Archives for October 2011

Twenty-Two Things I’ve Never Done

Twenty-Two Things I’ve Never Done

This post was inspired by the Pioneer Woman’s list of the top 22 things that she has never done and by Kat from “Mama’s Losin’ It.” We started counting down the days to my 40th birthday last May.  As the day draws ever closer, I took a moment to list the top 22 things that I have never done and briefly comment on the ones that deserve a few extra words.

Top 22 Things I Have Never Done

(in no particular order)

I am thirty-nine years old.

And I’ve never:

  1. Been to Greece (my all time one place that I must go before I die!)

2. Taken a Chemistry class (or Physics—nope, not even in high school and yes, I did graduate)

3. Hiked the entire Appalachian Trail

4. Had a puppy  (I have only adopted adult rescue dogs)

How Could They Say "No!"

5. Been to the state of Washington (Although I distinctly recall doing a report on Washington in 3rd grade and telling my class that I was going to move there as soon as my parents would let me.)

6. Gotten a tattoo

7. Been lifted and carried in a mosh pit (although I think that I broke a few toes at a Gogel Bordello concert in 2010.)

8. Learned how to drive a standard transmission

Don't Laugh! Yes, that's me behind the wheel of a Porsche (in the driveway.)

9. Seen the Grand Canyon

10. Riden the City of New Orleans (although I know all of the words to the song!)

11. Crapped in the woods

12. Sailed a boat by myself

13. Water skied (but both my 8 y.o. daughter and husband do)

Here is K water skiing for the 1st time.


14. Slept on a glacier

15. Met my favorite recording artist, Peter Gabriel

16. Had a Bat Mitzvah (although I am studying for one now.)

17. Sung a solo in a chorus or choir

18. Had the lead role in a play or other performance (Unless you count the 5th grade lead role of Little Buttercup in HMS Pinafore, which I do not!)

That's me in the middle (Bryn Mawr School, circa 1982)

19. Learned how to play an instrument

2o. Read War and Peace, Jane Eyre or The Fountainhead

21. Broken a window

22. Rolled down the window of my car (at a stop light) and asked someone if they could “Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?” Although I have always wanted to do that and, for years, kept a bottle of it in the glove compartment of my husband’s car.

All-in-all, it’s really not too bad a list for almost 40 years of living. I am sure that I could come up with more but these are the ones that first came  to mind.  Now that I have listed them, they can now be added to the ever growing “bucket list” that I keep in my mind.  In the meantime, it’s back to studying my Hebrew for the ever looming Bat Mitzvah in May. Or maybe I’ll just start singing “Memory” from Cats and pretend to “bask in my days in the sun…”


The Windy City Momma Cooked & No One Died

I don’t cook. I am one of those moms who enters the kitchen intending to make a masterpiece and winding up with more of a mess.  Who knew that pizza dough, when tossed, does actually stick to the ceiling? Anyway, as a result of tasting some of my more interesting concoctions (pizza-a-la-ceiling anyone?), neither my husband nor our daughter expect (nor ask) me to make dinner for them (or any meal for that matter).

Easy & Healthy Dinner

Unfortunately, however, the husband travels for work…a lot. And when he is not flying into NYC or San Francisco, he eats out with clients and colleagues in Chicago.  So, my daughter and I have been left to our devices to feed ourselves over the past few years.  My waistline has reflected our dining work arounds (read: fast food, pizza, Chinese and sushi).

Last month I decided that we had make better dining choices and, you guessed it: I decided to cook SOMETHING! (No need to be scared, no one wound up in the ER…read on).

I scoured through the 300+ cookbooks that we have acquired over our years of marriage and was going to select quail with quinoa when I happened to turn on the radio and tuned into Terri Gross (NPR: Fresh Air) interviewing Ruth Reichl the former Editor in Chief of Gourmet Magazine who was discussing her favorite Tuesday night “need-to-make-dinner-now” recipe.  BINGO! 

Here is the (modified) recipe for Three (really 4) C’s Chicken Breasts:

  • 4 Chicken breast halves (preferably with the bone–it’ll be moister)
  • 2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil (I use Olive Oil)
  • 4 Tbsp Water
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Clean, de-fat and rub chicken until it is dry
Stir together spices, salt and 1 & 1/2 tsp oil. Rub evenly all over the chicken including under the skin

Heat remaining oil over a moderately high heat in an oven-proof heavy skillet.  (You want the oil to be hot but not smoking.)

Brown the chicken on both sides for about 5 minutes (in total–not on each side!)

Transfer the skillet to the middle of the oven and roast the chicken, skin side up until just cooked through (16–18 minutes)

While you are waiting, get busy making side dishes like rice (brown preferably) and steamed vegetables.  (We are going for healthy, right?)

Transfer chicken to a plate when cooking is complete.
Add water to the pan and deglaze over high heat, scraping up the brown bits.

Pour the resulting sauce over the chicken and serve!

In one word: it was delicious!  I did not set the kitchen on fire, no one was burned nor poisoned.  My daughter actually asked for seconds and (when my husband came home from his latest trip) confessed that I make chicken better than he does!  How is that for an endorsement?

So, now with one recipe under my proverbial belt I am off and running.  Next stop?  Trader Joe’s of course! Baby steps people, baby steps.