Monday, January 25, 2010

Vegan Crispy Chow Fun

Crispy Chow Fun is one of my favorite dishes that I copied from a restaurant. It's basically fried rice noodle with vegetables on top in a thick sauce. Not the healthiest dish in the world, but yummy! Here's a general guide on how to make it. (Please don't ask me for precise measurements because I'm just no good at that, LOL!)

Crispy Chow Fun
thick fresh rice noodles/chow fun noodles (available in Asian markets)
bell pepper
napa cabbage
(whatever other vegetables you have on hand)
vegetarian mushroom oyster sauce
soy paste
corn starch
salt, black pepper to taste

1. Cut tofu into thin pieces and fry them until golden. Set aside.
2. Tear the fresh rice noodle into thinner pieces. Add liberal amount of oil into a flat skillet and fry the rice noodles until crispy on both sides. This part takes a while so you could work on the veggies at the same time.
3. In a large pan (wok is good), cook up all the veggies and then add the tofu.
4. Add a tablespoon of corn starch to 1-2 cups of cold water (depending on how much sauce you like...I like a lot!) and then add that to the veggies.
5. Add a swirl or two each of the vegetarian mushroom oyster sauce and soy paste. Add a little bit of sugar and salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange the fried noodles on plate and pile the veggies and sauce over it and serve. Voila!

And I leave you with Day 3 of my sprouts progress:

Look how long they've grown already! I'm amazed! This is so fun, I'm so glad Laloofah got me into this. Thanks, girlfriend! :-)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

French Bread

We finished our first batch of bread yesterday so I tried my hand at making another batch today, this time French Bread. I used the recipe that came in the instruction manual (yes, I read it!) but subbed the oil with apple sauce instead as Laloofah suggested.

It puffed up beautifully until the last hour when I checked it again and saw the middle had caved in. Oops! Where did I go wrong? Perhaps it was because I lifted the lid a few times to scrape the little bits stuck to the side and add more flour? In any case, the bottom still had some flour-y bits as you can see on the bottom.

It's still very edible though. The crust outside was hard and crunchy just like the french bread in the supermarkets so I was quite happy about that! I think next time I'll add more flour and limit the lid lifting to once or twice only.

My sprouts are growing very well (or at least I think they are). I started only yesterday and today I already see little sprout tails! How fun!

And since we've gotten our new juicer, we've been juicing everyday. I feel so healthy, LOL! Here's an orange/apple/strawberry/carrot concoction. You can see the different layers:

Lastly, my guinea pigs remind me this blog is called the VeganWheekers but the "Wheekers" part has been lacking lately so here is a recent pic of Bert enjoying some lap time:

Hope y'all had a great weekend!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hope for Haiti Now

I just watched "Hope for Haiti Now". It brought back memories of 9/11 when a similar telethon first aired. Tears filled my eyes every time they showed scenes of the devastation in Haiti. Heartbreaking, so heartbreaking.

The star power is awesome but what had me riveted was Beyonce's performance. I was never a fan but she's made me one tonight. So hauntingly beautiful.

May Haiti find the faith, courage, and strength to overcome this tragedy with the help from their neighbors around the world.

Breadmaking and Juicing

Hallo there! Guess what?

The kitchen is still in tact! :-)

I was so excited to use the Oster Expressbake breadmaker last night that I started making a batch at 10pm, thinking it'd be done in 58 minutes as advertised. Well, let this be a lesson for me to read the instruction manual first because I ended up baking at the default setting which takes 3 hours.

I used this simple vegan recipe from Vegweb. (Novice me didn't realize the recipe called for whole wheat flour, while the one I bought was unbleached white bread flour, oops.) There are several stages to the cycle. After you put in the ingredients (wet stuff first, then dry stuff, then yeast while making sure it doesn't touch the wet stuff), you plunk it into the machine and watch it go to work. First it kneads the dough for 10 minutes, then lets it rise for 20 minutes, then it kneads it again for 15 minutes, and then lets it rise again for 20 minutes. At this point, I noticed it didn't get the flour in the right corner of the bin despite all the kneading. I was afraid to open the lid to scoop that part and add it to the rest of the dough in case the cycle reset itself, so I let it be. Next the dough is "punched down" for 30 seconds and then allowed to rise for the final time, which is what you see in the picture above. The bread is then baked for one hour. By this time, I was watching Conan O'Brien with one eye closed.

Now this machine makes much more noise than, say, a rice cooker. It's a little startling when it goes into kneading mode after the silence of the rising mode. Especially when it's near midnight and your body just wants to go hibernate.

At the three hour mark, the bell buzzed and voila!

It baked beautifully, with the exception of that little flour part in the corner that didn't get mixed with the rest of the dough.

And here it is sliced:The next morning (because I went straight to bed once it was done!), hubby toasted it with Earth Balance. It was a little denser than I expected so I will have to tweak the recipe to make it fluffier somehow (any tips?) but overall I'm thrilled that I made my own bread!

He also put our new Breville juicer to work and made pineapple, orange, carrot juice. So fresh and delish! My pics came out blurry so I'll try again next time with a more in depth review of the machine.

