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More than meets the eye…

When you see a disabled person, do you think about the person beyond the disability? Do you make an effort know the person behind the face you see?

Same goes for if you see someone who looks “normal“, do you ever think their disability is an act for attention or an excuse to get out of responsibilities ?

The bottom line is a person with a disability is a person first, and their disability only make a small part of who they are.

No one wants to be treated different, feel left out or alone. Many over come their disabilities or find ways to cope but when they then speak out about them there is a lot of judgement where there should be understanding.  This needs to change. There are so many people who keep their mental disabilities / struggles to themselves (myself one of them) in fear of being treated different, shown pity or judged. When I finally open up to people about my anxiety, insomnia and newly diagnosed PTSD  (Ok, not so new I was diagnosed in 2013) people seem to be taken back and don’t know how to react. Which is fine at first, because all they have got to know/see is someone who is compassionate, strong willed, understanding, appears to have her shit together…etc. My son gets the same reaction which I’m sure he’ll learn to smirk at or shrug off because he is so much more than his autism. We all have our struggles no matter if they’re physical, mental or us just trying to deal with what life has thrown our way. In the end people need to show more compassion/understanding, not just show pity but try to actually see a persons worth and ability through their disability.

Yes I have my mental disabilities but I am so much more. I am a single mom to a wonderful little boy. I’m a person who rather spend time in the company of animals then with people. I’m someone who is compassionate, very empathetic,  yet is quick witted and very clever. I am a certified trained chef, music junkie (My playlist has everything from classical to dub-step, metal to R&B..etc), lover of the arts and outdoors. My Anxiety, Insomnia and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are all just a small part of me and the positive traits that make me who I am are so much better than the mental disability labels that people like to put on me.

Compassion is something that seems to be fading away in today’s world and I’m writing this in hopes that it helps people remember that a little understanding goes a lone way. Show it not only towards those with disabilities but to everyone. You never know what someone is going through and sometimes offering to listen judgement free helps more than anyone would ever think. So please remember to be kind, show compassion and just learn to love people for who they are and not just the labels that society may put on them.

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What you will need:
3-4 large zucchini
1 cup panko
2 eggs
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried basil
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

 

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Pre-heat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil or parchment paper, then set aside.

2. Combine 2 eggs in a small shallow bowl and set aside.
3. Combine the panko, parmesan cheese and spices in another bowl and set aside.
4. Prepare zucchini by trimming the ends and cutting into ½ inch strips or slices.
5. Dip zucchini strips into egg mixture then in breadcrumb mixture and transfer to the baking sheet. Repeat until all the zucchini strips are coated with egg and breadcrumbs.

6. Bake in preheated oven, turning once, until golden and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and crispy

 

.:Side Notes:.
If you can’t find panko feel free to use normal breadcrumbs, you can use already seasoned panko or breadcrumbs as well.

These are great to dip in a chipotle mayo, ranch, tzatziki, but your favorite dipping sauce will be great as well I’m sure.

If by some chance you have left overs DO NOT MICROWAVE, re-heat them in the oven and they will keep that crispy coating. I normally re-heat items like this on a non-stick baking sheet in the oven while it pre-heats to 425F.

If you want them super crispy you can do the breading part ( step 5 ) twice.

 

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What you will need:
1 piece of ginger, preferably 1-inch long
1 piece of turmeric root, preferably 1-inch long
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon honey
Ground pepper, just a pinch
A juicer

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Peel the ginger and turmeric root then juice it.
2. Mix with juice of 1 lemon, honey, and a pinch of black pepper.
3. Serve immediately.

 
.:Side Notes:.
This is a great go to if you feel a cold coming on. The immune-boosting, pain reliving benefits of ginger and the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric is just the thing your system need to help fight a cold.

If you don’t have a juicer that’s ok, you can use a blender just blend the ginger and turmeric root with the juice of the lemon and a little water and be sure to strain the concoction before you drink it.

If you can’t find turmeric root, powder works just fine.

….be grateful.

It’s easy to get swept up in the every day mindset of always wanting more, or doing better and that’s not a bad thing. Having goals / personal drive is something we should all have however that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be grateful for what we do have.

