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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Happy Lunar New Year 2023

Gung hay fat choy! We have kicked off 2023 with a trip to Palm Springs, and then a little celebration at home for the Chinese New Year (or Lunar New Year, since more Asian countries/people celebrate than just China). You may remember all our activities from 2022 and our at-home celebration from 2021. We didn't go as big this year, but that doesn't mean it wasn't as fun.

We'll be checking in with some local Lunar New Year events, but in the meantime, let's look at our at-home celebration.

We'll be checking in with some local Lunar events, but in the meantime, let's look at our at-home celebration.

Yeah, not sure why this is so blurry. We just had tater tots with bacon & eggs.

We actually started our day with a Zoom brunch with friends, where we wore our old firecracker headbands, because they're awesome. 

I brought back these fun Lunar New Year animal plates, because they are timeless and they are the perfect size. I also want to call attention to this flavored water that was like a very light and not-too-sweet soda. I purely bought these based on the cool see-through cans. We had a mango and a pineapple and I highly recommend them. I also have these lovely Chinese highball glasses from Cost Plus World Market. Let's move on to the rest of the table.

I really thought I needed a new runner for this year and found this adorable Year of the Rabbit topper for our coffee table. I brought back my pink fish vase, because fish are very symbolic as a New Year food and image. I ordered a fish platter, but it didn't get here in time. I picked up a lucky jade succulent from Trader Joe's that comes with a lucky envelope you can use. Onto food!

Clementines, tangerines or oranges are another symbolic food of Lunar New Year, because they are both gold (orange is the closest you can get to gold in food) and look like money bags, which symbolize prosperity. I got almost all my food from Trader Joe's, again, so we had this Spicy Thai Shrimp Fried Rice. A+, highly recommended.

Again, I got Chicken Shu Mai. You can also get it with pork, but we aren't really pork people. It comes with a teriyaki soy sauce, which brings me to one of my favorite things...

At some point, I got these egg cups that have little bunny feet and tails. They are great for soft-boiled eggs, but also perfect for dipping sauces, so if you're looking for a sturdy dipping vessel, egg cups are fantastic and the ideal size, especially for bite-size things like these shu mai. 

I also picked up some Vegetable Spring Rolls, because vegetables are important, and the Philly Cheesesteak Bao, which I know aren't traditional, but they are delicious. Bao, and dumplings, are very popular Lunar New Year foods, because they also look like coin purses and money bags. Trader Joe's has potstickers and soup dumplings, both of which are delicious options, too. 

Red envelopes are given out to children during the New Year celebrations, though people often add money and give them to adults as well, Start your year with a bit of prosperity to manifest it all year long. I picked these rabbit ones up from 99 Ranch, a chain Asian grocery store. They are sparkly - love it! - and they were only $.50 for 6 envelopes. The same ones were $5 at a different store.

After dinner, we did these scratch-off fortunes. These were not as good as other ones I've purchased, as I took a bunch to work and found that half of them had typos on them. I should have ordered again from the same company as last year. They were also prettier and had actual fortunes. These just seemed to have attributes, like you'd find in a Panda Express fortune cookie. At least those have lucky numbers though. These fish fortunes are fun, too.

Also from 99 Ranch were these date mooncakes that we had for dessert. They had several different varieties, but since I don't love matcha (don't yell at me) and I'm not sure what Lotus tastes like, I chose these. Imagine a really cookie-heavy Fig Newton. I would have loved more date filling. Mooncakes symbolize family reunion and completeness. Everyone can benefit from a little bit of that (unless your family is problematic, in which case, surround yourself with chosen family).

I just threw this photo in there so you can admire my fun Lucky Cat short kimono. And these banners are gorgeous. If you're wondering about the rest of the backdrop, it's just a red tablecloth I had on hand.

If you're at my house celebrating something, you always have to have some sort of headgear or glasses, so this year we have lucky fish and money bags.

You can make your at-home celebration as big or small as you wish. It's easy to fit your budget. In the past we've ordered foods from a local Asian restaurant, but you can easily have a filling dinner for the whole family from the grocery store for $40 or less. If you have a Trader Joe's near you, they have a ton of easy-to-make foods at reasonable prices. 

Likewise if you have an Asian store near you, it's easy to find traditional foods that you like, but the labels are almost entirely in foreign script. This is fine if you're adventurous, want to ask a salesperson, or use Google Translate on your phone. I did this with a packet of gold papers that I thought might be napkins. They weren't. I always have a fun time looking at fun new foods and drinks.

I hope you all have a wonderful year full of prosperity, love, kindness, and generosity. Do you celebrate the Lunar New Year or another annual festival?

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links and may result in me being monetarily compensated should you make a purchase through them. Your support helps me run this blog and I thank you in advance for using my links (even if you buy entirely different things).

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