Hi Mein

Yum. Recipe below. A big hit for everyone in our family! I think it needed more of a fresh crunch so next time we do this I think I’ll add some celery and water chestnuts.

It’s the kids first day back at school and they had Asian jelly squeeze tubes (they look like baby food packets) full of leeche flavored jello, friend rice and aloe juice. They are really excited about this and have been telling their teachers all about it.

http://www.papawow.com/blog/awesome-shrimp-and-vegetable-lo-mein.html?utm_campaign=yummly&utm_medium=yummly&utm_source=yummly

This weekend we’re having friends over and will be making Pancit and Lumpia. I’m so excited I love noodles! And fried egg roll style things with sweet and spicy sauce. The friends we are having over are super rad and purchased us a bamboo steamer when they heard about our Asian 19 quest. The most wonderful steamed buns filled with pulled pork graced our lunch boxes thanks to our new steamer. Seriously, you could put anything in these buns and they would be amazing. Bacon and eggs, cheese and fruit, cinnamon peaches and lemon juice, spaghetti even! I’ll have to experiment and let you know.

There’s a big sale at our local health food store this weekend so I’m hoping to nab a stack of Korean sheet masks. They’ve got funky flavors like egg and snail essence so we will see how this spree and my face turns out.

Ume Plums and Mushroom Powder

Stack-o-knowledge above. We love cookbooks of all kinds but we’re trying to stock up on more of the Asian kind because of our Asian 19 voyage. Sure you can duck duck go any recipe you want from your phone, but it’s much funner sipping tea or sake and going through all this thrift store book loot and then marking pages with sticky notes together. It’s a huge bonus to witness the curious kids (9, 7 & 2) asking us what we’re doing and then inviting them to help us find a recipe for dinner together. No batteries required. Family time + low tech learning + healthy eating = a very happy momma goose!

My favorite part of this project so far is learning about different Asian medicine techniques and folklore. Did you know lemongrass can help cut down a fever? Or that umeboshi plums can help with indigestion and weight loss? All this helps us connect to our bodies better and understand more about the effects of we put in our mouths.

If you ask anyone around me where I get half the awesome yummy stuff I find, they will say “Trader Joe’s”. Hands down all the time, I love TJ’s. Here’s one of my new favorites that Santa brought me…

Holy Yum! Sprinkle this bad boy in your ramen, on beef or chicken to marinade or dry rub. Wow. Thanks again TJ’s. Mushrooms are magical. I have MS so I’ve been reading up on how diet is linked to disease and how some natural supplements are helpful for your immune system function. One cool find is that they are using mushroom tinctures to help with cancer patient’s chemo treatment symptoms. Apparently raw white button mushrooms are one of the best for you.

More of the mind-body stuff. I’ve been trying to Feng Shui our house and my office. All of the heads of our beds face north now. Most of our “useless clutter” has been sold or donated. We also understand this is a process and a journey, so we will be doing this quarterly or seasonally, analyzing what we keep in our lives and what we thank for it’s service and let go of. It feels good to have less crap and more space to live. It also makes cleaning easier. Learning about the art of Feng Shui is pretty interesting and makes me feel like I’m starting to live my true life. Remembering to be mindful of what I buy and taking good care of the things I love are my top priorities at the moment. I’m hoping that someday soon I’ll be well versed in yoga and Tai chi. I’m excited to learn more about the eastern ways of gently taking care of the body we’re given.

Here’s a medicinal one I found:

Alicia Silverstone’s Weight-Loss Tea (Carrot-Daikon Drink)
1/2 c. grated (into a pulp) carrot
1/2 c. grated (into a pulp) daikon
1/4 umeboshi plum
1-2 drops shoyu
1/4 sheet nori, broken into small pieces (optional)

In a saucepot, combine carrot, daikon, umeboshi and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Add shoyu, then simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Add nori, if using, last. Drink hot.

http://www.passingdaisies.net/2011/01/weight-loss-tea-carrot-daikon-drink.html?m=1

This drink is pretty good, but don’t expect “tea”. It’s more like a tiny soup. Keep your mind open.

