A Fresh Dille

lots o’ love

Posted in FAMILY, FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on February 14, 2011

Alright, I know that I’ve been away much longer than I previously mentioned, but I must say that I am still all about the blog world. Yes, I am starting this post with an apology. I am sorry. An apology goes out to all my readers who have wondered where I’ve mysteriously disappeared to.  I promise it really isn’t too exciting. It’s always good to be busy, but as most of you know, blogging creates such a wonderful feeling. Sharing and reading others ideas about food, travel, yoga, etc. is something I can’t forget to let myself do.

So on this Valentines day, I decided that I should really go somewhere I love most, and that is the world of blogging.

Since moving to Los Angeles, finding an apartment (which I love, but have yet  to decorate), and starting a few different work projects, I haven’t had much time for pretty much, well, anything. When my last film finished, just a week ago, it was the first time I could breathe, and it happened to be the same time my sister would be coming to see if LA was a good fit for her, as well.

The list of veggie-friendly places I wish to visit in LA is ever-expanding, and my little sister is the perfect person to bring along. We are all about sharing, and so far, we’ve had some great eats at Seed in Venice, Le Pain Quotidien in West Hollywood, and M Cafe in West Hollywood. There was also the babycakes visit Friday night when V was wrapping up a day of filming Downtown. That cafe is too cute and just too good. We shared a chocolate chip cookie and a banana chocolate loaf slice (maybe this recipe with added chocolate chunks & topped with raw sugar, yum). We ate them on the car ride home, true story. Falling asleep by 10 p.m. is pretty standard these days.

Although I am not so into Valentines Day, I am into Valentines Day specials. When I heard M Cafe , my favorite nearby macrobiotic joint, was going to be having specials for the holiday, I brought my sister along for some chocolate-y goodness. We went for the Petit Fours, which were essentially tiny cakes covered in a rich ganache. They were tasty, but I was expecting something a little more truffle-like. My sister saw the gingerbread cookie on the counter, and we decided to go for it although it is an item on the regular menu. It really was a great choice and not one I would typically go for. It was chewy, sweet, and perfectly spiced. Later we will  break into my favorite item from the deli case, the kale salad with spicy peanut dressing. That stuff is addicting. Sometimes I grab a little container mid-work-day shop for a pick me up.

Lastly, just for kicks, here are our recent Le Pain Quotidien lunches.

The Tartines (open-faced sandwiches) are always delightful. I adored my Black Bean Hummus one with avocado, and spicy tahini spread. Lily also raved about hers, which was Ricotta with mission figs, black pepper, and acacia honey.

I hope everyone is having a truly great day. I hope to be stopping in more around here. I have a particular place in mind, I can’t wait to share with you.


the weekend escaped me (and gluten free week recap)

Posted in FAMILY, FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on May 10, 2010

I hoped to write a post last night to close off the gluten-free challenge week, but somehow never got around to it until now. So my apologies, I hope everyone had a lovely weekend and maybe even some mama time.

Yesterday, I started off with a comforting bowl of gluten-free oats mixed with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, half a frozen banana, and flax seeds. In V’s fridge, I found a neglected jar of Trader Joe’s raw creamy almond butter. I have been so into the Naturally Nutty nut butters deliciousness that I forgot about this tried and true favorite. The raw creamy Trader Joe’s almond butter was the first almond butter I fell in love with. Look how nicely it melts right into the oats…mmm. The lack of fresh berries called for a mixture from the freezer that I warmed up in a pan with maple syrup. Delish…

We planned on celebrating Mother’s Day yesterday at my parent’s so that V could enjoy a meal with us before a day of work (today). I browsed the recipe for the Candle Cafe Vegan Chocolate Mousse Pie (made before) and realized that the only non-gluten free ingredient was the spelt flour in the crust. After a quick shop at Whole Foods, I subbed in buckwheat flour hoping for a comparable result. The crust is baked and then crumbled into the pie dish after cooling, but I could already tell the buckwheat was considerably different than spelt flour by smell and texture alone. I had only had buckwheat in pancakes or waffles before, my fingers were crossed. The recipe calls for a few tablespoons of chocolate chips sprinkled and pressed in the crust. Un-yum-believable.

The mousse filling is a mixture of a few of my favorite things- vegan chocolate chips, maple syrup, almond milk, cocoa powder, and organic silken tofu.

