livingfamilytravelmediahome decor

Celebrating the Chinese New Year: Beef, Broccoli & Shiitake Mushroom Stirfry

beef and broccoli stirfry

I went shopping to create a meal to celebrate Chinese New Year as part of my membership with the Collective Bias Social Fabric Community. And yes, I was paid to do this. I hope you like the post I wrote as a result! #CollectiveBias #shop #cbias

As you could probably plainly tell from my post on the Christmas Holidays, I am missing the holiday season. So I thought that celebrating the Chinese New Year would be a perfect excuse to help our family extend the general merriness out as long as possible.

All I really knew before writing this post though was that the Chinese New Year took place at the end of January. My daughter Stella also told me that it is the lunar Year of the Horse (her animal sign!). I found it really interesting to learn more about this festival.

To honour it, we’ll be having a family dinner together (our dinner with not be “authentic” but we’ll share the tradition and teach the kids more about it)… maybe you’d like to join us and do the same on January 31st?

The Event

According to the Hong Kong Tourism Board site, the Chinese New Year starts on January 31st and runs for 15 days. During this time, there are a number of family traditions and customs that are celebrated, which all culminate on February 14th with the Spring Lantern Festival.


The Food

Auspicious foods for celebrating the new year include black moss, dried oysters, and braised pig trotter. Since I don’t really have these foods on hand, I am going super-basic (as is my style in the kitchen anyhow!) with a beef and broccoli stir fry. The only ingredient I don’t have in my cupboard is a sauce, so I hit up the aisle that had “Chinese” in its label at my local Sobey’s and picked up this VH Chinese Szechwan sauce. A friend had also given us a big bag of shiitake mushrooms, so they were thrown in the wok as well. (Don’t mind Stella’s “thumb’s up” in the photo … it’s her own personal form of photo bombing these days!)

sobeys and vh sauce

This meal was incredibly simple and quick to make. Just fry up onion and beef (you could substitute beef for any other protein really) in the wok until the beef is cooked through, then throw in vegetables (in this case, I used mushrooms and broccoli), cooked soba noodles, and sauce and stir them around for 5-10 minutes. Serve!


For dessert, I thought it might be fun to add some of these little plastic horses of the kids to the top of a cake.


Stella was born in 2002, so she was born in Year of the Horse. Here is how these people are described on the Travel China site:

“People born in the year of the horse have ingenious communicating techniques and in their community they always want to be in the limelight. They are clever, kind to others, and like to join in a venture career. Although they sometimes talk too much, they are cheerful, perceptive, talented, earthy but stubborn.”

Stella does not like to be the center of attention, but she is certainly clever, kind, and (very) talkative! And even though she might not enjoy being in the limelight, we will definitely make a special toast just for her on January 31st.

Resolutions (Not!)

What I love most about the Chinese New Year is that it avoids all of the standard North American chatter about making resolutions (which I am clearly terrible at since I can’t seem to keep them!). Instead, its focus is on expressing thanks for the past 12 months and praying for good fortune in the year ahead.

One Day …

After looking at all of the celebrations for the Chinese New Year, I now want to be able to one day celebrate it in Hong Kong. Not only would Stella be in heaven during the parades filled with traditional dragon costumes (her favourite creature) but I think it would be an amazing experience for the whole family, don’t you?


  1. My sister adopted her daughter from China, so we have always tried to acknowledge some of the holidays of her beautiful heritage.

    One thing I enjoy doing for friends who have new babies, is buy a sheet of stamps from Canada Post with their Chinese “Year of the ___”” depicted. they are beautiful stamps and a great keep sake of the year of birth! My best friend is having her first baby (YAAAY!) in April, so will be buying Year of the Horse stamps soon :)

    • I just love the idea of buying the sheet of stamps with the Chinese New Year animal on them! It can be so difficult sometimes to pick something “special” and I just love a keepsake. Very exciting for your friend and her first baby!! :)

      • I got them for both my boys and they really are a special keepsake! and yes, my bff of about 30 years….. first baby at 42.. so excited!!!! and a Year of the Horse like Stella, who, by the way, I think is pretty fantastic…!!!

        • First baby at 42 – wow! That is very exciting! Good for her!

          For my babies, I bought the special coins from Canada Post when they were born. I hadn’t even thought about these special stamps that you mentioned. They are a great idea!

  2. So this is totally picky, but I’m going there anyhow… Since the lunar calendar doesn’t line up with the Western calendar, you can’t actually say “I was born in 2002 so I’m year of the…” because the day of Chinese New Year actually changes each year, and it’s never a Jan 1 correlation. So my son, who was born Feb 1 2002, is actually Year of the Snake, even though Feb 1 in 2014 falls into the “new year”, when he was born in 2002, it was part of the “old year”. Confusing, yes? Websites like this one ( help do the accurate conversion…

    • haha! I love that you’re “picky.” Yes, it’s true, just because Stella was born in 2002 doesn’t automatically make her a “horse” and I did use a calculator to figure it out. Also, I figured out what I am too. “Pig” … I think I’d rather be a horse! :)

  3. p.s. don’t feel bad Pig. I am a Rat.

