Monthly Archives: May 2016

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.

Why are omnis scapegoating Doomie’s “expensive” vegan Big Mac?

Mac Daddy

Recently, Doomie’s, the famous L.A. vegan joint, opened up shop in the West-end neighbourhood of Parkdale, Toronto. Doomie’s isn’t your typical grain-bowls and juice-cleanse vegan resto — rather, it specializes in vegan comfort food, most famously its Vegan Big Mac.

Said vegan Big Mac costs $13.

I’ve seen a great deal of freak-out over this price, mostly from non-vegans, because the burger (plus fries, drink sold separately) comes up to about twice the price of the McDonald’s equivalent. They all follow the same theme: “Proof that veganism is expensive.”

There are many resources out there that prove that it is possible to live on a strict budget while vegan, so I don’t feel like I should have to re-hash this (I also think that people who have developed biases against vegans and veganism will think what they want regardless of the proof you show them). But I do want to talk about why the Mac Daddy, as Doomie’s calls it, is expensive:

Because eating out is expensive.

No, eating out at McDonalds or Wendy’s or Taco Bell isn’t expensive — everyone knows fast food is inexpensive, which is why so many people of low/fixed incomes rely on fast food every day.

But Doomie’s is a sit-down restaurant and not a massive chain that has scale, government subsidies and (usually) cheap wholesale suppliers on its side.

I thought I’d look at what prices other restaurants charge for burgers, just for the hell of it.

(In the Parkdale/Queen West/Trin-Bell area):

  • Parts & Labour — P&L Burger and Cheeseburger both $18 each
  • The Bristol — Menu is currently under construction but most mains range from $12.50 – $15.
  • The Gladstone — burgers range from $15-18
  • Lisa Marie — the closest thing to a “burger” on the regular menu is $14, and the “double pancake pork burger” is $15
  • Toma’s Burger Addiction — Burgers range from $6.49 all the way to $29.95. Most burgers are between $12.95 and $19.95)
  • Burger’s Priest — I actually have never been (surprise) and their prices aren’t online, but Yelp reports that its burgers are $11-13

(I threw in a few big family-friendly chains, just for the hell of it, the kinds of places my parents like to go to for a “fun” night):

  • Kelsey’s — burgers range from $12.99 to $14.99
  • Montana’s — burgers range from $14.99 – $15.99 (veggie burger is $13.99)
  • Wimpy’s — burgers and specialty burgers range from $8.99 – 13.99 (veggie burger is $6.99)

Now, I’m not trying to prove that vegan food is “cheaper” than non-vegan food — I think different dietary priorities can indicate in very different food budgets, regardless of whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or omni. If you’re interested in eating only organic and/or non-GMO, that will affect your budget regardless of whether or not you eat meat. If you care a lot about high-end ingredients, fresh-never-frozen fruits and veg, never eating a single thing from a can or box in your life, that will affect your budget regardless of whether or not you eat meat. And, if you believe in occasionally treating yourself to a night out to a local restaurant for a burger and a pint?

You guessed it: It will affect your budget regardless of whether or not you eat meat.

The point is, stop tripping over yourselves to find an easy scapegoat when it comes to dismissing veganism. Doomie’s is not proof that “vegan food” (you know… like French fries) is expensive, and I have a feeling most people are smart enough to know that.

(Photo: Doomie’s Facebook)


Hey everyone! I’m alive!

Here’s the scoop — for the past two weeks, my editor has been at the NewFronts in New York, meaning I’ve been running the ship here. I’ve also been getting a TON of news because, well, it’s NewFronts! If you don’t know what NewFronts is, just smile and nod. Basically, I’ve been a busy, busy, busy girl, but I have been writing UG content — just waiting to carve out the time to get it online and organize it.

Here are a few updates to share with you:

  • I’ve started writing a lot of lifestyle content! Ever since my “Starbucks experiment” last fall I’ve been really devoted to living my life in a budget-friendly way and I want to share some of the things I’ve learned.
  • I’m also personally getting more into style. I don’t think I’ll start doing style-bloggery anytime soon, but maybe I’ll share some of my outfits of the day!
  • I bought my first purse, which is kind of a big deal.
  • I’m turning 27 in a month! Holy crap!
  • My parents are about to celebrate their 33rd anniversary, and they haven’t even killed each other yet. How about a round of applause for that?
  • Recital season is coming up, and naturally, I’m terrified.
  • I have a new hairstyle I’m working toward! Undercut grow-out? I know it sounds tricky, but trust me guys, I got this!

Anyway, sorry for the lightning-fast update — I’ll have some great new smoothie bowls running out later this week!