Black Sesame jam, Sushi casserole and Chinese New Year cleaning

Black Sesame jam, Sushi casserole and Chinese New Year cleaning

Didn't feel like grocery shopping and overloaded with work so I decided to get in the spirit of "cleaning house" for the Chinese New Year (Feb 14) by eating only from my current food storage--anything from the depths of the freezer, refrigerator or my "expanded pantry" (ain't got no washer/dryer but I have many kinds of rice, half dozen kinds of dried beans and lots of tea!). In Taiwan where I have family, folks are already scurrying around like mad preparing for the 15-day celebration which coincides with the seasonal farming calendar and when stores close for an entire week!
To the surprise of my American friends, I didn't grow up in Smyrna, GA celebrating Chinese New Year. On occasion, we'd attend a special event at Georgia Tech with all the Asians in the city in one room. It was a zoo with kids dressed in pink, red and pigtails running everywhere, trays of buns and lo mein, a tacky talent show (we won it one year by singing "There's No Business Like Show Business!) and nerdy-looking Chinese guys that my sisters and I couldn't imagine ever marrying! Actually, I remember more Super Bowl Sunday celebrations and fishing derbys than Chinese hotpots or firecrackers. We had to cross the border to Florida and Alabama to smuggle firecrackers anyway.
For Christmas, I received the book, "A Good Luck Life" by Rosemary Gong. She wrote that the Chinese prefer New Year's wishes over resolutions because if wishes aren't granted, the gods can be blamed! Very clever of us. The book is a good primer to Chinese American celebrations and culture. When in doubt, it's about "happiness," "long life," "good luck," "prosperity," or "having many sons." :)

What I rustled up today:
Breakfast: Black Sesame Jam and Honey on Whole Wheat Toast.
I found the jar of jam at an Asian Market. It was made in Taiwan by Hwa Nan Foods. Like tahini, you have to take some time to mix the oil on top with the paste below. This one was a mixture of white and black sesame with a touch of sugar. Good stuff. Nice alternative to peanut butter.

Late lunch: Sushi Casserole, anyone?
I had leftover sushi makings (Philly roll--cream cheese, smoked salmon, scallions, veggies and brown rice) and didn't feel like rolling. Mixed it all together and nuked it in the microwave with some wasabi powder. Not gourmet but I liked it --Japanese comfort food? The Sushi Elders are probably rolling in their graves.

Snack of the Day: Rolled Squid Jerky, definitely a "home alone" snack! Can we say fish breath?
BTW, if you are new to me or this blog, my nickname is the Raccoon Foodie because I like to eat so many things--authentic or fusion, everyday or gourmet and lots of snacking in between!

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