A Fresh Dille

too many apples.

Posted in FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on October 14, 2010

No, I am not really apple-d out, but I am a little tired of baking with them. Since I promised myself that I would attempt a pie or galette, I got to it yesterday in the midst of not feeling well. I went with a galette recipe from Nicole’s blog to really showcase the apples. Unfortunately, I chopped way too many in a hurried manner, which meant I was left with a big pile of extra slices covering my cutting board. The recipe called for 5 apples, however, I simply could not fit that many into the middle of the dough and made a crumble as well. The only other change was that I used a combination of whole wheat pastry flour and spelt flour. Although the galette was not so beautiful, V found it pretty satisfying.

I didn’t even get a chance to take a photograph until after it was half eaten.

I’ve said it before, but I am not really a pie person, and enjoyed the upside down cake more because of the complex texture and flavors. This, however, was wonderfully simple.

The veggie cravings have been abundant.


Yesterday I threw together  both the raw and already roasted veggies in our fridge.

The baby spinach was topped with the leftover black bean-corn-onion-green pepper mixture from the stuffed spaghetti squash, mung bean sprouts, roasted broccoli, beets, and brussels, our garden tomatoes and radishes, and avocado. I then drizzled on some balsamic vinaigrette made with dijon, balsamic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. This was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Now, I am off to Ikea but I have more to share from yesterday featuring this lovely lady and a new-to-me vegetarian restaurant.

Other things:

-Do you like baked fruit? What is your baked fruit of choice?

-Did you stick to a running plan when getting back from an injury or starting fresh? Or did you go with the flow and create it as you went?

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breakfast x 2 with tiny taters.

Posted in FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on October 7, 2010

Ever since my time-off work started I have been promising myself that I would be more creative with my morning eats. After all, breakfast is my meal of choice. Instead, I’ve been sticking with these:

While concocting my pumpkin with peach oats below this morning, I realized that pancakes, vegan french toast, and tofu scrambles would all be faster to make. But there is something about the ritual of oat-making while I sip my warm lemon water that soothes me. In my opinion, it takes less prep and thought than the others. I don’t have to measure flours, baking powder & soda, or cut veggies and measure spices. I do measure the oats, water, and almond milk, however, I simply splash in vanilla and shake in cinnamon. I spoon in flax or chia seeds at the beginning, but leave the toppings for the last 2-3 minutes. In that 20 minutes of free time between starting the oats and finishing them off, I read my favorite blogs and prepare coffee. It really is an ideal ritual, don’t you think? I know many of you share such warm wonderful ones as well.

My oats mixed summer and fall with both pumpkin and peaches, but the real star of the show was the roasted maple cinnamon almond butter made yesterday.

So, instead of switching up my breakfast in the morning, we had breakfast for dinner. It was this recipe for double dipped french toast made with cinnamon raisin ezekiel english muffins topped with pumpkin butter and maple syrup. I didn’t get the camera out to document because V and I were much too hungry and they take a little longer to cook than your average egg-y french toast. I’ve made them before with bread, but I preferred the english muffin version we had tonight.

Oh, but I must show you the delicious savory roasted tiny taters we had with our lunches today.

These tiny potatoes covered in a mix of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, cayenne, cumin, and nutritional yeast had such a kick we swooned over.

After they roasted, we dipped them in organic dijon and ketchup.

The chickpea cutlets are no longer.

A simple salad for me. It is pretty self-explanatory: baby spinach, carrots, cucumber, chickpea cutlet, and balsamic vinaigrette. Some avocado was added as well.

For V, I made a hummus, daiya mozzarella, pesto, chickpea cutlet quesadilla on a brown rice tortilla.

Oh, how we loved it. I must try one for myself ASAP.

Tomorrow, I want to talk about running. It has been much too long since I’ve written about my love for the sport.

Other things:

-I listened to this debate by Anthony Bourdain and Jonathan Safran Foer today about whether we, as humans, should eat meat. I love both of these men and found it very interesting. Check it out.

