When my mother came up with the name of her first cookbook the term "All-American" only seemed fit. After all, she was 1st generation Chinese married to an American, Irish, Norwegian man living in Nebraska where traditional Chinese ingredients were not made readily available. It isn't until now that I truly understand the meaning of the All-American... (read more)

Archive for February, 2011




Gong xi fa cai! The Year Of The Rabbit

Happy Chinese New Year! Over the next two weeks our family and all of China will be celebrating Chinese New Year, The Year of the Rabbit. Here’s what the zodiac has to say about our furry little friend:

1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999

People born in the Year of the Rabbit are articulate, talented, and ambitious. They are virtuous, reserved, and have excellent taste. Rabbit people are admired, trusted, and are often financially lucky. They are fond of gossip but are tactful and generally kind. Rabbit people seldom lose their temper. They are clever at business and being conscientious, never back out of a contract. They would make good gamblers for they have the uncanny gift of choosing the right thing. However, they seldom gamble, as they are conservative and wise. They are most compatible with those born in the years of the Sheep, Pig, and Dog.

But of course the Chinese celebrate best with food which is why I decided to celebrate my son Chase’s 1st Birthday with a “Year Of The Rabbit” themed bash!  The full recap can be found on my blog Project Nursery but in the meantime here are some fun party pics showcasing the decorative details and food!

Here’s the big one year old himself dressed for the occasion:

Catered Dim Sum was a delicious way to keep my adult guests intrigued. The kids were kept happy munching on potstickers and eggrolls but best of all, it’s a low maintenance meal that I could simply steam and serve. Clean up was a breeze since guest enjoyed eating their finger foods with chopsticks out of Chinese take out boxes.

I had the most fun with the sweets bar however. I transformed my dinning room to make room for guests. We went with authentic Chinese goodies and candies such as Moon Cakes, Sesame Balls, Wintermelon Cakes, Lychee Candy, Haw Flakes, Candied Water Chestnuts and more!

And because the party from held from 5pm-7pm, the children arrived in their PJ’s or “Mandarin Suits”. The big kids watched “Mulan” and “Kung-fu Panda” while making Chinese paper lantern crafts. Adults sipped on fun beverages thanks to a fully stocked bar. And what one year old party is complete without a signature drink or two? Burning Mandarin Martinis were hot but I think I had one too many Lychee infused champagne cocktails myself!

If your looking to celebrate by cooking a few Chinese dishes for dinner, we suggesting incorporating some of our favorite recipes below for the occasion.

Steamed Pork Buns
Wonton Soup
Chinese Slow Cooked Short Ribs
Chinese Steamed Rainbow Trout
Hong Kong Style Crispy Noodles
Chinese Meatballs with Napa Cabbage
Spicy Green Beans
Mandarin Orange Cake

While some of these recipes are not your traditional Chinese New Year foods they do have some symbolic meaning. In China, noodles signify a long life, a whole fish suggests that you will have enough food year round, meatballs mean you will have a smooth, round year and so on…

Wishing you health, peace and prosperity in the New Year!

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