G33kDadShow! Update

November 28, 2016

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Top 5 Tools and Gadgets from the G33k Dad Kitchen – GDSE06

November 19, 2015

Hey. This is Matt, the stay-at-home geek dad in Northern California. You’ve found the G33kDadShow! and this is Episode 6: Top 5 Tools and Gadgets from the geek dad kitchen. Thanks for listening, let’s get to it!

Intro

Hello and welcome to the G33kDadShow! I am so excited to be here with you. We have been on a bit of a hiatus since the last episode. I apologize and I have a very cool episode coming up for you today. We’re stepping away from the server room and into one of my other favorite rooms in the house, the kitchen. If you want to follow along with the show notes for episode 6, you can find them, at g33kdad.thestrangeland.net/6

As a full time dad, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking and preparing meals for my kids and my wife. Speaking of my lovely wife, she works the graveyard shift from 6pm to 6am so she doesn’t eat with the rest of us during her work week. That means the meals I make have to be good as leftovers or as a reheat meal while she’s at work. I have several staples that I make all the time. We don’t eat a lot of red meat at our house but we do eat a lot of chicken, pork, and seafood. We are blessed to live in one of the most fertile parts of the country so we have fresh fruits and veggies available most of the time. If you like peaches, plums, apricots, cherries… this is a great place to live. Also, nearby, we have festivals for asparagus, artichokes, and a world famous garlic festival.

In order to prepare all this good food, I have several kitchen tools I rely on and I want to tell you about them in this episode of the G33kDadShow! If you want to follow along with the show notes, you can find them at g33kdad.thestrangeland.net/6. Ok, let’s get to the list…

List

  1. Slow Cooker / Crock Pot
  2. NuWave Oven (fast cooker, lol)
  3. Egg Cooker
  4. Hot Water Kettle
  5. COFFEE, COFFEE, COFFEE

Let’s take a look at these in some more depth.

Slow Cooker

First, my slow cooker. I use it all the time in the fall, winter, and spring; but not so much in the summer. Typically I use the slow cooker for soups and stews. These are not typically “summer” dishes in California. I do, however, make the occasional pork shoulder or roast chicken in my slow cooker. There are many resources on using a slow cooker for just about any meal on any day. If you are a reddit user, I encourage you to checkout /r/slowcooking. There are lots of great recipes floating around, as well as discussions on different kinds/brands of cookers. It’s an active community and an example of one of the best parts of reddit, in my opinion. My current favorite easy slow cooker recipe is to put a whole, cut-up chicken in the pot and pour over a jar of your favorite salsa. Cook it on high for 4 hours or on low for 6-8. When it’s done, pick out the bones and use the meat mixture for tacos, enchiladas, or any other Mexican dish. It’s superb. I have also successfully made some of the best Chicken Tortilla Soup by following a recipe I found on youtube. I will link to the video in the shownotes. Chicken Tortilla Soup

NuWave Oven

The next item on the list has become famous among the late-night infomercial crowd; it is called a NuWave oven. I started the list with my slow cooker, this my friends, is a fast cooker. It uses three types of heat, conduction, convection, infra-red, to cook food from the inside and the outside at the same time. Because of this, you can pull frozen food out and put it right in the NuWave and cook it. And it comes out great! Can you imagine putting a whole, frozen chicken in the oven and baking it for an hour? You would have half-frozen, salmonella bird. But in my NuWave, that frozen chicken is ready in a little over an hour and it tastes like it came from the rotisserie at the grocery store. Brilliant! It cooks all types of meats from frozen to perfection in such a short time, but it doesn’t stop there. It roasts vegetables, it bakes cookies, and it is the best thing on the planet for reheating cold pizza. I’m telling you, this machine is so worth the price. I don’t remember the last time I turned on my actual oven…. ok, so, I got a take n bake pizza a week or so ago. That was the last time. Still

Egg Cooker

Next we have an item that I got in the last year and a half or so and I don’t know how I lived without it. It is from Cuisinart and it is called the Egg Central egg cooker. Now, I will have links in the shownotes which you can find at g33kdad.thestrangeland.net/6. At our house, we love hard boiled eggs. However, the really awful part about them is trying to peel them! It never works. This little cooker will cook up to 10 eggs to hard boiled in about 10 min. It uses steam to do the cooking and these eggs peel perfectly every time. It’s amazing. It comes with several inserts which enable you to poach eggs as well as make steamed omelets. I never do anything but hard cook eggs in this machine and it’s worth every penny. Even if you never eat hard boiled eggs but perhaps you make a batch of deviled eggs at Easter or dye eggs with the kids, I think this little gadget is perfect for you.

Hot Water Kettle

This next item is a staple in homes all over the UK and Ireland. In fact, many Brits I talk to can’t believe we don’t have these. I am talking, of course, of a hot water kettle. As Americans, we don’t drink as much tea as our UK cousins. However, these handy items can be a boon to your kitchen, as well. Do you ever make Jell-o? Or how about instant soup? How many recipes do you make that call for hot water? These kettles do one thing and one thing only. They boil water. Simple, straight forward, easy. Mine is a Hamilton Beach model called the Programmable 1.7 Liter Kettle, model no. 40996z . I chose this particular kettle for two main reasons. The first is, the kettle sits on a base which provides the electrical connection to the heating element in the bottom of the carafe. This means I can lift the kettle off the base and I don’t have to drag the cord across the counter to my cup. The other reason I wanted this kettle is it has variable temperatures it can heat to. Different types of tea call for different temperatures of water. Also, if I am making instant soup for my kids, I don’t want the water all the way to boiling or the soup will take forever to cool enough for them to eat it. I know a hot water kettle isn’t the sexiest item, but if you get one, you may wonder how you ever got along without it. In fact, I will be bringing this item up again in the next section.

