Monthly Archives: March 2014

Bright Orange Chicken with Veggies and Rice

I’m working at home for the time being. One of the awesome things about that is that you can make a lovely lunch feast like this, instead of relying on leftovers, easily totable items like salads or sandwiches, or a scrounged convenient store lunch. My lunch, pictured below, is delicious, and took about 20 minutes to make. And all without a recipe, too–as you might have guessed.

Rice: Boiled with butter and tarragon.

Broccoli and potatoes: Sauteed in butter and canola oil. Seasoned with pepper, salt, and turmeric.

Chicken: My masterpiece. Quick, pan-made tandoori chicken. Such a vibrant coral-y, orange-red. Apparently this is the color all our lips should be for spring, if you listen to the fashion sites. If you’re interested in how i made this, leave me a comment and I’ll do a post focusing on it.

With all the oil and butter, this might not be the healthiest meal ever, but it does include vegetables and is fairly balanced, so what do I care. I’m enjoying myself. Bonus: leftovers so I can eat this delicious concoction again sometime in the next few days!


Life Tips from The No-Recipe Life

I don’t have the answers. Perhaps you read that sentence and decided this wasn’t worth reading and clicked away. If so, you were in the wrong place anyway. Or maybe you just said “Ok, and…” because no one really has the answers. I don’t think “the answers” is a thing that really exists. I don’t even have good advice about those significant things you can do to improve your life. I have no idea what that stuff is all about. Most of that type of advice is crap: it either doesn’t work in the long term, or is too vague to implement, or only works for people in some circumstances. No, forget about that.

I have found, though, that certain small things can help you in life if you make the effort. Sometimes, that requires only a few seconds of your time. It couldn’t be easier. (Another lie!)

1. Turn off autoplay on Netflix. When you’re watching a show on Netflix, the next episode plays automatically when one ends. That was nice of them! Except no, it wasn’t. It’s just a trick that keeps you mindlessly using their site longer and can keep you from productive tasks. But there’s hope!

Go into the “Your Account” section, scroll down and find “Playback Settings.” Then you can uncheck the autoplay option. The screen you get at the end of an episode is exactly the same, only it won’t start the next episode until you click play. Continuous watching is still incredibly easy, but that extra step also makes it easier to step away from the screen. You’re welcome.

2. Walk faster. If you already walk fast, you can skip this one–but judging by my experience of constantly being stuck behind slow people whenever I walk down the street, chances are you don’t walk that fast. You’ll most likely only shave seconds, maybe a few minutes if you walk far, off your trip, but add it all up and you’ll have enough time to watch that extra episode of Mad Men that didn’t play automatically.

I was thinking about this just recently. If I walked slower, it probably would NOT be the case that walking is often more efficient than taking the bus or train in some circumstances. This was just after I got stuck behind two people who were barely moving at all. If I broke my foot I’d have been walking faster than they were. Luckily there was enough space to pass them after only a few seconds, but I had to come to a complete stop first, which is even more frustrating when it’s this cold out. So please everyone, just think of the people who are stuck behind you and walk a little faster.

3. Don’t assume anyone’s holding the door for you. When you’re out somewhere, anywhere, and you’re exiting or entering a building/room behind someone, I have news for you: getting through that door is YOUR responsibility, not theirs. Granted, if someone sees you and actively closes the door in your face, that’s certainly rude, but you probably won’t encounter too many of those. Half of them are probably unintentional–they were already closing the door, saw you, and didn’t register it well enough to adjust their actions. It happens. People aren’t perfect. If someone fails to hold the door open for you, no matter how close behind them you are, that is not rude. That’s just someone going about their business, thinking about where they’re going, instead of where they just were. I guarantee we all do it. You can’t assume that person knows you’re trying to get through the door right behind them. They can’t read your mind, and, like I said, they might not be in the habit of keeping tabs on who’s behind them. Maybe that person doesn’t pay hyper-attention to everything strangers they pass are doing.

Now, if you’re walking with someone, and that person doesn’t hold the door open for you, well, that might be a bit rude. But you still shouldn’t expect it, because at the end of the day, if you want to use a door, you might have to open it yourself. End. Of. Story.

4. Have at least one When-in-Doubt book. I’ve just made up this term, but you may very well be familiar with my meaning. This refers to a book that you can read at any time, no matter how many times you’ve read it before. Preferably it will be something small enough to easily carry around with you. Even if you have an ereader, and you can carry around hundreds of books on your one little device, you could still use at least one when-in-doubt book. It can function as a sort of layover when you can’t quite decide which book to read next, or it can be a comfort. I don’t actually have one yet, because I just came up with this tip, but I’ll probably choose something by Virginia Woolf.

I also recommend having When-in-Doubt music. This can be a song, or an album, or an artist–or even a Pandora or Rdio station, I suppose. It’s something you can turn on no and enjoy no matter what mood you’re listening to or what else you’re doing. If you want some music on, it comes to the rescue. I know it can be very hard to choose, but if you think about it I bet you’ll come up with something. Mine is Jeff Buckley. There is never a time I’ve thought “No, I just can’t listen to that right now.” His music works just a well for in-depth listening as it does for background music while I’m editing, and that is not an easy accomplishment.

