Sunday, January 3, 2010


The coming of a new year is a big celebration in most cultures around the world, but when we were growing up, we partied quietly at home, watching TV, sitting around the kotatsu, eating clementines and omochi. In fact, the Japanese have an entire menu of traditional New Year's fare called osechi. I'm not a big fan, so this year for food, we just made some ramen, added veggies and omochi and slurped the noodles for good luck and prosperity.  Oooh, hot salty goodness on a cold day!

On a side note, I had the darndest time finding Japanese omochi.  My grandparents actually used to make it and I remember watching Ojii-chan pounding at it with a giant mallet that he swung over his entire body and between poundings, Obaa-chan would run in and flip the mound of doughey rice.  Awesome.  Anyhow, I finally lucked out at my local health food store, MOMS organic market in Alexandria, VA.  It's in the refrigerated section and it was yummy!

I also wanted to start some new traditions for my little family, so I put together a little treasure hunt for Mayumi and her cousin, Peyton.  Earlier in the day the girls had decorated heart-shaped cardboard boxes that I had picked up from the craft store - this was to be their 2010 treasure box.  I then made three bags for each girl, labeled with their initial.  The bags contained stickers, balloons, and ten lucky pennies, respectively.  I hid them in plain view around the living room and then gave them the go-ahead to find their bags, like an easter egg hunt.  They squealed with delight when they found each bag, enjoyed the contents for about 2 seconds, and then put their new "treasures" in the box (with the exception of the balloons which had  to be blown up immediately!).  Perfectly simple for them, and as they get older we can make the hunt more sophisticated. 

I also baked a new year cake which I'm hoping will become a yearly event. This year I opted for carrot cake with cream cheese frosting (from America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook), with the crazy assumption that at least it has some nutritious merit with a pound of carrots inside!  It was a hit all around!

I've never been much of a party girl, so I haven't missed the grown-up, midnight celebrations.  In full disclosure, we were in bed and asleep by 10 on New Year's Eve.  We figured we'd start the new year off right - with a good night's sleep!


MamaM said...

Mmm, I want some omochi...

MamaD said...

I just made ramen last night! So yummy!!