No, its not my birthday but it is another important day in my life. Its my VEGANVERSARY! Today I have been a vegan for 8 months and let me tell it has been a journey.
Now the first question people ask when they find out I'm vegan is why did I do it? (no I don't announce i'm vegan, I just wait for someone to offer me food) The main reason I became vegan is health reasons. Yes, I love animals and want to protect them all but I have to accept that I can't and take care of my body so I can be the best Cassi I can be. My friends have always known me as a health nut (fast food is the devil to me) but when my eyes were opened when I learned how chicken was for lack of a better term killed. It hit me, I don't want that crap in my body. What you but in your body is what you get out.
When I decided to take the vegan leap I decided to go all in. I went RAW vegan. I borrowed cookbooks from my friend Bianca, my friends posted recipes on my Facebook wall, it was great. Then a cold snap hit, I missed soup and I wanted hot food. So no more raw vegan, normal vegan would have to do and I have barely looked back.
Now to celebrate my big day I made two favorite dishes. Chow mei fun, spring rolls and a glass of Charles Shaw "2 Buck Chuck". Who knew 2 Buck Chuck would be vegan?! I picked it up months ago on my first magical trip to Trader Joe's because it was cheap and if it tasted like crap, hey I only wasted 3 bucks. Let me tell you this wine is awesome! Best 3 bucks i've ever spent. Ok now back to the food.
Chow mei fun has always been my favorite because of the thin rice noodles. I always order it spicy, if its not spicy its not right but making it at home is fast and easy! Soak the noodles in warm water for about 10 minutes drain and place on a towel so you get all the water out. While that is happening saute your favorite veggies and then combine. Simple, yummy and ready in about 10 minutes.
Now my beloved spring rolls take a bit more work but once you get the hang of it you will be able to do it in your sleep. Spring Rolls are my favorite because they are not fried, I've never really cared for fried foods. (I'm sure a piece of Bianca's soul just died because I said that. That girl loves her fried food.) Spring rolls are fun because you can add whatever makes you happy. I love bean sprouts in mine, my son loves tofu sticks in his so I put tofu in his and load up on the bean sprouts for mine.
Here is a recipe, trust me its not as hard as it seems. You can find the rice paper wrapper and noodles at Asian markets. If you can't find the items you need in the market just tell them you want to make spring rolls and they will be happy to help you. I use a mixture of soy sauce and chili garlic sauce to dip mine in. Keithon likes a little Sriracha with his. That's my boy!
Cellophane noodles (Bean thread noodles) 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar Red or Boston lettuce leaves (leaves separated, rinsed, dried, and tough ribs discarded Fresh mint leaves, washed, dried, and coarsely chopped Fresh basil leaves, washed, dried, and coarsely chopped Fresh cilantro leaves, washed, dried, and coarsely chopped Coarsely shredded carrots Spring Roll Wrappers (rice paper rounds), 8 1/2-inches in diameter**
Cover bean thread noodles with hot water and let soak 15 minutes; drain well in a sieve or colander. Pat dry between paper towels and toss with rice vinegar. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
(1) Spring Roll Wrapper or Rice Paper Wrappers come out of the package hard and inedible, and they must be soaked in water before using.
Fill a pie plate or bowl with lukewarm water. Immerse rice paper in warm water for 10 seconds to soften them up just until soft but still flexible (work with one rice paper at a time, being gentle as they break easily when brittle). Remove from water and place rice paper on a kitchen towel and let rest approximately 30 seconds until it's more pliable.
(2) Arrange one piece of lettuce on bottom half of soaked rice paper, folding or tearing to fit and leaving a 1-inch border along edge. Top with some of the seafood, noodles, mint, basil, cilantro, and carrot (don't overfill). Make sure the ingredients are not clumped together in the center, but evenly distributed from one end to the other. Note: The fillings may be placed on the rice paper in any order your desire.
(3) Pressing down on the filling with your fingers (pressing down on the ingredients is particularly important because it tightens the roll), fold the bottom end of the sheet (side nearest you) over the top of the fillings and roll into a cylindrical shape halfway.
(4) Fold the left and right sides inward and complete rolling the remaining half (If rice paper is too dry to seal, moisten unsealed edges with a little more hot water). Transfer summer roll to a plate, seam-side down, and cover with dampened paper towels. Make additional roll in the same manner.
Now a celebration wouldn't be a celebration without a CUPCAKE and Mama loves her cupcakes! Bianca surprised me last night with this yummy treat from an up and coming vegan baker. Now go whip up some spring rolls, you'll thank me later.