Nobu Made Me Do It

Ten years ago, I walked into a Japanese restaurant. I had less than a year of Open Table experience and a referral from someone I never met. I learned quickly that if you want a job at Nobu, the phrase "fake it till you make it" are words to live by. I walked out with an audition on the books - a weeklong stint as a reservationist. I made it out alive and soon, I became a hostess.

A hostess gig meant more human interaction and the chance that someone might ask me about the yellowtail sashimi or the difference between wagyu or washu beef. This terrified me. I was the girl who pounded a bag of Cheetos and a Pepsi on my 10-minute break. I was not a foodie by any means. But in true New York City fashion, I was peer pressured into changing my eating habits. After all, who in their right mind eats Cheetos while walking the streets of Tribeca...besides me. So there I was, giving sushi a try, consuming sashimi with the tiniest jalapeño slice I've ever seen. My ten-minute break now consisted of string cheese, a Naked juice and some tic-tacs. My appreciation for food (when I wasn't forced to eat like a model) and the people who are skilled enough to prepare food grew tenfold. 

Today, I'm dairy-free and gluten-free - a decision I made only one month ago, but one I would have never even considered if it weren't for five years at Nobu. I'm now open to trying all sorts of foods, understanding how they break down in my body and respecting the origin of ingredients. 

Sushi is something I've always wanted to learn how to prepare since my Nobu days, and recently I made baby steps in this department. Like any gluten-free newbie, I was fooled by white rice and started to experiment with cauliflower rice. Avocado, cucumber and carrots made this roll vegan - even cooler.

Keep scrolling for the recipe!

  • 1 half head of cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 3-4 sheets nori
  • assorted veggies  (carrots, cucumbers avocado)
  • bamboo sushi rolling mat

Start by preparing the cauliflower rice. Cut the cauliflower in half and remove the thick center stem. Cut or break each half into smaller pieces and throw in the food processor. A few pulses is all you need.

Transfer the cauliflower rice to a microwave-safe bowl, add olive oil and cover with plastic wrap. Cook on high for three minutes. Remove from microwave, uncover and set aside.

Slide veggies into thin strips and it's time to make some sushI!

Lay a sheet of nori on the sushi rolling mat and spread the cauliflower rice onto the nori. You want to cover the nori from edge to edge, but leave a one-inch space at one end of the nori without rice. Add your filling, placing them close to the end of the nori where the rice comes all the way to the edge. 

Time to roll, but make sure to have a small bowl or glass of water on hand. Place the sushi mat so that the side of the nori with the filling is facing you. Start to roll by pulling up the mat slightly and tucking the row of filling into the first complete roll. Press down with the mat around this to help make a nice tight roll. Continue rolling with the help of the mat and pressing/tucking as you go to keep the roll tight until you get to the end of the nori sheet with the one-inch section without rice. Dab a bit of water on the end of the nori to help it stick to itself and then complete your final roll.

Using a sharp knife, cut the sushi into pieces and serve with tamari!

Enjoy, my friends!


Life updates with a side of green smoothie bowl deliciousness

Everyone around me seems to be getting healthy - from cutting out gluten to 30 days of yoga - and it’s been quite inspiring. I moved to Pittsburgh six months ago and I still don’t have a routine, a workout class I love; I don’t even cook anymore. I drive to work, I sit at a desk, I barely walk. Gone are the days of ten million flights of stairs at the 63rd Street F stop. And what’s funny is that I expected the first year to be tough. I expected that we’d be living in our own little world with no social life, but I figured this would be the year to escape everyone and work on myself. I’d go to work, get super fit, cook all of our meals and pour myself into my blog. Guess what? I was wrong. I now know it’s going to happen in stages. I have to focus on a new job before I can move on to other areas. I can make small adjustments to my diet without feeling restricted and miserable. I can work out at home in lieu of taking the time to drive to the gym and I can focus on my blog when I have some down time. I guess what I’m trying to say is that you can probably expect ClaraMaeJames to change a bit and it’s all part of my constant journey to be honest with myself (and honest with you.)

