Hello there! My name is Bree, and welcome to my own little corner of the Internet, Urban Garlic. This site is mainly a destination where I share some of my and my husband’s favourite, self-developed vegan recipes, as well as some personal recommendations on vegan personal care products, restaurants, fashion and more!
Running this blog is not my full-time or even part-time job (it doesn’t even make money!). I am a happy nine-to-fiver who works for a trade magazine as a reporter, and I also teach tap dancing at a studio in Hamilton, ON.
I’m an animal lover (of course!) and own a cute, fluffy, sociable cat named Ben. Oh, and I also live with my longtime partner, Jarrod. We were married in 2017 at a small ceremony in Bowmanville, ON (and had plenty of vegan food afterward!). Together, we live in Toronto near the Danforth, with a beautiful view of Ash Bridges Bay.
I’m very much an athlete. Aside from dancing, I love climbing and bodybuilding (so does Jarrod) and I cycle pretty much everywhere. I also like to get in a yoga class or some swimming every now and then.
Sometimes, I do relax. I play piano and guitar and love to sing, and I’m also almost always writing. I love to respond to emails as well, so drop me a line if you’re so inclined!
Even though this blog is definitely mine (Bree’s), Jarrod plays a very important part behind the scenes. Jarrod has been a huge help with the actual development of the recipes, as he is undeniably the better cook (he grew up working in kitchens, and adores cooking and entertaining. Although Jarrod is not a vegan (yet), our household is vegan, and his skills in the kitchen have been instrumental in the quality of Urban Garlic’s content.
Jarrod works in IT for a local magazine, and also has a background in graphic design (which means he also helps out with the blog in many other ways). He’s also very passionate about model trains and is part of an O-scale model railway club in Toronto.
Jarrod is a very devoted cat dad to Ben, and can often be found reading on the couch with our kitty snuggled up to his lap. He’s quite possibly the best (or at least most passionate) soup-maker I’ve ever known, and also has a knack for creating the best bread ever!
About the food you’ll see here
I have been a vegan since 2013. Therefore, all of the food here is 100% vegan — no compromise. Most of the food will be geared toward active lifestyles, but more importantly, these recipes are suitable busy people with nine-to-five jobs who don’t have the advantage of working from home or being full-time bloggers/social influencers.
No, these are real recipes made of real food for real people. From scrumptious sides to pillowy pancakes and always a ready-to-chug smoothie (I post a lot of smoothies), it’s my goal to include a variety of foods that made me so passionate about food and cooking in the first place.
I do post more meal food than snacks and desserts because I believe in snacking on the things that nature gave us, like fruits and vegetables. However, I never say never on that — you will definitely find some snacks and desserts here once in a while.
The food (and labels) you won’t see
Nothing on this blog will ever be labelled “clean” or “healthy.” While I eat what my idea of “healthy” is, I believe that ultimately, “clean” and “healthy” eating are subjective and vary based on who is eating them. While I love whole foods and vegetables, this is not a dedicated “whole foods plant-based” blog — it’s a vegan blog!
I also don’t use labels like “detox,” “cleanse” or “re-set,” which I associate with food-guilt. If you’re fine with these labels, that’s your prerogative, but I won’t put them on my blog.
I eat soy and gluten, and don’t have any food allergies, so that’s reflected in my content. That said, I make an effort to include allergen-friendly alternatives whenever necessary and possible. You’ll find notes in every single recipe on how to make alterations unless it’s completely untested or impossible (i.e. a seitan recipe).
I tend to also avoid labels like “kid-friendly” and “picky-eater friendly” because as a former picky kid (I didn’t even like takeout pizza!) I know that kids are unpredictable and different food sensitivities can make life tricky.
That said, I’ve included labels for tangible, non-subjective food qualities, like whether they’re soy-free, nut-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, require 30 minutes or less, etc.
Why my blog isn’t monetized
My blog is currently not monetized, as I report on Canada’s media and advertising industry.
If you are interested in sponsoring my blog or a post, I must tell you that I absolutely cannot, as long as I have my current job. I can neither offer display ads nor can I publish branded content/advertiser integrations.
However, you as a reader can rest assured that there are no advertisers slipping me money to publish glowing reviews of their products! I’m not anti-advertising in any way (make that paper!) but I do think it’s important for you to know that everything I do right now is for you, the readers — not for the clicks, not for the money (there is none!), not for advertisers.
I also do not have a Patreon model or anything similar because I do not like creating content that is not for everyone.