Stir-Friday! Perfect Homemade Hummus (Sabra clone)

Mmmm… hummus

It’s that time again.  It’s Stir-Friday! For the complete list of this series click here.  The main idea is that making delicious food makes me happy, so I like to share good recipes with you.

OK guys, I don’t normally throw around the word `perfect’ when it comes to recipes, so you know this recipe is super-legit.  As always, I list the starting point of my recipes at the end of the article, but this recipe comes from the Bible of cookbooks… The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook.  Literally every recipe I’ve tried from this cookbook has turned out well, so I just wanted to let you know the starting point up front.

My favorite brand of store-bought hummus is Sabra (whose isn’t?), so I was basically looking to create a clone recipe for their classic hummus.  The Cook’s Illustrated recipe was a great starting point, but it used 6 tbsp (!) of tahini.  Tahini is not cheap, so I wanted to cut this back a bit.  Also, the flavor of the CI recipe, while awesome, wasn’t quite what I wanted. As a side note, I’m going to be making homemade tahini soon… I’ll let you know how it goes.

So, long story short, I’ve made about 13 batches of hummus in the last four weeks trying to get the recipe just right.  Below are the fruits of my labor:

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What I did with $4000

Dolla' dolla' billz, y'all

Dolla’ dolla’ billz, y’all

I recently came into $4000.  As someone who is relatively young (and relatively broke), I thought you might be interested to know what I did with the money.  Did I buy some new gadgets? Hit the casino? New clothes? Pay off debts?  Sock it away?  Before we get to the answer, I should probably first explain where the money came from.

A few weeks ago I was helping a friend move.  He had all his stuff in a storage unit, so several of us just met him over there to help him load the stuff into a 17 foot uhaul.  We got done loading the truck and pulled around to the entrance so he could turn in the keys to his unit.

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Put on your walking shoes

DSCF0843 (1024x768)

Health and happiness are inextricably linked.  In this day and age, we all know that exercise is good for us.  But exercise science is relatively new, and we don’t really know exactly HOW good for us it is.  We also don’t know exactly where the threshold is for getting all the health benefits of exercise.  Either way, I’m not taking any chances.  I started a new exercise program this month.  It centers around strength training and conditioning in varying degrees.  However, even if you don’t like weights or running, you can still get a lot of health benefits relatively easily.

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Do You Realize?

Have you ever listened to The Flaming Lips?  You should.  In particular, this song is really good.

The message in this song is really simple and pure.  Spend time with your loved ones while you can, because you only have them on loan.  Also, the following line is one of my favorites,

Instead of saying all of your goodbyes, let them know you realize that life goes fast.  It’s hard to make the good things last.  You realize the sun doesn’t go down, it’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning ’round.

The way you frame your thoughts matters, as we’ve already discussed on this blog.  In a very real way, you control the reality in which you live.  Framing your thoughts in a positive way whenever possible goes a long way toward making a happier experience.

So just a friendly neighborhood reminder: appreciate your loved ones while you have them, and remember things are very rarely as bad as they seem.

Happiness and Money

I was cruising the internet the other day and came across this infographic from noomi.com.   It says everything so clearly that I see no need to elaborate really.  Essentially money does buy happiness when you need it for basic needs (food, shelter, etc.) and some small luxuries.  But after you get to a certain income level, money stops making you happy.  The good news if you’re rich is that you can also raise your happiness levels by spending money judiciously.  Read on…

Money-Happiness-Infographic

Infographic courtesy of noomi.com

I would guess that the $75,000/yr income threshold is actually lower for people who have substantial savings, too.

There you have it.  It’s science.  Money isn’t happiness, but it helps in the beginning.

Brushing Off the Little Things

First things first: keeping small inconveniences in their place.  The key to this is knowing what you want.  I mean, specifically, what are your big picture goals?  If you don’t know, then you should stop reading this and give the question some serious thought.  OK, I’m now going to assume you know what your big picture goals are.  Maybe you want a family, a house,  or financial security.  We can even go a little smaller scale.  Maybe you want to lose 10 pounds, or be able to squat 315 pounds, or learn Spanish.   The key to making sure little things don’t matter is knowing what the big things are.

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Don’t Pet the Sweaty Things

george carlin

Photo Credit – Bonnie

Don’t sweat the petty things, and don’t pet the sweaty things. – George Carlin

Do you ever catch yourself getting really annoyed by things that don’t matter at all?  I do.  It happens literally almost every day.  Some jerk who doesn’t know how to drive, or spilling a sauce on my shirt, or not being able to open the pickle jar (“just like in those commercials, honey!”).  There are always a bunch of small inconveniences just waiting to get under your skin if you let them. But that’s not what I want to talk about in this post.

Not sweating petty things also means that you shouldn’t make every decision an excruciating process.  Some decisions really don’t matter at all, but we still agonize over what is the ‘best’ decision.  In fact, there has been some research in recent years that suggests that having too many choices makes it harder to be happy with the choice you end up making.  For more on this, you can watch psychologist Barry Schwartz’s TED talk.  But in case you don’t want to spend 20 minutes watching it, I’m going to give you the Cliff Notes (there’s also a good article about this stuff over at Raptitude).

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