COFFEE, COFFEE, COFFEE

So, lastly, we address, not a gadget per se but more of a daily requirement. That is, of course, coffee. I love coffee and tea. I drink hot coffee and tea from about November 1st to about May 1st. Then I switch to iced versions. To this end, I have several ways to make coffee at my home. The one that gets the most use is my Keurig. For anyone who may not know, a Keurig is a single-serve, hot drink maker. The coffee or tea or other hot beverage comes in small plastic cups and then hot water is forced through the cup and into the waiting mug. Keurig brewers have a following and plenty of detractors, as well. Chief among the complaints are the amount of waste that is generated by the k-cups. Be that as it may, I love my Keurig and I use it for hot coffee and iced coffee all year long.
I also have a French Press…. ok, I have 3 of them. I love this simple little way to make coffee. You scoop coarse ground coffee into the carafe, pour over hot water, let it steep and then press the grounds to the bottom of the carafe. The coffee is smooth and has a bit of a creamy mouth feel. I’m a cream and Splenda guy, usually. However in the fall, I always pick up a bottle of Torrani Syrup in the Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie flavor. It is so good. Earlier I mentioned my hot water kettle would be making another appearance. The particular model I have also has a timer feature similar to a drip coffee maker. That means I can set a time and temperature and have the kettle come on in the morning. That way, I can come downstairs, scoop my coffee, and my hot water is all ready to go.
Lastly, I will tell you about my espresso maker. Espresso is one of these things that never existed until someone invented the machine to make it. Legend is an Italian man was upset that his employees were taking too long for their coffee breaks. To fix this, he invented a machine to force steam through coffee grounds in order to brew the coffee stronger and faster. Espresso was born. Now, I love espresso, I just don’t love the time it takes to make it, measuring the grounds, pressing them down, starting the machine, and hoping it all comes out right. Because of this, I let my espresso machine sit and gather dust for quite a while. We had received a Breville Cafe Roma machine as a wedding gift and I think I had used it 5 times in as many years. Then, I discovered espresso pods. Pods are small, filter pouches with a compressed espresso puck inside. It is similar to a tea bag. You place this in the portafilter of your espresso machine and then start the machine. It works great; no mess, no measuring, no packing… just a couple of great shots of espresso ready for drinking or making into a latte, cappuccino, or other drink.

Honorable Mention

So, I do have a couple of other items that I didn’t think warranted a whole section. I have an electric steamer/rice cooker, I have a Ninja Blender and Food Processor, a waffle iron. All of these serve a purpose in my kitchen, but the items in the main list are my “daily drivers”; they are the things I use most often when preparing meals for my family. In a previous episode, I talked about making veggies your kids will eat. The link will be in the shownotes for this episode. Making Veggies Your Kids Will Eat You can find the shownotes for this episode, episode 6, at geekdad.thestrangeland.net/6. Pair that episode with this one and you will have a good start toward outfitting a geek dad kitchen.

Conclusion

Well, I hope you have enjoyed this episode of the G33kDadShow! We’ve discussed several things that I use to make my work in the kitchen easier and better for my family. Do you use any of these things? What other things are essential in your kitchens? I’d love to hear from you. You can send me email, the address is feedback@thestrangeland.net. If you are on twitter, you can follow me or on Google+. You can find those links on my website at g33kdad.thestrangeland.net/contact. This fun little chiptune you are enjoying is Quantum Leaper by Azureflux. Earlier in the show, you heard Convalescence II: Love Again by Anima, and Sands of Time by Psychadelik Pedestrian. You can find these tracks and many more at the Free Music Archive. FMA has music in every genre imaginable all with freedom respecting licenses. Go check them out and find some new tunes! The G33kDadShow! is hosted by the Internet Archive. In the archive you will find other podcasts, excellent live concert recordings (I particularly enjoy the Grateful Dead shows!), articles, ebooks, videos… even old-school video games you can play right in your web browser. This podcast would not be possible without the Internet Archive, so big thanks and much love to them, some of the best people in San Francisco as far as I’m concerned.

Thanks for downloading this episode of the G33kDadShow!, your podcast about the intersection of parenting and technology. Our next episode will be about movies and the kiddos; we will talk about appropriateness of movies for kids, which movies a g33kdad makes sure his kids see, and look at the pros and cons of going to the movies with kids vs staying home to watch. I hope you will join us. I hope to have that episode out just after the Thanksgiving holiday so watch the feed for that one.

For now I will say, “Take care of yourselves” and “See you next time!”

Bye!

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Hacker Public Radio Episode – What’s in my Bag? – GDS Special Edition

July 2, 2015

Howdy podcast people! This is Matt, the stay at home G33k Dad in Northern California. You’ve found the G33kDadShow! and this is a special edition: What’s in my bag?

