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*hummus serendipitous.

I just discovered a little thrill known as "blogging from bed." Generally I'm tethered to my sofa, where I languish and yawn and am frequently distracted by "Frasier" or "Kitchen Nightmares" or other things that make me wish I were watching British TV all the time. Yes, I caught a bit of that at some insanely wee hour of this morning and yes, it's phenomenally creepy. These men are all, "I have the dolls because what woman would want me?" Well NONE, now. Anyway, so now I've figured out that my only-as-old-as-it-feels (52 going on Methuselah at the moment) house has GREATER THAN ONE phone jack. My god, y'all, I'm partying like it's 1976. Go ahead. Envision me lazing gracefully in a sweatsuit and cold cream. I know you want to.

I'm fairly certain that my dwindling fan base, disillusioned by the broken promise of frequent postings, are all asleep now. Even J is all, "the TYPING is a bit MUCH for 11:38, now I shall commence to snoring." To the only one who might be up, as a kindred devotee of both Diet Coke and playing the odds: Riddle me this. What are the chances that, having eaten dinner at 9:47 pm accompanied by an impulsive and ill-advised Diet Mountain Dew, I will be falling asleep at any point in the near future? You know, on a scale of 1 to Never Going to Happen?

The insomnia and the inappropriate cravings are, I fear, symptomatic of some nutritional deficiency. I ran out of vitamins a week ago, and I'm jonesing. Because I'm an anemic oldster. No, really, I tend to silence the "I neeeeeeeeeed something" whine my body produces by throwing cream cheese and bagels the size of my head at it. I have been suffering from a severe case of freezer food/carb fatigue. I think it might make me cranky, too. Don't give me that look, hosebeast.

Or not.

I am delighted to report that—having made my selection of a light salad for dinner, tromped the dog on a suntastic death march, and discovered how to use my iPod FM tuner only 1.5 years after receiving it as a gift—I have been cured. Thank you, Kraft Foods and the Publix freezer section.



I will never eat a bagel again.

I won't even make the obvious observation here, because I'm pretty sure if there are any loyal fans left, my grandma is one of them (hi grandma!). Just know that there is a cinnamon version of this madness, and it looks ... diseased. I think they were going for a clumsy Twinkie knock-off, but the Web site describes the shape as "convenient." Um ... ok.

I love products that insipidly save people from their own laziness. If you can't figure out how to budget the time to put shmear on a bagel (and I think that takes less than the 2 minutes required to heat this up, which is also awesome), you don't need to own a microwave. It's too dangerous for you. In fact, I think breakfast of any kind might be a bit ambitious.

Once I recovered from the shudder-inducing frozen novelties, I made my way to the outer boroughs, namely produce. But a major ingredient of the salad I wanted to make (Stay! Tuned!) is avocados, and the ones at Publix were the color of cucumbers. I was in the market for something more like car tires. They also had the heft of hail. I had a good mind to ping one at the tiny old man glaring at me over the mangos. I don't know why. He just looked like he had it coming.

So! I improvised. I know, can you believe it? I'm the kid who couldn't get past the first math problem on the times-tables test because I didn't think you could do them out of order. I do not like to deviate from a plan. I'd make a great cult member, come to think of it ...



Yeah, that never gets old.

I decided to try to re-create, FROM MEMORY, the ingredients of Ina's hummus recipe. I knew I'd need tahini, because that's the reason I've never attempted homemade hummus before. Yes I have no tahini. I also knew I was craving some fresh veggies. It was a gorgeous and warm day, devoid of the humidity and mosquitoes that will soon drive me inside until November.

I got home and put the avocados in a paper bag to ripen at room temperature. I turned to page 46 in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook and would you believe it? I had everything I needed.



Garbanzos, salt, lemons, hot sauce, garlic, and tahini. There is going to be a LOT of hummus making in my future, and not least because this turned out to be completely delicious. That enormous container of tahini cost $5.99, and I'll be damned if I'm going to let the rest of it rot in my refrigerator. That's the job of the crusted 2-year-old tube of anchovy paste, thank you very much.

The steps are twofold:

1. Put ingredients in food processor.



2. Process.



Eat your heart out, prepackaged nonsense. I am an utter convert. This was infinitely better than anything you get in a container, and you end up with double the volume for a lot less money. Ah, cheap and easy. You are my bellwether.

I chopped up some tomato, cucumber, kalamata olives, and a tiny bit of red onion and feta.



Then I smeared a whole wheat pita with the luscious chickpeas (note, crazy Bagel-ful gawkers: It only took a second).



And THAT, dear reader, is how you take a self-congratulatory, preachy post about the importance of fresh veggies and complex proteins and turn it into yet another sandwich.
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*it's 1954.

and I didn't get the memo.

