A Fresh Dille

me, a-z.

Posted in ANIMALS, FOOD, RUNNING, WORK by clairedille on March 4, 2011

Oh, the life of a freelancer. These last few days have been full of surprises, but it looks like I will be getting a new car and starting a new job on Monday. Since I haven’t had much time for cooking (minus the few bowls of oats, salads, and brown rice and veggies) around here, I decided to fill out the A-Z questionnaire that’s been making its way around the blog world. I hope you enjoy.

A-Z Survey

A. Age: 24…but almost 25…

B. Bed size: Queen. I hardly move when I sleep so it is perfect for two.

C. Chore you dislike: Taking out the trash. Cleaning the bathroom. I really want to hire someone to do it when I am more financially sound.

D. Dogs: The dog I had since 8th grade, Bessie, died this summer. I was heartbroken when I heard since they were away at our summer home on Martha’s Vineyard. At least I know she had a wonderful last few weeks playing on the beach. I can’t wait til I can get my own puppy, but my work schedule is much too intense.

E. Essential start to your day: When I have enough time, I try to always sip warm lemon water. Oatmeal makes my morning most complete though.

F. Favorite color: Green. I love almost all shades.

G. Gold or silver: Both, depending on the outfit I am wearing.

H. Height: 5’3. Can you believe I am the tallest in my whole extended family. I was the shortest growing up, and didn’t grow until late in high school/college.

I. Instruments you play(ed): Doesn’t everyone play the recorder for one year of elementary? I then played Clarinet (because my name is Claire…I had to!) until I moved from NY to Laguna Beach.

J. Job title: Costume /Stylist Assistant and wanna-be part-time blogger.

K. Kids: Not for some years, but yes please.

L. Live: Los Angeles since October.

M. Mom’s name: Jane

my aunt joy, aunt ann, and mom.

N. Nicknames: Dille (pronounced “Dilly”-my middle name and mother’s maiden name), Claire bear, love (from my brit father), Pear (best friend Mandy calls me this), Claireness, Clairezy…more I can’t think of.

O. Overnight hospital stays: None yet…*knocks on wood*

P. Pet peeves: People who litter! I find it so repulsive. When farmer’s don’t tell you whether their food is organic or covered in pesticides at the farmer’s market. When people don’t use turn signals, and lots of honking on the freeway. People in LA tend to have serious road rage, even during stopped traffic.

Q. Quote from a movie“This song explains why I’m leaving home to become a stewardess.” (Any guesses?)

R. Righty or lefty: Righty.

S. Siblings: Sister -Lily (two years younger), Half Brother- Sean (nine years older)

little lils on the left, me on the right.

T. Time you wake up: Hmmm…toughest question considering I work on all different projects where I may have a 5 am call time, or 2 p.m. call time, etc. I tend to wake up around 8 when I am not working though.

U. Underwear: Not the biggest fan.

V. Vegetables you don’t like: I really like all vegetables when they are prepared right. I may have claimed to not like potatoes and carrots growing up, but that is no longer true.

W. What makes you run late: Los Angeles traffic mostly

X. X-rays you’ve had: Teeth, shins (had so many running related stress fractures), foot (broken foot from running as well), bone scan to see how many years behind I was in development growing up. I was two years behind most my age.

Y. Yummy food you make: Oats, Pancakes, Sesame Soba Noodles, Kale Chips, Muffins, and more.

Z. Zoo animal favorites: I am not such a fan but would prefer to see animals in their natural habitat. I was a fan of the Ocelot, when I studied the rain forest growing up. I loved that it was the littlest cat in the “big cat family.”

Questions for you:

– Is there a food you claimed to dislike growing up but actually like now? Pretty unusual, but I claimed to never like pizza. I wouldn’t eat it at birthday parties, etc. but preferred pasta or flat breads. I realize now it was because I wasn’t a fan of the goop-y cheese, and really love cheese-less pizza done right.

– Do you have a schedule that requires all different wake up times? How do you make it work? I still need to figure this one out. My crazy schedules mean that I am constantly trying to ground myself by eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day to keep my energy. Even the days where I wake up at 4, I need to eat breakfast somewhat early and find myself hungry for my dinner-like meal super early. The 14-16 hour days are the worst, so sleep is obviously a high priority, especially on the weekends.


home at last.

