Saturday, November 8, 2014

Check out a guest post I did on my friend's blog - a recipe for pumpkin cheesecake, which FAR surpassed any pumpkin pie!
Her blog also has awesome insights about yoga and fashion and mommyhood.

Friday, February 7, 2014

30 day green smoothie challenge

It may not look that appetizing, but it is delicious. And it took just about 6 weeks of me having one every day for E to ask for a sip. We have had a lot of ups and downs with her eating over the years, but the one strategy that seems to work the best is for her to see her parents eating a certain food over and over.

After Thanksgiving last year, I decided to try a 30 day green smoothie challenge. I was feeling sluggish, and not eating much vegetables or fruit. I happened across this great website, Simple Green Smoothies, and signed up for the challenge. Every week, they would email a shopping list and 4 or 5 smoothie recipes.

The one in the photo had spinach, peaches, and avocado. It was one of my favorites and the one that E first tried. Since then, she actually asks me what will be in her morning smoothie. Ha, HER morning smoothie. :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Blowing chances and making changes

Right now I alternate between confusion and hyperventilation. All summer long, I was in this comfortable lull. E was mostly calm, mostly happy, and so to were the rest of us. We got into a routine of camp drop off, work, pick up, play outside, dinner, bed, very easily. 

Both girls were excited for the start of school, but I was not. I resisted school shopping until the last minute. I  didn't want my bliss to end. I knew what was coming - the start of school means higher anxiety, which turns into intense moods, and affects the whole family until I feel like we are in a dark tunnel searching for the other end. However, E surprised me. She entered 4th grade with excitement, loves her teacher, and her new after school caregiver. After 2 weeks, I started to relax a little. 

Then the bomb dropped. Okay, that's dramatic. But it really was like a bomb from a kid who started off eating such a limited variety of food, that I sometimes worried she'd make it to 4th grade.  She came home one day in the third week of school and announced, "I am making CHANGES!" I thought she would follow up with something like not going to school anymore, to which I'd have to speak to her about why she can't do that just yet. Nope. She said, "I am eating the school lunch from now on, no more lunch box for me!"

This is where I started to hyperventilate. I have always had tight control over what quality and quantity and type of food she ate. I have always taken the responsibility of no dairy, of limiting the wheat or the sugary items to one, of saying no to soda.  In less than 30 seconds, she basically was taking that responsibility on, and I have to admit I was reeling. The immediately following discussion went something like this: 

Me: Um, so cafeteria food is not as healthy as home food, and I know you like to eat mostly good healthy food. 
E: They have a SALAD bar.
Me: Um, it costs me less money to send you with a lunch box (Caveat: this is not necessarily true, and yes I was fibbing, but I was that intent on her not eating at the cafeteria). 

The conversation ended at that point, because I did a double take and shut the heck up. Trying new things for her is usually filled with anxiety and me encouraging her. Rarely is it self-initiated. I took a breather and we compromised that she could have cafeteria lunch a couple days a week if she made sure to not drink any milk, and to take at least 2 items from the salad bar. It is now three weeks later, and she excitedly comes home and tells me what she tried, including a report on which veggies or fruit she had.

The other semi-big change was that she got back on her bicycle. In 2012, we did a bike camp run by that teaches developmentally delayed or mentally challenged kids how to ride. Emily did fabulous during the camp, but got so nervous outside that environment that she didn't ride for over a year. Last week, she asked if we could go practice her cycling. I took them both to the school grounds, and she rode for an hour. She has done that almost everyday, and has begun to go faster and shout "WOOHOO". 

I am still cringing/hyperventilating a little. But I am trying to let her go begin to find her way, without crying over the loss of something I can't quite explain. Oh yeah, she told me I'm going to need a bike too just to keep up. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

I think I am done...for now

I have considered for a long time now whether to continue this blog or not. When I started, I needed an outlet for my frustrations with my beautiful yet terribly resistant eater. Over time, I think I've become more patient and take any rejection of food less personally. I also believe that my daughter, E, has developed some small sense of adventure towards food - at least she will try a small bite of new foods some of the time, as opposed to outright refusal. Consequently, I have less to write about - at least in terms of her eating habits - and I have been thinking on and off that this blog has served its purpose for the time being.

