Monday, January 23, 2012

Gung Hey Fat Choy!

Happy Chinese New Year! 2012 is the Year of the Dragon! A very powerful year it can be for you if you were born under this Chinese symbol.

I'm joining in with Susan's Tablescape Thursday, Leigh's Thrifty Thursday and Michael Lee's Foodie Friday this week.

But first you have to eat, right? Right! Why not eat with a dragon?

What, you think I'm pulling your leg? No, I'm not... Check this out!

See?! I told you you'd be eating with a dragon! I didn't say a real one, now did I? What were you thinking? lol

I come from a family of Chinese and Spanish (Spain) bloodline, but I am very much a fan of the Chinese cuisine. It's simple to make, healthier if done right and takes very little time to put it together! Even setting Chinese tables are not that complicated. It's all about being able to share the food with those you care about. So I do this for my children, all three of them though one is in college now. And my husband loves Asian foods as well so it's a winner table and menu every time!
I lucked out with this mistake in setting: it looks like the night time when the fireworks light up the sky with its rainbow of colors! Happy New Year!
A dragon is a creature of fire and majesty so I laid him on the center of a solid red runner and surrounded him with what else, candles!
He's been with me since 2008 and he normally sits on the EAST side of the house, facing the front door to bring in GOOD CHI.
Isn't he just a handsome yet ferocious creature? Just fantastic! I got him half-off, too!

I used my Waechtersbach "Terra Cotta" dinnerware as my chargers and used my Target Home "Red Solstice" as my dinnerware and its condiment bowl. My family, except for me, knows how to eat with chopsticks so these kinds of settings are real treats for them.
I set two different napkins to break up the formality of the tone-on-tone placesetting.

I made some steamed Jasmine rice and my version of Orange Chicken for GOOD FORTUNE, but I topped mine with veggies sauteed in the same sauce. Carrots are for GOOD LUCK, and the rice is for A GOOD LINK BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH.

I also made Roast Beef with Oyster Sauce over a bed of rice noodles, symbolizing GOOD FORTUNE (oysters); LONG LIFE (noodles) and Chinese Cheesecakes. The rolls symbolize WEALTH since they resemble gold bars.
Wondering what's in it? "Voila!" Cream Cheese & Mascarpone blend, black & blueberries. Yum!

I hope you enjoyed my take on celebrating Chinese New Year's Year of the Dragon. "Read from you soon!"

TABLESCAPING IDEAS: (Brain feels like she's back!) Holidays are often defined by symbols and colors, why not infuse it with a third factor, heritage? For example, with the past Chinese New Year, the symbolism mean more than the colors and no matter where you're from, you can make it work! Instead of Chinese cheesecake, make Cheesecake Chimichangas, Mexican Rice with a hint of Orange, Lime and Garlic Chicken in Annatto Sauce over Pasta and Grilled whole fish! Red is prominent in most cultures, so it's an easy transition!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Just Prepping...

... for the upcoming Chinese New Year's and Valentine's Day tables that I'll be making. Hope you'll all come and visit to see both! For now, organizing and cleaning is calling my name!

Until then, here's another...

TABLESCAPING IDEAS: (Brain is excited to do more this year!) Do not ignore the "minor" holidays. Their colors, reasons and inspirations will ease you into the next and bigger one. For example, Chinese New Year, RED, BLACK, GOLD now on to Valentine's Day, RED, BLACK, WHITE, pink; forward to St. Patrick's Day with WHITE, green, GOLD... Reasons for all three? FREEDOM to love, renew and express yourself!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

Another year to blog with our plates and glasses! Well, let's just say that I am pumped this year for ideas!

I already have ideas for the upcoming Valentine's Day and today, I scored 60% off discount on uber cute Fall dishes that totally feels at home whether the table will be formal or casual enough at a buffet setting! So psyched about all that!

But I will be joining Marty, Susan, Michael Lee and Leigh this week with these awesome pics! I think they will speak for themselves: Most pieces have been acquired no less than 50% off and up to 90-95% off! Simplicity and ease is what I went for this year, so no muss, no fuss!

