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May 312011

Interestingly enough I love cooking and yet haven’t talked about it at all on this site. I think mostly because I’ve really been focused on keeping my site about being a Dad. But what could be more dad friendly than cooking for your family, right? I love cooking gourmet foods but just don’t get to do it very often. With the onset of summer and Memorial Day weekend upon us my mouth was watering for one of my favorite grill recipes. What was great was that both O and Jake loved it! Jake is 21 months and O just turned 3 so I’m thinking if it passed their taste test it should work for your family too.

I wish I could say this was my own homemade recipe but alas, I cannot. I’ve pulled the recipe from a Bon Appetite Magazine. Yes, I subscribe to Bon Appetite. Remember? I said I cook!

The only variation to the recipe below is that I let the ribs marinate in pineapple juice for 24 hours before putting them in the oven. I haven’t tried this yet but I also think they could be more tender if I slow-cooked them or boiled them (perhaps in pineapple juice) before grilling them. Using this recipe they are nice and tender but they’re not fall-off-the-bone tender. Otherwise, this is one of my favorite sauces.


I’m a big wine guy (not like a fat wine guy, I just like wine a lot) and so pairing a good wine to match your food is important. I’d go two ways with these ribs. I’d either go with a nice jammy Zinfandel (Yes, red not white) or go to the other side and match it up with a nice Champagne or Sparkling wine. Perhaps a nice Reisling might work well too. I think the acidity and certainly the fizz from the Champagne would cut through the fat nice and highlight the honey in the rib sauce.

Well here’s the recipe for you to try at home. Let me know what you think!


  • 5 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon plum sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek)*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 2 1/4- to 2 1/2-pound racks baby back pork ribs
  • 1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice


Whisk first 11 ingredients in small bowl.

Do ahead: Glaze can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place long sheet of heavy-duty foil on each of 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Sprinkle rib racks on all sides with salt and pepper. Place 1 rib rack on each foil sheet. Fold up sides of each foil sheet around rib rack to form boat-like shape. Pour 1/2 cup pineapple juice over each rib rack. Fold up foil to seal packets. Bake until ribs are tender, about 1 hour. Remove ribs from foil packets. Transfer to roasting pan; pour any juices from foil over and cool.

Do ahead: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate.

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Cut each rib rack in half. Grill until browned, brushing frequently with glaze and turning often, about 10 minutes. Cut racks between bones into ribs.

*An Indonesian hot chili paste; available at many supermarkets, at Asian markets, and from mingspantry.com.

Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Bourbon-Glazed-Baby-Back-Ribs-235341#ixzz1NyCr2q00

May 302011

When I found out that my wife was invited on a Caribbean Cruise with her sister I knew I had my work cut out for me but I didn’t give it too much thought. After all, I had been with the kids by myself before. When Jake was born I had taken Paid Family Leave, one day a week for 7 months. So every week I had that one day where I could be with the kids.

It wasn’t until a few days before she was leaving that I started to feel the anxiety. I wasn’t sure what I was anxious about in particularly. I think it might of had to do with the pressure of it all though. When my wife would assure me that I would be fine, I knew I would be but it was an emotional response not a rational one. Perhaps it was just the pressure of knowing I was the only one relied on should something go wrong.

Maybe, I didn’t trust that I was responsible enough to be relied on 24/7.

Maybe, I’m just lazy and didn’t want to take on all that responsibility.

Maybe, I’m just a very socially depenent person and not having my wife around would mean I’d be alone sans, “Why do I have to go to bed now?”, conversations.

I suppose there could be truth in all those statements. I will say that the first several days were hard. Not hard from changing diapers, not hard from constantly watching Jake to make sure something toxic wasn’t in his mouth but because I really missed my wife. I mean, I was downright sad…depressed. It was the same feeling I would’ve had if she left me. I mean I was in the dumps over it.

I’m not sure what came over me. My wife and I have been apart on many occasions. However, most every other time I was the one doing the traveling. This time I was the one at home with the kids while she was gone. It didn’t dawn on me why I was so sad until after my wife returned. Before she left my feelings were:

I’m a confident father.

I can parent as good as any mom or dad out there.

I completely have everything under control.

Taking care of my children along with household chores is never a problem.

Whatever needs to get done, gets done.

So the reason I had these feelings is not because they are true. Well they are true but not for the reasons you may think. I quickly realized that I only feel those ways when my wife is home. I have many weaknesses both as a person and as a parent. My wife fills those holes and together we make up those feelings of confidence. I realized when she left that all those holes were exposed again. I never felt them before when I traveled because I didn’t have the kids or the house to worry about. Here I was alone at the house and with the kids for a whole week.

What happened was that I was here all exposed with my open holes  and weaknesses,  totally vulnerable to a, “Wild Man”, 21 month old and my ever energetic 3 year old. My truth, my vulnerability was exposed those first few days. It wasn’t until after those days in the beginning of the week that I accepted the things I wasn’t going to change and changed those I knew I could. I got a routine down with the kids which really helped. I also started something I had done before but more on a routine basis. I would tell O what the day had in store for us. She asked me to repeat everything I would tell her the plan. I would say, “are you ready for the story?” She would say, “Yes, Daddy” and then ask me to repeat at least 3 times afterwards. Hearing what was going to happen during the day gave her comfort so hearing about it over and over really helped. While I felt confident and under control in these moments of “parenting” I felt totally insecure after the kids were asleep and I had thoughts to myself.

