Monday, May 10, 2010

Another Mother Further. Part Two.

Mothers’ Day got off to a lovely start for me yesterday. Perfect weather, a few extra winks of sleep, thoughtful gifts, our favorite brunch, and inexplicably -- non-bickering kids. I don’t know whether Son and Darling Daughter were in cahoots on that last bit, but it’d be silly to ask, right?

Couldn’t last, of course.

As Son drove us to brunch, our Honda Pilot’s TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) indicated that the driver’s side rear tire was low. A fluke, right? It was, after all, Mothers’ Day. Just to be sure, I called Charleston to check with my advisor of all things manly -- Cougar Bait. Hmm. CB didn’t want to alarm me, but he noted that if I left the tire unattended, I might wake up to a car limping along on only three good tires the next morning. And then, just to be sure, he called Costco on my behalf, confirmed their operating hours, and told them I was on the way for repairs.

Sigh. I really didn’t have the time. Or the inclination. Weekends are special to me. Especially considering that the custody agreement specifies that Son and Darling Daughter are with their dad every other weekend. That means I only get those two full days of nagging -- uninterrupted by school attendance -- every two weeks. With exams only three weeks away, I had a good bit of nagging to do.

But then, unbidden, DD appeared in the kitchen, asking me to sign a math paper and before I could offer the considerable benefit of my wisdom, giving me her detailed plan to improve her grade.

Not one to be derailed, I went upstairs to explain to Son, in detail, exactly how (in my humble, yet expert, opinion) he ought to spend his afternoon. But it seems he had some kind of spooky, voodoo mindreader thing going, because when I poked my head in his room, he’d emptied out his closet and was making piles of clothes and books – to be donated, to be passed on, to be questioned.

Could Mothers’ Day have ameliorated the need for nagging?

I had no choice but to head to my CB-arranged appointment, where, as I cooled my heels in the aisles of Costco, I acquired a few intriguing facts:

1) You can make a tasty spread with smoked salmon, sour cream and cream cheese. To quote my enthusiastic and aproned friend, “That’s right! Just our special smoked salmon, sour cream and a bit of cream cheese!”

2) “On your way to the hospital [presumably due to choosing an inadequate ladder], you’ll be wishing you had a Little Giant MegaLite.” This is a direct quote.

3) Pub Mix is back! Inexplicably, my favorite snack mix is hit or miss at Costco. Today was a hit. Maybe Mothers’ Day luck? 

4) Edamame, of all things, is available for purchase in 24-ounce packages and can be microwaved.

5) And finally, “A tire can lose half its pressure before it appears to run low.” Sad, but true.

Two and half fact-filled hours later, I drove off with one new tire, arriving home just in time to allow Josie-The-Rescue-Dog -- who spends 23 ½ hours of every day outdoors -- indoors. So she could vomit five times. No kidding.

So much for Mothers’ Day luck.

No sense complaining, of course. I just needed to readjust and arrange to have pizza delivered.

To be truthful, I actually would’ve had time to make the Chicken Cavatappi I’d planned. It’s that simple. And in all likelihood, the kids would’ve enjoyed it more. But somehow, the home-delivered pizza made a much better story. And it reminded me how much more I like my own pizza sauce.

Happy Mothers’ Day.

Chicken And Cavatappi
This is another super simple – and absurdly flavorful -- recipe for my friend Megan, and inspired by CB's recipe for Pizza Chicken, which is the very same recipe, minus the pasta.
8-10 ounces cavatappi (or other hearty pasta) 

3 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each cut in 3-5 large chunks
2 cups marinara sauce (homemade or from a jar)
2 cups pre-grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare pasta according to package directions, cooking until al dente. While pasta boils, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season chicken chunks generously with salt and pepper, and then brown evenly in skillet. Spray an 8-inch or 9-inch pan with nonstick spray. Drain cooked pasta and pour into pan. Place browned chicken chunks on top of pasta. Pour sauce evenly over chicken and pasta. Spread grated cheese over all. Put dish in oven and bake 10-15 minutes until cheese melts, bubbles and begins to brown. Remove and serve hot.
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