Happy Chinese New Year – Year of the Dog: A Charlie Guest Post

Charlie celebrating The Year of The Dog 2/16/18 with a delicious bone

Happy Chinese New Year – Year of the Dog:  A Charlie Guest Post.

Hi Friends!  It’s your buddy Charlie here to wish you Happy New Year!
Chinese New Year that is.  And OH What a YEAR it is!

It is the YEAR of the DOG!
What could be better?!

Chinese New Year officially started on Friday, February 16th, but Mom and I were off on Friday.

Luckily Chinese New Year is typically celebrated for about two weeks, so it is not too late to join in on the party.

And this is a very special Year of the Dog.
It is the Year of the Earth Dog.
And it is the first one since 1958*.

Earth energy is all about getting grounded, creating security, and finding your balance as you move forward*.

People born in 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, and 2018 are also known as Dogs.

And guess what?!

Dad was born in 1958, so he is a Dog too!  WOOOHOOO!
(Mom is a Tiger – Roar!)

Mom and I did some internet research, and guess what else?
This story just keeps getting better and better.

Dogs are most compatible with rabbits, TIGERs, and horses.
Dogs are often pessimistic and need a Tiger’s reassurance.
Tigers also need a Dog’s loyalty.

(Sounds like Mom and Dad are a match made in “Chinese New Year” heaven!)

So Happy New Year from our family – two Dogs and one Tiger – to yours!

Woofs & Wags,

Charlie is an adopted dog with brown eyes and a white-tipped tail who brings joy and laughter to his family and friends.  Charlie is a gifted writer, raving food critic, cat, chipmunk, and donut lover, and exceptionally photogenic model.  Some of his best friends are Mike the UPS Man, Cliff the Mailman, and ANYONE who delivers pizza to the house.   If you would like to read more guest posts by Charlie, simply type “Charlie” into the Search box at the top right hand corner of this link: thecreativelifeinbetween.com.   If you would enjoy a companion like Charlie, please consider pet adoption.

Happy Chinese New Year Party

We had a great time this weekend celebrating Chinese New Year!  (a couple weeks early – but as our Host “Oh Rob” would say, “Who has more fun than us??!!)

Such yummy food… like these crunchy egg rolls,

CNY bamboo and egg rolls

the MOST AMAZING homemade dumplings and dipping sauces,

CNY dumplings and egg rolls

fresh crisp lettuce wraps, oranges (for good luck), and of course fortune cookies,

CNY lettuce wraps fortune cookies oranges

along with tender tangy teriyaki beef skewers to start of the festivities.

chinese new year 2015 teriyaki beef

And after our bellies were satisfied with tasty treats and wine and Moscow mules,

CNY dragon lantern

and we all received our special hat and learned what animal our birth year represented (I’m a tiger in case you couldn’t have guessed – LOL!)

CNY Joyce and Ella

and we were wished good luck by our happy hostesses (Mimi and Ella) in matching smiles and attire.

CNY gold coins

We learned a new game that, though we all had heard of,  none of us had ever played.

CNY bunco dice


CNY people 5

and though we don’t believe it has ANYthing to do with Chinese New Year,

CNY people 4

we patiently listened to the instructions,

CNY bunco sheep

fought to hang on to the “Bunco Sheep,”

CNY bunco playing

and had a great time.

Then, of course, it was time to eat again!

So fresh veggies got tossed into…

CNY veggies for stir fry

Chicken Stir Fry…

CNY stir fry

and Shrimp Stir Fry, with lots of fluffy steamed rice.

CNY Shrimp stir fry

We visited some more,

CNY people 2

hugged some more,

CNY Marty and Jill

and ate some more,

CNY people 3

and more…

CNY people

until the end of the evening, when we we lit Chinese lanterns,

CNY lantern 1

and made wishes,

CNY Todd and Mason

while we watched them float away over the lake – carrying our hopes and dreams for good luck in 2015.

