Brett and I have officially pasted the 2 year mark of living in China.
Where did the time go?!
I remember telling people before we left for China that our “plan” was to study Chinese full time for the first two years of living in China. Then once I had some language under my belt and could function in society, we would start to grow our family.
Now look where we are. We’ve studied Chinese for 2 full years and I’m PREGNANT!
Time truly has flow by. Most days Brett and I love living in China. We know how to run errands, buy food, communicate with people, order things online, etc. But there are definitely days where I just want to hide inside my house and pretend I’m back in America.
After two years in China, all the things that were initially weird and foreign about Chinese culture have become normal. That’s why, since we got back from our babymoon I’ve been trying to be more observant and view the culture here with fresh eyes. I went on a walk the other morning and took notes of things that were fun and unique about this culture and I thought you’d be interested to read them!
Visual snapshots from my walk:
Old men and women with backs so bent they’re at a 90 degree angle
Fruit stands piled high with nature’s candy
People slurping up their breakfast noodles in practically one gulp
Women effortlessly sitting sideways on the back of scooters
Men comfortably squatting on flat feet
Small babies being carried on their mother’s backs
Venders patiently waiting by their produce for buyers
Young children caring for their grandparents
Employees synchronize dancing with their coworkers before their shift starts
Steam rising off of metal canisters, cooking steamed buns for breakfast
Baby’s booties peeking out from their split pants
Cars and scooters running red lights with no consequences
Women using umbrellas to protect their skin from getting tan
I love when I can be more observant and appreciate the quirks of this wonderful culture!
Another thing I’ve been doing since getting back from our babymoon is cooking! And it feels so good to be back in the kitchen. Savory foods are definitely at the front and center of my diet currently. I’m starting to enjoy chocolatey things again, but I’d still rather eat some crackers and hummus than a brownie.
It’s been fun to have more of a savory tooth lately, because it’s forcing me to be more creative for our lunches and dinners. In the past I would literally just roast a bunch of veggies, cook a pot of rice and make some sort of sauce for the week and we would eat that over and over for dinner. Now I have a list of savory meals that I want to make and we’ve been eating such a wide variety of meals lately.
I’m sure Brett is very happy:)
Healthy Vegan Mac & Cheese has been on my list to make ever since we had the best mac & cheese in Berlin. While I’d love to eat that exact bowl of goodness everyday, I know it wouldn’t make me feel very good, so I wanted to make a healthier, whole-foods version.
This Healthy Vegan Mac & Cheese sauce is made from potatoes and veggies and has a rich creaminess from cashews and soy milk. Lemon juice, mustard and spices give the sauce depth of flavor and bright green peas add extra nutrients and color. I can definitely see myself making this mac and cheese often for our family once our kids are older! While I don’t think it’s possible to make a real-cheese-tasting mac and cheese with just whole foods, this healthy version is definitely creamy and comforting!
I hope you can give this recipe a try! If you do, don’t forget to leave your comments down below or even take a picture and tag #theconscientiouseater on Instagram!
- 16 oz. macaroni noodles
- CHEESE SAUCE:
- 2 cup diced sweet potatoes
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ½ cup chopped carrots
- ½ cup cooking water
- ¾ cup unflavored soy milk
- ½ cup cashews, soaked
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- freshly ground black pepper
- Optional add-in: frozen peas
- Bring a pot of water to a boil
- Place the chopped sweet potatoes, onion and carrots into the boiling water and allow them to cook for about 10 minutes, or until fork tender.
- Once the vegetables have cooked, use a slotted spoon to remove the vegetables from the water and place them into a blender.
- Remove ½ cup of the cooking water and add it into the blender as well.
- Reboil the remaining water, adding more if necessary, and add in the macaroni noodles and cook them according to package directions.
- While the noodles are cooking, add the remaining sauce ingredients into the blender (from the soy milk to the black pepper) with the boiled vegetables and blend until smooth.
- After the noodles are cooked, strain them and then pour them back into the saucepan.
- Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and add in the frozen peas if desired.
- Stir everything well until all the noodles are coated in the cheese sauce.
- Serve the mac and cheese warm with cracked black pepper and chili flakes.