A Fresh Dille

quick & sweet

Posted in FOOD, TRAVEL, VEGAN by clairedille on May 17, 2010

Yesterday was my younger sister’s graduation. I wish I could share with you the photos from her amazing fashion show from the night before, but there is no way I feel comfortable posting them on the internet (in fear someone would mimic the designs). I will tell you though, she is such a great fashion designer. Everything from her sketches to the construction of each garment she sews makes me so proud to be her older sister. If I hadn’t known which clothes were hers coming down the runway, I still would have chosen her pieces as my favorites. Maybe it is because we have similar aesthetics, but in all honesty, I know that I would desire to own all her clothing if it was sold at Barney’s or any other high-end clothing store that I dearly love. I can go on and on about my little sister, but instead I will tell you about some goodies I picked up at Sweet Freedom in Philadelphia. It was such a lovely but quick trip. This city reminds me a lot of the city I spent my college years, Boston. The history and charm of Old City makes me crave to return to a similar city in the next few years. Leaving New York for work in the midwest has been great, but I could tell within the first day of being in Philly that it has been far too long since I’ve let my creativity flourish as it does in the city environment.

On Saturday I made sure to stop at Sweet Freedom during the only time I had free. I had searched for vegan bakeries before coming here and read many reviews saying that Sweet Freedom was the place to go.

The storefront wasn’t quite as charming as I had hoped, but because we were in such a hurry, I couldn’t quite grasp the potential of the building. It was all about the goodies and after following the bakery on Twitter, I was already excited to hear they had Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes on Saturday’s. This place is more allergy-friendly than you can imagine, because not only is every baked good vegan, they are also all gluten-free and avoid corn, wheat, peanuts, and soy. Just because a bakery is vegan or gluten-free does not mean that it is necessarily healthier than a usual bakery, however, Sweet Freedom uses Coconut Sugar, Agave Nectar and Pure Maple Syrup instead of refined/processed sugars. Another thing I loved was that the bakery used Coconut Oil for its healthy fat.

It was definitely hard to not buy one of everything. I ended up picking up a special of the day – Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcake with chocolate frosting, an oatmeal raisin cookie sandwich, and a magic bar. The ingredients can be found here so I will tell you about the tastes.

First up was the Magic Bar. This is one of those goodies that I have always had a fondness for. Any type of layer bar with chocolate and coconut is one I am up for trying at all times. When I was younger (and still), my aunt had a Christmas Cookie Exchange with other women in her neighborhood, and the layer bars were my favorite cookie variety to eat up around the holiday. This one didn’t have the usual graham cracker bottom, but it sure tasted similar. It was crumbly and sweet using brown rice flour. I didn’t mind any grittiness that may have been found because of the delectable chocolate and coconut topping. The ingredients in this bar were very minimal and the taste did not disappoint.

After the fashion show, I was incredibly hungry after not eating since lunchtime. I was back at the hotel by myself when I decided to try the Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcake. Of course I would have preferred eating a real dinner but it was too late for that and room service charges are out of this world. I figured that I had already consumed my fair share of veggies that day and went for this baby.

This is something I definitely suggest sharing with another. It may seem crazy but I have never been much of a frosting person and was a little overwhelmed with sweetness. I was happy to find that the frosting wasn’t too thick and the cupcake base wasn’t nearly as sweet. Due to extreme hunger, I wasn’t able to really focus on this cupcake as much as the others but the chocolate chips were a great treat. It differed from your usual fluffy cupcake base and was a firmer muffin-like base flecked with delectable chocolate made it so enjoyable.

Last was the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Sandwich which was stuffed with a sweet frosting. I didn’t get a chance to find out how the pink was colored but I am hoping it was an all natural food dye. Still, I am not sure why I didn’t choose the Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich or a plain cookie. Maybe I was trying to rebel against my usual choice and choose an array of goodies, but oatmeal raisin cookies are never as good to me as your typical chocolate chip variety. The sandwich crumbled as I cut it in half but the cookie itself was a great one. I know that chocolate chip would be great to try next time I make my way to Philadelphia because the oatmeal raisin cookie filled with plump raisins and a nice layer of frosting was very tasty. Other things I should have purchased but didn’t want to risk staleness were muffins, loaves, and brownies. The Blueberry Oat Crumble bars and Carrot Cake Cupcakes both sounded delicious as well.

If you are ever in Philly (or live there) and are looking for a bakery, I would definitely suggest stopping by Sweet Freedom or even ordering some things for a birthday or special occasion.

