Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksvegan Day

I'm so full I can barely sit so this will be a short one:

Golden Era's special Thanksgiving vegan dinner

This is what I'll be having tomorrow.

Yes, I said tomorrow. Because I just had this at mom's:

those are vegan shrimps in the hot pot

in addition to this:

mashed pumpkin was so good!

If you knew me, you'd be amazed I could eat so much.

But miracles happen when the food is this good.

So the Golden Era Thanksgiving special was ordered to-go because I don't have the will-power to resist any of their specials (which are really exceptionally special). So I picked it up before heading to mom's so I could have it for tomorrow. Yeah, I'm greedy like that. But good food is good food, and I plan on making the spirit of Thankseating last until Sunday night.

Cheers and Happy Thanksvegan from the VeganWheekers clan!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A peek into their huts

It's too cold out there!

Is that a treat in your hand?

Vegan Corn Dogs...or not

Today I had a craving for vegan corn dogs. I mish mashed recipes from Post Punk Kitchen and Vegweb and I created the Frankenstein of corn dogs.

more like oversize tempura

It's not pretty. I mean, just look at it. It doesn't look like a corn dog. And the "corn" part was crispy instead of fluffy soft like I remember from my elementary school days. I'm not sure where I went wrong. But ya know what? Still tastes good! I used Loma Linda's Big Franks for the hot dog -- it's my fav.

And for the real part of dinner (that was just appetizer!):

Vegan mac and cheese (yes, again) with broccoli, zucchini, and cashew.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

Holiday officially begins when our local pop station KOIT starts airing Christmas music 24/7, which they did last Wednesday. So now we get to hear a dozen renditions of "Silent Night" and the occasional Mr. Grinch song.

In the mood for some holiday shopping, I went to IKEA today to get a table to set the guinea pig cages on. My hubby had custom built their cage, which is like a chateau compared to what you would find a pet store.

Check out the 2nd floor loft!

At IKEA, we took a break for a drink at their cafe and I saw people eating mashed potato and gravy, which totally got me craving for it too. So while hubby drove to Trader Joe's nearby to pick up ingredients, I quickly searched for vegan gravy recipes on his iPhone. I ended up using a mish mash of ingredients and techniques from VeganDad and VegWeb. Here's the result:

I love lots of gravy and it totally buried the mashed potato in this pic. Also featured are Trader Joe's vegan soy nuggets and grilled brussel sprouts. My craving was definitely satiated. Thanks, IKEA, for the inspiration!

Now we're too full to move, so the guinea pig table setup is going to have to wait...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Vegan Bakery Obsession

I was not always a cupcake junkie. But when I turned vegan a couple of years ago, suddenly the selection of baked goods shrank considerably. Whenever there was a celebration and a cake was needed, we'd pop by Rainbow for a Black China Bakery cake. While I'm grateful to Black China Bakery for making vegan cakes so readily available everywhere, it was starting to get, well, boring.

Then I chanced upon Sugar Beats Sweets cupcakes at VegFest a year ago and it was like a whole new world. Like, riding-on-a-magic-carpet whole new world. I was hooked. Addicted you could even say. At this year's VegFest, I walked away with one of everything they had on display. Of course I didn't eat it all (I could have, but I didn't). I shared the awesomeness with my loved ones so they too can enjoy the wonder that is vegan baked goods. VEGAN, you hear? No eggs, no dairy. Only cruelty-free yumminess.

So if you're a dessert addict too, I have some good news for you. Sugar Beats Sweets is opening up a storefront in SF. Violet Sweet Shoppe sells goodies to Rainbow Grocery. There are organized vegan bake sales that benefit adorable four-legged furballs. Next sale is on Dec 5th in front of Ike's. I shan't be late this time! At least I got to try the baklava from Fat Bottom Bakery. Here's to hoping they'll make it again. If they do, y'all better save me some!

Now I'm off to enjoy Cinnaholic's cupcake from GreenFest. Cheers!

The Cleopatra of Guinea Pigs

Meet Belle, my perpetually hungry girl. After a full meal, she would still wheek and beg for food as if she hadn't eaten for days. Watch this spoiled guinea pig eat in style:

Friday, November 13, 2009

Meeting Patrick McDonnell of "MUTTS" at GreenFest

Since young I've loved animals. Growing up, my family had pet mice, hamsters, parakeets, goldfish, and an orange tabby cat (not all at the same time of course). Now I have my darling guinea pigs and can't imagine life without the simple joy that my animal companions bring.

