Category Archives: Snacks

Vegan meal plan for one week

I mentioned a few weeks ago that Jarrod and I have really committed to a more well thought-out meal plan, especially for breakfast and lunch. Before, breakfast would always consist of only me eating (and usually throwing a smoothie together last-minute) and Jarrod not eating anything at all, then running to Tim Horton’s for a breakfast sandwich on the way to work. So wasteful!

I wanted to share a sample of a meal plan that we follow most weeks (with some variance, of course, because variety is the spice of life).


Zingy garlic and almond edamame

When I went to university, I’d use whatever money I could scrape together to go to our campus pub, Wilf’s, for the occasional treat. I wasn’t a vegan back then (and thank goodness, because if you check out Wilfs’ menu online, look at how little options there were, and how apparently they think chicken is vegetarian), but my favourite things at Wilf’s happened to be the only vegan things on the menu — edamame, and hummus and pita chips.

I’ve mentioned before that I came from a reallllly non-diverse town. Like, we didn’t even have grocery store sushi. I’d never even heard of hummus until I was 19 years old. Edamame? I actually thought it was pronounced “Eda-maim!” But that didn’t mean I wouldn’t try it. Wilf’s edamame was just steamed with salt (lots of it!) but it was so damn addictive.


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).


No-banana berry soft serve

no banana soft serve

Don’t hate on me: I’m not the biggest fan of banana ice cream.

Which might seem crazy coming from a girl who has a banana in every smoothie, who was addicted to banana Popsicles growing up, who would fake sick just to get banana penicillin and whose nickname was — surprise — Breanna Banana. Yes, I do sing the high praises of bananas.


Aqua-fabulous peanut butter cookies

Peanit Butter Cookies

I have a feeling that joke has probably been made a ton now, but in the immortal words of Eric Cartman, wha-evah, wha-evah, I do what I want!

I’m a bit late to the aquafaba train, but I’m making up for it lately. One of the reasons I was hesitant to post any aquafaba-based recipes is because I’m never sure how much I want to contribute to growing “superfood” trends. I’d hate to see the price of canned chickpeas skyrocket because people suddenly believe the brine in it can, like, cure cancer or something.


Sweet and spicy sweet potato latte syrup

SP Latte

Before I talk about this syrup, I want to talk about what it represents: indulgence.

This past weekend, I started a cleanse of my own. Nope, not the juice kind. Nope, not even the food kind.

I’m going through a bit of a material cleanse right now. Not in terms of getting rid of stuff (I actually do that quite a bit). More in terms of re-evaluating the things that I spend my money on and buy/consume without thinking too much about it.

Ever since I moved away from downtown Toronto and especially since my career took a better turn last year, I’ve never really struggled financially, and I’ve never been particularly foolish with money. I’m in a position where if something were to randomly happen to my car, or if Benny were to need some sort of emergency surgery, I’d be fine.

But I’ve realized that I could be doing so much better, and because I’m in a good position, I tend to occasionally plunk down money on things that I might need, but not immediately.

For example, clothes — for a long time, even when I was working full-time, I couldn’t justify buying new clothes because I didn’t have a ton of money, so I was stuck wearing the same crappy, poorly-shaped, faded, low-quality clothes I wore in university. Now that I’m in a better position, I buy clothes more frequently (and, to my credit, always get rid of old clothes). The thing is, I still haven’t learned the art of keeping only a small number of essential pieces. I owned a lot of clothes in university, so I’ve felt a need to replace my crappy, collegiate style at a 1:1 rate, but it should probably be more like 1:2 or 1:3.

Another thing is, to sound totally cliché, my daily Starbucks indulgence. I usually use Starbucks as nothing more than an excuse to get out of the office on my lunch break and do some writing. Why can’t there be a library or something close by? I’m not so into coffees/lattes that I feel an actual craving for them on the daily, so I really need to stop going to Starbucks out of boredom/convenience.

Okay, and another thing I need to stop doing: expanding on my collection of Lush pots. For someone who likes to tote a minimalist skin routine, I actually have a tendency to fall in love with a new soap scent long before my last one has run out. I work really close to a Lush and sometimes I just go in at lunch to smell all the smells and get away from everything, and I usually feel way too guilty to walk out without buying something.

I feel like I’m portraying myself as a spend-o-holic here. Don’t worry, I’m not over-the-top. But I definitely think everyone, even those of us who are financially comfortable, need to look at our spending habits a little bit more and wonder how much we’re actually spending on what we need.

