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Category Archives: New Year

New Year #7 and 8

These two kind of feel like cheating, because I didn’t go out of my way to make them happen.  Nonetheless, they were first-time experiences, and odd ones at that:

#7: Getting asked to button a stranger’s pants.

#8: Spotting a mouse in the moving car.

New Year #6: Swing dancing

I don’t really dance much, but since my hometown had a band and free swing dance lesson at our not-so- “Great Park” last night, I decided to try.  It was a short, really basic lesson (maybe 30 minutes).  I danced with at least a dozen guys, which left me longing for some Purell (some parts of my brain have been forever damaged by being a teacher).  It’s definitely something I would do again.

The #1 lesson of the evening was a sort of metaphor for many spheres in life: how well the dance goes is 95% dependent on having a guy who a) knows what he’s doing and b)leads.

New Year #5: Angel food cake

I’m pretty adventuresome in the kitchen, but I’ve never attempted a real angel food cake before.  The total lack of leavening scared me, but the main hurdle was that I never had a dozen egg whites sitting around.

Last Friday, I hosted a bridal shower that involved chocolate mousse for a few dozen people, which left me with about a dozen egg whites.* I had no time or energy to deal with them this weekend, but I kept thinking that this was the perfect opportunity to try to make an angel food cake.

Today, with the wedding busyness behind me and the egg whites screaming to be used, I mustered my courage and adapted Betty Crocker’s vintage recipe for a chocolate and vanilla marbled angel food cake.  Success was sweet.

*Rabbit trail about mousse: My mom’s chocolate mousse (and no, spell-checker, for the third time, I do not mean moose) will always be the ideal to me.  It re-incorporates the egg whites after they’ve been beaten to peaks.  The result is light, velvety mousse that uses all parts of the egg.  But it’s technically unsafe.  Since I was not prepared to risk giving most of the bridesmaids and the bride food poisoning the night before the wedding, I opted for a mousse that used whipped cream instead of whipped egg whites.  Nobody was complaining; it was still delicious.  But if you’re ever serving just yourself, you really should try an unsafe mousse.  If you love it, as you probably will, I take full credit for the idea.  If you get salmonella, as you probably won’t,well, hey, I warned you.

New Year #4: Having a niece

Okay, so I can’t take any credit for this, but it is still a significant “new” for me, so I’m counting it.  She was born today, and I’m looking forward to many years of making happy memories with her.

New Year #3: Steamed rolls

On NPR awhile ago, I heard a chef recommend that the next time I make bread, I cook some of it in a bamboo steamer.  I had a big batch of rolls started yesterday, so I tried it.  I just have a basic metal vegetable steamer, but it worked pretty well.  If I had it to do again, I’d probably make a vegetable or meat filling for the rolls, make them smaller, and make sure my pan has a tight-fitting lid.

New Year #2: Singles’ group

(Parenthetical note #1: If you read my blog regularly, you’re probably wondering why someone who doesn’t even believe in singles’ groups went to one.  No, I wasn’t trying to see how bad it was and prove my point.  I’ve started attending a really big church, and singles’ group, although not my ideal, was one of the better opportunities to get involved.  I haven’t gone back on my principles; if I were setting up the church, I still wouldn’t have a singles’ group.)

(Parenthetical note #2: I’m not at all sure that I’m correct in sticking on apostrophe on “singles.”  Does the group belong to singles, or simply consist of them?  Advice would be most welcome.)

Tonight, for the first time, I attended a church singles’ group.  So far, I have few impressions.  Church websites all assert that a church is friendly, Bible-centered, and vibrant.  So too, singles’ groups all like to tout the fact that they’re “not meat markets.”  Time will tell.  It was certainly a friendly group, and I’m willing to go back.

It’s the first time in years I’ve been a non-leader member of an ongoing church group, and that felt weird.  What felt weirder was realizing that I’ve transitioned to a life stage in which prayer requests about cancer aren’t just for grandparents anymore.  My peers have peers with cancer.

New Year #1: Chiffon Cake

Chiffon cake is the progeny of pound cake (rich and tender) and angel food cake (light and airy).  It seemed less intimidating than angel food cake (because it includes baking powder), and more likely to taste delicious (I think angel food cake can end up a little cottony).  It’s dairy-free, and perfect for topping with fruit.  I’ve been wanting to bake one for awhile.

The chiffon cake turned out well- rich but airy.  My only complaint was that it tasted a little oily, like pumpkin bread sometimes does.  Next time, I might try emulsifying the eggs and oil in a blender.