Author Archives: Bree Rody-Mantha

About Bree Rody-Mantha

Chronically sarcastic ethical vegan living in Toronto. Unapologetically open about my struggles with mental health. Climber, dancer, journalist. They say I’m “quirky.”

One room at a time: My second bedroom

When Jarrod and I decided to move in together, we were pretty determined to find a two-bedroom apartment. We saw ourselves as needing an oasis to occasionally retreat from one another, and to work on our respective hobbies — for me, writing, blogging and food photography, and for Jarrod, working on his model trains and personal IT projects.

And then reality happened. Today, the room sits as a glorified storage space, mostly used for me to shoot my blog and social media photos, and store what train stuff Jarrod hasn’t brought to the club yet.

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Recipe: Easy creamy spaghetti (no soaking cashews!)

I’ve always been more of a tomato sauce girl, but sometimes, especially when the temperature falls, you just need a good plate of creamy carbs to get you through the evening. When I started making creamy pasta sauces in university, it made me feel like a “real” cook.

Not to mention it’s comforting as hell in the fall!

When I went vegan, I was bored to tears to know that I would either have to a) shell out lots of money for novelty vegan Alfredo sauce (and not be able to control what it tasted like) or b) soak cashews for several hours with the resulting sauce being something that was never as smooth as I wanted it to  be.

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Recipe: The Big Stuffed Squash

I’ll admit I was a big worried when we went up to my cousin’s wedding in Wawa, ON. Of course, my cousin assured me that Jarrod and I would get a vegan meal, but when our plane landed in Sault Ste. Marie and we prepared for a two-hour drive up a beautiful but very remote highway without even half a dozen truck stops, I realized that the weekend was not going to be easy.

When we got to Wawa, the first thing we did was go to the grocery store (yep, the one). Jarrod and I found some cereal and soy milk for the mornings and some healthy snacks (and some not-so-healthy because duh, it’s a party weekend). I gnawed on potato chips and Bark Thins while my cousins ate pulled pork at the Friday night party and ate Tim Horton’s oatmeal for lunch. Then, finally, when we sat for the reception, we were greeted with the most beautiful creation.

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Recipe: Carrot cake smoothie bowl

I generally try to be wary of how much smoothie content I’m posting, because I figure a) no one cares, b) I’m 95% sure every smoothie I made has been done before and c) smoothies are most fun when you figure it out for yourself!

That said, I think I was onto something  with this smoothie, something at least somewhat original and delightful. The key to this early-fall-friendly smoothie is all in the spices  (just like any fall recipe). When I was a kid, I was afraid to try carrot cake because I thought, “Ew, a vegetable cake?!” Yes, I was truly that picky an eater. I was equally freaked out when I could see shreds of the carrot in the cake. I thought, “What are they trying to pull?!”

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My vegan-friendly wedding: Key items

Most people who know me know that I got married earlier this month. It’s been so strange the last few weeks getting used to not thinking about my wedding — even though it was a small event (only 30 people, including Jarrod and I), it was seemingly all that was on my mind, especially for the last two weeks. So not thinking about my wedding has me suddenly a little discombobulated! What do I do with all this space in my head!

JK, work and write, work and write, write and work, work and write! That was a cute little moment where I thought I’d never be stressed again.

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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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