A Fresh Dille

earth hour. native day.

Posted in Uncategorized by clairedille on March 26, 2011

Before I go on to tell you about the nothing but stellar lunch we had today at Native Foods, I want to remind you that at 8:30 PM, Earth Hour starts. I urge you to turn off your lights for one hour to take a stand against climate change. I know it is getting down to the wire, but I encourage you to read more about it and take action.

Now, I must go on about some delicious eat’s at Native Foods

V and I had no set plans for our Saturday, but wanted to get out of the house after a lazy morning and routine trips to each of our banks for the lovely deposit of our weekly paychecks (exciting stuff). If that isn’t treat-worthy, I don’t know what is. We both are overworked these days, and after week-days filled with eating wraps and veggie burgers en-shopping-route, I knew I wanted a special meal at one of my favorite places. Native Foods is much more a lunch place than dinner in my opinion, simply because you order at the counter, and then the food is delivered to your seat.

Last time we dined there it was quite a bit warmer, allowing us to dine al fresco. Although I didn’t bring the camera along, I want to share with you the description of these two dishes I fell in love with:

Asian Lettuce WRAPS: Lettuce cups filled with a stir fry of our Original Seitan, mushrooms, jicama, garlic and ginger, topped with crispy rice noodles. Spicy garlic soy sauce on the side.

Saigon Wrap: Braised lemongrass tofu, lightly pickled daikon and carrot twirls, brown and jasmine rice, cucumber strips, fresh cilantro and basil, tangy peanut sauce in an organic whole wheat wrap (see Quarry Girl’s photos and reviews).

Unfortunately, the Saigon Wrap must have been a seasonal specialty because it was no longer on the menu and I was a tad disappointed. But it could have been a good thing, because I had to go with something new instead of sticking with a favorite, as I often tend to do.

V is always a nacho lover, and although he didn’t fall in love with the Veggie Grill’s version, he was ready to give another vegan variety a go.

Nuevo Native Nachos: Homemade organic corn tortilla chips covered in black beans, Native Taco Meat, Native Chipotle Crema, Native Cheese, salsa fresca, and guacamole. Topped with organic corn, green onions, and cilantro.

Ok, now these were good, really good. We both were raving about the chipotle crema, native cheese, and taco “meat.” Of course the other toppings were wonderful as well, but the stars were the nut cheese, cream, and meat. They were all perfectly spiced and we left the plate clean.

For his main dish, V continued with the southwestern trend and ordered Baja Surf Tacos, their sea-friendly “fish taco”. Two soft grilled corn tortillas stuffed with crispy battered Tempeh, homemade surfer sauce, salsa fresca, shredded cabbage and guacamole. I was too into my own meal to taste his, but he made his way through them. I do know that he preferred the nachos more, devouring that portion of his food first. He mentioned that he “wished there was more filling, and less toppings.”

I opted for the Scorpion Burger, Chef Tanya’s original burger! Homemade Tempeh blackened with chipotle sauce, lettuce, carrots, avocado and onions. Later, I read on the menu that I could have went with caramelized onions (oooh, next time!), but I still really enjoyed this. As a tempeh lover, I was all about this chipotle seasoned tempeh. And Amen to avocado which I mashed evenly across my burger and doused with ketchup. The Native Sweet Potato Fries were my side, and like V, I demolished the dish in its entirety.

I couldn’t have imagined a more delectable lunch. We both were talking about it the whole walk to the car. Of course, it leaves me with a smile on my face when my omni boyfriend is just as happy as I with a great vegan meal.

And next time I will order dessert… I still have yet to try one and they are always on display, looking fantastic. Next time I would love to order a salad or bowl to leave room for dessert.

Check out the menu here, and let me know what you think I should order. Every time I want to try something new until I’ve pretty much made my way through the entire Native Foods menu (since I can!).

Other things:

– The Maker’s Project is a really inspiring site for me these days. I love seeing where and how other people work. Some favorites are The Jewels of NY, Saipua, and Reverie.

– Backyard Bill, another favorite blog, photographs one of my favorite designers, Isabel Marant in her workspace. I dream of having my own studio space one day. I not yet sure entirely what it would be for, but having a studio/loft work/art space in general is an inspiring thought, isn’t it?

