Chocolate Chip Walnut Banana Bread

August 24, 2016 // - - - - - - -

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You know the “How do you know if somebody’s vegan? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you” meme? It’s a dumb joke, but true to a degree. It’s pretty unavoidable while making new friends unless you never want to eat or drink around them (equally unavoidable). I have no problem with people asking why I’m vegan, but sometimes it’s phrased as “You’re vegan to be healthier, right?” and even “If you’re vegan, shouldn’t you be skinnier?”. To avoid any further assumptions: no, I’m not vegan for health reasons. Often times it’s a bonus, but you can make a vegan version of anything! Including banana bread. Oh god, this banana bread. I had a bad craving and just went for it.

This recipe is vegan, gluten-free and soy-free. It can easily be modified to nut-free and refined sugar-free as well.

For more of my recipes, check out Vegan Girlfriend on Instagram at @vegangirlfriend and our blog at vegangirlfriend.com.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 medium ripe bananas
  • 2 cups all purpose gluten-free flour — I used Bob’s Red Mill.
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil — must be liquid, so keep at room temperature.
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (to make refined sugar-free: substitute for carob chips or cacao nibs)
  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts (to make nut-free: substitute for pumpkin seeds or rice crisps to add crunch)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of raw pink salt

TOOLS REQUIRED:

  • Standard 9×5 inch loaf pan, either non-stick or foil
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Potato masher, if not fork will work as well.

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DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. In large mixing bowl, sift flour to make everything mix more easily by whisking flour for 30 seconds.
  3. Add baking soda and baking powder to mixing bowl. Whisk it on in as well.
  4. Peel bananas, slice into chunks and add to medium mixing bowl. Mash until thoroughly combined.
  5. Add mashed banana to larger mixing bowl, then add coconut oil, cinnamon and pinch of salt. Incorporate using a fork until a cookie dough-like consistency is reached.
  6. Break raw walnut pieces up into smaller pieces, then add to large mixing bowl with chocolate chips. Gently mix together, but be careful not to overdo it.
  7. Oil pan with coconut oil. Spoon batter in evenly, then flatten out on top. Pan should be a bit more than halfway full of batter. Sprinkle additional chocolate chips and walnuts on top if desired.
  8. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Test with toothpick by inserting — if it comes out clean, it’s ready to eat!
  9. Let cool at least 1 hour before slicing.

Dig in! Makes approximately 8 slices.

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Bottle Design for Village Juicery

July 26, 2016 // - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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Being the token vegan millennial that I am, it’s safe to say that I’m a big fan of cold-pressed juices. I mean, who wouldn’t be? They manage to hide tons of fruits and veggies while still tasting great. I’ve been familiar with Village Juicery for a while now, picking up the occasional bottle at Te Aro whilst in Toronto’s East End and Kupfert & Kim in the Financial District. They’re definitely one of the best juice spots that Toronto has to offer, in my opinion, both with ingredient quality and product range — and I worked at a competing juice bar just last year, so that’s saying something. Shade has officially been thrown.

A few months ago I went into Village Juicery to get some samples for Vegan Girlfriend. I ran into Village Juicery’s owner Omar, who said he was a big fan of my illustration work. I responded with a “Thanks, I do freelance!” quip, wink and all — little did I know that they actually wanted me to design their next bottle. Whoops.

This was my first time doing packaging, and it was so much fun! Designing the wrap-around label was a new challenge for me, but Village Juicery has a killer creative team that provided me with guidance regarding sizing and layout. I’ve included my hand-inked illustration for the bottle’s base design in this post as well, for a bit of a behind-the-scenes look of how something like this is created step-by-step .

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Since this bottle was intended for seasonal purposes and would be rotating with different flavours throughout spring/summer 2016, I decided to go for a fresh, floral motif. To cohesively fit with Village Juicery’s local presence and mentality (most of their ingredients are locally sourced as well), I specifically incorporated cherry blossoms à la Toronto’s High Park, which is very close to VJ’s HQ in Roncesvalles. 

The first flavour to roll out in the seasonal bottle was a strawberry mylk in April, and right now a watermelon cold-pressed juice is in circulation. I love that both flavours so far have been pink since it looks so pretty and feminine paired with the white lines, but I can’t wait to try whatever flavour is coming next! You can get these juices at a variety of different health food stores and cafes across Toronto. Most recently I spotted the mylk at Rooster Coffee House in the King East Design District. You can also go to Village Juicery’s storefronts on Dundas Street West, Yonge Street or College Street, at which they have a variety of drinks, foods and custom cleanse packages to choose from.

If you buy one of these bottles and snap a pic, be sure to tag @villagejuicery in it on Instagram. You can tag @meganstulberg too, if you want! I’ve been lurking away, and love all the creatively arranged photos I’ve seen so far.

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All photo credit to Emily from Village Juicery.

Vanilla Chia Pudding Parfaits

June 27, 2016 // - - - - - - - -

One of my close pals is Jennifer McNaughton, otherwise known as the fashion blogger behind Ethics of Style. Jenn interviewed me earlier this year for the Ryersonian, and we discussed how the Human Rights Commission of Ontario has legally recognized veganism as an ideology with protection against discrimination. I headed over to Jenn’s apartment soon after that, equipped with groceries and a hearty appetite, to whip up these treats for Jenn to photograph to accompany the article.

Seriously though, these parfaits are perfect! This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and refined sugar-free. Knock yourself out.