This little epiphany (which is one of many - I have like ten a day) occurred over the last few weeks. And so I’m turning to the people around me for inspiration and like I said before, everyone is getting on their A game. Now, more than ever, I need to follow their lead. So, here I am. I’m starting to re-introduce foods I once loved, recipes I once enjoyed to prepare. First is this beautiful bowl of goodness. It’s super easy to assemble (cleaning a blender is a drag), but overall it’s worth it. I hope you enjoy. xo, Jamie


  • 1/4 ripe avocado
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries (strawberries/raspberries)
  • 2 large handfuls spinach 
  • 1 small handful kale, stems removed
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk 
  • 2 Tbsp salted creamy almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp agave


  • Mixed nuts
  • Coconut flakes
  • Dried blueberries

Add all smoothie ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy and smooth. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more agave for added sweetness, more spinach for a brighter green, or coconut milk for creaminess. Divide between two serving bowls and top with nuts, coconut flakes and dried blueberries, but really anything will do!

Farro Avocado Veggie Bowl

This endless rain situation has me craving warm and hearty foods, so while my husband was busy making homemade pasta for the first time yesterday, I decided to whip up what I consider healthy, comfort food.

The recipe was inspired by the avocado stone bowl at Franchia - a quaint vegan tea house on Park Avenue in Manhattan. However, over the years, it's kind of morphed into something a bit different yet still delicious! What's great about this bowl of goodness is that you can mix as many different toppings as you want. I usually opt for snow peas and mushrooms, but tofu or a sunny side up egg feel like they'd be nice additions too. And instead of rice, I've switched to farro which adds a nice nutty, creamy texture. To learn more about the benefits of farro, click here

The key to this recipe, though, is the dressing and unfortunately, I can only find in NYC. It's called Jo's Japanese Dressing and my absolute favorite flavor is Miso. I stocked up the last time we went back and I've emailed numerous local Pittsburgh markets to ask if they can add to their inventory - fingers crossed. For my NYC friends, you're in luck and for my readers not in NYC, I'm sorry. I'm going to try my best to recreate, but if you know of a similar dressing - please share! I'd love to hear about a more accessible option. 

But anyway, I basically feel like I just shared an unattainable recipe. Hopefully the feeling is not mutual and you give it a shot without or without Jo's. Like I said, I'm open to hearing your substitution! 


P.S. To stay up to date on my blog, be sure to follow me with Bloglovin'!

  • 1 bag of Trader Joe’s 10 Minute Farro 
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small head of red cabbage, cut into strips
  • 1/2 small head of green cabbage, cut into strips
  • 2 julienne-cut carrots
  • 1/2 cup snow peas
  • 3/4 cup mushrooms 
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • Jo’s Japanese Miso Dressing

Cook farro as instructed on bag. 

In a sauté pan, add coconut oil plus onion and garlic. Cook until translucent. Add cabbage, carrots, snow peas and mushrooms and stir over medium heat. Add salt and pepper to season and cook for about 15 minutes. 

Combine cooked farro and veggie mix in a large serving bowl. Add avocado and stir. Top with miso dressing or place on side for guests to use. 

Simply delish!


Simple Zucchini Bread Recipe

Hi, friends! More life progress to share - we finally got the kitchen organized, we opened a Giant Eagle Advantage Card - which is serious business - and filled our refrigerator/cabinets with all the necessities to start cooking again. Unfortunately, we only had room to pack the spices from our last apartment and building our new inventory is quite expensive! So, I decided to take full advantage of our new basics and bake. 

Today, I'm featuring one of my favorite recipes and it's a favorite because 1) it tastes delicious, 2) it was passed down to me from my mother-in-law and 3) it's so easy to make. Due to an unplanned drive-by from my parents, I also had a little assistance from my mom. She suggested the addition of carrots and a touch of nutmeg, which I welcomed to make this the perfect mom mash-up recipe. Food styling was also provided by my father and I must say, he's not bad! Looks like I might have to add them to the masthead :)

Happy baking and enjoy!

P.S. I'm now on Bloglovin'! Follow me here to stay up-to-date on my posts, plus follow all of your favorite bloggers in one place!

Makes two loaves:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups grated zucchini 
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg 
  • Chopped nuts (optional)

Beat eggs until foamy. Combine oil, sugar, grated zucchini and carrot. Once mixed, add all other ingredients. Pour into greased loaf pan (I also like to use parchment paper) and bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour.