“The older I get, the smarter my father seems to get” ~ Tim Russert
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Also, we'll be celebrating Father's Day
It's been on my mind this week, how fortunate I am to live a life filled men who are really cool dads. I think of my own father, grandfathers, and my husband.
There isn't anyone who has shaped me more than my father. The kindest, most decent soul alive. Over the years, he's instilled in me a great love of pancakes, collected me from cornfields after car accidents, taught me how to build houses, be a person of character, and live a creative life.
I remember my grandfather, who took me to the A&W for root beer floats in his old-time cars. My great-grandfather who (well into his nineties) chauffeured me to the pool on summer afternoons. I always think of him when I see candy corn, a Buick, cribbage boards, and rose bushes
My husband tells the best stories of road trips he's taken with his son over the years. It's pretty incredible all miles they logged, and places they visited. I love to see them together. They read the same kinds of books, and watch the same kinds of movies
“The surprising thing about fatherhood was finding my inner mush. Now I want to share it with the world.” ~ Christopher Meloni
The older I've gotten, I've come to realize (and appreciate) that dads are really the unsung heroes.
These wonderful men who quietly get up at dawn, roll out of bed, let the puppies out, shower, and do their best to tippy-toe out of the house so as not to wake anyone.
On their way out the door, they'll grab a yogurt or granola bar, because the last time a hot breakfast was attempted, the clanking of dishes was a little too loud, and their wife gave them the “Shush, please don't wake the house” look.
Then they hop in the car for the commute to places like the office, classroom, fire station, or hospital. Pleasantries are attempted while brewing mediocre coffee. After which, email is checked, which is overflowing with people who need them for something. Everything is urgent (of course)
(Or, if you grew up on a farm as I did, they'd put on their bib overalls and head out to tackle the morning's chore, feeding livestock, getting ready to go to the field. The morning's coffee poured by the cupful from their thermos. Let's see, what needs to be attended to first thing this morning?)
“I killed the monsters. That's what fathers do.” ~F.K. Wallace, Stormfront, 2011
From there, the day will be spent calling, emailing, scheduling meetings, and then attending said meetings, where they'll realize they have to schedule another meeting to talk about scheduling more meetings. Pretty soon, poof(!) It's time for lunch.
In the meantime, their wife has texted:
“Sweetie, can you stop by the grocery on the way home? The list is short” (umm .. define short)
“Loves, don't forget, the neighbors are coming for dinner tonight, so can you pick the puppies up a little early from daycare? That way, there will be enough time to feed them and take them out for their walk.”
A quick regrouping at their desk, between quick bites of an apple and a little something from the cafeteria
The hope is to get a head start on the afternoon's tasks so they can jet home to their harried wife, who will undoubtedly pass the kids, pets, or list of tasks off to them the moment they walk in the door because she's exhausted, and has to prep
dinner for the neighbors
“Being a great father is like shaving. No matter how well you shaved today, you have to do it again tomorrow” ~ Reed Markham, American Educator
The afternoon's crisis is handled.
A stop at the grocery, forgetting the milk, then remembering the milk, and a rush across town to collect the puppies. A time when everyone else is also collecting their puppies, and oh my, where did all of this traffic come from?
A text from their wife
“Honey, are you almost home? The garbage disposal, there's something stuck in it. It's making a horrible noise, help(!)”
They speed home, just in time to see the neighbors walking down the street, salad in hand.
After dinner, they're the clean-up crew reporting for duty. Then they read a few bedtime stories, kiss foreheads, and head out to the garage to find tools to fix the garbage disposal. Quietly, of course,
so as not to wake the house
“I love my father as the stars — he’s a bright shining example and a happy twinkling in my heart” ~Terri Guillemets
Motherhood is difficult, that's for certain, and really where would we be without our moms? But the more I think about it; it's these wonderful men in our lives that are pulling out all the stops.
Gone are the days that dads came home, poured themselves a stiff drink, and read the afternoon's paper. Instead, they're making a living, cutting the grass, walking the dogs, chasing the kids, and doing their darndest to keep their wives happy.
Not to mention grilling dinner, fixing the squeak in the washing machine, coaching the baseball team, and emailing their boss from the produce section
Amazing. Truly amazing
And so I wish the happiest of Father's Day weekends to all of the incredible dads out there. May you enjoy a weekend of sleeping in, a cold beer (or two!), a round of golf, puttering in the garden, and quiet afternoons in your workshop
Thank you for who you are, and all that you do(!)
“A father carries pictures where his money used to be” ~Author Unknown
A delicious, filling, and exciting meal that goes from stovetop to table in under an hour. It's easy, wonderfully fragrant, and looks elegant on a platter.
The kind of meal that's inexpensive and feeds a crowd. At the same time, offering elements of decadence, a richness that makes it feel ever so above the ordinary.
Cook up a pot of saucy, fragrant lamb, a quick boil of pasta, and it's finished.
I've made it with both beef and lamb and enjoyed it either way. It's a great recipe to make in advance and keep for lunches during the week
~ Adapted from Food52
Greek Lamb with Lemony Herbed Orzo
- Fragrant and Saucy Lamb
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (more or less depending on your tolerance for heat)
- 1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes, drained and squished with your hands
- 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup water
- 5 oz fresh spinach, chopped (or any leafy green you happen to have on hand)
- Lemony Herbed Orzo
- 1 lb orzo
- 2 cups fresh parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed is best
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- To Finish
- ¼ cup kalamata olives, pitted and finely chopped
- ½ cup crumbled feta
- Fragrant and Saucy Lamb
- In a Dutch oven (or other heavy-bottomed pan), heat a Tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat until it's shimmering.
- Add the ground lamb and sprinkle with ½ tsp sea salt and a good grinding of black pepper. Cook, stirring to break it apart until it has browned.
- Remove the lamb with a slotted spoon and drain all but a couple of Tbsp of the remaining fat
- Return the pot to the stove-top and add the onion and garlic (still over medium-high)
- Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions have softened and are golden (~ 5 minutes)
- Stir in the spices (cinnamon, oregano, cumin, coriander, and red pepper flakes) and cook until they smell fragrant (~ 1-2 minutes).
- Add the squished tomatoes
- Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
- Add the can of diced tomatoes, along with the water.
- Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes
- Add the browned lamb back to the pot, stir, cover the pot and allow it to cook for 20 minutes (stirring from time to time)
- Add the fresh spinach and cook a couple of minutes more, until the spinach has wilted
- Add additional sea salt + pepper, to taste (keep in the back of your mind that you'll be topping with feta and olives, which will also add saltiness)
- Lemony Herbed Orzo
- While the lamb and tomatoes are simmering, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
- Add the orzo and cook according to the package directions, until al dente.
- Reserve ½ cup of pasta water.
- Drain the orzo.
- Toss with the 2 Tbsp olive oil, the lemon juice, and chopped parsley (if you feel it needs a little more liquid, add a bit of the reserved pasta water)
- Finish and Serve
- Spread the orzo onto a serving platter
- Spoon the lamb and sauce all over the top, then sprinkle with the feta and chopped olives.