Here’s my current vow:

  • No Starbucks for two weeks (I’m not ruling out coffee shops in general, but I go to Starbucks out of convenience and out of not actually wanting coffee.)
  • No Lush or any other toiletry product for two months.
  • No clothing purchases — not even an accessory — for one month.
  • Since the big seasonal clothing transition is approaching, I will be getting rid of no less than 20 clothing items and not replacing them.

I’ve also made a few vows for my at-home habits — no playing The Sims or 2048 for one month, and no watching The Office for one month. I know those sound like strange things, but those are probably the two things that, once I’ve done everything for the day — cooking, blog work, workouts, cleaning — that I fall into. I mean, you can argue that if you’ve tended to all your other responsibilities, what’s the problem? But I think by always falling into those habits, I’m limiting myself from trying something different, like reading a new book, playing piano or even doing a puzzle. Again, I’m not giving up TV, I’m giving up the show that is most convenient for me to watch reruns of (I have every episode) because I know that 99% of my drive to do those things is not out of genuine desire but convenience.

That’s it. Is it sad that I’ve felt a need to do this? I actually don’t think so! What this comes down to mostly is an exercise in self-discipline and also teaching me how to better use my time.

One of those better uses of time is coming up with cool original recipes (see the segue I did there) and knocking things off of my list of fall goals. I’ve actually accomplished a few so far and I might detail some on the blog. Here’s one of them, which started out as an attempt to make my own pumpkin spice syrup.

With it being October, pumpkin puree wasn’t actually available in stores, and damned if I felt like carving a pumpkin all by myself (I try to avoid mentioning this, but I have the visual artistic talents of a drunken sloth, and carving pumpkins would surely result in me accidentally painting my walls orange).

But then I saw sweet potato puree for about 50 cents cheaper than pumpkin puree, so, like, why not?

Sweet potato is, after all, sweet, and I have enjoyed a good sweet potato pie in my day. It doesn’t quite have the smooth, soothing taste of pumpkin, but that’s kind of what I like about it.

Here’s the sweet and spicy sweet potato latte, so you can possibly differentiate yourself from the #PSL crowd.

Sweet and spicy sweet potato latte syrup, makes about 3/4 cup of syrup


  • 1/2 cup sweet potato puree
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup, maple syrup or agave (I don’t recommend a thicker sweetener like molasses or coconut nectar)
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar, turbinado sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon or one cinnamon stick
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract, or one vanilla bean, seeded
  • Pinch of ground cloves


  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and slowly warm on medium heat, stirring to ensure no burning on the surface.
  2. Once the sugar is dissolved and all elements are combined thoroughly, remove from heat. Strain out any solid pieces like the vanilla bean and/or the cinnamon stick.
  3. Let cool before transferring to an airtight container.
  4. Store in the fridge, but I recommend removing it for at least 30 minutes before using it in a drink!
  5. This also makes a great drizzle over vegan ice cream — mm!

So what are some of your indulgences that you might need a bit of a break from? What are your worst habits? What’s something you think you could be doing better with your time? Let me know in the comments below.


Five easy, healthy post-workout snacks

I’m not going to lie, when my partner and I were looking for a new place, although I didn’t admit it to him, when I looked through listings of apartment buildings, I gave total preference to buildings with gyms/fitness rooms.

I’m happy to report that we did indeed find a place that has a small gym featuring cardio equipment, free weights and a few machines. It’s not much, but it’s enough for me. I normally run and bike all over Toronto, but I also like to be able to lift a little bit or get down on mats for some thorough pilates work. Working out at home is really difficult for me because I get too distracted and I feel too crowded and afraid to really go all-out, but working out close to home is always great.

We still climb, right now working back up to climbing about three times per week. Dance is also still a part of my life (teaching once a week and taking a class whenever I can) and, of course, I’m on my bike (and running!) constantly. But I like to keep my workouts varied.

The best part about my workout regime is that literally everything is close to home. My dance studio is right around the corner, our climbing gym is now a five-minute drive, the gym is in the building next door, and, well, you always end up back home when you run or bike (if you don’t, consider a GPS, a compass or simply never leaving your home).

You know why getting home quickly is a priority? Because I LOVE TO EAT. Have I ever mentioned that? Working out always makes me super-hungry for something high-protein, easy to eat and, preferably, not too warm. I was recently introduced to the team at, who are all about healthy snacks. They gave me the idea to write a post about my favourite healthy post-workout snacks, which quite frankly I’m surprised I haven’t written about before.

These aren’t overly complex snacks, and are extremely easy to make yourself, so give them each a whirl and find something you like!

