chili lot

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It’s about as Mexican as in you’re driving down the road hungry craving “Mexican” and you stop at some taco place. As much as I love cooking, there are times when I want something quick that stops just short of drive through. This is less sketchy and healthier- A “not a drive through- that satisfies my need for spiciness plus throw it in a pan” creation.

 

What you need

Pre cooked chicken diced

* cook it your self (1 lbs)  or buy rotisserie, packaged. No judgement zone

Brown Rice 1 dry cup cooked

* get the “it takes 5 minutes kind”

Diced Tomatoes   1 14.5 oz can

* no salt added, machinery may be involved

Corn 1 14.5 oz can, no salt added

Onions  1/2 cup diced

Cilantro 1 Tbsp

Garlic  2 Tbsp or 2 cloves diced

Cumin 2 Tbsp

Cayenne 2  Tbsp

Shredded Cheddar Cheese 4 oz, reduced fat

* separate into half – 2 oz and 2 oz

Reduced Fat Cream Cheese 8 oz

Turn oven on to 350 to preheat

Making it

Step one- get it prepped and together.  If your chicken isn’t cooked, cook it.  If your chicken needs to come off the bone, do it.  Cook your rice. Open your cans. Open your packages. Measure your stuff.

Step two- dump it all but 2 oz of cheese.  Then stir it together.

Step three- Sprinkle the remaining 2 oz of cheese on top

Step four- shove the dish in the preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 30 mins.

This can be vegetarian converted- replace chicken with two 14.5 oz cans of kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, or a combo.

Namaste your hunger quickly

The Other Ghost Children When You Have a Ghost Child

We have been in a steady uphill push for the last few weeks.  The winter break is out temporary finish line and it’s a mad dash.  So much is poured into a child with special needs- from testing to doctor visits to therapies to extra work at home to extra work from us. Each experience is unique but “extra” is the common thread.  The “extra” is bearing down on us.

The past two Thursday mornings we have had the pleasure of company in the waiting room.  My fellow waiting room veteran mom and I are ecstatic to let our three year old boys impromptu play-date while getting to converse with an adult.  Yay! Today we dealt with the common thread of  the “others.”  We have at least three other children plus some transient bonuses.  Each week therapy is two hours by the time we travel and complete a session.   Two hours is a significant amount of time and we integrate/build in extra time during the week.  That’s just therapy.  There is time to teach, deal with melt downs, hugs, tackle problems, victory dances.  Not all time consumed is a challenge.  Our Ghost child can over shadow and make other ghost children.  How do we find a balance of one who needs more and all of our children’s needs?

One simple solution I found in the waiting room.  This was our time- Red and I.  That hour he had my attention and we read book after book after book.  It’s easy to check out because I am way over stretched.  There has been many times I have dropped whatever to listen to a cheer practice, listen about football, read a book, discuss legos.  Being mindful of opportunities that pop up then taking advantage of it helps them see their value while making the most of my precious energy.  Very precious, minute energy.

Opportunities may not pop up. In that case be intentional and it doesn’t have to be costly. Extra time in presence goes a long way for siblings- from reading, talking, playground, etc.  Simple is best and less taxing on everyone.  Build in whole family events too.  This is a great time of year for most towns and cities to have a variety of family bonding activities.

One thing I love about the center we are at is when a client celebrates a victory, the WHOLE family does too.  Including prizes and affirmations.  We all sacrifice and that needs to be recognized with attitude “we are in it together.”  When a ghost child celebrates, everyone has a stake in that victory.  Celebrate together.

Just as a growing family needs to communicate about a newborn, so does a family with a ghost child.  I have lost track of the talks with our older two about why there are different expectations and handling of things with ghost child.  Plus why it’s fair to be different. There is communication on how they can help their sibling ghost too. Like allowing extra swing time because it helps calm her.  They help with speech goals and using self regulation tools.   I have amazing kids. They are understanding most days and take to heart in helping her.  There are times it’s understandably much and they need grace in that too.  Age appropriate talks with siblings of a ghost child is imperative.  You must do this.

Hug and love on all your little loves and bonus loves.  You have a lot to give; please remember your pact as a caregiver to care for yourself.

Balance is possible most days and grace is necessary all days.

