few internships) to assist on my first film last summer and have learned the in’s and out’s of costuming in this last year. There have been times where I have been unsure if this was where I wanted to be, but I still enjoyed every day on set, as well as most of the prep days. There have also been times where films were limited, such as the cold winter months. Starting next week, I help the designer shop and organize to fully prepare for the upcoming film. Now, I am reading the script and getting ready for the new adventure. V is working on a different film right now, a famous sequel of sorts, that I love hearing stories about. Dating someone within the same industry is the only thing I can imagine right now. We both understand that their may be weeks of night shoots and sleeping days. Unfortunately, I have a limited social life for most 24 year olds, but I try to have as much fun each day as possible with those I work with and admire.

There has been lots of script reading in bed this week.

A massive amount of organic strawberries and raspberries took over our fridge after finding them on sale early this week. Most breakfasts have been the easy Scottish oats I love dearly. Toppings include raw almond  butter, banana mash, berries, and coconut butter.

Yesterday, I made some coconut butter when I realized I had such an abundance of large flakes. For an easy tutorial, check out Ashley’s post. It took only 5 minutes in my food processor to make the butter and tasted delicious topped on oats and sweet potatoes.

Lunches have been of the salad variety on the 90 degree days. This one featured some overly salted Whole Foods Falafel and many veggies from my farmer’s market bounty.

There may have been some lunches eaten while watching the World Cup and map observing. Yesterday, I found myself watching my two teams (England & the U.S.A.) go through to the next round. Alone, I was jumping up and down when Landon Donovan scored the only U.S. goal in overtime. Who knew I liked sports so much? Surely not me…

The Kind Diet, Alicia Silverstone’s book I adore for so many reasons (emphasis on plant-based lifestyle over “diet”) has a granola recipe called “Mom’s Granola” that my sister made and shared with me. It was wonderful but not as good as my favorite Early Bird Granola.

Still loving the slighty sour flavor of Original Coconut Milk Kefir.

But I prefer it covered in fruit, cereal, and/or granola…

Due to V’s late schedule, dinner tends to be eaten between 8 and 10 p.m., which usually means I am limited to taking leftover photos.

Jenna’s Channa Masala was made in a hurry late last night to satisfy my craving for more Indian after such a delicious Father’s Day Indian feast.

On the side, we had roasted sweet potato fries with coconut butter and roasted broccoli.

Another evening, I made another one of Jenna’s recipes, her Vegan Lentil Walnut Loaf.

Which was not necessarily the most beautiful, but very tasty. The walnuts really add a great nutty flavor to each bite and the tomato, balsamic, maple glaze makes the best topping.

Well, it is back to reality for me.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week filled with delicious eats.

Other things:

-Do you pack leftovers for lunch even though you know others will be eating a “set meal” or take-out for lunch? During prep, I hope to bring some leftovers, such as channa masala, lentil loaf, wraps, and salads. However, once filming starts I know I will probably be too busy to pack lunches since the only time I am not working, I am sleeping. Usually catering and craft services has one veg option, but often it isn’t vegan, which means I find myself eating lots of apples, bananas, oranges, and larabars (or nuts). I wish that I had more energy post work to pack something for the next day but so far it hasn’t been the case on previous shoots.

-Are you still eating warm oats or going with other options like Overnight Oats? V likes to keep the air on most of the time so it is cold enough to eat stovetop oats. I am sure that overnight oats will make their way back in my life soon though.

produce & peanut butter.

Posted in FAMILY, FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on June 21, 2010

The small local Farmer’s Market I went to today near my parents house has to be one of my favorites because of one farmer. After picking up my bounty of organic vegetables from him, I wished I had snapped a photo of him. He is everything you would imagine a farmer to look like. He is overly tan with a scruffy beard, and wears cutoff shirts when it is stifling and flannel on the chilly mornings. His stand is the last on my route around the market, and today I only had a few peppers before making my way to his station. Upon reaching his veggies, I noticed he was nowhere to be found. After a quick glance around the market, I saw him running toward me with a big smile on his face. This guy knows how much I love my greens. There were garlic scapes, romaine, kale, collards, chard, radishes, and snap peas. Since V and I are working a lot and moving towards the end of this week, I made sure to not go overboard.