-Do you have a favorite veggie chili recipe? I definitely am thinking something similar to this Butternut Squash & Black Bean Chili for tomorrow night.

getting back to it all

Posted in FOOD, MAGAZINES, SHOPPING, VEGAN, WORK by clairedille on September 30, 2010

It seems like there is a lot of catching up to do these days. I don’t just mean within the blog world, but also getting back to things I love. I have a pile of unread magazine issues that I am beginning to tackle. It is quite overwhelming.

This morning, I made scottish oats (always make these over steel-cut oats when I want to eat sooner rather than later) my usual way. Miss Mandiee asked me about my cooking method and it is really similar to the method of preparing my steel-cut oats.

First, I add one cup water  and a sprinkling of salt to a small saucepan and cover it to boil on medium high heat. Once boiling, I add 1/4 cup scottish oats and lower the heat to very very low. Then I add in 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or another plant milk like coconut) and cover it for five minutes. Scottish oats take 20 minutes to cook compared to the thirty minutes it takes to prepare steel-cut. I add in thin slices of banana, chia seeds (1 Tablespoon), cinnamon (1/2 teaspoon), and a splash of vanilla extract throughout the twenty minutes. If I feel the oats thicken too much, I add up to 1/4 cup more of water. In the last five minutes of cooking on low heat, I chop the fruit of choice. Today I added 1/4 cup of pumpkin instead of water to my scottish oats and then added some stevia in the last few minutes of cooking. I then poured it into my bowl and topped it with strawberries, a chopped fig, and some raw almond butter. Honestly, oats really are the breakfast that keep me satisfied all morning. On days I go without for fun meals like pancakes and waffles, I become hungry much sooner. At least we can have a little excitement with all the add-ins to our morning bowl (cup, plate, mug) of oats.

I promise I don’t only eat bowls of oatmeal.

Falafel is one of my favorite foods, and I used an epicurious recipe earlier in the week to prepare a lot of mini falafel.

Although they may have baked a little too long, they were still delicious. In the last few days, I have eaten them both in wraps and topped on salads.

The shot above may give you a (big) hint to the movie that took over my man’s life all summer.

I made stuffed peppers utilizing a few leftovers, particularly butternut squash and whole wheat couscous.

One of my favorite blog ladies, miss Ashley at edible perspective has a great looking recipe here for stuffed peppers. I followed her method for the peppers and then stuffed them with cumin, coriander, cayenne spiced scallion couscous, red onion, butternut squash, and tomato paste.

Surprisingly, V doesn’t love peppers and I ate these alone. Even garnishing them with avocado, his favorite food, couldn’t get him to eat one. He did eat these though.

Kale chips are quite addicting and he has been known to eat a whole bunch himself with little to no help from myself. Notice the charming item in the background of that photo? Yes, that is movie “blood”  on our table. We eat on a kitchen island in our apartment but the only place with light after 7 p.m. (other than the roof deck) is the table against the window that has been covered with all our work items.

Rather charming, eh? Really, “blood” is one of the main reasons I say our jobs are far from glamorous. Although I love working with clothing, covering them with blood is one of my least favorite parts. I just did three days as an additional costumer on a horror film and there was a little too much time spent in an incinerator room around “bloody body part” props for my liking.

Getting back to some savory eats…

Last night I made Kathy’s Smoky, Sticky, Sweet BBQ Sauce. This stuff was good, finger-lickin’ good. Although the sun had gone by the time we ate, I managed to shoot one photo of the covered tempeh.

On the side, we had Kathy’s Quick Sweet Potato Mash, switching in our chives for the onion. The cayenne added a lovely kick we both enjoyed. There was a simple salad consumed as well.

Since this is such a photo heavy post, I will show one last meal. Today I made a spinach salad topped with bbq tempeh, our tomatoes, avocado, mung sprouts, leftover butternut squash, and radishes from our neighbors garden.

This is a perfect example of a meal featuring local greens and veggies that will make me miss summer produce so much.

Oh, and one last shot of something I am getting back to…

My fashionable self has definitely gone to the wayside and a few new purchases have been made to make up for the lack of shopping for myself in the last few months. Shoes are definitely one of my fetishes and I apologize if you are not into feet. Wedges are ideal for days I want the height but don’t want the discomfort from wearing heels. I am limited to flat closed toe shoes when on set, so I tend to stray from my flat boots and vans when not working. Yesterday I hit up the mall in these and was felt 100% myself. I got a nice new blazer (by one of my favorite simple lines, T by Alexander Wang) to dress up jeans and my favorite skinny cargos.