Namaste

Health Foodie: Taking A.M. Lightly

I have food infatuations. There are several items that are my staples, several in rotation, and an obsession of the moment. Egg plants and sweet potatoes have been it. At some point our relationship will cool a little and they will become part of the fridge stock.

Except salsa. We are always hot for each other. I love the substance of the sweet potato and avocado to fuel with the lightness of egg white and salsa.  It comes with a variety of nutrition which goes beyond the fuel. Antioxidants, vitamins, minerals are a few things that fight disease, enhance bodily functions, and reduce aging. It is gluten free with “make it gluten options.”  An incredible balance to get us going.

A. M. Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes cooked and peeled
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  1. Mash sweet potatoes and flour together- start boiling water20180223_1019541067962792.jpg
  2. Spread out on a flour surface and shape a square
  3. Cut into 1 inch squares
  4. Place a few squares in boiled water- wait for it to float then let it ride the waves for about a min
  5. Pull out and let cool
  6. Continue for the rest of the squares

In picture it is topped with egg white, avocado, and pico.  Walnuts and raw honey would be a great option for a sweet tooth and omega brain boost.  Some whole fruit with yogurt or kefir is great. Tomatoes, oregano, chopped garlic, and chopped spinach are an amazing combo too.

Simple Pico de Gallo

Ingredients

  • One medium onion
  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 lemon or lime
  • 1 table spoon of cilantro
  • Sea salt
  • 1 jalapeño dice
  1. Dice tomato and onion and jalapeño  then mix
  2. Squeeze in lemon or lime on mixture
  3. Stir in cilantro with add salt to taste

This is food satisfaction from the start that doesn’t have to be overly complicated.  The gnocchi recipe can be halved for a smaller amount or the full recipe offers leftovers for the next day.

Namaste and Start Your Day

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When Salad Goes Bad

From low calories to nutrient potential, salads can be a go to in “healthy eating.”  It’s an easy option to lighten up a meal encounter and comes with a variety of options.  It does have some pitfalls.  Eating raw is not for everyone and every digestive track.  Lightly cooking  veggies is a healthy option if veggies in their original form is detrimental to your food relationship.  Salads can fall into the monotonous status that is tasteless and boring.  Certain choices can hurt your relationship and health if you are not careful.  Fortunately a boring and unhealthy salad encounter can be fixed.

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Caution

When you’re out eating and trying to stay committed a salad seems like the no brainer option.  Often it’s not the case. Spend a few obsessive hours researching restaurant menus and nutrition, then most often you find there are hidden”fees.”  Croutons are not the sole culprit.  You pay for higher sodium in dressings, fried foods,  tortilla strips, sauces, etc.  Too much salt sucks out the good part of you.  Then there are the bad fats.  Not like “ooh bad” or guilty pleasure.  Like bad, bad.  Physically and mentally bad for you.  From too much processed cheese, fried toppings, and dressings.  Short lease those fats.  An every once and awhile entanglement is okay.  Then there’s your salad base. The semi- green base that’s the meh to your food relationship, it looks pale or wilted.  That’s your salad connection dying.  Read below to fix that.  When you are settling in at home or meal prepping, it’s a similar problem with salads.  High sodium, high fat, not enough variety thus nutrients.   It’s time to find the balance.

The Salad Fix

  In every relationship there needs to be a base to spring from.  In making a salad there are more supportive options such as Mixed greens, spinach, kale. These does more than carry the “fun stuff.” They have their own contributions to your nutrient profile on a plate. Once you have your base, then you need lean sources of protein.  Chicken breast, chick peas, cauliflower, nuts, seeds, turkey pepperoni, lunch meat are a few choices to add on. “Whole” is best, meaning it doesn’t require a label or comes with a few listed ingredients.   While it does this part well, protein is more than a filler.  It has it’s own set of nutrients and it builds from muscles heart to brain to body. When adding on to your base and protein, for nutrition and simplicity sake, rainbow variety needs to be your salad motto.  Each pepper, tomato, carrot, broccoli, cabbage, and so on is packed with their unique set of nutrients.  This is a great way to get multiple vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants.  It’s a better calorie burn with increase function of brain, nerves, eyes, etc.   When dressing a salad, it needs to be the right one.  Low calorie, low fat is not necessarily the best.  There are fats your body needs plus those low cal/fat option may have artificial ingredients that are harmful.  Avocado, sesame oil, avocado oil, or olive oil are a few examples of a short leased but great options to get dressed in.  Read ingredient lists;  the least amount listed on that bottle the better.

