Sunday 12.23.12

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Cookies will be the death of me.
There’ll be an extra half an hour at the gym today to compensate for these, but dear lord are they good. My friend Dennis dropped them off at the bar for me last night; they’re amazing. He uses crushed up lays potato chips in his cookie dough- which adds a nice saltiness to them and renders them extra bad for me. Which is a good thing. I’ve gotten so much more comfortable with little treats here and there these days without any of the food guilt that I had a few months ago. Staying fit, maintaining a healthy diet and making sure I’m taking care of myself should be a good thing, not something that causes me guilt or makes me obsess. It’s a balance, but I’m finding it easier as the months pass. My friend Brad told me that when Dennis brings him cookies he freezes them, so he can bring out one or two all year. Now that I’ve had a few and sated my craving for salty chocolatey goodness I think I’m going to do the same. That or I’m going to lay in bed with Bailey, watching a terrible movie (In the name of the King: A dungeon siege tale. Seriously horrific but oh so good)  and eat the whole dang box Who knows.

I’ve spent the morning preparing the meat for this years Christmas dinner; Natalie and I are going to be joining Erin and Shaun for dinner on Tuesday. First time that she’ll be meeting my best friend, and spending Christmas together. People will talk, I swear. My contribution to dinner is going to be a first time recipe for me, so I’m hoping that they turn out well: Spiced Christmas Sausages. Pork, Cranberries and Cherries with orange zest and a spice mixture of white pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne and allspice. I’m hoping that all of the flavors mix well together- particularly the orange zest. I used three oranges and it yielded so little zest that I’m not sure it’ll register flavor-wise in the final product. I might give in and go buy a bottle of dried zest to augment it. Not sure. I’ll fold in all of the spices and let it set for the night before I grind and stuff the forcemeat tomorrow and if I’m not feeling the ‘oranginess’ of it I’ll add the dried spice. It’s been so long since I’ve made sausage- the whole process is so fun and frustrating and even a little icky. Dealing with the casings- which are just hog intestines but it makes people more comfortable to call them casings- usually ends up a comedy goldmine. I’ll try to remember to take pictures.

There’s going to be five pounds, so hopefully they’ll get eaten. I put half of a pound of bacon in the meat to add a little extra fat content, so… I don’t really see how they won’t.

I’m really looking forward to it despite my normal ‘Anti-Christ(mas)’ sentiment. Working at Amazon.com for all of those years makes you really despise the Holiday season. Mandatory Overtime, fatigue, stress… It’s taken me a few years to get through that mindset of being beaten down over the course of November and December and just hating Christmas on it’s own merits. But I think we’re going to have a nice chill time, a great dinner (now that Erin is an omnivore!) and a fun trip to the cinema afterwards to see Django Unchained. I think this is the first time that I haven’t had to work on Christmas in about 13 years. I worked it voluntarily at TLA, mandatory at Amazon and at the bar my shifts have fallen on Eve/Day up until this year. It’s weird to just have it off. Same with New Years. Just… off.

I’m still trying to make sure that I can do the Boston trip. Money is much tighter than expected, but I’m still 70/30 on being able to make it- some last minute AIRBnB guest have given me some much needed ‘play money’ so… with that I may be able to pay all of my bills, do Boston AND be comfortable with $$ for the Tampa trip. I’m used to roadtrips or flying to cities that are pretty easily dealt with via public transport- Florida is the first time in a while that I’ve had to secure a rental car which added a significant amount to the trip’s total cost. After Hurricane Sandy the rental car situation is a little less friendly than had I booked before- cars were shipped up to areas affected by the storm and the price for the remaining ones rose a little. Nothing terrible, but more than I expected to spend, so… tighten that belt. The rental car for four days ended up being $60 more than the roundtrip price of the plane tickets. Surreal.

547550_4920485537460_44065609_nAll this talk of bad-for-me food reminds me that I need to go to the gym as soon as I’m done making the spice mixture for the sausages. I’ve been trying to add a lot more upper body routines to prep for the Warrior Dash thingie that Shaun, Erin, MB and I are going to be doing in May and I’m finally getting more used to taking ‘days off’ so I’m not overworking the same muscle groups. I’m really starting to see the results, and I’m planning on doing both the ‘couch to 5k’ and ‘100 pushup’ challenge thingies starting January 1st. I think I mentioned before that I’m keeping my cardio at an average 9.5minute mile, but that’s on a machine. I need to get more used to running outdoors on uneven terrain so I figure starting in January when the weather really sucks will be a good smack in the ass to keep me on my toes- it’s so much more satisfying to work out when I don’t want to than when I do. Goes back to that whole balance thing I guess.

Regardless of how you spend them, I hope all ten of you that read this self indulgent mess I call a blog have a happy and fun Holiday!

Photos: Cookie! and Tricep workout at the gym

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