I will bundle these three holidays as:

Last minute Brain suggestions and seasonal colors

Here's Christmas Eve Dinner,

Dinnerware: Food Network "Currant"- Kohl's 80% off, 2009
Flatware: Oneida - Sears 50% off, 2010
I made Pansit Sotanghon (mung bean noodle dish), Pochero (similar to beef stew only with cabbage and bananas), Bistek (beef simmered in citrus and soysauce with onions), and chicken Adobo and Pork Sinigang (tamarind broth based dish)
The juice is made of Calamansi or Filipino equivalent of orange, lemon and lime, only better... And of course there's the staple coconut juice. We also had Sarsi, our own version of rootbeer, but we forgot to put it on the table.
 I make exclusively Filipino dishes every Christmas Eve dinner since 2007... Every year, I add or take away a dish and this year, I learned a new Filipino dessert. We also make sure we have Filipino snacks on hand like Clover chips, Pulburon (powdered candy), Curly Tops chocolate and dried mangoes.

I focused the table on ambiance and conversation readiness. So I put chips on each end for ice breakers and instant appetizers.

Now, here's our Grazing Table for Christmas Day
 Every year, our Savior Jesus Christ gets his own birthday cake, always chocolate but different levels of decadence. This year, it is a flourless Semi-Sweet Chocolate Cake topped with powdered sugar and chocolate cookies.
 Lumpiang Shanghai or mini-eggrolls.

My two newest Nativities: both from my in-laws...

Every Christmas Day at my in-laws, they set up a table full of food gifts they received and they just "graze" all day! So we adapted it our family and now our children look forward to it every year!

 That is Tyler Florence's Ultimate Cheesecake and I just topped it with Blackberry Jam and Blackberries dusted with powdered sugar.
 Each year, the table is full of all the wonderful things our family loves to nibble on! Especially fruits and chocolate!

This is our newest Filipino dish, Biko, a traditional sticky rice cake cooked in coconut milk and brown sugar. It is yummy! We also make Puto, a steamed rice cake (right bottom corner of above picture)

And here's New Year's Eve!
Our New Year's Eve meal is very symbolic of my part Chinese heritage and my practice of Feng Shui. We celebrate with the typical loud noises, toasts and greetings and afterwards, by eating an orange for a prosperous year as its color and shape resemble gold, a cookie for a sweet life...

If you notice most of the foods are round for a balanced life as in Yin & Yang. Noodles in the soup for another year of good health, eggs and sweet potato fries and fruits for abundance.
We chose our drink carefully every year and since our goal for 2012, is better health, I put fresh squeezed juices of pineapple, oranges and mangoes. No sugar added.
Blue and green are also significant in Feng Shui as it represents Water and Earth. Our house is NW oriented so the two colors invite people of good influence and family harmony. The flames represent South and prosperity and the iron candle holders as well as the metal fruit/dish holders represent knowledge as well as wishes for a bright future in the coming year.

Hope you all had a great end to 2011 like we did and we wish you all the best of 2012!

Thanks for stopping by! If you don't see me, I'm probably at your blog. ;-)

TABLESCAPING IDEAS: (Brain was tuckered from her last minute ideas!) "Don't let the holiday seasons haunt your wallet each year. Do what I do: Let the colors of the previous holiday inspire the next one. For example, Fall's sage greens and burgundy reds can transition into a country themed Christmas and if you add silver, blue and crystal bling, you've got a fantastic entry into New Year's Eve!"

Niceties first

HELLO AND WELCOME to this blog dedicated to my obsession of tablescapes, and ONLY TABLESCAPES!
That means that whatever I post will be redirected to tablescapes or you will see tablescapes or the dishes and glassware that I used AND wish to use.
I hope you like you what you see; but you can't do that unless you take the tour- the TABLESCAPE TOUR that's on the side bar! I'd also love to take you on my adventures on finding great dinnerwares to display and use while leaving some serious change in your pocket, so stay a while and see all of my great deals!
Wanna know the reason behind the madness, too? Then make sure to read, Why this blog for my philosophy.