Not so salady options

Salad don’t have to look like the precursor to an entree.  An Asian vinaigrette with lean pork or chicken on chopped mixed greens/ bok choy is delicious.  Ground turkey taco meat with salad on greens is a naked taco. Who doesn’t love naked?  A limited use of pepperoni, turkey deli meat, ham deli meat with an italian dressing and greens makes a lighter cousin to the sub version.  There is so much more less salady options on Pinterest.  Just watch the base, ingredients, and dressing.   Armed with the right green base, you can break that food relationship boredom and not pay for it with your health.

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Health Foodie Seeking the Warm Fuzzies

I am a sensory nut. I need to see, smell, taste, and touch. Then, I birthed two sensory seeking, sensory repulsed people. When we love a taste, it’s on until we absolutely hate it. Except tacos. Never touch our blankets. Tag are out. If it’s too loud, forget it. What is that smell??!!! May I touch that? I probably should’ve asked before touching it. We are seekers of a sensory buzz.

Finding the warm fuzzies is a fairly universal desire for us human beings. Most often we do it unconsciously, being categorized as preference or like.  Some of us are more aware of sensory issues by living with exceptional needs. We are looking for the balance of avoidance versus those warm sensory fuzzies. But what if your awareness in positive sensory behavior could enhance your daily wellness? From mental acuity to de-stress plus possible weight help, social bonding, and more- our sensory endeavors have potential benefits for everyone.

Before we submerge our senses we need to precede with caution. If therapy or medical care is a part of your life or someone in your care, then these may help as “in addition too.” However, ask your professional first.

For your eyes seek bright or soft colors, which one depends on what you need

Most of us have a favorite color and there may be reasons as to why, it’s color psychology.   Companies use the study colors to know how to entice your consumer brain.  For the purpose here, it’s a tool that may help engage your brain and mental well being.   In the general sense, bright/warm colors stimulate your brain.  If you feel sluggish, pick one bright color you like and wear it.  If you love it, paint a room with it.  Or, less commitment option is to paint a piece of furniture.  On the other end, if your are stressed, over stimulated, etc then aim for wearing, obtaining, painting with cool/soft/pastel colors.  Even a light pink can soothe and brighten.   Work towards an array in your closet and mix them up in your living space, different days or hours call for different colors.

Seek soft, weighted, warm, or cool to touch

Feeling sore or stressed? Find warmth  in a blanket; in my case, multiple blankets. Texture is important so go with that “gut feeling.”   If you tend to heat easily then go light and soft.  Personally, it’s fleece.   Light compression can be calming.  A heavier, but not necessarily warmer blanket may be of benefit.  A quilt can have some weight or as I discovered recently in a Yin Yoga class, that a tightly woven blanket (“Mexican Blanket,” “Yoga Blanket”) has a fair amount of weight.  There are weighted blankets that can be pricey and a professional would be the one to tell you what weight ratio you need.  A quilt or woven blanket have some weight but not enough to require a consultation for most people.  Another inexpensive option to calm is simply taking a bath.  Water is therapeutic.  Hot water with the door locked and kids on the other side is life altering.  On the other end, being active in cool water can help workout those nerves and add to positive stimulation.   It’s a great option for joint problems and children with lots of energy.

When you need to hear it

If your auditory sense is seeking those chills there are a few simple options.  To calm the nerves, slower (classical, jazz, etc), sound of nature, white noise are ear massage options.  Listening to a guided meditation can be an option too.  If heavy or dull is the feeling then go upbeat.  Then add dancing or something similar too it.  Movement and music are a powerful combo.  Another way to uplift is finding or recording affirmations that are meaningful to you.  It repeats to become a memory.  You may replay that “track” later when it’s not available but needed.  

From a “pick me up” to chill out, sensory seeking can go a long way to help.  Look for part two in the near future.   Subscribe for your convenience.  We still need to address our olfactory sense and of course, food! 

Namaste in your warm fuzzy endeavors