Curried Butternut Squash Stew

1 box Pacific butter nut squash soup
1/2 box Pacific potato leek soup
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 can chickpeas, rinsed
1 can corn, rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 sweet onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
garlic salt, curry, garam masala, ginger, allspice to taste

Put in crock pot on high, cook for 6 hours. Add 1 cup quinoa, let cook until tender.

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Broccoli Tofu Stir Fry

1 package firm tofu
corn starch, garlic salt, onion powder
2 broccoli crowns1/2 onion
4 cloves garlic
soy sauce, teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup sweet and sour sauce
1/3 cup plum sauce
ginger, salt, pepper
vegetable oil
rice noodles

 

Cook rice noodles in boiling water until tender, strain, set aside. Slice tofu into thin strips, press between two plates lined with paper towels to dry. Heat enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Mix the corn starch, garlic salt and onion powder, and coat the tofu. Place in the hot oil and fry on each side until crispy and golden brown. Set aside on paper towels to drain. Add garlic, onion and and ginger to the oil, saute until translucent. Add the broccoli, drained noodles, teriyaki sauce and soy sauce to taste. Saute until broccoli is bright green. Add sweet and sour sauce, plum sauce and tofu, saute until heated through.

Roasted Vegetable Curry

1 sweet potato, peeled
1 chayote squash
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 large broccoli crown10 baby carrots
1 large bell pepper
1 stick butter
1/4 large yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
seasoned salt
garlic salt
curry powder
garam masala
cumin
ground cardamom
2 cups heavy cream

Chop sweet potato and squashes into large chunks. Slice bell peppers into large slices. Separate broccoli florets, cut large ones in half. Line Sweet potatoes, squash, peppers, broccoli and carrots onto baking sheets, spray with cooking spray and sprinkle liberally with seasoned salt. Roast in the oven at 400 for about a half hour, until vegetables are soft and slightly toasted.

Soak basmati rice for about 15 minutes in cold water, then rinse. Put on stove with 3 cups of water and cook until soft.

Dice onion and mince garlic. Add 1/2 stick butter to pan, and melt. Add onion, garlic, and spices and cook until onion is translucent and spices aromatic. Add the roasted veggies and stir. Add 2 cups heavy cream and remaining butter, check spice level to taste. Simmer on low until flavors meld. Serve over rice.

 

Garden Veggie Egg Salad

Today’s lunch:

4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
4 broccoli florets, chopped1/4 carrot, shredded with potato peeler
1/4 large cucumber, chopped
3 tbsps olive oil mayo
1 tsp spicy brown mustard
salt, pepper dill to taste

Served with leftover veggies that didn’t make it in the salad 🙂 and fruit juice.

Mashed potato and veggie green chile enchilada casserole

Easy Mashed Potato and Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

I started off with this recipe, and tweaked it. I made it with real mashed potatoes, about 8 medium sized russets, diced and cooked till tender with a touch of butter and salt in the water. Instead of roasting the veggies, I sauteed them in a little butter so I wouldn’t have to turn on the oven. I used onion, yellow pepper, broccoli, yellow squash, and carrot. Once the potatoes were cooked, I mixed all the veggies together, added a little more butter, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, and a can of evaporated milk until blended.

I did not oil cook the tortillas first, I just shredded them into a bowl. Them I added the potato mixture. I made a green chile cream sauce with a tablespoon of butter and about 12 ounces of frozen green chiles. After they cooked for a bit, I added a cup of heavy cream and a half cup of milk, cumin, garlic, oregano and sea salt. I warmed this just until the edges bubbled. I mixed the tortillas, potato mixture and about half the sauce in a large bowl. I spooned the mixture into a large baking pan prepped with cooking spray. I poured the rest of the sauce on top, added a couple handfuls of chddar and mozzarella cheese, and baked it at 400 F for about 45 minutes. I served it with homemade guacamole, sour cream, and tomatoes. It tasted just like the green chile chicken enchiladas we used to make. Win!

Veggie Curry and Gluten-Free Flatbread

We picked up basmati rice (the food of the Gods, I’m not even kidding), so I made curry tonight.

Soak a cup of basmati and a cup of green lentils (in separate bowls) in salted water for about 2 hours. Add a touch of saffron to the rice and cook till tender. Add butter ( I didn’t have ghee) and salt to the lentils, cook until tender, then blend with a little more butter and milk, like mashed potatoes.

