Tag Archives: smoothies

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?!”

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Red-handed beet smoothie

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It finally happened – I finally have come around to beets. Beets, besides bell peppers, are pretty much the only vegetable I’ll turn down. I don’t hate them, and in fact have enjoyed spiralized beets on salads quite a few times, but chunks of beets, slices of beets or whole beets have been real losers in my book. I dislike the flavour, so adding them to smoothies has been done in limited quantities — generally, I’ll only do it if the ratio of beet to berry is generous on the berry side.

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Blueberry cardamom smoothie (bowl)

Blueberry Bowl

I never thought I’d see this day, but I’ve grown a little tired of chocolate smoothies. I’ve had a million variations on chocolate smoothies — zucchini, hemp, avocado, the glorious days back when I could stomach a couple dates — but let’s face it, it’s all just chocolate ice cream for breakfast.

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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.

Red ranger beet and berry smoothie

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A couple weeks ago, I did something I haven’t done in almost a year.

I took a sick day.

Well, not a full-sick day (or, I guess a sick full-day). I took only the afternoon off, after we got our daily newsletter out, and went home to sleep and retire my voice for awhile. It was more or less a nasty head cold, which I can normally get through just fine (I don’t get sick all that often, and when I’m stuck in the “getting sick” stage for about a day and a half but never really get to a point of needing to go home from work). But it completely drained me, and I was at a point of being in utterly yucky pain and misery. I needed three things:

  1. Blanket
  2. Cat
  3. The sympathy of everyone around me (which, I guess, was limited to my precious kitty cat)

Anyway, after that I was on a big fruits and veggies kick (I mean, what else is new?), specifically trying to to shove as much colourful produce down my food-hole as humanly possible because damn, dat placebo effect. My super-saturated colourful smoothie concoctions probably didn’t actually do anything to relieve my cold, but I’ll admit, when my temperature shot up, I was pretty damn comfortable sitting out on my balcony with Ben (note for those who are unaware: we actually have balcony netting installed so Ben can safely enjoy the bacony) with my boxers on, sipping on an ice-cold smoothie watching all the suckers navigating the unseasonably cool streets.

And then I straight-up died.

But if this smoothie were to be the last thing I ate before I died (it wasn’t) I’d be pretty cool with that. And that’s something considering it features my once-despised worst enemy, beets! This smoothie also features the crisp, almost sticky-sweet taste of mango combined with the just-tart-enough taste of raspberries that’ll really have you envisioning summer and all of the long walks, parties and nudity that comes along with it.

Red ranger berry smoothie

  • Prep time:
  • Cook time: N/A
  • Yield: One 2.5-cup serving
  • Allergen info: Gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, soy free

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mango chunks, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup beets, peeled and chopped*
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup water or, if feeling fancy, coconut water**
  • Splash of non-dairy milk (optional)

* If you don’t have a super-powerful blender, I’d recommend steaming your beets prior to preparing, as they will be way easier to blend.

** I’ve since made another version of this that had ginger ale instead of coconut water, and the results were… interesting, to say the least, but I didn’t entirely hate it by the end.

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. You may need to add more water/coconut water as you go depending on how hard/frozen your fruit is.
  2. Add a splash of non-dairy milk, or even a bit of ripe avocado flesh if you like a creamier smoothie.

I’ve found this smoothie is best enjoyed wrapped in a blanket sitting on your balcony in your boxer shorts hoping the kids at the elementary school 11 stories down and across the street don’t notice the crazy lady on the balcony. But, like, you could also enjoy it with a light breakfast (as much as this is a nice big smoothie I don’t consider a meal in itself, unless you’re one of those super-light breakfast-eaters) like some toast and avocado or a small muffin.

What’s your comfort routine like when you get sick? Do you turn into a garbage disposal like me, or do you hate food? Do you become a big, attention-starved baby, or do you lock everyone out of your apartment and convert it into a blanket fort/quarantine tent? Let me know in the comments, and share any variations on the smoothie you think I should try!


Snackable green smoothie

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I went on a bit of a smoothie hiatus with the blog, I’ll cop to that. I’ll have you know I still eatdrink approximately one smoothie per day. It’s just that I was starting to run out of ideas, and also, I want my blog to be a little more than just smoothies. Vegans do eat solid foods, after all.

But trust me, I’m still a smoothie-operator, and I have a delightfully bright green smoothie to share with everyone. This green smoothie is deemed “snackable” because it’s not quite as filling as a banana-and-milk kind of smoothie. It’s best enjoyed with something light on the side like toast and PB, or some chia puddin’, or in a lunch with your sandwich.

All week last week when I was on vacation I enjoyed this as my breakfast along with some granola and milk, plus usually a cup of tea (my favourite white tea is Buddha’s Blend from David’s Tea). I felt so earthy and cool, all I wanted to do was go sit in upward-facing dog for, like, ever. Instead I ended up playing with my cat, listening to Supertramp, swearing, riding my bike, making fart jokes, you know, all those things. But for the tiniest moment, I felt all peaceful and stuff.

