Category Archives: Breakfast

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).


High-protein overnight n’oats (grain-free!)

Disclaimer: I am not grain-free (as a vegan zombie, I love graiiiiiins). But just as I don’t eat gluten-free, soy-free or (entirely) sugar-free, I like to provide as many alternates as possible for a diverse readership. I also just think it’s fun to eat differently sometimes!

I have always found overnight oats a little boring (just one big giant “meh” from me) but I do love how high in protein they are without a ton of effort. I told myself I’d never do an overnight oats recipe on Urban Garlic because it just seems way too basic, but I got the idea to come up with an alternative that’s 1) higher in protein and 2) grain-free for people who need the alternative.


Garden veggie chickpea omelettes

I’ve mentioned before that my husband is not a vegan (although our household is vegan with the exception of our cat food and a microsuede couch given to me as a gift a long time ago). He has greatly reduced his animal consumption since we met (and even before we met, he was very open to eating plant-based) and I definitely bother him to go vegan/still hold some hopes that he will go vegan, but when he’s out of the house he eats an omnivorous diet. He has been choosing the veggie option lately even when he isn’t with me, which I’m very proud of.


One-bowl blueberry flax pancakes (sugar-free)

Sometimes when I read food blogs, I feel like they were written by people who wouldn’t know a nine-to-five work schedule if it ran them over with a car. Now, don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean I don’t think running a successful blog is a full-time job (see: my last post whining about how I just don’t have the time to put the effort in to make my blog amazing like some of the greats out there), but let’s face it: when you make your own hours and can work in your pyjamas, your breakfast recipes can get a little… time-consuming.


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?!”


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

Processed with VSCO with a8 preset

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.


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!


Vegan 101: Your basic pancake recipe


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



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


  • 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


  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

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.