Gay Dad Life

Thanksgiving Dinner Dessert Recipes From Gay Dad Erik

Some of my fondest memories growing up were the smells coming from my grandmother's kitchen. We were always so excited after Halloween because we knew that she was going to be baking in her kitchen from Thanksgiving until New Years. I have been replicating some of those very recipes for years now because just one whiff transports me back in time in just a matter of seconds.

I remember as a little boy the happiness I felt for the first pie or cookie she took out of the oven. The pure anticipation was almost too much to handle!

All of those traditions I think are so important to pass down to my children. I want to see their excitement when they come home from school and smell pralines as they walk up the drive way. I want to hear their joy when I ask them to help me roll out the cookie dough to make Christmas stars. To me, traditions are an integral part of growing up and I feel it is my responsibility to keep the magic alive!

I thought it being almost Thanksgiving, I would share three of my most precious dessert recipes that are a huge hit with my loved ones. I sincerely hope you enjoy them as they are a piece of my family as a gift to your family.

Southern Pecan Pralines

Pralines are a staple in the south. The way they crumble and melt in your mouth ensures them to be a unique addition to any dessert spread. There are many different variations and over the years I have learned and perfected my very own.

Pralines can also be pretty tricky. There is a certain technique to ensure these treats are perfect. Not letting the mixture cool long enough makes them sticky and not the consistency that you are looking for.

Making sure you have all the necessary utensils are very important.

A few of them are:

wooden spoon – My wooden spoon I have had for years and it is key to scraping the bottoms of pots so you do not damage the surfaces. When using your wooden spoon make sure you designate either sweet or savory dishes for its lifespan because certain foods seep into the wood.

2-quart saucepan – It is important that it is non-stick, light-weight and easy to handle.

Candy thermometer – When making anything like pralines, fudge and caramel, a candy thermometer is critical. It gives you a fail-proof reading, letting you know when exactly your treats are ready for the next step.

Silpat – A silpat is a rubber mat that is used instead of parchment or wax paper. They are reusable and much more efficient and are much cheaper over time than the others. My silpat has come in handy so many times!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons light corn syrup (helps prevent crystallization of mixture)

1 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (high quality)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ to 2 cups of chopped pecans (depending on how much you like them)

Getting started:

Butter the sides of sauce pan.

Place sugars, salt, corn syrup, sour cream and

butter into pan.

Over medium heat stir consistently with wooden spoon until mixture comes to a boil. Add your candy thermometer to the side of your pan and continue to cook, until your reach exactly 240 degrees, stirring occasionally.

Cooling the mixture:

You can either do "cold water test" which is where you take some of the mixture onto a spoon and dip it into cold water, it should flatten down when you press it.

Or you can let the mixture cool for about 5-6 minutes.

Once it’s cooled, add vanilla and nuts.

Beating:

Beat for 2 minutes with your wooden spoon until mixture loses its glossy shine.

When the mixture is no longer shiny – VERY QUICKLY – drop spoonfuls down on your silpat. This is a very fast process and the quicker you get the mixture out of the pot and onto your mat, the better your pralines will look.

Cooling pralines:

It takes just a few minutes for them to cool. The smell of your kitchen right now is the stuff traditions are made from!

Don't worry if your pralines did not come out pretty. It's okay! It takes many times to perfect your technique. Practice makes perfect! If they came out beautiful, congratulations! I'm sure they will disappear in a matter or hours!

Yields: around 18

Meyer Lemon Star Cookies

I have had Meyer lemon trees for years. A Meyer lemon is a hybrid of an orange and a lemon. They are sour with just a hint of sweet and they add just the right amount of tartness to a variety of dishes whether savory or sweet.

I have found that with my cookies, the lemon icing really serves the punch I am looking for.

It is not at all mandatory to have Meyer lemons for this recipe. You actually could omit lemons all together if you aren't a lemon fan. The icing is the only component that has lemon juice.

The cookie itself holds up beautifully for up to a week. They are soft and make the best holiday cookies.

Getting started, make sure you have your necessary utensils:

2 silpats

mixer (either Kitchen Aid or hand mixer)

large mixing bowl

plastic wrap

2 cookie sheets

Ingredients for cookies:

1 1/2 cups butter softened

2 cups of white sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (good quality)

5 cups of all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon of salt

Ingredients for icing:

1 Meyer lemon

1 box of confectioners sugar

Yellow food coloring

In a large bowl or kitchen aid cream together butter and sugar until smooth.

Beat in eggs and vanilla.

Stir in baking powder and salt, and add cup by cup of flour.