Tomorrow I hope to be back after some baking therapy, now that I got in some good ole’ retail therapy.

banana bread & bbq’s…

Posted in FOOD, VEGAN, WORK by clairedille on July 23, 2010

Oh blogging, how I’ve missed thee. This week has been anything but dull. The first week of filming always brings surprises and I’ve been running around all day (and night for the last two days) for 12 + hours. Food-wise, I have been pretty disappointed with the catering because the vegan options are limited to vegetables and bread only for the most part. When call times have been as early as 6 a.m., oatmeal is not prepared, who am I kidding? Yesterday however, our call was a little past 2 p.m. (calls are in 6 minute increments) so I made some steel cut oats to travel to set with. Since I only awoke a few hours before because of a late night/early morning, I knew I’d want breakfast to be my first meal considering it was my favorite. When arriving to the new location, our wardrobe trailer was M.I.A,. which meant I sat in a parking lot with piles of freshly altered clothes while eating my warm oatmeal in the 85 degree weather. That wasn’t so lovely but at least I had something delicious to eat. The catering truck only had turkey burgers and hot dogs and although it was past lunch in real-life schedules, it was only breakfast for us. “Lunch” was six hours later as usual and I was out picking up lots of petty cash for the entire wardrobe department. Let’s just say I didn’t feel entirely safe walking around with thousands of dollars of petty cash in downtown Detroit past sunset. But when I made my way back to set, I grabbed a plate of the veggie options on hand. After letting catering know the day before that I don’t do meat or dairy, they told me the options would be better last night and they were. I should be better at packing snacks by now though after learning that the only vegan options on Wednesday were corn (off the cob, probably canned, and white bread). Thursday’s meal had the first vegetarian protein yet, vegetarian baked beans. They also had a salad without mounds of parmesan poured on like previously, and fresh corn on the cob. I was much happier but still am worried about my lack of protein this week. I’ve only been packing raw food bars, such as Larabars and Pure bars, and been munching on all the fruit and veggies I can find at craft services near set (and bringing my own since ideally, organic would be best). I hope I didn’t overwhelm you with all the cons of eating in the film industry. Although some think it is glamorous, it really can be anything but. I was on a dock in the pouring rain until 4 a.m. this morning and when I came home, I crashed…hard. Today is the first time I’ve had a chance to come onto the computer to post and I miss blog reading like crazy.

So let’s talk a little about the good food I had last weekend.

Both nights of the weekend, we have made use of our new weber grill. Since V slept until dinner time on Saturday because of working until the a.m., I made sure to prepare a few things I know he loves. Ironically, he prefers kale chips over sweet potato fries. That is fine with me considering sweet potatoes are pretty much the ideal food in my mind.

Kale is one of the leafy greens I have in my possession most often. Spinach is the other. When our new neighbors told us they had a small garden in the city where they grow Kale, we confessed our love of the veg. We’ve been given two bunches already and used one for Kale chips Saturday night. The other simple components were sweet potato fries, chips and guac (a staple from a local mexican market nearby close to V’s heart), veggie and bison burgers, corn, and veggie kebabs. The last two were saved for the following night since we were already rather full by the time we had munched our way through the rest.

(please excuse my dirty Vans, I was running work errands all day)

The simplicity of this meal is pretty ridiculous, but sometimes it doesn’t take much to make your taste buds happy. Just give me a few of my favorite veggies, and I will usually be happy. Avocado, being a fruit, is definitely one I can eat daily. My daily apple and banana are others.

The weekend mornings involved stove-top oat making, since finding out our call times would me much too early for me to prepare oats for this week.

The plum I had bought was probably too firm, because it didn’t compare to my recent favorite peach topped oats. The blueberries were up to par, as always, as was the Naturally Nutty Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter. Into the pot went steel cut oats, coconut milk, half a banana, cinnamon, vanilla, chia seeds, and a pinch of salt.

Later, while V was still sleeping, I made banana bread with the bananas that were on their last leg.

the black hole in the center, caused by my impatience while testing its done-ness. oops.