Well, hello all of you out there and welcome to the G33kDadShow! I am bringing you a special edition of the podcast today. You will be hearing my latest recording for Hacker Public Radio; an episode entitled, “What’s in my bag?”. Doing a What’s in my Bag episode is something of a right of passage on HPR. Often one of the first couple of podcasts a new host records for HPR is a WIMB episode. This is my 4th offering on HPR and I hope you enjoy it. Incidentally, the show dropped yesterday on HPR. So, if you subscribe to HPR, you will already have this episode in your feed.

Thanks for listening and now, here is my HPR episode in its entirety.

Bye, bye!

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Marvel Collector Corps Unboxing 2

June 29, 2015

Oh yeah!

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Own Your Cloud – GDSE05

June 8, 2015

Hi, this is Matt, the Stay-At-Home G33k Dad in Northern California. You’ve found the G33kDadShow! and this is episode 5, Own your cloud. Thanks for listening, let’s get to it!

Welcome, welcome to episode 5 of the G33kDadShow! I am so glad you have all tuned in. I have some new gear I am excited to be testing out. My goal is to try and do as much of the show live… well, live to recording, as possible. Currently, I do not have a mixer so it is difficult to do the music live. I will have to add that stuff in post-production. However, I am doing my best to have the episode scripted so I can sit down and record it in one go! If you want to follow along with the show notes, you can find them on our website.

In our last episode we talked a bit about “the cloud”. We talked about how the nomenclature came to be used and we talked about how we use the cloud in our everyday computing and social lives. Today, I want to dive a bit deeper into a specific kind of cloud. If you use Dropbox or Google Drive, then you are familiar with the concept of cloud storage. That is, you upload or sync your files from your local computer or mobile device to a storage site on the internet. We will talk about the difference between uploading and syncing in a second. Once you have uploaded or synced your files, you can access them from other computers connected to the internet. These are sometimes referred to as public clouds because anyone can get an account on them. Public cloud doesn’t refer to a service that is open to the public in such a way that just anyone can download your stuff. This is not what we are talking about today; today we are talking about private clouds.

By definition, a private cloud is cloud storage that is owned and managed by an individual or organization for the sole use of itself. There are several ways you can accomplish this from the very technical to the very simple. It is the simple way that appeals to me, not because I am fearful of setting up, running, and securing my own sFTP server, but because, who has the time? No, I use an awesome piece of software called, ownCloud. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I am more than just an ownCloud fanboy. I am acquainted with the developer and community manager and helped to staff the ownCloud booth at SCaLE this year. I am, however, not a paid representative, merely an enthusiastic user.

ownCloud is a web application, written in HTML, PHP, Javascript, and some CSS, for styling. It is very approachable from a user perspective and even as an administrator, it is very simple to set up and manage. ownCloud is available in two versions, technically, but both are based on the same core. The community edition, which is free as in freedom but also free as in beer, can be downloaded and installed on any web server which supports PHP5. It can use MySQL or MariaDB as a database, but if you are only using it as an individual, it can also use SQLite. It can be run on bare metal, on a VPS, or even on shared hosting. Basically, if you have some web space somewhere, you can probably run ownCloud. In fact, if you do have shared hosting, ownCloud has provided an easy way for you to install. You download a file from the ownCloud website and upload it to your shared hosting. Then you simply navigate to that file in your web browser and follow along with the simple installation instructions. Piece of cake!!! If you want to run on a server you host, there are instructions for installing on many different Linux distributions. What I do, and what I find the easiest for my needs, is run ownCloud on a VPS or virtual private server. What this means is I have a server that I run and I have administrative access to, but the hardware is owned by my provider. In my case, I am using Digital Ocean. I pay $5 per month for a server with 20GB of storage space and I use that to host my ownCloud. It works flawlessly! So what do I use ownCloud for? I’m glad you asked! I use the calendar and contact management features of ownCloud to support my android phone. ownCloud uses standard CalDAV and CardDAV protocols so I can sync my calendar and contacts to my phone, without using Google Calendar or Google Contacts. Not only does that data now come under my control, I have noticed a distinct battery savings using ownCloud for my syncing over using Google’s services. I wonder if this is because my phone isn’t polling Google for updates all the time… perhaps?

I also use ownCloud to sync files between my different computers and to share files with my friends and family. I do not, however, use it for backup. This is because of the difference between uploading files and syncing files. ownCloud syncs. That means,at least for you designated sync folders, it will echo what you do on your local machine. So if you delete a file from your local machine, ownCloud will dutifully delete the file from your server. ownCloud assumes you know what you are doing. This makes for a silly backup solution. But backups are important, right? We will be talking about that topic, in a later episode of the G33kDadShow!

Well, thanks so much for tuning into this episode of the G33kDadShow! I hope you have enjoyed this 2 part look at the Cloud. In the next episode of the show, we will be leaving the server room stuff behind and moving into the kitchen. I will be telling you about the 5 best kitchen tools a G33kDad can have.

The theme song for this episode is, as always, Insurrection by Grant Bowtie. Grant has some great electronic and dubstep music on his soundcloud page, you will find that link in the shownotes at g33kdad.thestrangeland.net/5. Like all of our episodes, this one is hosted by the Internet Archive at archive dot org. Check them out over there you will find a bunch of very cool music, live concerts, podcasts… there is even a section of retro video games you can play right in your web browser. Nice. Head on over to the website for me, the SAH G33kDad. g33kdad.thestrangeland.net where you will find articles to support and expand on this podcast. I have a recent article up about choosing between iOS and Android for your phone or tablet. Also a quick video post unboxing the first box of the Marvel Collector Corps, link to them and to the video are in the shownotes.

