Tag Archives: Family

Winter Solstice Festival Dinner

Winter Solstice Festival Dinner

With all the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparation, I almost forgot about our Winter Solstice Festival or Dongzhi Festival dinner! It usually falls a few days before Christmas. When winter solstice falls on a weekday, we would have our dinner the weekend before the actual day. My mom makes a huge Chinese dinner with lots of different dishes. For these dinners, she makes special dishes that she normally doesn’t make for her usual Sunday dinners.

This year, we were also lucky to have my uncle make this special dish called Eight Treasure Duck. The duck is deboned and stuffed with eight “treasures” which consist of lotus seeds, chestnuts, red dates, dried shrimp, glutinous rice, salted duck egg, Chinese mushroom, and Chinese sausage. It’s braised until the meat is tender.

For dessert, we have tangyuan (湯圓) or balls of glutinous rice, which symbolize reunion. My paternal grandmother used to make tangyuan all the time. But my mother buys them from the grocery store since it’s time consuming to make them from scratch.

I look forward to eating these Memorable Dishes every time we have a special Chinese holiday to celebrate. Since we moved to North America, the smaller Chinese holidays and festivals might not be celebrated as prominently as we did in Hong Kong or China. But having these special dinners help us remember the Chinese festivals and special occasions. I am hoping to continue passing on these “eating” traditions to my children 😀img_WinterSolstice2015

Thanksgiving Dinner 2015

Our family Thanksgiving dinner is always a big production. My mom thinks there’s never enough food and ends up making many different things. She is used to cooking Chinese style where we have many dishes. So making Thanksgiving dinner is not a far stretch from her usual Chinese dinner.

The dinner usually consists of a whole turkey, prime rib (this year, we had steak instead), mashed potatoes, stuffing, steamed vegetables, garlic bread, and being a Chinese family, we also have rice of course. But not just our regular steamed rice – steamed rice made with canned mushroom soup. I don’t remember how or when we started making this kind of rice. But we’ve been having it every time we have turkey.

Thanksgiving Dinner 2015

Steak & Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, Steamed Vegetables (From top left, clockwise)

My cousins also contribute to the already abundant array of dishes for Thanksgiving. This year, in addition to our usual fare, we had sweet potato casserole, mushroom risotto, tomato and cucumber salad, and lamb chops. Don’t forget about appetizers and desserts! My grandmother is a vegetarian, so I usually make a couple of vegetarian appetizers. To make it easier for myself, I made something with puff pastry. I made one with garden tomatoes and the other one with sliced mushrooms. Both have Gruyère cheese on them.

Thanksgiving Dinner 2015

Sweet Potato Casserole, Lamb Chops, Mushroom Risotto, Tomato & Cucumber Salad, Mushroom and Tomatoes on Puff Pastry (From top left, clockwise)

Since my mother makes so many different types of food, something always gets shafted. In our household, it’s the garlic bread. Someone is supposed to keep an eye on it but somehow we always end up burning it. There are multiple things being made and everyone pitches in one way or another. So the garlic bread always gets missed. I started using the oven timer so that we don’t forget about it. This year we didn’t burn the garlic bread because I was in charge of it. But I forgot to take pictures of it! Too many people and too much action going on!

I was overzealous with the food that I forgot to take a picture of the whole uncut turkey! I also forgot to take photos of the desserts! I’m a horrible food blogger! Hahaha…I was enjoying the moment so I didn’t take as many photos as I should have. Plus, my crazy baby girl was calling for food constantly that I was tending to her on top of helping my mom prepare. For dessert, I made my Mini Fruit Cheesecake and others brought pumpkin cupcakes, apple tart, tiramisu cake, Japanese tofu cheesecake, jello, and of course fruit to balance everything out.

Thanksgiving Turkey

Overzealous with eating and forgot to take photo of whole uncut turkey and desserts!

This is a wonderful time of year to reflect and be thankful to have loved ones to share our Memorable Meals with. I know our kids are especially excited not only about eating the food but also having everyone over to share it with. I’m sure every family has their special Memorable Dishes that they make on these occasions. I hope you enjoyed eating and spending time with your loved ones on this special Thanksgiving weekend!

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