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Posted on Feb 11, 2013 in Dear Diary, Food | 8 comments

Year of the Snake

Gung hay fat choi, friends! Or, for those of you who don’t speak Cantonese, Happy Chinese New Year! And gong xi fa cai to my Mandarin-speaking friends, too! Yesterday was the official first day of the Year of the Snake, so it is with a somewhat heavy heart I say farewell to the Year of the Dragon (*my* Chinese zodiac) for the next 12 years. See you when I’m 36, bud.

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My weekend was jam-packed with awesome activities, which is great since I was totally out of commission for almost ALL of last week thanks to that nasty flu I caught. Luckily, it cleared up (well, mostly… my voice is still quite hoarse so I sound like sexy Phoebe) just in time for my stellar weekend. I took about 20,000 pictures over the weekend, almost 90% of which was of delicious food, so you (or, rather, your stomachs) will just have to bear with me. (But c’mon, you’re used to the photo-explosions by now, right guys?)

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So, Saturday I actually spent a large part of my day participating in a sneak peek of Frederick, Maryland‘s restaurant week, which was SO much fun (I got to spend the day with one of my favorite people ever, the fabulous Lauren from Oatmeal After Spinning, as well as make some new friends, so OF COURSE it was epic!) but that recap will be coming tomorrow. We’ve got CNY to cover, after all! Prepare yourselves to be deeply submersed into the 50% of me that comes straight from my mama. πŸ˜‰

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Is the resemblance any more prominent when I’m wearing a chi-pow top? No?

CNY is really a two-part thing. There’s special food to be eaten on New Year’s EVE, and then there’s special food to be eaten on New Year’s DAY. Two days of awesome Chinese cooking? Um, sure, twist my arm why don’t you? So Saturday night (after I returned from several hours of stuffing my gob up in Frederick–good thing I lost like 7 pounds last week from the aforementioned flu, eh?) I kidnapped Sean and we, along with my brother, traveled the 0.5 miles to my parents’ house for a traditional CNY dinner with the fam.

On the VERY extensive menu was:

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Soup made with chicken, ham, cabbage, vermicelli noodles, and an egg dumpling (the egg is supposed to symbolize a gold bar, so the soup is meant to encourage prosperity in the new year!)…

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Prawns in a sweet and sour-type sauce…

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Crispy-skin chicken (can you spot the beak?)…

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An entire fish…

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And a vegetable dish with mushrooms on top. And rice, duh. My mom is an EXCELLENT cook, so it was all delicious. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to stuff my piehole as much as I would have wanted to, due to the aforementioned tasting. But that’s okay, since even though these dishes were great, all my FAVORITE dishes were to come the following night anyway.

FAST-FORWARD TO SUNDAY!

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So Sunday evening we headed back over to see the ‘rents and participate in CNY: The Sequel. Sean was a wonderful sport this week, participating not only in both days of CNY festivities, but in my mom’s birthday dinner earlier in the week as well. He won lots of boyfriend points, that’s for sure. But, to be fair, it’s not like he came away empty-handed either. He got to experience, for the very first time, the wonderful tradition of lai see/hong bao (red packets).

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For those of you aren’t familiar, it’s a tradition where youngsters “gung hay” their elders: They wish their elders a happy new year, with specific well-wishes for things like prosperity, success, good health, etc. In return, the elders then bestow similar well-wishes on the youngsters, as well as red packets that are filled with–what else?–MONEY! It’s clearly a tradition I am VERY happy that to continue with year after year. πŸ˜‰

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My brother wishing my parents good things for the upcoming year in garbled Cantonese (which is still 100x better than my own).

After the lai see packets were exchanged, I helped my mom with dinner and we all sat down for yet another feast. Which was basically ALL THE CARBS and was totally, totally delicious.

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We started off with homemade Shanghai-style spring rolls that I rolled up. Needless to day, they were awesome.

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There were steamed pork bun dumplings, the kind with soup inside which are insanely good (and messy).

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There was also not one, but TWO different rice cake dishes (although I only photographed one). This is my favorite Chinese dish OF ALL TIME, and it’s traditionally made with rice cake noodles, pork, and chinese cabbage–but my mom made one version with kale instead. Both were delicious!

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And we finished with some ripe mango… and far too many White Rabbit candies. Well, the last part was really just me. I just can’t help myself, I only get to have them once a year!

