A Fresh Dille

real food.

Posted in ENTERTAINMENT, FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on November 12, 2010

This summer, I was helping a friend on a film that was filming mostly nights for two weeks. It was right in the middle of two projects, and before I knew it, I had a cold. It was summer and yes, I had a cold. Filming all nights for more than a few days never leaves you feeling good. I told a friend/coworker and she said, “you need to start eating real food.” The funny thing is that I was. I ate oats per usual most days with healthy fats and fruit. Lunches and snacks of salads, sandwiches, nuts, dried, and fresh fruit were considered not “real food” in her mind. This confused me. She told me I was living the “LA mentality of eating” and that hurt. Usually, I try to laugh off people’s claims that plant-based diets are unhealthy, but she was a friend. Not wanting to get all defensive, I told her why I eat the way I do and that normally, I feel great. I said that my cold was bound to happen from being overworked and decided that it wasn’t worth discussing further. She still continued to try to feed me the craft service food consisting of licorice (and other candy), cookies, granola bars full of hydrogenated fats, and chips.

I am not the kind of person who forces others to eat the way I do, so I was shocked that she was trying to make me eat foods that make me feel worse. It was hard and I was hurt, but I’ve learned since to just be quiet. I wasn’t attacked, but more upset by her non-understanding. In the past I have felt attacked and I’ve talked about it before. It is hardest when it is from those we love and other times, it isn’t worth discussing.

So when the day started yesterday, I was craving some “real food.”

After the delicious bowl of buckwheat I had at Body in Santa Fe, I was determined to find some. Remembering that I had seen the kaia brand before on Whole Foods shelves, I stopped by the night before with luck. They had two choices of buckwheat granola, the Dates & Spices, and Raisin Cinnamon. Supposedly, they also have a Cocoa Bliss, but I couldn’t find it.

In the morning, I poured a bowl of the Dates & Spices that I topped with coconut milk, banana, raspberries, and almond butter that Lynn gave me (how did she know I was without my favorite nut butter!?).

I wasn’t as confident it would keep me as full as my typical morning steel-cut oats, but it did. I didn’t love the date chunks because they were a little too big and hard, but I still adore the buckwheat. Next time, I may try another flavor.

A few hours later I met up with a best friend I went to high school with who moved out to LA almost a year ago. Although she is not a veggie, she was intrigued by the restaurant I brought up, Real Food Daily, especially since it was across the street from where we were shopping. The menu was a little confusing at first, but I had fun describing cashew cheese, vegan sour cream, and tempeh to her. Leading by example that vegan food is delicious is really the way to do it. Ironically, she had a tastier meal than I.

I ordered the RFD burger, described as a tempeh vegetable patty with sautéed onions, lettuce, tomato on a rustic roll. It came with a side salad and I requested cashew cheese on the burger. There were much more creative things on the menu, but like good italian restaurants, where the bread has to be good for it to be a quality restaurant, I feel vegetarian places should have a great veggie burger. Unfortunately, this burger left much to be desired. It was not my kind of burger. My friend tried half and she said it resembled raw meat because of the red color. Of course I didn’t let the color throw me off, but it was the texture that I wasn’t a fan of. I prefer a firmer veggie patty and this was just a little to soft for my liking. The side salad had a ginger dressing with maybe tahini. It was tasty.

My friend Erin had the Spicy BLT wrap with tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and spicy vegenaise in a spinach wrap. I had a bite and much preferred her lunch. After having a vegan BLT the day before, I went a different way, but hers was pretty tasty with the spicy dressing. It would have been even better on sliced bread, a little heartier maybe. The best part was that she thoroughly enjoyed it.

Now I feel bad writing this after not loving the veggie burger, but the cookie was not the best either. These are better. The cookie was a gluten free vegan chocolate chip cookie. Maybe it was the gluten free flour or not enough fat, but the cookie was much too cakey for my ideal cookie. I like a chewy crispy chocolate chip cookie and this just wasn’t it.

Of course we still ate our halves and were left satisfied with some sweetness to finish off our lunch.

The experience outside the restaurant afterwards left a much worse taste in my mouth. As a new yorker, I am used to homeless men and women, but was not expecting someone to spit towards me while reaching for my friends purse, causing me to run into ongoing traffic. We left dry and safe, but it was a little too much reality for me yesterday. We were both in a little bit of shock from the situation.

