Category Archives: Smoothies

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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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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Red-handed beet smoothie

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It finally happened – I finally have come around to beets. Beets, besides bell peppers, are pretty much the only vegetable I’ll turn down. I don’t hate them, and in fact have enjoyed spiralized beets on salads quite a few times, but chunks of beets, slices of beets or whole beets have been real losers in my book. I dislike the flavour, so adding them to smoothies has been done in limited quantities — generally, I’ll only do it if the ratio of beet to berry is generous on the berry side.

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“Everything Good” green smoothie.

everything-good-green-smoothie

New year, new me!

Oh wait, it’s the end of October.

I wrote a few weeks ago about how August was a bit of a nightmare for me. Although the initial panic of Ben’s medical condition did indeed fade as September trudged on, trying so hard to keep my head above water while really started to take its toll.

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Blueberry cardamom smoothie (bowl)

Blueberry Bowl

I never thought I’d see this day, but I’ve grown a little tired of chocolate smoothies. I’ve had a million variations on chocolate smoothies — zucchini, hemp, avocado, the glorious days back when I could stomach a couple dates — but let’s face it, it’s all just chocolate ice cream for breakfast.

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Three-for-one smoothie special: my regular rotation of smoothies

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I tried to get a nice artsy picture of my smoothie set against my pathetic little garden, but Ben got mad that I kept shoving him away from his cat grass… silly Benny! But at least he’s good-looking, so I put him in the shot. Look at him, all fixed on his cat grass. You would never ruin a shot, Ben. I love you.

Thanks for being so patient with me, my fellow garlic lovers, while I worked through some of my work stresses. I wish I could say it’s over but it’s just beginning; work is busier than ever and I too am just a busy, busy girl. I don’t think I will ever be less busy (I’m turning 27 in just 30 days, so I think I will only ever get more busy from here on out) but I think I will eventually get better at dealing with stress.

For me, one of the key moments in my journey to “real” adulthood (or, as the Internet is fond of saying, “adulting” — yeah, every time I hear that word I pray for a swift and salty death) was when I realized that things didn’t just “get easier” because I repeated them over and over again. Learning to deal with things (like stress, time management, etc.) means actually altering my behaviour, kicking myself in the ass a little bit. Not everything is supposed to feel super easy or natural, so you really do have to force yourself to change key habits sometimes.

Hey, kind of like when I became a vegan!

One thing that’s really kicked my routine into high gear was moving more of my tasks to the night-before and not day-of — from prepping things for lunch, making smoothies beforehand or just setting aside my clothes for tomorrow. I would personally love to videotape my day (oh my god, did I just say “videotape?!” AM I NOT A MILLENNIAL?!) and send it to all my elementary school teachers who wrote me off as “disorganized.” Who’s laughing now?

Preparing smoothies in the morning always kind of slows me down, so making them ahead of time — usually in batches of two — has been my go-to lately. As a result, because I take my time more when making smoothies at night and leave more room for experimentation.

I pretty much have a smoothie for breakfast every single day, and I haven’t gotten sick of it! I do change things up fairly often but with these three in my regular rotation, they tend to make me happiest.

Proteiny Greeny smoothie

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There are many green smoothie recipes out there, but I tend to think of most as falling into one of two categories: one is sweeter, more comforting, creamy, goes well with notes of cinnamon. The other is a more fresh, almost tropical smoothie. This one is the former! I rarely eat two bananas in one smoothie (my fructose malabsorbtion means I really shouldn’t have that many bananas), but I will have something like this on a day when I know I’m going to be active all day — biking, taking walks, working out, going climbing, etc.

  • Prep time: <5 minutes
  • Cook time: /
  • Yield: One smoothie
  • Allergen info: Gluten-free, soy-free

Ingredients

  • Two frozen bananas
  • 250 ml (1 cup) unsweetened almond milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice)
  • Two large leaves of dino kale (or 1.5 cups of chopped kale — or hey, go for spinach, I’m not the boss of you)
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) nut butter of your choice
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) raw maca powder (or spirulina)
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) rolled oats*
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) ground cinnamon
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) vanilla extract
  • Toppings (optional): Blueberries, goji berries, any berries really, chia seeds, more peanut butter, hemp hearts… I don’t know, I feel weird suggesting toppings, you can make up your own damn mind.

