I’m a rat…

When I was still in high school my maternal grandfather died. My grandmother, a diabetic was left alone, and did not take the best care of herself. After much discussion, it was decided that she would come and live with us. Those were probably the toughest years for my parents. The only time in my life that I ever heard them argue and my grandmother was the source of that. My grandmother hated to go anywhere but always complained if you left her…which we did because we weren’t letting life pass us by, even if she was. One of the few places she would go with us was to Chinese food.
Every Sunday, our family would go to Chinese food. The same restaurant and the same time. Older folks like to have routine. The more we went, the more and more the owners grew to love us. What they loved the most about us was the fact that we were taking care of my grandmother. Oh how they loved my grandmother. They doted on her like no other person did and she ate it up. After about a year, at the end of our meal they brought out a plate of lychee(or litchi) nuts. There were four of us, there were four lychee nuts. We had never seen them or even heard of them up to this point. But I would learn to hate them more than any fruit there ever was…even the fruit I am allergic to. You see when we all took a bite of the lychee nuts, I was the only one who thought they tasted okay. When they came over and said, “how do you like?” instead of being honest my parents of course said they were wonderful.
So the next time we went, more lychee nuts. But this time my parents told me that I was in charge of eating them all. Ugh. So down the four lychee nuts would go. But then, things got much worse. They started bringing more, and more and more. Until one day(I know because I counted…if you ate as many as me you would too) they brought out 18. I ate 4 in protest and asked for a box to take home. My father finally broke down and told them, it’s not that he didn’t like the lychee nuts(LIAR) but that he just loved the almond cookies that they gave out. The result. A grocery bag full of individually wrapped almond cookies. All in all, about 300.  My parents moved more north and so we stopped going to that restaurant. We went back about a year after that and they were gone. I still tell my parents it was there fault they went out of business. :P I’m such a pain.
Today marks the start of the Lunar New Year. My year. The year of the Rat. I expect great things to come of this year and will except nothing less. :) To hounor the New Year I wanted to make something that said Chinese to me. Since I mostly eat “Americanized” Chinese food, I wont even pretend to make something authentic. I wasn’t in the mood to make fortune cookies and Lord knows I will NEVER eat a lychee nut again in my lifetime…so I went with my dad’s favorite, almond cookies. These are less than authentic too. Still the same concept just a little more me.
I’ll be ringing in the New Year by going to my favorite Chinese place. The place we go to pretty much every Saturday afternoon for lunch. They know us. They love us. And more importantly…they don’t give us any lychee nuts!!!
Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Sesame Almond Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup ground almonds(almond meal)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
dash salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 large egg white
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
36 whole honey sesame almonds(use blanched if you can’t get the honey sesame)

Stir together flour, ground almonds, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In a mixing bowl cream butter, oil and sugar at medium speed of electric hand held mixer. Beat in egg white and almond extract.

Stir flour and ground almond mixture into the creamed mixture.

Cover with plastic wrap; chill for about 2 hours.
Shape dough into small balls, about 3/4-inch. Place balls 2 inches apart; flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass. Press an almond into the center of each cookie. Bake at 350° for about 12 minutes, or until set but not browned.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen almond cookies.

 Source: Adapted from About.com



  1. You don’t like lychee?! Wow. I guess that means more for me.

  2. This post brings a smile on my face. Lychee is one of my favorite fruits actually, I hope you were not served with the canned lychee, because they were quite different from the fresh ones. Your almond cookies look good!

  3. I love the story of grandma and Chinese food.
    We have an excellent Chinese restaurant in Henley. We went regularly on a Sunday too, after my daughter finished rowing training. We still love going there but aren’t quite as predictable customers. One day I was doing my shopping and walking by the CR. When I looked at the window, three of the lovely waiters were waving madly hello to me. Not many restaurant waiters would do that! I madly waved back and threw some air kisses in too!
    Happy year of the rat! Gong Hey Fatt Choi…I hope I said Happy New Year!

  4. I think I’d prefer your cookies!
    How difficult, glad your parents didn’t give in to just staying home.
    Thanks for the reminder about lychee, the boys haven’t tried them so must get some for the weekend. I’m still planning the menu of Chinese food for Saturday.

  5. your pup is a cutie-patootie. :)

  6. These look delicious! Great story to go along!

  7. That dog is ridiculously cute.

  8. Wonderful little cookies! Your dog is a cutie!



  9. happy lunar new year!

  10. Your dog is such a cutie!
    And these cookies are tempting, Pea!

  11. L…lych… lych… *shudders and can’t finish the word* The very scent of them sends me running, they’ve got that particular perfume that makes me recoil. These cookies look perfect, I want to try them as soon as possible.

  12. You are TOO funny! I loved the story of your grandma and how your parents moved away from the chinese restaurant just so they wouldn’t have to eat anymore lychee! HAHA, I know that’ snot exactly true, but it’s funnier in my head that way!

    Your dog is beauty!

  13. I cant say I have ever had a lychee or a seasame cookie either. Im beginning to feel like I was totally sheltered as a kid. Your cookies are adorable though!

  14. I love the Shrimp chips they have at Chinese restaurants….light fluffy concoctions of pure oil :) They remind me of “Flip Chips” we used to get when we were kids. My favourite :) LOVED the story about your grandmother and the lychees. They are probably good in something, but maybe not by themselves for some…I know people that are addicted to them:)

  15. What a lucky baby you have!!!

    My pup only normally gets the mistakes.. (well that and the end of the frosting from the frosting bag squeezed in his mouth!! :o) )

    but don’t tell my husband that i do that.. shhhh..:o)

    Everyonce in awhile he get a lick of the batter too.. oh and did you ever see the post where he actually stood on the counter and helped me make dog treats??

