Yesterday was quite a full day. A day full of errands and humility, that is.
Brett and I had just spent our first night in our new apartment (YAY)! Since we haven’t been living there the past two weeks, our fridge was quite bare, so yesterday morning I made a trip to my happy place: the market! To get to the market, I cut through a school yard where numerous different groups of Chinese adults practice ti chi, play basket ball, or loosen up their muscles on the metal exercise equipment. It’s one of my favorite places to people watch, and of course I’m watched too whenever I cut through.
It takes me about five minutes to walk to one of the bigger markets by our apartment. On the menu for the day was an Creamy Asian Peanut Coleslaw, so I scoped out the stalls for some cabbage, which as you can guess, is very easy to come by in China. As I went to pay I realized I didn’t bring any money with me. Doi! I had to walk all the way back to my apartment, grab some money, and make my way back to the market, all while people stared at me.
Back at the market, I was doing a good job finding everything on my list and understanding the venders when they told me how much I owed them. I got cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, green onions, edamame beans, cilantro, a dozen free-range eggs and a few other things (yes, I’ve learned how to say free-range eggs in Chinese)! As I was walking home with my many bags, I tried to even out the weight on my arms by transferring my bag of eggs from my left hand to my right hand. A split second later, all my husband’s precious, fragile eggs were broken on the ground, the yolks and whites creating a sticky, mucus-like pool inside the bag. All the shop owners nearby stopped their meal prep for the day and started at me and soon every elderly Chinese person in walking distance seemed to come and surround me, speaking tons of sympathy and advice. “Ting boo dong” I continued to say over and over again. “I don’t understand!” One lady was very persistent and continued to act out her advice until I understood. “Throw out the shells and still eat the eggs!” she motioned to me.
Hmmmm. Not a bad idea!
So that’s what I did. When I got home I picked out all the shells and put the eggs in a tupperware in the fridge. My frugal-hate-to-waste-food-self was very pleased and thankful for the elderly Chinese lady’s advice.
The rest of my morning and afternoon seemed to be filled with cooking and errand running. Thankfully, after my market fiasco, the Creamy Asian Peanut Coleslaw turned out deliciously and was a great lunch to fuel Brett and I for our big trip to Wal-Mart.
Going to Wal-Mart here is always a good lesson in humility and an adventure. We’re constantly looking up words in our Chinese dictionary and trying to communicate our needs to the Wal-Mart employees. Sometimes we are actually able to get our point across, but most of the time we’re unsuccessful and just give up. I can’t wait for the day when I can say more than “hello,” “how much is this,” and “I don’t understand.” Soon!!
So there you have it. A glimpse into my crazy life here in China. Somedays are harder than others and every day is different. On Monday we officially start learning Mandarine so our vocabulary will improve daily, which I’m hoping will help the craziness die down. But for the time being, our apartment is our refuge and the place we feel most normal. I’m especially thankful to have my own kitchen again after living at our friends house for the past two weeks. It’s also been such a gift to have some new, snazzy appliances too, like a Vitamix and a dehydrator. Let the experimenting begin!
Speaking of a Vitamix, I have an awesome Vanilla Cashew Butter recipe to share with you that I made in my new Vitamix. Cashew butter may be my all time favorite nut butter. It has a subtle sweetness to it that I just love, making it the perfect ingredient for energy bites, cookies, and overnight oats. Straight out of the jar on a spoon works too. And when you add in some vanilla bean, cashew butter is taken to a whole new, delicious level.
If you don’t have a Vitamix, don’t worry! You can definitely make this Vanilla Cashew Butter in a food processor. Either way the process is simple. Start by dry roasting or toasting your cashews so that the natural oils start to emerge. Then just add the nuts and some whole vanilla been to a high speed blender or food processor and blend until creamy and delicious!
I hope you enjoy the flavor combination of this Vanilla Cashew Butter. Let me know if you try it out!
- 3 cups raw cashews
- 1½ inch piece whole vanilla bean
- Preheat your oven to 325 and evenly spread the cashews out on a baking sheet. Roast them in the oven for 10-20 until they begin to turn light brown. Stir them with a spoon occasionally and watch them closely towards the end of the roasting time so that they don't burn.
- BLENDER OPTION:
- Let the cashews cool and place them in a high speed blender with a three ½ inch pieces of whole vanilla bean. Follow your blender's instruction manual for how to make nut butter and make sure not to blend for more than a minute as you may overheat your blender.
- FOOD PROCESSOR OPTION:
- Alternatively, using a food processor, add in the roasted and cooled cashews and the vanilla bean to your processor bowl and process for 20 minutes or so until a creamy butter forms, scrapping down the sides of the bowl often. This process takes quite a while, but be patient and make sure to continue processing the cashew until they pass the dry clumpy phase and turn into smooth, creamy nut butter.
- Store this Homemade Vanilla Cashew Butter in your refrigerator in an airtight container.