Soaked almonds and blueberries

Everyone knows by now that soaking almonds makes them a way more easy-to-eat and luxurious snack than crunchy almonds (not that there’s anything wrong with crunchy almonds)! But what I really love is pairing them with a sweet companion — blueberries! Blueberry and almonds have always gone together (see: a long history of cold cereals). This is a great snack for after climbing when I’m feeling snacky and over-stimulated — I need something that I can keep dipping my hand into the bowl for, but isn’t full of excess salt and grease. I simply soak 1/3 cup of almonds and 1/4 cup of blueberries in water before I leave for climbing. When I come home about 2-3 hours later, I drain and rinse my bowl, and voilà (you could sprinkle on some cinnamon if you like too, but they’re still good on their own)!

Make-ahead chocolate protein smoothie

A photo posted by Bree Rody-Mantha (@breeganism) on

(Cereal optional) After a jazz or contemporary dance class, when I’ve been moving and jumping around for 90 minutes, I get really hungry, but don’t actually feel like eating. Smoothies always win for me. Now, some of my smoothies can be a little over-complicated, which is why I recently released a listing of 10 smoothies with four ingredients or less. This smoothie does not contain four ingredients or less, but it’s still an easy-to-make smoothie with ingredients you can find at any local grocery store. The key is freezing the banana and zucchini beforehand, as well as pre-soaking the oats in the milk, so you can blend easily into a super-smooth, so-good-you’d-swear-it’s-a-Wendy’s-Frosty smoothie. Ingredients:

        • One medium banana, peeled, chopped and frozen



      • 1/2 medium zucchini, peeled, chopped and frozen



      • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk



      • 1/4 cup rolled oats



      • 1 tbsp nut or seed butter



      • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder of choice (I use Manitoba Harvest’s hemp-based protein)



      • 1 tsp cocoa powder



      • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract



      • Pinch of cinnamon



      • Pinch of sea salt


      Before you go out for your workout, peel, chop and freeze your banana and zucchini, and sit your oats in the milk, cover and refrigerate. Run the oats/milk through the blender once before adding everything else and then wiz it away!  

Savoury crackers and hummus (with carrots!)

Crackers were my weakness as a child. My favourite were Crispers (which apparently are supposed to be a chip/cracker hybrid), followed by Bacon Dipper (surprisingly, those are vegan, so I’m looking to see if I can create a slightly less oily version for Urban Garlic in the near future). Now I tend to prefer crackers with a bit more texture, like Mary’s Crackers. My flax and buckwheat crackers are a fairly good dupe for those, and a few large wedges of seedy crackers with some home-made or store-bought hummus can be just the right amount of carb and protein to calm you down after a good workout (my favourite hummus of all-time is still the “pizza hummus” my boyfriend and I created together when we first started dating). It’s also good to get some veggies in. My favourite vegetables to have with hummus are baby carrots and broccoli.

Crackers or pita chips with nut cheese and blueberry jam

A simple rice cracker or a wedge of pita (you don’t even have to toast it) is just begging to have an interesting combination of flavours applied to it, so I look at simply applying one topping to a cracker as a total waste. My favourite nut cheese is Tres Nuts, which is sold at various Toronto natural food stores including Raise the Root and The Big Carrot, and I love spreading some blueberry jam (my jam of choice is Crofter’s) on top. Super-duper fancy!

Homemade energy bars


A photo posted by Bree Rody-Mantha (@breeganism) on

Okay, this one is a bit more complex, but I never miss out on a chance to promote my homemade Clif Bar recipe. Why? Well, because for how easy these babies are to make, there’s a huge amount of payoff. What are the advantages? Well, you can customize it as much as you want (need to make it nut-free? Fructose-friendly? Want to add chocolate? Berries? DO WHAT YOU WANT). You can cut them into the sizes you want. You can bring a whole tray to share with your friends, or be a jerk/awesome and keep it all to yourself.

Cocktail time: whisky sour 2.0

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Do you spell whisky “whiskey” or “whisky?” Apparently, my spelling is the Canadian version. What can I say? I’m a good Canadian girl.

You know what makes me a terrible Canadian girl? I’ve never been a fan of beer. I can sometimes stomach it if it’s a really light-tasting beer, but overall the taste is not my favourite and the carbonation doesn’t sit well in my stomach. I can guarantee I’ll never get drunk off of beer, because more than one is not going into my stomach.

I used to feel really  ashamed for not liking beer, because I think a lot of people feel that those who don’t like beer are prissy, overly feminine or high-maintenance. You’re seen as “chill” for liking beer, you’re seen as “cool.”