My decision was made when she tried a piece of this:

Mushroom, Leek, and gorgonzola cheese galette
She didn't like it, but she tried it with a very enthusiastic "can I have that?"
And that was so very good to hear and feel. So it is on that note, that I will say this is possibly my last post here. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

I am indeed a sometimes blogger

I am in awe of those who make blogging their life/work. I am not one of those people. I prefer to do other things with my time. I know I posted 2 months ago about blogging for mental health, and I have not written one single post since!

Here's the thing: being online and surfing the web and writing my blog don't do much for my mental health. Sure, I get some stuff off my chest and get mostly good comments back (once I delete the spammers). 
Things that do make me feel sane again are cooking (with no special diet needs in mind), reading a good book, sleeping a full 8 hours, and dedicating at least 30 minutes a day to exercise.

The last one gives me an incredible boost in energy and in attitude, and sadly, it's the thing that often gets pushed aside. I'm getting better at not letting that happen and I've found that waking up before the crack of dawn and doing an exercise video (although boring!) is the easiest way to accomplish it. There are no kids needing this or that, and I can't do errands because then I'll wake everyone up. And then it is DONE.

The other thing I LOVE to do is to sit in my house alone and silent. There is usually so much noise around me when I am home from the family. The three other members of my lovely family are definitely noisier than me. And at times, I get irritated beyond reason by all of it. So about every 3 or 4 months, I take a day off work like today, and I sit in my recliner and read a magazine or I take a nap. I ignore all chores and I absorb and relish the quiet. My brain thanks me for it!!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Blog for Mental Health Challenge 2013

1.) Take the pledge by copying and pasting the following into a post featuring “Blog for Mental Health 2013″.
I pledge my commitment to the Blog For Mental Health 2013 Project.  I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others.  By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health.  I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.
2.) Link back to the person who pledged you.
You can consider this an open pledge. I first read about this at MealTime Hostage and Canvas of the Minds.
3.) Write a short biography of your mental health, and what this means to you.
I have a high-functioning autistic daughter who has always had eating issues. Before she came along, I never would have thought that the simple, basic act of eating - or in her case, not eating - would affect my mental state in any way. I have always been adventurous in eating and cooking. I have always LOVED and SAVORED my food and the enjoyment others got from sharing meals with me. To suddenly have a resistant eater who ate 3 or 4 foods from the time she was 9 months old until we finally diagnosed her at 3 1/2 drove me into depression, anger, and hopelessness many times. And when we began occupational therapy for her sensory issues, I was horrified and riddled with guilt over how many of the wrong things I did. I forced, I yelled, I was not encouraging. My blog posts are generally about strategies that work or don't, little successes...and how they make me feel. I always say that my blogging was a way to keep track of the foods my daughter has tried and has added to her menu, but the posts are almost always infiltrated by how her reaction made me feel. And over time, I have to lessen the impact of her eating on my mental health. That is my goal with this challenge. 
4.) Pledge five others, and be sure to let them know!
I don't think I actually know five bloggers, but I am pledging the ones I do know! 
As mentioned above, if you happen upon this without being pledged, feel free to take the pledge!  Promote awareness!
5.) Join the official blogroll for Blog for Mental Health 2013.
Canvas does not keep an official blogroll, outside of links to our authors’ personal blogs.  For something new and special to introduce Blog For Mental Health 2013, and really build a sense of community — and show everyone how many of us there are, and how strong we are, coming together — we are launching a Blog For Mental Health 2013 Official Blogroll!  So, in addition to linking back to the person who pledged you, please include the link to this original post in your piece.  As this gets passed along, link back or click here and leave a comment containing the link to your pledge, and we will put you on our Blog For Mental Health 2013 Official Blogroll page!  Show the world our strength, show them our solidarity, show them what we are made of.  Take the Blog for Mental Health pledge and proudly display the badge on your blog!
And may we all have a happy, healthy 2013!

Chinese food and chopsticks

It has been such a long time since my last post. We have stopped the "Making E the A to Z challenge". We certainly did not get to every letter, but it was a fun way to engage her into thinking about food. E has through the course of the last year gained some curiosity into how the food we put into our body can affect our body. And she has verbalized it too. This was something she hasn't really done before. It was always the gag reflex or what I called the "look" - a squint of disgust at what was on the plate. Not that those don't show up anymore, but at least there is now an explanation  -  "Mom, I don't like cheese because it makes my stomach hurt."