This wasn’t just any banana bread, but Amanda’s Blissful Banana Bread. When V finally woke up from his slumber, he ate two pieces on the spot. We are both completely in love with this bread. I can’t believe the tiny amount of sweetener used either. Instead of picking up maple syrup the other day, I bought sorghum syrup by mistake. After searching my way around the internet to reassure myself it wouldn’t completely destroy Amanda’s recipe, I found it was similar to molasses. Since molasses are more potent that than maple, agave, honey, etc., I halved the amount of sweetener needed. It still was adequately sweet, dense, and tasty. Into the mix went sliced almonds and raisins. They added great flavor to the already wonderful bread that I need to make again soon. It has been eaten many nights (or early morning) after work by both of us and the loaf is long gone.

Another meal involved pizza on the grill. I’m still extremely interested in making my own dough, but the night before the first day of work, I was getting pre-shoot jitters and opted for the already prepared dough. V had two/thirds with all the same veggie toppings as myself, with extra cheese on top. I then cut off a third for myself and added the mozzarella daiya to try. It was much better than the cheddar I’ve tried previously, but I still think I prefer cheese-less pizza. Growing up, I wasn’t ever a pizza person, and would prefer focaccia, flatbreads, and even pasta when having italian carbs.

The dough was pre-cooked and then topped with Eden pizza-pasta sauce, the local company that is non-BPA and GMO free. Of course I made use of Angela’s Garlic Scape Pesto that I saved for the pizza topping and all the herbs in our little roof top garden. We had basil, rosemary, and chives that I added to the sauce  mixture. The kebab veggies from the previous night were chopped up and placed on top. There was red pepper, mushrooms (for me only), red pepper, and yellow and green squash.

The corn that was grilled the night before wasn’t the best and this is probably because we couldn’t find any local farmer’s market corn. Although organic, it was from far away and that is  not the best when it comes to corn, is it? The pizza though, was great. We both loved that the crust was chewy and crusty and the flavor of the fresh herbs and garlic scape pesto really brought it to the next level. On the side, we had a spinach salad with cucumber, carrots, avocado, and sesame seeds. On top, I later poured on Angela’s better than bottled balsamic, a favorite of both of ours.

Hopefully I can get in the kitchen more this weekend. My camera is being used by one of my coworkers so I can’t even post a few measly oats pictures today.

In the meantime, I would love to hear about some of your favorite made from scratch pizza dough recipes. If you have any recipes online, send them my way!

Oh, and I’d love to hear some of your favorite simple meals as well!

ciao for now.

rooting for the orange

Posted in FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on July 10, 2010

Tomorrow is the final World Cup game and I couldn’t be more excited. After another crazy week, I am in need of a relaxing Sunday activity with my family and V. I’ve mentioned before that I studied abroad in the Netherlands while in college and fell in love with the Dutch. Tomorrow I will be rooting for them, the orange team. However, I do love the country of Spain as well and will be happy with either team winning since both have yet to reach the finals in World Cup history.

When heading over to my parents home to pick up some packages I had sent there (we seem to never receive the packages sent to our apartment), I made a quick bowl of coconut milk kefir, nectarine, cherries, and some granola my sister had just pulled out of the oven. I must admit that I was happy to eat out of my parents latte bowls that I am missing dearly. Orange was used for The Netherlands team’s color of course.

Until today, I’ve been scottish oat-less and still working on my jar of steel cut oats. Ashley mentioned plating her oats (read her amazing oat explanation) in the morning instead of pouring them in bowls because it lowers the temperature. This morning I decided to try it before heading out for some weekend work at my designer’s warehouse.

These were cooked with my favorite unsweetened vanilla almond milk, chia seeds, and half a banana. This was the last quarter cup or so of our blueberries and I was sad to see them go. The nectarine really made these though. Oh, how I love stone fruit season. On top, I spooned on some Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter that I had forgotten about. It was much sweeter than I remembered, almost similar to frosting. The plating method was a success and V and I both were happy to have sweat-less foreheads by the end of our bowls.