Laloofah, my EasySprout arrived yesterday so I just need to get some seeds to get started. I'm checking out my local store today. Will let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bread maker

Well, I've gone and done it.

I've got me this:

Say hallo to the Oster EXPRESSBAKE Breadmaker! I didn't think I'd be getting one so soon, seeing as how I'd hardly done any research. But hubby and I happened to be browsing the aisles at Costco and this caught my eye. It was going for $30 when Amazon sells it for $70! Since I knew nothing about bread making and this one promised to do it under one hour (58 minutes to be exact) I thought, "What could go wrong?"

So here we are. I even bought bread flour. The only thing left to do is look up some simple vegan bread recipes to make. I'll tackle that this weekend!

I'm quite exhausted today so it was a quick stir-fry for dinner. Simple but good!
broccoli, seiten, carrot, cashew, onion

Tomorrow my juicer will arrive, yay! It'll be a weekend of gadgets and food experiments. Let's hope I don't blow up the kitchen, LOL!

Kitchen Gadgets

One of the first kitchen gadgets we got for the house was a budget Oster blender. It's a heavy thing because the jar is made of glass, but at least I don't have to worry about BPA. In the summer when strawberries were overflowing at the local farmer's market, I made a few strawberry-banana smoothies. Nowadays, it's used mainly to make mac n cheese. The only caveat I have for this blender is that the bottom cap that screws in the blade cracked and broke within 6 months of use and we had to buy a replacement. So if you're in the market for a new blender, check the sturdiness of the cap! If it's thin plastic, move on. And for this novice cook, there's no difference between all the 10-speed buttons on there. I just keep pushing any like a mad scientist until my food is the right texture, LOL!
Next we have the Magic Bullet that we got as a gift from my bro and sis-in-law. I love how small and easy to clean it is compared to the blender and I've made pesto, guacamole, and salsa with it. If you've got any good recipes or tips for using this gadget, do share!

Most recently, we splurged on a juicer that was 40% off at We drink a lot of store bought juice and I've recently read it's not as healthy because it's processed, contains preservatives, artificial sweeteners, etc. Hopefully this will get us in the healthier habit; will report back once it's delivered and used. ;-)
Looks mean, doesn't it?

I'm also in the market for a bread maker. It's so hard to find vegan bread unless you go to a specialty store or Whole Foods, and that's just not convenient or economical all the time. Laloofah has kindly directed me to Consumer Search site to start my research. If anyone has recommendations or tips, please let me know!

Lastly, there's a ice cream maker giveaway over at Ginger is the New Pink. Now wouldn't it be fun to win one of those? I don't know where I'm going to stash all my kitchen gadgets but I'll deal with that problem later. LOL!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

SF Animal Care & Control Jan 19, 2009

Just a quick post to introduce these two cuties waiting for their forever home at the San Francisco Animal Care and Control.

"Scooter and Little Scoot are a bonded pair of beautiful guinea pigs and must be adopted together. They love to eat fresh greens and veggies, and fresh hay is also a favorite. These lovely girls need exercise to help them keep their girlish figures, and things to chew on to preserve their pearly whites (or yellowy-oranges to be accurate)."

I have to stop doing this to myself because their cuteness overwhelms me and I just want to bring them home! Here's to hoping they'll find their loving forever home soon!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ringing in the New the vet

Happy 2010, everyone!

Sorry I've been MIA but it's been a crazy start to the new year and this is the first weekend I've had to settle down and digest everything.

Let's backtrack to the last week of 2009. Belle had begun showing some discomfort in her mouth, like something was stuck in her teeth. I thought maybe it was a piece of hay or lettuce, and didn't think much of it; she was still eating and behaving normally. But on New Year's Eve after I came back from work, I saw her discomfort had grown to the point of distracting her from eating. Now if you know my little girl, she is a total piggy when it comes to food and precious little can distract her when lettuce is present.

So with this new development, I was sufficiently alarmed. It didn't help that online research showed guinea pigs with mouth tumors that quickly spread to the rest of their body. It also didn't help that I was leaving on a week-long business trip on the following Monday. I had to find a vet fast.

Naturally, everyone was closed on Friday, New Year's Day. So I spent that day fretting over Belle and making a list of vet to call first thing the next morning to get an appointment. I was hoping to get a particular doctor in mind who's been recommended as a good vet for cavies (not all vets specialize in exotic animals, which guinea pigs are). The hospital originally said no because they were fully booked but after some pleading, they squeezed me in for an emergency appointment. Yay!

So Belle was off to her first vet visit at 9am. Dr. Herman was as great as everyone said and explained the best (teeth problems) and worse (tumor) scenarios. Belle would have to be anesthetized for the x-ray so we were told to leave her there and come back towards closing time when she would have recovered from it.

The doctor called around noon to explain the results of the x-ray, which was as she suspected -- malocclusion, which is the overgrowth of teeth. She trimmed it and that was it! Belle may have to undergo trimming every two months (ouch!) but I'm just relieved it's not tumor or something more serious.

Belle was obviously groggy and in discomfort from the teeth trimming (the doc gave pain meds) but it wasn't long before she was eating like her piggy self. Whew!

Come Monday morning, I left the Wheekers with my mom and sister to take care of and I was off to Vegas. More about that in the next post!