CNY happy new year

Thanks for a wonderful time Joyce and Rob!  xoxo

Cheers & Hugs for a Happy New Year,

Orange Creamsicle White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Orange Creamsicle White Chocolate Chip Cookies 1

As promised yesterday, today I am sharing the other orange cookie recipe that I made this weekend: Orange Creamsicle White Chocolate Chip Cookies.

And they really taste like Orange Creamsicles!  Remember that yummy ice cream treat we used to get as kids?  A little orange citrusy tang, but oh so ice creamy!!

Orange Creamsicle White Chocolate Chip Cookies 2

I have never made a cookie recipe that called for cornstarch before, but I love how tender these cookies turned out – just a tiny bit crispy on the outside, but softbatch-like on the inside.

They also get their intense flavor from using three extracts:  vanilla, almond, and orange, as well as a couple tablespoons of freshly grated orange zest.

Orange Creamsicle White Chocolate Chip Cookies zest

The creamy flavor comes from the addition of half and half and from the white chocolate chips.

Orange Creamsicle White Chocolate Chip Cookies 3

I took both these and the Orange Slice & Oatmeal Cookies to our Chinese New Year’s Party yesterday, as oranges are supposed to bring good luck.

Come back tomorrow to see some highlights from that great celebration.  (Here’s a little sneak peek – appetizer time with tender teriyaki beef on skewers.)

chinese new year 2015 teriyaki beef

Here’s today’s cookie recipe:


INGREDIENTS:  (As adapted from Averiescooks.com)

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 teaspoons orange extract
2 tablespoons half-and-half
2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons corn starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
12 ounce bag white chocolate chips


With electric mixer,cream together butter, sugars, egg, and extracts on medium-high speed until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the cream, zest, and mix on medium speed until incorporated, about 1 minute.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl again, and add the flour, corn starch, baking soda, and salt, and mix on low speed until just incorporated, about 1 minute. Do not overmix.

Add the white chocolate chips, and mix on low speed until just incorporated.

Form heaping two-tablespoon mounds. Place mounds on a large plate, flatten slightly, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or up to 5 days, before baking. Do not bake with warm dough because cookies will spread and bake thinner and flatter.

Preheat oven to 350F. Place mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 8 cookies per sheet) and bake for about 8 to 9 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just beginning to set, even if slightly undercooked, pale and glossy in the center. Do not overbake because cookies will firm up as they cool. Baking longer than 10 minutes could result in cookies with overly browned undersides.

Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooking. Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Unbaked cookie dough can be stored airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 4 months.

Orange Slice & Oatmeal Cookies

orange slice oatmeal cookies stacked

Looking for a way to take your oatmeal cookies to the NEXT LEVEL?  How about add orange slice candies?!

orange slices

We are going to a Chinese New Year’s Party this weekend, and oranges are meant to bring good luck.

In looking for recipes that included orange that wouldn’t interfere with the meal I knew our hosts would have planned, I came across a couple of orange cookie recipes.

I was looking for something different, so I tried two different recipes.  Today I am featuring the Orange Slice and Oatmeal Cookies.

It’s kind of like substituting chopped candy orange slices for the raisins in your oatmeal cookies.

orange slices chopped

If you’re a fan of these sweet jelly gum drops, you’re gonna love these cookies.

orange slice oatmeal cookies

And if this doesn’t strike your fancy, or even if it does, tomorrow’s post is going to kick it up a little bit more with Orange Cookie #2:  Orange Creamsicle White Chocolate Chips Cookies!  oooooo laaaa laaa!

Happy Baking!

ORANGE SLICE & OATMEAL COOKIES (as found on AllRecipes.com)

1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups quick cooking oats
2 cups orange-flavored fruit slice jelly candies, chopped

In large mixing bowl, cream together sugars and shortening till fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir into creamed mixture.

Stir in the oats and chopped orange slice candies (Hint:  dip a pair of kitchen shears into a glass of hot water or spray with a non-stick spray to make snipping the orange slices easier)

Using about one tablespoon of mixture for each cookie, roll into one inch balls. Place on greased cookie sheets.

Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove and cool on a wire rack.


Cheers & Hugs,