I brought out my shiny red wok this week.

Our good friends Alex and Alisane Ferguson were especially excited about Friday night. See Alex in the picture? He was happy. Alex likes my food. Alex says he’s my biggest fan. I believe him.

I love Alex, too. For many reasons. He’s like my third son.

I love Alisane because she’s always positive, full of fun and loaded with energy!

Some of our closest friends were here on Friday.

It’s Chinese New Year and we look forward to the food, the festivities and the fun every year.

Sometimes called the Spring Festival, our family welcomes the new year by cleaning, organizing, cooking and welcoming friends to our home for good food and sweet fellowship. It is said that this sweeps away any ill-fortune and makes way for good incoming luck. I hung red lanterns and firecrackers from our chandelier. This is a popular theme of “good fortune” or “happiness”, “wealth”, and “longevity.”

Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money (or in our case chocolate coins) in festive red paper envelopes.

The envelopes looked really pretty on the table, too.

The Chinese culture is rich and full with symbolism. This is especially true when it comes to Chinese New Year celebration. It is associated with many symbols and customs.

Tangerines and oranges are one of these auspicious Chinese New Year symbols.

Tangerines in Chinese sounds similar to the word “luck” and orange sounds like the Chinese word for “wealth”. Through the play of words, the Chinese is associating the gift of orange and tangerine as having an abundance of happiness and prosperity.

The bright orange color of the fruits also symbolizes ‘gold’, hence it has an auspicious meaning to bring in good luck and wealth.

I placed oranges in the center of our family table.

Instead of preparing all of the food in one day, I enjoyed making a recipe or two each day of the week.

I first baked my Almond Cookies — they freeze well.

I then made my Mongolian Beef.

It tastes even better as it sits.

We also love this Crunchy Honey Glazed Chicken.

We also enjoyed our Steamed Dumplings with Dipping Sauce

Chinese New Year is also celebrated in other countries like the Philippines and so Mrs. Gallamoza’s egg rolls or lumpia had a special place on our family table. Gloria has been a family friend since Mike and were teenagers. Her son, Rex, introduced my hubby and I … and the rest is history!

Also on our table was steamed white rice, fried rice and a garden salad with mandarin oranges, raspberries and an Asian Orange Vinaigrette!

One of my favorite rolls was the garden spring rolls. I love them. Filled with basil, mint, cilantro, carrot, rice noodles and dipped into a sweet and spicy sauce… yum!

Gung Hei Fat Choy! (Happy Chinese New year) from our family to yours!