About David

Loves books, baseball, and bacon. Hates pants. Cat Whisperer.

Author Archive | David

Papa Speaks: On Being Sick

Note: “Papa Speaks” is the tentative title for what we hope will be a recurring feature on this blog: updates from David. Here, he’ll write about food, family, and whatever sparks his interest. 
soup

No one ever likes being sick. It always throws you off whatever you were in the middle of–whether it’s a streak of days with exercise, a project at work, or well laid plans to surprise your partner with a special evening. I’ve just found out, however, that it’s the worst being sick while being a parent.

Lucky for us–I feel forced to say–is that we were both sick in the same week, but consecutively. Having us both sick at the same exact time would have really stunk. (I know it’ll happen, eventually) That said, I’m feeling like Kelly being sick was probably worse for Kelly right now than David being sick is for David. I don’t have to maintain waking up during the night to feed our baby. I even got a break from waking up to bring baby to mama for said feedings when I was really sick.

I really don’t like being sick. It brings out my inner hypochondriac. I’m always sure that I have the worst case scenario, suddenly escalating life-threatening thing. It makes the whole thing even more unbearable than it needs to be. I find myself dwelling on the what-ifs. What if I’m suddenly not here tomorrow? What would Kelly do? WHAT WOULD KELLY AND PENNY DO? See where this is headed…

Of course I usually refuse to go see a doctor. They can never tell you with accuracy what is going on or prescribe anything that helps much more than home remedies. Until it gets really bad. Then I usually suck it up and go in. And by that point…the health care provider just tells it looks like the worst of it’s past and I should be fine in a day or two. Inevitably I am.

On a positive note, the maniacal dwelling usually leads to self-oaths about being a better, healthier human being when I’m done with this cold. And that’s a good thing. At least now that I’m in my thirties. I feel like I’m an upward trajectory. While in my twenties I also swore up and down that I’d get back in shape, drink less, sleep more, smoke less, eat better. I had no reason to follow through. Now I do. While I still cycle through bouts of good habits, the stretches last longer and my general health improves. So, back to what I said at the top of this post, I think that solid streak of daily bike riding is about to start anew. Now that I’m feeling better, I can get back to designing that better, healthier me…to the benefit of the leading ladies in my life. A mentally and physically healthy David is a better husband and papa.

 

Posted by on May 5, 2014 in Personal

Papa Speaks: The Year of 30

 

Note: “Papa Speaks” is the tentative title for what we hope will be a recurring feature on this blog: updates from David. Here, he’ll write about food, family, and whatever sparks his interest. 
IMG_2980

This spectacular image of Pen–when she was just a few days old–sums up the past 12+ months for me. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words…tired, wired, mired…

In March I turned thirty-one years old. The preceding year was a trip. In that single year I experienced:

  • most of my first year being married to my best friend
  • a pregnant wife
  • the birth of our child
  • caring for a newborn and a new mom
  • being the proud father of a beautiful daughter
  • completing an MBA
  • working into a huge promotion
  • being a core member of a team that launched a new state agency
  • being a core member of a team that launched a new (faulty) website
  • developing and implementing multiple programs, products, and services
  • hiring a team of professional staff
  • formally supervising someone for the first time
  • formally managing a team for the first time
  • firing someone for the first time
  • being the subject of a deposition
  • making multiple headlines (mostly bad, but some good)

It was a thrilling, stressful, not fun, eye opening, crazy fucking year. I think it was worth it.

I have a great life. A wonderful life. A healthy daughter. A promising career.  Most important of all, a wonderful partner to share this all with. Good and bad.

So what’s thirty-one about? This next year is about designing a better me: a good career trajectory, a healthy body and mind, a well read citizen, a close family member, an engaged friend, an interesting acquaintance. I’m going to continue building my home–a happy place for a great, budding family. Eventually everything will come together. But I’ll always be working on something. Life’s about moments. And there are a lot of awesome moments ahead. I’m on a path as an individual. I’m on a journey with my girls.

Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Personal

Some Days Are More Difficult Than Others (A Boyfriend Post)

It’s a difficult thing to watch when someone you love is being having a rough time. And there can be a feeling of helplessness knowing there is not much you can do about it. On this specific Friday, however, I took it upon myself to do what I could within my power to make sure this difficult day didn’t get any worse than it already was–I arrived home after work on that Friday with a bag full of culinary delights and flowers.

IMG_20110409_125941

In the grocery bag were a few of her favorite things: there was cheesecake, there was lemon ice cream and the ingredients for a delicious home cooked meal too. Chicken, lemons, cream, butter, potatoes and cheese–there are just a few of her favorite things. Do you see a theme here? We got cooking and had gnocchi and chicken with a lemon cream sauce! Oh and a “Kelly Riley Salad” made of iceberg lettuce, red bell peppers and cucumber with a light, homemade vinaigrette. It turned out to be a wonderful evening. We hung-out in our kitchen, worked together to create a meal and for a few brief hours Kelly forgot her woes.

Just because you get some release doesn’t mean the difficult things in life go away. That’s how things work, though, and we all learn to work through every day in our own way. As you can see, our household focuses on food–and here we come to the following night’s meal and the recipe of this post: Pasta with Chestnuts, Pancetta and Sage via Epicurious.

IMG_20110409_190819

We happened–don’t shun us because this might sound pretentious–to have a jar of chestnuts in the pantry and pancetta in the freezer. Though we didn’t have the called-for tagliatelle, we did have some angle hair pasta on hand. So, Saturday being Saturday, we opened a bottle of wine and began that evening’s work. Mise-en-place is common phrase at our place. While Kelly watched, talked and listened we had Girl Talk on in the background and the preparations began.

The recipe called for ‘crumbling’ the chestnuts. When you see a jar of nuts, you don’t usually associate that word with the limitations of what you can do with the ingredient. The things crumbled with ease however, since they are already roasted and ready to go. Very convenient!

From there it was easy–chop, dice, grate and you’re ready.

IMG_20110409_191120

Then you saute, boil, toss and it’s done!

IMG_20110409_193312

Some days are more difficult than others.

Posted by on April 17, 2011 in Food

Farmers Market Fail, A Boyfriend Post

Note: Another post by David, who is keeping this little blog going while I’m busy with other things. I’ll post again soon, truly. Not sure yet whether it’ll be a narrative, or a recipe, but I’m getting back on the blogging wagon, I promise.

36031_439646081281_507021281_6329129_5060257_n

By now everyone who reads this blog knows how obsessed we’ve become with the farmers market this summer and with food in general since the move to Minnesota. It should come as no surprise to anyone that we made an early morning trek to the St. Paul Farmers Market a couple of weekends ago. The only problem–this trip didn’t go so well.

First, we broke our only rule. We went after 8am. That is a no no. I’m no good with crowds, especially meandering, slow crowds. If we get to the market early enough, there aren’t too many people. We can simply make our way around the market (which is a great market by the way) and then loop through again to hit all of the stands we want for the things we’ve decided to purchase. If we get there too late, we run into the f***ing crowds. They are slow. They get in my way. They are slow, and they get in my way. It’s no good going to a farmers market after 8am. And this week, we went after eight.

Second, in my mind, it wasn’t me for once. Obviously it is mostly me that hates crowds. Riley can calmly manage them and still enjoy a leisurely walk around the market and shop. This guy can’t do that. But I put my game face on this week and, while a little cranky at the horrible driving surrounding the market, I believed myself calm, cool and collected throughout. In anticipation of my usual crowd anger, however, it was Riley that was a little off kilter. [David is being very generous here. I was a total shrew.] As we made our way around looking for various goodies I could tell something wasn’t quite right. She was stressed out because of the anticipation of my anger. So, we rushed through and got what we needed.

Third, I’ve been on a potato craze. It’s spring/early summer and that means new potatoes! And, apparently, that means I get to try as many new potato salad recipes as possible. Again, obviously, Riley has been getting a little tired of all the potato salads. I make massive amounts of each recipe whether or not they are good. Then I expect that we eat it all for lunch over the ensuing week. Big mistake; she usually has a couple of helpings while I polish off the other two pounds. [I mean, it’s good and all, but how much potato salad can one person possibly eat?!] Inevitably I bought about four pounds this past weekend.

