Category Archives: Breakfast

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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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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Vegan 101: Your basic pancake recipe

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Pancakes were not a very frequent breakfast in my house, but when they were we’d make the biggest deal out of them. Which is funny, because my Dad usually just used boxed Aunt Jamima pancakes and our only toppings were salted butter and maple syrup (however, despite not really being a purist when it came to boxed pancakes, my Dad was kind enough to provide us with our Pepere’s own maple syrup which came from land his friends owned, as opposed to typical store-bought table syrup). (more…)


French Toast with the Vegan Egg

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Have you ordered your Vegan Egg yet? When I saw that Follow Your Heart created a vegan egg product, I wasn’t skeptical in the least — I’ve often thought that if anyone could do it, it’s them! I’ve generally liked everything FYH does: Veganaise, salad dressings, cheese. They’re not a blog sponsor or anything, I just love them. Don’t question it. My cat doesn’t sponsor my blog and I still love him.

I’ve never had any other vegan “egg” products (the only one I really know of is the Vegg). I’ve always loved tofu scramble and have never had a tofu scramble I didn’t like (save for the awful tofu scramble I had in Hamilton a couple months ago — why anyone would use silken tofu for a scramble I have no idea. Blech. The memories.) so I didn’t really miss eggs that much. But hey, I’m always up for a good vegan dupe.

The taste is basically bang-on. You can tell they use black salt very liberally in this mixture because it has that distinct sulfur-y smell. Once you pour the water in with the powder you get an instant egg smell throughout your kitchen. Trust me, it’s pleasant.

As for texture, I didn’t quite go crazy with my first vegan egg. It took quite a long time to cook down and solidify, very different from a real egg. I mean, keep in mind, it’s half a cup of water per two teaspoons of powder, so it’s a very different texture than a gel-like egg. If you’re still waiting for your Vegan Egg in the mail, let me give you a tip for your first scramble: make sure your pan is really good and hot before you put it in — I’m not talking hover-your-hand-over-and-wow-that’s-kinda-warm-hot, I mean drop-a-teaspoon-of-water-and-watch-it-go-wooooosh-into-steam-hot so you can get it nice and firm as soon as possible.

Anyway, I have no interest in using the Vegan Egg for things like muffins or burgers because I am perfectly happy using flax eggs and other replacers, but another thought occurred to me on Sunday morning: French toast.

I’ve never identified with a minor movie character so intimately as I have when Leslie Mann’s character in The 40-Year-Old Virgin drunkenly slurs, “Let’s get some fuckin’ French toast.” Guys, I love this stuff. Like, REALLY love it.

My dad was more into pancakes growing up, but my best friend Katelyn’s dad would always make us French toast after sleepovers. Damn. Nothing beats it. And what I’ve always longed for was something that gave the toast that nice singe on it that was so distinctly eggy. I’ve thought of using silken tofu, but, well, here we are.

You have to do this. I’d say do it before you make a scramble/omelette/Western sandwich.

Vegan Egg French toast

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10-20 minutes (I guess this depends on the size of your pan and how many toasts you can fit in)
Yield: About 4-6 pieces
Dietary specs: Vegan, soy-free, nut-free option, gluten-free option, fructose-friendly

Ingredients

  • Two slightly thick Vegan Eggs (4 tsp vegan egg powder with about 3/4 cup cold water)
  • 2/3 cup almond milk (or rice/flax/whatever milk for a nut-free option)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar or brown sugar (optional)
  • 4-6 pieces of bread, preferably slightly stale sourdough bread (use GF if necessary, of course)
  • 2 tsp vegan butter or coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Mix your vegan egg. Make sure your water is cold! Whisk incredibly thoroughly to get out all clumps. Marvel at the eggy smell.
  2. Add in your milk, vanilla, cinnamon and brown sugar if using (this gives it a more caramelized texture, but I personally prefer a less sweet French toast since I drown mine in maple syrup). Whisk, whisk, whisk.
  3. Heat your oil/butter in your pan on medium-high (like I mentioned, VE takes longer to solidify than a “real” egg, so make sure your pan is good and hot).
  4. Soak your bread slices in the mixture for a couple minutes, until good and soggy but not falling apart.
  5. Fry up in the oil until crispy and golden on each side, about five minutes per side.
  6. Serve with whatever you like — real Canadian maple syrup (support our economy before we all end up moving into Peter Mansbridge’s garage), coconut whipped cream, berries, bananas, whatever. Maybe even some vegan bacon!

I still have a whole bag of Vegan Egg left and I have no idea what else to make besides just scrambles. I mean, scrambles are awesome, but any other ideas? What have you made so far with your Vegan Egg?


Sweet and spicy sweet potato latte syrup

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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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.

 


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.

Nutty banana pancakes (gluten-free)

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This summer, while I was taking my big, emo break from Urban Garlic, one of the biggest benefits of it was that it gave me the opportunity to fail with recipes. Because I faced something of a content backlog last spring, usually the stuff seen on my site was only made days before it was posted (sometimes the day before) and was my first time even trying out the recipe. So if I screwed up, I was, well, screwed! It also put a lot of pressure on in the photography aspect, because I needed to make sure that whatever I was making was made at a time when I could photograph it in decent light.

Oh, and I had to remember to write it all down.

One of the biggest fails and my most-rushed recipe was my Shamrock Shake smoothie. I’m sorry to say, but I’ll probably never eat that again. You guys can feel free, but it was torturous. Spinach goes with a lot of things. Mint is not one of them.

The summer allowed for far more experimentation. One of the things I tried my hand at was different banana-based pancakes.

A few people have showcased banana-based pancake recipes, but they usually contain eggs. I tried a few recipes consisting of mashed bananas and arrowroot powder with flax gel,  but nothing really tasted all that great.