Now, I am heading to another aunt’s with my mother and here is a preview of what I  may be posting about after visiting…

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

Other things:

Do you have a favorite vegan or gluten-free bakery in your town or city? I also love Babycakes Bakery in NYC but it has been way too long since I have been.

Have you been to Philly and eaten a delicious meal? Where? I was surprised to find that the city is such a culinary haven. I ate at three restaurants I really enjoyed and will be posting about in the next few days when I get home.

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a few quick eats

Posted in FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on May 11, 2010

Since the gluten-free recap, I haven’t had a chance to post some of the tasty things I have been eating in the last two days. I have been resorting to leftovers because in a few days I will be heading to Philadelphia for my sister’s fashion show and graduation. It is surreal. I feel as though I just graduated myself and now she is heading into the real world as well. At the same time, I am incredibly excited to see how things unravel for her in the next few months. She is one of the most creative and talented individuals I know. Every sketch she draws is stunning and every garment she designs is one I wish to wear. Food photography may be limited in those few days, but I will be sure to post about some vegan treats I plan on packing before we pack up a drive east for a long weekend.

Oh, and thank you so much for the kind words about me and my mother. I truly believe in embracing the fact that we “turn into our mothers” (for the most part). My parents have always told my siblings and I that we should do things that make us happy. That is what all parents should want for their children. As long as you work hard for your goals in life, things will fall into place. Focusing on perfection will not help us but only create barriers between the present and the future. It has taken me far too long to realize that living in the NOW will make me most happy. Sometimes parents feel that we aren’t listening to them, but some things we just have to learn on our own. Even if that means a little bit of suffering along the way.

Now, onto some things I’ve been devouring..

Sunday night, I cracked open the Candle Cafe cookbook again (after the Chocolate Mousse turned out so well) to make a Barbecue sauce with Chipotles. The ingredients were pretty simple, but the taste is phenomenal. For months now, I have been looking at Annie’s BBQ sauce at Whole Foods but have resisted because I am well aware that I can make my own with a few quality ingredients. The sauce was made up of the usuals in a good BBQ sauce: Molasses, tomato paste, mustard, agave, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, and a few spices.

I brushed the sauce onto the sliced tempeh and baked at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Every 15 minutes, I re-coated them with more sauce. Next time I think I will try a pan sautéing method instead because they were a little dry but had lots of flavor.

Earlier in the day I went to the smaller local farmer’s market in hopes of getting some kale. Unable to find them, I picked up a bag of chard and another of spinach from an organic farm stand I tend to favor. The chard was beautiful and knew it would be included in this dinner in some way.

Wanting to save most of the small bunch for another occasion, I took two big leaves and used them to wrap up the BBQ tempeh and raw spinach. I may have even added a little vegenaise in there (no shame). On the side I had half a huge sweet potato cooked low + slow (seen on Ashley & Kath‘  blogs) and two more pieces of the BBQ tempeh. More Chocolate Mousse Pie was served for dessert of course to round out the real mother’s day meal.

Let’s just say, the Chocolate Mousse Pie is not looking too great anymore. I was thinking that it may be best served in smaller ramekins if you are having a dinner party. Wouldn’t that be fun to eat your own little Chocolate Mousse Pie? I know I would be a fan…

Yesterday, I was back to the Scottish Oatmeal that I adore so much. The lack of fresh berries called from a topping of frozen black raspberries, maple syrup, and almond milk (inspired by this lady and her decadent toppings).

It did not disappoint. The base was cooked with chia seeds, almond milk, and thinly sliced banana per usual. Naturally Nutty vanilla almond butter made its way in there too.

I snacked my way through these two before a grueling run. It really was. Just curious, would you like to hear about my running more? I am just starting to get back to it after multiple injuries/overtraining but today I have an appointment (soon, gotta rush through this…) with a trainer at my gym who is evaluating my endurance, fitness, and more today that I would be more than willing to share.

I refueled with this plate of leftovers but felt snack-a-licious yet again a little while later and decided for some chia power. The leftover banana half from breakfast was sliced banana-split style and spread with peanut butter and covered with chia seeds. Surprisingly this kept me full for hours.

Later I had a quick dinner of a Sunshine Breakfast Patty, spinach, and avocado stuffed into my last Brown Rice Tortilla. It was definitely not pretty enough for a photo and I was off to watch a foreign film with one of my best friends who just returned from leading a Habitat for Humanity trip. She is such an amazing person inside and out, and I will be so sad when she leaves for Mongolia soon. It is hard to say goodbye to friends, isn’t it?