Once all is mixed together and dough forms, wrap in plastic wrap and let sit over night in refrigerator.

Baking:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (200 degrees Celsius).

Place silpats on cookie sheets.

Roll out dough on floured surface to about 1/2 inch thick.

Cut into stars or desired shapes and place on silpat spaced about 1 inch apart.

Bake about 9 to 11 minutes.

You do NOT want crispy cookies.

Thick and fluffy cookies are ideal.

Let cool for about 3 hours.

Icing:

Pour confectioners sugar in a bowl

Juice half a lemon.

You want a thick icing, the consistency like you would see on top of cinnamon roll.

If you need more liquid, juice other half of lemon frugally

If you are not using lemon juice, replace with 2 % milk.

Add 3 drops yellow food coloring.

mix together very well until you have a brilliant yellow color.

Spread icing generously and let sit for about 20 minutes.

Love is written in the stars, and so are my star cookies! Enjoy!

Yields: about 32

Chocolate Meringue Pie

Of all the recipes and delicious treats I bake in the kitchen this is the holy grail. My mama used to bake this for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays but she would often surprise us throughout the year on our birthdays.

The rich and silky, smooth texture that marries with the buttery crust along with the light and airy meringue make this my number one favorite dessert of all time.

Getting started make sure you have all your necessary utensils:

mixing bowl

2-quart sauce pan

Kitchen Aid mixer or hand mixer

wooden spoon

sieve (used for straining chocolate)

cookie sheet

small bowl (for egg whites)

rubber spatula

Ingredients for pie filling:

4 egg yolks

2 cups of white sugar

1/4 cup of all purpose flour

4 tablespoons of cocoa powder

1 (12oz) can of evaperated milk

1 nine inch pie shell- store bought is fine

1/4 cup butter

Quarter teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla (good quality)

Ingredients for meringue:

4 egg whites

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 tablespoon of sugar

In a sauce pan add cocoa, flour, salt, evaporated milk, vanilla, and butter. Mix together over low-medium heat. Add your egg yolks individually and keep stirring with your wooden spoon until your butter has completely melted. Make sure your flame is not too hot, as the yolks will cook and your custard will be ruined.

Once butter is melted, turn flame off. Place pie shell onto cookie sheet. Pour mixture through sieve into your pie shell leaving all impurities behind, giving you a beautiful silk custard.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.

After baking cycle is complete, test your pie with a slight shake. You want your finished product to jiggle and not ripple. You can also touch the outer edge of your pie with your finger and if it is soft and your finger comes away clean, then your custard is completely baked.

Set aside and begin meringue mixture.

In the mixing bowl add your egg whites, cream of tartar, and sugar-whip on high speed.

Beat mixture until very stiff peaks.

Beat until you get an iridescent  mixture.

Once meringue is completed pour over custard using your rubber spatula. Using upward motion as you dollop gives you the pointed effect that meringue pies are known for.

Place pie bake in over for another 7 to 10 more minutes giving the light brown tint to the meringue.

Let your pie cool for at least 2 to 3 hours.

In this hectic time for our country, some of the most productive things we can do is to find our passions. Teaching our children new things and hearing their laughter as we watch them will not only help you pass the time in an unsettling world but will build and strengthen your own relationships and maybe even start new traditions.

I hope you are able to create new traditions with the ones you care most about.

What are your favorite traditions for Thanksgiving and Christmas? I would love hear them! Comment below and let me know. I hope y'all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Try to listen to all of the laughter a little closer this year. You can follow my family's journey on

Instagram @ nolapapa

Show Comments ()
Gay Uncles

Gay Uncles are an Essential Part of This Gay Dad Family's Village

It takes a village to raise a child, and this village includes many gay uncles

In November last year, Ottawa-based husbands Matt Ottaviani and Rej Gareau (whose story we shared in July) became first-time dads through surrogacy. They were overjoyed to welcome their daughter Andy and become a family of three.

But as many of us know, raising a child isn't always just about the nuclear family. The African proverb "it takes a village to raise a child" is a commonly repeated phrase, and rings very true for many families. Matt and Rej are no different, and when they shared their story last month, one thing jumped out to us: the important role Andy's guncles play in her and her dads' lives.

In honor of Gay Uncles Day today, we reached out to Andy's many guncles to learn first-hand how their relationship with the family affects their lives. Here's what they had to say.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Need a Sitter for Your Kids? Gays With Kids Reviews UrbanSitter

Back-to-school is already here for some of us, and if you're looking for a sitter to help out with school runs, after-school pick-ups, and the occasional date night, check out our review of UrbanSitter.

