Author Archives: Kara Gause

Kara Gause

About Kara Gause

Kara Gause is a junkie for TV, film, pop culture, and health food--in that order. A Yankee girl happily transplanted in Nashville, she spends her days as a freelance writer juggling the needs of her twin toddlers, two Bassett hounds, and one fantastic husband--in that order. Read more of her day-to-day shenanigans on her blog, MasterofWhat.com.

Barbecue Ribs

A Guide to Barbecue Sauces in the South

Barbecue SaucesBarbecue is its own special language in the South, with multiple sauces and bases. How many can you name? In honor of National Barbecue Month, blogger Kara Gause breaks them down.

The South is synonymous with slow-cooked, soulful food. As a Yankee transplanted to Tennessee by marriage, I was excited to learn more about all the dishes that constitute “home cooking” for my husband. And to him, nothing says “home” quite like barbecue.

The first time I went to meet his family in South Carolina, my future father-in-law was slaving away at slow-cooked, Low-Country barbecue–or an old-fashioned pig pickin,’ as they say. Being from Pennsylvania, I expected a tomato-based sauce to accompany my meal. Oh, how wrong I was!

It seems there are no fewer than five methods of saucing the smoky meat in the South–six, if you count the devotees of dry rubs and non-saucing. Those five are: Memphis-style heavy tomato (what I had imagined for the pig pickin’); a white, mayonnaise-based sauce from northern Alabama (the hubs is not a fan); light tomato (think ketchup) in North Carolina and Georgia; mustard-based in South Carolina (tangy and sweet); and the vinegar-based staple for eastern South Carolina and Kentucky.

My husband has implored me to note (out of respect–seriously) that both Texas and Kansas City have variations of the heavy tomato sauce. It should also be said that my father-in-law has developed a well-guarded vinegar-based sauce over several decades. Only my brother-in-law Tim has inherited the recipe. Yes, really.

Had I been introduced to the nuances of barbecue often covered in magazines, such as Garden & Gun, 10 years ago, I could have saved myself from some serious teasing at the hands of my in-laws. Besides breaking down “the sauce question,” there’s also a guide to the best barbecue sandwiches in the South. While tradition is soundly respected here, there are also breakout stars. Take the spicy Korean pork sandwich from the Heirloom Market in Atlanta, described as a “gutsy alliance of Southern pit-smoking techniques and Korean flavors.” Yum.

Even I have begun to develop my own version of barbecue; using pulled chicken makes me feel infinitely less guilty about serving it up more regularly. I’d spill all my recipe secrets, but I’ll probably will them to my daughters. After all, here in the South, barbecue is like currency.

 

Valentines Day Ideas_featured

5 Tips for Celebrating Valentine’s Day–Family Style

Valentines Day IdeasWant to include the whole family in your Valentine’s Day plans? Here are five sweet and simple ways to enjoy the evening with everyone you love.

Parenting School Years magazine is asking parents to give up the Valentine’s Day date night and hang out with the kids at home instead.

The upside, says the magazine, entails far more than not having to find and pay for a sitter: some good old-fashioned family fun and bonding. Oh, and ladies, two words: no heels.

Here are the parenting magazine’s five tips for celebrating Love Day with the whole gang:

1. Deck the Halls in Color: Go all out for the kids (and your sweetheart) by decorating the dining room with streamers and hearts in all shades of red, pink and white. If you’re feeling really daring, you could always go for some super cute temporary heart tattoos from Tattoofun.com (see image below).

2. Seek Love and You Will Find…: Hide confection paper hearts all over the house for the kids to find. Whoever finds the most hearts gets to cash in on a special holiday prize.

MomTattoo.jpg3. Design a Heart-y Menu: Are you serving pizza, or is that “a Slice of Heaven”? A root beer float for dessert? Nah. You’re slurping on an “In the Clouds.”

4. Romance Hollywood-Style: You’ve had dinner; now it’s time for the movie. Break out the pillows and blankets, and snuggle in for a family classic like “A Charlie Brown Valentine” or “Lady and the Tramp.” So sweet.

5. “I Love You Because…”:
Take the time to have everyone go around the dinner table and share five reasons why they love each family member. It’s okay to cheat and help the little ones write their love notes out before the big reveal.

Who knows? You might get some more appreciation the other 364 days of the year. If not, well, better soak up enough lovin’ to last till next Valentine’s Day!