Looks like today may even be a two post day…off to get a scary fitness evaluation. Wish me and my little leggies luck!

Other things:

Do your best friends live far from you? How often do you get to see them?

Interested in hearing more about the running/fitness part of my life?

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.

Before…

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.

one failure and one success.

Posted in FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on May 6, 2010

Another beautiful day in the neighborhood…

I completely forgot about adding seeds to my eats yesterday but I made sure to include some (A LOT) in my breakfast this morning. I started off day four of the gluten free challenge week with the delicious GF Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal, yet again. Although I changed things up yesterday with a waffle, I am really craving some real oats. This breakfast was satisfying but two of my favorite Bob’s Red Mill oats (steel cut and scottish) are banned this week, and I must admit to missing them. Unfortunately, I am not willing to shell out more cash for the gluten free version of steel cut oats because I have quite the large quantity, at my place as well as my boyfriends.

This is 1/3 cup GF Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal cooked in unsweetened organic almond milk with half a banana and flax seeds. After cooking, I topped them with more banana, the last of my frozen cherries, and lots of chia seeds. Sometimes I do add the chia into the oats while cooking, but today I knew I wasn’t desiring the chia texture that comes from cooking them. Oh, and I can’t forget the vanilla almond Naturally Nutty and cinnamon.

Note: Upping the cereal to 1/3 really satisfied me much longer than before. I was full until lunchtime.

I knew rain was approaching so decided to head out for my planned run. My favorite running weather is mid 60’s with a slight drizzle near the end of the run. This was exactly that and I finished with a smile on my face.

Yesterday, I picked up two different gluten free mixes that seemed easy enough. I usually love Bob’s Red Mill products and I have always loved corn muffins, so I bought this gluten free mix. The hard thing about gluten free mixes and diets is that they usually try to overcompensate the lack of gluten with more eggs. I relied on the PPK to help me veganize the recipe. It called for two eggs, 1/3 cup oil, and one and 1/2 cup milk. The milk and oil were an easy swap. In went almond milk, half a banana (mashed with a pastry cutter) and three tablespoons of Tropical Traditions coconut oil (will review soon). To swap out the eggs, I used 1/4 cup silken tofu and a flax egg (one tablespoon flax mixed with three tablespoons water). This was my first time replacing an egg with silken tofu, but I feel that could be part of the reason why the recipe failed. I also had added the banana to lessen the fat in the recipe, but now wish I didn’t since they didn’t turn out as well as hoped.

Ok, I hate posting a failed recipe but I honestly didn’t hate these. I learned that it is very hard to veganize gluten free mixes and that maybe I should rely on the trusty sites that specialize in gluten free baking for this reason. As you can see, these turned out funky. They were squishy and didn’t fluff up or spread out as I hoped. Maybe I should have added more liquid? More oil? There is always next time.

When lunch rolled around, I went with a salad that I knew I would enjoy. In the salad bowl went half a bag of organic baby spinach, mung bean sprouts, cucumber, carrot, alfalfa sprouts (on a sprout kick!), avocado, and tempeh bacon I had made with tamari (wheat free soy sauce).

Instead of dressing, I mixed the leftover Chipotle Cashew Cream from the split pea soup with apple cider vinegar, and poured it over the salad. On the side I had a muffin made better with the help of Earth Balance whipped butter and Crofter’s North America Superfruit Spread.

It wasn’t the worst muffin I have ever had, but I won’t say it was love.

There was a little brainstorming to be done and the sun had returned. When reading outside, I snacked on an apple and sipped on a Strawberry Kombucha, one of my favorite flavors.

The other mix I had bought at Whole Food’s was by Pamela’s. While browsing the site, I saw that they are also creating a gluten free challenge that you can check out here. It is only a weekend long, which may be more of an interest to some than a week. The Chocolate Chunk Cookie mix is gluten free, as well as dairy free so I was on board.

Check out all those dark chocolate chunk! I was giddy with joy. Again, I veganized the recipe with two flax eggs and a mixture of earth balance and coconut oil. There was no way I was going to try and lower the fat in these cookies. After mixing everything together, the dough was oily and crumbly. I scooped tablespoons full onto a parchment covered baking sheet and set in the oven for 16 minutes at 350 degrees, as directed. Here is the outcome. These are delicious and I was so happy to have made one successful recipe for the day.

This mix made 19 cookies and I was more than happy to share them with my family and boyfriend, especially when I know there will be many more for me to have for dessert for the rest of the week.