We see it on the news, hear it on the radio, read it in our Social Media feds there are many families who do struggle and go without. It’s more reason to take a moment to truly appreciate what you do have in your life, a roof over your head, warm food, clean clothes to wear, a place to lay your head to rest, the list could easily go on.

Maybe while you’re taking that moment to realize what you have to be grateful for you can also find it in you to pass it forward and give to a local charity. It doesn’t have to be money, maybe there is an old pair of shoes you don’t wear anymore, some clothes that don’t fit, old books or household goods. There are many charities that will accept all of this and much much more. They will even make sure it gets into the hands of someone truly in need of it, and who knows that one simple gesture may just be what someone needs to make a real difference in their life.

With all this in mind, please be grateful for the things you do have no matter how big or small they might be. However don’t also forget to be kind and show some compassion towards others not only at this time of year but all year as well.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Festive Kwanza, Blessed Yule…etc. Whatever you are celebrating I hope you have a good time filled with loved ones, wonderful new memories and full bellies.

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What you will need:
1/2 cup shortening, butter flavored 
1/4  cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped

 

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

2. In the bowl  cream together the shortening, butter, and sugars until light and fluffy (It takes about 4 minutes by hand, do it on medium speed if you’re using a mixer).

3. Add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine, remember to scrap down the sides of the bowl while mixing.

4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, soda, and salt.
5. Add to the butter / sugar mixture and mix until it lightly combined.
6. Add the white chocolate chips and the macadamia nut cookies.
7. Spoon onto the sheet pan lined with parchment paper, with about 2 inch spacing (I find a tablespoon works best).

8. Bake until lightly golden, about 10 to 12 minutes then cool on a wire rack.

A small thank you….

I’m going to start off by saying that I did not write this, it came up in my news feed and I had to spread the message along. As a mom to a little one on the autism spectrum I can relate to it on many levels, even with my son now being in grade two.

The original blog came from From The Bowels of Motherhood a mom who writes about raising three littles, autism and military family life. Here is what she wrote….

This is your first week of kindergarten. You are nervous and excited. You are getting into a new routine and meeting new friends. One of those new friends is my boy. He comes into your class only for a half hour each day because being in there all day would be too much for him. He goes to recess with you, but he has a grownup right there with him because sometimes he tries to runaway and he doesn’t always understand playground rules.

When I saw the two of you holding hands today, my eyes filled with tears and my heart filled with joy. I know you don’t understand why it means so much to me that my son has a friend. I know you are happy to play with a boy who is filled with life and laughter. I won’t say thank you for being his friend, because I know you like him for him and not to get a pat on the back.  

I do have a favor to ask you, though.  Right now your days are filled with story time, play time and crafts and you both do pretty well side by side.  But, you see, my son has autism and I know there will come a time when you will start to notice his differences. 

You’ll notice the holes in every shirt he has because when he’s anxious he chews on his collar. You’ll notice he runs back and forth and flaps his hands when he’s excited. You may start to notice he often talks a little too loudly.  You will start to wonder why he covers his ears when he’s surrounded by people. You will start to notice the stares from other kids when he gets upset about seemingly little things.  You will notice he often asks the same question over and over again.  You will see he often gets stuck on a subject and can’t always move on to talk about something else.  You will start to wonder why he rides a different bus or why he spends so much time in another classroom. You will notice he does different school work and he can’t ride a bike. You will hear other kids making fun of him. You will then realize he doesn’t understand they’re mocking him. These epiphanies won’t hit you all at once, but I know they’re coming just the same.  

For today, I am going to hold onto and cherish the image of the two of you holding hands, blissfully unaware of your differences.  But as time goes by and you start to notice, I ask with all my heart that you don’t let go.

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A special thank you to the mom for writing this and expressing the emotions / thoughts that I have had many times. A big thank you to the little man in my son’s class who has become his friend and looks out for him, I really must meet your parents to give them the biggest hug on raising such an awesome little man.  For everyone else, I hope this can serve as a reminder that people with autism or any mental health issue have so much going on already that all they need is a little understanding / compassion. They still want to learn, have fun and be included like everyone else.

Making it smell like the holidays…

I normally turn to my Scentsy  collection when I want my home to smell like the holidays but they haven’t made the scent that tickles my memories of my childhood Christmases. That’s when a friend of mine reminded me of how you can just use your stove top and some easy to find ingredients that do the trick.

