The winter months can be a tough time of year, while we did just celebrate Valentine’s Day, there is not really much to look forward to going forward until, of course, the snow and ice finally melts away, and we are reunited with spring and sunshine. But despite the morning sun, the deep thaw is still a few weeks or even months away so we have to make the best of the winter by creating some indoor activities. My favorite cure for seasonal depression is to cook a delicious and belly warming meal, throw a theme and some good luck in the mix, and I am a happy camper! So maybe you haven’t always celebrated Chinese New Year, but 2015 is a great time to start! This year celebrate the year of the sheep, or goat, or ram (depending on who you ask) by cooking one of these delicious recipes tonight, and legend has it that they are not only delicious but they bring you tons of good luck for the upcoming lunar year! Talk about killing two birds with one stone, right?

Our first good luck dish is for a traditional stew called, San yang kai tai. This recipe features goat, meaning that it is set to be particularly popular for 2015, and while you may be initially terrified of eating goat, this recipe will not disappoint. In addition to the goat, this dish contains cabbage, radish, green onion, and ginger and is cooked low and slow into a delicious stew. “San yang kai tai” was once used as a greeting of good luck in China, and the character that represents “goat” is also found in the character that represents “good luck.”

Our next food that is set to bring you good luck for Chinese New Year is a tangerine or orange. Yes, just a simple citrus fruit is sure to provide some good vibes for you in the year of the sheep! Both tangerines and oranges are normally found within Chinese New Year displays because they symbolize wealth and luck, legend states that if you set out these fruits in your home both wealth and luck will be bestowed upon you and your family. The tradition is old and comes from the Chinese word for tangerine (gut jai), which sounds like luck, and the Chinese word for orange (chéng guǒ), which sounds like gold.

Another dish to eat for good luck is anything with noodles! Long noodles signify longevity, which like wealth and luck, is key theme of Chinese New Year traditions. Particular parts of dough are central to these celebrations and good luck, like long noodles, the amount of folded pleats in one’s dumpling signifies the amount of prosperity set to be bestowed on you.  Dumplings are referred to as Yuanbao during celebrations and pay homage to an ancient Chinese currency. Dumplings, which can be filled with a seemingly endless number of ingredients, are consumed in order to bring prosperity in the New Year. To increase your luck and wealth, arrange your dumplings in lines before serving! If presented in a circle, the dish represents that your life is not moving up, just going around and around endlessly!

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