To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, I knew all day that I wanted to have a mexican inspired meal for dinner, but I wanted to stick with ingredients already in my kitchen. A brown rice tortilla was filled with refried beans that I mixed with a tiny amount of chipotle pepper, baked sweet potato, sprouts, spinach, and salsa. This time, the tortilla tore, much like the Ezekiel tortillas I often buy.

The light was fading, and this was the only photo I could find with actual light showing the filling. The taste was delicious but boy, it was messy. I was scooping up beans and sweet potato mash with the remnants of the tortilla by the end. I hope the rest of the brown rice tortillas in the pack aren’t like this, but that it only broke due to being heated up in a cast iron pan for a minute.

I was sure to finish off the night with two cookies dipped in a cold glass of vanilla almond milk. The chocolate flavor is incredibly intense, so I was very pleased.

Although I may have had a complete failure of a recipe, I am proud that I didn’t give up gluten free baking but tackled it again with full enthusiasm. Maybe I will be able to create my own gluten free baked good soon.

Some things:

-Do you feel defeated when a recipe fails? embarrassed? I used to, but my mother told me with every failure comes a success.

-If you aren’t a fan of something you made, do you scrap it? …save it in the freezer for later eating? …or finish it off as the week goes on?

Goodnight!

gluten free number three

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

Lunch rolled around before I knew it and a visit to Whole Foods to pick up some Gluten Free baking ingredients was the perfect excuse to grab some lunch. I had stowed two small apples in my purse and was craving these delicious spring rolls. A few weeks ago, I tried these Whole Foods rolls for the first time and have been searching for rice roll wrappers ever since. I am not sure how they make these if they don’t sell the rice wrappers but after asking an employee, it was clear they did not have them in the store. I just might have to find a specialty Asian grocery store soon.

The basil I had brought from V’s was used to prepare vegan pesto for dinner. I used Ashley’s recipe as a guide, but used the traditional basil and pine nut combination.

I had never made a pesto this bright green before and I think that the nutritional yeast Ashley included in her version made it so beautiful.

Unfortunately, the gluten free noodles I had purchased did not work out as planned. I was surprised to find they had completely broken apart while cooking within a few minutes. This was a fail and I had to switch them for buckwheat soba noodles last minute.


A tablespoon of pesto was whipped with silken tofu before tossed with the warm noodles. I also sautéed kale and mushrooms with oil and balsamic vinegar to eat with the pesto noodles. In the fridge, I found a few sun dried tomatoes that I chopped up and added to the top for some sweetness and lycopene goodness.

‘Twas delicious…

To finish off my third day Gluten Free, I ate half of my favorite Endangered Species dark chocolate bar.

Other things:

-I don’t like the way my photos look at night without natural lighting…do you care about your photos not turning out as planned? Do you think that I should post these unflattering shots?

-Could you go a week without dark chocolate? I don’t think I could go more than one day…expect a chocolate post like this one soon.

Goodnight!

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!

thunderstorms cry for soup

Posted in FOOD, MAGAZINES, VEGAN by clairedille on May 3, 2010

This morning, I awoke to sunshine streaming in the windows and the Dogwood next to my window in full bloom. It pretty much feels like the perfect spring day and I can not complain. Ironically, I was just as happy to hear thunder last evening as I was cooking dinner. Spring storms are a wonderful occasion for a new soup recipe and split pea was on the agenda. As stated yesterday, I am taking on my vegan cookbooks in full force this May. The Conscious Cook won last night. Split pea soup is a definite comfort food in my book (probably for everyone else too) and I really do enjoy Trader Joe’s and Amy’s versions from time to time. Last night, however, I was excited to try a recipe that had more innovative flavors than the traditional recipes. Tal Ronnen’s recipes tend to be more of the haute variety so I knew this recipe wouldn’t disappoint, being a fancier twist on a classic favorite.

I followed the recipe with the exception of a few ingredients that somehow slipped out of my Whole Food’s bag or cart. Shallots were then switched to half an onion, and rosemary to thyme. The taste was complex and smoky with the addition of smoked paprika and topped with chipotle cream. Cashew cream is always tasty, but blended with lime, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, and vegenaise made for a tasty sauce.

I can’t share the recipe with you but I promise you it is a crowd pleaser. If you are looking for a comprehensive and beautiful cookbook, think about this one. I think that the recipes take more time than your average meal, but for one night a week, it is great. You could also try one of the recipes he made featured on Oprah or two found on The Daily Green (here and here).

My photographs really don’t do the recipe justice but here are some I took today for lunch.

I haven’t forgotten about the Gluten Free challenge either. With my lunch, I munched on a massive mango that was too messy to capture with my camera.

