Monthly Archives: November 2017

That’s SO weird!

Justin Timberlake.jpeg

This guy.  Undeniably talented.  Clearly intelligent.  When I heard him make this speech I felt a bunch of emotions bubble to the surface.  The most prominent was gratefulness. Grateful that this guy with a voice and a huge audience of young people uses that voice to say things like he said.   Grateful for the acknowledgement that different is a good thing and that it can preclude greatness that is measured in your impact on people and the world.  Berrik has been called many things in his short life by people who are lacking in humanity and kids who learned this behavior from the world we all live in.  I’m sure he will be called things that cannot be said on TV also at some point (although to be fair, most of us will be!).

Ultimately though, the thing I am most grateful for is that Berrik is in a school where being ‘weird’ is the norm, and is celebrated as part of each kids’ individuality.  In a world where kids are all trying to fit in and be the same, it feels like an alternate universe to enter Berrik’s school and classroom.  No one asks him to be like anyone else.  The school team seeks to figure out who Berrik is and then celebrates his strengths AND his weaknesses.  Because when you step back for a moment and consider my sweet boy as a whole human being, he’s pretty darned amazing.  So if all the parts of him make up the fabulous sum of who he is, then can any of those parts be seen as negative?  Nope.  At least not at school.  It’s quite fascinating to be in the classroom with Berrik and his classmates.  It’s difficult to explain but you can feel it when you’re there.  So completely different than in his former school classroom.  Or the classrooms of my daughters over the years.  The best way I can think of to describe it is that the typical tensions related to who are the ‘smart’ kids and the ‘jocks’ and who fits into all the other ‘labels’ or ‘categories’ that are common in a regular public school, doesn’t seem to exist.  As his mom, it’s most noticeable to me in my own child.  Berrik is fully, authentically, unapologetically himself in this classroom.  He is free to be.  It doesn’t occur to him to worry about what people think because there seems to be so little judgement.  And when you don’t feel judged, I think it makes you less likely to judge others, so all the kids seem to be authentically themselves. Like I said, hard to describe.

Back in the days where Berrik was undergoing some assessments related to ADHD, the psychologist asked how we were managing at home.  I recall being a bit confused by the question.  While I recognize that many kids who are differently wired can have symptoms that result in or appear to be behavioural issues, this had never been an issue for Berrik.  And even though we have two neurotypical kids, it never really occurred to me to consider the impact of Berrik’s differently wired brain as something needing to be managed in a special way within the context of home.  Did he act the same as the girls? No.  But the girls act differently than each other also.  Berrik is just Berrik, just as Avi and McKenna are also their own people with sometimes surprisingly different ways of being from each other and from Berrik. We are just 5 people who are each very different from each other, but the sum of those parts is a pretty great little family.

How fortunate we are that our little ‘weirdo’ can live his life in this way.  It’s not that he gets to be unaware that he’s different from some of his peers, it’s that he has learned that different isn’t something negative, and in fact just might be the coolest thing about him.

Breakfast Skillet

The breakfast skillet is similar to the Buddha Bowl in the sense that it’s completely adjustable to your taste or the contents of your fridge at any given time.   Having only two pans to wash at the end of a delicious meal is a bonus… (It’s mainly a bonus for the teenagers in my house, since they are on dish duty when they are home!)

Print Recipe
Breakfast Skillet
A quick and easy meal that is both delicious and satisfying!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Put ground meat into large skillet and begin cooking on medium heat.
  2. Once meat has been cooking for about 5 minutes, add all chopped broccoli to skillet and continue cooking with the meat.
  3. Add basil and oregano to meat and broccoli mixture.
  4. Heat some butter on low-medium in a small skillet and add the eggs.
  5. Once eggs are cooking, add halved cherry tomatoes to meat and broccoli skillet.
  6. When eggs are ready, divide the meat mixture evenly between 4 plates. Sprinkle each with cheese.
  7. Place egg on top, sprinkle with chives and serve immediately. NOTE: I was so excited to eat this today that I forgot to put the chives on for the photo... but they do add some depth of flavor so I recommend using them!

Cauliflower Scalloped N’otatoes

You just can’t have ham without thinking of scalloped potatoes….  or at least I can’t.  So when I was making ham, I decided to throw together a low carb version of scalloped potatoes and see how it turned out.  It.  Was.  Delicious.

Print Recipe
Cauliflower Scalloped N'otatoes
This creamy, cheesy side dish for ham does not disappoint. You won't miss the potatoes. I promise.
Course Dinner, Side Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Course Dinner, Side Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Slice head of cauliflower into small chunks.
  3. Chop onion and into small pieces, and crush the garlic.
  4. Add butter to a small skillet and heat on medium.
  5. When butter is melted and starting to bubble, add onions and garlic and cook on medium-low until onions are translucent.
  6. Pour cream into skillet and turn heat down to low. Add salt to this mixture.
  7. In a buttered casserole dish put half of your cauliflower to cover the bottom and sprinkle with about 1/3 of the cheese. Sprinkle with coarse ground black pepper and then add the other half of the cauliflower.
  8. Add the remaining cheese evenly on the top of the cauliflower, and add more pepper.
  9. As the cream mixture heats up, stir frequently. Once it is heated through and bubbling a bit at the edges, remove from heat and pour over cauliflower and cheese in casserole dish.
  10. Put the casserole dish in the oven for about 25 minutes until top is bubbling and the cheese is browning.
  11. Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes so the sauce can thicken up a bit. Serve alongside ham and a salad and try not to lick your plate.