We have also stopped doing the challenge because it has become easier to ask E to help me make a grocery list of what foods she wants to eat that week. Then she shops with me to make sure we will have them. My only condition is there has to be one new item per week that she will try. She always agrees to it before we buy it, but does not always try it once on her plate. Nothing new there! The positive outcome of this though is that her flexibility has improved, and her attitude toward being flexible is much better.

Case in point - we recently changed her sister's gymnastics class to a weekday. On the way home, she always asks to stop at the bagel store for pizza bagels. One day, I agreed to but it was already closed. Her sister decided we should go to Panda Express instead. E hesitated for only a minute then asked if this could be her new food to try for that week. I said, "Sure!", and off we went. She ended up asking for chow mein noodles with honey walnut shrimp and orange chicken.

Honey Walnut Shrimp & Orange Chicken
It was amazing to me that she ate all of those items, and then asked for my potsticker! She also wanted to use my chopsticks, which did not go so well. But after some researching, I found these
Combi Kid's Chopsticks
Not only are they smaller, but they also have a little grip that prevents the sticks from slipping. Eventually, you remove the grip, and there is a circle that keeps the chopsticks together at the top, then you remove that. It is like a trainer set. Both H and E love them. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Making E the A to Z....K is for kale

Kale - recently touted as this amazing superfood with all kinds of good stuff - flavanoids and anti-oxidants and vitamins K and C. The problem is it tastes awful. I have tried it steamed, put it in soups, sauteed in bacon fat, roasted into chips. And every single time our family has singularly said "Blech!"

Then we found this little beauty:

And we ate it raw. And all was good.

* While it is still not 'loved' by E, I would say she tolerates it and eats it last. If she makes too much of a fuss about it, I remind her that she used to eat leaves off our maple tree, and these are very much like that.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Making E the A to Z...J is for jalapeno

The two things I could think of for J foods were jicama and jalapeno. My sister-in-law thought of jambalaya and I was going to go with that but changed my mind when I perused some recipes. It has chicken, sausage, shrimp, rice. Three of those four things are not eaten by either kid at the moment. I felt defeated before even beginning. They both already eat jicama because it is similar to apples. I peel and serve in wedges and most of the time they think they are eating apples that are not as sweet as normal. Even if I tell them it's jicama, they think that is a fancy foreign word that means apple.

For lunch today, I made beef tacos and picked up some jalapeno poppers as well. I knew there was a 99% chance they would not be eaten by the kids, but the hubby and I will battle over them, so I knew they wouldn't be wasted.
Jalapeno poppers with cream cheese filling

I also picked up these baked Nacho Bites that have bits of jalapeno in them:

And you can really taste the jalapeno! 
So the verdict on the bites from E were she thought 'pizza' bites would be better. But she ate the jalapeno popper and said it was sour and spicy, kind of like pickles. (She loves pickles). 
While I don't think I can start putting jalapenoes in everything, I am encouraged that it is not a complete flop.

(The younger child did not even try the food. She is entering a major picky phase herself and I sometimes wonder if she needs her own blog!)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Making the A to Z .... S is for spaghetti squash

This is easy. Take a spaghetti squash, poke some holes around it with a fork so steam can escape. Put it on a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven for about an hour. If you can stand it, cut it in half right away and remove seeds, and the flesh will scoop out much easier. Otherwise wait until it cools for 30 minutes before cutting and scooping.

Then you can do anything with it you would normally do with spaghetti. I like mine simple with a little olive oil and salt. But that didn't pass muster with E or H. H practically shoved her plate back at me as if very insulted   by the pile of golden yumminess. *sigh*

Next I tried tossing with marinara but that also did not go over well. I am not all that surprised. School started recently and E has been adjusting to that and not wanting much else to change. The first week she ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner. EVERY DAY. It doesn't mean I plan on stopping though. Lately she is clicking on the fact that life changes, whether we want it or not. And mommy will keep trying to feed her different things, whether she wants it or not!

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