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.

Tea Blending Experience

Are you a coffee or tea drinker? Tea is my drink of choice and I’m fairly knowledgeable about various teas and their health benefits. Honestly, I’ve become a bit of a snob about my tea and definitely prefer brewing loose tea over using purchased teabags.

A new tea shop recently opened in our neighborhood and I’ve been intrigued by their tea blending classes. I am always able to talk myself out of taking the time or money to treat myself to this, however. So I am pleased when a staff member gets me a gift certificate for the tea blending experience for Christmas. I get to try another “new thing”.

It takes about 6 weeks to organize this event on my calendar but I finally arrive at my tea blending class. We hear some history of tea and the health benefits of the various ingredients on our table to blend with our tea.

We have scales to measure 1 ounce of a tea base: black, green or green rooibos. Then we can add various ingredients and taste the tea until we have a blend that is our “cup of tea”.

The class provides for two 2-ounce bags of our blended tea creation. There are so many intriguing ingredients to blend with the tea bases. There are cards on each ingredient that list health benefits and suggest pairings. Available ingredients include: chamomile, hibiscus, lavender, rose petals, safflower, lemongrass, peppermint, spearmint, allspice, star anise, cocoa nibs, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and rainbow peppercorns. There is also bee pollen, licorice root and stevia for natural sweeteners.

I make a green rooibos blend with cocoa nibs and cinnamon chips and name it Mexican Green Rooibos. My green tea blend is blended with lavender, rose petals and cardamom and I name this blend Floral Green. I think they are both delicious!

What drink is your proverbial “cup of tea”?

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Winterlights at Newfields

We did a “new thing” during the holiday season by attending Winterlights at Newfields, the Indianapolis art museum.

Winterlights is impressive from the moment we first walk in the museum. The guide points out that we should look up and even the entrance atrium is decorated for the season.

The event is even more impressive from the moment we walk outside and see the bright and festive lights.

We continue walking along the path to Oldfields, the Eli Lilly mansion. The light display on the lawn is a highlight of the event, these lights are choreographed to the Nutcracker Suite. Even in the cold, it is entertaining to stand a while and watch the lights change to music.

We tour the interior of the Lilly mansion which is attractively decorated for the holidays. Then we continue browsing the grounds and enjoying the light displays. Another highlight is a tree decorated with kiddie swimming pools and other play toys.

So creative! And what is not to like about a pretty tree in my favorite color? Maybe this is a new tradition?

Kids Move Back Home

I actually still did “new things” in 2017 – I just didn’t share. The year started with an unexpected “new thing” when our college “senior” moved back home in January. Much of the year was spent getting him back on track and this took some emotional energy and often had me questioning myself.

Now it is 2018 and although we are not completely back on track, we are more stable and moving forward. Stay tuned for posts of new events and recipes with new ingredients.

Happy New Year! What are your goals?

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!