Month: September 2010

Dads talking about blogging about being dads

Dads talking about blogging about being dads

Blogging dads converged on Atlanta a few weeks ago for the Modern Media Man Summit. I wasn’t there, but its timing dovetailed with my own launching of this blog dedicated to the primary parenting dad stuf that I do and think about a lot. So […]

Baby steps toward independence

I am struggling lately with the question of independence for my twin seven year olds. I¬†want them to be independent and self-confident, but letting go is hard. Really hard. When is the right time to let them go and have a bit of independence? I […]

Variations on an Asian slaw

Lately, my favourite recipe for my wife and myself has been this Asian slaw.

It starts with a basic Asian vinaigrette:

1 large clove crushed garlic
1/4 cup (60 ml) rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup (60 ml) Soy Sauce
3/4 cup oil (200 ml) – I usually do 50% light vegetable oil & 50% extra virgin olive oil + a few drops sesame oil
2 teaspoons (10 ml) granulated sugar (brown sugar is also good)
2 teaspoons (10 ml) fresh or powdered ginger

In the original version we picked up from a friend, you would now turn to preparation of the crunchy bits – dry Ramen noodles (broken up with a knife) and almond slivers that are lightly toasted under the broiler. Spread the mixture on a cookie sheet and carefully and evenly toast, turning periodically.

Assembling the salad is easy. Take a bag of pre-shredded cabbage slaw mix, add some of the crunchy bits and dressing, then toss. That’s it!

Now, you can make any number of variations to suit your style and palate. For instance:

  • Omit the crunchy bits if you are fat and/or carb conscious. Just check the noodle package to see why. The almonds are still healthy and tasty, but high in fat.
  • Toast some walnuts and add them as healthier crunchy bits.
  • Make your own cabbage slaw – try using Napa cabbage, purple cabbage, bean sprouts, or finely sliced carrots.
  • Add some protein in the form of beans – mixed beans, Garbanzo beans, black beans, etc. Or try lentils.
  • Add some meat protein – dice up some leftover roast chicken and toss that in.
  • Leftover vegies are nice too – brocolli, cauliflower, green beans.
  • Edamame , or soy beans in the pod, are great too. (Make sure you take them out of the pods first, though.)

There are countless variations to an Asian slaw – all made wonderful by the tangy, salty dressing.

And it’s convenient as all heck for grabbing a quick, healthy lunch at home or at work.

Try it and tell me what you think.

Parental power-shifting is tricky business

Marriage and parenthood is about nothing if it isn’t about compromise. But there are some unique and significant adjustments that usually have to happen when men take on the role of primary parent. First, expect to meet some resistance – from your kids, your spouse […]

Try to make sense of the things that you think

I love Ben Folds. He’s smart and funny and he makes lovely, very personal and human music. And he’s quite the collaborator. I came across this video today and love it. Take a listen…

Happy kids do chores

My seven year olds are begging for me to give them chores. What they are really after is an allowance, but the whole thing has got me thinking.

They seem to like doing chores because it gives them a sense of accomplishment. And they are still quite a ways away from the dreaded teen years when they roll their eyes and grunt when you ask them to do anything.

This hit me like a brick the other day. My sweet, lovable daughter was scolding me for not having her laundry in her drawers in the morning when she was getting dressed. Hold on a minute. I’m not your servant! Or am I?

I’ve certainly acted that way for much of her seven years, so I can’t really blame her for expecting me to continue.

I think this is what the education experts refer to as a learning moment – when you suddenly become conscious and realize what you are doing and how you want to change it.

So, as of yesterday, all seven year olds in my house are required to collect all clean and folded laundry, carry it to their rooms and put it away neatly in their dressers. Before they watch TV or get on the computer or play their Wii or DS games.

Even if you have someone who helps you with your laundry, there is no reason why the kids can’t put theirs away.

And everyone will be the better for it.

Watch television with your kids

Media is changing so much and so fast these days. I find myself spending hours and hours in front of the computer watching, listening, writing and creating – and almost no time watching TV. In my more radical (and long-hair) days, I did not think […]

Make your stainless appliances sparkle again

Remember how shiny those stainless steel appliances were when you were looking at them in the showroom? Now that they’re at home in your kitchen, they come into daily contact with grubby little paws and it’s starting to show. Every try wiping them with a […]

Everyone needs a vinaigrette dressing

My mom made the best vinaigrette dressing when I was a kid. There was always a big jar of it in the fridge and I remember cutting wedges of iceberg letter just so I could eat the dressing.

This taught me the importance of a good vinaigrette. Yet, my mother’s exact recipe is long gone and, to this day, I improvise each time.

If you are the kind of person who needs to follow a recipe, I’m sure there’s a million out there.

In the meantime, here is how I do it:

1. Oil and vinegar, four parts to one. You can use olive oil or plain old canola. Red wine, white wine or balsamic vinegar. Or malt. Or rice. (My mom used to use vegetable oil because it doesn’t solidify in the fridge.)

2. Fresh garlic, crushed. A clove or two. You can use powder if you must.

3. Lemon juice, fresh squeezed. I dunno, wing it. But not too much.

4. Mustard powder, say a teaspoon. I often use real dijon these days because I love it.

5. Sugar, for just a hint of sweetness.

6. Pepper, fresh ground. To taste.

7. Salt, the kosher kind – and a healthy pinch. Salt makes the dressing – and remember, it’s going to be spread all over the healthy stuff.

That’s it. Mix it up and keep tasting and adjusting until you love it. If it’s too tangy, add some oil or soften the bite with a bit of sugar. If it’s too oily, you need more acid – add some vinegar or lemon. Sure, throw some dried oregano or basil in there if you like. But don’t skimp on the salt.

Having a vinaigrette dressing around is a great thing. First, it tastes better after a few days in the fridge. And it’s versatile – I like to make it a bit more lemony and then use it as a marinade for Greek-style skewered chicken. (Wow – great dinner idea for this week!)

But I always keep a head of iceberg in the fridge for those late night snacks.

Marinate and freeze your flank steaks

My friend Susan sent me a link the other day about how to make cheap steaks taste good. And it got me to thinking about my favourite flank steak in a Korean marinade. The marinade is simple. For each pound of flank steak, add the […]