My fondness of peas is because of my father’s influence, without a doubt. I have delightful memories of sitting next to him shelling english peas from their fibrous pods at our summer home. Snap peas, the less fibrous variety, are a vegetable I prefer to eat raw. They do make a great addition to a simple stir fry, but eating them fresh is especially refreshing.

Oh, radishes… what an awfully beautiful vegetable with the perfect crunch for summer salads.

Kale is a vegetable that I just can’t say no to. I adore it almost always. In fact, my mother once asked me which foods I could eat daily and kale was one. Chocolate was another, of course. The small bell peppers were too adorable to pass up.

These warm days are upping my raw veggie consumption and everyone around me is always amazed when they see me make massive salads only to claim them as my own.

This showcased the farmer’s market romaine, radishes, and snap peas. Cherry tomatoes and cucumber were also thrown in there before it was tossed with Goddess Dressing. Leftover Indian from our early Father’s Day dinner was served on the side for lunch. Last night, I ordered Chana Saag (chickpeas and spinach) instead of my usual, Channa Masala. Although it was tasty, it didn’t compare to my favorite. Dal was also ordered and I used a brown rice tortilla to scoop up the two Indian dishes and eat with my hands.

Although not incredibly photogenic, the Indian dishes were better than the night before. The spices seem to become more pronounced after a night left in the fridge.

Since my family proclaimed there would be “no more cookies” allowed in their house, I was weary of baking but the craving was there. Let’s just say, I went for it. A new recipe was tried for Peanut Butter Cookies and everyone seemed to forget the ban they had made on these little delicious treats. Heidi Swanson’s blog, 101 Cookbooks, was one of the first I stumbled upon when entering the online foodie world. I have yet to buy her beautiful book, but have tried many of her recipes with much success and rave reviews all around.

Before baking, I made sure to use a large fork to create the criss-cross that makes a typical peanut butter cookie appear different from all other cookies. The recipe was one of the simplest cookie recipes I’ve found, containing spelt flour, maple syrup, baking soda, peanut butter, olive oil, vanilla, and salt.

For an afternoon snack, we ate them with the delectable So Delicious Coconut Milk.

Watching the World Cup with my father, combined with baking, didn’t leave much time for dinner. The recent sale on Rising Moon pastas at Whole Foods made for an easy dinner. Many of the Ravioli’s are vegan, and my weird desire for warming winter squash meant that the Butternut Squash would be the ravioli of choice. Kale and orange bell pepper were cooked with some basil, olive oil, tomato sauce, and garlic and then poured onto the pasta.

‘Twas a scrumptious meal.

Thanks so much for the kind words about the photos I included in my last post of my father. It is funny that a few mentioned he looked like Steven Spielburg since he is a director for commercials, not film. He is such a creative individual and aspire to be like him everyday. His stubbornness and drive are two things that have rubbed off on me tremendously throughout my life. I only hope to be as happy as he has been with his choice in line of work. He always told us growing up that he just wants us to be happy in all aspects of our lives, and I am unwilling to stay in any situation where I don’t feel content. He makes sure to travel abroad each year, even with his busy schedule, because he knows it is one thing that has made him most happy throughout his life. I can only dream that will be possible in my future because I miss it dearly.

Other things:

-A delicious looking Radish Salad recipe on Tartelette.

-This Chilled Soba with Tofu and Sugar Snap Peas recipe sounds absolutely delicious.

-These two raw recipes using bell peppers are wonderful: Gena’s “Cheese” Sauce and Averie’s Raw Vegan Kale Chips (you can bake them too).

-Make your own Chana Saag from Vegan Dad’s blog or some delicious Channa Masala.

father’s day waffles.

Posted in FAMILY, FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on June 20, 2010

my sis, me, and my dad

As I write this, I am sitting with my father watching the World Cup. Since my brother lives out west in LA, I am the one who usually watches sports with him these days. The two we enjoy most are Tennis and “Football.” My dad typically enjoys his British-style breakfasts, but I decided to try to switch up the Father’s Day meal this morning with some delicious waffles à la Jessica. In the past I’ve mentioned my father, and his affinity for breakfast with eggs.

Since I am not too into making bacon & eggs, here is what I made. My sister made the bacon.