If you want to send some feedback you can hit me up on twitter I am @sahg33kdad, you can send me email to feedback@thestrangeland.net. Or just hit up the website at g33kdad.thestrangeland.net and use the contact link in the sidebar. Thanks again for listening to this episode of the G33kDadShow!, catch you next time! Bye, bye.

Links

  1. Grant’s Soundcloud Page: soundcloud.com/grantbowtie
  2. Marvel Collector Corps: collectorscorps.com
  3. Marvel Unboxing Video: G33kDad YouTube Channel
  4. iOS vs Android Article: g33kdad.thestrangeland.net
  5. Matt’s Amazon Wish List: Stuff I Want

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To Cloud, or Not to Cloud – GDSE04

April 29, 2015

Hey everybody. This is Matt, the stay at home geek dad in Northern California. You’ve found the G33kdadShow! and this is episode 4, To Cloud or not To Cloud. Thanks for listening. Let’s get to it.

Intro

Well, I am so glad you all have decided to give me another chance by downloading this episode. I haven’t released anything since late last year and I offer no excuse. However, I do have a bit of explanation. I am a perfectionist in some ways. Mostly, as it pertains to this podcast, that means if I don’t think the episode is perfect, I won’t even attempt to release it. It also means, because I listen to many podcasters who have been at this a long time, I have a kinda warped sense of what "perfect" means. I am still getting used to this and I feel I may have bit off more than I can chew. To some people this would mean, cut back and lower your expectations of yourself… but not this guy. To me it means, give up. Not exactly the best idea. So, this is what I am forcing myself to do… I am changing my expectations of myself. GASP To anyone who knows me, this will come as a complete shock. But, I really want to get good at this and I really need the creative outlet, so, here’s the deal. I have decided to make content king. I will do my best to bring you excellent content in each episode. I will NOT, however, get bogged down with tons of editing, musical transitions, etc. Also, I will endeavor to keep the episode length consistent with the content. So, I don’t know if you want to call this a relaunch or a reboot, but for me, it is a commitment to get shows out, even if they are less than "perfect". My friend and fellow podcaster Knightwise recently released an episode for the community podcast network Hacker Public Radio. The topic was a list of excuses not to record a podcast for HPR. I heard, in his tongue-in-cheek excuses, many of my own excuses echoed. So, I am taking his advice to heart, writing an episode, and pushing the big red button! So, lets get into todays topic… The Cloud!

Clip from Sex Tape 2014

What is the cloud?

As the movie clip suggests, many people don’t really understand what the cloud is. In the simplest terms, the term cloud is synonymous with the word internet. Data only exists if it is written to some type of storage medium. So, if you have data stored in the cloud, that means it is written on the hard drive of a server somewhere. What makes it "cloud storage" is the fact you access it via the internet. The storage itself is not "cloud" but the access is. So, why in the world to we call it cloud, then? The answer dates back to the early days of the commercial internet. When I was in college in the mid 90’s, I worked for a now defunct dial-up internet service provider in Phoenix, AZ. It was early days for the commercial internet and many households were getting their first internet access. People had lots of questions and most of them were "How does XYZ work?". My favorite of these was about email. Trying to explain how email works to a novice computer user was always challenging and we often used diagrams. In these diagrams, the vast network we call the internet was symbolized by a cloud shape. I will include an example of this type of diagram in the shownotes for this episode at g33kdad.thestrangeland.net/4. Cloud example diagram Because of this, the first users of the internet came to understand the internet as a cloud and these early adopters became the tech entrepreneurs who have created the modern notion of Cloud computing.

Do you Cloud?

So, do you use the cloud? Chances are, you do! In fact, if you have downloaded and listened to this podcast, you are using the cloud. The sound files that make up this podcast are stored on a server owned and operated by the Internet Archive. I may do a full episode on the Internet Archive at some point. They are an awesome group dedicated to preserving internet content for posterity. If you would like to find out more about them, you can visit thier website at www.archive.org. Internet Archive hosts the audio files and image files for this and every episode of the G33kDadShow!. The website you view at g33kdad.thestrangeland.net is hosted on servers owned and operated by GoDaddy!. Neither one of these companies are located in my city or, most likely, in your city. However, by the power of a world wide network of computers, I can create these files at my house, upload them to these remote servers, and you can download and enjoy them at your lesiure! How cool is that? Other ways you may use the cloud in your daily life.. Do you use Evernote? That’s a cloud service. Do you use Dropbox or Google Drive? That’s a cloud service. Do you use outlook.com or gMail? Those are another type of cloud service. Even Google Docs or Office 365 are examples of services you don’t run on your local machine, but access through the internet. Is the cloud starting to make more sense, now?