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INGREDIENTS:

-3 cups unsweetened almond milk

-1/2 cup fresh strawberries,chopped

-1/4 cup fresh whole blueberries

-1/4 cup 100% maple syrup

-9 tbsp (0.56 cups) white chia seeds

-2 tbsp pure vanilla extract

-2 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes

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DIRECTIONS:

1) Whisk together almond milk, maple syrup and vanilla in large bowl or plastic food container.

2) Add chia seeds by the tbsp, stirring vigorously with spoon to prevent unwanted clumping.

3) Cover bowl with cling wrap and leave in fridge overnight.

4) Next morning, stir chia pudding then place back in fridge for 1-2 additional hours to help it further thicken.

5) When ready to serve, scoop chia pudding into mason jars by the tbsp. Layer with fresh fruit and coconut flakes, or simply add after as toppings.

Serve chilled. Makes 2 meal servings or 4 snack servings. Enjoy!

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Note: This post was originally published on Vegan Girlfriend earlier this year, viewable here.

All photos by Jennifer McNaughton

Tweak your Tea: Pure Leaf Cocktail Hacks

June 13, 2016 // - - - - - - - - - -

Note: I originally posted this on Vegan Girlfriend. Click here to view it over there.

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It’s that time of the year where all I want to do is chug lemonade while window shopping or sip hard cider on a patio. Those drinks have zero nutritional value though, so why not swap for tea? Tea does a body good: it’s packed with antioxidants and is even anti-inflammatory. When Pure Leaf offered to send me their new unsweetened flavours (0 sugar, 0 calories, 0 artificial sweeteners), I got a big dumb smile on my face because I’m a sucker for anything iced in summer. It’s brewed from real tea leaves, too.

Here are a couple of iced tea-based cocktails I whipped up. These are perfect to enjoy on your own, with a couple of girlfriends, or served to a smokin’ hot date! You can also omit the alcoholic ingredients to turn ’em into mocktails, and enjoy with breakfast or even as a rehydrating post-workout treat.

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SPIKED BLUEBERRY PEAR COCKTAIL 

Ingredients…

-1 cup Pure Leaf unsweetened green tea

-1/4 cup Absolut vodka (warning: add less if you don’t want it strong, taste as you go)

-2 tbsp agave

-Handful fresh blueberries

-1/2 small pear, sliced into bite-size chunks

-Pinch ginger

-Ice cubes

Directions…

1) Combine Pure Leaf unsweetened green tea, vodka, agave and ginger. Stir vigorously.

2) Add fruit and ice. Serve immediately.

Makes 1 cocktail.

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LEMON LIME GINGERITA 

(My take on a margarita)

Ingredients…

-1 cup Pure Leaf unsweetened lemon tea

-1/4 cup Don Julio Blanco tequila (same warning as above)

-2 thin lemon slices

-2 thin lime slices

-2 tbsp agave

-Additional lime for garnish

-Ice cubes

Directions…

1) Combine Pure Leaf unsweetened lemon tea, tequila and agave.

2) Add fruit and ice. Slice halfway through a lime slice and place on side of glass accordingly for garnish.

Makes 1 cocktail.

Pure Leaf unsweetened tea acts as an awesome cocktail alternative to juice if you’re looking to lighten up this summer without sacrificing flavour. For more recipe ideas and details about their products, follow Pure Leaf on Instagram at @PureLeafCanada.

*Disclaimer*: This is a sponsored post for Pure Leaf, but all views are my own. For inquiries about sponsored posts, please email vegangirlfriend@gmail.com and/or megstulberg@gmail.com.  

#pureleafcanada #tweakyourtea

RAW KEY LIME AVOCADO TARTS

May 31, 2016 // - - - - - - - - -

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A word to the wise: I’m vegan. I also have Celiac Disease — an autoimmune disorder that means if I try to eat or even go anywhere near gluten, baaaaaaad things will happen to my body. That being said, every recipe I post on here will be 100% vegan and gluten-free. Also sesame-free, cranberry-free and amaranth-free because my immune system is a cruel joke.

I started Vegan Girlfriend with my best friends Aine and Alex in early 2014. We wanted a project to keep ourselves busy while in school, and now we have a stupid amount of followers on Instagram (I love each and every one of you). We’re all extremely busy with our own hustles — Alex runs a wholesale business, Aine’s a sketch comedian — but we’ve still kept VGF afloat. 

Behold, the first of many crossposts from vegangirlfriend.com! I first made these raw key lime avocado tarts last spring, and have made them countless times since. Keep ‘em in the freezer and they’ll last *almost* forever.

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INGREDIENTS:

For the crust…

-2 cups raw almonds

-1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

-1/4 cup coconut oil

-2 tbsp 100% maple syrup

For the filling…

-10 key limes, juiced

-2 avocados, pitted and scooped

-1/4 cup coconut oil

-2 tbsp 100% maple syrup

-1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

1) In a high-speed food processor/blender combine almonds, coconut, oil and syrup until finely incorporated.

2) Line a standard cupcake pan with plastic wrap. Press the crust mixture into each cup firmly and evenly. Set aside.

3) Blend juice from key limes, avocado meat, oil, syrup and extract together into a smooth but workable cream.

4) Pour filling on top of each crust. Top with additional key lime slices for garnish if desired.

5) Place tray in freezer for 2 hours to set. Remove tarts from pan and let thaw at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.

Freeze leftovers immediately or avocado cream will turn brown.

Makes approximately 9 servings.

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  • Hi, I'm Megan! I'm a lifestyle blogger, social media specialist, illustrator, writer and vegan recipe maker-upper based in Toronto. Let's work together: megstulberg@gmail.com.
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