I didn’t stray too much from Jessica’s recipe, except for puffed brown rice for puffed millet and light coconut milk for greek yogurt. These were delicious but unfortunately I forgot the baking powder again. The deep waffle iron in my parents home tends to grab onto the waffles with its dear life but once I managed to peel each waffle off and pour on a maple, almond butter, and coconut milk sauce, they were very tasty (although a little overcooked).

Now it is time for the farmer’s market. I hope everyone is having a wonderful father’s day with your Dad!

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a more personal post

Posted in FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on June 19, 2010

It’s been quite the week. Things are definitely looking wonderful on the work front after months of worrying. It just shows that keeping in touch with people you’ve worked well with in the past is truly important. Freelancing may be my entire future so I have to get used to times of abundant work and those other times when I hopefully will be able to travel, relax, and see those I care about (since it is incredibly hard while working). The reality of it is that I have chosen a path where I will be happy with my career and enjoy most 10-14 hour working days. You must agree, it is a scary thing to make such big decisions about your future. Not only am I unsure where this will bring me, but I am also unsure of the amount of cooking, photography, and writing I can manage during the months I am working on a project. The posts may be closer to once a week, focusing on one meal, day, event, or recipe. Hopefully, my lovely readers will stay along for the ride because blogging is one of my favorite past times. Not only preparing and writing my own, but reading others as well.

Preparing for the United States versus Slovenia World Cup game that was full of drama, I made some patriotic oats.

These were my oats of choice, Scottish, cooked in a new favorite find, Coconut Milk Kefir. The usual mix of whipped banana, vanilla, and cinnamon was topped with organic berries and raw creamy almond butter. Something about these warmer days has me craving raw almond butter more than usual. Luckily, Trader Joe’s carries the much affordable raw almond butter to help with my habit. Other roasted brands seem to be rather pricey.

Another significant change is taking place in the next few days.

Here are two salads for two future roommates. Soon, I will be leaving my parents home to move into a loft with V. We had the pleasure of viewing one in his current building and it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. The building, an old Detroit pins and needle factory, is incredibly safe in the somewhat unsafe city we’ve found ourself in. I never imagined living in this city and know that one day I will return to my home, New York, or maybe Northern California for the atmosphere I love dearly, but I do find myself liking it as much as possible. The poor city needs much help but for now I do enjoy the company of those I work with and the little community close to his building (and soon mine). It is hard being away from all my friends, but at this age, I need to remember that I’m working to someday have more freedom within my career.

After a delicious sushi date last weekend our local favorite place, I was craving some more delicious veggie filled sushi. Instead of brown rice, I opted for some red quinoa already sitting in the fridge. Avocado would have been ideal but the not-yet ripe ones would have resulted in disappointment, so I went with simple cucumber carrot nori rolls. These weren’t as good as my favorite asparagus tempura, avocado, sweet potato rolls, but they satisfied my hunger.

We are heading out for Indian, one of my Father’s favorite types of cuisine, for an early Father’s Day meal. It took me much longer than the rest of my family to love Indian but I find the spices so warming and delicious now. Indian menus feature so many vegetarian options and I just love me some Chana Masala.

Other things

Wendy from ABC’s and Garden Peas is having a Turtle Mountain Coconut Milk giveaway.

The Foodista blog reviewed the next book I have chosen to read, The Butcher and The Vegetarian. Have you read it? I would love to read some other opinions.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

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“no more cookies!”

Posted in FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on June 15, 2010

This last week has been filled with some delicious baked goods. Baking is something that I find relaxes me when I am stressed and often find myself mixing well into the evening. Since I last shared about my adventure to my family’s summer home on Martha’s Vineyard plans falling through, I have found myself choosing sweets over the savory dishes I usually prepare. Of course I still ate many salads, wraps, veggie burgers, and even a delicious sushi date night with V, but I must admit that sweets were what I craved or preferred making. Measuring and mixing things I knew would work well together was easier than chopping, spicing, and sautéeing. Often, I find myself referring to Dreena Burton for her delicious cookies and this week was no different. The favorite Super-Charge Me cookies were made with dried cherries, dark chocolate, and coconut. As many already know, this is a no-fail recipe.

Wanting to try something new and with the abundance of spelt flour in my pantry, I chose this recipe from the Sweet & Natural blog for Walnut Chocolate Chip Spelt Cookies based off of Dreena’s Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. We had some extra coarse salt from Slovenia that I used for these and everyone agreed that they felt the salt was more pronounced than usual. We all loved the salt and dark chocolate pairing. The cookies were extra rich with a little from walnuts and coconut oil.