Okay, I could seriously just eat this chocolate mousse straight. If you have ever had the Whole Food’s vegan chocolate mousse, this is similar, but better. I definitely recommend you get this book or even better, head over to the Cafe. You won’t be disappointed. Even my super non-vegetarian parents are big fans.

I was a starvin’ marvin by the time the mousse was ready to be chilled. Leftovers were the first thing to come to mind. I sautéed some mushrooms and spinach and had the remaining Trader Joe’s punjab eggplant, kale, and brown rice from the night before. A farmer’s market apple made its way in there too. We are almost done with all of them already!

The early mother’s day dinner was inspired by this guy…

any ideas?

How about now?

Yes, that would be a Tajine my mother picked up…not sure where, she has her places. Dinner was inspired by this because there was no way that this tiny tajine could fit enough for four hungry stomachs + leftovers (who doesn’t love ’em?). After browsing the web for ideas, I went with a Chickpea and Vegetable Tagine by the Culinary Institute of America…couldn’t be that bad, especially considering it is the top culinary school in the U.S. Sweet potatoes, chickpeas, butternut squash (uh oh, none at the store…frozen organic chunks…I guess…), tomatoes, carrots and Moroccan spices simmered while I prepped some millet to serve on the side for my last “mandatory” gluten-free meal. I don’t think anyone at the table minded the couscous to millet swap.

Bellies were eager so I managed to take a quick shot of my meal. For the rest of the diners (parents and V, my boyfriend), I spooned the tagine over the millet to soak up the liquid. On the side, I threw together (emphasis on the threw) a golden beet, spinach, and red onion salad with a pomegranate balsamic dressing.

We finished with Chocolate Mousse Pie of course. I must admit, the buckwheat flour was not as good as the previous times I have made it with spelt flour. Maybe another multi-purpose gluten-free flour would have been less intense. Next time I may experiment again.

Now, I feel that it is time to discuss this gluten-free challenge week I embarked on. Kelsey originally sparked my interest when she posted about benefits of a gluten-free diet. I also have had many friends in the past have to switch to a gluten-free lifestyle due to celiac. I have never been tested and honestly, don’t feel I need to eat gluten free, however, I could definitely feel some changes that were similar to those Kelsey had brought up over this last week. Nicole also had wonderful effects when she ventured on a week gluten-free (and vegan).

Some thoughts about the Gluten Free Week:

-For the first few days, I didn’t feel any significant changes other than decreased appetite. This was strange for me because I usually have such a fast metabolism, making me hungry every few hours.

-Half way through the week I was more energized throughout the day than usual. One day I worked out three times just for the fun of it. I was feeling great and had increased workout stamina/tolerance.

-I slept much better throughout the whole week. This was a really important change for me since I have always had trouble sleeping.

-Finding gluten free alternatives to pasta didn’t work out as much as hoped. I emailed the company that put my hopes down, maybe they can change my mind. Any suggestions for a good gluten free spaghetti/noodle?

-I missed my favorite oats, scottish oats and steel cut oats. If I felt like shelling out more cash, I could eventually buy Bob’s Red Mill gluten free steel cut oats.

-I made one good gluten free baked good (chocolate helps), but one not so successful one.

-But, I found out that Puffins, one of my favorite cereals was already gluten-free. How did I not know this already?

-Some gluten-free alternatives worked out more than others. The Brown Rice tortillas were tasty but cracked after a few days in the fridge, similar to the other Ezekiel tortillas I usually buy. I would still buy both.

-Any day I can eat chocolate, I am happy. Dark chocolate is more important to me than most gluten filled foods, so I ended each day satisfied.

-Grains galore: I ate millet, quinoa, brown rice and more. I never felt carb deprived due to lack of gluten. Most people I know with celiac are true carnivores. I am far from one and didn’t have any problems. In fact, quinoa is a complete protein by itself.

Will I be sticking with it?

-To be honest, this is something I am unsure of right now. Today was my first day I didn’t feel obligated to eat gluten-free, however, the only thing I ate that “may contain gluten” were the Scottish oatmeal I was eager to have again. Averie wrote a great post about why she doesn’t necessarily buy “gluten-free oats” because she is gluten-sensitive or intolerant, but doesn’t have Celiac Disease. I think that the increase in price is definitely worth considering. The price of “certified” gluten-free oats can be triple the price of normal oats, and I have never felt negative affects from choosing my usual organic non-gluten-free oats.

