新年快乐 (Happy New Year!)

Last night Frit and I hosted 20 friends for a Chinese New Year Party. None of us are Chinese, nor have any of us been to China, but I love (!) that there even is such a thing. It’s usually about a month or so after the rest of the world’s New Year. Meaning … if I’ve not been good about my Jan. 1 resolutions, I can just start again with my Chinese friends. :)

2011 is the Year of the Rabbit which means: “A placid year, very much welcomed and needed after the ferocious year of the Tiger. We should go off to some quiet spot to lick our wounds and get some rest after all the battles of the previous year” (source). I for one couldn’t be more grateful for that.  After the year I had last year, I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t something to the whole Chinese zodiac.

Anyhow, Frit came up with the idea for this shindig a few weeks ago, and as it takes absolutely nothing to talk me into a party, I was on board in all of 2 seconds. First up? Invitations … homemade fortune cookies with a different piece of party info inside each cookie. We then put the cookies inside Chinese take out boxes and delivered them to our guest list.

On to the menu: Egg rolls. Dumplings (pot stickers). Sesame noodles. Fried rice. Lettuce wraps. Stir fry veggies. Orange chicken. Beef & broccoli. And caramel apple spring rolls with ice-cream for dessert (not really authentic, but we were hard pressed to find a Chinese dessert that looked good to us). Some of it was homemade. Some of it was from the frozen food section at Costco. And some of it was ordered from the Pei Wei around the corner.

All day yesterday we hung garlands and streamers and lanterns and dragons, we painted a New Year’s couplet for the entryway (a couplet is the red banner hung around Chinese doorways for New Year’s…I didn’t know that until last week), and chop, chop, chopped onions and mushrooms and chicken and a whole slew of other goodies until our hands were blistered. No really. I have a blister on my index finger from chopping the chicken for the lettuce wraps. It kills. (Que sympathy)

Our costumes …

The gift bags for each guest …

And after filling our bellies with dumplings and fried rice, we banged open a pinata, played a chopstick relay race, and then sent everyone on their merry way. It was quite a night. And quite a successful party. But the best part of the night? My New Year Fortune …

I’m pretty excited about those hidden treasures. ‘Specially where I “least expected”! :)