Instructions

  1. Blend all ingredients on high speed, serve in a bowl, glass or mason jar (plate not recommended) or drink from the blender if no one is looking.
  2. *Oats can sometimes be tricky to break down in a blender. If you don’t have the most powerful blender, I’d recommend soaking them overnight in your cup of milk. Or, you could also add the milk and oats to the blender first, run them through once, let sit while you prep the rest of your ingredients and then run again. This is what I do, and I have a Vitamix!

“I Can’t Believe It’s Refreshing!” green smoothie

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This is one of the other kind of green smoothie — the kind that has a certain tartness to it, feels kinda juicy, dare I say it… fun? Yes, fun, we’ll go with that. Anyway, I got really pretentious and put fresh turmeric in it. You can omit it and add more ginger if you like, if you can’t find turmeric. I love the roots so much. They look like little larvae! Uh. Anyway. This recipe makes two smoothies, so share with any stupid frigging friends you might have (or just make yourself smoothies for two days)!

  • Prep time: <5 minutes
  • Cook time: /
  • Yield: Two very large smoothies or three small smoothies.
  • Allergen info: Gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free

Ingredients

  • Two frozen bananas
  • 250 ml (1 cup) mango juice (or orange-mango, which I used!)
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) unsweetened almond milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice)
  • 250 ml fresh or frozen mango (pineapple or peaches would also be nice)
  • Two handfuls (about 2 cups) spinach or kale
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) fresh packed cilantro
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) avocado flesh
  • One 1″ piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • One 1″ piece fresh turmeric root, peeled

Instructions

  1. Blend all ingredients on high speed, enjoy in a tall glass and feel like a million bucks (this smoothie is rather liquidy so I don’t recommend you have it bowl-style).

Velvety chocolate smoothie

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Awww, I took this back when I had a little baby garden with tiny little tomato sprouts! I know you must be wondering, “Did the tomatoes really grow into that beautiful tomato plant in the picture with your cat?” No. Hell no. Those tomato plants did not work out at all. But anyway.

  • Prep time: <5 minutes
  • Cook time: /
  • Yield: Two bowls
  • Allergen info: Gluten-free, soy-free

Ingredients

  • Two frozen bananas
  • One 400 ml can light coconut milk (do not chill!)
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) packed avocado flesh
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) nut butter of your choice
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) cocoa powder
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) ground cinnamon
  • Small drizzle of maple syrup, optional
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • Scoop chocolate or vanilla protein powder, optional
  • Optional toppings: Jam, cacao nibs, granola… see my previous note re: toppings

Instructions

  1. Blend all ingredients on high speed, serve into bowls and enjoy (cat friend optional)! This is a super thick smoothie so it’s more spoon-than-straw, I think.

Red ranger beet and berry smoothie

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A couple weeks ago, I did something I haven’t done in almost a year.

I took a sick day.

Well, not a full-sick day (or, I guess a sick full-day). I took only the afternoon off, after we got our daily newsletter out, and went home to sleep and retire my voice for awhile. It was more or less a nasty head cold, which I can normally get through just fine (I don’t get sick all that often, and when I’m stuck in the “getting sick” stage for about a day and a half but never really get to a point of needing to go home from work). But it completely drained me, and I was at a point of being in utterly yucky pain and misery. I needed three things:

  1. Blanket
  2. Cat
  3. The sympathy of everyone around me (which, I guess, was limited to my precious kitty cat)

Anyway, after that I was on a big fruits and veggies kick (I mean, what else is new?), specifically trying to to shove as much colourful produce down my food-hole as humanly possible because damn, dat placebo effect. My super-saturated colourful smoothie concoctions probably didn’t actually do anything to relieve my cold, but I’ll admit, when my temperature shot up, I was pretty damn comfortable sitting out on my balcony with Ben (note for those who are unaware: we actually have balcony netting installed so Ben can safely enjoy the bacony) with my boxers on, sipping on an ice-cold smoothie watching all the suckers navigating the unseasonably cool streets.