It is that joy that artist Patrick McDonnell captures so well in his daily comic strip "MUTTS". I fell in love with it the moment I saw it in the newspaper (come on, cute cartoon cats and dogs, how can you not love it?). The antics and innocent musings of Mooch the cat and Earl the dog never fail to make me smile, laugh, or reflect on the beauty of nature and life. I quickly amassed a collection of his books (it helped that some crazy person was selling a set of his earlier books on eBay...their loss, my happy gain!). When the figurines came out, I got Earl first and then was given Mooch as a Valentine's gift to make a perfect pair (my guy sure knows the way to my heart, eh?).

a small sampling of my MUTTS collection

Last week, I learned that he would have a book signing for his latest release "Guardians of Being" at GreenFest. "Eeeeek!!," my inner fangirl squealed. So I dashed over there after work, hoping I didn't miss him. I've never been to a book signing before so I didn't know what to expect. What I found was an unassuming man sitting on a foldable chair at the side of the booth with no crowd around him. Had I not recognized him from his pictures in the books, I would have guessed he was just another attendee, not the great comic genius royalty that he is. Where are the balloons, trumpets, and red carpet, people?! He at least deserved a table to write on! Instead, when I presented him with my copy of the book and gushed some gibberish in awe, he  proceeded to sign it with the book propped on his lap. This man flew all the way from New Jersey and he has to sign books on his lap. So humble is he!

Look, he drew a little Mooch for me! Squeeee!!

I sure wish there were other people around to chat him up just so I could stand around and absorb his awesomeness. (He's vegetarian and a member of the Board of Directors for both The Humane Society of the United States and the Fund for Animals.) But being the shy, awkward, bumbling girl that I am, I quickly thanked him and dashed off before I gave into the temptation to sit as his feet and ask him to read the book to me (aka kindergarten style). Wouldn't be fun to be escorted out by security, would it?

Before leaving, I stopped by Cinnaholic for some baked goodies (hi Kelly!) and VegNews to sign up for a subscription (hi Liz!). They had a great $5 off promotion and I also wanted to thank them for the free GreenFest tickets.

Now your mission, if you so choose, is to head on over to and sign up for the daily comic strip emails to get a blast of sunshine in your inbox everyday! Then head to GreenFest to meet Patrick at another book signing on Sunday at 11am!

I wonder if it'd be inappropriate to bring all of my books for him to sign? :-)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thoughts on Veganism

The other day I came across a blog post titled "Just because it is vegan...doesn't mean it is healthy." And it made me evaluate my veganism because the first thing I thought after reading it was, "That's so true!"

There are many facts proving that a vegan diet is healthier than a meat diet. But I'll be the first to admit I'm not in the top percentile of healthy people. I'm healthier than I would have been on a meat diet (meat = poison) but I'm not ironman triathlon, yoga bending, jog in the forest daily type of healthy. My main reason for becoming vegetarian and then vegan was more for the love of animals than for health and so my daily meals aren't centered around how much vitamins and protein I'm getting. I'm just happy my meal didn't once have a face or a mother.

I'm also a rather picky eater. That post made me realize why I liked VeganDad's recipes so much: they're catered to his kids. My taste buds are still very much like a kid's. I don't like many types of vegetables (*gasp! a vegan who doesn't like vegetables?!*) and I don't take spice or alcohol (how to substitute wine in recipes?). But I've learned to use new ingredients like nutritional yeast and miso, and that nuts aren't just dry snacks but also cooking ingredients. It's whole new world, man.

I guess I should focus on the health aspect of veganism more...but I just love cupcakes too much. Check out my to-go from Sticky Fingers Bakery on my recent trip to DC. Yummy, yes?

And here's their chik’n quesadillas and melty tuna sandwich with Daiya cheese. Healthy? Mmm, questionable. Lip smacking good? You bet.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mac and Cheese

One of the first recipes I learned from VeganDad was his Mac and Cheese. It's so easy and fast to whip up (literally, you just blend the ingredients together) it's our go-to dinner choice on tired nights. When I'm feeling extra fancy, I grill some zucchinis and bell peppers to go on the side. Give it a try!

Deals and Giveaways

In my circle of friends, we have a "cheapo" ranking for who is the most frugal of us all and they somehow  always unanimously agree that I top the list. Perhaps it's because I like to find deals on the Net and to sign up for giveaways. I mean, money saved could be money spent on something better, like animals rescue groups or bake sales supporting animal rescue groups, right? And with websites like, Facebook, and Twitter, it's never been easier to find a deal, especially vegan deals.

The first one I found today is for Silk Soymilk at Coupon Geek. If you guzzle down soymilk as much as I do, you'd appreciate this chance to win a coupon for a free half gallon of Silk Heart Health Soy Milk. They also have a printable coupon for $0.55 off any Silk Soymilk purchase (expires 12/31/09). Print to your heart's content!