Another way some people use the term cloud is by saying "cloud commputing". This is a slightly different animal than what we have been describing so far. This is more of an enterprise level usage, by which I mean, it is important to big corporations and governments. It isn’t as big a deal to the average home, family, or dad. Essentially, with cloud computing, the servers that are being accessed via the internet are providing a platform for remote desktops or running big data applications. The same definition of cloud works here. That is, cloud is about howyou access the data… cloud = internet.

ownCloud Tease

One of the big issues surrounding "the Cloud" these days is security and privacy. Any data you store on servers you don’t own is subject to snooping by the corporation who owns the server or by the Government of the United States. Unless you have been living under a rock for several years, you are probably at least peripherally aware of Edward Snowden and the NSA spying, evesdropping, and massive data collection efforts he exposed. Things which we once thought to be safe and private are not. In fact, the laws on the books are so outdated and out of touch, files that you leave on a cloud service providers servers for more than 6 months are considered fair game for warrantless snooping by local, state, and federal law enforcement. I have emails in my INBOX that are older than 6 months.

Companies like google, dropbox, onedrive, and the like offer free and/or inexpensive storage options and it seems like a good way to keep image and document files safe for years to come. But it comes at a price, privacy. Many people feel that they have nothing to hide, so privacy isn’t that important to them. I understand that. But what if you want an option that isn’t so easily spied on? I have a solution for that. It’s called ownCloud, and we are going to go indepth with it, in our next episode!

Conclusion

Well, I hope I have given you guys some good info, some good stuff to think about with this episode. I also hope I have peaked your curiosity about ownCloud and you will listen to the next episode. If you want to do some reading ahead, check out ownCloud at www.owncloud.org. I will be talking about what ownCloud is, how it works, and how I use it in my own life on the next episode of the G33kDadShow!

I want to thank the folks at Internet Archive for hosting our podcast. There are all kinds of good things going on over there. Check them out at archive.org. Also, thanks to Grant Bowtie who composed our theme song. The title is Insurgent and you can find more from Grant on his SoundCloud page. The link for that and other items I have mentioned in this show are available in the show notes at g33kdad.thestrangeland.net/4.

Thanks so much for listening to this episode. I welcome your feedback. You can send me an email, feedback@thestrangeland.net, or use the contact page on the website. Until next time, I am the stay at home Geek Dad. Bye, bye!

Links:

Grant’s Soundcloud Page: soundcloud.com/grantbowtie
Internet Archive: archive.org
Knightwise Podcast: knightwise.com
Hacker Public Radio: hackerpublicradio.org

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Special Comment – 7 Dec 2014

December 8, 2014

## Special Comment – 7 Dec 2014

Hi. This is Matt, the sah Geek Dad from Northern California. You’ve found the G33k Dad Show! and this is a special announcement.

Hello podcast listeners, Matt here with a special announcement. Due to the holidays and some personal reasons; I am putting the ‘cast on hold until January.

I want to thank everyone who has downloaded, listened to, and enjoyed the first three episodes. I have so much content I want to bring to you; I hope you will stay subscribed to the RSS feed and be ready for more shows on the intersection of technology and parenting after the first of the year.

Have a Merry and Blessed Holiday Season.

Cheers,
Matt
@sahg33kdad
geekdad.thestrangeland.net

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5 Steps to Making Vegetables Your Kids Will Eat – GDS03

November 2, 2014

Hi. This is Matt, the Stay-at-Home G33kdad in Northern California. You’ve found the G33k Dad Show! and this is episode 3, 5 steps to making vegetables your kids will eat. Thanks for listening, let’s get to it.

Introduction

Well, good day and welcome into episode 3 of the g33k dad show! Thanks for tuning us in. You know, that phrase is not very “podcast”. You dont’ typically tune in a podcast. That’s a very radio phrase. But this isn’t radio. This is the podcast where we talk about the intersection of parenting and technology and I am very glad you are here.

Our intro song is, as always, Insurgent by Grant Bowtie. You can find this song and more of Grant’s work on his Soundcloud page; the link is in the shownotes which you can find at g33kdad.thestrangeland.net/3

Today I want to talk to you about vegetables. We all know our kids and even ourselves need to eat our veggies. Many of us grew up in households where veggies weren’t all that important or which consisted only of boiled broccoli, boiled corn, boiled greens, etc. My own childhood was filled with mostly goodd vegetable dishes, with the occasional over cooked brussles sprout or asparagus thrown in on a special occasion. Today, having learned a bit about cooking and how to use vegetables properly, I can say that there is only one common, everyday vegetable I don’t care for and that is the Lima Bean. I hate em. Never had a Lima Bean that didn’t taste like something a cat had caughed up in the middle of the night. If you are a Lima fan, you can direct hate mail to me here at podcast central. The email address for hate or any other kind of mail is feedback@thestrangeland.net.

Now, here are the 5 steps:

  1. Buy good veggies
  2. Vary your cooking method
  3. Use “hidden veggies”
  4. Seasoning and cheese sauce are OK! (in moderation, of course)
  5. Be a good example (not really a preperation step, per se… but….)