And then I straight-up died.

But if this smoothie were to be the last thing I ate before I died (it wasn’t) I’d be pretty cool with that. And that’s something considering it features my once-despised worst enemy, beets! This smoothie also features the crisp, almost sticky-sweet taste of mango combined with the just-tart-enough taste of raspberries that’ll really have you envisioning summer and all of the long walks, parties and nudity that comes along with it.

Red ranger berry smoothie

  • Prep time:
  • Cook time: N/A
  • Yield: One 2.5-cup serving
  • Allergen info: Gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, soy free

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mango chunks, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup beets, peeled and chopped*
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup water or, if feeling fancy, coconut water**
  • Splash of non-dairy milk (optional)

* If you don’t have a super-powerful blender, I’d recommend steaming your beets prior to preparing, as they will be way easier to blend.

** I’ve since made another version of this that had ginger ale instead of coconut water, and the results were… interesting, to say the least, but I didn’t entirely hate it by the end.

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. You may need to add more water/coconut water as you go depending on how hard/frozen your fruit is.
  2. Add a splash of non-dairy milk, or even a bit of ripe avocado flesh if you like a creamier smoothie.

I’ve found this smoothie is best enjoyed wrapped in a blanket sitting on your balcony in your boxer shorts hoping the kids at the elementary school 11 stories down and across the street don’t notice the crazy lady on the balcony. But, like, you could also enjoy it with a light breakfast (as much as this is a nice big smoothie I don’t consider a meal in itself, unless you’re one of those super-light breakfast-eaters) like some toast and avocado or a small muffin.

What’s your comfort routine like when you get sick? Do you turn into a garbage disposal like me, or do you hate food? Do you become a big, attention-starved baby, or do you lock everyone out of your apartment and convert it into a blanket fort/quarantine tent? Let me know in the comments, and share any variations on the smoothie you think I should try!


Snackable green smoothie

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I went on a bit of a smoothie hiatus with the blog, I’ll cop to that. I’ll have you know I still eatdrink approximately one smoothie per day. It’s just that I was starting to run out of ideas, and also, I want my blog to be a little more than just smoothies. Vegans do eat solid foods, after all.

But trust me, I’m still a smoothie-operator, and I have a delightfully bright green smoothie to share with everyone. This green smoothie is deemed “snackable” because it’s not quite as filling as a banana-and-milk kind of smoothie. It’s best enjoyed with something light on the side like toast and PB, or some chia puddin’, or in a lunch with your sandwich.

All week last week when I was on vacation I enjoyed this as my breakfast along with some granola and milk, plus usually a cup of tea (my favourite white tea is Buddha’s Blend from David’s Tea). I felt so earthy and cool, all I wanted to do was go sit in upward-facing dog for, like, ever. Instead I ended up playing with my cat, listening to Supertramp, swearing, riding my bike, making fart jokes, you know, all those things. But for the tiniest moment, I felt all peaceful and stuff.

Anyway, enjoy this smoothie that’s light enough that you can have it on the side, but is still packed with flavour and good-for-you ingredients. Of course, nothing’s stopping you from having this with a big slice of vegan cake for breakfast. And if I am correct, vegan cake is practically a vegetable.

Far be it from me to tell you how to life your life.

Snackabe green smoothie

Prep time: <5 minutes
Cook time: n/a
Yield: One smoothie, about 1 3/4 cups liquid
Dietary specs: Vegan, fructose-friendly, gluten-free, raw/no-bake, nut-free*

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks (or pineapple)
  • 1 generous handfull kale or spinach
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup coconut water (plain water will do but won’t quite give the same taste)
  • 1″ piece of ginger
  • 1 tsp avocado flesh (optional for a slightly more filling and thicker smoothie)

* Coconut is defined as a tree nut by some sources but as the seed of a fruit by others. You’re making this for yourself so if you have a nut allergy I hope you know to trust your own doctor and medical history more than you trust me.

