Baking for George, Brad, Angelina, Ryan and the Gang*
*Or, Why I Need this Peachy Protein-Packed Smoothie Today
["Mr. De Mille, I'm ready for my close up. . . ."]
So, where have I been the last couple of days? I was a bit cryptic on Facebook yesterday morning when I announced, “I may have some exciting news! No, I’m not pregnant, and yes, it involves chocolate.” Well, the “not pregnant” part was fairly obvious to begin with (unless we’re talking one of those creepy late-in-life, chemically-enhanced old lady pregnancies), but “chocolate” was a fair bet that could have implied almost anything. And it wasn’t a call from Ellen, either (drat!).
Well, you all probably know by now what a pop culture junkie I am. And you may have heard that some of Ellen’s friends are in town for TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival). And guess whose cookies and brownies are currently being served up to that very same list of A-Listers?!
[We're ready to get stuffed with Sweet Freedom cookies and brownies!]
I received an email yesterday morning asking if I could bake up some goodies for the swag bags in the TIFF celebrity lounge. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!! Cookies, brownies, raw treats–from my own cookbook–in the swag bags at TIFF?!! OF COURSE I CAN!!!
I started baking at 7:30 AM or so, then wrapping, packaging, printing, ribbon-tying, ribbon-curling and boxing up the bags until around 2:00 AM. Which meant I had plenty of time to daydream about what would happen when I dropped off the boxes of goodies this morning to the tony Yorkville hotel.
Here’s how my fantasy of the delivery went:
Scene: Ricki drives up to the entrance of Celeb Hotel. The doorman greets her.
Ricki: Hello, I’m here to meet with Mr. XXX. [No, wait, that makes him sound too much like a porno star. Strike.]
Ricki: Hello, I’m here to meet with Mr. X.
Doorman smiles knowingly. Calls Mr. X, who arrives immediately.
Mr. X: Hi, Ricki, darling! [Air kisses all around]. Oh, wow, those treat bags look ah-may-zing! Here, why don’t you help me carry them into the Celeb Swag Room?
Ricki [blanching and feeling faint]: Um, why, sure, yes, yes of course, I’d love to!
As they walk down the corridor of the ultra-luxe hotel, a dashing young man in a bathrobe, champagne flute in hand, strolls by. He notices Ricki and smiles.
Ricki [gasping]: Was that–?!
Mr. X: Yep. He finds clothing too constricting.
They continue to the Celeb Swag Room. Inside, Ricki peeks in the swag bags–is that a Rolex I see? Oh, my and La Chocopologie truffles? Oh, and some MAC Cosmetics–cool! And looks like they’ve got some eco-friendly glass straws and reusable bags, too! And is that a pair of hand-crafted gold earrings I see? Oh my gosh–and MY BAKED GOODS!!–and–
[Her reverie is interrupted by Mr. X]: Ricki, can you help me set up this table?
They begin to set out gift bags. There’s a knock on the door. George Clooney pokes his head in.
George: Hey, Mr. X, I was just wondering whether–[he notices Ricki] Well, hellooooooo.
Ricki: [blushing madly]: Hello. . . .
George: Hey, Mr. X, I’m dying for a chocolate brownie–have you got anything?
Ricki: [proffering one of hers]: Here! And it’s wheat-free, egg-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free, too!
George: [biting] Mmmm. Man, this is good! This is the best brownie I have ever tasted in my entire life! I am in love!! Hey, Mr. X, why don’t you and your friend here join me and Brad and Angelina tonight for a private dinner at Morton’s steak house? [Turning to Ricki] I’d love if you’d join us. . .
Ricki: George, I’d love to. Oh, except I don’t eat steak. I’m vegan. . . .
George: For you, we’ll switch venues. Let’s all go to Fressen instead! See you at 8:00?
Scene fades out. . . .
[Wrapped and ready to be delivered to the A-Listers!]
Okay, so when I create a fantasy, I go big.
Instead, here’s what really happened:
Ricki drives downtown at the ungodly hour of 7:15 AM on a Saturday morning. Approaching the street on which the hotel is situated, she realizes that the street is closed off for the film festival. Frantically, she calls Mr. X.
Ricki: I can’t get to the hotel! Is there somewhere else I could park to bring in the boxes–?
Mr. X: No worries, I’ll send someone out.
Moments later, a lovely young woman (birth date circa 2000) arrives.
Child Young Woman: Here, I’ll take those for you.
Ricki: [hesitating]: Um, but there are six boxes. I’m happy to take a few along with you and help you carry them to the Celeb Swag Room. . . .
YW: It’s okay, I can handle it. Thanks.
Ricki: But really, it’s no problem! I’m happy to help!
YW: If you leave your car here you’ll get a ticket.
Ricki [desperate]: Oh, that’s okay, I don’t care! I’d love to help! . . . I’ll just follow you in to the Celeb Swag Room and help you set up. . . .
YW: Sorry, not allowed. But thanks.
Ricki [more desperate]: But really, I’m sure this box of books is waaaay too heavy for you to carry! Let me bring it in, and I can help you set up in the Celeb Swag Room–
YW: Here, just put it on top of these other boxes. [Ricki stacks all three boxes in YW's arms]. Thanks.
Ricki: But if you need some help–
YW: Nope. ‘K, Bye! [She strides away, into the crowded street and disappears].
Ricki’s hopes of meeting a celebrity–any celebrity–fade out. . . . .
So there you have it. I never saw George, I never saw Angelina, I never even saw Mr. X or the Celeb Swag Room. But my goodies did. . . and that’s all that counts!
When I arrived back home, I was famished. I opted to whip up this high-protein smoothie-cum-pudding (your choice, depending on how much liquid you use) and recharge. It’s got a refreshing peachy flavor with a whopping 12 grams of protein per servings, or 24 grams if you scarf down the whole batch as I did this morning after almost 24 hours straight of baking and packing and delivery, with no real meals to speak of in between.
You never know, I may need some extra energy in case George calls this evening, right?
Peachy Protein-Packed Smoothie or Pudding
Suitable for ACD Stage 2 and Beyond
This quick and easy smoothie is a great way to up your protein intake in a cool, creamy and delicious beverage. Or, use less milk and spoon it up as a chia pudding.
1 large peach, washed, pitted and cut in eighths, fresh or frozen (no need to peel)
5-8 strawberries, fresh or frozen
1/2-1 cup unsweetened plain or vanilla almond milk (use more for a drinkable smoothie, less for a pudding consistency)
1-inch (2.5 cm) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 heaping Tbsp (20 ml) shelled hemp seeds (hemp hearts)
1 scoop plain or vanilla rice-based protein powder (I use SunWarrior)
10-20 drops plain or vanilla liquid stevia (I use NuNaturals)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) white chia seeds
Place all ingredients except chia seeds in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.
For a smoothie, add the chia to the blender and blend again until thick and smooth. Pour into 2 glasses and enjoy.
For pudding, pour the blended mixture into a large bowl and add the whole chia seeds; stir to combine. Allow to sit 5 minutes, then stir again before chilling at least 20 more minutes. Stir before serving. Makes 2 servings with 12 grams of protein each. Best if consumed immediately.
© Ricki Heller, Diet Dessert and Dogs