Other meals this week have been packed in the morning. Here is an example of two salads enjoyed:

The beets I bought at the Farmer’s Market have been the star of most my lunch salads, but sweet potatoes really made this one complete. Baby spinach filled the bowl, and I then added some corn, radishes, chickpeas, and cucumber. This shot was photographed on one of my favorite pages from my costuming book about the stunning film, Out of Africa. At such a young age, I fell in love with the clothing Meryl Streep wore in this film.

I’ve also been sprouting lots of mung beans again since they add the perfect amount of crunch to spinach salads. Tempeh bacon is a match made in heaven with avocado and tomatoes. The other components were cucumber, beets, and carrot.

Our dinners, still less than stellar meals have been made up of lots of burrito-style wraps, kale chips, sweet potato fries, and even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Sometimes that is all you want after being at work for 10+ hours, especially since V is on set and completely wiped by the time he arrives home. Maybe I can be a better girlfriend this week and prepare some meals in advance. I can’t make any promises though…

Time for a mojito with V…I can hear him being a mixologist downstairs with the mint he grew just for the drink. Better go check on that…

In the meantime…

Have you tried any of the new larabar flavors? I found some and am saving them for a day at work when I am going to really need one.

Any vegan pizza ideas? I bought some whole wheat crust today that I can’t wait to top with some pesto made from our basil and lots of veggies. I would love suggestions and to hear your favorite toppings.

We also got our new Weber grill today! What are your favorite things to throw on the grill?

I apologize for another scattered post. ciao for now.

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a more personal post

Posted in FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on June 19, 2010

It’s been quite the week. Things are definitely looking wonderful on the work front after months of worrying. It just shows that keeping in touch with people you’ve worked well with in the past is truly important. Freelancing may be my entire future so I have to get used to times of abundant work and those other times when I hopefully will be able to travel, relax, and see those I care about (since it is incredibly hard while working). The reality of it is that I have chosen a path where I will be happy with my career and enjoy most 10-14 hour working days. You must agree, it is a scary thing to make such big decisions about your future. Not only am I unsure where this will bring me, but I am also unsure of the amount of cooking, photography, and writing I can manage during the months I am working on a project. The posts may be closer to once a week, focusing on one meal, day, event, or recipe. Hopefully, my lovely readers will stay along for the ride because blogging is one of my favorite past times. Not only preparing and writing my own, but reading others as well.

Preparing for the United States versus Slovenia World Cup game that was full of drama, I made some patriotic oats.

These were my oats of choice, Scottish, cooked in a new favorite find, Coconut Milk Kefir. The usual mix of whipped banana, vanilla, and cinnamon was topped with organic berries and raw creamy almond butter. Something about these warmer days has me craving raw almond butter more than usual. Luckily, Trader Joe’s carries the much affordable raw almond butter to help with my habit. Other roasted brands seem to be rather pricey.

Another significant change is taking place in the next few days.

Here are two salads for two future roommates. Soon, I will be leaving my parents home to move into a loft with V. We had the pleasure of viewing one in his current building and it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. The building, an old Detroit pins and needle factory, is incredibly safe in the somewhat unsafe city we’ve found ourself in. I never imagined living in this city and know that one day I will return to my home, New York, or maybe Northern California for the atmosphere I love dearly, but I do find myself liking it as much as possible. The poor city needs much help but for now I do enjoy the company of those I work with and the little community close to his building (and soon mine). It is hard being away from all my friends, but at this age, I need to remember that I’m working to someday have more freedom within my career.

After a delicious sushi date last weekend our local favorite place, I was craving some more delicious veggie filled sushi. Instead of brown rice, I opted for some red quinoa already sitting in the fridge. Avocado would have been ideal but the not-yet ripe ones would have resulted in disappointment, so I went with simple cucumber carrot nori rolls. These weren’t as good as my favorite asparagus tempura, avocado, sweet potato rolls, but they satisfied my hunger.

We are heading out for Indian, one of my Father’s favorite types of cuisine, for an early Father’s Day meal. It took me much longer than the rest of my family to love Indian but I find the spices so warming and delicious now. Indian menus feature so many vegetarian options and I just love me some Chana Masala.

Other things

Wendy from ABC’s and Garden Peas is having a Turtle Mountain Coconut Milk giveaway.

