All posts by newthingsat50

About newthingsat50

I am celebrating my 50th birthday in August 2014! It is time to make discoveries, try new things, and do the things I have talked about for years.

Moroccan Spice Blend

I am intrigued by this recipe from Rachael Ray for Moroccan Spice Blend and decide to make it my next “new thing”.  I have all the ingredients in my pantry.  (If you look closely, you’ll see a 2008 expiration date on one spice jar.  I refill my jars with herbs bought in bulk at Good Earth natural foods so my spices are not expired!)

  • 2 Tablespoons Paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon ground Turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground Ginger
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground Allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground Coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne

 


You simply combine the ingredients and store in a container with a sealed lid.


My first experiment with the spice blend is Balsamic-roasted pork tenderloin, one of the most saved recipes on allrecipes.com.  I put equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a measuring cup and add 2 tablespoons spice blend.

Next I put the pork in a Ziploc bag and added the marinade mixture.  Marinate the pork 2 hours to overnight.  When you are  ready to cook the pork, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Put the pork in a 9×13 glass dish and pour in the marinade.


Roast, basting every 15 minutes until an instant read thermometer registers 145 degrees, about 1 hour for pork tenderloin, longer for a larger pork loin.  


The spice blend provides lovely flavors.  Enjoy!

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Chicken and Red Lentil Soup 

I love our local natural food store, Good Earth.  I’ve found a lot of my “new things” by browsing their shelves, nooks and crannies. In the bulk section, I noticed red lentils when refreshing my supplies of dried beans and rice.  Consequently, I’ve been looking for a simple recipe using red lentils while looking like something my family would enjoy eating.

I found this recipe in Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine and it is a keeper

 Chicken and red lentil soup


First, you cook the onion, garlic and ginger in oil.  Then you stir in the lentils, stock and water.  Bring to a boil.  

Add the chicken and cook 5 to 7 minutes.  

Transfer the chicken to a plate.  Let cool and chop into bite-sized pieces.  

Stir the coconut milk, spices and chard into the soup and season.  Cook about 5 minutes until the flavors meld.  

Stir in the chicken.  Enjoy!

Amelia Island

Previous “new thing” posts have reported about girls’ weekend, one of my original 50 new things.  This year’s trip is to Amelia Island, Florida which is a new destination city for me although I have been to Florida many times. I fly to Atlanta and meet my friend who lives in Atlanta so we can fly together to Jacksonville, Florida. 


The Omni Plantation Resort has all the ingredients for a wonderful girls’ weekend: warm weather, ocean views, walking paths, shopping and great food.  We have the added bonus this year of ocean front property so we can walk on the beach.  The weather is so gorgeous and it feels good to sleep in. 


I am grateful for any time I can walk on the beach. I love Island colors and seashells. 


You can’t beat doing next to nothing with a dear friend in 80 degree sunshine!!! What a great, fun and relaxing weekend. 

Donaldson’s Chocolates

This is a quick “new thing” post to encourage you once again to stop by those spots you drive by hundreds of times, thinking that you will stop and visit another day.  I’ve driven by Donaldson’s chocolates on I-65 in Indiana literally hundreds of times for years.  I love chocolate and have wondered about this small business but never stopped.  Usually we are in a hurry to get home or it is past closing time.  


On Valentine’s Day, I was in Lafayette for work from 9:00 – 12:00 and had a few minutes to stop on my way back to the office.  This was a quick stop to select a small box of chocolate for my husband and sons. The friendly staff gave me a sample and I picked my favorite – coconut haystacks. Yum! 

What attraction or business have you driven by a hundred times in curiosity?  Make a stop!


Virtual Reality 

I have an unexpected “new thing” this week.  Our department has a staff retreat every year at the community room of a property funded by our Affordable Housing Program grants.

After continuous improvement, team building, goal setting, naming our new online portal and lunch, we end the day with a fun activity courtesy of our database manager – we get to experience virtual reality.

I intend to pass on the activity.  I don’t want future staff retreats to include comments such as, “Remember when our department head threw up on us after virtual reality?”  But one of our analysts convinces me that the ocean diving experience does not make you feel motion sick so I decide to play along.

This is fun and cool and amazing!  I had no idea you could turn 360 degrees and see images all around.  I’m in a diving cage descending the ocean with fish and sting rays and colorful jellyfish.  I feel brave enough to peer over the edge of the diving cage. 

Very fun!  What have you done recently to get out of your comfort zone?

Turkey Meatloaf in Baked Beans

So I’m stretching the definition of “new” this week just to have some type of blog post.  It’s been a while since I posted anything (an Indy car ride at the office Christmas party) and I noticed that I’m not looking for new recipes or ingredients or thinking about trying new things. 

Two years ago when I challenged myself to do 50 new things my 50th year, the months I really struggled were in January and February. In the Midwest, these are months to stay cozy inside and eat warm comfort food.  It’s not the time to go outside doing new things or searching for unusual ingredients. 

I’ve made this recipe before and it’s a family hit.  I’m calling it a “new thing” because the combination of meatloaf and baked beans is new to me and I was intrigued enough to try the recipe. I found the recipe in Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine. 

Start by cutting 4 strips of bacon into pieces and crisping the pieces in a skillet.  Chop 4 scallions and add them to 2 cans of baked beans in a casserole dish.  Stir in the crisped bacon and a spoonful of the drippings.

The meatloaf is made with ground turkey and several other ingredients. Whiz 1 cup seasoned stuffing cubes in a food processor. Put them in a large bowl and add some milk to moisten. Add the turkey and mix in 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 1 egg, 3-4 Tablespoons ketchup, 3-4 Tablespoons finely chopped onion, 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 Tablespoons spicy mustard, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, 1 Tablespoon brown sugar and 2 large cloves garlic, chopped.  The recipe also calls for fresh thyme and sage but I have challenges using up fresh herbs and only used fresh parsley. 

Lightly form the mixture into 4 loaves and nestle them among the baked beans. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.  


Even with a long list of ingredients, the recipe is ready to serve in under an hour.  Winter comfort food with a twist!

Indy Car Ride

My next “New Thing” is unplanned and unexpected.  I ride in a street legal Indy car. 

I am fortunate enough to work for a company that holds a nice holiday party for staff and guests. We all get dressed up and enjoy a nice meal together with some door prizes for fun.  Our 2016 event is at the Dallara car factory in Speedway, Indiana.  Did you know the Indianapolis 500 is technically in Speedway rather than Indianapolis?

The venue has some Indy 500 race displays and racing simulators.  There is also the opportunity to ride in an Indy car.  I know that my husband really wants to do this so I try to be a good sport.  Then I try to back out and sacrifice my spot for the sake of the long line but I don’t get away with that.  The staff puts a helmet on my head and  buckles me into the car!


We drive a few blocks and through a roundabout before returning to the party center. It’s not as bad as I expected, in fact, not bad at all!!  The hardest part is getting out of the car in a dress and heels…

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!!