– What are your thoughts on the Vegan Martha Stewart episode? Are you liking the vegan-hype brought on by Oprah?

Okay, I must go…turn off the lights. Dinner in the dark followed by a film. Go do it too.


switching the route

Posted in Uncategorized by clairedille on October 22, 2010

It sounds like sandwiches, wraps, bars, fruit (dried and fresh), and nuts are the road trip foods of choice. I will be getting to all of that this weekend since our departure date is Monday. Instead of taking the route we had planned, and already visited AAA for maps for, my mother and I have opted to take the southern route. We both haven’t traveled much in the southwest, and plan on stopping in Tulsa, OK, Albuquerque, NM, and Flagstaff, AZ. The most disappointing part about the switch, is that I won’t be stopping in Denver for a day to see a best friend. We had heard that snow was going to be hitting the Rockies and my mother wasn’t too excited with that, considering I was going to be driving alone from Denver to LA. Fortunately for me, she has now decided to go the whole way and we may drive some half days so that we have more time to explore some southwest cities we haven’t visited before.

My mother is a fellow bread enthusiast, and loves the seedy whole grain variety as much as I do. This morning I toasted some Whole Foods Seeduction bread and covered it with crunchy peanut butter and blueberry preserves. It has been too long since I’ve had an open faced pb & j.

Since my father left to film in New Orleans, I’ve been keeping my mom company. I made a simple gnocchi dish with a mix of fresh pumpkin puree, tomato sauce, spinach, squash, rosemary, and sage. It probably skimped in protein, but it was still satisfying. We used whole wheat gnocchi and couldn’t tell the difference in taste or texture. They were just like the gnocchi we had in Tuscany.

The parents keep their home pretty chilly and because I’ve been really trying to fit in cross-training, I’ve hopped on their new elliptical a few times these last few days to warm up. What a good excuse to get a workout in, right? Teri also reminded me that foam rolling would really help alleviate the IT band pain I’ve been having. After searching in my old bedroom closet,  I found the one that my college cross-country coach had given me. It has already has helped  a lot.

I really want to like the garden herb sunshine burgers, but something just doesn’t sit right. I prefer the other Sunshine burger flavors, especially the Southwest (how fitting considering we are going there…). We are really trying to empty out our fridges, and the only veggies I could find were organic baby romaine, farmer’s market tomatoes, and avocado, that I tossed with a balsamic dijon vinaigrette. Honestly, I couldn’t make it through the veggie burger and ate the remaining dumpling squash half and baked beans for today’s lunch.

Newman’s Own Organics sent me a huge box full of products to review for the blog. I dove right into the Fig Newmans first. I forgot how much I enjoy these fig filled treats. They are the perfect pre workout treat too! I can’t wait to try the rest of the vegan choices. The timing is perfect for our road trip.

Now I’m off to go dispose of our plants. This really breaks my heart, and clearly shows how I am meant to be a vegetarian. I have a hard time killing plants! I just don’t think it is practical to travel across the country with a tiny 1990 bmw filled with herbs. I guess V and I will just have to get new ones once we settle in.

Some of you were asking where in LA I will be. Well, it is kind of confusing. We will be staying in our friends way up in Topanga Canyon, but only while he is filming in Thailand for two months. After that, it will be up to us to find a place and area (probably closer to the studios…maybe Toluca Lake, North Hollywood) we want to be. I am very excited to stay out of the center in Topanga for a little bit though. Hopefully I can convince friends to come up their to hike with me.

Other things:

-Have you traveled in the southwest? Have you been to any of the cities I mentioned we will be stopping? Any tips? We will only be driving through but will stop for a few nights and if we find a city particularly interesting, we will probably be staying for a half a day. I do worry about dinners in some of these places. I hope they are veg-friendly!

morning routines & sprouts.

Posted in FOOD, Uncategorized, VEGAN by clairedille on April 29, 2010

This morning I started things off in the typical manner. First, I sliced a lemon to squeeze into my already boiled water, flipped the switch on the coffee maker, and fed Bessie a combo of rice and her doggie food. As I sipped my warm water, I opened the pantry looking for my usual container of oats, only to find an empty jar. I remembered I still had a small stash of the Bob’s Red Mill cereals that I had won via Teri’s giveaway. The 10 grain cereal was my favorite of the kinds I had already tasted, but I knew it was time to finally try the last of the samples, the Gluten Free Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal. I cooked the cereal mixed with some unsweetened vanilla almond milk and thinly sliced banana pieces (Kath style) for ten minutes before topping with more banana, dried Michigan cherries, the delicious Naturally Nutty Vanilla Almond Butter, and a half teaspoon of palm sugar.

