Lonely Boy Dance

On December 12, 2011, in Family, by Chris Baccus
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I have been a Black Keys fan since Thickfreakness.  I first learned about the band from a Mississippi Blues documentary I caught back in 2002 or 2003 on IFC channel.  Their raw, blues inspired sound was so different than anything else at the time.  Fortunately, I also did some business travel back then and spent a lot of time in vinyl record shops with a co-worker, John.  One trip to Los Angeles was spent at Amoeba Music where I bought this early Black Keys 7″ Leavin’ Trunk” that was #237 of 1000 from a small record label on clear vinyl.

Well The Black Keys have definitely come a long way in nearly 10 years.  Their current release “Lonely Boy” is jammed in my head and I had the boys dance to it tonight.

In normal Oscar & Theo fashion, Oscar followed my suggestion to dance like the guy in the video. Theo dances to whatever beat is in his head.  Anyway, here is the result…at least the last 47 seconds of it I decided to share.

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Mission Accomplished: Best Beef Stew Ever.

On December 12, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I love stew.  With winter finally settling in here in Dallas, yes I can hear the moaning from all my friends in Detroit, it’s the right time to start cooking stew.  I also opened up one of my Christmas gifts early since we were not going to drive to Michigan with it for the holidays and well I knew what it was because I’m the one who ordered it.  So, with some 40 degree temps this past week and a new La Creute Dutch Oven, it was time to find a new beef stew recipe.

Enter Google.

Yes, I actually found this recipe doing a Google search and it showed up in the top few results.  The Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes recipe from the Once Upon a Chef blog leveled whatever recipes I have in cookbooks, stuffed in files, or saved on a computer. This is the best beef stew I’ve ever made or tasted.

This is the beauty of the Dutch Oven

Fortunately, it’s pretty simple too and finds the right blend of wine, broth and water for a richly covered sauce. Meanwhile the beef nicely falls apart and the potatoes and carrots are done to perfection.

If you have been looking for the perfect beef stew recipe, try this. I doubt you’ll be disappointed and quite possibly, like me, you’ll be throwing away the other recipes that never quite satisfied.

Full Recipe: Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes.

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Notes in a Lunchbox

On December 8, 2011, in Family, by Chris Baccus
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No surprise to anyone who knows us or reads this blog regularly, but we rarely have the boys buy lunch from the school cafeteria. This is great in so many ways:

#1: We control what our kids eat, not some school lunch meal planner.

#2: I think it’s cheaper though doubtful with all the organic this and organic that. But I like to think we are saving a few bucks this way.

#3: Lunchboxes are so cool these days. Our boys have personalized lunchboxes by Yubo.

#4: My wife Stephanie’s art degree gets used every morning.

I like Reason #4 the best because it’s always interesting seeing what napkin art is happening every morning.  The other day, I noticed the picture above. Apparently, Theo wanted a dancing clementine (orange) in his lunch. Ta Da! Dancing Clementine with top hat and dance shoes created in a minute.

Perhaps I should start having Stephanie pack my lunch. I wonder if I too would get dancing fruit?

Do you pack your children’s lunches and if so do you leave a note or some artwork for them to enjoy later that day?

 

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Greens and Goat Cheese Gratin

On December 6, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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One of the best corporate blogs out there is the one from Whole Foods.  They feature a lot of great information about their products, values, and of course share some recipes.  Of course with a highly educated, food conscious customer, Whole Foods needs to find a way to connect with its audience.

Tonight they definitely connected with me.

One of the best parts of adopting a more vegetarian diet at home is the increase of casseroles and gratins.  Not sure what the difference is? A gratin is basically anything with a crumbled top or gratin cheese topping.  For this recipe, the crumbled top is wheat thin crackers. We converted to Whole Foods 365 brand wheat crackers years ago since it has considerably less sugar than Wheat Thins.

This recipe is also quite flexible. It makes 8 servings; though; I’d say it makes closer to 6 servings if used as a meal instead of a side.  I cut the recipe in half making enough for 2 meals and an extra lunch for one of us tomorrow.

Full Recipe: Greens and Goat Cheese Gratin

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Butternut Squash Risotto

On December 3, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Alright I have a confession, I’m really a pathetic food blogger. Basically all I do is checkout Emily Levenson’s food blog, make what she makes, take a couple photos and then link to her site.  If you haven’t gotten the hint yet, you should be following Emily’s blog. (You should keep reading mine too, since I do occasionally make things not from her blog that I hope you think are worth trying.)

Tonight I had a butternut squash waiting all week on my counter until I got around to making this recipe.  It really turns out to be a richly colorful dish.  The orange risotto is a thing of beauty and I’m debating what to do with the leftovers after tonight.  I’m leaning toward some cider baked chicken breasts atop my leftover risotto.

This evening we stayed vegetarian and paired this dish with a salad.  Together it made for a great vegan meal.

For the recipe: Butternut Squash Risotto

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