For breakfast, I went with the GF Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal, but should have upped the serving size because I was hungry for lunch earlier than normal after a sweaty workout. The cereal was cooked with my favorite almond milk, half a banana, and stevia. Later, I topped it with more banana, dried cherries, Naturally Nutty cinnamon vanilla sunflower butter, cinnamon, and hemp seeds. YUM!

Other things:

A trip to the library resulted in magazine heaven at my house this past week. For a magazine writing and publishing major in college, I have really been disrespectful to the printed word these past few months. My only current subscription is to Runner’s World, but I love to look at all magazines having to do with fashion, food, health, travel, etc. If I didn’t move as much in the past few years, I am sure my collection would be even more ridiculous than it already is.

I read an interesting article in Body + Soul about seeds and why we should add them to our diet. The nutrient deficiencies in my vegetarian diet has never really been an issue for me (that I know of). A few years ago, when still eating animal protein, I found myself having horrible leg cramps or charlie horses, if you will. They are caused by an electrolyte imbalance or low levels of minerals, such as potassium or calcium. I was worried. Years have passed since I have had a similar calf cramp but I still feel like I should be aware of the vitamins that many plant based diets do not always obtain enough of. The vitamins that vegetarians can overlook are found in these seeds, and I plan on trying to eat more of them. Here is a brief summary:

hemp seeds – 24% of your daily recommended protein, perfect balance of amino acids

pumpkin seeds – plenty of protein, energy producing magnesium, 1/4 cup = 1/3 daily recommended zinc

sesame seeds – cholesterol lowering phytosterols, rich in iron, copper, & selenium

chia seeds – loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, & antioxidants, 1 oz = 43% daily recommended fiber

flaxseed – powerful cardio protective nutrients, omega 3’s, fiber, & lignans

sunflower seeds – 1/4 cup = 82% daily recommended vitamin E, 34% daily recommended selenium, 20% daily recommended folate

Do you try to incorporate seeds into your daily diet?

gluten free week & neglected cookbooks.

Posted in FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on May 2, 2010

April went by faster than I knew it. When May came around, I wanted to have some challenge ideas to put into action but my running plans aren’t quite set in stone yet. For now, I have come up with two plans for May. The first week I have decided to eat an entirely gluten free diet, to see how it affects me. I do not have many symptoms that those with celiac disease often have before diagnosis, however, I am intrigued to see if I feel any benefits from eating gluten free. Kelsey (aka. Snacking Squirrel) wrote a great post about some reasons why people often have to eat a gluten free diet. Check it out here. I have been reading other Gluten Free blogs for a while now and here are some of my favorites that I will be referencing this week.

Simply Gluten Free

Gluten Free Girl

Gluten Free Goddess

Elana’s Pantry

For breakfast, I had some gluten free mighty tasty hot cereal with almond milk, cinnamon, banana, strawberries, ground flaxseed, and Naturally Nutty vanilla almond butter (hiding under the fruit somewhere..) while reading a pamphlet I received at Earth Day Fest.

After breakfast, I headed to the local farmer’s market where I found end of season Gala apples. I love the small size, it was the perfect pre-lunch snack.

We also bought some organic spinach and three bell peppers that I am already planning on using for another batch of Kale Chips.

Here comes tackle number two. I have a serious cookbook addiction and have to seriously hold myself back from purchasing new ones far too often. This small stack of vegan cookbooks gets neglected and this needs to change. I plan on making at least ONE recipe a week from them. It doesn’t matter which book I choose, but I just need to focus on using my own books over recipes I find online for the month of May. I think that if I get used to cooking from them more often, then I will be more likely to grab these in the future.

For lunch today, I made a wrap with my new Food for Life Brown Rice Tortillas filled with local hummus, mung bean sprouts, cucumber slices, grated carrot, avocado and siracha hot sauce. The tortilla was very different than my usual Food for Life Sprouted Tortillas. They are both very chewy, which I enjoy greatly, but the brown rice version was more smooth versus the more crunchy and apt to break sprouted variety.  On the side I ate half of a plump grapefruit.

For dinner, I plan on busting into my cookbook to make split pea soup. The Conscious Cook and Candle Cafe Cookbook both have versions that I am hoping to adapt with ingredients on hand.

Other things:

Are you interested in hearing what I plan on eating everyday I am eating gluten free? This is not usually a daily eats blog but I could post more often if others are intrigued.

Do you choose recipes online over your cookbooks more often?

Hope everyone is having a lovely Sunday!