Anyway, enjoy this smoothie that’s light enough that you can have it on the side, but is still packed with flavour and good-for-you ingredients. Of course, nothing’s stopping you from having this with a big slice of vegan cake for breakfast. And if I am correct, vegan cake is practically a vegetable.

Far be it from me to tell you how to life your life.

Snackabe green smoothie

Prep time: <5 minutes
Cook time: n/a
Yield: One smoothie, about 1 3/4 cups liquid
Dietary specs: Vegan, fructose-friendly, gluten-free, raw/no-bake, nut-free*

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks (or pineapple)
  • 1 generous handfull kale or spinach
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup coconut water (plain water will do but won’t quite give the same taste)
  • 1″ piece of ginger
  • 1 tsp avocado flesh (optional for a slightly more filling and thicker smoothie)

* Coconut is defined as a tree nut by some sources but as the seed of a fruit by others. You’re making this for yourself so if you have a nut allergy I hope you know to trust your own doctor and medical history more than you trust me.

Instructions

  1. (Optional) Slice and freeze your banana overnight to give the smoothie a nice chill with no added ice.
  2. Blend all ingredients on high speed until it reaches your desired consistency.

On Monday my blog saw more traffic than it’s ever seen — actually, Monday’s traffic was roughly six times what it normally is. The community on Reddit’s r/Vegan subreddit are the most amazingly supportive users and I just really wanted to shout out to them (as well as r/Veganrecipies for always being so receptive to my recipes). Things are really looking up here at Urban Garlic and I am so thankful. Getting to keep this up as a side project while working a job I love (not to mention teaching dance!) is nothing short of a dream.

For my American readers, I’d love to read about how your Thanksgiving went. Family gatherings can be so hard when your lifestyle is so fundamentally different than the rest of your families. My Thanksgiving was back in October and I brought my own food courtesy of Toronto vegan stalwarts Bunner’s — and it was awesome to see my sister, brother-in-law and partner try some of Bunner’s amazing tomato and kale pie.

Jarrod’s parents are joining us for dinner on Friday night. His mom has to adhere to a low-FODMAP diet because of some recent health issues, so I’m going to flex my very creative cooking muscles and hopefully share some of the best results with you guys. What are some of your favourite low-FODMAP recipes? I’d love to hear about that — or your Thanksgivings, or just how cool your cat is or something — in the comments.


“Schrute Farms” strawberry smoothie

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Just take a minute to check out the pink of that smoothie. I’d even call it fuchsia. I never imagined that something so bright and vibrant could come out of my dingy Scarborough kitchen, but here we are.

You might say this smoothie is un… beetable.

Now excuse me while I dodge your hard-picked fruits and vegetables to get off the stage. I’m sorry.

I should actually inform you as a sort of impartiality disclaimer that I normally am not a fan of beets. Sure, I’ll eat them if they’re served to me (if it’s not an animal product, I’ll eat anything that’s been served to me), but I’m never like,  “Oh joy, beets!” And when I’ve been given fruit/veg juices that have a beet in it, I can always taste the beet hardcore. And no, I’m still not like, “Oh joy, beets!”

But this? This had me going, “Oh joy, beets!” Even as I was wiping the uber-pink stains from my hands.

Beets, of course, always make me think of Dwight Schrute, particularly the quote from Jim about Andy and Angela’s children: “He’ll figure it out. When their babies have giant heads and beet-stained teeth.”

This smoothie will NOT stain your teeth, but it will give you a mix of fruits and vegetables that does not taste like vegetables (I mean, veggies are awesome, but they’re better when they taste like candy). Especially when you don’t need to do it with the help of added sweeteners, amirite ladies?

(I promised I’d stop saying that so much, but promises of such a silly variety are made to be broken).

So here’s the Schrute Farms Strawberry Smoothie!

Schrute Farms Strawberry Smoothie, serves one

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, hulled
  • 1 medium ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup beets*, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup almond or other non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup pink guava juice
  • 1 tbsp flax meal, chia seeds or hemp seeds
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Peel and cube your beets. *You may have to steam your beets if you don’t have an uber-powerful blender. I steamed mine for about five minutes or until a fork could easily pierce them.
  2. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high until pureed.
  3. Garnish with a strawberry if you please, because you’ve earned that.
  4. Get married standing in your own graves, as is tradition in the Schrute family.

That’s it for today’s recipe. Be on the lookout for two great things this week: One is a collection of tips I learned from my vegan transition on how to safely, responsibly and successfully transition to veganism. The other is one of the best savoury recipes my partner and I have concocted together yet — so you really will not want to miss it.