With all the cookies in my parents home (made them their instead of V’s because of the array of baking ingredients), my sister and mother proclaimed that their should be “no more cookies!” After the first night we had a few, I stuck the remainder of baked treats in the freezer for occasions they wished they didn’t declare such a bold statement. Although all my baked goods are vegan, this does not mean they are void of sugar or fat. In my opinion, plant-based fat is better than animal based any day and I also feel nature’s sugar (maple syrup, agave, etc.) is entirely acceptable every day of the week. Chocolate is something I have promised to treat myself daily and this notion will probably never leave my mind.

However, vegetables are another key component of my days.

or herbs…specifically basil, from V’s overflowing mini garden. This was Ashley’s great vegan walnut basil pesto with nutritional yeast. Instead of using the limited supply of the salt from Slovenia, I bought Pink Himalayan Sea Salt from Trader Joe’s that I saw on Kathy’s lunchbox bunch blog. She discusses both the good and the bad about salt here, but I have never had an issue with too much salt since I eat limited processed foods. I also tend to prefer raw unsalted nut butters and buy organic and low sodium canned beans (when buying canned).

The first meal with pesto was a random lunch of mashed avocado and pesto on toast with cherry tomatoes and two of my favorite sides, apples and broccoli. I still can remember the day I fell in love with simple mashed avocado on toast at my favorite nyc cafe, cafe gitane.

the kitchn

The French Moroccan cafe has become quite popular since my sister and I first found the nolita gem years ago. Most often, the wait is pretty long, but around the corner is the best NY designer consignment shop, INA. While waiting for a tiny table at cafe gitane, we often head over to INA to browse some of our favorite modern labels like Stella McCartney (meat free Monday fan) and Alexander Wang, as well as the classics like Chanel and Balenciaga. Cafe Gitane seems be attracting more and more actors. The last few times I have sat close to a few of my favorites like Elijah Wood and Michelle Williams. It is not only the simple yet delicious food that brings happy diners back, but also the casual european cafe atmosphere. When my sister sent me a text last week that she was eating street-side at Gitane with my mother, I envied them. I decided the closest I could get was to make some avocado toast. It was almost as tasty with the addition of pesto.

Another lunch in the last few days was a wrap consisting of leftover kale and mushrooms sautéed in tomato sauce with creamy hummus and baby spinach. Obviously, more broccoli and apple involved to round out the meal.

This sweetie asked me to write  about some of my favorite wrap combinations but honestly, the key components of most wraps I make are leftovers. My dinner tonight will most likely be turned into a wrap or salad tomorrow.

A shockingly bright spinach, carrot, cucumber, cherry tomato, and white corn salad with Angela’s addicting Better than Bottled Balsamic.

Okay, I am too addicted to the Veganomicon Chickpea Cutlets and need to make some new creations like Jessica’s butter bean or black bean cutlets. The simple seitan from the book sounds great too, but I just can’t seem to break away from the ones above. The sweet potatoes are another addiction I won’t be giving up anytime soon. I know you feel me on those!

I will end with my favorite meal of the day, Breakfast. Here are two that I savored in the last few days.

Overnight oat parfait with a banana, raspberries, and hemp seeds

Trader Joe’s vegan blueberry raspberry muffin spread with raw creamy almond butter and earth balance.

Other things:

-Have you been watching the World Cup? What sports, if any, do you enjoy watching on TV? I watched the US vs. England game with my boyfriend and father because my dad is such a “football” (soccer) lover. It seems like most Brit’s are. I remember one vacation to Hawaii, he stayed in the hotel room because the World Cup was on. Soccer and tennis are two sports I enjoy watching, as well as running (especially the Olympic marathon and track & field).

-Do you prefer baking or cooking more savory things? I answered this above but I realized today that I was a little over the baking bug. In the next few days I know there will be many more savory items to share.

-Do you have a restaurant or cafe that you have noticed has become increasingly popular? Do you space out your visits or save it for special occasions? As I wrote above, my favorite NYC casual eatery has become quite the trendy hot spot, however, I moved from NY since then so only get to go when in the city. I make sure to fit in a visit each time though.

