Do you prefer peace? Are you most comfortable at home? Are you artistic but resistant to change? If so, this is your year!

It is Chinese New Year and the Year of the Goat…or is that a Sheep? I think people lean towards the sheep because sheep are so cute and cuddly. I like to say goat because I’ve kissed a goat and it has bonded me to these ruminants for the rest of my life. (Ruminant is your word for the day. Ruminants are cattle, sheep, goats, giraffes and other one-toed ungulates. These are the guys who chew the cud that is…um, regurgitated from their stomach. Wow…I need to be more careful what I kiss.)


Any way you say it, it is time to start looking at the Chinese zodiac. I remember going to a place called Cliff and Tommy’s. Now that I think of it, I am not sure that was the real name. (If that was the real name, I am not sure it would be my first choice for Chinese food.) Even though we had been there a lot, the first thing we would do is look at the Chinese zodiac place mat.

As kids (as in children…not little baby goats), we would examine it expecting a different answer. It never changed but it was always exciting to read the descriptions and giggle at the personality traits that matched up.

One of my sisters was a Rooster (responsible, thinker, critical, ambitious) and the other sister is the Goat (calm, gentle, thoughtful, social).

I was born during the Year of the Dog. Apparently, I am supposed to be rigid, strong, determined and sharp tongued. Sharp Tongue? Rigid?? ME??!! Never.

Okay…it is spot on for all of us. Goat Sister right now is laughing at her Rooster and Dog sisters. She is thinking how great is that she was born under the lucky sign of the goat which inevitably made her nicer than us. (She is not a one-toed ungulate…. I’ve seen her feet but she head butts like a goat.)

But guess what, the year of the goat can be good for all of us. For me, the dog sister, it is going to be my year of harmony. Hooray! I am going to learn how to sing. Oh wait, that is not the harmony the Chinese zodiac was talking about.

This is the year when dogs can finally find some peace and oneness with things that usually make them…um…not so nice. (I also think this may be the year of the unicorn and all things imaginary because it will take a magical being trotting across my yard for me to hold my tongue….all year!)

The Year of the Goat “forecast” says Year of the Dog people (me) will get a burst of creativity. Like this innovative blog where I’m talking about Chinese New Year and Zodiac signs as fun transition to a noodle stir-fry I learned the other week!

This was inspired from my ramen class (which can be debated whether ramen are more Chinese than Japanese). It was also inspired by the Chinese theory of cleaning things out to push out the bad luck and make room for the good luck of the New Year. I am not sure if my kitchen drawers are what they were talking about but it did make a good stir-fry so I feel lucky about that!  (And no…I didn’t use goat or sheep…that would be baaaaaad!)

Happy New Year Stir Fry

8 ounce cooked noodles (Use what you can find ramen, spaghetti, fettuccine)

3 zucchini, sliced

1 onion, sliced

1 yellow pepper

½ pound thinly cut beef

10 ounces of spinach

2 Tbsp hoisin sauce

½ cup chicken broth

2 Tbsp soy

2 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp Sriracha (you can omit if you don’t like spicy)

1 tsp garlic

1 tsp ginger

Grapeseed oil


In a small bowl, toss beef and hoisin sauce. Let sit at room temperature.

Mix chicken broth, soy, Sriracha and sesame oil in another bowl and set that aside. (This is your sauce)

Heat your favorite big sauté pan over medium high and give it a good swirl of grape seed. Sauté the beef in batches, until it caramelizes. Remove, set aside and keep warm.

Add a little more oil and add your veggies. Depending on your pan size you may need to do this in batches.

When everything is nice and tender but not mushy, toss in the garlic and ginger. Cook for another minute.

Now reintroduce the meat, noodles and whatever veggies you may have removed. Add the sauce and cook until it has thickened up. Toss it around with your tongs to make sure everything is coated.

Serve immediately.

My intentions when I set out for this dish was to follow the recipe I learned in my Chopping Block class which was a broccoli and mushroom dish and I think it also had oyster sauce. I didn’t have any of that in the house so I just winged it.

I think the Year of Goat might be right that this will be my year for creativity….but I may have to work on my stories a bit! : )