That didn’t stop us from seeing the movie 127 hours, which was much more intense. I should have known this from the start when I heard it was directed by Danny Boyle of 28 days later and Slumdog Millionaire fame. The true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston getting caught under a boulder while climbing alone was a reality I could never imagine and James Franco did a flawless job portraying the horror. He brought the movie along alone and I was squirming in my seat the entire performance. Yes, that isn’t your typical good movie scenario, but I was emotionally affected in a good way. I definitely recommend seeing this heart-wrenching story and amazing acting.

Afterwards, I rushed over to meet V for a late dinner of sweet potato fries, pita and hummus, and salad. It was really just a way for us to relax at a bar near the studio he is filming by missing rush hour. I am already having a real hard time with it. LA needs a real subway system ASAP.

Other things:

– Do you give up on a restaurant after a not-so-great dining experience? Do you give it another shot? I am definitely still intrigued by Real Food Daily. I just might not have made the best menu choices and overall enjoyed the atmosphere. Next time I will try the Santa Monica restaurant since we dined in the West Hollywood one yesterday.

– Have you seen any good films recently? I know that the good ones usually come out in the next few months, but I haven’t been too interested in seeing many of those out now.

– Do you feel like you get criticized because of the way you choose to eat? How do you handle it? I’ve since told my friend more about why I eat the way I do and she really has adjusted her words and thoughts. I know it is hard to get everyone to understand that you eat for not only your health, but also for your mind, environmental beliefs, etc., but sometimes it is worth it to discuss.


award-winning breakfasts.

Posted in ENTERTAINMENT, FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on July 17, 2010

These past few mornings, I have still been eating my fair share of plated oats.

When W magazine arrived…I was pleasantly surprised to see the faces of two actors I adore on the cover. The photo spread and interview were pretty fun as well. I won’t deny it, I am such a Mad Men fan (it returns the 25th!) and Jon Hamm is pretty yummy. Recently I saw the film Please Give, with Rebecca Hall and was reminded about her beautiful acting. If you haven’t seen Vicky Cristina Barcelona with her, you must soon. Although the upcoming film, The Town, with these two together is a crime/drama/thriller (read: not my favorite kind of film), I can’t wait to see their chemistry on camera.

To get back to more important things…OATS. Two days this week I had plated steel cut oats with the peach/blueberry combo. I restocked my blueberries this morning for the upcoming week, but we will begin filming bright (or still dark) and early Monday, so please imagine similar breakfasts for the week ahead.

Sunflower butter is the perfect nut butter with peach-blueberry oats. Half a banana is always sliced in to the oats while cooking, as well as the usual chia, cinnamon, and vanilla mix-ins. This week I have been using unsweetened coconut milk but that soon will be replaced with almond milk.

The only other berries on hand are the frozen variety. I had frozen some of our farmer’s market raspberries and microwaved them with some banana and coconut butter to make a berry banana mash topping to pour on top of my scottish oats. It was great to have a compote type topping similar to this lovely lady’s.

Speaking of the lovely Jess of Healthy Exposures, she was recently given a Sugar Doll Blogger Award which she passed on to me! I feel so honored since her blog is one of my favorites. Even when extremely busy, I make sure to keep up with her posts. Not only is she a beautiful photographer, but her love of all things food and horse related is captivating.

The rules are as follows:

Tell 10 little known facts about yourself and then pass it on to 3-5 other bloggers!

It is always hard for me to come up with little quirks or interesting facts about myself, but V disagreed and helped me come up with a few you may enjoy. Jess started off with some childhood stories and I have quite a few myself, so here I go…

1. I was pretty much a terror as an older sister when young. My poor little sister was told many crazy things to be considered cool and in the same “group ” as my best friend and I. We would make her walk on the sidewalks for blocks on the way to school, when she was still so small she had to basically do the splits the entire way. Other ridiculous things I did involved pickles and underwear…it was bad. I still feel awful about it actually.

2. I was never considered athletic. While my sister was on every team growing up, I was the one who started and quit each sport. It wasn’t until middle school that I realized my runner abilities. My gym teacher had us run a mile and I beat the majority of the boys. Soon after, I ran my first road race and won for my age group. It was pretty exciting to realize that although I may not be good at any sports with balls, I can still be a competitive athlete.

3. Traveling internationally is something I have been doing since birth. My parents took me to France and England before my first birthday, and a few tropical places by the time I was 5. Since then I have traveled throughout Western Europe, where I spent the most amount of time in the Netherlands (studying) and Italy (with family for a summer). I would rather live in a small bungalow or apartment with character than an enormous home so that I could still afford to travel to my heart’s content.

4. I was afraid dogs until I had my own. Every summer on Martha’s Vineyard, I would run past a certain home when I heard their brown chocolate lab bark. I still am unsure of why I had this fear since I now adore all (most) animals and have the sweetest yellow lab.

