IT’S OFFICIAL: URBAN GARLIC HAS MOVED!

Urban Garlic now has its own home on the web!

Please go to and follow urban-garlic.com for even more great vegan recipes and food tips. The site is still run on WordPress and can be followed through all the same platforms.

Thank you to everyone who has helped me get Urban Garlic off the ground. Here’s to bigger and better things.

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“You Cantaloupe Handle The Truth” smoothie

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Okay, I went through about a million pun titles for this smoothie. This may be the silliest one, but I’m sticking with it. Also considered were the “Melon-ie Griffith” smoothie and the “Dope Cantaloupe.”

Fun fact: Once in my first year of school I went to a spelling bee so I could get some free food. I got one round away from the end and “Cantaloupe” did me in.

Fortunately, this smoothie is way nicer than that spelling bee. In fact, it has a very easy taste that makes it easy to go down. It’s super smooth, and fresh enough that you just want to put an umbrella in it. And, I mean, why not? It’s spring, after all!

“You Cantaloupe Handle the Truth” smoothie

Ingredients

  • One banana
  • 1 cup cubed cantaloupe
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 tsp virgin coconut oil, slightly softened
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
  • 1 scoop protein powder (optional)
  • Ice

Instructions

Simply blend all of the ingredients until it’s super smooth (trust me, it will become velvety smooth!)

This smoothie will fill you up without feeling heavy and cam make you feel super healthy and fresh even if it isn’t a green smoothie — yes, there are healthy smoothies besides green smoothies!

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Things I’m loving lately: March edition

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And just like that, March is over. Crazy how February is the shortest month and yet March zoomed by like nothing compared to cold, sad February.

Must be something about the weather. You know, it’s funny, everyone around me is complaining about how spring “came and went” and how we’re “back to winter.” I say, have some perspective, people! Is it not so much warmer than it was a month ago? And is it not like we’re down at -20 or even -10. A few degrees below the zero won’t kill us. And look beyond the number on the thermometer. We have sunnier days, earlier sunrises and later sunsets. Lots to be glad about, if ask me.

And I have a lot of things to be glad about, too! Here’s my list of things I’m loving lately.

  1. Jackfruit. I tried the jackfruit sandwich at Porter House recently and I was in heaven. I’d heard a lot about jacfruit, but I never imagined it could be so savoury and amazing! I’ll definitely be picking up a few chunks of jackfruit (did you know that a full jackfruit weighs about 30 lbs and costs around $120 to buy in Toronto, if you can even find one? And opening it is basically surgery). But expect some jackfruit recipes up here soon.
  2. Arkells’ new music video, “Hey Kids!” I was a big fan of “Leather Jacket” but hoped they would follow it up with something a bit more fun and lively. The kids in this music video are adorable, and “Hey Kids” is also really fun to play on the piano.
  3. My old haircut. That’s right, I’ve been a pixie for a month and I miss the mohawk. GIMME SOME CLIPPERS!
  4. The Piston on Friday nights, aka Motown nights. I love a good funk, retro or Motown night. If you live in Toronto and feel like getting down without all that sweaty grinding, check out the Bloor and Ossington area.
  5. Lemonade. I was just saying to my partner that when the weather warms up and we get into “patio weather,” I actually don’t really like drinking alcohol outside that much. I get really bad heat stroke, and alcohol only makes me more tired and nauseated. But I’m one of those people who has just as much fun (probably more) without any booze in my drink, and lemonade is by far my favourite non-alcoholic drink. I’m looking at experimenting with some lemonade recipes this spring, and I’ll definitely be sharing my more successful ones!
  6. I like things that are low-maintenance, so this yeast-free thin-crust pizza dough recipe is really turning my crank. I can just imagine my perfect pizza. Tomato sauce, broccoli, cauliflower, pineapple and onion. What, that’s totally normal, right?
  7. Disclaimer: I don’t work for, hold stock in or have sponsorship by Old Navy. Just clarifying because I do realize that this is the second time in two months I took to my blog to brag about an Old Navy purchase. But this jersey “fit and flare” dress is hands down the most comfortable yet elegant things I’ve ever worn. I can honestly fool anyone into thinking I’m sophisticated!
  8. Pacifica’s Purify coconut water cleansing wipes are always with me in my backpack or purse. I almost never wear makeup, which helps my skin stay really youthful and healthy, but when I do — or even when I don’t — these wipes are a great pick-me-up throughout the day, especially now that it’s getting sunnier.
  9. Death Cab for Cutie’s Kintsugi is being streamed online. Go. Go now.
  10. I’ve finally been able to make the vow to commit to a new show (wow, Bree, what a mature, adult commitment there!) and I’ve chosen — Broad City. Expect me to get into my comfy jammies tonight and watch the first season or so.
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Cinnamon mocha swirl soft serve

