Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year
 
I am exactly 33.33333% asian, Chinese and Okinawan to be exact. Most Asians are EXTREMELY superstitious and take Chinese New Year very seriously. You will discover very shortly I am one of those crazy Asians!

Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year is also known as the  Lunar New Year.  I actually prefer it over the Gregorian Calendar Year because:
 
  • I’m a Cancer – sign of the crab. Cancerians are ruled by the moon 
  • Every month I have specific rituals I do during the New & the Full moon which can be found by following the lunar calendar
  • I find the ebb and flow of the lunar calendar helps me to gauge my level of productivity (we’ll get into this in another post) during different lunar phases

Year of the Boar

Funny enough, this is the year of the pig or boar.  I was born in the year of the boar and so many things resonate with me.  If you don’t know what Chinese horoscope sign you are, check out this article that can help you figure it out. Basically just look up the year you were born and it will tell you what Chinese zodiac sign you fall under.  
 
Here are some interesting and all too true facts about me and my traits in the Chinese horoscope:
 
  • Positive traits – loyal, honest, trustworthy, gentle & warm hearted
  • Less desirable traits – sluggish, short tempered, extreme, frank

Traditions

Each Chinese New Year we have the usual traditions in our home however, our meals tend to change depending on the busy-ness of our schedules. All of these things help usher in a new year of prosperity, good health and luck for myself, our businesses and my family.  Here are the things we do as a family:
 
  • I fill Laisee (red envelopes) with different denominations of money from $5 to $50.  I pass these out to my kids, employees and service people that I use – like our pool guy, mailman, bank tellers, pharmacy tech etc. Basically these are traditional “Good Luck” money envelopes wishing the recipient luck and prosperity. 
  • I refill our lucky Neko cat 
  • We also begin the deep dive into our manifesting boards that we put together back on the Gregorian New Year (more about this soon)

Meals

I tend to plan my CNY menu a week in advance. I make specific dishes to ensure specific outcomes for the new year. Traditional Gregorian New Year has black-eye peas and greens, while our Chinese New Year menu goes something like this:
 
  • Rice – signifies prosperity, wealth  and fertility (not that we need any of this last thing)
  • Dumplings – signifies family unions. The crescent shape of the dumplings signifies wealth and prosperity because it closely resembles chinese money. My dumplings are usually filled with pork. Pork is for strength, wealth and prosperity.
  • Chicken – usually whole though I prefer Orange Chicken as it combines the orange flavors for luck and wealth with the chicken that symbolizes the family unit and joy. I’m gonna share my Lazy Girls version of Orange Chicken below. Just like all of my other recipes, it’s easy and delicious. 
  • Noodles – I always serve Chow Mein. It’s my moms recipe. Noodles brings long life and happiness to those who eat it. It also has a mixture of veggies in it and each veggie symbolizes a different thing. Carrots are good luck, onions for cleverness, mushrooms for opportunities and bean sprouts to bring a positive start.
  • Fish – symbolizes wishes, abundance and increased prosperity. I usually do a deep fried Snapper in my wok. A fish with the head and tail still attached is said to bring a good beginning to the new year and a good end to the previous. 
  • Shrimp – We love peel and eat shrimp because it’s super easy to make but sometimes when life is busy I buy walnut shrimp from the restaurant. Shrimp symbolizes happiness and good fortune.
  • Desserts – this really varies depending on my mood.  If I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll make a sweet sticky rice treat wrapped in banana leaf. But if I’m lazy, I’ll buy something from the asian bakery.  Sweet desserts in any form signifies safety, good fortune and sweetens the new year.

     
     
    When we started having kids, I wanted to be sure to have specific traditions that would not only teach them about their heritage but also be something they could look back on with fond memories. As they’ve grown, they actually look forward to their manifesting boards, having traditional meals and seeing how much money they got in their laisee’s. Till this very day, my mom sends them their little red envelopes via mail for Chinese New Year.  
    Hopefully this is something they never lose sight of and maybe even celebrate these things with their own families in the future. 
    xo

 

Lazy Girls Orange Chicken

If you love Orange Chicken you will LOVE this easy recipe that will save you tons of time but taste like something you bought from a restaurant
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Servings: 5

Ingredients

  • 1 bag Frozen Chicken Breast Nuggets
  • 1/2 cup Frozen Orange Juice concentrate roughly half a tube
  • 6 T Soy sauce
  • 6 T Apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Sugar either brown or white
  • 1 t Chili pepper flakes to taste
  • 3 T Cornstarch slurry equal parts cornstarch and water

Instructions

  • Cook the frozen chicken breast nuggets according to package instructions then set aside.
  • In a wok or pan, mix frozen orange juice, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, sugar and pepper flakes till frozen orange juice is melted and everything is well combined
  • Add cornstarch slurry to thicken sauce
  • Add cooked chicken breast nuggets and toss in sauce 5 mins

 

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