Instagram @davidcblacker

We moved from New York to Boston the summer of 2017. Along with the Manhattan skyline, our beloved Broadway, and late-night cookie deliveries, we also left behind our sitters — two sisters who had become more like family.

After settling for several months into our new home and neighborhood, we realized we hadn't had a dads' night out since our move. Our kids were still too young to leave alone at night, so I began what I presumed would be the tedious task of finding a sitter.

The first thing I did was to leave a post on our local parents' Facebook group. The dad of one of our daughters' classmates told me about UrbanSitter, a website and mobile app that he'd had success using to find last-minute sitters a few times. He also mentioned that within the app, I could see see babysitters and nannies recommended by parents at our kids' school in addition to local parenting groups.

While I appreciated the tip, I let him know that I was really hoping for a direct referral. But when none others came from the — other than a couple of middle schoolers looking for their first sitting jobs — I decided to give it a try.

Keep reading... Show less

Move over Modern Family, there are some new gay dads taking over the small screen! Big Bad Boo Studios is bringing their animated series The Bravest Knight to Hulu. The series is based upon a children's book called "The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived" by Daniel Errico, and it follows the life of Sir Cedric - now grown and married to Prince Andrew - as he regales their adopted daughter Nia with tales of his knighthood journey as she trains to become a knight herself.

"We are so excited about The Bravest Knight, its values and our partnership with Hulu," said Shabnam Rezaei, the director of the series and co-founder of Big Bad Boo Studios. "They understand how to push the envelope with authentic storytelling."

"I immediately fell in love with the idea of a girl wanting to work hard and make something of herself," Rezaei continued. "I also have a nephew who has two dads, so it's a very personal issue for me. I want him to have role models when he's watching TV. I want him to feel like having two dads is completely normal. That's what this show is going to do for him."

Errico's book was first realized as an animation when Hulu created a short film based upon his writing and were interested in exploring the concept of a full series. "I watched the eight minutes on Hulu and at the end the prince and the knight get married and I was in tears," says Rezaei. Rezaei then stepped in to create all new art work including new character design by Tim Linklater and backgrounds by Sarita Kolhatra. Together, they created a kickass bible and pitched the series to Hulu and were successful.

Diversity and inclusivity is celebrated throughout The Bravest Knight, reflected by its casting choices. Nia is played by Storm Reid, from "A Wrinkle in Time," and her dads Sir Cedric and Prince Andrew are voiced by T.R. Knight and Wilson Cruz respectively. The star studded cast also includes Wanda Sykes, Bobby Moynihan, RuPaul, Steven Weber, Teri Polo, AJ McLean, Jazz Jennings, Maz Jobrani and Christine Baranski as the formidable Red Dragon.

"With so many wonderful stories yet to be told, we hope that The Bravest Knight stands as an example of the undeniable strength in inclusivity, and the inherent joy in all forms of love and identity," said Errico, the author of the original book.

The first 5 episodes were released on June 21, and there are 8 more planned for release before the end of the year. Be sure to tune in!

This is the Main Title Song for Big Bad Boo's Hulu Original Series "The Bravest Knight". The song is performed by Justin Tranter and composed by Michael Plow...

Popular

'Our Family is Complete': Congrats to Gay Dads on Their Recent Births and Adoptions!

Join us in congratulating all of the gay men in our community whose families grew recently!

Wishing all of these gay dads congratulations on their exciting news this month. From becoming first-time dads to finalizing adoptions, congrats to everyone in our community on their wonderful news!

Circle Surrogacy is the proud sponsor of this month's congrats post. They were founded in 1995 on the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to be a parent. "For over 20 years we've helped LGBTQ+ couples and singles around the world fulfill their dreams of parenthood. We've helped bring more than 1,900 babies into this world... and counting!"

Congratulations to Andrew and Edward on finalizing the adoptions of their twins!

For Andrew and Edward, their foster parent training plus home study took about a year. "We had a brief placement of twin girls that were four years old two months after we had been approved," said Andrew. "Then we took a break as it was a difficult process, the 'loss' aspect, when that placement ended."

Then on March 15, 2017, their case worker sent them information about two little babies - a boy and a girl - that were still in the NICU and only nine days old. "It was a foster case with an uncertain future, but we decided those little babies needed us!" They dads took a leap of faith and on July 10 this year, their twins' adoptions were finalized. Andrew and Edward have a wonderful bond with the paternal grandmother as well as a special relationship with the twins' father. "We all love these twins, and the more love they have the better their lives will be."

