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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

quinoaonionrings

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.

 

 

A small reminder….

Christmas, it’s easy to get excited about and has probably already crept its’ way into many of the stores that you regularly visit. It’s a holiday that many will prep for weeks ahead of time even though they will celebrate the other festive holidays that come first. I’ll admit that even myself will get wrapped up in the hype of the holiday and will want to start decorating once the Halloween decor comes down but please remember this…..

Remembrance Day should be given respect well before Christmas.

There are many who have fought and even more who are still fighting for what we have today. Give them their moment of silence and respect what they have gone without while we have gone with plenty. I’m not saying don’t get into the holiday spirit I’m just asking that it is done after November 11th.

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apple-chips


What you will need:
1 Ambrosia apple, thinly sliced
ground cinnamon
brown sugar

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°F.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
3. Wash the apple leaving the peel on.
4. Slice the apple very thin with a knife or a mandolin slicer.
5. Spread the apple slices onto the baking sheet making 1 single layer.
6. Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar.
7. Bake for 1.5 hours, flip the apples over, and bake for another 1.5 hours.
8. Let cool completely before storing in an air tight container.

.:Side Notes:.
For a crunchier result, turn the oven off and keep the apples inside for another 1/2 hour or so. The thicker apples may just be chewy and only slightly crunchy, the thinner will be very crunchy.

Store the chips in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

If you can’t find Ambrosia apples the following ones work just as good:
– Fuji
– Gala
– Honeycrsip
– Pinklady
– McIntosh
– Granny Smith

Sis,

There are friends. Then, there are best friends. According to “Grey’s Anatomy’s” Meredith Grey and Cristina Yang, they’re your person. The one who, “if I murdered someone, I’d call you to help me drag the corpse across the living room floor.” You’re so much more to me than any of those titles can express. As I’ve matured throughout the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that good friends with good hearts serve an incredibly important purpose in our lives, going above and beyond what we give them credit and appreciation for. The family we choose. You’re one of those. The day we met, I knew that you were going to play an important role in my life. What I had no idea of was that you would join the cast of my life with a starring role.

First, I need to say thank you. Thank you for always coming to my locker to check in before class during high school. Thank you for letting me control the music on road trips. Thank you for sharing your family with me, and addressing my family as if you were born into it. Thank you for patiently listening to the physical embodiment of a broken record when I complain about the same boy I’ve loved since senior year. Thank you for tagging along on every doctor’s appointment, grocery run, and trip to the post office, just because you know that I hate doing things alone. Thank you for not thinking twice before dialing when I text you “please call me.” Thank you for never saying no to a coffee date. Thank you for never giving up on me. Thank you for being my better half.

We don’t share the same genetic makeup, but after all the sleepovers, heart-to-heart conversations, shopping until our bank accounts cry, and swapping clothes so often that we don’t know what belongs to whom, how could I not consider you family? We have shared some my fondest memories together, and I wouldn’t want them to feature anyone but you.

You’ve been with me on my best days, and loved me on my worst. You know how to make me laugh when all I want to do is crawl into a hole and die. Picturing sitting in my car with you in the passenger seat makes me long for summer, where we spend three months together doing all of our favorite things. You’ve seen me naked, done my makeup, and warned me before making a poor decision. Being away from you for extended periods of time makes me feel incomplete. You are a piece of me that I am not quite whole without. You taught me that blood doesn’t make a family; love does.

You know me better than I know myself, which is both amazing and terrifying. You make me realize I’m enough for this world, and that means more to me than I know how to express in the limited words that make up the English language. You remind me that I am more than my mistakes, and you keep me grounded when I spiral out of control. You’ve helped me carry my burdens along with your own, even when the universe comes down on you full force, way harder than you deserve.

You’re the one I come to for the truth if I think my new dress makes me look fat, and I know you’ll be honest. I trust you with my whole heart. You know the gory details about every boy I’ve ever crushed on, every professor who was an absolute jerk, and every fight I’ve had with my mom. I wouldn’t make it in this life without someone who already understands and listens to every thought going through my head and each thing I seriously over think, even when you know, though you don’t say, it won’t matter in a week.

With all these affectionate things being said, don’t forget our fights. The few we’ve had were very real. We still don’t see eye to eye on some events of the past, but I never told my mom about it because there was no need to make her choose a side between me and her “second daughter.” We have learned to move forward, because the love we have for each other overwhelmingly outweighs any disagreement we’ve had, and always will.

Through all the tears and laughs, I don’t think that anything the world has to offer could seriously come between us. You go to a different school than me now, and college has rudely gotten in the way of our routine of spending every waking moment together. Since we met, we’ve grown separately without growing apart. Neither of us are the same person we used to be all those years ago. Even so, we’ve pushed each other to our limits and you’ve given me the courage to keep going and do things that make me happy. we lean on each other when it’s been a bad day and all we want to do is to snuggle and indulge in whichever show the other is currently watching unceasingly and unabashedly for comfort (it’s the little things). Having you as my co-pilot on this crazy ride called life has been frustrating, exciting, slightly concerning, absolutely insane, and something I don’t know how I would live without, and I don’t intend to find out.

I’ll conclude this letter with a quote from every basic, white girl’s favorite musical, “I don’t know if I’ve been changed for the better, but because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”

Love you forever,

Your sis

I did not write this lovely letter but I can relate to it on so many different levels and decided to share it. The original blog post can be found here .

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What you will need:
2 quarts 100% apple juice
½ cup brown sugar
1 apple, unpeeled and cut in half
1 small naval orange, unpeeled and sliced into ¼-inch slices
2 tsp. whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp. allspice

 

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Carefully insert the whole cloves into the apple on both the flesh and skin sides.
2. Heat apple juice over medium heat in a large pot or dutch oven.
3. Once heated, add the brown sugar and stir to dissolve.

4. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer and let simmer for 20 minutes.

5. Promptly remove the apple halves, orange slices, cinnamon sticks and any clove remnants from the pot.

6. Let cool but still serve while warm.


.:Side Note:.

You can make a big batch of this and keep it in the fridge to warm up again later or serve as a nice cool drink.

If you’re into garnishing your drinks try adding apple chips to the rim or a cinnamon stick in the glass.

If you want to make this an alcoholic Autumn drink try adding any of the following.
Whiskey
Cinnamon schnapps
Grand Marnier
Jagermeister
Brandy
Bourbon
A nicely spiced rum, I suggest Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum or if you can find it Kraken Blacked Spiced Rum