Make a Simple Dinner a Simply Awesome Dinner

WineBottles

    


It’s funny how adding a bottle of wine to an otherwise normal meal can make it special.

Such was the case the other night when we decided to kick things up a notch as we grilled chicken and my wife made her special roasted potato wedges.

It was sort of a ‘let’s celebrate springtime’ dinner.  With great food and some great wine!

A glass of Ribera y Rueda Protos white wine turned our delicious dinner into something really special. The wine was great – quite bold for a white wine — and we both enjoyed a couple glasses.

Protos Wine Pour

Sometimes we struggle with what to make for dinner. But during the summer months, we like to grill out as much as we can.

Both the boys love grilled chicken and they can’t get enough of their mom’s seasoned potato wedges.

Here’s the recipes for the wedges. Very easy. Very fast. Very good.

  • About six medium to large size baking potatoes (Idaho potatoes are perfect) scrubbed clean and cut into wedges
  • Two tablespoons EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
  • Two teaspoons sea salt
  • One tablespoon dried Italian seasonings (oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, etc.)
  • One tablespoon dried parsley

Pouring potatoes onto baking sheet

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Your rack should be in the middle position.
  2. Place the potato wedges in a very large mixing bowl.
  3. Drizzle the EVOO over the wedges.
  4. Sprinkle on the salt and seasonings. You can also add a small pinch of freshly-ground pepper if you want.
  5. With a couple large spoons (or your clean hands) toss the potatoes so they are completely covered with the oil and seasonings.
  6. Pour the wedges onto a large, rimmed baking sheet. Try to keep just one layer of potatoes on the sheet. If a few overlap, it’s not a big deal – they’ll be fine.
  7. Place the potatoes in the oven and set your kitchen timer for about 12 minutes.

Check the wedges. Remove the baking sheet and using a heat-resistant pancake turner, turn the potatoes over so they cook evenly on both sides.  This helps them to not stick to the baking sheet too!

 

turning potatoes on baking sheet

Return the potatoes to the over and bake for another 10-12 minutes.

Make good use of your time: You can grill your boneless/skinless chicken breasts while the potatoes are baking.

 

chicken breasts on the grill

Non-stick aluminum foil is the best!  We use it when we don’t want a big mess on the grill.

 

chicken on serving platter

 

opening photo

 

For 2,000+ years, winemakers from Ribera and Rueda – located in northwest Spain and only about an hour away from Madrid – have cultivated what’s new and what’s next in every vineyard and vintage they produce:

  • Rueda Verdejos (white grape varietal) are bright, crisp and creative
  • Ribera del Duero Tempranillos (red grape varietal) are bold, rugged and ripe

 

dinner plate with food

Sometimes we keep it really simple with the chicken and simply sprinkle some salt and pepper on them during the cooking process. Other times, we baste them with EVOO and sprinkle Italian seasoning on them too.

A simple lettuce salad with mixed greens and some chopped veggies makes for a perfect accompaniment to this meal. Of course, if you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that I use oil + vinegar dressing about 99.9% of the time.

Here’s the recipe for my homemade version.

 

A few days later, we tried the bottle of LLEIROSO red wine.

Honestly, I’m NOT a big fan of red wine.  The  Ribera y Rueda red was extremely bold — much too strong for me.

 

red wine and hearty salad

For more information on the Ribera y Rubera wine, visit their Tumblr page.  You’ll find your nearest retailer, some great wine-inspired playlists, and a whole lot more.

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

I’m a #SwifferDad — You Can be One Too!

 

Big Green Swiffer Box

Have you seen the commercial on TV where the family has a messy kitchen floor and they either use a rag and their foot or some old-fashioned, clumsy mop to clean up?

And then – the doorbell rings and to their great surprise a big green box is on the doorstep?

That same thing happened at my house! But I got TWO big green boxes. One for me, and one to pay-it-forward to another dad.

The choice was easy for me. My brother, who lives across town, has been helping me every weekend get my dad’s house cleaned up so we can sell it. Like me, he is not afraid to get involved in house-cleaning chores.

We don’t believe in stereotypes!

Mom taught us well. And it seems we both married a bit out of our league, because his wife and my wife are beautiful, smart, and not afraid to grab the end of a lawn mower or leaf blower or garden tiller.

And us men-folk are not intimidated by vacuum cleaners, mops, kitchen sinks, or dusting rags.

I feel really good about that!

Dads do most of the household cleaning.