35142_445530201281_507021281_6487205_1451480_n

Fourth, the potatoes were rotten. It turns out Riley was finally in the mood for potatoes–she was going to try a new recipe for crispy baked potatoes. She woke up Sunday excited to make a brunch of eggs, bacon and crispy potatoes! As I read the paper she went to prep everything, but then soon enough came back into the room…

“We’ve got a problem. The potatoes are wet.”

“What?”

“The potatoes are wet and they smell funny. And some of them are squishy.”

“Well, pick the bad ones out!”

We walked over together, to take a look. I started picking potatoes out. Some were still solid, but did smell funny. Others literally exploded when you squeezed. After some typically stubborn picking through on my part, in an effort to salvage the lot, I started to gag. They smelled that bad. [They really, really did.] Riley intelligently and calmly called the whole thing off. No potatoes for brunch. No potato salad for the week.

Farmers Market Fail.

[Thankfully, such a wretched experience is a rare occurance. Most of our Farmers Market trips are wonderful and end in some seriously delicious dishes!]

Posted by on July 23, 2010 in Food

It’s Finally Summer (a Boyfriend post)

DSCN0733

From February through June, for the most part, my life revolves around baseball. By association so does Riley’s. She likes the Red Sox and all, but comes nowhere close to my level of fandom. My excitement kicks in as spring training starts and by the time the regular season opens I can become downright obsessed. I watch every game available, whether or not it’s the Twins. Back when I lived away from Minnesota I would purchase mlb.tv so I could watch every Twins game, but would also watch the local game at the same time, if it was on. Once Riley and I were even at a Mets game in Queens, while I was watching the Twins live on my iPhone at the same time. I repeatedly check all the sports sites for updates throughout the day, follow several Twins-centric blogs and have been known to watch Baseball: a film by Ken Burns when I can’t get enough. Yeah, all ten dvds worth.

Field of Dreams makes me cry. Yes, that’s the one with the talking corn field and Kevin Costner.

It must have been a long spring for Kelly. When you throw in the fact that this is the opening season of Target Field–the new home of the Twins–and the fact that I am living in Minnesota for the first time in almost ten years, you could say I became a little over obsessed this time around. We’ve watched a lot of baseball and gone to quite a few games. It’s been great. But expensive. And it is starting to wear on us, a little.

DSCN0805

That’s why I’m surprised by a recent turn of events. For as much of a fan as I am I don’t play baseball and rarely get a chance to play catch. In fact, I haven’t had a glove for years. So, when I get the chance, I usually jump at it. Such was the circumstance the other day–after dinner at my uncle’s he and I were tossing the ball around when Riley grabbed an extra glove and joined in. Now I’ve got to say that this was a little unexpected. I can’t recall having Riley show interest in this before. Every once in a while we’ll throw a Frisbee around, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen her throw a ball. That’s why I was a little surprised when, after she made a nice little grab, she threw a solid strike right into my mitt from at least 70 feet. My glove even made that nice popping sound.

What a pleasant surprise.

Three of played for quite a while, with my aunt joining in even. Just about every single ball Riley threw hit the target. She has an arm ladies and gentlemen! (Would now be an appropriate time to thank you Jack?) We had a lot of fun that evening and we even got to play catch again the very next day while visiting my Mom. On the way home we tossed around the idea of buying gloves and making it a regular thing. And, the next week, we did! We’re each the proud new owners of mitts. We even did the whole oil them up, place a ball inside and wait thirty six hours thing to break them in. We haven’t had the chance to play catch at home yet though–we’ve had plenty of rain and spring like cool whether lately in Minnesota. But as I sit here writing this post it is at least 85 degrees with about 85 percent humidity. The sun is still out too, so maybe we’ll go play.

It’s finally summer!

DSCN0916
Posted by on June 26, 2010 in Personal

Post apple picking dinner…whadda we got?

Apple picking was fun, fun, fun. It was a fine fall day and a nice drive down to the orchard. Riley and I were feeling good–we had both exceeded our job applications for the morning. See? Look, apple picking enjoyment!