Meh. You know what I realized? I really don’t care.

I’m actually quite picky with alcohol. I’m not into wine, but I’m not into overly sugary alcoholic drinks. I don’t drink a lot of lard liquor straight. In fact, I don’t drink very much. When I do, I don’t really like to get drunk because I hate feeling drunk. I’m a huge lightweight. And that’s another thing people like to make fun of me for — really, you can’t win.

Anyway, I have a few old faithfuls I’ll always go to on the odd occasion I feel like having a drink in my hand. One of them is a whisky ginger, the other is a whisky sour (to be honest, whisky makes everything taste better to me).

This is somewhat of an enhanced version of a whisky sour — and yes, it has beer! But it’s a bit more refreshing than your average beer, so it has that perfect “summer day on a patio” feel.

Whisky Sour 2.0, serves 2


  • 2 oz whisky
  • 1 cup lager (I used Mill Street, which is brewed locally)
  • Juice from one lime
  • 2-3 tbsp simple syrup (make sure to make with non bone-char filtered sugar)
  • A few shakes lime bitters (optional)


  1. Combine all ingredients besides the bitters in a shaker
  2. Pour into two glasses over ice and shake on the bitters (optional)

Nutella flax pudding (for breakfast!)

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I admit I got a little salty about something (while I was in California, working out and well-hydrated if you can believe it).

I received a comment from someone about how one of my recipes was “too complicated,” and I couldn’t quite articulate why it pissed me off. For one thing, I’ve never found my recipes to be very complicated, because I’m not that great of a cook and I can still manage. But more than anything, the reason I got a little salty is because this isn’t the first time I’ve felt the pull of people wanting me to change my website to suit THEIR needs.

My mandate ISN’T to be a minimalist and so-simple-your-cat-could-do-it recipe site. Now, I do believe in making food with ingredients you can buy at your average market. That said, my shtick is vegan food, not vegan food that can  be made in one bowl or in five minutes. You know what can be made in (less than, I hope) five minutes? A sandwich. You know what I’m not going to tell you how to make? A sandwich. Because you know how to make a sandwich. It’s bread, or bread-type-things, and then it’s other things encased between those bread-type things.

Now, I realize I’m a little overly salty about this. I’m McDonalds Fries salty about it. But like I said, this isn’t the first time others have tried to tell me what I should do with my website, and most of them don’t think there’s anything wrong with it.

“You should focus on meals that can be made for under $X.”

“You should put stuff that picky eaters will like!”

“You should make stuff that’s good for transitioning vegans!”

“You should make your recipes more allergen-friendly!”

You know what I hear whenever I hear those “suggestions?” “You should change your site to suit me.”

Now, I know that most people don’t think that that’s what they’re saying. They’re happy that Urban Garlic has potentially provided them with a good resource but wish it were just a little bit more tailored to them. I can respect that, and the fact is, I am here to be a resource to other people. If I was totally ignoring my potential audience, I’d be a real shithead, wouldn’t I?

But, well, I do have an audience. Sometimes when you know a blogger personally, you’re convinced that the people they know offline are their only readers. But I know my stats — I know that most of my views come from the States (and a few from Europe!), that most of my clicks come from Instagram, and that very few of my friends, even if they actively support my blog, actually make my food (shout out to the ones who have shared pics with me!! Eeeeee)!

I’m not even saying this is a bad thing. I think it’s incredible that my friends who have no interest in vegan food have been so engaged and supportive of my blog. Hey, let’s all celebrate that fact!

But that’s besides the point. I have an audience and they like what I post. And while anyone could tell you that they key to failure is trying to please everyone else, I feel pretty confident in saying that a lot of them would also want you to please them.

Anyway, I feel like I had to get that off my chest, and the reason I’m putting it out there on my blog is because I want people to know that while suggestions have a time and a place (“Hey Bree, you should do a cake recipe!”) there comes a point when your “helpful suggestion” is like going into a Canadian History class and going “When are we going to get to Canadian contemporary studies?”

So… pudding?

I’m sorry, I just kept talking myself in a circle and still found no way to get to pudding.

Everyone loves a good chia pudding/parfait. The thing is, chia seeds are expensive as hell and not all that different, nutritionally, from flax seeds. This is a way cheaper option that has just as much goodness for you — and yes, it’s chocolate. Hey, Nutella got away with trying to claim it was healthy for years (mothers across the world were shocked — a creamy, chocolate spread wasn’t as healthy as eight bowls of spinach? Zut alors!) so I’m pretty sure I’m one step ahead.