5. I thank chocolate for helping me grow. I was tiny growing up, the smallest in each grade I was in. During high school, I had yet to reach the growth chart at the doctor’s office and they become worries (and therefore made my mother). Although my family is very petite, I was incredibly so. When we went to Italy one summer at the end of high school, I ate chocolate as much as possible. Throughout that time, I would eat nutella on bread, chocolate flavored gelato, and many different chocolate desserts at restaurants. When returning, I had grown considerably and was no longer the underweight little girl I was before.

6. I gave up peanut butter and jelly for years after throwing up a sandwich in first grade on my friend’s desk while playing the game “seven up.” It was rather disgusting and it took me years to re-embrace its deliciousness.

7. I also “hated carrots” for years. I thought they made my stomach hurt when eaten raw and refused many cooked carrots because I had no clue that roasted carrots could be so delicious. Now, I adore them in salads, raw with hummus, and roasted with other root veggies.

8. I painted my nails almost daily at the end of elementary and early middle school years. Something about moving to Laguna Beach, CA made me want to become some kind of valley girl. I was ultra girlie back then and even owned a shirt that said “As if.” Clueless and the Spice Girls movie made an impact. Let’s leave it at that.

9. I can’t stomach beer. I secretly wish I could like it because I find the brewing process and craft involving beer pretty interesting, but it just always makes me feel sick to my stomach. Instead, I sip on wine and the occasional vodka soda with lime and/or cranberry when I do drink. There were days when I drank much more (late high school/early college), but now I only do on the rare occasion socially. Maybe one day I will drink a glass a night like my grandmother, but now I am fine doing without.

10. I can’t burp and don’t remember ever doing so. My mother says she burped me as a baby, but since then I haven’t burped. People have tried making me down sodas, etc. but nothing works. This may be the reason why I can’t handle beer, who knows. Recently I learned that my dad doesn’t burp either. Kind of strange…

I hope these weren’t too bizarre for ya.

I am going to pass the award to three of you, but there are many others I love too of course!

Danielle at A Nourishing Glimpse

Amanda at Seek Myself

Katharina at Katharina’s Food Adventures

Can’t wait to hear some more fun facts about these wonderful women.

Now it is time to get our grill on for the first time. V is full of energy after filming until 7:30 a.m., which means that he got to sleep all of today. I am jealous of the sleeping all day part, but definitely not filming all night. Those are the worst, especially when your Monday call time is back to 5 a.m. Not much of a weekend, is it?!

Other things:

-Do you watch Mad Men? Love it/hate it? I wrote about my love for the show once back in the day when I started blogging (before taking almost a year off) and still am pretty into it. I do think the last season went a little downhill, but the wardrobe keeps me coming back…and Don Draper/Jon Hamm is just…yeah…

-Are you a beer drinker? I really wish I could enjoy it, but as I wrote above, it just doesn’t sit well with me. Sometimes I feel it makes me “such a girl” to say I can’t stomach it, but it is the truth.

-Some people asked about my camera in the last post’s comments and I was borrowing my dad’s Canon G11 for a few days. I had to return it and already miss its photo quality. It definitely shows that nicer camera’s ($$)  can take much better images than most digital’s. This gives me much more of an incentive to head out and purchase my own in the next month or so when I can.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend. Tomorrow will be about bananas and pizza. Stay tuned…

multiple views.

Posted in ENTERTAINMENT, FAMILY, FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on July 5, 2010

Although belated, tonight is actually going to be our official BBQ for the Fourth of July at my parents house. I’ve already received the phone call notifying me that my father bought a veggie burger from the prepared foods section of Whole Foods to throw on the grill for me. Of course I was hoping to whip up something special for myself and whoever wanted some tasty vegan fare, but this weekend has been another hectic one.

I’ve mentioned it before, but I am not your typical American sports fan. Actually, I am pretty far from one. Soccer and Tennis are more my thing, but when V told me he was given four free tickets to a Detroit Tigers game, our second of the summer, I eagerly agreed. There were a few reasons why I knew it was worth going and one was that he was told “they will be the best seats you’ve ever had.” The last time (and my first baseball game ever) we sat maybe nine rows back and I was pretty satisfied. This time though, we were in the first row behind the Tigers dugout, which was a prime viewing spot for seeing each player’s facial expression. There were also quite a few foul bowls that I made sure to duck from, while the rest of the fans jumped up in hopes of catching one. The highlight of the night was the fireworks show set up post-game on the field. By the time the wonderfully long and loud show came to a close, we were slightly covered with firework residue and had a little too much for our eyes to handle. However, it was really a special night and I met a few people V is working with on his current film who were great company.