This post is already pretty wordy, so I will just leave with you with some Sunday eats. When I wrote about why “we blog,” I admitted that I don’t feel I am necessarily a daily eats type blogger, but I must say that it can be fun as well. Here is what I ate today (yesterday…why am I still up?).

Scottish oats cooked with almond milk, banana slices, vanilla, and cinnamon, topped with banana, raspberries, and hemp seeds. My father placed a nice awkward photo of me on the dining room table the night before. Here I am, gripping for my dear life. I was terrified of rides at the Martha’s Vineyard Fair every summer and still have memories of being too little on most of the rides and fearing I would fall out. Once, I almost did. I am happy I finally grew to a normal size after years of being the tiniest ‘lil thing in every grade. My mother remembers the many tears involved in the teen years, as she brought up last night during her mother’s day meal. Sorry Mama, I love you! I am a big kid now (not really)!

Moroccan chickpea vegetable tagine with roasted red pepper hummus and spinach in a brown rice tortilla. The flavors were more developed after a night of melding together in the fridge. Unfortunately, the brown rice tortilla was its leg and there is one left for future use.

Two Yogi Teas and some So Delicious coconut milk yogurt + puffins + raspberries + ground flaxseed. Feeling seedy today…

Dinner and dessert will be posted tomorrow. Here are some two wonderful Yogi Tea quotes.

Don’t take pride in taking. Give and you will be given virtues.

To be healthy: eat right, walk right, and talk to yourself right.

Goodnight, and apologies for the lengthy post. Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

seven days gluten free.

Posted in FOOD by clairedille on May 8, 2010

It was great to read your responses on why “we blog.” It seems that many of you also get bloggers guilt/stress or compare yourself to others bloggers sometimes as well. A few of us may get photo envy but it is important to remember that photos don’t define your blog and one day without a story to go with your post won’t keep your readers from coming back. Thank you so much for your opinions.

I had to go back and count all the days via my blog that I have been eating gluten free. Apparently, today is day seven and I am feeling wonderful. Should I be overjoyed that I can resume eating all whole grains that I normally would? The thing is, I haven’t felt too constricted this week. I am not quite sure yet about what and how many foods containing gluten I will be adding to my diet, but I do know that eating gluten free is not as hard as I thought before entering this week. For my last official day of the challenge, I will be returning to the kitchen to create a meal and dessert (hint) for an early Mother’s Day celebration for tonight. Tomorrow I plan to write a recap of the entire week and how I felt compared to when I am eating my “normal” way.

Now, onto what I ate on day 6…

Yesterday morning, I remembered that I wanted to incorporate more seeds into my meals, breakfast particularly. I started off with a base of gluten free mighty tasty cereal cooked in almond milk, banana slices, and cinnamon. As you can see, they were finished off with more banana, strawberries, and pepitas (or pumpkin seeds) that were mixed with a few walnut pieces. Hiding beneath the seeds is a big scoopful of Naturally Nutty vanilla almond butter. I tend to favor the vanilla almond butter over the cinnamon vanilla sunflower butter, and I am pretty sure it comes down to the fact that I am a true almond butter lover. Both are so flavorful and the perfect accompaniment to oats. There are still many Naturally Nutty flavors I hope to try soon. Chocolate Cherry Peanut Butter, yes please!

This breakfast kept me full for hours and I was realizing that so far, this gluten free challenge has really reduced my appetite significantly. I worked out with Jillian, and then did 30 minutes of yoga without feeling fatigue. When it was time to assemble lunch, I went with a huge spinach salad adorned with some of my favorite veggies, cucumber, carrot, avocado, and beets. Annie’s tuscany italian, one of my favorite bottled salad dressings, was drizzled on on top. On the side, I had the remaining half of a sweet potato spread with hummus. I was satisfied, yet again, when finishing this meal but not overly full.

A few hours later, after working a bit, trying to find out my next project, I munched on a granola bar (similar to this one) I made a few months ago and had freezed. It was just as tasty today as the first time they were made.