The Foodista blog reviewed the next book I have chosen to read, The Butcher and The Vegetarian. Have you read it? I would love to read some other opinions.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

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mem day deliciousness.

Posted in FAMILY, FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on June 1, 2010

After writing about my tendency to be uncomfortable in extreme heat yesterday, I was stuck in a thunderstorm in a Whole Foods parking lot when venturing out for Memorial Day Dinner ingredients. I didn’t mind though, because within a half an hour, the weather dropped ten degrees. The only thing that changed in the night’s festivities was that our feast was moved indoors. Everyone contributed to the preparation of the meal and it turned out to be a tremendously delicious, yet overly filling night.

A few weeks ago, I was sent some coupons for free chips from Food Should Taste Good. In the past, I’ve had the Multigrain variety and seriously loved them. They were the perfect balance of sweet and nuttiness from the sunflower seeds, flax, sesame seeds and other grains. Last night, we tried the new Blue Corn Chips and Jalapeño flavors. I preferred the Blue Corn Chips because they had a similar sweetness as the Multigrain, with the addition of the same seeds. I’ve always loved Blue Corn chips but have never had them with quinoa, brown rice, oat fiber, and seeds before. I could eat them daily. However, the Jalapeño were also very tasty and paired perfectly with the Corn Salsa my mom had made. Both would be great with Guacamole too. But what isn’t? In all honesty, I know that I will be buying these Food Should Taste Good chips again. I adore the nuttiness from the seeds and grains too much to not let myself enjoy them again soon.

A slightly messy & partially consumed corn salsa photo…

For our Memorial Day meal, I wanted to make a very simple salad focusing on two local ingredients.

My mother has said that she never has really enjoyed radishes fully. In hopes of changing her mind, I sliced them very thin (without a mandoline because of a horrible experience last summer) and tossed them on top of the local lettuce my parents also picked up at the farmers market.

Earlier in the day, I made Angela’s Better than Bottled Balsamic Vinaigrette that she had adapted from a Dreena Burton’s Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan. Often, I make a simple balsamic dijon vinaigrette, but this dressing was knock-your-socks off good. Really, just make it. It may be the maple syrup that makes it incredible, and a little sweetness never hurt anybody.

My father had picked up the worlds largest rib eye steaks for the rest of the diners to feast on, but my sister decided to go the veg route and share some marinated grilled tempeh with me. The inspiration for the Tempeh was from Kathy’s Lunchbox Bunch blog, my latest obsession. She created a great compilation of her favorite bbq foods for the weekends festivities that will come in handy for the upcoming summer. We also had sweet potato fries, a staple in our home.

Notice the raindrops on the plate? I tried to snap these in the only remaining sunlight I can find, on our back steps…

A favorite seasonal dessert, a Martha Stewart recipe for Apple Berry Crumble, was made by my mother. I asked her to swap the butter for Earth Balance buttery sticks and she used whole wheat pastry flour in place of white. Although she was hesitant to make such changes, we all agreed that it tasted just as wonderful as before. The five of us devoured this spooned over So Delicious Vanilla Bean coconut milk ice cream.

Lets just say, we went to bed with full, happy bellies.

Other things:

-Do you consider yourself a traditionalist when it comes to desserts? My father, the Brit, who called our dessert “pudding” wouldn’t allow oats to be added to the crumble topping tonight. We all knew it would be a great idea since oats could add the perfect crunch, but we decided not to because it was already veganized.

-Look how tasty this Gluten Free bread recipe looks on Aran’s Cannelle et Vanille blog. I haven’t ever made a yeast bread, and am unsure of what I am really afraid of. Unfortunately, most gluten-free baked items use an abundance of eggs. Maybe this will be a challenge for this week, a veganized gluten-free yeasted bread recipe. Do you bake your own bread?

-The No Meat Athlete’s post about The Vegetarian Diet for Athletes was tremendous. He also interviewed an inspiration of mine, Brendan Brazier, about All Things Energy. I love reading about other athletes who feel they can adequately fuel themselves with a plant-based diet. Of course, I am an advocate of finding whatever works best for the individual, as well.

