Friday, February 8, 2013

How do you say Happy New Year in Chinese?

The kids will have fun learning a little Mandarin Chinese and 
greeting  their friends and family with Happy New Year...

 Here's how to say it in Mandarin Chinese 
which literally means, 
"Congratulations, may you be prosperous."
"Xin [sing] Nian [nee-an] Kuai [kwai] Le [ler]"

The Cantonese, "Gong Hey Fat Choy" is the most popular and probably the easiest for the kids! 
Even though the pronunciations are a little different, both are written the same way 
in Chinese characters.

Here's the Chinese Symbol for Happy Chinese New Year: 
Please keep in mind that there are more than 150 dialects in China so there are many different greetings that mean the same thing. When I was in China, people in Northern China didn't understand people from other provinces in China! 

The kids might also have a lot of fun trying to draw the Chinese characters for "Happy Chinese New Year"... just do a search online and print out the characters. If you have a light box, it's really fun for them to trace them and then go over the characters with a colored marker! All great learning experiences as we teach our kids to take a glimpse into other cultures and learn what little friends around the world are celebrating.

May you all have a happy and prosperous Year of the Snake 2013!
Gong Hey Fat Choy!
Jan McCracken, Kids Culinary Coach

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Chinese Noodle Cookies...

These are sooooo easy and the kids will love them.

Celebration of looking forward to a year of prosperity, food is very important on Chinese New Year... these are drop cookies but because of the Chinese noodles, they resemble "nests." The Chinese prepare some foods in the resemblance of nests as a sign of prosperity for the New Year! Be sure to talk about these fun little bits of history when you're baking the cookies... the kids will love hearing about new things!

Here's what you'll need for the cookies (please substitute the "chips" for your favorite whether it be white chocolate, milk chocolate... whatever the kids choose):

1 (12-ounce) bag butterscotch chips
1 (5-ounce) can chow mein noodles
1/2 can dry roasted peanuts
2 cookie sheets
Waxed paper

Line both cookie sheets with wax paper; set aside.

Melt the butterscotch chips in a microwave-safe bowl until smooth or in a bowl on top of a simmering pot of water. Fold in the chow mein noodles to coat completely.

Gather scant tablespoons of the mixture and drop onto the prepared sheet pans. Refrigerate until set, about 5 minutes.

Have fun cooking for Chinese New Year with the kids!
Jan McCracken, Kids Culinary Coach

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Auspicious Fortune Cookies!

Fun for celebrating Chinese New Year! 

Fortune cookies are fun to make and a sure way to get the creative juices running in the kids as well as some good laughs making memories in the kitchen.

Chinese New Year is all about “good fortune” for the coming year so what better way to celebrate than to make your own fortune cookies!

Here’s a recipe that will make 12 fortune cookies:
1 egg white
Tiny amount of vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar 

Have the kids write their fortunes on strips of white paper (pieces about 4 inches x 1/2- inch).

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease two cookie sheets and set aside.

Adult helper, please beat the egg white and vanilla until foamy but not stiff with an electric mixer. Have the kids do the measuring and left them sift the flour, salt, and sugar and fold gently. Then they can fold the dry ingredients into the egg white mixture. Kids love learning the "folding" skill!

Place a teaspoonful of the batter onto one of the prepared cookie sheets, and tilt the sheet to encourage the batter to form into a nice round shape about 3 inches in diameter. Repeat, leaving at least 2 inches between the cookies, and sticking to no more than 2 or 3 per sheet as you will need to work with them quickly while they are hot. DO NOT let the kids work with the hot cookies!

Put the first sheet into the oven and bake for about 5 minutes, watching carefully, until the cookie has turned a golden color around the outer edge of the circle (the center should remain pale.

Note:  Have the kids sit on the floor and watch the cookies closely as they can easily burn on the edges! They will love it! 

Remove cookies from the  oven and very quickly lift one of the cookies with a spatula and turn upside down onto a wooden board. Adult needed here, please! 

Place the fortune in the middle of the cookie and fold the cookie in half. Place the folded edge across the rim of a cup or glass and pull the pointed edges down, one on the inside of the cup and one on the outside. Stand the folded cookies in the cups of a muffin tin or egg carton until they cool so that they hold their shape. 

Be sure to mix the cookies up for the kids to make their choices. If you want more cookies, just double the ingredients!

May your Year of the Snake be blessed and propserous,
Jan McCracken, Culinary Coach

Monday, February 4, 2013

Happy Chinese New Year!

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2013 is the Year of the Snake. Celebrating Chinese New Year can be a blast for kids as well as a grand learning experience!

They can learn the appreciation of  Chinese history as well as a lot about the culture while having a great time. Chinese New Year is sometimes called Spring Festival and is the most important of all holidays in China. There are special foods that are eaten during Chinese New Year and I'll be back with some recipes for you and the kids to prepare for your celebration!

It would be fun for you to do a search for Chinese animals for the kids to look up their year of birth and match it with their Chinese animal in the Chinese Zodiac. This is not like fortunetelling and can be a fun-filled research exercise for the kids as they learn about ancient Chinese history.  

The zodiac sign of the Snake symbolizes traits such as gracefulness, intuition, introspection, materialism and intelligence. 

Chinese New Year welcomes the Lunar New Year this year on February 10th. The dates of Chinese New Year change every year. The Snake is the sixth sign of the Chinese Zodiac which consists of 12 Animal signs.  

Happy Chinese New Year!
Come back in the next few days for some fun recipes for celebrating and head to the kitchen with the kids!
Happy Cooking with Kids,
Jan McCracken, Culinary Coach