Thursday, December 29, 2011

Recipe: Spinach Calzones with Quick Tomato Sauce
Last Night's Dinner

Truthfully, this was more like last month's dinner but I am still trying to catch up after the holidays. I make pizza fairly often during the summer and fall, but since I prefer to cook it on the grill, my winters tend to be long, dark pizza-less nights of the soul. But I recently found some dough in the bottom of the freezer and decided to give calzones a try. They came out amazingly good and were quite simple. Of course, I didn't make my own dough, which would make this a bit less simple, but even so, the whole process is straightforward as can be. You can obviously customize the filling to suit your tastes, I happened to have some spinach on hand and my pantry is always full of garlic so that is what I went with.

Click through for the recipe.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It's Nice to Be Appreciated

It's a nice feeling when someone takes the time to read your blog and maybe leave a comment. It is a superb feeling when that person includes you in her top 5 under-appreciated blogs of 2011 list. Tiffanie has all types of cool things going on over at corner blog and scores extra points for being an architect, the profession I would surely pursue if I had to do it all over again. I stumbled across corner blog and subsequently featured her work on Ohdeedoh numerous times because she keeps doing cool stuff. Anyway, thank you Tiffanie, and I know I am supposed to pay it forward by naming a few of my own favorite smaller blogs, but I honestly don't read too many at this point (I sound like such a dick, right?). Hopefully I can get a list together by the end of the new year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Video Christmas Card

Every year I try to write and record a Christmas song. This year was tougher than usual to find the time to get it all done, and there a 1,000 things I would do to fix it up if I had the time. But I don't, and I'd rather take a walk with Olive on this cold clear day than spend another couple of hours in my basement studio anyway.

For a free download of this song head on over to my ReverbNation site and click on the download button.

Click through to get the lyrics and to read an article I recently wrote about the process of writing this particular song.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Recipe: Black Bean Polenta Pie
Last Night's Dinner

 As winter approaches I find I look more to the pantry and less to the fridge for my ingredients. Partly due to the fact that we are trying to eat seasonally as much as we can, and partly due to the fact that things made from pantry staples tend to stick to your ribs: beans, grains, pasta, lentils, etc. These dishes lend themselves to cold nights. This particular recipe I threw together last night out of desperation, since I was away over the weekend and did not have a chance to hit the grocery store. It turned out quite good and was achieved in under thirty minutes. I also like the possibilities it presents for modification. For example, this is a Mexican-flavored dish, but if you replace the black beans with cannellini beans, replace the salsa with some pesto or marinara, mozzarella for cheddar etc. you will get a totally different dish built on the same simple framework.  Click through for the recipe.

Friday, December 2, 2011

How Jerks Like Me Police Craigslist

I have a real problem with craigslist over-posters. They offer the same useless crap three or four times a week and it drives me up the wall. This morning, possibly because I was rudely awakened at five a.m. by an inconsolable little angel, I decided to do something about it. Oh yeah, I'm a badass all right. Welcome to nerd justice, or the equivalent of an English major's drive-by shooting. This sucka just got served!

To the guy selling Land Rover Leaf Springs - $100 (Keene/Swanzey)

Date: 2011-12-02, 6:40AM EST
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

Let me explain to you how craigslist works. There is a rule about over-posting, wherein you should not post the same item more than once a month. Sure, lots of people break that rule, but it is there for a reason, so as not to clog up craigslist with the same stuff. So if someone likes to browse by area, let's say Keene for instance, he doesn't have to look through ten ads for Land Rover Leaf Springs in the space of two weeks.

But over-posting is not even your worst offense. It is your inability to grasp the basic concept of how browsing on craigslist works. Do you really think an item as specific as Land Rover Front Leaf Springs is something a casual browser is going to suddenly realize they need? That dude who is idly looking for a local bargain of some sort is not going to come across your ad three times in three pages and at the third viewing suddenly smack his forehead and say 'Man, I have to have those leaf springs.' I feel comfortable in stating this unequivocally since your posting for Leaf Springs has run once or twice a week, every week, for seemingly forever.

Here's how it works: someone who needs something specific, such as a set of Land Rover Leaf Springs, is going to go to the search bar and enter...wait for it...'Land Rover Leaf Springs'. Or maybe 'Leaf Springs Land Rover'. Either way, your post will come up, undoubtedly first in the listings, because it will be the only one in the listings. You have zero competition on this front. You have cornered the Land Rover Leaf Springs market on the Keene/Swanzey area craigslist. So even if you posted, say, ONCE A MONTH, you would still be first! Congratulations! You win.

So take what you have learned here today and please apply it. It will save you time and help the Keene/Swanzey craigslist listings become a bit less cluttered. Thank you.