I love Alicia Silverstone. She’s always bright and sunny and loves vegan and Asian cuisine. Her book “The Kind Diet” changed my life. Although I’m not technically a hardcore Vegan anymore, I try to live as plant based as I can. If I had my way I’d be 100% plant based but I’ve got three kids, two step kids and one chef in my house and they are not ready to live on kale and brown rice, yet 😉 .

The Trash Got Trashier

Something I didn’t expect on this journey is the smell of the garbage can get much, much worse. Instead of Mac and Cheese boxes and Doritos bags being thrown out, there are lemon grass ends and shrimp tails in our rubbish. P-eeeewww! Our overall trash volume has definitely reduced, so that part is pretty cool.

On a tastier note, we made the scrummiest wontons for dinner last night. We wanted to use crab but both stores we went to were out so we decided on shrimp.

Cream cheese, green onions, garlic, raw shrimp, finely minced ginger, salt and pepper inside wonton wrappers.

There are no after pictures. We ate them on our walk to the dining table. They were just too good! We ate them with the below sauce that was supposed to have pineapple juice but we subbed for O.J.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

Orange juice

Orange zest

Soy

Water

Rice wine vinegar

Brown sugar

Ketchup

Sambal

Slurry of corn starch and water

I can’t give you exactly the same measurements we used because we just kept adding and adjusting.

Tonight’s dinner will be broccoli beef. I’ve washed the rice 9 times (lucky number nine) and it’s been on the counter soaking since last night. I find this makes fluffier and more tender rice. It’s also a habit I’ve brought over from my prior vegan days.

After a few days of Asian cooking it seems to be a pretty easy transition. Both my man and I are letting go of our French cooking ways like no more mire poix and herbs de Provence but instead using lemon grass, ginger, soy, cilantro, Thai basil and star anise. We just choose rice or noodles, then the protein and then the main flavor.

I’ve very excited to start making some filipino grub soon. Pork lumpia and shrimp pancit. & I’ve got big plans for some sweet dessert lumpia once I find the perfect mangos.

Asian 19

So begins another year… time for new goals and resolutions. My guy and I have already quit smoking (woo hoo!) so it’s time for a fun goal. We are embarking on a very un-American adventure, eating only Asian food for one year straight. No chicken nuggets, no lasagna, no cokes, no McD’s! Just Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese and Filipino. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will eat only Asian. We will also celebrate Asian holidays and ceremonies like the Chinese New Year on Feb 5th. We sawed the legs off our dining room table to make it like the Japanese style dining furniture (without the heater).

So for our last American meal we ventured out to “Dave’s Bar and Grille” in the Spokane Valley which is said to have the best fish and chips in our area. (By the way they do if you love big pieces of fried halibut and steak fries with lots of tartar and malt v.)

The project is awesome for a few reasons like forcing my kids to go on this ride with us and having them try LOTS of new veggies and whole grains. They also can’t touch American candy or chips in my home. So far they are loving it right along with us!

I’m a little spoiled here because le boyfriend is a chef, and I’m a lover of technique and culinary education. So together we are reading piles of Asian cookbooks and gorging on food tv and video cooking blogs. Food porn!

This week we’ve made Chinese 5 spice chicken thighs on rice with house made fortune cookies, Pho Ga (chicken noodle soup Vietnamese style), spring rolls, sweet and sour chicken with fresh pineapple and lots of ramen. We snack on shrimp crisps and mochi and crazy delicious Japanese gummy candy. Oh man! And the Vietnamese coffee… wow! I will never go back to a latte ever again. It’s just super strong coffee (Cafe du Monde) which is half chicory – half coffee and sweetened condensed milk. It’s sweet and strong but perfectly balanced. And really easy to make. You can find the little silver espresso makers at the Asian markets for around $4.

P.s. Asian markets are cheap and good. They carry lots of fresh veggies that are very inexpensive. They also carry cute teacups and cool Asian kitchen tools.

Off to find a recipe for Korean Mandu for dinner tonight. Happy eating!