Tag Archives: recipe

Will There be Canned Cranberry, or Should I Bring My Own?

**This is an excerpt from a post I wrote last year and a few people liked** Happy Thanksgiving.

The Thanksgiving Sandwich 

I know that the Thanksgiving day meal gets all of the hype but come this time of year I start to crave one thing.  The Thanksgiving sandwich.  Either that night or the next day, cramming as many leftovers that you can fit between two slices of bread is the way I like to usher in the Holiday Season.

I am taking a break this year as I have been the CEO of the bird for the last 6 or so years.  Cooking the turkey can be one of those manly culinary exhibitions like making a pot of chili or grilling.  Last year I put a turkey on a giant Foster’s beer can and cooked it on an open flame just like baby Jesus intended man to cook.  But this year I am taking it easy.  So, since I don’t have to worry about targeting that 12 hour window far enough before Thursday that the store still has fresh sage but not too soon that it goes bad, I thought I would offer a couple of Turkey day tips.

1.Small servings.  I don’t mean, limit your intake all together but don’t fill up on the first pass.  There will be aunts people there that will measure their happiness and possibly some portion of their self-worth on who goes back for seconds on their dish.  So be a hero and start small and make several trips.  It isn’t like the extra walking is going to hurt.  Speaking of needing exercise, if you are a dude that could stand to drop a few lbs, this is even more important for you.  No reason for someone to feel like a failure because the fat guy didn’t even want seconds.

2. Get a can of cranberry.  It may not look too fancy jiggling there with its can lines wrapping around it but nothing goes better on a thanksgiving sandwich than slices of canned cranberry.

3. The sympathy scoop.  Don’t let anyone take home a dish that was barely touched.  I don’t care if you are 90% sure you see hot dogs and marshmallows in there, get a spoon-full.  Leave it for last then spread it out on your plate so it looks like you ate it.  Remember, these are the people you love, or at least pretend to once a year on this day.

4. Keep it classy.  Wine should not be opened before the Turkey float goes by on the parade.  (exception: if any part of the menu is being cooked outdoors an open beer is the most important cooking utensil regardless of time of day)

5. Wardrobe selection. You don’t need to go over the top here and show up in a Biggest Loser sweat suit but at the same time think ahead enough that you at least pick those pants that you are still “growing into.”

Last of all, say “Thank You”  and have a great time because eating until your left leg starts to go numb is totally sweet.

*note: not to brag but that is a picture of a turkey I cooked. (actually, that was totally to brag)

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Twelve Dollar Popcorn

Sweet

Checking the Rule Book 

OK dad, you can’t step on the floor because it is lava but it is OK to step on the rug because it is magic and you can throw pillows on the ground and walk on them.  Also, you are the trapper…..wait, no.  I am the trapper and you are the tickler but you can’t tickle me if I have you trapped.  Ok, so I will hide this plastic Easter egg and you close your eyes and count to 1 million.  Then you have to find the egg but keep your eyes closed and I will tell you if you are hot or cold.  AND NO LEG TICKLING!  Also, you can’t tickle my armpits.  Only my tummy and I get to keep this pillow shield in front of me.  Wait hold on (runs to room and returns with crayons and paper)  first though, we need to make our badges.

If you are a parent this might sound familiar.  If you aren’t, think back really hard and you might remember playing this type of game when you were little.  I smiled last night as my oldest daughter took the rule making to the next level and almost got downright bossy about it.  I remembered being a kid expertly stacking smiles on top of joy on top of anticipation as I prepared for my next adventure.  Planning, setup, and rule making / explaining, often holding more fun than the game itself.

Floors made of lava and alligators are totally sweet.

Weak

Thanks for the Effort Dad 

image via pinterest

I can’t seem to turn around these days without hearing the latest feats of some crazed over-achieving supermom talking about carpool and soccer practice and the seven layer rainbow cupcakes they made last night for their kid’s entire school.  You know the ones, can’t have a 2 minute conversation without mentioning Pinterest and the 1001 things they can’t wait to do with mason jars.  I suspect that we are subjected to each detail of their crafting triumphs but always spared the detail of their failed attempts.

While I may not have a 12 course gourmet meal bubbling away in a crock pot at home, dads are out there trying to make an effort too.  Sometimes, we don’t always get it right the first time, but unlike our pinterest mom counterparts, we aren’t afraid to share the story of the not quite perfect moment.

A couple of weeks ago in an effort to create some dad magic of my own.  I bought my daughter a banana split.  To go.  I imagine there are moms that just read that and shuddered.  You should have seen my wife’s face as we walked back to the car where she and our napping little one waited.  Look, it came in a plastic thing and you should have seen my daughter light up when I said yes to her request.  Sometimes I am so blinded by the glory of the moment I fail to consider the details.  Halfway home the treat had been passed to mom and my daughter was complaining about how sticky she was.  By the time we got home there was a river of ice cream in my wife’s lap and every time the car turned it seemed like another levee broke and the mess amplified.  There were a couple of tears, a yell or two, finally some laughter and embarrassment.  In fact, upon arriving home, there was such a mess that clothes were removed in the garage and the once glorious treat that had been reduced to a sticky mess machine was tossed in the trash.  Seats were wiped down and chins and elbows cleaned off and then we had a Popsicle from the freezer.  Finally a recipe that didn’t come from Pinterest, too bad it turned out to be a recipe for disaster.