Cool Vintage Camera Nighlights
Ohdeedoh Post of the Week

Image by Flickr member Jayfish licensed for use under Creative Commons
This guy takes vintage thrift store cameras and turns them into nightlights. Pretty awesome. Check it out.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Seared Scallops with Winter Squash and Swiss Chard
Last Night's Dinner

This dinner came together really fast with minimal effort, little mess, and it tasted incredible. Besides planning ahead with the squash, the whole dish is a twenty minute affair. The scallops are cooked following a Mark Bittman recipe, from his book 'Kitchen Express,' which is a great source for quick meals without overly-detailed recipes. Bittman is my go-to guy in the kitchen and his 'How to Cook Everything' and 'How to Cook Everything Vegetarian' are my main reference books for all things culinary. I don't find myself using books as much as I used to but I turn to Bittman just to see how he would do something I already know how to, and I always pick up a tip or new idea. Bittman is my homeboy. Click through for the recipes.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How to Make Hard Cider: Part 1

I have been making hard cider for a few years now and it is totally worth the effort. That's not saying it is overly difficult, it just eats up a bit of time and space. Most of the time involves washing and sterilizing the equipment. Most of the space is taken up with glass carboys, big buckets and endless bottles. But the satisfaction I get from converting a perfectly wholesome drink like apple cider into a crisp, dry alcoholic beverage that packs a little punch (usually 7-8%, which is about 15 proof in liquor terms) is worth it.

Now I am in no way putting myself out there as an expert. I'm just sharing the methods I have been successful with. So don't get all high-handed on me and talk about real cider being fermented from wild yeast and how it should never be carbonated and only served in a dented tin cup tied to a string which is in turn tied to a barrel full of something that is one warm day away from turning into vinegar. You drink your cider with all of your friends, which are undoubtedly few because you are an insufferable prick, and I'll drink my cider with all of my friends, which undoubtedly number more than yours because my cider tastes good and is not served with a side of sanctimony (he says sanctimoniously). Ahh, I feel better for having said that. Onward!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This Week's Ohdeedoh Post: Star Wars Nursery

Easily the most enjoyable post I have ever done over at Ohdeedoh, and it certainly struck a chord with many folks out there--over 1,000 facebook likes and counting! Check it out you scruffy looking nerf-herder!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Alternative Energy Can't Come Soon Enough

(Creative Commons Flickr image by ricketyus)

This past week I was struck by the massive amounts of startling environmental news that definitively fell into the 'bad' column. I'm not one of those doom and gloom environmentalists who loves to remark that the family vacation you took last year to Italy was a catastrophe for the environment on a scale previously unknown to mankind, but boy, as long as you had fun then that is what's important. Those people are a drag to say the least and can be real judgmental douches on their best days. But some serious shit is going down all at once that makes fossil fuel and nuclear energy look like a poor choice, and consequently bolsters the argument for supporting an alternative energy push, like pronto. And then there were a few things from the political world that just made me spit out my tea when I read them. These tidbits can all fall under one long unruly heading: 

Eight reasons why alternative energy needs our support, and two reasons why you should do some research before you ever cast a vote:

Friday, November 4, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Olive's First Halloween

Proving she is truly the queen bee around here, Olive looked pretty darn cute as a honeybee. No trick or treating for her this year, but we did go to a great celebration at our Town Hall here in Nelson. It was put together by parents who are trying to keep all of our kids connected, since we have some in town who are home-schooled or attend private schools and there just aren't too many things going on to bring them together. Stuff like this is one reason why I love this place.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Quick Thoughts on Babble's Top 50 Dad Blogs

As a new dad blogger Babble's Top 50 Dad Blog list caught my attention. I clicked through the links and checked out a few and my first thought is this: Where the fuck do these guys find the time? 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Environmentalists and Occupy Wall Street:
Fighting a Common Enemy

Creative Commons Flickr image by Kimberlyki
While what seems like the fifteenth or sixteenth Republican debate garnered the usual headlines for zingers, one-liners and who called who a liar, there has been a political happening going on that has proved much more poignant, timely and ,frankly, tethered to reality.  The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests, which started off as a loose collection of people dissatisfied with our imbalanced economic system, has blossomed into a full-fledged movement, spreading to numerous cities across the country, even to those without a Wall Street (I’m not sure what they call their protests). And while some arms of the media and certain political pundits categorize the protesters as bored hipsters, malcontents and hippie liberal troublemakers, let’s remember how these same politicos and elements of the media embraced the Tea Party protesters as ‘true Americans expressing their outrage at a broken system’. This is exactly what is happening at the OWS protests, albeit without guys dressed up as Ben Franklin (although I bet by now someone has dressed like him for one reason or another). And the same folks casting stones at ‘selfish spoiled college kids’  demanding to get college loan relief, please remember you had no problem with ‘patriotic concerned citizens’ rallying against big government and universal health care but balking when it came to their own social security and Medicare checks.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Recipe: Harvest Pizza