A place I visit daily for giveaways is The Bright Side Project which is devotedly run by two lovely gals, Miss B. and Miss K. "The Bright Side Project is here to bring you sunshine every day with themed, daily giveaways. We hope to inspire you to stop for a second and remember life is (still) beautiful and there is goodness in the world." Every month they have a theme and there are all sorts of artsy crafty couture goodies given away fitting that theme (I like to sign up for the vegan ones). All you have to do to enter is answer the thoughtful question of the day and make sure to check back to see if you're a winner. This month's theme is called "The List" to help with your holiday shopping. The contributors are giving two items away, one for you to keep and one to give away. How cool is that?

Speaking of giveaways, I just received two free passes to the Green Festival thanks to VegNews who's a sponsor of the event. It takes place at the Concourse Exhibition Center in San Francisco on Nov 13-15. The Green Festival is 100% vegetarian and I hope there are lots of vegan stuff too. Thanks for the tixs, VegNews!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Vegan Craft Samples

By the time you read this line, they might be gone...

Just kidding -- sorta. Hurry and grab your bag of goodies from Vegan Craft Samples! Artsy folks from around the world sent in all sorts of homemade vegan goodies for inclusion in the Holiday Gift bags. All proceeds benefit the Peaceful Prairie Animal Sanctuary.

There were three bag sizes; I say "were" because the large ones sold out already (I was lucky enough to snag one of them, hehehe). The regular size goes for $25 and the small one for $15. And like a box of chocolate, you never know what you're gonna get (but at least you know it's vegan and that's all you really need to know). If you're the share and care type, you could repackage a few items into smaller bags to give to coworkers or friends for Christmas.

Or not.

In any case, it's a win-win for you and the animals, so what are ya waiting for?  Order one from Vegan Craft Samples or their Etsy page. I can't wait to get mine!

Vegan Wedding

Today marks my one month wedding anniversary to my very own "Mr. Darcy". Being a very low key couple, we had opted for a small civil ceremony with family only, followed by a vegan barbecue at our place with a couple of close friends (canines included). Everything turned out beautifully and we couldn't have asked for more.

There's nothing quite like planning for a wedding, however big or small. There are lots and LOTS of  wedding blogs and websites and I spent many a nights with glazed eyes pouring over them. Here are the ones I loved the most for their witty advice, warmth, and craziness:
Vegan Bride
The Broke-Ass Bride
A Practical Wedding

Since my family prepared the wedding feast, we didn't have to go through the trouble of finding a caterer and venue, but getting a vegan wedding cake was a whole other story. I contacted a few local vegan bakers but they were all busy with VegFest and were unable to accommodate us. At the last minute, we ordered it from Millennium and it was just perfect. I loved it so much, words cannot express. My insides still squeal when I think about it! If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area and in the market for a vegan wedding cake, other options are Sugar Beats Sweets and Violet Sweet Shoppe. I've tasted their regular baked goodies and they are awesome. Be sure to book early (and not right before a VegFest, LOL!).

Happy One Month, honey!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy World Vegan Day and Welcome!

Hallo friend! I've been greatly inspired by the witty and informative vegan blogs out there in the blogosphere and wanted to join in on the fun. I'm too late for VeganMoFo so I'll kick this off on World Vegan Day instead, which marks the start of World Vegan Month. Now there's no better month to bring attention to veganism than in November, when in the US more than 45 million lives of a particular type of fowl are slaughtered just for ONE meal.

I've been vegetarian for 14 years and vegan for the past two. I switched to veganism after I saw what they did to dairy cows. It was also around the same time the Prop 2 campaign started in California and I learned more about the horrors of factory farms. Within the next few months, I dedicated myself to purging all animal-derived items from my house (i.e. dairy, honey, wool, leather, products that test on animals) and now habitually scan for vegan and cruelty-free labels when shopping. Lifestyle change? Definitely. Feeling great? Absolutely.

So that's where the "vegan" part of "Vegan Wheekers" comes in. The "Wheekers" refer to the joys of my life, my pet guinea pigs Bert and Belle, who were adopted from the local animal shelter. Guinea pigs are well-known to wheek (a high-pitched squeal/scream) when they hear the fridge door open, but mine already wheek when they hear footsteps approaching the fridge! And yes, they're naturally vegan. :-)

I must confess I'm not much of a cook (I've been spoiled by my family's cooking for much longer than I'd like to admit) but after I moved out to start a new life with my Better Half* earlier this year, I knew I had to start clocking some hours by the stove. I was proficient at collecting recipes online but was never really good about actually putting them into practice. That is until I found VeganDad's homey, easy to make recipes for all my favorite dishes. Score!

Today I'll be making his Cream of Broccoli and Potato Soup because that's what I have an abundance of at home right now. Off to the kitchen I go!

Cream of Broccoli Soup with Scrambled Tofu and Toast

*I love this song by Keith Urban. I also love Keith Urban. But that's another story. ;-)