Chef Lyn’s Dinner Cooking

Thank you, Lynne, AwesomismMom for this honor and the opportunity to be a guest blogger/writer for your wonderful site. Our community of people are important family and I am happy to be able to share my experiences both as a Personal Chef and mother of an autistic child.

Chef Lynn < The Personable Chef, talks about Dinner time and feeding our autistic kids/adults

 

Creating dinner each night takes planning and thought. Each person has their own likes and dislikes for sure. When you add an autistic/adhd child/adult into the mix you may be finding yourself becoming the short order cook you never wanted to be.

My younger daughter is almost 8 and was diagnosed with autism at age 2.( I don’t usually use the term higher functioning but that shares her story a bit)

From the beginning there were sensory eating concerns. As much as I could, I gave her various textures/colors and types of food so that she wouldn’t limit the already limited diet anymore.

At this young age she preferred smooth and sweet things. yogurt, sometimes hummus, juicer fruits those kinds of things. Getting enough protein was always the challenge. As she ages what her food looks like and smells like are very important to her.

“Its yucky or I hate it” is the famous phrase here even when she hasn’t tried something, (we hear this daily.)

Beyond my family…….

One of the biggest obstacles I have found over the years is the parent(s) (me included)

Many parents can be picky eaters and so what they don’t like they pass that off, the child(ren) decide that they won’t like it either.

And believe me when I say, even our body language about food teaches our kids how we feel about what we see and might be eating or not eating.

Typically, the biggest food obstacle is the food rut…. “My child(ren) young/adult won’t eat that, “

Did you ever try? Did you ever try again?

Eating the same thing each week too can become such a rut with the food becoming tired.

Now what…

Our taste buds are ever changing and reintroducing something may take some time but is usually worth the pay off.

We’re all guilty (me included) of staying with what we know works. It’s just easier and there are no challenges/meltdowns if we stay safe.

In order to expand their eating needs and foods we must stay diligent and teach them about what’s healthy eating and how to over come the challenges they may face.  All that we do for our autistic kids (therapies/ schooling, feeding, etc.) is a process. Life skills are of course helpful for life and very necessary.

What I know to be true, I’ve encouraged through many questions……

Having taught and cooked for autistic kids and their families I am asked frequently what can I do? Need help for getting them to eat something new.

My experience has been that all autistic kids, verbal, nonverbal with various functional limitations or otherwise will somehow communicate with us about food. We just need to watch/listen and deduce their wants/needs.

We know our kids of course…. Sometimes you need to go the extra mile and encourage otherwise. A healthier diet is but a trial and error situation away.

Here has been some of my suggestions

For the older more independent eater I usually suggest this (of course works with younger too) . If you eat “family style” put something you know they will like and chose on the table, this way they’ll have a success with choosing something when you want them to try something new. Praise them with what they chose and do encourage the new food. (example put the chicken nuggets you know they’ll eat if you’re going to introduce cooked carrots.) Do encourage a taste but don’t push if there’s hard push back. (keep re-introducing over a number of days)

When introducing a new vegetable offer it with no flavor added first (especially cooked) this way they get the flavor and texture without the added butter/seasoning or dip) Always add those later

Our OT told us in the beginning that at first, they may just have to see the new food. From there touch it, lick and then taste. Do these steps slowly and without much fuss from you. Remember sensory kids are often easily put off. The goal here is to get them to try something new. Take your time, remain calm and be as noncritical about their choices as you can, you never want food to be a battle.

If your child/adult comes grocery shopping with you experience the store if you can. Let them touch and smell the foods. Talk about what’s there. If they show interest perhaps purchase the food in hopes they will try. (Helping to plan the weeks menu and grocery list is also a way to add some excitement and skills as you talk about what will be created each night. This allows for some food confidence building should they be interested. )

Farmers markets are a great way to taste various foods. If your child/adult can stand crowds and all that entails a visit can be a great way for them to be outdoors and experience what is local in food.

Bringing our kids in some capacity into the kitchen, if they are receptive is also a great way for them to touch the food, perhaps wash and tear it up. To cut and taste it. Teaching the life skills again and giving them self esteem goes a long way for sure.

Kids in the kitchen

The above page will give age appropriate kitchen tasks should you go this route and need some insight.

I will admit that right now we are pushing her to try more and strongly encouraging her to eat. Broccoli and cauliflower have been the vegetables. Now she will also eat a meatball.

Dinner here is a great conversation sit down time , where we share about our day and talk food. When you’re a chef there is ALAWYS talk about food.

Enjoy your food, encourage new things through time and there will be success I promise.

“I love what I do and its reflected in the delicious food I create”  Chef Lynn

A few recipes ….

once you’ve introduced cauliflower in the raw state this is a great way to eat them, like mashed potatoes but yummier

 Equipment

Microwave safe bowl, sharp knife, cutting board, colander, potato masher, towel or paper towel

California mashers:

Serves 4

Head of cauliflower washed, and florets cut off stem

Either steam, microwave or boil on top of stove

Butter or butter substitute 2tbsp (more is you desire)

2tbsps cream cheese

¼ cup shredded cheese of choice (mozzarella usually good for our kids as it has a milder flavor)

Salt to taste, pepper if you’d like

¼ cup Grated Parmesan cheese is delicious too but can be a much more pungent flavor, some kids like where others not so much. If you do use parmesan you won’t need the salt.

 

 

Putting it together…..

I like to micro-wave them

In microwave safe bowl add the flowerets with a tbsp or two of water, cover bowl with paper towel. Microwave on high in increments. Start with 3 minutes. You want the cauliflower to be really soft. May take up to 6 to 8 minutes (depends on your microwave and yes climate) (add more water if dry as you check)

Careful taking bowl out of microwave will be very hot…

Now you need a potato masher (older child/adult could do this)

While still hot to melt the cheese add the butter (butter substitute) and cheeses, mash until desired consistency.

Enjoy this delicious side dish

PS if there are leftovers can add an egg and mix-up, form into patties and in a pan sauté them on medium high heat turning once for about 8 to 10 minutes roughly. Another way to use the leftovers.

Breakfast for dinner

Everyone loves pancakes….

Equipment:

Bowl, wooden spoon, spatula, fork, measuring cups, frying pan or griddle, spoons , small bowl to melt butter

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)

2 tablespoons sugar (when I use apple sauce or banana I don’t use)

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup milk (I use unsweetened almond)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter(melted)

1 large egg

¼ tsp pure vanilla extract

Dash of cinnamon ( I use ¼ tsp or more as I like the flavor, could also use pumpkin spice)

Other variants … unsweetened apple sauce in place of egg,

2 tbsps. natural peanut or almond butter (good for protein)

mashed small banana

¼ cup oatmeal for texture

Instructions

Mix all dry ingredients together in a big bowl, add the egg or unsweetened apple sauce or banana, milk and melted butter

If using cinnamon or other flavoring add now before mixing.

Stir until combined.

Heat pan to medium high (turn down once first side is on pan/griddle)

…For each pancake, spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter onto pan or skillet.

Cook until surface of pancakes has some bubbles approximately 1 to 2 minutes.

Flip carefully using spatula, and cook until browned on the underside,

1 to 2 minutes more.

Serve with your favorite topping

Enjoy

https://personablechef.wixsite.com/personableeats

http://www.thepersonablechef.com/index.html

https://shapingherworldwith-autism.weebly.com/

@shapingherworld (autism)

@personablechef

The Importance of Life’s History Lessons

I am so happy and proud to have Lloyd Morman as a guest Blogger today! He has been a guest blogger for Team Awesomism… Peyton’s company several times… He is a very sweet and caring person. Lloyd has autism, and is blind in one eye. I have such respect for him, as he never lets anything get him down! He is a true example of someone who is Turning Autism into Awesomism!

I hope you enjoy this very informative blog, as much as I do!

Also, please check out and follow Lloyd on social media!

Thanks,

Lynne

Here are links to his blogs he wrote on Team Awesomism:

  1. Hello Everyone!
  2. Where I learned to live with my eye problem
  3. The story behind the photo and ticket. A very helpful lesson to help in life.

If you’re on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Flipboard, please follow him.

 

History is very important. We can learn a great deal from history, but have you ever considered looking into your family history?

I learned from one of mother’s doctors that studying your family history can be very helpful in many ways! For example when you study your family tree can find out if any of your love ones have had medical issues that could be passed down & you found out that YOU could have a few medical issues similar to them & it can be prevented.
YES! These studies can help in so many ways, from preventing unhealthy habits to medical issues that you may not have known that was in your family, but others in your family knew but did NOT know or say anything. One of the biggest issues with family history is many are NOT aware of the importance of knowing or studying your family tree! Yes many may not NOT be ready or want to study their family tree or its history.
I am glad that my mother has looked into ours. We found out that many of our family members had eye problems, diabetes, anger, & depression issues. We looked into & found out that many of these issues can be treated today when then could NOT be treated in the past.
Medicine today has changed from the past due from doctors & those in medicine have learned from history & those who are willing to help us learn from the history of medicine.
So please try to learn from from your family tree, not the names & where they came from but more! It may save your or family members lives!

My Fall Garden

I love to garden. I planted a garden in the Spring, some of my stuff grew, but some didn’t because it was so hot. We had a really hot summer last year, we again had a hot summer this year as well. I researched what plants were good for Texas summer, which was good, or I probably wouldn’t have had any plants! Me and my parents went to Lowe’s and picked out seeds I wanted in my garden. I picked out Sweet Viburnum, Morning Glory, Lavender, Broccoli, Cabbage and such. I was so happy that I got them, me and my mother helped each other plant my seeds in my garden!

I decided to do a Fall Garden. Last year, we went to my aunt and uncle’s house and help my uncle plant cauliflower and broccoli in his backyard garden, we both dug out before we started planting them. My uncle, who grew up on a farm, has had quite a few gardens over the years. I had such a good time! When the broccoli was finished growing, my aunt and my uncle gave some to me. I couldn’t wait because I love both of these vegetables. He knows a lot about gardening and plants. He teaches me about this kind of stuff and I really like it that he teaches me.

Flowers and vegtables are not the only items I have in my garden. I have a bird bath, flower pots, vines, banana plants and elephant ear plants and more. If my flowers don’t grow well in my garden, I’ll get some more  flower seeds either at Lowe’s or Home Depot or Tractor Supply. I’m really excited to plant flowers during the fall season, I will be posting pictures on Twitter, Instagram and Flipboard to show their progress.

Part of our community goals for Team Awesomism is that we are helping people with autism, anxieties, GAD and ADHD overcome their fears and stress and find their comfort zones whatever they’re interested in doing. Golfing, fishing, walks, listening to music and gardening are all part of comfort zones, which we are trying to help people find their activities that make them feel comfortable or happy. We will be rebranding this website in upcoming months. It’ll be somewhat different than what we originally branded. Much of the concept will stay, just expanded!

For those of you who are members of Team Awesomism, soon you will be getting some gardening tips, videos from several different sources, and signing up on our email list that all are experienced gardeners.

We will have all kinds of gardening tips, from how to have a fall/winter garden in warmer climates to indoor container gardens. My mother will be doing videos of me planting my flowers and vegetables in my garden by using a periscope video. She will be posting videos on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to have you watch me planting my stuff in the garden. If you have a Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest account, please follow us.

I’m going to be getting my seeds soon. If anyone has any requests of what they would like to see me grow, please let me know! I would love to hear that! I’d also love to hear any advantages and tips for my garden from you!

Also, check out the links of t-shirts I designed on Teespring below:

Thank you for reading this blog!

Peyton

Why Fall is My Favorite Season

Hi! My name is Peyton, I’m 20 years old and autistic. I’m the founder of Team Awesomism, and I’m a guest blogger of AwesomismMom, my mom’s website. Starting today, we will be putting out blogs on AwesomismMom as part of Blogtober. Are there any blog suggestions you’d like us to put out? Let us know! We’re always looking forward to people who are willing to share their blogs with us!

Soon, we’re going to be rebranding my Team Awesomism website, but we’d love to have you check it out now.

Fall is my absolute favorite season. What is yours? The reason I love the Fall/Autumn season is because it cools down to the 60s and 50s, we get to celebrate the holidays and watch football games (both pro and college football.) I always get excited when Fall is about to start, as well as football! My whole family is big football fans.

My friend Everett Dawkins played football in college and pro. He played for the Florida State Seminoles, he went to NFL and played with several teams, and then he went to Arena Football League and played for Tampa Bay Storm and Washington Valor. He is like a big brother to me! Did you know I wrote a blog about him? This may be an old one, but here’s the link on AwesomismMom if you’re interested in reading it: My Hero by Peyton

We also begin to decorate our house in the end of September, even sometimes in the middle! We decorate both inside and outside. The day after Thanksgiving , we take it all down and decorate our Christmas stuff around our house. Winter is my second favorite season!

When it gets to cool down, my mom and I take our dogs for a walk and sometimes drive around our neighborhood to look at fall and Halloween decorations, we do the same with Christmas. I love doing this!

I like summer, even though it gets too hot, especially our area in Texas. We had an intense heat wave this year, that we hardly went outside. I like Spring more than Summer, we plant our flowers and plants in our garden in the backyard, I love seeing them grow, and we even plant vegetables, which is really cool, because we get to eat them! My Uncle Jerry taught me how to plant better.

My 2 favorite holidays are Thanksgiving and Christmas. What I like about Thanksgiving is that we get to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade every year, and eat delicious food for dinner, like Turkey, mashed potatoes, casserole and some other awesome stuff. My siblings sometime get to come over for Thanksgiving dinner! I love it when my siblings come home. Thanksgiving is also a time when we reflect on what we are thankful for. I like this because it focuses on positive stuff, not negative.

Of course, Christmas is my favorite for many reasons. I find those Christmas lights really calming, we love listening to music, which is very soothing, and use our fireplace in our family room when it’s cold out.

In fact, a year ago, I even wrote a blog about why I love Christmas! Here’s the link to it: Merry Awesomism Christmas!

Oh, there’s one more thing, I like hockey, but I’m not a huge of it nor am I an NHL fan, but my mom is. She gets excited when hockey is about to start, and it is about to now. That’s one thing I don’t like about the Fall season, because she screams at the TV all the time especially when her favorite team, Chicago Blackhawks, lose.

Thanks for reading! I hope you have an amazing and busy fall season this year! Happy Autumn season!

Peyton

Red-Angry Blue-Sad

We are so honored to have an amazing blogger as our guest blogger this week! She’s an amazing mom… Who openly discusses her life. My hope is that after you read her blog… You come away with the same emotions/thoughts  that I did.. we need more mental health help!!! People need to stop talking and start doing.. this is not a political issue, this is a human issue! Please check out her other blogs here http://thoughtswithn.blogspot.com/

Also, We have her books for sale on our website https://teamawesomism.com/

 

I remember the day that I saw a piece of work completed by my oldest son. He was 6 at the time. His class was learning about emotions, and had them associated with colors. The piece of paper asked them to identify the 2 emotions they most commonly feel, and draw it in the associated color. His was Red – Angry, and Blue- Sad.

 

I remember the tears that sprung to my eyes. The feeling of failure I felt. My little boy was always angry at this point.

 

I had always struggled with him, since the beginning, but now it was at a new high. The Police were now involved, as he had begun threatening his baby sister.

 

Oh, and I was 6 months pregnant. I had high blood pressure, so I was supposed to be relaxing.

 

There, in front of me lay the evidence of the state of my sons mental health. He was so angry, and so sad. He didn`t know what to say, or how to say it, so his anger dragged on, day after day.

 

This was such a hard time for all of us. I have scars on me from his intense temper, and I am pretty sure my daughter is emotionally scarred.

 

Despite struggling for so many years, and trying to get him help, I had failed. The counsellor agreed that this paper was slightly alarming for a little boy, and sent off the papers for a Psychiatric Assessment.

 

We waited.

 

We waited.

 

Months and months went by. While my son struggled.

 

So many days I just wanted to run away and disappear. I questioned my capabilities of being a mother. I questioned how I was going to raise another boy. I have never in my life felt so lost as what I did at this time.

 

To be honest, I am not even sure how we all made it through. Maybe it is just the power of love. I one day told my son very clearly, I know you are angry, and I will be here whenever you are ready to talk, but there is not anything you can do to me to make me stop loving you, or to make me give up on you. You are my son.

 

We got the call for the assessment a year after the referral was placed. A YEAR. A family in a crisis situation, and such a sad and confused little boy.

 

We declined the assessment at this point, because he had already been through three and he was tired of doing it. No one saw what we saw. His intense temper. His neediness for everything to be a very specific way. His amazing abilities with numbers, and recognizing patterns. No one saw it. They always just told us, he is a very bright boy.

 

I decided, rather than trying to change him, I was going to accept him. Accept him exactly how he is.

 

He is almost 8 now. I can`t believe so much time has passed since my feelings of hopelessness. He is in Grade 2 and an intense math whiz. He still struggles with his temper, but he is far less violent.

 

Now he talks to me. He tells me what is wrong. Then we can figure out how to fix it.

 

You may not always be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I sure didn`t when I was locked in my room, trying to protect the baby in my belly, and my 1 year old daughter. I could not see any light in my life what so ever. I wanted to run away.

 

The light is there. It will shine.

 

Love

N 💜