"Adoption is one of those experiences where one side experiences incredible joy while the other side experiences incredible loss," continued Andrew. "We are grateful to experience this joy knowing that biological family members are happy for us to experience that joy."

Congratulations to this Mt Airy, Philadelphia, forever family of four!

Congratulations to Sean and Thomas on finalizing the adoptions of their twins!

Together 15 years, London couple Sean and Thomas recently finalized the adoption of their twins.

"About 3 years ago we started meeting adoption agencies and were approved as prospective adopters the following spring," shared Thomas. "We were anticipating a long wait, but quite quickly were matched with our twins. At the time they were nearly five."

After a fairly long transition period for everyone to get settled in, the adoption was formalized the day after Father's Day. "Two years after matching, at times it seems like the kids have been with us forever and other times a blink of an eye. But it is certainly the most life-changing, transformative experience and we cannot imagine life without them. It's wonderful that our family is now official!"

Congratulations to Phillip and Clinton on the birth of their daughter Madison!

Little Madison joined her dads on July 1, 2019, after coming into the world via surrogate.

"I caught Madison as she was born," said Phillip. "I have never felt such an exhilarating rush in my entire life! We were genuinely in love at first sight!"

Now that we Phillip and Clinton are dads, they say they feel a "sense of wholeness" in their lives! "We have a new motivation and purpose in life! It's truly the greatest blessing!"

These new dads and the apple of their eye live in Texas.

Congratulations to Michael and Tyler on the birth of their twins, Elliot and Oliver!

Herriman, Utah, couple Michael and Tyler have been together for 9 years, and married for 3. "In the beginning of our relationship we knew how important family was and how much we wanted to be dads," said Micheal. "After we got married we met with a couple surrogacy agencies and were advised to meet with an IVF clinic before proceeding. In doing so, we found that going through a surrogacy journey independently was very possible."

So the dads decided to shift gears and work in that direction, booking a follow up appointment with the clinic. "We met with their 3rd party coordinator over the surrogate process and she did not have any inquiries of any surrogates." Serendipitously, and unbeknownst to the husbands at the time, their future surrogate made an appointment to talk about being a gestational carrier for a same-sex couple. "The next day we got the unexpected call that someone was interested and open to meet. From there the rest was history as we continued with the surrogacy process."

Over a year later, the dads welcomed their two sons. "The first time we got to hold the boys, it felt so natural to us, as if nothing else in the world existed and time stood still as we got lost in the moment."

Congratulations to Adam and Josh on finalizing the adoption of their daughter!

Adam and Josh got engaged on Good Morning America on Valentines Day, and welcomed their Christmas miracle baby into their lives on December 26th. On July 12 this year, they celebrated becoming a forever family of three.

"For an event that always seemed like it would be the end of our adoption journey, Baby K's Finalization Day felt more like the beginning of a greater adventure," shared Adam. "Since day one, Baby K was always loved and 100% part of our family, but we are so filled with joy to see this day come and make it officially official. We cannot wait to spend the rest of our lives not only watching Baby K grow and develop, but also to see the two of us learn and grow in this new role as parents."

Congrats to these Dallas dads!

Congratulations to Dan and Martin on the birth of their son Herman! 

Copenhagen couple Dan and Martin welcomed their second child through surrogacy on July 11 this year in Florida, USA. Herman joins big sister Ellen, born March 1, 2015, in Vermont via surrogacy. Here's a little more.

"Two amazing American women and their families took us in as their own and we're forever bonded," said Dan about their path to fatherhood experience. "It has been an amazing journey with both of them, our family is complete."

Congrats to the Danish family!

This post is sponsored by Circle Surrogacy

Circle was founded in 1995 on the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to be a parent. To this day, that belief is at the core of everything we do. For over 20 years we've helped straight and LGBTQ+ couples and singles around the world fulfill their dreams of parenthood. We've helped bring more than 1,900 babies into this world... and counting!

We're an agency comprised of social workers and lawyers, accountants and outreach associates, and program managers and coordinators; but, more importantly, we're an agency made up of parents, surrogates and egg donors, who are passionate about helping people build their families, and invested in each and every journey.

Circle is proud to have helped so many gay families achieve their dreams of becoming parents. Together, we make parenthood possible.®

News

Ed Smart, Father of Kidnapping Victim Elizabeth Smart, Comes Out as Gay

In coming his coming out letter, Ed Smart, a Mormon, condemned the church for their "ridicule, shunning, rejection and outright humiliation" of LGBTQ individuals.