The return of a sunny spring morning made me so happy.

The boy exclaimed, “they taste just like cream of wheat!”

I said, “Is that a bad thing?”

“No, I love cream of wheat!”

They weren’t my favorite of the Bob’s Red Mill hot cereals but I must admit they were still an incredibly delicious way to start my day.

Other excitement was the abundance of sprouts in my new sprouting jar I bought at Whole Foods (for only $5.99 but cheaper at iHerb). I got a pound of organic mung beans for $1.99 during the same shop and filled my mason jar.

I measured one half cup of mung beans and soaked them in the sprouting jar overnight with one cup water.

The next morning, I rinsed and drained them and tilted the jar to let sprout for 3 days. Each day I rinsed and drained the seeds delicately (2 times but recommended 3-4) and kept the jar in a dark corner of my kitchen.

The jar was almost filled to the brim with theses beauties this morning. I couldn’t believe how many sprouts just one half cup yielded. I will be eating them in salads and in wraps for days. Emily also wrote a great post about sprouting with a yummy recipe for sprouted chickpea hummus.

Later, I will write about a recipe mishap that still turned out pretty tasty.

Do you ever find that your morning routine goes not exactly as planned but surprises you in a good way?

savory days

Posted in FOOD, Uncategorized, VEGAN by clairedille on April 27, 2010

Sometimes I go through phases where I just feel like making main courses or side dishes of the savory variety. Truthfully, most days I tend to favor baking or playing around with the more sweet ingredients to make tasty treats. Over the weekend I knew that I would have to prepare some meals for work to try and ward off the crankiness that comes with my hunger (wrote about last week). Keeping myself well fed is a top priority of mine and when looking in my purse, you will always find a snack in case I crash. Interestingly, I’ve never tested to see if I am anemic, etc. but have always been interested in getting my blood tested to see how my diet affects it.

When eyeing an extremely affordable box of organic red quinoa at Trader Joe’s last week, I knew it would be incorporated into a salad of sorts. First I roasted up some broccoli sprayed with my favorite Coconut Oil at 375 degrees for a good 20 minutes.

A Kabocha squash that has been sitting in my pantry for probably too long was cut up and roasted in a similar fashion, for a little bit longer. Too bad the season for them has come to a close, isn’t it a beauty?

Searching for a more thrilling way to prepare the Quinoa, I selected some organic light coconut milk and thai red chili paste. For one cup of quinoa, I combined one cup of coconut milk, one cup of water, one tablespoon thai red chili paste (could use more) and a few spices (salt, cumin, coriander, cinnamon) and brought to a boil. Simmering at a low heat for twenty minutes, the Quinoa was light and fluffy.

Lastly, I roasted a quarter cup of pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds) with a teaspoon of tamari (wheat free soy sauce-either works) for 5 minutes. I mixed it all up and drizzled with a mixture of sesame oil, umeboshi vinegar, grated ginger, and tamari. After one night in the fridge, all the flavors had melded together and it was the perfect lunch over a bed of baby spinach.

The other recipe I had bookmarked for weeks was Averie’s raw Kale Chips. Due to the fact that I do not yet own a dehydrator of my own, I decided to divide up my bunch into two batches. First, I washed and tore the Kale into a little larger than bite size pieces.

I followed Averie’s recipe exactly, and mixed the “cheesy” sauce with the kale with my fingers until evenly incorporated.

I spread the massaged Kale on a few parchment lined baking sheets.

One sheet was placed into an oven ranging from 125 to 175 degrees (for a few hours) and the other in the 350 degree oven (15 mins). As I knew someone quite hungry would be arriving, I wanted to make sure that one bunch was ready to eat ASAP. When my boyfriend entered, he said he smelled something “cheesy.” Of course this surprised him and he was happy to find that the taste of the Kale Chips were just as cheesy as they smelled.