Unfortunately the shot is fuzzy because a certain pup was so eager to get a bite. I successfully grabbed it ahead of time but felt so bad that I ended up giving her a nibble. This was perfect pre-run fuel for I had a nice short and easy run planned for the early evening. As I ran into my driveway, the rain and thunder was just starting, good timing.

We were heading out for a FIESTA (late cinco de mayo) party around eight so dinner was quick and easy. The last of the kale was steamed with vinegar and I heated up Trader Joe’s Punjab Eggplant and brown rice. The storm as brewing outside and I placed my plate in front of the dinner in hopes of getting any possible natural light.

Before heading out the door, I grabbed the same Endangered Species chocolate as yesterday. Who am I kidding? There is no way I can last a whole day without chocolate.

Now, I must eat a late breakfast with my boyfriend and head out for some groceries/meal plan for my family meal tonight.

Hope you are all having a lovely Saturday!

why “we blog”

Posted in FOOD, VEGAN, WRITING by clairedille on May 7, 2010

I am always interested to read why a certain blogger blogs. I also can relate to having “blogger guilt” or writer’s block. Since starting this gluten free challenge week, I have reevaluated why I choose to blog and have come up with a few thoughts.

-The community: So many blogs have me coming back for more, that at all times my google reader is filled to the brim. The commonalities between us, as well as differences is incredibly intriguing. I think Ashley coined the term “blends” for blog friends, and I like it. I also admitted in my about me section to a much too long blog hiatus that made me feel out of the loop when returning.

-The recipes: I read certain blogs mostly because I am so inspired and impressed by one’s cooking abilities. Most of you are foodies. You understand.

-The stories: Whether someone writes about their food history or their crazy day, I love to read stories. After all, I love to write and read.

-The fitness: There are days where I can not get myself to work out and feel completely uninspired. Many times, blog reading has helped this. I love to read about races and training. After being on teams for years, I am not used to creating my own workouts and schedules. Blogs definitely help with my fitness goals.

Of course, there are many other reasons I choose to blog and read blogs, but I am fairly certain I am not an every meal, every day type blogger. My career at this point in time is project to project. For the past year, I have been working 12 hour days for 2-4 months and then have had time off to recover and find another freelance position. This is a new field for me (film) and I still have many things to learn about the industry, and how to make it work with blogging. However, I really like to read daily food blogs just as much as a recipe blog or a photography blog (or both!). Hopefully, people continue to read my blog after the gluten free challenge, to continue discussion about all things related to food, fitness, eco living, travel, fashion (need to post about this soon) and many more things I love to share with the world and with others who also are into these subjects.

The last thing I feel that is important to remember: we all blog for some reason or another but should not feel like we need to conform to a certain blogging type. I have respect for all types of bloggers and even like to see them transition over time. Gracie, from Girl Meets Health, wrote a wonderful guest post for Teri’s blog that talks a lot about not comparing your self and your blog to others. Check it out here.

Before I post my eats, I will admit that the film industry has completely insane hours. Some days your call time is 5 a.m., others it is 8 p.m. When your call is at 6 p.m., then lunch is automatically 6 hours later. I have worked on films where I did not have “lunch” until midnight or later, it is a weird feeling. My boyfriend, currently working on a film, is living this way and sometimes it means I am as well. Even when not on a project. I try to eat normal hours, but when you are trying to stay up as late as possible, in order to sleep in close to call time, it is quite hard. I hope I didn’t lose any of you whether you know about the film industry, or not.

Now, onto the eats…

The late breakfast was gluten free oats cooked with chia seeds, almond milk, and banana. Afterwards I topped it off with more banana, raw creamy almond butter, and frozen berries (all I could find!).

See a small leaf from his plant? It is becoming a small jungle in his apartment. I don’t mind.

After lounging around, trying to stay calm before his late night on set (now!), I munched on an undocumented orange before heading to target and home. I may have bought something at target on sale that isn’t gluten free (oops), but I am saving them for later, no worries.

It was time for a very late lunch at 4 p.m., so I kept it somewhat light. I knew I wanted to run in the next few hours, and didn’t want to eat super late dinner. Between two sprouted corn tortillas, I stuffed more of the baked sweet potato and refried bean mix from last night, spinach, and chipotle cashew cream. It was delicious, but messy yet again. Halfway through I picked up each tortilla half and ate as soft tacos, dipping in salsa as I ate.

