Sunday, January 31, 2010

Whooping it up, Chinese-style

We had our Chinese New Year celebration last night, and it was so much fun that I might observe it every year! We invited mom, dad, my sister Laura, and my sweet nephew Caleb over to help us ring in The Year of the Tiger. Booger was overjoyed.

I found some great decorations at Party City and our local Asian foods store. We hung pretty red banners in the den, along with red paper lanterns and shimmery gold ribbons that hung from the ceiling. We found cute little red takeout boxes to hold snacks, and we scored a wall decoration with a big tiger on it. We decorated the table with a bright red cloth and napkins, some gold chargers, and a cool Asian-inspired plant arrangement. I also found some joss paper, though I used it more to decorate than for its intended purpose. It's beautiful stuff.

Here's what we served:
Appetizers - We had yummy Asian snack mix set out in the takeout containers, and I could totally get used to noshing on that stuff all the time. It's full of little crispy rice cracker stuff, mixed with wasabi peas and other goodies. YUM. I also made a clear soup infused with scallions and mushrooms, and we picked up some of those pre-made, steam-at-home gyoza at the grocery store. These were all great appetizers, and very filling.

Entree - I made a chicken and veggie stir fry that we served over some long Chinese noodles I found at the Asian food store. Nothing more than garlic, ginger, chicken, red bell pepper, broccoli, and onion, seasoned liberally with sesame oil and soy sauce. I was going to add some of those baby corn cobs to it, but I couldn't find any at the store.

Dessert - We served hot green and white tea with some delicious almond cookies. (I'll post the cookie recipe later. Those cookies were a HUGE hit. Not a one of them was left at the end of the evening, and I made three pans of them.) We also had fortune cookies, and we all got a big kick out of each other's fortunes. According to mine, I will "enjoy good health" and "be surrounded with luxury." Brian's said that he was "going traveling" and would "come into a great fortune." (I'm considering that good mojo for our Vegas trip in April.)

We had planned to set off lots of fireworks after dinner, but it was sooooo cold that we skipped it. (And I went out yesterday morning and did a 5k in that miserable drizzle of freezing rain, no less. Huzzah for me!) Instead, we sipped our hot tea, contemplated our fortunes, and caught up.

I could totally get used to that.

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