special snowflake syndrome 

one of the best sermons I’ve heard… and this has nothing to do with the fact that I only get to listen to about ten a year…  was last Sunday…

I even took notes…  although I was wondering if fellow church goers were thinking

‘oh… she’s finally here and she’s texting the whole time’…

kinda like when my Dad used to close his eyes to pray during a sermon…  we had our doubts…

the Pastor was addressing the fact that the new generation is full of narcissists…  we like to think we should find happiness, every job should be fulfilling, every thing is about us…

wikipedia describes narcissism  as ‘the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes’…

and the Pastor termed our generation with having the ‘special snowflake syndrome’…  we all like to think we are a special snowflake and life should center around us…

I connected with these thoughts both as a parent of ‘special snowflakes’ and also feeling a bit like I am a ‘special snowflake’ myself…

when I met the farmer seventeen years ago in college, he was of course first blown away by my staggering beauty… but a close second to the earth shattering beauty was an air of confidence…  he could not believe how confidently I approached every situation…  no matter my lack of talent or intelligence or athletic ability…  I was confident completely with no relation to how well I did at things or my credentials…

what he didn’t know is that I grew up feeling ‘special’…

my childhood was all about being special… I was special because God created me for a purpose and reason and my life revolved around serving and worshipping this Divine power…  who made every human being special…

I was put here to create, serve, work, love, contribute and give…

I was also told over and over again that I was special (I wish they had known to call me a special snowflake)…

I was special, not for what I did but for who I was…  I was a child of God, created by God, with work to do for God…

I was never under any assumption that life was supposed to be about me…

this message gave me freedom to succeed or fail and not worry that I was loved any differently based on the result… because no one cared… not really… not deeply…  there were bigger concerns in the world than if I won my intramural football game…

out of my three children, the daughter is definitely the one who believes she is a special snowflake…  and this sermon made me think I need to let her in on the secret that she is special because every human being is special… but she’s not a special snowflake…  big difference…


and man, it really frees you up as a parent to not need to give them everything that they think they need…  and to even ignore them so that they get bored and have to remember how to play… by themselves… in the yard…  with a cat or a dog… or imaginary friend…

the boys were playing basketball out in the yard and wanted me to watch them…  just as I was heading over to do so, I stopped myself and yelled out the window…

‘not interested… you’re not a special snowflake… go ahead and shoot your hoops and do your jams on your own and I’ll just keep ignoring you’

(full disclosure… I watched them because it’s too comical not to watch but I didn’t want them to know that I had taken time to do so…  again… they need to know they are special… not special snowflakes)

when you go surfing, one of the rules they tell you is ‘your board goes where your eyes go’ …  I remember this very well because as I was colliding with the farmer on my board I was yelling at him ‘I’m not looking at you… I’m not looking at you’…

the Pastor said this is what we are to do with our lives… in order to get away from being special snowflakes…  and back to being just special…

‘where you look is where you’ll go’ … if we look at ourselves, our accomplishments, our failures, our results… we’ll never get outside of ourselves and we’ll never see a bigger vision or world…

if we focus on something other than ourselves we’ll see a bigger picture… we’ll see ideas and opportunities… we’d cheer for our peers instead of constantly competing…  we’d eagerly help those in need… we’d share our time and experiences… because we’d realize we are all in this together…

the hymn we sang during the service brought back many nights when I would wake up scared and my mom would come to my room and sing to me…  (which arguably was more frightening than the nightmare itself)

‘turn your eyes upon Jesus… look full in His wonderful face… and the things of earth will grow strangely dim… in the light of His glory and grace’

sometimes we need the things of this world to grow strangely dim…  and we do need to focus on something other than ourselves…  we need to see the Divine…

not because it makes us feel less… but because it can make you feel so much more…

you are special… very very special… just not a special snowflake… unless you are a Kardashian… then you are a special snowflake…



chia seed applesauce cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup applesauce
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted and room temp
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup sweetened coconut

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • line two baking sheets with parchment paper
  • combine oats, br sugar, flour, chia seeds, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt
  • stir in applesauce and coconut oil until dough is evenly mixed
  • fold in cranberries, chocolate chips and coconut
  • using a medium ice cream scoop, spoon out dough and flatten with a fork
  • bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the cookie
  • they will be soft and need to sit in the pan for at least 10 minutes before being transferred to a drying rack
  • these cookies will harden and freeze really well

edamame what now? 

I bought some new noodles from Costco…  Edamame Spaghetti…  they are organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, and kosher…  they supply you with 10 g of fiber, 22 g of protein and vitamin C and iron…

now I know you are doubting… you are saying ‘Catherine… we’ve tried the brown rice noodles and they are awful… we gone down the sticky, disgusting road of quinoa noodles only to find disappointment… why would this edamame you speak of be any different?’…

 

I put it to the kid test…  now, alone these noodles have basically no taste…  and a bit of an off-putting aroma…  but, pair it with some chicken parmesan and it’s magic…

not left-over magic… only cook as much as you are going to eat…

the children were saying things like ‘I can’t believe it’s not durum’…  ‘nailed it mom’…  ‘fibre never tasted so good’…

so, if you are looking for a pre-game meal for your little athlete or a protein/fibre packed boost for your own day… look no farther…

this meal packs a punch…  I am not going to tell the farmer that he is eating organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, kosher edamame noodles…  I think I’ll just say they are synthetically coloured durum noodles…  see if he notices…

oh – they are a product of China… go figure…

   

chicken parmesan with edamame noodles

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 pkg Organic Edamame Spaghetti (907 g)
  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into 3 pieces each and flattened
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cans (398 mL) tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 3/4 cup grated Asiago cheese (or mozzarella)

