BBQ Chicken Pizza

Since I have already confessed to you that not every meal I make is as gourmet as Red Wine Risotto with Basil or as exotic as Vietnamese Baguettes, I will share with you some of our good ol' stand-bys.
The first in line: BBQ Chicken Pizza. It goes under the category of so-simple-a-mom-with-a-crazy-schedule-could-do-it. But it is also so good that we sometimes serve it when guests come over.

BBQ Chicken Pizza
serves four adults
- 1 1/2 lb whole wheat pizza dough
- 3/4 cup barbecue sauce
- about 4 cups shredded cheese (we like mozzarella and cheddar blend)
- 1 pre-cooked shredded chicken breast
- 3 slices turkey bacon, cooked 'til crispy, then crumbled
- 1 chopped bell pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- cilantro and/or green onions for serving
Roll out dough to desired thickness, spread with sauce, cheese, and toppings. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, although check after 15 minutes (I don't trust our oven). Top with cilantro, green onion, or both. Enjoy.

I would like to state for the record that my husband had no part in creating the pizza pictured here. I am saying this because he is a pizza perfectionist (he held a job a Papa Murphys take-and-bake all through high school) and, as you can clearly see, the pizza in these pictures is far from perfect (awkward crust shape, uneven topping distribution... it's just pitiful). Luckily for all parties involved, the taste is unaffected by the appearance.

For the little ones at your dinner table, you can use part of the dough to create their own personal pizza and top it with chicken, cheese, and as many veggies as you can hide under the cheese. I chopped some bell pepper really finely and pressed it into the dough of James' pizza.


As a mother I have learned...

1. A mothers' work is truly never done.
2. Everyone on the road (except me, of course) drives like a maniac.
3. The Raffi Pandora station is actually not that bad.
4. Moms don't eat their food hot. Rarely, they eat it warm. Usually, they eat it cold.
5. To choose a diaper bag that goes with anything (sweat pants, evening gown, etc.) because you will go no where without it.
6. Out of sight and quiet is not a good combination:

7. ...but sometimes you just have to laugh and grab a camera.
8. Exercising is overrated.
9. Coffee is underrated. (I was kinda already on to that one.)
10. White is not a good clothing color choice for mother or child.
11. Parenthood is the most difficult and the most rewarding job you have ever had, will ever have, or could ever have. Hands down. If you don't agree, then you have never raised another human being.
12. Why sleep deprivation torture works.
13. Everyone- and I mean everyone- will give you advise on raising your child (whether or not they have done it themselves). Here is my advise:
14. Don't listen to everyone else's advise. You are the parent, raise your child how you know best.
15. The car floor will always be lined with Cheerios.
16. It takes 2 hours to really clean the house, and 10 minutes to really trash it.
17. I will never regret all the times I let dirty dishes sit in the sink, clean clothes sit in laundry baskets, and dirt sit on the floor while I held my baby.
18. Belly buttons are the most amusing body part.

19. Nap time is never long enough.
20. There is no greater sound than your child's laughter.
21. You can pick up an amazing amount of objects with just your toes.
22. Your life will be easier if you live near a library and within walking distance to a park.
23. Cloth diapers are not that difficult, but if you use them people mistake you for a super-mom.
24. I am closer to understanding the amazing gift of God's sacrificial and unconditional love for His children.


Earning his keep

James has begun to help with chores.

Okay, by "help" I don't really mean that he assists me at all, or makes housework any easier, but he tries to help, and it is seriously adorable.

His favorite chore to participate in is laundry. I think it is because he can fit most of his body in the machines, and then when he "talks" it echos. Every time I do laundry, he insists on "helping" me. His definition of "help" is as follows:
- Take dirty clothes that have not been washed out of the washing machine, and put them on the floor.
- Take wet clothes that need to be placed in the dryer out of the washing machine, and put them on the floor.
- Take clean, dry clothes out of the dryer, and put them on the floor.

Although none of these tasks make my life any less complicated, I encourage him to do it because he enjoys it and he feels like he is helping. After all, that is what raising a child is all about, right? Children do not make our lives any less complicated, but we hope that they will grow up to be joyful people who want to help the world.

But truthfully, I just hope that one day he will actually help with laundry.

Every once in a while I am able to strategically sneak blankie away from James' grasp and stuff it into the washing machine with the rest of the clothes (it pretty much always needs a wash since it goes everywhere with us). I always let James empty the dryer when blankie is in there. When he finds blankie, it is clean and warm. This results in a dramatic reunion as James giggles and buries his face in blankie, as if it had been years (and not mere hours) since he had seen it.


White chocolate cranberry coconut oatmeal cookies

Sometimes you have to have something really sweet, so you buy white chocolate chips.

But then you decide you also need some tart in there, so you add cranberries.

However, you also need chewy and flaky, so you throw in some oats and coconut flakes.

And then you start to feel guilty about the complete lack of nutrients coming from your baking endeavors, so you choose a Cooking Light recipe to adapt, to make yourself feel better.

But in the end, you double the recipe because they are that good.

White chocolate cranberry coconut oatmeal cookies
adapted from this recipe by Cooking Light
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 egg + 1 egg white
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup oats
1 cup large unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup dried cranberries
In a large bowl, beat together butter and the sugars, add vanilla and the egg and egg white and beat until smooth.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, oats, coconut, salt and baking powder.
Add dry ingredients to wet, mixing well. Mix in chocolate chips and cranberries.
Bake on a non-greased cookie sheet for about 10 minutes and let cool on baking sheet 2 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Enjoy.