 

Parent & Child magazine's December 2011-January 2012 issue

7 Holiday Traditions to Get Your Family Talking About What Matters

Parent & Child magazine's December 2011-January 2012 issue

Parent & Child magazine's December 2011-January 2012 issue

Traditions are key to keeping families close, especially during the holidays. Parent & Child magazine is offering up some fantastic ways to get your kids talking about what really matters at this time of year.

As Parent & Child‘s December/January cover girl, Brooke Shields is opening up about her family’s Christmas traditions that keep her family of screenwriter husband Chris Henchy, and their two daughters, Rowan, 8, and Grier, 5, close.

Citing daily family meals sans cell phones as the family’s main face time, Shields says her daughters actually crave discipline and routine–even chores! “We have house rules, like making their own beds every day and putting their dirty clothes in the hamper,” she tells the magazine. “It creates a sense of structure, and they actually really like it.”

Meg Cox, author of “The Book of New Family Traditions: How to Create Great Rituals for Holidays & Everydays,” believes those rituals and traditions are heightened during the holiday season. “If you’re like a lot of people,” she says, “the whole history of your family is hanging on your Christmas tree every year.”

To take advantage of this special time of year and the opportunities for family bonding, here are great holiday traditions to get your own family talking.

1. Read all about it! Give your kids a different book on your family’s holiday tradition–Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa–over the course of a few nights leading up to the big event. Have them open them at the dinner table so you can discuss them together. The themes of the book can help echo and promote your own family’s values.

2. Make your own memory books. Help kids reminisce over holidays past with homemade photo and memory books. With the help of companies like Snapfish, your special books will last for years to come. Maybe this year the kids can help write the new one!

3. Painting ornaments. Shields grew up painting ornaments with her mother each Christmas. Now, she and Henchy get to celebrate that tradition with their own daughters.

4. Tree of stories. Each night before bed, turn off the lights, look at your beautiful, twinkling Christmas tree,  and tell the story of how you came to have one of the ornaments and what each means to you. Snuggling is a must here!

5. A card a day. Wait to open holiday cards until dinner time. Let the kids take turns opening and reading them aloud. You can then talk about how you met the person who sent the card and how much the sender means to you.

6. Let them help. You make the big meal, so why not have the rest of the family set and decorate the table? It will help everyone feel a part of it–until they’re old enough to get in the kitchen and help!

7. Pay it forward.Give your kids a craft kit as an early present. They can use it to make presents and ornaments for friends and family–a tradition that will definitely remind them that this is really a season of giving.

Making Christmas card

How to Take Great Holiday Family Photos

‘Tis the season for taking family photos for Christmas cards. Parenting School Years magazine offers four tips for snapping the best pictures of your crew this holiday season.

Chances are you’ve got plenty of holiday photo postcards of friends and family peppering your refrigerator–or you soon will. With Christmas just less than a month away, families will be striking poses in the hopes of getting that perfect picture to grace their holiday card.

More and more, families are opting for natural settings and incorporating their personalities, sending that super-posed photo to the wayside.

Parenting School Years magazine cornered some professional photographers, who offered advice like abandoning the pose–and more–for help on how to score the ultimate family photo. Here’s what they have to say.

1. Say no to the pose. Posed family photos are awkward and impossible to make happen anyway. The trend now is to go with unposed shots. Says Charleston, S.C., photojournalist Joshua Drake, “Candids let you capture those intimate, honest moments that happen in everyday life that best reflect your child’s mood and personality.”

2. Keep them in their native environment. If you want the kids to look relaxed and happy, then it might be better to photograph them in their natural habitat–amongst all their toys. “Kids feel most comfortable on their own couch or on their playroom floor,” says Carmel Zucker, a photojournalist from Boulder, Colo. And nothing gets them more delighted or animated than a favorite toy–I know, a blow to the ego for sure.

3. READY, set, click! Just last night I was wishing I’d had my camera nearby to capture my twin girls holding hands and singing. Of course, the minute I move for the camera, they follow me. “You should always have a camera sitting around the house that’s ready to go,” Zucker says. And out of reach of sticky fingers.

4. Snap away! Brent Clark, an award-winning photojournalist based in Raleigh, N.C., confides, “Small facial movements can make or break a photo.” What about redundancy? Clark suggests moving around the room to get different angles, even “lying on the ground or standing on a chair.”

Perhaps the best advice is to let go of so many ridiculous expectations for the perfect family photo. Aside from hiring a professional photographer and paying a fortune, it just might not exist. Besides, the best photographs help us remember special moments and phases of life–none of which will be, “Remember that awesome day we spent taking a family portrait?”

Tell us. What’s your secret for capturing the best family photos?