There was no way I was going to miss another Farmer’s Market trip, so we woke up early Saturday morning to head to a different market than usual on our way to Ikea. The organic stands were pretty minimal which disappoints me a little, but I did pick up some broccoli, multiple cucumbers, kale, beets, raspberries, and the blueberries I’ve been craving all week.

You know what had to come next…patriotic oats for the holiday of course.

After eating my way through my Scottish Oats recently, I knew it was time to change things up. One day I will take photos of my obsessive jar collection, but one was full to the brim of Steel Cut oats that were begging to be prepared. With Amanda’s steel-cut oat creations (and tutorial) in my mind, I decided to make a batch for me and V covered in raspberries, blueberries, and coconut butter. They took about ten minutes longer than my usual oats, but they were extra creamy and just as delicious.

I also must mention the coupons I won from Wendy for Turtle Mountain Products. So far I’ve been enjoying the Plain Coconut Milk Kefir with berries and puffins. It has been added to my steel-cut oats two mornings in a row with a slightly sour result V and I both enjoy.

Instead of your typical BBQ/beach/family gathering Fourth of July, V and I had work errands and an Ikea trip on the agenda. By the time dinner rolled around (yes, we ate lunch yesterday too but it was nothing exciting since we were building our new apartment purchases) we were starving and looked through some bookmarked dishes to prepare with minimal ingredients. Susan’s Polenta Pizza was one I’ve had my eye on for a while and we had a jar full of Polenta which made the decision easy.

It was rather dark by the time we ate since it was past 9 PM but it was a tasty treat we both loved.

Lighting was scarce in the usually well-lit apartment, but I still captured what I could of the polenta pizza baked with our own basil, rosemary, and chives. Spread on top was organic tomato sauce, garlic, onion, red pepper, and broccoli. My half also had mushrooms but V steered clear since he is not a fan of cooked mushrooms due to the “weird texture.” Well, more for me…

After dinner, we made our way up to the roof and realized that we had views of multiple firework shows around Detroit. When counting them all, we saw ten different shows across the skyline. It was such a magical experience and made up for all the missed shows in the last few years.

-Have you missed Fireworks shows on past July 4th or similar holidays? Are you a fan? I must admit that I completely thought they were overrated and much more fun when I was younger on Martha’s Vineyard. Since we saw them two nights this weekend, I am reminded how wonderful they are!

-Are you a polenta fan? Any good recipes? I really love it. Usually I prepare it simply creamy topped with pesto or tomato sauce and roasted veggies. Really, I am a fan of most things corn related.

As I am already late for my parents dinner, I must head out. I hope everyone had a lovely Fourth of July Weekend! I have missed all things blog related recently!

ciao for now.

a few things to be excited about.

Posted in ENTERTAINMENT, FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on July 28, 2008

In five minutes one of my favorite shows, Mad Men, is premiering the second season. New York Magazine has really upped my enthusiasm for the show these last few days. There is something truly fabulous about the costumes for the 1960’s advertising agency. Peggy, the naïve secretary, gets a big break in the close of season one (oops spoiler) and I can’t wait to see how she will progress throughout this season. This is the time women were getting out of the home and into the workplace. It is incredibly inspiring. Don Draper, the overly mysterious ad exec, is such a multi-faceted character and his beautiful wife can’t help but be bored by the housewife life. The barrier between his secrets and the audience will hopefully be broken this season. The show is up for sixteen emmy’s and if that isn’t an indicator of its brilliance, I don’t know what is. Even Michael Kors’ Fall ready-to-wear fashion show channeled the shows costumes.

Another reason I am particularly happy right now is due to my brand new camera. It hasn’t been put to good use yet but I did manage to sneak in a few shots of my simple staple lunch.

My love for beets has never waned and the sweetness is the perfect addition to a fresh spring green salad. Somehow my balsamic vinegar has walked off and disappeared and I was left with an old tuscan italian dressing from Trader Joe’s to top it off. The flavors were right but I prefer a less thick dressing like a nice homemade vinaigrette. Next, I slathered sprouted grain bread with pesto sauce.

Piled upon the sauce I added tomato, tempeh, and soy mozzarella and grilled it.  Delicious.

One last thing I am looking forward to is Harper’s Bazaar’s newest baby, The Runway Report. In this blog, I haven’t yet talked about my days interning there. All I will say now is that the magazine world has a hypnotizing kind of energy that I can not wait to return to.

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