As I’ve been asked on a couple occasions to post this for people, I’m finally throwing my hummus recipe up & online for the curious. It’s probably a little less like a traditional hummus, and more along the lines of a garbanzo/chickpea dip. But I suppose I just colloquially call one of these dishes predominantly made with chickpeas to be a hummus1.

1You can shoot me later for the bastardization of “hummus” as it were, but don’t knock it until you give it a try!

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Today we’re going to talk about vices. Did you slip back into any old habits that you wish you hadn’t? Did you gain any new habits that you wish you would have walked away from? Did you discover the evils of Nutella? ‘Fess up … we won’t tell.

I’ve always had a hard time sticking to a schedule of (a) bringing in my own lunch, or (b) choosing to eat my own lunch in lieu of something tastier. Let me explain this a tisch in more detail.

There’s a minor plethora of restaurants across the street from my workplace. Of all the fastfood chains I will eat from, Wendy’s is among the few1. They happen to have a location across the street, and their cheap menu items are a for-sure way to get a cheap (albeit less than healthy) lunch. Secondly, there is an Egyptian/Middle-Eastern fast food restaurant that serves delicious shwarma, pretty good wings, and a variety of other tasty Middle-Eastern food. Next to them is Zetti’s, but I refuse to go there anymore (except for special occasion) because of their ridiculously rising prices and the owner’s derogatory and naive attitude towards food trucks. Down from them a little further in the plaza is an adequate Chinese takeout restaurant, and that pretty much wraps up the food selections in close proximity.

Considering how often I feel the compulsion to get out of the lab to escape the madness that is my coworkers for just an hour or so, between that and the temptation of fresh, tastier food than my own, I have binges where I slip into dining out for 2-3 days a week for lunch. Getting a shwarma lunch runs me nearly $8 after tax (and is among the healthiest options), whereas I can eek by on a $3-4 lunch at Wendy’s which hardly has any nutritional value to it. In either case, these scenarios are not really feasible to maintain. Neither financially, or in terms of my own nutritional health.

I’ve slipped out of the habit of cooking as much as I used to. I need to return to the days of cooking 2-3 nights a week, so that I have leftovers to eat for lunch during the week; tasty leftovers at that! Spaghetti used to feed me for nearly a week, yet I haven’t made it in months! Granted, I’ve been on injury reserve for the past two weeks, but I need to start getting some motivation going again and adding regular days to my cooking cycle once again.

Thankfully this week, I have a plethora of seafood chowder and potato & leek soup to keep my lunches occupied. Plus, I’m making some pizza from scratch tomorrow night, instead of splurging for a Pizza Hut Chicken Supreme via takeout (although I reeeeeeeally still want to).

1I would consider eating at the Subway right next to the Wendy’s, but the owner is an asshole and skirts company policy on various things. I refuse to give him any of my business.

I’m slipping again! I went from five posts in two weeks to, well, nothing for nearly a month. Boooo!

Life’s been a mess lately1. I snapped royally at work a couple weeks ago. I manned up and asked a girl for her number2. Cooking went to pot3.

Amidst all this terror’o’life bullshit, there’s at least a couple gems amidst it all. The big one? New York state has finally gotten my VW’s title and registration completely up to date!!! Now the bank can quit bugging me to get that updated per the terms of their lien when I refinanced the Jetta. Talk about a nightmare, navigating the NYS DMV system for the past five months. I have less and less appreciation for the bureaucratic system that is New York State, day after day. I wonder why??

Cooking is coming back this week. I perused my cookbooks last night and just flagged off dozens of recipes to try. I may need to limit myself to only one pasta dish per week, however. I’ve got nearly two dozen flagged recipes in my pasta cookbook alone!

I’m trying to avoid a fixed ‘this dish for this day’ planning this week. See if it makes things any easier. Then I can get through this 24oz of fresh mushrooms4 quicker, hopefully! The docket for this week is as follows:

  • Broccoli, onion, and mushroom quiche with Vermont cheddar cheese
  • Bacon, onion, chive, and thyme quiche with Swiss
  • Chicken and leek cobbler
  • Beef, onion, and mushroom stroganoff
  • Penne with roasted Marsala mushrooms
  • Tagliatelle bolognese ragù (once I get some ground skirt steak)

Yeah, I know there’s a lot of quiche (which I love) on there, but it doubles nicely as a breakfast, and I’m expecting leftovers of those to take over breakfast and not lunch cuisine. Let’s see if I can pull this stuff off and still have a life in the evenings. I have a BPO concert coming up this Saturday, which I was hoping to take a certain lady to, but it is quickly appearing I will have to find another guest to accompany me.

In the interim, I will be finishing laundry and chores before volunteering for a few hours at the Buffalo WinterFest Powder Keg in downtown Buffalo! Go check it out if you haven’t been to it yet (or last year)!