I hope everyone is having a lovely week so far. I may be heading to one of my favorite spots next Tuesday with V. I really am wishing it works out as planned.

pancakes and workouts.

Posted in FOOD, VEGAN, WORKOUTS by clairedille on July 2, 2008

There are many things I love about breakfast. My most memorable breakfast occasions occur at my summer home on Martha’s Vineyard. It has been years since I have picked fresh blueberries while walking down the mile dirt road that separates my extended family from the town of Vineyard Haven. Another pathway called blueberry trail for that reason alone is a boardwalk that stretches from the road to the beach. The blueberry pancakes we have been made from these berries over the years have to be the best that I’ve ever had. I am sure everyone has at least one delicious breakfast memory. What are some of yours?

OK, before you question why this pancake looks burnt, I have to let you know that the secret ingredient is cocoa powder. Erica’s blog, Sweet Eats, keeps my stomach growling for pancakes, waffles, and french toast. I decided to make her Triple Chocolate Indulgence pancakes with a few modifications (lack of ingredients) and wow, I was truly full. This recipe was chock full of ingredients from the flax meal to the almond butter. The recipe called for chocolate hemp milk, however I only had vanilla almond milk, so I suppose my pancakes were only Double Chocolate Indulgence pancakes. The other modification was that I added a tablespoon of coconut flakes and decreased the almond butter to one tablespoon. These were the perfect way to satisfy my chocoholic cravings. There are two pancakes left for another serving tomorrow, can’t wait. Yes, I ate these for dinner but don’t worry I had a veggie filled lunch.

This is a simple salad of an organic spinach and romaine blend, chopped tomato, julienned carrots and raw zucchini, and one quarter of an avocado dressed with a homemade balsamic dijon vinaigrette. I just mixed a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar with a teaspoon of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of dijon mustard. I was in a hurry to fit in a few miles before it began to rain, so I paired the salad with butternut squash soup from Pacific Natural Foods. The butternut is the only vegan soup if anyway was interested in trying it. Before I began this vegan adventure, I did enjoy the roasted red pepper and tomato soup and I plan on making my own vegan recipe soon.

SOME WORKOUTS FOR YOU:

Here is a good  slideshow for anyone interested in weight training, specifically your arms. It has always been a struggle for me to keep muscle in my arms but I feel it is truly important to work on strength training. In high school, I was always very slim and weak in my upper body, but just two to three times a week over the past few years in college has really paid off. Here are a few other favorite moves for both the upper and lower body:

  • The Quadraped (called the Bird Dog in the video below) works your abs and butt (glutes) at the same time.
  • This video by an elite runner, Josh Cox, shows a typical workout I include in my routine: planks, push ups, and a pelvis/hip lift that works your quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
  • The Scissor Ab crunch or bicycle is my go-to ab workout. I do this at least three times a week. It may be best to start with three sets of twenty but try to make your way up to 60. Also, try not move too fast because that is why regular crunches don’t often work.
  • The Reverse Crunch flattens your lower ab muscles but make sure not to use your arms on the ground to lift your body.
  • Triceps are definitely one of my favorite muscles and the Tri dip, also called the chair dip, is one move I have been doing since I was a freshman in high school with my Cross Country running team. Put all the weight in your arms, not your thighs and glutes.

At the GYM:

  • The Cable Press-down is great if you have a machine with the rope attachment. This is another Tricep move.
  • The Lat Pull-down for back strength helped me over the years with soreness I have had from running with my arms too high causing a sore back and upper shoulders.
  • The Leg Curl with a stability ball is great. It is similar to the hip lift I mentioned earlier and its extra difficult when you lift your pelvis with your abs as high as you can. When I first began this workout I would shake because my hamstrings were too weak. Try to move up from one set of ten reps to three sets of ten.
  • The Tricep Extension here uses a band but you can also use a weight. I do this at home with a ten pound dumbbell.
  • Another back move is the Back Extension. It is important not to go past straight when you are moving back up. If you go too far, you may be sore the next day in your lower back. You can also do it on a stability ball.

As of now, this is my basic strength routine. I do not put much emphasis on lower body moves because I run so often. I hope you can try some of these. Let me know if you have a favorite gym move that you think I should try.