Instructions

  1. (Optional) Slice and freeze your banana overnight to give the smoothie a nice chill with no added ice.
  2. Blend all ingredients on high speed until it reaches your desired consistency.

On Monday my blog saw more traffic than it’s ever seen — actually, Monday’s traffic was roughly six times what it normally is. The community on Reddit’s r/Vegan subreddit are the most amazingly supportive users and I just really wanted to shout out to them (as well as r/Veganrecipies for always being so receptive to my recipes). Things are really looking up here at Urban Garlic and I am so thankful. Getting to keep this up as a side project while working a job I love (not to mention teaching dance!) is nothing short of a dream.

For my American readers, I’d love to read about how your Thanksgiving went. Family gatherings can be so hard when your lifestyle is so fundamentally different than the rest of your families. My Thanksgiving was back in October and I brought my own food courtesy of Toronto vegan stalwarts Bunner’s — and it was awesome to see my sister, brother-in-law and partner try some of Bunner’s amazing tomato and kale pie.

Jarrod’s parents are joining us for dinner on Friday night. His mom has to adhere to a low-FODMAP diet because of some recent health issues, so I’m going to flex my very creative cooking muscles and hopefully share some of the best results with you guys. What are some of your favourite low-FODMAP recipes? I’d love to hear about that — or your Thanksgivings, or just how cool your cat is or something — in the comments.


Zesty mango juice

Mango Juice

I admit it: I have a serious problem with my Vitamix.

I can’t stop using it.

(Sorry, did the suspense just kill you/piss you off? Did you really think I’d speak ill of my new Vitamix? It has replaced Benny as the most beloved, and noisiest, member of the household.)

One thing I’ve been really, really loving about my Vitamix is how easy it is to make fresh juice. Now, I don’t want to make any bones about my position on juicing: I’m not at all an advocate for the idea of juice as a replacement for meals. I don’t think juice cleanses are a very safe thing to do your body, and I’d far rather eat than drink my calories.

That said, making juice at home is DEFINITELY a way better solution than buying juice (ESPECIALLY if you buy those $8-per-bottle cold-pressed juices… SHEESH!) whenever you are able, and it’s so fun because you can customize anything! I was able to pack a buttload (that is an actual unit of measurement) of vitamins into a single glass, which really helped add to my morning breakfast (it’s great before a run or dance class). This zesty mango juice was indeed something that was born out of a lot of experimentation, and despite the admittedly odd combination of ingredients (you’ll see…), it creates a taste that’s just unconventional enough to pique your interests without being so weird that you don’t actually enjoy drinking it.

I’ve never made juice with a juicer before, because I have no intention of every buying one. Why would anyone own a juicer when they already own a nice blender? This blender can liquify ANYTHING, I tell ya. It helps, of course, that the Vitamix comes with a nut milk bag, but you can either buy a nut milk bag or make one out of cheesecloth. I far prefer it to the sieve method, which REALLY doesn’t allow you to get as much liquid as you possibly can.

One thing I’ve really been digging lately (which I mentioned in my September Spread the Love entry) is turmeric root. They kind of look like little woody turds (I swear I’m an adult). I think you might also be able to get them in larger pieces that look more like ginger root. But they’re orange on the inside! And man, do they ever add a nice zing to this juice. I got a bunch that are rather small, but you don’t actually have to peel them — just wash under hot water and scrub the outside until the strange film comes off the outside.

Anyway, without further Apu, here’s the juice! Hope you like it!

