Tag Archives: chinese new year

Cookie Bowls for Lunar New Year

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This year for Chinese New Year, I decided to make a cookie bowl for every family within my family. I made raspberry jelly buttons and s’more bites to fill the bowls. CNY is all about red because red is considered good luck so I wrapped the bowls in red cello wrap and tied it off with red ribbon. I got the ribbon for .75 at CVS during the after Christmas sales. It was an awesome deal and it looks so pretty! 🙂

Cookie Bowls
6 styrofoam bowls
18 raspberry jelly buttons
18 s’more bites
red cello wrap
red ribbon (or gold ribbon)

– place three of each kinds of cookies in a bowl (each bowl should have 6 total)
– wrap the bowl with cello wrap
– tie with ribbon

S’mores Bites (adapted from Mal Smiles)
1 package regular fudge stripe cookies
1 package regular marshmallows

– line a cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper
– place half of the cookies chocolate side up
– place a marshmallow on each cookie
– broil for a minute (or more depending on your broiler – be careful not to let it burn!)
– immediately place another cookie chocolate side down on top of the marshmallows and push down slightly to make a sandwich
– let cool and enjoy! 🙂

There are no pictures of the s’mores bites because I ate em. They were so darn good! It’s an excellent recipe to use if you’re wanting to do something fun with kids. They’ll love it! It only taste better as the days go on. Enjoy!

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

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Fran’s Chocolates

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Most Food Network junkies will probably know what Fran’s is but it is one of the best chocolatiers in Washington. They have numerous shops in the Seattle area and these babies are delicious. I saw them on the Best Thing I Ever Ate episode with Bobby Flay. I know Bobby loves the coconut bars because it’s like an upgraded almond joy bar but I HATE almond joys. I’m not really a coconut kinda gal. In fact there is only two desserts I’ll eat with coconut. One of them is tapioca pudding with taro (sai mai lo) and the other is coconut jello. My mom makes both of them. I was browsing their website and saw that they sold boxes of chocolate for Lunar New Year. How awesome is that?! 🙂 It came with a red box and gold satin ribbon (as pictured above).
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What I like about these truffles is that they’re practically bite size BUT they pack quite a punch. The sweetness, saltiness, and chocolate is just right. It’s silky smooth and delicious. I got this box for $30 not including shipping. Now most people will say that’s insane but it was for my mom for CNY so I obliged. My mom loved them. She said she likes the oolong tea truffle and the single whiskey malt truffle. I love the gray smoked salted caramels. There’s saltiness, smoky flavor, and most of all yummy caramel. These were a delicious treat for our feast yesterday!

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

Fran’s Chocolates

 photo 001_zpsa971570c.png
Most Food Network junkies will probably know what Fran’s is but it is one of the best chocolatiers in Washington. They have numerous shops in the Seattle area and these babies are delicious. I saw them on the Best Thing I Ever Ate episode with Bobby Flay. I know Bobby loves the coconut bars because it’s like an upgraded almond joy bar but I HATE almond joys. I’m not really a coconut kinda gal. In fact there is only two desserts I’ll eat with coconut. One of them is tapioca pudding with taro (sai mai lo) and the other is coconut jello. My mom makes both of them. I was browsing their website and saw that they sold boxes of chocolate for Lunar New Year. How awesome is that?! 🙂 It came with a red box and gold satin ribbon (as pictured above).
 photo 003_zps9e9ed1b2.png
What I like about these truffles is that they’re practically bite size BUT they pack quite a punch. The sweetness, saltiness, and chocolate is just right. It’s silky smooth and delicious. I got this box for $30 not including shipping. Now most people will say that’s insane but it was for my mom for CNY so I obliged. My mom loved them. She said she likes the oolong tea truffle and the single whiskey malt truffle. I love the gray smoked salted caramels. There’s saltiness, smoky flavor, and most of all yummy caramel. These were a delicious treat for our feast yesterday!

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

Chinese New Year feast

I LOVE Chinese New Years. My mom decided to have our annual feast early this year. Today also happens to be my birthday. I love that my birthday falls on CNY week because my mama always makes good food. She makes good food regardless but sometimes I have to twist her arm for the dishes that I want. She said she’d make me roast pork (siu yuk) for my birthday and she did!!! It’s one of my favorite take-out dishes and I always order it.
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This is the roast pork before my dad cut into it.
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Tofu! 🙂 This version is actually dried tofu that you have to soak in water and then cook. It’s a bit time consuming but very delicious.
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I’m not a fan of this dish but it makes an appearance every year. This dish has water chestnuts, pork, and some scallions. Water chestnuts taste weird. I never liked them.
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This dish also makes an appearance every year. It’s vermicelli noodles cooked in soy sauce with dried shrimp and green onions.
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This is “faat tai.” Basically it’s like a cupcake but it has to have the four flowers.
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This dish is one of my favorites! I usually never see it unless it’s CNY. It has shiitake mushrooms, veggies, a black vermicelli like ingredient, albalone, dried scallops, and this other ingredient I don’t know the name of. I can say it in Chinese but not in English. I used to refuse to eat the black vermicelli like ingredient just because it reminded me of hair.
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And last but not least, peas and carrots! Gotta have lots of veggies! 🙂

There was also a chicken but I didn’t upload the picture. The chickens that my parents buy at the butcher shop have the head on and everything so I figured it was a little too much for my blog. Thanks for reading!