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Is anyone really surprised that despite all of my pep on Friday, I did not end up eating pancakes? In fact, I hardly ate anything all weekend. Turns out, even when norovirus passes through you, eating, drinking and doing much of anything is about as appealing as a root canal for a few days afterward. I managed to have one meal yesterday, but other than that, it’s been a series of small, sweet and cold snacks.

Bananas, though, bananas are like a gentle, loving hug from nature. And banana soft serve? Oh my.

Banana soft serve is not a new concept, nor am I claiming to have invented banana soft serve. But I’m still amazed at the number of people — usually non-vegans — who aren’t aware of it. The best thing about banana soft serve is that it honestly doesn’t need a flavour. You can just do pure bananas and it’s still amazing! But now that I’m no stranger to the banana soft serve life, I like to experiment with flavours, and I wanted to share with you this concoction I whipped up on the weekend.

Cinnamon mocha swirl banana soft serve, serves 2

Ingredients

  • 4 bananas, chopped and frozen for 1-2 hrs beforehand
  • 1 tbsp nut butter
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener, but maple gives it a really distinct flavour)
  • 3/4 tsp espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch fine grain sea salt
  • Water, as needed
  • Nuts, cacao nips, chocolate chips or any other toppings you desire

Instructions

  1. Peel, chop and freeze bananas for about 1-2 hours
  2. In a large food processor, begin processing the bananas, nut butter, cinnamon, espresso, cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt until the chunks begin to disappear. You’ll probably have to scrape off the sides quite a bit, especially at first.
  3. Gradually add water 1 tbsp at a time until you’ve reached the consistency you desire. Just under 2 tbsp got me a consistency that was like soft serve without being too liquid.
  4. Divide into two bowls and add your toppings.
  5. Embrace your inner child!!

What’s your favourite food when you’re sick? When I was a kid, it was banana popsicles.

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“Buttermilk” pancakes with tangy blackberry compote

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Well, this post came a little bit late. Want to know why? Well, I got a little sick this week and things took a turn for the yucky. And at first, yesterday, I thought, “Hey, if I’m gonna be in bed all day, I can at least blog, right?” Yeah, turns out even staring at my computer screen and typing was exhausting. Sigh. But now that I’m at about 50% and I can eat again (seriously, not being able to eat is the WORST), I’m back to thinking food.

Pancakes are such a great go-to. I’ll never understand the Mitch Hedberg joke in which he says pancakes are “All exciting at first, then by the end, you’re sick of ’em.” Sorry, Mitch (RIP) but maybe you just haven’t been eating the right pancakes. I’ve already done a pancake recipe on this blog, but these are a little more flavourful and fluffy, and without the chocolate chips. Here’s my “buttermilk” pancake recipe, which made enough for two — but we were hella hungry.

To go along with it I included the recipe for this blackberry compote I threw together. I’ve always thought pancakes were so much bigger than syrup. I’ve always been a fan of peanut butter on my pancakes, or even bananas or jam. So now that I’m a big kid, I guess a berry compote is a step up from that, right?

Buttermilk Pancakes, makes about 6 medium pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/3 cup organic sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp xantan gum
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 1/3 cup non-dairy milk + 2 tsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax seed meal, 3 tbsp water)

Instructions

  1. Prep your flax egg in a small bowl or mug
  2. Make your “buttermilk” — pour your milk into a bowl and add the apple cider vinegar. Mix a little, then let sit for a few minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add your dry ingredients and whisk to mix.
  4. Add your wet ingredients, including the flax egg. You may have to add some extra milk if the batter doesn’t mix smoothly enough.
  5. Cook the pancakes in a nonstick skillet with just a bit of light-tasting oil on medium heat.

Tangy blackberry compote

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 dash of rum (optional — I used Sailor Jerry’s spiced rum)

Instructions

  1. Simply combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan and cook until the berries become saucy and the sugar is absorbed.

