Tag Archives: food

I’m the #KingofSoup Thanks to My Queen and Princes

Sammy making soup
Soup so simple, even a 3-year-old can make it.

If you could create your ideal steakhouse in your own kitchen, what would it look like?

That was the question posed to me by Idahoan® Premium Steakhouse® Potato Soups, who challenged a bunch of dad bloggers to battle for the title #KingofSoup. If you know me, you know I love steakhouses, the steak steakhouses serve, and I ALWAYS get soup. In fact, soup is so important to me I once broke up with a girl in college because she insisted soup wasn’t a food. OK, that wasn’t the sole reason our relationship ended, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t play a part.

Anyway…

I love soup, especially in winter. It’s warm and comforting and informal — just how I like my restaurants. If there are peanut shells on the floor of my steakhouse, I’m a happy guy (note: my wife was NOT ok with peanut shells on the kitchen floor). So when I wondered how I could take that level of comfort and inject it into my new steakhouse kitchen, it was easy.

First of all, every king needs his queen so MJ would have to be there. Second, all steakhouses have animals hanging on the wall. Them’s the rules.

Usually it’s a bass on the wall, but clownfish & lobster work too

Next, the #KingofSoup needs the royal treatment when it comes to service. That’s why I hired my two oldest princes to serve the king and queen. From setting the table to taking our order to actually cooking the food, these guys came through in a big way and helped make our homemade steakhouse possible.

You might think amateur princely chefs look cute, but we probably gagged on the food. Well, you’re wrong. Mainly because Idahoan® Premium Steakhouse® Potato Soups are so easy to make and taste really, really good.

All you have to do is put four cups of water in a pot, wait for it to boil, whisk in the contents of the bag, and then 5 minutes later you’re enjoying the flavorful, slow-cooked, taste of restaurant-quality potato soup right in your own home.

I went with the Loaded Potato and it was delicious. My wife likes a little more kick, so she hopped on board the Three Cheese Chipotle train. But whether you choose those two, Creamy Potato, or the Cheddar Broccoli flavor varieties, it’s guaranteed your soup will be filled with real Idaho® red potatoes and red potato skins, delivering exceptional taste and texture in every spoonful.

I ended up wearing my PJs and comfy slippers to my in-home steakhouse, meaning I literally applied the comfort of my castle to my newly refurbished kitchen. Just call me Elvis, because clearly I’m the King (of soup).

Don’t believe me? Check out this ridiculously cute behind the scenes video taken in my new steakhouse.

Want to bring some deliciousness to your kingdom by trying some Idahoan® Premium Steakhouse® Potato Soups? Here’s all the info you need:

I have partnered with Life of Dad and Idahoan® Foods and received compensation for this campaign, but my opinions are my own.

Share Button

Flatout Helps Me Get In Shape

Three months ago I weighed nearly 275 lbs, which is near the heaviest I’ve ever been. I decided two things then and there. First, I signed up to run a half marathon this summer. Second, it was time to start eating better.

I began running immediately and although it was (and still is) slow going, my half marathon is this weekend and I think I’m at least to the point where I can finish one. No small feat for someone who was completely out of shape and without training in March. But as anyone trying to lose weight knows all too well, exercise will only take you so far. The rest of it — and my biggest struggle — is in healthy eating.

You see, I’m obsessed with carbs.

I will eat an entire box of pasta in one sitting. Kraft mac & cheese? Yes please! And bread? Well don’t get me started on bread. If I could eat bread all day every day exclusively, I would. Unfortunately, that kind of exorbitant carb intake does nothing to help with weight loss.

So how does a carb fanatic all but give up bread? The answer is Flatout.

Simply put, whenever I wanted a sandwich I would use Flatout wraps instead. Specifically, I used the Flatout Hungry Girl Foldits because they have fewer carbs, calories, and yet still retain plenty of protein and — most importantly — taste.

I can’t stress how important that last one is to me, because as much as I want to lose weight, I won’t sacrifice taste. Thankfully, with Flatout, I don’t have to worry about that because everything from the traditional white Foldits to the whole wheat with flax tastes really, really good.

Now prior experiments with Flatout have already proven they’re a great, low carb and low calorie substitute for burger buns and pizza dough, so that was a no-brainer. This time around, I asked my wife to come up with things I don’t usually eat or haven’t tried, that I could rely on as I continue to try and lose weight. At first she didn’t want to do it because I’m so picky, but eventually she agreed to it. And I’m glad she did because look what she concocted.

flatout1

First of all, I’m 35 years old and I’ve never tried avocado. I know, I’m sad. But now that I have, I’m never going back.

MJ took a Flatout Hungry Girl whole wheat Foldit and lined it with hummus. Then she put some grilled chicken topped with avocado, along with some lettuce. The balsamic glaze drizzled on top was the perfect kicker and I ended up absolutely loving this, which means I just added a healthy and delicious lunch meal to my healthy eating arsenal.

flatout2

This one I was truly shocked by, mainly because I didn’t think I liked tomatoes.