So, let’s take a good look at these steps:

  • Buy good veggies

This seems like a no brainer. However, if you don’t know how to select veggies, you put yourself at a disadvantage to start with. For starters, fresh v canned v frozen. Fresh is always best. From a farmer’s market or from a friend’s garden would be ideal. One of the best reasons to visit farmer’s markets is because you can ask the people who grow the veggies any questions you have about them. So, if you see a weird squash or funky leafy green vegetable, you can ask what it’s like and how to cook it. I am fortunate to live in the agricultural heart of California. Chances are, if you eat garlic, a raisin, or an almond, it was grown within 100 miles of my house. It is very easy to find farmer’s markets, produce stands, and other outlets for finding fresh, local produce. Even our local grocery stores make a point of sourcing local ingredients. However, if you can’t get fresh veggies for some or most of the year, or if you are concerned about them going bad in your refrigerator; I suggest frozen vegetables as your next, best choice. I do NOT recommend using canned veggies for much of anything. Canned corn or green beans can be used in a pinch, but I usually just use frozen. The only time I prefer canned vegetables is if one of my kids is sick and I want to throw together some semi-homemade soup. If you keep some low-sodium canned mixed vegetables and some low sodium broth on hand, you can throw together soup in 4 min using the microwave. Plus, you control the ingredients in case of allergies or just to cut down on the massive amounts of sodium in canned soup.

  • Vary your cooking method

Most home cooks treat veggies in one of two ways: either they boil them, or microwave them. In many cases, using a microwave is fine, but I don’t really recommend boiling much of anything except pasta.

My favorite methods for preparing fresh vegetables are roasting and steaming. Roasting is defined as a dry heat cooking method utilizing an enclosed space such as an oven. You can roast most any vegetable, including cabbages such as broccoli, cauliflower, and brussles sprouts; root vegitables such as potatoes, carrots, onions, and garlic; or even “psudo” veggies such as gourds, tomatoes, and squashes. You can find many recipes for roasted veggis online, but I think simple is better. Cut up whatever vegetables in to simlarly sized pieces. Toss them with olive or other vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs or a seasoning blend. More about that in a minute. Then put on a baking sheet or in a pyrex lasagne pan and stick in a preheated, 400 degree oven. Roast for 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Delicious.

When it comes to steaming, you don’t need specialized equipment. I happen to have a combination steamer/rice cooker/slow cooker, but I often steam broccoli and green beans in the microwave. To do this, cut up your broccoli into florets or trim your beans. Place into a quart-sized ziptop bag along with 3-4 Tbsp of water. You can also add seasoning here, I particularly like dill weed for dark green veggies. Seal the ziptop bag, leaving about a finger width opening. Place on a microwave safe place and microwave 2-4 min, depending on the power of your microwave. Let stand about a min after cooking, then pour any water out through the space in the zipper and serve. Easy peasy… Come to think of it, this would work with fresh peas, as well.

Another at home dad I know through Facebook turned me on to an idea which I adapted just last week. Jeffery Weaver is in New Haven, CT and he suggested making a veggie ragu and serving over pasta. He does this by chopping up cooked veggies and heating them in organic tomatoe sauce. I thought this was a great idea. I used squash, potatoes, carrots, and red onion which I seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper, and herbs and roasted in a 400 deg oven. When they were cooked, I poured over a jar of pasta sauce and left it in the oven for another 7 or 8 min. Then I sprinkled with Parmesean cheese and served the mixture over rice. My kids and wife ate it up.

  • Use “hidden veggies”

My favorite hidden veggie application isn’t really hidden at all, but I haven’t met a kid yet that wouldn’t eat it. It’s homemade split pea soup. This is a really easy dish to make. You can make it on the stove top or in the slow cooker and it comes out great. I’ve even made a “baked” version. You can find the recipe for this soup in the show notes.

There are a couple of other ways to use hidden veggies. The easiest is probably dried pasta. In our grocery store, there are a couple of brands that use vegetable flour along with wheat flour in making traditional pasta shapes like rotini, penne, elbows, etc. Some of them are colored and some just look like regular pasta. When you combine these with a good, organic, jar of red pasta sauce, you have an easy, meatless, veggie filled meal. Pick up some garlic bread in the bakery and you are out the door in 5 minutes with a meal for 4 people for about $10. You could also use the vegetable pasta in your favorite cassarole or mac n cheese recipe. Alton Brown of the Food Network has an amazing baked mac n cheese recipe. You’ll find the link in the shownotes.

Lastly, on the subject of hidden veggies I want to bring you an idea from another Stay at Home Dad, Spike Zelenka of Las Vegas, NV. Spike is dad two twin boys and blogs at www.doubletroubledaddy.com. Spike suggests buying a frozen bag of peas and carrots, defrosting them and then pureeing in a blender. The resulting mash can be mixed into pasta sauce or meatballs. I would also add that meatloaf would be a good use for this puree, as well as using it to thicken chili or sloppy joes. Big thaks to Spike for a great contribution! Spike posts recipes on his blog under the heading “Food Sunday”. The link is in the shownotes, so check it out when you can.

  • Seasoning/butter/cheese is OK!

To my mind, there is no better veggie combination in the world than roasted cauliflower with chedder cheese sauce. Another great one is brussles sprouts with bacon. Or how about the classic asparagus with hollendaise sauce? I don’t know about you, but my parents seemed to think that adding these flavors somehow detracted from the healthyness of the veggies. I say, if it gets your kids to eat more veggies, it’s awesome.

Now, there are some caveats, of course. Adding butter, cheese, pork, etc adds fat grams and calories. Too much salt can also be a problem. I’m not a doctor or nutritionist; please consult one if you have concerns. But I will tell you, that a careful use of seasoning and saucing can break down the walls between your kids and vegetables.