-Also, I am curious if you get emails when I write responses to your comments. I hope so because I try to write back often!

aesthetically pleasing.

Posted in DESIGN, FASHION, MAGAZINES by clairedille on June 14, 2010

This is going to be a non-food focused post since I have always been quite inspired by design, especially clothing and home goods. Hope you enjoy.

In the last few days, I have been thinking a lot about my internship days and how they influenced me. A few years back I had the great opportunity of interning for Harper’s Bazaar. Days after classes ended for the spring, I took the bus from Boston to NY and headed into the Hearst Tower to venture into the world of magazine publishing. I was such a naive magazine writing student beforehand and had no idea how the summer would affect me. As the only intern for a special supplement issue, A Fashionable Life, I was immersed in all aspects of the publication. This issue of the magazine, usually fashion focused, was all about home style. The editors let me attend press previews for brands like Anthropologie, assist on photo shoots, and even help fill the pages with items I loved.

Instead about raving about the experience in fear it may come across as “too perfect,” I want to share with you an apartment I fell in love with in the Park Slope, Brooklyn (also where I spent the early days of my life).


At that time, J. Crew was going through a little (or major) makeover by the new Creative Director, Jenna Lyons. She was adding in some modern and vintage twists to the overly preppy label. These changes by Jenna have made the brand one I really admire much more now. Although some of the prices have gone up, it is with good reason because she has added a special section called In Good Company featuring some classic brands like Tretorn, Barbour, Ray-Ban, Sperry, and Thomas Mason. Some modern brands like Fenton/Fallon and Lemlem have also been added to the mix for the modern edge. You can also take a peak at her pick’s each season on the website with some words of wisdom to go along with each garment.

Unfortunately, most of the Bazaar shots really focused on her when I feel there could have been more images of the amazing space her and her husband designed and live in with their adorable son, Beckett.

One of my favorite home magazines, that didn’t survive the downfall of magazines in the last few years, Domino, featured Jenna and her home with more great shots by Melanie Acevedo.

Just a few things I love about her apartment:

-Dove grey walls downstairs with her husband’s artwork and vintage glass or crystal chandeliers

-Chalkboard paint in the master bedroom showcasing her bed and fireplace.

-A clawfoot bathtub with classic english fixtures

-The Saarinen table she sits at to read her morning paper and drink coffee. I love mid-century furniture.

-Beckett’s yellow and white striped ceiling

-The industrial kitchen with a farmhouse table and french doors

-Jenna’s closet is the ideal space for keeping garments with shoe shelving and racks.

Other links:

The Habitually Chic blog shared many images of her home here.

Apartment Therapy also wrote about how styling can really influence how Jenna’s Brownstone looks.

Here is a video of a day in Jenna’s glamorous life and career from Oprah’s dream job series.

The Livingetc article and images of Jenna’s Brooklyn Brownstone (slideshow here).

An article comparing Harper’s Bazaar’s A Fashionable Life to Vogue Living.

Here are a few items similar to some of my personal favorite looks by J. Crew.

Tuxedo shirts and cutoffs.

Boatneck striped shirts and bubble skirts.

Military inspired jackets.

Cargo style pants dressed up.

Layering…especially shawl collar jackets and button down shirts.

Casual summer tunics for the beach or with cutoffs.

Henley’s, boyfriend jeans, and strappy sandals.

The Catalog was recently shot in Antigua, Guatemala.

Some things:

-Do you read design blogs? Have any favorites? I read design sponge most often and my favorite photo blog featuring eclectic individuals is The Selby.

-Have you noticed the changes in J. Crew over the last few years? Do you like the brand? I actually am not a big J.Crew wearer but do have a few pieces I truly enjoy. They also are doing wonderful things with the lower priced and younger line, Madewell too.

I hope you enjoyed the change of scenery around here. I would love to know if you would be interested in more fashion or home design inspired posts. I will be back with some words on recent delicious eats.