    Oh boy.. I heard it for that on from the husband! :o)

  16. I love the photo with your pooch… too cute for words! Cookies look fab too!

  17. Great story. Too funny that you had to eat all the lychee nuts – no wonder that you won’t eat them any more.

    Your dog is adorable! And the cookies look fabulous.

  18. You make me want to go get Chinese food for lunch! And your dog? So. Dang. Cute.

  19. How I miss chinese new year celebrations. I always loved the dragon dance. I’m the year of the Sheep (or ram or goat). love those almond cookies!

  20. I love how you don’t discriminate. You celebrate all holidays equally with amazing treats.

  21. Wonderful story! LOL! I can picture you having the responsibility of eating all those lychees! The cookies are marvelous (so is the adorable dog.)

  22. I am dragon — which I think gets along with rat! Happy new year, from someone whose parents also went out for Chinese to the same restaurant every Sunday.

  23. Oh goodie! A fellow Rat! I don’t care much for lychees either, but I do love almond cookies. So, I will definitely give your version a try. Happy New Year!

  24. Funny story :D
    Interesting cookie with the sesame oil, they look delicious!

  25. Hee hee, your lychee story had me giggling at my desk. I actually just tried them for the first time a couple of months ago. My roommate from Hawaii loves the things. Like you did, I just thought they were “okay.” But 18…um, no thanks!!!

  26. Puppy dog! She’s so cute (and happy). Gong xi fa tsai, Peabody. It *is* your year and I wish you and your loved ones every thing your hearts desire. Maybe no lychees, eh? You can send them to me next time ;) The world is a better place with you in it. xxoo

  27. What a great story!
    From one rat to another :)
    I must try that recipe, it looks scrumptious!

  28. great post! i too love almond cookies, and not so much lychees. awesome idea to ring in the chinese new year.

  29. Thanks for the terrific post & photos today!

  30. My mum exhibits some of the same characteristics of your grandmother (never quite understanding why I’d want to spend any of my non-school hours outside the home (with friends, at the movies, etc)…and it seemed to have gotten worse the older she gets. Mind you…when she’s in India, she’s always out and I can never find her…I think she saves up all her social-ness and adventure-ness for when she goes back :)


  31. I don’t know which is cuter, the cookies or the dog! Well, I am certainly eating both up–visually!

  32. I made some sesame cookies recently, which were nice enough… but quite strongly sesame. Not the kind of cookies you want more than one of at a time. These sound like the way forward…

  33. The cookies and your puppy are adorable, but I’ve absolutely no idea what a lychee nut is…is it the seed inside the soft milky fruit? I didn’t think that was edible!

  34. There were some difficulties the 3 years my mom & dad lived with us before mom died and dad moved back to California. But, even then I knew it was grand to have shared that time with them and especially mom. So I’m always glad we did it.
    Love the cookies Peabody!! Don’t have to be authentic, just good!
    Your pup is so sweet.

  35. Wonderful story. I understand completely about the difficult grandmother bit too. It is sweet how the restaurant owners catered to her though. The cookies look perfect btw! Thanks for sharing.

  36. a terrific story and darling little friend in the photo~

  37. Boy do I have a relative that sounds like your gramma (my mother?) Bless her heart! I loved the story, and was squirming over your having to eat all those lychee nuts. I don’t heart them at all. One of the few things I don’t care for. Your cookies are cute, cute, cute and your doggie? Well, simply gorgeous.

  38. Wow, I had totally forgotten about those almond cookies. I loved them when I was a kid. We had a great Chinese place that we occasionally went to, and I loved the chow mein, fried pork wontons and those cookies along with this incredible tea they brought at the end. I usually only want soft homemade cookies, but I am craving those crisp buttery (probably crisco-y) processed cookies. Maybe I’ll try your recipe, which I’m sure would be much better!

  39. happy new year from one rat to another!

    cookies look so yummm!

  40. This made me smile. :)

  41. That is a truly funny story…18 lychee nuts? So sorry your childhood was full of such ‘abuse’ but I think your parents may have found you a trial too :)
    The cookies look great. Have never seen honey sesame almonds…where do you find them? Look great!

  42. What a cute pup! I’ve never had lychee. Hmmm. these cookies look fun.

  43. hey peabody!!!

    what a shame that u didn’t like lychees….the owners of the restaurant must have really loved ur family!!!

    adorable puppy u have!!!

    Happy New Year and hope that it will be a great year for you!!

  44. Lychee nuts? *scratch head* I do LOVE lychee as a fruit though? hehehe.

    Sesame almond cookies- what a combination! The lovely fragrance of sesame + almonds. I made some almond cookies for Chinese New Year too but they are the usual normal ones =)

    Happy Lunar New Year!

  45. i am chuckling at your story about the lychee nuts – have you had the fruit though??? mmmmm! you need to go find some; in the US you’ll primarily find them canned, but you can find fresh ones occasionally in your local asian grocery store.

    these cookies are great, some of my favorite!

    love the picture with your puppy too :)

  46. That was a great read and what a lucky dog!!

  47. I’ve actually never had lychee fruits before; or the nuts, for that matter!! Hope the year of the rat is a great one, for you and for your family, Peabody! Oh and as usual, your latest baked good looks stellar :0)

  48. We always had Chinese on a Sunday too, which helped me develop an aversion to Chinese food, Sundays, Sunday night football, and visiting museums, all of which would happen on that dark day of the week. My husband loathes Chinese food so I’ve never had to outgrow my childhood intolerances (though I do like museums now).

  49. If you ever need a dog sitter….I work for sesame cookies! :)

  50. I’m a Rat too. Great story. Love your dog, he is adorable. The cookies look fantastic.

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