1<sarcasm>What a surprise, right?</sarcasm>
2Finally…for all the good (or lack thereof) that it has done me. I’ll elaborate later.
3No pun intended. I cooked well for that one week, cooked well for a second week, ate leftovers from the second week for the third week, and just ate like shit for all of last week. Also, each of those first two weeks, I basically worked all day, came home, cooked until 8 or 9, ate, did dishes, then went directly to bed. I need a little more free time than that…
4One and a half pounds of fresh mushrooms looks like a lot more than you would think! Dang!

December 8 – Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond)

I have to admit, when I saw this prompt earlier in the day, I felt extremely intimidated. I grimaced at just the thought of pulling some stuff together for this. Shit, I started to wonder, “what was thinking jumping on board with this project?” However, as the day went on, I think I managed to make a few mental notes that were worthy of this.

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December 6 – Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? (Author: Gretchen Rubin)

The last thing I made? Technically, it was the latest build from source of CyanogenMod to attempt1 to tweak it to my liking. I’m trying to figure out how to inject some files into the process but with no avail. But seriously, it really is “making!” Just look at the final command to execute it; it has “make” in it!

make -j`sysctl -an hwlogical.cpu` CYANOGEN_WITH_GOOGLE=true bacon

Anyhoo, onto more realistic things…

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Nothing special here, just a random update on life as I attempt (for the X37th time) to make a better mental attempt to use this. I started it, time to go with it some more. Let it evolve somewhere along the way, perhaps? This one is a little long, so steer away unless you’re bored!

Getting into a routine still has not been terribly easy. My friend Rob and I make our weekly visit to The Place on either Tuesday or Wednesday (seems to be Wednesdays, mostly) for some Spaten (I didn’t realize I would like their Oktoberfest!) and Shock Top (which I shockingly just discovered is a Michelob, shows how lousy of a beer snob I am) with some delicious food. I have a hard time saying no to the delicious clams casino (I need to try the steamed clams) or their enormous club. Seriously. First night I ever ate there, I could only eat half of the sandwich. I took the other half home. And then drank my ass off, but that was another story.

Anyways, Wednesday at The Place ends up 50% of the time continuing drinking elsewhere, most often the Thirsty Buffalo as of late. I’m sure we’ll end up somewhere else one of these weeks, but we seem to amusing the other bar-goers every time we’re in there. Don’t ask.

Monday and Thursday nights are likely resorted to network television now. I’m a big fan of 30 Rock, Heroes and House, and getting into Community, Parks & Recreation and The Office as of late. The Office I was disappointed with in their first couple seasons after watching the British series by Rickey Gervais, but the later seasons of the US version seem to have established some redeemable humor in my eyes. In addition to those, I’m trying to finish off my complete series of Arrested Development on DVD, as I’ve still not gotten around to finishing it!

Cleaning comes along whenever I remember to motivate myself to do it. I cannot say I’m the most energetically productive person by the end of the workday, but I can be fairly productive if I jump right on it. It has a tendency to cut into my ambition to cook, and so it becomes a nice back and forth struggle over “to clean” vs “to cook.” Unless it’s laundry. Laundry was soooo convenient having my own washer and dryer before moving. My new place has no hookups for that. I now have to frequent a laundromat again. Boo!

I’ve told myself I’m going to cook at least one (if not two) new dishes each week. My life will be boring enough for a while without me further inflicting any other lack of novelty on a day to day basis! I’ve got two huge cookbooks that were meant to exercise my mental craving for cooking. This week’s dish: swiss chard au gratin!

Living with hardwood floors is a change. I need to get into a habit of vacuuming and mopping. And not letting sharp unviewables make it onto the floor. I’ve impaled my right (yes, only the right) foot three times with fragments of staples from furniture packaging. I have since vacuumed thoroughly in an attempt to avoid this happening ever again.

Computer desk is clean. Dishes are done. Dining room table is clean. Bathroom is scrubbed. Floors need to be vacuumed and maybe mopped. Friends were entertaining the thought of me hosting Sunday football viewing here this weekend. It will be the first “real” company I will have had over since I have gotten moved in and settled (besides Holly stopping by for an item or two). I feel kind of embarrassed that I have no couch for sitting on yet (only a recliner and a papasan chair right now), but they’ve been forewarned so they know what they’re getting!

A ballet studio of sorts has opened across the corner from my place. I actually have a pretty good view in through one of the windows, such that I can watch women in tight, black unitards walk/dance around on the balls of their feet. I’d be more enthusiastic about that thought, but after a couple glances most of the women in there are on the “little too thin” side of my tastes. Regardless, it’s sort of interesting to see what they do for routines vs movie-based depictions I’ve seen on the big screen. I’d tell you the differences if I knew what they were!