Monthly Archives: September 2014

Baking Dad: Space Shuttle Birthday Cake

Baking Dad: Space Shuttle Birthday Cake

As I mentioned previously, for his 6th Birthday last week my son requested a Space Shuttle cake to go along with the general, ongoing “I want to be an astronaut!” theme to his life.

Not gonna lie, I’m really pleased with how this one turned out.

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by in / Daddy Stuff
5 Lessons from the At-Home Dad Convention

5 Lessons from the At-Home Dad Convention

Last week, I flew to Denver for my third year attending the At-Home Dad Convention, an annual event (this was its 19th year!) put on by the National At-Home Dad Network.

After my first, in Washington, DC, back in 2012, I was determined to get more involved with the organization and double-down my work on getting my own local dad group in the Lehigh Valley, PA area, where I lived at the time, off of the ground. I did that, and then shortly after, I helped the NAHDN redesign their website. Last year at the convention in Denver I was elected to the Board of Directors.

So you could say that when it comes to the NAHDN and the At-Home Dad Convention, I’m a big believer in what we’re doing.

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Foodie Friday #ShroomTember: Mushroom-Stuffed Ricotta Gnocchi w/ Mushroom-Herb Browned Butter

Foodie Friday #ShroomTember: Mushroom-Stuffed Ricotta Gnocchi w/ Mushroom-Herb Browned Butter

All of my life, I have hated mushrooms.

My memories of mushroom-aversion run deep and wide, all the way back to that traumatic time as a kid when my gag-reflex over being forced to eat the mushrooms on my plate got me into what I thought was some terribly unjust trouble.

Over the years though, I came to start appreciating mushrooms’ culinary uses. Contrary to my long-standing belief that it was their ability to “absorb” flavors that was supposed to make them great — a claim I always found dubious — I found instead that they were actually an excellent source of flavor themselves.

Eventually I would find out why, when I came to be familiar with the concept of umami, the so-called “fifth taste” beyond those of sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. Sometimes it’s explained as “savory,” but the Japanese word actually translates to give a meaning more like “deliciousness.”  Umami is something found in foods which are high in glutamates, and one of the highest glutamate foods is, as it turns out, mushrooms. With this knowledge — and frankly, having married a woman who loves mushrooms — I was happy to begin experimenting with using mushrooms in my cooking. As it turns out, they’re actually really good when given a chance. Who knew?

A few weeks ago, my friends at Life of Dad approached me about joining them as they help the Mushroom Council celebrate Mushroom month this September. Or as they are calling it: #ShroomTember.

Their request? Come up with a quick and easy mushroom recipe, and encourage others to do the same, for a chance at winning $500 for the best recipe.

I’m more than happy to oblige!

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The 3 Toddler Words I Need to Stop Saying. Like, Right Now.

The 3 Toddler Words I Need to Stop Saying. Like, Right Now.

Unless you’re one of those people who commits to never, ever using anything except the Queen’s English and proper scientific terminology with their kids — and actually follows through — as parents we all end up using our own lexicon with our kids after a while.

With a 5 and 3 year old, I long ago stopped with any semblance of real “baby-talk,” with the exception of when I am doing a funny character voice for a book or to bring a toy or puppet to life. But there are still a few “toddler words,” as I call them, that I use so often with my kids, that I am having a hard time breaking the habit of using when talking to adults.

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by in / Daddy Stuff
Am I a Helicopter Parent, after All?

Am I a Helicopter Parent, after All?

A few hours ago I dropped off my oldest child for his first day at Kindergarten.

I know, I know, the last thing the internet needs right now is another verklempt parent writing about sending their kid off to school, wistfully mourning that their little baby is all grown up now and practically out of the nest. I actually thought I did pretty well, truth be told. No tears from either of us.

But dang. I had no idea it was going to hit me like this, hours later, sitting there at the park playing with his little brother (who starts preschool next week!), and wishing we could be playing right outside a certain kindergarten classroom window instead of down the street.

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Baking Dad: My Kid’s Cakes, Volume I

Baking Dad: My Kid’s Cakes, Volume I

One of my friends recently asked me why I had never collected together in one place all of the birthday cakes I have made for my sons, and it occurred to me that it was high time I rectified that oversight. Sure, I’ve posted pictures of them on here, or on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram (are you following me in those places? You really should be following me in those places…) but I’d never put together a post to send to people and say “Look! Set your eyes upon my mighty works of flour, and sugar, and fondant!”

So… here we go.

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