Web Toolbar by Wibiya


In The Blink Of An Eye - My Son, The Graduate

Every so often I'll catch glimpse of it. In my iPhone, in a window and often times at night. I look at it and don't understand it, where it came from, why it exists, who it is and why is it attached to me. It's my face staring back at me asking the same question, maybe for the same reasons. How did I get here? Yesterday I was graduating high school and as lost about life as I wanted to be. Now I'm providing guidance to...children of all people. And I'm viewed a positive and strong. Which, for me on some days, is just outrageously laughable. But maybe this is what the parenting game is all about, often wondering if you're good enough and chasing this pursuit perpetually.

I sit here typing these words understanding that I have no choice in this "growing up" and all the attachments of responsibility that came with it. I guess some people choose not to even when they bring kids into the world, but that was never going to happen with me. I've embraced it all even when I haven't understood them.

There has been an incredible amount of anticipation and tension for one of the culminating moments in our lives as a family --- my son's graduation from high school. I'd been repairing the house and painting it for weeks for the twelve family members who were coming to stay with us. I've been so busy that I haven't blogged in weeks. What's worse, I didn't even have any ideas of what to blog about and worse than that, I didn't care. The twelve arrived and then some more. Then my kitchen sink sprang a leak once everyone was here. I called the plumber but he never showed (I guess he doesn't like money). I finally discovered the leak on my own but not before water began pooling in my garage from two days worth of repeatedly flooding the cabinet beneath the sink. With a wife who is a serious cook and so many people around, there was no way we were not going to be able to use it. In the end I wound up replacing the whole faucet with my father after almost everyone left.


Monday's With Michelle: Creative Loafing's Atlanta 2013 Culinary Bucket List

Happy Monday foodie friends!

On Thursday, April 25th, Creative Loafing introduced it's Atlanta's 2013 culinary bucket list (see the pic below just to get an idea). Definitely worth checking out... lots of yummy eats waiting to be had! Make sure you check it out! And even if you don't reside in Atlanta, please check out the list and see what's comparatively cooking in your stomping grounds.

 Which dish are going to mark off your bucket list first? Post your comments below!

Don't forget to visit my Foodie blog for more recipes, food tips and other foodie fun.

Thanks for reading!

Thoughts? Please, let me know in the Facebook or Disqus comment sections below.
We can also talk about it on Twitter at @EPayneTheDad.
Prefer Facebook instead? Please Like the Facebook Page if you haven't already.
Enjoyed this post? Download my parenting book for less than a cup of coffee.

Food Network's Atlanta Food Destinations

Hello dear foodie friends, welcome back to Mondays with Michelle!

I don’t know about you, but I am major Food TV junkie. In my down time you will usually find me on the couch watching some of my favorite celebrity chefs do their thing. I particularly enjoy watching the hosts walk through some of my local neighborhoods and sampling yummy treats in restaurants I've either been too or seen passing by.  My partner and I always have a hard time deciding what new places to try, so keeping a list of local Food TV favorites is a great place to start. Check out the list below for some of our local “famous” eatery’s and start your Food TV tour asap!

Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, ATL

Best thing I ever ate

Cupcake Wars

Have you eaten at any of these Food Network visited restaurants? What was your favorite dish? Post your comments below!

Don't forget to visit my Foodie blog for more recipes, food tips and other foodie fun.

Thanks for reading!

Thoughts? Please, let me know in the Facebook or Disqus comment sections below.
We can also talk about it on Twitter at @EPayneTheDad.
Prefer Facebook instead? Please Like the Facebook Page if you haven't already.
Enjoyed this post? Download my parenting book for less than a cup of coffee.


A Grill-Off Against The Wife #SteakOver

When it comes to cooking in the kitchen of my home it is an undisputed fact that my wife reigns supreme. And this isn't because she spends all her time in the kitchen. In fact as a Senior Marketing Manager at her company she has been spending the majority of her time checking emails on her phone. Cooking is just something she likes to do. It soothes her and she is a foodie. She spends a good amount of time on Pinterest making the food she likes to pin.

When it comes to the grill it is presumed that I am king in my castle, but that's primarily because I'm the only one who uses it. At family gatherings, parties we throw and just dinner when we want barbecue, she seasons and I fire it up on the grill.

The Challenge

Heading into the weekend, I wondered if we went head to head who would come out on top. I posed the challenge and of course, she was game. With the rainy weekend ahead of us, getting company over would be impossible so I selected the best of all possible impartial judges: my self-indulged, eating food by the package seventeen year-old son. If it's food, he eats it. If the food is good, he eats all of it before any of us get a chance.

