Cheesy Spinach Bake, and a Dad Rock playlist from my dad

THE DISH
Cheesy spinach bake (recipe here)

THE INSPIRATION
My dad bought me my first guitar — a tiny, tiny acoustic — when I was about 8 years old. It’s a shame I didn’t learn to play one until a few years later, but he’s the one who made me want to start (he’s been playing since he was 17, and he might kill me if I tell you his age now, so let’s just say it’s been 40+ years). While my mom got me into piano lessons, I think my rock ‘n’ roll tendencies started with my dad. I can remember plenty of trips to various guitar stores in the Metro Detroit area, where I accompanied him as he gradually tweaked and added to his collection (I think he’s got about eight guitars now?).

He took me to get my first real guitar — a “midnight wine”-colored Fender stratocaster, which I bought in eighth grade with bat mitzvah money — and the bass guitar and acoustics that came in the years later, and found me a guitar teacher, a hippie-ish dude who was usually late and told me I would like the Violent Femmes. My dad has always been supportive of my musical endeavors (including the less cool ones, like taking my sister and me to see 98 Degrees at the Michigan State Fair), and much more importantly, he’s always supportive of everything I do. The night before I moved to New York, his toast to my roommate and me was, “To Laura and Mike, and New York: Balls to the wall!” He’s the most supportive, generous, hilarious and genuine person I know, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without him. So thank you, Dad, for being the best. Happy Father’s Day!

This dish is in no way related to guitars, etc., but it’s one of my favorites my dad makes — because, yes, I was blessed with two kitchen-savvy parents. I should also note that my dad is the king of kitchen gadgets (every time I go home there’s some new and weird toy for me to tease him about), and it’s probably a good thing that the spacial restrictions of New York living prevent me from keeping up with him. The best part of this dish is I actually got to make it with my pops, since I was back in Michigan last weekend for my brother’s high school graduation.

THE PLAYLIST
When I think of my dad in relation to music, I think of the Eagles (“Take It Easy” is probably the most-played song on his guitars), The Lovin’ Spoonful (their greatest-hits album got a lot of airtime in his car when I was growing up) and Fleetwood Mac (we went to see them together a couple years ago!). But I left this list up to him, so here you go! It is Dad Rock to the core, and I love him for it. (Obviously I couldn’t use the real version of the Beatles’ “With A Little Help From My Friends.”)

http://grooveshark.com/widget.swf

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Sunny-Side-Up Egg Breakfast (Inspired by a classic folk song)

“Keep on the sunny side,
Always on the sunny side,
Keep on the sunny side of life.
It will help us every day,
It will brighten all the way,
If we keep on the sunny side of life”

— “Keep On The Sunny Side,” originally by Ada Blenkhorn and J. Howard Entwisle in1899, made famous by the Carter Family in 1928, and performed here by The Low Anthem on their 2007 album What The Crow Brings

http://listen.grooveshark.com/songWidget.swf

THE DISH
Spinach, onions and quinoa topped with a sunny-side-up egg (recipe here)

THE INSPIRATION
I never skip breakfast. Ever. My everyday morning meal isn’t usually super elaborate, but I always need something to wake me up and get my day going. More often than not, I eat homemade granola with Greek yogurt and berries, but in a recent effort to use up what’s on my shelf and in my fridge (more on that later this week), I’ve been changing it up this week. This classic song (performed above by The Low Anthem, though it dates back to 1899) is about keeping on “the sunny side of life” — which made my sunny-side-up egg an obvious pick, but living every day on the sunny side, to me, also means having energy and feeling great. Quinoa is known as a superfood because it’s a complete protein, a good source of fiber, gluten free, and easy to digest — not to mention it’s tasty, it cooks quickly (in about 15 minutes), and can be used in a bajillion different dishes. You really can’t go wrong with spinach (tons of vitamins, iron, and calcium), and topped off with a runny egg, sunny side up? Yeah, that’ll keep me on the sunny side for the rest of the day.

ABOUT THE ARTIST
The Low Anthem are an indie-folk group from Providence, Rhode Island, made up of musicians who switch instruments with nearly every song — guitar, string bass, organ, bells, clarinet, strings … One of my favorite live folk bands.
The Low Anthem on MySpace

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