What I realized was that I am the Father I am because of my wife. I am not the Father that I am because of my parenting alone. I am the Father I am because my wife fills in those missing gaps, the weaknesses, and the things I overlook on my own. I realized the confident, secure Father I normally am is only that way when the person who allows me to feel that way is around, my wife. For without her I would not even be close to the Father I am. Perhaps if I were a single parent (whom I now have a whole new level of respect and appreciation for) I’d be able to fill in these gaps. For now, I’m thankful she’s home and now with a whole new realization of what she means to me, being the Father I am.

May 262011

Having a stroller in your arsenal of baby gear is a must, as any parent knows. In fact, many of us have several strollers that serve different functions. A perfect example of this was a recent review I did of just such a stroller while traveling to Israel. When our babies are infants we normally turn to the wraps or the front loading carriers as a means to carry baby. I can’t think of many more important things to have while out and about than your very own free hands. As our babies turn from infants to toddlers our strollers save us every time. Well, they save us most of the time. A child who is sitting in a car seat for an hour or more easily wants to be up and about and certainly not sitting again in something like a stroller. Often times, depending on the stroller, they can be very cumbersome to transport and push through crowded or narrow walkways.

When I was asked to check out the Piggyback Rider on O, I was a bit skeptical. Here we had a device in which she was not on my front but on my back, and not just on my back but standing! It looked kind of cool at first but I was concerned about the safety of it as well as the comfort for me and O. It took me one trip to the local mall to realize how crazy cool this thing was! After a short while my concerns for safety vanished and my love for this thing quickly grew. It was apparent I wasn’t the only one stoked about my new carrier. We turned into instant celebrities walking around and heads were turning everywhere!

Let’s put it this way…If you’ve been to an Apple Store you know that people are in a trance with their chins in their chests drooling over <insert favorite Apple product here>. Well, we not only had many people looking at us but a large group of people came over to inquire about it. I was so excited about using it and the fact that people were excited too who saw us just got me yapping up a storm! You would’ve thought I was working for the company (I don’t). Needless to say if you hate attention than you may want to shy away from this but be warned you’re missing out on a must have baby/toddler gear.

Our first experience putting on the Piggyback Rider was relatively easy. There is a harness that attaches to the child over their shoulders and arms. It’s adjustable to fit the size of the child and goes on them very quickly. The actual Piggyback Rider is worn by you just like a backpack. You can adjust the shoulder straps as well as how low the bar hangs on your back. It’s important to adjust these things first, before attaching the child to your back. However, once you have that set up for yourself it’s not long before he or she is up and riding on your back! Having the Piggyback Rider on and adjusted you just need to kneel down in front of your child, who is also wearing the harness, and reach over to clip two clips, one on each shoulder. This ensures that if for some crazy reason your child slipped he/she would not fall off of you completely.

The first time I wore the Piggyback Rider was an adjustment. I’m not used to having a 37 pound child on my back but the way that the weight was distributed made it much more comfortable and far less harder than one would think. After a couple of hours of wearing the Piggyback Rider my shoulders were a tad sore but I attribute this to the way my shoulders were pulled back slightly due to the weight of O on my back. I have bad posture to begin with so my shoulders probably hunch forward a bit naturally anyway. Since wearing the Piggyback Rider many times since I’ve come to learn that any uncomfortable feelings I may have had (which were few) were indeed attributed to a “break in period”.

What’s also great about the Piggyback Rider is that it’s super light and even comes with a travel bag. As a result, we decided we couldn’t take our trip to Israel without also bringing the Piggyback Rider. The Piggyback Rider stowed easily in our luggage and went everywhere with us in Israel. Our first time using it in Israel was in a small town called Jaffa. This happens to be the same town (just south of Tel Aviv) where Noah’s Ark took off a few million hundred thousand years ago. The streets are all cobblestone and there were hills throughout. O loved being high up on my shoulders so she could take in all the sites and sounds of the traffic, passerby’s and yummy food. Of course, here too we had our fair share of looky lews but I actually had some guy (who didn’t speak english) not only stop me to inquire but he actually made me write down the name on a piece of paper. He didn’t have any children yet but his wife was expecting shortly.

If you’ve been following my blog, I don’t review things very often. My blog isn’t a review blog by nature but I enjoy sharing things I like with all of you. My reputation, integrity, and the faith you have in me (you do have faith in me, don’t you?) aren’t worth risking to share something with you that isn’t either completely honest or that I don’t highly recommend. There’s no difference with the Piggyback Rider. I genuinely think if you have a toddler this should absolutely be in the back of your car all the time. It would also make a great gift for someone expecting as well. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been in crowded places or O was just tired of sitting and the Piggyback Rider came in handy. We’ve even taken it to Disneyland and it was great as O was able to get high up and see above everyone else when we watched the Disneyland World of Color Show.

Don’t just take my word for it. The Piggyback Rider supports little ones who are at least 2 1/2 years old and up to 7 years old weighing no more than 60 lbs. They’re priced at $79.99 and can be purchased directly from their online store.

I received one Piggyback Rider Carrier for purposes of this review and was not compensated in any way. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are that of my own.

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