Posted in ANIMALS, FAMILY, FOOD, TRAVEL, VEGAN by clairedille on May 19, 2010

I am finally home.

The story of what caused a delay is almost laughable. It was raining and my little bladder was not happy. We were turning onto route 80 after leaving my aunt and uncles in Summit, NJ to head back to Michigan with a goal of a 9.5 hour trip. Looking ahead, we saw a “wide load” marked vehicle carrying what looked to be a small house (those prefab homes) that was having some difficulty getting onto the ramp switching highways. Instead of pulling off, we continued to follow the cars behind him until we were put to a complete stop. Ten minutes later, after attempting many times to reverse and continue turning, the vehicle just could not make it around the curve. By now, we were already two-thirds around the ramp packed with stopped cars and things were not looking good. People were getting out of their cars and running ahead to see what the fuss was about. It was still early and I am sure there were many people heading into work. Drivers of the emergency vehicles with “wide load” signs got out and also attempted to maneuver the “house.” Cars were honking and construction workers flocked the scene, whipping out their camera phones to snap a shot of the “hilarious” incident. Our car was not full of laughs, especially after already being delayed for over an hour. A police officer who appeared to be twelve came over to our car and told us we would all be backing up onto the original highway and rerouted. We were lucky enough to be in front of the largest truck (well, second after the “wide load”) on the ramp so the backing up took much longer than all the previous cars. That is pretty much the whole story. I arrived home not only an hour late, but also tired and hungry.

To lighten the mood a little, I will tell you about one last restaurant we visited after my sister’s graduation on Sunday.

If you have been to Philly, I am sure you are well aware of Rittenhouse Square. Parc was set on one of the streets surrounding the square and we could tell it was quite the hot spot when it was in plain sight. This is a view of the smaller side of the building, so you can imagine the packed sidewalk on the larger street. It reminded me of the brasseries and cafés spread throughout Paris. The decor reminded me of Pastis, the french bistro-style restaurant I have often snacked on frites in the Meatpacking district of New York. After sitting down in a crowded room full of many other grads and their family’s, my eyes wandered the room before the menu and I saw a beautiful golden beet salad and many tables with bowls of frites. I remember the first place I had quality frites (or fries) when my father took me to Balthazar in Soho, and am always looking for comparable fries. The usual suspects at French restaurants were all on the lunch menu: country paté, oysters, moules frites, escargots, omelettes, quiche lorraine, haricots verts, and niçoise salad. I ordered the beet salad on arugula with a citrus vinaigrette (sans roquefort) and had some of the in-house baked bread and many frites. Everything was delicious and we finished up our shares of frites before I could snap a photo.

I was so happy to see the plate adorned with a few raspberries and radishes. Our meals at Parc were better than I expected and then we were off to spend the next day and a half with my mother’s two sisters before returning to the midwest.

I must mention that Sunday morning I ate what might have been the worst oatmeal ever at our hotel breakfast. The watery oats were eaten as quick as possible for some pre-graduation fuel, but I have realized by now that it is hard to even get close to home cooked oats when out. My mother commented that she doesn’t feel that it makes sense to order oats when out because they probably won’t be that good. However, sometimes I just want to go with what I am in the mood for and know that oats are usually the best for me to keep satisfied all morning with the help of some nuts or nut butter, banana, and maybe some fresh berries if lucky. The oats I had at FARMiCiA were great but maybe I should have tried the Vegan Scramble or something more adventurous that I could recreate in my home setting. I am one who usually goes for sweet over savory in the morning and a vegan tofu scramble is better suited for my lunches or dinners. Although people may feel it is silly to eat oats when out, I feel many other foodie bloggers might be able to relate to the simple oat craving to start your morning off right.

Yesterday, I made thick rolled oats cooked in water (can’t wait for almond milk tomorrow), topped with Vermont maple syrup given to her by a friend, bananas, peanut butter, and strawberries.