From an admittedly whiny story by food critic Alan Richman—in Bon Appetit—in which he laments ... being a food critic:

"When I tell [small boys under the age of 12] I eat for a living, they look at me as though I were Superman. Small girls of the same age aren't impressed. They tend to be more interested in boys than in food at that age, not realizing that if they showed more interest in food, boys would show more interest in them."

Well.



Sigh. Hillary never had a chance.
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*melts in your heart.

M&M, you're the only ones I'd be that cheesy for. Unless, you know, I was paid a great sum. Or given to bouts of punniness. Which is just wacky. I am acerbic and arched, not lowbrow and pandering.

Just don't say this to me, ever. I can't be held responsible for whatever beverage may come out of my nose.

In case you've been wondering what prompted my latest and long absence, I am prepared to blame Big Brother's wedding. Not because I was required to participate in any way that would preclude me from sharing my latest face-stuffage, but because they are on their honeymoon to Mexico. This makes them a) unable to protest and b) possibly hateable. I'm willing to bet my view of parking lots and air-conditioning units does not compare to their sandy toes and icy brews.

I'm always inclined to say, of weddings, "it went off without a hitch," which cracks me up because of the hitch/hitched paradigm and probably negates everything I claimed in the first paragraph.

The couple's pretty pretty prettiness was presided over by this:



while the ceremony was presided over by T. A lovelier, braver man I have never known, but I have a sneaking suspicion Big Brother is footsteps-following. Moms was gorgeous and radiant and adoring and remarkably composed. If I'd had to watch The Boy get married as the mommy, I'd have been a puddle. (Go download "Better" by Toby Lightman and envision Big Brother and Moms dancing to it. WARNING: It will make you shmoopy.)

I wonder when Americans decided that the best moments in life should be celebrated with cake. Birthdays, weddings, parole ... cakes all around! And they're guaranteed to cause a stampede. M's was yellow cake with buttercream icing and a slightly ominous aura, if these pictures are any indication. Future Sugar Daddy: Buy me a camera, would you? This is getting embarrassing. My only stipulation is that it should be easy enough for a monkey to use.



Big Brother's was a darkly rich tower with peanut buttery accents.



I didn't taste either—an evil migraine was digging a mine shaft behind one eye, so I was focused on keeping lunch down. But I think Zoe's Momma can provide a review of both. The passers from the catering company came out of the room shellshocked and empty-trayed, so I'll take that as an A+. I hope nobody lost any limbs.

I did, however, snag tiny potatoes on tiny forks.



How could I resist? That will be the theme for my wedding (I know, T, not until 2012). Diminutive things in vast quantities. There will be tea roses and piles of these. And herds of Shetland ponies.

Be nice to me, and you may just score an invitation. It will be extremely exclusive.

P.S. I may need a miniature man for the occasion. If you know an available one, have him e-mail onthewoodside@gmail.com.
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*welcome to moe's.

On what planet is this an appropriate or grammatically sensible abbreviation for jalapeƱos? Moe's Southwest Grill, where the ingredients are fresh and racially insensitive.



I'm not going to repeat what that green sticker says, because I don't want to use that word and certainly don't want to be found by anyone old/stupid enough to Google it. I'm just going to hope you can squint through the incredible failure that is my photographic talent. That picture is just incredibly awful.

I ordered the Instant Friend, if you must know, nosy. It was soggy—too many sauteed veggies. There was an entire onion in there. And MAN does my breath smell good.

Word to the wise: If you like Moe's, do not, under any circumstances, look at the nutritional information. That section of the Web site is currently "under construction," and I wouldn't be surprised if it stayed that way. I've looked before, and I can tell you unequivocally. You do not want to know.

Tonight I swear on all that is holy (that's not much round these parts, but stay with me) I will cook and post. It is my solitary goal to bring you, my loyal readers/fan club, the minutiae you so desire. With a lot less racism.
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*fried day.

Frazzled? Bored? Burned out? Go spell something with Flickr! It's a nice distraction on a rainy Friday.

F Copper Uppercase Letter R Bead Letter I D-lights! A y

Big ups to the bro and future sis-in-law on tomorrow's big day. I promise more frequent posting in the wake of the festivities! It took me awhile to recover from the food coma I slipped into after the tomato pie of death. But not to worry! Last night I did the splits at the grocery store, breaking a shoe and swearing at an unsuspecting old woman who remarked, "At least you didn't fall all the way! But I bet you pulled a muscle!"

Oh my yes. It was graceful, indeed. There will always be clumsy crazy to keep me (and you) occupied.

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I am a work in progress. I perpetually need a hair cut. I'm totally devoted to my remarkable nieces and nephew. I am an elementary home cook and a magazine worker bee. (Please criticize my syntax and spelling in the comments.) I think my dog is hilarious. I like chicken and spicy things. I have difficulty being a grown-up. Left to my own devices, I will eat enormous amounts of cheese snacks of all kinds.

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