This is so simple and so delicious, I had all three of these when MJ made them (even though I swore I’d hate them and she wasted her time). All it is is taking some Flatout Foldit Classic White sliders and jazzing them up a bit. She put a thin layer of basil pesto on first, then a slice of beefsteak tomato, followed by a hefty slice of mozzarella. Boom. That’s it.

But despite the simplicity of the recipe, this was a game-changer for me. I love them and they’re tasty as hell. So instead of me having a fatty chicken salad sandwich with white bread, now I have a much healthier (and just as delicious) option that’s completely simple to make.

As you all know (or should know, dammit!), June means Father’s Day. But it also doubles as Men’s Health Month, which means trimming down on the fat content, carbs, and upping your fiber is advisable. And the thing you might not realize (because I sure didn’t) is that it’s relatively easy to do.

Instead of a breakfast sandwich from a fast food place, put some eggs, bacon, and peppers into a Flatout Foldit and you’ve got an early morning kick starter. Lunch between conference calls? Wrap that turkey or ham up in a Flatout Foldit on the go. And when you get home for dinner, try putting that burger in a Foldit as well. Same great taste, but you’re giving your body a break.

To get you started, here’s a coupon from the good folks at Flatout to save money while you’re saving calories and carbs.

And remember, the best Father’s Day present is the gift of longevity, so eat right and do your part to make sure you stick around to be with your family as long as possible.

***I was compensated for this post but, as always, all opinions are 100% my own.

Share Button

Teach Kids to Eat Flatout Healthy

IMG_0960

It’s never too early to get your kids eating right.

This is a struggle for me because I never learned healthy eating habits. You’ll seldom hear me complain about my upbringing because my parents were rock stars and I never wanted for anything. But when two busy parents who aren’t cooks combine with the schedules of two busy kids, the result for us was lots of take-out. As in 3-5 times a week. That was just my norm and I carried those habits to college and into my early 20s, during which time I stayed alive by eating copious amounts of Chinese food and pizza.

Then I met MJ, the culinary wizard who would eventually show me the light.

When I lost 60 lbs a couple of years ago I did it by eating right with MJ’s help. She took care of breakfast and dinner for me, but my big problem was lunch. Because she’s not my maid, she justifiably refused to do EVERYTHING for me, and told me I was responsible for lunch. Usually I’d just buy lunch, but because I was in a weight loss competition I had to count my calories and eat healthy.

My main hangup is carbs. I love em — especially white bread. I did the math and realized I’d never fit under my calorie cap if I kept scarfing down white bread all the time, but I also didn’t want to sacrifice taste. Thankfully I found my answer in Flatout.

These wraps and Fold-Its meant I could eat healthier without eating healthy stuff that tastes like cardboard. And the result was losing 60 lbs in just 5 months with diet and exercise.

Unfortunately I got away from my healthy eating habits recently and I’ve put 40 of that 60 back on. Will, my oldest, has taken notice of my weight gain and because we’ve talked to him about the health impacts involved with obesity and the importance of eating right, he’s now concerned about my health. And that’s unacceptable.

So now I’m back on Flatout for my lunches and they’re great for deli meat like turkey and cheese with some lettuce and tomato thrown in there. The Sundried Tomato wrap is my favorite for sandwiches. But with Will’s help, I’ve discovered a new favorite.

Thin-crust Flatout pizza!

IMG_0975

It’s so simple but it tastes so frickin’ good. Just grab some Thin Crust Flatbreads Artisan Pizza (I suggest the Spicy Italian), some pizza sauce, cheese, and toppings and go to town. Or, just follow this future gourmet’s lead.

But then I challenged my wife to come up with something new and creative.

I wanted to know if she could come up with a semi-healthy dessert incorporating my favorite Flatouts, because people with a sweet tooth have a damn hard time going cold turkey when trying to eat right. And, like usual, she didn’t disappoint. I’m calling this recipe “The Martha Jean,” and I’m describing it as “a cheesecake like substance mixed with fruit and flatbread.”

THE RECIPE

Low fat cream cheese (8 oz)
Ricotta cheese (1 cup)
Sugar (3 tbsp)
Vanilla extract (1 tsp)
Mini chocolate chips (1/4 cup)
Strawberries (or whatever fruit you love)
Whole wheat flatout bread
Melted butter
Sugar and cinnamon

First you want to whip the cream cheese, then add ricotta
Blend together until smooth
Add 1 tbsp of sugar in at a time while stirring
Add in vanilla extract
Add in chocolate chips
Put the oven on broil and cook the flatbread
Melt the butter and brush it on flatbread
Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar

Here’s the end result:IMG_0961

And here’s the best news. You can win a whole bunch of Flatout products for your own family meals. All you have to do is follow @daddyfiles and @FlatoutbreadBOS on Twitter, and then tweet us letting us know what you’d do with a Flatout prize pack. If you don’t have Twitter, leave a comment here. I’ll pick a winner in a week.

