Saturday, January 25, 2020

Happy Chinese New Year and The Weekly Menu

Today is the start of the Spring Festival.  Better known as Chinese New Year.  Just like Christmas is an entire season, so it Chinese New Year.  It starts with 8 days of Little Year followed by 11 days of Spring Festival and finishes with 4 days of Lantern Festival.

Image result for year of the rat

This year we are celebrating the Year of the Rat.  Thirteen years ago we were blessed with an exchange student from China.  She has gone back to China a few times for visits with her birth family but she has made us her family here in the United States.  If you are a regular visitor to this blog you know her as Tingting or Jessica, as she now calls herself.  She is our daughter and the mother of my Angel Face.

So, having a Chinese Daughter, we started celebrating Chinese New Year and it is now a tradition in our family.  We started off by going to a restaurant that had a Chinese New Year celebration but as time went on that tradition changed and we began having dinner here at home.

We are having family dinner here tonight to celebrate and, as a special treat, our Traverse City family is joining us this year.  That means we will have 13 for dinner tonight.  I will be sharing our festivities with you tomorrow along with photos and recipes so make sure you stop by.

I knew that I was going to be busy preparing dinner today so yesterday I made dessert. These adorable little "rat" steamed buns filled with red bean paste.  I got the idea from Marvelina at What To Cook Today.

Mine, of course, did not turn out as cute as hers, but it was my first try and I was pleased with them.  I did not use Marvelina's dough recipe. I had some frozen rolls in my freezer that I defrosted and used instead.  I did try to use her technique for stuffing and shaping and I am sharing that technique below.  Marvelina used black sesame seeds for eyes.  I used blank sprinkles that I had left from Halloween.

Tomorrow we will have a big breakfast with our TC gang before they leave to head home and will just have something light for dinner.

On Tuesday Frank and I are heading to our friends Bob and Cathy.  We will be joining them for a fun wine tasting dinner at Springbrook Inn.  We do this as often as we are able. It is always a great time.

We will get home Wednesday in time for Food Pantry and the Teen's bowling tournament.  That means dinner has to be quick and easy.

Friday, the Teen and Kirsten have practice for the Teen's confirmation on February 2nd and then the Teen has a Basketball game to cheer on.  We will grab dinner on the fly.

So here is our Weekly Menu including the celebratory feast we are serving up tonight.  You will fine the recipe for the "Rat" steamed buns below.....

Saturday-Chinese New Year
Pork Dumplings
Spring Rolls
Long Life Noodles
Steamed Whole Fish
Stir Fry Vegetables
Steamed "Year of the Rat" buns

Chicken BLT Soup

One Skillet Cabbage Dinner

Wine Tasting Dinner

Quick Weeknight Pizza

Roast Chicken Shwarma

Out for dinner

**   Note:  Upon serving these our daughter taught me two things.  Jessica said that the steamed buns are traditionally served warm and that they needed to steam longer.  I have adapted the recipe to reflect these changes.

#ChineseNewYear, #chinese, #asian, #desserts, #bread,
Holidays, Desserts, Asian,
Yield: 12 servings

Steamed Buns for Year of the Rat

Steamed Buns for Year of the Rat

These adorable little guys showed up to help us celebrate Chinese New Year. Filled with Red Bean paste they made a great ending to our Spring Festival Feast celebrating the Year of the Rat.
prep time: cook time: total time:


  • 12  small frozen dinner rolls, defrosted
  • orange food color
  • red food color
  • 1 can red bean paste
  • black nonpareil for eyes


How to cook Steamed Buns for Year of the Rat

  1. Pinch off a small bit of each roll for the ears and tails.  Combine those pinches together making two batches.  Add a drop of orange food color to one and red food color to the other.  Knead the color into the dough until it is evenly distributed.  Cover with plastic and allow to rest.
  2. Roll the uncolored dough balls into 4-5" circles, being careful not to roll them too thin or the bean paste will break through.  Place a 1/2 teaspoon of bean paste in the center and bring the dough up over the bean paste, pinching to seal.  Place seal side down onto a baking sheet and cover with plastic while you repeat with the other 12 balls of dough.
  3. Pinch off little pieces of orange dough and flatten to form ears.  Attach with a little water to the roll.  Make tails with the red dough and attach to the other side of each roll with a little water.  Add eyes to the front of each roll.  Return to the baking sheet and cover with plastic as you finish each one.
  4. Bring the water in your steamer to rolling boil.  Add 2 or 3 "rats" to the steamer basket.  Place the rest of the "rats" on the tray into the refrigerator.  Turn the heat to low.  Place the steamer basket in place, wrap the lid of the steamer basket with a towel and cover.  Cook for 25-30 minutes on low, turn off the flame and leave for another minute or two.  Remove to rack placed in a warming oven.  Serve warm.  


Adapted from a recipe found at What to Cook Today.
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Created using The Recipes Generator


  1. Those little rats are cute! I did some pigs last year for the Year of the Pig and filled them with pork.

    1. Well, I think I made mine too large they needed to steam a little longer.


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