Salted Chocolate Pecans

Christmas is coming and I was thinking about the bowls of peanut brittle and other sugary snacks that usually abound at this time of year. That got me to thinking about how I could make something that my sugar-free boy could enjoy, along with the rest of the family, on a holiday that centers so much around food, and especially treats.

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Salted Chocolate Pecans
Salty sweet snack that everyone will love but that won't put you into a sugar coma!
Course Dessert, Snack
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15-20 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Course Dessert, Snack
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15-20 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spread pecan halves on a cookie sheet in one layer and put in oven to roast.
  3. It takes about 10 minutes to roast the pecans but you need to watch them quite closely as they can burn and be ruined if you turn your back. I usually set my timer for about 7 minutes and then pay attention closely for the last 3. If you open the oven to check them you can see that they are ready when they are just starting to brown. They also begin to have that delicious, rich, toasted nut smell when they are just about done.
  4. While the pecans are in the oven, put the chocolate chips, cinnamon and butter into a double boiler or just place a heat safe bowl over top of a saucepan filled with water, and bring the water to a low boil.
  5. As the chocolate chips and butter begin to melt, stir occasionally. Once chips are mostly melted, stir in the whipping cream until blended and keep stirring until the chocolate is smooth and silky.
  6. For convenience and ability to create the 'drizzle' effect with chocolate that is not super runny, I put it into an icing decorator bag. My daughter taught me this trick of using a water glass to hold the icing bag open while you spoon in the chocolate. It works like a charm.
  7. Snip a small hole into the end of the icing bag and then 'drizzle' the chocolate back and forth across the pecans making sure that every pecan has chocolate on it.
  8. Sprinkle all pecans with coarse ground pink himalayan sea salt. Don't be too skimpy as you definitely want to taste the salty sweetness in every bite.
  9. Throw in the freezer for about 30 minutes and voila! Good luck only eating one serving.

Cauliflower ‘Bun’ Grilled Cheese

There is nothing I like better than a buttery grilled cheese sandwich – crispy on the outside and all kinds of melted cheese oozing from within. If you’re grain or gluten free, or just a little adventurous, I highly recommend this grilled cheese using Cauliflower Buns.

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Cauliflower 'Bun' Grilled Cheese
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat a skillet on medium and add butter.
  2. When butter is melted, place one cauliflower bun into skillet, top with cheese of choice, and place second cauliflower bun on top.
  3. Cook just as you would a grilled cheese sandwich. Flip once and remove from heat when cheese is melted and starting to ooze.
  4. Serve with tomato soup, ketchup, side salad or just a couple dill pickles and enjoy!
Recipe Notes

The key to this grilled cheese is the Cauliflower Buns.  This recipe is the easiest one to use and has been failsafe in my experience.  My recommendation is to make them relatively thin, as they are quite rich and filling when using two of them at a time!  If you're looking for the tin rings I used to make the perfect sized Cauliflower Buns, you can find them here: Fox Run Set of Four English Muffin Rings

 

 

 

Buddha Bowl

After experiencing the happiness of the Freshii bowl, I was inspired to create my own at home.  I love the ability to add whatever you have on hand to create a delicious, healthy and pretty meal in minutes. And I can’t understate the bonus of very few dishes to clean afterwards!  For families with varying tastes or dietary restrictions among members, you can prepare several ingredients and let everyone assemble their own bowl.  The perfect summer meal for busy families.

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Buddha Bowl
Prep Time 10
Cook Time 0
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 10
Cook Time 0
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Divide all ingredients evenly into four bowls.
  2. Add a generous serving of roasted red pepper sauce and enjoy!
Recipe Notes

There are plenty of Roasted Red Pepper sauces available commercially, so that may be the easiest option for many busy families.  That said, this Roasted Red Pepper Sauce is quite easy to make and is absolutely delicious.

Buddha bowls are awesome because of their simple variability.  So be adventurous and add whatever you have in your fridge.  Leftover meat, hardboiled eggs, beans and legumes are also great additions to up the protein.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

This sauce is so versatile and so delicious that I sometimes just eat it by the spoonful on its own.  It’s great with fish and all types of meat, it can be a fabulous spread for crackers or bread on a charcuterie board, and if made slightly thicker is also delicious as a dip for veggies.  If you thin it out a bit it’s also a perfect salad dressing.  I use it in my Buddha Bowl recipe as well.

Print Recipe
Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut red peppers into quarters and remove seeds.
  3. Remove skins of shallots and chop into quarters.
  4. Peel the garlic cloves.
  5. Using a pastry brush, brush peppers, shallots and garlic with some avocado oil and place on a baking sheet.
  6. Roast peppers, shallots and garlic in oven for about 45 minutes, until pepper skins begin to turn black.
  7. When the roasting is complete, peel the charred skin from the peppers and discard.
  8. Add peppers, shallots, garlic and remaining ingredients to a food processor and pulse repeatedly until sauce is desired consistency. I like it to be slightly chunky, but it will become very smooth is processed longer. If you want the sauce to be thicker, leave out the olive oil and add 1 tsp at a time until it's the consistency you are looking for... if you want to use as a thinner salad dressing, add a bit more olive oil a tsp at a time.
  9. This keeps in the fridge for several days in a sealed container, so don't be afraid to double or triple the recipe and eat it on EVERYTHING!