IMG_0838

For dinner later we were sort of planning on Eggplant Parmesan and Mushroom Risotto. We had leftover eggplants from a party we had for my Mom’s birthday the day after we got here, but unfortunately the gifted plants had gone bad. But, we were hoping to find some replacement eggplant from the small farmers market in the town we’re staying in, St. Croix Falls, WI. Instead we walked away from the market with habaneros and green onions. So, when we got home, we began one of our favorite games…what’s for dinner? Well, whadda we got in the fridge and pantry honey!?

[a little explanation here. when we get to this point in the evening and we are wondering what we have for dinner it usually falls on me, the boyfriend, to come up with ideas. i’m not complaining, i love doing this, but i just want to make sure you all understand this. “whadda we got in the fridge” means, “what are you making for dinner, honey, cause you haven’t said anything about it yet and i’m starving.” oh, and sometimes i even get vetoed.]

THE PROCESS, of whadda we got, in dialogue:

“Well, we were going to make Mushroom Risotto and Eggplant Parmesan. The Eggplant Parmesan had Marinara sauce in it right, so we still have those ingredients, right?”

Tentatively, “Yes.”

“Let’s see, what else do we have? Hmmm…” Brats, carrots, tomatoes, green onions, Zucchini, mushrooms (for the risotto, of course), cherry tomatoes, onion, potato, beer, hummus, wine, rice, pasta, soup, cake, oatmeal, eggs, habanero, cheese, feta cheese, romano cheese, yogurt, flat bread, lots and lots and lots of apples, and… “…what do you think of this? Mushroom Risotto, fried brats, mushroom and green onion on top with a little Marinara over that!” [my college roommates would have been cheering at this point.]

*a very quizzical, apprehensive, scared, yet still starving look*

“Hey, risotto’s good. Brats are good. Marinara is good…………risotto with brats and marinara…..not so good?”

*meek, still starving and apprehensive look* “yeah…not so good?” **VETOED**

“Well–”

“–we have pasta don’t we? What about that and marinara? And we have chicken in the freezer don’t we?”

“But I want to use up what we have. And what about the brats and mushrooms?”

“Okay.” [not really an answer, but in this situation it’ll do.]

THE DINNER: Spaghetti Marinara, with veggies and brats.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Of course the land locked (and, obviously, in love) gorgeous gal loved it. She shredded some fresh Romano (a staple in our household) right beforehand and was ready and waiting when it was all served up. [i had to suggest taking the picture before she dug in and thus the discussion about this blog that led me to finally write my first contribution.] The whole thing was readily consumed before we could even really think about how good it actually was. There were some leftovers, and–naturally–we have some purposely spared mushrooms for my [i like to think] famous mushroom risotto…

David’s Marinara

  • one whole chopped onion
  • a slightly less than equal amount of chopped carrot
  • about two cloves of minced garlic
  • approximately 1/4 cup red wine
  • one can tomato paste
  • four fresh tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • a very healthy amount of dried basil, and then some
  • some oregano
  • two teaspoons of sugar
  • two teaspoons of salt
  • ground black pepper to taste

Saute onion, carrot and garlic in olive oil for a few minutes until soft. Add wine, saute for a few more minutes. Add everything else, plus about a quarter cup of water and simmer on low-med for about 20 min. Cool, then puree. Once you have the texture you desire put it back on the low-med heat (here you should taste it and add whatever you think it might need. tonight it was a little more salt and basil.) for about 10 min (just enough time to boil the pasta, if you started the water boiling when you set the sauce to cool.)

Veggies and Brat

  • two brats, cooked and chopped
  • two green onion, sliced
  • one zucchini, chopped
  • four mushrooms, chopped
  • sugar, salt, ground black pepper

Toss everything together first and let sit for a few minutes. [whenever you fry/saute/whatever fresh veggies, always, ALWAYS, toss them with salt and sugar a few minutes ahead of time to “cut them” and open up the flavor.] Heat a frying pan (not non-stick) with a little olive oil to high heat. Add everything and stir continuously until the mushrooms are done and the brats are lightly browned. Done.

Posted by on October 14, 2009 in Food