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two bits of bad news = two delicious breakfasts

Posted in FOOD, TRAVEL, VEGAN by clairedille on June 9, 2010

I spoke too soon. After blogging last about my excitement that we were heading to Martha’s Vineyard and getting a new camera the day before, two dreams were crushed within a few hours on Monday night. Maybe I jinxed myself by writing all about it in the last few posts. I guess I’ve learned my lesson. The reason we weren’t able to head east early this morning is very justified (work opportunities for V) but I can’t admit that I wasn’t extremely upset. My father had printed a map of the island and pinpointed a few of my favorite things to do while there. Hopefully we can fit in one trip to MV this summer because I would love to share my experiences and memories with V, as well as make some new ones. The camera situation is another story that has to do with timing. We are planning on using earnings from the recent shoot for the new dSLR and it seems like it may be a few more weeks till I can have my hands on one. In the meantime, it is back to our little digital’s.

My last two breakfasts have been attempts to make myself feel better. I won’t lie. I am a sensitive pisces who may not be the best at hiding my emotions. Instead of dwelling on things I can’t change, I decided to make something I knew wouldn’t fail. As of late, this lady’s waffles have been calling my name, and I made one very similar to this recipe. With a few substitutions (more flax for wheat germ, coconut milk yogurt for greek) they turned out wonderfully. There was one thing though, they didn’t look too hot. I must have a much deeper and larger waffle iron than the one Jess uses for her beauties. Although they didn’t look ideal, they sure tasted it.

Next time, I plan on using half the waffle iron instead of pouring the mix into the center. I am sure that would make two grand waffle squares. These turned out darker than all waffles I have made in the past, but this might be because of the oaty mixture. They were delicious, topped with a mashed banana, vanilla almond butter, more banana, agave, and raspberries.

For lunch, I opted for a simple eggplant, kale, cherry tomato, and hummus wrap with an apple. I was still in denial we weren’t Vineyard-bound and ate it while observing the map.

Not in the mood for cooking dinner, I had some Amy’s Split pea soup with a little too much sriracha and a great new bar. I’ve been eyeing these Bumble Bar’s for a while now and this was truly yummy. This Cherry Chocolate flavor had flakes of coconut that I loved, but I gobbled it up too fast to photograph.

Recently, I’ve been really into the mashed banana topping on oats but I still like to cook my oats with thin slices of banana. This morning I had oatmeal with banana used in three different ways.

This was 2 T steel-cut oats, 1/4 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup water, 1/3 sliced banana, and flax topped with a vanilla almond butter and banana mash with more banana slices and raspberries. This was another winning oatmeal breakfast. I feel the banana adds enough sweetness and V was also a fan with the addition of some local honey.

Today I have decided that it is not worth being upset about plans not following through. We have already been discussing a trip to Guatemala after the next few work-filled months.

Now I have to go help V make some Kale chips like the ones I made here. These are such an addicting treat and you can find the recipe on Averie’s blog. Oh, and some Always Sunny in Philadelphia is definitely going to be involved.

Hope you all are having a wonderful week.

Other things:

-How do you react when travel plans fall through? Of course it depends on the reason why things fall through, but sometimes it is hard to hide disappointment.

-Do you have a go-to waffle recipe? The recipe was just like oatmeal poured on a hot waffle iron, so I am not surprised I loved it so much. I would love to hear about some more though!

stormy running thoughts

Posted in FITNESS, FOOD, RUNNING, VEGAN by clairedille on June 7, 2010

When driving home from work yesterday (no 9-5 type job here…probably ever) I saw a girl running a fast pace along the side of the wide six lane road. It was pouring pretty hard and the wipers were at full speed. At that moment, instead of feeling sorry for her for being caught in the rain, I wanted to be here. I wanted to be the one running what probably started as a hot run and finish it off with a nice refreshing downpour. I realized last night that I’ve been neglecting my inner-runner. There are so many times in my life I’ve been burnt out from over-training and injuries, mentally and physically. Sometimes I let those memories overshadow and I end up telling myself to be calm and not push it. When I talk of training for long races, such as a half or full marathon, to my boyfriend or family, they usually put in some words about it being a somewhat crazy thought considering I’ve chosen a career path where my schedule consists of 5-6 days a week of 14+ hours of running around. Those days are really physically challenging. However, they are not running challenging. Like most runs, each day I work is typically pretty different from the last. I’ve always known that my working life wouldn’t be one where I would be sitting at a desk too often, but that doesn’t mean that I should not honor my run cravings.

The blog world is a great one for so many to feel accountable, but I am not quite ready to put my new running goal out yet. For the first few weeks I’ve decided to see how my legs, feet, and mind feels about the two race options for the Fall and then will be open for posting about my personal training plan and goals. In the mean time, I want to share with you a few links that I have enjoyed recently involving one of my all-time loves, running.