A small glance of the filling…

This lunch was tasty, but not as filling as I hoped. After my run, a yogurt mess was necessary. I mixed So Delicious coconut milk yogurt (the only non dairy yogurt I have liked) with original puffins, and Crofters Superfruit North America.


After messed…we all do it.

When dinner rolled around, I knew what the star ingredient would be when someone bought me this beautiful bunch of  golden beets.

Some may say that they are ugly, but I really find beets beautiful. Especially after peeling and slicing them to see the true color in full view. Look how neon they are. I peeled and cut one golden beet, as well as a red beet I already had stowed in the fridge, then sprayed them with coconut oil.

After a half an hour of roasting at 350 degrees, I added them to my already assembled rice vinegar sautéed kale and beet greens, and a quinoa-wild rice blend.

And a close up…I love when red beets bleed onto other roasting ingredients. Scarlet hued roasted vegetables are always delicious.

The chocolate chunk cookies were even better today. The coconut oil flavor was more pronounced and the chocolate was truly decadent. For dessert, I had two with a few pieces of a new-to-me flavor of Endangered Species dark chocolate, Organic Dark Chocolate with Cacao Nibs, Yacon and Acai. The flavor was good but I wasn’t the biggest fan of the grittiness from the cacao nibs. I prefer my nibs straight up and chocolate bars smooth.

My yogi tea said…

Be so happy that when others look at you they become happy too.

Some other things:

-Do you feel stressed at times due to blogging? bloggers quilt? feeling like you should be more like other bloggers? Sometimes I wish I was trained in photography, or had a better camera to document recipes, etc. with.

-Are you interested in stories that go along with a post? whether they correlate of stray on another path? Sometimes I feel posts are too wordy or too photo heavy, but then I realize, every post is different for a reason.

-Do you know anyone or you, yourself work in the film or tv industry? Did you know about “lunch” always being six hours later? My father is commercial director but those shoots are nowhere near as long or grueling. I have learned the hard way that eating in the middle of the night is more important than not eating at all when working on all-night shoots.

Kelsey reminded me today, that I should talk about how I feel as a result of eating gluten free. I will do a post at the end of the week about the affects, but so far so good. The only negative today was that I had a lack of energy in the afternoon. However, this is the first day that has happened.

Goodnight everyone. Happy Friday.

cherries and chocolate.

Posted in FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on April 28, 2010

Growing up, I always had a fondness for the jarred maraschino cherries that my father would bring out when making cocktails. Around holiday time I would have the same syrupy cherries, but covered with chocolate. My grandmother would receive boxes of dark chocolate covered cherries every Christmas and she knew she could count on me to help her devour them. You see, I am not sure that I would care for them much now. As my taste buds have evolved over the years, I think that the sweetness would be a bit overwhelming (and well, fake). I do know one thing for sure, I still love cherries and chocolate.

Last night I prepared some overnight oats with almond milk, chia seeds, and chocolate amazing grass superfood (Teri wrote a great review here) based off of this recipe created by Angela. I chose to fill my bowl with a deconstructed version of a banana split. In the morning, I sliced the banana in half but when I saw it starting to break in half, I went with it and rimmed my bowl with the banana and filled the middle with the oat mixture. Channeling a banana split sundae with a cherry on top, I chopped up some frozen organic cherries and tossed them in a bowl with a small spoonful of Cacao Bliss. After melting the cherries and cacao bliss, I poured them over my bowl and made my way through the satisfying breakfast.

Although they might not look the most appetizing, the oats were so filling that it took me a bit longer to finish my breakfast this morning. With the warm weather approaching (hopefully!), I know that the warmer oats won’t be practical in the next few months and I am happy to find that I am just as satisfied with these.

Moving along…I have to share a cookie I made in the last few days that are out of this world, delicious. Isa‘s recipe for the Chewy Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies is a definite crowd pleaser. They have the perfect texture of cookies that I love most, not fluffy but chewy and even a tad crisp after sitting a few hours. The addition of dried cherries would also make this recipe even more tasty (if possible) but unfortunately I was out of my usual stash of Michigan dried cherries.

After snapping these photos in the sunlight, I nibbled on one and the melty chips and rich cocoa flavor made me think that I might not be able to find another cookie recipe I like more.

Are you a chocolate and cherry fan? I would love to hear about some more recipes that you enjoy with these flavors.