7QT: Disappointment, Snow, Crustless Pizza, and Sports


I wasn't going to bother with a 7 Quick Takes today because I had planned on being too busy. However...

~1~

Tonight is the big performance of the wonderful sacred music schola that Cookie and Professor have been a part of for months. They have practiced and practiced and planned and looked forward to this day for so long. And I am going to miss it. The Chief was taking them early to the most beautiful church in the Diocese of Cleveland to prepare their lovely voices. I was going to meet them there with the littles later on.

"The highway is a parking lot and is littered with accidents. I don't want you to come tonight."

The Chief's right, of course. But the disappointment is intense. I haven't heard their program and I never will. Wow... I haven't been this bummed in a long time.

~2~

The kids prayed for snow like all happy kids do. I was the humbug. "Be content. The snow brings treacherous roads and our loved ones travel those roads every day. If you want to pray for snow, pray for a snow that leaves the roads clear." 

Perhaps I'm just in a foul mood now but I cannot help this negative feeling about the snow. Perhaps if we never had to leave the house. Perhaps if my brother wasn't driving in from New York during this storm or my brother-in-law didn't ever pull doubles or triples for a living. Perhaps if my husband, my family members, my friends didn't have to travel the highways to work every day. Perhaps then I wouldn't mind it.

It is beautiful, to be sure. I love the way it looks in our woods in the moonlight. The ice crystals sparkle making it look like a fairyland. The Winter romantic in me isn't totally dead, just dulled a little by the gravity of experience. A similar thing has happened to my love of sledding. It was all sunshine and moonbeans until a family member was assaulted at a local hill, a godson had his head split open on a tree, the Chief tore his MCL practicing fancy moves, and Crash had such a crash that it silenced the crowded hill, inspired a teenage boy to say solemnly, "Dude, that little guy is dead" and earned him a concussion.

I'm starting to feel like Puddleglum from Narnia. Moving on...

~3~

I haven't had pizza for the better part of a year and am excited to announce that I have found an allergy-friendly version. Thank the Lord that I do not have a dairy allergy. I'm sure I would starve. For those of you gluten-free readers out there who can still consume dairy, I think you'll like this recipe. Below is a photo of my first and successful attempt at Where's the Crust Pizza from Plain Chicken.


I'm going to give you the recipe but I want to first note that I altered the cooking times and temperatures to make it slightly firmer. The crust is a crust but is a bit floppy. Increasing the numbers made the whole thing nicer. The flavor is delicious. (My comments in red.)

Crust
1 (8 oz) package of full fat cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
{I have tried this with both the very fine parmesan that people commonly use on their pasta and the bigger, shredded version. The shredded turned out much nicer for me, not as grainy. Also, the common green container of Kraft has additives that I don't prefer. The shredded parm can be found without excessive additives.}
Topping
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
{We always shred our own cheese. Bags of preshredded cheese contains additional chemicals that prevent caking. I have two shredders because one is always in use. It melts better and tastes better.}toppings - pepperoni, ham, sausage, mushrooms, peppers
Garlic powder
{I do not add this extra garlic powder because I think it's just too much. I like plainer foods.}
Preheat oven to 350.

Lightly spay a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. With a handheld mixer, mix cream cheese, eggs, pepper, garlic powder and parmesan cheese until combined. Spread into baking dish. Bake for 12-15 minutes, our until golden brown. {The golden brown stage usually requires 15+ minutes in my oven. It should look almost like a shallow yellow cake.} Allow crust to cool for 10 minutes.

Spread pizza sauce on crust. Top with cheese and toppings. Sprinkle pizza with garlic powder. Bake 8-10 minutes, until cheese is melted.
{I start at 350 but always end up increasing the temp. to 400 after it reaches 10 minutes and doesn't look crisp enough. Then I put it on broil for a couple minutes until the top bubbles. Definitely let the pizza sit for a couple minutes after removing from the oven to allow it to firm up a little before serving.}

~4~


Looks like Professor might have the opportunity to play volleyball for a local high school in the Spring. We quit club sports this year and have not regretted it but I think there may be room for a brief, healthy, physical outlet... especially after our looong Winter. No traveling. No outrageous bills. No months and months and months of never ending intensity and club drama. I think we might be open to this. One step at a time. He might be disappointed by the lower level of competition than what he is used to. Then again, he might just enjoy having a little low-key fun. Then again, maybe they'll surprise a few people and do rather well.




~5~


It's funny how I spent a ton of energy "letting go" of sports and yet I know I could step back into it without batting an eyelash. It's almost like having an itch that you've resolved not to scratch. You do fine until you start thinking about it again. Or perhaps it's like an addiction. I posted the two-year old photo of Professor at Nationals above and felt this funny little feeling in my stomach. It was a little shot of adrenaline or something... and I wasn't even at that tournament.

I don't understand it. Perhaps it is because I had such a strong positive experience of sport in my own formative years. Or perhaps because it is easier to think about winning games than it is to think about overcoming the daily battles that can weigh down the heart. Like the kids when they are supposed to be doing Math and all of a sudden, everything looks like more fun than Math. Especially stuff that is actually fun. The kids are successful at sports and it makes ME feel successful as a parent to watch them achieve. And I do like feeling successful.

But this is a moment to stay guarded because we have rediscovered what it means to be free from the tyranny of youth sport and we do not intend to become enslaved again. Come, Holy Spirit.

~6~

My 5-year old just said OMG and the other kids were shocked and horrified. They say a bunch of other stuff they shouldn't to each other in the heat of sibling frustrations, but this is one thing that no one in our family ever says. The term is ubiquitous in our culture so I know they hear it regularly but we teach them that it is a direct violation of the second Commandment to use the phrase in a flip or casual way that is not prayerful or reverent. In other words, it is not a suitable replacement for "Oh wow!" or anything like that. So when Jellybean came out with it a few minutes ago, you would have thought that she dropped the F-bomb or something. And indeed, I am happy to know that the kids take the holy name of God and the Commandments that seriously.

I recently listened to a very well-intentioned catechist try to explain this Commandment to Jellybean during sacramental prep. She mentioned nothing about actually misusing the Lord's name but said something very confusing and vague about never being afraid to be a Christian publicly. I don't think Jellybean had any idea what the woman was talking about. The Catechism of the Catholic Church does mention that point briefly in 2145 but she entirely passed over the most obvious meaning of the command which includes the following...

2143 "The Lord's name is holy. For this reason man must not abuse it. He must keep it in mind in silent, loving adoration. He will not introduce it into his own speech except to bless, praise, and glorify it."

Read the rest here. We're not particularly uptight people but this one seems like a no brainer. Like not missing Mass on Sundays.

~7~

Well, the kids will start their performance in 30 minutes. I really feel like I have let them down. I know it's not me... it's this, this... snow. At least their prayer for a white Christmas will be answered.

Joining Jennifer at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday

Posted on December 21, 2012 .