Parent & Child magazine April 2012

How Christina Applegate Conjures Up Comedy

Parent & Child magazine April 2012Nothing’s sweeter than the sound of your baby’s laughter. Actress and comedienne Christina Applegate loves to make people laugh–and none more than her own daughter.

If you’re a parent of young children–or have been at some point–you’re probably enjoying Christina Applegate’s latest successful TV venture “Up All Night.” The ABC sitcom, co-starring Maya Rudolph and Will Arnett, proves that the truth about parenting is stranger, and much funnier, than fiction. All three of the stars are in the midst of raising young children in real life, as are three of the series writers.

In the April issue of Parent & Child magazine, Applegate (who’s also covering the April issue of Health magazine) admits that sometimes moments from her real life with baby daughter Sadie Grace, 1, end up on the small screen. “For instance, the birth episode included a lot of what I actually experienced. I didn’t mention this to anyone else while it was going on, but I turned pushing into a competition. In the back of my head, I needed to be the person who pushed a baby out the fastest in history.”

That sense of competition may have helped the blonde beauty and breast cancer survivor land so many successful comedic roles, but Applegate tells the parenting magazine she didn’t come by her sense of humor naturally. A self-described “tough” kid, Applegate says, “My mom was dealing with being a single parent, and there wasn’t a lot of humor at home. To be honest, I learned humor from Katey [Sagal] and Ed [O’Neill] when I started working on ‘Married with Children.’ They are very funny people. Before that, I was pretty serious. I think that’s why they hired me for that show. They wanted tough.”

Segal and O’Neill must be seriously effective teachers, as Applegate has become a staple in sitcoms and in classic comedy films like “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.” Thankfully for Applegate, that humor has managed to find its way into her personal life with fiance Martyn LeNoble and baby Sadie, who’s “a much harder critic than the public” any day.

Says Applegate, ”I talk to her in silly voices. She loves it when I imitate a monkey—she starts imitating a monkey, too. Every day there’s something different that she thinks is hysterical. And you try to use it again and again, but then by the third time, she doesn’t find it funny anymore. So we’re constantly trying to invent new ways to make her laugh.”

Sound familiar? Do you think your own parenting moments could inspire a great television comedy?

Fit Pregnancy magazine April/May 2012

How to Have the Best Labor and Delivery Possible

Fit Pregnancy April/May 2012A veteran nurse of 20 years talks to Fit Pregnancy about how to realistically improve your labor and delivery.

Confession: When I was in the midst of a high-risk pregnancy with twins, my OB suggested I have a C-section. In such a stressful situation, I never questioned the doctor’s opinion, opting instead to get the girls here safely and as close to term as possible. The rest would be up to her.

I’d be lying if I said I never sit back and wonder about my birthing process. When I watch my friends contemplate their own birth plans, I sometimes feel a little remorse. Did I miss out on something great?

The April/May issue of Fit Pregnancy focuses on helping women have the easiest delivery possible, seeking the advice of an expert. No, not a doctor–a labor nurse. If you’re giving birth, you’ll be spending more time with her than the doctor anyway. That said, it might be good to hear what she has to say now–before you hit the stirrups. Her job is to comfort and coach you, so why not bend your ear to the real expert in the delivery room?

Here’s what Jeanne Faulkner, R.N., had to say about having the easiest labor and delivery possible. Listen up!

1. Get out of the bed. Changing your position can help alleviate pain and cramping. It also helps move the baby down the birth canal. Try a tub, sit on a ball or go for walk, but don’t stay in the same position.

2. Plan to be flexible. You’ll have your ideal birth plan in mind, but don’t get too attached. Things can change quickly in a high-stakes situation. Decide on the non-negotiables and stick to a one-page plan. But don’t worry if you have to scrap it at the last second.

3. Let go of the modesty. Check the vanity. Doctors, nurses, doulas–they’ve all seen it all before, so don’t stress about what everything looks like “down there.” Freshly showered is all they hope for. As for the screaming and crying–nothing could surprise them. Just don’t be mean!

4. Be honest about your fears. No one minds helping you, and no worry is too small. If you’re afraid of something, speak up so someone can help you.

5. “Labor is a journey, not a race.” There is no “crystal ball” as to how long someone’s labor will take. Pros can guess, but they don’t really know. One way to make it go faster? Nix the entourage in the delivery room. You’re more modest and worried about appearances when they’re there, and it does slow the process. Now, there’s your excuse for keeping grandma in the waiting room!

What’s your best advice for a smooth delivery?