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • cut chicken breasts into three pieces each
  • place plastic wrap over the breasts on the cutting board and smash until they are all even thickness
  • brush with butter and olive oil on both sides
  • in a pie plate, place breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese
  • batter the chicken on both sides
  • place on a greased baking sheet
  • spray the top of the chicken lightly with a vegetable spray so they brown
  • bake for 18 minutes
  • flip and bake for 5 more minutes or until golden and cooked
  • heat a large pot of water with salt in it to boiling
  • turn heat down and place noodles in to cook for 5-8 minutes
  • strain and they are ready to serve
  • in a large, deep skillet pour the tomato sauce and basil and heat
  • add chicken into the skillet and sprinkle with cheese
  • cover and cook on low heat until the cheese is melted
  • serve the chicken over the noodles with some sauce

who wants a hug?

we ate some yummy granola this morning to start 2016 with some fibre… I do love the first day of the new year… I’m a goal setter and I love setting completely unrealistic goals that I have trouble even getting through day 1 achieving…

my list of goals:

more fibre (check), consume less/buy less, read more books, write every day, workout 5 days a week, edit my house and get rid of clutter, compliment people more, not lose my temper, become a better hugger…

if you are wondering what I mean by become a better hugger, that is most likely because you have never had to say goodbye or hello to me or comfort me…  you would know that my hugging skills could use a lot of polishing…

over Christmas people hug a lot more than usual… and on New Year’s Eve the hug usually is accompanied with a kiss… which is why I fell asleep before midnight last night…  avoiding the hug/kiss nonsense…

I know I’m not good at hugging so over the years I’ve began to avoid it almost like I’m avoiding getting the flu from someone…  winter is easy because I can quickly throw on a huge winter parka and then it is like hugging someone with a pillow in between you…  I’ve been known to slip out of large group goodbye’s with a fake phone call…  which everyone should know I only ever text… so being on the phone during a hug session is quite suspicious…

if you decide to hug me… these are few of the options I generally go to…

the open faced hug… this is half a hug where you don’t finish it by wrapping both your arms around the other person… just one arm… that way the fronts of your bodies don’t need to touch each other… this is usually what I do with a man heading in for a hug… it can make it seem like you are waiting for a third party to come join your hug… if this happens it becomes more of a huddle and less of a hug…

the shoulder to the throat hug… my older brother is a master at this one… you do this once to someone and they won’t come looking for a hug anytime soon…  and it seems innocent and like a mistake but I know when hugging my older brother it is calculated and he is letting me know ‘you should have known better than to try and hug me’

the ‘are we going to kiss’ hug… this happens to me more than I’m proud of and it is entirely my fault…  I’m so poor at hugging that I enter into them at an irregular speed and this leads to a situation where it seems like I’m waiting for a kiss… when in reality I’m just not sure which of my body parts you want to feel pressed up on you…

the fade-away hug…  in an effort to try to be polite and respectful I tend to curve my body so the only thing touching the recipient is my shoulders… just shoulder on shoulder action and the rest of my body curved away from you at an angle I’m needing pilates classes to help me get flexible enough to pull off…

the Facebook friend hug… so you run into a friend that you have not seen in 17 years but have totally stalked them on Facebook the entire time… and this is a person that when you knew them the thought to hug them would never have crossed your mind… but now so much time has passed and you’ve seen them go through so much on Facebook… and you find yourself heading in for a hug with basically a complete stranger… and saying ‘it’s been so long’…

the wedding/funeral hug… these are times that you are required to hug people that you normally would not hug…  again, I am so terrible at hugging that I did not have a receiving line at my own wedding so that it cut down the number of hugs I had to doll out…

the handshake hug… this is when one party feels a handshake is appropriate and the other party is like ‘nope… come here you’ and brings it in for a hug that has a handshake going on in the middle of it…

the farmer told me there are only three people that he is comfortable hugging… his daughter, his grandmas and yours truly… although he says I could try to make it less awkward…

but there are people out there that love to hug… these are people that volunteer to pick you up from the airport… because they know they can squeeze in a hug there… and they seem to not be able to sense who enjoys hugging them in return… they head in for a hug that often involves an extra squeeze, pat on the back like they are burping you, smelling your hair or making a ‘mmmm’ noise as they settle into the hug…

and even though I’d be perfectly comfortable avoiding hugs for the rest of my life, I don’t want to have my children say it’s my fault they can’t hug properly someday… thus my resolution to improve at hugging…

I started with hugging my 13 year old today and he tensed up like I was going to hurt him… and then he said ‘are you ok mom?’… I replied ‘does a mother need a reason to hug her boy?’ … to which he said ‘usually’

I’m going to hug the farmer today and then again at the end of 2016 and see if he thinks there has been progress…

cherry nut granola

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
  • 1/4 cup All Bran Buds cereal
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 2 tsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • on a parchment lined baking sheet, place quinoa, coconut and oats
  • bake for 10 minutes
  • in a bowl mix flaxseeds, bran buds, almonds, pecans and cherries
  • in a small bowl melt coconut oil and add honey, vanilla, cinnamon and salt and stir till combined
  • pour the oat mixture into the bowl with the cherries and combine
  • add the honey mixture and stir
  • return to the parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes
  • let cool and serve over yogurt