Okay, whew. I think that’s good enough for today (that’ll do, pig, that’ll do). I hope you all had a great weekend, and I can’t wait to share the rest of mine with you tomorrow! Haha, I’m SO excited to actually have fun things to blog about this week! Peace and release. <3

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Posted on Jan 23, 2012 in Food | 14 comments

Chinese New Year 2012

Happy Chinese New Year!

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Today marks the first official day of CNY, which as of now it is the Year of the Dragon, friends.

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And you better believe that my Whasian family kicked it off in style this weekend!

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Some of my extended family came up from Virginia Beach to ring in the new year with us. It was great getting to catch up with uncles and cousins alike: chatting together, cooking together, and, of course, eating together!

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So, er, this is supposed to be a weight loss blog, right?

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Bahahahahaha.

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Weeeeell, what can I say? It was a(nother) celebration! Oy, so much food. We had an entire duck, pickled cucumbers, beef and onions, tofu and bean sprouts, mushrooms and bok choy, prawns, new year’s soup, and a whole fish. There was also an unpictured vegetarian dish made with soy and fungus, which sounds gross but was awesome.

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Almost all of the dishes we ate had some sort of significance in terms of what they stood for. The noodle soup had egg dumplings that represented gold bars (for prosperity), the fish represented longevity… or something… you get the idea. It definitely made for both a meaningful AND delicious smorgasbord of traditional dishes. My tough cousin Sidney even took care of the fish eye and duck head, ahahaha.

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It was, overall, a wonderful time with my family that I obviously never see and never hang out with. Ever. Cooking with my mom and learning her secret ninja kitchen skillz is something I always enjoy regardless of the occasion… though admittedly I don’t think I’ll be frying up whole fish anytime soon.

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I was back over at my parents’ place for lunch the next day as well, to eat more. And, you know, spend more time with my extended family. Heh. As a doubleplusbonus, the whole new year-filled weekend was capped off with me getting money! (Don’t worry, it’s legit. Receiving red packets — “hong bao” or “lai see” — from your elders is part of CNY tradition.) Even if you weren’t ringing in the other new year this weekend, I hope you all had a good one. And stayed warm and dry!

Xin Nian Kuai Le! Happy New Year!

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Posted on Jan 20, 2012 in Dear Diary | 49 comments

Year of the Dragon

Monday marks the beginning of Chinese New Year, and it’s an extra special one this time around because it’s the Year of the Dragon!


So fierce. (source)

You see, I wasn’t just speaking figuratively when I said that 2012 was going to be my year. I am a dragon, which not only means that I have the best of all the Chinese Zodiacs (duh), but it means that this is literally my year! And we all know that I am definitely planning on making the most of it.


(source)

Though it is tradition to celebrate on new year’s eve, which would be Sunday, my family is having our big dinner on Saturday instead. Some of my extended family is coming up from Virginia Beach and it’s sure to be a loud, boisterous, Whasian celebration!

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According to the unfailingly accurate sources of the internet, “those born under the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Dragon are energetic and warm-hearted, charismatic, lucky at love and egotistic. They’re natural born leaders, good at giving orders and doing what’s necessary to remain on top.”

The noble knowledge house of Wikipedia adds the following descriptors: “Magnanimous, stately, vigorous, strong, self-assured, proud, noble, direct, dignified, eccentric, intellectual, fiery, passionate, decisive, pioneering, artistic, generous, loyal. Can be tactless, arrogant, imperious, tyrannical, demanding, intolerant, dogmatic, violent, impetuous, brash.”

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Though I’m not sure if every adjective on that second list holds true (arrrrrgh, I’m so violent, I must punch things!), in general I think that the first description is pretty accurate for me! (Well, the lucky in love part remains to be seen, but I’m yet a mere dragonling, so I’ve got time, haha.) I am definitely energetic, I consider myself a fairly charismatic person, and as for egotistical? Well, I write about and take pictures of myself 5 days a week, so you tell me. πŸ˜‰

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Dragon. Rawr.

When I was in college, I actually came close to getting a tattoo of the Chinese character for dragon (“LΓ³ng“) and a dragon design encircling it. I ended up chickening out, partly because I couldn’t decide where to place it, and partly because I’m a wuss. I’m just not sure I’m enough of a rockstar to pull off a tattoo. I still think about it sometimes though, and I would want the same thing if I were to get one someday (and would have to hope that people don’t think of me as just another girl with a dragon tattoo, haha.)

This artist at DeviantArt must love me very much to create a Chinese zodiac using Gir! Ahhh! I love it!