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

matcha green tea almond cookies

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Lunar New Year is next Friday so everyone in the family is getting ready for it. We’ve been cleaning and buying different foods so we can make the annual dinner which is really more like a huge feast. I love Chinese New Year because I get to eat all sorts of goodies AND I get lai xi (red envelopes). I decided to make different types of goodies for CNY this year. Matcha green tea almond cookies were at the top of the list! 🙂

Match Green Tea Almond Cookies (adapted from Rasa Malaysia)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 stick softened butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon green tea powder (I used a Japanese kind that my mom has. High quality would be ideal)
1/3 coarsely chopped raw almonds

– in a small bowl, stir together flour, salt, and green tea powder than set aside
– in a medium bowl, cream together butter and powdered sugar until fluffy
– add dry mixture in batches (I did about 1-2 tablespoons at a time) and mix to combine after every addition
– add in chopped almonds in 3 batches and mix to combine
– pour dough onto saran wrap (make sure it’s long enough) and roll dough into a 12-14in. log about 1 1/4 inches in diameter and freeze for 30 mins.
– preheat oven to 325 degrees
– take dough out of freezer and use a sharp knife to cut 1/4 inch pieces (should yield 24 cookies)
– bake for about 15-16 minutes and let cool
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It goes great with a cup of tea! 🙂 My mom was excited to see the almond pieces in my cookies. These are buttery melt in your mouth cookies. It reminds me of shortbread…only better. TRY THESE! 🙂

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

Chinese New Year: Part 1

Tomorrow’s the day! Chinese New Year is tomorrow and I am more than ready for some delicious food. CNY is among some of my favorite holidays because I get to have delicious food and I get red envelopes. For those of you not familiar with red envelopes, they hold money. Every year for CNY, all the married members of my family give out red envelopes to the kids. It’s sort of a sign of good fortune and prosperity. The red envelopes come with different sayings sort of like fortune cookies. Except fortune cookies are more Americanized than Chinese.

Today is what I like to call chaos clean day. My mom doesn’t give a hoot if I clean before New Years. If I don’t clean before CNY, she will have my head on a spear. Cleaning before CNY is important because you want to ring in the new year on a positive note. Also, it’s considered bad luck to do the cleaning on the actual day of CNY as Chinese people think they are sweeping away their luck. As I am currently typing this, my sister is busy cleaning. My dad is in the kitchen prepping for our feast for dinner. My grandmother made pastries for us! For those of you who have been reading my blog since the beginning know I praise my grandmother to the sky with her cooking. Nothing I could ever buy at a restaurant will taste the same as popo’s (grandmother) cooking. She made two different types of pastries. One of them is savory and the other one is sweet. The savory one consist of green onions, ground pork, chinese sausage, and etc. It’s in a oval shape and remind me of flowers based on the way it is wrapped.
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The sweet one is like the sesame balls they sell at dimsum (yum cha) without so much sesame seeds on it. It’s the dark brown circle ones in the picture.
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My popo makes the sweet ones different than the ones you could buy at restaurants. She puts yams into the dough and they make them so much more delicious. They don’t look too appealing in the picture but I guarantee you they’re freakin delicious. And they have red bean filling in the middle. My favorite kind of sweets! 🙂

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There are a ton of these plates around my house. I’m not sure what they represent but my mom always finds a way to stick some in my room.

Chinese people (aka my parents) are very “strict” about what they should eat for CNY. Some believe that certain foods will bring luck, wealthiness, and good health while other foods bring bad luck and fortune. Personally, I just want to eat because I know my parents pull all stops to make good food. So here’s the breakdown of foods in my family and what my mama said they represent. Egg rolls are a staple because they represent bars of gold (wealth). Noodles (usually rice vermicelli) represent longevity (health). Shrimp represents laughter (enjoying life/happiness). Fish represents having enough (abundance). Broccoli represents a new start (luck). Egg rolls literally are golden brown when you’re done frying them which makes them look similar to gold bars. Being wealthy in the new year is extremely important. Noodles are really long so they represent longevity. It’s bad luck to cut the noodles before you cook them or cut them before you eat them because it’s considered cutting your life short. Shrimp represents happiness because of how the word is pronounced in Chinese. Shrimp is “ha” in Chinese which could be similar to “haha” like a person is laughing. My parents usually make the fish whole and it represents having enough of everything because that’s important in the new year. Broccoli represents a fresh and growing new year. The stems on each piece of broccoli you eat represents the start of something new and it will blossom and grow.

I’m sure there are other foods that hold specific meaning but these were the main ones my mom told me about. Every year we go to the houses of my aunts and uncles and celebrate as a family. My mom said it’s important to start off the new year with a strong family presence. That’s it for part one. Come back for part two soon 🙂

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies

My doctor trip went well. As in I’m finally getting the medication I need to get over whatever it is I have. I was prescribed a long list of medication. Somehow I always feel so “wrong” when a doctor prescribes me more than one medication. I feel diseased or something. Anyway, I’m feeling slightly better which is a good sign. I decided to write a post for the oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies I made.
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I got the recipe from Picky Palate. The only thing I did that wasn’t in the instructions was put the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour before I used it. I’m quite a cookie fanatic so I’ve made tons of chocolate chip cookies. The butter was at room temperature and somehow my cookie dough was very sticky and looked like dough for my pizza..so I stuck it in the fridge to harden up a bit and it was fine. As much as I love the recipe, I’m most likely going to be using my go to chocolate chip recipe which has not failed me thus far. I’ve never had to put it in the fridge to harden.

I’ll be perfectly honest, these cookies taste better as the days go on. The longer you keep them, the better they taste. I think the biggest issue would be keeping them long enough as they go pretty fast. The oreo is so soft in the middle after it’s been baked. I couldn’t find pictures of the cookies I made using Jacques Torres recipe so I guess I will make some more when I’m feeling better. I’m excited for Chinese New Year this Sunday. It means delicious food! 🙂

Fail Sweetly,
Justina