I am not saying that all of my efforts turn out this poorly.  I consider myself a bit of a veteran dad now and I don’t even wince at the twelve dollar popcorn they sell at the circus.  But man is it fun seeing new dads swallow that reality for the first time.  I know I probably should have made the banana split at home with all organic ingredients and served them up in re-purposed mason jars but I am pretty OK with how it turned out and not even afraid to share the story.

So  remember all you dads out there, sometimes the glory is worth getting blinded for and we appreciate the effort.  Also, here is a little free tip.  If you ever decide to surprise your kids and tell them you are taking them to Disney on Ice, you better get that “on ice” part out pretty quick.  That was totally weak.

(Note: After writing this and looking around the web for pictures, Pinterest had banana splits in mason jars, so much for it being a joke.  Unreal)


So This is How Thomas Edison Must Have Felt.

Sweet

Kitchen Serendipity 

Some days just seem to drain you.  After a long day at work the gauntlet of preparing dinner, giving baths, helping with home work, and trying to spend quality time together as a family can sometimes be intimidating.  From time to time on days like that we have a “whatever” dinner.  This is where someone eats leftovers, someone eats cereal, someone has a sandwich, and someone wanders through the cabinets and refrigerator on a culinary scavenger hunt.  That last person is usually me.

Most of the time I put together something quick and easy and on rare occasion, even fairly tasty.  Sometimes I will get in a little over my head and can tell that the vision I had for the meal is falling apart.  That is when I rely on my basic guy instinct and apply a little culinary duct tape.  Bacon.  If something is going south in the kitchen, bacon can usually fix it.  Wrap it in bacon, sprinkle bacon bits on it, or in extreme cases just toss whatever you were making and enjoy a plate of bacon.

Every now and then I have a moment where it all comes together and I don’t even have to rely on the duct tape of food.  A few weeks ago I went to make a sandwich and realized we were out of a very key ingredient.  If I had poured a bowl of cereal and we were out of milk it would have been time to back up and punt because there are no real options there.  On this occasion, however, the peanut butter had already been applied and when  there was no jelly I decided to go for it on 4th and long.  I usually would have just had a peanut butter sandwich and forgone any other ingredients but on this night I was driven by creative inspiration.  What I did next is fairly amazing.  In fact you may want to sit down and buckle up for this because it has the potential to blow your mind and rock the culinary world.   Once I tasted my creation I realized how Edison must have felt or at the very least the guy who invented the Sham-Wow.

PEANUT BUTTER AND RAINBOW SPRINKLES SANDWICH

You are welcome.

Totally Sweet.

Weak

Would you care for a some anxiety with that? 

Is there a more nerve-racking experience in life than being with your significant other in the checkout line at the grocery store and realizing that you forgot something but deciding that there is time for one of you to run and get it before the last item in your cart crosses the scanner?  It is one of the quickest decisions ever made.  The time remaining for the rest of the items to be scanned is quickly estimated and then divided by the estimated time it will take me to find the tin foil and get it back to the register and then in a flash I am off.

When I am at the grocery store with my wife, I am like a passenger in a car.  Although we both arrive at the destination I have no clue how we got there.  I was too busy goofing around and looking out the window.  I know the foil is on an aisle with paper towels and garbage bags and other non-food items but where was it?  I remember seeing it but have no idea where.  The hour-long zig-zag march has disoriented me a bit, I am tired and hungry and know if I waste the time walking by every aisle I will never make it.  I am on the other side of the checkout lines now, back in the sea of cans and boxes and I look back to my wife for some kind of helpful signal.  I need her to hold up a sign that says aisle 12 but instead, the look I get is more of an emotional cocktail, 2 parts frustration, 1 part disdain, and 1 part anxiety.  I try to clear my head and scan the signs hanging from the ceiling.  Somehow an aisle with 1,400 different items is classified by a sign that lists six.

Suddenly as if a ray of light parted the heavens I see the words tin foil on the sign hanging for aisle 10.  I dart in that direction and find the foil.  Luckily it is at the end closest to the checkout lanes.  Unfortunately there are 72 different kinds of foil.  I want to text my wife for her guidance knowing that somehow even for a product as simple as foil I would pick the wrong kind.  I start to scan the different varieties but there is no time.  THERE IS NO TIME!

I grab the roll closest to me and it is as long as my leg.  I am sure I don’t remember having something like this in our house, probably wouldn’t even fit in our cabinet.  I grab the next closest roll and I go!  Feeling like Indiana Jones running from a giant boulder,  I weave my way through the crowded masses holding the foil high in the air.  I make eye contact with my wife for a split second before they roll away and see her folding the receipt and putting it in her purse.

Failure.

I knew that the seconds had been ticking down and I was out of time outs but I considered a Hail Mary and throwing the foil to her across 3 or 4 other checkout lanes.  While that would have been awesome and other husbands would have told of my heroics until it became legend, I restrained.  Instead I walked up to customer service where there was no line, put the foil and a five dollar bill on the counter and was next to my wife bag in hand before she made it to the automatic door.  Work smarter not harder.

Realizing you forgot something while in the checkout line is totally weak.


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