Since we haven't had red meat in a while I opted for our barbecue challenge meat to be Walmart's new USDA Choice Premium Steaks, specifically, a lean looking pair of New York Strip steaks. Our recipes are as following:

Steak A - The Wife's Lime-Chile Rub:
  • a pinch of salt and pepper
  • a pinch of cayenne powder
  • a pinch of chili powder
  • lime juice
  • butter
The steak was massaged with lime juice, followed by the seasonings and the butter and thrown on the grill for twelve minutes, six minutes each side.

Steak B - E.Payne's Basic Dry Rub:

When it comes to tentpole items, like coffee, hot dogs and steak I don't believe in fanciful I believe in keeping it simple and memorable.
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of steak seasoning (generic anywhere and everywhere)
  • 1 teaspoon of Mediterranean sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 lemon
  • olive oil cooking spray
The steak was rubbed down with the lemon, then the seasonings and the steak were dumped into a gallon-size storage bag and then it was shaken (think Shake and Bake - if you're from that generation) until the seasonings are evenly coated on the steak. After removing the steak from the bag, lightly spray it with olive oil cooking spray on both sides and put on the grill for fifteen minutes (7-8 minutes each side).

The Results

Pictured below from left to right, are Steak A and Steak B. Before sitting down to dinner our son was called from the man cave where he was playing video games and asked to test each. He liked Steak A, but he LOVED Steak B and declared it the winner, citing its crispiness and explosion of flavor with smoke as the reasons for his picking it the winner. Personally, I believe that by not massaging the meat doing the "shake and bake" my steak preserved its original shape and consistency allowing the fire to benefit from the fat that dripped onto it.

Steak A (l); The Champion (r)

I did a little happy dance in the kitchen. My wife smiled briefly in her best effort of sportsmanship and then told us all to get out of her kitchen. After belting out Accapella rendition of Queen's "We Are The Champions" I finished doing my share of cooking. The steaks as well as the rest of the food that had been prepared for the evening were divvied up appropriately and we enjoyed our meal around the table on a rainy Saturday night.

About Walmart USDA Choice Premium Steaks - Just in time for early grilling season and Memorial Day, Walmart is helping shoppers take their grilling up a notch with its top-quality selection of delicious, juicy and tender USDA Choice Premium Beef available in a variety of cuts. Only one in five steaks is good enough to call Walmart Choice Premium Beef, which has been approved by the USDA for quality. For more recipes, tips and to find a store near you, visit www.walmart.com/steak.

Attend A Steak-Over Challenge In Your Town

Local firefighters from eight different cities will compete in the Wal-Mart Steak-Over Challenge presented by Kingsford® Charcoal, Dr. Pepper® and A.1.® steak sauce to determine who has the best steak-grilling chops in town.

Shoppers who attend will have the chance to join in the festivities, taste test Wal-Mart USDA Choice Premium steaks, sample Dr. Pepper and A.1. steak sauce for free, and cast their vote for best steak.
The firefighter finalist from each city will compete on behalf of their station for a $20,000 grand prize in Los Angeles, the week of May 20.

What is your favorite way to grill a steak?

Are you ready to experience Walmart’s Steak-Over for yourself? Find out why you should choose your steaks at Walmart here. We shared our winning grilling tip - now tell us yours!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Walmart. The opinions and text are all mine.


My Greatest Weakness

A few days ago my daughter asked me what her greatest weakness is. I told her she is very smart. Because of that she sometimes talks more than she listens. She then asked me what her mother's greatest weakness was and I answered, "No comment." She begged and pleaded but I refused to get on that train. She asked about her brother and then asked me what I thought mine is. I told her that until recently I've always had a hard time saying "no" for fear of upsetting and disappointing others. And in the process I've volunteered to do a lot of things I never wanted to do or been trapped in places I never wanted to be. She said, "Well, you tell me no." I laughed and said, "That's different. That's me trying to be a parent and take care of you." She got it.

What is your greatest weakness?

photo credit: Darwin Bell via photopin cc

Thoughts? Please, let me know in the Facebook or Disqus comment sections below.
We can also talk about it on Twitter at @EPayneTheDad.
Prefer Facebook instead? Please Like the Facebook Page if you haven't already.
Enjoyed this post? Download my parenting book for less than a cup of coffee.