 We make pizzas on the grill all summer long and they are incredible. The fire and high heat of the grill gets the dough to a perfect crunchiness with a little bit of charring. I wanted to get one more pizza in before the temps dropped too low but was lacking my usual go-to toppings. This turned out to be what my man Bob Ross would have called a happy accident.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Bowl of Local Soup
Recipe: Potato and Leek Soup

It is always a big thrill to cook an entire meal where all of the main ingredients are local ones. In this case, it was a quick potato and leek soup (recipe below) with a side salad (all veggies courtesy of Tracie's Community Farm)and a slice of kalamata olive bread from Orchard Hill Breadworks, paired with a glass of cider brewed by yours truly. This time of plenty is a great opportunity to challenge yourself to cook one or two meals a week with local ingredients, because it is so easy to do.

This Week's Ohdeedoh Post

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Transform Old Shelves Into a New Cabinet

What do yo do with a set of crummy shelves that looked fine in a run-down apartment but don't quite blend in with the rest of your brand new house? Re-purpose, baby. There's a nice cabinet in there waiting to be unleashed.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

This Week's Ohdeedoh Post

Check this out if your doorways are too wide or have no trim to hang a jumper. And if you don't like jumpers, well that's your hang up. Get it? Hang up? See what I did there? I say it's a wordplay, it's a wordplay son! Tutorial can be found over at Ohdeedoh.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Long Naps: Myth or Reality?

Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and a sleeping infant. Figments, every one.
In this house, long naps are a myth. For some reason, O. will not nap here for longer than thirty minutes. Here, in this beautiful house I built her nestled in a quiet New England hillside. Peaceful. Bucolic, even. A napper's paradise. But no, thirty five minutes is considered a good stretch. She's just not a napper. Or so I was led to believe--until this past weekend.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

This Week's Ohdeedoh Post

This week at Ohdeedoh I featured a very cool DIY project from Mod Podge Rocks featuring vintage comic book art. Check it out!

(image by Mod Podge Rocks)

But We're a Sweet Potato Family!

We started Olive on solid foods last week. Rice cereal was food number one, taken with interest but a lack of enthusiasm. Food number two was a pear puree, which she really didn't seem to like much at all. Food three was a sweet potato puree. This went over like gangbusters and was a beautifully messy meal. She loved it and ate plenty. I made a big batch and froze it, thinking it would last for months, congratulating myself on preparing for the future and being on top of things, for once. Then came the spots.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ohdeedoh Post of the Week

Tutorial on how to turn a onesie into wall art. This is a great way to get a themed grouping of excellent artwork on the cheap for your nursery or kids room.

The Politics of Pesticides

As originally appeared in the Monadnock Shopper News 9/7/2011

It has recently come to light that there is something rotten in the state of California. Last year, California’s top official at the Department of Pesticide Regulation, Mary-Ann Warmerdam, made a ruling on a particularly nasty pesticide called methyl iodide, used primarily on strawberries. Excessive exposure to methyl iodide has been linked to increased risks of cancer and miscarriages, among other things. Warmerdam had staff scientists determine an acceptable level of exposure. Their results concluded that only trace amounts of daily exposure was safe and they reported this finding to Warmerdam. She then decided that these guidelines were ‘excessive’ and ‘unacceptable, due to the economic viability’ of the pesticide manufacturer. Warmerdam proceeded to approve an exposure rate 100 times higher than what her own scientists recommended! I am willing to bet no one in her family picks strawberries for a living.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sweet Wooden Play Vegetables

(image by duo fiberworks)
Check out my post over at Ohdeedoh about these cool as all heck DIY wooden veggies from Duo Fiberworks. They are easy to make and look great!

Let's get acquainted

Now that I got a few things off of my chest I imagine it is time to let you know who you are dealing with. My name is Richard, I live in a small New Hampshire town but am a die-hard NY Yankees fan. The reason for this blog is because I strongly feel there are not enough avenues on the internet to trumpet our collective self- absorption.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Before we get started...

I imagine complaining about other bloggers is not a good way to start off a new blog, but I've got a bone to pick with some other dads out there. Actually, I shouldn't even call you bloggers, because if you haven't posted anything since 2004, you're not really maintaining an 'active web presence'. But, for some reason, instead of admitting you have moved on from blogging and are now seriously into planking, you are hogging some pretty good blog names.