Back to basics: Vegan skincare

Like many women, I’ve strove (hold up — apparently “strived” is not a word??!) to simplify my skincare routine in the last few years. Few people take pride in having a wide array of products that spills out of their medicine cabinet and requires so much liquid that yeah girl, you definitely have to check that bag at the airport.

But the problem (I find) with the much-coveted capsule skincare collection is that so many of us still don’t actually know what products we need the most in order to actually make our skin behave — never mind trying to stick to a budget. It feels like we can either have a $100 moisturizer that actually somehow manages to do the trick, or a $12 moisturizer that leaves your skin with an uncomfortable milky residue so hey let’s also buy a $10 pack of blotting papers and a $20 loose powder and throw in a spot treatment while we’re at it.

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New smoothie alert: The green mess

Well, my summer hiatus is officially winding down (can a hiatus actually wind down?) and I’ve started putting the finishing touches on some new content. I tend to use the summers as a way of sitting back and thinking about what direction I want the blog to go in and what milestones I’d like to hit.

This year I’ve set a fairly reasonable intention: don’t be so closed off to inspiration from other blogs and bloggers. Yeah, everyone wants to be original, but when you’ve read as much Adorno as I have, you start to realize that no one’s all that original (of course, you could also let that lead you into a far more fatalistic approach… but let’s keep it light and airy for the sake of enjoying the ride).

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From my closet: Dance class chic/urban casual

Welcome to my first outfit post — something I’ve wanted to get into for a while! As I’ve spent the summer evaluating the Urban Garlic identity and growth plan I’ve realized that I’d much rather be known as someone who provides inspiration for people on all topics, not just food.

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My first vlog, why I’m vlogging and what I think of YouTube!

It’s crazy to think about how different my life was one year ago. Yes, I was living in the same apartment with Jarrod and Ben. Yes, I was working in the same office — in fact, despite a couple desk changes, I’m actually only about six feet away from where I was a year ago.

But in late August of 2016, something changed: the magazine I was working for was discontinued. I lost my job. Sort of.

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Pad Thai burgers

One thing I would love to talk about more on this blog about — if given the chance — is the evolution of how I went from an extremely picky eater to a decidedly unadventurous eater and then finally a total food daredevil.

Here’s a short version: Growing up, I had a lot of weird taste and texture sensitivities to food that would seemingly develop overnight, and I’d go from totally loving a food one day to having a terrible aversion to it. The fear, anxiety and embarrassment only made things worse, and I’d be too afraid to even take a bite of something. It certainly made things difficult for my parents for a long time. In high school, I started to outgrow the full-blown aversions, but I definitely didn’t branch out and try a lot of new things. The main reason for this was that I simply hadn’t been exposed to a lot of foods beyond a typical meat and potatoes diet. My town was very French-Canadian and, well, super white. The most diverse food we had was grocery store sushi.

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Sugar-free protein pancakes for one (in one bowl)

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I’ve always been pretty happy with the day I eat, but the older I get the more I’m craving food that provides me with sustained energy for longer periods. I haven’t made any broad-sweeping, absolute cuts to anything like carbs or sugar, but I’ve certainly moved away from carby snacks (even vegan-friendly ones) and more toward foods rich in fibre and vitamins. I’ve also tried to get more protein in at the beginning of the day, and have given myself a “one more veggie” rule when cooking dinner and lunch — when I think it’s good, add one more vegetable!

Anyway, there’s still room for fun things like pancakes in my life. Everyone who reads this blog knows that I love a good pancake recipe, and I really dig all sorts of different varieties, from more rustic grain-and-nut-based pancakes to fluffy, buttermilk flapjacks.

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Cooking with Leftovers: Mighty Greens Soup

Long time, no see, blog friends! Work has been really crazy lately and unfortunately I’ve been a bit too focused on getting stuff done to post recipes. The good news? I’ve been writing down every good thing I make. I’m at a point now where I have a surplus of recipes, I just can’t decide what to post! I’ve decided to go with a soup post — in particular, this mighty green soup, because Jarrod and I have made a great point of eating tons more veggies than usual lately. What can I say? Dietary fibre is important!

Soup season may feel like it’s over, but I can assure you that’s just propaganda peddled by the anti-soup special interest groups.

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Easy tempeh nuggets with Szechuan dipping sauce

I never really post tempeh recipes on here because to be perfectly honest, I’m not a huge fan of tempeh. Yes, I, the girl who would live off of Bloomer’s tempeh reuben sandwich if she could, think that tempeh can be kind of blah. And that, I will fully chalk up to me not being that great at cooking tempeh. Also? Tofu is cheaper.

But sometimes you’re in Noah’s and you see a nice brick of tempeh on sale for just over half of what you’d normally pay for it and that fermented bean cake is lookin’ pretty good to you, isn’t it?

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Double-banana pancakes (no added sugar)!

If you’re wondering why I haven’t posted a smoothie recipe here lately, I’ve been kind of thinking of it in a cruelty-free version of “teach a man to fish.” We all know how smoothies work, right? Liquid (probably non-dairy milk), something creamy (banana? Sweet potato? You decide), something sweet, something healthy, maybe protein… whatever. At this point, I think posting my favourite combinations of Things to Blend Together and Pour Into a Jar and calling it an original recipe is kind of self-congratulating. You guys can figure out smoothies for yourself. I’ll tackle the important stuff.

Like pancakes!

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Nut-free cookie dough bites

I was definitely a cookie-dough eater as a kid. And as an adult. In university, my roommate Jenn and I would make cookies and usually end up eating about half the dough ourselves. Let’s just say one of my favourite unexpected benefits of going vegan is being able to eat the raw cookie dough with pretty much no consequences (I say “pretty much” because I have been known to become quite miserable when I eat too many sweet things, much as I don’t want to admit it).

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