Heat a little olive oil in a skillet, add cumin, curry powder, garam masala, and cardamom and toast them a bit, then turn down the heat and add 3 cloves of garlic, minced, and half an onion, diced small. Cook until the onion is translucent. Add four potatoes, diced small; 3 carrots, sliced thin; 2 yellow squash, sliced thin (add a little more olive oil if needed to coat the potatoes). Cook until the potatoes start go get tender. Add a can of coconut milk, a cup of regular milk, a can of diced tomatoes, and more spices to taste. Simmer until veggies are tender. Serve over rice and lentils.

I also made this pitta bread recipe, very good.  http://betterbatter.org/grilled-pitta-bread

“You can’t be autistic. You don’t LOOK autistic. Everyone has these issues.”

I just read through this article, and it got my brain to workin’. I’ve rewritten this a few times already, because my brain seems to be on overdrive today. Sorry guys.

http://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2014/jul/24/autism-gds-louise-kidney

Trust me, I’ve said this to myself more than anyone else can imagine. I’ve tried to talk myself out of it. I’ve tried to justify to myself that a diagnosis of many other issues would be easier to receive from the medical community, so it must be more accurate.Over the years, I’ve been tested/suggested for many other issues, sometimes even medicated for them, to really no avail.

I’ve been officially diagnosed with general anxiety disorder, clinical depression, gastrointestinal issues, PTSD, bulimia, and chronic insomnia. I’ve been tested for Fibromyalgia and various immune issues; eye issues like glaucoma and astigmatism; inner ear issues for vertigo, sensory overload and extreme motion sickness. I’ve had doctors and psychologists mention ADHD, OCD, Bipolar, Misophonia (hatred or phobia of particular sounds),dyspraxia (coordination issues).   I display just enough traits for many of these issues to trigger my doctors to look into them, but in the end, I’ve been told that I don’t have enough ticks on the paper for a full diagnosis, only enough to make my life difficult. The thing I consider my biggest issue, the one that tends to cause me the most trouble, is the one that I had never mentioned to anyone until just a couple of years ago, although I’ve struggled with it my whole life: Sensory Processing Disorder. I’ve not been “officially” diagnosed, but I’m so solidly in the traits that it’s undeniable, and there’s nothing they can do about it anyway.

I’ve analyzed this over and over in my mind, and on paper. I’ve talked to my doctor, other Aspies, folks with SPD, my family members. I’ve researched for hundreds of hours, reading the DSM manual descriptions (which don’t take differences in gender into account yet), expert research on women with Asperger’s, blogs of other Aspies. There is no longer a doubt in my mind that I have Asperger’s Syndrome. This doesn’t mean I don’t have any of the other issues….what it means is there is an underlying, pervasive reason WHY I have all these other issues.

My brain is different from other folk’s brains. Yes, I know, we’re ALL unique, but my brain (as with all other people with autism), is fundamentally wired differently. I’ve always known I was distinctly different from most people I knew. It’s taken years of observation and research to figure out exactly HOW and WHY I’m different.

What most people don’t seem to understand about autism is that it’s a spectrum disorder. Yes, people have heard this, but they don’t really know what it means. It means that there are many varying degrees for each individual with autism, and it also means there’s many co-morbid issues that go along with it. That means that I will exhibit traits of multiple issues to a significant degree, and others none at all. My brain wiring makes me susceptible to certain things that a neurotypical brain takes for granted. As I’m in a contemplative mood recently, I will probably break these down individually, but I’ll skip it in this post. I finally understand that underneath all these things that I’ve been trying to medicate out of me in some form or another, is a fundamental wiring that makes me different from everyone else. I have decided to stop trying to be neurotypical. I’m NOT, and I’m tired, literally exhausted, of trying to force myself into it.

I don’t need to suck it up and deal. I need to learn what my capacities are and live within them. I need to learn these so that I can then test the boundaries. I’ve spent my entire life overloading myself into oblivion. Now, I’m learning where my tolerance levels lie, what issues will trigger me, and what coping mechanisms will work. This means starting at the beginning. Immersion therapy will NOT work for me. Simply making myself sit in the chaos will not help me learn to deal with the chaos. It will make me shut down. I know, because I spent the last three years, primarily (but my entire life in general) telling myself that if I just do it everyone else’s way, I’ll learn to like it. That if I change myself, I’ll be more acceptable. Here’s the kicker…it never happened. In the end, I locked myself in my bedroom, paralyzed with anxiety and depression, and eventually ended up in the hospital with liver failure because I ignored my own needs.