Here are the remaining Kale chips from the previous night. We gobbled them up incredibly fast with tempeh bacon, vegenaise, spinach, and sprout wraps and baked sweet potato chips (yes, two chips in a night!). Because of poor lighting and increasing hunger, I was unable to snap a photo until today. I can’t wait to make these again for more people. I know my father will be a fan.

I give major props to Averie for this recipe, it really is a must-try! She also has some great words of wisdom on raising a child and making unconventional choices.

some natural goodies.

Posted in BEAUTY, Uncategorized by clairedille on April 27, 2010

This post isn’t about the kind of vegan goodies that I usually write about, but the ones I use (almost) every day in the privacy of my bathroom. Striving to find all natural, vegan friendly toiletries can be challenging, but I thank Whole Foods and other natural health food stores for making some of these much easier to find.

I am loving the accessibility of the Giovanni Organic Hair Care products. Not only do I find that they work wonderfully, but I found them at Target (on sale!) last week. Before I was using the Balancing shampoo and conditioner but I switched over to the Colorflage line and am finding they work wonderfully. The Brazenly Brunette uses goji berry and coffee berry to bring out natural highlights. The best part is that Giovanni:

uses formulas that incorporate vitamins, herbs, minerals, proteins, nutrients and the purest of essential oils. The patented Giovanni PureOrganic Technology™ represents an exquisite blend of exotic organic oils, ripe-harvested from renewable plants at the peak of their freshness. The oils are cold pressed and refrigerated immediately to ensure maximum purity.”


In terms of eco friendly toothbrush companies, Preserve, is the best I have found. These babies can be seen any where from Trader Joes and Whole Foods to tiny whole in the wall health stores. They have a great program if you buy them online in a mail pack, where they can be sent right back to be recycled when finished. I usually drop mine off along with my brita water filters at a Whole Foods in the designated recycling bins.

I don’t know if you have tried the Tom’s natural toothpaste, but when I first ventured into natural toothpastes, it was the only one I could find. I was not a fan and was very turned off of natural toothpaste for a while. Recently, I found this Jason’s Sea Fresh one that is not chalky and has a great minty taste. Make sure not to get the Sea Fresh with CoQ10 because that is a compound usually derived from meat sources.

Aromatherapy has never been my thing but the occasional bath is great with a few drops of Lavender essential oil. Sometimes we need to treat ourselves to a nice calming bath after a rough week and Lavender is said to be the ultimate oil for tranquility and cleansing. Reading up on Aura Cacia is also truly refreshing. They have a great philosophy and sustainability program.

Masks are another thing I don’t treat myself to that often, like the occasional bath. When I do, I reach for my Zia french clay mask. This Colorado company uses great ingredients like Seaweed and essential oils, which you can read about here. They are also animal friendly and are making a great effort to be as green as they can.

The last is a local soap, specifically flavored Almond Cocoa. I don’t always get this brand but since I saw it at the Earth Day Fest yesterday, I scooped it up after smelling every single soap. This one contains olive, coconut, palm, jojoba, rice bran, sunflower, avocado, cocoa powder, and essential oils of bitter almond. Each time I need a new soap, I head over to one of the smaller local health stores (instead of Whole Foods) to find a company that produces them in state. This is just because I want to support a local company to the best of my ability, even if it is just one soap a month, at least it is an effort!

I hope you enjoyed this post and don’t feel too overwhelmed by product galore. These companies had no clue that I was reviewing their products, I am just telling it like it is. I hope you try them!

Tomorrow I will be posting about some yummy food I have been enjoying.

a belated earth week post.

Posted in BEAUTY, FOOD, Uncategorized by clairedille on April 26, 2010

Yesterday I made my way to Michigan’s Earth Day Fest. It was a cold and rainy day but I knew that I would regret not going if I chose to forgo it. There were certain areas that were out of my league, as I am not a homeowner yet, but it was a very enjoyable experience. My favorite area definitely involved food and I was given a free tofu salad wrap from Whole Foods and purchased a vegan chocolate mousse that I saved for dessert. Katie, from Naturally Nutty, the local nut butter company that has made its way all over the blog world, was there and I knew that it was finally time to buy some. The two vegan varieties I taste tested and bought were the Vanilla Almond Butter and Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter.

Don’t you worry, I made sure to top my oats with a little of each nut butter this morning.