Lauren from Health on the Run wrote great words about how to master the treadmill. Like many, I prefer to run outside, but there are many occasions that require treadmill runs, like extreme heat or stormy days. Even the time of the day is a factor for me. Sometimes my call time can be before or around 6am. I know that if I am training for a race throughout the summer, I will have to run indoors because it is unsafe for me to run in Detroit (where my boyfriend lives) super early. In Part One, Lauren goes over many tips for your form, speed, and mental endurance while on the treadmill. Part Two is all about negative split running, my preferred type of treadmill run. She also gives many suggestions that I know work, such as covering the display and using music as an aid.

Katie from Health for the Whole Self recently wrote two posts about running that I want to share. Although I have pretty much always been a runner, I realize that many haven’t and Katie gives 5 great tips for New Runners. These are things that I know definitely work because I have helped others begin running with emphasis on minutes ran over miles covered. When I have been injured in the past, I’ve had to start running with a walk/run method so that I don’t do too much too fast. That is a wonderful way for anyone interested in running to start.  In her own Exercise Story, she writes about how she has evolved as an athlete and how running became something she needed for mental clarity, not just fitness.

Hope you enjoy them.

Now, onto some simple yet delicious things I’ve eaten over the weekend…

Sitting on the loft ground is some rolled oats cooked with light coconut milk, flax, and half a frozen banana, sliced thin. Due to the lack of fresh berries, I topped it with organic wild blueberries and my favorite raw creamy almond butter (from Trader Joe’s).

Do you prefer wild blueberries over the bigger ones? I know I prefer the smaller ones. It may be too early, but I hope that I can find a few fresh ones growing along our dirt road on Martha’s Vineyard when we make it there in the next few days.

I made myself a wrap with the last of our grilled tempeh and local lettuce. Of course I had to add other favorites like hummus, avocado, carrots, and cherry tomatoes. This was eaten alongside a fresh juice of more carrot, cucumber, celery, lemon, and apple. It was too oddly colored for a photograph. My sister proclaimed that it looked “swampy.” Although it may not have looked so great, I felt completely energized for a visit to Best Buy to explore dSLR camera options.

I want to say a quick thank you to my photo guru, Jess (do you prefer Jessica) from Healthy Exposures, for being so amazing and sharing great camera advice. Her blog is inspiring for many reasons, not only her stellar photography, but also her foodie and horse love.

My sister headed back to Philadelphia yesterday, and we had to fit in one last tea time. We shared a snickerdoodle and oatmeal raisin. Both were delicious.

V and I went to Woodbridge pub one night over the weekend and played around with his vintage 35 mm camera while sharing a delicious organic Sauvignon blanc from Chile. I’ve said it before, but this is the one place I really enjoy in the Detroit area and I was even more impressed when the owner came outside to our table to talk to us. He asked us how everything tasted and told us that they will be having a new summer menu in the next week. V moved to his loft, just one block away from Woodbridge Pub a few months ago and we have been really satisfied by both the winter and spring menus. Luckily, every seasonal menu thus far has had this gem:

I really need to take some photos of the food soon but over the weekend, I had both of these dishes and loved them both.

Instead of our typical order of chips and seasonal salsa (roasted tomato in the winter and a tomatillo for the spring), we went for the grilled vegetable appetizer which was a great variety of fresh produce grilled to perfection. The grilled zucchini, fennel, and tomatoes were my favorite and the toasted baguette, well…delicious.

The Garrow Salad was another winner with the local greens (I spied some spinach!) and the apple and walnut combo. Growing up, I was not a fan of fennel, but recently I’ve really enjoyed its slight licorice-like flavor. The apricot dressing was truly delicious and paired wonderfully with the smokey roasted walnuts and slightly sour green apple.

Other things I ate over the weekend…

Organic kale that I steamed and then cooked with garlic, basil, and Whole Foods organic Roasted Vegetable Tomato Sauce. On the side I had made polenta and grilled eggplant. I forgot how much I love polenta and hope to enjoy it again soon.

Kale is such a favorite of mine. I could eat it throughout the week and tend to eat a bunch in a day or two.