 

Check out this sweet video featuring creative advisor Anthony Anderson and you’ll get a better understanding of what it means to be a #SwifferDad with the #SwifferEffect

The Swiffer is perfect for quick kitchen or bathroom cleanups. When you need a mop, but don’t have time to make a trip to the garage and get the mop and bucket, find the floor cleaning solution, fill the bucket with water, etc., etc., Swiffer is your answer.

With the #SwifferDad mentality, I just go to the pantry, pull out the Swiffer and start cleaning the floor. Bam! It’s fast.

Contents of Swiffer Box

In addition to being fast, it does a great job. The sprayer on the Swiffer puts the cleaning solution right where I need it.  And the cleaning pads are strong and really pick up the dirt.

You may not be able to tell, but Monte was pretty surprised/excited to get his Swiffer stuff. He laughed when I told him his gift had something to do with a “big green box”  but he was genuinely appreciative.

Monte with Swiffer box contents

We both commented on how many times  over the years we’ve needed to cleanup a kitchen mess. Like when the dogs come in from outside and they track grass clippings, mud, and other nasty things across the kitchen floor.

I don’t know about Monte and Lisa’s dogs, but Riley (our Weimaraner) is a messy, messy water-drinker. He laps up the water and then leaves a long trail of dribbles all over our tile floor. The Swiffer is the PERFECT tool for this cleanup job. Love it!

Dads are pitching in when it comes to cleaning the house.

Having kids is another great reason to own a Swiffer.  It seems that (no matter their age) there’s always a spill or some crumbs on the floor than need cleaned up.  Grab the Swiffer and the mess is gone.  Easy.

Monte and I talked about how we don’t have “man jobs” and “woman jobs” are our houses. And our kids don’t have any stereotypes of household chores either. We each have two kids – Monte has a son and a daughter, my wife and I have two boys. They’ve watched us clean house for many years and they think NOTHING of me doing what was thought of a mom-job back in the day.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the video shoot with Anthony Anderson.  It’ll make you laugh.

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Today is “National Hug a Plumber Day”!

OpenClips / Pixabay

 

That’s right, April 25 is National Hug a Plumber Day.

And, if you’re like me, there have been some pretty scary plumbing issues that (once resolved) I wanted to hug my plumber!

My wife and I have called on our favorite plumber, Wayne, since we bought our first house back in 1990.

It was an older home.  Built in the early 1900’s and had what we thought was character.  We soon realized that all the character would cause major stress.  Thank goodness the seller’s paid for some sort of insurance against what could become high-dollar repairs — like plumbing problems.

Soon after we moved in, we noticed that the upstairs toilet wasn’t flushing correctly.  Wayne came to our rescue and found that the previous homeowners had flushed a large piece of CARPET down the toilet.  Carpet?  How crazy is that?!?!

And there was that time when (in the same bathroom) I was trying to fix a faucet when it decided to simply break off.  And there was no way to shut off the water.  Since the house had city water, the water pressure was too much for me.  I could NOT get the faucet back where it belonged so I could shut off the flow.

It was Wayne who came out and helped get things back in order.

He also helped us run pipes into our basement so we could move the washer and dryer out of our small kitchen and put them in a better place.

We love the guy!  He’s the kind of person that you’d be comfortable giving your house keys to.  Seriously.

Well, speaking of plumbing, if you’re a DIY kind of person or a weekend plumbing warrior, then I’ve got some great news for you.

Lowe’s is now carrying the BernzOmatic Trigger Start Plumbing Torch Kit.

BernzOMatic kit

It has a self-igniting torch head, propane cylinder, brush, flux bonding material and solder.  It’s a great kit that will let you get started on plumbing projects right away!

BernzOmatic has been around since 1876.  So they know a LOT about hand torches and fuel cylinders.

Lowe's

So, the next time you have a plumbing emergency and need help, be sure thank your plumber when the job is done.

Happy National Hug a Plumber Day, Wayne!  We love you, dude!  And appreciate all you’ve done for us over the years!

 


 

Thanks to BernzOmatic and Lowe’s for the Trigger Start Plumber Kit.  I’ll put it next to my other tools in the garage.  And when I need it — I’ll know where to find it!

 

 

 

Reading to a Child is a Great Investment

Owl sitting on a book
Nemo / Pixabay

For the past couple of years, I’ve been using my Thursday lunch hours to participate in the Read to a Child program. It’s for the elementary schools in the city I work in.

I have the privilege of reading to DM (not his real name). DM is a second-grader in the poorest area of the city.

It humbles me – in a big way – when I walk into that school.  Most of those kids are so sweet. And yes, there are some naughty ones too.

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