We then visited my mom’s sister Joy’s small farm in Blauvelt, NY for lunch, and to see her chickens and goats. She also grows some fresh produce, herbs, and wild flowers that she sells at the Nyack Farmer’s Market under the name “Blue Field Farm” (meaning of the Dutch word Blauvelt). Here are a few photos of her wonderful animals.

A funny fact about me: although I am a total animal lover, I can sometimes be afraid of them. I grew up incredibly afraid of dogs until we got our first one for the family. I was too afraid to ride horses when my friends started doing so, and I still tend to be a little wary when entering into enclosed areas with animals I am not completely comfortable with. I hope this will one day change. Maybe I will have to visit the Farm Sanctuary in Woodstock, NY or another similar one.

When it was time for lunch, I went with what I could find in my aunt’s kitchen. She had sprouted bread that I spread with hummus, local cucumbers, sun-dried tomatoes, and a little pickled mushrooms (wasn’t a fan). We also shared a bowl of grapes that were delicious. It has been too long since I have had them!

On the drive to my other aunt’s for our last night on the east coast, we stopped at a Whole Foods she had yet to visit to pick up ingredients for dinner and the drive my mother, sister, and I did today. After spending much too long observing the hot bar and salad bar, I picked up a veggie burger for dinner last night and a huge container full of goodies I ate throughout the drive today. The veggie burger was rather greasy and looked like it included quinoa. It was one of those greasy lips burgers that left me with a stomach ache for the rest of the night. We also had roasted rosemary potatoes and an arugula salad with tomatoes and artichoke. I also bought a small bag of spelt ginger snaps that were placed above the hot bar. I was excited to see them after Amanda bought some and remembered the feeling of eating them as a child. My grandmother used to always have these in her NYC apartment and it has been years since I’ve eaten any. These were a great change of pace for me, considering that I tend to go the chocolate way when it comes to desserts. I didn’t see these as a dessert though and ate them while sipping on a new brand (to me) of Kombucha, Honest Tea in Lemon Ginger. It was a great ginger-filled snack.

Today, I fueled for our drive with a bowl of water-banana cooked thick rolled oats topped with more banana, dried cranberries, Vermont maple syrup, and chopped walnuts. It was just what my body wanted before a rainy drive. After telling myself that eating one of my aunt’s humanely raised eggs would be fine, I still simply craved oats. I have no regrets with that decision and after not having eggs in so long, I just didn’t care to have one (or any).

When raving about the perfect size and lightness of this little ceramic bowl, my aunt said my mother had made it in college. This led to us packing the bowl for our trip home, because apparently, no one would appreciate more than myself. Maybe this is true. I do have a fondness for little bowls, spoons, toiletries, and much more…

During the chaos explained on the ramp, I ate this tropical fruit tart Lara. Although it is not my favorite of the Larabar flavors, it was much appreciated at the time. The VegNews beneath helped ease the pain as well.

The Whole Foods we visited yesterday didn’t have some of my typical choices. The massaged kale salad was nowhere to be seen so the base of the container was baby spinach that was then topped with carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, quinoa salad with dried fruit and nuts, and two rather dry falafels. I added two spoonfuls of hummus to the container this morning that aided coating the whole mixture. In the afternoon I ate an apple and arrived home to a produce-less fridge. This resulted in me eating some reheated split pea soup and a multigrain bagel. I also found two last pieces of Chocolate Mousse Pie that my mother had frozen for my sister’s arrival from college. We heated them up in the microwave and discovered it was just as tasty warm as chilled or room temp.

I can’t wait to start posting with the aid of a borrowed camera tomorrow. Today I had some stomach issues that I hope to resolve by cutting out wheat. Maybe the gluten-free challenge was more beneficial than I realized. The weekend was also filled with many nights of tossing and turning and a few stomach aches. I hate to bring up these things around family but I just didn’t feel too well by the end of the weekend.

Tomorrow I have many important things to take care of but will be posting eats and more photos of my aunt’s farm. I am still trying to catch up on too many blogs but hope to very soon.

Other things:

Have you been stuck in a crazy amount of traffic recently? How do you react? I honestly am not the most patient person. I think it comes from being a runner, because most of the time I just want to get out and run…ha.