Last night, after rushing home in the rain from work, I opted for a simple dinner on a sprouted wheat bagel. I wanted to buy the sprouted wheat, but it contained honey so I opted for the vegan vs the wheat-free. These Alvarado bagels have the same crunch as the delicious Food for life sprouted grain products, especially the english muffins. The toppings were random, yet delicious. On one side I had tofutti “better than cream cheese” with blueberry preserves because I will always love the cream cheese and jam combo. The other side was spread with some avocado and topped with an Amy’s bistro burger, one of my favorite vegan veggie burgers with an easy to read list of organic ingredients.

For the veg, I opted for local roasted asparagus, yum!

Chocolate had to be involved in this post somewhere and I am happy to report that I bought this lovely Endangered Species Smooth Dark Chocolate bar last night before driving home because chocolate had been absent from my weekend, and that just can’t happen.

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend and is ready for the week ahead.

Other things:

-Do you feel better about a restaurant when a chef or owner takes the opportunity to talk to you? Obviously it isn’t always possible for the head chef to come around to each table but I feel that when they get the chance, it is a great way to get some feedback and create a small relationship with the diners. I hosted at a very high-end restaurant in Boston during a summer in college and the chef and managers were very present. This is so important, in my opinion,  for a restaurant to obtain a loyal fan base. When young, we had a favorite Chinese restaurant in NY where the owners knew us well. When I feel like a relaxing night out, it is great to have a local place where those working know you.

-Are you a runner? Do you prefer other methods of exercise? The two most significant methods of exercise for me are running and yoga. I tend to favor them over strength training and other activities. I do love to walk with others in a beautiful place and will be sure to fit in some quality ones when we make our way east later in the week. Elliptical is my cross training choice most often, but would love to get more into biking and spinning.

Happy Monday everyone.

heading east, east, east.

Posted in FAMILY, TRAVEL by clairedille on June 6, 2010

In just a few days I will be going to the one place that I know more than any other, the place my grandfather bought for his family on the little island of Martha’s Vineyard when my mother was a child. Since I was born, I have spent many summers on the island, but in the last couple years, I’ve spent only a few days. Last summer, I didn’t make my way onto the island until labor day weekend and this year I am determined to visit as early as possible. You see, I prefer the island before all the tourists arrive for the high season. The early months may not be as warm and all the summer goings-on might not be possible, but I know that V and I will have a great time when arrive Wednesday night.

If rain surprises us while we are cooped up in the small shingled summer home, we will read our book about dSLR cameras, hopefully while playing with the new toy we hope to purchase before heading east. Card games and Clue will be played and I will show V a favorite morning walk down the dirt road that returns along the beach.

The favorite island farmer’s market opens for the first time this season on Saturday and features all “island grown” produce.

Although there is an alpaca herd stand at the market, I hope we can fit in time to visit the farm.

I’ll take V to the places my parents have always gotten seafood on the island each summer. At the small beach shack with a menu of friend clams, oysters, and scallop, he might be delighted with the seafood his northern california heart craves.

Of course, there are a few other things I love about this place.


the same summer furniture that resides in the summer home from when my grandmother first designed it in the 60’s.

farmer’s market flowers.

our weathered shingled home.

silly flea market finds.

the black dog…tavern, cafe, & bakery…

There will be many more activities along the lines of kayaking, canoeing, reading on the beach, hiking, and the Flying Horses (my favorite summer activity growing up was reaching for the rings and trying to fill each finger in hopes of winning the brass ring for a free ride).

Tomorrow I will be back to post about some simple eats I’ve been consuming. Unfortunately, my love affair with the Canon Rebel had to come to a close so the shots aren’t quite the same. This is why I am eagerly awaiting a new dSLR to play with and to learn all the things I wish I already knew about photography.

Other things:

-What is one of the places that you love the most? As I wrote the other day, traveling is something that is most important to my own well-being. However, places like New York and Martha’s Vineyard will always be closest to my heart. Memories just make them sweeter.

-Do you ever fear that someone won’t love a place as much as you? Do you feel like idealizing a place and describing it to others may build it up to be better than it turns out? The other night at dinner, my father told V all about the island and his first experience when he went there with my mother at the beginning of their relationship. He made it seem like the “perfect” place and I have a slight fear that V may not love it as I do. He is used to the west coast, and although I have lived in California in the past, I know the east coast much more. I hope he enjoys it as much, or close to as much, as I do.