There's a guy in my neighborhood that jogs every morning. We cross paths nearly every day since his regimen is in sync with Lena's bowels.
He's 60 (if he's a day) and I gotta hand it to him: he's out there rain-or-shine in the same dirty, grey, threadbare sweatshirt, short shorts and bedraggled sneakers. But for someone who has the gumption to run daily (and not just daily--early), he is one grouchy sourpuss. Plus, his feet barely leave the ground. He's perfected a sort of trudge-scuff, reluctantly shuffling down the street like someone has a gun to his back. From bent elbows his hands hang limply, employing a constant wrist-twisting motion suggesting the torture of a couple imaginary marionettes.
Every time I see him (we're going on FIVE YEARS here, people) I brightly say, "Good Morning!" and he looks out of the outermost corner of the eye closest to me, curls back his upper lip and mutters, "Hmfg," or if I'm lucky, "Mohnf," since I translate that to be a returned salutation.
Sure, he's getting it done day after day. But he's miserable.
There's a fine line between a routine and a rut. I can whole-heartedly get behind routine, especially in this (show) business that is rife with invariability. But ruts, to me, suck. And I think I'm in a few. I'm good at shaking up the physical/action ruts--like quitting dairy or upping my cardio or heck, trying a new restaurant before reading its yelp reviews. It's the thinking ruts that I get caught up on. Despite all the many blessings in my life I get stuck on a handful of things I wish were different. Fixated, even. I know I'm only human and I'm not alone but a few of these things came to a head this week. They started getting more air-time in my brain than what was right in front of me. And I got it: I don't want to waste my one wild and precious life wishing I was somewhere other than Right Here. I don't want to wind up trudge-scuffing through my days trying to get to some imaginary future place where I've (arbitrarily) decided I'll be happier.
This ingenious chickpea preparation shall represent me Shaking Out of My Rut.
I ask you: what's more anti-rut and pro-present moment than roasting a chickpea?
These are so surprisingly good and perfect for a little cocktail-hour snack. The salty/tangy/spicy-ness would go delightfully well with an ice-cold beer. Bonus: they are low-carb and high protein. And they render the beer calorie-free.*
1 can chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans)
1T olive oil
1 1/4 t toasted spice rub*
kosher or sea salt
pinch cayenne pepper (or to taste)
squeeze of lemon
Preheat oven to 400. Meanwhile, drain and rinse chickpeas and spread out on a paper towel-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Place a second paper towel on top and rub the little nuggets between the two in circular motions. This will dry them thoroughly and also help slough off their little outer skins. Discard said skins (don't go crazy over it--if some remain that's cool) along with the paper towels. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with spices and a good pinch of salt. Bake for about 35 minutes or until they are crunchy on the outside with tender, meaty little centers. Pour into a serving bowl and give them a good squeeze of lemon and more salt to taste. Serve pronto. Store leftovers in the fridge.
*I've extolled the virtues of this spice rub here and here--the possibilities of its deliciousness are endless--but if you're not keen to whip it up, substitute with 1/2 t each of cumin and smoked paprika. Keep the cayenne, salt and lemon as per the recipe.
Counting my blessings today (of which you are one:)),