I’m not doing that anymore. It literally almost cost me my life, and my sanity. Now, I’m redefining who I am in the understanding that I am autistic. My brain needs different things.

These days, my life is quite different than it was a few months ago. I limit my social interaction. I keep my TV turned down, and if it must go up, I excuse myself to another room, and I don’t feel bad about it. I’m saving my energy, and saving my family the meltdown the excess noise will bring. If I’m having a bad allergy day, the stuffed up sinuses affect my hearing, which makes the sensory issues worse, so, on days like today when my allergies are sky high, I’m not pushing myself to be as productive as I would on a non-allergy day, because if I do, I will get frustrated and melt down. I explain to my family much more often that I am feeling bad, overloaded, tired, etc. I’m learning to say no. I’m also avoiding issues in which I know I will trigger my anxiety. To a lot of people, this looks like depression. It’s not. I’m not depressed right now. In fact I feel better about myself and my life than I ever have. I’m in a GREAT place right now. I’m discovering who and what I am for the first time in a light that I feel really explains me. But it requires a lot of internal work, that causes me to limit my external work. As I continue to learn and grow in myself, I’ll branch out more. Sometimes, it will be to test my boundaries. Sometimes, it will be because I need to know something. But I will NOT do something that I am not comfortable with anymore unless there is simply no other alternative. And then I will take whatever measures necessary to moderate the negative effects it has on me.

Am I being selfish? Yes, I am. I’m okay with that. Because I’m aware that I have certain people in my life who depend on my ability to function. These people are the ones who are being the most understanding, because they KNOW me. They know I would not ask it of them if it weren’t necessary. I’ve decided that if people don’t want to accept my belief that I am autistic without thousands of dollars and months or years of time spent getting some stranger’s seal of approval, that’s fine. It doesn’t, in the end, affect my reality.

I am an adult on the autism spectrum. I am a woman with Asperger’s Syndrome. It is WHO I am, not WHAT I am. I can’t separate it from my being. So, and I say this to myself as much as to anyone else, accept me for what I see in myself, or move on. I don’t have time or energy to accept anything less in my life, and that’s ok. It’s MY life after all.

Care and feeding of a good support system

I’ve been putting a lot of thought into this lately. Your support system can make or break you, quite literally. I’ve seen and lived through the damage that is caused when a support system isn’t in place. A person’s family, friends, even Facebook friends make up that support system. Sometimes, you receive great support; other times, it falls flat. Sometimes, your “support” system is terribly toxic, and will do more damage than good. So how do you go about maintaining that support system?

1) Take control of YOUR support system.
Some people are simply toxic. We don’t always agree with people we love, even our parents, siblings, or spouses. That’s not what I’m taking about. I’m talking about those people who are a constant drain on you, physically, emotionally, whatever. Yes, relationships take work….but they don’t take every ounce of energy you have. If they do, get out of them. You should be able to receive as much energy as you give. It won’t always be equal, but it should level out at some point. You need to take personal responsibility for your surroundings, and that means ALL your surroundings.

2) Appreciate those who are trying to support you.
Even if you don’t agree with what they are trying to do for you, you need to appreciate the effort, or it will go away. My husband works incredibly long hours, in a very physical job, to support us. No, I can’t reciprocate by earning the same kind of money, or working the hours he does. What I can do is be HIS support system….I can manage the day to day running of the house, manage the finances, etc.  I can make sure he knows, beyond a doubt, that all the work he does is appreciated. It really does go a long way. This goes double for when he decides to take something off MY plate…I have had to learn not to quibble over the particulars. If he’s offering to wash the dishes because I hate doing them, then I shouldn’t complain if they aren’t done the way I would do them. At least I didn’t have to do them. 🙂

3) Tell people how they can best support you.
People are not mind readers. You can’t expect people to support you well if they don’t know what you need. I’m learning to be vocal. If I need the TV turned down, I try to explain WHY. If I need a hug, I will ask for it. If I need an hour to myself, I will ask someone to handle my responsibilities so I can take that hour. If I feel a meltdown coming on, I warn my family (whenever possible). No, I can’t always give people fair warning, but doing it when I can seems to help everyone involved.