Other booths of interest were Greening Detroit, VegMichigan (will be posting about VegFest soon),  Detroit Green MapAvalon Bread (so many vegan treats), Boh Bon Soap,  Maple Creek Farm (they provide food for my fave veggie restaurant in MI- Inn Season), and a Wellness Center that may help my body during Marathon training this summer.

Another local treat that was so tasty that I had to purchase some were the Live Smart Flax Bars. I chose an original and chocolate variety and the list of ingredients can be found here.

Growing up, I always thought of myself as a true New Yorker (east coaster?) because I spent the majority of my life there, but I think that it is time that I learn to appreciate the area where I spent my high school years and have now returned for work. I know that I will not be living here for the rest of my life, but supporting my current community is important no matter where I am.

Some other things:

Have  you heard about the Film Series that Whole Foods Let’s Retake Our Plates program has organized?

What all natural beauty/toiletry products do you use regularly and suggest? I will be posting about some of my favorite new finds later today but would love to hear about yours.

Hello, Hello, Again.

Posted in Uncategorized by clairedille on December 15, 2009

I have been so vacant from the blog world, as mentioned in previous posts. Not only have my posts been on hiatus, but it is pretty rare for me to spend more than 5-10 minutes with my favorite blogs at a time. I must admit that sometimes we all go through times where we have to be a little bit selfish and spend time focusing on our own goals and desires to move forward. Unfortunately, my writing has really been put on the back burner the last few months, with just a few words scribbled in a journal each week.

My cooking has been just as neglected. When freelancing in NY this September, I was consuming catered food and definitely had to stray from my usual vegan lifestyle. Within a few days of finishing up work in my beloved city, I was hired as a costume assistant for a film in Detroit. My life plans have been turned around and I’ve spent much time rethinking what makes me happy. As it turns out, I find myself just as intrigued by the film world as the fashion world. The wardrobe team I have been working with and hopefully continue with, has been warm to me, teaching me the in’s and out’s of the industry. However, my eats have been more boring than ever. The craft services and catering has nothing truly beneficial to put into my body, but I have been forced to do so when working 14 hour days, especially those days shooting entirely at night. My sleep has been turned upside down and I have been struggling to return to any sort of normal routine. Although all these things have been happening, I am not upset or beating myself up over any of these things. I have always been the type of person who lives day to day. Planning isn’t always as beneficial for one person as it is for another. It has taken me years to accept that my flaws aren’t necessarily negative, but make me who I am.

This blog started as an outlet for me to post about things that I find fascinating, charming, or just of interest. I will try my hardest to continue posting on occasion, because I still enjoy the blog world. There are days when I hardly have enough time to sleep, but for the next few weeks I will be with family and friends before my next work venture and I am sure they will inspire me in many different ways.

Here are some photos that Maya from Turned Out took of my friend Nova. She is a true beauty inside and out ,with an old soul for such a young sweet girl.

Before I met her at work (she was our wonderful shoe model), I had been to her mother’s amazing vintage store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Malin Landaeus. It has some of the most beautiful pieces I have ever seen and am hoping to visit when I am in town for holiday.

Next, I hope to post about some items on my Christmas wishlist and the dessert I will be making for Christmas Day (hint-you’ve seen it before on here). In the meantime, I have a few posts on my more fashionable blog, Poor Little Fashion Soul.

time to get lost

Posted in Uncategorized by clairedille on October 22, 2009

time to get lostNo, I am not off on some ideal romantic getaway. Instead, I am busy working away in a few cities and in a few industries. Here are some images of love that I love. It never hurts to have a little escapism…

a late return

Posted in Uncategorized by clairedille on August 12, 2009

I have decided that I would like to return to A Fresh Dille after a few months hiatus. Never expecting to leave in the first place, I feel an apology is in order. I know how sad I am when blogs I regularly read come to a close. So please come back and read if you wish and I will try and keep things festive. I will resume posts about some of my favorites…food, fashion, and fitness. Of course travel and other areas of interest will probably make an appearance as well. Thanks for listenening lovelies. Hope all is well out there in the blogosphere.

quand il me prend dans les bras …

Posted in Uncategorized by clairedille on March 29, 2009

when he takes me in his arms…



currently watching louis garrel in one of my favorites, dans paris.

images from hedi.

fashion words tonight.