—————————————–

Disclaimer: I was compensated by Flatout for this post, but as always my opinions are my own and I only endorse products I’ve used personally and would recommend to everyone.

Share Button

Keep Kids Healthy Over the Holidays

lr_saline

***Disclaimer: I was compensated by Little Remedies for this post. However, this is one of those rare opportunities when we actually use the brand in question, and all of my opinions — as always — are my own.

Starting with Thanksgiving and ending with New Year’s, the holiday season often means we’re eating terrible (yet delicious) food. But the real problem for parents is we’re allowing our kids to do the same.

It doesn’t make us bad parents, it just makes us human. Many kids (my own son included), spend December starting off each and every day by eating a piece of chocolate from the advent calendar. Come Christmas we’re knee-deep in candy, chocolate, pie, and cake as we flit from house to house visiting relatives who all want to (justifiably) spoil the little ones and give them treats. I get it.

But there are ways to mitigate the damage and keep kids healthy over the holidays.

Continue reading Keep Kids Healthy Over the Holidays

Share Button

The Daddy Groove

Parenting is pretty much a trial and error endeavor. Especially if it’s your first go-round.

When I think of all the mistakes I’ve made “on the job” it’s mind-boggling. I’ve put diapers on backwards (on Will, not on myself), put his shoes on the wrong feet and one time almost drove off with him on the roof of the car in his infant carrier. And some days you make so many mistakes all in a row it feels like you’re never going to do anything right ever again.

So when you get into the zone and everything goes right, you need to relish it.

Last night I was officially in “The Daddy Groove.” I worked from home but Will and MJ were out for most of the day. When work ended at 5 p.m. MJ went into the kitchen to start dinner. But sparked by a productive workday, I jumped up and interceded, saying “Don’t worry babe, I got this.”

Truth is I’m a horrible cook. I can do pasta, burgers, hotdogs and steak. But that’s about it. We had thawed some chicken so that’s all I had to work with. Luckily someone at work earlier this week was talking about a dijon chicken recipe, so I sprung into action. I looked up the recipe online (thank you Betty Crocker) and started gathering my ingredients. I sliced the chicken breasts in half, melted some butter, mixed in some honey dijon mustard, dipped the chicken in the butter/dijon and then dropped it into a bag full of breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.

In between preparing my culinary masterpiece, I was getting peppered with questions from Will.

“Dada, can I have a bear?”

“Dada, are Superman and Batman friends?”

“Dada, why don’t sharks drown?”

But in between making the rice and cooking my chicken, I answered every question in rapid-fire succession.

“No.”

“Yes.”

“Gills.”

Then I noticed MJ get up and head to the kitchen. I asked her what she was doing and she said since I was cooking she’d clean. I shook my head and told her to get her ass back to the couch. I’ve got this. And with that it was off to the pantry where I put the dog food in the big tupperware container, cleaned out the kitty litter and took the trash down to the dumpster. When I got back it was just in time to take the chicken out of the oven.

But first the table had to be set. As I was taking the chicken out of the oven and preparing to grab the placemats, napkins and utensils, MJ nudged me and nodded towards the kitchen table. What I saw warmed my heart. Will had grabbed everything and lugged it over to the table on his own. He was taking great pains to line up all three placemats ever so perfectly, followed by the napkins. Then, very deliberately, he placed forks on each napkin. I know it sounds simple, but it was really very sweet.

We’re not perfect parents, but we stress manners. And it’s paying off.

When it was time to eat I was worried about how it would taste, because I’ve never made anything like that before. But it turns out I was fretting about nothing because it tasted AWESOME! MJ liked it and even Will at some, which is rare because his palate begins and ends with mac & cheese.

After dinner I read Will a story, sang to him and put him to bed. When I left the room he shouted “DADA!” and I turned around because I thought something was wrong. Turns out he just wanted to tell me he loved me and give me another kiss. A dad’s dream for sure. As I sat down on the couch next to my wife, I smiled the tired but satisfied smile of a husband and father who had one of those great days. A day where everything went right for a change and I was able to hit multiple pitches straight out of the park.

Then I heard my wife say, “You are so awesome and so damn cute. I love you and I’m so lucky to have you around.”

Wow. It was the perfect end to a perfect day. I was touched to the point of happy tears so I got up, walked over to the side of the recliner and gave her a big, huge hug and said “Thank you baby. That was awesome.”

She shot me a confused look which immediately changed to red-faced and sheepish.

“Oh. Yeah. I was uhhhh…I was actually talking to the cat.”

Oh well. The Daddy Groove was nice while it lasted.

Share Button