4) Spread it out.
Don’t pile all your crap on one person. That’s simply not fair, and not practical. Not everyone is as good at handling certain things as someone else is. If I need to emotionally vent, I go to my wife. If I need well thought out, practical advice, I go to one husband;, if I need a good swift solution to a problem, I go to the other….everyone has their strengths. Try to use those strengths…it makes both of you feel more in control. Trying to get emotional support from someone who isn’t the emotional type will simply make you both frustrated.

5) Listen to your support.
If you trust them enough with your secrets and feelings, then trust them enough to have your best interests at heart. It’s difficult sometimes to remember to listen when you’re in the middle of a personal crisis. But it’s important to you and to them…you trust these people for a reason…so TRUST them.

These are just a few of the things I can think of, but it’s a good starting place. I put this here for myself, mainly. I need reminders sometimes, just like everyone else. Good support systems take work, from ALL involved.

Time Management

I’ve started using HabitRPG to help me track my to-do’s. It’s a page that lets me earn “experience” points for doing my chores. It jsut makes it more interesting, and I’ve found I’m much better about tracking things because I don’t want to die and lose my cool armor :). I’m geeky, so this is right up my alley. 🙂

I don’t schedule things down to the minute anymore (I’ve been known to do that), because I have a three year old and I need more flexibility. So I list the chores I need to get done in the order I need to do them, and I have a separate list of monthly chores that I check off. I’m going to start posting my schedule to 1) help hold myself accountable, and 2) give people who might be struggling ideas of how to organize time. This works for me…it won’t work for everyone. But you can take the concepts and adapt them for yourself, if you like :).

Chores for Friday:

  • Pick up bedroom floor
  • pick up Caity’s bedroom (she helps with this)
  • Make beds (Caity makes her own)
  • Pick up livingroom floor (Caity does most of this, as it’s often her toys on the floor 🙂 )
  • Plan Dinner ( I have to put this down or I’ll forget to put something out to thaw, and we don’t own a microwave)
  • Clear surfaces (I walk through the whole house and put away anything that doesn’t belong where it’s been laid. This is the BEST clutter solver out there. Even if I feel crappy, I will not miss this chore every day) This also includes putting away the dishes in the drainer
  • Wash dishes
  • Wipe counters/stove/table (Caity does this, then I double check for cleanliness…she does an amazing job for someone with tiny arms 🙂 )
  • Take out Trash (hubby does this, but I have to remind him)
  • ABC Mouse with Caity (this is her school stuff, we homeschool)
  • Clean Fridge (it’s trash day, so a good day to clean the experiments out of the fridge 🙂 )
  • Sweep/mop floors
  • Clean Caity’s bedroom walls – monthly chore (I’ll likely skip this one today, as I did this about a week ago when I set up her room, I’ll spot check it though)

Work Reminders

  • post in FB groups
  • empty inbox
  • blog
  • crochet for three hours minimum
  • web work 1 hour minimum

It took me a long time to learn to be organized. I used Flylady and Unfuck Your Habitat to help me set up my system as it is now. I like it, it keeps me focused, and I like the game aspect. if anyone joins HabitRPG let me know…we can join a “party” together and do quests :).

 

Current Events

My husband and I had a good discussion tonight. It’s not very often anymore we have time for a good, old-fashioned debate. It was kinda nice. But…

I avoid the news, local, national, and world, as much as I can. I avoid heated political and religious discussions. I keep my head down, and try to keep a low profile.

People often think this is because I don’t care. That’s not the case. The issue is I care far too much. When I am confronted with all the misery, hate, fear and mistreatment I see everyday on the news, my anxiety sky rockets. I can’t see the suffering of others and simply not care. But I feel so powerless to do anything about what is beyond my small corner of the universe. I will literally become immobile, an overloaded pile of mush, if I let myself witness all the hate around me.

Yes, I want to see many things change. No, I don’t feel like there’s much I can do about it. So, I cancelled my cable subscription, I avoid newspapers and MSN/Yahoo feeds. What little I know of what goes on in the world is because one of my loved ones tells me. It’s a choice I make for my sanity. I am sorry most people cannot understand this, but I choose to focus on things I can fix, rather than work myself into a non-functioning tizzy over things I can never fix.

Someday, I just hope that people will stop hating each other so much.