Enter these nutty banana pancakes. I’ve given up on an entirely grain-free pancake, but this is still a unique kind of pancake that differs somewhat from the typical fluffy, floury pancake recipe I’m used to. Which is not to say that fluffy, floury pancakes aren’t the bomb (they are). These are just nice and different.

They’re buckwheat based (you can  buy pre-made buckwheat flour or do like I did and use raw groats and simply process into a flour. It’s cheaper and only takes a few seconds, and then you can use the groats for other things),  but I decided at the last minute to sub half the buckwheat with oats (into oat flour) as well. I find buckwheat on its own can have a bit of a bitter taste, but the nice mellow, earthy taste of oats helps to even it out. Add in some nuts and, of course, a banana, and you’ve got this nice, rustic breakfast perfect for our changing weather.

We served it (as we serve most of our pancakes) with a quickly-made strawberry compote. I don’t have a recipe for that, but my partner made it the way he usually makes his fruit compotes by warming some frozen strawberries in a pan with some sugar and brandy, then mashing them. Simple and sweet!

Nutty banana pancakes, makes eight small pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour or raw buckwheat groats, processed into a fine flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour or rolled oats, processed into a fine flour
  • 1/4 cup almonds or walnuts, ground into a coarse meal
  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • One flax egg (1 tbsp flax seed meal+3 tbsp water, sat for five minutes)
  • One ripe banana
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar (or any other sweetener of your choice)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp canola oil, softened virgin coconut oil or vegan butter (like Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy chocolate chips or berries (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare your flax egg and let sit, and prepare your buckwheat and oat flours if needed.
  2. Process your nuts into a meal. Don’t aim to have it flour-fine, a few chunks are good for texture.
  3. Pour your milk in a large bowl and add your apple cider vinegar. Let sit for five minutes to create a “buttermilk” taste.
  4. Combine your dry ingredients — oat flour, buckwheat flour, almonds, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, and whisk in a large bowl.
  5. Add your vanilla to the milk and mash the butter/oil and banana into the bowl. When it is soft enough, add to the dry bowl. Stir to combine.
  6. Add your flax egg.
  7. Fold in your chocolate chips or berries, if using.
  8. In a non-stick pan, melt some more Earth Balance or oil and heat the pan on medium-high. Make sure the pan is well-heated before you scoop out your batter, or else they will turn into a messy nightmare. I used 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake.
  9. Serve with maple syrup (or, if you’re weird like me, peanut butter) and enjoy with a morning paper or whatever it is grown-ups are supposed to do.

Fluffy chickpea “eggs” (soy free!)

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Tofu scramble is and always will be my favourite vegan breakfast. Aside from pancakes. And French toast. And smoothies. And toast with berries and PB and cacao nibs.

Okay, much like parents and their children, I can’t actually pick a favourite (except every parent secretly does have a favourite, the favourite is ME in the case of my parents, and in the case of my favourite vegan breakfast it’s PROBABLY still tofu scramble).

But for those who aren’t a big fan of tofu or eating a ton of soy, or just those who want to try something different, chickpea flour is a great, easy and even CHEAP way to get yourself fluffy, yellow eggieweggs in the morning.

No soy tofu scramble – “I am not tofu scramble.” GET IT?! IT’S A JOKE EN ESPANOL.

Ugh, I need to stop using this blog as a platform for my amateur comedy hour.

Anyway, chickpea flour will result in a slightly different texture than tofu. There are a few pros and cons here, so I’ll outline the both of them:

  • PRO: You can actually cook your veggies right IN to the “eggs” instead of having them just kinda THERE.
  • PRO: The “pancake” texture of the chickpea eggs makes them way easier to work with in the pan.
  • CON: It will probably end up tasting a little cake-like no matter how well you cook it.
  • CON: It can have a pretty plain taste if you don’t add in some good spices.

Nevertheless, I think I’ve successfully cracked the code re: chickpea flour eggs. Here’s my recipe for a nice scramble to share with a loved one or just yourself, because you love yourself enough to eat two servings of chickpea eggs today.

Chickpea scramble, serves two

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cups chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened, unflavoured almond milk
  • 1 tbsp EVOO, plus more for frying
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos (coconut aminos will make this recipe 100% soy free, and you can also easily find a gluten-free tamari or soy sauce to suit any dietary restrictions)
  • Two small handfuls of spinach
  • 2 tbsp packed sundried tomatoes in oil (about 2-3 tomatoes), julienned
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Pinch of tumeric
  • Pinch of nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste (use Indian black salt* if you can find it)

*Black salt, or kala namak, is not actually black but a pinkish grey, fine (almost powdery) salt. It’s difficult to find and is probably best found in Indian or south Asian marketplaces. While it’s not essential to the recipe it will lend a very unique, sulfur-like taste to the eggs and make them truly taste more “eggy.”

Instructions

  1. Heat a small amount of EVOO in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Prep your veggies — chop your garlic and tomaotes, and slice your green onions. Save a few of the ends of your onions for garnish.
  3. Combine the chickpea flour, water, milk, oil and tamari, whisking thoroughly to get rid of any lumps.
  4. Add in your spices and veggies, reserving one handful of the spinach.
  5. Pour the mixture into the warm pan. Let the mixture cook like a pancake until it is semi-hard, then begin to scramble it.
  6. Once you’ve broken up the mixture, add in the rest of your spinach and any extra oil if the skillet is too dry. Reduce the heat to 1-2, cover the pan and let cook until the spinach is wilted.
  7. I served this yummy delicious meal with some avocado toast. You can add in some potatoes if you REALLY want to make this a big, filling breakfast. It might also be nice to add in some TVP bits to act like bacon bits, or some sliced mushrooms for protein.

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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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Processed with VSCOcam

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

Ingredients

  • 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.

Instructions

  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!