Damn, that looks good. In fact, I just might test our my digestive system and have some right now. What do you think? Am I crazy?

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Chocolate berry super shake

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First of all, a quick but important announcement: as of this weekend, you can officially find me and all my content at urban-garlic.com. I will be setting up my domain on Friday or Saturday, so when the time comes, keep me in your feed at my new home!

Smoothies, amirite? Like, do I want a green smoothie, a veggie smoothie, a fruity smoothie, or a chocolate smoothie?

I’m sorry, but that is the most first-world hipster problem I’ve ever encountered.

Nevertheless, I’m a total brat and I face this “dilemma” every day that I make myself a smoothie. But I’m an adventurous girl. So I have no fear in mixing things up. Fruits and veggies! Fruits and greens! Fruits and chocolate! … veggies and chocolate?

Well, maybe one day. But in the meantime, here’s a fruity chocolate creation. This is my first time using Macca powder, which I’ll admit can be a bit pricey. My recommendation for anyone who wants to try Macca is to buy it at a bulk store. Don’t bother with health food stores where so-called superfoods are super-friggin’-expensive and It’s great for giving a smoothie a great smooth, chocolatey taste (and bonus, you can cut down on cocoa powder).

This smoothie tasted like dessert, but because I put fruit in it I fooled myself into thinking I was eating something fresh and fruity. Hah!

Chocolate berry super-shake, serves one

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond (or other non-dairy) milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1-2 tbsp ripe avocado
  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 tsp macca root powder
  • 1/2 tbsp cacao powder
  • Dash of ground cinnamon
  • Dash of fine-grain sea salt
  • 1 tbsp nut butter (optional — for protein/brotein!)

Instructions

  1. Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth.
  2. High-five yourself for drinking your fruits and your chocolate all at once.

I’ve been on a real sweets kick lately. Just wait until you see what I post later this week. Let’s just say, much like this shake, you’ll technically be getting your fruits in, but it’s still basically candy.

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Vegan brownies — no flour, no oil

Processed with VSCOcamCan you feel it, garlic lovers? In approximately 9.5 hours, spring will be upon us. I will be happily doing yoga as the sun sets over Toronto for the final time this winter. And then, so long, sucka! And by tomorrow night, I will be a cat mother again (and hopefully, if I have time tonight — blonde)! I can just feel the winds of change blowing. Okay, that’s the winds of Toronto (brr! Is it weird that I actually find Toronto colder than “up North?”), but still. Spring is rebirth, second chances, all that stuff. New veggies will be coming into season. I’m excited to have a few raw pasta dishes to celebrate, and to get out on my longboard once again.

There was really no other reason to make brownies other than I wanted f-in’ brownies. But really, does anyone need a reason to eat brownies? You’re a grown-up — you don’t have to justify your brownie cravings to anyone.

Especially these delicious brownies, made free from dairy, oil, flour or eggs.

When I described my avocado black bean brownies to my co-workers, one responded with, “That’s not a brownie, that’s a Mexican dip!” I guess I’ll just have to whip up another batch to show them what it’s all about. The good thing is, they’re really, REALLY easy to make. I especially love the way the avocado whips up to be like a luxurious butter.

No oil, no flour vegan brownies, makes about one dozen brownies

(Bonus: this is a one-bowl recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup ripe avocado flesh (I used almost one whole small avocado)
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 flax egg
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup coconut sugar, sucanat or organic brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup crushed walnuts
  • 2 tbsp cacao nibs (optional)
  • Pinch of espresso powder (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Prep your flax egg (1 tbsp flax seed meal+3 tbsp water) in a mug and set aside to let thicken for a few minutes
  3. Process the avocado until it has the texture of whipped butter and set in a large bowl
  4. Place your rinsed beans and peanut butter in a food processor together and process until pureed. Mix in with the avocado.
  5. Once all of the fruits and veggies (what what?) are mixed together, add the rest of the ingredients (including the flax egg) and mix thoroughly. Lay the batter out in an 8×8 baking dish.
  6. Bake for about 27-30 minutes (I needed 29, but my oven is a bit of a weakling).
  7. Let cool for about 30 minutes

And that’s that! Seven steps to brownies that are moist (I know everyone hates that word, but how else can you describe a brownie?!) with no flour or oil, and more importantly, no animal ingredients!

Now, enjoy my favourite song of the moment (oh, who am I kidding — of the past year).

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