What are your favorite Larabar flavors? Mine are Apple Pie, Coconut Cream Pie, and Peanut Butter Cookie. I also really enjoy Key Lime Pie and Cashew Cookie. I am sure there are a few I have yet to try, and would love to hear your opinions.

Are you afraid of any animals? I wrote above about my slight fear of being in an enclosed area with certain farm animals. I really need to change this, because I know that they wouldn’t do me any harm.

my hands smell of basil

Posted in ANIMALS, FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on May 4, 2010

Last night I stayed true to my Gluten Free Week challenge, but was unable to document it because it I ate a wrap quickly before heading out for the night. I am still loving the Food for Life Brown Rice Tortillas that Kelsey suggested. I had a Falafel Sunshine Burger (love these), hummus, sprouts, carrot, cucumber, avocado, and hot sauce. It was delicious but I knew that the hard workout yesterday demanded for a post dinner snack before heading to V’s. Next up was a So Delicious Plain Coconut Yogurt, Puffins, and raspberries. I loved finding out that one of my favorite crunchy cereals was gluten free. It definitely makes my stomach happy.

Today, I am going to try and take more shots of my gluten-free eats. Kelsey brought up the idea of a blogger gluten free week and I would love to see others jump on the bandwagon and come up with some tasty gluten free eats. As I posted before, there are so many wonderful gluten free recipe blogs. I was astounded to read about Nicole’s first week gluten free, she really had some great affects. She also is trying a vegan diet as well which I am always a fan of and more than willing to help others transition to.

This morning, I started with some Trader Joe’s gluten free waffles. I have been buying these and never knew they were gluten free. The site has an area where you can download a pdf file of all gluten free items in the store, as well as vegan and other dietary concerns. The waffles were already in my freezer and I was more than excited to sit down to them smothered in almond butter, banana slices, and maple syrup this morning.

Look what I found in my boyfriend’s cabinets when looking for a post run snack.

Yes, Larabar heaven. I munched on a peanut butter and jelly one (it’s been too long) before observing V’s mini herb garden. In the last month or so, we have bought many seeds and a few potted herbs at the farmer’s market. So far, we have basil, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, and chives. Coming up soon are california poppies (his home state and love), tomatoes, bell peppers, and BEETS.

I cut off a significant bunch of basil, hoping to make some pesto tonight.

Some things I’ve been reading:

Brendan Brazier’s posts on G Living: I have yet to own one of his books, but this post about running fuel and recipe for Raw Apple Cinnamon Bars was wonderful. They sound just like Apple Pie Larabars with some added hemp protein and quinoa.

-Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP article about sleep: I have always been a terrible sleeper. It tended to get better when I was competing in cross country races, but that was because of extreme training, school, and nannying. I was beat every night. In the last year, even when working 12-14 hour days on my feet, I still find myself tossing and turning. The article discussed an elimination diet that I found very interesting, considering I am doing just that right now:

For two weeks, eliminate sugar, corn syrup, sodas, refined grains and processed foods. These are metabolic disruptors which overstress the organs involved in hormone regulation and can seriously affect your sleep cycles. In addition, avoid dairy and gluten products, especially wheat, for the two weeks as these can cause food reactions or sensitivities which can affect your sleep cycle, too.

The only thing that has helped me sleep recently is melatonin, which I know is a natural supplement, but I would love to wean off of it if possible.

-Lastly, please check out these two posts that Alicia Silverstone has written (here and here) about horse-drawn carriages in NYC. I know that it seems romantic and charming to ride on a horse drawn carriage, but please think of these poor horses being surrounded by traffic on the streets in Manhattan. When I was an intern at Harper’s Bazaar a few years ago, I would walk through Central Park everyday and see how miserable the horses were. I even almost witnessed a car hit one and was heart broken. I wish this situation would change in the near future.

Questions for you:

Do you try to make your own energy bars or buy them often?

Have you ever had sleep problems? Any sleep secrets?

How do you feel about horse drawn carriages?

Hope everyone is having a lovely Tuesday!