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Tropical mango and carrot smoothie

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Mango and carrot? Bree, you’re playing us! you cry. Foul! you cry. Stop trying to sneak vegetables into everything, I just want a nice sweet smoothie that I can convince myself is ice cream! you cry.

Okay, but hear me out. despite the very real presence of a carrot in this smoothie, it’s actually a dreamy, creamy (ugh, I hate that I just used those two words in succession) smoothie that tastes more like a creamsicle than a veggie smoothie. Truthfully, when I was a kid, my favourite drink was V8 Splash, the kind that boasted mangoes, oranges and carrots, so I’m not at all surprised at how well this turned out.

I feel like sometimes we vegan food community tend to treat anything that isn’t a green smoothie like it’s basically a giant glass of liquid candy, that if it’s not green it’s a “treat” or a “dessert” smoothie. The fact is, there’s great way to get nutrients, calories and vitamins other than a fistfull of kale. This is the kind of smoothie that leaves you full, feeling refreshed and (maybe it’s just the sweetness) actually pretty happy. Because, like, it’s fruit!

Tropical mango and carrot smoothie, serves one

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen mango chunks
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 cup unflavoured or vanilla coconut yogourt (you could use another non-dairy yogourt if you want, but the coconut taste will compliment the rest of the flavours)
  • 1/2 a medium banana
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tbsp maca powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (unless you’re using vanilla yogourt)

Instructions

  1. Nothing too complicated, just blend all your ingredients in a high-speed blender until a smooth, orange liquid has formed. Store in a sealed container or jar in the fridge for up to one day.

Enjoy your lovely blend of fruits and veggies for the morning. This smoothie carried me all the way through to lunch time without ever feeling like it was too much to drink in one go, so you can hopefully expect the same easy feeling.


Matcha mango green smoothie

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I got some good news in my life recently which I can’t believe I haven’t totally blabbed about on this blog yet: I got a new job. Starting Monday, I will officially be a business reporter for Stream Magazine, with a focus on mergers, acquisitions and other business dealings in the ever-changing world of original online video content. I’m really excited to be writing something that I know will have a large slew of dedicated readers, and to be working downtown is so thrilling to me!

I think I’d rather go into more detail later in a near-future post about what my career has been like and what motivated me to change jobs, but it’s a long (seriously!) story that requires a lot of background and context, I think. So instead I’ll focus on this green smoothie I created in my kitchen the other night. Classic green smoothies — usually spinach, milk, banana and protein — are my go-to smoothies, but the one thing about them is that they tend to taste very mild. Which is great, I like a good mild taste, but sometimes, especially now that it’s actually light when I leave the house at 5:55 a.m., you want something that tastes, well, uplifting.

This smoothie is it, man. It’s mellow but not forgettable, and just filling enough so that you don’t feel like you’re going to hurl in the middle of hot yoga (not that I’ve ever done that. This is supposed to be a food blog, right?). Plus, it’s got just a small pinch of matcha in it, which surprisingly compliments the mangoes very well. Perhaps I’ll have to make some sort of mango-flavoured green tea drink in the future.

Matcha mango green smoothie, makes one

Ingredients

  • 1 cup spinach or kale
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen mango (or mix mango and pineapple)
  • 1/2 a banana (or a full one for a more filling smoothie
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1/4 cup packed cilantro or parsley
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp matcha powder
  • 1 scoop protein powder (optional)

Instructions

  1. First, in a jar or sealed container, combine the matcha, milk and coconut water, shaking to combine. Matcha likes to clump, and it’ll be way easier to avoid that here if you distribute it evenly throughout the liquid first.
  2. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a high speed blender and add the milk-matcha mixture. Blend on high until a nice, thick, green consistency forms.

Enjoy your nifty green tea smoothie. I’ll be posting some link love tomorrow before starting my long weekend. I’ll be back next week with even more recipes!


“You Cantaloupe Handle The Truth” smoothie

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Okay, I went through about a million pun titles for this smoothie. This may be the silliest one, but I’m sticking with it. Also considered were the “Melon-ie Griffith” smoothie and the “Dope Cantaloupe.”

Fun fact: Once in my first year of school I went to a spelling bee so I could get some free food. I got one round away from the end and “Cantaloupe” did me in.

Fortunately, this smoothie is way nicer than that spelling bee. In fact, it has a very easy taste that makes it easy to go down. It’s super smooth, and fresh enough that you just want to put an umbrella in it. And, I mean, why not? It’s spring, after all!

“You Cantaloupe Handle the Truth” smoothie

Ingredients

  • One banana
  • 1 cup cubed cantaloupe
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 tsp virgin coconut oil, slightly softened
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
  • 1 scoop protein powder (optional)
  • Ice

Instructions

Simply blend all of the ingredients until it’s super smooth (trust me, it will become velvety smooth!)

This smoothie will fill you up without feeling heavy and cam make you feel super healthy and fresh even if it isn’t a green smoothie — yes, there are healthy smoothies besides green smoothies!