In a post on Facebook, Ed Smart, father of kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart, came out as gay. He also discussed his strained relationship with his Mormon faith, claiming he felt he didn't feel comfortable living as an openly gay man in a church with a difficult history with respect to its LGBTQ members. He and his wife, Lois, have filed for divorce.

"This is one of the hardest letters I have ever written," he began the letter. "Hard because I am finally acknowledging a part of me that I have struggled with most of my life and never wanted to accept, but I must be true and honest with myself." He went on to acknowledged a new set of challenges facing he and his family as they navigate a divorce and his coming out — in the public eye, no less — but concluded, ultimately, that it's a "huge relief" to be "honest and truthful about my orientation."

He went on to condemn The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for their "ridicule, shunning, rejection and outright humiliation" of LGBTQ individuals. "I didn't want to face the feelings I fought so hard to suppress, and didn't want to reach out and tell those being ostracized that I too am numbered among them. But I cannot do that any longer."

In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, Ed Smart further discussed his reasons for coming out now, as a 64-year-old man.

"I mean, I knew that it would probably come out at some point, just because people can't leave things alone. I did anticipate that it would happen at some time, but my intention in writing it was to try to let my friends and family know, you know my extended family ... know where things were. So, you know, I was really concerned about how the rumor mill starts," he told the paper. "I knew that at some point in time, that would come out," he elaborated. "I didn't know when it would come out, and so I would rather have it come out the way that it did versus having some rumors going around, and you know the crazy way things can get twisted."

In 2002, Ed Smart's daughter Elizabeth was abducted at knife point by a married couple from her bedroom in Salt Lake City, Utah. She suffered physical and sexual abuse at the couple's hands, for nine months, until she was finally rescued by police. During the ordeal, papers — including the Salt Lake Tribute — speculated about Ed Smart's sexual orientation based on some fabricated information sold to the paper by tabloids like the National Enquirer. (The Enquirer retracted the story, and the reporters at the Tribute were ultimately fired.)

"I think that in April I started feeling like I needed to prepare something," Smart told the Tribute. "Because during Elizabeth's ordeal, there were things said, and it wasn't what I wanted to say, and I was not going to allow that to happen again."

As to how his family has taken the news, Smart said they've been "very kind" to him. "I think it was very difficult to have this kind of come out of the blue. I don't think any of them knew I was struggling with this, so it was something they were, if you want to call it, blindsided by. I totally get that. They've really been very wonderful."

Congrats to Ed Smart on making the difficult decision to live his truth. Read his full letter here and his interview with the Tribute here.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

"Rollercoaster and Sons," Explores the Journey of One Single Gay Dad Through the Foster-Adopt System

When it comes to the foster-adopt system, "there is no roadmap," said single gay dad Chase Turner

Guest post written by Chase Turner

Many of us thought long and hard about what avenues were best to pursue being a dad. For me, fostering to adoption was the selected road. There is no roadmap here, many things that came my way were learned by doing. Along the way, I started wishing I had a better support group or people who could understand what it's like to be gay and attempting to adopt. Often we (people who are LGBT) feel scrutinized and judged for choices that the majority makes but for us there is pushback. Once my adoption was complete, I felt it was necessary that I put pen to paper and write this story, from a gay male perspective.

My goal was to provide a voice in the space of foster care and adoption where there is a void. Additionally, I wanted to provide an authentic look at all facets of the process, from the kids, to the obstacles and challenges that happened within my personal life. I do hope you enjoy and more importantly can relate or prepare yourself for a similar journey.

Keep reading... Show less
Fun

Gay Dad Penguins Strike Again! This Time in Berlin Zoo

The latest male penguins to care for an egg together are Skipper and Ping in the Berlin Zoo.

First, there was Roy and Silo — the two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo that served as inspiration for the famous children's book And Tango Makes Three. Then Magin Sphen got together in Sydney, where aquarium keepers gave the cocks (Calm down, that's what a male penguin is called!) a foster egg to care for.

And now, please welcome Skipper and Ping in Berlin to the latest list of gay dad penguins! As soon as the two emperor penguins arrived at the city's zoo, they set about trying to start a family, said Berlin Zoo spokesman Maximilian Jaege to DPA news.

"They kept trying to hatch fish and stones," Jaeger said.

So the zookeepers loaned the penguins an egg from a female penguin, who is apparently uninterested in hatching eggs on her own, according to the BBC.

Unsurprisingly, the gay penguins are killing it as parents. "The two male penguins are acting like exemplary parents, taking turns to warm the egg," Jaeger said,

Read the whole article on DPA here.

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse