Spread Kindness!

We have all heard the expression you can’t take care of others, if you don’t take care of yourself.

This is true for so many reasons. I think during the holidays it is especially necessary that we make sure that we take care of ourselves. We get so caught up in the gift buying, the decorating, the Christmas parties, the open houses, the events, Family coming to visit or going to see family etc. etc.…

I’m probably one of the few people who actually enjoys going to the mall at this time of the year or to stores. I find it In a way comforting… I know that sounds really strange but I do… Part of the reason why I love going to the mall and/ or stores that are packed, it allows me to spread kindness… I will smile at people, if people need help getting something off the shelf, I’ll try to help them etc.etc….. Showing Kindness, not just saying it!

We so often see people frazzled and stressed… Sometimes just a smile or a kind word or a positive affirmation  can make all the difference in someone’s life.

I find that when people are at their most stressed, doing the holidays shopping, going out an about…. dealing with the every day stressors of the holiday season… Spreading kindness and spreading Love by going to the mall and or‘s stores that are packed… and showing that you care is easier!

This isn’t to say that I’m not stressed, and I don’t have anxiety attacks during the holidays… I definitely do. I also know that when I go out and about and I do try to spread kindness… By smiling spreading a kind word etc. etc. it also lifts my mood.

I have to confess another reason why I really enjoy it when it’s so crowded, is because when stores, especially small businesses have customers it helps everyone!… This may seem silly, but I truly love when businesses do better, because it makes peoples lives easier. Sometimes people can pick up a full-time job… Rather than two or three part-time jobs and that allows them more time to be home with their family …

By looking at the positives in life… We can make our emotional and mental health better as well. Too often we allow peoples words or their lack of happiness to affect us… I know I was guilty of this in the last week or two… But then I had several people come to me and tell me how much I meant to them, and how my kindness got them through some of the roughest times.I decided I wasn’t going to let negative people pull me down, rather I was going to make sure, that I kept pulling people up.

I know for a fact my moods have direct connection to Peyton’s mood, as well as my other kids and my spouse. We sometimes don’t realize that our moods can and do flow over onto others, we come in contact with, as well.

I try very hard to be conscience of this… not always successfully… but I try!

So let’s all try real hard to remember taking care of ourselves is very important! because how we react and interact… spreads to so many!

Thanks for reading my blog!

Our Awesomism Texas Chili

If you’re like us, you really love smoked brisket… My husband makes one of the best smoked briskets, I’ve ever had in my life. I was never really all that much into brisket, and can honestly tell you that I hadn’t had it a lot, before I moved to Texas. Now I’ve become a huge fan of it. We have a Traeger grill which is one of the best for smoking brisket… Well, actually I love our Traeger grill for everything. Unless you have a big family or you wanna freeze some of your brisket, you’re going to have brisket left over. Here is a really (awesomism) recipe that I kind of threw together myself for our version of Texas chili. I add the ground beef with the Brisket because it is what Peyton loves….

This is an easy recipe and awesome for this time of the year! it’s quick

Remember this is using leftover brisket…

Here are ingredients of making Texas Chili:

  • 1 lb smoked brisket cut into small thin  cubes
  • 1 lb ground beef … I cook this before time, so it is fully cooked and browned
  • 1 large white onion diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 15 oz can Ranch Style beans
  • 1 15.5 oz can Buffalo Beans
  • 1 cup grated pepper jack cheese
  • 1 24 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp  chili powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp brown mustard
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp water

Throw it all together… again make sure that the ground beef and brisket is fully cooked first! I dump everything into a crock pot and cook it on High for 2 hours and medium for 6… checking every so often and stirring… when checking.

I add 1/2 cup of the grated pepper jack cheese 1/2 way through and put the rest on top after it is done! I love sour cream and tortilla chips with mine as well. Please note that the cheese can be eliminated if you want.

As always… all disclaimers for food apply… have to put that on here! ; )

Thanks so much for reading my blog and following me and Peyton on our 45 Awesomism Days of the Holidays…

Nature does not hurry

I absolutely love a good cup of tea and about a week and a half ago I was making myself a traditional medicinal tea.

I was feeling a little bit under the weather and had a sore throat, so I decided to make myself a really strong cup of throat tea. On the little paper tag of each teabag there was a saying and this particular bag it said “nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. By LAO Tzu.

This really got me thinking… There’s so much wisdom in that saying, nature doesn’t hurry… a flower doesn’t grow overnight… a tree doesn’t grow in a day… There’s so many things about nature that are very slow and methodical… Yet nature somehow always gets it done.

Sometimes it’s not things we want to have done such as hurricanes, bad storms, floods tornadoes etc. but other times there’s so much beauty in nature, we have some of the most beautiful flowers… the clouds are just gorgeous!

I love to lay down and look at the clouds in the sky and try to find either animals or cartoon characters or pictures within the clouds…

I’ve been fortunate enough that I’ve traveled into a lot of places in the world, and I’ve seen so many different parts of nature… I’ve seen lakes, I’ve seen Rivers.. I’ve seen mighty oceans I’ve seen mountains.. I’ve seen deserts… I’ve seen flatland’s.. I’ve seen Hill country.. I’ve seen unbelievably gorgeous Forests… And they all have one thing in common… they are there for our viewing, and for us to learn from, and for us to enjoy and for us to see.

The more I thought about that saying as I was sipping my tea the more I realized… I so often put myself on this list! I feel like I have to get this done, I have to get that done! Now there are somethings in life we have to get done.. like we have to pay bills on time, we have to make sure that we eat each day, that we take care of ourselves if we’re sick or just make sure that things are done!

We have to go to work, we have to cook or clean or do other Daily or weekly chores… I get that but there’s so many things that we put on our self each and every day that we feel like we are against a clock…

Or maybe we don’t vacuum the carpet today, maybe we put it off for a day or two… Instead of vacuuming maybe we go outside and sit and look at the clouds above… What is wrong with that? nothing!!

It allows us a time to mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally “ Grow“ I know for myself I need that time… I need that downtime. Time where I allow myself to refresh, to just relax to take life.. just one small step…

I have written other blogs about slowing down… Why run when you can walk… And I do try… But as I sat there with my sore throat drinking my medicinal tea, I thought to myself this “Could not have come at a better time… I don’t need to hurry… One way or another I will get it all accomplished”…

So my stress and my anxiety can be put on the back burner… And my mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health will be put on the front burner… Because at the end of the day nature doesn’t Hurry yet everything is accomplished!

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

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

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

@shapingherworld (autism)

@personablechef

The Strength of Texans

I decided to revisit this blog for a couple of reasons….. We have had some bad weather in Texas again lately, and once again… I saw the best come out in people…. and another reason… because I really hope that people focus on the best… even while going through tough times… that is a Life Lesson for always…Hope you enjoy this blog!

 

 

 

As most of you know this past week or so has been an almost surreal time in Texas. As I was thinking about writing this blog, I struggled with how to write this. I want to make sure I make this about everyone who was affected and everyone who gave so selflessly, not about me.

I have been through other Hurricanes as I lived in Florida for many years. I honestly wasn’t stressed about this one, as I figured it would be a day of storms and then we’d be done. As the storm got closer and the weather people became truly stressed, I started to worry. I didn’t want Peyton to know I was worried, as he tends to really stress whenever any storms are happening. I saw him sitting in his massage chair, quite a bit so I knew he was well aware there was some “danger” heading toward us.

Friday night the storm started, we all started to realize this was going to be big, little did many of us realize just how big. Harvey came and he didn’t leave, he seemed to have a love for Texas, like so many of us. The problem was he wasn’t good to us. No matter how awful Harvey was, Texas was stronger. The will, resolve and love of the people of Texas was shown over and over. That love, that determination and resolve was watched by people all over the world. The people watching decided they needed and wanted to help, I truly believe they helped because they saw Texans as awesome people. No one cared what color skin, ethnicity, religion you were, or who you voted for….they cared that you loved, cared, and believed in the goodness of EVERYONE! A week before Harvey came, this country was coming apart at the seams. The people of Houston and of Texas grabbed a huge needle and thread and not only repaired the tear, but did it with love. I sat glued to channel 13, abc news. I cried, I laughed and I cheered as I watched the “Cajun Navy” and many, many, many others come. People grabbed everything they could and went out risking their lives, to save EVERYONE. The resolve and strength of people was overwhelming to me. Whole families’ belongings were reduced to a garbage bag and even sometimes a small grocery bag. Yet, when many were interviewed they were so thankful to be alive. They focused on the positive, thanked those who saved them, and chose to see the silver lining.

This is what is great about Texans, they see what unites them, not what divides them. Oh I know there are some who choose to be negative, but they are a small number, and like Harvey will fade away into the background. Now comes the really hard part… The rebuilding for so, so many… But just like when Harvey was trying to break our will and our spirit. I truly believe we will see the strength, resolve, compassion and love of Texans. That huge needle and thread will become a hammer, saw and nails. I hope the world keeps watching because Texans believe in actions, not words and the lessons they teach are Huge, because everything is bigger in Texas! We are Houston Strong, We are Texas Strong! I am sure Harvey and maybe even a few others learned….Don’t Mess with Texas!