Consider Mrs. Dash or other salt-free seasoning blends. You can find them in the spice aisle of the grocery store and they are pretty fool proof. If you are going to roast some veggies, toss them with some olive oil and sprinkle with your chosen spice blend. Assuming you are using a salt-free blend (CHECK THE LABLES!) also sprinkle with coarse ground salt and pepper. When steaming vegetables, add some dried herbs to the water. The flavor will infuse with the veg.

Using browned butter can also up the flavor value of your dishes. If you have ever been to the Old Spaghetti Factory, you have probably had their broccoli with browned butter. It is a fairly easy thing to make, simply put a stick of butter in your smallest sauce pan over your lowest heat. It will melt, it will start to smell nutty and turn slightly brown. This is easiest to do in a light colored pan. The dark coating of non-stick pans makes it hard to tell when the butter is brown. When your butter is brown, remove it from the heat and add just a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and a pinch of salt (only add the salt if you started with unsalted butter). You can store it in a jar in the refrigerator for about a week. It is great on dark green veggies like broccoli, spinach, and brussles sprouts. It’s also great to toss with spaghetti and top with some grilled shrimp… but that’s another episode.

  • Be a good example

Lastly, and possibly most importantly, you have to eat veggies yourself. Don’t be the parent that loads up their kids plates with broccoli and then eats just meat and potatoes. Your kids will learn so much more about how to eat right by watching you do it, than if you just tell them about it.

To this end, if you need to, practice eating veggies. You could go out to a vegan or vegitarian restaurant. Better yet, go out to a restaurant which features veggies in their cuisine. Japonese, Vietnamese, Indian, Thai; these are all good places to order vegetable dishes and practice.

Also, when you are serving the kids a meal, don’t serve them the veggies and not put any on your own plate. You want them to be healthy and to get all the vitamins and minerals they need to grow strong. They want you to be healthy, too! So, dive right in.

Wrap up

Ok, so by means of wrap up, lets take a look at that list again of 5 steps to making veggies your kids will eat. 1- Buy good veggies, 2- vary your cooking method, 3- use hidden veggies, 4- Seasoning and cheese sauce are ok (in moderation) and 5- Be a good example. I hope this list is helpful in getting you started on the path to more veggies in your diet and less battle at the dinner table. If your family does fun things with veggies, drop me a line or leave a comment on the shownotes. The shownotes can be found at geekdad.thestrangeland.net/3. Feedback is always welcome by email to [feedback@thestrangeland.net]. Also, follow me on twitter. I am @sahg33kdad. For updates on when new episodes are coming out you can follow the show on twitter; the handle for the show is @geekdadshow

Next Episode

On the next episode we get back to the geek. I will be discussing cloud storage and cloud backup options, and if you really should use them. So join me next time for To Cloud, or Not To Cloud!

The music you are hearing now is:

Track: I Won’t Go To Bed by Adhitia Sofyan. Find it on his SoundCloud page.

Thanks for listening everybody. See you next time on the G33k Dad Show! Bye now.

Click here for Matt’s Split Pea Soup recipe.

Click here for a PDF version of the recipe.

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Reflections and Information from the 19th Annual Convention of the National At Home Dad Network – GDS02

October 6, 2014

The delay in releasing this episode was brought to you by, “Perfectionism”. Perfectionism, when good just isn’t good enough!

Hi. This is Matt, the stay at home geek dad from northern california. You’ve found the geek dad show, and this is episode 2: Reflections and Information from the 19th Annual At Home Dad’s Convention. Thanks for tuning it… lets get to it

Introduction:

Episode 2, thanks for coming back. Great feed back from ep 1; including some suggested changes most notably the music at the end of the show.

The theme song for our show is Insurgent by Grant Bowtie. You can find this song and others at Grant’s sound cloud page; link in the show notes.

Shownotes url: geekdad.thestrangeland.net/2

Content

National At-Home Dads Network mission statement:

It is the mission of The National At-Home Dad Network, a 501c3 non-profit organization, to provide support, education and advocacy for fathers who are the primary caregivers of their children.

These at-home dads are proving everyday that the measure of a man is in the size of his heart. These at-home dads are changing society’s view of what a dad can be.

Simply put, these at-home dads are changing the world.

Pre-game:

  1. nervous
  2. excited
  3. exhausted

Warm-ups:

  1. saying good by to kiddos
  2. drive to airport/miss flight/re-route
  3. arrive Denver, bags, car

National Anthem:

  1. friends (Longmont, CO, Boulder, CO)
  2. ballgame (meeting some new people)
  3. find the hotel/parking/car return/etc
  4. breakfast morning of

Kickoff

  1. registration and lunch
  2. mingling and meeting new people
  3. opening session Live Blog Link

1st Half

  1. Friday dinner / Book Signing Dads Behaving Dadly
  2. Back to the hotel
  3. Morning Session / Saturday Keynote Live Blog Link
    Barbara Coloroso – Kids Are Worth It! Inc
    Barbara’s Amazon Page

2nd Half

  1. Saturday Lunch provided by Animal Jam from National Geographic Kids
  2. breakout sessions
  3. Slideshow – YouTube Link
  4. Saturday Dinner

Post-game analysis

  1. back to airport/super shuttle
  2. flight
  3. home

Conclusion

Thanks again for tuning into episode 2. If you would like more information about the National At-Home Dads Network; about the convention; or about my experience, please see the links in the shownotes. Another member of the At-Home Dad’s Network, Will Culp, has written a book, Better Off Dad which you can buy through Amazon.

