Friday, January 29


Something about Miss Swift's latest single, "Fifteen" has me humming a tune of nostalgia. It's not so much the entirety of the song about the issue of high school drama, but more about the underlying notes of hammering out one's identity.

"I've found time can heal just about anything, and you just might figure out who you're supposed to be. I didn't know it at fifteen." Well, hell, I didn't even know it at twenty-five!

I didn't really know who I was supposed to be until a few weeks ago really. I'll be twenty-eight in a few months. Sigh, but I'll get to that later.

But as I've droned on before, motherhood has had its way of interceding the thoughts I thought I had about me, and what the heck I'm "supposed to do in life", or what I want to be in life in addition to the domestic guru I've come to be over the past few years. It's not as if I was in "the know" of my direction in life before kids. They just seemed to slow the progress of figuring that out if it were to ever happen.

Taylor Swift crossed my mind while I watched early home videos of Mason and Peyton this morning with the two of them nestled in my lap. They're both sick right now, as am I, but that's not really important. We watched and they both thoroughly enjoyed viewing their former selves on the TV; the stories I tell them from my recollection are not as entertaining as it is to literally watch Mason shake his butt on camera. I think in the three years of film I appear on camera all but a four times. I am behind the lens, but my voice is still audible.

Besides my pudgy lil' babes, my husband and stepdaughter grace the camera often. They were so natural with the boys. Happy. Overjoyed. Ecstatic. My kids adored them, and it was evident in the footage how much my boys loved them too. They were enamoured with each other.

And then there was me. Frantic, exhausted behind the camera. Happy, but I could just hear the discomfort I had in my own skin. As mom. I didn't know who I was supposed to be at twenty-five.

I trace through my journals and I know how abundantly my heart flowed with love for my kids and obviously I do more now twenty-fold than when the boys were infants. But most of the time when I was with them, I wanted to be someone else. Because I wasn't so sure how to do the mom thing. And I didn't want to admit it-- who acknowledges those things when you're a mom!? You're supposed to be a strong, all-knowing, life-giving being who instantly tames the crazy emotions and physical demands of being a mom the moment your child takes its first breath of air... but I wasn't.

I was totally disconnected, present physically but emotionally I was all over the place, and unfortunately my kids were left with a mom who was quite confused a lot of the time. Three years and a steady dose of counseling has given me time to settle and wrap my head around parenthood. With a clear mind now, I wonder in the cliche term that Swift sings about, if I knew three years ago what I know now, would I have enjoyed my kids a bit more?

Preschool registrations are rearing their head. Reviewing kindergarten regulations are not out of the question now. Both things are nearing quicker than I anticipated and I realize how fast the days have passed me at light speed. And so I wonder to myself could I do a better job tomorrow than I did today? The answer is always yes.

So thank you Taylor Swift, you savvy eight-Grammy nominee, entertainer of the year. All nineteen freakin' years of you gave insight to a stay at home mom. Imagine that.

As for figuring myself out, as I mentioned earlier-- that may be just as important as evaluating the time spent with my kids developing their roots, so to speak. I'm studying to be a personal trainer. While a part of me wants to drift into thought wondering how much happier of a person I would have been for my kids three years ago if I knew both how to be a mom and enjoy it, AND how to be happy with my purpose in my life trying to help people train and fulfill healthier lives... I won't.

I'm just thankful I figured it out now.

Monday, January 11

Smoky Chicken Pizza with Lemon Artichoke Pesto

Hello delicious.

Yes I've bailed out on blogger for a month and I'm sneaking back in with a mere recipe and no stories about the kids.... I'm not even going to talk about the Lake Tahoe a la Urine that Mason made two days ago. That can wait.

Instead I have an awesome pizza recipe for you to splurge. The pesto makes a ton and freezes well, and add it to a pizza dough with smoky chicken and caramelized onion and you have yourself a free pass to wear those stretchy sweatpants and chow down until stuffed.

I grant you the picture I took is not terribly appetizing, but I promise the resulting taste is awesome.

Smoky Chicken Pizza
Serves: 4-6 [depending on appetite for sure]
2 chicken breast
2 tubes of pizza dough [recommended: Pillsbury]
lemon artichoke pesto [recipe to follow]
1 small red onion [or half of a large], thinly sliced
handful of chopped cilantro
1/2 t of liquid smoke
1 t smoked paprika
Salt & pepper
1 cup Italian blend shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and then begin to prepare the chicken. Season with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, liquid smoke, and a drizzle of EVOO. Rub seasonings over both sides of the chicken. Add the chicken to a heated skillet and cook chicken over medium high heat about 4-5 minutes per side or until cooked through completely. Once the chicken is cooking, place the sliced onions off to the side of the skillet with a drizzle of EVOO and saute until caramelized. Season onions with salt and pepper. When chicken is finished cooking, remove from heat and cover with foil.

While the chicken and onions are cooking, spray two baking pans with non-stick spray and roll out each pizza dough tube to fit the pan stretching to edges as needed. Use a few heaping tablespoons of pesto per dough and spread within 1/2 inch or so of the edge to leave room for a crust. Thinly slice the cooked chicken on an angle into bite-sized pieces and spread over each pizza. Scatter the caramelized onions over each and top with cheese. Bake pizza for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is golden. For an extra garnish, top pizza with chopped cilantro.

Lemon Artichoke Pesto
Serves: 8
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 large/4 small garlic cloves
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup walnuts/pecans/sunflower seeds
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup olive oil
salt to taste
1 (8 ounce) package frozen artichokes, thawed and chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Place the cilantro, garlic, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, walnuts, canola oil, olive oil, and salt into a food processor. Pulse until smooth, then pour into a large bowl. Gently stir in chopped artichokes and Parmesan cheese.