Zesty mango juice, serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen mango chunks (I’d recommend thawing frozen beforehand slightly because if you’re squeezing the juice, it will freeze your hands very uncomfortably)
  • Juice from 1 1/2 lemons
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1-inch piece of ginger root, peeled and minced (or if you have a really powerful blender like I do, just toss it in peeled!)
  • 1 to 2 small pieces turmeric root (about the size of a child’s thumb), rinsed and scrubbed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Sprinkle of ground black pepper (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prep your fruit and veg.
  2. Pour all ingredients into a blender and blend on high until solid chunks are out. If you’re having a hard time with this you may need to gradually add more water.
  3. Spread a nut milk bag or piece of cheesecloth over a large bowl and gently pour your liquid into the cloth. Squeeze over the bowl until what’s left is just dry pulp. You can also use the sieve/spoon method, but that takes awhile and doesn’t yield as much liquid.
  4. If you like, you can save this pulp for a project down the road to cut down on waste (muffins might be good!)
  5. Pour the liquid into a nice tall glass and enjoy. THIS IS NOT A MEAL REPLACEMENT.

10 smoothies with four ingredients or less

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Smoothies are a fun and fresh way to switch up your morning (or afternoon, or evening) routine. Every day, I’m totally wowed by the unique smoothie recipes I see online. There are so many cool ways to sneak in fruits and veggies for people on the go, or for people like me who merely want to see just how crazy they can get.

But it’s also important to remember, especially if you’re new to smoothies, that they don’t have to be complicated. They don’t need 10+ ingredients. You should be able to make an easy, cheap grocery trip and not blow your entire budget on something that’s just going to get liquified into a mason jar.

Here are some of my favourite, easy smoothie recipes that all contain four ingredients for less. I have some suggested extras, but even just the base alone should be enough to satisfy.

  1. Basic morning glory smoothie
    One banana, 1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen), 1 cup orange juice
    Suggested extras: vanilla extract, protein powder or chia seeds
  2. Creamy blueberry smoothie
    1 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup vanilla non-dairy yogourt, 1/4 cup non-dairy milk, 1/2 tbsp brown rice syrup or other honey substitute
    Suggested extras: hemp hearts or nut butter for protein
  3. Basic green smoothie
    1 cup spinach or kale, one banana, 1 cup non-dairy milk (or 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup water depending on your preference), 1 tbsp nut butter
    Suggested extras: ground flax or chia seeds, cinnamon, vanilla
  4. Chai spice smoothie
    One banana, 1 cup non-dairy milk, 1 tbsp rolled oats, 1/2 tbsp chai spice blend*
    Suggested extras: nut butter, liquid sweetener like maple syrup
  5. Tropical blend
    One banana, 1/2 cup pineapple chunks, 1 cup mango chunks (frozen ideal), 1 cup non-dairy milk (or half milk, half water)
    Suggested extras: coconut water instead of regular water, vanilla extract
  6. Creamy mocha smoothie
    One banana, 1 cup non-dairy milk, 1 tbsp cocoa powder, pinch of espresso
    Suggested extras: protein powder, rolled oats or nut butter
  7. Super green smoothie
    1 cup spinach or kale, 2 tbsp ripe avocado flesh, 1 cucumber (peeled), 1/2 cup water
    Suggested extras: coconut water instead of regular water, a splash of non-dairy milk, protein powder, fresh parsley
  8. “Buggs Bunny” carrot orange smoothie
    Two seedless naval oranges, 1/2 cup chopped and peeled carrots, 2 tsp fresh grated ginger, 1 cup water
    Suggested extras: add in a bit of milk or a banana to make a more filling “meal” smoothie
  9. Purple power smoothie
    1/2 cup blueberries or blackberries, 1 cup strawberries or rasperries, 1 tbsp ground flax, 1 cup non-dairy milk
    Suggested extras: a banana for thickness
  10. Classic vanilla protein smoothie
    1 banana, 1 cup vanilla-flavoured non-dairy milk, 2tbsp hemp hearts, 1 tbsp nut butter
    Suggested extras: flax seed meal, chia seeds, protein powder, cinnamon

* Chai spice blend: Three parts ground cinnamon, three parts ground allspice, one part nutmeg, one part cardamom, one part garam masala, pinch of ground cloves

What are some of your own classic, minimalist smoothie combos? I’d love to hear all of them!