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What you will need:
1/2 cup cranberries
1 bay leaf
1 orange, sliced
1 green lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp pumpkin spice
2 TBS cloves
2 1/2 cups water

Here’s what you do:
1. Fill a medium size pot with 2 1/2 cups of cold water, put on the stove top.
2. Add all the ingredients into the pot and simmer on the lowest level until all water has evaporated.

3. Refill and re-simmer (not sure that’s even a word but it totally works here so there ya have it…) until your home fills with the smells of the holidays.

.: Side Note:.
I use green lemons because they have a stronger smell then yellow lemons, but if you can’t find green ones try using two yellow lemons in it’s place.

Don’t get me wrong Scentsy has a wonderful Winter collection which I do turn to this time of year but some times you just need to make your own wonderful smells

Quinoa Onion Rings

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What you will need:
3/4 cup of flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 large onion

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Preheat oven to 425F, then line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Slice onion into rings, approximately 3/4-inch thick.
3. In a bowl, whisk together batter ingredients: flour, cornstarch, milk, salt and water.
4. In another bowl, whisk together coating ingredients: quinoa, panko and spices.
5. Using your hands, dip an onion ring into batter, making sure to coat all sides.
6. Transfer ring to coating mixture and sprinkle all over
7. Place onion rings on baking sheet and repeat for the remaining rings.
8. Bake for 18 minutes, flipping once after 10 minutes. Feel free to broil them for a minute or two at the end to crisp.

.:Side Note:.
I find that normal sweet onion works best for these onion rings but you can easily use a large yellow onion.

I use normal all purpose white flour, but whole grain flour works well in this recipe as well.

This recipe can easily be dairy free just substitute soy milk in place of normal milk this recipe called for.

…Not only about themselves but with what they can accomplish.

I’m doing this shout out blog for SURF’S UP FOR AUTISM, because they are doing something truly amazing. They’re trying to gather donations so children both young an old can have the unique experience of surfing all within a dynamic, enriching  and inclusive environment. But they needs help to raise enough so no one gets left out.

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Surf’s Up is a free two day surf camp in Tofino, BC inspired by a father who’s son was diagnosed with Autism at age 4 and by age 5 was standing on his first surfboard.  From there a dream was born to create the first free Autism surf camp in BC for children and families living with Autism.

The organization provides each child with one to one time with a certified surf instructor and Autism Support Worker so that each surf session is tailored exactly to that child’s needs.  They also have a certified BCBA Autism Consultant involved in the planning and day of the camp.  All the wetsuits, surfboards, food for the day as well each child receives a medal at the end of the event are provided by Surf’s Up

They even include siblings in every aspect of the day!You can help make their 6th annual surf camp for children & families living with Autism a success.

Surf’s Up is a not for profit Society, 100% of every dollar received goes directly into the cost of running the camp!

If you can donate you can do so by clicking on the link below
https://www.gofundme.com/surfsupautism

Don’t feel bad if you can’t donate because you can still help by spreading the word
Follow Surf’s Up
Twitter
@Autism_SurfsUp

Facebook
Rip Curl Surf’s Up Event – SUPA Society
Their website
SUPA SOCIETY

As I’m sure many people are aware Halloween is just around the corner and very soon we will have many ghouls and ghosts knocking at our doors in search for a sweet treat.

I want to take a moment to remind many not to turn away teenagers on Halloween night. I know it may make you scratch your head or say “No they’re too old for that” but think about this. Many people with mental disabilities look “normal” so that teen you turn away may be crushed because they don’t fully understand the concept of age or social ques. You never know how much someone may of been looking forward to putting on their costume and having the chance to do something as simple as trick-or-treat to feel “normal“. Not every disability is noticeable so when it comes to teenagers trick-or-treating just give them some candy like you would anyone who would come to your door on Halloween.

Mental disabilities aside you can also take this moment to help a teenager feel good about making a positive choice in their life. Many young teenagers are pressured into drinking with their peers or going to parties, make a teenager feel good about still having the Halloween spirit.

With all this being said I hope you all have a wonderful Halloween filled with sweets and some spooks. I’m also going to remind you all to perhaps take part in the Teal Pumpkin Project so those with allergies can have a safe and fun Halloween as well.