Speaking of one step ahead, you also don’t have to prepare this overnight (aside from making your milk ice cubes). Freeze about those suckers overnight and you should be good to enjoy yourself some yummy pudding!

Nutella flax pudding for breakfast, serves two


  • 5 frozen cubes of non-dairy milk (standard ice cube size — it’s a tough conversion if you’re me and your ice cube molds are little porcupines and squirrels)
  • 1 1/2 cup unflavoured, unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 5 tbsp whole flax seeds
  • 3 tbsp smooth peanut or almond butter
  • 2-3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup, coconut nectar or other liquid sweetener
  • 1 tbsp macca powder (if you don’t have macca on hand, add the third tbsp of cocoa)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • A small handfull of hazelnuts, plus more for topping


  1. Sit the flax seeds in the milk and allow to plump for a few minutes while you prep and chop everything else.
  2. Add all of the ingredients besides the milk cubes into the blender and blend on high until all is pureed and there are no chunks (watch out for those tricky hazelnut bastards)
  3. Add the milk cubes and blend once again!
  4. Serve garnished with hazelnuts and, if you’re feeling really wild, some coconut whipped cream.

I hope you all enjoyed my rather neurotic post. I hope no one starts tugging at their collar and going, “Wow, that Bree’s a real Squidward in the morning, isn’t she?” And if they do, well, not much I can do to change that. Except eat more pudding.

Strawberry rhubarb morning muffins

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I’m a muffin person. I remember back when I had my first job working at McDonalds and I’d work the breakfast shift, my meal would be a carrot muffin and a hashbrown (and apple juice — it took me a LONG time to like coffee. I STILL don’t like black coffee).

I know a lot of people like to hate on muffins because, well, they’re basically cake, right? But you know what I’ve realized?

I don’t care.

Muffins are yummy. Muffins are fluffy. Muffins love you as much as you love them (don’t believe me? The happy feeling in your tummy should be an indication). And the best thing about muffins is you can put whatever you damn want in them. Seriously, I’m considering making a pizza muffin one of these days soon, just to prove I can.

(Uhhh yeah, you heard me, pizza. muffin.)

But this isn’t supposed to be about pizza muffins. This is supposed to be about these strawberry rhubarb muffins.

When I was a kid we had rhubarb patches in our back yard, so summer was always marked by eating long stalks of rhubarb with just a little bit of sugar for dipping. Now, I was never much of a pie eater, and when I was, I always gravitated toward raspberry pie. Strawberry rhubarb seemed like a strange combo to me. Rhubarb was that weird pinkish celery clone that grew in my garden! Strawberries came from the store!

(Okay, maybe I was kind of a dense kid, but nothing grows in Kapuskasing. You’d forgive me for thinking strawberries came from “the store,” right? I wonder what my explanation on the whole “babies” thing was).

WHY AM I TALKING ABOUT BABIES?! I’M SUPPOSED TO BE TALKING ABOUT THESE MUFFINS! Someone turned my attention span off today, apparently.

While these muffins aren’t gluten-free, I have included an alternate version to make this gluten-free. This recipe is also made with canola oil and not coconut oil because I wanted to create something low in saturated fat for people who might have high cholesterol or high blood pressure. My poor brother-in-law has been told to avoid oils such as coconut oil. AND AVOCADOS. WTF, right?! HOW AWFUL!

Okay, enough distraction. Here. Is. The recipe. For. These. Muffins.

Strawberry rhubarb morning muffins, makes six large muffins


  • 1 3/4 cup spelt flour*
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened, unflavoured almond milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax seed meal+3 tbsp water)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Roughly 6 large strawberries, hulled and cut into about 4 pieces (not too small!)
  • 1 stick of rhubarb

* If you are unable to eat gluten, the best flavour for this is to sub entirely with all-purpose gluten-free flour, or 1.5 cups and a quarter cup of coconut flour. Don’t forget to add 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum and ensure that your baking powder is certified GF.


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Mix your flax egg and let sit for 5-10 minutes
  3. In a medium pot, add some water and lightly steam your strawberries and rhubarb. Keep the heat low so you don’t have to worry about the fruit softening too much as you mix the rest of your muffins.
  4. In a large bowl, mix your dry ingredients — flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda and salt.
  5. Add your milk, oil, vanilla and flax egg, mix until everything is well-incorporated.
  6. Fold in the coconut, strawberries and rhubarb.
  7. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until a fork comes out of the muffins clean!

I enjoyed these muffins with a little bit of peanut butter — you probably will too!