Welcome to the new Better My Veggies! I’m excited to launch the new version of my old blog. I loved my old blog, but it was definitely time for a change. I wanted this new version to reflect where I am in a life and where I hope to go.
I am very proud of what Better My Veggies has become. It was the first time I had created a platform that allowed me to express myself. I found that to important while living abroad. Through the blog, I have discovered that I love writing, especially when it involves writing about cooking, travel and fitness.
I want to keep this short and let my posts to speak for themselves. So, check them out, share them, follow my blog and tell me what you think!
Caramel sauce is bittersweet. It can be simple to make, but it can also be difficult if you do not have the right ingredients. I found this out while making the Mini Icebox Pies. My friend brought home some extra whipping cream, and I placed it in the fridge for about an hour so that it could cool. Well, while making the whip cream, I noticed that it began to curdle. I freaked out a little bit and got a little frustrated. I strained out the curdles, and whipped it twice more. It began to separate again so I knew something was wrong. After doing some research, I discovered that the cream had began to separate into curdles and I was making butter. At first I thought ” WOW! I am making butter!”. Then I thought “Crap! I am making butter not whip cream.” The grocery store was closed, so I had to make lemons into lemonade, or curdled cream into butter. After a few minutes, of pacing around the kitchen, I decided that I should make a milk based caramel sauce.
The sauce turned out better than I expected, and it was very delicious. The only suggestion I would give is to make sure you use good butter. The only butter that is available in my town is yellow, unsalted butter from New Zealand. This kind of butter is very different from the white butter I used back in the United States. I used a mixture of that and the butter I accidently created. It was still sweet and very good, but there was a little bit of a difference in taste from a normal caramel sauce.
***I consulted Sally’s Baking Addiction’s Caramel Sauce recipe when I was making my version of caramel sauce. It was pretty easy to follow and I highly suggest using it if you want to try to make your own caramel sauce.***
On medium-low heat, warm the sugar in a saucepan. The sugar will form clumps, but continue to warm the sugar until it is a brown in color. To prevent the sugar from being burned, make sure to consistently stir the sugar while it is warming in the pan. This part of the process can take up to seven minutes.
Next, add in the butter and allow it to melt.
Then add the milk . Stir the milk into the sugar and butter mixture. Allow it to boil for one minute.
After the caramel has boiled for one minute, take the pan off of the stove top and stir in the salt.
Before serving, allow the caramel to cool for about five minutes.
Now that it’s getting warmer outside, I can finally make sweet treats that aren’t warm. One of my favorite warm weather desserts are popsicles. You can make any juice or smoothie into a popsicle.
I love drinking smoothies because they are so filling and it’s the perfect way to try different foods, especially when you are traveling or living abroad. As I mentioned in my previous post, there has been more fresh produce at the supermarket. One of the fruits that has been looking great and tempts me every time I walk by are the mangos. Whenever I go to the supermarket, they look perfect so of course I have to buy a couple.
Mango and Banana Smoothie Pops
These smoothie pops are refreshing and sweet. They are a perfect treat during the warm months.
A few weeks ago, I promised my students that I would make them some food, because they had been so well behaved and consistently participated in class. I kept my promise and made them Mini Icebox Pies. Most of them are familiar with some foods from the United States, but I wanted to introduce them to something new. Personally, I really like Icebox Pies. They are so easy to make, and barely take anytime. After doing some research, I thought it would be nice to make them a smaller version of this pie.
The making of these sweet treats was quite an endeavor. First of all, I had to make fifty of them. I didn’t really think about that when I first offered to make them food, but I really like my students, so it was worth it. Also, I didn’t consider the fact that I was going to have to whip enough cream to fill fifty cups. Lastly, I had to improvise some ingredients, because some of the ingredients, such as graham crackers, are not available in my town. Overall, it was an experience.
1-2boxessemi-sweet crackersyou can use graham crackers or something similar.
3cartonsheavy whipping cream
Whip the heavy whipping cream, either by hand or with a mixer, until small peaks are formed. Gradually add in the sugar and the cinnamon. Mix for thirty seconds. Then, place the whip cream in the fridge.
Next, finely grind the graham crackers in a food processor. Take most of the crackers, set some of the crackers to the side as a topping, and place them in a bowl.
Then, add the butter and thoroughly mix both of the ingredients.
To assemble the pie, place a little over a tablespoon of the cracker and butter mixture at the bottom of the cup. Next, press the crackers down until they are flat. Then, add two tablespoons of whip cream. Finally, top the whip cream with a sprinkle of the leftover crackers.
Place the pies in the freezer for two hours and then serve.
At times, I wonder if I am the only person who loves to curl up with a bowl of yogurt with granola and peanut butter. I like to wake up, throw them in a bowl and read the news while sipping a cup of coffee. For me, it’s a healthy comfort food and makes me feel at home wherever I’m residing.
Since I moved to China, I haven’t been able to find granola in the supermarket. I’ve gotten used to walking through the cereal aisle, and picking up a bag of Bear Naked Honey Almond Granola. Then, I would walk to the dairy aisle and grab the thickest Greek yogurt. Now, I don’t have those luxuries anymore, but that is okay. I need to find a way to make a new way to make my comfort food.
Last week, I found walnuts and whole oats in the grocery store. I said to myself “This is my opportunity to make the best granola ever!!”. Without doing any research on if it was possible for me to make granola without an oven, I bought a small bag of walnuts and a large container of oats.
After my impulse buy of walnuts and oats, I searched to see if anyone had made granola without an oven. I came across no bake vegan recipes. All of them looked delicious, and I am still willing to try them, but I didn’t have any vegan-friendly ingredients. I decided that I should find steps in granola recipes that didn’t require an oven. Two techniques I found were the toasting of the outs, and the melting of peanut butter and honey. I thought toasting the walnuts and the oats would help create a crunchy texture. Melting the peanut butter and honey together just looked delicious.
Despite some doubts, and dealing with a crappy frying pan, it turned out well. The oats had a nice crunch and the sesame oil gave it a nuttier flavor. It wasn’t too sweet and would definitely pair well with yogurt.
No Bake Sesame Granola
A very nutty granola recipe that doesn't require an oven. It can be served with yogurt or ice cream.
Chop the walnuts into small pieces. You can also use pre chopped walnuts if you have them.
In a bowl, microwave the honey and peanut butter for one minute. Take the bowl out of the microwave, then thoroughly mix the honey and peanut butter together.
Next, to make the cooking a little easier, place the oats and walnuts in seperate bowls. Place those ingredients, along with the penut butter and honey mixture, beside your stovetop. Take a foot long sheet of aluminum foil, or parchment paper,and place it on a countertop. The granola will be placed on the aluminum foil after it's fully cooked.
Warm your pan on low heat and add the oats and walnuts. Make sure to sure them consistently while they are toasting.
After the oats and walnuts are toasted, add the sesame oil. Move the ingredients around the pan for about one minute.
Then, add the honey peanut butter mixture and the salt. Fully coat the oats and walnuts with these ingredients.
Transfer the granola to the piece of aluminum foil, or parchment paper, and spread it out. Allow the granola to cool for five minutes before serving.
Store the granola in an air-tight container. It will hold for one week.