One New Thing Every Day

From the day I turned 29, I tried to do one new thing a day... it took a few extra months, but I did it! Now I'll post new things randomly as I try them.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

#424 - Chicken Macaroni Casserole

We've been trying about one new recipe a week or so, and I have not been sharing them all here because this is not supposed to be a blog about cooking. But tonight we tried a recipe found in a family cookbook for a chicken-macaroni noodle casserole that turned out pretty bland. It has peas-and-carrots, and cream of chicken soup too. We followed the directions closely, hoping that since it was in a family collection it would surprise us with something great... but alas it was very mild and none of us were "wowed." I think we'll probably not make this one again, but I'm glad we tried it anyway.

Friday, January 29, 2010

#423 - Dinars

I have a friend from college who is a surgeon in the Army, currently stationed overseas. She was in the band and the women's music fraternity with me, and also lived in the same apartment complex. As you know, I am a pro at sending boxes overseas, so when I found out she had arrived in Iraq I asked for her address and sent a few things. Today, her thank you card arrived in the mail, containing a bill worth 250 dinars! I've never seen a dinar before so we had fun taking a look - and then I googled the exchange rate from this to an American dollar. Turns out her gift is worth about 11 American cents - I love it! I proudly display this bill in my office, where I pack the boxes, as a reminder of where so many great Americans are currently working/living.

Monday, January 25, 2010

#422 - Jalapenos?

Last weekend, I did the grocery shopping by myself (a rarity), and as I was picking out a few fresh bagels for this week, a fellow shopper asked me if I'd ever tried the jalapeno bagels. (Uh, no.) He told me they're not as spicy as they sound and I should at least try one someday. (Did he know about this blog?!?) So, this morning, I tried a jalapeno bagel with cream cheese. It didn't smell very appetizing to me as it was in the toaster, but I put my fear aside and gave it my all. The other shopper was right, it wasn't as spicy as it sounds, but it did leave a funny spicy taste in my mouth that made it hard to eat my grapefruit. I'm not a huge jalapeno lover regularly, but it was an interesting change-up to my morning routine. I think I'll probably stick to the bagels I know and love (sesame seed, plain, everything), but I can say I've tried it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

#421 - Lanterns

Our house occasionally has power outages, most famously on Thanksgiving Eve a few years ago (leaving us with a houseful of people and no way to cook the food we had purchased!). Thinking ahead, my fabulous in-laws gave us two lanterns, the kind you would take camping with you. So last night, with our 6-hour-blackout, we used our lanterns for the first time! They are Rayovac 18-watt twin tube lanterns, and they worked great. Our power stopped at about 8:30, as I was typing up the lemonade entry for the blog... TLG was still awake and it was a little spooky for him. We got him settled in with his flashlight and got the candles lit downstairs, then set up the lanterns! They put out a lot of light, and we ended up having one downstairs and one up. We set the upstairs lantern near the stairs to use as a nightlight for anybody who needed it, which really helped all of us (since none of us slept well). The power came back on about 2:00am and TLG got up to ask for more batteries for his flashlight. This morning's "Arthur" program on PBS featured a storyline about a blizzard where the electricity goes out, and TLG knew exactly what they were talking about. Then he saw the lanterns sitting in our kitchen, and he wanted to figure out how they work. Very timely program, and what a help those lanterns are!

Monday, January 18, 2010

#420 - Toy Story Wii Game

Tonight we headed to Best Buy to choose a new Wii game (or three)... two of our choices are ones I will critique for you, the third (Indiana Jones and the "something something") is one my hubby will probably play without me. First up: Toy Story Mania Wii game. This game is based on the two Toy Story rides at Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure, so we knew I would like it - plus TLG likes these movies and remembers the rides too (see photo, left, taken last September on the ride at California Adventure). The Wii game game with two 3D glasses with the red-and-blue windows in them. I never did adjust to wearing them (but that could have been because I was wearing my regular glasses today and the 3D glasses didn't fit well). TLG loved the glasses. As for the game, we played for about 30 minutes, and all the games we remember from our trip to Disney showed up somehow - the "ring an alien" game featured in the photo, plus the balloon pop, the shooting gallery with the bullseyes, and some we didn't remember like the teacup switch and the whack-an-alien-with-a-hammer-to-shoot-him-into-space. The game was a definite "hit" at our house, considering TLG had a little tantrum when it was time to turn it off and go get ready for bed. I do believe we'll be playing lots of this one in the future!

#419 - Lemonade

Yes, it snowed all afternoon here. But on this Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, The Little Guy and I were home, and we needed a fun project. My mom gave me a Sesame Street cookbook for Christmas knowing that 1) I love Sesame Street and 2) I'm often looking for fun recipes that TLG and I can make together. We chose today to try to make lemonade from actual lemons (not Kool-Aid, Crystal Light or anything else - since TLG already knows how to make that by himself, without any help from me except reaching the Brita from the fridge). So we started by measuring 2 cups water, 1 cup sugar into a saucepan and I stirred it on the stovetop until it boiled. Then we spent a while squeezing juice from 5 lemons and removing seeds. OK, I was squeezing them, and TLG was licking juice off his fingers. (Hey, who said cooking with a 4-year-old was sanitary?) We mixed it all together, added more water and ice, and voila! This isn't nearly as easy as making Crystal Light, but it was fun to do this together and now we have a yummy drink to help us ignore the ice and snow by pretending it's summertime!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

#418 - Sacher Torte

There's a much funnier story behind this cake, but it's not for me to share with everybody... suffice to say that today we spent all afternoon trying a new recipe for an international-themed potluck for this evening: Sacher Torte, a Viennese chocolate torte with apricot filling, chocolate glaze, and whipped cream. We made it from scratch, thank goodness the new Good Housekeeping cookbook has very specific instructions because we've never made anything like this before. I even had to go buy a springform pan for this during the week! The pan itself worked great, and the torte turned out well. Then we heated the apricot preserves, strained out the liquid, and put it between the two layers and on top. Then a layer of chocolate glaze and YUM! There wasn't any cake to bring home after the potluck, so I think everyone else enjoyed it too, but it was a lot of work and I doubt we'd make it again on a whim.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

#417 - Hearts

The little guy got a ton of new games for Christmas and his recent birthday (thanks, everybody!). His newest favorites include Yahtzee Jr., Whack-a-Mole, Gator Golf, Cranium Cariboo Island and Dr. Seuss' Super Stretchy ABC game. But today he found a few tiny card games in the bottom of a gift bag he hadn't previously explored too closely. We decided to try a game of Hearts. Thank goodness there were instructions in the box, because even though I've played Hearts tons myself, explaining it to someone else sounded hard. It actually wasn't too bad, the rules are simple and TLG understands numbers that are "higher than" and "lower than" and he can count past 20 so there weren't any problems there. He actually beat me by quite a few cards! I will say we've played Yahtzee Jr. (the Toy Story version) a few times each day since Christmas, so it was nice to play something else for a few minutes.