5. Eat well. Food is so essential. It’s 100% necessary to live, until they invent those futuristic meal-in-a-pill tablets that we’ll eventually all be eating (god I hope not). Beyond that, it’s a social experience, a sensual experience, and a luxury. When I say that you should eat well, I don’t mean eat healthy. I don’t mean don’t eat healthy.

Eat healthy food. Eat delicious food. Eat decadent food. Obviously, know your body and respect its limits regarding allergies, stomach sensitivity, and how full you can handle being. But don’t worry so much. Eat the things you want. Indulge. It’s true that you only get one body, and so you should treat it well, but shouldn’t that include your tastebuds? Not to mention the chemical reaction in your brain when you eat sugars–a far less dangerous high than most of the drugs out there. So I hear.

I feel like I’m going to be misunderstood as telling you to pig out. I’m definitely not saying that. Knowing how to balance the stuff your body NEEDS with the stuff it WANTS is key to my definition of eating well, so if you’re going to take any of my advice about food, take this one thing.

Go to Cafenation, Now. I’m Serious.

I can make a pretty good breakfast–that is, good for me. I will not claim to be skilled at any sort of fancy breakfast creations. I can make plenty of things that are tasty, or, at least edible, and at this point I’m very close to completely mastering the egg sandwich (often eaten for lunch or dinner as well, because I CANNOT get enough of them, it seems). I am incapable of making pretty pancakes or omelets. I’m trying to remember a time when I made breakfast for someone else that would be worth mentioning. As far as I can tell, there aren’t any.

This is why many of my best breakfasts happen when I go out. I don’t often go out for breakfast with a buddy. It’s too hard to gather people in the morning, especially a weekday morning, when the only people who could go with me aren’t even awake. (Or are in a different zip code.)

So I go out to breakfast. Or grab something on the way to work.

More often than not, this breakfast comes from Cafenation. They are one of my very favorite independent cafes in Boston (and everywhere else, but I’ll admit there are many I haven’t tried in other cities. In fact, most cafes in other cities I haven’t tried. Totally beside the point), because everything they offer is delicious. Their coffee is really good. Their chai is delicious. All their espresso drinks are amazing (I’m sure there’s the off drink once in a while), generally speaking. They have a pretty wide selection of teas, which I’m sure are also good. I’ve only tried the iced ones.

And the food? Well, duh. Delicious. Always. This morning I had the spiced apple and brie crepes, which were generously stuffed and dusted with powdered sugar. I had them before, probably three years ago, and it seemed about time. They have the standard cafe breakfast fare of bagels with various options for fillings/toppings (depending on if you eat it open-faced or not), tasty muffins and scones, and the full espresso bar you’re most likely hoping for. Then they have their omelets and crepes, good portions, fair price. I’ve tried one of the omelets with salsa and black beans, a bit like huevos rancheros, I guess. They also have a weekly special cream cheese flavor, in addition to the permanent selection, and jalapeno bagels. Who else has jalapeno bagels? Ok, probably a lot of places, but still.

Then there’s the lunch options. They have a small sampling of salads and soup, the latter of which changes by the week or day (I don’t know, I don’t get soup very much), and a nice list of sandwiches on your choice of bread. A few of the sandwiches are vegetarian options. Many of the breakfast items are vegetarian, and you can order them for lunch as well. The sandwiches are served with a good portion of mixed greens–more than just a token side salad, but not so much that it takes your attention from the sandwich. They also give you their housemade balsamic dressing, which is sweet and different and even if you think you don’t like balsamic dressing, I’d recommend you try it.

Bonus: They have one of the best day-old bread selections I’ve ever seen. Very rarely is the stuff more than just a little bit stale, but most likely it will keep for several days. They portion it well, too. I can get a half-dozen bagels, two muffins, and a scone for $3. There are times when I don’t buy bread at the grocery store for two or three weeks because I can get better stuff for less money at Cafenation. However, it’s often gone by midway through the day, so if you really want a good selection, you should go in the morning. It varies from day to day, too, as you might imagine. Sometimes they have a nice big pile, others, just a few bags. It’s a bit of a hit-or-miss sometimes, but definitely worth it.

In addition, the staff are generally very friendly, and if it’s not busy will even have conversations with you about things like tea. Sometimes they even remember my name. I go there a lot.  You should go there, and tell them I sent you. It won’t get you anything special, and most of them probably won’t know what you’re talking about, but tell them anyway.

Cafenation, 380 Washington St., Brighton, MA

Monday Blahness (I’ve passed madness)

I got 59 views yesterday, and the stats are only slightly helpful in figuring out why. Just show me the search terms people used, instead of giving me only “people found your blog with google”! That’s not f#$^ing helpful! Manufacturing views was never my intention for blogging, and I must remind myself of that. It’s tempting to try to repeat stuff and attempt to purposefully create viral content, but it’s not like germ warfare. Viral posts almost never happen on purpose.

Meanwhile, my chicken tikka masala post continues to get the most views of any of my posts, and I’m not really sure why. I’ve decided I’m going to try the sauce with shrimp. Soon. I’ll probably throw some veggies in there too.

I’m too tired for life today. I’d swear I slept last night, but apparently not very well. And I either woke up around 5:30 or dreamed that I did, but either way I was very unhappy about it. Then, this morning was a mess. And winter? I can’t even. Totally over it. I demand spring now.

I’m so “blah” right now, I’m not even going to bother tagging this post.

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