The music you are hearing now is Cerulean by The Electric Amygdala from the Free Music Archive at free music archive .org. Check out the free music archive for lots of cool music in lots of genres

Our next episode will have something to do with cooking, I’m thinking about telling you some of the awesome things you can do with vegitables so your kids will actually eat them, so be sure you are subscribed so you don’t miss a thing. In the mean time, check out the articles at geekdad.thestrangeland.net, follow me on twitter @sahg33kdad or follow the show on twitter @geekdadshow

Send feedback via email to : feedback@thestrangeland.net or by using the contact form on the website or by leaving a comment on the shownotes for this episode at geekdad.thestrangeland.net/2.

I’ll see you next time. 🙂

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5 Open Source Projects You Should Be Using Right Now – GDS01

September 12, 2014

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Music

Opening Song: Insurgent by Grant Bowtie
Music Track: Samandhi by SaReGaMa

The G33k Dad Show! – Episode 1

5 Free and Open Source Projets You Should Be Using Right Now.

Published 9/15/14
g33kdad.thestrangeland.net

Introduction

Hey everybody. This first episode is a long one. I don’t anticipate all episodes to be this length; it will vary based on the topic.

My name is Matt and I am the Stay at Home Geek Dad in Northern California. I am 39 years old and I am a father of 3. I am a full time dad. I am the homemaker which means I do the cooking/laundry/etc.

I have some set goals for this show. I plan to release shows twice a month on a variety of topics. The overarching theme of the show will be technology and parenting. I want to develop some community around this show, to that end, I will strive for authenticity and honesty. I will share personal information about myself. I will not be sharing personal information about my kids. I will use nicknames to refer to them. Bug- Son – 12; Peanut – Daughter – 4; Bubby – Son- 2.

Some of the challenges to these goals are my crazy schedule and my wonderful wife’s crazy schedule. I also do not want this show to compromise my physical or mental health. If I need a brake, I will take one.

Ok, so today’s topic is 5 foss projects you could/should be using right now.

The 5 projects are:
1. Libre Office (http://www.libreoffice.org)
2. Web browsers like Chromium (http://www.chromium.org/getting-involved/dev-channel) / Firefox (http://www.mozilla.org)
3. WordPress (http://www.wordpress.org)
4. VLC (https://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html)
5. Pinta (http://www.pinta-project.com) / GIMP (http://www.gimp.org)
also Linux.

Before we dive in depth on these projects, lets take a quick overview of what free/open source software is and why it’s important

Open Source Software

The wikipedia article on Open Source software defines it as: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_software)

Open-source software (OSS) is computer software with its source code made available with a license in >which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change and distribute the software to anyone and >for any purpose.[1] Open-source software is very often developed in a public, collaborative manner. >Open-source software is the most prominent example of open-source development…

In summary, Open Source means the code is available to the end user. If you have the programing knowledge, you can look at the source code and see exactly what is happening and how it works. This also means that the community will audit or vett the code. You can be very confident that open source software does not contain viruses or malware because the community will audit the code and raise a stink if isn’t good code.

The collective name for this software is Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). Or, Free (Libre) and Open Source Software (FLOSS).

When we refer to this software as “free” we mean both that it is free as in freedom and also in many cases, free from monetary cost. Both of these meanings of free are important because there is cost savings in the initial purchase and in licensing. We also avoid the dreded ‘vendor lock in’ which ties your data and documents and files to a proprietary format. Because of vendor lock in, you continue to purchase the same software over and over to maintain access to the files you have created or purchesed.

This is also important because with freedom comes choice. With proprietary software, if you don’t like the way something works, you are stuck because you can’t change it. There is also a moral component to freedom. Information should be free. I do not advocate piracy or intellectual property theft; but information should be accessible.

Lastly, the open flow of information breeds innovation, while patents and other methods of locking down information stifles innovation.

So, now we have a better understanding of what foss is and why we should be using it. Lets look at our five projects we could start using right now.

Libre Office
Microsoft Office compatible
Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Presentations, Drawing (vector/desktop publishing), Database (ala MS Access)

Browsers (chromium and firefox)
chrome is based on chromium. chrome is not open source per se
mozilla project is fully invested in open source (thunderbird and firefox)

WordPress.org
powers this blog/podcast
very easy to work with/set up
great plugins

VLC
plays everything
available for mac, linux, windows

Photo Editing (pinta / gimp)
pinta is like ms paint, good for quick stuff
gimp is photoshop replacement, but…

(also linux)
if you think open source software is a good idea, why not try a fully open source operating system?
for new users: ubuntu, mint, elementaryOS

Wrap up

To wrap up I’d like to say:
1. Thanks: Standing on the shoulders of giants, Knightwise @knightwise.com, Daniel Messer @ cyberpunklibrarian.com, Larry Bushey @Going Linux.
2. next episode: notes and reactions to the National At Home Dads Network annual convention
3. website / show notes: g33kdad.thestrangeland.net – Website URL g33kdad.thestrangeland.net/show – Show Notes URL
4. feedback: Use the contact page on the website or send email to feedback@thestrangeland.net

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