I’m looking forward (well, somewhat apprehensively) to the craziness that I’m sure this weekend will bring. Saturday also marks Daxter’s birthday, so you better believe there will be celebrating on that end as well. Have a great weekend everyone, and gong xi fa cai!

Hey baby, what’s your sign?

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Posted on Feb 6, 2011 in Dear Diary, Food | 1 comment

Whasian Weekend: Heavy on the Asian

Hello friends! I hope everyone had a splendiferous weekend! Mine lived up to my true Whasian nature (white + asian in case that’s not immediately obvious.) It was chock-full of super Asian-y activities, like going to the Lunar New Year Celebration at Lake Forest Mall, watching old school (and I mean, SUPER old school!) Jackie Chan movies, and celebrating that wonderful birth of my Mama! And making up the “Wh” part of the weekend, it all kicked off Friday night with a trip to the Kennedy Center for the National Symphony Orchestra’s Disney Pops concert!

Okay, Friday night:

I met up with my parents for dinner and a show at the Kennedy Center. On the schedule? The Disney Pops concert!

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It was really fun! It was obviously very much geared towards families and kids (and thus included more than one singalong portion, haha!) but I had a great time, and have been kind of overdosing on Disney movies since (Cinderella last night and Little Mermaid is on the TV as I’m writing this – Superbowl Schmuperbowl!)

Saturday I met up with the ‘rents again, and this time with my ridonkulously tan sister (back from her vaycay in the Bahamas — her second vacation in 2 months, I might add!) to check out the Lunar New Year festivities at the Lake Forest Mall up in Maryland. They had a whole presentation, including traditional Chinese dragon and lion dances! Here are some photos I snapped:

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That evening we spent some good old-fashioned family bonding time over an amazing old school Jackie Chan kung fu movie: The Young Master:

This was the real deal, y’all. Cantonese audiotrack for my mom, English subtitles for the rest of us. πŸ˜‰

And that brings us up to speed in terms of the weekend, leaving us at Sunday (today!) It’s my mommy’s birthday, so everyone be sure to send her lots of warm birthday thoughts. πŸ™‚ I spent most of the day being lazy and watching the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet. πŸ˜€ Then, the whole fam went out to dinner at Sea Pearl, an American/Asian fusion restaurant, with dishes like “Szechuan Filet Mignon” and thus perfectly in keeping with the general theme of the weekend.

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We all got a few appetizers to split, including calamari, crab spring rolls, and this very cool dish that I forget the name of but was basically like pumpkin fries! We all demolished the apps so quickly I didn’t snag any pics, guess that means they were good! πŸ™‚

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Jenny and I also split a salad that had pickled beets, pears, dates, and feta – it was delicious! Then, for my main course I had tilapia with roasted root vegetables underneath. It was spicy, peppery, moist and delicious, and as you can see it was a HUGE serving of fish so I have leftovers to bring to work tomorrow for lunch – yay!

We also ordered a couple of desserts to share: a cranberry and pear crisp that was just like dessert oatmeal, and a molten chocolate lava cake! I had a few bites of each and both were amazing. The former inspired me to try making some sweet oatmeals as dessert the next time my sweet tooth starts itching. I capped off the delicious meal with an awesome cup of this green tea:

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Isn’t that little teabag so cute? Anyway, sorry for the picture overload there, but I had to catch you guys up on my stellar weekend, right? πŸ™‚ And I guess I’ll say goodnight here, since The Little Mermaid’s almost at “Le Poisson” (aka the best song of the movie! Haha) and I’ve already made this a long ‘un, picture-wise. Not sure how tomorrow’s weigh-in is going to go with a weekend full of eating out, but I’m not stressing too much about it. Guess we’ll see!

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Posted on Feb 3, 2011 in Dear Diary | 2 comments

Happy New Year!

Wait, didn’t we do this already?

Oh yeah, that was boring old Western new year. Hehe. I’m talkin’ ’bout Chinese New Year! Year of the Rabbit, y’all! If you were born in 1987 (or 12 years before, or 12 years after, and so on) that means YOU are a rabbit. According to the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco, people born in the year of the rabbit are articulate, talented, and ambitious, and apparently would make good gamblers. However, they seldom gamble as they are conservative and wise. Not too shabby!

Gong Xi Fa Cai! (see, you all just learned some Mandarin! You’re welcome.) πŸ˜‰

I wish you all a year full if prosperity, good health, and happiness!

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