  4. Way to go Chef Julie! How about some fortune cookies to round out the menu? I like using the VH sauces from time to time- so easy and save you having to buy a bunch of different ingredients you would never use again (e.g. oyster sauce!)

    • Thanks neighbour! Oh, fortune cookies are such a good idea … how could I have forgotten those??!! And yes, these VH sauces are so handy (and make the prep for cooking much quicker too!).

  5. Signs are modified by cycles of element, wood, metal, fire, water ad earth depending on which cycle of the 12 animals, and your sign is modulated by which 2 week period of which month, each having the same idea of animal and element, then further modulated by 2 hour period of day. each has its traits, strengths, weaknesses and compatibilities. and
    See, terribly complex.

    To reduce the system to animals is like all the cultures of China being reduced down to a wonton.

    • Oh, absolutely! It goes without saying that this whole is an entirely simplified summary of something I really know very little about (which, to be fair, I did state in the post). But thanks so much for this additional details. I had no idea that the signs were modified by cycles, as well as other factors .. down to the 2 hour period of the day! Interesting!

  6. This looks soooo nice !! I really love those thick noodles. I thought they were udon noodles but I see they are soba. I will have to try them !

  7. This looks so yummy! And quick and easy to make too – just perfect for my busy family. #client

  8. Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after
    going through some of the articles I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyways, I’m certainly happy I found it and I’ll be
    book-marking it and checking back often!

  9. We are a group of volunteers and starting a new
    scheme in our community. Your web site offered
    us with helpful info to work on. You’ve performed a formidable activity and our entire group
    shall be thankful to you.

  10. Hey! Someonne in myy Myspace group shared this site with us so I came to check
    it out. I’mdefinitely loving the information. I’m book-marking
    and will be tweeting this to my followers! Terrific blog and
    brilliant design.

  11. I’ll right away seize your rss feed as I can’t find your e-mail subscription hyperlink
    or newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly allow me know so that I may subscribe.

  12. This post is гeally a pleasant one it helos
    neա web viewers, who are wishing for blogging.

  13. You’re so awesome! I do not think I’ve truly read a single thing like
    that before. So great to find somebody with
    a few genuine thoughts on this subject. Really..
    many thanks for starting this up. This web site is one
    thing that is needed on the web, someone with a
    little originality!

  14. Usernesia
    Usernesia is one of the Greatest Official Online Gambling Providers in Indonesia.
    Usernesia is one of the best choices for you because Usernesia already has an official license
    and is also registered at the center worldwide Online Betting company.
    Inside addition, Usernesia also provides products that are complete with technology that has been analyzed by
    World Betting experts.

    Services Supplied by Usernesia
    Usernesia is one of the biggest Online Gambling Official Agents
    that provide the best service, Usernesia provides your facilities to be served immediately by professional and friendly
    customer service.
    In addition , Usernesia Client Service is also in charge of keeping you safe at playing, and
    not only the service provided is fantastic but the events given to members are also fantastic, of course.

    The Benefits of Usernesia’s Site As compared to Other Internet sites
    Usernesia provides a very complete game that has passed the test from
    World Gambling experts. Usernesia is also one of the businesses that has squeezed the best online gambling site reward.

    Apart from this, the Usernesia Official Web site also has a very
    fast transaction service in just under three minutes to make deposit and
    disengagement transactions.
    Usernesia also has a very high level of security therefore it can be trustworthy, and Usernesia is 1 of the Recognized Sites that has never been in trouble and always gives
    satisfaction to Usernesia members.

  15. For anybody who have just joined the world of online betting, it is important to know that to play gambling online in Indonesia it is necessary
    to pick the best gambling online site. The Agenusernesia site acts since
    a portal that will connects you because a player with a
    really good games provided simply by Indonesia’s best on the internet
    gambling site.

    1 of the online gambling agents that provides access in order to the very
    best online betting games in Dalam negri is Usernesia.

    Through its website in, you can find numerous
    types of popular gambling online games such as soccer wagering, casino,
    online slots and so on and play these people with just one
    single sign up.

    Since it premoere appearance, the Usernesia internet gambling
    agent site has been able to supply the best support for its clients with international
    standard games and professional service. Apart coming from that,
    there are many some other features which will give you many benefits.
    Consequently , register yourself now.

    The Most Gacor Internet gambling Site
    For professional on-line gambling players, naturally , they already know that determing the best plus most trusted online
    gambling site is one of the complete requirements to be successful in the online gambling industry.
    Therefore , choosing an online gambling site should not
    necessarily be arbitrary. Presently there are many things to
    consider and it can be very time intensive to find the most appropriate internet site.

    The most popular online gambling web site and
    provides many advantages is Usernesia. Through this site a person will be in a position to enjoy various types of the
    best wagering games created by simply well-known providers.
    Here are some online gambling games that will you can select and
    play in Usernesia.

Speak Your Mind