Archives for posts with tag: tradition

A Friday ritual.

A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

A moment I want to pause, savor and remember – {this moment}

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My side of the family is going for the CNY celebration today. We had to switch it from yesterday due to schedule conflict (Dai Bee has a choir performance he can’t get out of). Anyway, one sister and I cooked most of the food. I made the tea leaf eggs, braised beef brisket and tendons, and this new dish I learned called “yee sang” (魚生) or “low hey” (撈起) or also known as the “prosperity toss.” It’s the vibrant color of this salad that first caught my eyes. Pretty simple to make, but lots of chopping to do. With smoked salmon (center) and shredded vegetable, this salad is apparently pretty popular in Southeast Asia during Chinese New Year. You can pretty much add whatever you like.

Here I shredded: purple cabbage, carrots, green onions (and cilantro) red and yellow bell peppers. I deep fried the wonton skin strips (in advance) and bought seaweed salad. I also made the special sauce with dill, orange juice, sugar, orange juice and sesame paste. It was a huge hit!img_5874

Some of us grabbed the chopsticks to partake in this tossing ceremony known as literally ‘to toss up one’s good fortune’ in Cantonese). This mixing of the salad is to ring in a new year full of abundance and prosperity. Here’s to a new tradition!

Instead of passing out the traditional red envelopes this year, I’ll be handing out these chicks! I started out with one, and then a brood of them came into life. I’ve only made enough for my nephews and nieces. Not sure if they will keep it, but I had fun making it.

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These are marbled tea eggs (茶葉蛋) are one of the more popular dishes on the table during Chinese New Year, but can be consumed all year long! The eggs symbolize prosperity and wealth. Sometimes when I crave for it, I  would buy them as snacks. This year, I found simple recipes online and made a few as one of our dishes for meatless Monday meal.

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Here’s the CNY version of meatless Monday meal.IMG_5812.jpg

Recipe for tea eggs:

  1. boil 6 eggs
  2. in a pot fill up:
    • 2-3 cups of water
    • 2 star anise
    • 1 stick of cinnamon
    • 2 bags of black tea, any kind you like. Pu-erh is traditionally used.
    • Soy Sauce, about ½ cup
    • 1 teaspoon of pepper corns
    • 1 small rock sugar
    • dried orange or mandarin peel (optional)
  3. gently crack the hard boiled eggs
  4. put cracked eggs in the pot and bring everything to a boil. Close lid, simmer for 40-50 minutes.

This is the Open-Year Dinner with my inlaws welcoming the Year of the Rooster! Same menu every year, and always a big feast. Sometimes I wish they are more open to try new dishes. Luckily my side is more receptive, giving me more areas to explore!

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Last night our Chinese lesson revolves around CNY theme – writing calligraphy. It is tradition families decorate with red banners inside and out of the house during this time of year. Greetings and phrases related Chinese new year are written on these banners. I had the boys wrote their 4-word greetings on a piece of red sheet. They practiced their Chinese calligraphy as well as learning the words and meanings of the phrases.

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Chinese New Year is around the corner, so I got my boys to help put up some decorations for this festive holiday. You’ll notice I’ve re-use the same decorations every year, but I still buy new one or two every year. So I’ve collected many items over the years.

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Chinese New Year is almost here. This is the Year of the Rooster, so can this be replaced with the traditional red envelope?

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Happy Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節快樂). Today we celebrated the traditional Chinese Mid-autumn Festival at my in-laws. Back in the days, the whole family would come together for dinner. Now, because of such and such, it’s only us and the old folks hanging out. That doesn’t stop them for making a feast. It’s their thing.

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When we got back home, we enjoyed some tea and moon cakes while gazing at the full bright moon.  I’ve incorporated my Chinese lesson in there as well. When else would be a great opportunity to learn about the history and traditions of this festival?

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Joined by my sisters and their families, we explored Clear Lake State Park this weekend for our annual camping trip. Everyone got their share of work, and my biggest responsibility is to transport all the kids to the campsite on Friday. Other than that, I am also planning for activities to keep the kids busy during our short stay.

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For my boys, it’s easier to engage them because they are older. Got them to help out setting up the tents and canopy, do dishes, find ways to hang up the dish rack, towels, etc.

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On Saturday, when we have the full day to ourselves, we tried to fill up the day with things to do: collected twigs and built floating rafts, hiked to the lake (adding some fun with a scavenger hunt along the way), climbed rocks, and finally enjoyed a light lunch by the lake.

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The boys tested their rafts while others splashed in the water.

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By dawn, it was time to go fishing with the uncles. Though we didn’t catch any fish, but the experience was unforgettable. The boys learned some casting techniques from their uncles.

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We came back to the site for dinner, shared some stories and Ah Lo gave his presentation about “bullying.” We ended the night with campfire and marshmallows, and of course, not to miss out on the stargazing opportunity which was absolutely stunning.